contemporary romance

A-Z Challenge: “A” is for “Aiden” – Book Trailer Reveal for Gina Maxwell’s “Fighting for Irish”

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AHe’ll fight for her life. She’ll fight for his love.

Former MMA fighter Aiden “Irish” O’Brien hasn’t stepped into the ring since he accidentally took someone’s life in the heat of rage. When his friend calls in a favor that sends him south to check on family, Irish figures he’s got nothing to lose. His life is on the ropes. The least he can do is make sure the sexy redhead is safe.Maxwell-Fighting For Irish

Kat MacGregor has forty-eight hours to settle the twenty thousand dollar debt her deadbeat ex-boyfriend owes a crime boss. If she doesn’t, she’ll pay for it—with her life. Kat’s halfway out the door when a sexy new guy walks into the bar and insists he’s there to help.

Irish is forced to fight in the underground MMA circuit to win the money she needs. But he’s been lying to Kat. About who he is, about knowing her sister, about why he comes home bruised every night. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him, but breaking her trust will cost him the most important fight of his life: the one for her heart.

Here is the link to my 5-Star Review.  Enjoy the book trailer for “Fighting for Irish!”


About the Author:

Gina L. Maxwell is a shameless romance addict with no intentions of ever kicking the habit.

Gina L Maxwell promo photoGrowing up she dreamed of helping people escape reality with her acting abilities…until college when she realized she had none to speak of.   Another ten years passed before she discovered a different means to accomplishing the same dream: writing stories of love and passion for addicts just like her.  Her debut novel, Seducing Cinderella, landed on the USA Today and NY Times Bestseller lists in less than a month.

Now she splits her time between writing more books and acting as Boss of the world’s first organized romance mafia, the Maxwell Mob.Thanks to the support she receives from her amazing family, Gina is finally able to live her dream of bringing a little romantic fantasy to the world, one steamy novel at a time.

Find out more about Gina on her website, follow her on Twitter, and Pinterest and like her Facebook page.

 

 

 

Happy Release Day to Olivia Cunning!

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Olivia Cunning’s Sinners are going to the chapel and going to get married!

Olivia Cunning's Blog

So, the paperback proof copy of Sinners at the Altar just arrived on my doorstep. Freaking finally… *grumble, overnight airmail my ass, grumble*

And all those lines that were on the digital proof’s cover are nowhere to be seen on the hard copy, so in celebration of the release (of the breath I’ve been holding since Friday *cough*) of Sinners at the Altar, I’m giving away 10 autographed copies of the book w/ a Sinners on Tour wristband. (Two are in the picture so you can see both sides.)

SatA Prize 1

And since I’m feeling generous, I’m giving away 20 additional wristbands. 1 per winner.

SatA Prize 2

So that’s 30 prizes up for grabs!

Well, you do have to enter…

Click on the link below to enter for your chance to win.

Sinners at the Altar Release Day Giveaway!

Good luck!

And yes, it’s open internationally.

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5-Stars for Hayson Manning’s “Winning the Boss’s Heart” – Book Review

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Manning-winning-bosss-heartMason Christian has twelve weeks to flip something old into something new, and then he’s getting the hell out of Footsteps Bay – a tiny New Zealand coastal town. Not even his temporary secretary and personal assistant–the feisty, luscious Billie McLeod–will deter him, but there’s no denying she makes him feel alive. More alive than he’s felt in three years…
Billie has one dream: save enough money to finish her degree. That’s why she’s agreed to work for hard ass, all-business-no-pleasure Mason Christian–a man who has every intention of destroying through modernization the town’s most cherished historical home. Before she can say ‘see ya’ she’s signed on the dotted line and is contractually bound to be Mason’s forty-second assistant. But working with male perfection every day is awesome with a capital A–as long as they can stick to a hands-off policy that gets harder every day…

My Review

42 Gives Magic Man the Last Offer He Will Ever Refuse

With her second book, Winning the Boss’s Heart, Hayson Manning took us to her beautiful home country of New Zealand.   Set in the bucolic coastal town of Footsteps Bay, Mason Christian hired Billie McLeod to work as his personal assistant on a project he hoped would be completed quickly.

Billie was a heroine who knew her own worth.   After suffering some personal setbacks, she was saving money to finish her degree, and working for Mason seemed like the fastest way to earn the most money.   She fearlessly challenged Mason and the sarcastic nicknames she created for him, were inspired.  Nothing like treating the boss with the same impersonal disdain, as he treated his employees.

Mason was a deeply broken man, sublimating his emotions in his work and keeping people at arm’s length.   As his feelings for Billie grew, he was forced to confront some painful events from his past.   Little did Mason know that fate would intervene, to give him a compelling second chance at love story.  Ms. Manning beautifully constructed and sensitively handled, Mason’s heartbreaking past.

Billie and Mason’s interactions ran the gamut of emotions from trepidation, to antagonism, to friendship, and finally, acceptance, and love.  Lovingly meddlesome townsfolk and growing spicy, sexy action rounded out this terrific story.

With Wife in Name Only, Hayson Manning became a must-read author for me.   After, Winning the Boss’s Heart, she became a must-preorder or must-1-click author for me.     I highly recommend her books for well-developed characters, richly illustrated locations and secondary characters and multilayered storytelling,

Links to my review on Amazon and Goodreads.

About the Author

Author Hayson ManningHayson Manning grew up in a small New Zealand town in a family of scientists and engineers Hayson was told firmly that her ‘day dreaming’ phase would end. Soon, she’d be entranced by the inner workings of the periodic table and be spellbound by quantum physics. But Hayson loved living in the lands she created. Oh, the creatures that stopped by. The princes and princesses, unicorns and Frank a friendly chain-smoking shark.

It soon became apparent Hayson wasn’t going to be awarded the Nobel Prize for services to the atom.

She conformed and has worked as a demon word processor, sliced ham in a delicatessen, sorted freight, pulled midnight shifts in a bank and counted baked bean cans in a stock-take. She never stopped dreaming of writing alpha dudes and sassy woman.

She’s lived in Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, London, California and is now in Sydney. All she ever wanted to do was write fun and flirty people who aren’t perfect but will fight for that one person who will love them for who they are.

Represented by Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates, that dream has come true, writing for Entangled Publishing. She loves a good glass of wine, dreams of winning the lottery, cries while watching Antiques Roadshow and cannot speak she’s sobbing so much by the end of Undercover Boss. She is also an expert at finding new and inventive ways to avoid exercise.

Find out more about Hayson on her website, follow her on Twitter and like her Facebook page.  She loves to hear from her fans.

5-Stars for Gina L. Maxwell’s “Fighting for Irish” – Book Review

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Maxwell-Fighting For IrishFormer MMA fighter Aiden “Irish” O’Brien hasn’t stepped into the ring since he accidentally took someone’s life in the heat of rage. When his friend calls in a favor that sends him south to check on family, Irish figures he’s got nothing to lose. His life is on the ropes. The least he can do is make sure the sexy redhead is safe.

Kat MacGregor has forty-eight hours to settle the twenty thousand dollar debt her deadbeat ex-boyfriend owes a crime boss. If she doesn’t, she’ll pay for it–with her life. Kat’s halfway out the door when a sexy new guy walks into the bar and insists he’s there to help.

Irish is forced to fight in the underground MMA circuit to win the money she needs. But he’s been lying to Kat. About who he is, about knowing her sister, about why he comes home bruised every night. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him, but breaking her trust will cost him the most important fight of his life: the one for her heart.

My Review:

Like Irish’s favorite cranberry juice – Fighting for Irish (A Fighting for Love Novel) (Entangled Brazen) was a bitter, sweet, tart and delicious 5 stars!

We learned about Kat MacGregor, Vanessa MacGregor’s sister, in Rules of Entanglement (A Fighting for Love Novel) (Entangled Brazen). Kat’s upbringing, tough at best and cripplingly devastating at its worst, left her with deep emotional scars and a protective covering around her heart. She was on the run from the Tennessee Mafia and unable to communicate with Vanessa. A worried Vanessa, led Kat’s soon-to-be brother-in-law, Jax, to hire his friend Aiden O’Brien “Irish”, to find, follow and if need be, protect her, in Fighting for Irish.

Irish, a retired MMA fighter, was also hiding a tortured past and despite their best efforts their mutual attraction brought them closer. Together the tore down each other’s walls, brick by brick, exposing more deep seeded pain and allowing the possibility of love to blossom. Both Kat and Irish were beautifully broken characters who deserved healing, forgiveness and the opportunity at happily ever after, as they faced their pasts.

In true Gina L. Maxwell fashion, the sex was explosive. However, the slow, deliberate, yet gentle, buildup to their lovemaking was handled with care, respect and sensitivity for two characters who believed they were unlovable. Ms. Maxwell’s pacing of their relationship, amid the suspense, was impeccable. Of the three books in the series, Fighting for Irish was the most poignantly moving.

While Fighting for Irish, may be read as a standalone novel, I highly recommend reading the first two books in the series – Seducing Cinderella (A Fighting for Love Novel) (Entangled Brazen) and Rules of Entanglement, to get a complete sense of the previous relationships and characters that brought Kat and Irish together. In addition, I am looking forward to reading Xander’s story, as he will be another tough nut to crack, and deserves his own ladylove.

About the Author:

Gina L. Maxwell is a shameless romance addict with no intentions of ever kicking the habit.

Gina L Maxwell promo photoGrowing up she dreamed of helping people escape reality with her acting abilities…until college when she realized she had none to speak of.   Another ten years passed before she discovered a different means to accomplishing the same dream: writing stories of love and passion for addicts just like her.  Her debut novel, Seducing Cinderella, landed on the USA Today and NY Times Bestseller lists in less than a month.

Now she splits her time between writing more books and acting as Boss of the world’s first organized romance mafia, the Maxwell Mob.Thanks to the support she receives from her amazing family, Gina is finally able to live her dream of bringing a little romantic fantasy to the world, one steamy novel at a time.

Find out more about Gina on her website, follow her on Twitter, and Pinterest and like her Facebook page.

Book Review and Trailer – “Moore to Lose” by Julie A. Richman

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Followers of this blog will recognize Julie Richman’s name as the author who knocked my socks off with her debut novel, Searching for Moore.   My review, on July 11th, was one of the most organic posts I have written, since starting this blog.    Julie’s words inspired a friendship between Kristen, Samantha, Cleida and I that culminated in the Searching for Moore Book Trailer, on July 23rd.    These relationships have continued to evolve and I am proud to count these women among my dear friends.

Julie and I stayed up countless nights this Summer analyzing publishing trends, discussing the merits of stand-alone books versus book series, realizing that we had worked at similar agencies at different points in our careers and bonding over her “Needing Moore” series.   I knew she was writing a follow-up book to Searching for Moore, but was conflicted.  She originally intended to write two books for the series, not three.   However, her characters, namely Mia Silver, guided her into writing a beautifully, heart-breaking second book:  Moore to Lose.   Julie received advice from many “experts” in the publishing world, who told her not to write this book.    What the “experts” failed to realize, was that when Julie’s characters spoke to her, she listened.   And wrote.

Then she shared her words with Mom Richman, Kristen, Cleida, Samantha and I.

After reading Moore to Lose I was speechless.  Breathless and hyperventilating, I cried.   I was unprepared for the myriad of emotions and memories it would trigger in me.  It was a deeply personal experience, for I have known Mia my entire life.   I have been Mia.

Moore to Lose focused on Mia’s journey. We already knew she was not the typical, innocent ingénue – she was a tough New York City girl.  This story showed us the dichotomy of the sweet teenager versus maturing young woman, in some of her early decisions. Decisions that many readers have made in their own lives – good, bad and ugly. Julie approached these events with great sensitivity, knowing how deeply the readers were invested in Mia’s happiness.

What Julie did not know was that as I was reading these incredibly difficult, gut-wrenching scenes, I was reliving events from my college days.   Events that were entirely too common for college women.  (Still are, unfortunately.)  As Mia continued on her life’s path, I revisited similar situations that my friends and I found ourselves in and our reactions to those situations.   As the story progressed, and Mia’s past caught up with her, my heart broke alongside hers.   Later, Julie placed Mia at the center of one of the most agonizingly painful events in recent history.   As Julie suffered writing those words, she crafted a grief-stricken, yet delicately fitting homage to her beloved NYC.  She should be proud of the way she honored her resplendent and resilient hometown.

Julie continued to weave the rich tapestry that became Moore to Lose by revisiting familiar secondary characters and using New York City as a vivid backdrop for the action.  In fact, NYC served as another character in the story and served as a touchstone for Mia’s voyage of self-discovery.    Julie further incorporated her trademark use of music and popular culture references as touchstones throughout the story. They helped mark the passage of time and kept Schooner with Mia, connected across the miles and years.

Moore to Lose is so much more than a “romance” novel. It is the story of a woman losing, finding, healing and honoring herself and her spirit. We fell in love with Mia in Searching for Moore. In Moore to Lose, we understand why we love her. As Mia lives her life, we live the experiences with her. Searching for Moore was a roller coaster ride of emotions. Moore to Lose took that ride, plunged it into complete darkness and added loops, spins and rolls.

Julie promised that all issues would be resolved in the third, and final, book in the Needing Moore series.  I will be anxiously waiting for that book, and highly recommend Moore to Lose, for readers who want rich characters who evoke tears, anger, joy, heartbreak, forgiveness, friendship, acceptance, and ultimately, love.

Here are the links to my reviews on Amazon and GoodReads.

In the meantime, please enjoy the Moore to Lose Book Trailer. 

Book Review – “Mid-Life Love” by Whitney Gracia Williams

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Finding Love in Mid-Life

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author for an honest review.

Too many stories these days feature young, hot 20-somethings, going through the trials and tribulations of life.    It is a well-known fact that I am not a fan of New Adult (NA) books.   While their stories may be well written, they do not ring true-to-life.  Much of what those “adults” are experiencing is not real, not unless they have faced early trauma, reached mid-life, or at least their 30s.

Those of us who are have reached middle age, however, may identify with Claire Gracen, of Mid Life Love. Whether we have been through a divorce or not, we want to star in our own version of Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. We seek catharsis as we age and Claire represents the everywoman at a crossroads in life. She has to pick up the pieces of her life after being betrayed, while knowing that her future is forever changed. She becomes suspicious of everyone, and wonders what his or her real intentions may be. Therefore, Claire remains guarded about her personal life and erects emotional walls to keep people at bay.

Claire’s boss, Jonathan Statham, eleven years younger, is a self-made computer billionaire. He is determined to have Claire, regardless of her reservations about their age difference. Jonathan flirts, flatters and relentlessly pursues Claire with the intensity of a man who has worked hard for everything he has.

From the moment we find out the reasons that led to Claire’s divorce, Ms. Williams hooks the reader in. The narration alternates from Claire to Jonathan to provide their backstories. In Claire, she nails the self-deprecating humor of an aging Generation-Xer, especially when confronted with younger, inexperienced, talentless, lazy, fellow employees. However, I was deeply disappointed with Claire’s seemingly irrational obsession with her age, and maintaining “privacy,” or being caught doing something “inappropriate.” I found myself wanting Claire to realize how she was sabotaging her own life, by being pathologically self-centered, self-absorbed and exhibiting little self-confidence. In fact, there was a point I did not want her to experience a happy conclusion.

However, Ms. Williams had other plans for Claire. In finding Jonathan, Claire begins to find herself. Through their affair, they both come to terms with their pasts and grow into stronger characters. Their scenes are funny, creatively sexy and deeply personal. It was a pleasure to experience their metamorphosis throughout the book, and I recommend Mid Life Love for your Summer Reading List.

Link to my “official” review:  Amazon Review of “Mid-Life Love,” by Whitney Gracia Williams

Book Review – “Predator’s Kiss (Gemini Island Shifters, Book 1) by Rosanna Leo

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After suffering from a book hangover, I was ready to try something different. Something paranormal and furry, but a departure from my favorite wolf shifters was in order. Most shifters are charismatic, debonair, rich, skirt-chasing studs. Normally, I would be all over that yumminess, but Rosanna Leo’s Predator’s Kiss (Gemini Island Shifters, Book 1) had been on my TBR list and I decided to read about her reclusive bear shifter.

Reserved Grizzly Bear Finds His Private Sexy Author

Ryland Snow created the perfect resort for shifters. Gemini Island was a remote, quiet, virtually human-free sanctuary where he mentored bear shifter teens, and shifter families could vacation without being discovered and harassed. Soren, Ryland’s famous rock star brother shows up for a “surprise” visit, right before they meet Lia Goodblood, an erotica author on the run from a crazed fan. Ryland, having been burned in the past by a human female, does his best to keep Lia at arm’s length. However, they are fated to be together, as mates.

Ms. Leo places two characters that have been living away from the public eye, and limelight, together under some stressful circumstances. In finding each other, they learn how to accept themselves, and their strengths, fully. Lia, who has been living in the shadows, embraces her inner alpha woman to protect her mate. Moreover, Ryland opens himself up to the possibility that he can trust a human woman to protect him, and other shifters. Add in some creative use of honey and the re-enactment of some of Lia’s erotic novel, for “inspiration,” and Predator’s Kiss (Gemini Island Shifters, Book 1) is the perfect sexy novel to read by the pool…or hot tub. (Soren’s story should be interesting, because he is the quintessential womanizing rock star. When he falls, it will be hard and forever).

Here is the link to my review on Amazon:  Review for “Predator’s Kiss (Gemini Island Shifters, Book 1) by Rosanna Leo