Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. My choice for this week is:

First Light (Forever After Series, Book One)
by Michele Paige Holmes
Release Date: February 25, 2016
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Adrielle doesn’t believe in magic; she merely possesses it, though no one has ever mentioned that her unusual gifts—exceptional speed, a flair for fire, and an intimate knowledge of flora—aren’t things she was born with. When Adrielle starts a fire that burns down the family home, she must deal with both her grief and her siblings’ hurtful rejection. While journeying to far away Tallinyne, in search of her older, estranged sister—the only relative who might take her in—Adrielle is separated from her escort when the carriage is beset by thieves. Alone, she is thrust into a dangerous and unfamiliar world where she encounters fairies and gypsies, a wild boar, a drunk cook, and an evil queen whose curse is sweeping death across the land. Adrielle also finds love, falling hard for a kind, funny, handsome—and completely unavailable prince. From the glowing pearls tucked beneath her mattress and keeping her awake at night, to Queen Nadamaris’s curse that seems to thwart Adrielle’s every effort, Adrielle struggles to navigate a world of magic she never imagined, where people she knows and loves are not always what they appear to be. With the glowing pearls—and her fondest desire—within her grasp, she is forced to make a choice no girl should ever have to—satisfying her own heart or saving the kingdom.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Season to Love by Nicole Deese

A Season to LoveA Season to Love by Nicole Deese
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been looking forward to this one for a long time. I loved A Cliché Christmas and was so excited when I learned the author was writing another book in this series. We met Willa in the previous book, she has really been put through the ringer, and I was looking forward to seeing her get her HEA. It doesn't come easy though.

Willa is a great character, she has really been through a lot and has built up some nice walls to try and keep herself safe. I loved the growth of her character and how she was willing to put in the work to help herself heal and to start living again. Patrick was great, even if I did want to shake him a couple of times. Their relationship was fun to watch, poor Willa doesn't make things easy for Patrick. I liked that things grow from a friendship, which I think is a great way to start a relationship.

I thought the author did a good job of keeping the focus on Willa and Patrick, but still work in past characters. I love the small town charm. Overall, a fun read, I really enjoyed it.

Romance: Clean
Language: None
Violence: None
Religious: None-mild, nothing preachy

Source: Review copy

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt

PimpernelPimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loads of swoony fun!

It may have taken me a little while to get into this one, but then everything clicked and I couldn't put it down. Claire is a genius and has OCD, when she finds out her mentor and professor has been arrested she'll do anything she can to help clear his name. She doesn't understand quite how deep the waters run though.

I don't want to give anything away, so I'll have to keep this review on the shorter side. I ended up really liking Claire. I wasn't quite sure I could handle her POV at the beginning, but it was good to see things from her OCD perspective. I loved Jack and when we were in his POV. I also loved his team and how they were so loyal and worked so well together. I loved the two together, lots of tension and great chemistry.

The story was a lot of fun and moved along at a nice pace. There were a few surprises along the way and even though I wasn't quite sure how things would wrap up, I ended up being very happy. Everything is wrapped up nicely, but I sincerely hope this becomes a series, so much potential and so many characters I'd love to see again and especially see their HEAs.

Overall, a super fun read and one I'd easily recommend!

Romance: Clean
Language: None
Violence: Mild

*This has been nominated for a 2016 Swoony Award, you can vote for it here.

Source: Received review copy in exchange for honest review.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Blog Tour: A North Shore by Dean Economos & Alyssa Machinis

For the teenagers of Chicago’s North Shore, everyone has something to hide. In a daring attempt to impress the elusive Sophia, Michael makes the biggest decision of his life, stealing over a hundred thousand dollars from St. Theodore Community Church. That same night, Nichole’s insecurities are finally forgotten with a drug she soon won’t be able to control. When Michael makes his getaway, he sees his friend Joseph cheat on his girlfriend with the priest’s daughter and knock over a candle that sets the church ablaze. As the consequences of that night unfold, Joseph is blamed for the fire and the missing money. Can the teenagers of the North Shore confess their vices to help their friend? Or will their greed, infidelity and jealousy change all their lives forever?

Interview With the Authors:
Dean Economos:

Give us some background, what did you do before writing this book?
I went to college at Loyola University Chicago and received my undergrad in Biology and a minor in Biostatistics. I then went on to receive my M.B.A. from Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business with a concentration in Entrepreneurship.

What were the events that inspired the book?
The book was inspired by different experiences growing up. Those key events and experiences were then intertwined with the more current events of our church’s media coverage. Some parts of your book are things you actually experienced, they must have stuck with you for you to want to write about them years later.

Did you always know you wanted to tell these stories?
I kind of had a premonition growing up that these events would be shared. My friends and I would always say we should’ve had a show like Laguna Beach, or something of that nature. So, in a way, I did think these stories would be told in one way or another, I just didn’t think I’d be the one to tell them. Like other stories of turmoil, we are drawn to A North Shore Story because we can relate to the characters.

Can you elaborate on what is relatable about the internal struggles of the book’s characters?
What makes these characters extremely relatable to readers are the confidence and relationship problems each one of them goes through, whether it be friendship or romantic. Some characters go through other internal struggles such as underage drinking, drug use, and sexual peer pressure. I think that everyone at one time or another has been in one of these circumstances.

What was your favorite part of writing this book?
 Since this was my first book, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought I was supposed to have a template or well-thought out plan before writing anything. Instead, I jumped into it head-first and developed the story as I wrote. I feel that doing it this way allowed myself to be more creative and not stick to a “script” per say. I was even surprised at what I was able to create.

What inspired you to write this story so many years later?
What originally got my gears turning was the media’s coverage of our former priest and his embezzlement of church funds. I then started to think about our time growing up at our church and the events that our friends and I experienced. After pinpointing key events, I began formulating the plotline which now makes up A North Shore Story.

You know some of these characters in your waking life. Who was the most exciting to write? How have they changed because of what happened?
The most exciting character to write about was definitely Kate. Kate, and the girl who she’s based off of, has a very exciting personality and a distinct attitude. When our friend read the story, she loved how she was portrayed in the storyline. I think that she, along with the rest of our friends, have changed in that we’ve learned how to tackle the problems that Kate and the rest of the group are dealing with right now.

Tell us more about your personal part in the stories. Are you in the book? How did you change your story for the fiction rendition?
I am in the book. With my character, and with all the characters, I left elements of real life in the story and in the personality, but overall the fundamental qualities of each character are unique from their real life counterparts.

What strengths did you and Alyssa bring to the table to help one another write the book?
I felt more connected to writing the actual story. I was able to figure out and connect the different sub- plots of the book, while Alyssa is very familiar with novels and creative writing. With those skills, she helped make the book come alive.

Do you anticipate a sequel?
I’ve thrown ideas around in my head, and I’ve talked about it with Alyssa. We’re open to it, but haven’t started writing anything yet.

Alyssa Machinis:

Tell us about your background, what have you done since the events that occurred that inspired A North Shore Story?
Well, I went to college at University of Illinois and graduated with a degree in Advertising and minors in both Business and Communications. Now I work at an advertising-technology company as a Digital Strategist.

What is your side of the story depicted in the book? Did you change the reality for the fiction version?
My side of the story is depicted in the book, but it’s pretty separated from reality. The biggest and only consistency between my character and I are our driven personalities.

What was the most difficult part about writing this book?
The most difficult part of writing the book was helping it come alive. The content was there, and the story was strong, but fostering the story from a passive standpoint into an active point of view was a challenge.

What do you think the most important lesson from the book is?
The most important lesson from the book is to be confident in who you are. Don’t worry about what other people think because the fear of judgment can turn you into a person you don’t want to be.

What part of this story do you think appeals to young adult readers most?
I think what appeals to young adults about A North Shore Story are the pop culture references mixed with struggles that I think a majority of teens have experienced or encountered at some point in their lives.

What clique were you in in high school? Can you tell us an event that happened to you and your friends that almost made it into A North Shore Story but isn’t included?
I was definitely in the choir group throughout high school. There weren’t many events that didn’t make it into A North Shore Story, but we almost wrote in a choir sub-plot. However, we switched it to fashion as the story developed.

What were some of your favorite books in high school, when the story takes place?
I loved the Harry Potter series and the Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben. He writes excellent mystery novels, and J.K. Rowling is a genius.

Who is your favorite author? What were a few books that inspired your writing?
I don’t necessarily have a favorite author (I read a lot). However, I do think that J.K. Rowling’s writing style was very influential on my own. It’s also comforting to know that she had humble beginnings just like Dean and I have now.

Do you think you’ll write another book?
Like Dean mentioned, we’ve talked about it a little bit. However, as of now we have not made any strides toward writing another book.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

It Happened One Night by Christine Feldman

It Happened One NightIt Happened One Night by Christine S. Feldman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I've been super stressed today and this was the perfect pick-me-up! I just love Christine's books, this one had me laughing and really lightened my mood. I also didn't have a lot of time, so this was the perfect length and temporary escape from reality. Paisley and Joe don't meet under the best of circumstances and when they're later set up on a blind date things just go from bad to worse. I thought this was a fun read, I liked Paisley and Joe and I was glad we were able to get things from both POV, helps explain where they're both coming from. Even though they may butt heads, they also have good chemistry. I especially loved the ending. Lots of fun moments. Oh, and I loved Mabel. Overall, just a cute story and one I'd easily recommend.

Content: Clean

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. My choice for this week is:

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Release Date: July 26, 2016
What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cover Characteristic

This is a really fun meme hosted by Sugar and Snark. "Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky. You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!"

Today's Characteristic: Moons!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Legally Wedded by Jennifer Griffith

Legally WeddedLegally Wedded by Jennifer Griffith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Morgan is just starting her senior year of college when she looses her financial aide. Needing to finish college so she can then help her sister go to college and being so close to the end, she is desperate to find a way to pay or her last year of school. Meanwhile, Josh has been cut off from his wealthy family for dating a girl they don't approve of and also being denied financial aide he finds himself also desperate for a way to pay for college. With his girlfriend out of the country and desperation breathing down his neck he runs into Morgan and they hatch a scheme that will hopefully solve all their problems. Or just pile on a few more.

I really liked Morgan, she was just a genuinely nice person. I really liked how she handled herself in some tough situation. She also works hard and is trying to do her best to finish school and help her sister go through school as well. She also treats Josh really well, with kindness and understanding. I liked Josh, it was a little frustrating this his girlfriend was always in the background, but I guess it's suppose to be like that. I did like seeing him realize his feelings and also gain confidence in himself. I thought Morgan and Josh were cute together and I liked seeing how their story unfolds.

This is the third book in the Legally in Love series, but stands well on it's own. Fun marriage of convenience story.

Romance: Clean, mild innuendo and kissing
Language: None
Violence: None
Religious: None

Source: Received review copy in exchange for honest review.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

2015 Swoony Award Winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Swoony Awards! The Swoony Awards were created to recognize excellence in clean fiction. We wanted a reference for all those out there looking for a clean swoony romance. We also wanted to recognize and show our appreciation to all these great authors who write the kinds of books we love. We couldn't be more pleased with all the participation and great book nominations we received. I know I've found a lot of great books on this list and even found some new authors to try! So, without further ado, here are the winners...

Best Novel of the Year
My Fairly Dangerous Godmother by Janette Rallison

Best Contemporary Romance
Professional Boundaries by Jennifer Peel
Best YA Contemporary Romance
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Best Novella
My Pride, His Prejudice by Jenni James

Best New Adult Novel
Royal Date by Sariah Wilson

Best Paranormal Romance
Undeniable Chosen by Shelly Crane

Best Regency Romance
A Heart Revealed by Josi S Kilpack

Best Western Romance
The Romancing of Evangaline Ipswich by Marcia Lynn McClure

Best Medieval Romance
  The Lady and the Minstrel by Joyce DiPastena

Best High Fantasy
Rumpelstiltskin by KM Shea

Best Dystopian
The Heir by Kiera Cass

Best Mystery
Web of Deceit by Susan Sleeman

Best Christmas Romance
Cookie Girl Christmas by Christene Houston

Kathy's Choice Award
Royal Date by Sariah Wilson

It was super hard narrowing down my number one pick this year. I guess that's a good problem to have. I ended up choosing Royal Date, because I just really loved this book. The writing and characters grabbed me, I loved the setting and just everything about it. It's one of those books where you get a reader's high, you get sucked in and don't want the story to end. I read Sariah's YA novel awhile ago and when I heard she had a new book coming out I couldn't wait to read it. I am so happy she has more great books like this in store for us.

Kathy Jo's Choice Award
Jessie Belle by Jennifer Peel

There were so many amazing books published in 2015 that narrowing down my choices was just a tad bit difficult. After re-reading all my reviews there was one book that just stood out among the rest... Jessie Belle by Jennifer Peel. This book was seriously AMAZING! I had a very hard time putting it down! Jennifer has an amazing ability to suck you in from the very beginning and refuses to let you go until the very end. Her writing has me feeling like I am right there with the characters, living their lives right along with them. Jessie Belle is filled with unconditional love, second chances, courage, strength, hope and even a bit of humor. And of course we can't forget about the Swoonworthy moments throughout the book. I found myself letting out little dreamy sighs along the way. I loved every minute of it! <3 nbsp="" p="">

Katie's Choice Award
The Kiss that Launched 1000 GIFs by Sheralyn Pratt
I chose The Kiss That Launched 1000 GIFs by Sheralyn Pratt because I loved the cleverly written story and the characters! Grace and Ashton have personality galore and they are strong, yet perfectly imperfect. I adored the supporting characters as well--especially Esme, Grace's best friend, and Megan, Ashton's niece. Both say it like it is and are totally sassy spitfires. I felt like I was watching this story unfold on social media, right along with the rest of the world--the book world, that is (sometimes I forget these people and places aren't real). I love a good, clean romance and this one had that with an added dash of spice, which made it even better.
Heidi's Choice Award
Free Fallin' by Shannon Guymon
We are looking forward to the 2016 Swoony Awards and hope that you will be joining us again this year! Please feel free to join our groups (Goodreads and Facebook) and follow us on Twitter (@swoonyawards)! Help us spread the word about good, clean, swoony romance books!

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Royal Chase by Sariah Wilson

Royal ChaseRoyal Chase by Sariah Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it!

I had high expectations going into this one, I enjoyed the first book so much I was worried about whether I would enjoy this one as much...I did! I'm fairly confident to say that I'll probably end up loving everything Sariah Wilson writes. I didn't even bother reading the synopsis when I picked this one up, I just started reading. It's actually kind of fun to do that sometimes, just go into a book bling. Luckily, it ended up being one of my favorite storylines, a Bachelor-esque setting where our hero is on a reality show having to choose from a bunch of different women. I've watched the real show for years and enjoy the setting in books quite a bit. I don't know if I should be embarrassed to admit that.

Anyway, Lemon is a lovely character. I enjoyed her a lot in the first book and she grew on me even more in this one. I admit, there were times I wanted to shake her and I did get a little tired of her constantly thinking the worst of Dante when he was constantly proving himself, but I got where she was coming from and why she acted the way she did. I loved Dante, he was very swoon-worthy. The story sucked me in right from the start and as typical with a Wilson novel, I had a hard time putting it down.

Overall, a highly enjoyable read and one I would easily recommend. While it is the second book in the series, it would stand well on its own. You don't have to read the first book to enjoy this one, but I thought the first book was also a lot of fun. I look forward to reading the next one!!

Romance: Clean - some passionate kissing
Language: None
Violence: None
Religious: None
Read again: YES!!

*Received advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Not Always Happenstance by Rachael Anderson

Not Always Happenstance (Power of the Matchmaker)Not Always Happenstance by Rachael Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it!

Whenever a new book of Rachael's comes out I have to drop everything and read it right away. Her books just click with me, I love the unique settings and storylines. The characters are always so real and I love the romance! She's great at writing witty dialog and building up the chemistry. I also love that each of her books takes place somewhere new, I love learning about new places through her books. This one happens to take place in Hawaii, I'm crossing my fingers I can go there for our next duty station (hubby is in the military) and after reading this book it made me want to go there even more!

Lani was a great character, she gave up everything to move to Hawaii to help a grandmother she barely knew with her Bed & Breakfast. She quickly fell in love with her grandmother and Hawaii. What started out as a temporary visit, turned into five years. I loved how Lani was with people, very caring and fun. I loved her directness and how she expects more from people. She was an easy character to like and root for. You want to see her find her happily ever after.

I wasn't sure about Easton at first, he seemed a bit of a player. I guess his lifestyle made it seem more that way, he never let himself get too attached to the people or places he visited. He was not expecting Lani and it was fun to see his orderly life get shaken up a bit. It's easy to fall for his charm and easygoing personality. I loved his kindness and willingness to jump in and help without hesitation.

I wasn't quite sure how things would play out with these two, both come from different backgrounds and had different life goals. I like stories like this were a couple learns to compromise and that doesn't mean you have to give up who you are, just make yourself open to other possibilities, better ones when you're with the one you love. I love the messages throughout and the supporting characters, Pearl and Puna.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this one! A great escape and like always a lovely story that drew me in and wouldn't let go until the very end. Highly recommend!

Romance: Clean
Language: None
Violence: None
Religious: None
Read again: ABSOLUTELY!

*I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I'll be buying a hardcopy for my collection!

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Baron of Emberly by Tamara Leigh

Baron of Emberly (The Feud, #2)Baron of Emberly by Tamara Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always look forward to a new Tamara Leigh medieval book! This is the second book in the series, it had been awhile since I read the first one, but didn't feel lost when I picked this one up. It's probably better to read them in order though.

Lady Thomasin has accepted that she will wed her family enemy, Baron Mangus Verdun. I liked Thomasin quite a bit and Mangus as well. I really grew to love his character as the book progressed. I really liked them together, I also liked that their relationship was based on more than just looks. I liked that Thomasin was "plain" but because beautiful to Mangus. Her inner beauty really shown threw. Lots of swoony moments!

There is a bit of a mystery that carries over from the first book, but thought it stood well on its own. Ms. Leigh always amazes me at how she is able to transport me to the medieval setting so effortlessly. I always get sucked in and have a hard time putting down her books. I look forward to the final book in the series, I have my suspicion on who the "bad guy" is and am dying to see if I am right!

Romance: Pretty clean, PG13. Couple is married, any intimacy is closed door/fade-to-black. Maybe a handful of fade to black or implied intimacy
Language: None
Violence: Mild, nothing overly descriptive
Religious: Mild, nothing preachy just true to the times

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My Fair Gentleman by Nancy Campbell Allen

My Fair GentlemanMy Fair Gentleman by Nancy Campbell Allen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I found out one of my favorite authors was writing a new book in my favorite genre I may have done a little happy dance! I have really been looking forward to this one, and it did not disappoint.

Lady Ivy Carlisle is everything that is proper, she lives her life conforming to societies strict rules and pretends to be happy about it. Every since her sister shamed the family, she feels its her duty to be the perfect society miss. She takes her role so seriously that she even anonymously writes edicate guidelines and helps tutor young girls about to make their debut into society. Her world is turned upside down when her next pupil turns out to be an attracted sailor who has just inherited a title. To say he is not happy about giving up the sea and the possibility of captaining his own ship to be a Lord is an understatement. Jack Elliot was a likable hero, broody on the outside and kind on the inside. Always a good combination in my book. He gives Ivy a hard time and it was fun watching their sparks fly. I thought they had good chemistry and it was fun watching them together.

I thought this was a fun read, so glad Ms. Allen decided to write in the Regency era, she's a natural! I look forward to reading hopefully a lot more books from her! If you enjoy Regency's give this one a try!

Romance: Clean
Language: None
Religious: None
Other: None

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