Book Review: Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid

Grin and Beard It (Winston Brothers, #2)Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Penny Reid is one of my go-to, one-click authors–a well-deserved distinction that only grows stronger with each new release. (I should also clarify up front that I am not on the author’s ARCs list, although I wish I were! All of her titles that I’ve read, I have bought.)

Jethro and Sienna’s is a fun, unpredictable ride. Below is a jumbled mess of what I liked about it:

I loved what Jethro did behind the scenes to make Sienna’s stay more comfortable.

As usual, Cletus’s presence serves more than one purpose: voice of reason, comic relief, and also a little mystery (referring to his hold over their father). His character grows more complex with each new “Winston Brothers” installment, and I’ve enjoyed experiencing each new layer.

Also as usual, I loved seeing flashes of previous MCs (Drew, Ashley, Jessica, & Duane).

Being in Sienna’s head was fun since she’s a comedian/actress; I kept envisioning the spirit and spunk of of Melissa McCarthy.

Jethro’s past, specifically his once-role in the motorcycle club, was interesting to read about. His perspective on righting wrongs is both admirable and impossibly rigid. That being said, what I like most about him in his current life stage are his integrity, sense of honor, and selflessness.

Grin and Beard It is a light-hearted and sweet affair seasoned with (mostly) well-meaning siblings, stubborn past sins, and the prying eyes of the public–all set against a rural Tennessee backdrop.

If you haven’t yet gotten invested in the Winston family, now’s the time to start!

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Book Review: From This Day Forward by Lauren Layne

From This Day Forward (The Wedding Belles, #0.5)From This Day Forward by Lauren Layne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A quick, satisfying novella, From This Day Forward is the perfect launch pad for Layne’s upcoming Wedding Belles series. Not surprisingly, the wedding industry is a fitting “venue” for the theme of finding—and fostering—forevers.

A grand misunderstanding and subsequent fallout set the stage for the mix of anger and lust between photographers Jason and Leah. A vital part of the wedding industry, the two are thrust together again by cancellations, a high-profile family, and one well-meaning friend.

Much to Leah’s chagrin.

High on the steam scale, From This Day Forward offers a complete story while also introducing secondary characters Alexis and Heather. Strong, spitfire women with a head for business and genuine concern for their mutual friend’s happily ever after? Yes, please!

As far as I’m concerned, Layne’s skill at writing and storytelling is unparalleled in the romance genre. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with for the rest of this series!

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Book Review: Tailored for Trouble by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Tailored for Trouble (Happy Pants, #1)Tailored for Trouble by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish I could remember who recommended this author to me because I would bow down and kiss that person’s feet.

I like to think I’m a funny person. That being said, I can’t hold a candle to Mimi Jean Pamfiloff. Tailored for Trouble, specifically the voice of heroine Taylor Reed, had me laughing my “happy pants” off all the way through!

Bennett Wade, a surly billionaire, is the the kind of guy who keeps bystanders guessing. Tolerable one minute and abrasive the next, Bennett’s push and pull routine will puzzle readers at the outset: Which is the façade, and what lies underneath it?

Nevertheless, Bennett meets his match in Taylor, a self-motivated human resources specialist who refuses to be steamrolled by Bennett’s demanding, unyielding demeanor. Regardless how handsome and fit and broody the hero is—(characteristics that I, as a reader, happen to love)—Taylor’s transparency and natural tendency toward humor stole the show for me. She’s the type of heroine I really admire: real and confident, the “what you see is what you get” type.

This novel comprises an exciting series of events, many of which caught me completely by surprise. Both main characters are well-developed, with thoughtful back stories that endow the novel with depth and contextualize the characters’ actions. Their banter, and the resulting inside jokes, made this a fun and memorable reading experience.

Along with the main characters, two secondary characters landed a special place in my heart as well: Bennett’s mother and Taylor’s brother Jack. Their spunk, commentary, and occasional intervention added yet another layer of depth and complexity to Tailored for Trouble.

If you can’t already tell, I’m swooning over this book! (I’m also lamenting the fact that I don’t know what to read next because anything else HAS to be a step down in comparison.) Tailored for Trouble is DEFINITELY worth a read…and then a re-read!

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Book Review: Good Girl by Lauren Layne

Good Girl (Love Unexpectedly, #2)Good Girl by Lauren Layne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved everything about Good Girl: the push and pull between its main characters, a fun and compelling secondary character (Finn), authentic sounding dialogue, Noah’s back story, Jenny’s occupation, and conflict in the form of unfounded rumors and one clingy, deluded ex.

Ultimately, Layne’s latest is the story of twenty-something characters discovering what they want out of life. Learning what it is that gives them a sense of purpose, and that reconciling one’s lifelong dream with another’s doesn’t mean either has to be given up.

Jenny Dawson is a country music singer who loves creating music, but doesn’t love the collateral damage that comes with being in the limelight. I loved reading about how specific experiences and even locations triggered her inspiration and creativity; I found her naiveté and innocence regarding other matters to be endearing.

Noah…well, he was a bit tougher to like. He had a chip on his shoulder that, while understandable and justified, made him come off as prickly. He dislikes Jenny on principle, based entirely what he assumes to be true about her. And because that image conflicts with his instant attraction to her, Noah does and says things that make him look like a grade-A jerk.

Nevertheless, Jenny sees the good in him that I, for one, wouldn’t have been able to. And that’s what made the read a deliciously complex one for me: waiting for the moment their existing dynamic—the one where he acts out and she forgives—wouldn’t work anymore.

On that note, the novel’s climax is perfect, a collision of both characters’ ultimate hang-ups/fears.

If you’re looking for a fresh new adult read, look no further! In addition to well-developed, believable characters, Good Girl has scorching chemistry and the perfect level of conflict and tension for the scope of its pages. Although the book can easily be devoured in one sitting, beware…because then there’s the problem of waiting on the next LL book to release. 😉

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Mother’s Day Blog Hop

Mother's Day Hop

From Friday, May 6th at 12:30am EST until Monday, May 9th at 12pm EST, 133 authors and blogs have come together to offer prizes on every page PLUS the chance to win part of the grand prize through the giveaway below.

Don’t miss out! Visit one, or all to participate. Easy entries.

Meet some new authors! Discover some awesome blogs.

Most of all…have fun!

The Mother’s Day Hop Starts Here:

Epilogue Book Blog FB page

 

Book Review: Free of Malice by Liz Lazarus

Free of MaliceFree of Malice by Liz Lazarus

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars!

“Well-researched” is the term that comes to mind when I reflect on Free of Malice. While reading, I learned much about legal, mental health professional, and law enforcement approaches to assault and self-defense. Interestingly enough, the thriller explores vicitms’ rights and where those rights intersect and/or conflict with an attacker’s rights—and those of any innocent bystanders. As one character expressly communicates, the issue isn’t as cut and dried as one might think. And it’s certainly not like what’s represented on procedural TV shows.

From start to finish, Free of Malice impressed me. Its plot wasn’t quite what I expected from a book of this genre. As such, the premise felt very unique: more intellectual and methodical than action-packed. Frankly, I relished the change of pace; both content and theme gave me a lot to think about.

Conflict and tension are at an all-time high in Free of Malice as everyone becomes a suspect. Add in a likeable, smart main character and probing questions that keep readers turning pages, and the result is a well-rounded novel with real staying power.

So, if you’re in the mood for a thoughtful read with the “whodunit” factor, be sure to put this one on your TBR!

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Book Review: Cuff Me by Lauren Layne

Cuff Me (New York's Finest, #3)Cuff Me by Lauren Layne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lauren Layne is a master of so many things when it comes to writing and fiction—sexual tension and internal conflict, specifically. Pretty sure she knows her characters better than I know myself, and that level of familiarity comes through in her writing, making it BEYOND SPECTACULAR in my opinion.

In Cuff Me, two partners (as in police officers) gradually realize their growing feelings for one another. I say gradually because it’s literally been a years-long process. That being said, I wouldn’t quite label it “friends to lovers”—at least not as clearly as one of Layne’s other titles, Blurred Lines.

Gosh, I loved Vin. He had the broody, almost-bad-boy thing going for him (one of my favorite qualities in a hero), with his trademark leather jacket and surly demeanor. BUT he isn’t an asshole…at least not a total one. Instead, he’s the best of both worlds: gruff when he needs to be (i.e. when his job requires it), but sentimental and considerate—in his own way—when it comes to showing Jill he cares. Jill’s great too, don’t get me wrong. As a reader, I’m just all about the hero. 😉

Threaded through the romance is the case our MCs are trying to solve: the murder of an elderly actress. I like the way LL weaves the two together, so that as the officers make discoveries in the case, they make similar discoveries about their own evolving relationship.

As to conflict, there was one element at play I wasn’t sure I’d like. But leave it to LL to prove me wrong!

As my first read in the series, I got a huge dose of the Moretti family and loved every second of it. (Although the two previous love stories are alluded to, I had no problem reading Cuff Me as a standalone.) Nonna is hilarious, and the brothers’ light-hearted bickering only added to the novel’s underlying humor.

One final question for fellow Cuff Me readers. Not really a spoiler, but I’m marking it as one just in case: (view spoiler)

Lauren Layne has a real gift for delving into why characters make the decisions they do. Right after finishing this novel, I thought to myself: If I could find something else like Cuff Me to read—matching it element for element, but a new story—I’d dive right in.

Or, maybe an even better way of saying it is, I’d read Lauren Layne on loop.

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Cover Reveal & Excerpt: Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads

It’s precisely 7:22 pm ET, the sun has just set in the Eastern Time zone, and it’s starting to get dark.

We are excited to reveal the cover of Race the Darkness, a dark, gritty, emotional and sexy romantic suspense novel by debut author Abbie Roads!

Race the Darkness

 

First in a gripping paranormal romantic suspense duo by a Golden Heart finalist debut author whose clinical work gives her chilling insights…

Cursed with a terrible gift
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.

That threatens to engulf them…
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

 

About Abbie Roads

Abbie Roads is a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. By night she writes dark, emotional novels, always giving her characters the happy ending she wishes for all her clients. Her novels have finaled in RWA contests including the Golden Heart. Race the Darkness is the first book in the Fatal Dreams series of dark, gritty romantic suspense with a psychological twist.

 

Race the Darkness will be available on October 4th
Amazon: http://amzn.to/22nGnVk
B&N: http://bit.ly/1pwghOK
BAM: http://bit.ly/1RmOgoN

A special note from the author

Dear Readers,

I wrote Race the Darkness from start to finish three different times, with three different story lines, and with three different titles! The only thing that ever remained the same between the versions was Xander and Isleen. I believed in them and the story they wanted to tell. I hope you love reading about their tragedies and triumphs as much as I enjoyed writing them… All three times! And isn’t the cover amazing, beautiful, gorgeous? I cried the first time I saw it! It made all the hard work to get this book to you worth it!

Abbie Roads

An excerpt from Race the Darkness

No fucking way was he going to die running. He stopped, turned and faced the truck barreling toward them. The tires ate up the ground at an indecent rate. He clutched Isleen tighter to his chest. For her sake, he wanted it to be a quick death. No more lingering. No more pain.

That thought infuriated him. None of this was right. They shouldn’t be on the verge of death. Again.

The truck kept coming—twenty-five feet.

Everything slowed, happened as if through the quicksand of time. A white dandelion floaty meandered on the breeze directly between them and the truck. His heart no longer ran a staccato rhythm. Duh…duhm. Pause. Duh…duhm. Pause.

His life didn’t flash before his eyes. The future did. Isleen’s future. In an ethereal dream beyond time, her skin was gilded by firelight, her eyes void of sadness and fear, her body whole and healthy. She smiled, an expression so full of warmth and tenderness and undiluted joy that it plunked itself down inside his heart and wouldn’t leave.

He ached to create that kind of smile on her face, but their lives were over and it all could’ve gone so differently if he’d only listened to her, believed in her, found her years before now.

 

**Sign up for Abbie Roads’ NEWSLETTER for exclusive content and giveaways!**

You can find Abbie Roads here:

WEBSITE

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FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

TWITTER

 

 

Book Review: An Unforgivable Love Story by BL Berry

An Unforgivable Love StoryAn Unforgivable Love Story by B.L. Berry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5+++ stars

Wow.

Wow, wow, wow!

As many others have suggested, it’s best to go in to An Unforgivable Love Story blind. The blurb is short and vague for good reason. I requested this ARC as an opportunity to experience a new-to-me author. As evidenced by my rating and review, I wasn’t disappointed! On the contrary, I’m truly blown away by the author’s talent and the “unforgivable” love story she’s crafted.

Be warned that this isn’t a paint-by-number, predictable romance. Readers’ allegiance and sympathies will be tested. Readers will experience interesting perspectives, and will get a real sense of more than one character: what makes them tick, their virtues and vices, what motivations drive their actions forward.

What you can expect from this read:
An incredibly engaging story.
Brilliant, visceral, emotive writing.
Content that raises complex questions.
Chapter openings that seize you by the collar.
A striking ending that offers closure…as much as it raises even more questions.

I can’t recommend this one enough!

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Release Day Blitz: An Unforgivable Love Story by BL Berry

AnUnforgivableStoryEbook (1)

Cover Design: Najla Qamber

Release Date: March 22, 2016

 

Synopsis

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love is UNFORGIVABLE.

She wanted to forget her past.
He wanted to change the course of his future.
She was everything he never knew he needed.
He became her unexpected.
Everything was perfect.
Until …

Buy Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1MiMPFz

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1UIDo3L

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1RtVojh

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27505353-an-unforgivable-love-story?from_search=true&search_version=service

AULS.Teaser6.v1

 

 Giveaway

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27505353-an-unforgivable-love-story?from_search=true&search_version=service

$20 Amazon Gift Card & Signed paperback of An Unforgivable Love Story

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0cba4250220/?

 

Book Trailer

 

 

About the Author

BL Berry grew up telling lies. Eventually, those lies turned into elaborate stories and when she grew older she started writing them down. When she’s not hiding behind her computer writing, you can find her spending time with her family or catching up on her favorite TV shows. Rumor has it she’ll sleep when she’s dead.

Residing outside of Kansas City, she lives with her husband, two children and black pug. Each day her family thanks the makers of e-Readers, because without which they would be living amongst stacks and stacks of romance novels. Conversely, each day B.L. Berry thanks the makers of e-Readers for hiding her book-hoarding tendencies.

 

Connect with BL

Newsletter signup link: http://bit.ly/1zCPOPr

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/BLBerryAuthor/?fref=ts

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/629890583798312/

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8441842.B_L_Berry?from_search=true&search_version=service

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BLBerrywrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blberrywrites/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/B.L.-Berry/e/B00O0DZATE/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1456287479&sr=1-2-ent

 

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