Thursday, December 10, 2015

Blog tour: Snowflake Bay by Donna Kauffmann



SNOWFLAKE BAY
The Brides of Blueberry Cove #2
Donna Kauffman
Released Sept 29th, 2015
Kensington: Zebra


There’s no place like seaside Blueberry Cove, Maine, at Christmas—and there’s nothing like a wedding, the warmth of the holidays, and an old crush, to create the perfect new start…
Interior designer Fiona McCrae has left fast-paced Manhattan to move back home to peaceful Blueberry Cove. But she’s barely arrived before she’s hooked into planning her big sister Hannah’s Christmas wedding—in less than seven weeks. The last thing she needs is for her first love, Ben Campbell, to return to neighboring Snowflake Bay…

As kids, Fiona was the bratty little sister Ben mercilessly teased—while pining after Hannah. But Fi never once thought of Ben like a brother. And that hasn’t changed. Except Fi is all grown up. Will Ben notice her now? More importantly, with her life in a jumble, should he? Or might the romance of the occasion, the spirit of the season, and the gifts of time ignite a long-held flame for many Christmases to come…

Something old might just become something new…





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In a way, this could be considered a second chance romance, even though technically it was the heroine who had an unrequited crush on the hero back when they were kids. Fiona used to drool over Ben when she was a teenager, but he only had eyes for her sister and he saw Fiona just like a little sister. 

When they meet again, they're both grown-ups and with their own careers they've worked hard for outside the small town where they grew up. Now that Fiona is back for good and Ben has to look after his family business at least until the holidays are over, being around each other feels different and old feelings come back to the surface, while a new awareness hits Ben square in the face. 

I like second chance romances, especially when they're childhood sweethearts, and the fact that this is set in a small town and at Christmas was a bonus. However, I was hoping to like it just a little bit more than I did. I felt that at times the story dragged a little, with too many internal monologues and "what ifs" moments that seemed a bit repetitive at times. Although I understood the characters' indecisions about their future, both professionally and romantically, I felt that the constant wondering about what would happen once the holidays were over slowed the pace. 

Also, I thought that they got together a little too quickly; whereas just a few pages before they didn't want to get involved with each other, they change their mind pretty fast on that train ride... I guess it's just a pet peeve of mine, but that turned me slightly off. 

What I liked about the book was Fiona's clumsiness, especially when Ben was around. She always managed to do something that would make me laugh, and this made her a very relatable character.
I also liked the small town setting and the camaraderie they all shared.

This is book 2 in the series, but you do not need to read book 1 in order to understand.









USA Today bestselling author of the Cupcake Club Romance series, Donna Kauffman has seen her books reviewed in venues ranging from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal to Entertainment Weekly and Cosmopolitan. She lives just outside of DC in the lovely Virginia countryside, where she is presently trying to makeover her newly empty nest into something that doesn’t have to accommodate piles of sports equipment falling out of her coat closet (okay, out of every closet...and under every bed....), size 13 cleats and sweaty uniforms cluttering her foyer (and stairwell, and laundry room, and...), and a kitchen that should have come with a traffic light. And a pantry monitor. (Anyone with a clever idea on how to repurpose lacrosse sticks into matching reading lamps, she’s all ears!) When she’s not stripping paint, varnishing an old auction house find, or trying to avoid bodily injury with her latest power tool purchase, she loves to hear from readers!


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Monday, December 7, 2015

Blog tour: Do You Believe in Santa? by Sierra Donovan



DO YOU BELIEVE IN SANTA
Evergreen Lane #1
Sierra Donovan
Released Sept 29th, 2015
Kensington: Zebra




Miracles don’t just happen on 34th Street. They can happen right in your living room—if you’re willing to believe…


What grown woman claims to have seen Santa Claus? Mandy Reese, for one—on a very special Christmas Eve when she was eight years old. These days, Mandy works at a year-round Christmas store in Tall Pine, California, where customers love to hear about her childhood encounter with Saint Nick. But when Jake Wyndham arrives in town—charming, gorgeous, extremely practical—Mandy faces a dilemma. Deny what she saw, or let Jake think she’s sugarplum crazy?

Jake scouts hotel locations all over the country, but he’s never met anyone quite like Mandy before. Her warmth and sparkle are irresistible, but…meeting Santa? Really? Jake’s no Scrooge but he’s definitely skeptical. Then again, there are all kinds of things Jake never experienced until he came to Tall Pine. Like autumn snow. Mind blowing kisses. And the magic of falling head-over-heels, madly in love…







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A sweet Christmas story for those who still believe in Santa Claus and the magic of Christmas.

I suffer from OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder, so I always enjoy reading Christmas stories, even in summer. I have to admit I envied the heroine for working in a Christmas store all year long, and I liked her fresh and sweet personality. Mandy is a true believer, mainly because she actually saw Santa Claus when she was a child – and she’s been nicknamed Mandy Claus since. Living in a small town where everyone knows everyone hasn’t been easy for her, but even though she was mocked by her school friends when she was little and claimed to have seen Santa in her living room, I liked the small town camaraderie. When Jake comes to town and starts hanging out with her, the whole town wants to protect Mandy from the outsider.

Jake isn’t a believer. He’s a very organized business man who always has to have a plan for whatever he does. Meeting Mandy throws his life off its axis a little, because he’s suddenly unsure of what his ultimate plan should be: he came to Tall Pine to build a hotel, but he’s found himself knee-deep into something more, something he hadn’t planned. His strong attraction to Mandy is completely unexpected.

What I liked about the story is the small town setting and the Christmassy atmosphere. Even though when I read it I wasn’t in the Christmas mood yet, the book managed to make me look forward to decorating the tree and playing my Michael BublĂ© and Frank Sinatra Christmas CDs. There aren’t any particular edge-of-your-seat moments or steamy scenes: this is a clean romance giving off a feel-good, believe-in-your-inner-child vibe.

However, I found that at times the story was a little slow and it dragged a little; although I could understand why Mandy would be worried about whether or not she should tell Jake her whole story, at times she came off a little too “drama queen”. Although I liked the little magic at the end, which was what I’d been hoping would happen from the moment Jake admitted not believing, I have to admit that the abrupt ending left me a little disappointed. I would have liked to read an epilogue, especially since the last chapter seemed a little rushed.









Sierra Donovan is a wife, a mother of two and a writer, though not always in that order. Her greatest joy is helping people find true love on the printed page. She is a firm believer in Christmas, classic movies, happy endings and the healing power of chocolate. Sierra’s first novel, Love On The Air, was a Holt Medallion finalist. Her 2014 Kensington debut, No Christmas Like The Present, won the Golden Quill Award for Sweet Traditional Romance. Her 2015 novel, Do You Believe In Santa? marks the beginning of Sierra's new Evergreen Lane series. You can email Sierra at sierra_donovan@yahoo.com, or visit her website at www.sierradonovan.com.



Friday, December 4, 2015

Blog tour: Steal Me by Lauren Layne



STEAL ME
New York's Finest #2
Lauren Layne
Releasing Nov 24th, 2015
Forever




IN HOT PURSUIT

Being a cop might be in Anthony Moretti's blood, but protecting and serving the city of New York has always been more than just the family business. If that means his love life stays locked up, well then that's just another sacrifice made in the line of duty. That is, until he sets eyes on the gorgeous new waitress at The Darby Diner and suddenly Anthony's morning coffee is leaving him a whole lot more hot and bothered than usual.

Though waitressing at The Darby isn't exactly Maggie Walker's dream job, it pays the bills and gives her time to work on her novel. Now if only she could stop fantasizing about gorgeous Anthony Moretti every time he sits down at her table, she'd really be in great shape. But when he needs her help identifying a criminal threatening The Darby—and Maggie recognizes her ex-husband—she fears her fresh start might be a pipe dream. Faster than a New York minute, Maggie and Anthony find themselves in one perilous pursuit that only gets hotter with each and every rule-breaking kiss.





If you like cop shows (e.g. Blue Bloods, one of my favorite TV shows) and stories with strong family bonds, this is the book for you. Steal Me is a great book with the right amount of romance, tension, humor and a bit of angst at some point too - with a beautiful happy ending. 

Although this is book 2 in the series, you will not need to read book one to enjoy this. I'll be honest: I read book one and even though I wanted to read Anthony's story, I wasn't sure I was going to like it, since in the previous book he didn't really come off as a nice character. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try - mainly because I've enjoyed other books by the author and I trusted she'd change my mind. 

She did. Well, Anthony did. 

I loved Anthony's story so much more than Luc's (book 1) and I'm so glad I gave him a chance. Even though at first he comes off as grumpy and, truth be told, a little stuck-up too, he soon redeems himself and by the end of the book he became my favorite Moretti man. 
Maggie is a great heroine, one I could relate to and that I definitely would have liked to have as a friend. She's a tough one and I enjoyed seeing her grow throughout the book. 

The whole Moretti family, including the hilarious grandmother, is back and there are lots of funny family moments and banter. Once you start reading this story, you won't be able to put it down. It will keep you glued to the pages and a little on the edge of your seats too. 

There is a bit of steam, but it's just the right amount of scenes to make it sexy but not too much and overly descriptive. 

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who love romance with a bit of tension to make you a little antsy while you wait for the happy ending. And obviously, Steal Me is a must read for fans of Lauren Layne, that goes without saying.






Maggie Walker had become their default waitress at the diner back when their old waitress Helen had retired a couple months ago. And while Anthony missed Helen and her too-strong floral perfume, he had to admit that Maggie was the better to look at.
She had a wholesome, girl-next-door look that appealed to him mightily. Brown hair that was always on the verge of slipping out of its ponytail, wide, compelling green eyes that made you want to unload all your darkest secrets.
Curvy. Hips that were exactly right; breasts that were even better.
And then there was that smile. It managed to be both shy and friendly, which was handy because he was betting it was very hard for even the most impatient customers to get annoyed at her.
But Anth didn’t buy the doing-my-best routine, and seeing as she was dealing with an entire table of observant cops, he was betting the rest of his family wouldn’t buy it either.
Then Luc leaned forward and gave Maggie an easy grin. “Don’t even worry about it, Mags. Didn’t even notice I was running low!”
Luc’s girlfriend, Ava, smoothly reached up one hand and swatted him on the back of the head, the gesture so graceful, so practiced, that she never once sloshed her coffee. Anthony nearly smiled.
To say that Ava Sims was good for his little brother would be an understatement. The big brother in Anthony would be forever grateful that the gorgeous reporter had helped Luc vanquish his demons. But the big brother in Anth was also grateful that Ava helped keep his younger brother in line. Or at least tried to.
He rolled his eyes as Luc shot a guilty smile at his girlfriend, but even as he slid his mug towards the edge of the table so Maggie wouldn’t have to reach as far.
Then Anth watched in utter dismay as Vincent did the same.
Vincent. The guy who’d practically devoted his life to being perverse, was trying to make life easier for their inept waitress.
Un-fucking-believable.
Anthony was so busy trying to figure out what about the frazzled waitress turned his brothers into a bunch of softies that he didn’t think to move his own mug to be more convenient, and Maggie had to lean all the way in to top off his cup.
It was a feat that their old waitress could have handled readily, but Helen had retired months ago and for reasons that Luc didn’t understand, the rest of the Moretti family had embraced Maggie as Helen’s replacement.
Anthony didn’t realize that his mug had overflowed until scalding coffee dripped onto his thigh.
“Son of a—”
He caught himself before he could finish the expletive, grabbing a large handful of napkins from the silver dispenser and trying to soak up the puddle of coffee on his jeans before it burned his skin.
“Nice, Anth,” Elena said, tossing another bunch of napkins at him. Like this was his fault.
“Oh my God,” Maggie said, her voice horrified. “I’m so sorry, Officer…”
“It’s Captain,” he snapped, his eyes flicking up and meeting hers.
Silence descended over the table until Vincent muttered douchebag around a coughing fit.
But Anthony refused to feel chagrined. The woman had waited on the family every Sunday for weeks; one would think she could get his title right. To say nothing of mastering the art of pouring coffee.





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Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.





Want More Moretti's?
Don't miss FRISK ME 
(New York's Finest #1)

(Check out MY REVIEW )


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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Blog tour: Welcome To Forever by Annie Rains


WELCOME TO FOREVER
A Hero's Welcome Book One
Annie Rains
Releasing Dec 1st, 2015
Loveswept


If you love Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery, or Jill Shalvis, you won’t want to miss the Hero’s Welcome military romance series! Welcome to Forever introduces a small coastal town where America’s best and brightest risk everything for love.

In Seaside, North Carolina, there are two kinds of people: Marines, and kids of Marines. Then there’s Kat Chandler. Recently hired as the principal of Seaside Elementary, Kat makes it her mission to turn the school into a place of peace and calm. That’s not going to be easy with hard-liner parents like Micah Peterson storming in, telling her how to do her job—and then kissing her with those gorgeous lips of his and turning her brain into mush.

As a Marine Sergeant and a single dad, Micah Peterson has just two priorities: doing his job better than anyone else, and getting the absolute best for his son, Ben. But when he meets Ben’s beautiful new principal, a different yearning shifts into focus. He wants her, sure, but he’s also moved by the connection Kat forges with her students. So after learning that she refuses to date Marines, Micah sets two more objectives: convincing Kat to give him a chance . . . and then holding on to her forever.




“Have you thought about that kiss?” she asked, as he leaned in close to fasten her seatbelt. She couldn’t control what was coming out of her mouth. “Because I have. A little.” She started laughing again. Val had warned her that she was a horrible drunk, and evidently, it was true.

“What have you thought about it?” he asked, his voice low and bristly. Her buckle snapped into place with a loud click. He could step back now, but he didn’t.

And she didn’t want him to. What was the point of being drunk if you couldn’t say and do what you wanted, and then apologize for it in the morning? No one blamed a drunk, they blamed the drink. “I thought that I liked it. The kiss. It was amazing.” She held her breath as he lingered in front of her, his hand still resting on the seat’s buckle.

“I thought the same thing.”

“You did?” She swallowed thickly, as her heart rode up her throat.

His brow lifted. “You sound surprised.”

“I’m out of practice.” She nibbled on her lower lip, drawing his gaze there. Then his gaze flicked back to her ring. Just the thought squashed the flutterings in her chest, leaving a deep ache that vibrated with the alcohol. “He’s been gone for two years,” she said.

Micah’s brows pinched together softly.

Explaining about John in her state wasn’t a good idea, though. She might start crying, which she didn’t do in front of others anymore, and right now all she wanted to do was forget everything but their kiss. That she wanted to remember. “You could kiss me again,” she said softly.

His smile deepened and, damn, he smelled good.

Leaning in closer to her ear, his hot breath melted her as he whispered, “Kat, you’ve had too much to drink. I’m taking you home now.”

Before she could process what he’d said, he stepped back and shut the Jeep’s door, the sound as offensive as if someone had crashed cymbals in her ears. A moment later, he reappeared on the driver’s side and cranked the engine, another sound that made her wince.

She closed her eyes, unsure of what to do with her drunken emotions.

“If I kiss you again, I want to be one hundred percent sure it’s what you want. Not because my almost ex is walking up and you want to help me out. Not because you’ve had too much to drink and want to escape.”

She suddenly felt very tired, as the Jeep Cherokee headed out of the parking lot. “So, you are going to kiss me again?” she asked. Before she could hear his answer, though, her eyes closed and the sounds of the road and his voice, and the blood thundering in her head, blurred together. She remembered their kiss, the feel of his stubble roughly brushing against her cheek, and the way he had smelled like pine and fudge brownies.

No, wait. His eyes reminded her of fudge brownies. He didn’t smell like them.

Her eyes fluttered open. Yeah, she was definitely going to regret tonight in the morning. 







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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. Represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NYLA).


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