Wednesday, August 26, 2015

REVIEW - IF YOU ONLY KNEW #NewRelease by Kristan Higgins

Let me start out by saying that we romance authors are not supposed to review books that we buy and read for pleasure, so I won't be posting this on Amazon as I might normally...

Apparently, I'm not supposed to be a reader anymore, even if I still am and have been dying to read this book for ages. I was neither hired by Kristan Higgins nor her publisher to write this review, and I did NOT receive a free copy for my review. I preordered it and have been counting down the days eagerly until it popped onto my kindle on release day so I could read it.  I get nothing for writing this, I'm just doing it because...dagnabbit this is MY blog. I have an opinion. I should be allowed to share it!!

All disclaimers aside, I've BEEN a huge Kristan Higgins fan. I've never met her, which is good as she'll likely think me a speechless moron when/if that magical day ever comes. I'll probably just stand there and stare, mouth hanging slightly open like a mouth-breathing ape creature, and just say, "Dude. Dude. You're her. Dude." a lot.

*sigh* She made me ugly cry again. Like, blubbering in my office, until my son said, "Are you listening to me? Is it another book?"

*sobsobsob*

Him, "Ugh, I'm going to school."
I loved this book. #truestory




if you only knew
Kristan Higgins
9780373784974

Buy Links
Amazon | AmazonUK | Nook | ARe | Kobo
 
Letting go of her ex-husband is harder than wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate expected…especially since his new wife wants to be Jenny's new best friend. Sensing this isn't exactly helping her achieve closure, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she'll start her own business and bask in her sister Rachel's picture-perfect family life…and maybe even find a little romance of her own with Leo, her downstairs neighbor, a guy who's utterly irresistible and annoyingly distant at the same time.

Rachel's idyllic marriage, however, is imploding after she discovers her husband sexting with a colleague. She always thought she'd walk away in this situation, but her triplet daughters have her reconsidering her stance on adultery, much to Jenny's surprise. Rachel points to their parents' perfect marriage as a shining example of patience and forgiveness; but to protect her sister, Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship­—and reveal a family secret she's been keeping since childhood.

Both Rachel and Jenny will have to come to terms with the past and the present and find a way to get what they want most of all.



*** MY REVIEW ***
I thought I knew what this book would be about. Something simple and fluffy to get me through my day and remind me what is good about everything. I thought, well, I'm surely not going to identify with these characters...

As I mentioned, I ended up ugly crying, laughing, and otherwise falling madly in love with an Irishman, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.

This starts out a pretty cut and dry story--Jenny Tate is moving back home because she recognizes her relationship with her ex and his new wife isn't altogether natural or healthy for her. That she recognized this (having a similar relationship in my real life, I comprehend sometimes it takes many years for us to see what is unhealthy in our own lives) and is willing to try for a fresh start says a LOT about her character. She's special, a fighter, and is doing the brave thing. Even if she doesn't feel awfully brave in doing it...

She moves into a house with a grumpy and useless super...who is also the delicious Irishman I mentioned I fell for. He's a hoot! I'm not going to spoil his lines, because they're all brilliant, but I will say he was a huge high point in the story for me--which is good because it does have a lot of dark moments to pull it down.

While Jenny is doing all this, everyone is watching her sister live the perfect life. She's got a handsome and adoring husband, three beautiful triplets, and a lovely house--everything is perfect! But is it? One sext later and she's not so sure anymore.

So Jenny is on a journey to figure out what she really wants out of life while Rachel...is doing the same thing. From the other's perspective, each sister tends to think the other has life figured out. Jenny thinks Rachel is happy and beautiful and altogether did way better at life than she managed. Rachel thinks Jenny is sophisticated, brave and far more interesting than her dull, housewife self.

But really, they're like us (AND THAT, my darlings, is how Higgins always wins me on these books!) and flawed. Neither is perfect and neither makes all the right choices. They fumble, they second-guess themselves, and they sometimes just want to pull over and get out of the minivan full of screaming kids and bawl.

Okay, back to the delicious and irresistible downstairs super. He's also a redhot mess of a man, but I love, love, love, love this hero. Leo Killian (oh, even the name gives me shivers!) is handsome and brilliant and broken. I looked on Kristan Higgins facebook feed and I can't see that she posted who inspired this particular hero... but I'm thinking something like
Sam Heughan from Outlander. Someone dangerously handsome who isn't afraid to tell you he knows he's handsome. He isn't cocky, not exactly, more distanced. Anyway, it isn't how he looks that won me.

It is what he did for Evander James, his student. This man teaches piano and I admit I had to google the piece he plays in one scene. I let the music flow around me, eyes closed, and I imagined sitting in a small room of Julliard myself, hearing and watching a true maestro become one with the instrument. Being gifted can come in a lot of forms, and I think everyone really talented walks away from their gift at some point in their lives--because LIFE.

But, well, this quote:

"Evander needs to be filled up with music. Fill him up."

When you read the book, it will make sense, but I wept.

Higgins writes:

"Just living can be pretty terrifying. I don't know how you do it."


Yeah, that. I so get that. Don't we all??



The triplets were adorable. They made me get a little weepy at my no-longer-tiny kiddos. Hard to say I am waxing poetic about the days of projectile vomit, but I kind of am. Not to mention the gooey wonderfulness of baby Natalia. All of it globbed up to be a wonderful experience for me--a journey with two wonderful and yet believable heroines. They discover themselves, they discover each other, and they even discover their mom (the mending of years old hurt between Jenny and Lenore had me crying again)

To summarize, I'll quote Higgins again:


"But life isn't like that. There are only perfect, glowing moments, like this one, and then there are the everyday moments that weave them together into a shimmering path that can always be seen, even in the dark."

Yeah. That is why I loved this book. Because I didn't just read it, I live it. Everyday.

We all do. Higgins doesn't tell stories, she reminds us why it all matters. Loved that. Loved this book.

Highly, highly, highly recommend.

Happy reading!

xoxo
virg

Saturday, August 22, 2015

#NewRelease Blind Commitment by Virginia Nelson

#‎Kindle‬ http://amzn.to/1Nmoef1
‪#‎iBooks‬ http://apple.co/1J0oMr9
‪#‎Kobo‬ http://bit.ly/1MgYYIe
‪#‎ARe‬ http://bit.ly/1htFzII

 
Figgy Berlin made a name for himself in the art world with his gripping use of color and fearless use of impressionistic style in abstract art. One drunk driver later and he was left blind. He couldn’t see color; he couldn’t see his work, and most of all…he couldn’t see his wife.
Through the terrifying days and nights of not knowing if he’d ever wake again, Mariana stayed by his side. When he fought to reclaim his body, she was there. Back home, he recaptured his art, but he didn’t reclaim his bride.
Can this couple find love even though he can’t see how much his rejection hurts her?


Excerpt: 


While she’d studied his work, he’d managed to stand, and she could hear the whisper of sound as he counted the footsteps to the window.

“Can you see the light?” she asked him.

The doctor mentioned he might get his vision back, or maybe just part of it, but it would likely never

“No,” he answered. The one word answer signaled a retreat, likely ending with him lying face down on the bed and not speaking for who knew how long.

“Do you still love me?” She’d blurted the question before she could think better of it. Faced with another day or two of his emotional abandonment, she couldn’t resist asking. If he didn’t love her anymore, maybe he was right.

Maybe she should leave.

“How can you even ask me that?” He whispered the words so softly, she hardly heard him.

Wiping her hands on a cloth—he might not be able to see the painted fingerprints and streaks on everything, but she sure could—she joined him at the window. She didn’t touch him. Touching him when he’d gone into retreat tended to create more distance rather than removing it. It was like he’d hopped onboard a boat on a perfectly still lake. The closer she got to the side, the more wake she created with her swimming and the farther he drifted into uncharted waters alone.

“I can’t help but ask, Figgy. I keep telling you I’m here. I’ve told you I still love you, still want you,
that nothing changed for me, but you—”

“How can you say that?” He’d spun and gripped her arms in an almost uncomfortably rough grip. “How can you even spit out those damned words? Nothing changed for you? Your husband is handicapped. I’m blind. I can’t see a thing, nothing. You lead me around like a dog on a leash—worse than a dog, because at least the dog can see where it is walking. You’ve even had to feed me. Nothing changed? Ha! I call bullshit on that notion. You had a husband. Now you have an albatross.” The agony of his words distracted her from his grip, and she leaned into him rather than trying to escape.

“You found your art again. Everyone said you’d never paint again, and you’ve proved them wrong.” Tilting her chin up, she stared into his sightless eyes, wishing she could see the recognition she’d always taken for granted.

He shook her once, but his touch had gentled, and he almost absentmindedly stroked his palms up and down her arms. Just his touch, after so long of him intentionally crafting distance between them, wakened the hunger for more of him. For what they’d had before the accident.
be more than light recognition. So far, he couldn’t see anything. As he’d described it in one of his chatty moods, a rarity, the accident trapped him in an endless gray fog…a hell of nothingness.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How does it feel to be a USA Today Bestseller?

Arguably, the question I've heard the most in the past month was, "How does it feel to be a USA Today bestseller?" For once, something beat the expected, "How did you do that to your hair?" which I've heard for the past forever years.

I feel like I never answer the question well, so I'm going to try here. It feels wildly unreal. I know, I can see the list just like anyone else. I can see the newspaper articles. I can see them and they are wonderful, but I still feel exactly the same as I did before.

Well, that's not true. There are a handful of people who believed in me all along. There are an even smaller handful of people who believed in me when there was no reason to do so.

For starters, years ago I finished my first full-length novel, which I wrote backwards, believe it or not. Back then, Shell and Heather and Chrissy read it. Chrissy put her money on the line and became my first and only agent so far. She mailed off copies of that book and we waited to see what would happen...


Nothing. Nothing happened. But they still believed in me. Understand, at that point in my life, I'd done everything "wrong." I was a single mother to three kids to two different fathers...one of whom was my ex husband. I worked delivering pizzas. There was absolutely no reason to believe I'd ever be anything more than a poor mother of three kids in the middle of nowhere Ohio.

But they believed. Shell and her family went so far as to watch the kids while I wrote. Countless times they invited us to dinner and we went...because I was lost in chapters and they gave me the time to write. Speaking of the kids, do you have any idea how many times they helped me along the way? Because I don't. I just know that any time I said this was ridiculous and I should give up, they'd offer a hug and say, "I believe in you. Go write some more."

Mind you, back in those early days... There was literally NO REASON to believe anyone beyond a handful of friends would ever read all the stories I was writing. My first royalty checks were for two and three dollars. Disappointing? Well, yeah, especially since you were talking about a month or more of my work and hours of nights giving up sleep to make less than the cost of a cup of coffee.


Yet they believed in me.

Another adopted family cosigned for a car. They believed in me and trusted me. My daycare provider? Yeah, she dealt with my little monsters with smiles and grace and taught them to swim while mama worked doubles to pay the bills and then wrote instead of sleeping.

So many people helped me to get that book on that list. It wasn't just me. Yeah, sure, I wrote it. I pulled the characters out of the ether and breathed life into them...but I couldn't have done it unless a whole mess of people believed that I could do it.

The one big thing, for me, to come out of hitting that list is that I feel like I finally earned their trust and belief. For every publisher who signed one of my books into contract, for every editor who moved a comma, for every beta reader who sent back a smiley face and, "it's good!"...

For my babies who loved me and my dreams.
For my family who pulled out the pom poms and cheered me on...

For the ones who know they were there and who thought me, of all people--a single mama of three kids to two different daddies living in the middle of no where Ohio--could do this thing?

I feel like this is your win, too.

Thank you for believing in me. Thank you, readers, for reading me. Thank you, universe, for letting me prove to my lovely children that you really can do anything if you put your mind to it and work really hard.

How does it feel to be a USA Today bestselling author? It feels like I didn't let everyone down. And that? That is a damn good feeling.

Happy #NewRelease Day to Rebecca Royce - UNDER THE LIGHTS

UNDER THE LIGHTS 
by Rebecca Royce

12 Authors. 12 Zodiac Signs. 1 Explosive Series. What seductive, contemporary romance will you find today? VIRGO.


‪#‎Kindle‬ http://amzn.to/1c3tnLy
‪#‎iBooks‬ http://apple.co/1JsPmoZ
‪#‎Nook‬ http://bit.ly/1KgyKqh
‪#‎Kobo‬ http://bit.ly/1FsUyeA
‪#‎Google‬Play http://bit.ly/1RKiXEf
‪#‎ARe‬ http://bit.ly/1MkGckA

If Virgo Teirney Mitchell could run her personal life as smoothly as she stage-managed the hit Broadway show Loopy, she’d be a happy woman. With her grandmother dying, she needs movie-star Ian MacKenzie to be on time for his performances and to stop turning her ordered work world into chaos every night.

Movie star Ian Mackenzie has decided to make some changes in his life and the first one is to get Teirney to stop treating him like a pest and see him as the man she wants by her side. However dating someone in the spotlight isn’t for everyone—especially for one who has spend her life hiding behind the curtain.

Despite the odds, their passion burns as the show must go on. Can these two see there is love to be had both under and away from the lights?

‪#‎TemptingSigns‬ ‪#‎RebeccaRoyce‬ ‪#‎NewRelease‬ Don't miss the next installment of the Tempting Signs Series!

Friday, July 17, 2015

#CoverReveal Miami Heat


Miami Heat
TL Reeve 
A trip to Miami for a blind date—what could go wrong?
Violet Wilson is a book lover at heart. As a librarian she loves her job and quite frankly no one else, from her prospective, could do it better. The only downside for being such a voracious reader, she has a high expectation of men.
Violet needs to let her hair down, embrace life and have fun—something her best friend Kate is willing to help her with. After an afternoon lunch with her best friend, she is handed a plane ticket and a hotel reservation to Miami. However, there is a catch…her date.
Roman Carpino isn’t looking for love. He has his tattoo parlor, his friends and several different women whenever he needs or wants a companion. To him, his life is golden. But, given the chance to take a vacation on his friend’s dime, he relents. What he isn't expecting however, is his date, Violet.
With a weekend to spend together, will they find what each desires most--or will a friendly gesture damage two lives forever?

Excerpt:
“Roman.” She sighed. “You did this on purpose?”
He grinned. “What?”
“You purposely dressed like a god so I would drool all over you.” She swallowed hard, and her gaze caressed his arms and chest. Fuck, he’d never get used to or tired of the way she stared at him.
“I had to prove my statement last night. You love looking at me, and what better way for you to do it than while on a date with me?” He shrugged.
“I’ll be staring at you all day, that’s for sure.” She glanced at his arms and narrowed her eyes. “Are those old-school Universal Studios monster tattoos?” She blushed. “I mean, they’re cool and all. My parents really loved old black-and-white monster flicks. I, however, enjoyed reading about monsters. You know, Universal really bastardized Frankenstein. I’m sure Mary Shelley was rolling over in her grave.”
“Unless she figured out a way to be regenerated.”
Violet rolled her eyes, and he smiled. Actually he was impressed she knew his ink, even if her cover was weak. He loved old black-and-white horror movies. Bela Lugosi was his favorite actor. The range it took to go from Dracula to The Wolfman was insane. So, he’d gone into his shop and showed his buddy what he wanted done. He’d kept it all black-and-white with some shadowing. In the foreground of the work of art sat a mini graveyard with the moon shining high above, casting a silvery glow over the cemetery. Then, behind tombstones, the different characters were added in. The only color on the whole tattoo, which went from his shoulder to his wrist, was in Dracula’s cape. The completed process had taken three sittings and over ten hours. “Yeah. Do you like it?”
“Duh.” She grinned. “From far away I never knew what it was. I mean, I always saw the red strip in it but never got up the nerve to ask. What’s on your other arm?”
“Jason and the Argonauts.”
“Seriously?” She grabbed his hand, and a zing of electricity shot up his arm. Her soft gasp let him know she felt it too. “Sorry. I shouldn’t just grab at you.”
“Don’t worry about it.” He walked into her room and closed the door behind him. “Okay, now take your fill of the tattoos.”
Violet did just that. Her fingertips traced each line, each detail as though she was engraving them into her memory. She glanced up at him. Awe and desire glittered in her violet gaze. “You are a mysterious man,” she whispered.

About the author:
TL Reeve, a multi-published author with Cobblestone Press, Decadent Publishing, Evernight Publishing and Loose-Id, was born out of a love of family and a bond that became unbreakable. Living in the south, TL misses Los Angeles and will one day return to the beaches of Southern California to ride the waves at Huntington Beach. When not writing something hot and sexy, TL can be found curled up with a good book, or working on homework with a cute little pixie.​

Friday, July 10, 2015

Sinful Liaisons Cover Reveal!

Sinful Liaisons Cover Reveal
Book 3 of the Cynfell Brothers Series


Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. The Cynfell brothers are the very embodiment of a sinful existence. But could the right woman change that?

Greed
It’s not every day a duchess comes across a naked man on the roadside. It’s not every day a duchess takes said naked man home with her. But Evelyn Chesworth can hardly leave the poor man in nought but his skin on the dangerous road to London. Particularly when he’s so attractive...

Lord Pierce Cynfell is in a world of trouble. With his brother threatening to cut him off and his gambling debts increasing, his beautiful rescuer couldn’t have come at a better time. He can’t help but be attracted to the worldly, mature woman.

So he certainly isn’t going to say no when she offers to write off his debts in return for one thing—his body.

However, it soon becomes clear more than his body is becoming involved. While everyone else might think he’s only there for the money, the beautiful widow slowly draws him deeper until he wants to unlock every secret buried beneath those tight corsets.

Evelyn might let Pierce beneath her corsets but she’s determined it will be no more than that. She has loved and lost twice in her life and won’t let that happen again. Meanwhile, she has too many other things to worry about—like the preservation of her son’s land.

When Pierce begins to show himself as more than a skilled lover, Evelyn has a choice—let herself be vulnerable again or send away the man who lights a fire in her body, heart and soul.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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