Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Review: Now That It's You by Tawna Fenske

Now That It's YouNow That It's You by Tawna Fenske

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After a late night confession of infidelity before their wedding, Meg Delaney jilts her fiancé Matt Midland at the altar. Now two years later, she's ready to face the man who cheated on her; to gain closure. Unfortunately, she's too late. Instead, she comes face to face with his younger brother Kyle Midland resulting in startling repercussions.

Kyle Midland didn't expect to run into the one woman he's held a torch for over many years. Definitely not on such a tragic day. Yet, the flame of his unrequited love is still burning strong and Kyle needs to find personal closure. Only he has to face the fallout of past actions first.

After reading the blurb, I really didn't have any preconceived ideas as to where this story would go. The author kept me on my toes as we delved to the bottom of Meg and Kyle's shared past and how deceitful actions and poor judgement can alter an incident with devastating consequences. Whilst the protagonists' history's based on their individual relationships with Matt Midland, I felt that his 'presence' was too dominant sometimes, deflecting attention away from Kyle and Meg's complicated and chaotic story.

The storytelling is entertaining, with plenty of humorous banter between the characters. However, a couple of times I didn't find a scene or dialogue amusing at all...the park scene is such an example where I skimmed because it was rather tedious. However, I'm sure that others more familiar with Ms. Fenske's writing will find it laugh out loud funny. The supporting cast adds compelling twists in this sexy story. The whole book's laced with so many differing emotions as Meg and Kyle try and put events firmly in the past whilst hoping there's a future for them as a couple too.

I've not read anything by Tawna Fenske before but I'll definitely pick up more of her books.

***arc generously received courtesy of Montlake via NetGalley***

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New Release Spotlight: For Better Or Worse By Lauren Layne

For Better or Worse
The Wedding Belles #2
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing August 30, 2016
Pocket Books
For Better Or Worse

The Wedding Belles Series

Will a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells in the sexy second novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s irresistible new series that marries Sex and the City with The Wedding Planner?

When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.

Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love.

Link to Follow Tour: HERE

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So this is where the noise happens, huh?” she asked.
Josh’s eyes narrowed as his friend’s hand touched Heather’s back briefly. “Absolutely,” Trevor said. “We’re sorry it keeps you up though.”
Oh, it’s okay,” she said, waving her hand. “I mean . . . it’s not. But tonight I couldn’t sleep anyway, so you get a free pass. What do you all play?”
Donny’s bass, Felix is on drums. Josh is lead guitar, and I, as the most important member, have the pipes.”
Oh! I thought Josh was the singer,” Heather said with a quick glance over her shoulder at him.
Their eyes locked, and Josh felt a flicker of . . . something.
Ah, is that what he’s telling the women these days,” Trevor joked.
No, I just . . . I hear him, singing sometimes,” Heather muttered.
Our boy can carry a tune well enough, but wait until you hear me, love,” Trevor said.
Josh turned away in mild disgust, pulling a beer out of the fridge as Trevor and the other guys coaxed Heather into the practice room, thrilled to have any sort of audience, even a reluctant one.
Yo, Tanner,” Felix called.
What,” he called, popping the lid off the bottle and tilting the beer back to his lips as he tried to shake off whatever was bringing down his mood tonight.
Let’s show Heather here that we’re more than a bit of noise coming through her bedroom wall.”
Josh turned around to see Donny dragging one of his kitchen chairs across the room, disappearing into the practice room.
All right, love, you just sit down and get comfortable,” Trevor said. “Tanner! Come on, man.”
Josh heard the low strum of Donny’s guitar, heard Felix do a little warm-up rhythm, and knew there was no way of getting out of it. If he refused to play a song now, he’d look like an ass.
Still, his feet didn’t move, and he took another sip of beer.
Feeling eyes on him, he glanced up to see Heather in the doorway, leaning one shoulder against the doorjamb as she studied him.
Okay, 4A?” she asked.
Her tone was lighthearted, almost slightly reluctant, as though she didn’t want to care about why he was out here alone, feeling oddly itchy with his life.
He appreciated it. He’d spent enough time in the past few years dealing with people who walked on eggshells around him, cooing sweetness. Some of it genuine, some of it not so much.
Heather’s no-nonsense question was refreshing—and exactly what he needed.
He was happy and healthy and living the dream, damn it.
Even if he was no longer sure it was his dream.
You going soft on me?” he asked, taking one last sip of his beer before setting it aside and strolling toward her.
Heather’s eyes narrowed. “Hardly. I just wanted you to get your shit together so I can see your cute lead singer work his magic.”
He deliberately stepped into the doorway so she couldn’t move in either direction without brushing against him, grinning at her discomfort.
You’re in a better mood tonight,” he said, his eyes skimming over her crazy curls and relaxed expression. “Why?”
Believe it or not, I’m not a shrew.”
Heather shoved his shoulder with a little scowl. “I’m not!”
Does that mean you’re going to start making banana bread like Mrs. Calvin?”
Yes, definitely. And coffee cake and sugar cookies and whatever other goodies you might like. All while wearing a frilly, feminine apron.”
Dare I hope there’s nothing under the apron?” he asked, leaning in slightly.
Right again!” she said, in mock delight. “I just love to bake naked.”
Josh’s pulse leapt, but Trevor interrupted before the sudden X-rated picture in his mind could turn into a full-fledged fantasy.
Dude, we doing this or what?”
Josh looked at Heather.
One song,” she said, holding up a finger. “I may as well see what the music sounds like on this side of the wall.”

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart--cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian. 
In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.
In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 
For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!

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Release Day & Review: The Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas

THE PROTECTOR by Jodi Ellen Malpas
September 6, 2016
Forever Trade Paperback and Forever eBook; stand alone novel


People think they have Camille Logan nailed: daddy's girl; beautiful, spoiled young woman with her father's bank balance to fund her lifestyle. But Camille is determined to have a life free from his strings. Out on her own, she's made mistakes, including one that found her clawing her way back after a stint in rehab and plenty of bad press. Now, after fighting so hard to be independent and happy, she finds her life threatened as a result of her father's ruthless business dealings. Caught between resentment and fear, Camille prepares herself for the measures her father will take to protect her. But nothing could prepare her for the ex-SAS sniper who crashes into her life.

Jake Sharp resides in his own personal hell. He was distracted from duty once before, and the consequences were devastating--both personally and professionally. He vowed never to let that happen again. Accepting the job of bodyguard to Camille Logan isn't the kind of distraction from his demons he should take. Women and Jake don't mix well, yet protecting the heiress seems the lesser of two evils. But Jake soon discovers that she isn't the woman she's perceived to be. She's warm, compassionate, her presence settling, and his duty to protect her soon goes deeper than a well-paid job, no matter how hard he fights it. He needs absolution. He comes to need Camille. But he knows he can't have both.

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Buy the Book in the UK!
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The Protector is the first novel I've read by Jodi Ellen Malpas and it's standalone.

Camille Logan is a socialite, the daughter of Trevor Logan, the London-based business and property tycoon. She's stunningly beautiful; a sought-after model and wannabe fashion label owner. Despite a hefty trust fund income, Cami is trying to forge her own way in life and away from her controlling and possessive father, only he won't let her. He's overprotective, especially after her spell in rehab, caused by her association with Sebastian Peters; her abusive drug-taking ex. Little wonder, she's livid when her father tells her he's hired a bodyguard to protect her. Only the six foot four ex-SAS sniper is an intrusion she didn't think she'd welcome.

Jake Sharp, works to keep busy and to distract him from his demons. At thirty-five, he knows personal problems need facing head-on, but that's too tough for the former SAS sniper. When he's assigned a job as a bodyguard for Trevor Logan's daughter Camille, he views it as just another job, only his illusions are shattered when she doesn't fit his preconceived idea of a spoilt 'princess'. Additionally, the reason he's protecting her doesn't add up either. With that thinking, Jake's determined to find out the real reason he's protecting Cami, never envisaging he'd become more than her protector.

I found the first half of the book a bit slow, as we become acquainted with the protagonists. Whilst I liked them together as a couple and enjoyed their sizzling interaction, the plot surrounding them wasn't convincing in the beginning. Their love story is the highlight as we witness them overcoming personal obstacles to find happiness and love together. Despite Jake's rough, tough exterior, he's adorable and romantic. Camille shows she's the opposite of what the tabloid and glossy magazines write about her.

The latter part of the book came to life around the 80% mark but as Jake finds his closure for his happy ending, I'm left feeling underwhelmed about the ending. I don't need my books to end in neat Happy Ever After bows, but even for me, there wasn't enough there to make me satisfied about what potentially lies ahead for Jake and Cami as a couple.

Overall, I enjoyed The Protector but it just lacked 'je ne sais quoi' to make it a fabulous read. That being said, I'm still more than happy to try other books by Ms. Malpas in the future.

***arc generously received courtesy of Forever via NetGalley***

Jodi was born and raised in the Midlands town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys and a beagle. She is a self-professed daydreamer, a Converse & mojito addict, and has a terrible weak spot for Alpha Males.

Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters has become her passion – a passion she now shares with her devoted readers.

She’s now a proud #1 New York Times bestselling author – all six of her published novels having hit the New York Times bestsellers list – as well as a Sunday Times bestseller and international bestseller. Her work is published in over 20 languages across the world.


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New Release Spotlight: Run To You by Rachel Lacey

Run to You
Risking It All #1
By: Rachel Lacey
Releasing August 30, 2016
Run To You

Risking It All Series

Moments after meeting the most gorgeous guy ever, Gabby Winters promptly gets stung by a zillion yellow jackets and falls-not gracefully-into a stream. Yup, Ethan Hunter is trouble with a capital "hot," and Gabby definitely needs to keep her distance. Except in the small town of Haven, there's nowhere to hide from Ethan's sexy, infectious grin . . . and all the residents are conspiring against her.

At the center of the town's matchmaking is Ethan's grandmother, who's convinced their relationship is a done deal. Rather than break her heart, Gabby and Ethan find themselves cornered into pretending to be falling in love. The problem: there's serious sizzling attraction between them. And if this charade continues, they won't fool just the entire town - they might fool themselves too . . .

Link to Follow Tour: HERE
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If that’s hard to format with the italics for the text messages, here’s a second option:

I’m glad you brought me out here.” Gabby stepped over a tree root, lifting her skirt with her free hand so that she didn’t trip.

Ethan squeezed her left hand. “Me, too. The rock face is right up this way.”

They came around a corner and the path opened up to a big rock looming at least thirty feet into the air. There were some creases and cracks in it, but how anyone could scale it with only their bare hands—or why they would want to—was completely beyond her. “You can seriously climb that?”

I can climb it. Ryan can kick its ass, though.”

Okay then. Show me.”

With a cocky grin, he reached up and hooked his hand into a crack in the rock. He pulled himself up, his biceps flexing most impressively as he climbed. Holy shit, that was sexy. Soon she was left with nothing but a view of his very fine ass. And by the time he’d reached the top, she was so turned on, she could hardly stand it.

So?” he called from the top. “You going to join me or what?”

Not a chance. But I will enjoy watching you climb back down.”

Gotta give the lady what she wants.” His fine ass reappeared over the edge as he started back down. He took his time on the descent, and if she wasn’t mistaken, he might have reached for a few hand and footholds that made him flex his muscles a little more than was strictly necessary.

You’re a show-off,” she said when his feet were back on solid ground.

He was a bit out of breath, his bronzed skin glistening with sweat, trademark smile still in place. “No clue what you’re talking about.”

No? You really needed to reach all the way to that notch?” She gestured above them. “Instead of the one closer to your shoulder that maybe wouldn’t have shown off your lovely biceps quite as well?”

He flexed for her. “What, these old things? And for the record, I totally needed the leverage.”

Mm-hmm.” For some reason, she put her hand on his biceps, and oh crap, that was a mistake. His skin was hot beneath her fingers, and his blue eyes blazed into hers.

Killing me, Gabby,” he murmured. “Killing me.”

His words sent a bolt of red-hot desire right through her, and she must have made a sound because Ethan sucked in a breath, his gaze locked on her lips. His hands settled on her hips, burning into her skin through the thin fabric of her skirt.

Rachel Lacey is a contemporary romance author and semi-reformed travel junkie. She's been climbed by a monkey on a mountain in Japan, gone scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and camped out overnight in New York City for a chance to be an extra in a movie. These days, the majority of her adventures take place on the pages of the books she writes. She lives in warm and sunny North Carolina with her husband, son, and a variety of rescue pets.

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Teaser Tuesday: Embrace Me by Ann Marie Walker & Amy K. Rogers

Every nerve in Allie's body sprang to life, responding to Hudson as though he was right in front of her, not miles away. Even from that distance she could feel the attraction that pulsed between them, a magnetic pull drawing her to him. This was the power he had over her, one she was helpless to resist even if she’d wanted to. A hum of anticipation built inside her as the plane swooped low over the tranquil water, and by the time they landed she was more than ready for whatever Hudson had in store for her.

Embrace Me
Chasing Fire #3.5
By: Ann Marie Walker & Amy K. Rogers
Releasing September 20, 2016
Embrace Me

Chasing Fire Series

Hudson Chase and Alessandra Sinclair's heartracing romance continues in this hot, new novella in the Chasing Fire series.
Return to the dangerous and seductive romance that got pulses racing in the Chasing Fire trilogy...

It took ten years for Hudson Chase and Alessandra Sinclair to find their happily ever after, and they’re not about to let anything get in their way...

Nothing could stop the passion between Allie and Hudson—not time or distance. Not even tragedy, betrayal, and blackmail. But now they’re facing a new challenge: wedding planning. And while Allie’s social status demands she put on the event of the century, her well-intentioned family and friends have her doubting her walk down the aisle...

Hudson knows tensions are pushing Allie to the brink, but he’s not letting her throw everything away over some flowers and cake. He has plans for his new bride, and unlike their last adventure, he's determined that this time there will be no unwelcome surprises. But for all his determination and control, there’s one element Hudson Chase has never been able to predict—and she has some adventurous ideas of her own...

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Though thousands of miles apart, Ann Marie Walker and Amy K. Rogers are in constant contact, plotting story lines and chatting about their love of alpha males, lemon drop martinis and British supermodel, David Gandy. You can find them on twitter as @AnnMarie_Walker and @Amy_KRogers.

 Amy K. Rogers

 Ann Marie Walker