Review: Bloodstained Heart Part 2 Revenge

BLOODSTAINED HEART. PART 2: REVENGE, BY AUDRINA LANE

PUBLICATION: JUNE 23, 2017

BH2About the Book:  

Meet Felicity, a wealthy, successful and happily married woman. But is this façade just that, a deception as she continues to plot and scheme against everyone she comes into contact with. Including her husband! No one is safe from her vengeance that has been festering since she was eighteen. She has gotten her way for over forty years and at some point, her revenge may return to hurt her.
Will she survive to triumph or will karma prove that what goes around must surely come back around?
The second part of the story “Bloodstained Heart, Part 2 – Revenge” runs from 1994 to 2012 and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
A novel with dark connotations in its many twists and turns through Felicity’s love life.

My Review:

Once again, I’m excited to tell you about another Audrina Lane novel! This time, it is Bloodstained Heart Part 2, the continuation of the awful, wretched, evil Felicity! Part 1 provided background information about Felicity growing up and gave some insight into why she is the woman that she has become. In Part 2, Felicity and Tony are getting married, thus beginning their own versions of inflicting various types of hell on anyone they come into contact with. Previous characters and events from the Heart Trilogy are included in this novel, but from Felicity’s point of view, adding depth to the horrible things that she has done. 

Without a doubt, I can say that Felicity and Tony are in the top 10 evil couples of the literary world. The levels of lying and deceit that those two are capable of it truly amazing. But as much as I hate them, they make for a page-turner that is impossible to put down. You want to stop and look away, yet you have to keep going to see what they do next. Also in Part 2, the author gives the reader much more information on Daniel, Zach, and Sasha. It was sad to see three, seemingly normal young adults cross paths with Felicity – thus changing their lives forever. Not only were their stories interesting, prompting several “aha” moments based on the previous novel, but it actually made me dislike Felicity and Tony even more – although I didn’t know that was possible. 

I love this series and all of these characters that Audrina Lane has expertly developed. Whether good or bad, they reel you in and leave you wanting much more after you’ve reached the last page. Bloodstained Heart part 2 is full of emotion, suspense, passion, anger, regrets, and of course, revenge. There is not a dull moment in the novel, even when it’s previous information being told from a different POV. If you have already read Part 1, then you must read Part 2 ASAP! If you have not yet started this series, you are missing out on a very wild ride! Congrats to Audrina Lane on this latest release!

Interested in this series? Check out my review for Bloodstained Heart Part 1: Passion

*Thanks to Audrina Lane for providing this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Bloodstained Heart Part 2: Revenge on Amazon!

Learn more about Audrina Lane by visiting her web page.

Book Blitz: When Beauty Met the Beast

WhenBeautyMetTheBeast_BlitzBanner

Title: When Beauty Met the Beast

Series: Vandervilles, Book 1

Author: Khardine Gray

Publisher: Khardine Gray

Cover Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill

Release Date: June 10, 2017

Genre(s): Contemporary, Suspense

Words: 60,000

View on Goodreads

About the Book

Blurb

WhenBeautyMetTheBeast

Betrayal, obsession, revenge. Can love conquer all?

Deep beneath the veneer of luxury, beauty, and wealth, lie secrets that could be used to destroy the Vanderville family. Secrets that a cold, calculating, and vengeful person has been collecting, patiently waiting for the perfect moment to exact a cruel and painful revenge…

Rejections turn to romance?

An obsession brews into a whirlwind romance that threatens to be torn apart by a bad boy’s bad habits. Will a love so passionate yet unstable be able to withstand the turmoil that’s sure to blossom from a plot for revenge?

Double betrayal, despair…

Waiting for a wedding proposal, Taylor is instead handed betrayal. Her cheating father betrays his wife and shatters his daughter’s heart at the same moment she discovers the man she loves has been lying to her.

Careers hang in the balance…

What do the Vanderville Matriarch’s powerful position in the fashion industry, a greedy States attorney, and a budding creative director all have in common? Careers compromised by the cold hunger of a vengeful person.

Surrender yourself to the gripping story surrounding the Vanderville Family and their friends. Discover for yourself if love, both romantic and familial, can survive the frigid reality of betrayal and revenge.

Excerpt

Was someone watching Ben, and sending him threatening messages? Honestly, it didn’t surprise her. Only God knew how many enemies the man must have had.

With her heart pounding and hands shaking she started opening the smaller envelopes. The first one gripped her, it had a drawing of Ben in his office at work. Sitting on his desk in a very seductive manner was an image of his busty secretary blowing kisses at him.

The next letter, however, brought home the seriousness of the situation to her as she read it. It was written in dark red ink and stated:

You shouldn’t have so much sugar in your coffee, and your wife should wear the new lipstick she bought last week. It will match that dress she’s wearing perfectly.

Taylor should take better care of her cat, and Wade needs better lighting in his room. It would be a shame for him to leave again when he’s only just returned.

It was only after she read that that realization truly dawned on her and tore at her insides.

Regina gasped. This person wasn’t just watching Ben. It was all of them. They were watching all of them, and this note was recent. As in a few days ago recent. Wade had only been home since Monday, and she bought that lipstick last week.

Cold terror gripped her in its icy embrace, and she could do nothing but stand there and stare at the note, paralyzed with fright. Someone was watching them, and watching so closely that they knew how much sugar Ben put in his coffee.

God!

Were they watching her now? Could they see her?

She whirled around and looked at the large casement window behind her. Maybe they could see her in here. Maybe they had cameras set up inside the house.

She looked back to the note to read it again, and noticed how the letters on some of the words smudged out. That was when it occurred to her that it wasn’t written in red ink.

It was…blood!

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

About Khardine Gray

Author Bio

KhardineGray

Khardine Gray is a contemporary romance author who lives in England with her husband and two kids. She is well traveled, cultured, and a woman with a passion for dancing and ice skating.

When not writing you can catch her shopping, indulging on pizza and hot chocolate, or hanging out with her family and friends.

No need to spend money on an airline ticket. Simply pick up one of Khardine’s books to become immersed in the fascinating stories and characters she creates.

Connect with Khardine

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

Khardine Gray is giving away an e-copy of When Beauty Met the Beast. Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. The giveaway closes at midnight EST on July 7, 2017, and is open to entrants worldwide.

Good luck!

Enter here.

Tour Stops

June 26

Paranormal Palace of Pleasures
CelticLady’s Reviews
The Bookery Review
Abibliophobia Anonymous
Punya Reviews…

June 27

Book Lovers 4Ever
Ariella’s Bookshelf
Pam of Babylon
Dandelions Inspired
Books, Dreams, Life

June 28

My Fiction Nook
Happy Ever After
All Things Bookaholic
Up ‘Til Dawn
The Opinionated Woman’s Musings

June 29

The Bookworm Lodge
Outrageous Heroes of Romance
Drops of Ink
Voluptuous Book Diva
A Naughty Book Fling
Ramblings of a Book Nerd

June 30

Sassy Book Lovers
EskieMama Reads
Amy’s Bookish Life
Shh, I Am Reading
Always Love Me Some Books

Tour Hosted by LoveBound Promotions

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What Am I Reading?

After having a bit of a slump the past few weeks, I’ve had a week of fantastic reading! Here are the novels I’m planning on reading and reviewing over the next week. Let me know your thoughts if you’ve read any of these 🙂 Happy reading!

Felicity at the Cross Hotel, by Helena Fairfax

Publication: July 7, 2017

felicityAbout the book: 

A quaint hotel in the Lake District. The Cross Hotel is the perfect getaway. Or is it?
Felicity Everdene needs a break from the family business. Driving through the Lake District to the Cross Hotel, past the shining lake and the mountains, everything seems perfect. But Felicity soon discovers all is not well at the Cross Hotel …
Patrick Cross left the village of Emmside years ago never intending to return, but his father has left him the family’s hotel in his will, and now he’s forced to come back. With a missing barmaid, a grumpy chef, and the hotel losing money, the arrival of Felicity Everdene from the notorious Everdene family only adds to Patrick’s troubles.
With so much to overcome, can Felicity and Patrick bring happiness to the Cross Hotel … and find happiness for themselves?

Everything We Keep: A Novel, by Kerry Lonsdale

Publication: Lake Union Publishing; August 1, 2016 

everything we keepAbout the book: 

A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keep explores the devastation of loss, the euphoria of finding love again, and the pulse-racing repercussions of discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear and the lengths they will go to protect us.

Sous Chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever.

Bloodstained Heart. Part 2: Revenge, by Audrina Lane

Publication: June 23, 2017

BH2About the Book:  

Meet Felicity, a wealthy, successful and happily married woman. But is this façade just that, a deception as she continues to plot and scheme against everyone she comes into contact with. Including her husband! No one is safe from her vengeance that has been festering since she was eighteen. She has gotten her way for over forty years and at some point, her revenge may return to hurt her.
Will she survive to triumph or will karma prove that what goes around must surely come back around?
The second part of the story “Bloodstained Heart, Part 2 – Revenge” runs from 1994 to 2012 and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
A novel with dark connotations in its many twists and turns through Felicity’s love life.

The Bookshop at Water’s End, by Patti Callahan Henry

Publication: Berkley; July 11, 2017

bookshopAbout the book: The women who spent their childhood summers in a small southern town discover it harbors secrets as lush as the marshes that surround it…

Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.

Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.

The Marriage Pact: A Novel, by Michelle Richmond

Publication:  Bantam: July 25, 2017

marriageAbout the book: 

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.
   
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.

And then one of them breaks the rules.

The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.

For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Book Review​: Hard Proof

HARD PROOF (NOTUS MOTORCYCLE CLUB BOOK 1),

BY DEBRA KAYN

PUBLICATION: MAY 29, 2017

hard proofAbout the book: A sexy, gripping romantic suspense…

Identical twin sisters move to St. John’s, Oregon, buy Vavoom’s Bar, and purposely put themselves into the path of Notus Motorcycle Club.

Burdened by a deep, dark secret, Clara has to be careful because one wrong step, one wrong word, could land her and Gracie in prison. Her need to stay close to the motorcycle club members backfire when Wayne Shaw throws her heart into a tailspin. There is more to the possessive biker than she originally thought. Cornered and out of options, she can only go forward and hope Wayne protects her.

Wayne Shaw splits his time between working at Port Loaders, searching for missing persons in partnership with the local police department, and keeping Notus Motorcycle Club together in hopes a brother will come home. Skilled at finding clues normal people miss, he has no trouble telling the new owners of Vavoom’s apart. He only wants Clara.

When a little girl goes missing, followed by a teenager disappearing, Wayne’s need to keep Clara safe while searching for a serial killer gets tested…until he’s no longer sure who is the hunted and who is the hunter.

My Review:

Today, I have discovered that I have a new passion. That passion is motorcycle club novels! I have read one or two and loved them, but after reading Hard Proof: Notus Motorcycle Club Book 1 today, I can proudly say that I am a huge fan of MC books!

Twin sisters Clara and Gracie move back to St. John’s and take ownership of a local bar, Vavoom. Why? They are hoping to befriend and hire members of the Notus Motorcycle Club to find someone that caused great harm to their family. Wayne and his friends in Notus work normal jobs like everyone else, but when someone goes missing, they volunteer their time to work with local police and local search and rescue teams to safely bring people home. Clara unexpectedly finds herself falling hard for Wayne, as people are suddenly going missing and Wayne only wants to protect Clara. 

This is one of those rare novels that, with the exception of “the bad guy,” I truly liked every character. Clara was very likable, down to earth and relatable, but her twin, Gracie was more reserved and hard to read. It took me about one second to fall head over heels for Wayne and except for one instance in the novel, my love just grew for him as I read. I wish the main characters had been a bit more developed, but I loved them regardless!

I have to admit that in the beginning of the book I wasn’t sure about the whole “vigilante biker club” thing but as the story progressed, their motivation became clear and their commitment to helping people was very evident. This novel was fast paced with several twists and turns and at times was downright creepy, but I loved it and couldn’t put it down once I started. Hard Proof has suspense, mystery, romance, and psychological elements all adding up to a fantastic read. I cannot wait for the next installment of this series to be released!!

*Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Hard Proof on Amazon!

Learn more about Debra Kayn by visiting her web page.

Book Review: Final Girls

FINAL GIRLS, BY RILEY SAGER

PUBLICATION: DUTTON; JULY 11, 2017

final girlsAbout the book: 

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

My Review:

I am so excited to bring you my review of Final Girls today! I’ve been dying to read this one and it absolutely did not disappoint!

The main character, Quincy Carpenter, is what the media calls “a final girl.” She earned that title being the only survivor of a brutal massacre ten years earlier while staying at a cabin in the woods, Pine Cottage. The other final girls are Lisa, who survived a sorority house massacre and Samantha, who survived a hotel attack by someone named “The Sack Man.” The media attempted to bring the three final girls together at various times over the years, but they have never met. Quincy did speak to Lisa on the phone but never met Samantha. 

Quincy’s character displayed strength in the fact that she was living a somewhat normal life (as normal as possible taking several Xanax each day) living in a gorgeous NYC apartment with a wonderful man and maintaining a baking blog that had earned her several high-profile jobs. But then she receives an urgent message from Coop, the police officer that she found the night of the murders at Pine Cottage, and the one that shot and killed the attacker that was chasing her. When she meets Coop at their normal coffee shop, she learns that Lisa has been found dead, apparently from suicide. 

I really liked Quincy’s character from the start, especially the way she had still managed to create a somewhat happy and successful life for herself despite the physical and emotional wounds incurred at Pine Cottage. Then again, it probably helped that she remembered almost nothing from that night. I also liked her live-in boyfriend, Jeff, although at times I felt like he tried too hard reminding and assuring her that she was normal and happy. Besides Jeff and the occasional chat with her mother, the only other person in her life was the cop that saved her, Coop. He checked in with her off and on and visited her a few times a year just to see how she was doing and to make sure that she didn’t need him for anything. Coop seemed to be Quincy’s rock that she could count on, and although he was very handsome, their relationship remained platonic as if he were a concerned big brother. 

Things take a very strange and creepy turn when Sam (Samantha Boyd, a final girl) suddenly appears at Quincy’s apartment. Having “been off the grid” for years, no one knows much about Sam other than from her initial interview after “The Sack Man” murders. Sam’s character seemed very suspicious to me from the moment she entered Quincy’s life and there were little to no moments that I felt any trust or admiration for her character. Quincy begins to transform into a completely different character once Sam is around, and even more so after new information comes out about Lisa’s death. 

Without giving anything away, I can say that every theory I developed while reading this novel was completely off-base. I would think I had figured things out, but then something else happened blowing my suspicions out of the water. Riley Sager created compelling and complex characters and weaved them into a story of endless layers of suspense. I love it when a suspense/thriller proves me wrong, but Final Girls did this several times as she peeled back more and more layers of the characters. I was floored by the outcome but in a fabulous way!

If I had to mention anything at all that I was not crazy about, it would have to be the sudden and extreme changes in Quincy after Sam came along. Some of it seemed almost absurd to me, however, it all created a great deal of tension just making me want to continue on to learn the outcome of everything.

Final Girls is full of deliciously complex characters that created endless twists and turns throughout this novel. Raw emotions, no matter how ugly, were consistently put on display just strengthening the creepy, uneasy feeling about all of the murders and the idea of being a final girl. This was an amazing novel that I will not soon forget. I look forward to more from author Riley Sager in the future. 

*Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Learn more about Riley Sager by visiting her web page.

Pre-Order Final Girls on Amazon!

Book Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Hart of Mine, by Annie Arcane

HartofMineBlitzBanner

 

HartofMineHart of Mine
Annie Arcane
(Cale & Mickey #4)
Publication date: June 25th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

God, this woman drives me insane.

In all of the good, most of the bad, and some of the ugliest ways imaginable. But it doesn’t matter because she’s mine. My little sadist. My crazy girl. My beautiful wife.

And you don’t ever f*ck with what’s mine.

Warning: Strong language, mature content, drama, and angst included. Shirt sold separately.

This novella is an adult contemporary romance featuring a disabled hero who (still) happens to be a rich and sexy alpha male with a potty mouth.

Cale and Mickey: Book 4 of 4

Goodreads / Amazon

My Review:

As much as I completely LOVED Hart of Mine, I am so sad to see this series come to an end! Cale and Mickey will forever be my favorite book couple of all time…

I will do my best not to give anything huge away for those that have not yet started this series, but now realize that you can’t resist! Cale is a paraplegic in a wheelchair, but absolutely sexy and adorable. He also has the mouth of a sailor. But he and Mickey have fallen in love, gotten engaged, and are enjoying life together, that is, unless one of them is driving the other one absolute crazy with stubbornness and stupid decisions. This series has been spectacular with this amazing characters, but as I’ve stated numerous times when reviewing for Annie Arcane, I just love the fact that her leading man is one with a physical disability. He’s filthy rich, brilliant, sexy, funny – but he is also in a wheelchair. This is not something you run across in everyday romance novels, which makes the author and the series stand out in a fabulous way. 

Hart of Mine included the typical, hilarious, and at times frustrating banter between Cale and Mickey that I adore. Mickey says it like it is and when she’s mad, he knows she’s mad. But their relationship has progressed so much by book 4 that I’ve noticed her “mad moments” are shorter, quickly replaced by her normal, loving personality. However, she is just as sarcastic as Cale, spewing out several smart-ass comments, just as he does to her. My favorite thing is how Cale has always been the boss, rich, and powerful – but when it comes to Mickey – he just melts. They both screw up, say stupid things, but at the end of the day, theirs’ is one of the most romantic, passionate love stories that I have read. 

Besides the romantic, mushy stuff often in romance novels, Arcane always includes her own quirky twists and turns, surprising the reader whether it’s good or bad. Hart of Mine definitely held several surprises, and I flew through this one in no time at all, unable to put it down. I cannot recommend Hart of Mine enough, but start with the first book in order to understand the amazing things that have happened between Cale and Mickey. Annie Arcane is an incredible, real, honest, & hilarious author that I hope to see much more from in the future!

*Many thanks and much love to Annie Arcane for providing a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Thinking about starting this series? Here are my previous reviews of the other books in the series 🙂 

Hart Broken

Hart of His

Hart of Hers

Hart of Hers Teaser2

EXCERPT:

Fate could be a bastard and fuck with me all day long, but I would never be caught off-guard again. I would leave nothing to chance.

Liabilities were mine.

Assets were hers.

It was simple.

There were no ifs, ands, or buts.

“Doesn’t matter what you want, Mickey. It’s yours regardless.”

“Seriously?” She was staring at me as if I’d sprouted horns and was in desperate need of an exorcism. “Can you even hear yourself?”

I didn’t bother answering. Of course, I could hear myself. I was making perfect sense.

She gave a loud sigh, “I hate it when you act like this.”

“Like what?” The pussy-whipped husband who spoils his wife rotten? The pathetic bastard who empties his bank account at her feet?

“Like this. Like a dumb idiot. Like a controlling jerk. Like…like…” Another sigh. Louder. Far more exasperated. “You. You’re acting like you.”

My fists clenched.

Great. Now I’m jealous of my hypothetical competition. Keeps on getting better and better.

“And who would you rather I act like?”

“Hmm, I don’t know,” she countered sweetly. “How about a reasonable human being?”

Oh, fuck, no.

“How the hell am I not reasonable? I do anything you ask me to. I do everything you ask me to. Even when it’s a blow to my ego, I swallow my damn pride and do whatever you want. For Christ’s sake, we just got married at a drive-thru because that’s what you wanted,” the reminder was bitter on my tongue. “You think that’s what I wanted? You think I spent months learning to stand on my own goddamn feet again because a fucking drive-thru wedding was my end goal?

“But you say jump, I say how high, right? So, by all means, let me know what else you need me to do, Mickey. Tell me how else to prove I trust you because I’ve literally given you every single thing in my possession and it still isn’t good enough. Because I’ve placed my entire life in your hands and…shit!”

It happened so fast.

The crazy girl tackled me.

I didn’t even see it coming. Which was fortunate since I probably would’ve broken something had I braced for impact. She tipped my chair over backward, knocking me right out of the damn seat. And landed hard on top of me, knocking the wind right out of my lungs.

As the room swirled, her panicked voice clawed through the fog, “Oh, my God, Cale. Are you okay?”

Crazy fucking girl.

I nodded, attempting to catch my breath while the fancy-ass ceiling tiles came into focus. Guess I must’ve cracked my skull on the floor too.

“I can’t believe that actually happened.”

A sixteen-pound titanium wheelchair with no brakes vs. a stunningly gorgeous human torpedo with no fear.

Physics 101.

What the fuck did she expect would happen?

“I was only trying to distract you.”

More like trying to kill me. Closing my arms around her, I managed a hoarse chuckle. It was more of a cough. I took a ragged breath and murmured, “You don’t have to try.”

She relaxed into my chest and whispered, “Sorry.”

“No harm done.” Minus the splitting headache.

“Are you sure you’re not hurt?”

“Yeah, except…”

Her head snapped up. “What?”

I curbed a smile, knowing full well this was going to cost me dearly. There was no doubt she’d make me pay for it later.

She scrambled to alleviate her weight, hovering inches above. “What?

Worth any punishment, “I can’t feel my legs.”

God, that laugh.

Who cares about the consequences?

I’d sell my soul to hear that laugh.

Hart of His Teaser

 

AnnieAuthor Bio:

Romance with wounded heroes, disabled characters, alpha males, and angst.

Annie doesn’t like long walks on the beach, getting dolled up, or HEA endings with a boringly perfect hero. She’d much rather be rock climbing, shooting guns, or ending on cliffhangers with a deliciously imperfect hero. And hugs. She likes hugs.

She also has a B.Sc. in Biology and feels kinda sorta weird referring to herself in 3rd person. Just saying.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card and Kindle copies of Books 1-3 in the Cale and Mickey series!

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Book Review: The Secrets of Married Women

THE SECRETS OF MARRIED WOMEN, BY CAROL MASON

PUBLICATION: LAKE UNION PUBLISHING; JUNE 22, 2017

secretsAbout the book: 

When Jill’s husband discovers he can never have children, it tears a hole in their marriage that Jill doesn’t know how to repair. Frustrated, she seeks comfort in her friends: fierce Leigh, with her high-powered career and doting family, and sweet, uncomplicated Wendy, who has a rock-solid marriage any woman would envy.

Leigh and Wendy’s lives seem perfect. But beneath the surface are secrets that could tear their friendship apart.

Leigh has grown tired of her stay-at-home husband and is looking for excitement—outside of the marriage bed. And after seventeen years of marriage, Wendy can’t shake the sense that there is something missing in her life.

As Jill is drawn deeper into her friends’ relationships, she is confronted by a temptation of her own: an intriguing stranger whose good looks and charm spark an instant connection.

Full of the realities of modern-day marriage, The Secrets of Married Women asks the question: how well can we ever know our husbands, our friends, or even ourselves?

My Review:

Uggghhh, I hate it when this happens but I truly don’t know how I feel about this novel! Although not a fan of the overall premise of infidelity, I suspected that would be a part of this novel and chose to review it anyway, however, I’m finding myself left with a sort of “blah” feeling.

There are three friends: Jill, Leigh, and Wendy. Jill is married to Rob but found out that he was unable to get Jill pregnant, so their marriage has become more like a roommate situation. Leigh is married to Lawrence and they have a daughter, Molly. Lawrence was a teacher, has OCD, and took “a year off” from work to deal with his OCD. Instead, he has become Leigh’s minion, answering to her beck and call, and Leigh is sick of him. Then there are Wendy and Neil who have two sons and lost another baby not long after her birth. On the outside, they appear to be nothing less than a happy, healthy couple and Wendy never suggests otherwise. 

I hate spoilers and will avoid them in this review, although it makes it more challenging. The overall plot and theme of The Secrets of Married Women basically is about, “o.k., things are boring, maybe I should have an affair.” Or possibly, “regardless of how shitty things get, I would never cheat.” So much of this novel is centered around “will she, or won’t she?” It honestly drove me crazy. Women – if you are unhappy with your lives, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a random roll in the sack with a random guy is going to make your life better. And on the flip side, if you think your beloved is fooling around on you, don’t turn the other cheek!

O.k. done with my ranting, let me continue. I cannot ignore Carol Mason’s wonderful writing, although there were a few things here and there that I didn’t quite understand considering that I live in the U.S., but I felt that everything flowed well and made sense. I’ve seen other reviews hating the ending, but I personally loved it. I thought it truly portrayed people with huge hearts and passion, showing that true love does prevail at times. Each woman’s life changed throughout the novel, some good, some bad. The plot seemed to slow a bit during the last 1/3 of the novel, but I still enjoyed it and honestly, I was unable to put it down. Despite my distaste for the subject of infidelity, I literally could not stop reading this story. Similar to passing a car accident, I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from the words on the page. However, I am still on the fence with this one. I certainly don’t regret reading it, if nothing else I’ve hopefully learned from the complete, utter screw-ups that the characters made in this novel. But is it the greatest thing I’ve read in a while? Unfortunately, it’s not. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase The Secrets of Married Women on Amazon.

Learn more about Carol Mason by visiting her web page.

 

 

Book Blitz: Pam of Babylon

PamOfBabylon_BlitzBanner""

Title: Pam of Babylon

Series: Pam of Babylon: Book 1

Author: Suzanne Jenkins

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: CreateSpace Cover Services

Release Date: July 11, 2011

Romance Genre(s): Contemporary

Pages: 296

View on Goodreads

About the Book

Blurb

PamOfBabylon

If you like romance series with twists and turns, then you’ll love Pam of Babylon.

When Jack has a heart attack on the train from Manhattan, Pam and Jack’s two lovers discover secrets and lies, and each other in this contemporary romance with a touch of noir.

Excerpt

Jack Smith was thinking, I am the luckiest man alive. Sitting at a white-linen-covered table on the sidewalk outside of his favorite restaurant, he gazed at the perfect face of his mistress of nine months. This place was their place. They’d spent a rare night together, and in the early morning they were having a leisurely breakfast, enjoying the perfect weather of late May in New York.

“What do you have to do this weekend?” Jack asked, knowing this could be a dangerous topic. Sandra was sipping her coffee, head bowed but eyes on him. She slowly put her cup down and straightened up. He really wanted to know, interested in her life outside of where it meshed with his.

“After you leave, I’ll start getting ready for the week, and then I can relax tonight and tomorrow. Monday I’m having lunch at my sister’s in New Jersey. My schedule next week is fairly packed, so the more I can get done now, the easier it will be.”

She thought of her messy apartment, the empty refrigerator, the pile of laundry, but didn’t mention it. Jack’s solution would be to say, pay someone to do those things for you so you can do what you want. Your time is worth more than what it would cost.

“One thing I would really like to do is get back to that gallery on Houston and see if there isn’t a deal I can work out for the piece we saw last night.” She smiled at Jack, and they nodded their heads, remembering the vibrant painting of the Riverside Gardens. It was so colorful, the yellows and reds and blues exaggerated, the flowers oversized. They loved it.

“You should have said something while we were there!” he said, smiling at her.

He would have bought it then and there for her, but she really wanted to buy it for herself, knowing it was wise to keep things like community property out of their relationship.

They ate the rest of breakfast in silence. Soon, Jack would start fidgeting, pushing his chair back slightly, looking around and fighting the urge to look at his watch. Their time together would be over for now. Sandra would try to beat him to the punch; it was easier for her to be in control of this aspect of their life. His schedule would dictate when they could see each other, but she could be in charge of when it would end. Hating those last minutes while they waited for the check to come, she felt like she was sitting in a vacuum. Today was a little different, maybe because of the night before. It was so special having the evening together and then spending the night with him. The hotel was the same one they always used. It was clean and comfortable and—impersonal. But she didn’t allow herself to think of it.

He would not have argued if he knew what she was thinking. On one hand, he was wondering what was taking so long for the check to come as he had a lot to do at home, but on the other, he would miss her terribly. It took all the strength he had not to pout like a child when he was away from her. Thinking of his home close to the sea, the smell of salt air, he imagined the two of them sitting on the veranda overlooking the dunes and beach grass. But the face of his wife kept popping up on Sandra’s body, not allowing anyone to take her place, even in his thoughts.

She walked him to the subway, refusing to have him walk her home first. Rather than taking a cab, he often preferred the subway. She would shop on the way home, and he had a long commute, over an hour to his home on Long Island. They walked arm in arm, a striking couple to look at, he mature, greying at the temples and in good shape for his age; she young, model thin and beautiful, heads turned to look. Were they famous? The attention they got when they were out in public together pleased them, and they became even more animated, laughing, standing up straighter, happiness radiating from them both.

On Broadway, another observer took note of the radiant couple. Jack’s sister-in-law, Marie waited in the Saturday-morning bagel line at H&H.

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

About Suzanne Jenkins

Author Bio

SuzanneJenkins

My books are all creations of a rich and sometimes devilish dream life. Don’t worry—you won’t see yourself in any of my books, but if you do, it’s just a coincidence…

In a former life, I was a registered nurse who worked in the Operating Room for many years. Prior to nursing school, I was an OR technician, and after working in the OR for over thirty-three years, I can’t stand the sight of blood!

I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for forty-eight years. We have two children and seven grandchildren and are down to one dog, Oscar. We live in the isolated mountains of north San Diego county, rarely leaving the sanctuary. It’s a wonderful place to hide out and write. I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America and the RWA San Diego Chapter.

Connect with Suzanne

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Linked In | Pinterest

Giveaway

Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win one of the following:

First prize: Pam of Babylon bracelet and eBook box set of novels 1-5 in the series

Second prize: eBook box set of novels 1-5 in the series

Third prize: e-copy of Pam of Babylon

The contest closes at midnight EST on June 30 and is open to entrants worldwide.

Good luck!

Enter here!!

Tour Stops

June 19

Happy Ever After
Lori’s Reading Corner
Sassy Book Lovers
Pam of Babylon

June 20

Loves Great Reads
Drops of Ink
Book Lovers 4Ever
My Fiction Nook

June 21

Underneath the Covers
CelticLady’s Reviews
Always Love Me Some Books
All Things Bookaholic

June 22

Books, Dreams, Life
The Bookworm Lodge
Dandelions Inspired
Outrageous Heroes of Romance
NerdGirl Official

June 23

EskieMama Reads
Wicked Babes Blog Reviews
Reads and Treats
Liz’s Reading Life

Tour Hosted by LoveBound PromotionsLoveBoundPromotionsLogo

Book Review: Dragonfly Wishes

DRAGONFLY WISHES, BY PENNY HARMON

PUBLICATION: JUNE 23, 2017

dragonflyAbout the book: 

Callie Daniels had it all – a handsome and loyal husband – a sweet and loving son. When death comes knocking at the door twice and they are both taken from her, Callie is suddenly struggling to find a reason to continue with her own life.

During an accidental overdose, she discovers that maybe her son is not lost to her forever when she sees a vision and her journey to understand what happens after death takes top priority.

In the middle of Callie’s quest to deal with her grief, she uncovers a secret that she just can’t ignore. These secrets lead her on a journey to understanding more about life than she ever expected to know.

My Review:

What a heartbreaking but beautiful novel! Out tomorrow, Dragonfly Wishes is the story of a woman named Callie, who within a year’s time loses both her husband Chris and her 7-year-old son Cooper. Chris was killed in an accident while Cooper was in the hospital battling leukemia, but then she has to try to continue on with her life after they are both gone. Accidentally overdosing, Callie sees Cooper who tells her that “she still has stuff to do and can’t come with him or Daddy yet.” With the support of her mother, a therapist, and one of Chris’s best friends, she tries to start living again, and in the process, she discovers a horrible secret. 

Let me begin by saying this novel has some very sad and difficult subject matter. Losing a child to cancer is cruel enough, but to lose your husband not long before your child – is unimaginable. Callie’s character showed such strength and determination even in the early days after Cooper’s death that I couldn’t help but immediately adore her, cheer for her, and have enormous respect for her. Her character was one that once motivated, she kept her momentum even on the most difficult days, as well as, finding ways to help others during her grief process. 

The author addresses one of those topics that has been debated forever. Are our loved ones still present in some way after they pass? Can they be there to support us and show us that they are there? If you were to ask 5 different people those questions, you would likely get 5 different answers, but I think the point is what each individual person needs in order to heal. Grief is different for everyone, just as processing and healing are different for everyone. 

Despite the sadness in this novel, I would describe the overall mood as hopeful. Callie challenges herself on so many levels, forms new friendships and relationships, and risks her financial welfare to help someone else. She works through her anger and sadness in order to form a new life for herself, while still remembering, missing, and loving Chris and Cooper. The author beautifully portrayed someone overcoming tragedy and moving forward in a positive way. 

Dragonfly Wishes is a wonderful and touching novel that I highly recommend. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. 

*Many thanks to author Penny Harmon for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Pre-Order Dandelion Wishes on Amazon! (releases tomorrow, June 23)

 

Book Review: Conversations with Friends

CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS, BY SALLY ROONEY

PUBLICATION: HOGARTH; JULY 11, 2017

conversationsAbout the book: 

Frances is a cool-headed and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend and comrade-in-arms is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, Frances and Bobbi catch the eye of Melissa, a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then gradually drawn into Melissa’s world, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman’s sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband, Nick. However amusing and ironic Frances and Nick’s flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy, and Frances’s friendship with Bobbi begins to fracture. As Frances tries to keep her life in check, her relationships increasingly resist her control: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally, terribly, with Bobbi.
 
Desperate to reconcile her inner life to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances’s intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new: a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment. Written with gem-like precision and marked by a sly sense of humor, Conversations with Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship.

My Review:

Readers, if you have not yet discovered new author Sally Rooney, this is an author to watch. I just finished her novel Conversations with Friends and am so full of thoughts I’m not sure where to begin!

Main character, Frances is a twenty-one-year-old student, poet, and intern at a literary agency in Dublin. She does live readings of her poetry with her best friend and former girlfriend Bobbi, where one night they meet a well-known photographer, Melissa. After Melissa invites them home with her for drinks, the evening continues with discussions of art, literature, photography, and politics. Frances and Bobbi meet Melissa’s husband, the actor Nick Conway, and Melissa snaps several pictures of the young women as they drink and talk well into the early morning hours. Thus begins a friendship of sorts between the four of them, where Bobbi is drawn more and more into Melissa’s world and Frances finds herself attracted to Nick. Relationships between the four adults develop, diminish, change, and are reborn throughout this story of Frances learning about herself, her emotions, and her sexuality. 

As odd as this may sound considering how much I admire this novel, none of the main characters are very likable. Not trying to be holier than thou by any means, but there was hardly a moral fiber at all between all four of them. Everyone seemed to put on a facade of some sort pretending not to care about this or that, or pretending to care when it came to dinner parties full of important social issues. However, in all honestly, the main characters are quite possibly the most selfish and shallow that I have read about. But it worked beautifully. Frances and Bobbi had been a couple previously, but after Bobbi ending the relationship, they moved back into a close friendship without acknowledging reasons or emotions surrounding their break-up. Nick and Melissa appeared to be “unhappy but o.k. with the status quo,” yet their desires for other people seemed to strengthen their marriage in some bizarre way. Everyone was keeping secrets from everyone, leading to the breakdown of the dynamics between them all, yet they kept making the same mistakes.

Frances claimed to not really have emotions with there being nothing that she really cared about. But as she and Bobbi become closer to Nick and Melissa, the reader sees how untrue this is as she develops feelings for Nick and feels more left out of Bobbi and Melissa’s friendship. Along with the odd inner-workings of those relationships, Frances starts struggling with health issues and the residual effects of her father’s alcoholism. As the novel progresses Frances suffers from numerous issues involving her sexuality, self-esteem, self-harm, and the heartbreak of broken relationships.

Sally Rooney’s writing in Conversations with Friends is raw, emotional, and compelling. The set-up of dialogue takes getting used to regarding who is speaking when, but then it flows effortlessly. The changes with each of the characters are honest and noticeable as things become more tense and intense throughout the story. Rooney perfectly captures the effects of trying to be someone that you are not, as well as, the trap people can fall into making unhealthy choices for themselves emotionally. The conversations vary between shades of honesty, dishonesty, assertiveness, and holding back. Did I respect any of the characters? No, not really. Was I really fond of any of the characters? Not at all. However, I was unable to put this wonderfully written novel down and was moved by the way the author exposed and revealed her characters. 

This one may not be everyone’s taste but I strongly recommend giving this one a shot and definitely keep an eye out for more incredible writing from Sally Rooney. 

*Thanks to First to Read and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Pre-Order Conversations with Friends on Amazon!