BOOK REVIEW ~ JANE’S MELODY BY RYAN WINFIELD

New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller–
What boundaries would you cross for true love? 

That’s the question a grieving mother must answer when she takes in a young street musician she believes can shed light on her daughter’s death—only to find herself falling for him. A lovely but touching love story that will leave you both tantalized and in tears, Jane’s Melody follows a forty-year-old woman on a romantic journey of rediscovery after years of struggling alone.

Sometimes our greatest gifts come from our greatest pain. And now Jane must decide if it’s too late for her to start over, or if true love really knows no limits.

[First time reading: 4 starsSecond time reading: 4.5 stars]

What an unconventional and inspirational story about love, loss, and healing! It seems with this re-read I notice the little things I missed the first time around and it just makes me love the story even more! ♥ ♥ ♥
The story follows a 40-year-old mother Jane who has just done what no mother wants: bury her daughter. Struggling to accept Melody’s death, Jane unexpectedly stumbles into Caleb, a 24-year-old homeless musician. Their only link: a 1973 silver dollar coin that previously belonged to Melody. After snooping through Melody’s old things, she deduces that Caleb is her old boyfriend and since she desperately needs closure, Jane takes Caleb in, offering him a temporary job while she tries to fish for any extra information about her daughter.


As time passes, Caleb and Jane grow closer and soon a romantic relationship develops. I live for the forbidden and taboo and this hit the nail on the head! There wasn’t anything sketchy nor did I feel like their relationship was inappropriate; the way the author wrote the book completely charmed me. Jane and Caleb are such endearing characters, and their story is believable: I could see something deeper than lust and attraction setting the basis of their relationship, and to me that makes it all the more meaningful to read. Pre-Caleb time, Jane struggled with accepting Melody’s death and pretty much brushed off living life. She’s just fine.

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BOOK BLITZ ~ BEFORE YOU BREAK BY CHRISTINA LEE

A lovely, emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and a good girl about to lose control…

The star catcher of the college baseball team isn’t supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them—something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working the suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore.

Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far.

*A companion novel to ALL OF YOU*

At the theater, we bought popcorn, Milk Duds, and large sodas. After we settled in our seats in the crowded room, I opened the box of chocolate caramel confections and dumped them in the large tub.
“Um,” Quinn said, scratching his chin.
“Sweet and salty—it’s a must­have for movie watching.”
“Seriously?”
“Yes, seriously.” I picked up a Milk Dud, flanked it with two pieces of popcorn, and then brought it to his lips. “Here. I guarantee you’ll fall in love. You’ll never watch a movie without them again.”
“If you say so. . . .” He dragged the sweet and salty mixture into his mouth but kept my fingers enclosed between his lips. I held in a gasp while he ran his tongue over my thumb and then sucked on my forefinger before releasing my hand and chewing what remained.
“Agree,” he said around a mouthful of popcorn. “Wouldn’t want to be without them ever again.”
Quinn’s gaze latched on to mine. It felt like a bundle of feathers had been let loose in my stomach. “Guess you’ll have to come to every movie from now on. So I don’t forget.”
Speechless wasn’t even the word for what I felt in that moment. Dumbfounded might have been more like it, or maybe just struck stupid, because I couldn’t even move my lips to form any coherent words.
When the movie previews began, he turned toward the screen and reached for my fingers, interlacing our hands. Then he leaned close to my ear and said, “I expect you to feed me just like that the entire movie.”

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything.

She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

She also owns her own jewelry business, called Tags-n-Stones(dot com), where she hand-stamps meaningful words or letters onto silver for her customers.

She loves to hear from her readers. You can find her here:


BOOK BLITZ ~ FIGHTING FOR LOVE BY L.P. DOVER

Book title: Fighting for LoveAuthor: L.P. DoverSeries: Second Chances #4Genre: NA Contemporary RomanceRelease date: March 9, 2014

Fighting for someone’s heart is more challenging than fighting for a title.


For a time, many years ago, love had grown, love was made, and in the end … love was lost. The decision to leave had been the worst mistake Shelby Dawson could have ever made. However, at the time—ten years ago—she felt her secret needed to stay hidden, even if it broke her heart and the heart of the man she loved. Back then, he was all hers and she was all his, but now things have changed and he isn’t the same guy she knew.

He happens to be the well-known MMA Heavyweight champion and famous bad boy, Matt ‘The Destroyer’ Reynolds, who once before struggled to help his family pay the bills. Now, he has money flowing with each undefeated win and an insurmountable number of women filling his bed. Everything is perfect for the illustrious fighter, until one day it all changes. In walks the girl from his past, the same girl who promised to stick by him but left and never looked back.

Their second chance to make things right will not come easy, for when one mistake is made an unwelcome consequence soon follows. Someone out there wants to rip them apart and they won’t stop until Matt and Shelby pay the ultimate price … their love.

USA Today Bestselling author, L.P. Dover, is a southern belle residing in North Carolina along with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she even began her literary journey she worked in Periodontics enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.


Not only does she love to write, but she loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, white water rafting, and you can’t forget the passion for singing. Her two number one fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime and those songs usually consist of Christmas carols.

Aside from being a wife and mother, L.P. Dover has written over nine novels including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, and her standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read is romantic suspense and she also loves writing it. However, if she had to choose a setting to live in it would have to be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency.


PROMO TOUR ~ LOVELY TRIGGER BY R.K. LILLEY

Book title: Lovely TriggerAuthor: R.K. LilleySeries: Tristan + Danika #3Genre: Adult Contemporary RomanceRelease date: March 11, 2014

THE IMPACT

Tristan hit rock bottom, and no one felt the impact harder than Danika. She was forced to see, in the most brutal of ways, that love does not conquer all. Bruised, bloody, and broken she had to walk away.

THE AFTERMATH

Picking up the pieces of your life after a tragedy is a daunting prospect, and that’s considering you still own all of the pieces. But what if you don’t? What if someone else owns those pieces, and those pieces are a part of your soul?

You dig deep and work with what you’ve got. 

That’s what Danika told herself and believed, every single day, for years. 

Tristan and Danika’s love had failed every test that life had thrown at them. She couldn’t forget that, not for one second. And if those tests had been overly harsh, well, she wasn’t one to wallow in self-pity. The failure was the thing she had to focus on. The failure was the lesson. She had no intention of working so hard to make it out of hell without learning that lesson well. 

THE REUNION

Over six years after the night that changed everything, Danika finds herself forced to spend the weekend constantly in Tristan’s company, as they attend the wedding of two of their dearest friends. It’s been long enough that she feels they can be friendly again without it destroying her peace of mind, but just a small amount of time in his presence has her remembering something she had forced herself to forget: There’d been a reason she’d gone through hell with this man, for this man, some true good to precede the bad. 

She shocks herself by quickly giving in to a hunger that she never imagined could still consume her.

Even the best intentioned denial has a breaking point. 

THE HARSH REALITY

After everything that’s happened, the rise and the fall, the pain and the aftermath, can these two navigate the waters of acute regret, survive the trials of coming face to face with all that they have lost, and find the strength to try again?

4.5+ EXPLOSIVE STARS
Wow! *wipes tears* I don’t think I’ve read about a couple like Tristan and Danika who so deserves their happily-ever-after! This third and final book concluding the trilogy is everything I hoped for!

To be honest, I almost didn’t read this book. After the emotionally devastating (and that’s really an understatement) events from book 2 I didn’t think I was strong enough to read more of Tristan and Danika’s pain and regrets. Rock Bottom actually made me believe that these two would never get their HEA because of past tragedies and I just couldn’t accept that if it were the case in book 3. But holy flying cow! Guys, this book…it definitely wasn’t perfect, and as the reader looking in from the outside I disagreed with some of the character’s actions, but hell, it was perfect for Tristan and Danika. It was their beautifully broken story of how they slowly started to heal and entertained the idea of giving their love a second chance.

First and foremost, I LOVED the setup of the book and how RK Lilley paced the story. I’m usually not a fan of time gaps, but it was done so well here. These characters, particularly Danika, had gone through hell and back and I could 1000% understand that it’d take years, maybe even a decade, for old wounds to heal. I really appreciated that the author didn’t just jump dramatically to 6 years later or a decade later. Instead, she paced out their story so every year or so, I’d get a glimpse of how Tristan and Danika were doing, an update on their healing progress, and to me, that helped me accept the possibility that they could get together again.
Before, Tristan and Danika as a couple were dysfunctional, poisonous, and slowly tearing each other apart so I expected to see some development or improvement on each side to making their relationship work, and I did! It was immensely gratifying to see Tristan take up responsibility and he worked so hard to earn back Danika’s trust and love: some of his tactics had me giggling and sniffling over the thoughtfulness and tenderness in which he held Danika in regards to. And Danika…as much as she tried to protect herself from feeling again, there was never any chance of denying her feelings for Tristan. They were bound to happen and even if R.K. Lilley didn’t have them meet up 6 years later, should it be a decade later or 20 years later, their meeting and second chance is inevitable. These two people are just meant for each other.

It’s extremely rare for me to connect with two characters on such a deep level and that is the case with Tristan and Danika’s story. I started out reading this series to get more glimpses of James and Bianca but instead I finished this trilogy with the thought that these books have well surpassed the Up in the Air books! Complete love and respect for this author!P.S. The author used many personal experiences in this book so if you haven’t already, I encourage you all to read this heartfelt BLOG POST

R.K. Lilley lives in Colorado with her husband and their two beautiful sons. She’s had a lot of interesting jobs, from being a first class flight attendant, to being a stablehand, but swears she never knew what hard work was until she had children. She’s been addicted to both reading and writing fiction since she can remember. She loves to travel, read, hike, paint, game, watch anime, and make the most of every single day. She is the author of the erotic romance novels In Flight, Mile High, Grounded, and the novella, Lana.


BOOK REVIEW ~ THEN THERE WAS YOU BY MELANIE DAWN

Book title: Then There Was You Author: Melanie DawnSeries: So Much It Hurts #2Genre: Adult Contemporary RomanceRelease date: February 27, 2014

Out of despair comes hope. 
Chris King never saw it coming…In some ways, closing the book on my first love was the worst day of life. I was gutted, and yet I was completely at peace with my decision. I walked away knowing that I did what was best for her, unsure if I could ever recover. Little did I know that one concert would change the entire course of my life. 
There I stood, signing autographs and snapping pictures with fans when a familiar face in the crowd catapulted my mind back in time—Salem Honeycutt, once a balm to my pain and a calm in my storm. Yet again, her smiling face gave me hope.Only one question remained: did she still see me as a wayward teenage boy who was completely off limits, or could she see the man I’d become…focused and driven, yearning for another chance at love?
For Salem Honeycutt, postpartum bliss seemed like a lie…No one told me that I’d hate my baby when I brought her home from the hospital. No one told me that I’d want to put a pillow over my husband’s head and smother him in his sleep. No one told me that I’d want to slap every person who gave me the ever-so-cliché advice to ‘cherish every moment.’ No one told me that I’d despise my life the minute I became a mother, but I did.
Then I met Chris King, the kid who made me want to pull myself up from the dark recesses of my mind and face each day. This kid, whose passion for life and talent for music, touched my soul deeper than I could ever touch his. Chris gave me a reason to live.
I was once affectionately known as Mrs. H., Chris’s juvenile detention counselor. 
This is our story.

4.5 UNFORGETTABLE STARS!!!
This book was a complete surprise!! I only intended on reading the first 10% to get a feel for the story but before I knew it, 4 hours passed and I flipped to the last page. What an emotionally gripping and realistic story this was…a wonderful delight!
So this is the second book in the So Much It Hurts series and to be honest, I didn’t care for the first. I had many reasons but number one was… I fell for the wrong guy and he didn’t deserve what he got in book 1!! After reading this book’s blurb, I’ll admit I was intrigued by Chris’s potential love interest, but still feeling apprehensive about it all and on top of which, questioning how the author could churn out a story that included rockstar angst, older woman/younger man drama, and the gloomy aspects of Postpartum depression. Needless to say, Melanie Dawn has flawlessly weaved all those elements into a unique and different second chance romance that kept me captivated from the very start to the very end.

Told in dual POVs, the story kicks off with present-day Chris and Salem in their separate lives; Chris in his famous rock star role and Salem who’s a single mom managing her teenage daughter. At one of his concerts, Chris and Salem bump into each other and it’s hinted multiple times that many years ago, they were each other’s solace in a time of darkness…
“At one very shitty time in my life, this woman was a fucking godsend.”
I feel like the author must’ve been reading my mind because just when I wished for a flashback scene so I could figure out Chris and Salem’s past connection, she provides me with one. I’m going to lay it out here…this flashback scene is one of the most powerfully written scenes I have ever read!!! I really admired and respected Salem’s altruistic heart, and even though she had postpartum depression, she was so dedicated to her counseling job. Reading about a younger Chris made my heart break; I could really tell he loved Kaitlyn (from book 1) but sometimes love isn’t enough and harsh circumstances get in the way, and sadly that was the case with Chris and his love for her. So it was during these times that a forlorn, struggling new mother Salem and a misunderstood and confused teenager Chris bonded and forged a special connection.

Mind you, there is nothing love about this early bond; it’s a pure, well-intentioned connection that both Chris and Salem needed in order to survive. Despite their age gap, these two understood each other on a deep emotional level and I liked that their relationship wasn’t defined by just a label.
Another thing I loved so much about this book was how real it was. Normally, any kind of Hollywood romance or rockstar romance provides a total escape from reality, but in this book, I liked how the author paced out the romantic relationship between Chris and Salem. They have so many factors working against them: older woman/younger man, famous rockstar/hometown nobody, counselor/ex-client, etc…so it makes it all that more believable when the author explores the characters and develops that budding romance rather it be an instant-love/lust relationship.

Simply put, I loved the story, I loved the characters, and I loved that the book had the perfect amount of rockstar angst! Salem is an original and refreshing female lead and Chris is a hero with a heart of gold…I couldn’t have asked for a better second chance romance than this one!
“You were there when I needed you. You talked when I needed you to talk. You listened when I needed you to listen…you were the light in my darkness. I will never forget you.”
ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review.


COVER REVEAL ~ RIVAL BY PENELOPE DOUGLAS

Book title: RivalAuthor: Penelope DouglasSeries: Fall Away #2Genre: NA Contemporary RomanceRelease date: August 26, 2014

From the New Adult sensation and New York Times bestselling author of Until You
Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war…
She’s back.
For the three years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night.I was stupid then, but now I’m ready to beat her at her own game…

I’m back.
Three years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he’s better than me. But I won’t be scared away. Or pushed down. I’ll call his bluff and fight back. That’s what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he’ll never know how much he affects me….

Penelope Douglas is a writer and teacher in Las Vegas. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, she is the oldest of five children. Penelope attended the University of Northern Iowa, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, because her father told her to “just get the degree!” She then earned a Masters of Science in Education at Loyola University in New Orleans, because she hated Public Administration. One night, she got tipsy and told the bouncer at the bar where she worked that his son was hot, and three years later they were married. To the son, not the bouncer. They have spawn, but just one. A daughter named Aydan. Penelope loves sweets, the show Sons of Anarchy, and she shops at Target almost daily.


BOOK REVIEW ~ OFF THE RECORD BY K.A. LINDE

Book title: Off the RecordAuthor: K.A. LindeSeries: Record #1Genre: NA/Adult Contemporary Romance, PoliticalRelease date: March 11, 2014

Liz Dougherty has no idea a single question is about to change her life.

Her first big reporting assignment for her North Carolina college newspaper has her covering a state senator’s impromptu press conference. Brady Maxwell may have everything it takes to be a politician—a winning pedigree, devastating good looks, a body made to wear suits—but his politics rub Liz the wrong way. When Liz’s hard-hitting question catches the upstart senator off-guard, it impresses Hayden Lane, Liz’s editor who feels she’s headed for a promising career as a reporter.

But Liz is also headed into a secret romance with Brady that could destroy both their ambitions. Though he’s a bachelor, potential voters might frown on Brady cozying up to a reporter. And Liz isn’t sure sneaking around is enough for her—especially when things between her and Hayden might be less platonic than she thought.

Sleek, lovely, and smart, Off the Record ventures into a high-stakes campaign and an even higher-stakes affair to answer the question: When politics and love collide, can there ever be a winner?

2.5+ STARS
Jerk + Love Triangle + Angst = Typical K.A. Linde
Jerk + Love Triangle + Angst + Politics = Off the Record

For the most part I liked it. It peaked my curiosity to see how KA Linde would write a forbidden romance set against a political background and I have to say there, she nailed this part. I did feel the illicit thrill of two people who have different ideals starting up a clandestine affair. The politics were a bonus, IMO. It’s one of the few aspects of the book that was clear cut, well-developed, and boosted the believability of the story.

I failed to see how they could love each other. The author did such a good job of convincing me of their different political perspectives that when it came down to Liz changing her views and instead, supporting Brady, I didn’t buy it. Then all they do when they meet is have love, have love, and have more love. No words of love mentioned.
“You can’t even take this seriously. Why does it always have to be love first and talk later?”
Again…what love?

There’s a stilted, habitual quality to the writing. It’s not exactly fluid, and sometimes I did get bored with reading the mundane regurgitation of their daily life aspects. The best way to describe it is each chapter is like reading little summaries of something instead it be one entire story, all woven nicely together and intricately entwined. I was never bored to the point of not wanting to finish, but there were paragraphs I did decide to skim since to me, they were superfluous.
As a result, no matter how many steamy scenes there were, they all felt redundant and seemed to reinforce the fact that the two of them could have love and not because it’s driven by passion or their longing for one another. Hence, there was no spark, no connection for me to feel and why I didn’t buy into Liz and Brady’s relationship.
Love triangle aspect: While some say that the love triangle is just hinted at, I disagree: it’s completely there. Thought not as prominent as the love triangle in the Avoiding series, there was this underlying feel that Hayden had the hots for Liz, even from page 1. And while Liz was fully engaged with her feelings for Brady, she was more than willing to kiss and encourage Hayden at the same time. Look, I get that her affair with Brady is in somewhat unique circumstances since he can’t be seen with someone who writes articles opposing his views; however, that still doesn’t give her the right to string both Brady and Hayden along. What infuriated me the most is that while there is NO relationship development between Brady and Liz, there IS with Hayden and Liz. It was so obvious that Hayden could be the one to maintain a stable, long-term relationship with Liz, and he actually puts her first so it irked me to the highest degree when Liz repeatedly chooses Brady, a class A jerk.
Ending: I wouldn’t call it a cliffhanger, but an unresolved ending. I think I’m going to be in the minority that says this, but I actually really liked the ending. It gave me hope that Brady would grow some balls, and it also convinced me that Liz does indeed have a brain in her head. The way it ends gives you this anticipatory feeling, like you know what’s going to happen next; it just hasn’t been written yet.
I liked this enough to want to read the next book, but it easily makes my list of “Forgettable reads of 2014.”
ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


BLOG TOUR ~ PROVOKE BY MISSY JOHNSON

Book title: ProvokeAuthor: Missy JohnsonGenre: Contemporary RomanceRelease date: March 15, 2014

Mace Jordan was not the type of guy I expected to sweep me off my feet. I knew of the crowd he ran with, and they were bad news. But beyond that tough, biker exterior was a sweetheart, and one that treated me like his princess.I liked being the good girl with the bad boy, but I never expected this. What I saw on his computer…I thought I knew him. 
But I was wrong. So wrong…
If there was ever a bad time for me to fall for a chick it was now, but from the moment I saw Leeta, she had me. There was something special about her, and I had to have her. But I also had a job to do, and I couldn’t let her distract me from that. I couldn’t let her discover that side of me either. But she’s not stupid, and I know she’s getting close. God knows what she’ll do if she discovers the truth. 
Or what she thinks is the truth.

Missy lives in a small town in Central Victoria with her husband, and her confused pets (a dog who think she’s a cat, a cat who thinks he’s a dog…you get the picture).
When she’s not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.


BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY ~ RECLAIMING THE SAND BY A. MEREDITH WALTERS

Tormenter and tormented. 
Villain and hero. 

Ellie McCallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable. 

Particularly Freaky Flynn. 

Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger’s. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.

But then Flynn and Ellie grew up. 

And moved on.

Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more.

When labels come to define you, finding yourself feels impossible. Particularly for two people disconnected from the world who inexplicably find a connection in each other. 

And out of the wreckage of their tragic beginnings, an unlikely love story unfolds.

But a painful past doesn’t always want to let go. And old wounds are never truly healed…and sometimes the further you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.

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