Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Book Review: On the Rocks by Kandi Steiner

On the Rocks 
by Kandi Steiner
Release Date: June 13, 2019
Source: Author
Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

That’s what Mama told me when I was a kid, kicking his pew in church and giggling at the games we’d play. It’s what the town said when his father died and the Becker brothers went wild. 

And it’s on repeat in my mind the day I walk into the whiskey distillery where he works to buy a wedding gift for my fiancé.

He’s trouble. 
Dirty, sweaty, rude trouble. 

No matter how many times I repeat it, I can’t escape Noah in our small Tennessee town. And the more I run into him, the more he infuriates me. Because he sees what no one else does.

He sees me—the real me. 

The me I’m not sure I’m allowed to be.

I’m Ruby Grace Barnett, the mayor’s daughter. Soon to be a politician’s wife, just like Mama and Daddy always wanted.  Soon to fulfill my family’s legacy, just like I always knew I would.

Until the boy everyone warned me about makes me question everything, like whether the wedding I’m planning is one I even want. 

Everyone says Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

If only I had listened.


Anytime I hear Kandi is coming out with a new book, I mark my calendar and count the days until that book is in my hands. The minute a copy of On the Rocks landed on my kindle, I devoured that book!

Ruby Grace Barnett is back home in Stratford, Tennessee and ready to marry the perfect man in six weeks. The perfect man who she can be the perfect politician's wife for. The day she encounters Noah Becker is the day her life turns upside down. Noah is nothing but trouble, and he's not afraid to ask Ruby Grace the hard questions. Does she want to be married so young? What about her own future? Ruby Grace is scared to answer those questions, but the more time she spends with Noah, the more she realizes the truth she's been trying to ignore, as well as some feelings she knows she should not be feeling... 

Starting this book, I was very wary it was a romance between a 19-year-old and a 28-year-old. I don't typically like the girl being super young, but Ruby Grace was presented very mature for her age. She was such an altruistic person and I loved how selfless she was. When it came to her relationship with Noah, they really because friends first, which made me such a fan of their romance. Neither one jumped in head first, but instead got to know each other and really understand each other before more feelings came about. 

I love small town romances, and this had all of the small town romance vibes and more. The town was very important to the plot of the story and how Ruby Grace made her decisions. I also enjoyed how important their families were to the story. We don't really get anything from Ruby Grace's sister, but I loved Noah's family and how important they were to him, especially his mom. The characters were built up very well so that I already can't wait for book two in this series!

Overall, this was a super sweet romance that hit the spot for me. I loved the slow burn of Ruby Grace and Noah's relationship and the drama that unfolded by the end of the book. As usual, I was sucked into this book and became obsessed with this romance! All romance fans need to read On the Rocks!




Sunday, June 9, 2019

Book Review: Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1)
by Tessa Bailey 
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Source: Publisher
Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World... whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)

Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)

Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)

Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there's Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her...


I am a huge sports romance fan, especially baseball, so when I saw Tessa Bailey's upcoming romance was with an injured baseball player, I wanted to get my hands on it as soon as possible. And, considering the cover is just too darn cute, I had a good feeling about this book. 

As the youngest in her family, Georgie has never been taken seriously. Throw in the fact that she's a professional clown for a living and nobody sees her as the grownup she wants to be viewed as. When baseball player Travis Ford returns to town after a career-ending injury, Georgie doesn't know what to do. She's been in love with Travis, her older brother's best friend, for years and she just can't seem to stay away from him. Travis doesn't know what to do without baseball and takes a job working for his best friend's construction company. When Georgie is the only one in town to give him a reality check and help him cope with his lost life, Travis starts to see her in a whole new light. 

When I first started this book, it did start off kind of slow. We had Georgie trying to first be a friend to Travis after he was so broken up over losing his career. Travis had a hard time trusting people because of his past and Georgie was the last person he wanted helping him. Once Travis saw Georgie as a possible something more, which was about 45% into this book, I really enjoyed this story. Georgie and Travis were just so cute together and I loved their different reactions to this newfound chemistry between them. Their time together was fun and I loved watching Travis start to see Georgie as a real woman. 

Georgie was definitely a quirky character and I don't think I've ever read a book about someone whose job was to be a professional clown. I did love how she was ambitious and bonded with the other women in this novel who had their own ambitions as well. This book had a lot to do with characters who were at a lost point in their lives who were aspiring for, or needed the push to aspire for, a better life. The whole cast of characters were fun and I already can't wait for book two!

Overall, this was a fun romance with a lovable main character. You want nothing less than the best for Georgie, and Travis ends up being so sweet and swoonworthy. I loved where this romance went and I couldn't recommend this enough!



Saturday, June 8, 2019

Book Review: The Savior by JR Ward

The Savior (Black Dagger Brotherhood #17)
by JR Ward
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Source: Publisher
In the venerable history of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, only one male has ever been expelled—but Murhder’s insanity gave the Brothers no choice. Haunted by visions of a female he could not save, he nonetheless returns to Caldwell on a mission to right the wrong that ruined him. However, he is not prepared for what he must face in his quest for redemption.

Dr. Sarah Watkins, researcher at a biomedical firm, is struggling with the loss of her fellow scientist fiancé. When the FBI starts asking about his death, she questions what really happened and soon learns the terrible truth: Her firm is conducting inhumane experiments in secret and the man she thought she knew and loved was involved in the torture.

As Murhder and Sarah’s destinies become irrevocably entwined, desire ignites between them. But can they forge a future that spans the divide separating the two species? And as a new foe emerges in the war against the vampires, will Murhder return to his Brothers... or resume his lonely existence forevermore?


I have devoured this entire series over the past year and have become obsessed with this world. I wasn't sure how I felt about Murhder getting his own book since we only briefly met him, but I was excited for another book! 

Murhder has been an outcast from the brotherhood ever since his insanity drove him away. Now, though, he's back and entranced by the woman from his dreams. Dr. Sarah Watkins is still recovering from her fiancé's death and doesn't know how to deal with the secrets she uncovers about his work. In her attempt to fix a wrong at the company, she's thrown headfirst into the vampire world and a brooding vampire she can't stop thinking of. 

As this series has continued on, I've noticed that the later books don't necessary focus solely on the romance and I felt it really lacking in this book. Sarah and Murhder didn't even meet each other until over 100 pages in and I didn't really care for them together. I did enjoy how Sarah was a doctor and how she was helping the Brotherhood uncover some biological answers they needed to help a brother in need. It was also nice seeing so much of John Matthew and Xhex, but aside from them, I was pretty bored with most of this book. 

Since the lessers have been backing off, the new enemy has been growing the last few books in this series. Unfortunately, we still don't really get answers about that enemy in this book. I felt like this book was just a bridge to the culmination of action that is hinted will actually happen in the next book. There wasn't a whole of action here and I found this book just dragged. 

Overall, this was a pretty disappointing BDB book. I still enjoyed seeing the brothers, but we didn't really get a whole lot of them aside from Murhder, John Matthew, and Tohr. The rest were just in the background and I wanted to see much more of the BDB world and characters. The plot was slow moving and I was just left wanting more.



Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Book Review: Medicine Man by Saffron A Kent

Medicine Man 
by Saffron A Kent
Release Date: September 27,  2018
Source: Author
Willow Taylor lives in a castle with large walls and iron fences. But this is no ordinary castle. It’s called Heartstone Psychiatric hospital and it houses forty other patients. It has nurses with mean faces and techs with permanent frowns.

It has a man, as well. A man who is cold and distant. Whose voice drips with authority. And whose piercing gray eyes hide secrets, and maybe linger on her face a second too long.

Willow isn’t supposed to look deep into those eyes. She isn’t supposed to try to read his tightly leashed emotions. And neither is she supposed to touch herself at night, imagining his powerful voice and that cold but beautiful face.

No, Willow Taylor shouldn’t be attracted to Simon Blackwood, at all.

Because she’s a patient and he’s her doctor. Her psychiatrist.

The medicine man.

WARNING: This book discusses sensitive issues including but not limited to, depression and suicide.
 


I have read two Saffron A. Kent novels before this and I have loved how complex and unusual her characters are. Seeing that this is a romance between a patient and a doctor at a mental institution, I was definitely intrigued to see what Saffron could do! 

After Willow tries to throw herself out a window, she finds herself as a patient in Heartstone Psychiatric hospital. Willow is trying to make it through each day until she finally gets to go home to her mom. The day Dr. Simon Blackwood walks through the doors, Willow is changed forever. There is something intriguing about this man with obvious secrets and he seems just as intrigued by Willow...

In the beginning, I found Willow such an intriguing character and, as we learned more about her, I was more and more confused between what was real and what wasn't about her. Since she is dealing with depression, she is definitely an unreliable character because she's trying to ignore her depression and create stories to make her seem happy and fine with life. Now I am not someone who has ever been diagnosed with depression, so I can't say with 100% accuracy that this was a good depiction of depression, but I really enjoyed the look inside of Willow's mind and life as she battled with the illness. 

When the romance started happening, I was a bit taken out of the story when, after they gave into their romance, they literally were only physical with each other for a good 20% of the story. There wasn't more substance or anything. I also wish we saw more of Simon falling for Willow and what pushed him to give into that desire after adamantly saying he wasn't going to cross those boundaries. Other than that part of the romance, I really loved this story and the intensity between Willow and Simon. 

Overall, this was a great forbidden romance with some really complex characters. Willow may have been the psych patient, but Simon had some demons of his own that he had to face. The romance was angsty and I couldn't put this book down!



Monday, June 3, 2019

Cover Reveal: On the Rocks by Kandi Steiner

OTR- CR banner.jpg

On the Rocks by Kandi Steiner
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publishing date: June 13, 2019
Cover Designer: Kandi Steiner
Photographer: Lauren Perry of Perrywinkle

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Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.
That’s what Mama told me when I was a kid, kicking his pew in church and giggling at the games we’d play. It’s what the town said when his father died and the Becker brothers went wild.
And it’s on repeat in my mind the day I walk into the whiskey distillery where he works to buy a wedding gift for my fiancé.
He’s trouble.
Dirty, sweaty, rude trouble.
No matter how many times I repeat it, I can’t escape Noah in our small Tennessee town. And the more I run into him, the more he infuriates me. Because he sees what no one else does.
He sees me—the real me.
The me I’m not sure I’m allowed to be.
I’m Ruby Grace Barnett, the mayor’s daughter. Soon to be a politician’s wife, just like Mama and Daddy always wanted. Soon to fulfill my family’s legacy, just like I always knew I would.
Until the boy everyone warned me about makes me question everything, like whether the wedding I’m planning is one I even want.
Everyone said Noah Becker was nothing but trouble.
If only I had listened.
A stand-alone, contemporary romance.

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Coming June 13, 2019 to Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!
Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2Keav1w

About Kandi:
Kandi Steiner is a bestselling author and whiskey connoisseur living in Tampa, FL. Best known for writing “emotional rollercoaster” stories, she loves bringing flawed characters to life and writing about real, raw romance — in all its forms. No two Kandi Steiner books are the same, and if you’re a lover of angsty, emotional, and inspirational reads, she’s your gal.
An alumna of the University of Central Florida, Kandi graduated with a double major in Creative Writing and Advertising/PR with a minor in Women’s Studies. She started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a diehard hopeless romantic, and likes to highlight all the challenges of love as well as the triumphs.
When Kandi isn’t writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys live music, traveling, anything heavy in carbs, beach days, movie marathons, craft beer, and sweet wine — not necessarily in that order.

Connect with Kandi:
Mailing List: bit.ly/NewsletterKS
Facebook Reader Group: (Kandiland): facebook.com/groups/kandischasers
Kandi Steiner may be coming to a city near you! Check out her “events” tab to see all the signings she’s attending in the near future:

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Book Review: Pretty Reckless by LJ Shen

Pretty Reckless (All Saints High #1)
by LJ Shen
Release Date: April 21, 2019
Source: Amazon
Penn 

They say revenge is a dish best served cold. 
I’d had four years to stew on what Daria Followhill did to me, and now my heart was completely iced. 
I took her first kiss. 
She took the only thing I loved. 
I was poor. 
She was rich. 
The good thing about circumstances? They can change. Fast. 
Now, I’m her parents’ latest shiny project. 
Her housemate. Her tormentor. The captain of the rival football team she hates so much. 
Yeah, baby girl, say it—I’m your foster brother. 
There’s a price to pay for ruining the only good thing in my life, and she’s about to shell out some serious tears. 
Daria Followhill thinks she is THE queen. I’m about to prove to her that she’s nothing but a spoiled princess. 

Daria 

Everyone loves a good old unapologetic punk. 
But being a bitch? Oh, you get slammed for every snarky comment, cynical eye roll, and foot you put in your adversaries’ way. 
The thing about stiletto heels is that they make a hell of a dent when you walk all over the people who try to hurt you. 
In Penn Scully’s case, I pierced his heart until he bled out, then left it in a trash can on a bright summer day. 
Four years ago, he asked me to save all my firsts for him. 
Now he lives across the hall, and I want nothing more than to be his last everything. 
His parting words when he gave me his heart were that nothing in this world is free. 
Now? Now he is making me pay. 


When I heard that LJ Shen was coming out with this spin-off series, I was definitely intrigued. I have only read Vicious in the Sinners of Saints series, but I really enjoyed it and was excited to read about a new generation of characters!

Daria has never felt good enough for her mother. Especially whenever her perfect enemy is around soaking up her mother's attention. So she does something horrible with the cute stranger who actually sees her. But every action has consequences, even four years later...

When I first started this book (after the prologue, which really pulled me in), I was a bit confused by the cast of characters that were thrown at us. I felt like I was supposed to know who everyone was, but I had no clue and it was really hard for me to keep everything straight. After we left all of Daria's friends, though, and focused on the story, it was so much easier to follow along with. I really enjoyed the intensity between Daria and Penn's relationship and how much they toyed with each other. 

LJ Shen is known for her angst and she definitely delivers in this book. I will say, though, that some decisions Daria made didn't quite make sense to me, like why she all of the sudden trusted characters that were awful to her or why she would leave something important to her out where she knows people have access to...other than those small points, though, this book was definitely entertaining and I didn't want to stop reading. 

Overall, this book was a little bit over-dramatic, but it was so entertaining that I didn't really mind. There was plenty of angst and drama and this book built up the characters so that I am already dying for book two!



Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Cover Reveal: Superfan by Sarina Bowen


Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing woman. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.
While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart. 
Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.

Amazon: https://geni.us/SFamazon 
Apple: https://geni.us/SFapple 
Kobo: https://geni.us/SFKobo 
Nook: https://geni.us/SFnook 


Be the first to read! Three winners (US or Canada) will win early signed paperback copies of Superfan! 

Enter here: https://geni.us/SuperfanGiveaway

“Would you like a beer?” the cute bartender asks me.
I glance at the pile of mint leaves on his cutting board and hesitate. “Sure,” I say. But the mint looks so fresh and pretty.
“I could make you something different.”
“Beer is great. A cold…”
“—lager,” he finishes. “No glass, no opener.”
When I look up to flash him a smile, my heart does a little somersault. Those kind eyes are smiling at me, too. “Thank you,” I whisper.
“It’s really no problem.” He turns toward the beer cooler. “You’re an easy customer, trust me.”
But I really meant—thank you for remembering. As he leans down to grab a bottle for me, I find myself admiring the strong muscles in his back. Stop it, I admonish myself. It only gets worse when he turns around and places the bottle in front of me. I’ve never seen hands like his. I didn’t even know wrists could look muscular.
Even so. Ogling him is not why I came here. I pull out my keychain opener and remove the cap from my beer.
He discards it, gives me another pleasant smile and then picks up his paring knife again.
I take a sip, wondering when he’s going to mention my show at the Coconut Club. He was there. I saw him.
He separates some mint leaves from their stems and says nothing.
I last about seventeen seconds. “Well?”
“Well?” He looks up. “Sorry?”
“Jesus lord.” I close my eyes and then open them again. This is not going how I’d hoped it would. “What did you think?
“Of…?” His amazing eyes are studying me.
“Forget I asked.” I take a swig of beer.
“Think about what?” He pushes the cutting board aside, and his smile turns knowing.
“My set at the Coconut Club! I saw you holding up that wall in the back. Don’t lie.”
He tips his head back and lets out a sudden laugh. “I’m so busted. I loved your show, but I didn’t expect you to spot me.”
“You loved it so much you weren’t going to say anything?” The sentence sounds crazy to my own ears. I put down the beer. “You know what? Never mind. I’m just being psycho right now. This town is getting into my head.”
“Listen, girly.” He braces both (muscular!) hands on the bar and looks me right in the eye. “I loved it so much that I don’t even know what to say about it. From that moment at the beginning—when you shut that asshole’s maw? To the part where you made a lady cry.” He shakes his head. “I couldn’t look away. And I never wanted it to end.”
I give him a slow blink, just trying to take that in. It’s so much more than I was even hoping to hear.
“Shit, Delilah. If that set doesn’t win you whatever contract you’re looking for, they don’t even deserve you.”
Something warm and unfamiliar settles into the center of my belly. “That might be the nicest thing anyone ever said to me. Which only means you’re still trying to get my phone number.”
He laughs immediately. “Can’t both things be true? Both my musical assessment and my interest in your evening plans?”
“Because you know so much about music.” I flip my hair and take another sip of beer.
“Look. I don’t know shit about music. But I know plenty about talent.” He leans down on a set of forearms I shouldn’t be noticing. “I know that talent sometimes takes a nap at just the wrong moment, but it never stays asleep for long. I also know that luck matters, too. If they don’t give you what you want, it won’t be your fucking fault.”
“Thank you,” I say quietly.
But he’s not done. “I saw something else valuable the other night. You’re good in the clinch. And that counts for double, I swear to God.”
“The clinch?”
“Yeah. You’re not just good at practice.” He pauses, wrinkling up his interesting nose. “What word would a musician use? Okay—you’re not a rehearsal musician. That stage was like your home. Either that or you fake it really well. That’s going to pay your rent someday, I promise.”
“Wow.” It’s like he looked right into my terrified little soul and found the very thing I needed to hear. Those beautiful eyes of his are practically burning me right now, so I have to look away. “Thank you. Really. I really needed that pep talk.”
I make the mistake of looking up at him again, and, for a split second, I see pure yearning. It’s like our souls vibrate at exactly the same frequency. And I have no idea what to do with that.
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