Sunday, September 10, 2017

NetGalley Review - The Real Thing (Sugar Lake, #1) by Melissa Foster

This sassy, spirited baker is fine with heat—but is her fake fiancé too hot to handle?
The Real ThingSugar Lake, #1
by Melissa Foster
Releasing September 5th 2017
The Book Junkie Reads . . . Review of . . . THE REAL THING (Sugar Lake, #1) . . . New series with new characters and new issues, new truths, new funny situation and encounters. Welcome to Sugar Lake where this time around Hollywood meets Baker, second time around romance. Melissa Foster brings us her newest series with all the banter, charisma, chemistry, and hilarity of her other fun-loving series.

Zane and Willow have a chance this time to make a romance that have so much to make it real, if it wasn’t for the purpose of the public. Zane an actor in Hollywood and Willow a baker from his home town and a friend’s little sister. He did a favor for her some years ago and now he is in town to have a favor of his own. Neither figured that it would amount to much more than that. The desire and chemistry was there all along but time and distance has a way of changing perspective. At least that was the perception.

Foster delivers again with the sweet, sexy, cute, sassy, spirited, second chance at a first chance romance. Pick it up and you will have a good time. Good characters. Good pacing. Good writing. Good all the way around reading entertainment.

This sassy, spirited baker is fine with heat—but is her fake fiancé too hot to handle?

Bakery owner Willow Dalton’s friendship with Zane Walker has always been a bit complicated. Now a scrumptiously hot A-list actor, Zane’s always had a reputation as player. He’s arrogant, and he’s definitely not boyfriend material. Sure, he did Willow a favor by agreeing to take her virginity before college, but is that reason enough to go along with a fake engagement a decade later—even if it comes with a real diamond ring?
Zane should have known better. Nothing involving Willow has ever been easy. Still, he knows her better than anyone, and becoming America’s hottest new leading man means cleaning up his reputation. An “engagement” to curvy, sass-mouthed Willow is the perfect PR move . . . provided no one gets hurt.

Now Zane and Willow’s little white lie has turned into an irresistible recipe for sweet temptation. And soon no one will be able to tell the difference between their fake engagement or the real thing—including them.

**THE REAL THING is being published by Montlake (an Amazon imprint) and won’t be available on other ebook retailers, but you can download a FREE ereader app to read it HERE, order the paperback.
Zane was going straight to hell for even thinking about putting Willow in this position. But he needed her. And she was storming away, her long blond waves bouncing against her back with every irritated step. Her rounded hips swayed with determination and confidence no actress could come close to. She even made that simple belted dress look sexy as sin, as if it were a designer piece made just for her. She’d probably gotten it on sale at Misty’s, the local dress shop in their hometown. Willow was the real deal. A smart, funny, no-bullshit, no-frills woman with real curves to prove it. She lived in cutoffs and jeans and ate cupcakes and éclairs like models downed weight-loss pills. And she was the only woman on earth Zane trusted—or wanted—enough to ask for help.
Goddamn it. Why had he thought this was going to be easy? Willow was never easy. Even all those years ago, when he’d gone back to Sweetwater for a visit and she’d asked him to help her lose her virginity, she’d been controlling. He’d been sure she was fucking with him or that it was some kind of test. Her older brother, Ben Dalton, was his best friend. He’d spent more time at their house than he had at his own, and he’d had a major crush on Willow for years. She had practically begged him to help her, saying she’d thought it all out and she didn’t want to go to college as an inexperienced virgin. She had a list of rules and had planned every detail. Where, when, how—all the way up to when he was supposed to let her walk home alone so she could process what they’d done, and then they’d move on like nothing had happened. It was a good plan. A reasonable plan, considering what was at stake. And God knew he’d tried to abide by her rules. But she’d felt too good, been too sweet and trusting, not to get completely swept up in her.
“Please, Wills,” he called after her.
Willow stopped abruptly. Her head tipped forward, her shoulders dropping a smidge as she turned, her hair curtaining one eye. “Zane, just tell me what you’ve done.”
He went to her and reached for her hand, feeling shittier than he’d thought he would. “There is no baking gig. I set all this up to get you here.” Anger flared in her eyes. He continued explaining as fast as he could. “Wills, there’s this focus group for my new film, and they’re worried my reputation will hurt the movie. That fans won’t buy me as a romantic hero.”
She scoffed. “Smart fans.”
“Come on. I need your help.”
“What am I supposed to do? Write a letter to the public telling them Zane Walker isn’t a self-centered playboy? Sorry, not your girl.”
She took a step away, and he hauled her against him. Her hands landed on his chest, which felt amazing, and even with darts shooting from her bright-blue eyes with deathly precision, she was still the most beautiful, alluring woman he’d ever known.
“No,” she seethed. “Whatever it is. No.
“Come on. Just hear me out.”
Her lips formed a tight line.
“I need a . . .” He could hardly believe what he was about to say. “A fake fiancée.”
“A fake fiancée? What does that mean?”
“We’ll pretend to be engaged so everyone thinks I’m a stand-up guy.”
A disgusted look washed over her face. “No.”
“You owe me, Wills.”

Releasing December 5th, 2017

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.

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NetGalley REVIEW - Ready to Run (I Do, I Don't, #1) by Lauren Layne

Named Best Book of the Month by Amazon and iBooks 
Ready to RunI Do, I Don't, #1
by Lauren Layne
Releasing August 22nd 2017
The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.
The Book Junkie Reads . . . Review of . . . READ TO RUN (I Do, I Don’t, #1) . . . This was just so much fun. Jordon gets so much more than she bargained for when she arrives in Lucky Hollow Montana. She has the time of her life and then some. She even bumps into Luke a few times. I would not say that it was all bad. The sparks fly. Tongues wage.

Jordan has witts on her side. She finds a way when none seems apparent. She makes things happen. Luke was the sexy country fireman that was loyal to a fault. He would do and give until there was nothing left. He was the dream that women wanted and Jordan wanted him on her show.

Chick-lit romance coming up and served just right. There was so much fun to be had with encounters, incidents, banter, confrontations, a tear-jerker or two, and we can’t forget all the great characters that make this read one to go-to when you need a laugh with some romance.

Lauren Layne gave me that summer read that light up the rom-com meter.

I Do, I Don’t series:
Ready To Run – I Do, I Don’t, #1
Runaway Groom – I Do, I Don’t, #2
Just Run With It – I Do, I Don’t, #3

BlurbJordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.


Luke started to load up the gear and, realizing he was doing it alone, glanced over his shoulder to see where the hell his partner was.
Unsurprisingly, his friend was chatting up City Girl. Neither Charlie nor Ryan seemed to mind in the least that these two fancy pants had swooped into their town to capitalize on Luke’s past.
What was more surprising was that Jordan Carpenter was chatting right back, her smile seemingly genuine, her laugh real.
Luke ground his teeth.
He couldn’t say he’d put much thought into the woman behind the name as he’d been unceremoniously deleting her emails and voice messages, but if forced to assume, he’d have guessed aggressive shrew.
He suspected he was wrong there. Because while there was no mistaking the ambition in the woman, it wasn’t the cutthroat, ball-busting kind.
Her lean body might be all angles and long lines, but there was a softness to her as well. The way her hair did its own thing. The easiness of her smile, the quick laugh. The small but pert breasts.
Damn. He was staring.
He slammed the door shut. “Bander,” he shouted at Charlie across the lawn. “Let’s clear out.”
Charlie leaned into Jordan, whispering something in her ear that made her laugh, before walking away with a last wink.
Luke rolled his eyes. Really? This was happening?
“Hey, Elliott,” Ryan called. “You want to come over for a barbecue tonight?”
Luke crossed his arms and studied his friend suspiciously, waiting for the catch. “Who’s on the guest list?”
He saw Jordan and her purple-shirt friend exchange a look. Well, that answered that question.
Damn. Ryan never had been able to resist the urge to stir up trouble.
“It’s no problem if you don’t want to join us,” Jordan called out, lifting her hand to shield the afternoon sun from her eyes. “I’m sure your friends here can fill me in on everything there is to know about Luke Elliott.”
All about Luke Elliott’s romantic history was more like it. City Girl wasn’t even pretending to be coy about the reason she was here.
All former positive thoughts about her evaporated. Only the worst sort of human would use another’s failed relationships to advance her own career—for entertainment.
Luke turned away without another word, hauling himself into the driver’s seat of the truck as he waited impatiently for Charlie to get done shouting goodbye to every single person within earshot.
He drummed his thumbs against the steering wheel, refusing to even think about going to the BBQ tonight. If his friends wanted to stir up trouble, they could do so without his cooperation.
As for the two New Yorkers, they’d flame out all on their own. Weren’t East Coasters known for being impatient and fast moving?
Surely they’d be off to find some other glory-seeking asshole if he ignored them. One of the other guys could play the role for all he cared.
As Charlie hauled his ass up, Luke started the truck, his eye catching on Jordan Carpenter, who was watching him with a stubborn, determined look on her pretty face.
Damn it. She’d stir up all sorts of trouble unless he ran interference.
Luke pulled out his phone to text Ryan.
I’ll be there. Have beer.
Charlie leaned over, unabashedly reading Luke’s iPhone screen. “Ha. Knew it.”
“What?” Luke glared at his friend.
Charlie grinned wider, gesturing over his shoulder. “You’ve got a boner for the hot blonde.”
“Are you kidding me with this? She wants me to be the next bachelor.”
How were Ryan and Charlie not getting the absurdity of this?
Charlie shrugged. “So? Maybe it’d be good for you.”
Luke stared at his friend for a moment longer before putting the truck in drive. “The only thing that would be good for me is to push you out of this truck.”
Charlie was waving goodbye to Jordan and Simon. “See you tonight!”
Luke ground his teeth harder. He was already dreading the BBQ, but not going would only make matters worse. Clearly he needed to have a very blunt conversation with Jordan Carpenter.
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Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she's written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

NetGalley REVIEW w/ INTERVIEW - The Importance of Being Scandalous (Tale of Two Sisters, #1) by Kimberly Bell

He’ll go along with her scheme, even if it means ruining them both.
The Importance of Being Scandalous
Tale of Two Sisters, #1
by Kimberly Bell
Releasing July 25th 2017
Entangled Select
The Book Junkie Reads . . . Review of . . . THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING SCANDALOUS (Tale of Two Sisters, #1) . . . LOVED IT. LOVED IT. LOVED IT. I can’t seem to say it just once. I loved this read. I loved the boy next door. I loved the unacceptable girl next door. I loved that they were childhood friends. I loved they made it work for each other. I loved they found love with each other. I loved their romance. I loved the way their romance came about. I loved this read from beginning to end.

The Tale of Two Sisters series has gotten off to a wonderful start. I loved Amelia (Mia) and Julia the undesirable next-door-neighbor-girls. They were beautiful together and separate they still made an impact. The two were mischief, adventurous, and romantics. That made the read feel full of mischief, adventure, romance, scandal, fun and more. Nick being second in line has his own mind. His family wants nothing to do with the neighbors or scandal.

Getting to know Nick and Mia was fun. Their family dynamics added to the read. The other secondary characters made the read fuller and richer. The writing was smooth, clean, clear and enticing. I want more. I look forward to Julia’s story. I have some ideas. I want to see if they pan out.

Tale of Two Sisters series:
The Importance of Being Scandalous – Tale of Two Sisters, #1
A Scandal by Any Other Name – Tale of Two Sisters, #2

BlurbA horse race in trousers on Rotten Row. Visiting a gaming hall in a dress that would make her mother faint. Sneaking an invitation to a masquerade ball attended by only the wickedest, most debauched members of society…
None of these things are scaring off bookish but strong-willed Amelia Bishop’s stuffy, egotistical fiancé.

The only thing left is to entice childhood friend Nicholas Wakefield into a truly engagement-ending scandal. The Wakefields are the height of propriety, and Nicholas’s parents have made it clear a wife from the neighboring Bishop family would be unacceptable…

But Nicholas would give up his family and his fortune if Amelia would ever see him as more than just a childhood friend. He’ll go along with her scheme, even if it means ruining them both, because he’s got a plan that will change her mind about him being merely the boy next door.

Nicholas tried to stay close to Amelia when they insinuated themselves into the crowd around Lady Chisholm, but Amelia kept insisting they should stand apart. He strongly suspected she was trying to insulate him from the scandal she was about to cause. He had no one but himself to blame for her thinking that way. Their whole lives, he’d let his family name hold too much sway. Somehow, he would have to convince her things were different now.
“I rather like the new styles from the continent,” some young miss made the mistake of saying.
“Nonsense,” Lady Chisholm barked. “They stray much too far from tradition.”
From the other side of the group, Amelia spoke up. “I don’t think they stray nearly far enough.”
“Excuse me?” Lady Chisholm gasped.
“I said I don’t think they stray nearly far enough.”
“I heard you, Lady Amelia. I only hoped I was mistaken.”
Amelia frowned. Nicholas thought she might give up, but then her shoulders straightened and she lifted her chin. “Are you mistaken often?”
“Rarely.” Montrose’s aunt peered at Amelia. “And what do you imagine might be appropriate attire for a young lady?”
“Trousers,” Amelia announced.
A murmur went up through the crowd. It was everything Nicholas could do to hold in a laugh. All the more so because he knew Amelia was being honest. In this regard, he was on Lady Chisholm’s side. He’d seen Amelia in trousers a number of times and he knew how distracting it was. Were it to become a popular trend in women’s fashion, the entire country would devolve into anarchy inside a week.
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Kimberly Bell writes historical romance from her cabin in South Lake Tahoe or the beaches of Southern California (it’s a super tough life).
She's a pretty hardcore introvert that loves dogs, cheeseburgers, and occasional day drinking. She also spends way too much time on twitter because she thinks she's super hilarious and she’s trying to get that rumor to catch on.

How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work? 
My books all end up being funny, feminist historical romances. They also tend to be a fast read because I use a lot of quick-flowing dialogue.

What are some of your writing/publishing goals for this year?
just finished the first five books I contracted two years ago, so this year is about taking a short breather and then knocking out the next three-book series.

Do you feel that writing is an ingrained process or just something that flows naturally for you? 
Definitely a natural thing. I'm starting to pick up some deliberate craft techniques now, but my first book was my first attempt at writing a book, and I worry about -over-training and losing whatever that spark was that people saw in the first book.

Do you have a character that you have been working on for a long time that still isn't quite ready, but fills you with excitement to work on the story?
I don't have any that I have worked on a long time, but I do have a few I won't be able to get to for a few years, if at all. Every once in awhile their story comes at me louder than before, and I get a ton of new ideas for it.

If you could spend one-week with 5 fictional character, who would they be?
Oh, man. In no particular order: Hermione Granger, Sherlock Holmes (in Robert Downey Jr. or Benedict Cumberbatch form. I'm not picky), Jamie Fraser from Outlander, River Tam from Firefly, and Olivia Pope from Scandal.

Where would you spend one full year, if you could go ANYWhere?
Bed? :P Probably Italy. I haven't been yet, but it already has my favorite food, coffee, fashion, and architecture.

What would you do with this time?
Learn Italian, gain 50 pounds, and see every fresco in the country. 

Can you share you next creative project(s)? If yes, can you give a few details?
I just finished edits on my fifth book, the sequel to The Importance of Being Scandalous that features Julia as the leading lady, and now I'm working out the details on a companion series that starts with a book for Jasper's twin-sister, Ruby.
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NetGalley REVIEW - Leave The Night On (Cottonbloom, #4) by Laura Trentham

Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge--
life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .
Leave The Night On
Cottonbloom, #4
by Laura Trentham
Releasing August 1st 2017
St. Martin’s Press
The Book Junkie Reads . . . Review of . . . LEAVE THE NIGHT ON (Cottonbloom, #4) . . . Sutton and Wyatt began as just a way to get payback. Neither was expecting to find the experience to be so bonding. This small-town romance has a taste of this and a hint of that. Cottonbloom has made its presence known. Watching Sutton and Wyatt get to know each other while at the same time stirring a bit of a ruckus in town was fun and entertaining.

This was my first read from Trentham in this series. I found this small-town life had captured my attention, gave me laughs, good people, and a sense of home. This read gave me good writing, well rounded characters, a few laughs, and a sweet building romance between two people that have seen each other but didn’t really see each other. Watching then grow closer was beautiful.

Cottonbloom series:
Kiss Me That Way – Cottonbloom, #1
Then He Kissed Me – Cottonbloom, #2
Till I Kissed You – Cottonbloom, #3
Candy Cane Christmas – Cottonbloom, #3.5
Light Up the Night – Cottonbloom, #3.75
Leave the Night On – Cottonbloom, #4
When the Stars Come Out – Cottonbloom, #5

BlurbSutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiance's classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton's whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton's shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage--and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she's got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along? 

Sutton's hand found Wyatt's like a magnet finding its mate, and she knitted their fingers together. Music drifted through the trees.
“You know how to two-step?” Wyatt asked.
“No, but I learned how to waltz and foxtrot during cotillion, a lot of good that does me.”
Wyatt tugged her into a faster walk. “I’ll teach you.
“No way. Not in front of everyone. I’ll look like an idiot.” She pulled at his arm, but inertia was on his side.
“That’s your fear talking. Come on and take a chance on me.”
Even though he was talking about something as simple as a dance, the moment felt like a tipping point. Fearful or brave? Which did she choose?
She quit fighting and let him lead her into the circle of light. A handful of couples danced, but a majority of the partiers hung around the edges talking and watching. Before her feet could mount a rebellion and retreat, Wyatt spun her around and put a firm hand on her upper back, holding her other hand in a typical dance hold.
“The two-step is simple. Four steps, two quick, two slow. I step forward on my left, and you step back on your right. Okay?”
She made an affirmative sounding hum and tried to assimilate what he was saying, but heat streaked across her back where his hand branded her. All the eyes fixed on them didn’t help her concentration.
He counted them off, and she made it two steps before screwing up. She bit the inside of her cheek. “I can’t do it.”
“You’re acting like this is worse than a firing squad. What are you thinking about?”
He gave a slight shake of his head before bursting out in chesty laughter that sent vibrations through his hold to her. “Dare I ask why?”
“I feel like we’re being examined like reproducing amoebas through a microscope.”
“If I recall my high school biology, amoebas are asexual. I’m not. Forget about everyone else and look at me.”
She focused on his face. The flickering fire set gold sparking in his gray eyes, and since he’d invited her to, she let her gaze linger on all his features, but especially his mouth. His lips were mouthing “quick-quick-slow-slow,” and she dabbed her bottom lip with her tongue, remembering what they’d felt like against hers.
“You’re dancing.” His sweet, sexy lips turned up in a smile.
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An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she's shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as large as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.
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