January 2014 Cephalopod Coffeehouse–NOT HIS KISS TO TAKE–A Review

Welcome one and all to the Armchair Squid’s Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

I’m happy to join in with one of the books I read this past month. As a reviewer of all things ‘women’s fiction’ I have quite a large range. Typically, YA Anything all the way through Erotica. I’ve recently noticed a shift of mainstream romance authors into M/M (male/male) romance–so of course, I’ve checked it out. After reading about 15 of these in the past two months–I must say, I’m pretty impressed. So I chose one that I continue to go back to, because it’s everything I love in a romance (slow build, true emotion), and everything I long for in erotica. (Kink-tastic!)

Not His Kiss to TakeNOT HIS KISS TO TAKE by Finn Marlowe is a contemporary M/M romance set in Spokane, WA.

Dr. Evan Harrison, a gay man and Emergency room physician, suffers debilitating migraines. Due to his inability to function without constant painkillers, he’s stepped away from medicine–and yet the headaches remain. He’s a virtual recluse, shunning bright areas, loud crowds, and general human interaction most of the time. He has a fave watering hole–a quiet dive bar a short walk from his penthouse condo. One snowy night Evan’s hanging out having a beer when an angel walks through the door. Blonde hair, blue eyes, supple young body… Clearly straight, the man captivates him anyway.

Jamie, a good-looking young man, enters the wrong bar on the wrong night. While using the toilet he’s beaten senseless by a trio of homophobes. Problem is, Jamie’s not gay. Still, he’s humiliated and barely coherent when he’s discovered by the strong man who seems to know his way around a body. Afraid that a hospital visit will drain his already meager savings, Jamie begs his guardian stranger to take him anywhere but the emergency room.

Evan complies, taking Jamie to his own home instead. He carefully tends this bright young charge, giving the best care possible. It’s a tender and kind treatment that Jamie has never received. Not from his father–who left a decade ago. Not from his mother who’s too beat down by life to really care–and certainly not from his abusive step-father.

Jamie knows that Evan is gay. And, he knows Evan’s aroused by him. But, he doesn’t seduce him. No, Jamie’s own voracious curiosity is what leads this pair down the rabbit hole together.

In the course of events, both men find what fills their souls–their companionship and eventual sexual relationship. It is a constant push-pull emotionally. Evan knows he’s doing harm by entering into a relationship with Jamie. He’s fourteen years older than his lover, and sure that his sassy angel, Jamie, will bolt back to heterosexuality at any moment. Jamie’s curiously attracted to ‘pervy’ Evan even if he can’t commit to a lifetime of their ‘messing around’–he’s not gay after all–still he’s captivated by the love and kindness Evan lavishes on him. And yet, he’s unable to give the one thing Evan covets most–a kiss.

Yes, they separate, but come together again, stronger, and on more equal terms. This is what is called a GFY story (“Gay For You”) in that one of the characters has never been with a man, but finds the relationship with one man so much more fulfilling than those before that he ‘switches teams’ for his soul mate. It’s the epitome of a romance–with more poignant hardships due to prejudice and homophobia.

If anyone is interested in NOT HIS KISS TO TAKE, the full-length novel can be downloaded FREE ( in multiple digital formats) from Smashwords here. I highly recommend it to fans of women’s romance and erotica. The sex is deliciously written, and there’s a good bit of it, so…YAY!!!

See those links below?  Hopefully you’ll click through to check out the posts of my coffeehouse brethren.  And, as always, keep reading my friends!

1. The Armchair Squid 2. What’s up, MOCK?!
3. Words Incorporated 4. Scouring Monk
5. Huntress 6. A Creative Exercise
7. Libby Heily 8. Trisha @ WORD STUFF
9. Wishbone Soup Cures Everything 10. mainewords
11. Julie Flanders 12. Hungry Enough To Eat Six
13. Yolanda Renee 14. M.J. Fifield
15. StrangePegs — Turn Coat 16. The Writing Sisterhood
17. Ed and Reub 18. StrangePegs — Vader’s Offspring
19. V’s Reads

The Gryphon Series by Stacey Rourke–Reviews and Giveaway!

The-Gryphon-Series-Tour-Banner

Hi there and welcome to my stop on the tour for the Gryphon Series by Stacey Rourke sponsored by AToMR Book Tours. For other stops on the tour, click here. Because there are four books in the series, I’ve attached links to my Goodreads reviews–and just a snippet of my overall impressions to give you a flavor of the series. (Otherwise this post would be fo-eva… long!)

The Conduit (Gryphon, #1)The Conduit (Book, #1)

All 18-year-old Celeste Garrett wants is to head off to college and make those fun, yet ill-advised, choices college kids are known for. And maybe to spend some time with the hot cameraman she just met. Instead, because of a pact her ancestors made in the 17th century with a mythical creature, she has to save the world.

While normal kids are slamming energy drinks and cramming for exams, Celeste will get her adrenaline rush fighting a fire breathing dragon. She wants to meet friends in the quad to exchange lecture notes, but first she must exchange blows with a shapeshifting demon on the rooftop. Life isn’t always fair for a superhero, but at least she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her brother and sister as sidekicks, they alternate between saving lives and getting on each others’ nerves. Together the trio encounters unspeakable odds, mystical forces and comes face-to-face with an image that will haunt them forever—their grandmother in a leopard print bikini.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

 Embrace (Gryphon, #2)Embrace (Book, #2) Find my review HERE.

RONE Award Winner Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012

Whether she likes it or not, eighteen year old Celeste Garrett has come to terms with being the Chosen One. She knew having a “normal life” would be tricky, between intense training sessions and epic demonic battles, but she didn’t know at what cost it would come. That is, until a dear friend is harmed by the malicious forces hunting her.

Now, she’d like nothing more than to retreat into a hermit lifestyle to prevent anyone else from getting hurt. But startling revelations, amazing new abilities, and mortifying moments in front of insanely hot guys won’t allow time for that. Soon, Celeste finds herself surrounded by darkness and wondering who she can trust—if anyone.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Sacrifice (Gryphon, #3)Sacrifice (Book, #3) Find my review HERE.

Celeste Garrett has finally found a happy balance in her life as the Chosen One, thanks in large part to a certain hunky Irishman. But if there’s any lesson she should heed since receiving her calling it’s that everything can change in the blink of an eye. Soon a terrible new threat, unlike anything she’s ever encountered, causes her to make a gut-wrenching choice that will strip her of someone she holds dear.

As much as she’d like to have a pity party for one, there’s no time for that now because wedding bells are ringing in Gainesboro! In between dress fittings and rehearsal dinners Celeste will have to fend off attacking demons and leering pirates. As if the Dark Army wasn’t scary enough our heroine is faced with the horrifying trauma of attending a bachelorette party with her mom and watching Grams do Jello shots. Is a walk down the aisle even possible for a member of the Garrett family when the Dark Army is out to destroy them? More importantly, will the Dark Army Glee Club sing at the reception?

Raise your glass to the happy couple, and get ready for a wedding…Conduit-style.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ascension (Gryphon Series #4)Ascension (Book, #4) Read my review HERE.

From best selling and award winning author Stacey Rourke comes the heart-pounding continuation of the acclaimed Gryphon Series.

The turning point of the Gryphon saga is at hand …

Battle looms. Three unstoppable forces prepare to clash in a colossal explosion that could wipe Gainesboro off the map. Fate and a sacred calling have landed nineteen year old Celeste Garrett in the middle with nowhere to run.

Her trust wavers as she uncovers dark secrets of the Council, powerful enough to test her loyalty and turn her against those she swore to protect. Playing to the longing of her heart, a malevolent enemy uses her weakness against her to form an alliance.

With the trumpets of war about to sound, which side will the Conduit choose, and who will be left standing?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Having read books 2, 3, and 4–I’ll tell you I just really enjoyed the series. It’s a fast-paced imaginative adventure that pits a down-to-Earth gal against the forces of evil. Celeste didn’t choose this fate, but she embraces it, works with it, struggles through it and in the end more than survives it.

It’s a great read with epic battles and a plucky heroine whose deadpan humor often made me laugh out loud. I highly recommend it for YA readers–and though it’s technically got a romance, I’d give it 3 bars of Dial soap for being so squeaky-clean.

About the Author

RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel.

Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012.

Stacey Rourke is the author of the YA Fantasy Gryphon Series and the nonfiction autobiographical I’m Not Crazy, I’m on Lupron; a Journey Through Infertility. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant, drooly dogs. Stacey loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head. She is currently hard at work on the continuations of the Gryphon Series as well as other literary projects.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

+++GIVEAWAY+++

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win
1 Set of The Gryphon Series in eBook format – International
or 1 $25 USD Amazon Gift Card – International
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Good luck, and keep reading my friends!

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He Doesn’t Have a HEART OF STONE After All–A Review

Saving the world? That’s woman’s work!

Heart of Stone (Gargoyles, #1)I nabbed HEART OF STONE off of NetGalley just so I could see if Christine Warren could write Urban Fantasy as hot as Karen Marie Moning.

Mmm mmm mmm. Good stuff.

About the Book:

Ella Harrow is trying to carve out a normal life for herself. Well, as normal as an art geek with psychic abilities can hope for. As museum docent and gift-shop manager, Ella is able to keep her distance from people—and her powers in check—while surrounding herself with the artifacts she loves. But how on earth is she supposed to act normal when a thousand-year-old statue on the museum’s terrace suddenly comes to life?

Not your ordinary gargoyle, Kees has been asleep for eons, waiting for a portent of evil to wake him from his slumber. Kees isn’t a vision; he’s a bat-winged guardian created to protect the world from the seven demons of the Dark. Somehow, Ella triggered his reawakening. Maybe the demons have been unleashed? Maybe his heart is finally ready to be chiseled open? The fate of the world isn’t carved in stone…yet.

My Review:

This was a super fun read. Ella is spunky. She’s got a terrible amount of power that she strains to contain–particularly after the last time it escaped. Becoming an instant orphan will teach a gal control. One night she’s attacked on the terrace of the art museums where she works and the statue beside her erupts into life.  It’s enough to make a gal swoon. She did.

Kees isn’t just a delicious art-come-to-life–he’s a Guardian, and he knows the world is in big trouble when an untried, untamed magical girl can rouse him from his mystical slumber. Together they learn that the Keepers of Light are being systematically hunted down by the minions of Darkness. WIthout the Guardians Earth has no hope to prevent demonic subjugation. Kees fights against his emotional reactions–claiming to be nothing more than the stone he is–but Ella insists there’s more to him than he will accept.

Let’s just say this: End of times doesn’t normal equal romance, but the heat simmered from their first contact–long before they recognized the danger they were in. And, I am NOT a gal who’s going to get miffed about some serious friction. Bam-chicka-bow-wow.

Kees? D-Lish. Makes me want to hit the Art Institute just to see if I can find me some Guardian…

In any case, Ella and Kees do get it right and track down the last Keeper they can find. Unfortunately he’s torched soon thereafter by the Big Baddies. And they continue the hunt for both Keepers and Guardian statues–the remaining six which seem to be scattered to the four winds. All while dodging the Dark Ones. Ella’s standoff in her childhood home leaves her with far better magical skills, and a few less enemies.

It seems, instead of the usual rituals to awaken these magnificent defenders of humanity, a single woman of power can entreat the creature within to break his stony bonds–much like Ella did for Kees–if she is his true mate. And one of Ella’s art friends may have found another Guardian. As this is the beginning of a new Gargoyles series, I expect there to be six similar books where a smart sassy gal brings her personal stony savior to life all to save the world.

In total I liked the magical elements. I felt that Ella wasn’t clueless, but needed training to use the powers she always knew she had. And Kees did train her. Hard. With his teaching, and some books gleaned from essential support characters, Ella built herself from a danger into a weapon for good–and in far less time than Mac Lane. Also, did I mention the sex? Kinda like voting in Chicago it happens early and often… Nice.

Interested? You can find HEART OF STONE at your local bookstore, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

If you pick this one up, make sure to come back and tell me your thoughts.

In the meantime, keep reading my friends! 🙂

Now Available–WAITING ON MY REASON–Review and Giveaway

Release Event

WAITING ON MY REASON  BY DEVON ASHLEY

Waiting on my Reason Front Cover (1)

Release Date: January 21, 2014  New Adult Romantic Suspense

Barnes & Noble       Amazon       Goodreads       Kobo

Synopsis:

Things always happen for a reason. I just wish I knew the why behind mine.

Five years ago, graduation wasn’t what it was supposed to be. Publicly humiliated, Melanie was more than happy to kiss off her high school sweetheart. But in doing so, she lost more than just her boyfriend, she lost the only other guy she truly cared for – his best friend, Shane.

Shane loathed the idea of returning to his small hometown. He just wanted to get in, help his best friend manage a legal matter, and get the hell back out again. But he wasn’t expecting to run into the one girl who got away, who always held a piece of his heart despite the animosity that lingered. Melanie could’ve been the one, but after everything that happened, trust was a serious issue.

Melanie just wanted to do right by her son. Shane just wanted to do right by his best friend. And just when they think they can find the strength to forgive the sins of the past, more secrets and lies bubble to the surface, threatening to push them even farther apart.

My Review:

I received a review copy of this book from the author. And I devoured it.

Shane Matthews has returned to his small town in Texas to secure the inheritance for his childhood best friend, Brad Montgomery. Brad’s had a bad run ever since Melanie busted his heart senior year. Booze and drugs have left Brad in a bad way–emotionally and financially. What Shane can’t understand is why Brad’s grandma didn’t leave him his fortune…and who did get it!

Back on his home turf, Shane encounters Melanie–the girl who got away, and destroyed his friend. She’s as good looking as ever, and clearly the interest is mutual, but Shane can’t get past his fury over Melanie’s role in Brad’s downward spiral. He insults her–terribly.

Melanie’s been considered the town tramp since senior year. Instead of escaping to Tulane for college, she’s stuck out her life, working hard and harder to support herself, and her son. Brad’s son. Not that people believe her story of an assault while on a college visit. Brad hadn’t. Then again, Brad was a lush in high school, and Shane should have known that–if he was such a good friend. Melanie knows exactly what happened to Brad’s “inheritance” but she’s not willing to spill the beans to Shane–or Brad. Why should she have to? Brad’s been gone for years, and hasn’t looked back once. Not for Melanie, their son, or his grandmother. Now broke, he certainly doesn’t deserve anything.

What we have here is a small-town, small-minds melodrama. It’s real, and engaging and reads like 2/3 of Maury Povich episodes. Lots of accusations and false leads. Even more hurt feelings and complete misunderstandings.

The whole time I wanted shake Shane and tell him to take good hard look at Brad. See him for the miserable conniving wretch he was. The DBag didn’t deserve gas money, let alone a dime of inheritance IMHO. When Shane does finally get the straight story, he’s introduced a whole lot more problems for himself, and Melanie. But he’s a stand-up guy and one with whom Melanie is overjoyed to reconnect. It seemed as though their love story was always waiting on the fringe, just out of reach in high school because of their own decency and friendship with Brad. In any case, the lovin’ is quiet, but considerate. It’s a satisfying read, for sure.

Interested? You can find WAITING ON MY REASON at Barnes & Noble,  Amazon,  Goodreads, and Kobo

About the Author
I’m a mom, wife, a lover and a fighter, coffee addict, wicked knitster, Microbiologist, baker of fine yummy treats, and someone who will fight you to death for that last bag of M&Ms during the zombie-apocalypse. Seriously, my addiction is that important to me. Oh, and I say seriously way too much. Seriously.

You can find out more about Devon Ashley on GoodReads, Facebook, or her Blog.

***GIVEAWAY***

Click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win one of

(3) Signed print copies of Waiting On My Reason – US Only
or (1) $15 USD toward the Book Depository – International (countries the Book Depository delivers)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, and as always, keep reading my friends!

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Love is…WISH FOR YOU–Review and Giveaway!

Wish-For-You-Tour-Banner

Hi there and welcome to my stop on the WISH FOR YOU blog tour sponsored by AToMR Book Tours. Forother stops on the tour click here. Today’s book is a New Adult romance by best-selling author Marquita Valentine.

Wish for You front coverBook Summary:
There’s only one place in the world Lacey Evans feels normal- the roller derby track. When she laces up her skates and fastens her helmet, she’s powerful and in charge. She knows exactly what to do and what to say. The rules are clear and penalties are enforced for those who don’t follow them. But in the read world, she’s far from powerful and in charge. She never knows exactly what to do and say. For years, she counted on one person to be exactly who he said he was–her best friend, Wyatt Tanaka. Only she changed the rules on him, without any warning, and now she’s the one being punished.

Marine veteran, Wyatt Tanaka, came home to a heroes welcome. But he’s hiding a secret, one that could potential destroy his life. He’s doing the best he can, trying to cope with the guilt and the pain of the girl he loves pushing him away by doing all the things he’d sworn not too. Women, bars, drugs and drinking are what consume him. With Lacey’s new rules, he has nothing to hold on to. Nothing to keep in from feeling dead.

Then one night, he goes too far, gets in too deep, and when the truth comes out… will Lacey keep pushing him away or help save him?

My Review:
Well. This book took me through a few really squicky turns. I have a bit of insight into PTSD–family members who suffer(ed). And I also have known quite a few vets who wallow in intoxication, trying to bury their pain. Perhaps that’s why I had such a visceral reaction–because I know how real this experience is for countless men and women who’ve returned from the front lines.

At the time we join the story wounded veteran Wyatt is in full wallow. He feels responsible for the death of his battle buddy and has returned home where everyone wants him to be ‘normal’. He couldn’t find normal with a GPS and a set of MRE’s, yet he tries to pretend. He hungers for Lacey though they’ve only ever shared a few kisses. He’s sure he’s not good enough for her–and she confirms that by pushing him away. Booze and pot have helped mellow him out, but, without Lacey, he’s hitting the hard stuff–coke and prostitutes–looking for any release from his pain. Sure, he keeps his weekly appointments with his counselor; therapy only works if you’re honest. And he can’t be honest. Not about the drugs, not about the women, and not about the death of his buddy.

Lacey’s tortured by Wyatt’s downward slide. She loves him with every breath in her lungs, but she’s not the girl Wyatt deserves–in her opinion. Oh, and his mother’s opinion, too. See, Lacey’s not-alright. She has all-consuming panic attacks when her schedule deviates. And her schedule is about to get tossed into the recycling bin–now that her family is headed to Turkey as missionaries. Except for Lacey. She’s too old to go as a dependent and now she needs a place to live. Good thing Wyatt has a spare bedroom.

Wyatt’s almost a split personality. He can’t bear being just friends with Lacey. His counselor advises that he take whatever connection she’ll offer–and they each try to set the other up with dates. Total disaster, that. Fury drives Wyatt far past his usual binges and he nearly OD’s. Lacey is called in to support Wyatt, allowing his mother the chance to explain how sorry she was for ever questioning Lacey as a mate for Wyatt.

Still they have issues to work through. Wyatt needs more counseling, and Lacey’s diagnosis doesn’t help matters. There is a point of compromise, however, and a comfortable solution. It’s not the typical HEA–because we know there will be more bumps down the road–but there is confidence that their future will be good.

For me, I had a lot of trouble with Wyatt. He’s stubborn, abrupt and erratic with little consideration for himself, or Lacey. I wished like hell that he’d let go of his (irrational) guilt and just be the kind of guy Lacey needed. As for Lacey, I was a bit stunned how quickly she let Wyatt flop into her bed. She’s a devout Christian girl, and yes, she loves Wyatt–has for years–but it was lightspeed macking action. Their inability to communicate honestly really gave me (and them) fits. I’m not a huge fan of complications based on dishonesty–not saying that everyone must be candid all the time–I just want more of a romantic hurdle than simply “I can’t tell you the real problem.” Even in his biggest crisis, Lacey had to hear the real truth by eavesdropping before Wyatt would confess. By the end they were actually being truthful, and gained a bit more of my respect. And, Wyatt getting clean helped even more. I think readers who enjoy a good redemption tale will find their wishes fulfilled with this story.

Interested? You can find WISH FOR YOU at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes and Noble

marquita valentine author pictureAbout the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Marquita Valentine, writes sexy heroes that make you swoon and sassy heroines that make you laugh. She’s the author of the bestselling contemporary romance series, Holland Springs, and the new adult romance series, Boys of the South.

Marquita met her husband (aka Hot Builder) at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man—and if that doesn’t work, they can console themselves with cheesy tatertots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children. You can stalk find at her website, Facebook or Twitter.

To celebrate WISH FOR YOU’s release, you can enter one of two giveaways!!

***Giveaway 1***
Continental US residents, click this Rafflecopter link for your chance to win
(1) Engraved set of dog tags from Things Remembered – Continental US Only
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***GIVEAWAY 2***

EVERYONE can click on THIS Rafflecopter link for your chance to win

(1) $100 USD Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble – International

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Good luck and, as always, keep reading my friends!

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LIAR, LIAR HEARTS ON FIRE–Review and Giveaway

zane_blog_tour_ad

Hi there and welcome to my stop on the LIAR LIAR, HEARTS ON FIRE blog tour, sponsored by AToMR Book Tours. For other stops on the tour, click here. Today’s book is a “zany” contemporary romance from Jennifer Zane. It’s a hoot!

liar_liar_hearts_on_fire_72dpi_200x300 (1)Book Summary:

Violet Miller is a teacher savoring her summer break until she’s been called in as emergency reinforcements—of the dating kind. She volunteers to help an old flame by pretending to be his girlfriend. In Alaska. At a family reunion. Since the guy is a handsome, lumberjack-sized doctor she’s never quite forgotten, faking a relationship won’t be hard work.

Mike Ostranski is a desperate man on vacation. His mother wants grandchildren and sees a crazy Alaskan woman as a candidate for daughter-in-law. Mike needs Violet by his side to deflect the lady’s advances.

A week in Alaska as boyfriend and girlfriend should be easy for them. They grew up together, even had a brief fling. What could go wrong?

Everything.

My Review:

This contemporary romance has it all: crazy stalker women, scheming mothers, polyamorous Frenchmen, erotica authors, desperate bachelors, twins, antiquities thieves, Civil War era-actors, and unrequited loves. For all of the plot complications herein:  I blame it all on the sex.

See, Vi’s life would be easier if she and that strapping ginger Mike Ostranski never lost their virginity to each other on graduation night. He ruined her. Just ruined her–they had been good friends until that (highly anticipated) fateful night. But hooking up and then leaving for summer camp, then college, then medical school really left Violet with abandonment issues. Now Mike’s returned to Bozeman, Montana–and is good friends with Violet’s twin sister Veronica–but never seeks out any contact with the gal he left behind.

Until Violet is filling in for Veronica working at Bozeman, Montana’s only adult store, Goldie’s. Mike’s call is a plea for help. Aided by his mother, a stalker-neighbor has been trying to seduce him while he vacations up in Alaska. He wanted Veronica to come to his rescue and claim she was his girlfriend, but, you know, Violet will do.

Outraged, Violet refuses, but Mike’s a charmer. And, Goldie is pressing on her to get some action–or at least some closure, for goodness sake. Soon Vi’s on the red-eye to Anchorage. She’s the newest guest at the Ostranski family reunion. As, Mike’s fiance. Yeah, he had to up the game to keep his stalker at bay. Mike’s uncle, recently retired from the military, is hosting ten guests for a week before hitting the trail as a Confederate soldier in those Civil War re-enactment tours. Oh my! He’s got some quirky lines!

Meanwhile, Violet’s accosted in the shower by stalker-gal, and she handles herself well. She and Mike drift into the comfortable friendship they had in high school, spending hours fishing for salmon and making up for lost time. In fact, Mike’s romantic hand is forced, not only by his stalker, and interfering mother, but by his French cousins who would like nothing better than to make Violet the filling in their man-sandwich. Oh, and who can forget Cherry Bottoms? Yeah, that’s Vi’s alter ego–a presumably bestselling author of erotica–something she has gone to great lengths to keep hidden.

It’s a fast-paced rollicking tale of soul mates who got separated too early in their lives. Mike’s never been serious about anyone since Vi, and the flip-side is true for Vi. Still, it’s not all easy. While they fit physically, and chemically, Mike’s devotion to his career above all things isn’t fair to Violet–especially when Mike’s career path seems to take a turn for New York. And Vi isn’t willing to move.

[Side note: Having a history in teaching medical school, and still working in close contact with physicians, well, some of this tale doesn’t hold realistic water, but few readers probably understand the career paths of podiatrists and for them this will not be troubling. For me, it was.] 

In the end we get an HEA–and a coming out for Cherry. Violet’s heart does get smashed in the middle and she’s almost killed by a lunatic antiquities thief, but Mike kinda gets his act together just in time.

Speaking of time, usually I complain about pace being too slow. Not the case here. Sometimes I actually wished for a teeny bit more info. The way some characters were introduced and glossed over left me hanging–as if they were part of another book and I should simply know their backstory–but I didn’t which left me floundering at times. In all, it’s a fun read with some delicious smexytimes. Ever since OUTLANDER I’m a sucker for a strapping ginger, so I adored Mike. Particularly when he got his head on straight. People who like contemporary romance, and quirky plots with interfering family casts, will be hooked by this book.

Interested? You can find LIAR LIAR HEARTS ON FIRE at Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author

Jennifer Zane has lived all over the country–from Georgia to Maryland, New York to Colorado, including an exciting five years in Montana. Her time in Big Sky country was the basis for this book. When she’s not writing, she savors the insanity of raising two boys, is figuring out how many meals she can make with a pressure cooker, and teaches a pretty mean karate class. She currently lives with her family in Colorado. You can find Jennifer on her blog, Facebook or Twitter.

***GIVEAWAY***

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win

one of five eBooks of Liar, Liar Hearts on Fire
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and, as always, keep reading my friends!

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Sweet and Sassy! LOVE AND CUPCAKES–A Review

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Hi there! And welcome to my stop on the LOVE AND CUPCAKES blog tour sponsored by AToMR Book Tours. For other stops on the tour click here. Today’s book is a contemporary romance with some light paranormal elements (aka magical realism) by debut novelist Susan Bishop Crispell.

http://atomrbookblogtours.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/coverfinalsm-loveandcupcakes.jpgBook Summary:

For Jaclyn “Jack” Pace, sensing what sweets people crave is as easy as breathing. But it’s not enough to keep her cupcake bakery in the black.

So, when her estranged sister Harper comes back to town with an affinity for making art out of icing—and a past full of secrets—she reluctantly gives Harper a job and a place to crash.

As their sisterly relationship begins to thaw, the one with her business partner Graham starts to heat up. Given the legend that says Hollingsworth men will recognize their soul mates at first touch, Jack’s always been resigned to the fact that she’s not his.

But when she starts sensing desires that are decidedly not dessert-related, it’ll take all of her magic to set things right with customers and make her own desires come true.

My Review:

This paranormal-ish romance is a charmer. Jack’s always had the ability to sense desire from the people around her–and this is a handy skill when working in a cupcakery. It’s cute how she smells her customer’s jonesing for a peanut butter or a red velvet cupcakes, but it’s not easy on poor Jack. If those desires are too great she gets overwhelmed with headaches.

Her partner–master baker Graham Hollingsworth–is a bit of alright. He’s been BFF to Jack’s older brother Hutton forever. And, he’s got a secret power, too. One he’s not so thrilled with. All the Hollingsworth men can know their soulmate the instant they meet. This caused considerable difficulty when his dad found his soulmate twelve years into his first marriage, and abandoned him and his mother. Graham will never do that to a woman. He’s been in love with Jack since high school, but never acted on it–mostly out of fear that he would hurt Jack, but also because Hutton threatened him. In fact, they’d come to blows over it. No way Hutton wanted to see Jack hurt if Graham later found his soulmate…

Still, Graham can’t stay away. He’s totally smitten with Jack, and her resolve to not get heartbroken over Graham, along with the crushing knowledge that she’s not his soulmate, adds to the dilemma. Then, as the bakery flounders, Jack’s younger sister–the talented, beautiful, artistic Harper–slides back into town. Only her Holly-GoLightly attitude is dimmed. Harper’s secret is a Double Whopper with Cheese, folks. And it puts the whole family on edge. While Jack and Graham work to fix Harper’s mess, the ties that bind seem to loosen. Suddenly Hutton’s opinion over Jack and Graham’s pseudo-relationship isn’t so strongly considered and the chemistry between them is…delicious.

Folks, it’s a romance. Small conflicts aside, the meat of the story is the risk both Jack and Graham must take with their hearts. Knowing Jack’s super desire-sensing power, Graham has thwarted it for years it by desiring something innocuous in her presence. And when he can’t take not having Jack in his life anymore and finally confronts his father over the whole super-soulmate-finding power, Graham realizes that his perfect match had been waiting for him all along.

I liked the little magical elements. I thought Graham was D-lish, and Jack was a strong female lead. I kinda hated Hutton. He felt like such a huge, overbearing dude–and I couldn’t respect the power both Harper and Jack gave him in their love lives, but I cheered when they put him in his place and he apologized wholeheartedly. In terms of the book, I sometimes struggled with the pacing–wishing it would move just a bit faster. In all it’s a good read. Nothing too smexytimes going on; even when our new buddies get their freak on it’s a fade-to-black scenario.

Interested? You can find LOVE AND CUPCAKES at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author

Susan Bishop Crispell is not one of those writers who’s been scribbling down stories since she could hold a pencil. She didn’t read constantly growing up (blasphemy!), and she can still be found in public without a book tucked into her purse (again with the blasphemy!).

She is, however, the kind of writer who lives for the imaginative spark that introduces her to a new character or story idea that pushes her to turn everyday life into something magical.

She lives and writes near Wilmington, NC. You can catch up with Susan on her website, Facebook  or Twitter.

If you have the chance to pick up LOVE AND CUPCAKES be sure to come back and let me know what you thought of it.

And, as always, keep reading my friends!

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