The Spy Life Is All WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for Gail Carriger’s third Finishing School novel, WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY. I just adore this steampunk world! I have read and enjoyed both Etiquette & Espionage and Curtsies & Conspiracies, which tended to be more “tween” in tone. With this third installment the storyline has taken a decidedly YA turn. Yay!

Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School, #3)About the book:
Sophronia continues second year finishing school in style — with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown. She, best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and charming Lord Felix Mersey stow away on train to return classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspects what or who would be aboard the suspiciously empty train.

My Review:
This is the third book in the YA steampunk Finishing School series. It is best to read these books in order.

World note: the story takes place in a steampunk setting, in 1850’s England, where vampire and werewolves are a part of society.

Sophronia is a 16 y/o student at Mlle. Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies–which is in truth a training school for female spies. This year, Sophronia’s education includes lessons in seduction…

“Seduction in its purest form is a never-ending acquisition of knowledge about another individual. Every male is a new challenge, every occasion warrants a different approach Take the greatest of care when applying these techniques, for they can be more dangerous than actual weaponry.”

The girls all straightened. Lady Linette’s lessons were always interesting, but seduction was supposed to be the best. What young lady didn’t want to know how to manipulate a man? This was what finishing school was all about!

Sophronia has a BF, Dimity who is more interested in a normal life after school, but Sophronia knows she has several options in front of her. She has an unknown (but she suspects royal) patron who pays her schooling. Plus, she receives regular gifts from a rogue vampire Lord Akeldama high in London society. She has a bosom friend in Lady Kingair “Sidheag” whose family is a pack of werewolves in Scotland.

It is when Sidheag receives notice that her beloved pack is in disarray and her great-great-grandfather has challenged for Alpha of a London pack, that life goes wonky. Sidheag flees to London to intercept Lord Kingair accompanied by the werewolf arms training teacher, Captain Niall–which will absolutely ruin Sidheag.

Meanwhile, Sophronia and Dimity are released from school to attend the engagement ball of Sophronia’s brother. Who also has garnered invitations? Dimity’s brother Pillover, and Felix– Lord Mersey–both of whom attend the companion school, Bunson’s School for Evil Geniuses. Pillover isn’t much of a fan of Felix, and neither is Sophronia’s (inappropriately close) acquaintance Soap. Soap is a black boy who works as a sootie at Mlle Geraldine’s, tending the boilers and boys who also work below decks.

It seems that Soap and Felix have a bit of a tendresse for Sophronia, thought Sophronia’s of mixed opinion on them. She knows Soap is an unsuitable mate; he has no family, and even worse prospects. But Felix, despite being son of an Earl, is also allied with the Picklemen–a secret society which despises the supernaturals in society and wishes to control communication across the nation. As a friend to Sidheag, and receiving aid from a vampire, Sophronia is not opposed to the supernatural, and the Picklem tried to kill her and Dimity in previous books, so she’s decidedly against Picklemen.

Felix, on the other hand…

And then he was bending down, looking as if he might actually kiss her–in the back of an open cart!

Turns out that this love triangle intensifies as Soap stows away to keep Sophronia from falling into Felix’s affection. Pillover settles this rather succinctly:

He addressed Soap, “Although I respect the courage of a man who wears satin breeches THAT tight, but in the end you’ll have to cede to Lord Mersey. He’s too much of a peer, you understand? And a bit of a prick, as well.”

Interruption of the engagement ball by Sidheag and two werewolves is almost a welcome distraction. Especially when all the mechanicals of the house go absolutely bonkers. Sophronia, Dimity, Sidheag, Felix and Soap depart to bring Sidheag to Scotland, so she can help her uncles in the pack who are likely to be slaughtered now that they have no Alpha and are accused of treason. The ladies dress as boys (scandalous!) to ease travel, and stowaway aboard a train. The trip is entirely eventful.

There are two gunshot victims, two vampire drones tossed over, and three females trained for espionage who pretty much save the day. Felix is “rescued” by his father, the Duke and upstanding Picklemen, but not before declaring himself…

“Ouch, darling, must you be so rough?”
“Just stoppering up your silly mouth.”
“I know a better way.” He pursed his lips at her.

Soap isn’t quite as lucky. Though he does live to see another day.

This series is a hoot, for real. I love the wit, and the banter. It’s truly fun, and the new advent of more teen-speak is welcome. Sophronia’s world is one of strict social mores, but what does one do when confronted by a naked aristocratic werewolf in all his hairy…dangly, glory?

How on earth was Dimity going to react to dangly bits? Will she faint? She’ll probably faint.

Spoiler alert: She didn’t faint.

Still, the book ends with the love triangle slightly bent, Sophronia with a direct patron, and a lot of ‘splainin’ for Felix, Lord Mersey. Can’t wait to find out more…

Interested? You can find WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your library shelves.

Gail Carriger
About the Author:
Ms. Carriger writes steampunk urbane fantasy comedies of manners to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. She then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by a harem of shoes, where she insists on tea imported directly from London and cats that pee into toilets. Her books are all New York Times Bestsellers.

You can find her on her website, Goodreads and twitter. Gail has a fun newsletter the Monthly Chirrup, and you can sign up here.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

A Socialite Becomes THE ACCIDENTAL NEW YORKER–Review and Giveaway


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for Stephanie Wahlstrom’s THE ACCIDENTAL NEW YORKER. This New Adult romance is a charming sequel to THE ACCIDENTAL SOCIALITE, following this intrepid Paige Crawford across the pond to NYC, and still not quite home…

About the Book:
Paige Crawford, former accidental socialite, has managed to shed her Z-list celebrity status and pull her life into a semblance of normalcy. But more importantly, she’s close to proving to her family and herself that she can make it on her own. That is, until she’s fired from her job and left with no choice but to leave London behind for good.

She hops on a plane headed home to Canada, only to decide to give herself one more chance to make it before hers becomes a life of “I told you so’s.” So instead of walking onto her connecting flight, she leaves JFK Airport and steps into the wilds of New York City, where she soon learns her misadventures have only just begun.

And while she juggles writing a popular blog, locating a missing male model, and a sexy new boss who reminds her a little too much of home, Paige is about to learn that “making it” has nothing to do with where you end up, but everything to do with how you get there.


Excerpt:

Just as I was stuffing a large nacho in my mouth, Kelly decided it would be a good time to engage me in conversation.

“So, what’s your plan? Tyler said something about trying to work for a Canadian magazine?”

I nodded and swallowed the chip that I definitely hadn’t chewed enough. I was pretty sure my larynx was bleeding. “Hopefully. {cough} I had some responses today, people asking for work samples and stuff. Fingers crossed.” I smiled and had a sip of margarita, which stung the gash in my throat.

“Cassie is a journalist, maybe she can help you?” offered Kelly.

Cassie looked embarrassed. “I’m a reporter for The Telegraph Online, it’s not print, but I can see if there is anything.”

“That would be amazing.”
People who said New Yorkers were mean obviously hadn’t been to the same New York as I had. But, then I remembered that I needed a dollar tomorrow to make sure Stabby McStabberson outside my apartment didn’t cut me tomorrow.

My Review:
Paige Crawford is all about serendipity. She is impetuous and spontaneous and always looking at life in a “glass half full” sort of way. She stumbled into a journalist job, quite literally, while staying in London, and now that she’s let go, she has to return to Canada. But, en route to Edmonton, she gets a happy curve ball.

Paige meets the attractive Tyler Shaw on her trans-Atlantic flight. Tyler happens to be rather wealthy, and he is enchanted by Paige’s self-deprecating stories of her time in London. She also wins bonus points for not approaching him like a gold digger, and Tyler invites Paige to look him up up if she stays in NYC. It’s a sign, Paige is certain.

She decides to extend her two-hour layover…indefinitely. This savvy traveler lands a room in an apartment in Spanish Harlem and sets down some immediate roots by way of an air mattress and a blog detailing her 182 days as an “Accidental Immigrant”. Paige and Tyler connect and have some laughs, pretty much the same life as her previous London one–hitting odd clubs and enjoying inebriated shenanigans.

Thing is, as the days dwindle and Paige’s prospects for a visa dry up one by one, she has some tough choices to make regarding her future. Can she convince a man to marry her? Could she PAY a man to marry her? Is living in NYC, ultimately, the life she wants? It’s a fun romp with some deep soul-searching and a bit of heartbreak. Don’t expect any steamy scenes, but Paige is a fun MC and her life is just outrageous enough to be entertaining.

Interested? You can find THE ACCIDENTAL NEW YORKER on Goodreads, Amazon (US, and UK).


You can also check out the first book in this series. I found THE ACCIDENTAL SOCIALITE to be pretty charming—especially as I love all things Brit. Click here for my review.

And click the links below for more info and purchase.
Goodreads, Amazon (US, and UK) and iBOOKS.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win

one of 5 ebooks sets of THE ACCITDENTAL SOCIALITE & THE ACCIDENTAL NEW YORKER!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and keep reading my friends!


About the Author:
Growing up in Edmonton, Canada, a significant amount of Stephanie’s time was spent making up and acting out stories. She was studying to be an actress when she realized there weren’t any parts for women being written. So, Stephanie wrote herself a short screenplay just to be in it and quickly realized that writing was her true passion. She graduated from the University of Alberta with an English and Sociology degree and she also has a Bachelor of Motion Picture Arts from Red Deer College. She moved to New York on a whim after University and has written a variety of TV shows including an environmentally-friendly lifestyle series and a tween magazine style show about celebrities. Stephanie moved to London in 2008 and aside from being obsessed with Eggs Benedict, shoes, Fruit Roll Ups and traveling, she also works in Children’s Television.

You can catch up with Stephanie online on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

For Them It Was TOUCH & GO–Review and Giveaway


Hit there! Today I’m celebrating in the release of TOUCH & Go, a sexy contemporary romance from USA Today Bestselling author, Mira Lyn Kelly. This book is a heart-tugging friends-to-lovers tale that had me tied up in knots!

About the Book:
USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly cranks up the heat for two lifelong friends whose most secret longings come true in every delectable way.

Vivacious and successful, Ava Meyers is living her dream life, except for one thing: Ever since childhood, she’s been in love with her best friend…and she’s never admitted it. Back then, Sam Farrow was a damaged young man with a tough past. Now he’s supremely confident, super-sexy, and totally untouchable—until the night when Sam pretends to be Ava’s boyfriend to save her from some unwanted attention. In a moment of weakness, Ava finds out that a long friendship is no match for blistering sexual chemistry.

After years of denying his own feelings, Sam finds that one amazing night with Ava isn’t enough to chase away all the pent-up fantasies. So he proposes they spend a few weeks driving each other wild, exhausting their every desire, and then return to their perfect platonic relationship like nothing ever happened. But Sam’s plan has one fatal flaw: the part where they give each other up. Because the more they let go of their inhibitions, the more they’re tempted to never go back.


My Review:
This friends-to-lovers tale is the second in a series, but can be read as a standalone.

Ava has been in love with Sam since childhood, since she discovered him lonely and thin, hiding near her backyard and she and her brother Ford brought him home. Sam became a regular fixture in Ava’s life, long before she knew of his absent mother and abusive father, and his eventual (pseudo) adoption by her parents.

Sam has been Ava’s protector since childhood, and his best friend, too. He’s never had any serious relationships with women, well, excepting the close comfort of his extreme friendship with Ava. They hang out a lot, and even when he chases a random hook-up, it’s Ava’s cozy couch on which he reclines, watching movies in her apartment directly above his own.

Sam accompanies Ava to a work function as her “boyfriend” in order to keep an unwanted suitor at bay, but everything short-circuits when their charade goes too far. A kiss, then a grope, then a mad dash back to her place for the one thing they’d denied for two decades–physicality.

Ava knows she loves Sam, and she’s too weak to resist the opportunity to have one night with him. Trouble is, one night isn’t enough–for either of them. Sam wants more of the intimacy he’d never felt with his random hook-ups, and Ava struggles with her desire for Sam, and more than the physical release he can give her. Plus, each of them know they need to keep this FWB-thing secret from their close cadre of friends…

Still, they connect again and again, and it’s Ava who finally calls it quits. She’s too overwhelmed loving completely a man who doesn’t quite love her THAT way. She makes the decision to put serious space between them, hoping that distance = separation, but she’s miserable, and Sam’s a mess. Expect unannounced reunions, unwelcome career moves, angry sex, epic declarations, heartbreak, puppies, and an HEA that wet my eyes and spilled a few tears. For real.

The sexytimes are delicious, and Ava and Sam felt so real in their world. I liked their friends and family, and can see this is a series I’d continue reading. The book is self-contained, no cliffhangers just a story I breezed through so quickly I was surprised, and a little deflated, when the end came…I wanted more time with these new imaginary friends! Looks like there will be another book in the series, though I expect it will be the story of another couple. Still, I’m sure Ava and Sam will have cameos. Yay!

Interested? You can find TOUCH & GO on Goodreads, Amazon (US, & UK) B&N, KOBO, and iBOOKS.

TRUTH OR DARE is the first book in this series following the budding romance between Tyler and Ava’s BFF, Maggie.

No doubt it’s a heart/panty melter, like its sequel. While I haven’t read it, I’m sure to add it to my TBR.

Interested? You can find TRUTH OR DARE on Goodreads, Amazon (US, and UK) B&N, KOBO, and iBOOKS.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and keep reading my friends!


About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling Author Mira Lyn Kelly grew up in the Chicago area and earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University. She met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy, only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her back home. Having spent her twenties working and playing in the Windy City, she’s now settled with her husband in rural Minnesota, where their four beautiful children provide an excess of action and entertainment. When she isn’t reading, writing, or running to keep up with the kids, she loves watching movies, blabbing with the girls, and cooking with her husband and friends.

Catch up with Mira Lyn online on Facebook, Twitter,
Goodreads, and her website.

She Was IN EXPERT HANDS–A Review

Okay, so how did you like FSOG? *winks* A lady never tells…. ha!
In any event, the 50 Shades “revolution” as only turned up the stage lights on all the fantastic erotica authors out there, among them Lily Harlem. I’ve been reading Lily’s books for probably 18 months now, and I’ve loved all her scorching stories of connection, and reconnection. Last week, she released IN EXPERT HANDS and I was not disappointed!

Disclaimer: This is an adult erotic read, and I received a review copy from the author, because I’m a big fan…

In Expert HandsAbout the Book:
Imogen White has it all—a high-flying career, a prestigious London home and friends she knows will fight her corner. She’s going up, and she’s in control, she’s also got the hots for one very important, very sexy client.

Kane Ward is a self-made billionaire whose determination to be the best of the best has left him alone. He has everything money can buy, yachts, jets, and villas in all four corners of the globe, but even he can’t buy time to suit his needs.

And his needs are very specific, his desires a particular shade of kink and his tastes anything but vanilla. So when he sets his sights on Imogen it’s a given that things are going to get dark, that pleasure will be laced with pain and determining his success will be measured by her blushes and gasps and cries of delight. But Imogen doesn’t need to worry, she’s in expert hands and her every fantasy is about to come true—and then some she’d never imagined in her wildest dreams.

Excerpt:

“Would you like a drink?” he asked over the sound of the music.

“I’m okay, unless you want one.”

“No. I drank water after my workout.” He urged her forward. “So shall we go straight into a playroom?”

“If that’s what you want?”

He glanced at his watch. “There should be something going on to satisfy our voyeur plans for the evening.”

They stepped toward the bar.

Kane indicated another doorway at the opposite end that had a chain mail curtain hanging from its frame. “It’s through there.”

“Ah, K. Long time no see.” A man wearing a similar jacket to Kane’s but with only two stars over the breast pocket extended his hand.

He didn’t wear a mask and Imogen could see that his smile was genuine.

“Nate, how have you been?” Kane took his hand and they shook.

“Great, been in the City for a few weeks on business. Making the most of my free time by coming here.” Nate turned to Imogen and raised his eyebrows. “You have company.”

“Don’t look so surprised.” Kane squeezed Imogen a little closer.

“I am. You don’t usually bring guests. Special occasion?”

Imogen felt Kane tense. She sensed he wasn’t enjoying having his break from the ordinary commented on.

“No occasion,” Kane said. “Good to see you, Nate, perhaps we’ll get a chance to catch up later.”

“Yep. That would be cool.” Nate held up what appeared to be a glass of fizzy water and nodded. He kept his attention on Imogen. “Enjoy your evening here at Sub Space. I’m sure Master K will address your every need.”

“Thank you.” Imogen smiled then felt her cheeks heat as Nate swept his gaze down her body—starting at the collar, then lingering on her breasts and finally on her boots.

Kane stepped forward, tugging her with him. “This way.”

After several paces she touched the collar. “This, around my neck,” she said quietly. “What would happen if I wasn’t wearing it?”

“It would make you fair bait for men like Nate, who are just out to play in a scene, find someone to hook up with.” He glanced at her. “He had no right to look at you like that.”

“Well, the outfit kind of screams look at me.”

“That’s not the point.”

“Oh.” She was confused. “It’s not?”

“No. You’re with me. I’ve claimed you with a collar. What’s more, I outrank him. He should show more respect.”

“You outrank him?”

“Of course.” He pulled back the chain curtain and opened a door. He ushered Imogen into the new room.

Imogen opened her mouth and stared around, thoughts of Nate vanishing.

Kane moved her from the doorway and into the shadows. He stepped behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist

“What are your first impressions?” he asked by her ear, his lips brushing her lobe and his breath heating a trail down her neck.

She leant back into him, loving being so close, held by him. But she couldn’t concentrate fully on his embrace because of what was before her. “It’s…sexy.”

“Mmm, I’m glad you think so,” he said, the soft material of his mask rubbing against her temple. “What else?”

She looked around. The room was sectioned into six large cubicles, each one decorated in dark tones and with a combination of low lights and spotlights. Each three-walled area held a bed or a table or some other piece of equipment in the center. Three spaces were occupied.

There was an audience, too, couples, singles, threesomes sitting on more large sofas. Imogen could only see the backs of their heads. Some appeared enraptured, others holding quiet conversations.

“Tell me,” Kane urged, slipping his hand over the smooth material covering her waist. “What do you think about that, over there, to your left.”

Imogen was already staring in that direction. It had been the main thing that had captured her attention.

A naked woman was bent double, tied to a skinny padded table with her ankles fastened to the legs and her arms stretched out on two platforms, crucifix-like. Her skin was pale except for her behind, which was scarlet.

Beside her stood a man—dressed like Kane in black trousers and a velvet jacket—wielding a flogger. He walked around the woman as if surveying the marks on her ass then cracked down the many strands over her skin.

Imogen jerked and a tingle traveled over her buttocks, as though her nerves were empathetic with what the woman on the table was going through.

The man hit again.

The woman groaned and moved her head, her face coming into Imogen’s view. She had her eyes screwed up tight and her lips were parted. There was a flush of red on her cheeks that matched the rosy blush on her backside.

“Talk to me,” Kane said softly.

“Is she enjoying it?” Imogen asked, although she was pretty sure she knew the answer. The woman appeared to be in ecstasy, as though she’d folded in on herself and only her body and sensation existed.

“Very much so,” Kane said. “Master Zen is very capable of working his sub towards orgasm just through striking her.”

“Are they just…playing a scene or are they…?”

“Lovers, committed to each other? Yes, actually those two are. They’re regulars here and live the lifestyle.”

“The lifestyle?”

“Yes.” He slid his hand to her collar and spanned it with his thumb and fingers. “They live full time as Dom and sub. He commands and she obeys.”

“It sounds…old-fashioned.” Imogen wasn’t sure about the obeying thing. She’d known friends who’d purposely had that removed from their wedding vows.

“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” Kane went on, smoothing his fingers around her collar and brushing her skin.

A small shiver ran down Imogen’s spine.

The woman was struck again—several times in fast succession. Imogen stared at the spectacle.

“You see,” Kane said. “She needs to be adored, cared for, taken through life by the man she loves. He needs to protect her, satisfy her, ensure that everything is perfect for her at all times. That is what makes him feel complete.”

“And that includes this. Beating?”

“Beating, spanking, flogging, whatever you want to call it, yes, it includes this, because that’s what they both enjoy, it’s their thing. It’s their kink.”

My Review:
Imogen is a successful independent woman running an investment bank branch. She has worked hard for to gain her position and her own life–a very different lifestyle than her own meager upbringing. A billionaire client of the bank, Kane Ward is one of her semi-regular appointments; they meet every three or four months to go over his portfolio. While Imogen finds this a tad more “in touch” than most of her uberwealthy clients, she can’t deny she looks forward to meeting with the sexy Mr. Ward.

This appointment is a bit more than the usual however. Mr. Ward, Kane, that is, wants Imogen’s consultation on his accounts, but insists the meeting must happen at an outside location, and Imogen must wear a pretty dress and a hat. Well! Okay, okay, Kane is ranked #18 on Britain’s wealthiest list, and Imogen DOES NOT want to lose his banking business. So, she complies. Only to learn that his private helicopter is flying them to luncheon meeting in his private box at Ascot. On Ladies Day.

Imogen can’t help being a bit swept away by Kane. Still, she’s a professional, and she insists on comporting herself as such. So, she agrees to accompany him on a business trip to assess new business interests that her bank can help–plus, Kane wants Imogen’s personal opinion on how to grow this new enterprise. She’s nervous, but willing.

Nothing prepares Imogen for this whirlwind trip to NYC, however. Private jet. Penthouse suite. Kinky sex club. Wait, what?

That’s right. Kane is setting up sex clubs and wants a woman’s opinion so that they are appealing to both sexes. Turns out delicious Kane is a Master Dom, and he had identified beautiful, professional, meticulous Imogen long, long ago as the woman he’d like to wear his collar.

Over the course of a few intense days, they experience a good bit of vanilla, kinky and downright BDSM-type smexytimes. Their feelings are true and fierce. Kane wants Imogen, badly, and wants to experience his complete dream relationship: a 24/7 power exchange. Though Kane has loved the idea of Imogen for two years, did he really understand her?

Imogen has desired Kane, silently, nearly as long as she’s known him, but could she handle the type of relationship he desires? Would she even want to? She’s sure lots of women would love a billionaire buying everything they desire, and doing whatever kinky play he wished for that kind of security, but Imogen is already more than self-sufficient. She likes working, and aspires to become the first female board member of her bank. Could she abandon her career and dreams to become Kane’s arm jewelry and sex-pet? Would she want to?

I really appreciated the step-wise development of this relationship. I loved Imogen and her strong goals. I liked Kane; he was kind, romantic and compassionate, while being a bit dim in the emotions department. I wanted him to “get it”, to understand that Imogen had greater purpose in her life than to jet-set around as his partner, and I think he finally did. Imogen established all the rules in this relationship, and nothing went forward without her consent, and approval. I liked how these two characters came from independent lives, and were able to forge a path that celebrated the best parts of each other.

A great read for people who enjoy BDSM stories, though the BDSM elements were very light. The focus here was on the power exchange and a healthy way to negotiate a relationship within that framework. I think the resolution of the plot was excellent, and I’d read more on this couple, for sure.

Interested? You can find IN EXPERT HANDS on Goodreads and Amazon (USUK, Ca,  AU).

IN EXPERT HANDS has a spin-off short story, IN SAFE HANDS which is featured in the Brit Babes SEXY JUST GOT RICH anthology. (My Review and Purchase links!) Go grab your copy – it’s available from all good ebook retail outlets at a bargain introductory price – and let yourself fall into the dark, erotic world of the Ward brothers, but remember to call them Sir if you’re wearing their collar!

meet the ward brothers(1)

About the Author:
Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is an award-winning author of contemporary erotic romance. She writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including Ellora’s Cave, HarperCollins, Totally Bound, Xcite and Sweetmeats Press. Her HOT ICE series regularly receives high praise and industry nominations.

Before turning her hand to writing Lily Harlem worked as a trauma nurse and her latest HarperCollins release, Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse, draws on her many experiences while nursing in London. Lily also self-publishes and The Glass Knot, The Silk Tie, Breathe You In (USA Today Reviewer’s Recommended Read of 2013) and Scored have been blessed with many 5* reviews since their release.

Lily also co-authors with Natalie Dae and publishes under the name Harlem Dae – check out the Sexy as Hell Box Set Trilogy available exclusively on Amazon – The Novice, The Player and The Vixen – and That Filthy Book which has been hailed as a novel ‘every woman should read’.

One thing you can be sure of, whatever book you pick up by Ms Harlem, is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!

You can catch Lily on her website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Author Page, Pinterest. She’s also got a newsletter, Goodreads and Google +.

Check out her blogs on Raw Talent, BritBabes, and Hockey Romance!

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Valentine’s Sales Spectacular and Kindle Fire HD Giveaway!

 

Hi there! Today I’m sharing an awesome sale on romantic reads for less than a buck! Plus, scroll down to the very end to enter the AWESOME giveaway for one of 2 Kindle Fire HD’s or one of 5 $10 Amazon gift cards. (You think people never win this stuff, but I won an iPad mini just last month!)

 

Valentine’s Weekend Sale Spectacular
18 books on sale for only 99c each

 

 

Love’s Second Chance by L.P. Dover
 
AMAZON US / UK
 
Never Let Me Go Box Set by Jessica Gibson
 
AMAZON US / UK

 

On the Dotted Line by Kim Carmichael
 
AMAZON US / UK
 
Twisted Lies by Sedona Venez
AMAZON US / UK

 

Wanderlust by Lacey Weatherford
& Belinda Boring
 
AMAZON US / UK

 

The Book Affair Volume One
 
AMAZON US / UK

 

Temporary Bliss by B.J. Harvey
 
AMAZON US / UK
 
Sands Through the Hourglass by T.M. Schaefer
 
AMAZON US / UK

 

Chasing Jenna by Micki Fredricks
 
AMAZON US / UK
 
No Brainer by A.J. Lape
 
AMAZON US / UK

 

The Mystic Wolves Box Set Volume One
by Belinda Boring
 
AMAZON US / UK
 
Talented by Sophie Davis
 
AMAZON US / UK

 

Free to Try by C.W. Nightly
 
AMAZON US / UK
 
Whispers by H.K. Savage
AMAZON US / UK

 

Hanna, Hanna, One-and-Two by Myndi Shafer
 
AMAZON US / UK
 
The Battle for Arcanon Major by Alexandra May
 
AMAZON US / UK

 

Fragile Facade by Sophie Davis
 
AMAZON US / UK
 
Unforgettable by Sophie Davis
 
AMAZON US / UK

 

 

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win
one of TWO Kindle Fire HD’s or one of FIVE $10 GC to Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, Happy Valentine’s, and keep reading my friends!

Captivated by BEAR, OTTER AND THE KID–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing the love for a M/M romance I’d had in my TBR for, well, TOO long. I get nervous about books not living up to their hype, and so many people loved BEAR, OTTER, AND THE KID…I was afraid I wouldn’t. Silly V!

Bear, Otter, and the Kid (Bear, Otter, and the Kid, #1)About the Book:

Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.

Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world… something or someone.

My Review:

Bear McKenna is one day shy of his 18th birthday when his mother takes off with her latest loser of a boyfriend and 95% of his savings leaving Bear with $137.50 and a forged Power of Attorney so he’ll be able to manage the legalities of caring for his 6 y/o half-brother, Tyson. Mother Of The Year, right?

The story begins three years later. Bear has done a valiant job raising the Kid, as Ty Is called. Bear and his on-again, off-again girlfriend Anna and his elderly neighbor Mrs. Paquinn manage the care of Kid, but it’s nearly summer and Bear is looking forward to the return of his BFF, Creed, from college. What he doesn’t expect is the return of Oliver (Otter), Creed’s older brother, from his three year self-exile in San Diego. Otter is gay, and he and Bear shared a drunken kiss three years before, the very night Otter up and left for Cali.

Bear has always wondered why, but so many people have left him, he doesn’t expect any different.

But, things are. Otter is depressed and Creed wants Bear to find out why. Turns out Otter has silently loved Bear for a long, long time. He never did anything about it because Bear was straight, and a child, comparatively. There is an 8 year age difference.

The writing is so beautiful; we are in Bear’s head throughout and we see his slow changes, his gradual acceptance, his deep love for Kid, and Anna, and Creed….and Otter. Their summer of love is tender and tragic, by turns. It seems, this summer, all the chickens come home to roost. Some good, some vile. The absolute love that Bear has for Kid, the way his life is forfeit to caring for his wise, eccentric, ecoterrorist-in-training, 9-going-on-60 year old brother is spectacular, and humbling.

This book. THIS book. It is amazing. It is broken and tender and loving and lost and I am better for knowing Bear and Otter and the Kid’s story. I want to hug each of them, and make their sorrows cease, but I don’t have to because they can do that even better than I can.

This a romance, but it is also a story, an epic poem of love lost and gained and squandered and regained. I loved every one of the words. Even the bad words, even the hate, because it made the love that much more beautiful.

Interested? You can find BEAR, OTTER, AND THE KID on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, AllRomance, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

I’ve already bought the sequel. I’m gonna squeeze that one in just as soon as I can!

About the Author:

When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.

He lives with a neurotic cat in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It’s hot there, but he doesn’t mind. He dreams about one day standing at Stonehenge, just so he can say he did.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Ten Steps on HOW TO UNBREAKUP–Review and Giveaway

how to unbreakup tour banner

Hi there! Today I’m sharing in the blog tour for Rebekah Purdy’s HOW TO UNBREAKUP. This contemporary YA Romance is a fun, innocent romantic tale of one girl trying to fix a relationship, without all the Hollywood hijinks. Okay, okay there are a few hijinks.

How to UnbreakupAbout the Book:
First rule of breakups: There’s no going back.
For three years, seventeen-year-old Grace Evers has regretted breaking up with Sage Castle.

That day, she lost her boyfriend and best friend. And let’s be honest, it’s impossible to just be friends with the one person who gets you, faults and all, and loved you anyway. It’s impossible not to think about how it felt to be held by him, or the way he looked right before he was about to kiss you with the most perfectly yummy kiss goodnight.

And now that things are over between them, they’ve become strangers to one another. Sage won’t even look at Grace, let alone talk to her!

Breakup life sucks and Grace is utterly miserable, doing whatever she can to ease the pain of losing Sage. She’s spent the better part of high school pretending to be something she’s not and hanging out with people who probably wouldn’t notice if she wasn’t there. Crappy dates, backstabbing friends, and Sage’s cold shoulder have taken their toll.

So when her parents propose going away to their house on Lake Michigan for the summer, Grace is thrilled. No more massively bad dates with horrible kissers or lunch with frienemies. Just three months of swimming,
hiking, and relaxing before senior year starts.

But when Grace learns Sage and his family will be joining them, she readies herself for a totally awkward family vacation of disastrous proportions. How can it be anything but awful if Sage won’t even acknowledge she exists?

This is it, Grace’s last chance to get Sage back and unbreakup.

My Review:
Probably need to check for cavities now; this is a super sweet, innocent YA romance.

Grace and Sage were childhood friends, the best of friends, and each other’s first romance/kiss. They grew up together in wholesome Michigan, with parents who are BFFs and plan joint trips. In eighth grade Sage asked Grace to be his girlfriend, and she agreed, but it got a bit much for her to handle. Her friends complained that she was always with him, and she felt like she didn’t have an identity of her own. Plus, she didn’t really feel ready, anymore, to be in a relationship. And, I felt this was ALL AWESOME. I love when young girls are cool being alone. Grace wanted to maintain their strong friendship, but Sage never talked to her after that, and started skipping their joint family get-togethers.

Three years goes by and neither Grace nor Sage has ever dated anyone. Grace knows she’s still hung up on Sage, but he still holds a grudge. It’s the summer following junior year, and the big surprise vacation is again to link the two families for a summer long rental beach house in the UP (Upper Peninsula). Grace is anxious, seeing Sage again at close quarters, but Sage is hostile. Hell hath no fury like a scorned Sage, it seems.

Sage’s sister, Allie, can clearly see how Grace cares for Sage, however–and Allie knows how depressed Sage was after their break-up, so Allie decides to help Grace win him back. They devise a list of ten tasks that Grace should attempt to unfreeze Sage’s heart, and *hopefully* win him back. Of course this plan is destined to crash and burn…hijinks ensue.

In the meantime, while Grace works up the courage to check off Item 10 on her list (apologize for hurting Sage all those years ago, and confess her deep love), he finds a local girl who is very much interested in him. Lila is a pretty pin-up of a girl who shares none of Sage’s interests, but does captivate his attention. Her elder brother, Logan, is equally attractive, and interested in Grace. Allie insists that this may be helpful (Item 6: Make Sage jealous) but Grace isn’t the mercenary sort. She doesn’t discourage Logan, but she keeps everything friendly, even confiding her true feelings for Sage to a very understanding Logan.

Thing is, as the days and weeks pass, Grace realizes that Sage is happier now, and that he seems to get on well with Lila. Grace completes her task list, leaving it all up to Sage.

Well, this is YA romance, so we get an HEA, but we take the angsty-way around to it.

The story is well-told, with only a few slapstick elements, and a whole lotta good-natured ribbing and family bonding. The tension between Sage and Grace is always high, and this non-courtship is fun to experience. Sage and Grace have a lot of shared history, and rediscovering together it is touching. I like how level-headed Grace is, she doesn’t get catty, or plan sabotage missions against Lila; she simply tries to reconnect with her oldest friend, and hopes that he might see her for the girl who loves him now, not the one who broke his heart before.

Interested? You can find HOW TO UNBREAKUP on Goodreads, and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link link below for your chance to win
a fun Star Wars-themed prize pack or ebooks!
a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Good luck, and keep reading my friends!

Rebekah L. PurdyAbout the Author
Rebekah Purdy grew up in Michigan, where she spent many late nights armed with a good book and a flashlight. When not hiding at her computer and getting lost in her stories, she enjoys reading, singing, soccer, swimming, football, camping, playing video games and hanging out with her kids. She loves the unexplainable like Bigfoot, the Dogman, and the Loch Ness Monster (lots of good story material)! She admits to still having all the books she bought throughout her
childhood and teen years, and she may or may not have an obsession with anything chocolate…
You can find Rebekah online on her website, Facebook, twitter and Goodreads.
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