Happy Book Birthday to HOMETOWN COWBOY Excerpt and Giveaway!

hometowncowboy_launchdayblitzHi there! I’m sure excited to share a release day blast for a new cowboy romance from Sara Richardson. I really liked MORE THAN A FEELING, so I’m sure HOMETOWN COWBOY will be a great read, too.

hometowncowboy_coverAbout the book:
In the New York Times bestselling tradition of Jennifer Ryan, Maisey Yates, and B. J. Daniels comes the first book in Sara Richardson’s western contemporary romance series about bull-riding brothers.

NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A COWBOY

Jessa Mae Love is done with relationships. No matter how tempting he might be, she cannot—will not—fall for a man like Lance Cortez. The outrageously handsome cowboy is practically a living legend in Colorado, as famous for riding bulls as he is for breaking hearts. What would a big-time rodeo star like him see in a small-town veterinarian who wears glasses, rescues animals, and cries when watching rom-coms? Turns out, plenty.

Raising bulls, riding the circuit, and looking after his ailing father—Lance never stands still for long. Yet Jessa catches his attention, and the more she tries to resist him, the more he wants her. When she agrees to move to the ranch to keep an eye on Lance’s dad, Jessa tells him they have to keep it professional: no flirting, no sweet talk, and definitely no kissing. But with Jessa now living under his roof, that’s easier said than done . . .

How about a little taste?

Holding her breath, she stood perfectly still and quiet—minus the loud drumbeat of her heart.

The knocking didn’t stop.

“Hello?” A man’s deep rumbling voice sent her heart off to the races again. There was something vaguely familiar about it . . .

“It’s Lance Cortez. I need to talk to you.”

Lance! Oh. Holy. No. This was not happening. She gazed longingly at the other side of the living room to the safe darkness of the tiny hallway that led to her bedroom. There was no way she’d get through there without him seeing something. Like her ass, maybe.

Get the front door with the windows, the ignorant Home Depot salesman had advised. It’ll let in the most light. Yes, and now it would also give Lance a clear view of a very full moon.

She flattened her body against the cabinets, craning her neck, and sure enough, he stood right there on her front porch, now peering through that lovely window on the door. Oh, god. Her lungs heaved so hard it felt like the Bold Lift Bra was about to bust at the seams. Calm down, she instructed herself. He’ll go away. He had to go away.

“Jessa! I know you’re in there. Your car’s here,” he called again, rapping the door with that big manly fist of his. “I need to talk to you. It’s an emergency.”

Tellme about it! Maybe she could call 9-1-1 and have him escorted off her porch . . .

Footsteps thudded on the front porch, moving closer.

Sweet lord! Lance Cortez was peeking through the bay window!

“Hang on a sec!” she yelled, then hit the deck, pressing her body against the wood floor. Lifting her head, she assessed the distance to the hallway. It might as well have been twenty miles.

Okay.Think. What would Naomi do? That was an easy one. She never would’ve gotten herself into this situation in the first place because Naomi had the ability to get dressed without the assistance of coffee.

“Jessa, I really need a word,” Lance called again.

“Be there in a minute!” Despite the fact that she was basically naked, sweat itched on her back. Her room. She had to get to her room. And there was only one way. She’d have to army crawl. As long as she stayed on this side of the couch, Lance probably wouldn’t be able to see her from the window. It was risky, but what other option did she have? He obviously wasn’t going away.

Heregoes. Trying to remain one with the floor, she squirmed forward, shimmying past the bookshelf. Squirm, pull, squirm, pull. She edged against the couch, bare skin grazing the cold wood planks.

Yes. Yes! It was working. Almost halfway now . . .

A scratch stung her hip as something sharp caught the delicate strap of her thong.

Uh oh. Contorting her body, she tried to get a better look. A loose staple from the re-upholstery job she’d done on the couch had hooked her adorable brand-new panties. Damn it! She should’ve known a staple gun wasn’t enough hold a couch cover together. Thanks a lot, Pinterest.

“Jessa!” More pounding.

“Hold on! Give me a minute!” she called, trying to wring the panic from her tone. What the hell was his problem, anyway? Couldn’t he take a hint? She pushed onto her side to free herself from the staple, but her legs smacked into the end table. The whole thing toppled over with a deafening crash. Ow! Shit! She rolled over, gripping the backs of her calves. At the same time, the thong stretched, ripped, and snapped, falling to the floor underneath her.

“Jessa?” Lance yelled through the door. “What was that?” The doorknob clanged like he was trying to get in. “Is everything okay?”

Hot tears filled her eyes. “Fine!” Minus the throbbing in her legs and the fact that she’d just shredded a fifty-dollar thong.

“Are you sure?” he persisted, the sonofabitch. “That sounded bad. Is the key still out here?”

The key? Oh, dear god, the key! Her dad had always left a house key underneath the flowerpot . . .

A new wave of terror surged, blinding her with white-hot fear.

The sound of metal clanged in the lock.

“No!” She squealed, scrambling to hide herself behind a small square throw pillow from the couch. “Please! Don’t come—”

The door sprang open.

Right as Lance stepped around the couch, she shifted the pillow to cover her lower hemisphere.

“What’re you—?” He halted like he’d been shot, his gaze bouncing from her eyes to her bra and then, sure enough, down to the pillow.

“Turn around! Cover your eyes,” she wailed. For the love of god! Humiliation curdled into anger. “Why’d you have to come in? Who just barges into someone’s house, huh?” Why couldn’t he have waited on the porch like she’d asked?

“Uh . . . ” He seemed to be frozen in place. “Sorry. I heard the crash. Thought you were hurt . . .”

Was he gawking? His lips had parted with surprise. And then there were his eyes. Wide and unblinking. Men didn’t usually look at her like that . . .

“What the hell happened?” he asked, finally finding the decency to turn around and stare out the bay window.

Securing the pillow against her lower abdomen with one hand, she covered her Boldly Lifted chest with her arm in case he decided to peek again. “I had a bit of an accident.” She should make something up. Something really exciting. Something like she and a mystery man were playing this kinky game . . .

“Are you hurt?” Lance asked, his head swiveling toward her again.

She kept herself covered. Oh, yes. She was hurt. On more than one level. “I’m fine,” she choked out. “Can you get my robe? It’s hanging up in the bathroom at the end of the hall.”

“Right. Your robe.” He sort of side-shuffled his way down the hall and back, before tossing the robe at her without turning around.

Clutching her salvation, she scurried up to a standing position, the backs of her calves still aching, and wrapped the fabric around her, tying the belt securely at her waist.

Lance peeked over his shoulder as if to check on her, then turned all the way around.

She wasn’t sure if she was out of breath due to the terrible thong ordeal or to the fact that the elusive Lance Cortez looked so different up close. She’s seen him around town since she’d been back, but she’d never looked at him that closely. He’d never looked at her the way he was now, either. Eyes open slightly wider than a normal person’s, lips parted like he couldn’t remember what it was he’d wanted to say.

Yes, well, neither could she. Not with the sight of his dark hair, which curled slightly at the edges. It was mussed like he’d been nervously running his hand through it all morning. And those eyes. An arctic blue-gray. Cutting. He wore a dark red flannel shirt with the sleeves pushed up over his bulky forearms. His jeans were faded and worn like he worked hard, which she’d heard he did.

“So . . .” His voice had this deep soothing reverberation that made her want to curl up against him. “Did you fall or something?”

Or something. “I was in the kitchen making coffee,” she informed him, trying to smooth her hair into soft waves like it had been before she’d gone to battle with the couch. “Wasn’t expecting anyone to show up at my door . . . ” Especially the enigma that was Lance Cortez. “So I panicked and was trying to get back to my room without giving you a show.” Which was clearly too much to ask from the universe.

“Oh.” His gaze seemed to fixate on the leopard-print thong that lay a mere two feet from his boots.

As swiftly as possible, she swiped it off the floor and shoved it into the pocket of her robe. “Um. Did you need something, Lance?” Because her humiliation meter was about tapped out for the day and it wasn’t even seven o’clock.

This one sounds like a hoot!

Interested? You can find HOMETOWN COWBOY on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iBooks, Kobo, Indiebound and Books-A-Million.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of TEN copies of HOMETOWN COWBOY.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Sara RichardsonAbout the Author:
Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado’s rugged mountains. She’s climbed to the top of a 14,000-foot peak at midnight, swam through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

Eventually, Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After five years in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now, she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Still indulging her adventurous spirit, Sara lives and plays in Colorado with her saint of a husband and two young sons. Her first contemporary romance, No Better Man, was released by Grand Central forever 2015.

Catch up with Sara online on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Out Today: FOR HIS EYES ONLY Excerpt & Book Blast

fheo-available-nowHi there! Today I’m sharing a book blast for a new romantic suspense novel out today from Lexi Blake. FOR HIS EYES ONLY pairs a willing woman and a protective man–against some pretty unsavory characters. I’ll share a review for this one in the coming week. In the meantime…

forhiseyesonly_highresAbout the book:
A night he can’t forget
Five years ago, Nick Markovic found himself consumed by his quest for vengeance. The one time he managed to find peace was in the arms of Hayley Dalton. Being with her was like bathing in sunlight, and he ached to feel that again, but he couldn’t. He gave his oath to Hayley’s cousin Desiree, his partner at McKay-Taggart and Knight, that he’d never let his darkness infect Hayley’s innocent world.

A spark she can’t put out
It was years before that Hayley offered everything she had to Nick. After that one amazing night, all she wanted was to be his forever. Unfortunately, Nick’s reaction was to walk away from her and never look back. The warm and caring man she’d discovered was gone, and after Des’s death, he’d only grown colder. But when Hayley finds herself in mortal danger, she’s forced to seek protection from the man who broke her heart.

A flame that threatens to consume them both
Haunted by the women he failed, Nick can’t allow himself to grow close to Hayley again. Running to stay ahead of the powerful forces that endanger their lives, they travel from the lush Garden in London to the glittering lights of Rio. As the threat against her becomes clearer, he realizes that to keep her safe he must confront the demons from his past, even if it costs him a future with the woman he loves.

How about a little taste?

Nick went back to staring at the report. “Hayley’s not mine. She was Desiree’s cousin. Now she’s my client.”

Who had been tired the night before and that was why she’d said the things she’d said. This morning she’d seemed much more sensible. After she’d had some sleep and a shower and had straightened herself up, she’d been quiet and seemingly reflective. She was very likely embarrassed by what had been said the night before.

I would get safety from murderers and I would get orgasms. I’m sorry, Nicky, you’re going to tell me how that’s a bad deal for me.

He was going to make sure she understood that his protection wasn’t based on whether or not she slept with him.

Because he wasn’t sleeping with her. He couldn’t hurt her that way again.

“So she was your old lover’s cousin,” Owen mused. “The lover you weren’t exclusive with and who wouldn’t marry you. The pretty girl who looks at you like you’re the sun in the sky is her cousin.”

“She looks at me like she would look at man who can save her.”

“I can save her.” Owen’s eyes lit up, his brows waggling. “Maybe she’ll look at me like that.”

Anger flared through his system. “Don’t you dare. I told you I would take care of her.”

His arms crossed over his big chest and Nick knew he’d been had. “Well, that answers the question with more honesty. You can pretend, but you like the girl. And if you honestly don’t then you need to know that the boys got a good look at her last night. If she’s going to be hanging about, she should be ready for some serious male attention.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The lads talked it over last night and decided there’s no dibs on this one. They all saw her at pretty much the same time. They looked over that dead body and saw her walking in the hall and that was when the fighting started. We all sat down and decided no dibs on her. She’ll get to pick. You should know that Sasha and Jax have decided if she picks either of them, they’re willing to share. I don’t play that way. That’s something I do know about meself. No need for you to be telling me that tale. If there’s going to be some sharing in the bedroom, it’s going to be the traditional kind between a man and a woman and her stacked best friend. That’s what I say.”

“You tell those boys to stay away from her or they will be dealing with me. They will not like to be dealing with me. I will put up with many things from them. They can poke all the corpses they like. They can punch each other. I do not care. They touch Hayley and I will be caring.”

“Wow, now you do sound Russian. A scary Russian. Still, I think if you don’t want the girl, shouldn’t she be allowed to choose? Think about it. It could be fun.”

“Are we talking about the lost boys and their battle for the new chick?” Kayla strode in, her hair in a high ponytail. It bounced as she walked, a testament to her seemingly ever-sunny personality. “I had babysitting duty last night and they kept talking about her even after lights out. Bad boys. I had a plan though. I think we make them compete in a beauty pageant. Hayley gets to judge.”

“I’m judging a beauty pageant?” Hayley followed behind Kay, and both women were followed by Charlotte Taggart and Penelope Knight. It looked like Hayley was rapidly being accepted by the women on his team.

That was not necessarily a good thing. The women on his team could create chaos like no others.

“That sounds like fun,” Charlotte said with a smile. “I think we should require Speedos for the bathing suit competition. No boring board shorts. If Hayley’s picking a lover, she needs to see some booty.”

Hayley stopped, her cheeks going the sweetest color of pink. “Wait. What?”

Penelope put a hand on her arm. “They’re teasing you, dear. Don’t worry about it. The lads will be very polite. Though you should expect some suitors while you’re here. Especially if you come down to the dungeon.”

Now he was the one flushing. “Excuse me?”

Hayley shook her head as she joined him at the table. “It’s nothing. I was just talking to the girls. Did you get the report? Penny said the Dallas office had found something.”

He was all too aware that they weren’t alone. Damon and Ian walked in with Brody Carter and Walter Bennett. The four men settled into chairs as the women joined them. Nick held out a chair for Hayley. He would have to remember that he couldn’t leave her alone for a minute or someone would be whispering in her ear, giving her ideas she shouldn’t have.

Like visiting The Garden on a play night.

It wasn’t happening.

Interested? You can find FOR HIS EYES ONLY on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Google Play.

lexi_blakeAbout the Author:
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

Catch up with Lexi on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Amazon.
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Getting Wicked in FASCINATED-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M historical romance by Jess Michaels. Set in her Wicked Woodleys series, FASCINATED brings two solitary gentlemen together, under the guise of a country house party planned by a scheming sister.

fascinatedAbout the book:
A sexy M/M historical romance in the Wicked Woodleys universe from USA Today bestselling author Jess Michaels

It’s been over a decade since Aaron Condit’s lover, Viscount Noah Seagate died. While he has had temporary diversions, he hasn’t had a real relationship since. But now he’s been invited to the home of his best friend, Leticia Blackwood and he’ll be faced with deep temptation in the form of her brother, Griffin Merrick.

Griffin has seen Aaron at certain clubs for a long time and he cannot deny that he wants the handsome solicitor. But secrets from far in the past and a desire not to hurt someone they both love stand between them. Time spent alone leads to a passionate affair, but only time will tell if they can overcome all that keeps them apart. And if they’re willing to risk losing everything in order to find love.

My Review:
I haven’t read any of the five preceding M/F novels in this series, and that was just fine because this M/M novella can handle being a standalone. Many of the characters are in the fifth book, so it might be enjoyable to start there, but it wasn’t necessary.

It’s the 1820s in western England and Letty Blackwood’s house party is about to get hot. Letty’s fond of her younger brother Griffin Merrick. She’s also great friends with, wait for it, her late husband’s former lover, Aaron Condit. That’s why she invites both of them to the country estate at Woodley for a large houseparty that’s set to span two weeks. Griffin and Letty’s mother can’t wait to see Griffin settled, and continues to push him to meet the women who come to the house for balls and tea, but Griffin’s desired Aaron for several years now–ever since he’d seen Aaron at risque clubs for men of their ilk–those who find other men attractive.

Aaron’s more than attracted to Griffin, but he’d hurt Letty once–her willingness to forgive both her late husband Noah and himself for their covert love affair is one thing. Falling for her only brother? Unthinkable. He won’t hurt her again. Still Griffin’s determined to spend as much time together as possible, and Aaron hasn’t had a stead lover since Noah died. Griffin’s sure that Aaron’s the man for him, and he’s got a plan to keep him close in a way that gentlemen of their station can–if only Aaron will give over his apprehensions about Letty’s sensibilities. Learning of Aaron and Noah’s love, and hearing how open his sister was to their relationship gives Griffin pause…and ideas.

This is a short and sweet love story that has a good bit of tension and a satisfying ending. I honestly could have spent a whole novel with these two! Letty is great, and her little machinations to put Aaron and Griffin together were heartfelt and charming. I’m used to reading English historical fiction written by British English speakers, so I kind of missed the more staid and quaint grammar and syntax, but that’s a small quibble.

Interested? You can find FASCINATED on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I read a review copy provided by NetGalley.

About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling author Jess Michaels likes geeky stuff, Vanilla Coke Zero, anything coconut, cheese, fluffy cats, smooth cats, any cats, many dogs and people who care about the welfare of their fellow humans. She watches too much daytime court shows, but just enough Once Upon a Time (Captain Swan FOR LIFE). She is lucky enough to be married to her favorite person in the world and live in a beautiful home on a golf course lake in Northern Arizona.

When she’s not obsessively checking her steps on Fitbit or trying out new flavors of Greek yogurt, she writes erotic historical romances with smoking hot alpha males and sassy ladies who do anything but wait to get what they want. She has written for numerous publishers and is now fully indie and loving every moment of it (well, almost every moment).

Jess always loves to hear from readers! You can find her on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Coming Soon! THE COPPERSMITH FARMHOUSE Book Blast & Giveaway

coppersmith_banner_prereleaseHi there! I’m helping spread the word on a new contemporary romance coming out March 9th from Devney Perry. THE COPPERSMITH FARMHOUSE features a city-slicking gal meeting the hometown sheriff–as they tussle over possession of an old farmhouse.

Scroll down for an excerpt and enter to win one of THREE $100 Amazon GC, too!
coppersmith-coverAbout the book:
One old farmhouse brought them together. It could also tear them apart.
Gigi has just uprooted her whole world to start a new life. The unexpected gift of a farmhouse in small-town Montana is just what she and her daughter need to escape big-city loneliness. The last thing she needs is attitude from the town’s sheriff, the most perfectly attractive and ruggedly handsome man she’s ever laid eyes on—and a complete jerk.

Jess knows all about women like Gigi. Beautiful. Sexy. Scheming. She’s stolen his sanctuary, the farmhouse that should have been his. But along with a face full of freckles, she’s got a sharp wit and a backbone of steel—something he doesn’t discover until after making a complete fool of himself. If he can earn back her trust and win her heart, he might just find the home he’s always needed.

How about a little taste?

“Coffee’s getting cold, Georgia.” He leaned on the counter with his forearms.
Forearms that were tanned and sinuous. Forearms that I really wanted to touch, with veins I really wanted to trace as they snaked their way across the muscle.
Forearms I should not be thinking about.
I needed to focus. My mission? Get Jess away from my ER counter.
“Did you poison it, Sheriff?” I asked, grabbing my cup.
He chuckled but didn’t answer.
The sheriff probably wouldn’t poison me and more caffeine was a necessity, so I took a healthy pull.
Bliss.
“Thank you,” I muttered.
I had no desire to feel indebted to Jess but also didn’t want to be rude. I wasn’t a rude person, normally. Something about him brought it out in me.
“So why the coffee, Sheriff? And how did you know what I liked?” My curiosity was piqued.
He smirked and took a drink from his own cup. What he didn’t do was answer me.
“You do realize a smirk is not an answer.”
Still no response.
“Seriously, what’s going on?”
He sighed. For once, his beautiful eyes weren’t glaring at me. They were kind and gentle. He could melt me with those eyes.
Damn.
“I made some wrong assumptions about your relationship with Ben. Been an asshole this week. Sorry.”
Yep. Hell had frozen over. Why wasn’t it on the news?
In less than twenty-four hours, Jess had changed personalities. He’d been utterly mean to me last night, and now here he was being nice, buying me coffee and making apologies.
I appreciated his admission but I wasn’t going to let down my guard. One apology wasn’t enough to erase the way he’d treated me. To make me think he was as wonderful as everyone professed him to be.
“Would you mind expanding a bit on these assumptions? I’m interested to know what type of relationship you thought I had with an eighty-one-year-old man.”
His answer was a wide smile filled with perfect, straight white teeth.
Eff.
During our previous and rather unpleasant encounters, I hadn’t seen Jess smile. So far, I’d only gotten scowls, glares and smirks.
But damn if his smile wasn’t perfect.
Shivers erupted across my skin. My cheeks flushed and there was a throbbing sensation between my thighs. My core temperature skyrocketed a couple hundred degrees.
I was hot for the town sheriff. I was hot for a man who I absolutely did not like one bit.

Interested? You can pre-order THE COPPERSMITH FARMHOUSE on Amazon (US, UK and Can) Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of THREE $100 Amazon gift cards.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

devney-perry-pictureAbout the Author:
Devney lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories.

Catch up with Devney on her website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Cephalopod Coffeehouse February 2017: A TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL–A Review

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the 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.

This month, I’m recommending Eric Lindstrom’s A TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL, a newly-published YA adventure through bipolar disorder. Having read and LOVED his debut, NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST, (featuring a blind protagonist) I’m really enjoying Mr. Lindstrom’s ability to bring marginalized characters to the page in living color.

tragic-wonderfulAbout the book:
For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst—that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she’s been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

My Review:
This is a contemporary YA novel about a character with severe bipolar disorder still learning how to cope with the ups and downs of her emotional world.

Mel Hannigan is a seventeen year old girl struggling through her days with a newly (one year) diagnosed bipolar disorder. Her elder brother, Nolan, also suffered this disease, as does her Aunt Joan–who they all call HJ or “Hurricane Joan.” Nolan, who we only meet in flashback, died four years ago–in an accident that stemmed from his mania. Since his tragic death, her parents have divorced and Mel lives with her mother and HJ. She’d also lived with her grandmother, but she died a year ago after a battle with stomach cancer.

Mel works in the Silver Sands, the same nursing home where her grandmother spent her final days. It’s a touchstone place, for her, where she has many friends among the residents, including Dr. Jordan–a retired psychiatrist. He helped “diagnose” Mel before she had her first manic episode–and subsequent crash–just over a year ago, now. At that time, Mel was having a break with her group of friends, losing Annie, Conner and Zumi when she backed away following a fight and power play which coincided with an inpatient stay for treatment of her mental issues. Now she balances a cocktail of prescriptions designed to keep her moods even, and has two close-ish friends Holly and Declan, who brought her school work home over the period of her long absence and recovery–which everyone believes was for mono and bronchitis, not bipolar disorder.

When the book picks up, Annie has inexplicably reached out to leave behind childhood relics with Mel for Conner and Zumi–mementos of their friendship–because Annie’s family is moving to Paris and she doesn’t want to confront either Conner or Zumi regarding this life change. Turns out Annie isn’t a nice person, and Zumi was desperately crushing on her. Mel knows it will break Zumi’s heart, and the stress is fracturing her grip on her moods. Right about then, Mel meets David, grandson of one of the elderly residents at Silver Sands, and they strike a cautious friendship–which could lead to more. They both seem to want this, but Mel is reluctant because she doesn’t think she–the gal with the broken brain–is really worthy of love. Surely someone “normal” is better suited for everyone. Just look at HJ! She’s the life of the party and pretty, but no man will settle down with her.

Okay, so, being in the mind of a person with a mental condition like bipolar disorder is never easy. There are bouts of mania and depression, and episodes of disordered thinking and obsessive-compulsive behavior. That’s not all of the book, but those moments exist and they ramp the tension up high as we’re not quite sure where Mel will go, or what she will do, when she’s manic, or obsessive. She does a LOT of checking in with her body and mind, and talking to responsible adults about her mental well-being, with is fantastic. Her aunt’s not a great influence, because she’s sure that Mel’s missing out on life, doped up and quelled by medication. Joan is currently unmedicated, but her strong personality doesn’t sway Mel from her chosen course to medicate–because she knows how things can go tragically wrong for someone like herself–like Nolan–when there’s no meds on board. And, unfortunately, in her periods of mania she sometimes misses doses, leading to a downward spiral that results in another bad episode.

I really liked this book because it didn’t feel varnished. It was a challenge, however, to keep up with Mel, and I think I’d have liked more information about Nolan up-front. That said, going along the winding path and following Mel into the rabbit hole of her racing mind was eye-opening. Having dealt with emotional wellness issues in myself and close family members for decades now, it was a journey I’m familiar with, and felt resonated off the page. Mental illness is never an easy read, but Mel’s upbeat and committed choice for medical care was refreshing. I really appreciated the rich support network that assisted Mel, and how her fears of being abandoned once people learned her real “illness” weren’t reinforced.

There’s a hint of romance, but it’s not the focus. Instead, the real-life dramas of friendships dissolving and new ones forming are the center of the book. These stressors are common for teens, which provides the context for grasping Mel’s underlying medical problems, and makes her reaction to those stressors accessible, even in their extremes.

Interested? You can find A TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

Thanks for popping in, and be sure to check out the book-of-the-month recommendations from my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers…

A Whole New World: IMAGO–Review & Giveaway!

imago-bannerHi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a brand-new contemporary M/M romance from N.R. Walker. You know how much I adored Ms. Walker’s Aussie cowboy Red Dirt Heart series, so there was no chance I was missing IMAGO. Set in Tasmania, IMAGO pairs an awkward lepidopterist with a gung-ho forestry ranger.

Catch my review below, and be sure to enter the giveaway for a $20 Amazon GC.
imago-400x600About the book:
Nerdy, introverted genius lepidopterist, Lawson Gale, is an expert on butterflies. He finds himself in a small town in Tasmania on a quest from an old professor to find an elusive species that may or may not even exist.

Local Parks and Wildlife officer, Jack Brighton, is an ordinary guy who loves his life in the sleepy town of Scottsdale. Along with his Border collie dog, Rosemary, his job, and good friends, he has enough to keep from being lonely.

But then he meets Lawson, and he knows he’s met someone special. There’s more to catching butterflies, Jack realises. Sometimes the most elusive creatures wear bowties, and sometimes they can’t be caught at all.

Lawson soon learns there are butterflies he can’t learn about it in books. They exist only in a touch, in a kiss, in a smile. He just has to let go first, so these butterflies can fly.

Imago is the story of finding love, bowties, and butterflies.

My Review:
Jack Brighton is a forestry officer in remote Tasmania. He loves his quiet life, but would love to find a man to share it with. He certainly didn’t expect the shy, awkward, bow-tie-clad Lawson Gale to fall right into his path. Butterfly expert Lawson is out on Tasmania to help a colleague find a figment. An aging lepidopterist clams to have found a small copper-colored butterfly decades ago, and has tasked Lawson with his fruitless hunt.

Lawson’s upset that his car reservation has been lost, but he’s desperate to meet with his colleague, and accepts an offer of a ride from the burly forest agent he’d noticed on his flight. They hit it off, especially when Jack learns Lawson will be staying near his home–a small community known as Scottsdale–and searching for this elusive butterfly in the forest area Jack manages.

Over the course of the next several days, these two find ways to be together, on the hunt for the copper butterfly, and in more personal settings. It’s absolutely sweet how Jack woos Lawson with charming date nights that lead to more and more steam. I really enjoyed the science-y bits, too, as I’m a nerd. It seems that Jack’s more than a burly tote-hauler; his research, coupled with decades of stored data, provide real clues to where Lawson’s butterfly might possible exist.

The end is more climactic than the quiet romance intimated, and it’s a daring race and rescue that Lawson manages to both instigate and require. This book is a delicious romance with great characters and just enough complications to keep it interesting. I always love to feel transported to a new location, and Tasmania seems an interesting place–at least in THIS book!

Interested? You can find IMAGO on Goodreads and Amazon (US, UK, AUS, and DE)

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal. She’s been writing ever since…

Find Ms. Walker online on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
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Coming soon! THE DEEP END–Book Blast and Excerpt

facebookdeependHi there! I’m getting the word out on a new erotic romance coming soon from best-selling author Kristen Ashley. THE DEEP END, releasing March 7th, is the first book in her Honey series and looks to be hot and sweet.

deepend_highresAbout the book:
Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire…
Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him hungers for the lifestyle offered by this exclusive club. Here, no boundary will be left untested…and one’s deepest fantasies will become an exquisite reality.

When Amélie invites Olivier to surrender, she gives the alpha submissive what he craves. Soon they both find themselves falling harder than they ever anticipated—but as their connection deepens, the truth about Olivier’s past could destroy everything…

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.

How about a little taste?

She turned back to him. “You seem to have a good deal of stamina.”

“Amelie…Mistress, I don’t think you’re getting’ that I seriously find you not hard on the eyes.”

She bent closer, as intended for this part of their session, some of her fair falling on his chest in another caress. She did this letting her amusement show, if not all of the emotion she felt at his compliment.

“I wonder, mon chou, if you think you can butter me up with compliments.”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Though not sure why I’d bother since I didn’t give you one and you just made me shoot a huge-ass load the like that have never come from my cock.”

“And he gives another compliment,” she said through a smile.

“You earn it, I’ll say it, he replied, his lips twitching. “That is, if I’m physically capable of speech.”

She was still smiling when she reached out a hand and delicately traced circles around his nipple.

His eyes darkened.

Her good humor increased.

“You’re of course aware I should do something about you being so audaciously cheeky.”

Another darkness crossed his face. “What?”

“I shouldn’t allow you to be cheeky with me.”

“Cheeky?”

“Impudent,” she explained.

The look fled. “You mean, in uppity, hot-chick speak, a wise-ass.”

Amelie couldn’t help it, she laughed softly.

“She’s got a pretty laugh, too, to go with that pretty accent,” he murmured and she saw his eyes on her lips.

I could get lost in this one, she thought. Lost and never found.

Interested? You can pre-order THE DEEP END in advance of its March 7th release on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo, IndieBound, and BAM.

kristen-ashley-headshotAbout the Author:
Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better. Catch up with Kristen on her website, Facebook, twitter, sign up for her newsletter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram.

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