Leaving Amarillo Neon Dreams #1 By: Caisey Quinn Published: March 17, 2015 Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks Source: Publisher for a honest review Add to Goodreads Summary: Dixie Lark hasn’t had it easy. She lost her parents in an accident when she was young and grew up in a ramshackle house on a dirt road in Amarillo with her ailing grandparents and overprotective older brother. Thanks to her grandfather, Dixie learned to play a mean fiddle, inspired by the sounds of the greats—Johnny and June, Waylon, and Hank. Her grandfather’s fiddle changed Dixie’s life forever, giving her an outlet for the turmoil of her broken heart and inspiring a daring dream. Ten years later, Dixie and her brother, Dallas, are creating the music they love and chasing fame with their hot band, Leaving Amarillo. But Dixie isn’t enjoying the ride. All she can think about is Gavin, the band’s tattooed, tortured drummer who she’s loved since they were kids. She knows he feels the connection between them, but he refuses see her as more than his best friend’s little sister. Convinced that one night with Gavin will get him out of her system, Dixie devises a plan. She doesn’t know that her brother has forbidden Gavin from making a move on her-a promise he swore he’d always keep . . . a promise that once broken will unexpectedly change the future for Dixie, Gavin and the band.
Leaving Amarillo was a great story about the love of music, family, forbidden love, and resilience. Dixie and Dallas' world forever changed when their parents died in a car accident. They were whisked away to Amarillo Texas to live with their Nana and Papa. Growing up, the love of music surrounded their home. Nana and Papa taught Dixie how to play the piano and Fiddle, taught Dallas how to play the guitar, and Dallas' best friend Gavin how to play the drums. Music has always been a form of escapism for Dixie. However, Dallas' dream is to make it big in the music industry. He books all of the bands shows, and runs the band.
Dixie has loved Gavin since she was nine years old. Unfortunately, he has never viewed her as more that a surrogate sibling, or so she thinks. You see, Dallas made Gavin promise that he would never pursue Dixie. Besides, Gavin feels that Dixie is too good for the likes of him. When Dixie takes a leave of absence from school after tragedy strikes, she goes on the rode with with Dallas and Gavin to pursue the music circuit.
Being in close proximity to Gavin day in and day out proves to be sweet torture for Dixie. She talks Gavin in to spending one night together, and then they will return to just being friends. However, neither Dixie nor Gavin could have guessed how much this would complicate things. To top it off, the band has a manipulative new manager who is trying to push Dixie out of the band, and Gavin and Dallas are keeping a secret. Things are about to chance, and Dixie, Dallas, and Gavin will never be the same.
Leaving Amarillo was a very enjoyable story. I loved reading about the musical process, and leaning the difference between a Violin and a Fiddle. I wish I knew how to play an instrument. However, reading this story made me feel like I was right on stage with Dixie, Dallas, and Gavin. One of my favorite romance tropes is forbidden romance. I couldn't get enough of Dixie and Gavin's love story. It was a plot line that I was riveted too. The sexual tension, electricity, and temptation that sizzled around Dixie and Gavin was delicious.
I am looking forward to reading, Loving Dallas, the next book in the series. This story will focus on Dallas and his ex-girlfriend, Robyn's story. Robyn made a small appearance in the story, but what I saw of her made me really like her, and look forward to getting to know her better. Also, Leaving Amarillo had a to be continued feel to the ending. So, I am really hoping to get more Dixie and Gavin as well!
I loved, Leaving Amarillo! I really hated to antagonist in the story, the band manager, and found myself wanted to slap her across the face quite a few times! I hope karma comes back and takes her down a few notches! The love story between Dixie and Gavin was beautiful and touching, but so was the bond that Dixie and Dallas had, as well as the friendship that Dallas and Gavin had. This is a series that I am excited to continue, and see what happens next. I give, Leaving Amarillo, by Caisey Quinn, 4.5 Unbreakable Bonds, Forbidden Desires, Palpable Passion Filled Stars!
The Evolution of Dixie and Dallas Lark
Dixie and Dallas Lark are the brother and sister duo who make up the band Leaving Amarillo along with their mutual best friend, Gavin Garrison. These characters have been some of the most interesting and three-dimensional that I’ve written in my career and I found it particularly interesting that they didn’t end up how I originally pictured them. Sneaky characters went and evolved a bit on me! My first Dixie and Dallas were quite tame and actually kind of blurry in my mind. He was a sexy, rugged guitar playing, protective big brother and she was a fiddle player caught between life in the orchestra pit and freedom on the open road. As their story progressed, though, I began to see them more clearly. They were that band you get lucky enough to catch playing a late night gig at The Stage or Crossroads in Nashville. That one that you decide to stay and have one more drink just so you can listen to them a little longer—the one you know you will see hitting it big in the very near future because you can’t bring yourself to leave until they finish their set! I initially pictured Dallas as a slightly more muscular Jensen Ackles type but that evolved a bit due to the ways in which Dixie evolved. She became edgier and grittier than I originally imagined due to her backstory and so Dallas had to toughen up a bit, too. This happens sometimes—I picture a character or story one way before writing and then that changes as I get deeper into it. It’s such an amazing experience—that moment when my characters become “real” and show me who they are versus who I’d originally imagined or expected.
Caisey Quinn lives in a suburb outside of Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She wears cowgirl boots most of the time, even to church. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series and writes New and Young Adult books about country girls finding love in unexpected places.
Holding Strong Ultimate#1 By: Lori Foster Published: March 31, 2015 Publisher: HQN Books Source: eARC from publisher for a honest review Add toGoodreads GR's Summary: An up-and-coming MMA fighter wants more than just one night from a woman fleeing her past in New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster's irresistible new novel Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn't share. That's why he's been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry's about to need more than she knows… Denver's combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she's been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can't hide behind a carefree facade. Because the man by her side is one who'll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she'll trust him enough to let him…
I always enjoy Lori Foster's stories immensely. They are fast-paced, action-packed, chock full of suspense, and gripping romance! Her secondary characters are just as amazing as her main characters, and we get to revisit them in all of the books of a series. I've noticed that MMA romances have become quite popular lately. Who doesn't love a story about a sexy alpha-male athlete?!!! When I heard that Cannon Colter (one of my favorite secondary character's from the Love Undercover Series,) would be a huge part of this series, and that it was focused on a group of up and coming MMA fighters, I had to read it! Every book in this series has been addictive, and an amazing read! In Holding Strong, we get Denver Lewis and Cherry Peyton's story. These two have been dancing around each other for a long time, so I was really excited to see them finally get together! Cherry has actively been pursuing Denver. However, he has been avoiding her, because he doesn't like that she is a huge flirt, and how she has the ability to drive him crazy. This is something that no other woman before her has been able to accomplish. Finally, Denver gives in to temptation with Cherry, and they have a night to remember! Once he's had a taste, he wants her more than ever. Simultaneously, Cherry's in danger because her sick and twisted ex-foster brother's are after her. She is going to have to open up to Denver and trust him, if she wants a meaningful and lasting relationship with the man of her dreams. Holding Strong was full of action, suspense, twists, and turns! The passion between Cherry and Denver was sizzling and well-worth all of the anticipation from these two finally getting together. Cherry was a fun, flirty and independent woman! I admired her resiliency, and would have never guessed how much she had gone through. Denver was so sweet, tender, attentive, and adoring! I loved how he treated Cherry. We also get more of a taste of what's to come in the series with Vanity and Stack, as well as Armie and Merissa! I can't wait to read about both of these couples. We of course get Cannon and Yvette, and even Rowdy, Reese, and Logan from the Love Undercover Series! I love all of these characters, and how they are like one huge surrogate family! They tease each other, have a good time together, and train with one another. Yet, they aren't just there for each other during the fun times. They show their love loyalty, caring, and support for one another during the toughest of times!
I give, Holding Strong, by Lori Foster, 4 Riveting, Crazy Twists and Turns, and Sexy Times Filled Stars! Holding Strong was another great addition to the Ultimate Series!
Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martin’s, Berkley, Silhouette and Samhain. She is currently with Harlequin. Lori believes it’s important to give back to the community as much as possible, and for that reason she ran special contests in conjunction with a publisher, facilitating many first sales for new authors. She routinely organizes events among authors and readers to gather donations for various organizations. Lori hosts a very special annual “Reader & Author” event in West Chester, Ohio. Proceeds from the event have benefited many worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and The One Way Farm, Children’s Home.
Publisher: NPRB Source: Author eARC received in exchange of honest review Add to Goodreads Synopsis:
Livvy is on the run. And she’s escaped to the one place nobody will ever find her. But the isolated cottage isn’t empty. Her refuge is home to a troubled stranger, Tom, there for reasons of his own. In the intimacy of the abandoned cottage, and the remote wilderness of the island, the electrifying connection between them is impossible to ignore. Both running from their histories and shielding dark secrets, their pasts catch up with them and collide in an unimaginable way. Deep emotions and powerful chemistry face a painful battle with the tangle of lies, and scars of the past. When the truth emerges, hearts will be shattered.
Wow! I don’t think I can find the words to make this book justice. It was such an intoxicating reading escape! I am a huge fan of Natasha Boyd. My co-blogger, Ria, made me discover her Eversea series. I read that series in one weekend!!! I absolutely fell in love with those books and I could not wait to see what this author was going to write next. I did not know what to expect of Deep Blue Eternity. The only thing I knew was that I could already predict a book hangover. And, I got one!
Livvy and Tom are two people that are running from their pasts. What brings them together is unexpected and welcomed at the same time. Neither of them expected to find each other. Livvy runs away from home to a cottage that could be her only safe place. When she gets there, she finds a stranger living in the cottage. Livvy needs a fresh start in her life and Tom was seriously not in her plans. As days go by, Livvy and Tom get to know each other better. The intense and strong connection that grows between them is undeniable, but the past has a cruel way of catching up and messing everything up. Will they be able to overcome their demons and give love a chance? Natasha Boyd has such a captivating writing style. No matter where she brings me on her writing journey, I will follow. She creates the most amazing stories filled with lovable and memorable characters that steal your heart from the moment that you meet them. While reading this book, I got all the feels. Livvy and Tom’s chemistry was amazing. You cheer for this couple from the very beginning. They have been through so much heartache in their lives that they needed a fresh new start. I wanted them to find the happiness and love that they both deserved. The kind of love that leaves you breathless and makes you feel alive. A love that makes you see the light at the end of the tunnel and pushes away all of the darkness. I really don’t want to say much more about this story. I went in just knowing what the blurb was revealing to me. I think every reader needs to enjoy and fall in love with this story, and these characters, without having any clue where this amazing journey is going to begin and end. Deep Blue Eternity is a story about two people finding each other in the most unexpected way. A story about forgiveness, love and healing. Their past was filled with moments that they both wish they could forget. Yes, they had good moments, but the darkest ones are the ones that are taking over their life. Livvy and Tom have learned a lot from each other. I could not have asked for a better reading escape! This book left me with a big book hangover, a smile on my face and a heart bursting with happiness. You won’t be disappointed with Deep Blue Eternity. I highly recommend it!
I give, Deep Blue Eternity, 5 exquisite, touching, forgiving, emotional, powerful, healing stars!
Natasha Boyd is a writer with a background in marketing and public relations. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and lives in the coastal Carolina Lowcountry, complete with Spanish moss, alligators and mosquitoes the size of tiny birds. She has a husband, two sons and a cat named Tuna. Eversea was her debut novel. Eversea was a finalist for Contemporary Romance in the 2013 Winter Rose Contest and won the 2014 Digital Book Award for Adult Fiction. Natasha grew up in South Africa, Belgium and England. She now lives and writes full time in the USA.
Flirting with Fire Hot in Chicago #1 By: Kate Meader Published: March 24, 2015 Publisher: Pocket Books Source: ARC from publisher for a honest review Add to Goodreads GR's Summary: The first installment in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series from Kate Meader that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests! Savvy PR guru Kinsey Taylor has always defined herself by her career, not her gender. That is, until she moved from San Francisco to Chicago to be with her fiancé who thought she wasn’t taking her “job” of supporting him in his high-powered career seriously enough—and promptly dumped her for a more supportive and “feminine” nurse. Now, as the new assistant press secretary to Chicago’s dynamic mayor, she’s determined to keep her eye on the prize: no time to feel inferior because she’s a strong, kick-ass woman, and certainly no time for men. But that all changes when she meets Luke Almeida, a firefighter as searingly sexy as he is quick-tempered. He’s also the second oldest of the Firefightin’ Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service—if Luke’s antics don’t get him fired first. When Luke goes one step too far and gets into a bar brawl with the Chicago Police Department, Kinsey marches into Luke’s firehouse and lays down the law on orders from the mayor. But at Engine Co. 6, Luke Almeida is the law. And he’s not about to let Kinsey make the rules.
I read Kate Meader's short story, Rekindle the Flame, in the Baby It's Cold Outside Anthology, as well as Hot and Bothered. I enjoyed both stories immensely, and have been excited to read more of Ms. Meader's writing. Flirting with Fire was a stunning new beginning to the Hot in Chicago Series that is going to focus on the Dempsey's, who are foster siblings that are all part of the fire department in Chicago.
In Flirting with Fire, we get Luke Almeida and Kinsey Taylor's story. Luke got into a bar brawl and it was caught on YouTube resulting in bad P.R. The mayor, Eli Cooper, is up for re-election, and brings in Kinsey Taylor, P.R. Specialist to revamp his image. While at first Luke and Kinsey bump heads, there is no denying the sexual chemistry that sizzles between them. As Kinsey begins to spend more time with Luke and the rest of the Dempsey's, they begin to bond, and feelings grow. Unfortunately, Kinsey is put into a difficult position in which she will have to choose between her boss, and the Dempsey's, and each choice has a different set of repercussions.
Someone is going to need a fire extinguisher to put out the soaring and all encompassing flames between Luke and Kinsey! The flirtatious banter, intense chemistry, and passion between these two made for a great dynamic. I loved Ms. Meader's character's humorous dialogue, her witty writing style, and the imagery that she created with her words. I could easily imagine the Hunky Firefighting Dempsey Foster Brothers, Luke, Beck, Gage, and Wyatt, and the Gorgeous Firefighting Foster Sister, Alex. They all made for an extremely entertaining cast of characters.
We also get two side plots shared in this story. One is between Gage, and his love interest, Brady, as well as Alex and the mayor locking horns but also sharing a sizzling attraction. I am looking forward to getting both of these Dempsey's stories.
I give, Flirting with Fire, 4 Ravishing, Witty, Hot Fireman Filled Stars! If you are looking for a fun, witty, humorous, and romantic story, this one is an excellent pick!
Originally from Ireland, Kate cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boon thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.
The Cavanaugh Brothers, #3 by Laura Wright Release Date: March 3rd, 2015 Publisher: Signet Source: Publisher via NetGalley eARC received in exchange of honest review Synopsis: The New York Times bestselling author of the Cavanaugh Brothers novels returns to the Cavanaugh’s Texas Triple C ranch as the brothers confront the painful memories of their childhood and the truth about their sister’s murder… No matter how many fights UFC champion Cole Cavanaugh wins, he can’t rid himself of the guilt of not having saved his twin sister’s life. Now, not only is he facing his arch enemy in the ring, he’s fighting to uncover the truth about Cass’s death. But will winning both fights truly give him the retribution and absolution he seeks? Or does he need the healing power of love to finally move on with his life? The mystery surrounding Cass’s murder also haunts veterinarian Grace Hunter. Many believe that her father might hold the key to the truth. Unfortunately the ex-Sheriff’s deteriorating mental state makes it impossible to separate fact from fiction. As Cole persuades Grace to help him unlock the elusive clues, her defenses weaken. She finds the Stetson-wearing fighter irresistible. But while the truth could free Cole’s heart, it could very well end up shattering hers.
I am a big fan of Laura Wright's Cavanaugh Brothers series. I have read this series from the beginning and I can't get enough! The mystery surrounding the murder of the youngest sibling of the Cavanaugh clan has left me with no nails!!!! Since the very beginning I have been taking notes and trying to figure out who could be behind it all. I was anxiously waiting for this third installment to come along so I could continue to investigate and try to put every single piece of this mysterious puzzle together.
We meet Grace and Cole in the previous books of this series. Their chemistry has been slowly burning up the pages and the way that the author wrote their story totally kept me glued to my seat from beginning to end! From the moment that Grace and Cole meet, tensions run high. Grace's father might have the answers that could solve the murder of Cole's sister. Cole has done the impossible to find out who is responsible for his sister's murder, but every new lead ends up leaving him with more questions about what happened on that tragic day.
Grace wants to protect the only family she has left, which is her dad. Her dad is a retired sheriff and he knows what happened to Cass Cavanaugh, but he won't talk about it. Grace takes the intiative to help Cole with his search to find his sister's killer. The more time they spend together, the more the attraction that they have towards each other is undeniable. As the last pieces of this mysterious puzzle start falling into place, Grace and Cole grow closer together.
I really liked Brash. It was different from the two previous books. It was more focused around the murder of Cass Cavanaugh. The story really took a step forward with this third installment. The author did a fantastic job at writing Grace and Cole's love story. All of the Cavanaugh brothers have their own scars from what happened to their sister. They are all fighting their own battle. With the support of strong and determined women these brothers have found a place where they belong.
Grace and Cole had a great chemistry and I connected with them from the moment they were introduced in the story. Their journey if filled with emotional, intense, passionate and healing moments. My heart broke for Cole. He has so much guilt about what happened to his sister. I wanted him to find closure and begin a new journey. Grace gives him that beginning even if the mystery of his sister's murder is still not resolved. It was lovely to reconnect with all the characters that have made this series a memorable one.
That ending?!?!?!?! Holy moly!!! I was not expecting that!!! I can't wait to read the final installment of this series, which is Blue Cavanaugh's story. Bonded will be out later this year and I can't wait to grab the last piece of the puzzle that will make everything clear. I kind of have of an idea where this is going, but the blurb of Blue's book has left me confused and intrigued.
I give, Brash, by Laura Wright, 4.5 passionate, page-turning, tension-filled stars!
About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of Mark of the Vampire, Bayou Heat, Cavanaugh Brothers series, and Wicked Ink Chronicles.