Saturday, June 29, 2019

Stacking the Shelves & Sunday Post (45)

Hosted by:  Tynga's Reviews
Hosted by:  Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

This week I read two books, caught up with a good friend, and took my daughter swimming.  The weather was  beautiful; warm and breezy!  I caught up by binging on my favorite T.V. show on Hulu; The Handmaid's Tale.  It is such an addicting series!

Last Week on the Blog:

For Review:
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Thanks to Harlequin Books, St. Martin's Press, and Berkley Romance! 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Blog Tour: Save the Date by Monica Murphy

Save the Date

Monica Murphy

June 25, 2019

Add to: Goodreads

Book Synopsis:

Caroline Abbott loves her job—helping engaged couples pick out the perfect save the date cards and invitations for their dream wedding. Working at Noteworthy means she has to deal with the occasional bridezilla, but Caroline’s always up for the challenge.
Until one particular bridezilla walks into the stationery store who’s fiancé happens to be the boy Caroline shared her first kiss with. Alexander Wilder is all grown up now, helping run his family’s successful luxury hotel chain, and is somehow even better looking than she remembers.
When Caroline just happens to catch Alex’s fiancée half naked with another man well, of course she has to tell Alex. Of course, he breaks off his engagement.
And of course, the ex-bridezilla has gone completely bonkers.
At least Caroline has her friends to save her from crazy ex-fiancées. But she also has the sudden interest of …Alex? Caroline knows they share a connection, but is he on the rebound? Or after seeing her all these years later, does he really want something more?

My Thoughts:

I love Monica Murphy's stories, and I have read most of what she has written, so when I saw Save the Date, I added it to my TBR.  I love the book cover's whimsical, charming, sweet, and old-fashioned visual aesthetic.  I am pleased to say that the story inside of the book matches its lovely cover.

Caroline Abbott is a down to earth, friendly, hard-working lead.  She was real, relatable, and I instantly adored it.  She has a small group of very close girl friends that she spends a lot of time with, and a passion for her job.  She works at Noteworthy, where bridal couples come to choose their save the date cards and wedding invitations.  She's use to dealing with all types of brides, from sweet and easy going to demanding bridezillas.  

One morning before work, she runs in to her first crush Alexander Wilder.  He has grown in to a sexy, and gorgeous man.  She remembers the first kiss they shared, and we learn that he was the one that got away.  He's fun, a little flirty, and there is a mutual attraction there.  

However, Caroline is disappointed when she sees him at her first appointment of the day, and learns that he is engaged to an arrogant, and rude Bridezilla.  Fast forward to a week later, and Caroline see's the bridezilla cheating on Alex.  She doesn't know what do do, but her friends convince her that the right thing is to tell Alex the truth about what she saw.  Fate has plans for Caroline and Alex.  Should she take a chance on love with a man that has everything she's ever wanted in a man? Or will she end up just being a rebound that ends up heartbroken?

I loved Caroline's interactions with her best friend/room mate Stella and her close-knit group of girl friends.  They were all so much fun, and I could easily see myself being friends with all of these girls.

Alex was sweet, sexy, thoughtful, and responsible.  He could be a workaholic at times, but Caroline made him want to enjoy his life more.  These two had such a sweet, and romantic romance.  It was very slow burn, and I appreciated their taking their time as they were figuring everything out.  Alex was wealthy and use to gold-digger arrogant types.  Caroline was down to earth, didn't want to take Alex for all he could buy her, but instead enjoyed him as a person.  She appreciated the small gestures, and I could see why he fell in love with her, and why she fell for him.

One of my favorite parts of the book was when Caroline and Alex go to Paris.  I loved this part of the story, and felt like I was staying at the Ritz Carlton, shopping at Chanel, eating fresh French macaroons, and seeing all of the beautiful sites right alongside Caroline and Alex as they fell in love!  If you enjoy sweet romance, with main characters you will love, fun secondary characters, and a male lead that will have you swooning; check out Save the Date!

Book Teaser:


I head straight for the pickup counter, where I see my skinny vanilla latte waiting for me, my name written on the side of the cup in Stella’s familiar scrawl. Without hesitation I grab it, inhaling deeply before I take a sip. Just a tiny sip so I can savor it. I close my eyes for a second, maybe two, and when I open them, I find a guy standing there.
Watching me.
And he’s not just any guy. He’s cute. Wait, no. Not cute. He’s…hot. Dark hair. Blue eyes. Wearing a suit that fits him perfectly. I know just from looking at the fabric that it’s custom. Expensive.
He’s smiling at me. And I’m scowling at him in return because the caffeine hasn’t quite hit my bloodstream yet, so I’m not on top of my game.
“You looked like you were having a moment.” His voice is deep. Rich. His face…vaguely familiar?
I stand a little straighter. Take another sip of my coffee as I contemplate the man in front of me, because for some reason I still can’t come up with anything to say.
Listen, I always have something to say. But this guy. This gorgeous, well-dressed maybe-stranger, is leaving me a little…
“That moment you were just having. With your coffee,” he continues, gesturing at the cup I’m clutching in both of my hands, like it’s my baby. Which this morning—every morning—it is.
“She loves coffee,” Stella says from behind me.
Glancing over my shoulder, I give her a look, one that says shush.
“I can see that.” The amusement in his voice is obvious. He thinks it’s funny. The sacred moment I was having with my latte made him smile.
I wouldn’t mind coming up with other ways to make him smile.
Whoa. Where did that thought come from?
“What I want to know is, how did you get such special treatment?”
I blink at him like I’m an uncomprehending idiot. “Excuse me?”
“Well, I’ve been here for the last fifteen minutes. First, standing in line.” He gestures at the line of customers that trails out the door. “And now, waiting for my order.”
Guilt fills me. Just a tiny bit. Sweet Dreams Café is the most popular bakery and coffee shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea. All the tourists love it. All the locals love it too. It’s been in Stella’s family for generations.
“Yet you skip past the line, walk straight in here and grab your ready-made drink within a few seconds of your arrival. Do you have a Fast Pass?” A brow lifts, and I’m hit with a quiver. Like Cupid just drew back his bow and shot that arrow right in my heart.
Or perhaps that arrow struck me in, ahem, other places.
Who knew a brow lift could be so sexy?

About the Author:

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance. 

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she's not writing, she's reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She's a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Blog Tour Hosted By:

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Release Day Review : Switch Bidder: a Jock Hard novella by Sara Ney

Switch Bidder
by Sara Ney 

Release Date:y June 27th, 2019

Novella  Standalone 

Add to Goodreads

eARC received in exchange for an honest review


Piper has been crushing on Ryder Williams for years.. 

What better chance to make her move on him than when he’s sacrificing himself on an auction block for a squealing mass of fans at a charity event? Too bad she’d rather hide in the bathroom than raise her paddel; what girl actually bids on a guy who doesn’t know she exists? 

Not. Piper. 

But that's what friends are for... 

One meddling best friend, and an overpriced bid later, and Ryder Willams is Piper's for the taking. Too bad that she has no intention of collecting on his debt. 

Too bad Ryder is determined to find out why. 

NOTE: Switch Bidder is a SHORT #JockHard Novella, at 10,000 words. Aka: Short Novella.

Jock Hard Series on Goodreads:

Review of Switch Hitter HERE
Review of Jock Row HERE
Review of Jock Hard HERE

Purchase Links Switch Bidder:
Amazon US | B&N | iBooks | Kobo


If you have never read anything by Sara Ney, Switch Bidder is the perfect novella to give you a little peek at how phenomenal this author is. Novellas in my opinion are great to discover new authors and Sara Ney is an author that you ABSOLUTELY need on your TBR list! Her writing style is captivating and her stories linger with you for days after you turned the last page.

Piper Davenport is about to step out of her comfort zone. She has been crushing on Ryder Williams for four awkward years. Things get interesting between Piper and Ryder because of an auction that her best friend won for her. Piper's world is about to be turned upside down and Ryder is right by her side for this rollercoaster ride. 

Switch Bidder is the second novella in the Jock Hard Series and it can be read as a standalone. This was a super quick read that left a smile on my lips.  Piper and Ryder are a fantastic duo and I had fun following their little journey. Even if this was a quick novella, I loved how I connected immediately with both of these characters. I really enjoyed my reading escape and I highly recommend this book and the entire Jock Hard Series by Sara Ney. You will not be disappointed!

About the Author:

Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte's, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Book Review: The Evil Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil #1) by Gena Showalter

The Evil Queen
The Forest of Good and Evil #1
By: Gena Showalter
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: eArc from publisher for honest review
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Welcome to the Forest of Good and Evil. A dream come true, and a living nightmare. 

Evil isn’t born, it’s made. One thought and action at a time. Take a good look at what you’ve made. 

Far, far away, in the realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm and fairy tales are real. Except, fairy tales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future. 

Raised in the mortal realm, Everly Morrow has no idea she’s a real life fairy tale princess—until she manifests an ability to commune with mirrors. 

Look. See… What will one peek hurt? 

Soon, a horrifying truth is revealed. She is fated to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen. 

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to change Fate itself—Everly returns to the land of her birth. There, she meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed. 

As bits and pieces of the prophecy unfold, Everly faces one betrayal after another, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Can she resist, or will she become the queen—and villain—she was born to be?

My Thoughts:

The Evil Queen was a thrilling and adventurous page-turner, that I didn't want to stop reading, for even a moment.  For being over five hundred pages long, this story didn't lull or have any boring parts!  The characters and plot kept me on my toes, and made the story fly by!  

Ms. Showalter delivered a unique and enthralling Snow White retelling, where fairytale is prophecy, and our main character has to figure out which role she will play.  Everly Morrow strongly believes that her destiny is to be that of the Evil Queen. 

The author whisked me away to Enchantia, a beautiful, but dangerous place.  The imagery of the enchanted forest was magical.  The descriptions of the characters and animals were so vivid that I could see them perfectly and their unique personalities emanated from every page.   I loved being inside of Everly's head.  At certain times I connected with her, and with all that happened to her, I could see how it could lead to her becoming the evil queen, but hoped that she would find a way to be better than everyone expected her to be.  I loved reading about her powers of sorcery and all that she could do.  

Roth, Everly's love interest, was a total alpha male.  The dynamic between these two was sexy, flirty, and intense at times.  He was highly loved and respected by his people,.  There were parts of him that I loved, and some decisions that he made that really frustrated me.  Roth was battle worn, and very stoic.  I loved how Everly brought out a less serious side in him.

All of the secondary characters were so much fun to read about.  We got a witch, an oracle, and various family members that were a part of the Snow White Prophecy.  I enjoyed getting to know all of these characters, and reading about all of their magical abilities.  Along the way we encountered fairies, trolls, sirens, and a variety of other mythical creatures!

I contemplated the real life parallels that Ms. Showalter addressed.  As we go through life, at some point we will encounter rejection, betrayal, tragedy, and grief.  We have free choice. We can become bitter, selfish, and angry, or we can pick ourselves up, and strive to accomplish positive growth, learn important life lessons, and become the best version of ourselves.

Everything in The Evil Queen fascinated me, from the setting, to the characters, to wanting to know who was who in the prophecy, and how everything would play out.  Ms. Showalter shows readers that people are complex and aren't usually all of one thing.  At different times and under different circumstances, each of us could fulfill the essence of what it means to be Snow White, The Evil Queen, The Huntsman, or one of the seven protectors.  Important themes and questions such as how much of our life is destiny, and how much of what happens is based on our free will, and the decisions that we make, had me in deep thought.  Self-fulfilling Prophecy was something I heavily pondered as well.

I am thrilled that this book in the first in The Forest of Good and Evil Series.  In the story, we learned that in different lands, different fairytale prophecies were playing out, such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid.  I can't wait to continue this series and read each of these fairytale retellings.

If you are looking for a magical journey, where you are transported to a different place, this is the story for you.  If you are a reader, who enjoys a unique  and romantic fairytale retelling with a twist, a beautiful setting, fascinating characters, and an addictive plot, I highly recommend you read, The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter.

Purchase At:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | TBD 

About the Author:

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld, Otherworld Assassins, and Angels of the Dark series, as well as two young adult series--Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles--and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. 

In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine. She was interviewed on Nightline and has been mentioned in Orange is the New Black. Her books have been translated in multiple languages. 

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. Check back often to learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books.

Waiting on Wednesday (88)

Hosted By: Wishful Endings

The Dumonts #1
By: Karina Halle
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Add to Goodreads

Book Synopsis:
From New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle comes a delicious saga of wealth, luxury, and scandal—and the wicked secrets of success behind an envied family dynasty. 

The Riviera means indulgence—if you’ve got money. For Sadie Reynolds, a down-on-her-luck student, the Riviera means dingy hostels and back streets. When a wrong turn puts her in jeopardy, the last thing she expects is to be saved by the most handsome stranger she’s ever locked eyes with. When she later wakes up in a luxury suite with a Mediterranean view, she’s in the tender care of her rescuer: Olivier Dumont, France’s most eligible bachelor, billionaire hotelier, and heir to the Dumont fashion fortune. 

Olivier also owns his reputation for scandal. But Sadie is unlike any woman he’s ever met. Her humble persona and wild innocence promise real passion. He’s promising Sadie something too: anything she wants. From Bordeaux to Cannes to Paris, Sadie’s past in America is swept away and replaced with a fantasy too good to be true. 

Pulled into Olivier’s orbit of wealth, glamour, and excess, Sadie discovers that the Dumont dynasty comes with a legacy of wicked secrets. And Olivier’s secrets may be the most damning of all…

Why I'm Eagerly Waiting:

I've read a few books by Karina Halle and really enjoyed them!  This story sounds intriguing, passionate, and mysterious.

What Are You Waiting On?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Book Review: All the Stars Left Behind by Ashley Graham

All the Stars Left Behind 
by Ashley Graham 
Published June 6th 2017 
by Entangled: Teen 
ARC For Review 


Relocating to Arctic Norway would put a freeze on anyone's social life. For Leda Lindgren, with her crutches and a chip on her shoulder the size of her former Manhattan home, the frozen tundra is just as boring as it sounds. Until she meets her uncle's gorgeous employee.

Unfortunately, no matter how smoking hot the guy is, Roar comes with secrets as unnerving as his moving tattoos. And Leda doesn't trust him.

Roar shouldn't be drawn to the moody human girl with eyes that leave him weak in the knees. But when Leda gets shot by one of his enemies and survives, Roar finally understands why he's drawn to her: Leda is exactly what he was sent to Earth to find. A weapon of immense power capable of saving his planet.

She just doesn't know it yet.

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Family Bonds That Never Existed Can Still Hurt 

This synopsis and cover had me wanting to find out what was in store! Unfortunately, that is where the love ended. There was so much story to be told and the premise was unique. The characters were all very different and they had such promise this could have easily been a trilogy or at minimum 300 pages more. Everything felt choppy and somewhat contradicting there were two main characters and a plethora of secondary characters that should have been fleshed out fully and polished to create a cohesive captivating read from beginning to end. Sadly, this did not occur.

The Story,
like I mentioned before was unique there are two races of people vying for dominance of the other. Yet, out of nowhere we find out the good guys have done some bad things themselves. Lena is brutally tortured...she gets away and absolutely nothing comes of the entire event. It felt unnecessary, it felt as though that sympathetic situation was too harsh. Then when nothing came of it that series of events felt empty. I am a fan of insta-love, but this story of love felt a bit lacking. The reader is told how the characters feel for one and other and that was okay, but I wish Roar and Lena had some more time to find out about each other and get to know who they are. It felt long, confusing, and not tied up.

The Characters,
Roar is a super-hot alien but the reader isn’t brought into the workings of who he is and why it has to be him. We get a pretty cool name towards the end explaining a little bit of it but these are the things that make this story unique. It was hard to understand why these topics were not explored deeper. Lena suffers spinal bifida her character is all the stronger for it. The synopsis states she has a major chip on her shoulder and other than the obvious wrongs in her life she really doesn’t. Lena is a very smart gal with a big heart she has experienced a lot of loss but she is moving forward with her life. Until Roar, that’s when things start going haywire. I did enjoy her quite a bit. The several secondary characters of this story were a wonderful addition unfortunately the reader doesn’t get much deeper than a layer or two. Each beautiful character had so many of their own issues it would have been nice to see some resolution for them as well.

The End,
Other than the MAJOR beautiful scene where Lena has her aha moment there wasn’t much there. A promise of a threat. The world still has several unresolved issues. The threat that Lena and Roar still faced…There was some nice setup for a picture it yourself kind of ending. Unfortunately, I don’t care for endings where you insert whatever you want to happen. Ha I want an epilogue…I want all t’s crossed and i’s dotted.

My Rating

2.5 Fun and different premise. Beautiful cover. Insta - Love and I don’t know why…But, fun filled stars, nonetheless.

Amazon | B&N

About the Author 

Ashley Graham was born in Ontario, Canada, and has since lived in five countries. Before writing her first manuscript in 2015, she worked as a clerical assistant, quality assurance officer, chef, and stay-at-home mom/homeschool teacher. When she isn’t writing or reading every book she gets her hands on, Ashley enjoys online window shopping, Netflix binges, and spends way too much time thinking about space travel. ALL THE STARS LEFT BEHIND is her debut novel.