Tag Archives: contemporary romance reviews

Blog Tour ~ Art of Forgiveness by Monique Orgeron

Title: Art of Forgiveness
Series: A Stern Family Saga, Book 2
Author: Monique Orgeron
Genre: Contemporary Romance w/ Suspense
Release Date: January 19, 2018
Can love survive years of pain?

Liam Stern lived a charmed and carefree life. Always surrounded by friends, he was the boy who could have any girl he wanted, and did.

Until Avery.

She was pure and innocent. She was the one he never saw coming.

She was the only thing that mattered, but the time came for him to fulfill his destiny. To protect Avery from a life she was not made for, he would have to give up the one thing he loved most in this world: her.

Now the decisions made years ago come back to cost them both, dearly.

Avery Edwards was a good girl, never stepping out of line, always the obedient daughter. 

Until Liam showed her everything she was missing in her life: love.

Liam was her future, or at least she thought.

Until he broke her.

That was the beginning of her nightmare.

After years apart, Liam and his family hold her future in their hands. Rebuilding a girl who no longer cares to live.

After years of hating Liam, can Avery truly give him her forgiveness?

Get your copy HERE!!!

The Art of Forgiveness has done something that very few books have been able to do, and that is get a good review despite my mixed feelings. Because, make no mistake, this story by Monique Orgeron is a good read. A frustrating and compelling read all at once.

Avery was a victim of bullying at school and verbal abuse at home for most of her life and I understand that informed a lot of what she did and how she acted. But her willingness to just push her happiness aside—as an adult—for her delusional mother made it hard to sympathize with her. During the first few chapters of the book I nearly stopped reading because I just couldn’t take her saying ‘oh it was easier so I just did as she said’. It was so damn frustrating.

Then the sh*t hit the fan and I stayed up way too late trying to see what was going on. And what that was, was awful. Terrible. A hellish nightmare that made me feel for Avery viscerally. I wanted to step in front of her and slay those dragons for her, because that was worse than anything she’d ever been through and but for the genre, I did worry she wasn’t strong enough to handle it.

And I have to give it up to Monique Orgeron for proving me wrong. That chick was strong, stronger than even she knew. The Art of Forgiveness was a story about exactly that, forgiveness. But not just Liam and the mindf*ck he unleashed on her as a teenager, but also herself for allowing it to happen and even her Mom, which…wow. I don’t see myself forgiving that woman anytime soon.

I should mention Liam since he is the hero, but honestly Liam didn’t really do much for me. He was a weak man, a scaredy cat at best and that just isn’t sexy at all. From the beginning he had all the say and while I can forgive him a little based on the decisions he made at 18, the fact that he kept doing it years later made it a little hard to swallow.

Now for the rest of the characters. I absolutely loved Catherine, she was a total badass who ruled her family with a fist made of iron and velvet. Honestly, I want to be Catherine when I grow up. And the Stern brothers? Good lord were they all hot and bossy and just what you’d expect when you got a group of big, alpha men together. Some of my favorite parts of the story were when this big strong men devolved into little boys.

I wish that the romance had been more intertwined into the story, because truthfully it was more like part one and part two of a story, but I still really enjoyed reading The Art of Forgiveness.


Written by Monique Orgeron’s eldest, most beautiful, and intelligent daughter. (My sister is going to hate this part.)

My mom happens to be the most caring, loving, and stubborn person I know, well anyone knows. She gives 100% percent of herself to everyone and has given up so much of herself for my sister and I. For twenty-one years she has poured her heart and soul into making sure we know that we are loved and that we can do anything we put our minds too, but it was about time she figured that out about herself. 

Up until this year I hadn’t seen my mom do anything for only her, but this book has allowed her to travel the world through the pages of a book, make new friends, and feel the joy of doing something exciting. 

There is a new light behind her eyes and it is just making me feel more joy than she can ever imagine. While she might be annoying most of the time, I am so thrilled that she is finally allowing herself to grow as a person and not spend all of her energy on her family. 

It has been a long journey of self-discovery for my mom; she has gone from domestic supermom to domestic goddess throughout the process of writing. 

We are so very excited and proud of you! I love you as big as the world.

-Bria and Tony

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Release & Review ~ Night Shift by Carey Decevito

Title: Night Shift
Series: Nightshade #2
Author: Carey Decevito
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance/Suspense
Release Date: January 9, 2018 

A serial killer…
A past that haunts no matter how much the distance…

 

Which one will strike first?

 


Eighteen deaths over eight years has left Shane Peters itching to find his mark. The death that started it all ensured his obsession with the murderer who had turned his life into a living hell, leaving him to raise a newborn daughter on his own.

Starting over wasn’t the easiest thing, but Emberlyn Roth had managed by shear grit and the skin of her teeth. It’s too bad one can’t outrun their past.

A protector of the wronged, Shane is torn between his duty as a detective for the Jacksonville PD and a quest to find himself some peace. Red tape binds his capabilities and moonlighting as an investigator for Nightshade Securities has him feeling stretched thin. Late nights on the streets and his sense of duty keeps him from being the father he wants to be. Throw onto his already rickety house of cards, an attraction to the mysterious Emberlyn, the lead he’s got on the murderer he’s been hunting for nearly a decade, and threats his woman is receiving by an unsavory character from her past, and he’s seriously tempted to take Dalton Kipper’s offer to join his team in a permanent basis.

Rules have a place, but when you’re faced with losing the one that means most to you, lines can become blurred. With the fate of his family’s future hanging in the balance, he’s ready to risk it all.

Night Shift was a good read, filled with suspense–a lot of it–and f-bombs galore, which only made me smile. Ember was strong and she didn’t take crap from anyone, least of all her gorgeous cop neighbor, Shane. Now Shane was an interesting character, chasing a serial killer who started with someone close to him, and years later no closer to finding him.
This story was right up my alley with romance and serial killers, I was prepared to love it.  But I only liked it, because I felt the first person POV took something away from a story that could have been great.
But it’s a good read and will keep you on your toes and completely involved until the very end.

Emberlyn


It was happening again.

The gifts. The mementos. The notes.

I thought I’d been rid of those when I moved away from Orlando.

That’s when Trevor Sikes ceased to exist for me. Or what I would have liked to have had happen.

It petrified me that the man may have found me. Some of the gifts were like those he used to get for me—his sick way of apologizing after terrorizing me—and others were odd and not what I’d have thought Sikes would ever have thought to send. Those creeped me out the most.

When I moved to Jacksonville, I’d made sure that my restraining order encompassed a no contact clause. I had one for the state of Florida, and another for North Carolina. And I renewed both religiously.

The burning question in my mind, however, was why hadn’t my lawyer contacted me about him being let out? He shouldn’t have been allowed for parole for another six months.

“Unless he’s got someone doing it for him,” I thought aloud, sipping my cup of tepid coffee as I stared at the small white box I’d discovered on my front step, just moments ago. The thing sat haphazardly on the kitchen island’s edge.

Regardless, the whole thing was giving me the willies. What’s more was the fact that my home now felt uncomfortable.

I no longer felt safe.


Shane’s a cop.



Maybe I could mention what’s been going on to him, or maybe I could just get him to give me a few leads on a decent security company to install a system in my place. Either way, knowing that he was there—across the street—appeased my mind somewhat.

Setting my coffee down, I grabbed my latest eerie gift and made for the garage. I hadn’t even stored the large bin up on its original shelf after I’d added yesterday’s delivery in it. Lifting its lid, I dropped the tiny box in it, snapped the top back on, then hefted it back in its intended place. One I hoped to God and all things holy, that I’d never have to fetch again.

“Where were you?” I heard the little girl ask me when I walked into my little cottage.

I’d decided to work on invoices and tagging product I hadn’t yet packaged for the day, and hadn’t touched the production side. It just so happened, I had left a few boxes that were to be delivered tomorrow in my little craft den, when I stumbled upon the little girl.

I jumped, clutching at my chest. “Rosie, you scared me half to death!”

She had the contrite look down pat, pout included. “I’m sorry, but I was so excited that you said we’d make some lip gloss together that I couldn’t wait any longer.”

This had me smiling, despite my heart breaking. I felt for the little girl, having lost her mother, and never really having a relationship with her. She looked up to me. She genuinely enjoyed my company—and I did hers—so I really didn’t mind her regular interruptions. They broke up my day and served as a reminder that there was more to life than just work.

“You’re right.” I bit my lip. “Tell you what…How about we get together tomorrow? I never got around to picking up my supplies today, so I don’t have some of the ingredients to make it just yet.” The disappointment in her eyes cut me to the quick. “But tomorrow, I’ll have so much more that I’ll even show you how to make your very own lotion, how does that sound?”

I swear she beamed from head to toe. “Really? My very own lotion?”

I nodded, unable to keep my smile at bay. “Really. You’ll have to come up with a name for it too, because I’ve never made lotions for little girls before.”

“Can it be cotton candy like the gloss?”

I crouched down to where she was sitting and cupped her cheek. “I think that’s a wonderful idea. Maybe you can help me figure out other things little girls like and we can create an entire line.”

“For real?”

As soon as I nodded, she jumped up on a squeal and into my arms. The scent of her strawberry shampoo filled my nostrils, and I curled into her a bit more. She was such a precious character.

Pulling back, I noticed her school bag right next to where she’d been sitting. “Lana Rose,” Her nose scrunched up, it was comical. I remained serious however, “Why is your book bag with you?”

“Because I came here right after school,” she mumbled to her shoes.

“Does anyone know you’re here?”

She hesitated before shaking her head to indicate the negative. “Nuh-uh.”

“Rosie!” I scolded. “You can’t do that, honey. Your grams and daddy are going to be worried.”

Tears filled her eyes. “Am I in trouble?”

“Tell you what…” I grabbed her bag, throwing it over my shoulder, then grabbed her hand. “I’ll talk to your Grams and smooth things over. I’m sure she’ll understand that you were excited.” Pulling her toward the cottage’s door, taking the time to lock it too, I led us toward her home.

It wasn’t Grams that opened however, it was Shane.

A very pissed off Shane.

“Daddy!” Rosie seemed to completely miss the fact that her father was staring at me with daggers.

“Go inside, princess. I need to have a talk with Emberlyn,” he ground out.


Uh oh!



“But Daddy–”

“Not now.”

“It’s my fault,” she confessed. “I went to Ember’s so we could make lip gloss, but she doesn’t have the stuff, so I’ll go back tomorrow, and–”

“Slow down, baby girl.” He crouched down to her level. “Haven’t we talked about this? You’re supposed to come straight home from school, young lady.”

“But–”

“We’ll talk later, Rosie. Now go inside and help your Grams.”

“Yes, Daddy.” She pouted. Looking back at me, she smiled shyly. “I’m sorry I got us in trouble, Ember.”

“No harm done, honey.” I smiled for reassurance. “Thanks for visiting.”

When the little girl disappeared, Shane stepped out onto the front porch, his intimidating stance making me take a step back, and closed the door behind him.

“Listen–”

He lifted his hand to cut me off. “Thank you for bringing her back, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that she’s been with you for well on two hours.” He was furious, as he should be. I don’t know the first thing about being a parent, but I suspect that worry can sometimes bring out the worst in us. It seemed to be doing that to Shane.

“I-I didn’t know she was there,” I told him.

His eyes rounded in surprise. “What?” he hollered. “How does a grown-assed woman not know when a kid is around? Are you that self-absorbed that all you care about is your business?”

That got my back up in a hurry. So I made my advance. “Now wait a fucking minute, you jerk!” I poked him in the chest. “I work from home, and my business is based in that cottage out back, but it doesn’t mean I spend my days there every day. I was working from the house today; invoicing, if you must know.” I huffed. The gall of the man! “Why the hell am I telling you this anyway?”

“Ember–”

“She went straight to the cottage and waited there for me,” I told him. “I figured out that she’d come to see me, instead of going home first, because I noticed her book bag. If I hadn’t needed those boxes, she’d still be sitting there.”

“I–”

Emphasising my point with another poke, I added, “It’s because of me that she’s here right now, and that you’re not out there worried sick and still searching for her. So fuck you for insinuating that I had concocted some elaborate plan to kidnap or hold your daughter captive. I promise, next time she stops by, I’ll send her right back. You have my word on that.”

Without waiting for his reply, I turned on my heel and stormed off, crossed the street, and headed up my front steps. After unlocking the front door, I entered my home, slammed the fucking thing, and turned the deadbolt.
Fuck him! Fuck men! Fuck them all!

Born and raised in small town Northern Ontario, Canada, Carey Decevito has always had a penchant for reading and writing.

 

More than a decade later, with weeks of sleepless nights, where exhaustion settled into her everyday existence, she finally gave in and put pen to paper (more like fingers to keyboard!) She submitted to the dreams that plagued her. And the rest, as they say, is history!

A member of the RWA, Carey Decevito enjoys spending time with family and friends, the outdoors, travelling, and playing tourist in Canada’s National Capital region. When life gets crazy, she seeks respite through her writing and reading. If all else fails, she knows there’s never a dull moment with her two daughters, her goofy husband, and cat who she swears is out to get her.

Review ~ A Teaspoon of Trouble by Shirley Jump

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ABOUT:

Type-A chef Carolyn Henderson has walked away from her job at a trendy NYC restaurant after an abrupt family tragedy. Now, as a guardian to her four-year-old niece, Emma, and a very disobedient mutt – kids and dogs are so not her skill set – moving back to Marietta, Montana seems the best temporary option. But when confronted by her parents’ declining health, Carolyn has to face reality. And she’s going to need some serious help. So who better to ask than Matthew West, a blast from her high school past… and as hunky and helpful as ever.

Vet – and very eligible, if reluctant, Bachelor – Matthew West can’t believe his luck when his high school crush stumbles through his door. Dogs, kids, and gorgeous damsels in distress. Carolyn needs help with the pup, and he needs help whipping up delicious concoctions for the Bachelor Bake-Off. So she wants to make a deal: dog obedience lessons for cooking tips… but Matthew wants to broker quite a bit more…

In A Teaspoon of Trouble we meet Carolyn Henderson, a talented NYC chef who has just lost her sister and brother in law and was now tasked with raising her adorable little niece Emma. So back to Montana the girls go, with Carolyn hoping her parents can help her be the mom her sister knew she could. Only her parents are aging and filled with grief, which means she has to figure it out. But Carolyn runs into the high school boyfriend she’d left without a backwards glance, and Matt is better than she remembered. A small town vet, he loves his life but wishes for more. For love and marriage. Shirley Jump has written a fun small town romance that includes a fun bachelor bake off for charity, moonlight kisses and tons of romance.

Where Shirley Jump excels in A Teaspoon of Trouble is creating the small town atmosphere with fun, small town characters, plenty of adorable animals and we can’t forget little Emma who is absolutely precious. And Matt was incredible; hot and generous and kind. But Carolyn was kind of hard to like for much of the story because she was so focused on what she wanted that she never thought about Emma, only her career. It was kind of repetitive but she got her stuff together in time to redeem herself, at least in this reader’s eyes.

There were also some really great moments filled with emotions, particularly a late night scene with Carolyn and her niece. Those scenes gave this book the depth it needed to be more than your average romance novel.

Review ~ The Christmas Fountain – Kait Nolan

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ABOUT:

Elementary school teacher Mary Alice Reed wanted a nice, stable guy to share her happily ever after. When she thought she’d found him, everyone tried to tell her that the guy she thought was her Mr. Right, was really Mr. Somebody Else’s. Living with a town’s worth of I-told-you-so isn’t easy, but she’s coping. And definitely taking a break from love in order to get past her last disaster to chair her favorite Christmas charity.

Trauma surgeon Chad Phillips gave up the intensity and long hours of a big city hospital to move to Wishful. He wants a home and family, a town with a slower pace, where he can actually build a life. Being one of Wishful’s most eligible bachelors has gotten him a lot of pie and casseroles, but it hasn’t helped him find that special someone to come home to.

When a friend’s accident lands Mary Alice in his ER, Chad finds himself more than intrigued. Part Martha Stewart, part Mary Poppins, and all Girl Next Door, she’s exactly what he’s been looking for. Volunteering for the Fountain of Hope charity seems like the perfect way to get to know his Christmas crush. But just as he seems to be overcoming Mary Alice’s once bitten, twice shy caution, that one tiny thing from his past, that he probably should have told her about, shows up for a Christmas season visit. Chad’s gonna have some explaining to do.

The Christmas Fountain by Kait Nolan is the perfect holiday story. It’s a full blown romance, complete with meet cute and a slow, sexy buildup. Only it all happens around the holidays. There are no cheesy Christmas themes or kitsch thrown in, just Mary Alice and Chad.

And I LOVED them together. Flirting in the ER over drunk friend was the perfect way for this serious couple to meet. And from that point their relationship progressed perfectly, with fun dates and plenty of sweet romance and a whole lotta steamy romance. There was a little bit of everything for everyone who loves a great small town romance.

I can’t say there was a part of this story I didn’t like. I cracked open my Kindle yesterday and finished it just a minutes before starting on this review. It was quick, fun and easy. But, I’m gonna have to call BS on Chad for one tiny little misunderstanding. Yeah, I know it’s a romance and there has to be drama and/or misunderstanding, I got it and love it. Hell, I write romance myself and I have a bit of a girl crush on Kait. But Chad…seriously? I think Mary Alice was totally within her rights to be pissed off because of ALL the things you hide or keep to yourself IT’S NOT THAT! Not when you know her history, so while it all worked out, I’m calling Dr. Phillips out on his behavior on that part.

Overall, I loved this story. It had just enough holiday for the season and I loved some of the secondary characters. Kait Nolan is one author who excels at pulling in different characters without overloading the story with too many people.

The Christmas Fountain was a fun holiday romance to get you in the spirit!

Review ~ Romancing the Bachelor – Diane Alberts

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ABOUT:

Eric Hamilton isn’t looking for love. Hell, he isn’t even looking for a girl. He has a five-year plan, and he’s one hundred percent focused on that. But then Shelby walks into his life, and suddenly, he can’t think about anything else. Unfortunately for him, she hates his guts, and wants nothing to do with him. But he’s a man who loves a challenge.

Shelby Jefferson can’t wait to get out of the city, and back to her country roots. She moved to Atlanta for a guy who promptly left her, and the last thing she wants is to fall for another man who might make her want to stay. But Eric is nothing if not persistent, and before long she’s inside his arms, in his bed, and falling for him. Hard. But when history repeats itself, she’s left having to choose between a man and herself…again.

The thing I liked best about Romancing the Bachelor was that these two people, so seemingly different, were so much alike. Not what they liked, but the baggage they carried. Eric is more than a bachelor, he’s a player. A love’em and leave’em kind of guy who makes sure everyone woman knows what to expect from him up front.

And it’s no secret.

So when he finally notices Shelby, who’s been a court reporter in the courts where he argues cases for years. What makes his attention even worse? They also live in the same building and in all those years he never once noticed her. Oh, but she noticed him all right. How could she not? Eric is hot, successful and did I mention hot? But, guess what? Yep, Shelby has baggage too and that baggage is taking her out of the city and back to a small town…somewhere.

But Eric is relentless and Shelby starts to think, why not. She’s leaving no matter what, so why not? Well there are about a billion reasons why not, but when a guy like Eric Hamilton wants in your bed…you let him in!

Romancing the Bachelor was a really good time. I really enjoyed the chemistry between the leads, the flirting and fun sexy banter. It felt real, like you want to feel during those first dates when you’re falling. Diane Alberts is an author I always give a shot to, and this book was no different. There was, of course, drama and misunderstanding but it wasn’t so over the top that it ruined the story.

Review ~ Cowboy Christmas Blues – Maisey Yates

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ABOUT:

When Cooper Mason left Gold Valley, Oregon behind him eight years ago, he told himself he wouldn’t be back. But when a Christmas promise sends him home to face his demons, he’ll find that not everything is as he remembers—especially family friend Annabelle Preston, who’s somehow morphed from childhood pest to full-grown, hot-blooded and oh-so-tempting woman.

Growing up, Annabelle had built a lot of dreams around the ruggedly gorgeous Cooper—dreams she’s long ago learned to put behind her. Until a chance encounter with Cooper leads to a night neither can forget, and all the old feelings come blazing back to life. Now, Annabelle has a week to prove there’s more between them than a no-strings holiday fling…and with a little Christmas luck, she just might convince Gold Valley’s favorite cowboy to come home for good.

We all know that I super biased towards author, Maisey Yates. Her Copper Ridge series is fantastic so you know when I found out she’d discovered more hot cowboys in Gold Valley, I was all over that. And she starts with a really good one!

This introductory novella was the perfect Christmas bite!

Annabelle has always had it bad for Cooper Mason. She followed him around as a kid because he was her hero. Her one true love. But Mason left Gold Valley and has hardly come back or looked back in years. Of course, he has his reasons—pretty damn good reasons—but this year he’s back to spend time with his family. And the town who won’t let his family forget their biggest tragedy.

One night at the only watering hole in town he spots her. A sexy little number he could lose himself in for the night…only after a super hot orgasm does he realize who she is.

DRAMA, y’all!

So that’s Cowboy Christmas Blues in a nutshell but that’s just what happens. This story is fun and a little bit sad, and filled with holiday hope. Annabelle is all grown up and she wants Cooper for herself. Or just while he’s in town. The point is she wants him and watching her try to navigate new feelings mixed with the old hero worship and his own warnings against developing feelings for him, was exciting. A casual, hot affair is just what she thinks she wants or needs, but come on, who can keep it casual when your childhood crush is tall, dark, handsome and just a little bit broken?

Certainly not me, and definitely not Annabelle either!

There were some great secondary characters that I look forward to getting to know better, but if the rest of the stories are anything like Cowboy Christmas Blues, then there are many more cowboys in my future!

Review ~ Going Down Easy – Carly Phillips

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ABOUT:

Meet Kaden Barnes.

Alpha-licious in the most unexpected ways, Kaden Barnes always gets what he wants.

Enigmatic and exacting, he’s unable to keep an assistant for long. Until Lexie Parker arrives. She’s no-nonsense, efficient and all business… She’s also hot as sin and soon starring in Kaden’s dirtiest fantasies.

When their passion for each other reaches a boiling point, Kaden may think he’s calling the shots, but for this billionaire bad boy, going down easy has never felt so good.

Let me start this by saying that I am  Carly Phillips fan. I love her Dare to Love series, Dare NY, Serendipity’s Finest, those sexy Chandler brothers books and Hot Zone. Wow, that’s a lot of Carly Phillips, right?

As you can see it’s not a hard sell to get me to pick one up even though some of the latest ones have been hit or miss for me. But from the moment I picked up Going Down Easy it had me hooked. Kade is delicious. Commanding and brilliant. But he’s also a little bit broken and I don’t mean his idiosyncrasies that make keeping an assistant impossible. His back story is tragic and I guarantee it will piss you off. It will make you want to hunt down the woman who gave birth to him and go after her Sons of Anarchy style.

Enough about her. Continue reading Review ~ Going Down Easy – Carly Phillips