Richer than Sin by Meghan March ~ Sarah A’s Review

From New York Times bestselling author Meghan March comes a brand new saga of forbidden love and second chances.

A Riscoff and a Gable can never live happily ever after. Our family feud is the stuff of legends.

Ten years ago, Whitney Gable caught me off guard with her long legs and grab-you-by-the-balls blue eyes.

I didn’t know or care what her name was.

Like any Riscoff worth the family name, I went after what I wanted. We burned like a flash fire until she married another man.

She hates me, and she should.

I objected on her wedding day.

Now she’s home, with those same long legs and man-eater stare, but there’s no ring on her finger.

They say a Riscoff and a Gable can never live happily ever after . . . but I’m not done with Whitney Gable.

I’ll never be done with her.

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While I am no expert on Meghan March’s repertoire, this book is so different than the other books I’ve read by her.  The suspense and intrigue, while still present, wasn’t as paramount in Richer than Sin. Instead, it focused on the microcosm of small-town dynamics and familial relationships.  It was fascinating, and I can’t wait to see what is bubbling beneath the surface because I am sure we’ve only just scratched the surface on what’s going on in Gable.

There are few tropes I enjoy more than second-chance romances and forbidden romance is one of those.  Combine those two, and I’m all in.  While Richer than Sin could easily be compared to Romeo and Juliet, I feel like that comparison doesn’t do the story justice – it diminishes the extent of Whitney and Lincoln’s relationship.  No, this book is more Hatfields and McCoys meets the Notebook.  The animosity between the families was so intense and long-lived, it was almost more about carrying on tradition than it was about the actual feud.  And Whitney and Lincoln’s relationship transcended the infatuation of two teenagers and bordered on something essential to their survival.

I can’t talk about this book and not mention perhaps the most important character in this book, the town of Gable itself.  So much of what Whitney and Lincoln went through was because of the tense dynamics of living in a town where one family rules above all others.  I loved how Ms. March used that quality to push the story forward and put the characters in situations that demanded more from them than they deserved.

While Richer than Sin didn’t have the same type of suspense as her other novels, it was no less intriguing.  There are so many moving parts within the Riscoff and Gable families; it feels as if there will be no end to the things we uncover about them and their dubious connections.  I have so many theories and speculations about what is going on with them, and I have no doubt my assumptions barely scratch the surface of what is boiling underneath their feud.

Meghan March continues to impress me with her engrossing storylines.  Each time I open one of her books I’m swept up in these rich worlds with endless secrets and fascinating relationships.  I appreciate how, while all of her books have a similar style, each one has a freshness and theme all its own.  Her characters all have an innate strength, and I love that her heroines are never shrinking violets.  Every time I read one of her series I’m caught up in all of it, but I think the Sin series is going to be at the top of my list of my favorites from her.

Guilty until proven innocent.
That’s the way the world works, right?
I’m tired of being convicted without evidence, all because my last name is Gable.
The Riscoffs might own this town, but I’m done following their rules.
If only I could forget just how easily Lincoln Riscoff can drag me under his spell.

Guilty as Sin ~ RELEASE DATE: September 18
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Whitney Gable is the kind of woman you fight to the death to protect.
To keep.
To cherish.
I’ve finally learned my lesson, and it’s time to prove I’m the man who’s worthy of her.
I don’t care what it takes, because failure is not an option.
No matter who or what stands in our way—this time, she’ll be mine forever

Reveling in Sin ~ RELEASE DATE: October 23
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A New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty novels, Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had.

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The Pretty series by M. Leighton ~ Cover ReReveal & Sarah A’s Review of All the Pretty Lies

Live, no regrets

Her…
Sloane Locke has led a sheltered life. However, with a history like hers, she can understand why her brothers and her father want so much to protect her. She has gone along with it for twenty long years, but those days are over. For the girl who never makes promises, Sloane has made a pact with herself that things will change on her twenty-first birthday. So when the clock strikes midnight, Sloane strikes out to spread her wings and break a few rules.

Him…
In addition to inking skin, Hemi Spencer possesses many talents. Controlling himself has never been one of them. It’s never had to be. He’s lived a life of indulgence for as long as he can remember. Right up until tragedy struck. Now, he’s nothing but controlled. He’s a man on a mission, one who will let nothing and no one stand in his way.

Them…
Nothing in their lives could’ve prepared Sloane and Hemi for what they’d find in each other—distraction and obsession, love and possession. But the one thing they can’t find is a future. Neither one has been totally honest. And they’ll soon learn that the devil is in the details. In the details and in the lies.

How far will two people go to live in the now when the now is all they’ve got?

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He never wanted to be a hero…until she needed him to be.

Strength…
It took Kennedy Moore years to put her life back together after Reese Spencer shattered it. But she did. Now, years later, strong and independent, she is in pursuit of a single dream—to dance with the Altman American Dance Theater. Unfortunately, Kennedy is learning that a woman from nowhere with no money and no contacts might never be able to reach her goal.

That is, until Reese reappears, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that Kennedy just can’t refuse. In exchange for working on his yacht for a few short weeks, he’ll get her an audition with the famous dance troupe. All Kennedy has to do is keep her head down, work hard and resist Reese. That sounds easy enough, right?

Weakness…
Reese doesn’t want to make it easy for Kennedy. Seeing her again has started a fire in his blood—an unwelcome one. It took him years to forget about her before, so this time he has a plan. It’s simple: Get Kennedy on his yacht, seduce her, get her out of his system, move on with his life. That sounds easy enough, right?

But the one thing Reese didn’t plan for was Kennedy herself—a woman so strong yet so broken, she makes him want to rescue her, to take care of her. To save her. Even if he has to save her from himself.

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Pretending to be something they’re not, afraid to trust anyone completely, destined to tear each other apart– this is the story of unlikely love and unbearable consequences.

Sig Locke is a cop. He was raised by a cop and all his brothers are cops. He bleeds blue, believes in right and wrong, and sees in black and white, never in shades of gray. 

But that was before he met Tommi.

Tommi, with her long legs and bright green eyes, she captured Sig’s interest from the moment he saw her. Even after he discovered who she was–the girlfriend of a drug dealer, the beauty behind a criminal–he still found her utterly irresistible. What Sig doesn’t know, however, is that she has a secret even a cop can’t uncover.

Tommi Lawrence hasn’t had an easy life, and it only got more complicated the day she met Sig. She learned long ago that she can’t trust anyone. Her gut tells her that Sig is no exception; her heart tells her that he is. But that was before she found out his real identity. 

Can love be forged in a fire of lies? Or will the truth destroy them both?

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Follow the love and heartbreak of the Locke and Spencer families as only NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR M. Leighton can tell it. Enjoy all three full-length novels at one incredible price!

ALL THE PRETTY LIES: Sloane Locke is trying to break free of her past. When she meets tattoo artist, Hemi Spencer, she knows she’s found just the man to help her do it. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that Hemi has secrets that could tear her entire world apart.

ALL THE PRETTY POSES: Exotic dancer Kennedy Moore found love fourteen years ago in the arms of the wealthy boy next door, Reese Spencer. She also found heartache that nearly destroyed her. She thought she’d finally managed to put him behind her until the day he shows up with an offer she can’t refuse.

ALL THINGS PRETTY: Sig Locke lives life by cop code. He sees things in black and white, never shades of gray. That is until he meets Tommi Lawrence. She’s the kind of woman who can make a man forget everything he thought he knew. But having her comes at a price.

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I loved this book, like a lot. It was so sweet, and the story was engrossing in so many ways, I couldn’t put it down once I started reading. Every time I read a book by M. Leighton I find myself completely wrapped up in her words and I always wonder why I wait to read them. All the Pretty Lies was an emotional ride, and I loved every second of it.

Sloane Locke was fierce. I rarely say that about characters, but after everything she’d been through and the way her family sheltered her from life the fact that she still had the strength to go after the things she wanted regardless of the potential consequences made her unquestionably fierce.

Hemi, for all his flaws, tugged on my heartstrings. I don’t think he even realized how broken he was and how desperately he was looking for something, anything to help him out of the hole of grief, revenge, and despair in which he was living. Watching him change from the hard, cold, empty person he was when the story began to the whole, loving man he grew into by the end was glorious; more so, because he didn’t even recognize the change happening within him until it was complete.

The plot of All the Pretty Little Lies, while a little predictable, was riveting. I had to keep moving forward to find out if my suspicions were correct and see how Sloane and Hemi were going to deal with the potential fallout from all the secrets they were keeping. Add in the craziness of Sloane’s family, and this book was a little heartbreaking, a little humorous, and a lot hopeful.

All the Pretty Lies is the first book in M. Leighton’s Pretty series. These books are interconnected standalones, and the series does not need to be read in its entirety to get a complete story. The book is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Sloane and Hemi.

The only wish I have for this book would be a little heavier hand in the editing process. There are several errors, not enough to take away from the story but enough to catch my attention.

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, M. Leighton lives in the deep South with her super-hero husband and super-smart maltipoo.  She has a fondness for coffee and chocolate, loves the color red, laughs at almost anything, and often stares out her window, daydreaming of far-away places.  You can find out more about her by visiting her website at www.mleightonbooks.com

The Simple Wild by KA Tucker ~ Sarah A’s Review

Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

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The Simple Wild is billed as a romance novel, but I felt like the romance in this novel played second fiddle to the more powerful story of Calla finding herself and figuring out what was truly important to her in life. I’d definitely qualify this book as women’s fiction, rather than romance.

Calla was an insipid child when this book first started; I found her superficial, immature, and irresponsible. Despite living with her mother and step-father, having a good job for four years, and basically having no bills, she was still reliant on her step-father to buy her a plane ticket. She was more obsessed with her shoes and getting an insta-worthy photo than she was other human beings. In short, she was self-absorbed and materialistic. Throughout the novel Calla grew, so much, she learned more about herself, the world, and all different types of love than she could have anticipated when she decided to visit her father. Her growth arc in this book was everything. Calla, much like her Instagram posts, evolved from a thing of shallow frivolity to a person more concerned with substance, interpersonal connections, and true happiness.

As much as I didn’t feel like the romantic element of was the focal point of The Simple Wild, it did play a vital role in helping Calla grow. Jonah was instrumental in making her see the world as more than just the sum of its parts; he forced her to see the humanity behind the masses. He pushed her so far out of her comfort-zone she had no choice but to recalibrate her life and find a new outlook. And while he was doing all that, he was also helping her come to terms with the pending loss of the father she was barely getting to know. Her journey to Alaska was her catalyst to change, but Jonah was one of the major reactants that stimulated her rebirth.

I quite enjoyed the plot of The Simple Wild. It was intriguing and unlike anything I’ve read in recent memory; it was also wholly dependent on the location of the novel. Though I’ve never visited Alaska – it’s a bucket list item for me – I felt like I was there with Calla, Jonah, and the crew. I especially appreciated the juxtaposition of the well-dressed, appearance-obsessed, city girl against the simplicity and grittiness of the Alaskan tundra. In truth, Alaska was just as much a character in this book as the people were and it contributed in so many ways to move this book forward. The Simple Wild gave me a glimpse of a different, slower, simpler way of life and it felt almost like a balm to my soul to know there is still a world independent of the hustle and bustle of the instant gratification of the digital lives to which we are all so accustomed.

I’ve read a handful of KA Tucker books and always find them fascinating in ways I haven’t anticipated. I’m not sure how she’s so capable of taking a concept and turning it on its head, but she consistently makes me think I’m going into a particular type of story then, when I come out the other side, I find I have experienced something unexpected and entirely new. Her prose has a phenomenal way of drawing you in and holding you captive to her words with single-minded obsession; it’s as if nothing exists but the world she’s created. I’m in awe of Ms. Tucker’s story-telling skills and love that she continually writes fresh, captivating books that deliver more to her readers than just a simple story.

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 17 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and her upcoming contemporary fiction, The Simple Wild. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.

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NEW RELEASE!! A Kiss to Tell by W Winters ~ Sarah A Review

I didn’t need anyone to tell me, I knew he was forbidden with a single glance.
He was a boy I should be afraid of and definitely a boy I should never want. No matter how much neither of those statements were true.

From the first time I saw him, Sebastian had a hard stare that pinned me in place.  And, years later, it hasn’t softened.

We lived on the same street, went to the same school, though he was a year ahead.  Even so close, he was untouchable.
He was bad news and I was the sad girl who didn’t belong.

One night changed everything.
We both had secrets.  We both saw the pain in each other’s eyes.
That gaze that gave me chills, turned to a lust-filled haze that heated every inch of me.
But that didn’t change who he was.  A man who would take everything from me.

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A Kiss to Tell started out incredibly.  The story was fascinating, the characters sympathetic, and it fit into the world she’d already established in her Sinful Obsessions series. However, the end didn’t quite deliver the closure or open-ended cliffhanger I’ve come to expect from her.  I’m honestly not sure if Chloe and Sebastian’s story is meant to be complete or if I should be anticipating more from them in the future.

While I was reading A Kiss to Tell I was completely wrapped up in the story, I felt so bad for Chloe and all the things she’d suffered through in her short life; I was obsessed with Sebastian and his secrecy and his compulsion to protect Chloe.  After I finished the book, I was left a little bereft as to who the characters were outside of the intense situation they’d been living in.  I wish we’d seen them living in normalcy for just a little bit, so I would have had a better impression of who they were as people.

The plot of A Kiss to Tell was intense.  Between the flashbacks to Chloe and Sebastian’s earlier interactions and the events surrounding the night that changed Chloe’s life, Chloe’s mysterious dreams, and the sinister, yet too convenient, things happening in their town, the intrigue was high, and the questions were many.  A Kiss to Tell also gave us a glimpse of the town Carter (Merciless, Heartless) runs, and a younger, more innocent Carter, before he became the ruthless man we’ve come to know.

I wish the book had a more solid ending.  When I got to about 90%, I knew there wasn’t enough book left to wrap up all the loose ends, so I anticipated a cliffhanger. Instead, I got a half-finished book that felt rushed and incomplete.  I’m not sure if it was meant to feel that way or if the author was rushed to finish it but, at any rate, it was unsatisfying and a disservice to the strength of the rest of the story.

Willow Winters is so happy to be a USA Today, Wall Street Journal and #1 Contemporary Bestselling Romance Author. She likes her action hot and her bad boys hotter. She certainly doesn’t hold back on either one in her writing!

Willow started writing after having her little girl, Evie, December 2015. All during her pregnancy with Evie she continued to read and she only wanted to read romance. She was reading a book a day — sometimes two.

In January 2016 Willow was staying up late with Evie and just thinking of all these stories. They came to her constantly so she finally sat down and just started writing. She always wanted to do it so she figured, why not? Today Willow cannot be happier for making that decision!

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GIVEAWAY & NOW AVAILABLE!! Unbreak My Heart by Lauren Blakely ~ Sarah A’s Review

✮✮✮UNBREAK MY HEART is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮
Experience all the feels in this unforgettable, second chance, standalone romance from #1 New York Times bestseller Lauren Blakely!

I didn’t break her heart, and she didn’t break mine — we broke each other’s.

I never stopped loving her, but time and distance played its cruel role in ripping us apart three years ago when she moved halfway around the world. Now after all those endless miles away, she’s returned . . . but I’m not the guy I was before.

Beautiful, kind, and loving, she’s the same — my hope. The only one who can make a day better, who can make me feel again with one kiss, one touch, one night.

There’s so much I have to put back in place now that I’m alone and on my own. Things I never wanted at the age of twenty-five. When I receive an unexpected letter that might hold the clues to everything I desperately need to understand about my family, I’m sure I have to follow it. But that means leaving her once more.

She says she’ll come with me, and having her by my side will unbreak my heart . . . or destroy it.

That’s the chance I have to take.

***  UNBREAK MY HEART is only $2.99 for release day only  ***
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I read this book under the recommendation of someone I highly respect and I was blown away.  Unbreak My Heart wasn’t a particularly easy read.  There were a ton of difficult things that were tackled over the course of the story, and Lauren Blakely didn’t skirt around them, she faced them head-on and made her readers experience the raw pain and emotion her characters went through.

Unbreak My Heart ran me through the gamut of emotions.  Andrew’s journey was arduous and the depth and breadth of emotions he went through while figuring out how to heal – how to love and live again – was richly portrayed throughout the book.  Each new revelation, good and bad, brought on a new slew of feelings and Ms. Blakely did a fantastic job of representing the intensity of dealing with grief and trying to find answers that seem too big for one person to deal with.

I loved the outlet and support Holland was for Andrew.  He needed her strength and understanding to make it through some of the hardest moments of his life.  She also provided him a place to go when no one else wanted to talk about the things he’d lost, the things he had to deal with, the fact he no longer had the biggest part of his support system.  And Holland did all of that without letting him become too reliant on her; she made him stand on his own two feet while lending a helping hand when he most needed it.

Second-chance romances are one of my favorite tropes to read; Unbreak My Heart was that and more.  I especially loved that there was no hurtful breakup in Holland and Andrew’s past, there was no emotional baggage they had to overcome regarding their relationship.  Their history and connection were obvious and intense.  I also appreciated that their original coupling was a friends-to-lovers romance because it gave them another layer of foundation to build a future on.  Theirs was such a robust and fated connection; I could feel the love they had bleeding through the pages.

I’ve long heard great things about Lauren Blakely, but since rom-coms aren’t my thing I hadn’t read her.  When I found out this book was heavier and more tragic, I knew I had to take my chance, and I was not disappointed.  I loved her writing style, it felt unique yet still comfortable, almost as if the characters were relaying their story to a friend, rather than narrating their lives.  It was refreshing and fun.  I hope Ms. Blakely writes more novels outside of the rom-com genre, as this book shows she has a great talent for it.

~Andrew~

She inches her hand across the counter just a little bit closer, and that hand, I want to grab it and hold on. I glance at our fingers, so close all it would take is one of us giving an inch.

Give. Take. Come. Stay.

I can feel the warmth from her hand. One stretch for us to reconnect, so I wait. Wait for her to put her hands on my face and press her lips against mine and kiss me like it’s been killing her not to.

But I can’t wait.

I break first, saying her name in a lonely, desperate rasp. “Holland.”

“Andrew.” Her voice is a whisper.

“Go with me,” I blurt out.

She blinks. “What?”

I shake my head.

Leaving the kitchen, I stalk to the living room, pacing like I can sort out what to do if I get just a few feet away from her.

She’s right behind me, her hand on my arm. “Say it again.”

I swivel around, and with her blue eyes on mine, her body close, I break to pieces. With her, my heart beats too fast, my blood pumps too quickly. I have no will to tell her to stop being so near to me but not near enough to make everything better.

“Say what again?” I ask, as if I’ve forgotten.

“Ask me,” she presses.

And she wins. She fucking wins. “Go with me. Come with me.”

She squeezes my arm. “Is that what you want?’

I cup her cheeks. She gasps. I’ve shocked her. Let’s shock her some more.

Her lips part, and she whispers my name. “Andrew.”

It’s like the stars are glowing. Like the sky is blazing at night. “You know what I want.”

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 95 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In August she’ll release UNBREAK MY HEART, an emotional new standalone romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!

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The perfect prize pack for any world traveler! A gorgeous Kate Spade Tote and Kindle Paperwhite ($350 value) make any trip much more stylish and fun.

https://laurenblakely.com/ubmhgiveaway/

As Dust Dances by Samantha Young ~ Sarah A’s Review


The New York Times Bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series and PLAY ON returns to the world of the arts in this intense and emotional standalone romance about love, sacrifice, and surviving both. AS DUST DANCES is AVAILABLE NOW!

Once upon a time Skylar Finch was the lead singer of a hugely successful American pop-rock band. But fame made her miserable. When years of living a lie suddenly ended in tragedy, Skylar fell off the map.

Eighteen months later she’s sleeping in a tent in a cemetery in Glasgow, making just enough money to eat by busking on the streets. She manages to avoid recognition, but not the attention of one of Glasgow’s ambitious A&R executives.

Killian O’Dea works at Skyscraper Records, Scotland’s most successful record label. Raised by his uncle and owner of the label, Killian’s upbringing would have been devoid of affection entirely if it wasn’t for his loving sister. Killian is unflinchingly determined to bring the label more success than ever, and the young homeless woman who busks on Buchanan Street is going to help him do that. Her music speaks to him in a way he refuses to over-analyze. All he knows is that if it can touch his dark soul, it’ll set everyone else’s alight.

Skylar makes it clear that she doesn’t want to sign with him. But when she experiences the dangerous reality of a woman sleeping rough, Skylar has no one else but Killian to turn to. An undeniable connection forms between them. But Skylar doesn’t want the career Killian is trying to forge for her, and when her past comes back to haunt her Killian will be faced with a decision that could ruin him. He must either free Skylar from his selfish machinations and destroy everything he’s ever worked for, or lose a woman who has come to mean more to him than he ever thought possible…

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Heartbreak, hope, hurt, and healing. As Dust Dances was rife with a litany of emotions, those four being at the top of that list. After reading the blurb, I knew this book was going to be uniquely spectacular, and I was not mistaken. Samantha Young has consistently blown me away with her stories, and this one reinforced how special a storyteller she is.

My heart broke for Skylar from the off. Regardless of what had led her to a life of homelessness, her life was difficult. Learning about how she had arrived at that point was a different kind of devastating. Skylar’s story shone a light on the side of fame we like to pretend doesn’t exist in horrifying relief. Ms. Young gave us a small glimpse of what it might be like to not have a modicum of privacy and just how arduous that life would be, how deeply it would scar you, and how costly the complete lack of privacy would be.

I loved Skylar and Killian’s connection; it went beyond physical chemistry into something transcendent. From the moment Skylar let her guard down an inch I could feel how important their bond would be. Though neither of them wanted to admit it, they were both searching for something to fix their broken pieces and when he found her, saved her, cared for her at her weakest point you could almost feel their souls call out to one another as if they recognized each other and knew they were destined. The music they made together only further strengthened that feeling for me and I was in love with how deeply they were both connected to each other and their music.

Family was a huge theme in As Dust Dances. I adored how Ms. Young demonstrated time and again that family is less about sharing DNA with a person and more about finding the people who love you, care for you, support you regardless of what you can give to them. There is a purity in the love of family that isn’t found in any other kind of relationship and the familial relationships, the ones built on those foundations of love, care, and support, in this book were beautifully illustrated.

As Dust Dances is the second book in Samantha Young’s Play On series. These books are complete standalones and do not need to be read in order. As Dust Dances is written in first-person perspective, narrated by Skylar.

Samantha Young showed not only her storytelling chops but also her lyrical skills in this novel. While the storytelling in As Dust Dances was fabulous, I was utterly enamored with the lyrics she wrote. They were raw and provocative and, even without melody, I could feel how profoundly emotional the songs would be.

It was my turn to stare at him quizzically, but he didn’t acknowledge the look. He sipped his water and stared around the restaurant as if this weren’t awkward and weird. His nose had a slight bump in it, his cheekbones high, and his jaw chiseled and angular. Overall, he had a very hawklike profile, masculine, rugged, and intimidating. And at that moment I felt like prey, stupidly allowing myself to be caught.

Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that he genuinely didn’t want anything sexual from me.

I stared at him unabashedly, wanting answers.

He remained steadfast, ignoring me, until the waitress he’d called out to returned with a plastic carrier bag. “Will this do?”

“Aye.” He took it from her. “Thanks.” When I returned to the main restaurant, I put the folded-up wet clothes beside me on the bench, my underwear tucked out of sight.

I couldn’t meet the stranger’s eyes as I reached for the Diet Coke I’d asked for, savoring the taste. On tour, I’d needed lots of energy so I’d eaten well and drank plenty of water. Soda was a treat at the best of times. But I hadn’t had a Diet Coke in months, and it tasted great.

“Excuse me,” my companion’s voice jolted my gaze upward and I saw him wave down a passing waitress. “Do you have a bag?”

“A bag?”

“Carrier bag, paper bag. A bag.”

“Um … let me check.”

He held it out, staring at me with those eyes that would’ve been much more suited to a Lothario, to someone who knew how to be charming. “For your clothes.”

Oh.

It was a kind gesture, also at odds with his demeanor, and my suspicion increased. I took the bag, however, sliding my wet clothes into it and out of sight. Exasperated, I said, “What the hell do you want?”

“Food first.”

“So I’ll be well fed, satisfied, and more amenable to whatever the hell it is you want from me?”

He looked at me now, really looked at me, and the corner of his mouth curled up ever so slightly. “Exactly.”

“A good villain doesn’t admit to his plan, you know.”

“I’m not a villain.”

“What are you?”

“Fo—”

“Food first. Yeah, yeah.”

And so we sat in silence until the food arrived, and the smell of my sea bass made my stomach grumble loudly. Years ago, it would’ve embarrassed me. Now I couldn’t give a shit. All I cared about was that fish.

I dug in, closing my eyes in joy as I ate.

When I opened them to scoop up buttery mashed potatoes, I felt his gaze on me.

The furrowed brow, the glimmer of concern in his eyes, made me stiffen. But just like that, his expression cleared, blank, and he went back to eating his burger as if I didn’t exist.

I savored every morsel of that meal, including the Chocolate Fudge Fixation I ordered for dessert.

My belly felt full and satisfied, and exhaustion began to force my eyelids to droop.

And I knew it was time to pay the piper. “So …” I pushed away my empty dessert plate and slumped back against the booth, my expression baleful. “What the hell do you want from me?”

His answer was to reach into his wallet, pull out a business card, and hand it over.

I stared down at it, disbelief flooding me.

Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows.  Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

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It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time by Kylie Scott ~ Sarah A’s Review

Returning home for her father’s wedding was never going to be easy for Adele. If being sent away at eighteen hadn’t been bad enough, the mess she left behind when she made a pass at her dad’s business partner sure was.

Fifteen years older than her, Pete had been her crush for as long as she could remember. But she’d misread the situation—confusing friendliness for undying love. Awkward. Add her father to the misunderstanding, and Pete was left with a broken nose and a business on the edge of ruin. The man had to be just as glad as everyone else when she left town.

Seven years later, things are different. Adele is no longer a kid, but a fully grown adult more than capable of getting through the wedding and being polite. But all it takes is seeing him again to bring back those old feelings.

Sometimes first loves are the truest. 

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If it hadn’t been for the author, I might have passed up this book as soon as I saw the title.  It didn’t do anything for me, and even after reading I feel like it belies the depth of the story.  Fortunately, I knew what to expect from Kylie Scott, so I read the book and knew this was a story with a ton of potential.  This book was angsty and fun, and I found myself holding my breath and stifling a laugh in turn.

Adele was fascinating.  She was crass and unforgiving, while still being sweet and vulnerable.  For all her bluster, she had been thoroughly destroyed by Pete’s rejection when she was younger, and it showed through that cracked façade of snark she wore like armor.  I loved her brash honesty and ability to keep her head held high when it was painfully obvious she just wanted to let herself crumble.

I’m not sure how I feel about Pete since this book was told in single perspective we never got to see his thoughts.  I could make some assumptions, but I still had so many questions about him, and this is one book where I think having at least a couple of chapters in his POV would have added so much to the overall experience of the novel.  I did, however, sense his struggle, even when she was a teenager.  Their connection was strong from the off, and there was no denying they would be something special if only he’d give in to the pull.

I loved Adele so much, and my heart hurt for her so badly by the way she kept getting so thoroughly crushed by the love of her life.  I’m always a sucker for a friends-to-lovers romance, which is the best way to describe It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.  Adele and Pete had a connection that transcended age (there are no questionable situations in this title) and carried through years of not speaking.  No matter how hard one or both of them tried to refuse it, they kept coming back to each other for the comfort and understanding they couldn’t find elsewhere.

I adored the plot of It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.  It was heartwrenching, angsty, fun, and fraught with unmasked desire.  I was deliriously happy that there wasn’t any extra action in this book beyond navigating the pitfalls of Adele and Pete’s complicated and historied relationship.  The flashbacks lent an interesting view of how deep their relationship was from the off and gave great insight into Pete’s affection for Adele.

As I said earlier, my wish for this book would have been to get even the tiniest glimpse into Pete’s head.  I felt I knew Adele so well; she was so straightforward it wasn’t hard to understand her motivations and compulsions, whereas Pete played everything so close to the vest it was hard to get a great read on him.  I feel like his would have been the more interesting head to get into and I would die to get my hands on an alternate POV from him.

It was meant to be a soft kiss. A chaste one, even.

The minute my lips touched his, however, everything changed. Callused hands grabbed the sides of my face and my mouth opened on a gasp. His tongue swept inside, taking me over. Holy hell. Shoes and purse hit the floor, forgotten. Nothing about this kiss was slow or easy. The man devoured me. Every ounce of emotion poured into that kiss, all of the anger and frustration between us. His tongue was teasing and tasting, driving me wild. Then he drew back to suck and nip at my bottom lip. One hand slid around the back of my neck, the other over my hip to grab at my ass. His hold was firm, a little rough even. He treated my body like it belonged to him and I wasn’t gentle either.

Apparently experience mattered. Because all I could do was try and keep up.

I held on tight to his open shirt, straining against him, trying to get closer. I’d have crawled inside the man if I could. Turned out that under certain circumstances, the taste of scotch worked for me in a big way. Against my hip, his cock hardened, digging into me. And oh my God, I’d done that to him. Me. How amazing! Meanwhile, my body felt liquid, core aching and empty. I needed him inside of me and it seemed like I’d already been waiting forever.

“Pete. Please.”

“Fuck,” he muttered, breath hot against my ear.

I fumbled at the remaining buttons on his shirt. My damn fingers didn’t seem to be working. Easier to just push the whole thing upward. Luckily, the man decided to help, tearing the shirt off over his head. More skin was good. And he was so hot and smooth, a thrill to the touch. The solid flesh of his pecs and the flat plane of his stomach.

He tore at the zipper on the back of my dress, dragging fabric down over my shoulders. A growl came from the back of his throat, a noise of frustration, impatience. I’m reasonably certain I heard the silk rip. I didn’t care. His hands and mouth seemed to cover every bit of skin revealed, touching and tasting me everywhere. The dress got stuck on my hips. Out of the way enough for now.

He didn’t even bother undoing my bra, simply peeling down one of the lace cups to free my flesh. My breast filled his hot palm as it took the weight. Fingers plumped me, his thumb flicking over my hard nipple. The sting of pain followed by the heat of his kiss made my head spin and my body ache. There was no room for thought as he fed me deep, wet kisses. Slowly, he took us to the floor. No time for anything else. Just the urgent need to have him inside me.

The hardness of the polished wood was cool against my back. My legs were spread, his body between them. And with his broad chest above me, his weight taken on one arm, he was all I could see. I swear even the insides of my thighs were wet, I was so ready. It would have been embarrassing with anybody else. But this man, he had to know, he had to understand. It had always been him.

“Pete, I need—”

“I know,” he said, voice harsh and low.

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/

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NOW AVAILABLE!! One to Keep by Lexi Blake ~ Sarah A’s Review

Stefan Talbot likes order and control. He approaches his life with the same meticulous precision that he uses to put paint on his canvas. Nothing good comes from chaos, and that is why he has refused to allow himself to get close to Jennifer Waters. They are like fire and ice. Though she is younger, her talent as an artist is unquestionable. But she lives her life like she paints—with wild, passionate abandon. It is intoxicating and terrifying, and he can’t get her out of his head.

Jennifer ran from Bliss to put Stef behind her. She had come to the mountain town seeking a mentor but found much more than she bargained for. Cool and distant, Stef was like a marble statue and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t break through his shell. She moved to Dallas to start over, but nothing is going as planned. When the art gallery where she works is robbed and a precious painting is stolen, Jen is accused of the theft. Jen is thrilled when her bail is met, until she realizes her savior is Stef and he has a few conditions. First and foremost, she has to return to Bliss.

Against the backdrop of the Winter Festival, Stef and Jen’s attraction catches fire. But the dark forces behind the robbery in Dallas have followed Jen home. A criminal syndicate believes she still has the stolen painting and they’ll kill to get their hands on it.

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I keep going back and forth about my feelings on this book. Stefan and Jennifer’s relationship was difficult to understand, more difficult to root for, yet there was something intrinsic about their coupling that left me no choice but to hope they could figure things out.

It’s been a long time since I have found a character as frustrating as I found Stefan Talbot. He’d been aloof and untouchable in the other novels in this series, so I was so interested in finding out what made him tick in this book. He was a broken boy, who’d never really dealt with his parents’ abandonment but seemed utterly unaware of how deeply it had affected every facet of his life. His treatment of Jennifer was maddening, but ultimately it was obvious he was trying to protect himself while making sure she had every opportunity he could provide for her.

Jennifer was the perfect counterpart to Stefan once she realized why he had been pushing her away for the entirety of their acquaintance. Despite her youth, she was exceedingly patient with the man and continually gave him what he needed the moment she knew he needed it. Though her choices were occasionally aggravating, she knew what she wanted and took the steps she needed to ensure she ended up with the man she’d loved for years.

I kind of loved the plot of One to Keep, even if it was a little over the top at times. The Russian mafia element drew me in completely, and I loved Alexei and his backstory. I almost found myself wanting to skip through Jen and Stefan’s story so I could get to Alexei’s. The way Ms. Blake weaved the art and mafia together and brought in all kinds of other little details was interesting and kept me invested in the book.

In keeping with my indecision about this book, I’m not sure if I wish anything was different about this book. If Stefan were different, it would be a disservice to his character. If they didn’t have the struggles, they had with Jennifer’s situation they’d have never given each other another chance. As frustrating as much of this book was, it was faithful to who Stefan and Jennifer were.

One to Keep is the third book in Lexi Blake’s Nights in Bliss, Colorado series. These books were originally written under the pen name Sophie Oak and have been re-released with added content. Ms. Blake’s series are interconnected, and we got to see a few of our favorites from other series. One to Keep can be read as a standalone, though the characters from the first two books in the series make appearances in this book. The novel is written in third-person limited perspective, alternatively following Jennifer, Stefan, and Alexei’s thoughts.

Stef turned back to Jen. “Let’s move, Jennifer. I have a plane ready. We need to be at Love Field in an hour. I have an officer waiting to process you out.”

Jen’s head whirled. “Plane?”

“Yes, plane. We’re going back to Bliss.”

“No way.”

Cool, gray eyes slitted, and she could practically feel the will rolling off him. Stef was tense, and she knew it was a bad idea to push him, but she couldn’t help it.

“I’m serious, Stef. I’m not going anywhere with you.” She couldn’t go back to Bliss. Panic threatened to swamp her. He was here. He was right here in front of her, and her heart didn’t give a damn that he was a bastard. For the first time in months, she felt desire for something besides her art. She couldn’t, wouldn’t, go down that path again.

He got into her space, a move he’d perfected seemingly long before he met her. She held her ground. Even though he didn’t touch her physically, he seemed to surround her. Suddenly her whole world was Stef, his gray eyes, the heat of his body, his masculine, clean scent. He filled her every sense.

“I’m not going home with you.” She forced herself to say the words.

His lips hitched up. “At least you admit Bliss is your home.”

That wasn’t what she’d meant. Bliss, Colorado, had felt like home when she’d been there, but she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bliss wasn’t big enough for the two of them. “It’s your home. Hell, Stef, it’s your little kingdom, and you like to play the king, don’t you?”

“Yes, because everyone does what I say.” Stef’s low growl made her breath speed up. “Everyone in Bliss bows down to me. Have you been gone for so long that you forget Max regularly kicks my ass? And Nell and Henry are currently protesting my gardening practices.”

He was too close for comfort. She gave in and took a step back. She could see plainly that he was satisfied with her discomfort. “Don’t try to play the poor rich boy with me. You’re a puppet master. You like to pull the strings and see how people dance. Well, I’m not in your kingdom anymore, and there’s no way you can get me there again. So you can take your money and go back to Colorado.”

It was stupid. Even as she said the words, she wanted to take them back. She’d spent the last twenty-four hours terrified in a jail cell. She would have to be the stupidest woman in the world to turn him down, but she’d never thought around Stef. Since the moment she’d met him, she’d been a quivering mass of emotion and desire every time he entered a room.

“Stubborn thing. I’ll make it easy on you.” His hands caught hers, and before she could think she felt cold metal surrounding her wrists. He flicked the cuffs on with the cool precision of a man who often cuffed the women in his life.

“What are you doing?” She stared at her hands. At least this time they were in front of her. She preferred it that way. Damn, her life had taken a wrong turn when she could compare and contrast her experiences with men who handcuffed her.

“Taking you home, Jennifer. Whether you like it or not.”

He leaned down and picked her up. She was in his arms, nestled close to his chest. She looked up at the square, inflexible line of his jaw. His arms tightened around her, and she was caged more closely than she’d been in the holding cell. She had the suspicion that this time Stef would be harder to escape from than before. He kicked open the door and started down the hall.

Yep, like it or not, she was going back to Bliss.

Re-released in a second edition with two new chapters and additional new content.

Rachel Swift is a woman on the run.

A stalker sent Rachel’s world reeling. Now she’s running for her life, and Bliss, CO, seems like the perfect place to hide. Bliss is a strange little town, filled with artists, nudists, and the occasional conspiracy nut. It’s a good place to start over.

Max and Rye are just the men to catch her.

Horse trainer Max and Sheriff Rye gave up on their dream of finding one perfect woman to share long ago. Rachel walks in, and they’re both in love and fighting their true natures.

A town like no other….

When Rachel’s past catches up with her, all of Bliss is in danger. Rachel knows she should run, but how can she leave behind the love she’s found with Max and Rye and the home she’s built in Bliss? With her whole town behind her, Rachel is ready to make her stand. It’s time for her to get back in the saddle and ride.

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Re-released in a second edition with new content.

Three lost souls

Growing up in the eclectic, small town of Bliss was wonderful for Callie Sheppard. She loved everything about it, except for the lack of potential romantic partners. She only went wild once in her life, sharing a perfect weekend in Dallas with two incredible men she never thought she would see again. When they parted, she was left with a hole in her heart she feared would never be filled.

One romantic weekend

DEA agents Nathan Wright and Zane Hollister were thrilled when Callie agreed to spend the weekend with them. Just days away from a long, undercover assignment, they considered this passionate affair to be an ideal way to spend their last days of freedom. They never expected to fall in love. Leaving her behind was the hardest decision of their lives.

An unexpected reunion

Six years later, Callie is preparing to break in a new sheriff after Rye Harper walked out on the job. Her heart skips a few beats when the man walking through the door is none other than Nate Wright. Nate and Zane have come to Bliss, but their time undercover has left them broken and scarred. The boys are determined to win back Callie’s heart. But when the criminals they took down come seeking revenge, Nate and Zane may have to save the strange little town of Bliss before they can reclaim the woman they love.

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NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh 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.

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NOW AVAILABLE!! Mixed Up Love by Natasha Madison ~ Sarah A’s Review

Hunter

When my business partner asked me to do him a favor, I had no idea he was sending me on a blind date his mother arranged for him. I walked into the bar, saw the woman drinking her third martini, and knew I was in for an eventful night. After the unexpected second date, she didn’t know my real name or who I really was. By that time, the lie was too far gone, and I wanted her too much to admit the truth.

Laney

It’s not every day you find out your ex-boyfriend is engaged. I shouldn’t have agreed to the blind date. My mother insisted, and I wasn’t in any position to turn down a night out. I will admit, I definitely shouldn’t have ordered that fourth martini before said blind date even arrived. The man turned out to be swoon-worthy, handsome, condescending—a perfect distraction. Then I found out he was a liar. I’ve never been in over my head to this degree. Then again, I’ve never been in love.

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Mixed Up Love was a fun, quick read, but didn’t quite hit the mark for me. While I did enjoy the ride, when I reached the destination it was just left wanting. After reading some of Natasha Madison’s other work, this one just fell short of the expectations I have for her writing. I did have fun and find myself chuckling throughout this book. Both Laney and Hunter were hardheaded and reluctant to admit when they were mistaken about things, which led to some interesting standoffs and misunderstandings. I felt like they had great chemistry and they both had enough of a voice to stand up for what they wanted out of it, but I felt like Ms. Madison may have needed to spend a little more time building the emotional connection between them, as I could feel that bond starting to develop but it wasn’t quite fleshed out In the novel. The premise of Mixed Up Love was adorable, and I loved the banter. The secondary characters added a lot of entertainment to the story. I almost found myself wanting to know some of their stories as much as I wanted to get Laney and Hunter’s. I enjoyed all the little details Hunter kept recalling, and it added some swoon-worthy moments and hinted at the depth of his feelings for her. Overall, this was a cute read and great for wasting away an afternoon. My primary wish for this book was that it had more substance. A good portion of the book felt more like an exercise in describing the wealth of the characters, from dropping brand names like the author was getting royalties, to the detailed extravagance of the homes, businesses, and vehicles, I was a little put off by it. Also, while I am all for everyone in the book finding their HEA, I found myself rolling my eyes at the relationships of convenience in this book. Had this book been longer, I think all the issues I had with it would have been solved, as the story had great bones but failed in the delivery. I pull up to the front door, and the valet meets me at my door once I stop. “Good evening, sir,” he says once I open my door. “Yeah, I won’t be here long,” I tell him as I get out, not bothering to take off my sunglasses when I hand him the keys. “No worries, sir. It will be here when you are ready,” he says, handing me the ticket for later. I put it in the inside pocket of my suit jacket. I walk inside to the hostess table, where a woman who looks like she is eighteen stands smiling. “How may I help you?” she asks sweetly. I stop and look around to see if I might recognize the woman I’m here to meet, even though I’ve never met her. I spot a couple of women at the bar, but I instinctively know they aren’t her. I also check for exits. It’s not my fault; it’s just instilled in me. Looking to the left, I don’t see anyone sitting alone, but then I look to the right, and I see her. I don’t know why I know it’s her, but I just do. With curly long blond hair, she downs a martini, then picks up another one and brings it to her mouth. I spot a waiter walking with two more martinis on his tray, and I’m not surprised when I see him approaching her table. “Great,” I say under my breath. “I found her,” I tell the hostess and start walking toward the table. She spots me and watches my every move. Luckily, the glasses I’m wearing stop her from seeing my eyes. The closer I get to her, the more my pulse speeds up. What the fuck? This is weird. I look around maybe to see if something else is piquing my interest or maybe I spotted something to elevate my pulse, but no, it’s her. The fact that a gorgeous woman is sitting by herself and drinking like a fish is enough to get any man’s adrenaline pumping. Isn’t it? “Are you Laney?” I ask, taking off my glasses, and my gray eyes finally meet her blue ones. She opens her mouth, expecting, I think, something to come out, but nothing does. I continue looking around to see if anyone is watching her, and it’s no surprise that I spot two guys at the bar sizing her up. “Here are two more.” The waiter smiles at her, putting two more glasses down on the table and taking the two now empty ones away. She laughs nervously, and I want to reach out and trip him when he walks away. “It isn’t what it looks like.” Her soft voice breaks me out of my plan, and I turn back to her as she smiles at me, causing my heartbeat to skyrocket. The collar of my shirt suddenly feels tight, but it’s not even buttoned. “Really? I find it hard to believe,” I finally say. Looking around again, I spot the same two guys in suits sitting at the bar watching her. This time, one of them spots me and looks back down at his drink. “It looks like you’re sitting here waiting for something bad to happen.” I pull out the chair and sit in front of her. “Um.” She still doesn’t say anything. When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four-inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…

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NEW RELEASE!! A Date for Hannah by Callie Henry ~ Sarah A’s Review

Fans of Hallmark movies and sweet stories of first love will adore Callie Henry’s new series!

High-schooler, Hannah, has always been self-conscious about her weight, so when hottie swimmer, Liam, pays her extra attention at her sister’s wedding, she has a hard time trusting his interest. Throughout the evening, Liam’s charm wins her over, until they’re falling hard for each other. But the next day, Hannah learns something that may ruin it all.

*****

All stories in the LIFE (Love is for Everyone) series portray true-to-life, teen-aged characters, with real personalities and common issues, who experience the lightning bolt of first love in their own, individual ways!

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I love YA; I feel like young adult books often have a stronger voice on social issues and all the things we as adults are often scared to talk about. A Date for Hannah touched on a couple of those issues gracefully, and I was impressed by Kary Regnery’s – writing as Callie Henry – foray into YA. This was quite a short book, I don’t have a word count, but I’d venture to guess it’s novella length and was a fun way to lose myself for an hour or so.

A Date for Hannah was such a sweet YA romance, one that is appropriate for teenagers and sends a fantastic message to girls who live in a society where everyone is telling them boys only like skinny, modelesque figures. Hannah struggled with seeing herself as anything but ‘the fat girl,’ but there was an entire world of people who saw her beauty, appreciated her for her curves, and knew that what was actually important went beyond skin deep.

Hannah was guarded; life had taught her – in myriad ways – to be leery of people and love. It showed her that kids could be cruel, love isn’t always true, and adults sometimes project their issues onto innocent children. Liam, while he had every reason to be the same way, was much more open and vulnerable. He had precisely the demeanor and patience Hannah needed to learn to accept herself, flaws and all, and start dismantling the walls she’d built around herself. They were adorable together, and he was so good for and to her, while she had the kindness and compassion he needed to see he was more than a product of his worst choices. I loved the way they were together.

My only wish for this book is that it had been longer, dug a little deeper. I have a pretty high bar set for YA, and A Date for Hannah skimmed that bar with its fingertips but didn’t quite reach it. Had it delved a little deeper into Hannah’s body image issues, Liam’s past, and really captured the circumstances and fallout of those issues this book could have been a spectacular novel.

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Callie Henry is the YA pen name of New York Times bestselling contemporary romance author, Katy Regnery

Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.

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