Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Druid Next Door by E.J. Russell

***1/2


From Riptide:


Professor Bryce MacLeod has devoted his entire life to environmentalism. But how effective can he be in saving the planet when he can’t even get his surly neighbor to separate his recycling?
Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: he’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him—after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101.
All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse.
Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost—for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever.
Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway.
Source:  An electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.  

The Bad:  
I don't love Mal and Bryce as much as I loved David and Alun from Book 1, Cutie and the Beast.  I mean, I like Mal and Bryce, but I LOVE David and Alun.  Especially David.  

The Good:
David, Alun, and Gareth all make appearances in Druid.  This makes me so very happy!  

I'm a big paranormal fan, so I love the supernatural elements to this series.  A world where the fae, shifters, druids, etc. all exist and are just as messed up as the rest of us.  

Someone recently asked me for recommendations on a sweet read and this and Cutie were among the first books to come to mind.  This entire series should come with a sweetness warning.  And while the stories are sweet, there are also elements of prejudice and racism faced by the couples.  In Druid, Bryce has no idea he's a powerful Druid until Mal tells him and sics David and his grandmother on him.  But fae hate druids.  And many fae won't take kindly to a fae dating a druid.  More importantly there's an old legend that a druid can make a fae a slave through mind control.  

Mal as a middle child, Mal has always felt invisible and just picking up the scraps from his older brother, who is the Queen's enforcer (a job Mal took over when Alun was banished), and his younger brother, who is the last true bard.  Mal likes how Bryce makes him feel special and let's him relinquish control.  Bryce is horrified that he sometimes feels tempted to control Mal, but knows he never actually would, especially as his feelings grow deeper.


So Mal and Bryce are trying to figure out who they are separately, and together, all while Mal ropes Bryce into helping him complete quests in order to end his curse.  What they get in to is much bigger than Mal's curse and could be deadly to, not just them, but all of the fae.    

Bottom Line:  Read this series.  Start with Cutie and the Beast.  Next is The Druid Next Door.  And then Bad Boy's Bard.  You won't be sorry.  It's sweet romance, paranormal fun, and throw in some mystery to complete the recipe for a thorougly enjoyable read!  

~ Shel  



Monday, October 16, 2017

I Don't Regret You by Jodie Larson

* * * 1/2



Regrets.

We all have them.

Like the Aqua Net hairstyles back in the 80's, the 90's grunge fad, or the person you lost your virginity to as a teen because you were "totally in love".

I have a few of my own. Specifically, marrying my rebound guy but staying married because I was too weak to fight for my own happiness.

He took me down and kept me there for far too long.

I'm done. Done living with regrets and done not pursuing what makes me happy.

Then you came along and showed me that I was worth more than who I had become.

You are not my regret.



Jocelyn (Joss) is stuck in a loveless marriage with her emotionally abusive husband, Mike. She had long ago given up on the ideal life she hoped for and is now simply living day to day trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy for her two children, and does this with no support system. She's a hostage to her husband's mood swings, parents live far away and she's always felt like an outcast since she doesn't have any friends in town. Joss has just grown to accept the status quo until the day she witnesses her husband lash out at the kids. That's all the convincing she needs to kick him out and start anew. Taking a second job, she works herself to the bone but the strangest thing is happening: folks are slowly coming forward offering her help and most importantly the kindness that she's been missing all these years. One of them is Henry, another divorcee, who hires Joss at his restaurant. He's always been the sole person in town who ever acknowledged her and offered a smile or a quick kind word here and there but kept his distance because she was married. He makes it clear that he's there for her if she ever needs anything. And so begins a friends-to-lovers journey that is second only to Joss' emergence as a woman in her own right.

This is an emotionally-charged read but any story about someone coming out of an abusive relationship would be. I was encouraged at least to see Joss take her life back, keeping her head up despite setbacks or tiredness. Her biggest lesson through it all is learning how to accept help graciously, something she's been reluctant to do until now. The abuse she suffers might be a trigger for some people and what I can say is that Larson shows us a woman who rises up, finds her people and gives love a second chance. Joss gets her happily ever after after all.

~ Bel


Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Peek In The BiblioBin #237



Welcome to A Peek In The BiblioBin, our weekly (okay, almost weekly) update of the books we're currently reading, have won, borrowed, purchased, been gifted or grabbed off the bookshelves. We're linking to Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga's Reviews) and Sunday Post (hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer) so that we share the love with all our fellow readers.

Let us know what books you're reading! 


// For Review //


Tequila Sunrise (Agents Irish and Whiskey) by Layla Reyne

So Over You (Chicago Rebels #2) by Kate Meader

// Borrowed //


All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman

// Purchased //

 

Waiting On The Sidelines (Waiting On The Sidelines #1) by Ginger Scott

Going Long (Waiting On The Sidelines #2) by Ginger Scott

Fifteen Weekends (The Weekend Series #1) by Christy Pastore

Black Tie Optional (Wild Wedding #1) by Ann Marie Walker

Mechanic With Benefits by Mickey Miller

Girl Behind The Veil by Jalpa Williby


Curious by Seth King


Friday, October 13, 2017

House of Cards by Garrett Leigh

****


Calum Hardy’s life has unravelled. Reeling from the betrayal of a man he once loved, he boards a train heading south, with no real idea where he’s going except a world away from London.
Brix Lusmoore can hardly believe his eyes when he spots one of his oldest friends outside Truro station. He hasn’t seen Calum since he fled the capital himself four years ago, harbouring a life-changing secret. But despite the years of silence, their old bond remains, warm and true—and layered with simmering heat they’ve never forgotten.
Calum takes refuge with Brix and a job at his Porthkennack tattoo shop. Bit by bit, he rebuilds his life, but both men carry the ghosts of the past, and it will take more than a rekindled friendship and the magic of the Cornish coast to chase them away.




Source:  An advance electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Bad:
The book ended.  


The Good:
Porthennack is whack.  Seriously, this is one messed up town and I totally want to go there.  The people are just... crazy, in all the best ways.  Brix's family.  Oh my god.  Just.  Yeah, hilarious.  Brix himself is awesome.  He's sensitive, intelligent, funny...  He rescues chickens and protects his crazy criminal relatives, and takes in broken friends.  Which is fitting because Brix's pretty broken himself.  

Calum is definitely lost and broken and escaping a terrible relationship.  Once he starts getting back to himself he's also sweet and funny.  He finds himself falling for Brix, but Brix keeps a distance between them and he doesn't trust himself anyway.  

When these two finally take the leap to be together it's beautiful  They find love and hope for the future neither really thought was possible.  House of Cards is my first Garrett Leigh book, but it definitely won't be my last.  

~ Shel

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Villain by Samantha Young

Hi All! I'm so excited to help reveal the cover and blurb for VILLAIN from one of my favourites, Samantha Young!

The sexy and emotional companion novella to the New York Times bestselling romance HERO.



Nadia Ray is not just a broadcast meteorologist. She’s Boston’s morning television It Girl. Successful and independent, she’s put a past she’s ashamed of behind her and is forging a future she can be proud of. However, when her new boss discovers her secret he blackmails her, intent on using Nadia’s popularity to make them the number one morning show in Massachusetts. He wants her to be part of uncovering the city’s biggest scandal - a secret billionaire Caine Carraway is hiding.

Soon Nadia is thrown into the path of Caine’s best friend: sexy, wealthy bachelor Henry Lexington. But she doesn’t encounter the dashing high society gentleman Henry is purported to be. Instead she’s faced with an insulting and defensive villain who misjudges her at every turn.

When Henry finally realizes the truth, and decides to make amends, Nadia wants nothing to do with him. But she underestimates his determination and charm and soon they find themselves embroiled in an intense, passionate affair.
An affair Nadia knows must come to an end before their feelings grow any deeper and he discovers her secrets.
After all, Henry Lexington isn’t the only one who played the part of a villain once…



Connect with Samantha Young

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 HeroOn 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.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Five Dares by Eli Easton

****


Andy Tyler has been the class daredevil since middle school. Over the years, he’s convinced his best friend, Jake Masterson, to perform some dangerous-looking stunts with him. But the dare they attempt on the night of their college graduation goes sideways. The firecrackers explode too soon and both of them end up with badly burned palms.
But hey, nothing gets the “terrible duo” down for long, and they recuperate in style at Andy’s family cottage in Nantucket. As the weeks go by, both Andy and Jake grow frustrated over the inability to use their hands for all sorts of daily activities—including getting off. So Andy begins a new series of dares that don’t just cross the friendship line, they obliterate it.
But what might be mere sexual relief to Andy is serious business to Jake, who only recently got over years of secret pining for his straight best friend. Inevitably, the burns heal, summer ends, and hearts are broken. To fix things, Andy will have to face the greatest dare of all.


Source:  An advance electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.  
Five Dates is a story of BFFs that are graduating from college and trying to figure out the rest of their lives.  Andy is the daredevil and Jake, his sidekick.  Andy convinces Jake to do a stunt at their graduation party with fireworks that leaves them both with terrible burns on their hands.  They spend their last summer recupperating and falling in love, but Andy feels like he has to live up to his father's expectations and Jake knows he has to move on.

Andy is an idiot who has always been in love with Jake, but didn't realize it was love he was feeling.  Jake's always known he was in love with Andy, but Andy's straight, so he swallowed his feelings.  

Five Dares is sweet, sappy, and funny.  I really love this book.  It's in my top two Eli Easton books (with Mr. Miggles.  If you haven't read Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles, go get it now!).  I hope you love these guys as much as I did.  Five Dares is now on my comfort read list - it's just that lovely.

~ Shel

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

In Pieces by Danielle Pearl Release Week Blitz



The second New Adult novel in the Something More series by bestselling author Danielle Pearl!

Beth Caplan is ready to begin college a new woman. She's worked hard to overcome her demons, and she's eager to live in a world where no one knows about her past. Except, of course, her childhood crush. David March has known Beth a lifetime. Tasked by her older brother to look after the beautiful incoming freshman, he takes his job exceptionally seriously. Even if she tempts him in ways no kid-sister type ever should.

When Beth's ex shows up as a transfer student, and a creepy stranger with a reputation for violence sets his sights on her, Dave will do whatever it takes to protect her, even if it means moving her in with him. When he learns just how much a secret from his past hurt the girl he's always cared for, he becomes doubly determined to protect her, even from himself. But that's easier said than done.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Danielle Pearl is the bestselling author of the Something More series. She lives in New Jersey with her three delicious children and ever-supportive husband, who---luckily---doesn't mind sharing her with an array of fictional men. She did a brief stint at Boston University and worked in marketing before publishing her debut novel, Normal. She writes mature Young Adult and New Adult contemporary romance. Danielle enjoys coffee, wine, and cupcakes, and not in moderation.

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REVIEW

* * * 1/2

Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for honest review


Beth's life was in turmoil three years ago after a devastating break up that had her taking matters into her own hands to get rid of the sadness. Now as a college freshman, that incident is behind her and her focus is on her studies and being someone who can help others. She finds her attempt at normalcy thwarted every so often by none other than David, her older brother's best friend and her long-time secret crush. He doesn't seem to reciprocate so she's resigned herself to the fact that nothing can happen. As much as David has been keeping his feelings for Beth in check, his top priority is Beth's well-being and he means to keep his promise to her brother to keep her safe. He does it to the point of overprotectiveness treating her as if she's a fragile china doll that'll break at any moment. He's so intent on sheltering her that he doesn't see how he's practically smothering her. This causes a lot of tension between them which only makes it harder to hold back his feelings for her. That temptation to cross the line from friendship to something more is just dangling there in front of them.

I remember Pearl's other book, In Ruins, as being angst-ridden which is honestly what I was expecting here. However, In Pieces couldn't have felt more different to me. Beth's rocky and emotional journey to distance herself from her past mistake - that thing that she refuses to be defined by - is told in a sympathetic and sensitive way. It's a story that sheds a little light on mental health, for example how something that can be seemingly innocuous is perhaps a sign of something that requires more attention. Beth's self-awareness and resilience is what impressed me most and I was very drawn to her narrative above anything else. When you read In Pieces, be prepared for some strong reactions and feels and I hope like me that you feel it is time well spent. 


~ Bel





GIVEAWAY

Win 1 of 10 paperbacks of In Pieces!