Friday, May 30, 2014

Rush by Nyrae Dawn

Rush* * * * 

This new adult, male/male romance will capture the audience who fell in love with Nyrae Dawn's Games Trilogy.

For the love of the game.

Brandon Chase has always defined himself by one thing: football. Tough and athletic, he is a great college player who enjoys the hard hits and the sweaty grind of the gridiron. But when Brandon is injured, only one person can help him get back on track-a forbidden love he's desperately tried to put behind him. 

Alec Andrews has never quite forgiven Brandon for walking away when their friendship turned into something more. But he can't deny help to one of his closest friends. As the two spend the long, hot summer working together, their old attraction comes flooding back.

Now as Alec thinks about coming out to his conservative family and Brandon considers revealing he's a gay football player, the two men must be strong to fight for a love that could be the greatest rush of their lives. 


My love of m/m romance is no secret.  Considering how much I enjoyed Nyrae Dawn’s (and Jolene Perry’s) Out of Play I was pretty excited to see her put her superb romance writing abilities to a story about two young men.  I was NOT disappointed.  I found myself fortunate enough to meet Nyrae Dawn at the Romantic Times Convention this year and when I told her that this fan of m/m romance absolutely loved Brandon and Alec’s story, she admitted that it was her favorite book she has written so far.  I have to say that her love of these two characters is apparent in every page of this book.

Sadly, I have yet to review The Locker Room by Amy Lane for our blog - which is absolutely ridiculous since I’ve read it three times.   But, even though I haven’t reviewed it here yet, I have to compare it to Rush.  Because the world has changed significantly in the 3 years since The Locker Room was published.  The Locker Room is about two NBA stars that have been in love for years and go through ridiculous pain to hide their relationship because coming out would mean the end of their careers.  Since then we have seen professional athletes from so many major sports take a stand and come out to the world.  The most recent being Michael Sam who was drafted to the St. Louis Rams AFTER publicly coming out.

In light of how our world is changing (finally!), Rush was released at a perfect time.  Yes there is angst.  Yes, there is pain.  (Cheese and crackers!  What is wrong with me?  Why do I love so much angst?)  And yes, part of the story is about these two boys deciding if they can handle their reality of coming out.  But the story is mainly about Brandon’s insecurities.  And those insecurities mainly stem from his fear of disappointing his parents.  Football is the only thing he feels he is good at and his parents are the kind of parents that expect their kids to excel on the things they are good at.  If Brandon fails at football (which could happen if he came out), what will be left but his parents’ disappointment?

Then there is Alec.  Brandon and Alec have been best friends since they were teenagers and slowly fell in love.   Brandon allowed his insecurities and fears to get in the way and he broke off their romantic relationship (and in turn their friendship) before it could ever really get off the ground.  One and a half years later, an accident brings Alec to Brandon’s side.  Right at a time that Alec is beginning to seriously consider moving on and letting the world know who he is.   

But before long Alec and Brandon are spending a summer re-discovering what they gave up.  It’s a summer of discovery and change for both of them.  The final test being if they can handle the possible fall out of making their relationship known the rest of the world.   But maybe, just maybe, the fall out won’t be as bad as they are expecting.

Like I said, this was a great m/m romance.  If you enjoy an angsty read with the absolute promise of a happy ever after, I can’t recommend this enough.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2) by Tammara Webber

* * * * *

He was lost and alone. Then he found her.  

And the future seemed more fragile than ever.

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.

Easy was so phenomenal that if you were like me wondering how it could possibly get any better, it does! Webber imbues a special kind of magic in telling Lucas' story by creatively showing us two aspects of his life: as Landon, a young teenager on the verge of becoming a full-on juvenile delinquent and then the disciplined, hardworking Lucas we're familiar with. Each chapter starts with Landon whose particular storyline parallels what Lucas is going through. The differences are apparent.

BiblioJunkie Nat (who I begged to hurry up and read this) and I discussed the many elements of this book that make it outstanding. For one, she employs the subtle use of language to draw the contrast between the younger Landon and older Lucas. Nat pointed out for example where Landon, as a typical teenage boy would refer to his make out partner’s anatomy as “tits” while Lucas’ would refer to Jacqueline’s “breasts”. To quote Nat, “it’s a tiny change that shows a certain level of growth”. Seeing this growth is what makes Lucas all the more endearing.

What is a revelation to me is his anger which turns out to be one constant throughout his life so far. His potential for violence is only hinted at in Easy in specific instances where he rescues Jacqueline the first time and comes to her aid the second time. I thought it was just a reaction to the events or a rush of adrenaline. But young Landon is a lost, miserable mess with issues at school, involved with drugs and beats up on people. It’s heart-wrenching that he and his dad are both going through so much pain but so disconnected from each other. They're both in denial while Landon carries the weight of responsibility for what happened to his family. He's so detached and numb that his moments of violence are cathartic releases for him. When it happens one final time, he's forced to make changes and that shift comes about in a bizarre, unexpected way. Years later, he's hyper aware that he needs to keep himself in check which explains why he's so disciplined and focused as an adult.

Third, the older Lucas may come off as smooth but he's so inwardly awkward around Jacqueline that it’s freaking hilarious! Thank goodness because we need that to balance some of the heavy emotional stuff. His crush on Jacqueline has him doing things that are out of character. Remember that hot bar scene where he asked her to dance? His thoughts leading up to that are hysterical. I actually read that bar scene side by side with the one from Easy. On it's own it's hot. But reading both together will have you fanning yourself! And it’s all the little things he notices about Jacqueline from her scent to her subconscious mannerisms that will have all the girls in a tizzy. No doubt, Jacqueline wasn't even aware of this about herself which makes it all the more romantic that Lucas keyed into them. 

This brings me to the fourth thing to love about Breakable: it's not a rehashing of events but also a movement forward.  Easy implies a sense of closure and healing. Breakable show us how he gets there including reparation of his relationships. The moments that are retold like when he approaches Jacqueline in class for her phone number and she responds by asking him if he needs help with his homework, become funnier the second time around because we know what's going on now. 

At some point, I considered if Breakable could be read as a stand alone. After rereading it again (are you surprised?), I've concluded that the answer for me at least, is a no. Without knowing the events in Easy through Jacqueline's experience, Lucas' angle won't have quite the same emotional intensity. Not only are we learning about Lucas' past but we're also privy to his internal struggle. It's not just this dual identity thing he has going with Jacqueline that has him so guilt-ridden and worried. Deep down, this awesome guy is still a grieving little boy who hasn't managed to fully process all that he's been through.   

I've also concluded that there must be something embedded in the font because Breakable, just like Easy, begs for multiple readings. Oh and hold yourself together for that special surprise he has for Jacqueline at the end. Let's just say that things come full circle ;-)

~ Bel

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (106)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

17 First KissesBy Rachael Allen
Publication Date: June 17, 2014

No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

By Sarah Ockler
Publication Date: June 17, 2014

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Take Me On by Katie McGarry

Take Me On (Pushing the Limits, #4)

* * * * *

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.


Hayley just wants to get back “home” with her dad’s anti-anxiety meds.   Her strict and controlling uncle will readily throw her out-of-work father and his family out on the streets if she is a minute late for curfew.  But a couple guys looking to score some free drugs decide to follow her home and make the night difficult.  Enter West Young.  After almost running Hayley over in the pharmacy parking lot, he notices the two shady guys bothering her and decides to follow her home to ensure her safety.   The night ends with West knocked out, the drugs gone and Hayley late for curfew.

That night’s events lead to West agreeing to a professional fight - a fight that Hayley tries desperately to stop.  But West is determined to “protect” Hayley and soon Hayley is training him in her grandfather’s gym.  What follows is the story of two teens from completely different worlds finding each other while fighting to survive their surprising similar struggles.

As is always the case with books I love,  the main characters in this book have completely won over me and my emotions.  Hayley is tough as nails - and not because she’s a total bad-ass kick boxer.  She (and her family) has had a horrendous year.  Her father has lost his job, they’ve lost their home and everything they own, they’ve spent time living in a shelter and they are now trying to live quietly and peacefully in her bat s*&@ crazy uncle’s tiny house.  On top of that, Hayley is trying to graduate high school, secure some sort of financial aid for college, work a part time job AND tip-toe around her brother, cousin and grandfather.  All who feel that she betrayed them when she left her grandfather’s gym to train with her ex-boyfriend at a rival gym.  Hayley is doing everything she can to keep it together.  Training West Young is the last thing she needs on her already overfull plate.

West Young is another great example of an expert author taking a previously unsavory character (at least unsavory to me) and making him so loveable that you just want to give him the world.  West Young was near the top of the list of people I was uncontrollably angry at the end of Crash Into You.  But I should have known that having the same parents as Rachel Young would mean that the temperamental and overprotective West is in desperate need of love and compassion.  West holds himself responsible for his sister, Rachel’s, accident.  He is afraid to visit her in the hospital but haunts the waiting room to hear news on her recovery.  During one of his waiting room haunts, West and his dad have an argument that ends in West being kicked out of the house and sent to the public high school.  West packs his things and takes off as requested.  Only to find he has nowhere to stay and no money.  He quickly takes the steps he needs to survive – including taking a job as a handyman at a local bar, living in his car and learning to ignore an empty stomach because he simply can’t afford to eat three meals a day.  After living a rich and privileged life, this new experience is rough and hard.  But West finds that he is a survivor.

This might be my favorite Katie McGarry novel yet.  As she has done in her other novels, McGarry takes two teens from polar opposite situations and brings them together.  Showing the reader that everyone has something they are fighting for and/or against.   And that not any one person’s struggle can be judged harder or easier than another’s.  If you have enjoyed other Katie McGarry novels and you love a tough heroine AND a tough hero, Take Me On is definitely for you.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Peek In The BiblioBin #100

Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

For Review:

Rules of Survival by Jus Accardo

The Mean Girl Apologies by Stephanie Monahan


Empower (The Violet Eden Chapters #5) by Jessica Shirvington

Raging Star (Dust Lands #3) by Moira Young

The Epic Haul from RT14!!! 

Yep folks - between the three of us that's approximately 220 books (cat not included), not counting our 500 Smashword's books. We agree that this is so overwhelming and ridiculous that it's awesome!

And can you believe, in the midst of all this Bel's library sent her a notice that all five books she requested came in too? 

Friday, May 23, 2014

After the End by Amy Plum

After the End (After the End, #1)* *  1/2

She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.


While Juneau is off hunting to feed her clan she hears the roar of “renegades.”  Or in modern terms, helicopters.  It isn’t the first time the clan has heard them.  They realize that smaller armies have formed after WWIII and it’s not surprising that some have managed to get things up and running enough to search out safer areas country.  But this time the renegades don’t fly over.  The roar continues and Juneau is worried about the safety of her clan.  She abandons her prey and races back to their village to find everyone gone.  Her father has left a message on the dirt floor of their yurt telling her to run.

So she does.  After collecting some things from the clan’s storage space, she heads for the coast.  And finds the most amazing thing.  A modern functioning society with no signs of the war she was lead to believe happened 30 years earlier.   Using her connection to the Yara (basically a transcendent ability to connect to the earth and its power) she is given direction on how to find her clan and their leader, who appears to be taken separately.  That direction leads her to Seattle.

Miles is rich boy from L.A. that is determined to destroy all the opportunities handed to him.  When he is expelled from his private school for cheating, his father, the CEO of a large pharmaceutical company, decides that he will learn responsibility by working in the mail room.  If after a year, he has proven that he can be responsible then maybe his father will see if he can still pull strings to get him into Yale.  But Miles is impatient and wants to get into his father’s good graces now.  When he finds out that his dad is looking for a girl in Seattle, he decides to run off himself and try to find her.  If he can deliver what his dad is looking for then everything will change.

After searching for a few days, Miles and Juneau find each other.  Before long they are headed on a frantic and adventurous trip to save Juneau’s family.  A trip that is full of discovery for both of them.  A trip that will hopefully lead to the safe return of her clan.

This story had its ups and downs.  I really enjoyed how much Juneau and Miles clashed.  They are both nice people but they come from such completely different worlds that their dislike of each other rather perfect.   What I didn’t like was their attraction that appeared about mid-way through the book.  It just didn’t build enough to make it believable.

I find the idea of a community living so secluded from the rest of the world fascinating.   No surprise considering how much I enjoyed M. Night. Shyamalan’s The Village.   The reason that Juneau’s clan was secluded holds a lot of potential and it will be interesting to see how the story continues.  Unfortunately this leads to my biggest complaint.  This is a first book in a series and the abrupt ending made it feel as if someone turned off the TV in the middle of an episode.  I was left confused and frustrated.  Not necessarily in a good anticipatory way. I would like to see how this ends but I will likely wait until they all the books in the series are out before reading more.

Here’s the thing.  If you are looking for a fun quick read with a bit of adventure and “magic” then I I do recommend After the End.  And hey, once the entire series is out, I will likely go back and read them all.  But until then I’ll stick to my stand alone novels and the few series I’ve been emotionally invested in so long that I can no longer give up.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

What I Thought Was True* * * *

From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.

Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

A magnetic, push-me-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti.


Bel has been encouraging us to read My Life Next Door since last year.  I finally got around to it earlier this year and absolutely fell in love.  As she knew I would.  My new found love lead me to joining the ranks of cool kids waiting anxiously for the release of What I Thought Was True.

Thanks to the Garrett’s, My Life Next Door ultimately left me smiling and happy.  Sam’s dysfunction was no match for the love and kindness emanating from the Garrett’s. Gwen Castle’s story is a little more rough and serious.  Not sad.  Just a little less full of “happy.”  This fact is what lead to the following discussion between Bel and I.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised that the three of us talk books all the time.  And sometimes these discussions end up being the perfect review.  This was one of those times.  We’re thinking that we will need to include more reviews like this in the future.  Heavens know we have plenty of material…

Bel - What I Thought Was True is darker. Not sure where this is going. I don't like her dad. And what the hell happened in March? Dear lord. I just want answers.

Nat - You'll get them. Her dad is a bitter mess. He has no idea how to be affectionate. But he's not all bad. Everyone in this book has their "ugly" qualities. Some more than others. I really liked this one. It's realistic fiction. And DEFINITELY a coming of age story. Like I said though, it's not happy like her other one.

Bel - I finished WITIN. It was good. I agree it wasn't all shiny happy that goes on the happy shelf. But it was fairly realistic I think, you know, the changes approaching the end of the high school years. The Portuguese reminded me of learning Portuguese in primary school I enjoyed that bit.

Nat - I enjoyed having a heroine make some really stupid mistakes but in the end being allowed to move on from them. I also liked the message that things change. Maybe it's not the happiest message to give - "Hey, you and your high school boyfriend aren't going to last forever." But it's realistic and presented in a way that shows teens that you can survive. And even be happy about it.

Bel - Exactly. I liked that she wasn't angelic and had a history. The story felt fragmented in many parts. But she pulled it all together.

Nat - I sometimes felt like the language was fragmented. But I wasn't sure if that was normal for where they live?

Bel - Her mom kind of irritated me. "You want some fish? Some cod?" Wtf??? 

Nat - On their date-not-date study session?

Bel – Yep. I was embarrassed for Gwen.

Nat - Yeah, it was embarrassing. But it made sense. Both her parents were scared to death that she would be irresponsible like them. But they weren't educated enough to address the issue. Here, take BC pills and let me try to scare off the first boy you bring home. Gah!

Bel - Yep.

Nat - And there you go. Using a small island in CT to show the difference in privilege between the socio-economic classes...

Bel - I did like Gwen reading those erotica romances to the old ladies and the old ladies debating everything about it!

Nat  - That is so going to be us. 

Bel - Yep! I love how by that age, they just don't care anymore!

And there you have it, folks.  I am not ashamed to say that this is how many of our serious conversations end – a humorous note about the dirty old ladies we will be as we live out our Golden Years in Florida.

In the end we both enjoyed What I Thought Was True.   It was a realistic coming of age story about how life is continuously changing.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (105)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

Fan ArtBy Sarah Tregay
Publication Date:  June 17, 2014

When the picture tells the story…

Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.

As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?

This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not. Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lucky Harbor Launch Day Blitz with Jill Shalvis

Anyone who has ever met me knows that I puffy heart Jill Shalvis and force her books on everyone I can (including my fellow BiblioJunkies, Bel & Nat). Jill's books are laugh-out-loud hilarious, sweet and a perfect way to spend any day. The Lucky Harbor series tells the stories of various inhabitants of a mythical small town where all the men are super hot alphas and the lovable women who snag them. Lucky Harbor is also home of some of the best old people around (I'm talking about you Lucille!). There are currently nine books in the series – the latest release was Once in A Lifetime. Book 10 – It's in his Kiss comes out in August.

Today we are celebrating the release of Lucky Harbor, a compilation of the third, fourth and fifth books in the series. Lucky in Love introduces three female friends, Mallory, Amy and Grace that totally remind me of Nat, Bel and myself (especially the chocoholics part).  Preparing this post has made me want to go re-read them all!  Nat's favorite in this compilation is Lucky in Love. Mine is Forever and a Day (I love that damn kid and satanic pug, not to mention the crazy hot Dr. Scott!). You should definitely check out Lucky Harbor and let us know which one is your favorite!

We have excerpts below and don't forget to enter the giveaway!!! You can find Jill on her website Make sure you follow her on Facebook so you can enjoy her Man Wars (with the fantastic Kristan Higgins)!

LUCKY HARBOR (May 20, 2014; Grand Central Publishing Trade Paperback; $15.00)
Spend the Summer in Lucky Harbor!

Lucky in Love
Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone . . . 

At Last
Amy Michaels loves her new life in Lucky Harbor. A waitress in the local diner, she's looking forward to her first weekend hike through the mountains. But when a wrong turn takes her off the trail, she finds herself up close and personal with forest ranger Matt Bowers. After a hot night under a starry sky, Amy can't deny their attraction but she won't make the mistake of getting involved with the local heartthrob.  

Forever and a Day

Grace never thought she'd be starting her life over from scratch. Losing everything has landed her in Lucky Harbor, working as a dog walker for overwhelmed ER doctor Josh Scott. But the day his nanny fails to show up, Grace goes from caring for Josh's lovable mutt to caring for his rambunctious son. Soon Grace is playing house with the sexy single dad . . . 

Buy Links:

About the author:
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Social Media Links:

Excerpt from LUCKY IN LOVE

"Mallory." There was a warning in that low, sexy tone of his, a very serious warning.

She'd wanted a kiss, but hearing him say her name like that was almost as good. And now she wanted more. She wanted things she didn't even have names for. So she wriggled some more, hoping like hell she was getting her message across because she wasn't all that practiced in the bad girl department. Amy had been right; she needed lessons. She made a mental note to address this as well at the next chocoholics meeting. For now, she'd wing it.


"Are you coming on to me?"

"Well, technically, you're on top of me," she pointed out. "So I think that means that you're coming on to me."

With a groan, he pressed his forehead to hers and swore beneath his breath, and not the good kind of swear either. And though she should have seen this coming, she hadn't.

He didn't want her.

It was perfect, really. Perfect for the way the rest of the night had gone. Horrified, humiliated, she pushed at him. 

"Sorry. I got caught up in the moment. I'm not very good at this, obviously." He didn't budge so she shoved him again. "Excuse me."

He merely tightened his grip. "Not good at what, exactly?" he asked.

"Really? You need me to say it?"

When he just waited, she sighed. "Attracting men. I'm not good at attracting men. Now if you could please get off."

He lifted his head and cupped the back of hers in one big hand, his eyes glinting with heat. "You first," he said rough and gravelly, leaving no mistake to his meaning.

She gasped, and he took advantage of that to kiss her, his lips moving against hers until she gasped again, in sheer pleasure this time.

Things went a little crazy then. Ty's mouth was firm and hungry, his tongue sliding against hers, and God, she'd almost forgotten what it was like to be kissed like this, like there was nothing on
earth more important than her. That long-forgotten thrill of feeling soft and feminine rushed over her.

Then Ty lifted his head, and she realized she was touching his face, the stubble on his jaw scraping against the pads of her fingers.

"To be clear," he said, "I'm very attracted to you." And she believed him because the proof of that statement was hard against her hip.

"I think it's your eyes," he said.

She was a little startled by the unexpected romance of that. And then she was drowning in his eyes, which were smoldering. But then they were kissing again, and she couldn't think because he happened to be the world's most amazing kisser. Ever. She lost herself in it for long moments, loving the fact that he didn't seem to be in a hurry at all, or using the kiss as a means to an end. Kissing her was an act all unto itself, and she was panting for air when he finally broke from it. He shifted to pull away and she reflexively clutched at him. "Wait—We're stopping?"

Dropping his head, he rubbed his jaw to hers. "Yeah."

"But . . . why?"

He let out a low, innately male groan. "Because you're not the fuck-a-stranger-in-a-storage-room-with-her-boss-waiting type of woman."

Well, when he put it like that . . . Damn. Her inner bad girl retreated a little. More than a little.

You don't think you deserve to be happy.

Amy's words floated in her head. No, she'd never been the type to let a stranger into her heart, much less her body.

But this wasn't about her heart.

And Ty was no longer a complete stranger. He was the man who'd good-naturedly stepped in tonight when she'd needed him. Multiple times. He was the man who'd just given her the most amazing kiss of her life.
She wanted him to also be the man to vanquish her restlessness and loneliness. "I am for tonight," she said, and wrapped herself around him.

Excerpt from AT LAST

"You were married?" She was surprised, though she shouldn't have been. Matthew Bowers was a catch.

"For about twenty minutes," he said. "Just after I got out of the military."

"When you were a cop," she said.


"Is that why she thought you weren't family material?" she asked. "Because of your job?"

"Partly. And partly because I failed her. But mostly because she was pissed off at me."

Amy wanted to ask how he'd failed, but that felt too intimate, especially given that she was lying in his arms with his ice pack on her ass. But his ex's words didn't make sense. He wasn't the sort of guy to fail a stranger, much less someone he cared about. What he'd done for her today proved that. His job might have brought him here to check on her, but it hadn't been his job or responsibility to stay the night with her and keep her safe.

And yet he'd stuck.

She'd had people in her life who had been responsible for her and hadn't stuck. "Matt?"

His wordless response vibrated through his chest to hers, and he turned his head so that his face was in her hair, inhaling as he rubbed her back.

"I think you're pretty good with people," she said softly.

She could feel him smile against her. "Thanks," he murmured. "Now tell me about you."

"Nothing as interesting as you."

"Try me," he said.

That was the last thing she intended to do. "Well, I don't have an ex-husband . . ."

"How about a mom? Dad? Siblings?"

"A mom. We're not close." An understatement, of course. Her mom had gotten pregnant as a teen and hadn't been mom material. "I was raised by my grandma, but she's gone now. She died when I

was twelve."

"Any other family?"

No one she wanted to talk about. "No."

He tightened his arms around her, a small, protective, even slightly possessive gesture. It should have made her claustrophobic.

It didn't.

They fell quiet after that, and Amy wouldn't have imagined it possible since she was snuggled up against a very solid, very sexy man, but she actually fell asleep.

She woke up what must have been hours later, as dawn crept in, poking at the backs of her eyelids. For a moment, she stayed utterly still, struck by several things. One, she was no longer cold. In fact, she was quite warm, and the reason for that was because she'd wrapped herself like a pretzel around her heat source.

She cracked open an eye and found him watching her from his own heavy-lidded gaze. He was looking pretty amused at the both of them. "Hey," he said, and to go along with that bedroom gaze he also had a raspy early morning voice. Both were extremely distracting.

He wasn't looking like a forest ranger right now. He was looking sleepy, rumpled, and sexy as hell.

"Are you taking this anywhere?" he asked.

Not exactly a morning person, it took her brain a moment to process what he meant. And then she realized that by "this," he was referring to the fact that her hand had drifted disturbingly low on his abs. If she moved her fingers even a fraction of an inch south . . . "Sorry!" Face hot, she pulled back and closed her eyes. "This is all Mallory's fault."

"Actually," he said, looking down at his obvious erection. "It's not."

"No, I mean—" She broke off at his low, teasing laugh and felt her face flame again. "She sent you out here because she thinks something's going on with us."

"Is there something going on with us?"

She didn't want to touch that with a ten-foot pole. Or an eight inch one. "It has nothing to do with us. It's payback for how I set her up with Ty at the auction a few weeks back."

"What if it's not?"

She met his warm gaze. "Not what?"

"Payback," he said.

Their legs were entwined. At some point in the night, the sleeping bag had fallen away so that there was no barrier between them. He was warm and hard.


She felt herself soften as the heat of arousal built within her. Worse, her fingers itched with the need to touch him.

"Amy." Matt's voice was pure sin, not a warning so much as a statement, and her hands reacted without permission, migrating to his chest.

"Mm," rumbled from his chest as he slid a hand into her hair, tilting her head up to his. He searched her gaze. 

"You're all the way awake, right?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"Just making sure," he said, then rolled her beneath him.

Excerpt from FOREVER AND A DAY

 "There's one last thing," he said.

She wondered if he looked as good without his clothes. "What?"

"That ship sailed?" he asked, repeating her earlier words to Anna.

Again she tilted her head up. "I just meant we've been there, done that. We already kissed, remember?"

His gaze heated. Yeah, he remembered.

"And it was . . . fine."

He'd probably shaved that morning but he had a shadow coming in. And his eyes. Fathomless dark pools, as always, giving nothing away of himself or his secrets. "The kiss was . . . fine," he repeated, eyes narrowed.

"Well, yeah." Fine plus amazing times infinity.

He just looked at her.

"Okay," she admitted, sagging back against the door. "So it was a little better than fine. But I'm not looking for this. For a guy like you."

"Like me," he said slowly, as if the words didn't quite compute any more easily than "fine" had.

And probably they didn't. Look at him. He could have chemistry with a brick wall. "It's just that I'm not going to be in Lucky Harbor much longer, so while I'm here, I'm aiming for . . . fun."


"Yeah. It's a new thing I'm trying."

"And you think I'm not," he said with a hint of disbelief, "fun."

"It's nothing personal."

"Hmm." He took a step toward her, and since there was already no place to go, she found herself once again sandwiched between the door and his deliciously hard body. His hands went to her hips, where they squeezed lightly and then slid up her sides, past her ribs, to her arms and her shoulders. By the time he got to her throat and cupped her face, her bones had gone AWOL.

"What are you doing?" she managed.

"Showing you how much fun I can be."

Oh boy. Just his husky whisper sent a shiver down her spine, the sort of shiver a woman wasn't supposed to get for a man she didn't want to be attracted to. And then her body strained a little closer to him.

Bad body!

Josh's eyes met hers and held. He was purposely building the anticipation, along with the heat working her from the inside out.

"Still think I'm not fun?" he asked softly.

"You're not." She swallowed hard. "You're . . ."

He quirked a brow.

Hot and sexy, and damn. Fun. Which meant that she was in big trouble here, going-down-for-the-count kind of trouble. Time to wave the white flag, she decided. And she would. In just a minute . . .

"Say it, Grace."

"Okay, so maybe you're a little fun," she admitted. "But—"

He nibbled her lower lip, soothing it with his tongue, then stroked and teased her with his mouth until she let out a helpless murmur of arousal and fisted her hands in his shirt.

His eyes were heavy-lidded and sexy when he pulled back. "Bullshit, a little fun." His mouth curved as he looked down.

Following his gaze, she realized she was still gripping his shirt. She forced herself to smooth her fingers over the wrinkles she'd left. "Fine. You're a barrel of fun. Happy now?"

"Getting there." His eyes were dark with lust and focused on hers, his hands on her back, fingers stroking her through the thin material of her dress. When he lowered his head, he did it slowly, giving her plenty of time to turn away.

She didn't.

Their eyes held until his lips touched hers, and then her lashes swept down involuntarily. She couldn't help it; his lips were warm, firm, and oh how just right . . .

With a deep, masculine groan, he threaded his hands through her hair and tilted her head to better suit him, parting her lips with his, kissing her lightly at first, then not so lightly. And then everything felt insistent and urgent, and all her bones melted.

By the time he broke the kiss, Grace was unsteady on her feet, and her breathing was more in line with a marathon run. "I'm not sure what that proved exactly," she managed. Except he was the

best kisser on the planet . . .

Go, read them.  I can wait...

Tease (The Ivy Chronicles #2) by Sophie Jordan

* * * * 

Content for readers ages 17 years+

A young college woman gets schooled in life, sex, and love in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's sizzling New Adult romance series--where three Ivy League suite-mates testing their boundaries as they seek higher knowledge of just how far they can go.

A born flirt and good-time party girl, Emerson has never had a problem finding a willing guy. She's always chosen her hook-ups carefully, and she's never broken her three cardinal rules:

Never let them see the real you.
Never fall in love.
Always leave them begging for more.

Then comes Shaw. A hotty from the wrong side of the tracks, he's immune to her flirtatious banter and come-hither smile. After rescuing her from a disastrous night at a biker bar, he doesn't even try to take her to bed--he calls her a tease and sends her home instead. Unable to resist a challenge, or forget the sexy dark-eyed bad-boy biker, she vows to bring him to his knees.

But instead of making Shaw beg, she finds herself craving him. For the first time in her life, she's throwing out her rulebook. Suddenly, she's the one panting for a guy she can't control. A guy who won't settle for anything less than the real Emerson, who forces her to do things she's never imagined, including facing a past she thought she'd buried.

A guy who just might leave her wanting more . . .

Sophie Jordan’s first book in this series, Foreplay, was so freaking good, like so good I was a grinning idiot rereading all my favourite passages. Now she gives us Tease with its own special vibe that could stand apart from its predecessor.

Having met Emerson previously, who lives through the droll school week to let loose on the weekends. This one weekend in particular does not go well and she needs to be rescued. Much to her chagrin, rescue comes in the form of a hot biker guy, who also happens to be a Marine. Yowza! He thinks she's a spoiled princess and she thinks he's trouble that she doesn't need in her life. Of course Emerson won’t admit her attraction to him and of course Shaw is going to give her the business because this is how it works.

Now while some elements may seem familiar or predictable, I do like how their story progressed. Emerson is a far more complicated person than anyone has realized and it’s startling that people know very little about her, including her suitemates Pepper and Georgia.  She has deliberately carved out an image for herself to stay in control. Lately though, she’s questioning what this is doing to her. Upholding this image is one thing but now with Shaw busting through the picture, she’s tempted to fight that image. Shaw comes off as very bossy and domineering which annoyed me a few times, not to mention Emerson, but his reasoning becomes clear as the story moves on.  

I loved their interaction. They’re both stubborn people unwilling to give in though Shaw does bend a little when he figures out what Emerson is really doing. There is most definitely a lot of heat between the two which brings me to another reason why I enjoy this series. What goes on in these pages is much more mature in nature, some instances being slightly graphic, however, it’s not done for shock value. Their intensity is described beautifully without being crude which works very well here.

I’ll repeat: I love this series.  Foreplay had me from the start and Tease kept me going. I won’t lie – the many mentions of Pepper and Reese from Foreplay made me very happy because those two as a couple are awesome, and yeah, I'll have to go back and read their story... again. Emerson's and Shaw's chemistry is different from that of the previous two making it a nice change. And Tease has a different tone than Foreplay. Emerson's experience is also opposite of Pepper's which I liked very much. In all honesty, it was that surprise truth of hers that revealed itself during a very heightened and intimate moment, in the most delicate and emotional way, that completely won me over.  It was one of those "excuse me, did I read that right?" moments.

Oh yeah, Sophie Jordan, you’re good! I'm looking forward to Wild (featuring the third friend, Georgia) coming out later this year. In the meantime folks, do yourselves a favour and read these books. You'll be glad ... also slightly hot and bothered.

~ Bel