714 Followers
173 Following
whiskeyinthejar

Whiskey in the Jar Romance

Romance book talk, reviews, recipes, and dog pictures

Blogger Site: WhiskeyintheJar Romance

Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

Currently reading

When a Lady Deceives (Her Majesty's Most Secret Service)
Tara Kingston
My Fair Princess
Vanessa Kelly
The Tao of Hockey (Vancouver Vice Book 1)
Melanie Ting
Beauty and the Mustache: A Philisophical Romance (Knitting in the City Book 4)
Penny Reid
Before I Fall
Jessica Scott

Kyraryker’s quotes


"She thought it over, but couldn’t see any immediate loopholes other than the threat of her inner slut emerging, and she could darned well control that little bitch."— Susan Elizabeth Phillips

August, errr, JULY Read Roundup

Summer is still here and I am still here for it! It has been a steady 80 degs and I actually have some color to my whitewalker skin (speaking of which, was anyone else like dude, Bran, No? Who says that?!). I greatly enjoyed my recommendations month and once again a hearty thank-you to Quirky OmegaShannon BurkeAnneLover of Romance; Belindaand Becca for their recs. Those selection books will be denoted with ***book cover***. I love how books I may not necessarily pick out for myself can appear on this list and expand my reading. August is Kindle Freebie month and I love how wild card these picks can be. I'm not always judicious about downloading freebies :)

 

*Click on book cover to be taken to my review or if I didn't write one, the book's Goodreads page

 

5 stars

 

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

 

4 stars

 

 

 

3.5 stars

 

Too Scot to Handle by Grace Burrowes  ***Royally Screwed by Emma Chase***  ***Again, My Lord by Katharine Ashe***

 

3.2 stars

 

***Under Locke by Mariana Zapata***

 

3 stars

 

Going Dark by Monica McCarty

 

2.5 stars

 

Don't Tempt Me by Lori Foster  Why Do Dukes Fall in Love? by Megan Frampton

 

 

2.3 stars

 

***If He's Noble by Hannah Howell***

 

2 stars

 

***Hemlock by N.J. Layouni***  Grievous by Nancy Haviland

 

1.5 star

 

Royally Matched by Emma Chase  ***Paxton Pride by Kerry Newcomb***

 

1 star

 

 

13 books in all, not a bad month. I'm loving how varied my ratings were and there were only two books I didn't end up writing a review or post comments about! I'm counting this as one of my most successful themed months; variety and words, woo-hoo! Also, can't forget I got my first full 5 star read of the month, Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai. LOVED. Hoping August feels even half as great as this reading month did.

 

How many books did you all get to read this month and did you enjoy your reading month as much as I did?

Loved the hero

Again, My Lord: A Twist Series Novel - Katharine Ashe

Thank you to Becca for the great recommendation :)

I loved this hero with his introverted, slightly awkward, wit, and gentleness. 

She teased him again, and again he did not always know what to say in return. 
She drove him a little mad. 
A lot.
 


Hero was so patient and caring and oh I just fell in love with him but the format of the story kind of kept him more to the side than I wanted. It was mostly from the heroine's pov and with the Groundhog Day theme, we get the same day over and over with slight variations as the heroine learns and reacts to things differently. Now, tidbits about the hero are given but I wanted to "see" when the hero and heroine stay up talking in the church pew, I wanted to "hear" him talking to her, not just her second hand account. We get to see the heroine's growth but we don't really get to see the hero and heroine grow together because of the nature of the story. I missed seeing and experiencing that.

I thought two or three repeated days could have been cut out as the middle started to drag a tiny bit for me but overall, this was a fun and different read. I really appreciated how the author tried something different and did a pretty good job pulling it off. There is an ease to Ashe's writing that have her being one of my favorites and she's one of those authors that can get my eyes watering out of nowhere with a simple line:
Tacitus thought of his father's adoration of a woman with rotted teeth who could barely walk. 
The hero thinks back to how much his father loved his mother even though someone looking from the outside would have some doubts why. It's a wonderful line stating about how love is love and how imperfect people can be perfect. Beautiful. 

If you're looking for something fun and different, you'll want to give this one a shot. The first in the series (you can start with book 2 like I did, no confusion) is already on my tbr and I almost shed another tear when I saw the book 3, who I hope stars Evie (heroine's sister) and Mallory (hero's friend), isn't out yet. I really want their book :)

New Releases for August

New releases I'm reviewing and excited to read!

 

1st

 

Title:  Beauty Like the Night

Series:  Spymasters #6

Author:  Joanna Bourne

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 303pgs

Published:  August 1, 2017 by Berkley

ASIN: B01N3L1957

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

In the newest Spymaster novel, “master of romance and suspense”* Joanna Bourne offers a stirring tale of intrigue, espionage, and attraction.
 
Sèverine de Cabrillac, orphan of the French revolution and sometime British intelligence agent, has tried to leave spying behind her. Now she devotes herself to investigating crimes in London and finding justice for the wrongly accused.
 
Raoul Deverney, an enigmatic half-Spaniard with enough secrets to earn even a spy's respect, is at her door demanding help. She's the only one who can find the killer of his long-estranged wife and rescue her missing fourteen-year-old daughter.
 
Sèverine reluctantly agrees to aid him, even though she knows the growing attraction between them makes it more than unwise. Their desperate search for the girl ​unleashes treason and murder. . . and offers a last chance for two strong, wounded people to find love.

 

14th

 

 

 

Title:  Royally Endowed

Series:  Royally #3

Author:  Emma Chase

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 275pgs

Published:  August 14, 2017 by Emma Chase

ASIN:  B01M99L1VL

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

Logan St. James is a smoldering, sexy beast. Sure, he can be a little broody at times—but Ellie Hammond’s willing to overlook that. Because, have you seen him?? 

Sexy. As. Hell. 

And Ellie’s perky enough for both of them.

For years, she’s had a crush on the intense, gorgeous royal security guard—but she doesn’t think he ever saw her, not really. 

To Logan, Ellie was just part of the job—a relative of the royal family he’d sworn to protect. Now, at 22 years old and fresh out of college, she’s determined to put aside her X-rated dreams of pat-downs and pillow talk, and find a real life happily ever after. 

The Queen of Wessco encourages Ellie to follow in her sister’s footsteps and settle down with a prince of her own. Or a duke, a marquis…a viscount would also do nicely. 

But in the pursuit of a fairy tale ending, Ellie learns that the sweetest crushes can be the hardest to let go.
***
Logan St. James grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, in a family on the wrong side of the law. But these days, he covers his tattoos and scars with a respectable suit. He’s handsome, loyal, brave, skilled with his hands and…other body parts. 

Any woman would be proud to call him hers. 

But there’s only one woman he wants. 

For years he’s watched over her, protected her, held her hair back when she was sick, taught her how to throw a punch, and spot a liar.

He dreams of her. Would lay down his life for her. 

But beautiful Ellie Hammond’s off-limits. 

Everybody knows the bodyguard rules: Never lose focus, never let them out of your sight, and never, ever fall in love.

 

22nd

 

 

 

Title:  The Duchess Deal

Series:  Girl Meets Duke #1

Author:  Tessa Dare

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 384 pgs

Published:  August 22, 2017 by Avon

ASIN: B01N5BWIBA

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules… 

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing. 
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.


But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

 

 

29th

 

 

 

 

Title:  Once a Rebel

Series:  Rogues Redeemed #2

Author:  Mary Jo Putney

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 384pgs

Published:  August 29, 2017 by Zebra

ASIN: B01N8ZCNEF

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

A ROGUE REDEEMED

As Washington burns, Callista Brooke is trapped in the battle between her native England and her adopted homeland. She is on the verge of losing everything, including her life, when a handsome Englishman cuts through the violent crowd to claim that she is his. Callie falls into her protector’s arms, recognizing that he is no stranger, but the boy she’d once loved, a lifetime ago.

Lord George Gordon Audley had been Callie’s best friend, and it was to Gordon she turned in desperation to avoid a loathsome arranged marriage. But the repercussions of his gallant attempt to rescue her sent Callie packing to Jamaica, and Gordon on a one way trip to the penal colony of Australia.

Against all odds, Gordon survived. Finding Callie is like reclaiming his tarnished soul, and once again he vows to do whatever is necessary to protect her and those she loves. But the innocent friendship they shared as children has become a dangerous passion that may save or destroy them when they challenge the aristocratic society that exiled them both…

 

 

 

Title:  Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap

Series:  Hellcat Canyon  #3

Author:  Julie Anne Long

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 384 pgs

Published:  August 29, 2017 by Avon

ASIN: B01NCI4YEB

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

She was a naive country girl. He was a billionaire's spoiled son. He was her first crush, her first heartbreak...and now her sworn enemy.

As Avalon Harwood's fortunes soared, Maximilian “Mac” Coltrane's plummeted, and he had to fight his way back to where they both began: Hellcat Canyon. Now Mac and Avalon will play dirty—in more ways than one—to get what they each want: the glorious old abandoned Coltrane mansion. But when Avalon snaps the house up at auction, she discovers there's something awfully familiar about the extremely hot caretaker...

Mac might have a heart of stone, and the abs to match, but Avalon—the dazzling girl whose heart was always too big and too reckless for her own good—was always his Kryptonite. And just like that, the stakes change: suddenly they're fighting not just for a house, but for a magic they tasted only once before and never since—long ago, with each other, at Devil's Leap.

 

 

 

Title:  Hard Justice

Series:  Alpha Security  #3

Author:  April Hunt

Format:  Paperback & eBook, 352 pgs

Published:  August 29, 2017 by Forever

ASIN: B01NCIFDYP

Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

 

A DATE WITH DANGER

As the first female operative at Alpha Security, Charlotte "Charlie" Sparks has her work cut out for her. Sure, she can wrestle a man to the ground and hit a target at 200 yards with the best of them. But sometimes, being surrounded by all that testosterone can drive a woman to distraction-especially when that distraction is six-and-a-half feet of cocky, confident, Alpha-trained muscle.

Ex-SEAL commander Vince Franklin has been on some of the most dangerous missions in the world. But pretending to be Charlie's fiancé on their latest assignment in Miami is his toughest challenge yet. Vince and Charlie are like oil and water; they just don't mix. And when their fake romance generates some all-too-real heat, Vince learns that Charlie is more than just arm candy. She's the real deal-and she's ready for some serious action.

 

What August new releases are you looking forward to?

More like Breast Pride

Paxton Pride (The Paxton Saga Book 1) - Frank  Schaefer, Kerry Newcomb

I just want to say, even if I don't end up liking/enjoying the books you all recommend to me, I always get something out of them. I greatly appreciate the time and effort you all take to think of me.

Thank you to Belinda for the recommendation.

 

Part 1 comments

 

Part 2 comments

 

Part 3 was were I kicked my skim reading into gear. I just couldn't, y'all. The almost raped yet once again heroine scene after scene had me exhausted. To say this story is problematic would be sugar coating it. The third part the hero and heroine hardly spend any time together as hero has run away to get over his blaming of the heroine for losing their child. Heroine miraculously sheds her city persona and becomes Annie Oakley and takes to running the ranch. Men love her for it and of course, women are jealous of her. The men loving, women hating is so extreme in this, bleh. 

 

Heroine ends up getting kidnapped by villain, lives under constant threat of rape from him, another glorious scene where villains sexual aggressiveness starts to turn her on, a very woman's no can easily be turned into a I really want it yes. An almost gang rape scene, heroine gets tossed and stripped in a circle of men before they are interrupted.

I just don't know how I could stand the romance of it all!!!!

 

These older, longer saga romance reads typically would do a great job with incorporating historical detail and creating a very clear setting, this one is no exception; I enjoyed the western setting. The sexism and racism just ended up ruining it for me. 

 

She was much woman, this one. There was much spirit in her---a real woman's spirit. Not like the temperamental Marcelina. The little one knew how to please a man, knew instinctively and exquisitely where and how to touch him, how to move. But such a girl was for a moment and no longer. There were many more like her. The woman at the fire was one of strength, of character as strong as the hills and rocks themselves. A man who was blessed with the love of such a senorita would need no other woman except occasionally, for the sake of diversion.

 

 

Because of course, the Latina SIXTEEN year old girl is just a natural sexual being, while the white woman only encapsulates the highest virtues. Which, I have to say, home girl only started to lose her spoiled ass attitude only about three chapters back, so singing her virtues seems a bit premature. Also, because I simply can't keep the horror to myself, the sixteen year old and villain end up being brother and sister. Which turns out the villain knew. He knew he was banging his sister. Yep, this was a two for one, dad and brother incest!!!! 

The bonus line of men being blessed with a good woman so they only have to sleep with other women occasionally for sake of diversion, had me feeling spoiled. 

 

So, I won't be continuing on with the series. 

 

A huge thank-you to previous generations of women who worked and work to clear this type of grossness from my younger generation eyes. I only hope to do the same for the next. 

 

 

60%

Paxton Pride (The Paxton Saga Book 1) - Frank  Schaefer, Kerry Newcomb

 

I've made it to part 3.

 

While part 1 was dominated by the father lusting scene, part 2 was all about the rape. You see, the male authors have decided that the only way our heroine can or wants to exert her power is by flirting and coyly seduce men. No friends with women because they are all just jealous of her beauty. There's a great scene where heroine is friendly with a a guy and he misinterprets or over interprets her friendliness into meaning she wants to have sex with him. He almost rapes but the hero ends up shooting him first. Hero blames her for guys death. You see he was a really great guy who was driven crazy by heroine's friendliness.

 

The hero's mom is good, because of course men put them in a different category than other women but the rest of the characters don't fair so well. There is a sixteen year old Latina character who lusts after the hero and throws herself at him, he gets hard for her but manfully pushes her away. She then of course betrays everyone when she lets in the villain into the ranch. The villain who raped her, until she passed out but the third time he rapes her, she decides she likes his strength and wants to be his woman. 

 

So anyway, there was a lot to choose from for a quote from this 2nd part but I'll give you this:

 

"I know what happened. For three nights and days I've been here fighting your fever with cold cloths and listening to you repeat the story over and over again. You had a gun. You could have stopped him." He placed the lantern on the table, leaned over and gripped her by the shoulders, his fingers bruising the flesh of her arms, his voice quaking. "Karen. He killed Maruja. You let him. You ran. You...killed our son."

 

When the villains broke into the ranch, our city gal heroine panicked (I don't think the hero ever taught her to fire a gun) and froze, not firing her weapon to defend. She ended up falling and losing her baby. "Hero" blames her for the miscarriage. 

 

I can't wait to see what part 3 brings

 

(There was some good Alamo history) 

Trying not to be a glass half empty person :/

 

Copy a Romance Cover

Errr, make that, CURL up with a Romance Cover. I've been super busy, so we didn't make it out to find a spot to copy this cover.

Raiden enjoying Too Scot Too Handle by Grace Burrowes!
Dog days of summer indeed :)

 

New Release - Too Scot Too Handle by Grace Burrowes #Giveaway

 

As a captain in the army, Colin MacHugh led men, fixed what was broken, and fought hard. Now that he's a titled gentleman, he's still fighting—this time to keep his bachelorhood safe from all the marriage-minded debutantes. Then he meets the intriguing Miss Anwen Windham, whose demure nature masks a bonfire waiting to roar to life. When she asks for his help to raise money for the local orphanage, he's happy to oblige.

 

Anwen is amazed at how quickly Lord Colin takes in hand a pack of rambunctious orphan boys. Amazed at how he actually listens to her ideas. Amazed at the thrill she gets from the rumble of his Scottish burr and the heat of his touch. But not everyone enjoys the success of an upstart. And Colin has enemies who will stop at nothing to ruin him and anybody he holds dear.

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Title: TOO SCOT TO HANDLE

Author: Grace Burrowes

Series: Windham Brides, #2

On Sale: July 25, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market:  $7.99 USD

eBook: $6.99 USD

Audio: $22.98 USD

Add to Goodreads

 

Excerpt:

He’d taken care that this kiss be private, and thus unhurried.

            Anwen liked the unhurried part exceedingly. Lord Colin held her not as if she were frail and fragile, but as if she were too precious to let go. His arms were secure about her, and he’d tucked in close enough that she could revel in his contours—broad chest, flat belly, and hard, hard thighs, such as an accomplished equestrian would have.

            Soft lips, though. Gentle, entreating, teasing…

            Anwen teased him back, getting a taste of peppermint for her boldness, and then a taste of him.

            “Great day in the morning,” he whispered, right at her ear. “I won’t be able to sit my horse if you do that again with your tongue.”

            She did it again, and again, until the kiss involved his leg insinuated among the folds and froths of her riding habit, her fingers toying with the hair at his nape, and her heart, beating faster than it had at the conclusion of their race.

            “Ye must cease, wee Anwen,” Lord Colin said, resting his cheek against her temple. “We must cease, or I’ll have to cast myself into yonder water for the sake of my sanity.”

            “I’m a good swimmer,” Anwen said. “I’d fish you out.” She contemplated dragging a sopping Lord Colin from the Serpentine, his clothes plastered to his body….

            “Such a sigh,” he said, kissing her cheek. “If ye’d slap me, I’d take it as a mercy.”

            “I’d rather kiss you again.” And again and again and again. Anwen’s enthusiasm for that undertaking roared through her like a wild fire, bringing light, heat, and energy to every corner of her being.

            “You are a bonfire in disguise,” he said, smoothing a hand over her hair. “An ambush of a woman, and you have all of polite society thinking you’re the quiet one.” He peered down at her, his hair sticking up on one side. “Am I the only man who knows better, Anwen?”

            She smoothed his hair down, delighting in its texture. Red hair had a mind of its own, and by the dawn’s light, his hair was very red.

            “No, you are not the only one who knows better,” she said, which had him looking off across the water, his gaze determined.

            “I’m no’ the dallyin’ kind,” he said, taking Anwen’s hand and kissing it. “I was a soldier, and I’m fond of the ladies, but this is… you mustn’t toy with me.”

            Everlasting celestial trumpets. “You think I could toy with you?”

            “When you smile like that, you could break hearts, Miss Anwen Windham. A man wouldn’t see it coming, but then you’d swan off in a cloud of grace and dignity, and too late, he’d realize what he’d missed. He wouldn’t want to admit how foolish he’d been, but in his heart, he’d know: I should ne’er have let her get away. I should have done anything to stay by her side.”

            I am a bonfire in disguise. “You are not the only one who knows my secret. I know better now too, Colin.” She went up on her toes and kissed him. “It’s our secret.”

 

BUY THE BOOK HERE

 

Amazon

 

Barnes & Noble

 

Books-A-Million

 

Google Play

 

iBooks

 

IndieBound

 

Kobo

 

 

 

 

THE WINDHAM BRIDES SERIES

 

THE TROUBLE WITH DUKES, #1 My Review

TOO SCOT TO HANDLE, #2  My Review

NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO, #3

 

Series Page on Goodreads

 

 


 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

 

FOLLOW FOREVER ONLINE

 

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

 

 

Reading Update: 30%

Paxton Pride (The Paxton Saga Book 1) - Frank  Schaefer, Kerry Newcomb

Look, I'm an old hat with reading romance books, bodice rippers? I cut my teeth on them. Modern books tend not to follow the beaten path those took, some have the same tropes just coated in "alpha" and "dark" semantics. Really though, pretty close to tomato, tamato. This one, oooh this one sneaked up on me, but you can't fool a permanent resident of Romancelandia.

 

Take at glance at that innocent cover.

 

LIES.

 

This is the original cover:

 

TOO BEAUTIFUL! RARE POWER!

 

Time to gird your f-ing loins, people.

 

This was originally published in 1976. Also, notice how two dudes took a woman's name to publish under. The breast talk/worshiping had me wondering at 10%, suddenly things make more sense. 

 

I'm going to guess they did not revise the new 2015 republished version. Why do I say that you wonder? 

 

For a moment the two stared at each other, the mere sight of their naked bodies arousing them. No touch was needed between these two. Angie felt the throbbing ache awaken in her loins as the animal before her hardened, rose tumescent and pulsing to its full height. Her hand went down to sweep the remaining piece of silk from across her thighs, revealing the soft, moist lips so eager to be stroked, parted, entered and ravaged. Eyes burning and lips parted, she threw wide her arms to greet the carnal god as he approached. There would be no more waiting.

 

 

No mere coitus for Angie, she's waiting to be RAVAGED.

 

 

Did I mention Angie is not the heroine? Angie is not the heroine. Hero is banging another woman 10% in.

 

Now, nothing I could say could prepare you for this, so just, I don't know, have puppy gifs keyed up.

Barrett is her FATHER,

 

Barrett glared at her, panting with fury. “Slut!”

“Slut!?” Karen spit back. Her voice was low, barely audible in the heavy silence. “Is that how you see your daughter? As a slut?” The two faced each other in timeless attitudes of belligerence until Karen straightened herself, stood regally, boldly before him, her gown falling away to her sides to reveal her naked body, the perfect breasts rising and falling slowly, the thick light brown patch of pubic hair exposed between finely sculpted thighs. “Do I look like a slut to you?”

It had been a long time since Barrett had seen his daughter naked. Not since she was a little sandy-haired tomboy swimming in a New Hampshire stream. But this was no little girl. His eyes raked over her and he was unable to stop them. Karen watched her father’s line of vision and made no attempt to cover herself. Contemptuously aware of the power her body could wield over a man, any man, even her father, she stood still as a statue blatantly displayed to he who should not look. Barrett, his momentum shattered, suddenly aware of his licentious reaction, staggered back, shocked by his obvious and less than fatherly interest in his daughter’s body.

 

 

 

Because of course, even though it is his daughter, what do women's bodies do? They evilly tempt men.

 

I'm 30% in. 

 

 

As with these older written stories, they are longer and more sagas. This first part took place in Washington D.C. The heroine broke off her engagement and is set to leave with the hero back to his home in Texas. 

 

I'm going to continue to read, partly because of morbid curiosity, and partly because these older books actually incorporate the scenery and setting; I do enjoy the epic adventure feel. I just hope the less desirable components disappear.  

 

 

Nopity Nope

Royally Matched - Emma Chase
I should have stopped while I was ahead.

This one magnified everything I didn't enjoy from the first. Our hero was such an immature I can't believe we're really calling him the hero, guy. He never did redeem himself for me. Because of the Bachelor like show he is involved with, more than half of his time is spent with other women. Even though this time isn't really focused on or seen, you're still aware of it. The time he does spend with the heroine (also, this happens over a span of 6weeks) is rushed and we're told they talk all night but don't get to read about the sharing. 
My shy book loving heroine is more of a badly done facsimile of one. Her painful background also felt sloppily done; in fact this whole story felt sloppy. 
Shallow characters and shallow story line, I know, I should have seen this coming with the synopsis.
Even though we don't get a glimpse of the couple I'm looking forward to in the third book, I'm still going to read it and hope it gives me some of the cheesy charm from the first. The hero gives me more hope as he has to be more mature than this one was.

*Rounded up because the hero searches out a first addition Sense and Sensibility for heroine (because he ruined her copy in an immature fit. Ugh.)
 
 

 

Drowning in cheese

Royally Screwed - Emma Chase

Thank you to Lover of Romance for the recommendation. And has now cruelly added another series to my never ending stack :) 

I'm...I laugh to myself…I'm Cinderella, stepping into her coach to go to the ball. And even if this night is all there is, I won't forget it; I'll hold this memory close. Savor it, cherish it. It will make the hard times just a little easier, the lonely moments just a little less cold. When Ellie leaves for school, when I'm making pies before dawn in the kitchen day after day, I'll remember this feeling and I'll smile. This will get me through. 

Cotton candy, fluff, and cheese-fest. You could call this all of those and you'd be right but I couldn't help myself from eating it up with a spoon; even when I groaned and rolled my eyes. But hey, romance stories help get us through, don't they?

This is told is dual pov from our hero and heroine and had a bit of a New Adult vibe. Our hero danced across the boar line a couple times and was colored a bit too much with an overly cocky paintbrush, which I usually loathe. Look, I have no excuses.

I giggle again---feeling silly and light-headed. Possibly delusional. 

The heroine says it perfectly. I'm American and would never dishonor my ancestors by bowing a knee to royalty, and that is possibly how they get into my naughty taboo, I know I really shouldn't and that is why it's now hot category. The author's writing and tone is immensely readable, if not challenging. This is royalty fan fiction with no surprises and not a lot of depth but god help me, I read this in 24hrs with a goofy grin on my face most the time.

Don't read quote if you don't want a sneak peek at ending.

"He gave up a kingdom for you." 

(show spoiler)



If I had read this in my teens, I'd have worn out the spine in two years. Alas, I read this in my thirties, so while I probably won't re-read this into oblivion, my dopey grin will stick around for a while. 
Predictable, gooey, Cinderella-ish, and sugary satisfying. 

"Smell." 
After a moment, Henry leans down and sniffs the pages distrustfully. 
"What do you smell?" Sarah asks.
Henry gives it another sniff. "It smells…old."
"Exactly!" She smells the pages herself, deep and long. "Paper and ink---there's nothing like it. The only thing that smells better than a new book is an old one."
 


The heroine of the next in the series already has my heart. Usually, this kind of story and trope only works for me once in a series but a book loving heroine? I MUST read it! Also, I NEED book three and the couple that stars in that one. NEED.

Reading Update: 25%

Royally Screwed - Emma Chase

 Because exasperation was part of my charm.

Y'all, I don't know. I'm starting to have a real

with this book. I blame my love of cheese. 
I'm veering back and forth between "Oh for Pete's sake!" and "Hee hee, giggle, giggle.

Outlander fan fictionish

Tales of a Traveler: Hemlock - N.J. Layouni

Thank you to Anne for the recommendation.

Well, this had the unfortunate timing of being read after an amazing 5 star read, it probably only had a hope of paling in comparison. 

It kind of felt and read like slight Outlander fan fiction; the author got inspired after reading Outlander and tried to craft a story like it. The world the heroine time travels to is like a medieval Europe but suppose to be a different dimension. I'm not really sure because it is not truly explained. Honestly, it gives the feeling that the author wanted to set it in a medieval time period but didn't want to do research and work to make it feel authentic. 
The characters and main couple's relationship felt shallow and while this ends on a cliffhanger, I think I'm going to stop here.

SHOOK

The only gift I'm handing out until March 9, 2018 is this movie trailer. 

 

I read this book over and over when I was younger. I can't wait for this!

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

Hate to Want You: Forbidden Hearts - Alisha Rai

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Growing up as the pseduo prince and princess of their families, it was almost inevitable that Nicholas and Livvy would end up together. However, their world gets shattered when tragedy strikes and they find themselves ripped apart.
Ten years later and Livvy is back home to take care of her mother and maybe get back some of what was lost to her.
Nicholas wants something too, more than one night a year.
 
First in the new Forbidden Hearts series, Hate to Want Youlends itself to the easy comparison to Romeo and Juliet. We have two families brought together by hard work and determinism, only to be broken apart two generations later by hurt, innuendo, secrets, and pain. Our couple's grandfathers started a grocery store that has been built up over the years to develop into a chain. When the heroine's father and the hero's mother are killed in a car accident together, painful questions are raised. Then the hero's father does some suspiciously underhanded dealings to buy heroine's family half of the grocery chain. Thus, begins the cold war between the families and the fracturing of Livvy and Nicholas' romance. 
 
In terms of pure pleasure and relief, he imagined the feeling he got when he received a text from Livvy was similar to what an addict felt when they got a hit of whatever drug they craved. 
 
We are started off with Nicholas' point of view and what a deep emotional start it was. We learn that on Livvy's birthday she texts him her coordinates, he travels to her, and they have sex for that one night a year. Except she didn't do it this year and he finds out she is in town where she hasn't stepped foot in ten years. Our first look at the couple is so filled with emotion and sexual tension, you'll be hooked. Nicholas starts off as the brighter focus of the two with his barely contained torment, weight of struggling to take care of the business and his family, and inability to stop craving Livvy. There is a tiny little bit of martyr syndrome to him, but ultimately, his character and heart was wonderful to read.
 
All those years ago, she'd lost her father to death, her mother to grief, her brothers to hate. And then she'd lost him. 
 
While I thought Nicholas started off with a stronger spotlight, Livvy grows brighter and brighter with each new insight to her character. Livvy was such an amazing look at strengths and weaknesses that were laid bare with inner struggles that were a painful beauty to behold. Her struggle to try and manage her feelings to what she thinks is acceptable and still respect her herself had so much depth. We also learn of a very real struggle she deals with, I loved how the author didn't use to define her but showed how she is in some ways fashioned from it. Our heroines don't always get to be everything; Livvy was a fantastic multi-faceted woman.
 
There is no way I can do justice in relaying to you the complete picture of story and characters Alisha Rai gives us. The family dynamics going on here were tremendously done, with the emotions feeling real and raw. There's obviously more to be discovered about the instances that tore these two families apart, the introduction to the secondary characters that are connected by these story threads will have you dying to get the complete picture. Nicholas and Livvy's siblings aren't thrown out there as series bait but rather fill out the complete story; I'm salivating for their stories (Put me on team pairing up Eve and Gabe!). 
 
Now, this has more intense sexual talk and scenes than your average contemporary, you could probably put an erotica tag on it. They are gritty, raw, and of course sexual with the author not shying away from pearl clutching language. I would argue though, that what makes them feel so raw are the deep emotion between Livvy and Nicholas, but look, the spanking and hair pulling also helps. What I personally loved about their sex scenes were the powerful dynamics happening. There's a blowjob scene where Nicholas is the more vulnerable participant, even while physically we know he's the more powerful, he's shown to be incredibly emotionally vulnerable. There's been a little bit of a trend to portray "Me Tarzan, you Jane" sex, the power and emotion dynamics sex scenes here blow those depictions out of the water for me. I was a huge fan of what felt more like consensual and emotionally balanced sex. What I'm trying to say, is spanking and hair pulling sex scenes can be amazing when you add depth of emotion. The hint of humor and lightness between our couple, which gets bogged down sometimes from the pain and circumstances, also plays a big part here, even if regulated to the edges.
 
Deep, emotional, raw, and hot, Hate to Want You is an incredible lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romance. Nicholas and Livvy's desire and love for one another is the stuff of Shakespearean plays. Alisha Rai has set up a series with a world and characters that I can't wait to return to and read about. 
 
"You're not my secret anymore. My love for you is bigger than anyone who might try to tear us apart." He paused. "I won't leave you, Livvy. You don't have to trust me completely right now, but watch me. Watch me fight for you this time." 

70%

Hate to Want You: Forbidden Hearts - Alisha Rai

Unbutton that shirt a little more.”

She regularly wore corsets and miniskirts, but she clutched the lapels of her shirt together like an outraged aunt and glared down at him. “I will not.”

“Come on. If I’m such a creeper, give me something to creep on.”

She was tempted to smile, but she controlled her face. “Creepers don’t get rewarded.”

“Probably a good policy.”

 

Love these little light hearted moments between such an emotionally heavy baggage couple :)

Reading Update: 20%

Hate to Want You: Forbidden Hearts - Alisha Rai

 Their encounters were usually a haze of sweet and pleasure and filthy words and filthier actions.

You're only 20% in, you're only 20% in. My mantra to try and put a lid on the excitement threatening to bubble over. We've got sexiness but most importantly, the deep barely contained emotion, y'all. Y'ALL! I'm shook. No one warned me how good this started off.