Audiobook, Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Review Books, romance, Romantic Suspense

Blog Tour & Review: The Kingmaker (All the King’s Men Duet, Book 1) by Kennedy Ryan


The King Maker - BT banner

“Powerful, gripping, unflinchingly honest and sensuously gorgeous writing.”

— Kristan Higgins, New York Times Bestselling Author

The Kingmaker, the first book in the addicting All The King’s Men Duet, from RITA ® Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan, is available now!

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Power. Passion. Betrayal.

Kennedy Ryan delivers the epic first installment of the All the King’s Men Duet.

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition.  In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it. My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I’m determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and will do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied. And neither will I.

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The story was writing so well and this narrative was so authentic as it drew on current issues/events pertaining lands considered sacred to Native Americans. My only issue was that there wasn’t enough romance in this first book to balance the heaviness of the controversial themes.

What I liked: Each character was well developed. Lennix was a passionate, principled and strong willed woman. Maxim has the same drive to make the world a better place in the same way as Lennix. Their personal convictions lead them in different directions, but I loved that each character had goals that didn’t revolve around a significant other. Both main characters and their friends seemed like honorable people. It was great that each character had authentic friendships and they were brutally honest with each other. They needed friends who could tell them when they were being pig-headed.

What I did NOT like:
While I appreciate and actually support the message, it just overshadowed the romance.
Though I respected their passion for their causes, both Lennix and Maxim felt overly idealistic. I also felt that the romantic connection, although very powerful, seemed to just last for a blink of the eye. Just when the strong physical attraction started to building into something more solid, it was terminated.
Which leads to my next issue, for a strong willed man, I was surprised that Maxim waited ten years to reach out to Lennix. I guess his personal goals really did supersede everything else in his life. I think his single minded focus didn’t leave room to really pursue the woman he said he developed deeper feelings for. Ten years seemed out of character since Maxim goes hard for everything else he wants. I wanted love to help smooth out their blunt edges.

Kennedy Ryan is an awesome writer and she obviously researched these issues in depth, but the story became more political than romantic and majority of the characters interactions revolved around the societal issues. I just wanted more of their personal lives, specifically the journey as a couple because that love could have been that healing force in this book. They actually made each other stronger and more hopeful about the future. I will check out book 2 to see how Maxim’s dad will try to come between the lovers.

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Pre-order the stunning conclusion, The Rebel King!

Releasing November 17th

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Excerpt

“What do you want?”

The look he pours over me is hot oil, burning me even through serviceable layers of cotton. His heated perusal caresses my face, sluices over my breasts and hips, and then pools at my feet.

“Oh, that you won’t ever get again,” I say, my voice a soft, certain promise. “I don’t screw liars. I’m particular that way.”

“Never say never,” he drawls, tilting up my chin with his finger.

“Nev–”

He crushes the word between our mouths. It falls apart in the scorching, sweet tangle of lips and teeth. With one hand, he digs his fingers into my hair. The other splays across my lower back, his grip on me almost convulsive, urging me up and closer.I’m in stasis. I’m completely startled by the kiss, unable to respond. I send a desperate message to my brain.

Move. Pull back. Push him away.

But the urgent glide of his hand down my spine to cup my ass melts my thoughts to liquid and they swim in my head. I can’t pull back, and all hope of resistance dissolves when he presses his thumb to my chin, prying me open. He stalks my tongue, hunts down a response, licking and sucking and groaning and growling. His hands tighten on me until I strain up to seek him, yanking his hair, pulling him even closer.

“Dammit, Nix,” he mutters between kisses. His hand wanders down my neck and across my shoulder, and cups my breast, twisting the nipple through flimsy barriers of cotton and lace. He shoves up my skirt, pulling my legs wider, and pushes my panties aside, his fingers invading me. My body remembers this mad craving that claws out of my bones—that wants out. That wants him. Under his rough touch, my body blooms and my hips rock.

“That’s it,” he says, taking my earlobe between his lips.

My head falls back and I moan. It’s so damn good. His touch awakens me. His hands, his kisses bring me to life. It feels like I’m taking my first deep breath since we were last together, and it fills my lungs, seeps into my pores.

“I missed you,” he says, sucking my lips and kissing the corners, quick, hungry. “I’m sorry. Baby, I—”

“Stop talking.” I reach between us to loosen his belt, catching his zipper and dragging it down, dragging him out. “Shut up.”

About Kennedy Ryan

A RITA® Award Winner and Top 25 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta families living with Autism, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Review Books, young adult

Landon & Shay (Part One) by Brittainy C. Cherry


Title: Landon & Shay by Brittainy C. Cherry
Series:
L & S Duet #1
Release Date:
October 30th 2019
Format:
Kindle Edition (363 Pages)
Genre:
Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Blurb:
Shay Gable hated my guts, and I hated hers, too.

We went out of our way to avoid one another at all times. When she came my direction, I went the other. When we locked eyes, she’d turn and walk away. 

All of that changed the day I was presented with a challenge. It started out as a stupid bet: make Shay fall in love with me before I fell in love with her first.

That was an easy bet for me to win. 

I didn’t love, I hardly liked. 

Yet slowly the game started to shift. Shay made me crave things I never knew I wanted like love, happiness, and her.

The closer we grew, the more she challenged my darkness, and the parts I kept locked away.

The hurts.

The pains.

The truth.

The game between us became too real, our feelings intermixed, and the risks of hurting one another grew higher. 

But you know what they say… 

All’s fair in the game of love and war—especially the heartbreaks.

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This is why Brittainy Cherry is one of my favorite authors. Her books tug at my heart’s strings and I always experience an array of emotions but most importantly, I am always left with a feeling of hope and faith in the healing that love can help facilitate.

I was surprised that I loved Shay and Landon so much because they were different from what I expected after reading Eleanor and Roosevelt. I was indifferent to both characters since they appeared shallow and full of fluff so I didn’t anticipate to connect with them. In this story, the author removed their masks and revealed complex individuals navigating complicated home situations. Thank you to the author for tactful and sensitive way she addressed depression and the ways people deal with their pain. I was rooting for them so hard.

This beautiful story touched on parental expectations as well as children’s expectations of parents, importance of communication, emotional connections and the masks we all wear to hide the cracks in our hearts. There was a fair amount of emotional suffering, but in the midst of sadness, there was resilient love. I love the fact that there was a generational examples of strength so the characters had different examples of what strength or a lack thereof looked like. I also like that the reader saw the subtle ways people inflict abuse and how the spirit can be weighed down without being aware that those actions are so toxic. That was the gem in this story, when someone is perceptive enough to see beyond the mask that other people wear and seeing their REAL face. It takes patience and like Shay’s grandma said, one has to “be brave, be kind and be strong etc”

This story was well layered and characters so well developed that I don’t even know if I need Book 2, though I must have it! I look forward to seeing continued growth and healing in the conclusion of this duet. This is a must read!

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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Landon and Shay: Part Two will be releasing December 4th!

Pre-order the emotional conclusion, Landon and Shay: Part Two : Amazon ~ Amazon Worldwide  

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About Brittainy C. Cherry

Author Brittainy C. Cherry is an Amazon #1 bestselling author.

She has been in love with words since the day she took her first breath. She graduated from Carroll University with a Bachelor Degree in Theatre Arts and a minor in Creative Writing.

Her novels have been published in 18+ countries around the world. Brittainy lives in Brookfield, Wisconsin with her fur babies.

Connect with Brittainy: Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Amazon ~ GoodReads ~ Join Brittainy’s Golden Girls (And Boys) Reader Group ~ Stay up to date with Brittainy by joining her mailing list ~ https://bcherrybooks.com

Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins


From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.

Blurb: Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley. 

My Thoughts: This book was just so good. It was intense and full of lot of different emotion moments.
This is a story told from several different voices, but the main POV is that of Emma and her cantankerous grandmother Genevieve.
Emma was taken in by her paternal grandma Genevieve after Emma’s mom committed suicide and Emma’s dad was unable to care for her. Genevieve was an old school dowager with exacting standards, so when Emma became pregnant her senior year in high school, Genevieve kicked her out.
17 years later, Emma gets a call to come and spend the summer with her dying grandma. This began the summer journey of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation.

I think this is a story that one should read so this review will be spoiler free. Each character was flawed and the author did an amazing job developing them so you could see why they were the way they were. I don’t make an excuses for their behavior nor do I condone some of the actions, but I could see how they got there.

The secondary characters like Emma’s daughter Riley, Jason and the boys, Miller, grandfather Pop, and the house staff add such depth to this story. There is such care taken to write this story that I am frankly still taking it all in. There is anger, sadness, love, laughter, crazy kids, extended family and their support, growth hope and rediscovery. This book really did have a little of everything that a good woman’s fiction book should have.

I really loved the way we got a chance to be in everyone’s head a little. Some people just refused to grow and others just inspired me to be better. But all in all, the author delivered a great tale with a happy ending. Definitely one of the best reads of 2019.

Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Charlie (Cultivated #1) by Elin Peer


Charlie (Cultivated #1)Charlie by Elin Peer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BLURB: Charles, the reserved, mysterious, and unattainable guy I had a major crush on in college, got tangled up with the wrong crowd. Being the heir to one of the largest business dynasties in the US made Charles a target for the narcissistic and cunning cult leader O’Brien. Now, I’m flying to Dublin to get him out. “

With degrees in both anthropology and psychology, twenty-seven-year-old Liv is convinced that she can resist being sucked into Conor O’Brien’s cult. But it’s been years since she and Charles last met; will he even remember her and will he trust her?

Charles and Liv are about to learn just how dangerous it is to go up against a possessive psychopath like Conor O’Brien.

Charlie is the first installment in Elin Peer’s contemporary romance series Cultivated, which offers suspense and drama. Like all her books, this one has a fast pace, lots of great dialogue, and it leaves you wanting more.


A fascinating story and masterful storytelling. This story had it all: action, suspense, intrigue, romance and redemption. What I love about Elin Peer’s stories is that I always feel I was treated to a story unlike the routine and cliche tropes that are so abundant in the romance genre. In this particular novel, we are treated to an insider look into the intense fear of family members when their loved ones are caught in the snare of a cult.

Charlotte Christensen aka Liv or Charlie met Charles Robertson at a coffee shop by accident. At the time they were both going by the nickname “Charlie”. There was a spark there, but nothing serious materialized from their college flirting. Five years later, Liv was contacted by Charles’ grandfather who wants a friend to help rescue Charles from a cult that was siphoning off his inheritance. This opportunity gave Liv another chance to reconnect with Charles, but he wasn’t the man she remembered. To save Charles, Liv had outmaneuver a sociopath a cult leader with Charles’ love and life as the prize.

I don’t know much about cult except what we see on the news but my nerves were jarred. I enjoyed the glimpse into a cult’s intricate layering in order to brainwashing people of various intelligence. It was a lesson on how masterminds sense esteem issues and use it to their advantage while gaining their absolute dedication and loyalty. It was a gently reminder that even the smartest person has vulnerabilities that can be exploited by devious people.

My favorite part of the story was Liv and Charles reconnecting. It felt like young love all over again and it added some pleasure and levity to this heavy situation. Liv and Charles were really nice individuals and they made a sweet couple. I was completely absorbed into this struggle for Charles. The author skillfully weaved an engrossing tale. What an excellent beginning to a new series.

*Thank you to the author for the advanced reading copy. My opinions of the book are solely my own.

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Fiction, romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Lethal Force (Brute Force, Book 3) by Lora Leigh


Lethal Nights (Brute Force, #3)Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh

BLURB:

1 bestselling author Lora Leigh turns up the heat in her latest novel of high-stakes passion and persuasion featuring the men of Brute Force. 

Ilya Dragonovich is no stranger to the dark side. As a safe-house owner for security agency Brute Force, Dragon knows that the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man—and, sometimes, a beautiful woman…

Emma Jane Preston needs help. After her marriage crumbled, she believed she could get back to a normal, happy life. But now she needs the kind of protection that comes at a cost—one that only someone like Dragon can provide. But can Emma Jane trust this handsome, undercover operator to keep her safe when she is in danger of falling into the arms of the deeply seductive, fiery Dragon. . .and never letting go?

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this story. Ilya Dragonovich and Emma Jane Preston had skirted around their attraction for different reasons. Ilya was a dangerous man and the heir to the Dragonovich family that wielded mafia power in Romania and Emma Jane was just getting out of a marriage.

When someone threatened EJ’s life, Ilya knew it was time to claim her as his own and under his protection. But the person after her was a mystery, and that was not going to fly with the Dragon heir.

I really liked Emma Jane’s independence, loyalty and inner strength. She clearly loved Ilya but she also had a clear sense of what’s right, and she also stood up for herself against her protective family. The mystery stalker wasn’t really much of a mystery although the motive was a surprise. I enjoyed their reliance on each other for comfort and love. I also see that Emma Jane was strong enough for a boss like Ilya.
The almost mythical characteristics of the dragon tattoo gave the story a supernatural feel that gave the stories Romanian family some mystique.

I had hoped for more information on EJ’s culpability with her accident as well as his mother’s motive. Maybe in the next books, we can get a resolution on those issues. But i should are looking for a book that has a mafia like presence without being overwhelming in the violence, then this romance book is for you!

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Review Books

Fighting for Flight (Fighting #1) by J.B. Salsbury


Fighting for Flight by J.B. Salsbury
My rating: ❤️❤️❤️½
Narrator: Ryan West and Erin Mallon

BLURB: What happens when in order to win, you’re forced to lose?

The only daughter of an infamous Las Vegas pimp, Raven Morretti grew up an outsider. Liberated from the neglectful home of her prostitute mother, she finds solace as a mechanic. With few friends, she’s content with the simple life. Flying under the radar is all she knows, and more than she expects.

Until she catches the eye of local celebrity, UFL playboy Jonah Slade.

Weeks away from his title fight, Jonah is determined to stay focused on everything he’s trained so hard to achieve. Undefeated in the octagon, he’s at the height of his career. But resisting Raven’s effortless allure and uncomplicated nature is a fight he can’t win.

Jonah trades in his bad-boy reputation and puts his heart on the line. But when her father contacts her, setting in motion the ugly truth of her destiny, Jonah must choose. In a high-stakes gamble where love and freedom hang in the balance, a war is waged where the price of losing is a fate worse than death.

Will the hotheaded Jonah be able to restrain his inner fighter to save the woman he loves? Or will Raven be forced into a life she’s been desperate to avoid?


I enjoy this story and will certainly listen to the next book. The main characters were very likable. It was sweet but it lacked a little depth and complexity. I also had to adjust to the narrator’s voice as it was whiny for adult woman.

Raven Moretti was a loner who worked as a mechanic who lived above the garage where she worked. Raven had no meaningful relation with her parents as her father was a feared Las Vegas pimp and her mother was one of his prized hookers. Neither seemed to have much need for familial ties and while her mother raised her, Raven never really felt loved growing up.

When one of the hottest MMA fighters, Jonah Slade “The Assassin”, came to Raven’s garage to get help restoring an antique car, it was an instantaneous attraction.
Raven was a naive virgin who radiated goodness. She was kind and had alley cat she named Dog. Whereas Jonah was a notorious playboy who didn’t bed the same woman twice. That day, he insisted Raven move in his home with him and they became an item. Then the past comes to claim Raven’s future with Jonah.

The story was sweet but painfully predictable. I don’t think its necessary to make a 20 year old loner into a naive, clueless woman. It’s more probable that a daughter of a Las Vegas prostitute and pimp would be street saavy, distrustful or at least cautious and less emotional. But Raven was the opposition. She was disappointingly gullible and helpless. Jonah also went from being a manwhore overnight to wanting to cuddle a virgin he just met with no expectations. It did provide some sweetness to the harsh reality of her father’s cruel plans for her.

Her father Vincent Moretti was a ruthless and sadistic piece of work who clearly lacked a moral bone in his body. The author didn’t really do a good job of developing the antagonist other than just introducing him as the monster of this book. His callous indifference was in direct contrast to the good-heartedness Jonah’s family and the others around couple showed Raven and Jonah. Overall, it was a satisfying read.


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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Review Books, young adult

The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreakers Chronicles, #1) by Ali Novak


The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreakers Chronicles, #1)The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BLURB: “When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. And he had no idea that I was the only girl in the world who hated his music.”

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer?

This was a cute story about Family, Health and Personal Growth.
Stella, Drew and Cara are triplets who are close and they feel helpless because Cara isn’t winning her battle with non Hodgkin lymphoma.
When Cara’s favorite boy band “The Heartbreakers” were in town, Stella and Drew decided to get her a signed poster from the band. Stella ended up meeting the lead Singer Oliver on her Starbucks run and they didn’t know each other so they flirted with each other.

It started a romance between Stella and Oliver, it also helped Stella deal with her guilt about Cara’s cancer and begin to make plans that didn’t revolve around her sister’s cancer.

I love that the focus was on family, personal growth, the effect of cancer on the remaining family, the guilt, the fear of not being around in case your sick family member needed you etc.
The romance was a sub plot and it was tastefully done. I really liked this story.

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