Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Excerpt & Giveaway: The Nanny Arrangement by Rachel Harris

May 2nd, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

The Nanny Arrangement

by Rachel Harris
Country Blues #2
Publication Date: May 22, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Bliss, Contemporary Romance

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Soft-spoken and shy Hannah Fisher is determined to make the man she’s loved her entire life finally see her as a woman. With the help of a makeover, a new mission—Operation Find My Happy—and the convenient forced proximity of a tour bus, she vows to win her best friend Deacon’s heart.

Former bad boy and current fiddle player Deacon Latrell has the world at his fingertips: a new gig with a famous band, plus his best friend on tour as his son’s nanny. Life couldn’t get much sweeter. Now if only he could stop imagining kissing the daylights out of his childhood BFF…

With one friend set on pushing the boundaries and the other afraid to rock the boat, one thing’s for certain—their story would make one heck of a country song.

About Rachel Harris

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

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Excerpt

Two months, she repeated to herself. Sixty days.

A lot could happen in sixty days. On The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, entire relationships were formed and proposals handed out in that amount of time. Surely Hannah could rewrite history and change how Deacon saw her, right?

Yes, she’d royally botched things up in her bedroom, flaunting panties and talking about sex like some sort of nutcase. She’d been flustered and unprepared, and as a result, she’d probably come on too strong—but next time she’d think quicker on her feet.

Even better, despite yesterday’s crash and burn, there had been a moment…a brief handful of seconds when they’d both been sitting on the bed…where she could’ve sworn the air between them had shifted.

True, she’d thought that once before—the night that had sent her fleeing to Paris in embarrassment—and she’d been wrong. But that was before she’d truly put herself out there. She’d barely attempted to flirt (and those attempts had sucked), then skipped town at the first sign of failure, without even telling Deacon how she felt.

In hindsight, she wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d smelled like spit-up. Back then she’d spent half her time covered in formula or baby food from her daycare job, and never once had she worn makeup or even tried to look feminine. Could she blame him for not seeing her as a woman ready and worthy of his love?

Now things were different. Thanks to a suitcase filled with silken bravery and a year’s worth of Cosmo inspiration, Hannah felt confident and courageous. Or as close as she’d ever get, anyway. Armed with her new life’s mission, she was ready to tackle whatever setbacks came her way, and this time, she wasn’t conceding defeat until Deacon saw her as the woman she was and asked her to the dance.

Two months to make Deacon fall madly in love with her?

Hannah blew out a shaky breath. “Piece of cake.”

 

 

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Review & Giveaway: Feels Like the First Time by Marina Adair

April 25th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

Series: Destiny Bay, #2

On Sale: April 25, 2017

Publisher: Forever

About the book

In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Rachel Gibson, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis, comes the second book in a funny and charming new small-town contemporary romance series by Marina Adair.

What’s wrong with a little white lie?

 There are a lot of things Ali Marshal doesn’t do: pink anything, a day without chocolate, and Hawk, her sister’s ex-husband. Sure, he’s a sexy former NHL star who can make her pulse pound with just a wink. But he belonged to Bridget first. And no matter how long she’s had a crush on him, how great he’s always been to her dad, or that her sister is engaged to someone else now and Ali needs a date to their engagement party, she can’t give in to temptation. Can she?

It’s been years since his disastrous marriage crashed and burned, and Bradley Hawk has finally moved on. So when Bridget blows back into town with her new fiancé, throwing the engagement party of the year, he could care less . . . until Ali tells one little lie that lands him smack dab in a fake relationship. After one promise to be Ali’s date and two of the hottest kisses he’s ever had, Hawk can’t deny how much he wants her. But what happens when this fauxmance starts to feel very, very real?

My Thoughts

Marina Adair is one of those go to authors that you can rely on to deliver a solid romance that will make you fall in love with the characters and world. Feels Like the First Time was no exception though I was in for a surprise. I despised Bridget so much through most of the book and couldn’t wait to see Ali win Hawk but surprisingly by the end I was interested in seeing Bridget have her own story. I would love to see her grow and find her own HEA.

Ali and Hawk were both great characters and I fell head over heels for Hawk. The chemistry between the two is amazing and the side stories were just as great as the main story. Can’t wait for the next Destiny Bay installment!

BUY THE BOOK HERE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marina Adair is a #1 National bestselling author of romance novels and holds a Master of Fine arts in creative writing. Along with the Destiny Bay series, she is also the author of the Sugar, Georgia series, the St. Helena Vineyard series, and her new Heroes of St. Helena series. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and two neurotic cats in Northern California.

As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive.

 

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Release day giveaway & review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

April 18th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books
The City’s HOTTEST Cold War is here!
WALK OF SHAME
a Love Unexpectedly novel
Lauren Layne
Releasing April 18th, 2017
Loveswept

 

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.
 
Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.
Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew
resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.
 

My Thoughts

Seriously, where have I been that I’ve never read a Lauren Layne book before now?! I have never read one of her books before but the blurb sounded so cute when I saw the blog tour sign up that I just had to request a copy. I’m soooo happy I was chosen to receive one because I loved this book so much!

It really hooked me from page 1 and the dialog was so snappy and fun that I didn’t want to stop reading. I loved both Andrew and Georgiana from the start and their on-going banter with each other kept a smile on my face the entire time I was reading. If all Lauren Layne books are like this then I have definitely found a new favorite author. If you are looking for the perfect romance that will bring a smile to your face then definitely pick up Walk of Shame! You definitely won’t regret it.

 

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.
 
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.
 
She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 
 

 

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Excerpt Reveal & Giveaway: Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny by Cindi Madsen

April 12th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books
Every addict has their relapse.
CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER PUCK BUNNY
Taking Shots #4
Cindi Madsen
Releasing May 8th, 2017
Entangled Embrace

 

Confession #1:
I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I’m just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.
 
Confession #2:
Ryder “Ox” Maddox’s deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I’m powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor.
 
Confession #3:
I can’t stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it’d be to cross lines with him.
 
Confession #4:
I kissed a hockey player and I liked it.
Confession #5: If I’m not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I’ll be totally pucked.  
 
Every thought turned to how strong he was. How much I’d like to see all those muscles without a shirt in the way.
Once he’d counted off twenty-five, he stood and, as if he’d been reading my mind, peeled off his shirt.
I stared. Not subtly, either. Nope, totally unabashed, taking in every dip and groove of his sweat-glistened skin.
“Since we’re playing dirty,” he said, shooting his wadded shirt over to his bag. He grabbed my hand. “Last machine. I’m not sure you can handle it, though.”
“I’m not sure you can handle it.” As far as comebacks went, not my best, but I mentioned he was shirtless and crazy
ripped, right?
He sat down on the leg machine, the one where the seat reclined at a forty-five-degree angle, and then he lifted the weighted bar that rested at shin-height with his legs.
He reached for my hand, and since I’d already talked trash, I took it, even though I was starting to think I wouldn’t be
able to handle it. He pulled me toward him, and I had no choice but to run my shins into the weights or to straddle the  machine. I chose straddling, but kept space between us like I had earlier.
My heart hammered against my rib cage, beating in time with his leg lifts, the steady clink of the weights filling the air. Ryder’s eyes remained locked on mine, and energy crackled in the air between us. He sat up enough to run his hands up my thighs.
A dart of heat shot through my core, and my breath lodged in my throat. Ryder’s fingertips skimmed the skin between my pants and shirt and desire danced across my nerve endings. Still our eyes remained fixed on each other, and I wasn’t sure I was taking in oxygen anymore.
A distant part of me whispered that if I didn’t stop this…whatever we were doing, I’d be in trouble. But fighting my attraction to him was exhausting and the ache that’d formed between my thighs grew more persistent, drowning out silly
things like common sense.
I leaned over like I had before, my hands braced on either side of him. He lifted the weights again, and then he brushed his lips against mine. Just a quick slide of soft lips.
My throat went completely dry. I pressed my palm flat against his stomach and slowly slid it up, feeling his firm chest and the hammering of his heart, which echoed mine.
Ryder gripped my hips and pulled me down to sit on his lap, eradicating the space between us. He lifted the weights with his legs a few more times, each rep bumping me tighter to him. Friction was definitely happening, and with each lift, it became clearer and clearer how much it was affecting him as well.
The tiniest whimper escaped my lips and he raised an eyebrow that added even more smugness to the curve of his tempting mouth.
Two could play dirty. So I sank farther into his lap and he groaned.
Of course, all it did was give me dirty thoughts and turn me on that much more.
He lifted his legs two more times, the movement shaky. He slowly ran his fingertips up my arm, across my collarbone, up my neck, and then he reached back and tugged my hair free of its ponytail.
He drove his hand into my hair, cupped the back of my head, and for one torturous moment, time stopped, both of us suspended right there on edge of crossing lines.

 

Cindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person.  Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a pretty new pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children. 
You can visit her Website, where you can sign up for her newsletter to get all the up-to-date information on her books. 
 

 

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Excerpt & Giveaway: The Wedding Planner’s Baby by Amanda Ashby

April 11th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books
He’ll have to choose between duty to his relatives and  love for the real family he never thought he could have. 

 

THE WEDDING PLANNER’S BABY
Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm #2
Amanda Ashby
Releasing April 10th, 2017
Entangled Bliss

 

Free-spirited Bec Watson was never having children­––until she is. No way she’s ready for this, and she’s not going to tie-down the father, not even (especially!) if he’s secretly an English Lord. She’s doing this solo, which means she needs help from the one place she swore she’d never return…Wishing Bridge Farm. Home.Lincoln Mathews has never known love, only responsibility. And now his family home and business is at jeopardy unless he finds a solution. Fast. Their idea? Marry for money. But the girl who stole his heart is carrying their child. His first mission? Follow her to Wishing Bridge Farm. But soon he’ll have to choose between duty to his relatives and love for the real family he never thought he could have. 

 

Excerpt

A warm sensation spread in her belly as the afternoon air filled with his aftershave. She licked her lips while somewhere at the back of her mind warning bells were ringing, telling her it was a bad idea. That the baby came first. But then she remembered their conversation at Daisy Hill. He said he’d give her what she needed.

And right now, I need this.

“Oh.” The breath caught in her throat, and it took all her willpower not to just lean in and kiss him. “I’m not sure what to say.”

“Don’t say anything.” He shook his head as his fingers reached out and found hers. “It seems like when we speak, everything comes out wrong.”

“Lost in translation,” she croaked, as her insides turned to fire.

His fingers clamped down on hers. Emmy had said kissing him before talking was a bad idea. But they’d talked. She’d taken him to the doctor’s. And he said I have a unique way of looking at the world.

“Exactly.” His other hand reached up and cupped her chin, turning her skin to liquid. “And I’m sick of things being wrong.”

“Me, too.” Bec inched forward and was rewarded by the sensation of his mouth crashing into hers. The scenic cliff melted away, his cell phone fell to the ground, and all that was left was him. The kiss intensified, and his fingers tightened around hers, but it wasn’t enough. I don’t want any space between us. She dragged her hands free and curled them around the back of his head, her skin burning.

He let out a groan and pulled her on top of him. Explosions, fireworks…the whole lot swirled in her belly as he planted hot kisses down her neck. She tugged at his shirt buttons, not caring that they popped off. All she cared about was the shirt was now gone.

Ah, that’s better. She ran her greedy hands across his chest, his muscles rippling beneath her touch. His hands slid up under her T-shirt. Goose bumps skittered along her body as his fingers cupped her breasts. Whoever invented this deserves a medal.

She tugged at her own shirt, desperate to get rid of it. His eyes gleamed, and his mouth immediately went in search of the small owl tattoo that rode on her shoulder. The first time he’d run his fingers across it, he’d told her how much it turned him on. And now, feeling his breath hot against her flesh, she though how the small pain from getting the ink had all been worth it.

 

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture.

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed in the New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age. Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

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Release Day: The Baby Bombshell by Victoria James + Giveaway

April 10th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

The Baby Bombshell

by Victoria James
Shadow Creek, Montana #2
Publication Date: April 10, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Bliss, Contemporary Romance

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SYNOPSIS:

Lily Cookson has a few rules for the New Year, the most important being don’t fall for Jack Bailey. The gorgeous, rugged man returned with a new look and a determination to win her back, catching her off guard. After a forbidden night in his arms, she vows never to let it happen again. But when morning sickness kicks in a few weeks later, Lily realizes staying away from Jack just got a whole lot harder.

Jack Bailey left Shadow Creek behind five years ago when his world imploded around him, knowing it would be best for everyone if he was gone…including Lily. It took him a long time to get his life back on track and grow into the kind of man she needs him to be. Now he’s determined to prove to Lily that he’s back for good and ready to commit, but the secrets she’s holding onto are nothing compared to the bombshell he drops…

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ABOUT VICTORIA JAMES

Victoria James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Victoria always knew she wanted to be a writer and in grade five, she penned her first story, bound it (with staples and a cardboard cover) and did all the illustrations herself. Luckily, this book will never see the light of day again.

In high school she fell in love with historical romance and then contemporary romance. After graduating University with an English Literature degree, Victoria pursued a degree in Interior Design and then opened her own business. After her first child, Victoria knew it was time to fulfill her dream of writing romantic fiction.

Victoria is a hopeless romantic who is living her dream, penning happily-ever-after’s for her characters in between managing kids and the family business. Writing on a laptop in the middle of the country in a rambling old Victorian house would be ideal, but she’s quite content living in suburbia with her husband, their two young children, and very bad cat.

Sign up for Victoria’s Newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming releases and exclusive giveaways, follow her blog for daily antics and insight into her daily life, and get to know her on twitter and Facebook. She loves hearing from readers!

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Review & Giveaway: Crazy for You by Rachel Lacey

April 7th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

Crazy for You
Risking It All #2

By: Rachel Lacey

Releasing: March 28, 2017
Forever

About the book:

“Rachel Lacey is a sure-fire star.” — Lori Wilde, New York Times bestselling author

SHE’S TAKING A WALK ON HIS WILD SIDE

Emma Rush can’t remember a time when she didn’t have a thing for Ryan Blake. Haven’s resident bad boy is just so freakin’ hot-with tattoos, a motorcycle, and enough rough-around-the-edges sexiness to melt all her self-control. Now that Emma’s over being a “good girl,” she needs a little help being naughty . . . and she knows just where to start.

Before Emma’s brother enlisted in the military, he made Ryan promise that he would protect her from everything–including himself. When her brother doesn’t come home, Ryan needs to turn his screwed-up life around to honor his pledge. But he knows he’s still not the right kind of guy for someone as sweet as Emma. Only he can’t stop wanting to be with her. Wanting her. Falling in love with a good girl may be the craziest risk this bad boy can take . . .

My Thoughts:

This was a cute, easy read that encompassed some of my favorite tropes like falling for your brother’s best friend and good girl falling for the bad boy. Emma and Ryan are totally cute together and once they give in to the chemistry between them there are plenty of sexy times. The main reason I did not rate this one higher was that while I liked both Emma and Ryan I didn’t love Emma. She’s sweet and determined to break out of her good girl shell but she did lose a small bit of my respect when she was tempted to give up the future she thought she wanted just to stay with Ryan. I’m glad things worked out the way they did but that still bugged me a bit.

I did feel bad for Ryan for what he had to go through after his mother dies and he loses his brother. I liked how he was able to pull himself together, start a successful business venture and try to repair his relationship with his brother.

My favorite part of the book was probably the supporting characters. I loved Ryan’s friends and I definitely want to read Mark’s story. I have a feeling his story will definitely tug at the heart strings.

Find it online:

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Author Info

Rachel Lacey is a contemporary romance author and semi-reformed travel junkie. She’s been climbed by a monkey on a mountain in Japan, gone scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and camped out overnight in New York City for a chance to be an extra in a movie. These days, the majority of her adventures take place on the pages of the books she writes. She lives in warm and sunny North Carolina with her husband, son, and a variety of rescue pets.

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 Excerpt

Whoa. Emma closed her eyes and let out a shriek as Ryan guided the motorcycle onto Main Street and picked up speed. The cold wind whipped her face, taking her breath away. Beneath her, the engine rumbled and roared like a wild thing. Holy sh*t. She was on the back of Ryan Blake’s bike, and it was amazing.

The wind bit through her thin, knit gloves, hitting her fingers with an icy blast. Actually, every part of her was freezing, but she didn’t care. She wrapped her arms more firmly around Ryan’s waist, anchoring herself to him so she didn’t tumble off the back of the bike, and somehow her hands slipped beneath his jacket. Ahh. That was better. Toasty warm, and also…her hands were on his T-shirt. Even through her gloves, she felt the hard contour of his abs, and nope, she wasn’t cold now.

And this was absolutely freaking amazing.

She hung on tight as he guided them over Haven’s twisting mountain roads, deserted at this hour. Overhead the moon shone like a beacon, illuminating the night in its soft, silvery glow. The roar of the engine and the slap of the wind against her face shocked her senses. It was thrilling, invigorating, so completely different from riding inside a car.

She’d never have done this if Mandy hadn’t dared her, and now she felt like her eyes were open for the first time in years. This was what she needed. Somewhere along the way, as she sat at the bar talking to Ryan, she’d realized she was having fun, really having fun. And she wanted more. She wanted it all, every last wild and crazy fantasy.

All too soon, her building came into view. Ryan cut the engine and guided them quietly into the driveway, coming to a stop behind her silver Toyota RAV4. He turned his head to look at her, so sexy in his helmet and riding glasses. “So how was it?”

“Even better than I thought it would be.” She gulped for air. His lips were way too close to hers, and she was still a little bit drunk on beer and a whole lot drunk on her first motorcycle ride. Mandy’s words echoed in her ears. Bonus points if you kiss him. Just stand up a bit, lean over his shoulder, and…

Emma leaned forward, her chest sliding up his back as she tipped her face to his. Holy hell, she had completely lost her mind, but she was going for it. Every nerve in her body went haywire.

Clunk. Her helmet smacked into his, drawing her up an inch short of his lips.

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Review + Giveaway: You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne

April 6th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

 

In an unforgettable debut, Lisa Berne introduces you to the Penhallow Dynasty—men destined to marry, but hesitant to love.

 

YOU MAY KISS THE BRIDE
The Penhallow Dynasty #1
Lisa Berne
Releasing March 28, 2017
Avon Books

 

In an unforgettable debut, Lisa Berne introduces you to the Penhallow Dynasty—men destined to marry, but hesitant to love.

Wealthy and arrogant, Gabriel Penhallow knows it’s time to fulfill his dynastic duty. All he must do is follow “The Penhallow way”—find a biddable bride, produce an heir and a spare, and then live separate lives. It’s worked so well for generations, certainly one kiss with the delectable Livia Stuart isn’t going to change things. Society dictates he marry her, and one chit is as good as another as long as she’s from a decent family.
But Livia’s transformation from an original to a mundane diamond of the first water makes Gabriel realize he desperately wants the woman who somehow provoked him into that kiss. And for all the ladies who’ve thrown themselves at him, it’s the one who wants to flee whom he now wants. But how will he keep this independent miss from flying away?

 

My Thoughts:

I normally have a set list of historical romance authors I enjoy but since I’ve blown through their backlist and am waiting on new releases from them I’ve been trying to broaden my horizons to include new authors. When I saw this one offered for review it sounded intriguing so I decide to give it a try.

I have mixed feelings about the book because the first half dragged and dragged to the point where I was debating putting it aside and not finishing it. But since I had accepted it for review for a blog tour I pushed through and actually was pleasantly surprised that it did pick up. The second half was enjoyable and once Granny got sick and had the personality change upon recovering I thought it was a pleasure to read. I do wish the first half had been trimmed down or at least had the same charm as the second half.

I felt sorry for Livia for having to be such a doormat to a lot of the characters but I never truly connected with Gabriel. It would have been nice to see more of his personality beyond the stuff Penhallow “mask” he wore most of the time. I felt like we saw more growth in character from his grandmother than we did from him and his personality change was much more abrupt.

Being a debut author I’m hoping some of this will be smoothed out in her next book because they included an excerpt at the end and it sounds like it’s going to be a fun read. So while I can’t say this debut book blew me away I am looking forward to trying the author out again when the next book releases.

Lisa Berne read her first Georgette Heyer book at fourteen, and was instantly captivated. Later, she was a graduate student, a grantwriter, and an investment banker, but is thrilled to be returning to her roots and writing her own historical-romance novels! She lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest
 

 

EXCERPT

This was dangerous. If she bit her lip any harder, thought Livia Stuart, it would probably begin to bleed, sending a bright red rivulet dripping down her chin, and end up staining—in a spectacularly uncouth way—the bodice of her gown.

The bodice of the gown which, Cecily had casually mentioned, was hers from two years ago.

“And you’ve altered it so cleverly, I scarcely recognized it.” Cecily’s voice was soft and friendly, but in her pretty blue eyes there was, unmistakably, the gleam of cruel mischief. “I knew, of course, from the color, which is no longer quite in fashion.”

Short of telling Cecily to stuff it, there didn’t really seem anything Livia could say, but she was spared the necessity of trying to think up something polite when Lady Glanville, Cecily’s mother, turned her gaze to Livia and subjected her person to a comprehensive scrutiny.

“Indeed,” her ladyship finally said, with the gravity of one considering a matter of deep existential import. “That particular shade of rose was very popular. Princess Charlotte, I believe, favored it highly. I’m not at all certain, however, that it’s suitable for one of your coloring, Livia dear. It complements fair hair, such as Cecily’s, as well as a pale complexion, like hers. I’m sorry to say that you are rather brown.”

“She would be out of doors so much,” Aunt Bella interpolated in her vague, melancholy way. “I’ve told her repeatedly how injurious it is to both health and appearance, but I do not think Livia attends to me.” She sighed gustily, sending the faded ribbons of her cap a­fluttering. “I do not think anyone attends to me. I do not think I am listened to by—”

“Far be it from me to pontificate,” said Lady Glanville, “but one ought not to dwell on oneself, you know. We must always think of others. As Cecily does, for example. She could give her cast­off gowns to her maids, as most other young ladies do, but instead she insists that dear little Livia have them. It’s quite touching, really.”

“Your Uncle Charles doesn’t give you a dress allowance, does he, Livia?” Cecily’s tone was sympathetic. Too sympathetic. “But then, you don’t go anywhere, so perhaps it doesn’t matter a great deal.”

“No,” Livia answered flatly. “No, it doesn’t matter at all.”

Now it was Lady Glanville who audibly sighed as she glanced around the large drawing­room with its dated, shabby furniture, the wallpaper from a generation ago pockmarked with ghostly rectangles where valuable paintings had once hung but had since been sold. “It’s dreadfully lowering,” she said, “to see a gentleman’s family so reduced. Why, it was only ten years ago that we met nearly as equals.”

Livia felt her teeth grit. She’d been forced to participate in these occasional morning visits from Cecily— the Honorable Miss Orr—and her mother—the Right Honorable Viscountess Glanville—for years. Because they were wealthy and highborn, apparently their arrogance and rudeness were to be endured. Livia clenched her hands tightly in the folds of her gown.

Cecily’s gown.

“Well, there’s no use in dwelling on what can’t be changed,” went on Lady Glanville. “I am afraid that life simply isn’t fair. A disagreeable fact, but what can one do? Now, do stop frowning, Livia dear, for I’m delighted to tell you we’ve come for the express purpose of offering a little treat.”

“I’m all ears, ma’am,” replied Livia with what had to be obvious sarcasm, but Lady Glanville only said, with her arctic smile:

“We are hosting a ball next week. It shall be a kind of début for Cecily. In addition—”

“Mr. Gabriel Penhallow and his grandmother, Mrs. Penhallow, come to visit us!” Cecily said breathlessly. “The Penhallows! Of Surmont Hall! We met Mrs. Penhallow in Bath a few months ago. She wrote us a letter. He’s going to—”

“My dear Cecily, pray refrain from interrupting. It is most unbecoming,” said her ladyship. “As you know, Bella, earlier in the summer I insisted that Lord Glanville go to Bath in order to drink from the waters. His gout, unfortunately, had been paining him a great deal. The nobleman’s affliction! And I thought Cecily might benefit from mixing in a wider society, for it is sadly limited in this neighborhood. There are, alas, so few families of our caliber. As both the daughter of an earl and as a viscountess, I fear I cannot but be aware of how limited our acquaintance must necessarily be. Yet one must, in these rackety modern times, sometimes unbend, and here we are.”

“Too, too kind,” Aunt Bella murmured, evidently with real, if muzzy, gratitude. She took a sip from the delicate crystal glass on the little table at her elbow. In it was her cordial which, Livia knew, was heavily laced with laudanum.

Lady Glanville nodded serenely, and the peacock feathers in her elaborate silk turban waved gently, as if in agreement. “While in Bath, we had occasion to observe Mrs. Penhallow in the Pump Room. I distinctly noticed her looking at Cecily but, naturally, would not have dreamed of encroaching upon her. An earl’s daughter is as nothing compared to her. The Penhallows came to England with the Conqueror, you know, and it’s said that the Conqueror bowed to them. Thus, imagine our gratification when she sent the Master of Ceremonies to us, so that he could escort us to her and perform the introduction.”

“My knees were positively shaking!” Cecily put in. “But I curtsied quite well, didn’t I, Mama?”

“Creditably so. I had no occasion to blush. I must plume myself on my foresight in having you practice curtsying before we left for Bath. An hour a day works wonders. But I digress. Mrs. Penhallow and I spoke for some fifteen minutes, and at the risk of seeming boastful I must say that she was condescension itself! We dis­ cussed the weather and the dreadful state of the roads. I happened to mention Lord Glanville’s gout, and she recommended a treatment which—”

Her ladyship went on to recount further details of her conversation with the redoubtable Mrs. Penhallow, a personage of whom Livia knew nothing and cared less. Bored, she stopped listening and instead she looked at the rapt, lovely face of Cecily as she hung on her mother’s every word.

 

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New Release: By Her Touch by Adriana Anders Excerpt + Giveaway

April 5th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books
 Publication date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Series: Blank Canvas #2

About the book:

Undercover cop Clay Navarro left the Sultans biker gang a changed man. Its ringleaders may be awaiting trial, but he wears the memory of every brutal act he was forced to commit tattooed across his skin. He doesn’t have space in his messed-up life for anything gentle—not now, maybe not ever.

Dr. Georgette Hadley is drawn to the damaged stranger’s pain, intimidated but intrigued by the warmth that lies beneath Clay’s frightening exterior. But when the Sultans return looking for revenge, she finds herself drawn into the dirty underbelly of a life forged in violence…that not even her touch may be able to heal.

Adriana Anders has acted and sung, slung cocktails and corrected copy. She’s worked for start-ups, multinationals and small nonprofits, but it wasn’t until she returned to her first love—writing romance—that she finally felt like she’d come home. Today, she resides with her tall French husband, two small children and fat French cat in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the dark, gritty, steamy love stories of her heart.

EXCERPT

“How long?”

“Several sessions, definitely. A few months, certainly. I would venture to say close to a year. Possibly longer.” She’d seen tattoos take ages to fade. And some…some never went away. “There’ll almost always be remnants, Mr. Blane. I just need to make sure you understand that. Your skin’s never going back to how it looked before.”

He nodded and sighed, that big back curving slightly, as if in defeat. Were he a woman, she’d put a hand on his shoulder, comfort him, but this man… No. Better keep that to a minimum.

“I’ve got a couple farther…uh…farther south.” One wide, ink-blackened hand gestured vaguely to his legs, and she smiled nervously, nodding as if this were all just par for the course. As if she hosted half-naked bad boys in her office every day.

“Yes, well. How about we start with one session whenever we can fit you in, and we’ll—”

“Start now.”

“Oh. No. There’s prep that needs to be done. We need to numb you for big surfaces like this. And then when you come in, we’ll also ice you down. For the pain.”

“Doesn’t matter.” He swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing visibly, and she could feel his nerves or fear or whatever that edge was. “Clock’s ticking, Doc.” His expression grew impossibly harder: jaw tight, lips curving down into a sharp, pained sneer. “Just…” One of those big, rough-looking hands skimmed his chest. “At least my face and knuckles. Here too. Whatever a suit can’t cover up to start with, but—”

That surprised her. “A suit?” she asked before she could hold the question in.

He gave a tight smile, one brow arched high. “Yeah. Can’t picture that, huh?”

“Oh, no, that’s not what—”

“I know what you meant, Doctor.” He caught her eye, held it, intimidating, but also human behind the markings.

“Not offended.”

“Look.” She glanced at her watch, trying not to think of the parody of a timepiece etched into his wrist. “It’s late on a holiday weekend and—”

“I don’t need pain meds. I can do this. And I know you got family waiting. But maybe you could just…”

He looked away before nodding once and turning back to her with a harshly expelled breath. “You’re right. Not the best time. I’ll let you get back to your life.”

He stood, swiftly and smoothly, and George couldn’t help but stare at the mess of his skin, contrasted with the perfection of his body—the mystery of the man within.

All sorts of bodies came through her clinic, young and old, tight and saggy. She’d examined some whose scars were hidden and others whose damage was obvious.

There’d been babies, fresh and new and already marred for life, and yes, there were sometimes men she admired. Next door, for God’s sake, was a plethora of hard bodies to choose from. The MMA school overflowed with them—men who lifted and punched and

fought and worked, but this…this was masculinity in its purest form. This man didn’t primp in the mornings or even look in the mirror. He got up, he washed, he walked out the door. Only there wasn’t a door in her musings. There was nothing but the great outdoors, savage and unkempt, or the mouth to a cave.

Hard and dark, his hair almost black, with brows that arrowed straight out from three deep frown lines. And his body—she stared, caught up in the realness of this man, which was the oddest thought, as if the rest of her patients were somehow less than this one.

This wasn’t just another epidermis to examine. This was muscle, undeniable in its curves and hollows. And even the damage was heartbreakingly appealing, layered as it was on top of that firm flesh, his energy palpable, tensile strength, so real that she could almost feel him vibrate with it.

Beneath her gaze, under the harsh, white light, she could have sworn his nipples hardened, and viscerally, her body felt it, reacted as if separate from her doctor’s brain.

Keep it in your pants, Hadley! The man is probably dangerous, possibly in trouble, and, if nothing else, completely inadvisable.

Out of guilt, as if to make up for her rogue brain or overactive hormones or whatever the hell was pushing her to skim the line between brazen and professional, she put a hand up to stop him.

“Fine. We’ll do your knuckles and your eyes and see how it goes from there. Your face is… You’ll need injections and metal eye shields. Would you like something to drink? Water or tea?”

“Tea?” he asked, that brow up again, and she felt herself flush. Right. Not a man who drank tea.

“All right, well I’ll need to numb your lids first.”

“No numbing.”

“It’ll be painful, Mr. Blane. Like being splashed with hot bacon grease.” I know firsthand, she almost added but decided to keep that detail to herself. “And if you accidentally open your eyes, it’s… Look, I don’t recomm—”

“No numbing,” he repeated firmly.

“Okay, then. But I’ll have to insert eye shields. They’re like big metal contact lenses.”

“Sounds sexy.” His voice was low with what might have been humor—an apology, perhaps, for his abrupt words before.

George’s eyes flew to his to find him watching her, and rather than dwell on the way his gaze affected her, she looked quickly away and busied herself by collecting supplies. If nothing else, she could at least pretend to act professional.

She was, after all, a doctor.

 

 Find it online:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks

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Release Day: Bottom of the Sky by Shae Ross + Giveaway

March 28th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

 Tragedy set his course for revenge.
One woman stands in his way.

Out March 21st – New Adult Romantic Suspense, Bottom of the Sky by Shae Ross.

Follow the tour and #enter to #win a $25 Amazon GC and a Shae Ross digital library

Synopsis:

Tragedy set his course for revenge. One woman stands in his way.

John

The last thing I need is to be saddled with the on-the-run niece of the family I’m about to take down. Gianna Silva wants me to help her find her missing mother. But I’ve got bigger fish to fry—namely, her cousins Stefano and Santos Silva. I’m working on the inside, feeding information to the FBI, and I’m about to drop the net on their ring of counterfeiters. To keep Gianna out of my way, I’ve agreed to help her but under one condition: What I say goes. No questions. No pushback. I make the rules.

The problem is Gianna Silva doesn’t know the meaning of the word “rule” and she’s on to me. For two years, I’ve hidden my true identity behind a wall built from stone-cold revenge. I thought it was indestructible—especially against someone with the last name of Silva—the family I’ve vowed to destroy…

Gianna

If I could find my missing mom by myself I would, but the only enemies she’s ever had are my dead father and his powerful family. Confronting the Silvas alone is too dangerous. I need an insider who knows how to play their game. John Rossi, with his cool, bad-boy confidence and access to the family is my best hope. I’ve bargained away the last dollar in my savings account in exchange for his help, but I’m beginning to think I made a deal with the devil.

I didn’t expect his rules to include sharing a cabin—and a bedroom with him—northwest of Nowheresville. I don’t trust him, or my attraction to him. But to find my mom, I’ll break every one of his damn rules, regardless of the consequences…

 

Find out more at: Goodreads | Amazon

Excerpt:


“Gianna…it’s just a dream.” He’s lying on his side, drawing me out with the soothing voice and steady gaze.

The breathless squeeze in my lungs eases. Awareness dawns, and I become conscious of how close our bodies are. Warmth slips from under the splayed fingers, spreading slowly, travelling lower and weighing down my belly. I should turn away, but a part of me wants to pick up his hand, roll onto my side, and pull him over me like a cape. If only I could.

Reality returns in a blink: Who he is, who I am and what this is all about. My mom. My family. The nightmare’s not real, but reality seems worse.

“You’re all right, Gia. I’ve got you. Right here.”

His fingers move, stroking my bare skin gently, and his tone is filled with resolute assurance. Flecks of amber swim in the moonlit green irises.

I force a dry swallow then turn before my face cracks. “Gia” is the other nickname my uncle used. I squeeze my lids, nodding as if I agree. But I don’t. Tightness builds in my chest, moving into my throat. His words are just a hollow reminder.

Nobody has me. Nobody’s ever had me.

About Shae:

Shae Ross grew up in Ferndale, Michigan. She attended Michigan State University and continued her education at Detroit College of Law. Prior to 2014, she spent the majority of her career practicing corporate law and engaged in entrepreneurial ventures.

 

After having too many stressful days at the office, she decided to pursue her dream of writing and published her first romance novel in January of 2015. She loves strong heroines and sexy, alpha heroes who deliver stories filled with sass, smarts and sizzle.

 

You can visit her online at the following places: Website Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | Amazon

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