Debbie's World of Books
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Review & Excerpt: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

June 15th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

 

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes her first women’s fiction novel—an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood—perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover, Susan Mallery, and Kristan Higgins. Order your copy today!

 

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earth shattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

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 My Thoughts:

I’m not sure why Jill Shalvis is one of those authors who I always forget how much I enjoy her books until I pick another one up. I really do need to add her to my list of authors to auto-read because the ones I’ve read have been fun to read and this was another great one.

The thing I loved about this story is that while I liked the main characters, Mick and Quinn, they didn’t have to carry the story on their own. There was a host of supporting characters that I fell in love with in this small town and while the romance was heartwarming there was a lot more going on. Seeing the relationship between Quinn and her new found sister develop touched my heart and made me tear up a couple times.

The scenes at the diner made me laugh because honestly I never really knew what a sous chef did and to see the town’s good natured ribbing over Quinn’s attempts to run the diner were hilarious. I really think if an author can make you fall in love with all her characters as well as the town the story takes place in then you have a real winner. Great start to this series!

 


 

Pre-order your copy in any format and receive an exclusive crossover Heartbreaker Bay meets Wildstone bonus scene, featuring Archer and Elle going to Wildstone, CA, the town in which Lost and Found Sisters takes place – read about their night in a haunted B&B!

Simply enter your order number OR upload a screenshot of your proof of purchase. Entries must be received by June 25th and you will receive content via email on June 27th!

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 Excerpt

To say that Tilly had had a bad day, a bad week, a bad month was an understatement. But as she stared down from the tree house, looking into a face that so resembled her own, somehow, in spite of not being able to breathe, she managed to find her voice. “I don’t need you,” she said, hating that she sounded thin and quivery, like she’d been crying.

She had not been crying.

At least not that she would admit to.

She hadn’t been in the tree house in a while. Not since she’d gone through a rough patch at school when the girls had been bitches and the teachers jerks, and her mom had been on her about her grades, and all she’d wanted to do was make herself invisible. But no matter how much she’d wished for superpowers, including invisibility, they’d never come.

So she came here to vanish. The tree itself was tall and stable, and it always protected her. She’d named it Kevin.

Kevin had come through for her more than anyone else, with the exception of her mom.

The first time she’d sat up here, her mom had freaked out and called the cops to report her missing. When they’d found her, her mom had gotten a ladder and climbed up to the tree house, and with tears in her eyes she’d said, “Don’t fly away from me yet, darling, I’m not ready.”

After that, Tilly always had told her mom whenever she’d needed to be invisible and her mom had understood.

But now she was gone. There’d been no one left to give a shit if she disappeared or not. Especially not Quinn, a mysterious sister she hadn’t even known about. “I don’t need you,” she repeated.

“Well, that’s fair,” Quinn said. “I don’t like to need anyone either. You going to come down so we can talk?”

“No.”

“Is there a ladder?”

“It rotted.”

“Okay then.” And to Tilly’s shock, Quinn inhaled deeply and then began to climb the tree herself. “Yikes, they’re some seriously gigantor ants.”

“And killer squirrels,” Tilly said.

Maybe two whole feet off the ground, Quinn froze, looking terrified. “Killer squirrels?”

“They throw acorns with deadly accuracy,” Tilly said. “And the kamikaze blue jays are vicious, so watch out.”

Quinn searched the tree with concern, making Tilly laugh for the first time in a long time. “Are you afraid of squirrels and blue jays?”

“Of course not,” Quinn said. “I’m afraid of killer squirrels and kamikaze blue jays. In fact, there’s a squirrel starting at me right now with beady, shifty little eyes.”

“City girl.”

 


 

 

About Jill Shalvis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

 

 

 

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Posted in 5 Star Books, Blog Tour, Books | 1 Comment »

Review: Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery

June 8th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

 

Publication date: April 27, 2017

Publisher: HQN

Series: Fool’s Gold #1

Rating: ★★★★½

About the book:

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder

Welcome to Fool’s Gold, California, a charming community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There’s lots to do and plenty of people to meet, especially women. Because there’s just one tiny problem in Fool’s Gold: the men don’t seem to stick around. Maybe it’s the lure of big-city life, or maybe it’s plain old bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the problem has to be fixed, fast. And Charity Jones may be just the city planner to do it.

Charity’s nomadic childhood has left her itching to settle down, and she immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to offer — everything, that is, except its sexiest and most famous resident, former world-class cyclist Josh Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters, she’s not about to take a chance on another bad boy, even if everyone else thinks he’s perfect just the way he is. But maybe that’s just what he needs — someone who knows the value of his flaws. Someone who knows that he’s just chasing perfect.

My Thoughts:

I love the Fool’s Gold series but I jumped in late and honestly have never gone back to read the first book in the series. Now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long because this book was the epitome of everything I love about this series.

Though references are made to Charity and Josh in the later books I never really felt like I knew them and I’ll admit a cyclist hero didn’t really get my heart beating fast so I put off reading this one. However, I ended up really enjoying both of them and the chemistry between them. It was also interesting to see Mayor Marsha before she became the all knowing/seeing character she is in later books. Seeing her vulnerability made me love her even more.

The story itself was a fun read and I devoured this book in one sitting. The only thing that knocked it from a 5 star to a 4.5 star is the resolution at the end was a little too pat for me. Charity’s turn of heart came about way too suddenly for me and I honestly didn’t really think she shouldn’t have gotten as worked up as she did in the first place. Still it was nice seeing how everything started.

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Review & Giveaway: From Duke Till Dawn by Eva Leigh

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

Publication date: May 30, 2017

Publisher: Avon

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the book:

Eva Leigh launches a seductive new series that sizzles with the dark secrets of London’s underworld…

Years ago, the Duke of Greyland gave his heart—and a princely sum of money—to a charming, destitute widow with unparalleled beauty. After one passionate night, she slipped from his bed and vanished without a trace. And just when he’s given up hope of ever seeing her again, Greyland finds her managing a gaming hell. He’s desperate to have her… until he discovers everything about his long-lost lover was a lie.

In truth, Cassandra Blake grew up on the streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a mark—to be fleeced and forgotten—but her feelings for the duke became all too real. Once he learns of her deception, however, the heat in his eyes turns to ice. When her business partner absconds with the gaming hell proceeds—leaving unsavory investors out for blood—Cassandra must beg the man she betrayed for help.

Greyland wants compensation, too, and he’ll assist her under one condition: she doesn’t leave his sight until her debts are paid. But it’s not long before the real Cassandra—the smart, streetwise criminal—is stealing his heart all over again.

My Thoughts:

The premise of this book intrigued me enough that I decided to sign up for a review stop on the blog tour. In the end I did really enjoy it but it took quite awhile for me to get into it and I did put it aside a few times. However, once the story started to pick up I did read it relatively quickly. Cassandra was probably my favorite character. Yes, stealing from the people around her wasn’t a great character trait but when you hear her story you can’t help but feel sorry for her. She really did make the best of her situation and she was trying to get out of it and make a go of honest living.

The duke took longer for me to warm up to but I did eventually come to enjoy his character as well. I enjoyed watching his eyes open as to how while he grew up in a life of privilege, not everyone had that luxury.

The romance itself worked well for me. Yes, they are instantly attracted to each other but we get to see their relationship develop slowly into a romance of mutual respect and admiration on top of all the lust. All in all after a slow start this was an enjoyable story.

Find it online:

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Excerpt

London, England

1817

A woman laughed, and Alexander Lewis, Duke of Greyland felt the sound like a gunshot to his chest.

It was a very pleasant laugh, low and musical rather than shrill and forced, yet it sounded like The Lost Queen’s laugh. Alex could not resist the urge to glance over his shoulder as he left the Eagle chophouse. He’d fancifully taken to calling her The Lost Queen, though she was most assuredly a mortal woman. Had she somehow appeared on a busy London street at dusk? The last time he’d seen her had been two years ago, in the spa town of Cheltenham, in his bed, asleep and naked.

The owner of the laugh turned out to be a completely different woman—brunette rather than blonde, petite and round rather than lithe and willowy. She caught Alex staring and raised her eyebrows. He bowed gravely in response, then continued toward the curb.

Night came on in indigo waves, but the shops spilled golden light in radiant patches onto the street.

The hardworking citizens of London continued to toil as the upper echelons began their evening revelries. Crowds thronged the sidewalk, while wagons, carriages, and people on horseback crammed the streets. A handful of pedestrians recognized Alex and politely curtsied or tipped their hats, murmuring, “Good evening, Your Grace.” Though he was in no mood for politeness, responsibility and virtue were his constant companions—had been his whole life—and so rather than snapping, “Go to the devil, damn you!” he merely nodded in greeting.

He’d done his duty. He’d been seen in public, rather than disappearing into the cavernous chambers of his Mayfair mansion, where he could lick his wounds in peace.

The trouble with being a duke was that he always had to do his duty. “You are the pinnacle of British Society,” his father had often said to him. “The world looks to you for guidance. So you must lead by example. Be their True North.”

This evening, before dining, Alex had taken a very conspicuous turn up and down Bond Street, making certain that he was seen by many consequential—and loose-lipped— figures in the ton. Word would soon spread that the Duke of Greyland was not holed up, sulking in seclusion. His honor as one of Society’s bulwarks would not be felled by something as insignificant as his failed marriage suit to Lady Emmeline Birks. The Dukes of Greyland had stood strong against Roundheads, Jacobites, and countless other threats against Britain. One girl barely out of the schoolroom could hardly damage Alex’s ducal armor.

But that armor had been dented by The Lost Queen. Far deeper than he would have expected.

Standing on the curb, he signaled for his carriage, which pulled out of the mews. He tugged on his spotless gloves as he waited and adjusted the brim of his black beaver hat to make certain it sat properly on his head. “Always maintain a faultless appearance,” his father had reminded him again and again. “The slightest bit of disorder in your dress can lead to rampant speculation about the stability of your affairs. This, we cannot tolerate. The nation demands nothing less than perfection.”

Alex’s father had been dead for ten years, but that didn’t keep the serious, sober man’s voice from his mind. It was part of him now—his role as one of the most powerful men in England and the responsibilities that role carried with it. Not once did he ever let frivolities distract him from his duties.

Except for one time . . .

Forcing the thought from his mind, Alex looked impatiently for his carriage. Just as the vehicle pulled up, however, two men appeared and grabbed his arms on each side.

Alex stiffened—he did not care for being touched without giving someone express permission to do so. People on the street also did not normally seize each other. Was it a robbery? A kidnapping attempt? His hands curled instinctively into fists, ready to give his accosters a beating.

“What’s this?” one of the younger men exclaimed with mock horror. “Have I grabbed hold of a thundercloud?”

“Don’t know about you,” the other man said drily, “but I seem to have attached myself to an enormous bar of iron. How else to explain its inflexibility?” He tried to shake Alex, to little avail. When he wanted to be, Alex was absolutely immovable.

Alex’s fingers loosened. He tugged his arms free and growled, “That’s enough, you donkeys.”

Thomas Powell, the Earl of Langdon and heir to the Duke of Northfield, grinned, a flash of white in his slightly unshaven face. “Come now, Greyland,” he chided. A hint of an Irish accent made his voice musical, evidence of Langdon’s early years spent in his mother’s native County Kerry. “Is that any way to speak to your oldest and dearest friends?”

“I’ll let you know when they get here.” Alex scowled at Langdon, then at Christopher Ellingsworth, who only smirked in response.

Alex took a step toward his carriage, but Ellingsworth deftly moved to block his path, displaying the speed and skill that had served him well when he’d fought on the Peninsula.

“Where are you running off to with such indecorous haste?” Ellingsworth pressed. He held up a finger. “Ah, never tell me. You’re running back to the shelter of your Mayfair cave, to growl and brood like some big black bear in a cravat.”

“You know nothing,” Alex returned, despite the fact that Ellingsworth had outlined his exact plans for the rest of the night.

Ellingsworth looked at Langdon with exaggerated pity. “Poor chap. The young Lady Emmeline has utterly shattered his heart.”

Alex shouldered past Ellingsworth, only to have Langdon move to stand in his way.

“My heart is not shattered because of Lady Emmeline,” Alex snapped. At least that much was the truth.

“But why shouldn’t your heart be strewn in pieces throughout Regent’s Park?” Langdon mused. “You courted the young lady for several months, and you told Ellingsworth and I that you’d already received her father’s grateful acceptance of a marriage offer.”

“She never agreed to anything,” Alex said flatly.

“A modest girl, that Lady Emmeline.” Ellingsworth nodded with approval. “She wouldn’t have said yes right away. They never do. Nothing to be alarmed by.”

“How would you know?” Alex’s voice was edged. Ellingsworth had little experience with offering for ladies’ hands, committed as he was to a life of reckless pleasure.

Langdon added, “It’d be unseemly for an earl’s daughter to eagerly snap up a marriage proposal the moment it was offered.”

Alex scowled. Despite the fact that, at thirty-eight, he was sixteen years her senior, they would suit well as a wedded couple. Lady Emmeline had been perfectly trained in the responsibilities of an aristocratic wife. Though he wished she stated her own opinion rather than constantly agreeing with him, there were worse faults one could find in a prospective bride.

They could marry at Christmas, eight months from now. It would be a small but elegant wedding, followed by a lavish breakfast and a wedding journey in the Lake District. And then, if everything went well, in less than a year, Alex and Lady Emmeline might welcome their first child—hopefully a boy so the line would be secure. It would’ve been precisely the sort of match Alex’s

father would have approved, considering Lady Emmeline’s faultless background and her spotless reputation.

“Look at him now, mooning away,” Langdon sighed, smugly thwarting Alex’s attempts to step around him. “He looks poorly.”

It would be bad form to knock his friend to the ground. Damn the social niceties that dictated a man couldn’t punch another without repercussions.

“Perhaps he should be bled,” Ellingsworth suggested with his habitual smirk. It was his constant companion since returning from the War, as if he refused to take anything seriously.

“I am perfectly well.” Alex looked back and forth between these two rogues whom he called friends. “No need to call for a quack.”

“He’s already had an amputation,” Langdon noted, raising a brow as he always did. “One prospective bride—gone.” He made a sawing motion at his ankle, as if cutting the shackles of matrimony.

Alex glanced down at his own lower leg, as if he could see the invisible links that might have bound him to Lady Emmeline. He’d come so close to becoming a married man and sharing the rest of his life with one woman—the faultless duke his father had bred him to be. It hardly mattered that Alex felt nothing for the gel other than a sense of distant respect. She would have made a fine duchess.

“We were at White’s yesterday when we heard about what happened,” Langdon said with disapproval. “Didn’t even tell your two closest friends that Lady Emmeline had run off with a cavalry officer. No, we had to hear it from Lord Ruthven, of all people.”

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Review & Giveaway: The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

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

Source: Edelweiss Review Copy

Publication date: May 30, 2017

Publisher: Avon

Series: Rokesbys #2

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the book:

While you were sleeping…

With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He’s unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier’s life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie…

I told everyone I was your wife

When Edward comes to, he’s more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out six months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he’d always assumed he’d marry his neighbor back in England.

If only it were true…

Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.

My Thoughts:

I can always count on Julia Quinn to write an engaging story with characters. I will admit there was a slight bit of concern on my part because I love the ballrooms, the interaction with the ton of London, etc. Taking place in America I wasn’t sure if I would miss all of that but I still ended up really enjoying this story. I loved Cecelia and felt so bad for her as she sought news of her brother. I can only imagine the anguish of not knowing what happened to him and the frustration of not being helped without being the wife of a lord. I enjoyed Edward’s character though I can’t recall much about him from the previous book other than I’m pretty sure he was in it. Still watching the two together was very enjoyable. I am definitely looking forward to more books in this series!

Find it online:

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Excerpt

Manhattan Island

July 1779

His head hurt.

Correction, his head really hurt.

It was hard to tell, though, just what sort of pain it was. He might have been shot through the head with a musket ball. That seemed plausible, given his current location in New York (or was it Connecticut?) and his current occupation as a captain in His Majesty’s army.

There was a war going on, in case one hadn’t noticed.

But this particular pounding—the one that felt more like someone was bashing his skull with a cannon (not a cannonball, mind you, but an actual cannon) seemed to indicate that he had been attacked with a blunter instrument than a bullet.

An anvil, perhaps. Dropped from a second-story window.

But if one cared to look on the bright side, a pain such as this did seem to indicate that he wasn’t dead, which was also a plausible fate, given all the same facts that had led him to believe he might have been shot.

That war he’d mentioned… people did die.

With alarming regularity.

So he wasn’t dead. That was good. But he also wasn’t sure where he was, precisely. The obvious next step would be to open his eyes, but his eyelids were translucent enough for him to realize that it was the middle of the day, and while he did like to look on the metaphorical bright side, he was fairly certain that the literal one would prove blinding.

So he kept his eyes closed.

But he listened.

He wasn’t alone. He couldn’t make out any actual conversation, but a low buzz of words and activity filtered through the air. People were moving about, setting objects on tables, maybe pulling a chair across the floor.

Someone was moaning in pain.

Most of the voices were male, but there was at least one lady nearby. She was close enough that he could hear her breathing. She made little noises as she went about her business, which he soon realized included tucking blankets around him and touching his forehead with the back of her hand.

He liked these little noises, the tiny little mmms and sighs she probably had no idea she was making. And she smelled nice, a bit like lemons, a bit like soap.

And a bit like hard work.

He knew that smell. He’d worn it himself, albeit usually only briefly until it turned into a full-fledged stink.

On her, though, it was more than pleasant. Perhaps a little earthy. And he wondered who she was, to be tending to him so diligently.

“How is he today?”

Edward held himself still. This male voice was new, and he wasn’t sure he wanted anyone to know he was awake yet.

Although he wasn’t sure why he felt this hesitancy.

“The same,” came the woman’s reply.

“I am concerned. If he doesn’t wake up soon…”

“I know,” the woman said. There was a touch of irritation in her voice, which Edward found curious.

“Have you been able to get him to take broth?”

“Just a few spoonfuls. I was afraid he would choke if I attempted any more than that.”

The man made a vague noise of approval. “Remind me how long he has been like this?”

“A week, sir. Four days before I arrived, and three since.”

A week. Edward thought about this. A week meant it must be… March? April?

No, maybe it was only February. And this was probably New York, not Connecticut.

But that still didn’t explain why his head hurt so bloody much. Clearly he’d been in some sort of an accident. Or had he been attacked?

“There has been no change at all?” the man asked, even though the lady had just said as much.

But she must have had far more patience than Edward, because she replied in a quiet, clear voice, “No, sir. None.”

The man made a noise that wasn’t quite a grunt. Edward found it impossible to interpret.

“Er…” The woman cleared her throat. “Have you any news of my brother?”

Her brother? Who was her brother?

“I am afraid not, Mrs. Rokesby.”

Mrs. Rokesby?

            “It has been nearly two months,” she said quietly.

Mrs. Rokesby? Edward really wanted them to get back to that point. There was only one Rokesby in North America as far as he knew, and that was him. So if she was Mrs. Rokesby…

“I think,” the male voice said, “that your energies would be better spent tending to your husband.”

Husband?

“I assure you,” she said, and there was that touch of irritation again, “that I have been caring for him most faithfully.”

Husband? They were calling him her husband? Was he married? He couldn’t be married. How could he be married and not remember it?

            Who was this woman?

Edward’s heart began to pound. What the devil was happening to him?

“Did he just make a noise?” the man asked.

“I… I don’t think so.”

She moved then, quickly. Hands touched him, his cheek, then his chest, and even through her obvious concern, there was something soothing in her motions, something undeniably right.

“Edward?” she asked, taking his hand. She stroked it several times, her fingers brushing lightly over his skin. “Can you hear me?”

He ought to respond. She was worried. What kind of gentleman did not act to relieve a lady’s distress?

“I fear he may be lost to us,” the man said, with far less gentleness than Edward thought appropriate.

“He still breathes,” the woman said in a steely voice.

The man said nothing, but his expression must have been one of pity, because she said it again, more loudly this time.

He still breathes.”

“Mrs. Rokesby…”

Edward felt her hand tighten around his. Then she placed her other on top, her fingers resting lightly on his knuckles. It was the smallest sort of embrace, but Edward felt it down to his soul.

“He still breathes, Colonel,” she said with quiet resolve. “And while he does, I will be here. I may not be able to help Thomas, but—”

Thomas. Thomas Harcourt. That was the connection. This must be his sister. Cecilia. He knew her well.

Or not. He’d never actually met the lady, he felt like he knew her. She wrote to her brother with a diligence that was unmatched in the regiment. Thomas received twice as much mail as Edward, and Edward had four siblings to Thomas’s one.

Cecilia Harcourt. What on earth was she doing in North America? She was supposed to be in Derbyshire, in that little town Thomas had been so eager to leave. The one with the hot springs. Matlock. No, Matlock Bath.

Edward had never been, but he thought it sounded charming. Not the way Thomas described it, of course; he liked the bustle of city life and couldn’t wait to take a commission and depart his village. But Cecilia was different. In her letters, the small Derbyshire town came alive, and Edward almost felt that he would recognize her neighbors if he ever went to visit.

She was witty. Lord, she was witty. Thomas used to laugh so much at her missives that Edward finally made him read them out loud.

Then one day, when Thomas was penning his response, Edward interrupted so many times that Thomas finally shoved out his chair and held forth his quill.

“You write to her,” he’d said.

So he did.

Not on his own, of course. Edward could never have written to her directly. It would have been the worst sort of impropriety, and he would not have insulted her in such a manner. But he took to scribbling a few lines at the end of Thomas’s letters, and whenever she replied, she had a few lines for him.

Thomas carried a miniature of her, and even though he said it was several years old, Edward had found himself staring at it, studying the small portrait of the young woman, wondering if her hair really was that remarkable golden color, or if she really did smile that way, lips closed and mysterious.

Somehow he thought not. She did not strike him as a woman with secrets. Her smile would be sunny and free. Edward had even thought he’d like to meet her once this godforsaken war was over. He’d never said anything to Thomas, though.

That would have been strange.

Now Cecilia was here. In the colonies. Which made absolutely no sense, but then again, what did? Edward’s head was injured, and Thomas seemed to be missing, and…

Edward thought hard.

…and he seemed to have married Cecilia Harcourt.

He opened his eyes and tried to focus on the green-eyed woman peering down at him.

“Cecilia?”

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Review: The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

June 1st, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

 Source: Free Amazon Kindle Book of the Month

Publication date: June 1, 2017

Publisher: Skyscape

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the book:

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.

In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.

My Thoughts:

This book came up as one of the options for the free books as a part of my Amazon Prime account. The cover was gorgeous and the premise was intriguing so even though it’s not along the lines of what I would normally read I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did!

The story immediately drew me in and despite insta-love being a pet peeve of mine for some reason it didn’t bother me as much here. I think it’s because the surrounding story line was fascinating and I became immersed in the world Kalinda and Deven lived in.

The cast of characters was wonderful and I loved the inter-play between the Rajah’s various wives and courtesans. It’s mind boggling about how it must be living in this type of environment and the stress of the constant political intrigue going on in his court.

There were a few surprises along the way though mixed in with some predictable moments. When I finished it I immediately wanted to dive into the next book. I can’t wait for The Fire Queen to release. This was a exceptional read that I would highly recommend.

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Review + Giveaway: Maybe This Love by Jennifer Snow

May 30th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

 

Publication date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Series: Colorado Ice #2
Rating: ★★★★★

About the book:

Hockey player Ben Westmore has some serious skills—on and off the ice—and he’s not above indulging in the many perks of NHL stardom. When a night in Vegas ends in disaster, he realizes two things: 1) it’s time to lie low for a while, and 2) he needs a lawyer—fast. But the smoking-hot woman who walks into his office immediately tests all his good intentions.

Olivia Davis doesn’t need anyone derailing her career—or her dreams of starting a family—least of all a skirt-chasing player like Ben. But soon he’s unleashing a full-court press to convince her that he’s the real deal. She’s slowly falling for his sweet, rugged charm, but with so much on the line, Olivia has to decide whether Ben can truly change—or if he’s just playing the game.

My Thoughts:

I adored the first book in this series so when I had a chance to review Maybe This Love I jumped on it. Just to give you an idea of how much I enjoyed this book I started it this morning and did nothing until I finished it. I didn’t even realize I had read my way right through lunch time.

I fell head over heels for Ben! Yes, he’s the player of the Westmore brothers but he is a total sweetheart as well. He’s not a drinker, he doesn’t lead the women who fawn over him on and how can you not love someone who treats his mother and sister so well? I loved reading through not just the scenes with Olivia but also the ones where we got to see him interacting with his family. Unlike a lot of other books out there, there’s no deep, dark secrets among the Westmores. They love each other, bicker with each other and are always there when they need each other.

The story itself was utterly adorable and like I said I didn’t want to put the book down until I was finished. If you are looking for a feel good romance that will leave you with a huge smile, this is definitely the book for you!

Find it online:

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Excerpt

“Relax,” he said smoothly, his gaze locked on hers, his expression soft, unfazed—the look of a man not dancing with the lawyer who could ruin his life or at least playoff season. She had to learn this guy’s secret, because there was no way he was this unaffected. Yet, his hands weren’t sweating the ways hers threatened to, and the only heartbeat she could hear thundering was her own.

She forced a slow and what she hoped was unobvious breath. “I am relaxed. I’m not the one who should be worried.”

The palm of his hand spread across the exposed flesh of her back and she prayed the tingling sensation in her spine didn’t result in goose bumps. “So you’re saying I should be?” he asked, turning them in rotation to the steady beat. Despite her resistance to this dance, her hips betrayed her by swaying in sync with his, and her feet kept time with his every step. He led with a silent authority that she was forced to follow. And for the first time in her life, she wasn’t hating giving up control.

“I think so, yes. My client is…”

He brought their joined hands between them and placed a finger to her lips.

Her heart all but stopped.

“Why don’t we save the shop talk for the courtroom? Let’s just enjoy this dance.”

She swallowed hard, but nodded. Dancing in silence, she could do that.

Unfortunately, Ben seemed eager to chat. “How long have you been practicing law?”

He expected her to remember stats as his hand on her back dipped slightly lower, his hold drawing her even closer? It had been far too long since she’d been enveloped in the arms of a man who felt and smelled so strong, so confident…How long would it be again if she went ahead with her plans for a baby? She pushed the thought aside when he stared at her, still waiting for an answer. “Twelve years,” she said, cutting out her time as a junior lawyer and intern, so as not to age herself. She knew from his online Wikipedia page that he was thirty-four, two years younger than she.

“Do you love what you do?” he asked.

“If I say no will I get the inspirational ‘do what you love and it will never feel like work’ speech?”

Is that a no?”

She shook her head. “Actually, I really do enjoy my job.” She couldn’t say watching families get ripped apart by bitter divorces was something she loved without sounding like a sociopath, but she enjoyed her career.

“Can I ask why only professional athlete divorces?”

“I was dumped by a jock,” she said.

Ben laughed. “So one guy ruined it for us all, huh?”

She nodded then shook her head. “No. Everyday cases—with normal, everyday husbands and wives—just seemed a little too…real,” she said.

His blue eyes burned into her and his grip tightened on her hand. “So, guys like me aren’t real?”

She swallowed hard. He felt real…He felt more than real—he felt amazing. His arm wrapped around her felt deceivingly safe and his hand holding hers felt warm and secure. God, she could see herself giving in to these painfully real feelings…“You’re probably one of the more real ones,” she said, hoping he didn’t detect the slight quiver in her voice.

He nodded slowly as though unsure whether her words were a compliment. “Have you ever been married?” he asked, rotating them in time to the music.

“That’s crossing a line into personal.”

“Kids?”

“That’s less personal?” She raised an eyebrow.

He smiled. “Guarded much?”

The effect of his smile from a safe distance was knee-weakening. This close, it was downright dangerous. She quickly averted her gaze to the other couples on the floor. “How long is this song anyway?” She felt trapped the way she had in tenth grade when Robbie Gropes-a-Lot Harris had tricked her into dancing with him at the winter formal to “November Rain”—the full eleven-minute extended version. Except Ben’s breath smelled minty fresh and not like tacos, and his arm draped across her lower back made every fiber in her being spring to life, making her want to flee for a completely different reason than the one Robbie had evoked.

“Do I make you uncomfortable?”

Damn right. And it should be her making him uncomfortable. There needed to be a power shift between them and fast. “Of course not.”

He pulled her closer. “You make me uncomfortable,” he murmured, his expression suddenly serious. Every inch of her body was pressed to his and she could barely catch a breath. Dancing was a really bad idea—a torturously bad idea. Being in his arms reminded her of all of the things she’d sacrificed for her career, of all the things she’d told herself she didn’t need…

“G-good,” she said, her voice cracking. “As I said, my client…”

“I don’t mean the divorce case. I mean you.” He touched her cheek and her skin burned. Thank God he was holding her so tightly because she couldn’t trust her legs.

Their stare locked and held for what could have been a lifetime, as everything seemed still and quiet around them.

Still and quiet.

The song had ended.

She yanked her hand free of his and stumbled away from him, inhaling a gulp of air into her deprived lungs. “Well, dance is over. I’ll…uh…see you.”

He nodded, the charming polite smile back on his face and for a second she wondered if she’d imagined the intensity in his gaze seconds before. “Goodnight, Olivia.”

Olivia.

Her own name sounded foreign coming from him. She longed to hear the sound again, and she was an idiot for wanting something so dangerous. The NHL’s biggest playboy had just worked his charm on her, and she’d lost all common sense.

She turned and headed straight for the table, leaving him on the dance floor.

She had to pull it together, but she also had to admit the unfortunate truth. Never before had she been tempted to kiss the enemy.

 

Excerpted from MAYBE THIS LOVE by Jennifer Snow. Copyright © 2017 by Jennifer Snow. Reprinted with permission of Forever. All rights reserved.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Snow lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and son. She writes sweet and sexy contemporary romance stories set everywhere from small towns to big cities. After stating in her high school yearbook bio that she wanted to be an author, she set off on the winding, twisting road to make her dream a reality. She is a member of RWA, the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, the Canadian Authors Association, and the Film and Visual Arts Association in Edmonton. She has published over ten novels and novellas with many more on the way.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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Excerpt & Giveaway: The Nanny Arrangement by Rachel Harris

May 24th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books
Their story would make one heck of a country song. 


THE NANNY ARRANGEMENT
Country Blues #2
Rachel Harris
Releasing May 22, 2017
Entangled Bliss
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.


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 bookaholic 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!
 

EXCERPT

Deacon released a heavy breath. Sometimes the right thing felt a hell of a lot like nausea. Resolved with what he had to do, he looked at the door…then slowly dropped his hand.

He’d give it another few minutes.

Calling himself ten shades of coward, he redirected his steps. A hot shower would clear his head. Maybe he’d even pull a Hannah and rehearse what he’d tell her in advance. It always worked for her, helping her control her stutter, and though Deacon didn’t have that particular problem, he was nervous as hell. If her head was even half as muddled as his was, this conversation wouldn’t be easy.
Frustrated, he shoved open the bathroom door harder than necessary. Fog and heavily scented air rushed to greet him, and it took a second for the reason to register. When it did, he came to an abrupt stop with one hand on the doorknob and one foot still in the hall.

Candy and flowers.

As the steam disappeared through the crack in the door, a vision appeared, plucked straight from his recent fantasies. Creamy skin, pink from the shower and wet with liquid drops, topped anything his imagination could’ve conjured. Damp ginger curls clung to a slender throat that was arched back, making a sexy silhouette as full lips trembled in a silent speech to the ceiling. Dark, spiky lashes lay across a flushed cheek, hiding a pair of expressive eyes he’d know anywhere.

Torture, thy name was Hannah.

Gone was the girl he’d known in high school. Erased was the rock he’d depended on in college. The goddess in the shower was a woman, a beautiful woman, with tantalizing curves, shapely legs, and the most incredible smile he’d ever seen.
The arousal flowing through his veins mocked his previous so-called resolve.

“Cherry.”

Her name came on a choked breath, but Hannah’s eyes snapped open. Smooth skin turned to stone as she stared at the ceiling, wide-eyed, before slanting those green eyes toward him in horror.

“Deacon!” Frantic, she tried to cover her body, slinging one arm over her perfect breasts while reaching for the folded towel on the counter with the other, only to quickly draw back her hand and slap it over her lower half as well.

It was the hardest thing he ever did, keeping his eyes above her waist. Taking one step forward, he grabbed the terrycloth and handed it over, not trusting himself to get any closer. When she took it from his hands, she could hardly look into his eyes. Deacon’s chest gave a hard kick.

Hannah made quick work of the towel, wrapping the terrycloth around her torso and clinging to the edges. She bit her lip and stammered, “Wh-what are y-you doing?”

It wasn’t remotely funny. The reappearance of her stutter meant she was either stressed or anxious, two things he never wanted to be the cause of. But he couldn’t help the laugh that broke free at the innocent question.

A full-bodied, unstoppable laugh that threw his head back with the force of it.

“What am I doing?” he repeated in amusement, hearing the gruffness of his own voice and dragging in a deep, floral-scented breath. “Oh, Cherry… I’m losing my ever-loving mind.”

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Release Spotlight & Giveaway: The Disappearance of Lady Edith by Christina McKnight

May 22nd, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

Three innocent debutantes. One murder. Endless mystery!

Title: The Disappearance of Lady Edith

Series: The Undaunted Debutantes Series (Book One)

Author: Christina McKnight

Release Date: May 23, 2017

Synopsis:

One tragic night changed sensible, proper Lady Edith Pelton’s life: when her best friend fell to her death, pushed down a flight of stairs by a nefarious lord.  Now, Edith dedicates her time to watching the man she thinks is responsible, while gathering information to expose other scoundrels posing as gentlemen of honor about London. When her spying is noticed by a perfect stranger, Edith finds herself with two mysteries—what happened to her friend, and how to win the heart of this brilliantly handsome lord.

Triston Neville, Viscount Torrington, has been tasked with two duties for the upcoming Season: see that his sisters make the most of their debut, and avoid embroiling himself in another scandal. What he does not expect is the captivating, fair-haired beauty that literally falls into his path. When the mysterious Lady Edith suddenly disappears without a trace, Triston fears his past misdeeds may have returned to destroy his life once more.
Can Triston piece together the puzzle in time to save Edith and prove that his love is nothing less than honorable?

Pre-order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Pre-order the next books in The Undaunted Debutantes!

The Misfortune of Lady Lucianna

Pre-order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

The Misadventures of Lady Ophelia

Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Author Bio:

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

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

EXCERPT

“I have seen many oxen with broader shoulders,”—she smirked, pulling back and leaning to the side as if to get a glimpse of his backside—“and far more accentuated hindquarters.”

She gulped.

No laughter remained as he narrowed his eyes on her. “Did you just compare my physique to that of a farm animal?”

Edith took a step back—damnation, she would not cower to him. “If you prefer, I can select another animal. A donkey, perhaps? They are well-known for their obstinacy. Or better yet, an African lion, I have read they are intimidating creatures.”

“You think me intimidating?” It was Torrington who took a step back this time, as if her words had wounded him. “Wait, do not answer that question—I have a far more important one: why do you keep appearing everywhere I am?”

“It is not I who keeps appearing,” Edith corrected. “I was minding my own business outside of Abercorn’s townhouse. You are the one who scared me from the tree. And you were the one who caught my eye in the ballroom. And I was enjoying an afternoon in the park when—“ She clamped her mouth shut.

“Enjoying an afternoon in the park until…you saw me and decided to follow?” he demanded. “I may very well be as large as an ox, or as stubborn as a donkey, or even as domineering as a lion, but at least I am not a snake—slithering and sneaking about, ready to bite and poison when the mood strikes.”

Edith gasped, covering her mouth with her hand.

“Oh, you find it belittling to be compared to a bloody animal?” he sneered. “Well, I find it insulting to be lied to, followed, and scrutinized by a woman I do not know.”

Edith sighed. “I have not been following you, I swear to it.”

Not a complete lie, or at least she hadn’t been at Lord Abercorn’s townhouse to spy on Triston—she allowed herself to think of him by his given name—nor had she attended the ball with Ophelia and Luci expecting to see him. And the park, well, that was rather serendipitous. She had decided to keep an eye on him, but she’d never thought to follow him out of London proper.

Edith glanced to the window, but the drapes were pulled securely shut. “The day must be growing late. My parents will surely be wondering where I am when I don’t arrive home on schedule.”

“I know what you are up to, Lady Edith Pelton.” His stance widened as he surveyed her from head to toe.

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Review: Dogs of War by Jonathan Maberry

May 11th, 2017 by Debbie's World of Books

Rating: ★★★★☆

 Source: Netgalley
Publication date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Series: Joe Ledger #9

About the book:

 Dogs of War: Robots are no longer science fiction. Autonomous, programmed to react like animals: fast, relentless, deadly. From microscopic nanobots to massive self-guided aircraft. This technology is here, it’s assessable, and it’s dangerous. What’s even scarier is that almost anyone can get their hands on it.

A freelance terrorist uses the latest generation of robot dogs to deliver WMDs into cities across America. Ultra-realistic robots in the sex industry are used to spread designer plagues. Sophisticated military weapons systems turn on their human masters. A technological apocalypse is coming and we may be too late to stop it.

Joe Ledger and a newly rebuilt Department of Military Sciences square off against this new and terrible threat. Dogs of War pits Joe against a merciless new enemy and an army of techno-terrorists in a race to prevent a global destruction.

Let loose the Dogs of War.

My Thoughts:

I love Jonathan Maberry and was thrilled when I received a Netgalley review copy of it. Sadly there was something seriously wrong with the review copy so there were tons of blank pages and at first I thought the entire book was empty so it took longer than I expected to get into it. However, glitches aside I really enjoyed this book.

As expected of a Joe Ledger book it’s a roller coaster ride of one exciting scene after another. His team is still dealing with the fallout of their past mistakes and regaining everyone’s trust that they can handle the big problems. But I’m glad to see most of the team members back in the saddle. The story line was great and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. Excellent addition to the series!

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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

Preorder: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

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!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile

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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