For YA & Adult Readers!

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First Look: Forbidden Promises by Katee Robert, Plus a Giveaway

Meet Jude and Sloan in the next O'Malleys Story!
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Blog Tour Event: Daring the Pilot by Jeannie Moon

Keely and Jonah drop everything to fight for what matters, including each other.
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Blog Tour: After the Dark by Cynthia Eden, Now Available!

In New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden's gripping new series, a disgraced FBI profiler must save her reputation by stopping a sadistic killer she knows all too well.
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Blog Tour: Hard Justice by Lori Foster, Now Available!

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Lori Foster returns with the second installment in her explosive new series featuring sexy bodyguards who’ll do anything to protect the ones they love.
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Sneak Peak of Second Circle Tattoos Spinoff: Jordan Reclaimed!

Preview Scarlett Cole's latest novel.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Tara Brown Talks FLING CLUB Inspirations (Plus Excerpt + Giveaway)


Fling Club Inspirations by Tara Brown

My book releasing is Fling Club, sort of like Fight Club but with romance.

The fabulous main characters are Cherry and Ashley, an unlikely match. It’s opposites attract to the extreme. Cherry is a spoiled rich girl with a serious problem, how to get revenge on the mean girl ruining her life. And Ashley is a sexy, geeky MIT scholarship student who doesn’t fit in her world. He doesn’t even want to. He can't stand the rich elite and makes no bones about sharing that opinion.

Cherry’s from a rich family and went to school at a private, well known academy where the expectations from parents are demanding. She is demure and reliable, a doormat like most of her friends. Letting parents and guys take the lead in their lives. 

After summers of the boys running the shore and parents ruling their lives, the girls decided to take back the power. One girl in particular. She created Fling Club, a fun way to control the dating and socializing the young women were expected to participate in. The head mean girl who runs it, Cait, is every young woman’s nightmare. Controlling, conniving, and completely self-centered. If you have a social life and friends, it’s because Cait allowed it. She has all the parents and every guy on the shore fooled, while all the young women are terrified of crossing her.

When Cherry catches Cait in bed with her boyfriend, the fake friendship is off just as the summer is beginning, meaning Cherry has to come up with a plan for revenge against her frenemy.

With the help of her sarcastic and judgmental brother, Andy, and her pessimistic and evil genius sister, Ella, Cherry is about to wreak havoc on Fling Club, and Cait.

This is where Ashley comes into the plan. He is the bait. Sexy, funny, sarcastic, and just arrogant enough that they don't have to worry about him falling for Cait while she is falling for him. But after a couple weeks together, the plan is threatened when Ashley and Cherry start falling for each other.

He desperately wants Cherry to see that she is so much more than she pretends to be, and that fitting into her world isn't worth the price she is paying. And once she starts seeing herself the way he does, she realizes how much she hates the person she has always pretended to be.

Fling Club, which used to be called The Exception to the Summer Fling, is an old story I wrote a decade ago but never published. It came to me when I was driving. I was crossing North America, moving from the West Coast to the East for my husband’s work in 2008. My girls were watching movies in the backseat, kid's movies. So I got to listen to that the entire six day drive.

I don't even remember the movie they were watching, I think it was a Barbie movie, maybe Princess and the Pauper, but it got me envisioning the moment Cait marched back and forth in front of the new recruits, cruelly telling them the rules of the summer fling club. (Being a HUGE fan of Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl, of course I already had a stable of possible plots for mean rich girls.)

The story really formed when I got Cait down in my head, thanks to the long drive and the kids movies.

Cait needed to be that sweet and powerful girl the parents would respect and want their daughters to emulate. But she also needed to be terrifying and controlling so the girls went along with whatever she demanded of them. Even if it was disturbing. Of course, Cait is similar to Kathryn from Cruel Intentions, she is calculating and cold. Almost sociopathic in her nature. But I decided to spin the story a little and make our poor little victim, her equal in social rank.

Cherry might be the weaker link at the start of this story, but she comes from a good family with a lot of money. And as the story progressed she evolved from the damsel in distress who can't cope with anything into a strong young woman. I wanted her to be victim of the story but then I also wanted her to be the savior. Her own savior. I like that love helped her find herself, but she needed to do the work.

I think we nailed that, and the way the characters are meant to make you hate them. I wanted the readers' feelings to grow and change as the characters did. Cait is unbearably horrible and yet somehow relatable once we have all the facts. Cherry is weak and pathetic to start but grows into someone we liked in the end. And we made the bad guy someone you didn't expect.














I love the idea that there is an underbelly in the wealthy world, a place we don't see because they hide it from us. And I adore the meet cute we have created for the entire series of standalone novels, the Post-it Note Wall.

Welcome to the Serendipity Series, starting with Fling Club


***
It’s revenge—sweet and hot—in the first book of this sexy and wickedly funny series by international bestselling author Tara Brown.
For the young, rich, and beautiful, summertime in the Hamptons means one thing: Fling Club. Only this time, Cherry Kennedy won’t be selecting a boy for a fleeting romance. Nope, this season, Cherry is out for revenge. Her target? The Fling Club founder and society darling who slept with Cherry’s now-very-ex-boyfriend. And all Cherry needs is the perfect guy for her plan…
Ashley Jardine can’t afford to refuse. He scored almost a full ride to MIT. But that almost still costs a lot. And this is so much money for a little game of revenge and a chance—albeit short—to live the high life. Here, rich girls rule the shore, and everyonehas a role to play. Only nothing in the job description warned Ashley that the redhead who’s running the scheme would be so crazy. And cute. Or that he wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about her.
Now, everything is going according to plan—until an unexpected attraction raises the stakes. It’s enough to turn the perfect payback into absolute heartbreak.
Fling Club
The Serendipity Series #1
Tara Brown
Pub Date: 8/14/18
Skyscape
Rating 4/5
Amazon | B&N | Audiobook


Tara Brown introduces readers to an exclusive club in the Hamptons where women hold all the power. One woman in particular holds too much power and steps over the line when she sleeps with Cherry's boyfriend. Cherry is rallied by her unconventional siblings to take revenge and a crazy plot is hatched that could end Cait's tyranny once and for all. If the Fling Club is dismantled in the process then all the better!

Fling Club is one wild story! I don't usually gravitate toward stories with mean girls or obnoxious elitist antagonists, but I was really curious to see how the romance would play out. It was better than I expected and I loved how fiery and adorable Ashley and Cherry are together. Their differences are profound, but the biggest issues were Cherry's insecurities and disconnect from everyday life.

Even as the story dives into the world of the extremely rich and privileged, there's a surprising depth to the characters. The deeper into the revenge plot the more is revealed about Cherry and the club that defined her Hampton summers. Her fake friends become true friends as they unite against a common enemy and drop pretenses.

I'm eager to see how the Serendipity series continues because the intro to this series is pretty epic already. It definitely fits into the New Adult genre, so if you love that then it's perfect for you. Fling Club is a fun, intriguing summer read that you won't be able to put down once you dive in!
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

EXCERPT:

I called my brother. “Hey, Cherry. Look, I can’t talk—”

“Cait’s sleeping with Griffin,” I blurted out, cutting off whatever excuse he was about to make.

“What? Who?” It took him half a second to connect the dots. “Seriously? How do you know?”

“I just caught them.” My words had turned to a whisper. I was ashamed of my former friends for betraying me, and of myself for having been so naive. I knew Andy would call me stupid and tell me I deserved what I got for dating a Griffin, and that I was a sheeple like Mom and Cait, and—

“Oh, Cherry. I’m so sorry. Neither of those asshats deserves you.”

That reaction, I didn’t expect. Andy’s kindness broke me. Angry tears flooded my eyes, and before I could help it, I was blubbering and ranting in front of a platform full of strangers. I’d called Andy because I needed his sarcasm to toughen me up and put me on the defensive. I needed to be strong, like him. But instead he gave me tenderness, something I couldn’t handle at the moment.

“You’re lovely and sweet and kind. And you would never do something like that to anyone. Not even an enemy. I’ll come get you; tell me where you are.”

“I—I’m going home. I’m at the train. I feel sick.” My words were coming out in gasps.

“Screw them both. Let them have each other. I never liked that idiot. He’s like Mom and Cait. He thinks his blue blood earns him the right to everything—clearly. They’re selfish people, Cherry. Selfish and stupid and blind. I’m glad he showed his true colors before you got too invested in him.”

Not wanting Andy to know I was as invested as I could be, I stayed silent while he shouted and ranted all the things big brothers said to sad little sisters. “I should beat the piss outta him! Want me to kick his ass? I’ll go find a couple of friends and we can make sure he doesn’t show up for—”

“No.” I sniffled. “I just—” What did I want?

“Listen. Go home and take a hot bath, drink a bottle of wine, and try to get some sleep. I’ll come get you in a week. We’ll go to New York and get trashed, and you—”

“Sleep!” I snapped, finally losing the hold I had on my ferocity. “You think I could sleep right now? I’m not Mom, Andy. I can’t just take something and coast through shit like this.”

“Okay, don’t sleep. Try eating a whole sheet cake and plotting their deaths. They aren’t worth the energy you’re putting into being pissed off. I’ve never understood how you were friends with her. Or part of her club. Which, by the way, she only started because Wendell cheated on her with that chick from Derby. It’s ironic, because then she turns around and does this to you.”

“Andy, I don’t care why she started it,” I groaned, wiping my eyes. “I don’t care that someone cheated on her in high school. I care that she’s currently sleeping with my boyfriend—”

“Cherry, take a breath. If you’re crying, you’re losing it.”

I heaved, realizing I was blind with rage and tears.

“If you can’t get past this with a simple cake, then I don’t know what to say. If I ever make the mistake of falling in love again, it’ll be with some girl in a different financial bracket. This is why we don’t date our kind.”

“Yeah, great advice now!” I spit my words, feeling the fury building.

“Don’t lose control! You’re in public, and you’re a Kennedy for God’s sake. We don’t lose it in front of strangers. Plus, you’ll be upset you didn’t cry in the shower like a winner.”

“Shut up!” I hated him sometimes.

“Cherry, getting upset and ruining your summer is pointless; you’re the only one who suffers. They’ll win. They’ll ruin your last summer before college is over and the real world hits. Don’t let them do that to you.”

“What should I do then?” I burst again, sobbing.

“I don’t know. Maybe take her down. Get revenge. Just whatever you do, don’t go back to that moron, Chatsworth.”

“I won’t.” I sighed. “I can’t talk about this anymore. I’ll text you later.”

“Trust me, eat the cake. It will make you feel better. Do that before you do anything else. My friend Angela swears by it.” He laughed bitterly and hung up.

But I didn’t focus on the cake or the bath or the wine. My mind was stuck on the one thing Andy had said that was useful, on repeat.

Get revenge.

And I would.

***

GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The international bestselling author of Roommates and the Puck Buddies series, Tara Brown writes in a variety of genres. In addition to her comedic Single Lady Spy series, she has also published popular contemporary and paranormal romances, science fiction, thrillers, and romantic comedies. She especially enjoys writing dark and moody tales, often focusing on strong female characters who are more inclined to vanquish evil than perpetrate it. She shares her home with her husband, two daughters, two cats, an Irish wolfhound, and a Maremma Sheepdog. Find out more about Tara by visiting www.TaraBrownAuthor.com.

Connect with Tara: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway: Second Chance Cowboy + $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Enter below to win an ARC of Second Chance Cowboy by AJ Pine or a $25 Amazon gift card! Two winners; the first winner picked will decide their prize and the second winner gets the other. Enter between August 15 and August 30, 2018! Open to international entrants!


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Friday, August 10, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Meet the Mountain Mercenaries by Susan Stoker (Plus Giveaway + Excerpt)


Meet the Mountain Mercenaries:

In my new romantic suspense series, the "Mountain Mercenaries" were formed by a mysterious "handler" named Rex. He brought all the men to Colorado Springs for an “interview”, then never showed up, leaving the men to get to know each other on their own. At the end of the night, however, he offered each of them the job.

Rex is a voice on a phone, and none of the Mercenaries has ever met him face to face. He does the research and sends the men on the missions. He only choses to assist in cases involving women and children.

Each of the men are former special forces. Grayson “Gray” Rogers and Lowell “Black” Lockard are former Navy SEALs. Ronan “Ro” Cross was a British SAS soldier. Archer “Arrow” Kane was a Marine. Kannon “Ball” Black was in the Coast Guard. And Hunter “Meat” Snow was Delta Force.

The men all live in the Colorado Springs area now and have “regular” jobs. Their missions with the Mountain Mercenaries aren’t exactly top secret, but no one talks much about the organization because of the nature of the missions they go on and the kind of enemies they make as a result.

And to whet your appetite for the men…

Gray has a knack for being “invisible” on jobs.

Ro has a sext British accent that seems to be more pronounced when he’s angry.

Arrow is slightly claustrophobic because of an incident that happened in England (and where he actually saved Ro’s life).

Black is the best interrogator of the group and Ball is the best driver.

Meat is the computer genius of the group and is relied on heavily to gather intel.

And Rex, is a mystery to the men on the team. They don’t know much about him except that his wife disappeared into thin air years ago.

There’s no real reason why Gray was the first on the team to find his woman in my newest release Defending Allye. Someone had to be first, and who better to find a woman who he was attracted to in the middle of the ocean, than a former Navy SEAL?

***
Love is a life-and-death risk for the Mountain Mercenaries in New York Times bestselling author Susan Stoker’s explosive series of alpha heroes, hot action, and hard passion…
Ever since his rescue op off the Pacific Coast, Mountain Mercenary Gray Rogers hasn’t been able to forget his latest “job”—Allye Martin. Any other woman would have panicked during a rescue, but the wily dancer kept her cool—even after being kidnapped by an elusive human trafficker. And Gray couldn’t be happier when a grateful Allye follows him home to Colorado Springs…



For Allye, finding sanctuary in the arms—and bed—of the former Navy SEAL is only temporary. People are disappearing off the streets of San Francisco, victims of the same underground trade that targeted her, and Allye could be the key to dismantling the entire operation. She’s willing to do anything to bring them down. Gray isn’t—for good reason. But you don’t say no to a tough girl like Allye who refuses to play it safe

Now Gray is risking more than ever before. The Mountain Mercenaries have his back. But is it enough to keep the woman he loves out of harm’s way?
Defending Allye
Mountain Mercenaries #1
Susan Stoker
Pub Date: 8/7/18
Montlake Romance
Rating: 5/5
Amazon | B&N | Audiobook



The Mountain Mercenaries series begins with a rescue mission that brings together a down-to-earth dancer and hardcore Navy SEAL turned mercenary. Susan Stoker's Defending Allye is a wonderful romantic suspense that is both charming and full of the sexiest alpha heroes.

There's mystery surrounding the founder of the Mountain Mercenaries, but the seven men working together to protect women and children are as honorable as they come. When Gray rescues Allye, a connection is forged that sees them both through trauma and the discovery of true love. I love that Stoker creates a story with action and suspense, but also a lovey-dovey romance that touches the heart. The passion between Allye and Gray despite how short the time they've known each other really heats up the story and makes you want to stay in their world far after it ends!

This is going to be an amazing series. It's one that I'll be watching for new releases because each story will no doubt shed light on this incredible team and their enigmatic leader. It's safe to say that I want more, more, more! Defending Allye is perfect of fans of
*ARC provided in consideration for review*


Defending Allye Excerpt


Allye turned to her right and glanced at the group of men sitting at the only square table in the room—and froze.


Her breathing increased, and her fight-or-flight instinct kicked in. The men weren’t paying any attention to her and hadn’t seen her yet.

Allye took one step backward toward the doorway she’d just walked through. But she was too late.

“What the hell?” The exclamation had come from Black. The man she’d met just over a week ago on a mission she knew wasn’t exactly public knowledge.

Five more heads swiveled to look in her direction, and Allye could do nothing but stare. It was as if she could actually feel the amount of testosterone in the room increase.

All six men at the table were big. And good-looking. And staring at her as if they’d never seen a woman before.

But it was Grayson Rogers’s eyes that she couldn’t look away from.

Without a word, he stood, a fluid movement that was as graceful as those of any dancer in her troupe, and walked toward her.

“Kitten, what the hell are you doing here? How’d you find me?”

She loved the sound of her nickname on his lips, but his second question sounded more like an accusation than an actual “Boy, am I glad to see you again” statement.

“I . . . I didn’t know you’d be here,” she stammered. “I wasn’t looking for you.”

He looked confused.

“I called Rex, and he arranged to meet me here. But he hasn’t shown up yet. I was sitting out there”—she pointed at the doorway—“talking to the bartender, Dave, and got bored waiting. I didn’t know you’d be here,” she repeated.

“Rex,” Gray said under his breath, then held out his hand. “Whatever the reason, I’m glad to see you again. Are you okay?”

Allye liked this gentler Gray. She nodded and put her hand in his outstretched one. The second she touched his palm, his fingers closed around hers. The warmth from his body seemed to seep into her. She hadn’t even known she was chilled until she felt how warm his skin was. “I’m okay,” she said softly.

 “No one’s been following you?” Gray asked.

Allye shrugged. “I don’t think so. I’ve felt uneasy recently, but it’s probably just a result of what happened to me before.”

Gray frowned and tightened his fingers. “Maybe, maybe not. Come on, I want you to meet my friends.”

She allowed him to lead across the room. He stopped at the table and wrapped an arm around her waist. Their hips were smashed together, and she felt every finger as he gripped her opposite hipbone.

“Guys, I’d like you to meet Allye Martin. Allye, these are the guys. Meat, Arrow, Ball, Ro, and you know Black.”

“Hi,” she said awkwardly. “It’s nice to meet all of you.”

Her greeting was returned by all the men, and she couldn’t help but squirm under their scrutiny. The man Gray called Meat got up, snagged a chair from a nearby table, and placed it next to the empty one. She sat when Gray gestured to it. She didn’t lean back in the chair but instead sat fully upright, wondering what in the world was going on.

“So . . . you’re the woman Gray rescued the other week, huh?” Arrow asked.

Allye swallowed, then gave him a small nod.

“What I’m about to tell you, kitten, isn’t common knowledge. But after what you’ve been through, and given the fact that you’re supposed to be meeting Rex here, so he obviously trusts you, I’m comfortable telling you. These men and I are all part of a group called Mountain Mercenaries,” Gray said quietly. “Rex is our leader, so to speak. He contacts us when he has rescue jobs for us to do, mostly involving women and children who are being abused or were abducted. And before you ask, we’re highly qualified. All of us are former military, all different branches, for the most part, and we’ve been through extensive training.”

Allye stared at him for a second, then her eyes went to the rest of the men around the table. She was surprised that he’d explained as much as he had, but she had no trouble believing that these men had the skills and strength to operate rescue missions.

Then something Gray said sank in.

“Mercenaries?”

He nodded.

Allye was confused. “You have a name? Can I look you up online? Hire you?”

“No.”

“Then why have a name?” Allye thought it was Ball who answered. 

“Because Rex decided, rightly so, that we would become more well known if we were associated with a name. He wanted the bad guys to fear hearing the Mountain Mercenaries were coming for them. And it’s worked. There was a situation not too long ago where a bad guy in Chicago was desperate to keep Rex and his Mountain Mercenaries out of his business. Desperate enough to kill his own son when he couldn’t control him anymore.”

Allye wasn’t sure she wanted to know the details about that. But she was still a little confused. “But mercenaries are guns for hire. Like, they go where the money is and don’t care about right or wrong, good or bad. They’re all about the money. Aren’t you more like vigilantes or something? Working around the law to do what’s right and good?”

Gray stared at her, but the other men around the table chuckled.

Finally, Gray grinned. “Knew you were too smart for your own good,” he said. “You’re right, but when Rex formed our little group, he thought Mountain Mercenaries sounded tougher than vigilantes.”

Allye rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I guess Vengeful Veterans doesn’t exactly have the same ring, does it?”

And with that, the other men burst out laughing.


***

GIVEAWAY

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About the Author

Susan Stoker is a New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, and Delta Force Heroes. Married to a retired army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri to California to Colorado—and currently lives under the big skies of Texas. A true believer in the happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, www.stokeraces.com, or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorsusanstoker.

Connect with Susan: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Saturday, August 4, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Another Marvelous Entry in the Chesapeake Diaries (Review)

Spend your summer on Cannonball Island! 










Always believing she was an ugly duckling, Chrissy Jenkins thought she had finally turned into a swan when her real-life Prince Charming swept her off her feet. But as his true character began to crack his perfect facade, Chrissy realized that not only was she better off without him, but that she was the only one who had the power to transform her life.

Returning to her ancestral home on Cannonball Island for a family wedding, Chrissy is reintroduced to a legacy she’d all but forgotten. In choosing to stay on the island, she reboots her life, successfully reinventing herself as a sous chef at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point just over the bridge in St. Dennis. But despite her newfound self-confidence, she still doesn’t trust her taste in men. So when she meets Jared Chandler, a handsome ship salvager staying at the inn while he conducts a nearby recovery operation, Chrissy’s certain she can keep him as a friend—even though he’s everything any woman would want in a man. As fellow newcomers, together they discover the charm of the historic bayside town and explore the idyllic island.

But when Chrissy agrees to be Jared’s date for his father’s wedding, they embark on a weekend that will find them each seeing the other in a completely different light, one that will change their lives forever.

Dune Drive
The Chesapeake Diaries #12
Mariah Stewart
Pocket Books
Pub Date: 7/31/18
Rating: 4/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audiobook


Mariah Stewart invites readers to Cannonball Island for another summer romance! In Dune Drive, Lis and Owen's cousin Christiana rediscovers her love of the island and herself. After escaping an abusive relationship she finds solace in the day-to-day routine of Ruby's store. She finds a place for herself in the kitchen at Blossoms and a friend in diver, and also newcomer, Jared Chandler.

While things are looking up for Chrissy, the threat of her ex casts a pall over each step she takes to build herself up to the person she was before. I love that this story has an emotional start. The fear that followed Chrissy to Cannonball Island is believable and to see her change from timid to strong and sure is amazing. Dune Drive is a definite friends to lovers story. It's interesting to see Chrissy and Jared become friends because neither of them are looking for a relationship. It's a tender, slow burn romance that you won't be able to put down under threat of losing sleep for the night.

Picking after the events of The Chesapeake Bride, after Lis and Owen's weddings, you'll feel as though you never left the idyllic island. Readers will find themselves once more enchanted by the characters in the story. They are inspiring, kind, and always willing to share their story with us! Dune Drive is perfect for fans of Robyn Carr and RaeAnne Thayne. You don't want to miss this marvelous entry into the Chesapeake Diaries!
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

EXCERPT

Chrissie stretched one leg as close to the water as she could and with her big toe traced her name onto the surface, the way she had when she was a child. The water was cold, true spring being just around the corner, and the chill ran up her leg, but it made her feel alive. Her brother, Luke, once told her that writing your name on the Chesapeake meant you were part of it, would always be part of it. She wondered where Luke was now, and if writing his name on the bay had brought him back from time to time.
When their parents, Stephen and Dorothy, divorced, Luke went with their father, and one-year-old Chrissie stayed with their mother. As far as Chrissie knew, neither father nor brother had ever looked back. It was as if the earth had opened up and swallowed Stephen and Luke Jenkins body and soul, as far as she was concerned. Chrissie wouldn’t recognize either of them if they stood in front of her. Her father had been from the mainland and had no ties to the island except her mother. Once that bond had been broken and her mother remarried and moved to Pennsylvania, Chrissie figured her father had no reason to return. If her mother had heard from either of them, she’d never told Chrissie, and the few times Chrissie’d asked, her questions were ignored.
The last time Chrissie had asked, her mother had snapped, “That’s the agreement we made, no contact, and I’m sticking by it. So far, he has, too. What difference could it make now? He’s never been part of your life. He never wanted to be. Leave it alone, Chrissie. Don’t ask me again.”
To Chrissie, it was unforgivable on the part of both her parents—her mother for not telling her why her father left, and her father for never coming back. Once she’d started examining her life in earnest a year ago, it hadn’t been difficult for her to figure out that being abandoned by her father had contributed to the fact that her self-esteem had been so low she’d permitted herself to be abused. That her mother would never tell her why had only added to her poor self-image: as a child, she’d assumed he’d left because she was a bad girl. What other reason could there have been? Now, as an adult, she realized there’d had to be something other than that, that while children see everything that happens through their eyes as it relates to them, the constant arguing between her parents had probably been about something else. Try as she might, though, her mother would never tell her what that something had been.

She still thought of her father with a mixture of anger and longing. Had he ever remarried? Was he still alive? And Luke . . . ? She had no idea if he was dead or alive, either.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her website at MariahStewart.com, like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram @Mariah_Stewart_Books.
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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Warrior of Clan Kincaid Concludes the Highland Warrior Trilogy (Review)

The stunning and dramatic final book in the Kincaid brothers' trilogy set in the wilds of Scotland.

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS
Derryth MacClaren is on the run—having been sent from her castle home to avoid capture by the vicious nobleman known as the Wolf, who has vowed revenge against the Clan Kincaid. When a surprise attack leaves her vulnerable, Derryth ends up in the hands of an enemy warrior who claims her, with the Wolf’s blessing, as his prize. But her captor’s gentle words and touch seduce her heart—and body—completely. . . and when she discovers the tattoo on his arm that proves him to be the legendary, long-believed dead son of the murdered Laird of Kincaid, Derryth knows she must find a way to alter his fate—and her own. . .


Cull has no memory of his family or past—all he knows is the life of a warrior, trained to fight on behalf of the Scottish king. But now that Derryth has informed him of who he really is—Cullen Braewick, the youngest son of the slain laird—he is torn. If Cull exacts revenge against the Wolf, who executed his father, he stands to lose the precious lass who he has come to love. What is he willing to sacrifice for Derryth to keep her safe. . .and in his arms?
The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood is not one to miss! 
The Warrior of Clan Kincaid
Highland Warrior #3
Lily Blackwood
Pub Date: 7/31/18
St. Martin's Press
Rating: 5/5
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The Warrior of Clan Kincaid is so amazing. It's A Kingdom of Dreams and Lord of the Black Isle rolled into one amazing Scottish romance. Lily Blackwood concludes the Highland Warrior trilogy which reunites three lost brothers by a distinguishable mark. It's only by chance that Derryth MacClaren is sent away from home in order to avoid danger, only to be captured by Cull, who leads the forces advancing on her home.

Once a captive, Derryth and Cull remain in close proximity to one another and the sparks start flying. Initially sparks of anger and fear keep Derryth on the defense as she tries to escape and keep her people safe. Twists and turns abound as the plot thickens and Blackwood offers readers a romance between two strong characters. Derryth gains strength even though she's pampered and unused to living outdoors, or being surrounded by dangerous, lethal killers. The desire to warn her people and keep the ones captive with her safe fuels her and makes her an admirable heroine. Cull is a hard character but little by little Derryth chips away at his icy exterior.

I loved watching these two characters discover each other. Every step of the way they have to contend with outside forces trying to tear them apart. This adds to the excitement of the plot and keeps you intrigued to the very end! Don't be afraid to jump into this story even if you haven't read the previous two entries. There's enough revealed that doesn't give away the plot of the first two stories, but you are able to come to a full understanding of the situation. It's a little complex, but what story with royals and politics isn't?

It's full of heart and passionate romance, too bad it's also the last in this series. The Warrior of Clan Kincaid is definitely one of those stories you'll be coming back to again and again!
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Project Earth Continues with Keepers (Review)

Two sisters, one from a megacity and one from the wilderness, work together to protect the wilderness and the reintroduction of wolves from a group more interested in private property than public good.

In a future Earth that's run by brilliant green cities separated by open land held in common for the good of wild things, two sisters must work together across and between the vastly different environments to root out dangers to both. They must protect the cities and the wild from the Returners, who prefer the toxic past to the difficult present. The older sister, Lou, her protector Shuska, and biologist friend Matchiko have reputations as successful rugged environmentalists. They must stay safe, listen, work, and sleuth out hidden nests of Returners. Oh, and save a few wolves along the way. In the meantime, Lou's younger sister, Coryn, is learning that working for the most powerful woman behind the scenes in a megacity is far harder than it looks. When the Returners threaten the city, the sisters must find a way to preserve both their ways of life. 

Keepers asks, Do humans have enough creativity, responsibility, and generosity to survive?
Keepers
Project Earth #2
Brenda Cooper
Pub Date: July 31, 2018
Pyr
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 3/5
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Brenda Coopers returns to a future earth where megacities are protected by domes and the Outside is filled with those who want to take revenge upon the cities for a lost way of life. Coryn and her older sister Lou have stepped into roles that will help shape the future of the Wilding and the cities.

While the story is an extension of the first, Wilders, the excitement of adventure and discovery gets lost in the politics and speculation of the world. Keepers dives deeper into the issues raised in the first novel, yet still doesn't provide a satisfying solution to the characters' needs. The main focus is to root out the Returners who attack the city through technological and physical means. While fighting the greater fight Lou is determined to not forget her purpose for going Outside in the first place. I do appreciate the insight we get into Lou's character, because before she was the elusive older sister who put trust in the wrong people. Now, she has the means to continue Wilding while also aiding the cities, and Coryn.

Coryn's side of the story didn't really appeal to me this time. After all the work she did to prove her mettle in Wilders, it seems like she's now floundering under pressure. She works with Julianna learning about the people with power within the city, but she doesn't take initiative and push for more power or action. It's like the loss of her goal, which was to find Lou Outside, has made her a vessel for the wishes of everyone around her. I never sensed that she desired anything for herself, above protecting the cities.

If there's another story in the Project Earth series I hope to see it come full circle. Coryn and Lou are two strong characters who get pushed to the background while others take hold of their destiny. I'd like to see them take charge, especially because it seems as though Coryn was being groomed for a greater role.
*ARC provided in consideration for review*
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