Friday, April 30, 2021

Review: When the Smoke Clears by C. Chilove



ISBN: 9781649371386
Series: When the Smoke Clears , Book 1

Release Date: April 19, 2021
Page Count: 425

Imprint: Amara Next
Contemporary, Multi-Cultural, Romantic Suspense, Military/Men in Uniform
Tropes: Forbidden Love/Off Limits

Lieutenant Colonel Brenden Jasper lives a life of secrets, danger, and clandestine missions. As commander of the most elite Black Ops unit in the world, nothing is more important to him than protecting the country he loves. But there’s a reason only the toughest, battle-tested, alpha men can call themselves members of the Black 2131 brotherhood. None but those in the highest realms of government even know of its existence, and it's Brenden's job to avoid emotional entanglements so he can keep it that way.

Dr. Paige Nichols has spent her life ruled by logic and reason, teaching and analyzing art history, so nothing could have prepared her for the completely overwhelming attraction-at-first-sight when she sets eyes on Brenden. Their chance encounter at a party opens her up to a tantalizing dark side she never knew she had—and leaves her wanting so much more. But a man with a dark side often comes with way too many secrets…ones that could put her life in danger.

Though their chemistry burns hotter than ever, when danger comes knocking on Paige’s door, Brenden will have to walk a fine line between duty, honor, and love.


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 What I thought about When the Smoke Clears

Brenden Jasper isn't just special ops -- he's double super secret special ops.  His job makes personal relationships forbidden as he never knows when he has to leave on a mission. This guy lives and breathes the military, possibly to his own detriment.

When he meets Dr. Paige Nichols they have a super steamy one night stand, or so they think.  She's drawn to him and he feels the same, but feels conflicted about the fact he can't share things with Paige.  He's still hung up on the secrecy of his job and its not clear if Paige really understands why.

I love a good action story, and I did enjoy the action in this and wanted more. The romantic elements were super steamy.  I'm not sure how much I liked the main characters. There is a lot going on in this story and sometimes it just gets to be too complicated and overwhelming. For these reasons, I'm rating this four stars. I will be looking to read more from this author.

C. Chilove

C. Chilove is a southern girl residing in the beautiful Sunshine State. When she's not writing, she's cheering on her little ballerina, being protected by her daring ninja, cooking yummy dishes for her hubby, or exploring flea markets and antique stores for hidden treasures.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Highland Warrior (Sons of Sinclair #2) by Heather McCollum



by Heather McCollum Sons of Sinclair, #2
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Enemies to Lovers, Forbidden Love

Adult, Entangled: Amara, Historical, Highlander, Romance

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Joshua Sinclair was once the fiercest and most notorious warrior of the mighty Sinclair clan of Northern Scotland. But now there’s nothing and no one that can make him take up arms again. Except a beautiful woman, it seems.

When Kára Flett, daughter of a fallen Norse chief, finds herself unexpectedly sheltering the strongest, most brutal warrior in the land, she throws together a risky and outrageous plan to bring him to her side. Threats of violence bounce right off him. Offers of gold seem to entice him even less. Desperate enough to use the pleas of the village children to sway him, she’s shocked when he’s completely unmoved. There’s only one tactic left for her: seduction.

Her hasty proposition falls completely by the wayside, though, as she and the Highlander come together in a carnal inferno. But bringing him into her life also brings his enemies to her clan’s doorstep—the very clan Kára is trying to protect. And as their feelings deepen, Joshua will have to decide between duty and love once and for all.

What I thought about Highland Warrior

What's a war chief to do when the leader of the clan decides to pursue peace? Joshua Sinclair is about to find out, since his brother isn't interested in waging war. Unhappy with his situation, Joshua leaves home and finds a position training others in the art of warfare.

It's here that his viewpoint begins to change as he sees the consequences of aggression and his association with widowed Kara Flett, who is no stranger to war time. She's got her own agenda for the war chief that includes seduction and more! When Joshua realizes her desperation he goes along with her plan and ends up finding there is more to Kara, especially in the bedroom.

This was a terrific historical escape that captured the time period and ethnicities well and I appreciated that. As a romance, there's plenty of chemistry between the main characters. I was drawn into this series after reading the first book and I've been invested in how each of the Sinclair clan with find their HEA. So overall, a nice escapist historical romance with interesting characters and entertaining action to keep things moving along.


Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal and YA romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor’s dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart finalists. The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entrances Ms. McCollum’s heart and imagination every time she visits. The country’s history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since her first journey across the pond. When she is not creating vibrant characters & magical adventures on the page, she is roaring her own battle cry in the war against ovarian cancer. Ms. McCollum recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero, rescued golden retriever & 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

5 Star Release Day Review: Into Temptation (Deliver of From Evil #2) by Monica James


(Book II:
Monica James

Series: Book II: Deliver Us from Evil Trilogy
Genre: Dark Romance
Cover Model: Lochie Carey @lochie_carey
Photographer: Michelle Lancaster @lanefotograf
Cover Designer: Sommer Stein—Perfect Pear Creative Covers

Release date: April 28th

Monsters are real…and that monster is my father.

Ten years ago, I surrendered. I thought I was doing the right thing. But lies and greed have once again destroyed my life, leaving me to deal with the aftermath.

This life has always been a curse, but the world as I know it has changed. Belfast isn’t what it used to be.

Alliances are broken. Kingdoms have fallen. But those who remain loyal see me as their rightful king.

With secrets unraveled, my need for vengeance grows stronger every day. However, ten years is a long time. People have changed. I have changed. But the one thing that remains untouched is my love for Babydoll—I love her…even if she doesn’t feel the same.

I will take back what’s mine.

My kingdom.

My name.

And my girl.

Every monster is scared of somethin’…and that somethin’ is me.

No more hiding in the shadows because I’m huntin’ you…Father.

Run, wee monsters, run.


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What I thought about Into Temptation

Punky is back!  And he's full of feeling of revenge and setting things right after the many betrayals he experienced (and keeps experiencing!)  The only thing that hasn't changed after after ten years in prison is his feelings for Babydoll. And wow, there were some situations there that I did not expect.

It's hard to talk about this book and this series without spoiling so I'm going to keep this short.  A lot happens in Into Temptation and there are plenty of surprises, plenty of action and plenty of Punky to keep the story moving along at a lovely pace where you just want to take the day and read the whole book in one sitting. I love stories that grab you right away and make you want to ditch all the work just so you can find out what happens!  Monica James does a great job of crafting a story that isn't stale and holds your interest.  

 The star of this book is all Punky as he continues to learn secrets about his family and what has been happening with the feuds of the past. His connection with Babydoll is strong and passionate, but his focus is on revenge so we get to see the street-wise brawler in him too as he sets his plans in motion.

Into Temptation starts with Punky's release from prison and takes off like a shot right away and doesn't let go until it leaves you hanging with more revelations as readers wait for the third installment in this trilogy.  I loved the authentic Irish dialect in Into Temptation -- it's unlike any I've read and it stands out along with the interesting characters and story.  Definitely recommended if you like dark romance.


Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.

When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.

She is a bestselling author in the U.S.A., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.

Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.


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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Release Day Review: Could Have Been Us (Willow Creek Valley #2) by Corinne Michaels


 Could Have Been Us by Corinne Michaels
is now live!

New York Times Bestselling author Corinne Michaels returns to the Willow Creek Valley Series in this stunning small town, brother's best friend romance.

Fifteen years ago, I fell for Jack O'Donnell.

I was just a girl, but I knew my brother's best friend was the only man I'd ever love.

On my eighteenth birthday, when I asked him to kiss me, I never imagined it would change my life so completely.

I gave Jack everything that night.

In order to move on, we had to go our separate ways and pretend like nothing happened... as though it wasn't the greatest moment of my life.

But even that wasn't as heartbreaking as the secret we were forced to keep.

I've tried not to think about how much I still love him. How I long to be back in his strong arms or the way his hazel eyes make my heart race.

Until he kisses me again. And this time there's no turning back. This time I know what it means.

We belong together and there's no use denying it any longer.

But our feelings aren't the only thing that won't stay buried, our past resurfaces and threatens to destroy our second chance at happiness.

When our love is tested once again, will we be strong enough to stand together?

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 Audible    Narrated by: Ava Erickson & Jason Clarke

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What I thought about Could Have Been Us
This book starts with a heart-wrenching scene from the past and doesn't let up until the final pages.  Stella has always been in love with Jack -- Jack has always been in love with Stella -- it's just that they've been kept apart -- first by Stella's nasty father, and then by Jack's friendship with Stella's brother.
I can't say that best friend's brother is my favorite trope because I think the bro-code around this is just silly. If a man is good enough to be a friend for life, then he should be good enough for his sister, but that's not the way things work in romance!  Anyway, Jack has always been afraid to tell his best friend Grayson Parkerson that he's in love with Stella because he's relied so much on the Parkerson family throughout the years.  He doesn't want to risk damaging that relationship, so he keeps Stella at arms length, even though he's in love with her.
And Stella -- she's a terrific romance heroine.  She's stayed true to her feelings for Jack over the years and she's kept all the secrets they needed to keep. There's a lot of anguish in this story, the anguish of love denied.  I know that's a bit cryptic, but I don't want to spoil anything.  
Just as Stella and Jack finally come to their senses and decide to be together, they are hit with a tragedy that will cause them to have to make some really difficult decisions.  Gotta love Jack -- he tries to protect Stella and his own heart through it all, and he ends up being the one who has to bring the solution home. The depth of love between Stella and Jack as they go through this all is epic.  I really liked that about this story -- the circumstances they were forced into never dimmed the love between them and that made this romance worth reading.
I also liked that there is more page time with the rest of the Parkerson family as they move into their business venture together and it made me excited for more in this series. 
Could Have Been Us is a quick and satisfying romance with two main characters who are meant to be together. If you've read this author before you know there might be a tear or two as you read the story and this one has some major feels at the start and delivers with a terrific heart-felt conclusion that left me feeling good.  

Meet Corinne

Corinne Michaels is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of romance novels. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love, and she enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak before finding a way to heal them through their struggles.

Corinne is a former Navy wife and happily married to the man of her dreams. She began her writing career after spending months away from her husband while he was deployed--reading and writing were her escapes from the loneliness. Corinne now lives in Virginia with her husband and is the emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun-loving mom of two beautiful children.

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Monday, April 26, 2021

5 Star Release Day Reviews: Gametime by Jami Davenport and Overtime by Kat Mizera

More MOO U Hockey  in the World of True North!

Available Now! 

I've got two release day reviews for you today -- if you were intrigued by the Graham twins in the first books in the Moo U series, you are going to love these!


Two terrific college hockey romances 

Gametime by Jamie Davenport 

Overtime by Kat Mizera

Available Today!

Gametime by Jami Davenport

Release Date: April 26, 2021
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Moo U Hockey:

One drunken night and one case of mistaken identity turn a friendship inside out...

You’ve seen the hockey twins around campus--they look identical, but you can tell them apart by their actions. Patrick is the one who’s busy charming women. Paxton is the one in the library.

Until one night when Paxton parties a little harder than usual. Next thing he knows, he’s waking up naked next to Naomi, the girl of his dreams. He bares his heart before an awful realization sets in. He’s not the twin she thought he was...

Naomi is the only child of a hockey legend. Partying hard is the best way she knows how to rebel against her controlling father. After a particularly crazy night, she realizes her big mistake. Her hookup isn’t the guy she’s been crushing on. It’s Paxton, her friend, the guy who gets her, who she can always count on. The guy she’d never want to hurt. And yet, the sex was good. Better than good.

Now she’s wondering if the wrong twin might be the right one after all . . .


What I thought about Gametime

Paxton has wanted Naomi for a long time and he finally gets his chance with her one night at a party.  Pax can hardly believe his luck since Naomi has always pursued his brother Patrick.  There's some absolutely amazing sex and Pax blurts out his feelings -- and oops, things get pretty awkward. They decide to remain friends... but Pax can't forget their night together and neither can Naomi.

It takes a bit of time, but Naomi and Pax get on the same page which is great because Pax is going to need Naomi's support as he thinks about his future and what it will be like playing against instead of with his brother.

With his coaches encouraging him to go in a new direction causing conflict between Pax, his brother and father and Pax's father oblivious to both his son's feelings, Pax has some real adult stuff to work through as he looks at life beyond college.  I really did love this part of the book so much, and the twins relationship with their father broke my heart. 

I adored the ending to this as well.  The "big gesture" when done right always makes my heart feel happy.  I really thought everything was perfectly executed with this story, the characters, the pacing and the ending. It was a terrific romance that gave me the best feels about the power of love.  Definitely recommended if you are into hockey romance, and romance in general.

And of course I had to jump right into Patrick's story!
  His story was unexpected and just lovely!


OVERTIME by Kat Mizera

Release Date: April 26, 2021
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Moo U Hockey:

Hotshot hockey star Patrick Graham has been groomed for the pros since before he could walk. Fast forward to his junior year of college, and he’s having the time of his life. What could be better than pucks, partying, and having his pick of campus women? But if Patrick doesn’t buckle down and get his grades up, he could find himself benched for the championships. Could a beautiful brainiac be the solution to his problems?

Nineteen-year-old Master’s student Ellie McGinn could do so many things with her biology degree, but her mother is pushing her toward a future she doesn't want. Tutoring a hockey hottie seems like the perfect opportunity to start making her own choices and living life on her own terms.

When learning turns to yearning, will they be ready to face the heat and heartache that love can bring?

 What I thought about Overtime

After having seen all his friends pair off with a significant other, Patrick is just not sure about anything anymore. His life is changing and the future holds even more upheavals, his brother on a rival pro team, his degree in question, and his friends moved on.

Until he sees Ellie at a party. (Fans of the True North series might remember Ellie from Heartland by Sarina Bowen). He doesn't know who she is, but he knows immediately she's someone special. Turns out they will end up spending time together when Pax asks Ellie to tutor Patrick.

What follows is just a super sweet falling in love story. Patrick and Ellie find common ground in what they are going through, and they both fall quick and hard for each other in that forever-love sort of way. I love a well crafted story about a player finding his one-and-only, and this one is at the top of my list.

Not only are Patrick and Ellie sweet together, Patrick's experience opens up a whole new world of pleasure for Ellie. He's so considerate of Ellie and it ends up getting him in trouble when they are both faced with some tough times.

Overtime has a fabulous break-up\make-up ending that captures such a romantic feeling -- it's exactly why I read romance. I just loved it. I think I've re-read this ending quite a few times already! Kat Mizera is a first time author for me, and I'm sure I'll be looking for more from this author. 

I loved this college hockey romance. It had all the romantic feels and some truly great hockey moments. Definitely recommended for fans of romance and hockey!


Release Day Review: The Five Year Lie by Sarina Bowen

Bestselling romance author Sarina Bowen’s debut thriller, about one woman’s search for the truth after receiving a text from her deceased ex...