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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Into Temptation Playlist:

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!


Friday, April 23, 2021

Blog Tour Review & Excerpt: The Hate Project (The Love Study #2) by Kris Ripper

The Hate Project by Kris Ripper is available in eBook, trade paperback and audiobook formats on April 27th!

Book Description

This arrangement is either exactly what they need--or a total disaster

Oscar is a grouch.

That’s a well-established fact among his tight-knit friend group, and they love him anyway.

Jack is an ass.

Jack, who’s always ready with a sly insult, who can’t have a conversation without arguing, and who Oscar may or may not have hooked up with on a strict no-commitment, one-time-only basis. Even if it was extremely hot.

Together, they’re a bickering, combative mess.

When Oscar is fired (answering phones is not for the anxiety-ridden), he somehow ends up working for Jack. Maybe while cleaning out Jack’s grandmother’s house they can stop fighting long enough to turn a one-night stand into a frenemies-with-benefits situation.

The house is an archaeological dig of love and dysfunction, and while Oscar thought he was prepared, he wasn’t. It’s impossible to delve so deeply into someone’s past without coming to understand them at least a little, but Oscar has boundaries for a reason—even if sometimes Jack makes him want to break them all down.

After all, hating Jack is less of a risk than loving him…

The Love Study
  • Book 1: The Love Study (available now!)
  • Book 2: The Hate Project (available April 27)
  • Book 3: The Life Revamp (coming November 30)
Buy The Hate Project by Kris Ripper Links 


Read on for an excerpt from The Hate Project.

I’d never had friends until college. And even then, I wouldn’t have had friends except that Ronnie and I were freshman year roommates (before she transitioned, obviously), and she was friends with Dec and Mase and Mia, and they came around a lot and just sort of looped me in. It happened slowly over that first year and suddenly I had…friends.

What’s that thing with snake poison, where you take it in small doses every day to grow your immunity to it? That’s what happened with the Motherfuckers. Eventually I built up a tolerance to their, like, happiness and friendliness and optimism. Now my brain just recognizes them as a part of me. The same thing probably happened to them: eventually they built up a tolerance to my moods and freak-outs.

The most important thing you need to know about my friends is that they’re all way better people than I am. You can tell because they threw me a pity party. There’s the aforementioned Declan and Sidney, who got together during the commission of a video series called The Love Study on Sidney’s YouTube channel. Then there’s Mia and Ronnie, disgustingly married to each other. And the last of the official Motherfuckers is Mason, who once tried to get married (to Dec) and was left at the altar (by Dec). Which was awkward for a while, but now it’s fine. Though of all of us Mase is the one who wants a white picket fence and 2.5 kids.

Sounds fucking awful to me, but to each his own, I don’t judge, whatever floats your life raft, et cetera.

Since I didn’t want to get my impotent rage-slash-panic germs on anyone, I took up a seat in the corner and didn’t leave it except to use the bathroom and acquire victuals. By which I mean vegan, gluten-free, cauliflower-based pizza that turned out to be delicious. It used to be that my friends had an informal rotation for who’d sit with me, trading off for the duration of the social event, but that was before Jack. Jack was new to the group. Dec had collected him from work, and for reasons I didn’t understand (I would have suspected sexual favors if I didn’t know better), he kept mostly showing up to drinks with the Motherfuckers. And was now also on the invite list for ad hoc gatherings to celebrate catastrophic job loss.

Jack and I had no other setting with each other than arguing. Since neither of us was all that nice (and everyone else in the Motherfuckers was very nice), it worked out. He thinks he knows everything, I definitely know everything, and even though for the most part we would arrive at the same point from different angles, we spent most of our fights poking at each other’s angles to prove they were incorrect.

I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when it turned out bickering was actually foreplay.

Since the party was in my honor I was obligated to stay through dinner, and I did. In my corner. Weathering the well-intended reassurances of my friends was hard enough, but when Dec brought out one of those quirky adult card games where kittens exploded I had to get the hell out of there. Too much goodness on a bad day.

Jack apparently had a similar thought. It wasn’t the first time we’d made our escape at the same moment. This time, instead of parting ways on the sidewalk with a lukewarm we know each other through friends wave, both of us stopped.

He stopped a second before I did, which I immediately decided made him more desperate. It wasn’t charitable, but I believe in keeping track of who has the advantage in any encounter. Even a one-off.

“I live ten minutes away,” he said.

“Good for you.”

His lips twisted a little, from not-smile to not-impressed. “This is a pity fuck, Oscar. Take it or leave it.” With that he turned and made for a black two-door something-something on the other side of the street.

I hesitated. For about five seconds. But following up a pity party with a pity fuck sounded about right. “Just to clarify,” I called as I caught up with him, “I don’t do relationships.”

He hit a button that unlocked his car. “Just to clarify, I’m not offering one.”

Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

A new Carina Adores title is available each month in trade paperback, ebook and audiobook formats.

● The Hideaway Inn by Philip William Stover (available now!)

● The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M. Cameron (available now!)

● Just Like That by Cole McCade (available now!)

● Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters (available now!)

● The Love Study by Kris Ripper (available now!)

● The Secret Ingredient by KD Fisher (available now!)

● Just Like This by Cole McCade (available now!)

● Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking for Love by Kim Fielding (available now!)

● Best Laid Plans by Roan Parrish (available now!)

● Hard Sell by Hudson Lin (coming May 25)

● For the Love of April French by Penny Aimes (coming August 31)

● Sailor Proof by Annabeth Albert (coming September 28)

● Meet Me in Madrid by Verity Lowell (coming October 26)

● The Life Revamp by Kris Ripper (coming November 30)

What I thought about The Hate Project
Oscar's life is in a bit of a shambles having lost his job. It's not good for his anxiety and puts him in a very stressful position. Good thing he has some friends who understand him and his behaviors. Some might say Oscar isn't a people person or that he's not nice. It's like that saying -- you never know what problems others are is carrying around with them and Oscar's anxiety and body image are front and center in his world. This story is told from his POV.

Then there's Jack. He has a similar way of interacting with the world in that he can be curt with his interactions with people. Some might say he's a jerk. You've probably met a person like Jack or Oscar at some point in your life. There is a sense of realism with these characters and their interactions that really did it for me in this story. The uniqueness of the characters in this series kept me turning the pages.

Together, Jack and Oscar aren't your typical couple. They fight. They argue. They have dysfunctional communications. They aren't perfect together, yet they are.
If you are looking for a formulaic romance this isn't it. It doesn't follow the rules and that's what make this a very interesting reading experience. I loved the portrayal of the main characters -- their thoughts, actions and words make for a truly different and unique romance.

A complementary copy was provided by the publisher. This is my honest review.


About the Author


Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and zir pronouns are ze/zir. Kris shares a converted garage with a kid, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.

Release Day Review: The Vanishing Hour by Seraphina Nova Glass

  ABOUT THE VANISHING HOUR: Grace Holloway keeps to herself. Since narrowly escaping death at the hands of the man who kidnapped her, she...