Deadline by @SandraBrown_NYT

DeadlineRating: 5*

Cover: Yay

Trope: Romantic Suspense

Chemistry Rating: Off the charts Scorchio

One-Sentence Summary: A journalist suffering from PTSD follows a lead which takes him into the lives of the beautiful Amelia and her two kids

Review: I have spent the last few days devouring Sandra Brown books and I think I have found my favourite one so far. Given the nature of the books, the focus is heavily on the “suspense” rather than “romance” but Brown has a wonderful way of writing the UST between the two main characters which propels the romance forwards, even if you have to wait awhile for anything to happen.

It’s not unusual for young kids to be part of the story (in fact in every Sandra Brown - DawsonSandra Brown book I’ve read so far, one of the main characters seems to have at least one child) but Hunter and Grant really grew on me in this book.

I loved Amelia. I loved how she was a mother but also as a woman who fought for what she wanted, fought for Dawson. Oh Dawson, imperfect, scruffy, haunted Dawson. What a guy.

This book kept me hooked from start to finish. Whilst I guessed some of the twists, others I didn’t see coming. Fantastic from start to finish.

Playing with Fire by @KittyMeader

Playing with Fire (Hot in Chicago, #2)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Cover: Yes please!

Trope: Fake relationship

Chemistry Rating: Simmering / Off the charts Scorchio

One-Sentence Summary: Sassy firefighter meets sleek and well-coifed mayor

Review: This book is everything you would come from a Kate Meader book – lots of fiery hot scenes and some great dialogue. Alex and Eli’s story is definitely a case of ‘opposites attract’. Much to Alex’s dismay, the sassy firefighter finds herself attracted to a guy who rKate Meader - Eliepresents everything she doesn’t like. Luckily for Eli though they save each other’s lives and embark upon a high stakes fake relationship to win those pesky voters around. Add in a cute dog and a handful of Dempsey brothers in super Alpha mode and you’ve got the perfect romance package.

The only thing I would want more of his Alex in kickass firefighting mode.

Dempseys Final

Q & A with … @KittyMeader

Today I am delighted to be hosting a Q&A with Kate Meader in honour of her new release ‘Even The Score’, brought to you by Entangled Publishing.  For more Q&A with Kate, please see this post.

Q.  What gave you the idea for the “Talk, Dark and Texan” series?

A. Actually, I started with the premise in Book 1, Even the Score. I had an idea about a woman working at a wedding as a caterer or a bartender, coming across a weeping bride in the bathroom ahead of the ceremony, then a little back-and-forth that ends with the woman convincing the bride to jilt the groom. Then the first chapter would end with the caterer/bartender comforting the groom, being super attracted to him, but she can’t tell him she’s the reason the bride did a runner. After a bit of brainstorming I thought it would be stronger if the woman was a friend, maybe the maid of honor, and she already had a history of hate-attraction with the groom. The idea to make the heroes Texan came about when I was thinking about the hero—why would it be so important to him to marry this woman? Where had he come from and what was he trying to prove, hence Hunter as the #TrailerTrashTexanTycoon. Then because I like series that are more hero-centric, I thought having a bunch of Texan guy friends who had been screwed over in love would be a fun way to relate them.Kate Meader

Q. I am really looking forward to Brody/Emma’s story. What can you tell us about them?

A. I’ve never written an office romance before, so I thought that would be a fun one to tackle (another trope checked off—yay!). Brody is the logical, analytical, somewhat nerdy one of the Texan trio and Emma is the office manager at Score Property. So there’s lot’s of opportunity for high levels of UST (unresolved sexual tension!). But because this is a Brazen, the U in UST has to resolve pretty quickly which can be tricky with the boss/employee taboo. Emma projects cool and unflappable, but she’s hiding a rather wild past (and present), living a double life, actually. Brody’s been in a bit of a fog since a bad breakup, and when Emma gets into trouble, his protective instincts rear up.

Q. What’s your favourite writing spot?

A. I have an office/guest room where I try to wrangle my characters into submission. But really, I prefer the sofa as long as my husband’s not around playing PS4 or the guitar or watching soap operas (he’s a big Days of Our Lives fan. Yep, 30 years and counting.)

Q. How do you decide on names for your characters?

A. For guys, I usually do one syllable names or names that sound appropriate for the area they grew up in. Of course, then I came up with Hunter and Brody 😉 For heroines, I’m pretty much open to anything but Zoe or Chloe – those names grate on my nerves for some reason and have been vetoed from all future books.

Q. If you had to choose just one, who is your favourite couple out of all the romances you’ve written so far and why?

A. Some authors will say it’s always they one they are currently writing, but not me. I have clear favorites! I’m tempted to go with Cara and Shane from All Fired Up, the second book in the Hot in the Kitchen series. Cara’s a prickly heroine, not instantly likeable, and is probably the only character who’s made me cry while writing her. She’s so broken and completely unlike most of my other heroines who are largely rather put together. Shane’s the perfect hero for her (my only beta hero, IIRC), so sexy and patient and Irish. Giving Cara and Shane a run for their money is Alex and Eli, my female firefighter and headstrong mayor in Book 2 of the Hot in Chicago series. They’re really funny and sexy together, and I’d say I enjoyed writing them the most.

Even The Score by @KittyMeader Book Tour

EvenTheScoreTour

Even the Score CoverEven the Score
by Kate Meader
and Texan, Dark, Tall
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Amazon • Amazon CA • Amazon UK • B&N • Kobo • iBooks

Synopsis: He’ll make her an offer she can’t refuse…

Actress Tess McKenzie is performing in the Tenth Circle of Showbiz Hell—dinner theater. All she really wants is to start a theater of her own. Then Tess receives an offer she can’t refuse. She’ll get her funding…if she pretends to be the fiancée to her nemesis, Texan property tycoon Hunter Dade. If she’s going to pull this off, she’ll need all the luck she can get.Break a leg, indeed.

On the verge of a big business deal, Hunter needs to hire a fiancée. He hasn’t quite forgiven Tess for ruining his wedding, but when their chemistry goes from combative to straight-up lust, the “no sex” clause in their mutually beneficial arrangement is tested. Which is a serious problem, because if Tess isn’t careful, she’ll go from breaking a leg to breaking her heart…

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About Kate Meader

Kate MeaderOriginally from Ireland, Kate cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boon thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.

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Friction by @SandraBrown_NYT

FrictionARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 5*

Cover: Yay

Trope: Shit hot romantic suspense

Chemistry Rating: Off the charts Scorchio

One-Sentence Summary: The lives of a Texas Ranger and a Judge intersect when a gunman bursts into a courtroom

Review: Okay guys here we are in July and I’m calling it: BEST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVEL OF 2015!

How can anything beat this? This just had everything you could possibly want from a book of this genre and was a complete and utter page turner.

Sandra Brown and a multitude of her books have been on my ‘To-Read’ shelf for awhile now but it’s always been a case of “I will try out this popular-author-with-a-lot-of-books once I finish reading all of the Nora Roberts books that I have on my To-Read list” but then I landed ‘Friction’ as an ARC and was ecstatic that it was a standalone (as most of Brown’s books are) and dipped straight in.

Sandra Brown - CrawfordHolly

I could not put it down. I mean wow. How does she get me to care so much about the characters?! Crawford/Holly <3 <3 <3 – I just could not get enough!  And little Georgia.  And Joe and Grace who you wanted to despise but could kind of see where they were coming from.  And the romance fits in nicely with the suspense i.e. it’s not like in some books where the characters are in imminent danger and then they’re like “never mind about that, let’s just get our clothes off”.  Here it happens in realistic intervals in downtime and whilst Crawford and Holly go from ‘just met’ to ‘love’ really quickly in terms of timeframes, it doesn’t really seem that quick because so much happens and they go through so much together.

Definitely recommending anyone who like some romance with their crime (or some crime with their romance ..)!

A Cowboy Returns by @Kelli_Ireland

A Cowboy ReturnsRating: 4*

Cover: Yay

Trope: Reconciliation romance

Chemistry Rating: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: Big city lawyer goes back to the family ranch and reconnects with a past love

Review: This book had a lot more angst and substance than I have come to expect from a Harlequin Blaze, dealing issues like having to cull a herd due to disease and how to make peace with the memory of your dead husband.

I loved Reagan as a character (and Brisket even more!). She carries Kelli Ireland - Eliaround a lot of baggage from the two men in her life whilst always remaining the consummate professional on the job. After seeing Eli be knocked around a couple of times then he grew on me too.

I liked seeing how Eli and Reagan worked through their city-boy / country-girl differences with Reagan willing to give the city a chance. Very often these so called “issues” are resolved without much fanfare.

I am really looking forward to Cade and Ty’s books – hope they get released soon!

Falling for Her Fake Fiancé by @SarahMAnderson1

Falling for Her Fake FiancéARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4.5*

Cover: Yay

Trope: Fake relationship

Chemistry Rating: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: Ethan Logan needs help winning over the employees of the brewery – who better to help than the sister of the former owner

Review: I hadn’t read any of the previous books of the series so part of me was wondering whether having no knowledge of the Beaumont family would hinder my enjoyment of this book .. well, it doesn’t. Whilst previous characters do make an appearance, you can still very much enjoy this book as a standalone.

I love a good fake relationship trope but the trouble with them is that very often the setup can seem rather too, well, fake. However, the reason for the fake relationship in this story seemed realistic and there was a wonderful progression of feelings fromSarah M Anderson - Ethan dislike to admiration to lust to love.

I loved both Ethan and Frances as characters. I would very much like an Ethan in my life and Frances was wonderful as a strong, sassy female. The banter between them was great foreplay.

So overall a wonderful, quick read with a nicely paced romance.

Summer Mix 2015: Sounds Of Summer

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  1. Danielle Bradbery – Young In America
  2. Dan + Shay – Stop, Drop + Roll
  3. Dierks Bentley – Sounds Of Summer
  4. Scotty McCreery – Feelin’ It
  5. Florida Georgia Line – Sun Daze
  6. Mat Kearney – Heartbeat
  7. Lady Antebellum – Our Kind Of Love
  8. Dan + Shay – Nothin’ Like You
  9. Matt Wertz – Last Good Girl
  10. Lady Antebellum – Freestyle
  11. Tyrone Wells – Catch A Moment
  12. Dave Barnes – Twenty Three
  13. Dan + Shay – Show You Off
  14. Chase Rice – Ready Set Roll
  15. Avril Lavigne – Here’s To Never Growing Up
  16. Gloriana – Wanna Get To Know You
  17. Tyrone Wells – Feel Good
  18. Dustin Lynch – Where It’s At
  19. Gloriana – Are You Ready
  20. Florida Georgia Line – Anything Goes
  21. Gloriana – Let’s Take A Shot
  22. Lady Antebellum – All Nighter
  23. Train – Cadillac, Cadillac
  24. Gloriana – It’s On Tonight
  25. Florida Georgia Line – Every Night
  26. Sam Hunt – Leave The Night On
  27. Dustin Lunch – After Party
  28. Pitbull – Do I
  29. Gloriana – Ain’t Runnin’ Out Of Summer
  30. Marc Broussard – Shine

Second Chance Summer by @JillShalvis

Second Chance Summer (Cedar Ridge, #1)Rating: 2.5-3*

Cover: Yay

Trope: I want to say reconciliation romance but can it really be that when they weren’t together in the first place?!

Chemistry Rating: Damp squid

Review: This is one of those “I’m a massive fan of the author BUT …” reviews so hang on tight.

I am a massive fan of Jill Shalvis but what was this?

I know getting a first book in a new series to be of a high standard is tricky when you’ve got to introduce all these new main characters, recurring secondary characters, the setting, laying the groundwork for future books and romances etc. but this really didn’t work for me.

The main reason it didn’t work for me was not really any of the above but the fact that we were told about the depth of Aidan’s feelings for Lily right from the start. Now if they were childhood sweethearts and actually had a relationship way back when, I can believe that he spent the following years and years thinking of her and pining for her but actually what happened between them is one kiss. Yes one kiss.

Then we have the fact that Lily wouldn’t allow herself to like him because she thought he was Ashley’s (her now dead sister) and she still feels guilty for her death. I get the feeling guilty for her death bit but really why didn’t she just come out and ask Aidan casually whether he was ever involved with her sister.

The majority of the book takes place in the salon or Lily’s flat or up a mountain and the super speed that Aidan and Lily go from giving into their lust to saying “I love you” without a single proper date in between was warped.

The secondary characters introduced were a bit blah. Lily’s friend Jonathan didn’t win any points but I liked Aidan’s mother. As to his brothers and sisters? The two that have me most intrigued right now are Kenna and Jacob. So while I was disappointed with this book, I am definitely not done with this series.

PS. Also seriously how many haircuts/facials does a sexy firefighter really need?! Maybe it’s just me but the salon setting didn’t interest me at all.