Authors, Entangled, opinion, Reviews, Thoughts

Best of 2016! @entangledpub @HarlequinHeartwarmingAuthors @vastine7 @RachelBrimble @CLSkaggs @BooksBy_Sarah @RebeccaYarros @Sherilee_Gray @AdriennGiordano @MimiJeanRomance @MsMonicaMurphy @KTCastle_author @AlisonBliss2 @kennedyfoxbooks @CateBeauman @Naima_Simone

Shocked?  You should be because I don’t do lists on the blog when it comes to the “best of”.  I never have and I swore that I wouldn’t do it either.  I feel like these kinds of lists are just bragging to other bloggers that you are better than they are.  Bloggers are a different breed.  I’ve been bullied by authors, publishers, and bloggers since I started blogging 9 years ago.  I’ve almost quit a few times, too.  Jealousy has reared its ugly head, too.  I had to come to the realization that I will never be one of the “popular” blogs.  I don’t go to cons where most of the “popular” go to and let’s face it, suck up to authors and publishers.  They promise the world to them and most of the time they deliver.  Blogs like mine don’t operate like that and I won’t sell my soul to be that blogger.

I have not and will not become a minion and I have my opinion, which is quite different from everyone else.  I’m good with this because if you ever met me in person…what you see is what you get.  Bad behavior is something that I can’t comprehend nor do I condone.  I have many popular authors that other bloggers seem to adore that I won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.  They burned me earlier in my blogging career and therefore, they are not welcome on the blog…ever!

So enough of my tirade.  Here are my choices for the year 2016.  In no particular order:

 

Catch a Fallen Star by Amy Vastine.  Yes, it’s a Harlequin Heartwarming and its sweet.  But this book is pure perfection when it comes to the line.  Perfectly written, solid characters and a story that will tug at your heart.  Plus, it’s got the kind of romance that just sneaks up on you. (Contemporary Romance, Sweet, series)

 

The Lucie Rizzo Series by Adrienne Giordano.  Okay, so she writes Harlequin Intrigue but this series is a mystery series with romantic elements with laugh out loud comedy.  It’s set in Chicago and deals with an Italian mob princess that is out and in love with an Irish cop.  And the mysteries revolve around her dog business.  I seriously can’t make this up but Ms. Giordano did and it’s the best. (Mystery, comedy, romance, series, sensual)

 

Saved by the Fireman by Rachel Brimble.  My English Rose is the best.  I’ve been with her since she started writing for the Wild Rose Press and she never disappoints.  Never.  And this Harlequin Superromance series is the best.  I love Templeton Cove. (Contemporary Romance, sensual, series)

 

Breaking Him by Sherilee Gray.  This is one of the launch books for Entangled Publishing’s Scorched line.  Now, you know that I don’t review erotic anymore but the blurb intrigued me.  Beautifully written erotic romance where the sex actually makes sense and is necessary.  It’s raw, highly emotional and you will swoon throughout the whole book.  It’s all about trust. (Contemporary Romance, erotic)

 

Size Matters by Alison Bliss.  Good lord, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much reading a book.  This is the book that you need to read if you have ever had body image issues (ME).  Ms. Bliss has written a book that everyone one of us needs to read and realize that yes, size matters but it only matters to yourself. (Contemporary Romantic Comedy, spicy, series)

 

Bridesmaid Checklist:  Marisol’s Wedding by KT Castle.  This author sneaked up on me.  I read the first book in the series and while I loved it, one of the girls was awful.  Non redeeming.  Still not after this book but her behavior from the first book makes sense.  You need to read this series. (Contemporary Romance, spicy/sensual, series)

 

The Bachelor’s Auction by Naima Simone.  Yes, it’s Indulgence by Entangled.  They are my crack.  Tropy, sexy and just what I expect from the line.  This one was a treat.  It’s a childhood friend’s to lovers trope that is written beautifully.  You feel the love from the first encounter and it never lets up. (Contemporary Romance, spicy, series)

 

The Bridal Bouquet by Tara Randal.  It’s another Harlequin Heartwarming, sue me.  I love this line and this one deals with the bridal industry and a cop that is investigating a drug ring.  Seriously.  What makes this book special is that love is based on trust.  Not just from a lover but from your family, too.  Important message…that was well received.  (Contemporary Romance, sweet, series)

The Bodyguards of L.A. County Series by Cate Beauman.  Romantic suspense is what I cut my teeth on and Ms. Beauman doesn’t disappoint.  My favorite in the series is Falling for Sarah.  Beautifully written, creepy villain and a love story so romantic that you won’t believe it’s a suspense book.  (Romantic Suspense, series, spicy)

 

God of Wine (Immortal Matchmakers series) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff.  Paranormal is not my favorite but I just had to read this one based on the blurb alone.  I nearly peed my pants when I read this one.  Laugh out loud funny, features a heroine that is older and the secondary characters are the best. (Paranormal Romance, spicy, series, comedy)

Not a Hero by Sarah Robinson.  This book has all the feels.  A hero that has his demons from coming back from the war.  A heroine that won’t let him fail and secondary characters that are spot on.  If you are looking for a military romance, this one is for you. (Contemporary Romance, spicy, military)

Checkmate Duet:  This is War & This is Love by Kennedy Fox.  Travis and Viola.  The perfect enemies to lovers story PERIOD.  No one else comes close.  These women obliterated the trope and made it their own.  I dare you to read it and disagree with me.  I double dog dare you. (Contemporary Romance, series, spicy/erotic)

Unforgettable (Untouchables series) by Cindy Skaggs.  Again, romantic suspense at it’s best.  This one involves the mob. Like I told Ms. Skaggs, I base all of my romantic suspense heroes to Noah Clayborne from Julie Garwood’s Buchanan’s series.  Blake comes very, very close to Noah.  Yes, Blake is that awesome of a hero.  (Romantic Suspense, series, spicy)

 

 

Lastly, I have two surprises for the list.  As most know, I don’t read YA/NA because most authors bring too much angst for me to the book.  I had a great childhood and my 20’s were a lot of fun.  Okay, almost too much fun.  But I wasn’t abused, didn’t do drugs, etc. so I pretty much stopped reading the genres.  Again, I was happy so I want my characters to have fun.

 

More Than Friends (Friends #2) by Monica Murphy.  Like I said in my review, she “get’s” it.  One of the most realistic books that I have ever read.  It felt like I was reading about my own friends from high school and I’ve been out of high school for 32 years.  Plus, Tuttle and Mandy.  Enough said.  A teen romance that is swoon worthy, believable and I need the sequel like yesterday.  (Contemporary Young Adult, sensual, series)

Wilder (the Renegades #1) by Rebecca Yarros.  Dear Lord in Heaven.  Wilder.  Wilder.  Wilder.  Extreme sports, college on a cruise ship and chemistry between people that will not be denied.  And to think that Nova’s story is coming next month.  I’m not sure the Kindle will be able to keep up.  (Contemporary New Adult, spicy, series)

So I bet you are wondering where the other genres are like historical, sci/fi, fantasy, etc.  I read them but I have learned from my readers to the blog, that their tastes are my tastes.  If you are looking for m/m, erotic/BDSM, go to http://www.harliewilliams.wordpress.com.  I review them over there.  Plus, I review on Amazon under the name Brian’s Mom.

And yes, this blogger listens to what her reader’s comment/read/share when it comes to content.  I started this blog for me to share my love of what I like to read.  Again, not popular by industry standards but at the readers that I have, appreciate me.  As do the authors.

 

So there you go.  My top 14 books of 2016.  Every one of these books is on my keeper shelf.  Do yourself a favor and find that one author that you have NEVER heard about and read the book.  Or pick a genre that you normally don’t read and take a chance.  You might surprise yourself.  I know that I did and I’m glad that I gave some genres another chance.  I know that authors appreciate it when someone finds their little gem of a book and reads it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authors, opinion, Samhain, Secret Cravings Publishing, Thoughts, TWRP

Reviewer’s thoughts on the publishing world #Samhain

heart-with-locket-background.jpg

I’ve always loved this but it just never quite fit for the blog.  Anyhoos…

My thoughts on Samhain closing it’s doors.  I am sad.  I’ve met some great authors through them.  Even fellow reviewers that have become good friends.  I even pitched a book to them at a conference.  Nothing but professional and kind.  Even though I was never on their preferred/review list, this blog featured their books often.  In fact, my first ever review was Emma Jay’s Two Step Temptation from February 23, 2011.

I am glad that they are going out with their heads held high and a positive note.  There are some that we are STILL hearing about because their bad behavior and I fear that it will happen again.  Secret Cravings Publishing went out with their heads up and Samhain will do the same.  Samhain is a class act through and through.  From editing, covers, the “warning labels”, authors and especially the groups that I belong to that are associated with them.  I feel for each and every one of you in this trying time.

Most authors, I sense are going more hybrid than anything.  This saddens me and alarms me to some degree.  Not that I don’t love the indie author but as a reviewer, I’ve read some really bad indie books that should have never made the light of day.  From the cover to editing, to being lied to from the blurb to the overall plot of the book…I just shook my head.  This is where the publisher comes in and makes the book better.  I feel as if the indie author just wants the sale and the minions to follow.

In my opinion, that’s not how publishing should be.  Writing is an art, not a NASCAR race.  The author should learn the craft, be patient and try to NOT be the next Nora Roberts.  It took her a few years before she even caught on and she was traditionally published.  Readers will come to you if you put out a quality product and don’t care about the sale.

This is the problem I have with the smaller presses folding.  They had the quality but not the sales.  Readers want instant gratification and the next Fifty Shades book.  Okay, maybe NOT that book but they want the book that everyone is talking about or that the media is trying to hype.  One of my all time favorite small presses is The Wild Rose Press.  Constantly putting out great books from a great company.  They never disappoint, just like Samhain and Secret Cravings.  I never had to worry that the book was going to be poorly written, the cover sucks or that the blurb lied to me in some way.  That goes a long way with this reviewer.

So you can see why I don’t review much anymore.  The quality isn’t there for me and I have a life that doesn’t revolve around publishing and trying to be the biggest and best review site on the block.  I tried that, didn’t work out and it made me sick for a couple of years.  I will stick with the presses that I know and love.

As for the indie writer, I will support you too and you know who you are.  The quality is there for me and you don’t disappoint.

If you want to hear my thoughts as a writer, here is the link to the author site.

Author link

Authors, Giveaways, Release Day

Happy Release Day to Hearts of Valor by various authors! w/a rafflecopter giveaway!

HeartsofValor_eBook_CVRHearts of Valor

Genre: Romance Anthology (Sweet)

Release Date: January 13, 2016

Keywords: Romance, Anthology, Sweet, military, veteran, war, POW, bravery

 

Tag Line:

 

It takes a heart of valor to survive love’s battlefield.

 

Six veteran themed romantic tales brimming with love and sacrifice are sure to show us all what it truly means to have a Heart of Valor.

 

Blurbs:

 

The PromiseLondon Saint James

 

The year Veronica turned twenty-two changed her life. She graduated from San Diego State University, married the handsome Lieutenant Carter Weis—widowed six months after the happy nuptials.

Captain Quinn Alstrom of the U.S. Coast Guard was eager to start his newest post; however the excitement had nothing to do with the beautiful surroundings of Key West, and everything to do with his best friend’s wife.

Will Quinn’s surprise arrival in Veronica’s life re-spark the fire in the vivacious woman he remembered? Or, will the memory of her fallen husband stop the two of them from finding happiness?   

 

A Manly Man Jean Young

 

Confederate POW, Braxton Bolton, had an unexpected visitor the day before his execution, when Arabella Anderson walked into his jail cell and, in front of other POWs, kissed him until he shook with desire.

 

Two years prior, she had been the Lieutenant Colonel’s prisoner. While she was tortured and raped by the other Confederate soldiers, Bolton was different. He protected her from further suffering, and the grateful young woman had come to repay his kindness.

While they became more and more intimate, she learned the story behind his kindness.

But what she learned while with her hero POW, turns the sweet girl into a fearsome warrior. One determined to save the soldier with a noble heart.

 

Hero of Her Heart S.L. Hughson

 

Nicole Taylor has loved Vincent for years. Now he’s back from serving in the Army, and she’s determined to make him see her as something other than a little sister.

 

After a heated Valentine’s date, Nicole is confused by Vince’s withdrawal. She confronts him, but no matter how hot their physical attraction, he keeps backing away.

 

Nicole helps him follow his lifelong dreams but he drifts further from her happily-ever-after plans. What will it take for him to see he is truly the hero of her heart?

 

 

Feathers T.E.Hodden

 

Kerry only wanted to do right by Christopher. To protect him from the whispers of ‘coward’ and the shame of a white feather.

 

But the war doesn’t look like a grand adventure any more. All Kerry wants is Chris home safe. But will he still be the same man she once knew?

 

Goin’ HomePhilip Lisagor

 

How will Jack be able to put Iraq behind him and return home to Leah and their two children? The green peaceful coast of Ireland is the perfect landing zone from the brown violent landscape of Mesopotamia. Jack is humping ruck along the North Atlantic coast when a chance encounter with an Irish maiden turns him all around and he hears the voice of Leah in a magical moment calling him home.

 

Promises Kept  – Terri Rochenski

 

Ever since they were kids, Joan dreamed of being Walt Herley’s wife. But, Joan’s dream is short-lived when the Korean War draft has Walt trading his groom’s suit for army fatigues. After a short celebration of their rushed nuptials, Walt is whisked away to fulfill his duty to his country, leaving Joan behind with a promise to return.

With her heart a world away, Joan struggles to keep her spirit afloat while praying for the war’s expedient end.  Fate, however, has a plan of its own, one that threatens Joan’s faith in Walt’s promise to return.

 

Purchase Links:

 

Roane Publishing: http://www.roanepublishing.com/product-p/hov-01.htm

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AGOHI6S

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01AGOHI6S

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hearts-of-valor-sharon-hugson/1123231671?ean=2940157909963

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/hearts-of-valor

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/hearts-of-valor-2

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-heartsofvalor-1964613-166.html

iTunes:https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hearts-of-valor/id1073221443?mt=11

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/606209

 

Goodreads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27516559-hearts-of-valor

 

Giveaway Information:

A $20 Amazon Gift Card

 

 

HoV Blog Tour Button (1)a Rafflecopter giveaway