Entangled, Reviews, Thoughts

Best of 2017! @entangledpub @HarlequinBooks @nanamalone @Cathlanigan @katee_robert @karenrock5 @stephiewalls @MimiJeanRomance @minxmalone @MsMonicaMurphy @Regina_Kyle1 @RadioRico @evacharles37 @TotallyTabetha @CaraBristol @RachelBrimble @scarscoromance @PatriciaEimer @booksby_sarah @rebecca_norinne @christina_elle1

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So I’ve done it for the second time in a row.  I know.  But I just couldn’t help it this year.  What’s surprising is what IS NOT on the list.  I didn’t read a lot of romantic suspense (at least for the blog) and only 3 books made the list.  A lot rom-com’s made the list.  I needed to laugh this year and I did…a lot!  Some New Adult books made it, too.  Some debut authors, new to me authors and personal favorites.  Another surprise is that a paranormal didn’t make the list at all.

I don’t want to get preachy this year but I’m not sure what is going to happen.  I’ll still be blogging and reviewing.  But I probably won’t be reviewing as much as I did.  Working as a substitute teacher is a full-time job for me now.  I work pretty much every day now and I love it.  Baseball season for Thad and Brian is going to start next month and let’s not forget that we are going on a 7-day cruise during our Spring Break.  We can.not.wait either.  Cozumel, Jamacia, and the Grand Caymans here we come.  If you can believe this, it will be our first family vacation EVER.  No family, no friends.  Just the 3 of us.

I did accomplish some things that most bloggers already knew how to do.  I’m old and a bit slow when it comes to being on trend.  This blog will be 10 years old in October and I couldn’t be prouder of what I’ve done, the authors that have been on and the friendships that I have made just blogging.  That said, here goes to what I’ve learned:

  1.  Goodreads – I was challenged last year in Monica Murphy’s group to sign up for the Reading Challenge.  I signed up to read only 50 books and ended up reading 87 books.  This year my goal is 75 books.
  2.   Hashtags – Still learning this but I’m getting more retweets because of them.  And followers.
  3.   Instagram/Pinterest – Still learning but I’m doing some Instagram only posts.  It’s been fun and interesting all at the same time.
  4.   Learning to say no to me.  One of the hardest things a blogger/reviewer can learn.  I’m not Wonder Woman and I have a life outside of the publishing world.  I intend to keep it that way.
  5.   No matter what I say or do, I’ll never be an author’s assistant, work for a publisher, or make a buck writing.  Yes, after too many “no’s”, being laughed at and then told no way in hell, I decided to just forget about it.
  6.   In reference to #5, this is also why I won’t be blogging as much as I have in the past.  I feel like, at times, that my blog is just a joke to some.  To me, it’s not.  You try to do this for almost 10 years.  Sure, I don’t have a posse of reviewers, authors beating down my door, networking at conventions/conferences but I think I do alright.
  7.   Its okay to review a book and post to Amazon, Goodreads, etc. and NOT the blog.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately and I love it.  No pressure to post to the blog because of scheduling.

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And I’m loving using Gifs!

Here are my top 20 books for 2017 in no particular order.

  1.  Ethan’s Daughter by Rachel Brimble.  I know, she makes my list every year but this book is bittersweet.  It’s the second to last book of her excellent Templeton Cove series.  And yes, I have read book #8 and I cried a bit.  I can’t believe the series is over but I know that my English Rose won’t leave me hanging when it comes to her books.  But I will however still be in the corner trying to process it all.  (Contemporary, Harlequin, romance, series, sensual)
  2. Claimed by the Cyborg (Cy-Ops #5)  by Cara Bristol.  As I said in my review, why are you NOT reading this series?  It has alpha men, strong heroines, just enough sexy times and action/adventure.  Ms. Bristol doesn’t dumb down the sci-fi to her readers and the plots are relatable.  (Romance, series, spicy, action/adventure, Sci-Fi)
  3. OH Henry (OHellNo series #2) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff.  I will admit that New Adult is finally growing on me.  The books that I have read last year are relatable, funny as hell, sexy and the characters just make sense.  I’ve told yall a million times.  My teens and 20’s were a blast.  Maybe too much of a blast but my life isn’t angsty like most books in this genre.  Ms. Pamfiloff just nails it with this series.  I can’t wait to see what she has in store with book 3.  (Contemporary, New Adult, series, romance, funny, spicy)
  4. Why the Earl is After the Girl (Ways of Love #1) by Tabetha Waite.  Debut author.  Took a chance.  Glad that I did.  Loved this book.  I have read the second book in the series and waiting impatiently for the 3rd one.  You really need to check her out.  (Historical, romance, series, debut author, sensual)
  5. Mr. Dirty (a London Billionaire standalone) by Nana Malone.  Ms. Malone is fast becoming an auto-buy author for me.  She writes funny, sexy as hell, fast-paced books about characters that you really care about.  Plus, there is depth to the story and characters.  (Contemporary, romance, spicy, series)
  6.  His Baby Dilemma (Indian Shores novel) by Catherine Lanigan.  This is one author to watch out for.  She writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and I just can’t get enough of her writing.  Her characters come to life for me and this book, in particular, is her best yet.  Yes, its sweet but trust me, you don’t miss the sexy times.  (Contemporary, romance, Harlequin, series, sweet)
  7. Nudes (Exposed #1) by Sarah Robinson.  Her book Not A Hero made my list last year and she didn’t disappoint me again.  Brilliant writing, engaging characters, and a plot that is on topic.  (Contemporary, series, romance, spicy)
  8. Girl Crush by Stephie Walls.  This book.  It was my favorite rom-com of the year.  I never laughed so hard at someone trying to bat for the same team because men just suck.  This one has stayed with me for a long time.  (Contemporary, romance, romantic comedy, spicy)
  9. Force & Enforce (The Force Duet) by Minx Malone and Nana Malone.  The only romantic suspense book to make the list this year.  I just so love this writing duo.  The Shameless duet was superb and my review of Deep is Monday.  Even though the books are duets, it centers around a security agency and the guys are just too hot, dirty talking, take no prisoners alphas.  Of course, the women are kick ass, too.  (Romantic Suspense, series, spicy)
  10. His Fake Alien Fiancee (Out of this World #2) by Patricia Eimer.  I challenged myself to read some sci-fi last year and let me tell I’m glad that I read this one.  It’s relatable, it happens on earth and our heroine is just flat out funnier than hell.  It read more like a rom-com but the sci-fi is there in spades.  If you are looking for a hilarious sci-fi romance, pick this one up.  You won’t be disappointed.  I will tell you that I haven’t picked up the other books in the series.  I know, I suck.  (Sci-Fi, Romance, series, spicy, comedy)
  11. Christmas at Cade Ranch (Rocky Mountain Cowboys #1) by Karen Rock.  Another Harlequin Heartwarming by one of my all-time favorite authors.  Ms. Rock never disappoints and this series is no different.  And yes, I’ve read the second book in the series.  This series deals with real issues that most people face every day.  Plus, it has cowboys.  (Harlequin, contemporary, romance, series, sweet)
  12. Ruck Me (a Dublin Rugby romance #2) by Rebecca Norinne.  A new author to me and it’s a New Adult.  OH.MY.GOSH.  Ireland, the accent, Rugby.  I was a goner before I even read a page.  This one deals with more real-life issues that people at this age experience and she doesn’t gloss over it.  It could be considered over angsty but I fell in love with the characters and couldn’t stop reading.  I’ve read the first book in the series and it was just as good.  Now I need #3.  Did I mention Ireland?  Pubs?  Rugby? (Contemporary, romance, New Adult, series, spicy)
  13. Leather Pants (Happy Pants Cafe #2) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff.  *swoon* This book wasn’t what I thought it was going to be and I’m glad.  Ms. Mimi doesn’t disappoint with her contemporaries and this series is perfection.  You will definitely fall in love with Mr. Leather Pants.  (Contemporary, romance, series, spicy)
  14. Forever (a Friends Novel #3) by Monica Murphy.  #CuddlewithTuttle  This series has all the feels of what a Young Adult novel should be.  Angsty, a swoon-worthy hero and heroine, the friends that you want to slap and I really felt like I was back in high school.  Ms. Murphy just nails it with this book.  She must have snuck into a high school and took notes, like Cameron Crowe because a lot of what she wrote, I experience as a substitute teacher at our high school.  (Contemporary, romance, series, Young Adult)
  15. The Billionaire in Her Bed by Regina Kyle.  An Indulgence title that didn’t disappoint.  In fact, I kinda wish it were longer.  Ms. Kyle writes about a topic that is so newsworthy, relatable and being able to find the family that you were looking for.  Yes, these book is about rich people or the fact that come from money but she writes it in such a way, that money isn’t the issue.  This was my first book from Ms. Kyle and won’t be my last.  (Contemporary, spicy, romance)
  16. Meadow Shores series books 1-4 by Eva Charles.  Why are you NOT reading this series?  It’s about grown-ups.  Yes, real grown-ups and how they relate to their jobs, their families and ultimately, their love partner.  One book sticks out to me and that’s Petite Madeleine.  Drew and Cassie’s story is a second chance romance that just hits all the buttons for me.  But of course, all the books hit the button but this one…it just stuck.  Oh and Ms. Charles is redoing the covers.  (Contemporary, romance, series, spicy)
  17. Reckless Need (Hearts Temptation novel) by Scarlett Scott.  A spicy, well written historical that I just couldn’t put down.  This one dealt with a submissive man and a woman that just might be what he needs.  Yes, they are married, but their secrets almost consume them.  I loved the interaction between the other couples, too.  (Historical, spicy, series, romance, BDSM elements)
  18. In Walked Trouble (Under Covers @3) by Christina Elle.  Run. Don’t walk to get this book. Ms. Elle will surprise you with your dialogue, humor, action, pacing, and characters that you will become invested in that you will laugh and at times cry for them. Perfection in my book.  And it’s only her SECOND BOOK.  And the grandmas.  Too much.  (Romantic Suspense, comedy, military, series, spicy)
  19. Blame it on the Bet (a Whiskey Sisters novel) by L.E. Rico.  Hennesey, Bailey, Walker, and Jamieson walked into a bar.  Oh wait, they own the bar and seriously, those are their names.  This book has all the feels for me.  It’s character driven, the priest is hilarious, there are cats in costumes and Hennessey and Bryan are just too loveable but stubborn to ignore.  I can’t wait to find out about the other sisters.  (Contemporary, romance, series, sweet)
  20. Undercover Attraction (the O’Malley’s #5) by Katee Robert.  *thud*  This series.  Mafia and I don’t read mafia romances.  But there is something about the O’Malley’s that I just can’t get enough of at this point.  This is a must-read for anyone that loves action-packed, hard loving, dirty talking men and the women that somewhat tame them.  And the covers are totally lickable.  Just saying.  (Romantic Suspense, spicy as hell, series)

So there you have it.  I read more than 20 books but those are my top picks for last year.  I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings me to read.

If you are looking for me on Amazon, my reviewer name is Brian’s Mom.  I know, not original but it works.  On Goodreads, it is Harlie Williams.

 

Release Day, Reviews

Happy Release Day & ARC #Review of Christmas with the Billionaire by Lila Monroe! #romanticcomedy #newrelease @givemebooksblog @lilawrites

 

 

Title: Christmas with the Billionaire
Author: Lila Monroe
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: November 30, 2017
Blurb
Spice up the holiday season with the hilarious new holiday novella from Lila Monroe.
Dressing up as a sexy elf to sing Christmas hits isn’t exactly the glittering Broadway career I had planned. The only thing more humiliating than my outfit is coming face-to-face with Oliver Gage, the sexy big-shot theatre producer who just crushed my dreams. He’s arrogant, infuriating… and did I mention how sexy he is?
I’ve sworn never to get comfy on the casting couch, but when we’re snowed in together upstate, it’s looking like a pretty good place to spend the night. Soon, sparks – and my panties – are flying.
Who said Christmas only had to come once a year? 

Ever just need to read a cute, sexy, funny as hell story?  Throw in Christmas, a heroine that is just too funny for words and a hot hero in the mix?  Look no further than this book.  I will admit that it is a bit short for my taste but I loved every word.  Ms. Monroe is the queen when it comes to shorter works with actual character depth, emotions and doesn’t overdo the smexy times.  Yes, folks, there is an actual plot to the book.  Heck, the book could have not even had the sex in it and it would have been just as awesome.  I know, then why bother to read the book?  Let me tell you why you should.

Oliver and Jill.  Plus, I could live a little through Jill.  My childhood dream was to dance on Broadway and Jill gets to do that, or at least try.  Jill is just one of those characters that you can identify with from the first page.  Likeable, relatable, wished you had her Brooklyn address and the feisty, snarky mouth to go with all that.  Plus, come on there is a scene in the book that we ALL wished we could tell our boss.  Plus, in the end, she kinda made Oliver actually work for it.  I knew that was coming but I really liked how she stood her ground with him.  She is the perfect partner for him in the end.

Oliver.  I just love that name.  Of course, Oliver Hudson has that name, I could lick him all over.  And yes, that’s who I pictured in my mind when it came to the character.  Plus, I liked that even though he had money, he never really mentioned it and threw it around.  Sure he was a Broadway producer but he is also very down to earth when it comes to his personal relationships.  Loved the scenes with his family and his sister is a hoot.  Sure there is a bit of instalove in the book but you don’t have to worry about the genuine feelings that Oliver has for Jill.  He realizes that she isn’t the typical actress/starlet that he has dated before and gotten burned by.  I liked his openness with Jill in the end.  He made me love him even more.

Overall, I really liked this Christmas themed story.  But then again, Ms. Monroe is fast becoming an auto-buy author for me.  I love her writing style, voice and above all, her ability to make me care about characters in a short time.  A lot of authors can’t do that but she can.

Purchase Links
Only 99c!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Available at other retailers soon

 

 

Author Bio
Combining her love of writing, sex and well-fitted suits, Lila Monroe wrote The Billionaire Bargain. Lila enjoys writing, as it gives her a flexible schedule to spend time with her kids and a wonderful excuse to avoid them. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, who strips out of his well-fitted suits nightly.
Author Links
Excerpt, Giveaways, Reviews

#Review of The Boyfriend Swap by Meredith Schorr w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @meredithschorr @MeredithSchorr #RomCom

The Boyfriend Swap

by Meredith Schorr

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GENRE: Romantic Comedy

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BLURB:

Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year? New Yorkers Robyn Lane and Sidney Bellows aren’t so sure. Robyn has always dated struggling creative types. For once, her parents would love her to bring someone with health insurance and a 401(k) to their Chrismukkah celebration. Her actor boyfriend doesn’t qualify. While across town, Sidney’s professional life already belongs to her parents. She’s an attorney at her father’s law firm and she works tirelessly to keep her love life private. If she brings her lawyer boyfriend to their annual Christmas extravaganza, her parents will have the wedding planned by New Year’s Eve.

A mutual friend playfully suggests they trade boyfriends for the holidays. The women share a laugh, but after copious amounts of wine, decide The Boyfriend Swap could be the perfect solution. This way, Robyn can show off her stable attorney boyfriend and Sidney’s high-society family will take no interest in her flaky actor beau.

It’s a brilliant plan—in theory. In practice—not so much. When Will turns out to be the boy-next-door Robyn crushed on hard throughout her teenage years, and Sidney’s family fawns all over Perry like he’s an Oscar-winner rather than a D-list wannabe, one thing is certain: The Boyfriend Swap might just change their lives forever.

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Excerpt One:

“Give the idea a minute to percolate,” Sidney said calmly. Her mouth remained in a straight line, indicating she wasn’t joking.

My stomach quivered with unease, but I took calming breaths to settle down. According to Anne Marie, Sidney was very opinionated and sometimes wouldn’t shut up until she got her way. I’d just let her keep at it until her throat hurt or she passed out from too much wine.

Sidney continued, “If left to our own devices, the holidays are going to blow chunks, but if we pool together, we’ll all be better off. And it’s only for a few days. It’s the perfect solution to our mutual problem.”

I stood from the table and removed a bottle of water from the refrigerator. I poured a glass and placed it in front of her. Hopefully she’d take the hint. The wine was clearly going to her head.

“What do you say?” she asked the minute I sat back down.

The girl had to be on more than fermented grape juice. Hallucinogenics maybe? Whatever influence she was under, she clearly believed her ludicrous plan had merit and I was going to have to put my foot down. “I say that I’m a grown woman and shouldn’t need to lie to my parents about who I’m dating.”

Sidney nodded. “I agree. You shouldn’t.”

A breeze of relief zipped through my core. “Glad we’re on the same page.”

“You shouldn’t have to lie, but in our case, we sort of do. If we want to make it to the New Year without requiring a straitjacket, that is.” She smiled, a slick grin I was certain both assured her clients and put the fear of the devil in her adversaries in equal measure.

 

Where do I start with this gem of a book?  Seriously?  The premise sounded like a true winner and it really was.  I loved Robyn, Perry, Will, and Sidney.  But I did have my favorites.  Anna Marie is a hoot, too but I’ll get more into the secondary characters later.  What truly sets this book apart from any other chick lit/rom-com is that its clean.  I know, right?  I’ve read some really good rom com’s lately but this one is clean.  Sure, sure, the couples before the swap engage in the bedroom but we never see it and its only in passing do we even hear about.  Your’ grandmother can read this book or even better a teenager.  Did I miss it?  Nope, not one bit and you won’t either.  This is a story about two couples that need to grow up, figure out what they want in life and how they are going to achieve it.  With or without their current partner.

Robyn and Will stand out for me because of the trope, childhood friends to lovers.  Robyn and Will have a chemistry that is just there on the edge but neither one of them want to step off.  Robyn has had it in her head about Will since she was a teen and doesn’t want to spoil that image or fantasy.  Will, on the other hand, just to figure out if Sidney is the right woman for him.  You will cheer this couple on from the beginning.  I loved these two and their romance is a slow build with a broken heart or two.  I won’t go into anymore because of spoilers.  Let’s just say that I’m very satisfied how it…

Sidney and Perry are a completely different story.  If I had to pick the couple that needs the most work, it would be them.  Take an alpha female with severe daddy issues and pair her with a wannbe actor and its a recipe for diasater.  I never laughed so hard at them.  Perry is trying to shake her up and boy does he.  Sidney doesn’t know what to do and the pantry scene is priceless.  I saw it coming but I still loved it.  It finally showed a Sidney that I liked.  I didn’t like her very much until then.  She’s got a bunch of issues to deal with and when she FINALLY tells her dad “sorta” off, I cheered for her.  If I had one compliant, I would have liked to see where she and Perry ended up.  The scene at Lord & Taylor is just too funny.  Cherry Bomb!

Both girls have family issues that they need to take of in the book and with the help of their ‘boyfriends”, they succed on some level.  Peeps, this book is chopped full of laughs, two couples that shouldn’t be together but are and some major growing up for the girls.  Ms. Schorr has written a winner of a book.  I highly recommend it.  Plus, it has Lord & Taylor.  I know, I live in Texas but we had L & T in Dallas when I was growing up.  I used to get my hair cut there and my first ever Victor Costa party dress was bought there.  And yes, I still have the dress.  😉

I can’t wait to read another book from Ms. Schorr.  I loved her voice, style and most of her characters.  Anna Marie and both sides of the family are great, too.  James is a hoot for Robyn to sound off to and the two guys at the beach were priceless.  Pick this book up.  Tell your friends.  And then tell what book of hers next to read.

 

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

A born-and-bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing romantic comedy and humorous women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hardworking trademark paralegal and her still-single (but looking) status. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan, an avid runner, and an unashamed television addict. To learn more, visit her at www.meredithschorr.com.

 

Social media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MeredithSchorrAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/MeredithSchorr

Website: www.meredithschorr.com

Instagram: meredithschorr

 

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 

Meredith will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway