Release Week, Reviews

Happy Release Week & ARC #Review of Fake Date by Monica Murphy! #romcom @MsMonicaMurphy

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“This book was like the best sort of dessert. I. Am. Addicted.” – #1NYT bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken

Fake Date, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is LIVE!

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Working at Bliss Lingerie, Sarah Harrison deals with all sorts of—interesting clientele. Yet no one sparks her interest more than Jared Gaines, the ultra-rich, ultra-sexy businessman who frequents her shop, buying delicate little “gifts” for the women in his life.

But one day, Jared sends her a gift from Bliss. Then another—and another. So when Sarah walks into his office demanding to know why he can’t stop sending her gifts, he makes her an offer she somehow can’t refuse: be his fake girlfriend for the weekend while attending his brother’s engagement party.

Next thing Sarah knows, she’s in San Francisco, pretending to be in love with Jared. Not that it’s a hardship. Once you get the man away from the office, he’s much more relaxed. Sweet. Funny. Even…thoughtful? Oh, and sexier than ever, of course.

Their pretend relationship feels very real, very quickly. Soon Sarah’s in over her head. Could what she and Jared share turn into something real? Or is it all actually…fake?

 

Peeps I loved this book.  I even liked it better than Save the Date.  There was something a bit naughtier about this book.  Sure it had some smexy times in it but its the job that Sarah has and how Jared interacts with her that set the tone and mood of the book.  Selling upscale lingerie can’t be easy for anyone but when you have a client that buys it for his so-called mistresses and then being on the receiving in of those gifts.  What’s a girl to do?

Jared is positively AWESOME in the book.  I read from Ms. Murphy that she actually had to tone him down and honestly, I would have liked to have read that version. He is not a very nice person in the book but there was something about him that I couldn’t shake.  I liked that he was subtle in his pursuit of Sarah.  The hate/love banter between them at the beginning of the book is priceless.  You know going in that the trope is a fake relationship but Ms. Murphy does a great job of putting a different spin on it.  Both Jared and Sarah come from different backgrounds but still feel the pain of losing a parent that has shaped them into what they are now.

Jared still acts like a sullen teenager when it comes to his family.  I get that, truly I do, but it’s not until Sarah is thrown into the mix that he realizes that he just needs to grow up.  And the whole ex-fiance bit?  Again, honestly, I found that I bit contrived for me.  Plus, the fact that Sarah didn’t hear it from Jared made me mad.  On the flip side, I found the ex-finance actually nice to Sarah.  She could have a been a diva but she wasn’t.  Jared didn’t even blink an eye when Sarah told him about her siblings which I thought was a bit weird but also endearing.  It made no difference to him in the end.  I would have loved to read the scenes when they met though.  A teenage girl meeting Jared?  Priceless.

Sarah is a great character.  She was a hard worker but also overwhelmed at the same time.  She never gave up and with the help of her besties, she got through it.  I loved the besties.  Protective but at the same time, hilarious.  The feelings that she had for Jared were genuine.  Hate and love are two very powerful emotions and I felt like Sarah really enjoyed Jared coming into Bliss every week.  Would she ever admit it?  Nope, but it doesn’t matter.  She just didn’t understand why HE liked her.  Getting these two on the same page was a blast.

These two were perfect for each other.  They balanced each other out and I really wished the book was longer.  Yes, I enjoyed it that much.  The grouch and the beauty.  At least that’s what I’m calling them.  Ms. Murphy knows how to write a seemingly mismatched couple and makes it work.  Jared and Sarah don’t disappoint and I can’t wait for Jared’s sister’s book next month.  Maybe I’ll get a little follow up.  Please?!?!?!?!?!

 

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Meet Monica:

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and HarperCollins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Connect with Monica:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MonicaMurphyauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5934418.Monica_Murphy
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1YUl0Vm
Website: http://monicamurphyauthor.com
Newsletter: http://bit.ly/IW5U0y

Excerpt, Giveaways, Reviews

#Review of The Fixer Upper (Echo Springs #1) by Maggie Mae Gallagher w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #contemporaryromance @magmaegallagher

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maggie Mae Gallagher will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

 

Abby Callier is more in love with Shakespearean heroes than any real man, and she’s beginning to wonder if there is life for her outside the pages of a book. It doesn’t help that her esteemed parents tend to view her as they would one of their science experiments gone wrong. On the eve of finishing her dissertation, she escapes her staid existence to live in the house she inherited from her Great Aunt Evie in the small town of Echo Springs, Colorado. Because, let’s face it, when a woman starts comparing her life to horror films, it might be time for a break.

Sheriff Nate Barnes believes in law and order and carefully building the life you want. In his spare time, he has been remodeling his house in the hope that one day it will be filled with the family he makes. But Nate doesn’t like drama or complications and tends to avoid them at all costs. And yet, when Miss Abigail Callier, his newest neighbor, beans him with a nine iron, he can’t help but wonder if she might just be the complication he’s been searching for all along. It doesn’t hurt that he discovers a journal hidden away by the previous tenant and decides to use Old Man Turner’s advice to romance Abby into his life.

Abby never expected her next-door neighbor, the newly dubbed Sheriff Stud Muffin, to be just the distraction her world needed. The problem is she doesn’t know whether she should make Echo Springs her home, or if this town is just a stopover point in her life’s trajectory. And she doesn’t want to tell Nate that she might not be sticking around—even though she should because it’s the right thing to do, the honest thing—because then all the scintillatingly hot kisses with the Sheriff will come to an abrupt halt. Did she mention that he’s a really great kisser?

Read an Excerpt

“Stocking up a bit?” Nate asked as they set the cooler down next to the deepfreeze.

Abby shrugged, flipping the lid up to reveal packages of steaks, chicken breasts, pork chops, ground beef, bacon, sausage, turkey. Staring at the mountain of meat, she had to admit she was a little obsessive when it came to being prepared. “Well, I did some research before accepting the position at Echo Springs Community College, and it said that roads can be impassible during the winter.”

“They can, but we do try to stay on top of road clearing. When it snows, the skiers come out in full force and head into the mountain resorts. All those travelers are the life-blood of this town, as they stop at the gas stations, restaurants, and shops. Without that, this town would go belly up in a New York minute. When the snows hit, the Styman boys stop working the appliance store and clear the streets, along with a few more of the locals. They work together to keep the city’s roads as clear as possible.”

“Good to know. But we aren’t in the city.” Which was something that wasn’t lost on her.

“No, we’re not. It can get a bit dicey out here. I tend to stay in town more and sleep at the station, but it’s good that you’re stocking up. Make sure you’ve got yourself some long underwear and some firewood.”

She blushed at the underwear comment and wanted to kick herself. What are you, a teenager? Just because Sheriff Stud Muffin’s topic made her wonder whether he was a boxers or briefs kind of man, and that she’d love to find out which he preferred, was no reason for Abby to act like an unschooled virgin.

Wait a second… “Firewood? Why would I need firewood?”

It wasn’t something she had considered she would even need. Where did she get some? Would she have to cut the wood herself? Abby could see herself trying to heft an ax to chop wood. Coordination was not her strong suit. More likely than not, she’d end up hacking the wood to bits, all while taking off a few of her limbs. It wouldn’t be pretty. Besides, knowing her, she’d leave the ax outside for the psycho killer to find and use to attack her in her home. She could imagine the headline:

Evie Callier’s great-niece hacked to death because she didn’t listen to her parents. Murder weapon apparently belonged to the victim, army of dolls suspected, news at eleven.

Jesus, she needed to get a grip.

Nate regarded her, his modest expression calling her a hundred times a fool for not being better prepared for life in the mountains, and said, “In case you lose power during a storm. It can get mighty cold up in these hills, especially when we are being pummeled with blizzard conditions. It doesn’t happen all the time, but in these older homes, power can get knocked out and be out for days.”

“What about a backup generator? Would that suffice?” Because if so, she’d turn right back around and head back to Gundry’s Bulk Superstore for one. The thought of being without power during a blizzard chilled her, and for a millisecond, she considered hightailing it back East. Until she remembered that back East would mean having to deal with her parents’ disapproval nearly twenty-four seven. She’d already visited that amusement park fun house, thank you very much, and didn’t want to return.

“Yes and no. Most are gas-operated, although there are newer models that are solar but come with a heftier price tag, and if you run out of fuel…”

“You run out of electricity. Does anyone sell firewood in town?” She’d start looking tonight online for a backup generator. The thought of having only a fireplace for warmth made her shudder involuntarily. With her luck, that would be when all the creepy dolls decided to rise up en masse and strike.

“Check with Styman’s. I’m not sure what their stock is this time of year, but if you’d like some help, I’d be happy to get you started.”

She unloaded the last of the meat into the freezer, and shut the lid. “That would be nice, if it’s not too much trouble. Thank you.”

“It’s no problem at all. After you.” He gestured at the wooden stairs.

Nate trailed her up the steps; she could feel his gaze boring into her back as they entered the kitchen. Abby restrained from fanning her face at the jolt of heat that hummed in her system whenever he was near.

This couple is in my top 10 all-time couples.  Yes, top 10.  Jordan and Noah (Shadow Dance-Julie Garwood), Eve and Roarke, Jack and Cathy Ryan (Tom Clancy), Wolf MacKenzie/Mary Elizabeth (MacKenzie’s Mountain-Linda Howard), Drea/Simon (Death Angel by Linda Howard), Jaine/Sam (Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard), Raine/Zack (Sizzle & Burn-Jayne Ann Krentz) and Fallon/Isabella (In To Deep, Linda Howard) and now Abby and Nate.  As you can tell, my favorite couples are from older books and I’m proud of that.  I read a lot of books and let me tell you, I fall in and out of love with couples, but the list above and now Abby and Nate have stayed with me and have captured a piece of my heart that I can never get back.

I’ve enjoyed read Ms. Gallagher under her erotic name so when I was approached to read the first book in a new series under her contemporary name, I jumped on board.  There is something about this book that just resounded with me.  I connected with Abby on a scale that I haven’t done in a long time.  I completely understood why she decided to rebel against her parents.  Families can be tricky and I have a weird relationship with my own mother, so I can see why she was so close to her Great Aunt Evie.  She accepted Abby for who and what she was as a person.  She encouraged her to break free and to let her know that it was okay to do that.  I had a grandmother like Great Aunt Evie.  I miss her still.

Nate is a trip.  Literally a trip.  And Rufus, his dog.  Oh my…the scene where everyone is spooning every one.  I giggled out loud at the pool.  There were so many parts of this book that had me giggling.  Nate and Abby were born to be a couple.  Both had their flaws but they complimented each other, too.  Abby at a crossroads when it came to the rest of her life and Nate finally realizing what was missing from his.  Will they make it?  You need to read it and find out.

The secondary characters are top-notch.  We get to know Evie and Old Man Turner through his journal and it was beautiful, if not heartbreaking at times.  I loved how Ms. Gallagher weaved their romance into Abby and Nate’s.  It made their relationship that much richer and truer.  In fact, I believe in the Fates and they were meant to be together.  I think that’s why Evie willed her house to Abby in the first place.

Nate’s friends are a hoot.  I can’t wait to read their stories.  And the girls that were in the book are the perfect matches for these guys.  Oh yes, Abby’s new friends take no prisoners when it comes to men.  They don’t put up with a lot and give Abby some great advice when it comes to Nate.  I can’t wait to see how it all plays out in Echo Springs.  There is so much more to that town then what I’ve only read.  The break-ins were spot on and when the culprit is caught, I wasn’t shocked.  I kinda figured it out but it still stung.

Ms. Gallagher has written one couple that I’m proud to say is in my top 10.  Does that mean that I didn’t like all the other couples that I have read?  Absolutely not.  On an elemental level, I just connected with Abby and Nate.  Their relationship is funny, sexy, emotional and just spot on realistic.  Plus, the dolls.  Yes, I would be creeped out, too.  She has got to get rid of them.  Yikes!

About the Author:

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Visit her website here: http://www.maggiemaegallagher.com

Visit her on social media here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MagMaeGallagher/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/magmaegallagher
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7846308.Maggie_Mae_Gallagher
Twitter: https://twitter.com/magmaegallagher
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/maggiegallagher
BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/maggie-mae-gallagher

Don’t miss these exciting titles by Maggie Mae Gallagher!

The Mystic Series

REMEMBER ME: https://amzn.to/2GuwEpY
CASKET GIRL: https://amzn.to/2Dmw9MD

The Cantati Chronicles

RUPTURED: https://amzn.to/2GueJ2L
ANOINTED: https://amzn.to/2Gu0Xgm
ASCENDED: https://amzn.to/2VRGSpz

And if you like your romance with a bit of spice and kink be sure to check out Maggie Mae Gallagher writing as Anya Summers on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Anya-Summers/e/B01EGTVRKC/

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Excerpt, Giveaways, Interviews, Reviews

Interview & #Review of The Secrets Between Us by Katie Mettner w/a rafflecopter giveaway! #contemporaryromance @KatieMettner

The Secrets Between Us

by Katie Mettner

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GENRE:   Contemporary Romance

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BLURB:

Of three things I was certain…

The first?

Mercy was exquisite in the most devastatingly broken way.

The second?

I didn’t know how to love, but for the first time in my life, I wanted to try.

The third?

The secrets between us could tear us apart forever.

I wouldn’t let that happen.

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Excerpt One:

“I came by to apologize,” he said, relaxing back in the chair like he owned the place.

“For?” I asked, sitting across from him in the other club chair.

“For being rude the other night,” he answered. “I’ve found myself in a bit of a surly mood lately and I apologize if I took it out on you.”

I bit my lower lip and tipped my head to the right. “Same, actually. Truce?” I asked, sticking out my left hand. 

He leaned forward and shook it, somewhat awkwardly. “Truce.”

“Great, how about a drink then?” I asked before I thought too hard about it. 

“I could definitely use one,” he agreed. “What do you have?”

“Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, or Captain Morgan,” I answered instantly.

His brow went up. “Clearly, you like the boys. I guess I don’t have to worry about you being a lesbian.”

A smirk lifted one side of my lips. “I’m strictly dickly.” I stood and walked to the kitchen door. “Now, who will it be?”

“Jack and Coke?” he ordered, and I walked off to the kitchen nodding. 

“Be right back,” I said over my shoulder. 

Once alone in the kitchen I blew out a long, slow, unsteady breath. The fact that I had a man in my living room was unnerving. The fact that it was him was terrifying. And, strictly dickly? Did I say that? 

Welcome Katie Mettner! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself. 

 

Thank you for hosting me and The Secrets Between Us on your blog today! My name is Katie Mettner and I live in a little house on the lake in Northern Wisconsin. I’m a wife for nineteen years and a mother of three teenagers. I have one very special lizard, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. I am a left leg amputee and love picking a new pattern or design for my prosthesis when I get a new one! My current leg is black carbon fiber with rainbow music notes and staffs. I’ve been writing for eight years and just finished my 42nd book!

Is The Secrets Between Us a single title, or part of a series? 

 

Right now it’s a stand-alone. I am tossing around writing a second book about his brother, Caleb. I thought I would wait and see what the readers thought about that before I did. 😊

What were your inspirations for the story? 

 

I wrote The Secrets Between Us based on a writing prompt that read, “A rich guy goes off and hides in a place that would be totally out of character for him.” I then happened to see a stock photo of a guy in a trapper hat and the whole story fell into place. I had to put a billionaire CEO into a fishing camp in the middle of North Dakota just to see what happened.

Please share your setting for The Secrets Between Us. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most? 

 

The setting is a fictional fishing camp in Cashmere Creek, North Dakota, which is also a fake town. I always write about the Midwest, and while Cashmere Creek is fake, I have been to North Dakota. I based it off the Devils Lake area. I love the wide open spaces, the beauty of pristine snow, and the expanse of a frozen lake as the perfect setting for a romance novel! If you’ve ever been to North Dakota, you know they have all three there.

When did the writing bug first bite?

 

I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t get the true bug until after I published my first novel, Sugar’s Dance. I always intended that to be my first and last novel (Which is why it’s so long!) I never expected to be sitting here having just finished my 42nd book in eight years. I would say that’s the true definition of the writing bug.

Who are you favorite authors, book/series? 

 

My favorite authors are Lisa Regan and any of her books. Dana Mason and her series. I’m unashamed to admit that I love Janet Evanovich and her Stephanie Plum series. Even if they are repetitive blah blah, they make me laugh. I also love anything by Jill Shalvis. I read a ton of indie authors more than I read the big names. I feel like we know what we are getting with the Big 5. I’m always out there looking for the unsung writers with great stories to tell.

If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite? 

 

Oh boy, let’s go, girls! I would definitely invite Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis, Lisa Regan, Dana Mason, Janet Evanovich, Brian Freeman, Katy Evans, Jan Romes, Chloe Kendrick, Gemma Halliday, Colleen Hoover, Sandra Brown, and Mary Beth Keane.

 

Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time? 

 

I have three kids and one in college, so my spare time is limited. Usually, I’m at a band concert, marching band game, or vocal concert. When I’m home I love to bake cakes, crochet and read, of course! I also love watching old shows like Chuck and How I Met Your Mother. I may know how the series ended, but when I watch them a second time, I’m always catching that ‘Aha’ moment so much sooner. Kind of the same way it happens in books when you reread them.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen? 

 

Before I was married, about 20 years ago, I was living in Wisconsin on a large chain of lakes. I took my dog for a walk down to the lake and laying on our dock was a mountain lion. Not a lynx or a bobcat, but a flipping mountain lion! It was just laying there sunning itself like it wasn’t in the entirely wrong part of the country! I had to grab my dog and back up the hill slowly so we didn’t catch it’s attention. People see them more around here on their trail cams now, but back then, that was one strange sight on a Monday morning!

What is the one thing that you would tell an inspiring writer to do? 

 

Write to write, don’t write to make money. If you’re writing for the sole purpose of making money you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re writing to tell a story somewhere deep inside you, and you don’t care if it hits #200 or #1, then you’re doing it for the right reasons. Follow your heart and write on. You’ll find what you’re looking for if you stay true to the reason you’re doing it.

 

Yall, this book.  I cried.  Not an ugly cry but it did make me cry.  This book is about redemption, the forgiveness of one’s self and learning how to love again.   Plus, learning how to love yourself again, regardless of how life has treated you in the past.  These two had a lot of baggage to overcome to even think about having a real relationship with each other and in the end, their HEA is hard-fought and heartfelt.  These two had me at the beginning and never let me go.

Hayes is a very flawed but humble character.  He knows his flaws and why the way he is and doesn’t really know how to get out of it.  That is until he meets Mercy.  He wants to be better, trys to do better but in the end, he’s human and makes mistakes.  Near the end of the book when he is laying it out for her, my heart grows so full from the emotion that he poured out of his heart.  I never thought he was wrong in the way he treated Mercy in the end but he needed to realize that he could love someone and indeed fell in love with Mercy.

Mercy is a heroine that I just wanted to give a big hug to and say, it is NOT your fault.  It’s not your fault.  Feeling like she is unworthy of love from anyone, she had to realize that Hayes wasn’t just there for a good time.  Ms. Mettner took her time with Mercy throughout the book revealing her backstory, bit by bit when it needed to explain why Mercy would shrink back from Hayes at times.  I never pitied her either.  In fact, I never realize that she was an amputee until it was brought up by Hayes.

This book deals with some very heavy issues:  domestic abuse and murder.  Ms. Mettner never goes too dark with the subject matter but instead treats it like its a fact of life for Hayes and Mercy.  They that Hayes and Mercy deal with it are completely different but the need to get past it is a long hard road.  The emotions that are wrung from their conversations are wrenching but also cleansing.  I never pitied either one of them for their actions and completely understood them in the end.

Ms. Mettner is a new to me author that I can’t wait to read again.  The secondary characters are few but Caleb, Ange, and Mr. Bolling are great.  They not only enhance the main characters but add to some of the crucial plot points in the end.  Beast is hilarious, too.  While this is a billionaire type book, Hayes is not a douche.  He’s a real person with real feelings, finally, and doesn’t know how to act.  Loyal and faithful to his family and in the end Mercy.

Do yourself a favor and pick this gem up.  I dare you not to cry in parts.  The dialogue between Hayes and Mercy is HILARIOUS!!  (see above excerpt and that’s just a snippet)  The love scenes are emotional and spicy but nothing too hawt.  Ms. Mettner has written a book that I will definitely read again.  And yes, a Caleb book would be good.  He can’t be all that happy all the time.  LOL!

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Katie Mettner writes small-town romantic tales filled with epic love stories and happily-ever-afters. She proudly wears the title of, ‘only person to lose her leg after falling down the bunny hill,’ and loves decorating her prosthetic with the latest fashion trends. She lives in Northern Wisconsin with her own happily-ever-after and three mini-me’s. Katie has a massive addiction to coffee and Twitter, and a lessening aversion to Pinterest— now that she’s quit trying to make the things she pins.

 

The book is $0.99.

KATIE METTNER’S AMAZON PAGE     http://author.to/KatieMettner

KATIEMETTNER.COM  http://www.katiemettner.com/

NEWSLETTER http://eepurl.com/du7LwH

BOOKBUB https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katie-mettner

TWITTER  

https://twitter.com/KatieMettner

FACEBOOK

https://www.facebook.com/Wisconsinwriter

INSTAGRAM

https://www.instagram.com/sugarlipswi/

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

Katie Mettner will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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