The Second Time Around

Summer is still in full swing, so when I see a beachy cover and a blurb about small town second chances, how can I refuse a read? So, let’s chat about The Second Time Around by Angie Daniels, The Beaumont Series Book 1.

  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Heat Level:❤️❤️❤️❤️
  • Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

Jabarie Beaumont had been left at the alter five years before. He thought he was over his ex for good, but when she comes back to the small town of Sheraton Beach, he’s faced with decades worth of feelings he can’t quite sort through. He still has so many unanswered questions about missing money and a broken heart.

Brenna Gathers only planned on being back in town long enough to see her aunt through a broken ankle. Sheraton Beach has too many ghosts and it’s hard to feel at home. The last time she’d been there, she’d been made to feel like the gold digger she never wanted to be and left without a second glance.

It seems like almost everyone who knew them wants the pair to pick up where they left off. They want to childhood sweethearts to have the happily ever after. But for Jabarie and Brenna, it’ll take more than good wishes and their undeniable attraction to fix what was broken.

I do love a good second chance romance and Daniels delivered. For a good chunk of the book, I wanted to shake Jabarie and Brenna. Knowing they were still so into each other but fighting their feelings was the perfect blend of adorable and infuriating.

As Brenna’s fears were explained and more of her past was revealed, it really made a lot of the book make sense. Although, a simple conversation or a text could have fixed the couples problems from the beginning! Still, it was great to see the pair come together after years apart and a silence that stretched out too long.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and found it to be a fabulous poolside read.

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The Inheritance

Today, I’d like to present to you Irina Shapiro’s first ever book, The Inheritance. Since The Inheritance was written, Shapiro has published dozens of heart pounding, tear jerking, stories of loss and survival, and it’s exciting to see where everything began.

  • Genre: Historical and Contemporary Romance
  • Narration Rating: 4/6 Glass Slippers
  • Story Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️

In 2010 Katie Price is stunned when a man she never met leaves her a brewery and a castle in Scotland. She thought her grandfather had been dead for years, but as she goes to Scotland to inspect her inheritance with the help of local lawyer Danny, she learns more about herself than she ever thought possible.

In 1744 Isobel McBride enters an arranged marriage that leaves both parties miserable. Her husband is a careless brute who loves another and she craves the affection she thought she’d one day have. But another man offers her his heart, the entire future of the clan is in danger from more than just the coming war.

Two women two hundred and fifty years apart, brought together by a pile of love letters and a castle filled with memories.

It’s always so exciting to see how Shapiro writes her time hopping style of work. Each series and standalone book flip between worlds, connecting through memories, second lives, or faded letters in a hidden alcove. The methods she uses never grow stale and I’m always thrilled to see a new book in her collection.

I did have some issue with the narration. I think Wendy Wolfson spoiled me in her other work with Shapiro’s Echoes From the Past series and it was easier to find fault with the narrator in this book, particularly when it came to the Scottish accents. But as the book went on and I was drawn deeper into the story, it was easier to ignore.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wish there was more of Katie’s story out there, particularly when it comes to her handsome Scottish lawyer.

Christmas in July

Merry Christmas…in July. It’s a heatwave here in New Jersey, making it the best time to stay inside and read books set in winter wonderlands. Today, I’ve compiled a short list of some sweet and spicy reads from Tule Publishing to get you in the holiday spirit.

Their Christmas Miracle by Lynne Marshall

Hunter is a talented cook who opened up his own diner. Tracy is a nurse who knows how to bake a mean pie. Together, they’re a recipe for perfection. But when Hunter becomes the guardian of his recently orphaned godchild, will his new bond with Tracy withstand a surprise, new addition?

Once Upon a Royal Christmas by Robin Bielman

After an embarrassing first impression, reporter Rowan thought she’d never see Prince Theo again. But Theo loves her small town and the antinomy of it all, even though he can’t hide from the throne forever. Will he follow his heart or his royal duties?

A Small Town Christmas by Nan Reinhardt

Wine maker and single dad Conor is struggling to save his winery and care for his daughter. Hot shot lawyer Samantha comes to his aid to keep his business in his hands. When close quarters breed new feelings, will these opposites give romance a try?

A Baby for Christmas by Joan Kilby

New widow Mia never expected to be in labor, in the snow, outside a stranger’s house. Recently single Will never expected to deliver a stranger’s baby. But sometimes, the unexpected can spark an unforgettable holiday.

All I Want for Christmas by Jennifer Gracen

Musician and bar owner Sean still pines for the girl who got away. But when she walks into his bar years later, will he get a second chance to make things right? He doesn’t think so, but he knows he’s up for the challenge.

A Match Made at Christmas by Patty Blount

After September 11th, Elena has more than just the emotional scars. A mysterious boy handed her an ornament at Ground Zero and she still carries it with her. Thirteen years later, she’s all grown up and meets the boy again, now a man named Lucas. After years apart and tragedy between them, can they find a way to heal?

Holiday at Magnolia Bay by Tracy Solheim

Navy Seal Drew is taking a leave from active duty after a death that left him shaken. Marine Biologist Jenna has made it her life’s mission to save wounded things. But when she’s sworn off military men and he’s not a fan of being coddled, are the holidays just what this pair needs?

A Merry Mountain Christmas by Trish MilburnWhen Heidi goes to a picturesque mountain town for the holidays, she takes a job at a Christmas decor shop. The owner, Ben, is all too happy to have her help…especially when he realizes she might be just what his life was missing.

This Christmas by Jeannie Moon

Single mom Sabrina is the epitome of a strong woman. But when the man who walked out on her all those years before rolls back into town, will she finally crumble under the pressure or make this Christmas one to remember?

The Christmas Window by Melissa McClone

Doggy daycare owner Callie wants to win the annual window display competition to prove to everyone she’s all grown up. Brandt never wanted to return to his small town, but life pulled him back. Opposites attract in this sweet romance, but will they make it through the holidays?

The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride by Laurie LeClair

When country star Cassidy is told she may never sing again, she goes back to her small town for some R&R. Ryder retired from bull racing to raise his daughter, but he’s in for another wild ride when the girl that got away rolls back into his life. Will Christmas give then a second chance, or is their romance nothing but a sad song waiting to be written?

Montana Secret Santa by Debra Salonen

Krista is only in the Marietta’s Secret Santa Society for a chance to reboot her career via tech genius Jonah. But business meetings melt into long chats over hot chocolate, and before long, the call of the mistletoe becomes too hard to ignore.

Christmas Lights and Cowboy Nights by Shelli Stevens

Rosa has no interest in a fling, much to the disappointment of ladies’ man Calvin. But when they’re forced together at a secluded ranch over Christmas, their attraction becomes hard to ignore.

A Texas Christmas Reunion by Eve Gaddy

When Savannah moves back home to Whisky River, she never expected her ex to be her new boss. Harlan knows he messed up all those years ago with Savannah, but wants to make things right by Christmas. Will he make this holiday one to remember or end up back on her naughty list?

Christmas, Alabama by Susan Sands

Photographer Rachael loves small town life, but doesn’t like her meddling family telling her to settle down. When a hot doctor moves into town and offers to play the part of fake boyfriend, she’s left wondering if everything is just pretend.


Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know and have a happy Christmas in July!

Precious Bones

Irina Shapiro has captivated me since the first book in her Echoes from the Past series. When she told me about her book Precious Bones, I knew I was in for yet another fantastic ride. And, as always, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed.

  • Genre: Historical/Contemporary Romantic Mystery/Thriller
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️
  • Story Rating; 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

When a body is found in an old Tudor house in London, successful author Cassandra is stunned at her reaction to the skeletal remains. She’s brought to tears by the news report, although the death would have taken place hundreds of years before. Her boyfriend doesn’t understand her fascination with the story, and as she begins to write a tale based on the Tudor house she buys impulsively, she unravels a tale that’s almost too close to home.

Constance is a Catholic in the time of Queen Elizabeth II, making her very religion dangerous to publicly claim. While her brother prepares to marry and her little sister flirts with a highborn man, she’s left wondering what her role is in a world where women don’t have many choices. A brief encounter with a spy leaves her rattled and she embarks on a journey of secret letters, arrests, and a marriage to the man she least expects.

While Cassandra reveals more of Constance’s life through her writing, her own life spirals out of control. She begins to question her own sanity and the realness of her haunting visions.

As in her Echoes from the Past series, she blends the past and present to perfection in a way I didn’t expect. Both time frames hold enough drama, intrigue, and romance to be books in their own right. I was hooked from the first page and the non-stop twists left me on the edge of my seat. Waiting to see how the lives of such different women turned out was nearly torture!

I enjoyed the parallel timelines. The fantasy aspects weren’t overdone and I felt as if everything that happened in Cassandra’s story was completely believable. Her emotions were real and her reactions to things were easy to relate to. I hope there’s more of her story one day.

I’ve never listened to anything narrated by Verity Burns, but I thoroughly enjoyed her work with this book. She had different inflections when reading for Constance and Cassandra, making it clear what time period the story was in. She’s very talented and I know this won’t be the last of her work I’ll listen to.

Overall, I’m thrilled with my latest Irina Shapiro book. I highly recommend it to all book lovers, no matter their favorite genre.

What Happens in the Ruins

The second book in my What Happens series is now available for preorder! Introducing What Happens in the Ruins.

Can she stop her past from ruining her future?

Sorcha Mackinnon isn’t your typical tortured artist. She is also a party girl, a vintage shopper, and the heiress to a whisky fortune. But when inspiration suddenly flies out the window, she’s left with an empty whisky glass and a blank canvas…until a childhood friend waltzes back into her life.

She’s known Danny Gordon since birth, but they lost touch as their careers took them in different directions. He offers to show her the parts of Scotland he swears will spark life back into her brushes. And as they tour the sights on the back of his motorcycle, Sorcha realizes that under the tattoos and smart mouth, Danny may inspire more in her than just a new painting.

But as a good time begins to morph into an ever after, Sorcha is reminded of old wounds that just won’t heal. Danny tries to open her heart, but her self-imposed isolation makes things harder than ever. Now she must decide what to do, because what happens in the ruins doesn’t always stay there.

Preorder this book HERE and enjoy your trip to the Highlands🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Consumed

If you’ve been following the blog for the past few months, you know I’m a fan of narrator Meghan Kelly. I’ve listened to several of her works and today I have something a little different to share. Consumed by Sara Fields is a super hot book you’ll want to wear headphones for. Trust me.

Genre: Paranormal Erotica

Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Story Rating: 4/6 Glass Slippers

Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Undercover agent Kassandra thought taking underworld mogul Marcos into custody would be a cake walk. But the billionaire has been at the game longer than she’s been alive and won’t go in without a fight. And although she tries to break free, it doesn’t matter where in the world she is because Marcos has her twisted around his little finger and wants to show Kassandra what he does to girls who don’t play by his rules.

Marcos isn’t an easy man to please. He has rules and standards one must abide by, or suffer the consequences. His hard hand has made him a master of the boardroom and a devil in the bedroom. The way he weaves himself into Kassandra’s mind and dreams leaves you wondering if he’s more incubus than vampire. It also begs the question of if she will stick around long enough to find out.

While I expected a ton of sex, I was hoping for some more story between the spankings. I have a lot of unanswered questions and felt as if it was more erotica than romance, which is fine, I was just left wanting more. More character development, backstory, and a well rounded ending with no loose ties. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the audiobook is only about four and a half hours long, and for that length, Fields did manage to fill the time with a lot. Maybe one day we’ll get an extra large version with plenty of plot to go around.

With Kelly, I’m pretty familiar with her work and could pick her voice out of a crowd. While I’ve listened to her give life to werewolves, cowboys, and yoga teachers, I wasn’t prepared for Consumed. I’ve never listened to an erotica and she had me blushing! While I’m no prude, I don’t know if I could do her job, which is why I’m such a fan. Writing is hard work, but creating different voices for an entire cast is no laughing matter.

Overall, I dub this book best for readers and listeners that are looking for some darkness and some serious heat in their stories. This is no 50 Shades level fire, this is a whole other level.

What Happens in the Highlands

Match made in heaven or maid of dishonor?

Tight-laced Rose Hensel arrives in Scotland for her best friend’s wedding with a plan—to be the greatest maid of honor ever, let loose for the first time in years, and find out what Scottish guys really wear under their kilts. After meeting the best man, she thinks she found the man who checks all the boxes for a no-strings-attached romp among the heather.
Lachlan Calder-Mackinnon knows how to show a girl a good time. Gourmet dinners in castle ruins, picnics among rolling hills, and a seaside escape create some unforgettable dates. But as the fling begins to morph into something more, an unexpected wedding guest threatens to ruin Rose and Lachlan’s new romance.
With a plane ticket in one hand and her broken heart in the other, Rose prepares to head home to reality. However, she’s about to learn that what happens in the Highlands doesn’t always stay there. 
  • For Amazon Kindle click HERE
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  • For Apple Books click HERE
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  • For Google Play click HERE
  • For Amazon Kindle UK click HERE

The Christmas Challenge

I’ve been getting into the world of Westerns lately, and was lucky that my introduction to it was through The Christmas Challenge, The Wilder Brothers Book 3, by Sinclair Jayne.

Heat Level:❤️❤️❤️

Genre: Western, Holiday Romance

Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Tucker goes back to the Triple T Ranch as little as possible. But when her twin sister plans her wedding for Christmas Eve, Tucker has no choice but to leave LA and head home to Marietta, Montana. She plans on being the perfect wedding helper and staying so far out of trouble, no one in town can even begin to gossip. However, she has a less than chaste background with the groom and when a hot cowboy comes within range of Tucker, she finds it hard to say no.

Laird has to Marietta with one goal in mind, to unlock the secrets of his past. He doesn’t expect Tucker to be the first person he meets. She’s a redhead with a bite and he’s drawn to her like no other. But she’s made a promise to herself to stay away from sex, so he makes due with coffee meetups and midnight ice skating.

Their secrets bind them together and they confide in one another with the knowledge that after the Christmas wedding, they’ll both go home. But midnight skating turns into all night talking and some chemistry no one can ignore.

Okay, I want to start with the chemistry between Tucker and Laird. The way they skimmed the unspoken line people do before falling into bed was electric. I just wanted to push them together and yell, “just get in bed!” But the slow burn between them was just another element I really enjoyed, and in retrospect, wouldn’t change a thing.

Tucker’s growth in the book was also very well done. She blew into Marietta as a headstrong, selfish, girl, but by the end, she certainly learned a few lessons on humility and patience. But her flaws made her human and the way she was able to self-reflect was fantastic.

Overall, The Christmas Challenge was a funny, sweet but sexy, holiday romance that made me want to put on my ice skates.

Blinded

Today I have another book/audiobook for you. Blinded, Elkridge Series: Book #1, written by Lyz Kelley and narrated by Meghan Kelly.

  • Genre: Contemporary Romance and Suspense
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️
  • Story Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers
  • Narration Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

A terrible accident as a teen robbed Mara of her parents and her sight. Now she lives above her flower shop with her trusty seeing eye dog, often visited by her older brother, who now has a life and family of his own. It’s taken years for her to be completely independent and she still mourns the life she once dreamed of–romance, a family, maybe even a musical career. And when a blast from the past shakes things up, her dreams threaten to turn into nightmares.

Joey left his small town as soon as high school graduation was over, and never looked back, building a life in Seattle as a detective. But when his older brother is found dead, and the deputies at a loss for what happened, he takes a week off work to bury his sibling and search for clues. When he steps into the local flower shop to buy something for his mom, he finds Mara right where he left her so many years ago.

He thought she got married and had no idea the accident left her blind. She never thought he’d come back into their small town. Joey’s flight leaves soon and Mara isn’t interested in having her heart broken again. But some bonds are unbreakable.

Mara’s blindness was a topic that could have gone very well or very poorly. I was pleased to see that Kelley created a character that wasn’t defined by her blindness, but it was just one layer in a very complex young woman with strength and passion. The small “tells” were there as well, like Mara’s wording to her seeing eye dog and the way she spoke of her therapy after the crash. The author did a lovely job of not just sticking the word “blind” in a book, which is very important when it comes to embracing characters in literature.

The mystery aspect was strong as well, a true “who done it” that makes you think as you listen. I appreciated that the crime plot line wasn’t cut and dry, tied with a pretty bow after an hour like a TV cop show.

Meghan Kelly was already a pro when I came across her work, but she’s really outdone herself with Blinded. From a kid nephew to an old, angry Italian man, everyone has a distinct voice that never wavers. She gave this thrilling contemporary romance with and edge a life.

The Winters

It’s been a while since I legitimately sat up all night reading a book and had a “book hangover” the next day. The Winters by Lisa Gabriele is a retelling of the classic Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

  • Genre: Romantic Suspense and Mystery
  • Heat Level: ❤️❤️
  • Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

We open with our heroine, a woman without a name. She has one, or course, but doesn’t share it with us. She works in the Cayman Islands at a boat charting business, which is where she first meets the older, richer, handsome, widowed Max Winters.

She knows it’s not allowed, and she knows she shouldn’t, but she falls in love with Max. When it comes time for him to return home to Long Island, he offers her a plane ticket and a ring. She’s warned against it, but for once in her life, someone cares about her, so she packs a bag and leaves her life behind to live at the opulent, secluded, Asherly house.

Max’s teenage daughter, the spoiled, rebellious Dani is seemingly the biggest obstacle. Winning her over is an uphill battle and the teen is hell bent on seeing “the second Mrs. Winters” gone. Then there is the figurative ghost of the first Mrs. Winters, the lovely Rebekah. She’s everywhere in the mansion and she’s left a pair of impossibly expensive designer shoes to fill. But as our narrator settles into life at Asherly, she realizes the Winters women are not the only thing out to get her.

Where to start? Well, I always enjoyed the original Rebecca and I also love a good retelling. I liked the choice to keep the narrators name hidden. It added another layer of mystery as I read and I was hoping to learn what it was with every flip of the page. It was interesting how the author managed to keep her nameless, yet a real person.

This book is a slow build, but Gabriele’s prose is lovely. I wish the ending was more drawn out, but only because it was so good. A lot of things were revealed in the final act, yet I still have one big, glaring question that I’ll never have answers to. Still, I recommend this book to those wanting a mysterious, romantic suspense that makes you think.