Posted in reviews

The Summer of No Attachments (The Summer Friends #2) by Lori Foster Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two women looking for an uncomplicated break from relationships find themselves faced with the possibility of real love when they come across two brothers and an angry child during the summer in author Lori Foster’s “The Summer of No Attachments”, the second book in THE SUMMER FRIENDS series. 

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The Synopsis

From New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Lori Foster comes the heartwarming story of two best friends who cross paths with a pair of new-in-town brothers with one angry little boy in tow. A standalone story of second chances at life and love, with found family and rescued animals, perfect for fans of Jill Shalvis, Sarah Morgan, and Lori Wilde.

Summer flings with no strings mean nobody gets hurt.

At least, that was the plan…

After putting the brakes on her dead-end relationship, local veterinarian Ivey Anders is ready to soak up this summer on her own terms. The way she sees it, no dating means no disappointment. Why complicate life with anything long-term? But when she meets Corbin Meyer—and his troubled young son, Justin—Ivey’s no-strings strategy threatens to unravel before she can put it into practice.

Trust doesn’t come easy for Ivey’s best friend, Hope Mage, a veterinary-clinic assistant who’s affected by an incident that’s colored every relationship she’s had. Though Hope’s happy for Ivey, she can’t quite open her own heart to the possibility of love. Not just yet… Maybe not ever. Soon, however, she’s faced with a dilemma—Corbin’s older brother, Lang. He’s charming, he’s kind…and he may just be the reason Hope needs to finally tear down her walls.

And as the sweet summer months unspool, the two friends discover love won’t give up on them so easily.

The Review

A heartwarming and emotional story that balances the friendship and bond of women’s fiction with the heart of romance narratives, author Lori Foster has crafted a beautiful story set within an established series that still manages to act as a standalone story that readers both old and new will enjoy. The pacing does a great job of getting into the character’s personalities and interactions while slowly building the rising relationships between the women and the men they meet over the summer. 

The character arcs were fantastic to see unfold here. The strength and humor that Ivey brings as a protagonist are great to witness, while the overall development of Hope as a character after her heartbreaking past was inspiring and hopeful, two qualities that make for a great romance story. 

Allrecipes: 12 Month Subscription

The Verdict

A perfect summer read that blends love and hope into an engaging narrative, author Lori Foster’s “The Summer of No Attachments” is the perfect summer novel for fans of women’s fiction and romance novels. The powerful story of not only budding romance but of true friendship in the face of adversity in both women’s lives made this such a captivating story, so if you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author. She lives in Central Ohio where coffee helps her keep up with her cats and grandkids between writing books. For more about Lori, visit her website at http://www.lorifoster.com, like her on Facebook or find her on Twitter, @lorilfoster.

Social Links:

Author website: https://lorifoster.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorifoster

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lorilfoster

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lorilfoster/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgeOARHmjBYWcmReym_N39A 

Buy Links:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-summer-of-no-attachments/9781335459893

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ioRrfn

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-summer-of-no-attachments-lori-foster/1137483437?ean=9781335459893

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Summer-No-Attachments/Lori-Foster/9781335459893?id=7036960299115

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335459893

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Here is an Excerpt From “The Summer of Not Attachments”

Chapter One

Ivey Anders shoved back a wayward curl and gently secured the dog against her body so it couldn’t move while her tech, Hope Mage, carefully clipped away the twisted wire. The poor thing, a stray by the looks of it, had gotten itself tangled pretty tightly and one hind leg was in bad shape. Ivey wanted to get it to the clinic where she could properly assess the damage.

Mud caked the fur, making it difficult to find any other injuries just yet, but there was one astounding fact Ivey couldn’t ignore.

Behind her, the homeowner groused that the dog had likely been stealing eggs from his chicken coop.

Voice calm, temper mostly in check, Ivey said, “You didn’t hesitate to call me, did you, Marty?” It was well-known that Marty was not a fan of dogs, or cats for that matter, and mostly considered them a nuisance. However, they’d come to an agreement some time ago. Marty, who owned a fair amount of wooded acreage, was supposed to call her if a stray showed up, and she, as the local vet, would take care of the “problem” for him.

Laura, his wife, was quick to say, “I called.” Defiant to Marty, she added, “Soon as I heard the poor thing, in fact.”

Which didn’t mean much. The animal might have been there for hours. Possibly more than a day, though Ivey couldn’t bear the thought of that.

“She’s pregnant, you know.” Refusing to take her eyes off the dog and unwilling to raise her voice since it might frighten the animal more, Ivey said, “If she took an egg, it would have been from starvation—and you already know I would have compensated you for it.”

Affronted, Marty grumbled, “I wasn’t worried about one egg, just don’t want to lose my chickens.” He cleared his throat. “If it helps any, I was out here this morning and she wasn’t caught then. Afternoon I watered my garden, and that’s why there’s so much mud. So I doubt she was hung up there more than a few hours.”

The fist around Ivey’s heart loosened just a little. “That helps tremendously, Marty. Thank you.”

More times than she could count, Ivey had taken on problems with stray animals who needed special love and care. It didn’t matter that she’d been working as a veterinarian for years now, seeing all manner of hurt, neglected or just plain ill animals. She still loved them all, and when one hurt, she hurt with it.

“No thanks necessary,” Marty complained, his tone gruff with insult. “Not like I’d let an animal suffer.”

Ivey had a feeling their definitions of suffer varied a bit, but she realized this mattered to him, and she was too grateful to quibble so she just nodded.

Almost got it,” Hope murmured, and with one last clip, the wire loosened. “There.” Fingers gentle, she disentangled the dog’s leg, exposing a painful wound.

Ivey murmured to the small animal all the while, cooing softly, petting and holding her secure. The second she was able to sit back on the muddy ground, she pulled the dog into her lap. With her face close to the top of the dog’s head, she whispered, “There now, that’s better, isn’t it? We’ll get you all fixed up, I promise.”

“Here.” Slipping off her zip-up hoodie, Hope offered it to Ivey to wrap around the dog. “Do you want me to get the carrier?”

Busy swaddling the dog, careful not to jar her, Ivey shook her head. “She doesn’t weigh more than ten or eleven pounds. I’ll carry her to the truck and we’ll see how it goes.” Feeling mud seep into the seat of her pants, she realized she couldn’t get up without letting go of the dog. Lifting a brow at Hope, she said, “A little help?”

“Oh sure.” Hope caught her under one elbow, and Laura hurried forward to take the other, giving her the leverage she needed.

Marty stepped back to avoid getting muddy.

Carefully, the two women got Ivey on her feet. The thick mud was heavy on the seat of her pants, dragging on her stretch jeans that had loosened throughout the day. At least her rubber boots wouldn’t be ruined. Since they treated all sorts of animals, including those on farms, she and Hope each kept a pair at the clinic.

“Let’s go.” Plodding forward, Ivey led the way to the truck. Halfway there, the dog started panting. Concerned, she hastened her step, not at all worried about getting mud on the truck seats. “No need for the crate. Just get us back to the clinic.”

Picking up on her angst, Hope ran around to the driver’s side and got the truck on the road in record time. “Everything okay?”

“Not really, no. Something’s wrong.”

“What should I do?”

Poor Hope. A sick cat had kept them an hour past closing, and then Marty had called… “I’m sorry.” Ivey barely took her gaze off the stressed dog. “Do you think you could assist me at the clinic?”

“Of course I will! You don’t even have to ask.” Frowning, Hope muttered, “Did you think I’d drop you off with a dog in distress? Tell you good luck?” She snorted. “Have I ever done that?”

She and Hope were close enough that Ivey knew she’d inadvertently insulted her. “No, you haven’t. But it’s Friday night after a very long day.”

“It’s Friday night for you, too, you know.”

“What a sad situation for us both.” Despite her worries, Ivey chuckled. “Most women would have plans, and yet we never do.”

“You have Geoff.”

Ivey made a face. “Lot of good that does me.” Likely Geoff was settled on the couch already, watching sports or playing a video game. The excitement had left their relationship a long time ago, so she doubted he’d even notice her absence.

For her part, Hope never dated. That bothered Ivey a lot, but she loved Hope enough that she would never pry.

Smiling at her friend, Ivey said, “I’m glad I won’t have to do this alone.”

“Not ever,” Hope vowed. “Even if by some miracle I ever do have something worthwhile lined up for the weekend, I’d still be here for you, okay?”

Her friendship with Hope meant so much more than any other relationship Ivey had, including her lackluster romance with Geoff. “Smartest thing I ever did was hire you.”

“I’m so glad you did,” Hope whispered. “Otherwise we might not have become friends, then where would I be?”

“Let’s just agree that we’re better off together.” Though Ivey was ten years older than Hope, they’d still hit it off from the start, meshing together as if they’d been lifelong friends. Where Ivey was take-charge and sometimes a little too outspoken, Hope was an intent listener with an enormous heart.

Ivey often wanted to challenge the world, and Hope, sadly, wanted to hide from it.

Or more accurate, she wanted to hide from any interested men.

Hope had an affinity with animals, plus a gentle but sure touch. She was never squeamish, but she exuded sympathy. Ivey valued her. The clients loved her. And the animals trusted her.

Unfortunately, they were still five minutes away from the clinic when the dog went into labor. “This is definitely happening,” Ivey said, doing what she could to make the animal comfortable.

Leaning closer to the steering wheel, Hope drove a little faster. “Be there soon.”

They’d barely gotten in the door when her water broke. Hope ran ahead to prepare an area, moving with practiced ease as she opened an already cleaned kennel and set up a whelping box, then filled it with bedding material. The box had three tall sides to contain the coming puppies, and one low side for the mother to step out for food and water.

Knowing Hope had it in hand, Ivey began cleaning the dog as quickly and efficiently as possible. She managed a cursory job, removing the worst of the mud, when Hope rejoined her. “We’re all set.”

“With luck we’ll have enough time to clean and wrap her leg before she gives birth.” Usually that happened within two hours after the animal’s water breaking, so they didn’t have a minute to spare.

A day that had already been long just turned entirely endless.

Excerpted from The Summer of No Attachments by Lori Foster, Copyright © 2021 by Lori Foster. Published by HQN Books. 

Posted in reviews

The Seeds of Love (Sunflower Kisses Book 1) by Tyler B. Wittkofsky Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young man fresh out of college and ready for a new job finds his world turned upside down when he meets a college soccer player. As she challenges him and changes his path in life, together they push ahead on a new journey in author Tyler B. Wittkofsky’s “The Seeds of Love”, the first in the SUNFLOWER KISSES series.

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The Synopsis

Fresh out of college, Clay Dabrowski is finally in a good spot in his life. Backed by his support systems, he has his sights on a new job and loving friends and family by his side. The future looks bright. Then he meets fiery-red haired Bailey Childe, a college soccer player from a loving family. Dealing with a rocky relationship, she changes Clay’s world, and quickly shakes up all of his plans. Together they forge a path neither believed was possible. But it leaves Clay wondering, is everything as perfect as it seems?

The Review

A moving and heartfelt story of two young people falling in love, author Tyler Wittkofsky does an outstanding job of creating an emotional and gripping narrative that draws the reader in immediately. The pacing of the novel does a great job of showcasing both the nervousness and magic of falling in love and the whirlwind excitement that comes with that, and the tension and work that comes after love as family, friends, and outside forces either try to voice their opinions or even stand in the way of a growing relationship.

The character arcs for both Clay and Bailey are both relatable and entertaining to read and watch unfold. The family dynamics and friendships for both highlight the struggle of balancing love and romance along with the viewpoints of others in our lives who we also love, and how they sometimes can clash. Aside from the deep-seated romance of the novel, however, I found the focus on mental health a great character development for Clay. As a mental health advocate, it was refreshing to see anxiety, depression and other mental health struggles represented honestly in a fictional way and not over-exaggerated like it sadly is so often, and yet showcases how love and romance can still thrive for those going through something so difficult. 

Allrecipes: 12 Month Subscription

The Verdict

A memorable, honest, and engaging narrative within the new adult, college-age romance novel genre, author Tyler Wittkofsky’s “The Seeds of Love” is a brilliant first chapter in the author’s new romance series. The emotional highs and lows of building a relationship and the way the characters come together are enthralling, to say the least, and make this story shine so brightly. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this incredible story today, as I know I’m eagerly anticipating the next chapter of this series.

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Tyler Wittkofsky was born and raised in Leland, North Carolina, mere minutes from Historic Wilmington and Southport. He graduated from South Brunswick High School and went on to receive his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Growing up, his grandmother was a high school English teacher, assistant principal, principal, and later his elementary school principal. She encouraged his creative writing style and helped him to grow into the writer he is today.

He spends much of his time volunteering for nonprofits and giving his time back to the youth in his community. He was named one of Brunswick County’s Future 10 in 2017, the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional of the Year in 2018, and one of the StarNews 40 Under 40 in 2019 for his passion for helping others discover the jewel that is Northern Brunswick County.

He currently resides in Leland, North Carolina with his fiancé Grace and dogs Dutch and Belle.

https://linktr.ee/wittkofsky

Posted in reviews

A Second Chance for Love: A Sea Glass Bay Romance Book Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In this collection of contemporary romance stories, four authors showcase the lives of four women living in the coastal town of Sea Glass Bay who find a newfound appreciation for romance in the anthology book, “A Second Chance for Love”. 

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The Synopsis 

With Mother’s Day approaching, four women living in a picturesque coastal town discover a second chance at love when they finally find their happily-ever-after partners in this anthology of contemporary romance novellas.

MOM WANTED

Claire Bishop’s life as an art teacher in Sea Glass Bay is full and rewarding, but her heart longs for a family she’ll never have. When she agrees to help out widower, Sully Vaughn, by taking care of his daughter after school, Sully is concerned his little girl, Lindie, is growing too attached to her favorite teacher. Sully is trying his best to protect his child from the heartache of loss that nearly destroyed him, but he hasn’t taken into account his passion for the dynamic woman—nor Lindie’s determination to lay claim to the perfect mom.

FATHER WANTED

Jazzy Dunbar is enjoying life as a single mom, proving that you don’t have to have a man to have it all. Jeremiah Caldwell, a good friend, made the perfect sperm donor. He’s happy with their “no strings attached” relationship … or is he? He wants to be more than a sometimes-father in baby Caleb’s life. Jazzy doesn’t want to ruin their friendship by allowing their attraction to flare, but when a serious situation threatens, will Jeremiah be able to prove that they can have love and the perfect family?

HERO WANTED

Single mom Leah Martin needs to find a wedding date for her ex-husband’s wedding. Their son, Owen, is going to be the ringbearer and her attendance is required. But this florist has no time to date around the busy Mother’s Day holiday, which is why she agrees to let her friends set her up for a blind date. Hank DeLeon’s bar shares an alley with Leah’s florist shop, which is the perfect location for a restaurant if she’s willing to relocate. When he’s asked to take her on a blind date, he has to wonder: is this a great chance for a business proposition? Or a once-in-a-lifetime chance at love?

FAMILY WANTED

After a corporate restructuring at her accounting firm, Paige Duffy moved north to Sea Glass Bay and opened a handmade candle booth at the coastal town’s popular local craft market. Now her severance is running out and Paige discovers she’s pregnant from a one night stand. Charter boat owner, Gavin Cole, lost his grandfather six months ago, promising him he’d finally pursue his dreams of sailing the open ocean. But when Paige tells him that she’s pregnant with his child, Gavin must decide what adventure he really wants: the one he’s always dreamed of, or the one he never believed possible.

The Review

These four amazing authors have done a perfect job of finding the best romance stories just in time for Mother’s Day. The stories are instantly grabbing and entertaining, bringing forth both romance and rich character development within a short amount of time. The stories feel profound and well-rounded, something not every author can accomplish within a short story, and yet each of these narratives shines brightly on its own. 

What was incredibly impressive was the perfect balance the authors found with not only keeping their stories set within the same fictional town and world that this collection embodies, but still managed to hold onto their own unique writing voices and styles within their own narratives. Each author brought authenticity and engaged the reader on an emotional level, capturing the heart and romance of the collection’s theme perfectly.

The Verdict

A masterful, entertaining, and emotionally-driven narrative, “A Second Chance for Love” is a must-read romantic anthology. Fantastic writing and great character build-up in such a short span of time make this a fun and exciting read, and fans of the genre will absolutely fall in love with the love stories of this collection. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

A geek at heart, USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J Stewart writes “refreshingly unique, quietly humorous, and profoundly moving romance.” (RT Book Reviews) Her books include The Nemesis Files Trilogy (light romantic suspense), The Butterfly Harbor series for Harlequin Heartwarming (sweet romances) and the Honor Bound series for Harlequin Romantic suspense. She’s also branching out into paranormal romance with the Tome Wardens short romance collection.

NYTimes bestselling author Brenda Novak says “The talented Anna J Stewart delivers every time!” Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Jason Momoa addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates two devious kitties named Sherlock and Rosie.

http://www.authorannastewart.com/

Kayla Perrin is a multi-award-winning, multi-published USA Today and Essence ® bestselling author of over fifty novels and novellas. In 2011, Kayla received the prestigious Harry Jerome Award for excellence in the arts.

From the time she could hold a pencil, Kayla knew she wanted to be a writer, and didn’t stop until she realized her dream.  She is published in a variety of genres, including mystery/suspense, romance and mainstream fiction. She has written for major publishing houses including St. Martin’s Press, HarperCollins Publishers, Kensington Books, Harlequin, Ballantine and Simon & Schuster. 

She has been featured on television shows such as Entertainment Tonight Canada, Who’s Afraid of Happy Endings (Bravo documentary about the romance genre), A.M. Buffalo, and the CTV News (among others).  She has also been featured in Ebony magazine, Romantic Times magazine, The South Florida Business Journal, The Toronto Star, The Hamilton Spectator and many other Canadian and U.S. publications.  She has been a guest on many radio shows (including CBC). In October 2007, she was featured in the Italian version of Vanity Fair after speaking at a women’s conference in Matera.  Her works have been translated into Italian, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

Kayla has spoken to children and young adults at schools and other venues, and enjoys speaking about her passion. Through her own story, she wishes to inspire people.  

https://www.authorkaylaperrin.com/

Prior to writing romance, award-winning, USA Today Bestseller Melinda Curtis was a junior manager for a Fortune 500 company, which meant when she flew on the private jet she was relegated to the jump seat—otherwise known as the potty. After grabbing her pen (and a parachute) she made the jump to full-time writer. Between writing sweet romance and sweet romantic comedy, Melinda finds time to bond with her husband over home remodeling projects. She recently came to grips with the fact that she’s an empty nester and a grandma, concepts easier to grasp than jet-setting on a potty.

Sign up for her newsletter on her website to receive two free reads.

https://www.melindacurtis.net/

A non-stop flight from Honolulu to Chicago. A quick stop at the airport bookstore and Cari Lynn Webb discovered her love for romance. She cannot recall the book she bought, but she does remember finishing it somewhere over California, feeling pleased the murderer had been arrested (justice had prevailed). But frustration reigned as Cari searched for a hidden chapter or missed epilogue that would show the heroine and the FBI agent she’d fallen in love with living their happily-ever-after. (Surely love conquered all.) Except not in that particular book. Another trip to the bookstore in her grandparents’ home town and Cari discovered an entire section of books dedicated to the happily-ever-after. There she found Kathleen Woodiwiss, Judith McNaught and then Nora Robert … and she became a life-long romance reader.

Cari’s passion for reading had not dimmed years later when she found herself newly married and inside another bookstore during her lunch break. But the shelves of happily-ever-afters surrounding her couldn’t stem her frustration at not being able to find a new historical romance (Amazon wasn’t the household name it would become). So like any dedicated reader, Cari drove back to work, opened a word document and began to write the historical she wanted to read. Months later, she printed the manuscript, presented it to her husband and asked if she should pursue acting or continue writing. With her husband’s full support, she continued writing… and now she feeds her passion for romance with a stack of to-be read paperbacks in her nightstand, multiple downloads on her kindle and her own stories.

Cari believes in the power of love simply because she’d grown up surrounded by true love. She remembers her grandparents holding hands when she visited them as a kindergartner and still holding hands when her grandmother whispered her final goodbyes to her grandfather after 70 years together. Cari’s parents have been married over 50 years. And Cari is blessed to have married her own hero. She will be the first to tell you that true love isn’t always sweet and perfect, it can be challenging, complicated and risky. But in the end, there is nothing more worth fighting for.

Wishing all of you, your very own happily-ever-after…

Posted in reviews

Gold Fever: Treasures of the Heart Book One by Lawna Mackie Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman from the big city must leave behind that life in order to find and save her brother in the wilderness, and in the process protect her heart from a rugged and handsome man who doesn’t believe in love in author Lawna Mackie’s “Gold Fever”, the first in the Treasures of the Heart romance series. 

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The Synopsis

Could it be true? The gold existed. A treasure map alluded to such a find, but for over a century it was rumored a fable, one told by an old crazy man—Samantha (Sam) Avery’s great-great-uncle.

One huge problem existed. Her brother Finn sent her the map and told her to run. Sam knew her big brother was in trouble and she had to help him.

In Dawson City, Yukon, Hunter Gray, outfitter and guide had been hired to do a job. At the airport, pick up a Sam Avery and take him to the old Charlie Avery cabin up the mighty river. What Hunter Gray hadn’t expected was for Sam to be a Samantha, who wore fashion designer shoes, had a sharp tongue and a goddess like appearance—the vast wilderness of the Yukon was no place for somebody like her.

Sam had to learn quickly. How hard could it be to ride a horse and live without running water and restaurants for a week? It didn’t matter, her brother needed her and Sam had to convince the ruggedly handsome man and his wolf… yes…wolf, that she was up to the adventure.

Spending night and day together, Samantha knows the attraction between them is growing quickly. Not only is Samantha determined to rescue her brother, but she must now save her heart from a man who doesn’t believe in love.

The Review

The author does an excellent job of laying the groundwork for the overarching mystery and lore this novel showcases as readers see how the hunt for treasure really began. From there the stakes are risen, as a savage criminal holds the brother of one of the novel’s protagonists captive, and brings the events to the forefront. 

The pacing and tone of this novel fit perfectly in the thriller and romance genres, with the action of the shady criminal dealings in the wilds of the Yukon blending with the steamy romance between the city girl and the rough and tumble outdoorsman. The author introduces some very adult romance scenes throughout this novel, so this is definitely not for younger audiences.

The core of this story definitely rests within the chemistry between the characters of this story. While Samantha and Hunter are fantastic romantic love interests and really add to the heart of this tale, Finn and Emma are two surprising and engaging characters that hold much more weight for the novel’s plot, especially Emma. Fans will love delving into these character’s stories and their interactions with one another.

The Verdict

A remarkable, engaging, and steamy romance, author Lawna Mackie’s “Gold Fever” is the perfect first book in the author’s “Treasures of the Heart” romance series. Full of passion, evenly paced, and expertly crafted character relationships make this a standout story that fans of both the thriller and romance genres will not be disappointed by. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Lawna Mackie was born in Jasper, Alberta. After finishing high school and post secondary she moved to Calgary, Alberta, married her husband and settled in the small town of Didsbury, Alberta.

Lawna would tell you that a lot of her creativity comes from her mother, who could design and build, just about anything. Her mother never lacked the talent for hand-making toys. “She always amazed me. My brother and I were never bored because she made us flutes, toy cars, and even parallel bars in the trees,” she explains.

Her other creative inspiration comes from her husband Jeff, and the many adventures they have had. It was on one particular trip to British Columbia, when she stopped at the Enchanted Forrest that the fairy tale world called to her to write a story.

Along with the love she has for her husband and family, is the deep admiration and compassion she has for animals. “They bring so much joy and inspiration to my life I don’t know how I would ever live without them,” she says. Alaskan Malamutes are near and dear to her heart. With one Malamute, one Bichon Shih Tzu, one farm cat and a Bengal, her house is never quiet.

Lawna writes contemporary romance and paranormals. One fan writes, “Lawna’s books are well-written and are impossibly good! The scenes are unexpected and very creative. I highly recommend her books!”

http://www.lawnamackie.ca/

Posted in reviews

A Princess By Christmas (A Royal Wedding #3) by Julia London Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young widow seeks to turn her late husband’s gossip and fashion rumor gazette into a serious source of journalism, and in doing so finds her first real story as a hidden and lost Prince seeks to root out corruption within his home in author Julia London’s “A Princess by Christmas”, the third in the “A Royal Wedding” series. 

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The Synopsis

She’s discovered his secret.

Now the trouble really begins…

After three years of mourning—and turning her dear deceased husband’s gazette into the ton‘s sauciest source of fashion and gossip—Hollis Honeycutt feels her life has been strangely bereft of late… Her sister is living abroad, and her best friend moved to the country. What must a young widow of rank and reputation do? Why, transform her society gossip sheets into serious investigative news, starting with a rumored coup…and the rather dashing, mysterious gentleman whom Hollis suspects might be the villain of her first real story, and she is the only one who can write it.

Marek Brendan is investigating terrible rumors of treachery and treason that threaten his home country of Wesloria, but he must proceed with caution. No one can discover the truth. After all, who would ever believe he is Wesloria’s lost crown prince? Only Hollis Honeycutt’s cerulean-blue eyes seem to know more than she’s letting on—and worse, Marek can’t seem to resist her curious charms. But even as betrayal threatens a nation and a throne, nothing is quite so dangerous as the lovely young widow who’s determined to find the truth…and a prince of her own.

The Review

A fantastic blend of Victorian-era scenery and social interactions amongst the characters blended with a holiday style romance narrative and political intrigue, this latest entry into the Royal Wedding series definitely is an attention-grabbing and entertaining read. The author beautifully brings to life the budding romance and emotion that all classic Victorian Romances hold, while also crafting a memorable reading experience.

The protagonists and the characters overall really helped bring this story to life, especially the historical setting and the Kingdoms involved in the narrative. The loss and loneliness that Hollis deals with when combined with her determination and passion despite the negative reactions others have to her writing make her a well-rounded character, while Marek’s passion to root out injustice while maintaining his life on his farm is a welcome journey for a young royal to take, making this a truly engaging plot and equally engaging characters to follow.

The Verdict

A heartfelt, emotional, stylistic, and lengthy read, author Julia London’s “A Princess by Christmas” is a must-read romance this holiday season. The story is breathtakingly beautiful and does a great job of drawing in readers with memorable characters and an inviting era of history, making this a must-read holiday romance. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today best selling author of more than two dozen romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular historical romance series, the Cabot Sisters, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming.

Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. To keep up with all the Julia London news, please visit http://www.julialondon.com. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/julialondon

https://www.instagram.com/julia_f_london/

Posted in reviews

Connected to Me By Marc Kage Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two young people struggling with their own complicated lives make a strong connection together, and soon find themselves forced to live the other’s life in author Marc Kage’s “Connected to Me”. 

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The Synopsis 

Aoi Kanemoto is Japanese, cute, shy, and a certified genius. Despite graduating top of her class at Caltech, she struggles to find a job in the fast-paced tech industry. Her family, although very loving, doesn’t understand her at all, and her little sister seems poised for success. But Aoi suffers from deep seated trust issues, that keep her from pursuing her dreams.

Then she meets Christian Sterling at a local ramen shop. An Afro-Hispanic foster child and fellow tech-head, Christian’s gentle demeanor and kind gestures cut through Aoi’s emotional barrier. But as they chat and grow closer, the shy girl’s anxiety causes her to flee the restaurant, before he can even ask for her number. Getting ditched is bad enough, but Christian has no idea that this chance encounter is about to turn both their lives upside down.

The next morning, Christian and Aoi are shocked to wake up in each other’s bodies. They have no idea how to get back! As Aoi discovers how lonely Christian’s life really is, Christian must confront Aoi’s strict parents, and help her find the courage to stand up for herself once and for all. And the more they learn about each other’s lives, the deeper they fall in love. But are they trapped in each other’s bodies forever? And if they do switch back, will their new-found romance survive?

The Review

A truly unique twist on the classic “Freaky Friday” body-switch storyline. The author does a great job of developing these two protagonists and their own underlying struggles quite well. The story flows smoothly thanks to detailed and passionate writing, and the emotional bond the two protagonists share with one another can be felt as each chapter goes on. 

What really stood out to me from a narrative perspective was the entire concept of the body-switch, as both protagonists are tech-based geniuses and spend so much time in the world of science that it is fascinating to see how they deal with this almost magical-like situation. Culture also plays a great role in the narrative as well, and Silicon Valley has never felt more alive in this romantic setting. 

The Verdict

A gripping, heartfelt, and evenly-paced narrative, author Marc Kage’s “Connected to Me” is a must-read romance for the modern era. Dealing with mental health and anxiety-based struggles, loneliness, romance, and wonder, the novel is the perfect escape as we head into the final weeks of 2020. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Marc Kage was Born and Raised in Livingston, New Jersey. He graduated from Livingston High School in 2009 and graduated from Montclair State University with a BA in Georgraphy in 2016. Marc currently resides in Bowie, Maryland. When Marc is not writing, he enjoys working out, eating and most importantly, learning new things about this dysfunctional planet.

Posted in reviews

Hate Crush (Filthy Rich #2) by Angelina M. Lopez Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A decade after he broke her heart, a young Princess must put herself on the line once more in order to save her kingdom by working with the rockstar she fell in love with in author Angelina M. Lopez’s “Hate Crush”, the second in the Filthy Rich series.

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The Synopsis

A fake relationship could help Princesa Sofia save her kingdom. Only problem: She’ll have to fake it with the man who broke her heart.

Ten years ago, wild child Princesa Sofia Maria Isabel de Esperanza y Santos fell in fast crazy love with heartbreaker Aish Salinger during one California harvest season. Now, all grown up and with the future of her kingdom on her shoulders, she hates him as passionately as she once loved him.

Even if her body hasn’t gotten the hate memo.

Faking a relationship with the now-famous rock star for the press and public will ensure the success of her new winery and prosperity of her kingdom. All she has to do is grit her teeth and bear his tattooed presence in her village and winery—her home—for a month.

Trying to recover from his own scandal, fallen superstar Aish Salinger jumps at the chance to be near Sofia again. Leaving her was the biggest mistake he’s ever made, and he’s waited ten years to win her back.

He never counted on finding a woman who despised him so much she didn’t want to be anywhere near him.

A war of wills breaks out as the princess and rock star battle to control their fake relationship. She wants to dictate every action to keep him away from her. He wants to be as close as he can be. She’s already lost so much because of Aish—e won’t be the reason her people lose even more.

But he also won’t make her break her life’s most important vow: To never fall in love again.

Read Filthy Rich Book One, Lush Money, available now from Carina Press!

The Review

A fantastic read! The author does an amazing job of creating a narrative for readers new to the series and fans of the first novel as well. The characters are well-rounded as they are filled with rich history not only between one another but by themselves as well, making their story shine even brighter. 

The story does a great job of bringing readers fully into the romance aspect of the narrative, making the tension and pain of their history together that much more engaging as a reader. However the inclusion of mystery and intrigue surrounding aspects of their shared past make this a good little mystery as well, giving an added layer of connectivity to the characters overall. 

The Verdict

A truly wonderful and engaging read, author Angelina M. Lopez and her novel “Hate Crush” is an evenly paced, heart-pounding read that readers will not be able to put down. A wonderful and rich cast of characters and entertaining story make this a must-read contemporary romance, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hate-Crush-Filthy-Angelina-Lopez/dp/1335459502

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hate-crush-angelina-m-lopez/1135551929

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hate-crush/id1491603901

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hate-crush

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Angelina_M_Lopez_Hate_Crush?id=hDTEDwAAQBAJ

About Angelina M. Lopez

Angelina M. Lopez wrote “arthur” when her kindergarten teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. In the years since she learned to spell the word correctly, she’s been a journalist for an acclaimed city newspaper, a freelance magazine writer, and a content marketer for small businesses. Finally, she found her way back to “author.”

Angelina writes sexy, contemporary stories about strong women and the confident men lucky enough to fall in love with them. The fact that her parents own a vineyard in California’s Russian River Valley might imply a certain hedonism about her; it’s not true. She’s a wife and a mom who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She makes to-do lists with perfectly drawn check boxes. She checks them with glee.

You can find more about her at her website, AngelinaMLopez.com.

Connect with Angelina M. Lopez

Website: http://www.angelinamlopez.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelinaMLopezDC/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelinaMLo

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelinamlo/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19213274.Angelina_M_Lopez


And now, an excerpt of Hate Crush (Filthy Rich #2) by Angelina M. Lopez…


Aish pulled the bud out of his ear and straightened, never taking his eyes off her as he held it out. When she took the bud from him, she let her fingers linger. His fingertips were warm and that tiny touch sent a frisson down her arm.

She unwrapped the headphones from around her neck and stuffed them into her back pocket. But she didn’t move back.

“I’m a musician,” he said, voice low.

“I know.”

A corner of his mouth went up. “What else do you know?”

That he made every millimeter of her skin buzz. That he smelled like boy and sweat and ocean salt. She hated the nose-clogging scent of cologne. There was nothing fake about the way this boy smelled.

She pulled her long braid over her shoulder and tugged on it. “You’re from LA, your father designs clothes, your mother is a famous fitness instructor. Y…you’re very good at surfing, singing, partying, working harder on less sleep than everyone else and…oh, , ménage à trois.”

Shock, mortification, and humor created a palette across his expressive face. “Who said I’m good at threesomes?”

Sofia ran a hand down her braid and shrugged, all Spanish cool. “No sé. I keep my nose to myself. It’s everyone else who talks.”

When he grinned this time, he looked like he might lean down and taste her. “And what does everyone say about you?”

Sofia worked to maintain her smile. She wanted to be no one to nobody. She wanted to have nothing said about her. But even if she’d lived a cloistered life in a high tower, her story would be marred with her parents’ dramas and affairs and fights, ugly public episodes that stripped Sofia of dignity without her involvement. And Princesa Sofia hadn’t lived a cloistered life. Maintaining her dignity hadn’t been high on her list when she’d mooned the crowd from atop a Semana Santa float in Cádiz or when she’d waved drunkenly to the paparazzi from a movie star’s hotel balcony when she was supposed to be presented to the Queen of England. She’d been neither drunk nor sleeping with the star. But her humiliated mother had abandoned the duke’s bedroom she’d been occupying to drag Sofia back to the Monte.

She didn’t want to think about her scandalous past. She didn’t want to think about the demands of her future. All Sofia wanted right now was to be a dirty, half-naked girl wrapped around a beautiful boy in a wine tank.

“I know some stuff about you,” Aish said quietly.

Sofia focused on the air in front of his face and ran her hand down her braid.

“Your name’s Sofia. That’s…really fucking pretty.” He hadn’t said Princess Sofia. He hadn’t said Sofia de

Esperanza y Santos. Just Sofia. And he thought it was pretty. She focused again on his eyes.

“You’ve got a great accent.” The air between them felt like it was warming up. “You like grunt work, which is so hot it kinda hurts.”

Nothing about her royal status. Nothing about her reputation. He’d just arrived; perhaps none of the interns had told him about the princess in their midst. Perhaps his uncle had just said, “Make sure the new intern hasn’t passed out. Her name is Sofia.”

“You’re not wearing a bra.” Her mouth opened at that, surprised, as his eyed gripped shut. “I noticed and if you noticed I noticed, I’m sorry ’cause I don’t want you to think I’m a total fucking creeper and scare you away…”

“I don’t think you’re a creeper,” she said, reaching to brush her fingers over his clenched fist. Her breasts were so small she seldom wore a bra. But this boy acted like they were an irresistible temptation.

Aish opened his eyes. “Are you for real?”

Sofia smiled up at him, feeling helpless and foolish and floating.

“I mean, am I having some weird acid flashback?” His urgency seemed to express that it was a real possibility.

“Wouldn’t I be having one, too?” she asked. “And I’ve never done acid.”

“No, no.” He was a lit fuse aimed in her direction. “This could be my own personal hallucination. Because, what the fuck. My uncle tells me to go check on the new intern and inside a tank is a kick-ass, bare-skinned fairy girl listening to elf music. I feel like I’m tripping. Am I?”

With amazement beaming from her, Sofia shook her head.

He reacted like she’d punched him. “Fuck. Your smile. Can I kiss you?”

Copyright © 2020 by Angelina M. Lopez

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Just Like That (Albin Academy #1) by Cole McCade Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young teacher returns to the school that tormented his youth, and is surprised by the bond he creates with his former teacher, who soon becomes something much more than colleagues in author Cole McCade’s “Just Like That”. 

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The Synopsis

Summer Hemlock never meant to come back to Omen, Massachusetts.

But with his mother in need of help, Summer has no choice but to return to his hometown, take up a teaching residency at the Albin Academy boarding school—and work directly under the man who made his teenage years miserable.

Professor Fox Iseya

Forbidding, aloof, commanding: psychology instructor Iseya is a cipher who’s always fascinated and intimidated shy, anxious Summer. But that fascination turns into something more when the older man challenges Summer to be brave. What starts as a daily game to reward Summer with a kiss for every obstacle overcome turns passionate, and a professional relationship turns quickly personal.

Yet Iseya’s walls of grief may be too high for someone like Summer to climb…until Summer’s infectious warmth shows Fox everything he’s been missing in life.

Now both men must be brave enough to trust each other, to take that leap.

To find the love they’ve always needed…

Just like that.

In Just Like That, critically acclaimed author Cole McCade introduces us to Albin Academy: a private boys’ school where some of the world’s richest families send their problem children to learn discipline and maturity, out of the public eye.

The Review

A powerful and emotional read, the author does a great job of building a complex story that focuses on character development above anything else. The bond between Summer and Professor Fox is engaging and real and draws the reader in immediately. 

The balance of the two characters and their personalities was unique to see unfold here, as was the way they balanced one another. From Summer’s submissive, quiet, and yet determined personality to Professor Fox’s strong, reserved, and more assured personality, these two drive home the romance and drama of the two character’s pasts, which compliments their growing bond as well. 

The Verdict

A moving, engaging, and emotional read that plunges the depths of the reader’s hearts, author Cole McCade’s novel “Just Like That” is a fantastic LGBTQ read that pushes the genre forward and creates memorable and relatable characters. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copies today! 

Rating: 10/10

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Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1335146458 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-like-that-cole-mccade/1135613577

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/just-like-that/id1491922418 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Cole_McCade_Just_Like_That?id=tsbEDwAAQBAJ 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/just-like-that-12 

About the Author

Cole McCade is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in Seattle. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant and business writer, and his nights writing contemporary romance and erotica that flirts with the edge of taboo—when he’s not being tackled by two hyperactive cats. 

He also writes genre-bending science fiction and fantasy tinged with a touch of horror and flavored by the influences of his multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual background as Xen. He wavers between calling himself bisexual, calling himself queer, and trying to figure out where “demi” fits into the whole mess—but no matter what word he uses he’s a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA and POC representation and visibility in genre fiction. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts: 

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Excerpt

“Extinguisher first, then sand,” the voice ordered. “Dr. Liu, if you insist on getting in the way, at least make yourself useful and remove anything else flammable from the vicinity of the blaze. Quickly, now. Keep your mouths covered.”

Summer’s entire body tingled, prickled, as if his skin had drawn too tight. That voice—that voice brought back too many memories. Afternoons in his psychology elective class, staring down at his textbook and doodling in his notebook and refusing to look up, to look at anyone, while that voice washed over him for an hour. Summer knew that voice almost better than the face attached to it, every inflection and cadence, the way it could command silence with a quiet word more effectively than any shout.

And how sometimes it seemed more expressive than the cold, withdrawn expression of the man he remembered, standing tall and stern in front of a class of boys who were all just a little bit afraid of him.

Summer had never been afraid, not really.

But he hadn’t had the courage to whisper to himself what he’d really felt, when he’d been a hopeless boy who’d done everything he could to be invisible.

Heart beating harder, he followed the sound of that voice to the open doorway of a smoke-filled room, the entire chemistry lab a haze of gray and black and crackling orange; from what he could tell a table was…on fire? Or at least the substance inside a blackened beaker was on fire, belching out a seemingly never-ending, impossible billow of smoke and flame.

Several smaller fires burned throughout the room; it looked as though sparks had jumped to catch on notebooks, papers, books. Several indistinct shapes alternately sprayed the conflagration with fire extinguishers and doused it with little hand buckets of sand from the emergency kit in the corner of the room, everyone working clumsily one-handed while they held wet paper towels over their noses and mouths with the other.

And standing tall over them all—several teachers and older students, it looked like—was the one man Summer had returned to Omen to see.

Professor Iseya.

He stood head and shoulders above the rest, his broad-shouldered, leanly angular frame as proud as a battle standard, elegant in a trim white button-down tucked into dark gray slacks, suspenders striping in neat black lines down his chest. Behind slim glasses, his pale, sharply angled gray eyes flicked swiftly over the room, set in a narrow, graceful face that had only weathered with age into an ivory mask of quiet, aloof beauty.

The sleek slick of his ink-black hair was pulled back from his face as always—but as always, he could never quite keep the soft strands inside their tie, and several wisped free to frame his face, lay against his long, smooth neck, pour down his shoulders and back. He held a damp paper towel over his mouth, neatly folded into a square, and spoke through it to direct the frazzled-looking group with consummate calm, taking complete control of the situation.

And complete control of Summer, as Iseya’s gaze abruptly snapped to him, locking on him from across the room. “Why have you not evacuated?” Iseya demanded coldly, his words precise, inflected with a softly cultured accent. “Please vacate the premises until we’ve contained the blaze.”

Summer dropped his eyes immediately—habit, staring down at his feet. “Oh, um—I came to help,” he mumbled through the collar of his shirt.

A pause, then, “You’re not a student. Who are you?”

That shouldn’t sting.

But then it had been seven years, he’d only been in two of Iseya’s classes…and he’d changed, since he’d left Omen.

At least, he hoped he had.

That was why he’d run away, after all. To shake off the boy he’d been; to find himself in a big city like Baltimore, and maybe, just maybe…

Learn not to be so afraid.

But he almost couldn’t bring himself to speak, while the silence demanded an answer. “I’m not a student anymore,” he corrected, almost under his breath. “It’s…it’s me. Summer. Summer Hemlock. Your new TA.” He made himself look up, even if he didn’t raise his head, peeking at Iseya through the wreathing of smoke that made the man look like some strange and ghostly figure, this ethereal spirit swirled in mist and darkness. “Hi, Professor Iseya. Hi.”

Copyright © 2020 by Cole McCade

Posted in reviews

Burn Zone (Hotshots #1) by Annabeth Albert

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Desire and danger lurk as a seasoned fire rescue crew member Linc finds the younger brother of his late best friend Jacob joining the crew, stirring up old feelings despite a promise never to pursue anything that he made to Jacob’s brother years earlier in author Annabeth Albert’s “Burn Zone”. 

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The Synopsis

Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts…

Smoke jumper Lincoln Reid is speechless to see Jacob Hartman among his squad’s new recruits. Linc had promised his late best friend he’d stay away from his little brother. And yet here Jacob is…and almost instantly, the same temptation Linc has always felt around him is causing way too many problems.

Jacob gets everyone’s concerns, but he’s waited years for his shot at joining the elite smoke jumping team, hoping to honor his brother’s memory. He’s ready to tackle any challenge Linc throws his way, and senses the chemistry between them—chemistry Linc insists on ignoring—is still alive and kicking. This time, Jacob’s determined to get what he wants.

Close quarters and high stakes make it difficult for Linc to keep his resolve, never mind do so while also making sure the rookie’s safe. But the closer they get, the more Linc’s plan to leave at the end of the season risks him breaking another promise: the one his heart wants to make to Jacob.

The Review

This is definitely an emotional, steamy, and engaging read for those who like passionate LGBTQ romance reads with a hint of action, drama, and intensity. The character development and ongoing struggle of the characters felt relatable. 

From Linc’s growing desire and a mixture of guilt combining with his own identity within the fire rescue crew community he had been engaged with for years to Jacob’s desire to honor his brother’s legacy and finally earn the respect of his family and the people his brother and Linc had worked with for years, the struggles of these two’s lives when combined with the intense romance brewing between them made for a compelling read. 

The Verdict

A gripping evenly paced read, author Annabeth Albert’s “Burn Zone”, the first in the Hotshots series, is a must-read for any fans of the LGBTQ romance/contemporary genre. A fantastic setting and heart-pounding look into the world of fire rescue crews, the story of these two men, and the journey they go on together is something readers will not be able to put down. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Burn-Zone-Hotshots-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07YCQ7VQW

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/burn-zone-annabeth-albert/1133792901

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/burn-zone/id1481346634

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/burn-zone-2

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Burn_Zone?id=3eWxDwAAQBAJ

About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Connect with Annabeth Albert

Website: http://annabethalbert.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbert 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Annabeth-Albert/e/B00LYFFAZK 

Author Q&A

BURN ZONE is the first book in the Hotshots series. What three words best describe BURN ZONE?

Danger, heat, and loyalty! All three words apply on multiple levels here! 

What is Linc’s most surprising quality?

His tenderness. Linc’s deep and abiding loyalty is what people notice first with him, but it’s his private tenderness with Jacob that surprised (and delighted!!!) me the most with him. 

What quality do you love most about Jacob?

Jacob is fearless and tenacious. He knows what he wants and he goes for it, full tilt, whether that thing is his older brother’s best friend, Linc, or smoke jumping.  

BURN ZONE is full of amazing tropes: age difference, grumpy & the sunshine one, older brother’s best friend, rookie/experienced expert, and hurt/comfort. Which trope was the most fun to write for Linc and Jacob’s story?

I knew going into this that this was going to be a deeper examination of best friend’s little brother trope.  I did best friend’s brother with At Attention (Out of Uniform, book #2), but the stakes were lower than they are here as far as the familial relationship. I wanted the characters to have to really grapple with some big feelings. And those feelings give rise to some of my favorite hurt/comfort scenes that I’ve done. All the tropes play together to make this one of my favorite books I’ve done—I loved watching my initial idea of angsty brother’s best friend evolve and grow with the other tropes. 

What would you like readers to take away from reading Linc and Jacob’s story?

Sometimes the heart knows what it wants and won’t stop until it gets its way. Linc and Jacob are meant to be, even in face of opposition and adversity. Their relationship is ill-advised—they work together, Linc’s his mentor, and he’s Jacob’s older brother’s best friend. On paper, they are terrible for each other, but in actuality, they are perfect for each other, the missing half to the other’s heart. They’ve been in love, in a way, for years and years, and all that longing pays off in explosive chemistry. I think what I want readers to take away from this story is “Trust your heart. The rest will follow.” If you trust in your heart, then all the obstacles can be tackled, one by one. 

Who was your favorite secondary character to write in BURN ZONE?

Garrick! He gets book 2, HIGH HEAT, coming to you in July from me and Carina Press! I can’t WAIT for you to meet Garrick and Rain! 

Where did the inspiration for the Hotshots series come from?

I wanted to do a Central Oregon series, and after spending time in the region on family trips, I was fascinated by how much of the summer season is dominated by wildfire risk. After writing Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform, book #7), I really, really wanted to do more parachute-loving characters, and what’s better than one hero who likes to jump out of planes? Two! And a whole team of them! I wanted to return to the team feeling from Out of Uniform with a close-knit fire community in a part of the country that I truly love. 

Writing about smoke jumpers in Oregon must have resulted in some interesting research for the Hotshots series. What’s the most interesting or surprising thing you’ve learned so far? 

So much amazing research! One thing that I loved finding out about was how smoke jumpers repair a lot of their own gear. They are responsible for repairing and maintaining their equipment and a lot of time that means sewing and other highly dexterous tasks that you might not associate with rough-and-ready firefighters. 

BURN ZONE and the Hotshots series returns to the ‘band of brothers’ feel readers loved in your Out of Uniform Series. What do you love about writing the ‘band of brothers’ feel into your books? 

I love loyal groups bound by more than just friendship or family. I love people brought together by a shared passion for serving their community. I love putting them in the sort of life-and-death situations that our real life frontline heroes face. Loyalty to each other goes far beyond a job. It’s a calling, and sometimes it results in sacrifices. I like to honor that hard work and sacrifice in my books and pay tribute to these heroic vocations. It’s inspiring and also fascinating, examining the community created by people brought together to serve the greater good. 

HIGH HEAT, the second Hotshots book comes out this summer. What can readers expect from Garrick’s story?

I loved every single thing about writing BURN ZONE, but Garrick was one of my favorite parts. He’s a foil for both Linc and Jacob, and he’s the sort of freewheeling, easy spirit that absolutely embodies the smoke jumping community. But what happens when that job, that community is threatened by an injury beyond your control? Garrick’s book was a chance for me to delve deep into what happens when life doesn’t go according to plan. But it’s also a tremendously fun book. There’s a dog in need of a home, a kinky new younger neighbor, a hot tub, and shenanigans aplenty as Garrick and his co-hero Rain, discover what truly makes a home. With the whole series, you can expect fire drama in the background and lots of adrenaline pumping, but also deep, meaningful feelings and warm, squishy endings.