Keyed Up by Ellie Rice

Release Tour for KEYED UP by Ellie Rice
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Welcome back to Ellie Rice’s Key West, kick up your feet with her latest, KEYED UP, the second installment in her popular romance series. Micah’s got no time for women until he meets infuriating and sexy Ang, while on vacation. Fans of the Manhattan series by V.Theia, Heritage Bay series by MA Foster and vacation romance will devour this insta-lust, hot read.


About Keyed Up:
 


I’m a smart-ass with a foul mouth and I don’t take any sh–stuff from anyone. I’ve been through some
things that not even my BFF knows about. So, I have only one thing I want from a man, and it isn’t his
bank account. Hell, it’s not even his personality. Appendages are all I need. That’s why I hate Micah. He
had to go being all NICE. But our time is short. Once we leave Key West, everything stops. It’s for the
best. It’s what we both want. 
Or is it?
 
I’ve got no time for women. They require too much attention and if I’m going to build one of the premier
bike shops in Manhattan, I can’t afford to waste time with dating. I have goals. That’s why I hate Ang.
She’s infuriating, sexy, and complicated. All the things I cannot deal with right now. While we’re in Key
West, I’ll indulge. Once we leave Key West, everything stops. That’s what I want. 
Right? 
 
 

My review:

 

I admit, at first I didn’t really like this book. The Ang and Micah we meet in the first couple chapters aren’t that great and I couldn’t really connect with either one. But I kept on, and I’m glad I did.

Ang is a smart-mouthed, sarcastic graphic designer. She is in Key West for her best friend’s wedding. Micah is a builder of custom motorcycles, busy opening a second location. He is a friend of the groom and also in the wedding. The two meet a day before everyone else arrives and sparks fly between them. Neither wants a relationship, however. Ang has serious baggage, and neither of them trust love.

As I already said, the first few chapters were hard to get into. Ang seemed so over the top. Micah was almost a caricature of a biker character. But as the book progressed, their characters did as well. They really grew on me.

This book isn’t a favorite, but it’s not bad either. It’s an easy read, good for a relaxing weekend. It does have a lot of humor.

Rating: ♥♥♥ 1/2

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Excerpt
Copyright @ Ellie Rice 2019
 
“Damn, Ang. This isn’t high school. I’m not asking you to be my girlfriend. I think that maybe we could have dinner together
sometimes. Maybe see a movie or something?”
She looks at me skeptically. “So, you’re not saying you want to go paddling up coochie creek?”
I nearly choke on my rice. “Do what, now?”
Ang huffs. “You know. Parting the pink sea, oscillating unmentionables, having a pants-off dance-off, playing pelvic pinochle,
putting ranch dressing in the hidden valley.”
That’s when I burst out laughing. “Oh, you mean releasing the Kraken, having a good rogering, rubbing the fun bits, shrimpin’
the barbie, putting the two ball in the middle pocket, dunking the dingus. Is that what you mean?”
She’s trying hard to contain her amusement but failing miserably. Her smile escapes. “Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
Leaning back, I study her for a moment then shrug. “I’m not saying we have to rule out assault with a friendly weapon or
aggressive cuddling, but rather enhancing crashing the custard truck with extracurricular activities.”
Ang nods. “So, dinner first, then parking the beef bus in tuna town? I might agree to that. Just don’t get all needy and clingy.
You’re not Ross, you know. You’re not my lobster.”
“You’re no Rachel yourself, firecracker. And we are definitely on a break.”
A strange look flits across her face. One I’ve not seen before. “So, we’re free to have gland-to-gland combat with other
people?”
“If you choose.  Know this, raincoats are required.”
“Of course,” she concedes.
Throwing a few bills on the table, I stand and offer her my hand. “Come on. I’ll take you home.”
She hesitates for a brief second before taking my hand. When we reach the door, I help her with her coat and take her home.
I’m pretty sure she was expecting me to put the moves on her after our dinner conversation, but I’m determined to prove to
her that I don’t only want to fuck her. I simply give her a light kiss on the top of her head and say goodbye. The look of shock
on her face is totally worth the severe case of blue balls that follows. Lying in my bed, all I can think of is her face. Her green
eyes that shine like emeralds. The light smattering of freckles that covers the bridge of her nose and apples of her cheeks.
Her auburn curls running wild even when she tries to tame them. 
Why did I tell her that we could fuck around? Who does that shit? I should physically kick my own ass for that stupid comment
if I could. I haven’t had sex with any one person in over six months, let alone multiple people. And I sure as shit don’t want her
screwing anyone else, but I didn’t want her to think I was being possessive or scare her away with thoughts of relationships. 
I’m a complete dumb-ass.
 
 


Author Ellie Rice:
Ellie is a wife and mother of three boys. She has a voracious appetite for reading; it’s about as large

as her love of music. Ellie is fluent in sarcasm, song lyrics, and movie quotes. Chances are, anything

you say will remind her of a song or movie and she will quote it to you. Her debut romance novel

released May 2018, after years of hard work. Look for more titles coming soon.



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The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

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About the book:

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.
She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point.
She knows she needs to find her father.
She’s missed so much that her friends have left her behind.
She’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. And now she barely knows where to start on her own.

And then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart.

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

My review:

This book is incredible.

Ailsa has lived her entire 28 years knowing she would die at any time. When she is matched with a donor heart, she starts learning how to really live. But it’s not as easy as she had expected. She and her mother have to maneuver through a drastically changed relationship. She meets new people, makes new friends, and even dates. She also gets a crash course in maturity and what being an adult actually means.

The characters in this book are all well written. I even felt sympathetic for the ‘villain” in the background of Ailsa’s life. Even if his actions are unforgivable, the author made me empathetic for why he did it. (He’s still 100% wrong though, just saying.)

This book also illustrates the importance of organ donation. I know, it’s impossibly hard to think about when you’re in the middle of a tragic situation, so do it now. Register to be a donor (I have, donating as many organs as possible, in case any of my family reads this) and talk to your family. Talk to your friends. Make your wishes known and find out what theirs are. Give real life people like Ailsa, and the way-too-many people out there on waiting lists a chance at life.

Anyway, back to the book. This was beautiful and touching and heartbreaking and heartwarming and full of hope. And lots and lots of real talk that gives good life lessons to anyone.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy on Amazon      Add to Goodreads

About the author:

5276201Stephanie Butland is a writer, who is thriving after breast cancer. (She used to say she was a survivor, but that was a bit lacking in joie de vivre.)
Although she’d never have chosen it, her dance with cancer has changed her life in many positive ways. Now she is happier, healthier, and more careful with her precious life and the precious people and things in it.

Her writing career began with her dance with cancer, and now she is  a novelist.

Aside from writing, she works as a speaker and trainer, and she works with charities to help raise awareness and money in the hope that cancer will soon be about as scary as a wart.

Find her on Twitter

Deadly Silence by OMJ Ryan

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About the book:

Some sins can never be forgiven.

DI Jane Phillips was a star detective driven by a relentless quest for justice. But then she stepped outside the law.

Now, demoted and suffering with PTSD, she finds herself facing the deadliest threat of her career — a serial killer who is preying on vulnerable women, murdering them in a shocking and bizarre ritual.

A master of deception, he selects his victims at random. Or so it seems. But as Phillips investigates, she begins to see a method in the killer’s madness. Perhaps these victims aren’t random at all…

As the pressure mounts, can Phillips find the link between these ritual murders before the killer strikes again — or will her dogged determination to solve the case bring his deadly silence to her door?

Deadly Silence is a gripping mystery thriller that will keep you up all night as it races towards its shocking conclusion. Perfect for fans of Robert Bryndza, Angela Marsons and Peter James.

My review:

While I enjoy this type of book very much, I admit to being critical of them. It’s hard to get the right balance between being blatantly obvious about “whodunit” and “wtf where did that even come from?” Deadly Silence, however, gets it exactly right. The book is set in Manchester, England. DI Phillips has recently been demoted after a disastrous ending to a previous case and her work arch rival has taken her old job. She and her team must work with him to catch a serial killer.

This book was so hard to put down. The pacing flowed easily, and every time I was convinced I had figured it out that would change. The red herrings are quite effective as I usually do’n’t fall for them. The only complaint I have about this book is that it reads like the second book in a series, not the first. The case that resulted in the demotion of DI Phillips is referred to frequently with little details, as if we are supposed to know what happened already. One character that apparently featured in that case is referred to in passing and then makes an appearance out of nowhere, and the conversation isn’t that enlightening on who he is exactly. I was actually going to look for the book that contained that case then realized this was the first book and we aren’t getting the rest of the story. However, it isn’t enough to take away enjoyment of the book overall.

If you enjoy mysteries or police procedurals like the ones by James Patterson or Patricia Cornwell, you will enjoy this one as well.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy on Amazon

Add to Goodreads

About the author:

For twenty years Owen Ryan worked in radio and entertainment across the UK and Australia, collaborating with household names, celebrities and music icons, accumulating a host of international writing and radio awards.

In 2018 he followed his passion to become a full-time novelist, writing stories for people who devour exciting, fast-paced thrillers by the pool, on their commute – or those rare moments of downtime before bed. Owen’s mission is to entertain from the first page to the last.

Hailing from Yorkshire, Owen has lived and worked in Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Sydney and Melbourne, before settling in the north east of England with his wife Kim and son Vaughan.

This summer enjoy Deadly Secrets and dive deep into the entertaining world of UK radio, and dark underbelly of Manchester, experiencing the glamour and grime of this world-famous city in equal measure.

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The Line That Binds by Carolyn Laroche

 

Title: The Line That Binds
Author: Carolyn LaRoche
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: October 21, 2019

 

Blurb
Eleanor Hart loved the same man almost her entire life. When her husband Gary, a
Virginia Beach police officer, is killed in the line of duty, her whole world is torn apart. One minute she’s drinking margaritas with her girlfriends, and the next, she’s planning a funeral. Her two best friends, Vivian and Marietta, wrap their love and friendship around her while doing their best to support their husbands who were witnesses to the brutal murder of their friend and colleague. They fight to keep their marriages together amidst depression, guilt, grief, alcoholism, and PTSD. Through the enormity of the loss, they discover the true strength of their friendship. With plenty of hugs, tears, wine, and ice cream, the three friends navigate the complicated aftermath of Gary’s death. Together they can handle anything.
Friends by chance.
Sisters by choice.
Strengthened by The Line That Binds.

My review:

This book is SO very good. Warning: you will need tissues. I am not a crier, but several parts of this book really got to me. Eleanor, Vivian, and Mari are three best friends married to officers on the same police force. Eleanor and Vivian are a little older; Eleanor’s twin sons are in college and Vivian’s son is a senior in high school. Their husbands have also been best friends for years. Mari and her husband are younger but have gotten close to the other couples in the years since her husband joined the force. When Eleanor’s husband Gary is killed in the line of duty, Vivian and Mari have her. The friendship these ladies share is beautiful. The book is told from the points of view of all three women. All of them are affected by this, and Vivian and Mari also have to deal with their husbands dealing with the loss.

I really loved this book. It isn’t a light, fun read. It’s intense and emotional and so so filled with love. Grief isn’t pretty and people grieve differently, and this doesn’t shy away from any of it. But the end is full of hope.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

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Excerpt

Vivian came
out of the walk-in closet holding a small wood box. “Hey, Ellie, I found
this on the shelf under his jeans.”
“What
is it? I don’t recognize it.”
Vivian
handed it to her. Eleanor set it on the dresser before flipping the top up.
Inside sat a miscellaneous collection of items. Eleanor picked up the photo off
the top of the pile. It was one of the two of them, Gary in uniform and Eleanor
pinning his badge to his chest. They both looked so young, so expectant and
happy for the future to come. She touched his face with her finger, wishing it
were really him. “This is at Gary’s academy graduation.”
“I’ve
never seen this one before.” Vivian took the photo and turned it over.
“Look, he wrote something on the back.”
She handed
the photo back to Eleanor. She turned it over and recognized Gary’s tight
script. He’d only written two words: My
love.
Eleanor
held the photo to her heart. “He never came across as a romantic man but
maybe he really was.”
“Judging
by the things he held onto, I’d say he was very romantic.” Marietta pushed
the box toward her. “Look.”
She did.
The next things she saw, the twins’ hospital bracelets from the day they were
born, brought moisture to her eyes. She thought she’d thrown those away. A
cocktail napkin from their favorite date night spot, a seashell painted with
the words St. Lucia from their honeymoon, the first pair of cufflinks she’d
ever given him. She’d found them at a tag sale. They weren’t worth anything but
the crystal blue stones had exactly matched the color of his eyes.
“I
can’t believe he kept all these things.” Eleanor wiped at her eyes and
sniffed.
“I
can,” Vivian said. “You were his whole world.”
“And
now he’s gone and this is what I am left with.” Eleanor pushed the box
away.
Marietta
reached in and pulled out a pink hair tie. “But, what if that is why he
saved all these things? So, that if something ever did happen to him, you’d
know the things that were important to him and how much he loved you.”
“Maybe.”
Eleanor took the hair tie from Marietta. “I used to wear that all the time
when the twins were babies. They liked to yank my hair so I kept it braided.
I’d wondered where it had gotten off to.”
“This
is your piece of Gary. He left it behind for you,” Vivian said.
She nodded,
her eyes filling with tears. “I had no idea he’d been doing this all these
years.”
“Do
you want to look at the rest of it?” Marietta asked. “We can leave
you alone for a few minutes.”
Eleanor
reached for a tissue on her nightstand and blew her nose. She shook her head.
“I can’t right now.” Eleanor closed the lid. “If I go through
the rest of this now, I’ll never get these clothes taken care of.”
“The
clothes can wait, Ellie,” Vivian said. “If you want them to.”
“No.
I’m not ready to look at it all now.” She picked up the box and walked
over to the night stand. Pulling out the drawer, she tucked the box inside and
closed the drawer again. She needed to look at the rest of the contents when
her heart wasn’t so fragile. Preferably alone so she could take the time to
cherish each item’s memory. 

 

Author Bio

Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband and their two sons. She’s been known to lug her laptop to the baseball fields and keeps a notebook by her bed to jot down the next big story idea in the wee hours of the night.

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Breathless With Her by Carrie Ann Ryan

 

Title: Breathless With Her

Series: Less Than #1

Author: Carrie Ann Ryan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 22, 2019
Blurb
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Carrie Ann Ryan comes a sexy new contemporary series.
Devin Carr likes his life. He likes his job, his family, the outlook for his future. Then he meets her. Erin. As soon as he sees her, drunk and wearing a sequined dress as her world crashes down around her and she fights to put on a brave face, he knows what he’s been missing.
Her.
When Erin Taborn finds her high school sweetheart and husband banging the former head cheerleader of their graduating class at their high school reunion, she tells herself she’ll be fine. She just needs to figure out what fine means. There’s only one problem. Devin. She didn’t plan on him. And for someone who thinks they have all their plans in place, that’s a problem.
One she’ll have to find an answer to if this whole friends-with-benefits thing is going to work. If not, she’ll fail just like with everything else.

 

My review:

This was a good book. Erin is trying to figure out who she is now that she’s not married to the man she’s been with since she was 10 years old. She doesn’t want anything serious, but she does like being with Devin. But then feelings get felt and things get sticky.
I mostly liked Erin. I liked that she wanted to take the time to get to know herself better, and not through the filter of her ex husband. I loved her sister and her friend Zoey, too. But I didn’t fully connect with her – the capable businesswoman side and the insecure, self-sabotaging side didn’t really mesh. It almost felt a little forced. I liked Devin, and his siblings. But even though I could see the conflict coming way ahead of time, it was still cringey to read. Luckily, being a romance novel with the standard HEA, things worked out in the end.
All in all, it’s an enjoyable read with a good story, good characters, and good pacing. I just didn’t love it.
Rating: ♥♥♥ 1/2

 

Purchase Links

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Author Bio

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and  USA Today bestselling author of contemporary, paranormal, and young adult romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Fractured Connections, and Elements of Five series, which have sold over 3.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over seventy-five novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not losing herself in her emotional and action-packed worlds, she’s reading as much as she can while wrangling her clowder of cats who have more followers than she does.
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I Knead You Tonight by Teagan Hunter

 
I hate Drew Woods, and she hates me. 
 
Even so, I’m not the cold jerk most make me out to be, and I have no problem moving the single mom and her baby into my home. I do, however, draw a line when it comes to acting on the way her loose lips make me feel.
 
Alive.
 
She’s too mouthy, too prying, and her curves are way too distracting.
 
I might have lost my way after a nearly fatal car accident, but I’m not stupid. Giving in to Drew would be a short-lived fix for this pain I’m saddled with, and I knead something permanent.
 
I’d be insane to think what we have could be anything other than temporary…right?

My review:

Winston and Drew hate each other. Like really, really, despise each other. Except that hate seems to be a mask for something more. Too bad each of them is convinced the other hates them back.

I love these two. Although the books are standalones, we first met Winston and Drew in A Piece of My Heart. Even though they were not the featured characters, there was still something between them and I just knew their book was coming. I was not at all disappointed. Their bickering, their covert caring, their chemistry, and their fierce support of each other is swoonworthy. Even when they proclaim to hate each other they still look out for each other. And Winston + Riker = heart eyes emojis all over the place.

Also: Can we talk about the enigma that is Sully? Teagan, if you read this, pleeeeeeeease tell me his story is coming soon? I need to know more about him!

Anyway, this book is amazing and sweet and funny and sexy and you should definitely read it. And go back and read this author’s entire catalog. She started out killing it with her books and has only gotten better. You won’t be sorry.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Grab Your Slice Here:



 
I’m a Missouri-raised gal, but currently live in North Carolina with my US Marine husband and 9-year-old dog. I spend my days begging him for a cat, and I survive off coffee, pizza, and sarcasm. When I’m not writing, you can find me binge-watching various TV shows, especially Supernatural and One Tree Hill. I like cold weather, buy more paperbacks than I’ll ever read, and I never say no to brownies.
 
Writing is my passion, and this is just the beginning of my journey.
 

 

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The Mogul and the Muscle by Claire Kingsley

Title: The Mogul and the Muscle
Series: A Bluewater Billionaires Novel
Author: Claire Kingsley
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Comedy
Release Date: October 14, 2019

“I wanted this man’s arms around me, cocooning me in safety. I wanted to feel like I didn’t have to be brave for a few hours. I wanted to let him be my courage. My protection. My shield.”

 

Cameron Whitbury—billionaire aerospace mogul—can engineer her way out of any problem. Sure, she’s living with the threat of a potential sex scandal thanks to her lying ex. And that attempted mugging in her parking garage might not have been a random attack.

 

But she’s totally got this. Sacrifice her privacy to an overprotective bodyguard? No thanks. She doesn’t need a six-foot-five, motorcycle-riding, square-jawed, hazel-eyed man-beast shadowing her every move.

 

Jude Ellis—one-man security operation and professional problem solver—is ready to retire from the cloak and dagger stuff to live a normal life. He doesn’t need another client. Not even one with coppery-red hair and mile-long legs who looks hot AF in a sexy pair of heels.

 

To appease her worried friends, Cameron hires Jude as her bodyguard. And despite their feisty banter and their rampant—and totally inappropriate—sex fantasies, they’re both determined to keep it professional.

 

But as the danger to Cameron escalates, the heat simmering between them just might combust.

 

Author’s note: Big wall-of-man hero with a fierce (and growly) protective streak. Confident and snarky heroine. All the banter. Sex in a closet. And a daring rescue with a big, heart squishing HEA.

My review:

This was SUCH a fun book! I’ve been looking forward to it since learning about it, since we had a brief encounter with Cameron and Jude in Faking Mr Right (and Everly and Shepherd make a very brief appearance in this book when their paths cross in the storyline – it was great to get the outsider’s take on their Big Moment).

Technically the Bluewater Billionaires books are standalones, but you definitely want to read all four of them. Each of the authors writing them are insanely talented.

Just a quick aside – I adore that the authors themselves are written into the books (unnamed of course) and I keep trying to figure out who is who.

Cameron, like the other Bluewater Billionaires, is a brilliant, driven, powerful woman. She rose through the ranks to lead an aerospace company and loves her job. Her friends are concerned after an attempted mugging, however, and hire Derek’s friend Jude (Derek and Emily are the subjects of book 1, The Price Of Scandal). Cameron insists she doesn’t need security, but is soon proven wrong.

These two make a deliciously fun couple. They try to resist their mutual attraction and their teasing of each other is hilarious. They have incredible chemistry and a trust that is hard to come by. I hated to reach the end of this book, but I’m looking forward to reading the next two when they are released. 

 

 

Heat, Heart, & Happily Ever After
 
Claire Kingsley writes sexy contemporary romance and romantic comedies. She loves sassy, quirky heroines, swoony heroes who love their women hard, panty-melting sexytimes, romantic happily ever afters, and lots of big feels.
 
She can’t imagine life without coffee, her Kindle, and the sexy heroes who inhabit her imagination. She’s living out her own happily ever after in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three kids.

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Awk-Weird by Avery Flynn

 

 

 

There’s more to me than just being awk-weird. I own my own flower shop, have some great friends, and I have my eye on adopting the most adorable kitten. But sadly, hot guys don’t tend to be blown away by my trivia-spouting, dorky self.
 
So, when a Thor-lookalike who happens to be a professional hockey player hits on me at my bestie’s wedding rehearsal party … You better believe I climbed that tree like a cat. And the face that it happened not once, not twice, but three times? Yeah, that’s pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a woman like me. 
 
There’s zero chance I’ll end up ever seeing him again…right? 
 
Until the pregnancy test comes up positive. What happens next?
 
Oh my God, I wish I knew…

My review:

I fell in love with Avery Flynn’s writing three books ago and this one is just as good as the others. She writes a kickass heroine who doesn’t need a man, thankyouverymuch. Not that relationships are bad, but I get so tired of reading about the woman who just isn’t complete without a significant other. Tess is an awkward florist who spouts random trivia when she is nervous, and after a childhood of neglect and emotional abuse she doesn’t expect to ever find love. Cole is a player on the local professional hockey team, and lives his life by a strict, structured routine. He hates change and lately too much change is happening, including his one-time hookup being pregnant with his baby.

I loved these two together. On paper they don’t make sense, but they really are a perfect match with more in common that it seems. The denial these two have about their feelings is adorable, although frustrating at times too. It really felt like we as readers are part of their friends group, knowing they are in love with each other but unable to do anything about it.

This was a fun read with lots of random knowledge for you to absorb and file away for the next trivia night.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

 
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USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling romance author Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip. Avery was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are great with a quip and relatable heroines who are feisty, fierce and fantastic.
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Someday, Somehow by Claudia Burgoa + Giveaway

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Someday-Somehow-fb-banner
Title: Someday, Somehow
Author: Claudia Burgoa
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: October 3,
2019
Blurb

Men and women can be friends.

At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself since George walked into my life.

We bicker as much as we have each other’s backs.

We’re inseparable.

So, she left to find herself and I feel like I can’t breathe without her.

It’s okay, it’s only temporary.

But when she walks back into my life, it’s on the arm of a stranger.

Her fiancé.

Seriously, I just realized I’m in love with her and she’s engaged? I have six weeks to
convince George we’re meant to be together—not only in the kitchen or be forced to watch her marry another man.

Time is running out, and soon, she’ll be gone from my life.

I’m risking everything, will that be enough?

Someday, Somehow is a sexy romantic comedy that’s equal parts funny and flirty. Made of Honor clashes with When Harry Met Sally in a sweet and seductive love story of hopeful hearts and second chances.

My review:

What a good story!

Auggie and George (Augustin and Georgia) meet in college, her freshman year and his junior year. They become the best of friends and they go so well together! It’s clear that these two belong together but neither one realizes it.

I love the way these two complete each other from the very beginning. They really bring out the best in each other. And I adore their families! Auggie’s siblings are hilarious, his abuela is incredible, and George’s dad is the absolute best.

There is something about this author’s books that I think is wonderful and this one has it too – when a character has an issue, they fix themselves first instead of jumping into a relationship and hoping for a bandaid fix of their problems. In this case it takes friends to force the issue but it does happen. I wish more books were like this!

This was a fantastic, well written book with excellent characters.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

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Excerpt

“A junior invited me,” Megan said excitedly. “It might be the party of the year.”

Party?

It looks like Union Square during New Year’s Eve.

What is everyone waiting for?

This party wasn’t worth the three-mile walk from our dorm to here.

The cheap alcohol tops it all. I didn’t get drunk with the first sip of a screwdriver; I got a
massive headache. This isn’t for me. The circle of girls gossiping about everything as they wait to be swooped by some guy—not my scene.

Haven’t we done this for the past twelve hours? Chat about nonsense. This is why I don’t
have many friends. I was too busy with my extracurricular activities that I skipped socializing 101. Give me a good book to read. A movie to watch or a marathon on TBS or Nick at Nite to keep me up all night. I suggest we leave, and what does roommate-dearest say in response? “I’ll find you a place to crash.”

The bedroom is dark but clean. I grab a sweatshirt and even a bear I find on the floor. It only takes a few seconds for me to fall asleep. It is quiet, smells of sandalwood and pine, and the sheets are soft.

I miss home.

Everything is going well until the guy from the coffee shop wakes me up. I swear it feels
like a dream. A nightmare. But after we talk, I realize he’s not as bad as I thought. He’s one of the good guys but likes to pretend he’s anything but.

His food…who knew eggs could taste this great? In exchange for yet another plate, I could offer to fix the light fixtures. This place is off code.

And there I go, thinking like my father. Instead of teaching me construction, he should’ve
taught me how to socialize. I wish my aunts had been around more often during my teenage years. I’d be a little cooler, or at least I’d know how to make friends easily.

Auggie takes the empty plate from my hands and offers me some milk. I nod, that sounds
better than whatever they’re serving upstairs.

“It must be hard moving away from all your friends and family,” he says.

I shrug and smile. I don’t make friends easily. Well, actually, I don’t make friends at all.
Dad and I have always been on the run. Running to school, running to a construction site, running to tae kwon do, running to the grocery store…

There’s never time to exchange more than a greeting and a weak how are you before I have to go again.

During my spare time I help Dad around the house or at work. If I do the latter, it pays for my knickknacks, and I get to spend time with him.

“It’s just Dad and me,” I remind him.

“Any other family?”

“Mom’s family faded away after she died. Dad’s sisters stepped up, but now they have their own families, so during my teenage years it was just the two of us.” I drink some of the milk he poured me.

“Grandparents?”

“How about you?” I fire back without answering his question. And study him.

He’s not as bad as I thought earlier. In fact, he’s very nice. And good looking. Tall, mussed- up, dark hair, hazel eyes. Black t-shirt hugging his lean and defined muscles. There’s a playful tug at the corner of his mouth, and I see a dimple forming on the left side of his cheek.

He turns me on, but he’s he and well, I’m me.

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Author Bio
Claudia is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author. She lives in Colorado, working for a small IT. She has three children and manages a chaotic household of
two confused dogs, and a wonderful husband who shares her love of all things geek. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.
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Giveaway

 

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski

OneNightGone_options_v3-2-440x662

About the book

It was the perfect place to disappear…

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

My review:

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski was a captivating book. It is told between two different decades and points of view: Maureen in 1985 and Allison in 2015. Recently divorced and publicly disgraced Allison has been staying with her sister since the breakup with her husband but needs a change. Her sister convinces her to apply to house sit for a couple at their beach house in the East Coast small town of Opal Beach. The owners are friends of a friend of Allison’s sister and need to be out of the country for an extended period of time. Allison makes friends in Opal Beach, the roller derby player librarian Delores and quiet coffee shop owner Tammy. She is intrigued by the story of the disappearance of Tammy’s best friend 30 years prior and works with Tammy to find clues of her friend’s fate.

Maureen was a teenager who worked for the travelling carnival that came to Opal Beach. She felt drawn to the town and after making friends with Tammy and Clay, and then dating Clay, she decided to stay and make a home there. The quaint seaside town held many secrets then and in the present day, though, and one night she vanished without a trace.

To me, the mark of a good suspense novel is when I can’t figure out “whodunnit.” There are clues and red herrings throughout as Allison tries to solve the mystery of what happened to Maureen while trying to rebuild her imploded life. When mysterious packages related to the case begin showing up at her door, the fun little distraction becomes personal and dangerous.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

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About the author

 

Tara Laskowski

TARA LASKOWSKI is the award-winning author of a debut suspense novel, One Night Gone, and two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders. She has had stories published in numerous magazines and anthologies such as Mid-American ReviewBarcelona Review, and the Norton anthologies Flash Fiction International and New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, among others. Her Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine story, “The Case of the Vanishing Professor,” won the 2019 Agatha Award and her Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine story, “States of Matter,” was selected by Amy Hempel for the 2017 Best Small Fictions anthology. Tara was the winner of the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project’s Literary Awards Prize, has been the editor of the popular online flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010, and is a member of Sisters in Crime. She and her husband, writer Art Taylor, write the column Long Story Short at the Washington Independent Review of Books. She earned a BA in English with a minor in writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. She grew up in Pennsylvania and lives in Virginia. Follow her on Twitter, @TaraLWrites.

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