RELEASE DAY REVIEW – All Your Perfect by Colleen Hoover

Title: All Your Perfects
Author: Colleen Hoover
Release Date: July 17, 2018

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

Colleen Hoover is a master of her craft and I somehow find myself more enamored with her writing with each subsequent release. However, All Your Perfects is unlike anything that I have previously encountered from her. It’s a woman’s heartbreaking journey of the “happily ever after” we’re told that life delivers after marriage. It’s a couple’s fight not to stay in love, but rather to stay in like with each other after devastation hits them. All Your Perfects is a beautifully poignant story that is sure to touch the hearts of all readers, no matter their circumstances in life.

“No marriage is perfect. There were times when she gave up on us. There were even more times when I gave up on us. The secret to our longevity is that we never gave up at the same time.”

I’m not going to give anything away with this review because as with most Colleen Hoover books, it simply needs to be experienced firsthand. I can tell you that Quinn and Graham come together in an unconventional manner, but it made for a pretty unique meet cute in my opinion. Furthermore, the novel alternates chapters between the beginning stages of their relationship, as well as from the trenches after years of marriage. This allows readers to forge such a special connection to both of these characters because your eyes are truly open to the love and desire they have for each other. You see their happiest moments in love as well as the heart-stopping, jarring moments that leave you utterly broken. It brings Quinn and Graham alive in a very authentic way because the emotions and what they have gone through are so devastatingly real. When I got married, someone said to me that a marriage would not always be 50/50 like we are often told. There are times that it will be 20/80 or even 90/10 but it’s about allowing each person in the relationship his/her time to fall while the other holds it together. To me, Graham and Quinn were the very epitome of this piece of advice, so they really resonated with me in a very strong way.

“I probably didn’t notice because sadness is like a spiderweb. You don’t see it until you’re caught up in it, and then you have to claw at yourself to try to break free.”

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know what to expect given that the synopsis of the novel was so vague. I wanted to read it purely because it was Colleen Hoover’s name on the book. She has never disappointed me with her stories and she certainly did not again. All Your Perfects is Women’s Fiction at its finest; it’s real and honest and delivers on all different sorts of emotions. The writing is gripping, shining a light on an issue that is often spoken about in hushed tones, if at all. All Your Perfects is a read that stopped me in my tracks, ripped my heart wide open, while simultaneously forcing it to beat. This author’s words never cease to amaze me, but this book was something else. It is an absolute must-read for any lover of the written word!


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RELEASE DAY REVIEW & GIVEAWAY – Play Dirty by JA Huss

Title – Play Dirty
Author – JA Huss
Publication Date – June 27, 2018
Series – Jordan’s Game #4

From NYT Bestselling Author, JA Huss, comes the final sexy standalone in the Jordan’s Game series. Can a threesome really work? Or does it always crash and burn at the end?

They were never meant to be just two. It was always three. But seven years ago Jordan Wells broke the trust he’d built with Alexander and Augustine and everything changed.

Everyone moved on and got over it. Put the past behind them where it belonged and started new lives.

But now Alexander and Augustine are back—looking for a new game and the final third to complete their threesome.

And they won’t take no for an answer.

Jordan Wells is about to play his final game.

Will he win? Or will he be too afraid to try?

Whew! I’m not quite sure I can put into words just how incredible of a writer that JA Huss is. With each new release, she surprises me and leaves me reeling for days once I’ve finished. The final book of Jordan’s game, the puppeteer’s story, was no exception either. Play Dirty hit a sweet spot that I was craving with its back and forth antics and veiled truths. Jordan left me guessing from the beginning until the end and I never really knew what to expect. He went through an incredible transformation, but that journey from point A to point B was nothing short of trying and totally worth every second as a reader.Furthermore, it was such a treat to see characters from the first books in the series and get a more complete picture and closure on their lives. There isn’t much I can say about Play Dirty without giving away the plot, but I promise that it delivers on so many different levels. If you’re a reader who loves kink, filth, and a flawed character learning the definition of love, this is definitely a MUST read!


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Total Exposure (Jordan’s Game #1)

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The Pleasure of Panic (Jordan’s Game #2)

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The Boyfriend Experience (Jordan’s Game #3)

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JA Huss is the New York Times Bestselling author of 321 and has been on the USA Today Bestseller’s list 21 times in the past four years. She writes characters with heart, plots with twists, and perfect endings.

Her books have sold millions of copies all over the world, the audio version of her semi-autobiographical book, Eighteen, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award and an Audie Award in 2016 and 2017 respectively, her audiobook, Mr. Perfect, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award in 2017, and her audiobook, Taking Turns, was nominated for an Audie Award in 2018.

She lives on a ranch in Central Colorado with her family.

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW – The Problem With Him by Rachel Higginson

Title – The Problem With Him
Author – Rachel Higginson
Publication Date – June 26, 2018
Series – Opposites Attract #3

I’m over men. I’m done with them.

Or at least the ones that work in my kitchen. Fine, one man in particular. Wyatt Shaw is cocky and condescending and so far out of his element that he doesn’t know which way is up. Or how to run his brand new kitchen all by himself.

That’s where I come in. Sous chef extraordinaire. Second in command. Bane of his existence. I am the reason Wyatt’s doing so well as the new executive chef of one of our city’s most prestigious restaurants. He has me to thank for his glowing accolades and five-star write-ups. Only if you were to ask him, he’d say I’m his biggest problem.

Despite his discouragement and bullish behavior, I’ve set two goals for myself.

The first? I’m going to fight my way to the top of this male-dominated industry and claim my own award-winning kitchen.

The second? I’m going to do whatever it takes to ignore Wyatt and his rare smiles and the thickening tension that’s started to simmer between us.

Wyatt Shaw might be Durham’s new shining star. He might be up for a James Beard Award. He might be my new boss and key to my future success, but he’s also in my way.

So he can keep his smoldering looks and secret kisses. And he can be the one that figures out how to make it through service without getting distracted by me.

I’m not the problem. The problem is him.

Mark my words – nobody can write a slow burn romance quite like Rachel Higginson can! I’ve just finished The Problem With Him, and I swear that there wasn’t a moment where I didn’t have butterflies in my stomach fluttering at all the amusing antics. Wyatt and Kaya had palpable tension that could be felt with each carefully chosen word and interaction that occurred between these two. There was a simmering that occurred throughout this interconnected standalone that left me unable to put it down. I craved more the deeper I fell for these two characters. Furthermore, while these two so obviously had something special together, there was something about Kaya and her perseverance that resonated deep in my soul. She was fighting for what she wanted and would stop at nothing to get it, no matter what it would cost her. I admired her tenacity and guts to keep pushing in a man’s world and left me instantly rooting for her. I will say that I wish we could have gotten some chapters from Wyatt’s point of view, but for purely selfish reasons. I would kill to know what was going through his head in particular key moments where he was face to face with Kaya. This series of standalones has got to be one of my favorite that is out there right now. Each book’s writing and plot is flawless in its delivery with characters that have you rooting for them from the very start. The enemies to lovers feel just makes it that much sweeter. I’ll be sad to see this series wrap up, but I just adore getting glimpses into each couple as it progresses. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the release of Dillon’s book next!


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The Opposite of You (Opposites Attract #1)

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The Difference Between Us (Opposites Attract #2)

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Saved by Hazel James

Title – Saved
Author – Hazel James
Publication Date – June 21, 2018
Series – Battles #2

Leilani Moretti

Life is out to get me.
Humvee accident that took my right hand? Strike one.
Cancer three years later that stole my breasts and hair? Strike two.
An overbearing mother who seems to think I’m twelve, not twenty-seven?
Yeah, I’m out of there.

I thought moving to Oklahoma would give me a fresh start. I hoped life would finally cut me some damn slack. But between the inept people at the VA hospital and a boss who’s hell-bent on fixing me, I just want to be left alone. Haven’t I been through enough already

Clay Prescott

Joining the Army and deploying to Afghanistan? Hard.
Kicking an alcohol addiction and starting a business combining fitness and mental health
Harder.
Worth it? Hell yes.

Battles, my gym, has been so successful that I hired a new employee—a veteran herself—to help me open a second location. And that’s when it all goes to hell. Everything I’ve ever stood for is called into question, and the one person I thought I could count on disappears. I’ve spent the last ten years helping everyone else. What happens when I can’t even save myself?

How can I help others when I can’t even save myself? 

Every once in a while, a book comes along that makes you stop and think, taking it deeper than at face value. The words aren’t just words; they are a reflection of thoughts and feelings you’ve buried so far deep down in your heart. They are words of strength that you need to hear on repeat until you believe them. Saved by Hazel James is one of these incredibly well-designed novels. Not only is it a romance that will have you giggling and yearning for more, but it will give you butterflies in your stomach and a whole new outlook on self-perception.

Leilani had anything but a simple life; she wasn’t just a survivor, but the very definition of the term warrior. From the moment we are introduced to her, I wanted to take her in my arms and beg her to be my friend. She was always looking for a way to be more and overcome, and that journey is unforgettable. If you’re a fan of unwavering heroines, I have no doubt that you’ll absolutely adore Leilani and all that she has been through. However, she isn’t the only badass quality to Saved. The hero, Clay, is a force to be reckoned with all on his own. I loved his mentality, his belief in second chances, and the positive outlook he forced on those around him. He went through his own ups and downs in Saved that left me sympathizing for him, while still admiring and rooting for him. Together, these two were complete opposites in a lot of ways, yet perfectly compatible in all the right ones. Their relationship and the trials they went through constantly put a smile on my face, especially the way that they pushed each other to be better human beings.

There is a quality Hazel James has when putting pen to the paper that breathes life into her characters. The personalities and the situations that they go through come across so genuinely that you can not help but become utterly invested. Saved is one of those stories that makes you take a long look at yourself, especially when saying “I can’t”, and re-evaluate your thoughts (or at least it did for me). There were multiple times when reading that I had to stop, breathe the words in, and really appreciate the weight of what James was saying. I certainly can’t recommend this book enough, but really I think that readers will quickly fall for anything that Hazel James produces. I’ve yet to be disappointed in a story that I’ve encountered from her, but Saved captivated me in a whole new way. I can’t wait for the world to fall in love with Leilani and Clay, just like I did!


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Chased (Battles #1)

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Hazel lives in Tampa Bay, Florida. She’s a proud Army veteran, and her greatest loves include her family, lip gloss, Diet Coke, and the beach. For a list of events, go to www.authorhazeljames.com.

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Double Down by Alessandra Torre

Title – Double Down
Author – Alessandra Torre
Publication Date – June 18, 2018
Series – All In #2

The stunning conclusion to the All In Duet… 
In Vegas, there was one man who was off limits. One man… and I fell for him.

I knew there were risks. Still, I played the game. When Dario Capece called, I answered. When he beckoned, I came. When he broke all my rules, I looked the other way.

I knew there were risks. I just never realized they included death.

Alessandra Torre has left my head spinning with her newest release! Double Down is packed full with action that will have readers’ jaws dropping and their hearts racing. I will say that Dario and Bell do spend a portion of the novel apart.  Ironically, it was in those moments that I actually developed a deeper understanding of the feelings they had for one another. Where I couldn’t see this in the first book of the duet, it became glaringly obvious why these two would gamble with such high stakes on the table. The consequences of their relationship were so far-reaching and I often wondered just how far they would seep. I have to say that I did enjoy Double Down slightly more than Even Money. Though there was still some slight confusion with the switching of perspectives, I was so deeply entrenched in the action of the plot that it didn’t bother me as much as previously. Alessandra Torre somehow continues to surprise me and make me yearn for more with each new book she releases. She’s become an automatic one-click author for me and I definitely don’t see that changing anytime in the near future!


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Start With Book 1 in the Duet!

Even Money (All In #1)

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Even Money by Alessandra Torre

Title – Even Money
Author – Alessandra Torre
Publication Date – June 4, 2018
Series – All In Duet #1

From NYT Bestseller Alessandra Torre comes a suspenseful and seductive duet…

Sometimes it only takes a minute. A connection of eyes across a room, a quickened heartbeat, and everything changes.

I was a cocktail waitress with a fondness for partying and meaningless hook-ups.

He owned half of Vegas, with the reputation to match.

I should have turned away. Instead, I stepped closer.

Then, the lies started. Rumors spread. Stalking commenced. Someone died.

None of it stopped me from falling in love.

Alessandra Torre is, without a doubt, the queen of writing suspense. She somehow manages to reel me in and keep me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end – no matter which book of hers that I dive into. Her newest release, Even Money, had me giddy with anticipation of what was to come. Bell and Dario had quite the interesting dynamic to their relationship. There was certainly an insta-love feel, and at times I felt a little off balance when it came to how quickly they were able to fall for each other. However, there was also something extremely likeable about both of these characters. Bell was staunchly independent while Dario sought to deliver revenge and protect those he cared about. They both piqued my interests and kept me turning the pages to see how things would play out for them. While the writing was addictive, with twists and turns that I certainly never saw coming, there is a back and forth point of view that left me slightly taken aback. While Bell’s point of view is written in the first person, Dario’s chapters are written in the third person perspective. It made it incredibly difficult to fully immerse myself into the story, and I was unable to see a purpose for the switch. In the heart of Las Vegas, Even Money is filled with deception, sex, and secrets. That cliffhanger left me with my jaw on the floor and eyes gaped wide. I’m grateful we only have a couple weeks to find out just where Bell and Dario’s romance will end up!


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Don’t Miss the Conclusion to the Duet!

Double Down (All In #2)

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW & GIVEAWAY – The Boyfriend Experience by JA Huss

Title – The Boyfriend Experience
Author – JA Huss
Publication Date – May 30, 2018
Series – Jordan’s Game #3

I NEED A BOYFRIEND… and I need one now…

WANTED
One bad-ass man with boyfriend experience.
Must be willing to fight dirty and work weekends, nights, and overtime.
Bad attitude a must. Bonus points if you’re hot, athletic, and sporting tattoos.

When I asked Jordan Wells for a Boyfriend Experience game I didn’t expect to get stuck with billionaire real-estate agent, Lawton Ayers. He doesn’t exactly fit the job description.

WANTED
One professional woman with business experience.
Must be willing to build a future together.
Successful entrepreneur a must. Bonus points if you’re a crazy local legend.

When Jordan Wells offered up Oaklee Ryan a last-minute business partner to seal a deal I’ve been working on for years, I didn’t expect beautiful, sexy, and multi-orgasmic to be on her list of qualifications.

But that’s what I got. And she’s perfect just the way she is.

Too bad she doesn’t want me to be HER boyfriend. Because she bought me for someone else…

There is a special quality when it comes to JA Huss’ writing that I simply can’t get enough of. She consistently wows me with relatable characters and surprising plot lines that keep me on the edge of my seat. When I read the blurb for The Boyfriend Experience, I developed a total preconceived notion in my head. Let me just say that what I ended up getting was nothing like I had put together, but SO much better!

“Well, some people get handed chaos and shut down. Like your parents. I don’t know anything about them, but typically people fall into a life like that because they can’t find a way out. The chaos overtakes them. But others thrive on it. It makes them stronger. Makes them rise up.”

Oaklee and Lawton began their relationship under very specific pretenses, but what unraveled developed into so much more. There were so many fun and flirty exchanges that it lifted my heart and made me incredibly happy. Oaklee was this badass heroine in a man’s world which just made me admire her that much more. Lawton was somewhat of an enigma to me; I don’t think he even knew who he was for a good portion of the novel. However, it was kind of fun watching him adapt to Oaklee’s needs in the game and therefore discover who he was at the core. I’ve come to expect surprises from Jordan and his games, but it definitely felt like a whole different ball game with these two.

“She is the reason we love to watch the Joker. And it doesn’t matter that we know he’s insane, that everything that comes out of his mouth is lies, that he’s going to betray anyone and everyone who gets in the his way — even those on his side. We want to believe he’s good underneath or we have to admit that evil is real. How do I fight that?”

I appreciate that Huss makes each of her books and really, all of her characters, stand out. Though there is usually an element of grief (whether over a person or circumstance), the method of overcoming is always so different. I never take Huss’ stories at face value because that road to triumph is always filled with raw emotion, tailored to each character. She has written so many books, yet every time it’s a unique journey that I’m brought on. I’ve said it once and I’m sure I’ll say it time and time again, but JA Huss is a not to be missed, must-click author. Though all of Jordan’s games have been fantastic, I think that The Boyfriend Experience might just be my favorite. I can’t wait to see what happens next when Jordan gets the tables turned on him!


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Total Exposure (Jordan’s Game #1)

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The Pleasure of Panic (Jordan’s Game #2)

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Play Dirty (Jordan’s Game #4)

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JA Huss

JA Huss is the USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who makes you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.

You can chat with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorJAHuss), Twitter (@jahuss), and her blog, New Adult Addiction (www.jahuss.com).

If you’re interested in getting your hands on an advanced release copy of her upcoming books, sneak peek teasers, or information on her upcoming personal appearances, you can join her newsletter list (http://eepurl.com/JVhAr) and get those details delivered right to your inbox.

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW – The Wright One by K.A. Linde

Title – The Wright One
Author – K.A. Linde
Publication Date – May 29, 2018
Series – The Wright Duet #2

Secrets swarm all around.
My world is crumbling under the strain.
I don’t know if we can survive this.
My heart is in the Wright place.
But is his?

The Wright One is the last book in the Wright Love Duet that began in The Wright Love. Find out if Sutton and David survive their world of secrets in the conclusion to the Wright Love duet!

Oh KA Linde – what an emotional rollercoaster you have put me on! The Wright One is the conclusion to Sutton’s story and it certainly put me through the wringer. Sutton and David had ended on a sour note in their first book, but I adored the redemption and work they put into their relationship in this novel. Sutton’s strength started to return while David’s outlook began to alter, which made for such a different feel than what we encountered in The Wright Love. It felt so real and raw, with writing that clawed it’s way into your soul. I think my favorite part was witnessing Sutton develop her spine with her mother-in-law and really re-learning how to stand on her own two feet again. Furthermore, she finally recognized her place in the Wright family which was impossible not to develop a soft spot for. Linde has completely captivated me with each Wright sibling and their stories of love and triumph. However, Sutton’s story was one that I was not expecting in power or feels. I’ll definitely miss that crazy tight knit family, but I’m looking forward to wherever it is that Linde takes me next!


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The Wright Love (Wright Duet #1)

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Don’t Miss The Standalone Companion Novels!

The Wright Brother

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The Wright Boss

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The Wright Mistake

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The Wright Secret

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Author Bio

K.A. Linde is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifteen novels including the Avoiding series and the Record series. She has a Masters degree in political science from the University of Georgia, was the head campaign worker for the 2012 presidential campaign at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as the head coach of the Duke University dance team. She loves reading fantasy novels, geeking out over Star Wars, binge-watching Supernatural, and dancing in her spare time.

She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband and two super adorable puppies.

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RELEASE BLITZ REVIEW – Because Of You by Laura Ward

Title – Because of You
Author – Laura Ward
Publication Date – May 25, 2018
Series – Not Yet #4

All Ricky Martinez knows of life is loss, loyalty, and family.

When his father became a quadriplegic after breaking his neck saving a drowning girl, Ricky gave up his dreams of playing football at a big college to stay home and take care of his family. His new dream? Find the girl who caused his father’s injury and get justice.

Because of her, his family lost everything.

All Aveline Gerard knows of life is a quiet, protective love.

Homeschooled ever since her accident eighteen years ago, Aveline’s parents, both deaf, have kept her safe the only way they know how—sheltered, and alone. Aveline’s deepest desire? To experience life in all its loud and messy glory, and the tattooed guy in her first college class is all of those things.

Because of him, her life is finally beginning.

But fate has a wicked sense of justice and when Ricky realizes the sweet, shy girl in his class is the one who wrecked his family, will he be able to walk away? Or will the bitter rage inside cause him to make the biggest mistake of his life?

Because of them, the pain of two families will finally collide.

If you’ve kept up with Laura Ward’s Not yet series as I have, then I’m sure that you’ve been dying to get a look into Ricky’s life. He’s always been incredibly secretive with his background which resulted in my curiosity growing a tremendous amount throughout each story that has been told already. With the release of Because of You, I’ve finally gotten that glimpse into his home life and so much is understood about his character. This interconnected standalone was filled with emotional scenes that delved into the power of forgiveness, selflessness, and the all-time question of how our environment impacts the person we become.

“Without the life-altering pain and responsibility that society bestowed upon my family, who would I have become?”

For those who may not have been introduced to his character previously, Ricky starts off the story as a very jaded character. He has been dealt a horrible hand in life and all that he is left with is bitterness and a desire for revenge and retribution. However, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him due to his loyalty to his family. He is very close to his mother, sisters, and father; everything he does and every choice he makes is to make their lives as easy as he can. With dedication and protectiveness like that, I couldn’t have asked for a better hero of the story. Furthermore, the heroine that Ward chooses for Because of You was one that left me in awe time and time again. Like Ricky, she had been dealt a rough hand in some regards, yet was able to overcome them due to her social environment. Together, Ricky and Aveline were complementary in every sense of the word, even when they couldn’t realize it. Where he had the rough interior, she was trusting and innocent to much of the world. Ricky was free to live his live, confined only by his social status where Aveline had the resources to do and be anything, but could not find independence from her overbearing parents. I loved watching each of them help to mold the other, while also forcing them to grow and mature as the pages turned.

“Now sacrifices had to be made. Because the monster inside me won. And when it did, a butterfly lost her wings.”

Laura Ward is such a gifted writer that I tend to enjoy every novel she delivers. They’re filled with warm-hearted, lovable characters that are incredibly well developed. She doesn’t just dictate a story to you; Ward invites you into the lives of her individuals, causing you to feel and experience everything right alongside them. Because of You surprised me in all the best ways with the storytelling and depth of emotion present. I laughed, I cried, and my heart swarmed with butterflies as I progressed throughout. If you haven’t picked up the series yet, or if you’re just in the mood for a transforming read, Because of You is sure to deliver on everything you could want in a romance!


He circled the bike, standing in front of me, arms crossed over his chest. “What’d you think of that lecture, mariposa?”
My eyes slid to the side, the floor, the ceiling. A slow burn traveled up my neck, settling on my cheeks. “It was… interesting, Freud, you know…” I laughed, a weird, awkward, uncomfortable sound escaping my lips. God, I sounded like a freak. Get it together, girl. Instead of wringing my hands together, I pushed my glasses higher up on my nose.
Ricky looked down at me, his eyes crinkling, and lips curved. “Interesting, huh?”
My hands shot out to the sides, “I’m sure you know all about that stuff… the stages and sex and… yeah.” I blew out a breath, my cheeks puffing, in what I was sure was the sexiest look I’d managed to pull off yet. “I’ve only done some light reading. That was new to me and frankly, a bit uncomfortable to hear around you because of your general hotness and all.”
Did I say light reading?
General hotness?
Oh. My. God. 
Ricky threw his head back and chortled. “You are the cutest damn thing I’ve ever seen.” His tongue darted out to lick his bottom lip. He took the paper and pen from my hand, tossing them onto the floor. “I won’t touch you here. Although, I’ll admit it’s probably my biggest fantasy, but you aren’t ready for that.”
Bending down, he picked me up, his hands lifting under my ass until I wrapped my legs around his waist. “You’re so tiny.” He smirked, his eyes focused on my lips.
I took off my glasses, placing them on the metal tool shelf next to us. My body shook, and I knew Ricky felt it when his grip on me tightened.
“I won’t hurt you, mariposa. You have my word that I’ll protect you. I’m not a good man, but I’ll be good to you.” He looked into my eyes, his warm brown orbs like melted chocolate.
“You are a good man. I wish you saw yourself like I see you.” My words pled, begging him to hear me.
Closing his eyes and shutting me out, he pressed his forehead to mine. “I need you,” he whispered. “I’ve never needed anyone like I need you. You’re open and vulnerable, kind and innocent. You’re unlike any girl I’ve ever met, and all I want to do is learn more about you. Understand all the parts that make you whole.”
His words sounded stricken and raw, but I absorbed them, drawing them into my heart. I didn’t know if he meant that he needed me physically or emotionally, but either way I was his.
“I need you, too.” I kissed his lips, a light sweet peck. “I’ve already learned and grown from being near you. You’re strong and loyal. The way you take care of your family has captivated me. And the way you make me feel is addictive.” I kissed him again, longer, and he groaned, one hand pressing into my back and one twisting in my hair.
My mouth opened, tongue peeking out to find his. Meeting, touching, and tangling as we moaned in unison. My hands sought his beautiful hair and I wrapped the long strands around my fingers, hoping that I would weave myself into him, his life, and his heart.
This complicated, gorgeous man, that thought he didn’t deserve happiness or dreams or good in his life.
I’d had a glimpse inside, something I believed was a rarity. And Ricky deserved all the beauty the world had to bring. I wasn’t sure I was the person who could give that to him.
But I sure wanted to try.

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Don’t Miss the Rest of the Series!

Not Yet (Not Yet #1)

Not Yet cover

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Until Now (Not Yet #2)

Until Now

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Someday Soon (Not Yet #3)

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USA Today bestselling author, Laura Ward, writes sweet and sexy stories that will hopefully make you look at the world in a different way. Her books include the Not Yet series: Not YetUntil NowSomeday Soon, and Because of You. Her Contemporary Romance standalone is titled, Past Heaven. She is also the co-author of the College Bound series: The PledgeThe Color of Us, and The Sound of Your Heart (Releasing July 13, 2018.) Laura lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. She married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her dream of writing books. When not picking up toy trucks, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels.

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BLOG TOUR – Marked by Drew Elyse

Title: Marked
Author: Drew Elyse
Series: Sailor’s Grave #1
Release Date: May 17, 2018

“MOVING ON” IS JUST ABOUT ACTING THE PART.

I would never say as much to the people I love, but it’s the truth.
They want to see me doing better.
They want to see me living for more than just my son.

So I let them.
Everyday is about putting on a face,
pretending to get over the loss of my husband.
And every day is a lie.

UNTIL MOVING ON IS A TEMPTATION THAT CAN’T BE DENIED.

I’m not about to claim I’m a genius,
unless we’re talking with a tattoo gun or woman in my hands,
but I’m smart enough to know the beauty serving up my cupcake fix is off limits.

Really, I know.
Too bad the lure of putting a real smile on Kate’s face is so strong.
When she visits Sailor’s Grave Tattoo Parlor,
I can’t help but want to leave my mark.

Drew Elyse introduces readers to the Sailor’s Grave series with Liam and Kate’s heart-wrenching story. Marked is raw, painful, and wonderfully real as these two seemingly opposite personalities find common ground and an unexpected understanding of one another’s pain. Liam and Kate shared an easy friendship with an electric undercurrent of attraction that drew me in. This couple’s sometimes awkward, but always sweet encounters left me wanting more, and I quickly became invested in their developing feelings. Liam and Kate made me laugh and swoon and cry. Marked delivers plenty of angst and breathtaking vulnerability with just the right amount of sizzle in this emotionally intense story.

“He’d left a mark that went way beyond the skin.”

Both Liam and Kate exhibited significant personal growth over the course of this novel. I absolutely adored the way Drew Elyse used Kate and Liam’s budding relationship to push both characters to move forward, work through their pain, and let go of the hurt. Kate, in particular, had me in tears as I felt her grief and sorrow down to my bones. My deep understanding of this character had me celebrating every victory and rooting for her to find her happily ever after. The secondary characters really helped to round out this story, and they played a significant role in revealing the true nature of our hero and heroine. I found myself quickly getting attached to the peripheral personalities in the Sailor’s Grave world, and I look forward to hearing their stories in future books.

“It’s taking everything I have not to kiss you right now. Just once, I keep telling myself. Just one more taste. But it’s bullshit. Once more won’t be enough.”

I wish we could have seen more of Liam and Kate’s past together, specifically their first meeting and the ensuing moments of awkward flirtation and mounting sexual tension. Without this basic foundation, even in the form of flashbacks throughout the story, it felt as if the reader was diving into a relationship already in motion. However, since we didn’t get to experience it personally, I had a hard time connecting to their established familiarity and understanding how quickly it progressed into more. I did appreciate the uncertainty and fear that plagued Kate and Liam’s relationship. The “will they won’t they” aspect of this story felt genuine to where Kate was at in her life, and it gave the overall journey an emotional authenticity.

“You can remember, and grieve, and hurt, but you also live.”

The pacing of the story is consistent and Marked was an easy read. Drew Elyse’s writing is vibrant and imaginative, and I always feel transported into the story. Marked hits the heart a little harder than some of her previous novels, but Drew balances the intense emotion with just enough sweet and sexy fun. Overflowing with sparkling chemistry, witty banter, and inked book boyfriend perfection, Marked will leave you begging for more of this new and colorful world from Drew Elyse. A spinoff of the Disciples Daughters MC series, Marked features some familiar faces that will make you grin. These cameos gave Liam and Kate’s story a feeling of family that had me instantly hooked. Drew Elyse serves up sass, sizzle, and some serious feels – Liam and Kate’s story is sure to leave you Marked!


I have been with Drew Elyse from the very beginning, and I’m happy to report that she does nothing but improve with time! Marked is a spin-off to her MC series and I absolutely adored getting to see a sweeter, more nurturing side to her characters. Kate and Liam navigated their relationship through sweet encounters and a bit of back and forth rawness. The resulting feeling left me deeply invested in the outcome of their partnership as well as a desire for more from these two personalities.

“It wasn’t just about controlling myself. It wasn’t about not getting in too deep. It was all about leaving my mark in whatever way I could.”

There was a definite authenticity and rawness to Kate. Rather than coming off as flighty and indecisive, her inability to commit was completely understood given her past and what she had been through. Though I certainly couldn’t relate, my heart ached for her and I grieved right alongside her. The journey she was attempting to make endeared me to her, and left me rooting for all the good in the world to come to her. Furthermore, I could not have come up with a better counterpart for her than Liam. He was gentle and patient, completely understanding of Kate’s situation. Plus, he was absolutely incredible with her son – which is always a stack of plusses in the book boyfriend category! There was a certain level of push and pull to their relationship, but it was through those moments of back and forth, ups and downs, that I got a feel for how much these two truly cared for one another. Even when they weren’t good at finding the right words, their inner thoughts and actions filled me with butterflies and left me giddy for the moments when they were together.

“I can’t promise I won’t have bad days. I can’t promise I won’t backslide into the grief from time to time, but I swear that I know what I want.”

Having Kate be so closely tied with the MC was definitely a bittersweet feeling for me. At times, I was frustrated because this was supposed to be a new series. However, it also warmed my heart to see a couple of the characters that I have already come to know and love. I’m desperately anxious to get my hands on more books in the Sailor’s Grave series though. Drew Elyse does an amazing job piquing your interest on the secondary characters while never overshadowing the storyline between Kate and Liam. Elyse has set the bar high with the Marked being the first book and I can’t wait to see where she goes next!


Liam

Christ, I really needed to stop doing this to myself.

Not give up the desserts, because fuck that, but stop torturing myself with the gorgeous woman that served them.

I knew the deal. She was a single mom, widowed a couple years back. She was under the protection of the club because Daz was her late husband’s brother. I also knew that despite conversations I’d overheard about her doing better, about her starting to move on, that she was nowhere near that place.

Maybe it was because I’d been old enough to understand everything as it happened when we’d lost Dad and after. I recognized what the people in her life couldn’t: that she wasn’t moving past a goddamn thing.

It was achingly familiar, seeing that fake smile. It was even more so to see the one she gave her son, knowing that if I were seeing it closer, there would be that lingering sadness behind her eyes that I saw in my mom’s for too long.

And that whole thought process made it sound like I had some fucked Oedipus complex.

Desserts, asshole.

There was a cinnamon braid left. That never happened. Sugar’s Dream was more of a dessert place than full-service bakery. The few things Avery made that worked for breakfast were usually snatched up before I ever got there in the afternoons. The cinnamon braid specifically was a favorite at Sailor’s Grave—it was the reason we had an actual kitchen knife in the back after we’d all fallen on one and had to rip off pieces by hand.

“Gotta take that back to the shop,” I told her, pointing to it.

Unable to hide the fact that she was relieved to have a task that involved moving farther away from me to prep a box for it, she jumped right to it. I wasn’t enough of a gentleman to not glance up from considering what else to get in order to take a look while she had her back to me. Kate looked fucking incredible coming and going. I liked a woman with curves, and she was far from lacking in that department. She had light brown hair that danced around her shoulders when she wore it down, porcelain skin that looked like silk, and amber eyes that usually looked brown, but stood out when there was enough light to see them properly.

She was easily the most delicious thing in this goddamn bakery.

She was also the only thing in the place I was sure I wasn’t getting a taste of.

A minute later, she came back with the tied up box, setting it on the counter by the register. 

“Anything else?” She tried to avoid my eyes but ended up looking right at my mouth. My cock took notice, fixing to fight for attention.

I was so fucking tempted to answer with something like “a taste test” just to get a rise out of her, but I bit my tongue.

“Two of the lemon cupcakes, one raspberry chocolate, and” —I peeked around her— “are those the mocha ones you’re working on?”

She glanced over her shoulder like she wasn’t sure what she’d been doing when I walked in. “Um…yes.”

“Can I get one of those?”

“Of course.”

Again, it was full hustle to get away from me. I got it. If I were a better man, I might stop coming in. Of course, I’d probably lose it if I tried going cold turkey from my preferred sugar fix, but I could at least talk someone else into coming for me. Jess would probably do it if I bankrolled her own cupcake habit.

Turns out, I wasn’t that good of a person. I wouldn’t push her, but I couldn’t deny myself at least getting to see her beyond just the Disciples’ parties. These little visits were like a fucking drug.

“How’s your boy?” I asked, grasping at anything to get her to talk to me.

“He’s good. He’s telling everyone at his daycare that he’s going to be a biker when he grows up.” It was impossible to miss the love and pride in her voice. 

“Probably not a stretch. I wouldn’t be surprised if the brothers had him on his own bike the minute he’s old enough.”

“His dad had a bike, too. Owen’s been around them since he was born.”

I watched as what she’d said registered. I saw her freeze, every inch of her tightening up. She was still facing away, keeping her expression hidden, but I didn’t doubt it was a mix of shock and devastation. I hadn’t known what a minefield the topic was, though I couldn’t be sure I’d have avoided it if it was. Mom told me time and again as she got better that talking about Dad helped, even as much as it hurt.

“I’m sorry. I know that doesn’t help at all. I know it still hurts and all the sympathy in the world doesn’t touch that, but it’s true.”

For a long moment, she didn’t move. I didn’t even see her breathing from my vantage point. Then, she turned around with the box of cupcakes in her hands. She didn’t adopt that benign smile she always had at work, but that didn’t mean she was giving me any glimpse of the real grief. 

No, Kate’s face was fucking blank.

Shit.

It wasn’t my fucking place to try to “help,” especially not while she was at work. Suddenly, if I could take the words back, if I could undo even the reminder of her husband, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Before I could dig my foot out of my mouth and figure something out to say, she went over to the register and started ringing up my order. “That’ll be $17.56.”

Even her voice was flat, lifeless.

Rather than push and make a bigger ass of myself, I pulled out my card and paid without a word. I kept my mouth shut as she wordlessly handed it back with my receipt, and then slid the boxes toward me.

Only when I had them in hand did she say, again in that dead voice, “Have a nice day.”

I’d fucked up. Royally.

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Drew Elyse spends her days trying to convince the world that she is, in fact, a Disney Princess, and her nights writing tear-jerking and sexy romance novels.

When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found analyzing every line of a book, binge watching shows on Netflix, doing strange vocal warm ups before singing in a variety of musical styles, or screaming at the TV during Chicago Blackhawks games.

A graduate of Loyola University Chicago, she still lives outside Chicago, IL, where she was born and raised, with her boyfriend and her fur babies Lola and Duncan.

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