RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Coming Up Roses by Anie Michaels

Title: Coming Up Roses
Author: Anie Michaels
Series: With a Kiss #4
Release Date: March 13, 2018

Rose Finch lived by checklists:

– Be an independent woman: check.

– Owner of successful company: check.

– Become a fierce and respected lady boss: check.

– Live within a strict routine as not to encounter anything unexpected: double check.

Aiden Daniels was not on her list.

Well, that was, until she found herself in a situation she’d never imagined involving the man who was unimaginably gorgeous. Not to mention strong, capable, sexy, and everything she never dared to hope for.

For the very first time, Rose wasn’t thinking about her career, or her ten-year plan, or her stock portfolio. Nope, she was thinking about a man. The worst part? He was thinking about her too.

Will Rose be able to step out of her box and let Aiden in? Or will love and happiness ultimately end up on the list of things she’d never have?

Anie Michaels returns to the With a Kiss series with Rose and Aiden’s story in Coming Up Roses. This novel has all of the charm, humor, and romance I’ve come to love from this series and yet still feels fresh and entirely unique. Rose and Aiden make their mark in a very big way, standing on their own and leaving me no choice but to take the leap with them. This duo was delightfully unexpected, and I wanted to savor their story and devour it simultaneously. Coming Up Roses was the perfect mix of electrifying chemistry and slow burn, keeping me on my toes and yet totally satisfied. From the moment they met to the very last page, I was under Rose and Aiden’s spell. Anie Michaels also delivers more of Riley, Camden, Hadley, and Justin and together, this group is absolutely everything. I laughed and felt and fell in love all over again.

“I mean, obviously, you’re a catch, but Rose isn’t fishing right now. She’s, like, not even on the boat or close to the dock. Trust me. Anglerwoman she is not.”

One of the things I enjoy most about this series is that each character is so wildly different and wonderfully quirky. Aiden and Rose are certainly no exception, and I relished getting to know them over the course of this story. Aiden was patient, kind, protective, and seriously swoon-worthy. He made my heart flutter as I fell hard for the way he loved Rose: fiercely and without reservation. Rose, on the other hand, stole my heart with how real and relatable she was. Her insecurities and fears ran deep, and they provided a captivating contrast to the otherwise confident and in control businesswoman. As much as I loved both of these characters on their own, it was the enchanting combination of Aiden and Rose that really packed a punch. I adored watching them grow together, challenging one another to step outside of what was familiar and safe and take a chance on forever.

“Nothing has ever changed my world like you have, Rose. I never want to go back to a life without you in it.”

This book was utterly sweet, perfect in its understated and genuine emotion. Aiden and Rose’s relationship evolved so organically and comfortably that I didn’t even realize they’d completely stolen my heart until it was too late to turn back. I was smitten by this couple’s inimitable connection, wanting nothing more than to stay beside them on their journey long after the final page had been turned. Anie Michaels’ writing absolutely sparkles as she effortlessly recaptures the magic of the With a Kiss series with this newest addition. The author drops readers right back into her vibrant, hilarious, and deliciously dreamy world of unforgettable characters and somehow makes it bigger, brighter, and even more beautiful. Coming Up Roses is contemporary romance at its best – smart, witty, sexy, and full of heart. For author Anie Michaels, this novel is definitely Coming Up Roses!


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Don’t miss the rest of the series:

Kiss Cam (With a Kiss #1)

Read our review HERE
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Riled Up (With a Kiss #2)

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Had Enough (With a Kiss #3)

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Had Enough by Anie Michaels

Title: Had Enough
Author: Anie Michaels
Series: With a Kiss #3
Release Date: November 17, 2017

She’s an eye-rolling, f-bomb-dropping, crazy-sexy wildcat and I want her all for myself. I almost had her once, too. Unfortunately, before I could convince her I was the only man she needed for the rest of forever, she pushed me away.
That’s okay, though. I don’t mind a challenge or a chase. Especially when I know that pushing me away is just as much a turn on for her as when she pulls me closer.
I’ll play her game for a while, but eventually she’s gotta understand that I’m going to win.

Harmless. That’s how I’ve always viewed my casual stance on dating and sex. It’s all fun and games until someone catches feelings. I’ve never been the one infected before. So what’s a girl supposed to do when she wakes up next to the one man she wasn’t allowing herself to sleep with?
Run like hell. That’s what.
Here’s a tip, though: running from the only person you want to run to, never ends the way you think it will.

Anie Michaels serves up another fierce, funny, and delightfully sweet romance with Hadley and Justin’s story in Had Enough. This standalone will make you laugh and leave your heart overflowing with all things warm and fuzzy. Having first met Hadley and Justin in the With a Kiss series, I was more than a little intrigued by their obviously electric chemistry. Anie Michaels definitely didn’t disappoint, surpassing any and all expectations with this couple and delivering plenty of sincere emotion, witty dialogue, and even a few surprises that kept me flipping the pages. I adored every moment of this perfectly sweet journey. Anie Michaels left me no choice but to absolutely devour Had Enough!

“Last night may have been a mistake in her mind, but in mine it was just the beginning.”

Hadley was every bit the firecracker I’d hoped she’d be and then some. She was sassy, independent, and driven – the kind of heroine you can’t help but invest in. I adored how the author carefully unraveled this character over the course of the story, exposing her insecurities and fears in a way that made her easy to relate to and that much more lovable. Justin made Hadley come undone in that way only your perfect match can and I loved every second of the unrestrained emotion he pulled from her. Justin was equally captivating, proving to be so much more than I first thought. The cocky playboy I met in Kiss Cam turned out to have a heart of gold. Justin was serious, protective, and deeply invested in his feelings for Hadley. Willing to be vulnerable and unwaveringly loyal, Justin proved to be book boyfriend perfection.

“I’m here because from the first moment we met, I was captivated by you. I want to be with you because it feels wrong to be away from you.”

This breathtaking journey was part friends-to-lovers part second-chance romance and one hundred percent addictive. Anie Michaels writing is enchanting, bringing Hadley and Justin’s world to life in a bold and beautiful way. I was thrilled to see so much more of Riley and Camden (from the With a Kiss series) in this novel too. Their friendships added so much light and love to the story. Hadley and Justin’s chemistry is as intoxicating as ever and I lost myself in the thrill of the chase. The fantastic push and pull between this duo had my heart all over the map and ensured I was deeply invested in Hadley and Justin’s happily ever after. Anie Michaels undoubtedly has another swoon-worthy romance on her hands with this one – Had Enough is sexy, entertaining, and full of feels!


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Don’t miss the rest of the series:

Kiss Cam (With a Kiss #1)

Read our review HERE
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Riled Up (With a Kiss #2)

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Coming Up Roses (With a Kiss #4)

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Never With You by Anie Michaels

Title: Never With You
Series: Never #6
Author: Anie Michaels
Release Date: August 15, 2017

Talia Lennick expected an uneventful week at the beach with her family. Reading, sunbathing, recharging her proverbial batteries—all typical beach vacation activities. Oh, and dealing with her family, who was too concerned with her almost-thirty-and-single status. What she didn’t expect was Briggs Townsend. Briggs was the handsome man living in the house next door, who looked too damned sexy all the time—whether he was surfing or wielding a tool belt while remodeling his beach house. It was hard to keep her eyes off him. But looking at him and admiring his incredible body was as far as she could take it, because a relationship was the last thing she needed.

Briggs Townsend was completely consumed with tearing down the house he’d shared with his cheating ex-wife and building new walls—for both the house and his heart. Women were the last thing on his mind when he spotted her on the beach. Then the firecracker in the sexy red bikini became the only thing he could think about. He didn’t need a relationship—but he needed her.

Two people who had both been burned in the past with undeniable chemistry and attraction, where was the harm in a little vacation romance? Sex with an expiration date sounded like a perfect solution, until emotions came into play. Will Talia be able to have casual sex with the irresistible stranger without getting lost in him? Will Briggs be willing to take a chance on her and tear down his walls to let her in? At the end of their week together, will either be able to walk away?

Anie Michaels takes readers back to the beach with the newest installment in the Never series, Never With You. A complete standalone, Briggs and Talia’s story is sweet, sizzling and overflowing with feels. From the moment they met to the very last page, this couple captivated with their adorable banter, inexplicable connection, and undeniable chemistry. I fell hard and fast for this duo, caught up in their whirlwind romance and wholly invested in the personal journeys that led them to one another. Anie Michaels expertly balanced the humor, heart, and heat of this story, serving up what felt like the perfect summer read. A feel good love story through and through, I laughed, swooned, and lost my heart to Talia and Briggs in Never With You.

“Even if it was only for a few hours, it was nice to be around someone who hadn’t seen me fall apart, hadn’t been around to witness the last year of my life.”

Having both been hit with their share of heartache, Briggs and Talia’s journey to love was somewhat reluctant. They were careful with their hearts, content to be friends (with benefits) and protect themselves from feeling too much too fast. As delightfully frustrating as this could be at times, it was the couple’s hesitance and obvious vulnerability that made this journey so incredibly sweet. I absolutely adored seeing Talia and Briggs come undone with one another – their growing feelings taking them both by surprise and leading them down a beautiful road of self-discovery, forgiveness, and healing. Anie Michaels did a phenomenal job nailing the emotions of this story, capturing every nuance of the characters and giving readers a hero and heroine that were lovable, easy to relate to, and impossible not to root for.

“You gotta be the one to walk away, firecracker.”

Fans of the series will absolutely swoon as all of our favorite couples make cameos throughout the book. Effortlessly recapturing the magic of this series, Anie Michaels once again delivers that fantastic feeling of family I’ve grown to love from her writing. With Talia’s family in tow and a much more relaxed setting, this book had a decidedly different vibe than the others in the series. Never With You was low on drama and angst, instead hitting readers with that kind of deliciously slow burn one expects from a vacation read. The storyline serves up plenty of heartfelt moments and just the right amount of steam to leave readers simultaneously satisfied and desperately wanting more. Paced to be savored and bursting with vibrant characters and breathtaking imagery, Anie Michaels has another utterly enchanting romance on her hands with Talia and Briggs.


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Never Close Enough (Never #1)

Never Close Enough

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Never Far Away (Never #2)

Never Far Away

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Never Giving Up (Never #3)

Never Giving Up

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Never Standing Still (Never #4)

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Never Tied Down (Never #5)

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RELEASE BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – Riled Up by Anie Michaels

Title: Riled Up
Author: Anie Michaels
Series: With A Kiss #2
Release Date: June 27, 2017

There were some problems Skee-Ball and beer just couldn’t fix.

Being with Camden was everything Riley ever wanted… and so much more. More stress, more money, more family, more obstacles, but also more love. Oh, and more sex. That too. No one had ever made Riley feel so needed, and perhaps that was the problem. Now facing a new job, new responsibilities, and a new life with her fiancé, Riley quickly begins to feel overwhelmed. The only thing she isn’t unsure of is her love for Camden. But love can only take her so far.

Camden wants to make everything easy for Riley. He wants to fix all her problems, take away all her stress, make life easy for her, and give her all the orgasms, but he’s quickly realizing that Riley’s biggest issues—the ones that make her doubt herself—can’t be fixed by anyone but her. That doesn’t stop him from trying. She’s an independent woman, but that doesn’t mean he can’t spoil her every now and then.

Riley’s going to have to accept that Camden loves making her life easier, and Camden’s going to have to realize that she only gives in because she loves him. But when the past comes back to disrupt Riley’s future, Camden will have no choice but to let his fierce partner and fiancée handle her shit.

Will Riley be able to let the past go? Will Camden’s need to take care of Riley push her too far? Will their love for each other be enough?

Just when I thought Riley and Camden’s story couldn’t get any more blissfully satisfying, Riled Up comes along and fills my heart with so much love and raw emotion that I don’t think I’ll ever stop grinning. Anie Michaels delivers one huge happy sigh with the second part of this couple’s inimitable journey, serving up all of the sass, humor and utter sweetness I’ve come to adore from Riley, Camden and the rest of their crazy crew. I fell in love with Camden and Riley’s electric chemistry and unmistakable connection all over again, feeling the authenticity of the emotions Anie Michaels seems to have so effortlessly captured deep down in my soul. Charming, magical, and beautifully real, this novel is undoubtedly one of Anie Michaels’ best works yet.

“I’ll never understand how, in this entire huge world, somehow I managed to find you. And what’s even more mind-blowing is that, out of every woman on this huge world, you want me.”

Where Kiss Cam was fun, sexy and adorable, Riled Up was raw, real and vulnerable. Anie Michaels took Riley and Camden on a journey that was easy to relate to, expertly exposing Riley’s insecurities and allowing readers a deeper look at her past and the experiences that have not only shaped Riley as a character, but influenced her relationship with Camden as well. I adored getting to see Riley a little unhinged and a whole lot overwhelmed, feeling like I truly understood her and could completely connect with her in an entirely new way. Riley’s character growth also challenged Camden to be there for Riley, share her burden and remind her that it’s ok to just let go and lean on someone else. There was a sense of healing and moving forward that I got with this novel that was as entirely welcome as it was wholly unexpected.

“Our marriage will be the best, easiest, hardest, and most important thing I ever do.”

In true Anie Michaels fashion, the heartfelt emotion and swoon-worthy sweetness of Riley and Camden’s story was perfectly balanced with plenty of witty banter and delightfully dirty encounters. The colorful cast of secondary characters brought tons of laughter and levity to Riley and Camden’s world too and left me desperate for more of their stories. Paced to be devoured, I could not put down this book! Riled Up had me experiencing the full spectrum of emotions (including some serious happy tears) and left my heart feeling so incredibly full. Anie Michaels brought Camden and Riley full circle with this novel, delivering the kind of happily ever after every romance reader dreams about. Riled Up is the perfect conclusion to this couple’s phenomenally entertaining and uniquely enchanting journey and a definite five star read from Anie Michaels!


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Don’t miss the rest of the series:

Kiss Cam (With a Kiss #1)

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Had Enough (With a Kiss #3)

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Coming Up Roses (With a Kiss #4)

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Author Bio

anie-michaels

Anie Michaels is the author of the Never series, the Privates serial, and stand-alone novels The Space Between Us, Instead of You, and The Absence of Olivia. She started writing her first novel in June 2013 and hasn’t looked back since. Working at home as a full-time writer of books, when she is not pounding on the keyboard she can be found reading, playing with her kids, spending time with her family, and connecting with her close friends.  She’s spent her entire life in the Pacific Northwest, lives in Portland, Oregon, and can’t imagine ever being anywhere else… except maybe somewhere tropical.

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Giveaway

A RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

RELEASE DAY BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – Kiss Cam by Anie Michaels

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Title: Kiss Cam
Author: Anie Michaels
Series: With A Kiss #1
Release Date: February 6, 2017

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Synopsis

Life was smooth sailing for Riley Smith. She’d earned a promotion, was living the dream as a single gal in a big city, and treated herself to one of her favorite things – a professional basketball game. In Riley’s opinion, nothing ruined a good basketball game like the halftime gag, the Kiss Cam. When the camera lands on her and the sexy stranger in the next seat over, peer pressure from the arena forces them to kiss. It was supposed to be quick, meaningless, and comical. Instead the kiss was hot, delectable, and left her reeling.

It hadn’t been a great night for Camden Rogers, son of Portland’s mayor. On a date with a woman he didn’t care for out of obligation to his politician father, meeting the sassy and intelligent Riley was the last thing he expected. Kissing her, however, was the hottest thing he’d ever experienced. Never one to back down from a challenge, convincing his hesitant kissing partner they could be more would be his biggest accomplishment yet.

They came from two different worlds, a divide Riley was sure they couldn’t overcome, but Camden was convinced she was the one. Will Riley be able to let her guard down and let Camden in? Or will the Kiss Cam be their only sexy encounter?

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Review

Anie Michaels has me totally hooked on Camden and Riley! Kiss Cam is witty, smart, and undeniable sexy – a sassy, sweet story that will give you all the feels, keep you grinning and leave you wanting more. From the moment of their amusing first meeting, Camden and Riley shared a palpable tension that was instant and overwhelming. I got lost in the easy friendship that quickly formed between them, fueled by a natural chemistry that made this couple feel fated and right. They were both stubborn and determined to make their own way in the world, which resulted in some seriously fantastic banter. Not to mention a push and pull that was impossible to look away from. Camden and Riley were undeniably tangible, living out their story in the real world where twenty-somethings go to basketball games and drink beer at the local pub. This couple came across as comfortable and familiar, allowing me to invest myself in them wholeheartedly.

“I like your mouth, Riley.  I like the way you use it and the words that come out of it.  I’ve only spent one half of a basketball game talking to you, and I know with near perfect certainty that I would never tire of hearing you speak.”

While Riley and Camden were easy to relate to and fun to explore, what I loved most about them was their understated complexity and genuine feelings. While they weren’t drowning in discontentment or drama, Anie Michaels did an incredible job at subtly unraveling both of these characters over the course of the story, exposing their insecurities and examining their personal relationships in a way that allowed me to connect with them on a deeper level. Riley’s feelings of inadequacy and her desire to prove herself through hard work was something I could immediately relate to and it was her need to achieve on her own merit that not only earned my respect but my adoration as well. Similarly, Camden’s apparent discord with his stepfather was an intriguing piece of this character’s puzzle and in fact it was Camden’s fierce defense of his relationship with Riley and his determination to be his own man that had me absolutely swooning.

“I know I seem like a wild and crazy gal, but deep down I’m just like any other twentysomething girl.  I want someone to love me and to love someone in return.  To build something with that person that no other person on the planet can tear down or wedge their way into.”

Kiss Cam was a refreshing change of pace for Anie Michaels whose previous books have been far more angsty and heart wrenching. Filled with laughter, love and adorably sweet moments, this one just made me feel good all the way through. Although definitely a light read, there was plenty of depth and intrigue built into Camden and Riley’s story. Anie Michaels delivers a touch of inner turmoil with this couple, allowing for enough more serious emotions to play out across the pages to perfectly balance the sass and steam. Kiss Cam is phenomenally written, effortlessly bringing this story to life and leaving me no choice but to lose myself in the author’s words. Anie Michaels infuses this story with heart and humor, giving Riley and Camden distinct voices that demand to be heard and felt. Full of enchanting characters, hilarious banter, plenty of genuine emotion, and an unforgettable storyline, Kiss Cam is undoubtedly a sexy, smart and totally sweet story that will leave you utterly satisfied.

Rating
5.png

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Don’t miss the rest of the series:

Riled Up (With a Kiss #2)

Read our review HERE
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Had Enough (With a Kiss #3)

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Coming Up Roses (With a Kiss #4)

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Author Bio

anie-michaels

Anie Michaels is the author of the Never series, the Privates serial, and stand-alone novels The Space Between Us, Instead of You, and The Absence of Olivia. She started writing her first novel in June 2013 and hasn’t looked back since. Working at home as a full-time writer of books, when she is not pounding on the keyboard she can be found reading, playing with her kids, spending time with her family, and connecting with her close friends.  She’s spent her entire life in the Pacific Northwest, lives in Portland, Oregon, and can’t imagine ever being anywhere else… except maybe somewhere tropical.

Author Links

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Giveaway

A RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

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RELEASE DAY BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – The Presence of Grace by Anie Michaels

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Title: The Presence of Grace
Author: Anie Michaels
Series: Love and Loss #2
Release Date: November 18, 2016

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Synopsis

Devon Roberts was familiar with loss.  He’d lost his wife and, in a way, he’d lost himself.  Moving through life with two kids, doing everything he could to make life good again for his son and daughter, meant romance was the last thing on his mind.

Until he saw her.

Again.

She was the first person to make him feel as though loving someone else wouldn’t be wrong.

Even though he thought his loss was unbearable, he never could have fathomed she might have had more slip through her fingers.

He’d fought before; fought for his family, for his love, and for his life.  But her fight, although buried deep and festering within, was a fight he wasn’t sure he had the strength to overcome.

All he knew for sure was that his life was better in the presence of Grace.

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Review

Anie Michaels triumphantly delivers a breathtakingly poignant novel of living with loss and learning to love again with Devon and Grace’s story in The Presence of Grace. Filled with the kind of overwhelming emotion and unquestionable chemistry I’ve come to adore from this author, this is one journey you won’t soon forget. From the start, Devon and Grace captivated me with their familiar heartache and inexplicable connection and I found myself instantly invested in their happily ever after. Both having been through the emotional wringer, this couple exemplified the beauty of new beginnings and had me hanging on tight to their rollercoaster ride relationship. With Ruby and Jax growing up with each turn of the page and the return of some familiar faces from The Absence of Olivia, Anie Michaels expertly cultivated a beautiful feeling of family with this book that had my heart bursting at the seams and ensured that The Presence of Grace was every bit the second shot at love I desperately hoped Devon would find… and then some.

“But the thing about grieving is everything feels wrong, until it doesn’t. The only way to get past it is to keep moving forward.”

Everything about Devon and Grace set my heart aflutter. From their unusual first meeting to finding one another again, this couple felt fated in a way that made it impossible for me to put this book down. Anie Michaels did a phenomenal job developing both characters over the course of the story, utilizing their changing relationship to expose the pain they carried and allowing them to let go and move forward. As individuals, I loved getting to know Devon and Grace. My knowledge of Devon felt limited in The Absence of Olivia, but with this book his personality, values, and incredible capacity for love really took shape and Anie Michaels had me swooning for the sweet single father in no time at all. Grace was the kind of heroine that was easy to connect with and impossible not to love. Her unfailing kindness and stunning spirit really blew me away, especially in light of all she’d endured prior to meeting Devon. Together this couple shared something truly special. Their deep understanding of one another’s vulnerabilities, insecurities, and fears leant itself to the kind of relationship that stands the test of time.

“I’m not thinking about how she’s gone, I’m thinking about how you’re here.”

One of the things I’ve come to absolutely adore about this author is her ability to capture the extraordinary power of every day love and The Presence of Grace is the epitome of this practice. This story not only harnesses the raw emotions of loss and living on, but it celebrates the small victories of surviving in the wake of grief. Devon and Grace both experienced losses that made me ache for them, but it was their steadfast support of one another’s healing and their unwavering loyalty to the people left in their lives that had me falling head over heels for this couple. Their love and the learning curve they bravely traversed to nurture it, while far from flawless, was inspiring in both its quiet courage and steady hope. Anie Michaels’ writing is utterly brilliant, capturing each emotional nuance of Devon and Grace’s journey and delivering the kind of love story that lingers well beyond the pages.

Rating
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Don’t miss the rest of the series:

The Absence of Olivia (Love and Loss #1)

Absence of Olivia

Read our Review HERE
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Author Bio

anie-michaels

Anie Michaels is the author of the Never series, the Privates serial, and stand-alone novels The Space Between Us, Instead of You, and The Absence of Olivia. She started writing her first novel in June 2013 and hasn’t looked back since. Working at home as a full-time writer of books, when she is not pounding on the keyboard she can be found reading, playing with her kids, spending time with her family, and connecting with her close friends.  She’s spent her entire life in the Pacific Northwest, lives in Portland, Oregon, and can’t imagine ever being anywhere else… except maybe somewhere tropical.

Author Links

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Website

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A RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Passion in Portland 2016 Anthology

Passion in Portland Anthology Banner

Title: Passion in Portland 2016 Anthology
Authors: A.J. Downey, A.K. Layton, A.J. Harmon, Alex Rosa,
Anie Michaels, Anna Brooks, Cassia Leo, Eliza Boyd, Gretchen S.B.,
Heather Carver, Heidi Mason, Jaycee Ford, Kimberly Kennedy,
Mary Crawford, Morgan & Jennifer Locklear, Nicole Richard,
R.J. Van Cleave, Sarah M. Cradit, Sidonia Rose, Stace Lee
Release Date: June 1, 2016

Passion in Portland

Synopsis

Twenty amazing authors. Twenty NEW stories. One fabulous anthology. Passion and romance in Portland, OR, tie these twenty novellas together. You will love every one, each unique but connected by their location, the beautiful Rose City.

The Passion in Portland 2016 Anthology is a project of hope. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Bradley Angle, a non-profit organization that helps survivors of domestic violence. Thank you for your support.

Books Included

Stay With Me by A.J. Downey | Falling Backwards by A.K. Layton
Mr. Wright Write Right by A.J. Harmon | Chaser by Alex Rosa
Kiss Cam by Anie Michaels | Honest Liar by Anna Brooks
To Portland, With Love by Cassia Leo | Kind of Crazy by Eliza Boyd
Poker in Portland by Gretchen S.B. | Stronger by Heather Carver
Love at First Crepe by Heidi Mason | When in Portland by Jaycee Ford
The Soviet and the Scientist by Kimberly Kennedy
Port in the Storm by Mary Crawford | Shy by Morgan & Jennifer Locklear
Forever Yours by Nicole Richard | Chasing Leigh by R.J. Van Cleave
The Ephemeral by Sarah M. Cradit | We Have Portland by Sidonia Rose
Love in Government Camp by Stace Lee

Review

Mr. Wright Write Right by A.J. Harmon

This short story is my first introduction to A.J. Harmon’s work and it definitely won’t be the last. I thoroughly enjoyed the quirky characters and the adorable story that unfolded between them. Mr. Wright Write Right follows indie romance author Gina as she navigates her first book signing and the world of writing. I loved the familiarity that this setting created and found myself grinning at the inclusion of so many things I’ve grown to adore about this crazy, fun community. The tension between Gina and Jackson and the hilarious and sassy banter that came from their awkward encounters kept me laughing while I devoured their great and unexpected love story.

“If you want to be a great romance writer, then you need to understand romance.”

A.J. Harmon easily pulled me in with her witty and smart writing only to totally hook me with the honest emotion that poured from the pages. I loved the vulnerability that Gina showed and it made me appreciate the plight of the self-published author that much more. Even Jackson had me feeling for him, despite the initial less-than-stellar impression he made. Both characters felt genuine and I found myself falling for them because of the flaws they demonstrated and the earnestness with which their relationship developed. A.J. Harmon has definitely impressed me with her ability to captivate the reader, cultivate relationships, and develop her characters all within so few pages. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future because she definitely left me wanting more of Gina and Jackson! — Rating: 4.5 Stars

Passion in Portland_Mr Right Write Right

Kiss Cam by Anie Michaels

Anie Michaels has me totally hooked on Camden and Riley! Despite the length limitations of a short story/novella, Kiss Cam has it all. I’m blown away by the emotional depth and complex storybuilding Anie Michaels has managed to deliver in such few pages. Kiss Cam is witty, smart, and undeniable sexy, introducing us to Camden and Riley and their amusing first meeting in a way that leaves you begging for more. These two shared a palpable tension that was instant and overwhelming. An easy friendship and natural chemistry, along with some seriously fantastic banter has me wholly addicted to this memorable couple. Camden and Riley were undeniably tangible, living out their story in the real world where twenty-somethings go to basketball games and drink beer at the local pub. This couple came across as comfortable and familiar, allowing me to invest myself in them wholeheartedly. Anie Michaels rounds out Camden and Riley’s world with Hadley and Justin, their hilarious and lovable best friends who make the ride that much more fun with their good-natured teasing and shameless quips.

“I like your mouth, Riley. I like the way you use it and the words that come out of it. I’ve only spent one half of a basketball game talking to you, and I know with near perfect certainty that I would never tire of hearing you speak.”

The best thing about Kiss Cam is the potential for more that Anie Michaels has so skillfully built into this story. Not only do we get to fall in love with Riley and Camden’s unconventional introduction and the ensuing chase but Anie also teases readers with the possibility of clashing social climates, feelings of inadequacy, and general angst. She expertly drops hints at Riley’s insecurities regarding Camden’s wealth and prestige along with notes of discord between Camden and his father. These details not only give this story a surprising depth, but also promise readers a complicated road ahead for this couple. I can only hope we’ll be seeing more of Riley and Camden in the future! Kiss Cam is phenomenally written, effortlessly bringing this story to life and leaving me no choice but to lose myself in the author’s words. Anie Michaels infuses this story with heart and humor, giving Riley and Camden distinct voices that demand to be heard and felt. I’m truly surprised by how invested I am in this adorable couple already. Full of enchanting characters, hilarious banter, plenty of genuine emotion, and an unforgettable storyline, Kiss Cam is undoubtedly one of the most satisfying short stories I’ve read in a long time. — Rating: 5++ Stars!

Passion in Portland_Kiss Cam

To Portland, With Love by Cassia Leo

Rory and Houston are back in To Portland, With Love! This sexy little short for The Story of Us Series brought back all the feels of this couple’s tumultuous journey. I absolutely adored seeing Rory and Houston settled into their happily ever after. The heat between these two still sizzled off the pages and Cassia Leo once again managed to make me blush with Houston’s deliciously filthy mouth. Scorching encounters aside, life isn’t all sunshine and roses for Rory and Houston. Cassia Leo doesn’t shy away from the stresses of juggling a marriage, two children, and burgeoning careers. The ensuing bickering and misunderstandings, while certainly frustrating, made this couple feel incredibly genuine and further confirmed the depth of their devotion to one another with their willingness to fight for their relationship each and every day.

“Thank you for writing this story and thank you for setting it in Portland. I… felt like I was reading a book about me. No one ever writes books about people like me.”

In addition to seeing the life that Rory and Houston have built together, we get a glimpse into Rory’s writing career as she prepares for her first book signing. Her success, after everything she’d been through, and the subject of her novel, proved to be deeply satisfying for fans of The Story of Us Series. My heart swelled with pride for Rory. Mindy and Mike were a little bit of a surprise and I needed a little more on the relationship Rory and Houston had with their neighbors, especially since they ended up being a point of discomfort for Rory. While To Portland, With Love lacked the emotional intensity I’ve come to love from Cassia Leo, it definitely had its moments of honesty that made my heart ache and flutter. If anything I found myself missing this couple and wishing this story had a few more pages. Fans of Cassia Leo’s unforgettable series will undoubtedly enjoy another dose of Rory, Houston, and a few other familiar faces. To Portland, With Love is a sexy and sweet treat that will have you ready for a reunion with Rory and Houston. — Rating: 4 Stars

Passion in Portland_To Portland With Love

When in Portland by Jaycee Ford

Jaycee Ford delivers her own twist on romance with When in Portland. While there is certainly all the excitement of a blossoming new relationship, it is Quinn’s journey of self-discovery that takes center stage in this short story. Recently divorced, Quinn sets out on her own for the very first time, heading to Portland on a new adventure. As she settles into her new life, she begins to fall in love with the city, with herself, and eventually with someone new. I adored the premise of this story, finding Quinn incredibly relatable and easy to invest in. Jaycee Ford’s writing is thoughtful and full of heart, demonstrating a maturity and self-awareness that captured the introspective tone of Quinn’s journey. When in Portland may be my first taste of this author’s work but it will definitely not be my last.

“But any good adventure begins with a really big bookstore.”

Quinn meets some colorful characters upon her arrival in Portland and I enjoyed their quirky contribution to her story. I was hoping we’d learn a little more about them, especially considering their fairly constant presence in her daily life. When Walt enters the picture, I found myself very much intrigued by his laidback and friendly demeanor. He may have stolen my heart when he turned out to be a fellow booklover. I really wanted to get to know him better, especially since Quinn felt so connected to him, but the story just never really got to that point unfortunately. I did appreciate the slow build-up between Walt and Quinn. Most short stories have a quick and intense insta-love that feels forced or superficial, but these two simmered for a bit while they got to know each other and Quinn got to know herself again. All in all, When in Portland was a well-written, sweet, and entertaining story that definitely left me wanting more of Quinn and Walt. — Rating: 4 Stars

Passion in Portland_When in Portland

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BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Instead of You by Anie Michaels

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Title: Instead of You
Author: Anie Michaels
Genre: New Adult, Student/Teacher Romance
Release Date: May 24, 2016

Instead of You

Synopsis

Two brothers.

Cory was my best friend, the boy who I’d resolved to spend my entire life with. I’d grown to love him, gotten used to the idea of our life together, even if it wasn’t the all-encompassing, soul-crushing, heart-shattering romance it appeared to be.

Hayes was the boy who seemed entirely out of reach. Untouchable. He stole my first kiss, a secret I’d hidden away in the recesses of my heart, protecting the memory and hoping it would be enough to last me a lifetime. When he became my history teacher, it was impossible to hide from him any longer.

There was no way to anticipate just how important both Wallace brothers would become to me, how deeply they would change my life, or how the loss of one would propel me into the arms of the other.

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Review

Once again, Anie Michaels has managed to rip me open and stomp on my heart with her breathtaking novel, Instead of You. This book delivers a heartbreaking and beautiful student/teacher romance that will make you think and inspire you to feel. Instead of You is perfect for both fans of taboo romance and those who prefer more traditional relationships. While there is a forbidden component to this story, it is fresh and unconventional in a way that gives McKenzie and Hayes’ story mass appeal. Anie Michaels explores love in all of its forms, effortlessly portraying not only familial and romantic love, but the kind of emotion that turns friends into family and lovers into soulmates. That deep, burning, irrevocable magic poured from this novel, lingering long after the final page had been turned. Each relationship explored contributed to the overall story in a significant way and by the end of the book I was totally enamored with every connection that Anie Michaels had created.

“You were here, and you were safe, and even though I’d lost so much, I hadn’t lost everything.”

Instead of You certainly doesn’t pull any punches and Anie Michaels didn’t hesitate to put the main characters (and her lucky readers) through the wringer. McKenzie and Hayes must face their incredibly confusing feelings when an unexpected tragedy leaves them both completely devastated. Lost in grief and confused by their feelings, both characters underwent huge transformations over the course of this novel. I absolutely adored the way Anie Michaels developed McKenzie. While her indecisiveness and constantly changing emotions may have been frustrating at times, it was this sense of being at a total loss as to what was right that made this character so heartbreakingly genuine. McKenzie’s youth and grief came through loud and clear in her voice, making the overall growth of this character that much more significant and solidifying my deep connection with her.

“Healthy relationships aren’t born from death, they don’t blossom in the dark, and they don’t flourish while being hidden.”

The plot of this novel was so much more than I had expected. Not only is it heartfelt, angsty, intelligent, and witty, but Anie Michaels also provides just the right amount of steam and flirtatious banter to keep readers smiling through the heartache. A handful of secondary characters filled out this novel, adding depth, color, and some much needed levity to this book. I found myself captivated by Anie Michaels’ fictional world, completely caught up in both McKenzie’s immature, drama-filled high school life and Hayes’ all too real home situation. McKenzie’s story is one of love, loss, and moving on – a heart wrenching coming of age journey that will leave your head reeling from the emotional turmoil and devastating grief residing within the pages of this novel. Somehow, when all was said and done, my heart found its way home and I was left content and incredibly hopeful. Anie Michaels has a true talent for turning the quiet curses of tragedy into soft whispers of hope and Instead of You is a shining example. Anie’s words are a balm to the soul, expertly soothing the ache she creates with her angst-ridden stories.

Rating
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Author Bio

Anie Michaels is the author of The Never series, The Private Serials, and a stand alone novel, The Space Between Us. She started writing her first novel in June 2013. When she is not working, reading, writing, or spending time with her family, you can find her spending time with her close friends. Anie lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family.

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RELEASE DAY BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – Never Tied Down by Anie Michaels

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Title: Never Tied Down
Series: Never #5
Author: Anie Michaels
Release Date: December 29, 2015

never-tied-down

Synopsis

I miss him.
I miss Marcus.
I miss Riot.
I miss them.

Pushing Riot away when Marcus died was an act of desperate self-preservation. I didn’t love him any less, didn’t blame him for Marcus’ death, but I couldn’t be with him and deal with the crushing weight of guilt that tore me down every single day.

So, I moved on. Or tried to, anyway.

Life, of course, pushed us back together.

I still don’t know if I’m strong enough to keep myself away from him. Or if I even want to.

Besides, something tells me life isn’t done trying to break me.

Review

Since Kalli and Riot hold such a special place in my heart, it’s difficult to put into words how I feel about the conclusion of their story. Anie Michaels has given these incredible characters the happily ever after they deserved and so much more. She gave them hope and healing in a way that was palpable, imparting upon her readers the incredible warmth and unconditional devotion that drove this breathtaking journey. Along with our favorite returning Never Series characters, we got to spend time with several new faces that added to the sublime comfort of Kalli and Riot’s world. In no time at all I was hooked on Riot’s family, already eager to hear some of their stories. Never Tied Down will make your heart ache and soar as Kalli and Riot’s unforgettable journey comes to a close. Once again, Anie Michaels has written a sparkling story of family, loss, and love that will fill your soul and leave you breathless.

“Sometimes when you’ve got something you want, you’ve got to hold on to it.”

Riot is unquestionably one of my all-time favorite book boyfriends. In this novel we get to read chapters from his point of view and I was absolutely thrilled at the chance to be inside his head. Experiencing Kalli and Riot’s story from both sides helped craft their scorching chemistry and inimitable connection into something tangible and Anie Michaels definitely built up the tension in Never Tied Down. Kalli and Riot absolutely sizzled, balancing the raw emotions of their story with an intense physicality that was more than a little addictive. We also got to see a gentleness in Riot that instantly had me melting over his deep emotional honesty. As Anie Michaels revealed Riot’s pain, fears, and insecurities while he reconnected with Kalli, I found myself falling even deeper under his spell. The further unraveling of Riot’s character took my connection with him to an entirely new level, moving me in unexpected ways and leaving me feeling profoundly affected by him.

“Words failed me. There were no words to describe the gift she’d given me, or how grateful I was to just have her in my arms. So I didn’t say anything. I just kissed her.”

The development of Kalli’s character in Never Tied Down left me at a loss for words. She is so much like a piece of my own soul that I couldn’t help but feel every word of her story as I read it. Anie Michaels has perfectly captured the all-consuming emotional rollercoaster of grieving a sibling. The small nuances that trigger suffocating panic and moments of happiness clouded by gaping holes left in the world were brought to life through Kalli in a way that was simultaneously beautiful and utterly devastating. As time moved forward, Anie Michaels revealed Kalli’s returning strength, healing her and allowing her to grow organically and unhurried. Kalli not only moved forward with grace, but she was given the room to continue to be vulnerable and falter, embracing the character’s distinctly human nature and making her entirely unforgettable.

“I’d loved the broken Kalli, would have followed her to the end of the earth, but I loved this Kalli more because I didn’t have to follow her anywhere – she took me with her.”

Falling back into Kalli and Riot’s world was effortless. Anie Michaels picks up right where she left off, putting readers right back under her spell. The love between Kalli and Riot is more apparent than ever as they navigate life after Marcus and face the lingering hurt between them. While I pretty much grinned the entirety of the book, the continuation of Kalli and Riot’s journey wasn’t without its difficulties. Anie Michaels expertly depicts the emotional weight of loss, affording Kalli’s grief the firm hold required to be genuine and navigating the unexpected twists and turns of life that disrupt the continual process of healing. Anie Michaels has a gift for delivering exactly what her readers need along with unforeseen challenges that push her characters even further. With each new novel, Anie Michaels writes her characters with a little more heart and a little more depth, repeatedly out-doing herself and leaving me even more enamored with her incredible story-telling. Never Tied Down is a shining example of Anie’s evolution as an author, her words enchanting and emotionally charged delivering heartache and hope in a way that is undeniably hers.

Rating
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Don’t miss the rest of the series:

Never Close Enough (Never #1)

Never Close Enough

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Never Far Away (Never #2)

Never Far Away

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Never Giving Up (Never #3)

Never Giving Up

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Never Standing Still (Never #4)

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Never With You (Never #6)

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Author Bio

Anie Michaels is the author of The Never series, The Private Serials, and a stand alone novel, The Space Between Us. She started writing her first novel in June 2013. When she is not working, reading, writing, or spending time with her family, you can find her spending time with her close friends. Anie lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family.

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RELEASE DAY BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – The Absence of Olivia by Anie Michaels

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Title: The Absence of Olivia
Author: Anie Michaels
Series: Love and Loss #1
Release Date: October 20, 2015

Absence of Olivia

Synopsis

My name is Evelyn.

I met Devon and instantly fell for him.

Weeks later he fell for my best friend.

Never one to make waves, I watched as they started a life together. I stood by as their family grew, was the maid of honor at their wedding and the godmother to their children. All the while, I was longing for him, watching as he became the perfect husband and father. I was never jealous. I wasn’t even angry that my best friend had the only person I wanted. I had simply resigned myself to living without his love, but still being a part of his life.

Then, one terrible day, my best friend died.

She died and we all struggled to live life without her. Slowly, as the pain eased, our eyes opened and Devon finally saw me.

This is a story about second chances and second choices.

This is the story of how my life changed in the absence of Olivia.

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Review

Anie Michaels has absolutely stunned me with The Absence of Olivia. This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year and it has claimed its spot on my list of all-time favorite reads. Evelyn’s story is truly something special. The Absence of Olivia was honest, at times brutally so. Overflowing with emotion, this novel captures so many of life’s experiences in its pages. Anie Michaels’ words breathe life, death, longing, healing, loss, and love into a story that is utterly beautiful and positively unexpected. Through Evelyn and Devon, this book captures love in its most raw form, depicting the imperfections, devastation, and uncertainty that shapes our view on love and defines all of our relationships. I connected with this story immediately, feeling every word as I read it, becoming invested in the characters, and riding the ups and down of this journey. The Absence of Olivia is not a fairytale by any means, it’s reality and that makes this love story that much sweeter.

“Even though you’re here, in my house, every day. You’re here, but you’ve never been more out of reach.”

Evelyn’s character growth was the best part of this book. The way in which Anie Michaels took her through the stages of grief and forced her to confront her long-held feelings for Devon was heart wrenching. Her emotional turmoil was overwhelming, hitting to the core of me in a way that allowed all of Evelyn’s feelings to move through me as I followed her journey. I related to Evelyn in a significant way, understanding her desperate need to keep her word to Olivia no matter the cost to her own happiness. There were moments where the character wavered, caught up in her grief or confused by the evolution of her relationships with others. These moments of weakness and instances of doubt made Evelyn that much more tangible and gave me a better appreciation for her strength and the entirety of her journey. A fighter in her own right, this inimitable character proved to be simply breathtaking and absolutely unforgettable.

“I wanted to remember the moment when I realized life wasn’t as bleak as I’d made it out to be, and I wanted to remember the person who’d reminded me that I was still worth pursuing.”

The Absence of Olivia was perfectly constructed, providing alternating flashback chapters that divulged the true nature of the relationships between Olivia, Devon, and Evelyn. Anie Michaels delivers key moments in their lives together that serve as the foundation for current emotions, making this story strong and the readers’ understanding of the characters even stronger. The Absence of Olivia is a rollercoaster from start to finish. My heart ached for Devon and broke for Evelyn. I laughed at Ruby’s sass and swooned over Nate’s enduring patience and understanding. I sobbed, taking the ugly cry to a whole new level as my heart shattered and swelled at the moments of significant emotional impact. Anie Michaels has completely blown me away with her exquisite imagery and poignant prose, bringing this story to life in the way that only she can. The Absence of Olivia is unexpected, real, and deeply stunning. This one-of-a-kind story is an absolute must read!

Rating
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Don’t miss the rest of the series:

The Presence of Grace (Love and Loss #2)

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Read our Review HERE
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Author Bio

Anie Michaels is the author of The Never series, The Private Serials, and a stand alone novel, The Space Between Us. She started writing her first novel in June 2013. When she is not working, reading, writing, or spending time with her family, you can find her spending time with her close friends. Anie lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family.

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