Thursday, April 20, 2017

Release Blitz + Excerpt Reveal: THE HOT SHOT (Game On #4) by Kristen Callihan


I'm sure you all know by now, but I'm a HUGE fan of sports romances, so when I saw that Kristen Callihan's next book in her Game On series, The Hot Shot, was releasing soon, I jumped at the chnce to share an excerpt!! It released earlier this week on the 17th, and if you keep scrolling, you can read a little snippet of the book below! ;)

Here what's the book is about...and a bigger version of the sexy cover for your viewing pleasure, too. ;)

THE HOT SHOT
(GAME ON #4)

Author: Kristen Callihan
Release Day: April 17th


First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.

No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?
BUY THE BOOK: AMAZON | iBooks | 
B&N | KOBO | 
Paperback


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

E X C E R P T

CHESS


     Grumbling, I toss on some black lounge pants and my oversized Tulane t-shirt and head to the drugstore.

     My head throbs by the time I get there, and my insides are writhing. I rest my hand against my lower stomach and grab a basket before calling James to complain.

     “I swear,” I tell him as I grab a bottle of painkillers. “It’s like this entire day has been cursed.”

     He snickers. “Curse. Get it? Curse?”

     I roll my eyes, even though he can’t see me. “Laugh it up. Meanwhile, it feels as if someone is playing Battleship in my uterus.”

     “Poor Chessie bear. At least we know why you were in such a foul mood.”

     A flush washes over my cheeks. “Yeah.” Lie. Lie. Lie. A tub of salted caramel gelato makes its way into the basket.

     “Tell me you’re getting some gelato,” James says.

     I smile. “Just grabbed it.”

     “Salted caramel?”

     “You know it.”

     I find the feminine products aisle and search for my brand. “I’m going to go home, take a long bath with my gelato, and forget this fucking day.” Forget Finn. “And then I’m going to go on Amazon and buying a freaking year’s supply of tampons so I don’t have to make these kinds of emergency runs anymore.”

     A low, deep chuckle rumbles from behind me, and all the tiny hairs lift on my arms.

     “But you’ll still need your gelato,” a familiar—fuck me, seriously?—voice points out.
My insides swoop even as my cheeks burn.

     “Who is that?” James asks in my ear.

     I slowly turn on one heel. “The plague,” I say, glaring up at Finn Mannus’s smiling face.

     “From asshat to plague.” Finn scrunches up his brow. “I’m not sure if that’s a step down or a tie.”

     “Who is that?” James nearly yells now.

     I don’t take my eyes off Finn. “I’ll call you back.”

     James’s squawks of protest cut off as I hit the end button.

     “Are you stalking me, Mannus?”

     Finn a rests his hands low on his lean hips. “Having a healthy amount of conceit myself, I have to admire yours, but no, buttercup. My buddy Woodson lives a few blocks away. It’s poker night. I’m stocking up on beer.”

     It’s only then I notice a twelve pack tucked under his other arm.

     “And tampons?” I ask, with a pointed look around the aisle we’re standing in.

      “Not tonight,” he says easily. “Though we used to keep a pack of them back in college. Light flows were perfect for stopping up bloody noses.”

     A snort escapes me. “Now there’s a visual.” Somehow, I’ve taken a step closer to him. He’s freshly showered, the golden brown strands of his hair still damp at his temples. And I wonder if he’s just come from the gym or practice. “So back in college you went and bought these tampons?”

     “Nah,” he says with a cheeky smile. “I’d ask one of the girls hanging around to get me some.”

     “Of course you did.” My nose wrinkles with annoyance.

     “Give me a little credit, Chess. I’d buy them now if I had to.”

     “Hmm…” I eye him, trying not to return his smile. If only because it’s more fun when he teases. “So why are you in this aisle now, if not for potential nosebleed needs?”
     “That’s easy.” He steps closer, a warm wall of muscle and clean scent. “I heard your voice.”

     For a second I just blink. “You recognized my voice?”

     His gaze darts over my face as if he’s trying to get a read on why I’m gaping at him. “Not to be…ah…rude, but you’re loud when you talk on the phone.”

     “Yeah, but… You recognized it.” We’d only just met. It occurs to me that I’d recognized his both times he’d snuck up on me. Then again, his voice is distinctive, flowing like hot honey when he’s relaxed or hammering down like iron to rock when he’s taking command of a situation.

     A soft flush of pink tints the tips of his ears. If I wasn’t staring at him, I might have missed it. He shifts his weight. “Was I not supposed to?”

     “No. Yes.” I shake my head and laugh. “I don’t know.”

     He grins then. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”

     “I’m not flustered.” I am.



So what'd you think of that excerpt?

Does The Hot Shot sound like a romance you'd like to read?

Are sports romances anyone else's weakness...or just mine? ;) 

Monday, April 17, 2017

[Timeless Tour] Discussion Questions


Happy Monday!

I've got another post for you today for Simon & Schuster Canada's TIMELESS TOUR

As I introduced a couple of weeks ago, I'm part of a group of bloggers sharing posts relating to three of S&S Canada's big historical romance books this season: PROMISES TO KEEP, THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES, and THE SCRIBE OF SIENA!

I hope you've all been enjoying the tour so far!

Today, my post is a little different! Instead of being centred around one of the books, I have some discussion questions instead!



  1. What was your favourite historical time period among the Timeless Tour reads? Did you know anything about this period before you began reading the book?
    I enjoyed all of the time periods in the books, but I really liked learning about the Acadians in Canada in Promises to Keep the most. While I did learn about Canadian history in school, I don't ever actually remember learning about the Acadians, so it was all really new to me. I've always been a fan of historical fiction, but I didn't realize just how little there is on Canadian history until Genevieve Graham's previous book, Tides of Honour, released. When I first heard she was going to be writing about the Expulsion of the Acadians, I was immediately on board. While I didn't know much about the Acadian Expulsion prior to Promises to Keep, I felt like Genevieve did a great job at bringing the reader up to speed with the events surrounding the characters, and I really appreciated getting to see a side of Canada's history that I wasn't familiar with.

  2. How did the historical events in each book influence the character’s choices and personalities?
    I think that all characters are influenced by their surroundings in books, so I have to admit that I don't really think that these characters were any different that way. In Promises to Keep, Amélie is forced to make decisions that she thinks will aid in her family's survival, and I think her personality was actually shaped more by her family in the story rather than the historical events. She was raised to speak her mind, and so she had a very strong personality and she was determined to perverse. I think Beatrice from The Scribe of Siena was the same. She was raised by her brother, Ben, and he taught her to be an academic. She ended up being a neurosurgeon, so it's not very surprising that she was a rather rational and clinical thinker. I think the historical events surrounding these characters definitely influenced their choices because they have to react to what's happening around them, but I think ultimately, that their personalities are separate from the historical events.

  3. If you could invite one of the Timeless Tour leading ladies (Beatrice, Jeanne, or Amelie) to dinner, who would you choose and why?
    I'd want to have Amélie for dinner. I absolutely loved Promises to Keep, and I thought that she was such a strong character that I really would love to get to know. I'd love to hear her talk about what it was like living in Grand Pré, and I think it'd be fascinating to hear about her every day life...especially since she was living in Canada before it had actually become Canada yet.


  4. The Scribe of Siena starts in the present before Beatrice is transported back in time to 1347, whereas Promises to Keep and Enemies of Versailles are firmly rooted in one timeline. How did this change your reading experience?
    I thought that the time travel in The Scribe of Siena added a pretty different feel to the story. While Promises to Keep and The Enemies of Versailles are strongly grounded in their historical time periods, The Scribe of Siena isn't limited to just the historical. Beatrice is shaped by the present time, so I think that adds a very different feel to the character and there's that sense of unease and confusion whenever unexpected time travel happens...even if you go into the book knowing that it's going to happen eventually. It kind of reminded me of Outlander in a way because the time travel really isn't the biggest part of the story, it's really just the plot point to get Beatrice to where...and when...she needs to be.

  5. In the past, powerful women have been written out of textbooks. How do the protagonists of the Timeless Tour reads challenge the misconception that women in history were passive, submissive and dependent?
    Hmm, I don't think it's correct to say that women in history were passive, submissive and dependent. While women aren't as prevalent in history as men are, there were still a few very notable powerful figures, like Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and Cleopatra. It is disappointing that you don't hear about many ordinary women in history though...in that way, every day women were largely passive, submissive, and dependent. I think a big part of that is the fact that women actually wouldn't have been able to have been in a position to be active, dominant and independent...unless they were nobility. I think the leading ladies in these three books challenge misconceptions about women in history because in a way, they're not confined in the same way that many common women in history would've been. They're all educated, and have certain freedoms to be independent that wouldn't necessarily be available to many women historically. In short...they're allowed to be protagonists in their own lives during times when women wouldn't necessarily be given that freedom.



Follow the rest of the TIMELESS TOUR:



Do you have any answers for the Timeless Tour Discussion Questions?

Or if you haven't read any of the tour books, what's your favourite historical fiction?And what makes it your favourite?

Monday, April 10, 2017

[Timeless Tour] Promises to Keep Deleted Scenes!


Happy Monday historical fiction fans! I've got another amazing post for you today for Simon & Schuster Canada's TIMELESS TOUR

As I introduced a couple of weeks ago, I'm part of a group of bloggers sharing posts relating to three of S&S Canada's big historical romance books this season: PROMISES TO KEEP, THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES, and THE SCRIBE OF SIENA!

Today I have some AMAZING deleted scenes from Genevieve Graham's PROMISES TO KEEP



In case PROMISES TO KEEP is a new book for you,
here's a bit of an introduction to it:

PROMISES TO KEEP

Author: Genevieve Graham
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Received an ARC from S&S Canada to participate in the
Timeless Tour and give an honest review.
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Number of Pages: 336 (Paperback)



An enchanting and poignant story about the unfailing power of love in a world turned upside down by war—from the bestselling author of Tides of Honour.

Summer 1755, Acadia

Young, beautiful Amélie Belliveau lives with her family among the Acadians of Grande Pré, Nova Scotia, content with her life on their idyllic farm. Along with their friends, the neighbouring Mi’kmaq, the community believes they can remain on neutral political ground despite the rising tides of war. But peace can be fragile, and sometimes faith is not enough. When the Acadians refuse to pledge allegiance to the British in their war against the French, the army invades Grande Pré, claims the land, and rips the people from their homes. Amélie’s entire family, alongside the other Acadians, is exiled to ports unknown aboard dilapidated ships.

Fortunately, Amélie has made a powerful ally. Having survived his own harrowing experience at the hands of the English, Corporal Connor MacDonnell is a reluctant participant in the British plan to expel the Acadians from their homeland. His sympathy for Amélie gradually evolves into a profound love, and he resolves to help her and her family in any way he can—even if it means treason. As the last warmth of summer fades, more ships arrive to ferry the Acadians away, and Connor is forced to make a decision that will alter the future forever.

Heart-wrenching and captivating, Promises to Keep is a gloriously romantic tale of a young couple forced to risk everything amidst the uncertainties of war.



Now that you know a bit about the book,
it's time for some deleted scenes from PROMISES TO KEEP:

DELETED SCENE #1

Amelie’s Family

     My papa, Charles Belliveau, was sixteen and still living with the Mi'kmaq when he met my maman. Sylvie Fontaine had grown up only a few houses from where he had been born. The story goes that he saw her walking into the church with her parents, but since he wasn't properly dressed to enter the house of God, he waited outside for the service to be over. Papa never told me much more about how they eventually met, except to say that she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Every time he said that, she blushed as if no time had passed at all. That alone was reason enough for us to ask him to tell the story again and again.

     For her he'd shed his buckskin, cut his hair, reverted to his mother tongue. When their engagement was announced, the entire community got together in the traditional way to build the newlyweds a house.

     Papa was good with the animals, and he put together a garden which my mother would always tend, but his hands were usually busier with chores brought to him by the sea. He was a fisherman for most of the year, and sometimes he helped with boat building. I remembered the first time I saw the long, tapered trunk of a white pine stretched out beside our barn, supported by thick wooden blocks. It would someday be the mast of a great ship, Papa told me.

     This wasn't the first or final mast I saw him build. I never tired of admiring his obvious skill. For weeks I watched him work, sweating through his shirt under the summer sun. Using his adze, he squared the wood then cut it down to sixteen sides in preparation for planing the edges into a round shape. My brothers and I helped him sand down the marks his tools had left until at last he declared himself proud of the finished product. When the other men came to carry it away, I pictured it adorned with sails, bravely cutting through the Atlantic swells; my father's mast would always guide the travelers safely home.

     After my parents’ wedding, we children weren't long in coming. I was the fourth child, following André, Henri, and Claire. Mathieu and Giselle were born after me. By the time I was born André was already five. When I  was five, he was ten, and I worshipped everything about him. He was like Papa with his quiet strength, like Maman with her wisdom. Though I am certain now that he would much rather I not follow him constantly, he never showed any annoyance with me.

     I wished I could say the same for myself when Giselle was born exactly five years after me. Sweet as she was, I had no patience for her constant chatter and butterfly dances. I fled whenever I could, and often I went up to the Mi'kmaq village. There we had another family. My Mi’kmaq sister Mali and I shared parents, meaning we each had two fathers, two mothers, and twice as much love as the other families who did not approve of the people of the forest.

     Like me, Henri preferred the Mi'kmaq way of life, and we shared a best friend in Mali. He learned to hunt and fight their way, and he knew every one of their legends better than he knew the Bible stories. In the summer, when his skin darkened under the sun, he could almost be mistaken for one of them. My dear Henri was the dark opposite of André: acting before thinking, speaking out of turn, but always able to do it with a grin. He was a bit of a rebel, but I adored him.

     When Maman married Papa, he brought with him a culture based on the idea of living by example. He taught her of the Mi'kmaq's belief that every living thing worked together, and she adopted that into her way of thinking. Maman was not only wise, she was kind. And lovely. Maman was the kind of person whose soul was as beautiful as her face, and that was beautiful indeed. I suppose she would have to have been, allowing a scrubby blond Mi'kmaq to woo her, but I imagine Papa was charming. And it was obvious to everyone she loved him with all her heart.

     I was not the quiet, dutiful daughter my parents had in my older sister, Claire. Nor was I the delightful, talented younger sister. That was Giselle. Giselle was twelve now, and I was seventeen. She acted young for her age, and we had little in common. Both my sisters were fair in colour, their long golden hair lit by sunshine, their bright blue eyes clear and wide. My hair was dark under my cap, and though my eyes were blue they were never lowered demurely, and every one of my emotions was plain to see through them.

     Claire and I loved each other, of course, and we had played well together up to a certain age. Then she discovered boys, and her attitude changed so much I had trouble interesting her in any of the games we'd played as children. She started to take extra care when she was dressing in the morning, and I teased her when I spotted her batting pale eyelashes at one of the boys.

     I was stubborn like Maman, inquisitive like Papa. Maman called me impatient, and I suppose that was fair. I did not like to waste time that could be better spent. I couldn't sit still long, but I was not driven to move in the way that Giselle needed to move. She was a rabbit, hopping from one thing to another without purpose. I was a hummingbird, direct and determined. I needed to see everything that was happening. If we were preparing bread in the kitchen, I needed to know why Henri was running so quickly outside the window. If I was at the weir, I longed to climb the hill and scout for my younger brother, Mathieu, who was constantly finding trouble. When my parents were busy, I needed to keep my eyes on both my younger siblings. Matthieu knew not to go near the aboiteaus, but Giselle was unpredictable. When I was her age, Papa had told me to keep my distance from the openings to the dikes or the sea eels might bite me. He had warned us all, and so far we had all been free of the nasty things, but perhaps after five children he had tired of reminding us. Had he ever mentioned the eels to Giselle? Just in case, I took it upon myself to constantly remind her, to make sure she showed respect in the dikes.




DELETED SCENE #2

 History of Acadians/Mi’kmaq

     When my people first came to this land over a hundred years ago, they brought with them the wisdom of their homeland. The founding fathers settled in a land on the edge of the ocean and decided the marshy grasses—which revealed themselves twice a day when the tide receded—would become our fields. They called our new home Grand Pré, or “Great Meadow.”

     When I was very small, Papa explained to me that silt and dirt left behind by millions of departing tides fed the grasses and made the land fertile. The difficulty, of course, was keeping the ocean from stealing our crops. But our ancestors had been smart. Using ferrées, pitchforks, axes, and their powerful backs, the early Acadians spent years building huge dikes to stand against the sea. Ditches were dug through the remaining marshes, and hollowed-out tree trunks reinforced with marsh mud were put in to serve as tunnels. The ends were gated by aboiteaus, little gates which moved with the tide, letting excess rainwater escape into the ocean but not letting the seawater in. Once these were in place, more dikes were built over top using marsh mud and sod. The dikes demanded a great deal of our time, but they were something we could not live without, so no one ever complained.

     The Acadians built homes and gardens where no one had been before—other than the Mi’kmaq, who had lived here since the creation of the world. I imagined our settlers would have been nervous at first, meeting these mysterious people, but they had nothing to fear. The Mi’kmaq were a sharing, generous people, and they would have been equally curious about these awkward white people who had stumbled into their home.

     The Mi’kmaq and my people have always been at peace. My ancestors did not wish to cut down the forests or fight them for their lands, so the Mi’kmaq watched them create fields from the sea. Even though they were not Christian at that time they must have seen that we were like them, wishing to live in harmony with the earth and its creatures. Once they realized we could work side by side, they taught my ancestors the true meaning of living off the land. Through them we learned to build fish weirs and eel traps, even to fish through ice during those frozen months of winter. After they mixed berries into our food, sickness came less often, and the herbs they shared with us eased our illnesses and pains. They traded with us, bringing warm, protective furs in exchange for our metal pots and axes. Through my ancestors the Mi’kmaq learned to worship the Lord, and some even accepted our ancestors’ invitation to join our Order of Good Cheer. We became good friends and neighbours. If it hadn’t been for the Mi’kmaq, we never would have lived to see today.

     The British eventually arrived, but as long as they did not cause any trouble there was plenty of land to go around. Declaring victory over the French forces at Fort Louisbourg had whet their appetite for this land, and they decided to stay. When the French won it back three years later the British reacted by founding Halifax—right in the Mi'kmaq moose hunting territory.

     Tumas' expression tightened every time he spoke of this, so I only asked once—but I heard the story many times over the fire. I imagine the subject burned so hotly within his heart that the flames brought it to the fore. His rage was a frightening thing to see, I must admit. I loved the man like a father, but the way he paced, the way his massive hands clenched while he spoke made me want to flee his furious gaze. He argued—against no one, for none of us would dare contradict him!—that Halifax could not exist. He said a treaty had existed for a hundred years, keeping the Mi'kmaq and British on friendly terms, but this Halifax had been established without any negotiations at all. He raged at the presumptuous British, at their disrespect for the land and its people. On some nights, when he simply could not sit quietly anymore, the rants changed form. His expression set, he went off into the forest with some of the other men. I knew they would be discussing the British, and not in pleasant terms. Sometimes he did not come back until the following morning. Then he was quiet, focused on his own private thoughts.

     It wasn't long before the Mi'kmaq declared war upon the British. From that moment on, the Mi'kmaq and the British had fought, since the British were not willing to hand back the land they had claimed. As the conflict grew even more heated, terrible, forbidden whispers about scalping on both sides were passed around Acadian hearths. Someone once told me that the British were paying for Mi'kmaq scalps, but I couldn't—wouldn't believe such a repugnant idea. Who could ever … ? No. It had to be a lie.

     As Acadians we were determined not to get involved but to live in peace with everyone around us. We still brought food to the soldiers as we always had, and we continued our close friendship with the Mi’kmaq, though our visits became less frequent and were sometimes strained. Mali had warned me things were getting worse. She said the Acadians would soon need to choose a side, but I hadn't wanted to talk of such things with her or with anyone else.

     I didn’t understand. As far as I could tell, nothing had changed. 





About GENEVIEVE GRAHAM:

Genevieve Graham graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in music in 1986 and began writing in 2007. She is passionate about breathing life back into history through tales of love and adventure, and loves the challenge of re-living Canadian history in particular. Her previous novel, Tides of Honour, was a Globe and Mail bestseller.

When Graham is not writing, she can be found relaxing with her husband and two grown daughters, teaching piano to children in the community, or tending the garden along with a friendly flock of heritage chickens. She lives near Halifax, Nova Scotia.




Follow the rest of the TIMELESS TOUR:



In case you missed it, you can find my review for PROMISES TO KEEP, here. I absolutely loved it, and I'm so excited to be able to share these deleted scenes with you all!

What did you think?
If you've read the book, did you enjoy these deleted scenes?
And if you haven't, do they make you curious about PROMISES TO KEEP?

Monday, April 3, 2017

[Timeless Tour]
Review: Promises to Keep by Genevieve Graham


Hi again to my fellow historical fiction fans! I'm back with another post for Simon & Schuster Canada's TIMELESS TOUR

During the course of this tour, I'll be a part of a group of bloggers sharing posts relating to three of S&S Canada's big historical romance books this season: PROMISES TO KEEP, THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES, and THE SCRIBE OF SIENA!

Today for the Timeless Tour, I'm sharing my review for Genevieve Graham's PROMISES TO KEEP!


Before I dive right into my review, here's a bit about the book:

PROMISES TO KEEP

Author: Genevieve Graham
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Received an ARC from S&S Canada to participate in the
Timeless Tour and give an honest review.
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Number of Pages: 336 (Paperback)



An enchanting and poignant story about the unfailing power of love in a world turned upside down by war—from the bestselling author of Tides of Honour.

Summer 1755, Acadia

Young, beautiful Amélie Belliveau lives with her family among the Acadians of Grande Pré, Nova Scotia, content with her life on their idyllic farm. Along with their friends, the neighbouring Mi’kmaq, the community believes they can remain on neutral political ground despite the rising tides of war. But peace can be fragile, and sometimes faith is not enough. When the Acadians refuse to pledge allegiance to the British in their war against the French, the army invades Grande Pré, claims the land, and rips the people from their homes. Amélie’s entire family, alongside the other Acadians, is exiled to ports unknown aboard dilapidated ships.

Fortunately, Amélie has made a powerful ally. Having survived his own harrowing experience at the hands of the English, Corporal Connor MacDonnell is a reluctant participant in the British plan to expel the Acadians from their homeland. His sympathy for Amélie gradually evolves into a profound love, and he resolves to help her and her family in any way he can—even if it means treason. As the last warmth of summer fades, more ships arrive to ferry the Acadians away, and Connor is forced to make a decision that will alter the future forever.

Heart-wrenching and captivating, Promises to Keep is a gloriously romantic tale of a young couple forced to risk everything amidst the uncertainties of war.


MY REVIEW

My immediate reaction after finishing PROMISES TO KEEP was WOW and that feeling hasn't left me yet. It's been my favourite of Genevieve Graham's books so far, and I think it's definitely her strongest book! Not only has she crafted a sweet romance between two honourable and strong characters, she's also woven a story of Canada's past in an engaging way, and I think she did a wonderful job with both!

The characters, the plot, the history, everything came together so well, and it left me eager to find out what would happen next! As I read each page, I became more and more invested in Amélie and Connor's story, and it had me hopeful when I knew there really wasn't much hope to be had. I have to admit that I really don't know much about the Acadians's history in Canada, so I was extremely interested in learning about them through PROMISES TO KEEP, and I loved the journey that Genevieve took me on!

Genevieve's vibrant and lush descriptions swept me away, and I could really imagine the idyllic life that the Acadians were living in Grand Pré. Their home was paradise, and it made it all the more tragic to experience what it must have felt like for them to be living there during the expulsion. What I loved most though (as is usual for me), were the characters. All of the characters were complex and well developed, and I absolutely adored the two main characters, Amélie and Connor! They were fantastic and I loved seeing their connection. Their budding romance was an excellent contrast to the conflict and turmoil surrounding them, and their perseverance was amazing!

While PROMISES TO KEEP isn't a happy story, mostly because the Acadian Expulsion was anything but happy, it was a wonderful journey to experience. Genevieve Graham has done an excellent job of pairing a sweet romance along with a dark time in Canada's history. She's brought awareness to something that not everyone knows about (myself included), and she's done it in a lively and engaging manner. If you're a fan of historical fiction, especially if you have an interest in Canadian history, and you also enjoy sweet romances, I think this is the perfect book for you!


About the Author:

GENEVIEVE GRAHAM graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in music in 1986 and began writing in 2007. She is passionate about breathing life back into history through tales of love and adventure, and loves the challenge of re-living Canadian history in particular. Her previous novel, Tides of Honour, was a Globe and Mail bestseller.

When Graham is not writing, she can be found relaxing with her husband and two grown daughters, teaching piano to children in the community, or tending the garden along with a friendly flock of heritage chickens. She lives near Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Follow the rest of the TIMELESS TOUR:



As you can tell, I absolutely LOVED Promises to Keep!

What about you?
Are you a fan of historical fiction?
Have you read any of Genevieve Graham's books?
And are you planning to read Promises to Keep?

Monday, March 27, 2017

[#TimelessTour] Q&A with Sally Christie, author of The Enemies of Versailles


Hello fellow historical romance readers!!

Today, I'm here to start off Simon & Schuster Canada's TIMELESS TOUR

Over the next few weeks, I'll be a part of a group of bloggers sharing posts relating to three of S&S Canada's big historical romance books this season: PROMISES TO KEEP, THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES, and THE SCRIBE OF SIENA!

I'm lucky enough to launch the Timeless Tour, so welcome, welcome! I hope you enjoy all of our fabulous posts, and that you go away from this tour with three new books that you just can't wait to read!

My first post for this tour is a Q&A with Sally Christie, the author of THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES, the third and final book in THE MISTRESSES OF VERSAILLES TRILOGY!



To start us off, here's a bit of an introduction for THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES:


THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES
(The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy #3)

Author: Sally Christie
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Number of Pages: 416 (Paperback)

In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.

“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”

After decades of suffering the King's endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.

Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.




Now that you know a bit about the book, it's time for the Q&A you've been waiting for!

Q&A with SALLY CHRISTIE!

1. The Enemies of Versailles is the last book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy. Which of the mistresses was your favorite to write? 

I loved the Comtesse du Barry the most of all of my characters – she was such a warm, friendly, genuinely nice person. We all know people like her – I think of them as “favored angels” – they have everything, but rather than becoming cold or superior, they retain their essential goodness. I also hate how the Comtesse du Barry has been portrayed recently – for example in Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette – and felt she needed some vindication!

So the Comtesse du Barry was my favorite character, but I had the most fun with Pauline from The Sisters of Versailles – her blithe bitchiness was really fun to write.

2. The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles both heavily feature letters, whereas Enemies does not. Was this a conscious decision? 

Sisters has four rotating viewpoints, and the letters (which were an excellent idea suggested to me by an editor, and one to which I was initially resistant) are a great way to keep all four characters alive and updated in the minds of the readers, as well as to pepper in a lot of fun facts and anecdotes. Rivals also has rotating viewpoints, but not alternating – Pompadour has the first half of the book, then some of her rivals get a chance to speak, then she finishes up – and in this case the letters were a good way to keep her involved and central even when she was “off stage” and the other mistresses were speaking.

For Enemies, I didn’t hesitate for one minute about the structure – I just knew it had to be Jeanne du Barry and Madame Adelaide. With only two narrators, who were together at Versailles for a good chunk of the book, there just didn’t seem to be any need for them. I toyed with the idea of including a couple of real letters in the book (there are some surviving examples from Jeanne du Barry to her lover Hercule, for example) but that idea never took flight.

3. The titular enemies Comtesse du Barry and Madame Adelaide have very opposing personalities. Du Barry is naïve and eager-to-please, whereas Madame Adelaide is pious and jealous. How did you strike a balance in portraying two very different characters while giving them each validity and agency? 

Their differences are what made them so fun and interesting to write. It was easy to make Jeanne a relatable character – she is someone who is easy to fall in love with, and like the modern reader, she is the ultimate outsider to the world of Versailles with all its ridiculous rituals and rules.

Adelaide is a more difficult character to relate to, especially in the first half of the book, where her rigidity and pedantry combine for a very annoying personality. I think her best moments, and the ones where readers might warm to her, come when she experiences heartbreak because of her father, and then as she comes to slowly realize that maybe, just maybe, much of Versailles and the world she was born to, might have a few faults…

4. Because of the stark contrast between Comtesse du Barry and Madame Adelaide, do you think readers will gravitate to one character more than the other? Is it important for your characters to be likeable? 

I think readers will definitely gravitate to the Comtesse du Barry over Madame Adelaide, and in a sense, though they both get equal page count, the Comtesse du Barry is really the star of the book and Madame Adelaide is her foil. I don’t think it’s important at all for characters to be likeable (though I know many readers disagree!) but I do think they have to be relatable – i.e. the reader should see elements of people they know (and possibly dislike) in my characters’ personalities.

Apart from the Marquise de Pompadour and perhaps Marie Anne and Pauline, most of the other mistresses I write about would have been quite shallow women, largely uneducated and really only focused on themselves and their immediate world. One struggle while writing characters like that is that I have to be true to their worldview, even if their worldview consists of exclusively worrying about what the next meal will bring or which new dress she should buy. I can’t make them conduits for political developments or events that they wouldn’t be interested in!

 5. Why did you decide to start Jeanne’s story when she was 7, rather than an age closer to her introduction to Versailles? 

I’m coming to see there are two groups in this world – those that like reading about childhoods, and those that hate reading about childhoods. I’m firmly in the first group, while it seems all my editors and agents are firmly in the second!

One of the rules of writing is apparently to “start where the action starts”. But I personally really enjoy learning about and experiencing a character’s childhood, as well as writing from that perspective. I always try to sneak as much childhood in as I can, but a lot gets cut –in the first draft of Sisters, I spent a lot more time on their collective childhood, and for Rivals I had a lot more about Jeanne de Poisson’s young life.

6. Jeanne takes on many names throughout the book (Mademoiselle Rancon, Mademoiselle L’Ange, Madame Vaubernier, Comtesse du Barry); which name do you think was the most significant to her character’s development? 

Definitely du Barry! It absolutely defined her and created her and that is who she became.

7. You’ve done a large of amount of research for all of your books. What’s one book/resource from your research you would recommend to readers who want to learn more about 18th century Versailles? 

There’s a good introductory book about Versailles called Versailles: Biography of a Palace by Tony Spaworth. It’s a good general overview of the history and the development of the palace and palace life through the 17th and 18th centuries.

 I personally find the contemporary “memoires” of the day – most can be found online and some in English – to be really fascinating reading. The style of writing, the details, the situations we would judge to be ridiculous yet appears perfectly normal to the author – they really give you a glimpse into the worldview of the 18th century aristocrat. A fun one is the Duc de Richelieu’s memoires – you can find fragments and various versions in English online.

8. Were there any facts/anecdotes about Comtesse du Barry or Madame Adelaide that you weren’t able to work into Enemies

On my website I list a number of omissions about their lives which didn’t make it into the story. The last third of the book is really their experiences in the lead up to and during the Revolution, and it was hard to get both their stories in there alongside everything that was going on in the larger context: a lot got cut in that part.

For example, Jeanne had a very torrid love affair that lasted a few years with an Englishman – this happened before she met Hercule – and also her possible role as a spy during the Revolution is left unexplored.

9. In your Author’s Note you mention that The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy examines the intimate and personal moments that make history. Why is it that Louis XV’s mistresses had more political influence that the Queen? 

The Queen had a very timid personality, and was eternally grateful for the stroke of fate that plucked her from provincial Polish obscurity. She was also very pious and that led ultimately to separate beds for her and her husband, which opened the door for the mistresses to come through. Louis himself was quite weak-willed and very malleable, and came to rely on his mistresses even more than his ministers, and certainly more than on himself.

But I think his “malleability” needs some context: imagine that every decision you made or approved – a new appointment, a budget cut, a new decree – could cause anger and jealousy and a host of unforeseen consequences – naturally you’d shy away from making decisions!

10. Now that you’ve completed this trilogy, what can readers expect from you next? 

I did start a book set partially at Versailles during the time of Marie Antoinette, but I had to give it up – while it’s a fascinating world, there are so many other interesting places and times, and I think I have had my share of Versailles!

So my next project will definitely be historical, and definitely not at Versailles, but apart from that I haven’t decided yet.


About SALLY CHRISTIE:

I’m a life-long history buff and I really wish time travel were a possibility—I’d be off to the eighteenth century in a flash!

Since I can’t travel back in time (yet), I have done plenty of global travel: as a child I lived in England, Canada, Argentina, and Lesotho, and attended eight schools in three languages. I continued my global wanderings with a career in international development, but now I’m settled in Toronto and loving it.

The Sisters of Versailles is my first novel, though I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. When I’m not writing I’m reading, reading, reading; disappearing down various rabbit holes of historical research, and playing lots of tennis.




Follow the rest of the TIMELESS TOUR:



What did you think?

Did you enjoy my Q&A with Sally Christie?
Are you a fan of historical romance?
And are you excited for THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

[Blog Tour Review] Swinging at Love (Suttonville Sentinels #2) by Kendra C. Highley

Source: Received an egalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: March 13, 2017


Description from Goodreads:
Outfielder Tristan Murrell has a problem. As the number two slugger for the Suttonville Sentinels, his team is counting on him to make their very first run at the state championship. But he has a secret—his swing has totally deserted him. As in, he can’t hit anything. He needs to fix the issue, and fast, but how?

Ballerina Alyssa Kaplan has a problem, too. The shiny new sports complex in town has left her family’s batting cage business on the verge of going under. Nailing her audition for a prestigious dance company is everything, but there’s no way she’s letting her some shiny big-box company destroy her family’s livelihood.

Tristan needs a miracle. So does Alyssa. And maybe, just maybe, Tristan’s secret weapon might be the girl of his dreams…

Disclaimer: This book contains hot, shirtless baseball players, kisses that bring a ballerina to her knees, and a lot of baseball smack-talk.
I haven't actually read the first Suttonville Sentinels book, THE BAD BOY BARGAIN, yet, but as soon as I saw SWINGING AT LOVE, I knew that this was a series for me!!!
 
Immediately after starting SWINGING AT LOVE I was hooked! It was absolutely adorable! I loved Alyssa and Tristan, and their story was perfect! A girl whose family has a failing batting cage and an outfielder whose swing is in a funk—perfect!! I loved both characters and I adored their story! I can't wait to go back and read the first Suttonville Sentinel book now! I got a peek of Faith and Kyle in this one and I'm definitely eager to see how they got to where they're at!

One of my favourite things about sports romances is that you often get to see team dynamics, and that was something that SWINGING AT LOVE did amazingly well! Not only did it show Tristan's dynamics with his team, it also showed Alyssa's friendships, too. This is one of my favourite parts because it creates really dynamic characters and it makes the romance more believable, too...I always hate it when a romance story has the couple existing in a bubble. Unless they're on a deserted island, they're usually people around. :P As far as the friendships in SWINGING AT LOVE were concerned, there was definitely some drama, but I liked that the characters actually talked and worked out their problems. It also really made me think back to high school drama. :P


As much as I liked their friends, the moments where Tristan and Alyssa were alone together were definitely my favourites! They had an absolutely adorable meet-cute, and their moments together just kept getting better and better! What I loved most about them was that they were so well suited for each other! Not only did they have amazing chemistry, but they also had a lot in common, and supported each other extremely well. On their own Tristan and Alyssa were each amazing characters, and together they were even better. :) 

Overall, I absolutely loved SWINGING AT LOVE! I thought the story was adorable, the romance was fantastic, and all of the characters were well-developed and wonderful! I'd recommend this one to fans of sweet contemporary romances, especially if you're also a fan of sports (baseball in particular!) or sports romances!


TEASERS







What do you think?
Does SWINGING AT LOVE sound like something you'd like to read?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: Off the Ice (Juniper Falls #1) by Julie Cross

Source: Received an egalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Entangled: TEEN
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Number of Pages: 320


Description from Goodreads:
All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.


Well, well! This was actually my first time reading a book from Julie Cross, and it was probably the perfect one for me to start with! I feel like I've had Julie's books on my TBR for forever at this point, so I was extremely excited to finally read one! And now that I have, I'll definitely need to pick up her other books even sooner now because I really enjoyed OFF THE ICE, and I absolutely loved both Tate and Claire!

I'm a sucker for sports romances, and you don't see very many that aren't adult romances, so any time that I see a new one pop up, I get extremely excited, and I NEED to read it! OFF THE ICE was one of those contemporary romances that is kind of right on the cusp of young adult and new adult, and I really enjoyed that combination! Julie Cross is definitely right up there with Miranda Kenneally for some of my favourite non-adult sports romance books after this! OFF THE ICE was the PERFECT introduction to me for Julie's books. I can't wait to read more of her work, and I'm particularly excited to get to read more Juniper Falls books! Can't wait for those Tate and Claire cameos! ;)

Now onto the story itself! 

I loved the characters, and I really enjoyed how Julie Cross established the town of Juniper Falls throughout the story. There was a clear sense of community and the dynamics of how everything worked. Their town is all about hockey, and it was interesting to see how that framed their community. OFF THE ICE has a lot going on. Both Claire and Tate are struggling with issues at home that add some pretty serious overtones to the story, and it kind of slowed down my reading experience a little, but I really loved that they learned to communicate better and work through all of their issues together. It was amazing to see, especially in a romance that's aimed at a young adult audience. I thought that Claire and Tate's relationship was the strongest part of the story, and I think they definitely had the kind of relationship that teens (and even adults) need to see more of...it was the kind of relationship that seriously fits the "Relationship Goals" hashtag (#relationshipgoals) in the healthiest and best possible way! They definitely disagreed, and didn't always handle their disagreements in the best way, but it was absolutely amazing to see them work through everything in a mature and honest way!

Overall, I thought that OFF THE ICE was fantastic! The main characters, Tate and Claire, were phenomenal and I loved reading from both of their perspectives! Their romance and relationship was also extremely well done, and I thought that it was the strongest part of the story. Now, I'm definitely looking forward to more of the JUNIPER FALLS series because I also definitely loved the secondary characters! I'd recommend this one to fans of any young adult or new adult contemporary, and I'd also recommend it to other sports romance fans, even if you typically only read adult!



What do you think?
Does OFF THE ICE sound like a book you'd like to read?
If you've already read it, or read some of Julie Cross's other books, what did you think?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cover Catch-Up (36): Lushly Imaginative!

In "Cover Catch-Up" I share some covers that have either been recently revealed, or that I've just found and really wanted to share. 

Today I have a couple of covers for books that feature worlds slightly similar to our own, but with a bit of a twist...and I'm also extremely excited to read both books!



The first book that I have is for the North American version of THE HUSH by Skye Melki-Wegner!

THE HUSH by Skye Melki-Wegner
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: June 6, 2017

Description:

Chester has taken to the road, traveling from village to village desperately searching for his father, who has disappeared. One night while fiddling to earn a few coins, he accidentally connects to the Song—the music that fuels every aspect of the world, and that it’s illegal for him to interact with. He’s caught and sentenced to death for his crime. Only a licensed Songshaper can bend music to his will.

But someone in the crowd—a member of the infamous Nightfall Gang—stages a daring rescue and whisks Chester into the Hush, a shadowy nightmare mirror-world where Music can be deadly and Echoes can kill.

Susanna, the Captain of the Nightfall Gang has been watching Chester. She needs him to pull off an elaborate plan that will take down the governing body that keeps her an outlaw and made her the fragment she is. Susanna needs him to exact her revenge, even if he dies doing it.

Combining complex stakes, shifting loyalties, nods to fairy tales, and a Western feel, The Hush is a lush and exhilarating fantasy perfect for fans of Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron and Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker.
 
I absolutely LOVE this cover!!! It's both simple and complex all at the same time, and I think it's breathtaking! The violin is stunning, and I love how it looks like it's being broken apart...and with the music notes coming out of the neck of the violin, it looks like it's either breaking apart into song or that the song is breaking it apart which seems PERFECT for the description! I also love the water, and the reflection, and the textured background...gah, it seriously is just so pretty!!! I can't wait to read THE HUSH, and I can't WAIT to see this stunning cover in person!



The second cover that I have today is for THE SHADOW CIPHER, book one in the York series by Laura Ruby!

THE SHADOW CIPHER (York #1) Laura Ruby
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Release Date: May 16, 2017

Description:

It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.

Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment house—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long-held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.

From National Book Award Finalist Laura Ruby comes a visionary epic set in a New York City at once familiar and wholly unexpected.

 
Ah, this is another that I came across and just couldn't stop staring at! I absolutely LOVE how the buildings spell out YORK! It's so gorgeous, and the lighting and composition of the cityscape is breathtaking! It looks like a picturesque photo that someone would take, and I love that you get the peek of the main characters in the corner of the cover, too. I really think this cover is so pretty, but I have to admit that I don't quite understand why the series title has such a prominent placement while the book title itself, THE LOST CIPHER, is super tiny. Nonetheless, I think it's gorgeous...and I want to see those buildings in person!



What do you think?
Do you like these covers?
Are there any covers that you're currently loving?

Monday, March 6, 2017

[Review] ICED: An Atlantic City Hustlers Boxset (Books #1-2) by Veronica Forand & Susan Scott Shelley

Source: Received an egalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Lovestruck)
Release Date: March 6, 2017


Description from Goodreads:
FLIRTING ON ICE

When a sexy, forbidden spark blazes to life between professional hockey player Zac Elliott and the team owner's daughter, he's willing to risk being benched to have her. Their relationship is deeply passionate and intensely private...until the press catches them in the act. The only way out of the penalty box is for Zac to play hockey like life--and love--depends on it...

SIMMERING ICE

Physical therapist Annie Davidson is great at her job but unlucky when it comes to love. All she can do is focus on work...that is until she runs into professional hockey player Alec O'Meara. Alec likes to keep things loose on and off the ice, but the red-headed Annie challenges his beliefs and makes him think about taking their relationship to the net...


I read FLIRTING ON ICE and SIMMERING ICE in the box set of the first two books in the Atlantic City Hustlers series, called ICED, and I really enjoyed both of them!!!

REVIEW FOR FLIRTING ON ICE

I really enjoyed both stories, and while I'd say that I liked SIMMERING ICE better than FLIRTING ON ICE, I did still really enjoy Zac and Heather's story! I loved both characters—they were absolutely wonderful and their romance was so sweet! I thought they were perfect for one another! I did feel like their story was rushed a lot more than Alec and Annie's was though, so I do wish that it'd been a little more flushed out—I would've loved to see more of their relationship as it built.
Other than that, I thought it was fantastic and I'm definitely looking forward to more of the Atlantic City Hustlers series! 


Along with the sweet romance, I thought that the story itself had a pretty great build, and while it was fairly dramatic, it definitely had me glued to the page! I especially loved how the authors introduced the team, and they left me curious about more than a few of the characters, so I was pretty glad to be able to read this one in a boxset since I was eager for more. :D

All in all, I thought that FLIRTING ON ICE was adorable! Both Zac and Heather were the kind of characters that were really easy to like. They were kind, generous, and I genuinely wanted the best for them, so they were pretty fantastic to read about. I'm glad that we'll get to see peeks of them going forward in future Atlantic City Hustlers books. ;) I'd recommend this one and the rest of the Atlantic City Hustlers series to fans of contemporary romance who like a little drama with their HEA, especially if, like myself, you're partial to sports romances. ;)

--------------------------

REVIEW FOR SIMMERING ICE

Out of the two novellas, I did love SIMMERING ICE a bit more than FLIRTING ON ICE though! I loved Alec and Annie, and I felt like their story was a little more flushed out than Zac and Heather's was, but both were absolutely adorable!! I really loved the team aspects of the story, and the romance was sweet and had a really wonderful build!


What I loved more about SIMMERING ICE was that we saw a lot more about both Alec and Annie. We learned about both of their pasts and why they were reluctant in love, and I thought that the authors did a great job of showing both characters' insecurities. They also did an amazing job at showing the chemistry between the characters! Alec and Annie had amazing chemistry, and they were extremely well suited together! They had so much in common, and I thought they complemented each other perfectly! I was actually pretty amazed how well their relationship was developed because this was a pretty quick read. 

SIMMERING ICE actually holds up pretty well against even full sized romances! It checked ALL of my boxes for romance books, and I really loved it! If you haven't started the Atlantic City Hustlers series yet, now's a good time since you can get this one and the first novella, FLIRTING ON ICE, in the ICED Boxset. ;) I'd recommend them to fans of sweet, contemporary romances! 

--------------------------

As for the ICED Boxset as a whole, I loved that we got both novellas in it! Overall, both titles were fairly short, very sweet, and absolutely wonderful to read. I loved the romances, and I really enjoyed seeing the Atlantic City Hustlers as a team, too! Veronica Forand and Susan Scott Shelley have written a wonderful cast of characters, and I'm definitely looking forward to more from them, especially more of their Atlantic City Hustlers! As I've mentioned, I'd recommend these novellas to contemporary romance fans looking for hot athletes, and relationships that are both sexy and sweet!



What do you think?
Does the Atlantic City Hustlers series sound like it's right for you?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Any Boy But You Blog Tour: #Review & #GuestPost from Julie Hammerle!

Source: Received an egalley of the book from Entangled Publishing through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Release Date: February 13, 2017
Number of Pages: 201


Description from Goodreads:
Elena Chestnut has been chatting with an anonymous boy late into the night. It’s a very You’ve Got Mail situation, and she has no idea who he is. He can’t be Oliver Prince, hot-and-bashful son of the family running the rival sporting goods store. Their fancy sales strategies are driving Elena’s family out of business. Elena’s mystery boy has teamed up with her in their latest sales strategy, an augmented reality game, to help her win the grand-prize plane tickets. Money’s so tight Elena’s going to miss senior year spring break with her friends if she can’t win this game.

The girl Oliver's fallen head-over-heels for online had better not be Elena Chestnut. She's his angry, vindictive Latin tutor, the daughter of his dad’s business rival, and the one girl he’d never even think of kissing. She’s definitely not his online crush, because that girl is funny, sweet, and perfect.

When Oliver asks to reveal their names at the Valentine’s Day dance, their IRL relationship will either ruin what they have online, or they’ll discover just how thin the line between love and hate really is.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.


Purchase Links:
Google Play | BAM | Amazon | Indies | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

REVIEW

Oh boy, oh boy!!! I'm pretty sure this book was made for me! I'm a HUGE fan of You've Got Mail (I couldn't even tell you how many times I've seen that movie, but I've always loved it!!!), and I absolutely adore Gilmore Girls! Add in a star-crossed lovers/dueling families element and you get Any Boy But You!

This book was adorable and I really, really didn't want to put it down...the morning after finishing it, I was suffering from some serious sleep deprivation because I actually refused to put it down until I was done, but I absolutely loved every moment of it! Oliver and Elena were fantastic characters, and I loved that the book showed both of their POVs, and I really loved seeing all of the quirky elements of their town, North Pole! 


Sometimes you just need to read a great feel-good story that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and that's exactly what Any Boy But You does! I loved how Oliver and Elena's relationship built, and I really loved how the game that Oliver designed, which was very Pokemon Go-esque, tied in with their budding relationship. It was believable, but also soooooo picturesque and so perfect for their charcters! And the town of North Pole gave me serious Stars Hollow feels which I absolutely loved, too. There were just so many moments in this book that I just could not stop smiling, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading it again!

Overall, I absolutely loved Any Boy But You! It's perfect for rom-com fans, especially if like me you love both You've Got Mail and Gilmore Girls!


GUEST POST

"My Fave Rom-Coms" from Julie Hammerle


I love comedy and I love romance, so of course I love rom-coms. (And I miss them! Why are there no more good rom-coms?!?)

Here are some of my favorites (in no particular order, because they’re all great):

While You Were Sleeping: I just rewatched this one while I was supposed to be wrapping Christmas presents. I got so sucked in, I managed to wrap zero gifts. Sandra Bullock is so delightful, and Bill Pullman is dreamy.

Just Wright: Queen Latifah and Common. Hot. Adorable. Had me smiling the entire time.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: It’s been so long since I’ve seen this movie, but I remember it being adorable and I remember swooning hard over that yellow dress.

27 Dresses: Speaking of dresses. This movie has them. Twenty-seven of them, to be exact. (James Marsden actually gets the girl in this one! Yay for you, James Marsden!)

Notting Hill: We’ve now entered the Julia Roberts section of this list.

My Best Friend’s Wedding: So perfect. I love when Julia Roberts plays kind of a jerk. She is not sweetness and light, and that’s why I adore her.

Love Actually: It’s a bunch of rom-coms in ONE. Amazing. (Tooting my own horn: I’ve loved movie this since I first saw it back when it was released.)

Four Weddings and a Funeral: Apparently I love movies with numbers in the title. This one is so sweet and funny, even with Andie MacDowell as the romantic lead. Burn. Sorry, Andie MacDowell.

The Wedding Singer: Sometimes rom-coms succeed in the rom department, but fall flat when it comes to the com (just like many other Adam Sandler movies). Not this one. It’s hilarious.

Amelie: I saw this subtitled movie sitting in the very front row of the theater, and I still loved it. That’s how good Amelie is.

About the Author


Julie Hammerle is the author of The Sound of Us, which will be published by Entangled Teen on June 7, 2016. Before settling down to write "for real," she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, she writes about TV on her blog Hammervision, ropes people into conversations about Game of Thrones, and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her iPod reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list.

She lives in Chicago with her husband, two kids, and a dog. They named the dog Indiana.

Connect with Julie: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

One (1) winner will receive a signed copy of The Sound of Us by Julie Hammerle (US ONLY)

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter below:



Follow the rest of the tour, here: Any Boy But You Blog Tour



What do you think?
Does Any Boy But You sound like a book you'd like to read?
And now that you've seen Julie's top ten rom-coms, what are some of your favourites?