Non ARC

Throwback Thursday: November 22nd, 2018

Image result for throwback thursday meme books

This week’s Throwback Thursday is a historical romance

Shadows and Lace (Brides Of Legend #1)

Click on picture for Amazon link


With one roll of the dice, Rowena’s drunken father gambled her away into the service of a dark and forbidding knight accused of murder. The Dark Lord of Caerleon used Rowena to slay the ghosts of his past, but he would be ensnared in his own trap–slave to a desire he could never hope to quench.


Have you read Shadows and Lace?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

book review · Dragonfly Press · Non ARC

An Unlikely Setup (Welcome to Otter Trail: Book 1) by Margaret Watson

An Unlikely Setup (Welcome to Otter Tail Book 1)

4 Stars

Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: September 12th, 2018

Genre: Romance

Series: Welcome to Otter Trail

An Unlikely Setup—Book 1

Can’t Stand the Heat—Book 2

Life Rewritten—Book 3

For Baby and Me—Book 4

Where you can find An Unlikely Setup: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Maddie’s teenage crush humiliated her fifteen years ago. Now Quinn runs the Otter Tail pub that Maddie inherited and needs to sell. Too bad Maddie’s high school crush on Quinn is still alive and kicking. 

Quinn wants to buy the pub, but can’t afford Maddie’s price, so he plays dirty. His smile, bright blue eyes, and broad shoulders are just his first bid. As they get reacquainted, they realize someone else has plans for the pub. Plans that endanger Maddie and Quinn – and the rest of Otter Tail. 

Can Maddie and Quinn save the pub? Can they put their past behind to create a future together?


My review:

Maddie has returned to Otter Tail after leaving 15 years earlier. When her beloved godfather passed away from leukemia, he left her a house and a pub. Otter Trail has no good memories for her and Maddie plans on leaving as soon as the pub and house are sold. But she is forced to face those memories when she learns that Quinn is managing the pub. Quinn is the reason she never returned to Otter Trail. Quinn and Maddie are soon at odds over what will happen to the pub. Can Maddie and Quinn get over the past? Will they have their HEA or will everything blow up in their faces.

I enjoy reading books where the hero and heroine have to overcome the odds to be together. An Unlikely Setup is such a book. Maddie had to overcome what happened in the past to be with Quinn. Quinn had to overcome his anger and grief to be with Maddie. Both had a hard time of overcoming past and current hurts to forge a relationship with each other. I loved it. I loved that it showed how hard it is to overcome the past. Maddie and Quinn struggled with it. Quinn more than Maddie.

I did like Maddie and I did feel bad for her about what happened between her and Quinn in the past. I had some of the same issues that Maddie did when I was a teen. It hurts to be rejected like that. But, dwelling on it for 15 years? That was a bit much. And judging a whole town on how their teenagers treated her 15 years past was a bit much too. I did like that Maddie was able to finally reconcile her hurt feelings when she talked to Quinn about what happened.

I wasn’t too sure about what Quinn wanted with Maddie. I was starting to think that he was only doing things for her because he wanted the pub. And that the attraction he had to her was part of his end game. I hate writing that because he did keep me guessing. But after Maddie’s house got vandalized, I realized that he cared for her. I do wish that his “secret” was addressed sooner in the book. I did kind of figure out what was going on but still. It would have been nice to hear about it upfront.

The sexual attraction between Quinn and Maddie was understated at times but when it flared up, it was red hot. I loved the whole scene when she wore the skirt to work. I loved seeing Quinn getting turned on. I loved knowing that Maddie knew what it was doing to him. The sexual attraction gave away to some amazing sex scenes. I had to fan myself after some of them. Sex on the beach in the moonlight? Thank you very much!!

The plotline involving Maddie, her secret, Quinn and the pub was well written. I was surprised by Quinn’s reaction to the naughty secret (you have to read the book). His reaction to her main secret was what I thought it was going to be.  I mean, how else was he supposed to feel? Happy that he destroyed a teenage Maddie’s confidence. His reaction to Maddie meeting with the store rep was a bit much. But I get it. I would have freaked out too.

The secondary plotlines and characters were as well written as the main plotline. I liked how she merged the secondary plotlines with the main one at the end of the book. Also, I liked how the secondary characters added that extra “Oomph” to the storyline.

The end of the book was amazing. I had a huge smile at how everything ended. It was perfect!!


I gave An Unlikely Setup a 4-star rating. This was a fast-paced romance novel. The plotlines were fantastic. The characters were well written. This was a book that I enjoyed reading. I also cannot wait to read book 2!!

I would give An Unlikely Setup an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is violence. There are triggers. They would be the death of a parent/parental figure and bullying. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread An Unlikely Setup. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a note about the triggers, though.


I would like to thank the author and Dragonfly Press for allowing me to read and review An Unlikely Setup.

All opinions stated in this review of An Unlikely Setup are mine.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**


Have you read An Unlikely Setup?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

ARC · book review · NetGalley · St. Martin's Press

Blog Tour/Reread: First Grave on the Right and Summoned to Thirteenth Grave (Charley Davidson: Books 1 and 13) by Darynda Jones

 

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: February 1st, 2011

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Paranormal, Fantasy

Where you can find First Grave on the Right: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

This whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual.
Or a diagram of some kind.
A flow chart would have been nice.

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an entity who has followed her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can’t she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, First Grave on the Right is your signpost to the paranormal suspense of the highest order.

My Reread review:

You can find the original review here.

I was pretty excited when I got invited to the Summoned to Thirteenth Grave blog tour. I was even more excited when I saw that the invite included a reread of my favorite Charley Davidson book. It was a no-brainer that I picked the book that started me into this series, First Grave on the Right.

Reading First Grave on the Right again reminded me about how much I enjoyed this book. The plotline flowed nicely and the characters were relatable. This book set the tone for the rest of the book. I would recommend this book for anyone wanting to read the Charley Davidson series.


Summoned to Thirteenth Grave (Charley Davidson, #13)

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Where you can find Summoned to Thirteenth Grave: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Mystery, Fantasy

Series: Charley Davidson

First Grave on the Right: Book 1 (review here)

For I Have Sinned—Book 1.5

Second Grave on the Left—Book 2

Third Grave Dead Ahead—Book 3

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet—Book 4

Fifth Grave Past the Light—-Book 5

Shimmer—Book 5.5

Glow—Book 5.6

Sixth Grave on the Edge—Book 6

Seventh Grave and No Body—Book 7

Eighth Grave After Dark—Book 8

Brighter Than the Sun—Book 8.5

The Dirt on Ninth Grave—Book 9

The Curse of Tenth Grave—Book 10

A Very Charley Christmas—Book 10.5

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight—Book 11

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave—Book 12 (review here)

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave—Book 13

Where you can find Summoned to Thirteenth Grave: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the final installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series!

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She’s been kicked off the earthly plain for eternity – which is the appropriate amount of time to make a person stark-raving mad. But someone’s looking out for her, and she’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently, it is. Bummer.

She’s missed Reyes and her daughter, Beep, but now that she’s back on earth, it’s time to put to rest burning questions that need answers. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and hilarious novel.

My review:

Excerpt:

1
What, pray tell, the
fuck?
—T-shirt

It wasn’t until I felt the sun on my face that I knew, really knew, I’d
made it back. The bright orb drifted over the horizon like a hot
air balloon, blinding me, yet I couldn’t stop looking at it. Or, well,
trying to look at it. After giving it my all through squinted lids, I
gave up and closed them. Let the warmth wash over me. Let it
sink into my skin. Flood every molecule in my body.
God knew I needed it. I hadn’t had a drop of vitamin D in over
a hundred years. My bones were probably brittle and shriveled
and splintery. Much like the current state of my psyche.
But that’s what happens when you defy a god.
Not just any god, mind you. No siree Bob. To get booted off the
big blue marble, one had to defy the God. The very One a
particular set of children’s books called Jehovahn.
The Man had some serious control issues. I bring one person
back from the dead and bam. Banished for all eternity. Exiled to
a hell with no light, no hair products, and no coffee.
Mostly no coffee.


Summoned to Thirteenth Grave is the last book in the Charley Davidson series. After the events of the last book, Charley had been banished from the earthly plain for all eternity. But, she is unbanished after 100 years. The reason? Reyes unwittingly started a zombie apocalypse. It is up to Charley to stop the apocalypse. Somehow, the death of her mother is tied to what is happening. If she can find out what happened to her mother, then she finds the cure. But there is a catch. Charley has only 3 days to make this happen. With the help of Reyes and her motley crew of living and dead friends, can Charley do it? Can Charley stop the apocalypse?

Charley rocked in this book. She was as funny and as snarky as she was in the earlier books. I was dying laughing at her one-liners. I loved that she was willing to do anything to keep Beep safe. Her investigation into the cure for the zombie apocalypse was action-packed. But the thing I liked the most was that she cherished her friendships. And that is what I am going to miss the most from this series.

The main plotline is Charley trying to figure out who killed her mother. The author did a great job at throwing out hints throughout the book. When it came time to reveal what happened, I was shocked. Not only at what happened but at who was there. Also who or what that person turned out to be. Talk about a huge surprise. I was in shock because there was zero lead up to what was revealed. When the storyline was resolved, it brought a tear to my eye. Because of how it was resolved and who gave Charley the final insight into what happened.

The plotline about the zombie apocalypse was interesting. I thought it was interesting that Reyes involuntarily started it.  The reason why he started it was interesting too. I did like where the author took this storyline. There were things revealed that made me go “Whaaat“. Like what was causing the people to turn. Or who Thaniel was. That made me go “Whaaaaat” and brought a small tear to my eye. I liked how the storyline was resolved.

I will say that the secondary characters were awesome. Each character had their own personality and brought that extra “oomph” to the story.

I also liked the secondary storylines. There was one that was ripped right from the headlines. My heart hurt for that woman and her daughter. It also hurt for Meiko. I will say that I was happy with what happened to them at the end of the book. Also, that man and his mother got what they deserved. Of course, the identity of the man was a surprise also. Was not expecting that twist.

I gotta say that Reyes and Charley burnt up the pages. They had unbelievable hot sex. I mean, they turned the sand to glass. Is that hot enough? I liked that while they were having hot monkey sex, it wasn’t explicit. Enough was left unsaid so that I needed to use my imagination. Loved it!!

The end of the book was AMAZING!!! The author did a great job at wrapping up all of the plotlines. I will warn you guys that there are times where you are going to need tissues. I was bawling. I did have a feeling about a spin-off book. The very last line made me go “Hmmmm“. Made me wonder.


I gave Summoned to Thirteenth Grave a 4-star rating. This was a fast read. The characters were well written. The plotlines were engaging and kept me focused on the book. I will admit, I wasn’t expecting the twists that happened. I cried. But, overall, this was a great book and I am sad that the series is ending.

I would give Summoned to Thirteenth Grave an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would suggest the no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Summoned to Thirteenth Grave. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Summoned to Thirteenth Grave.

All opinions stated in this review of Summoned to Thirteenth Grave are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the final installment of Darynda Jones’ New York
Times bestselling paranormal series!
Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She’s been kicked off the earthly plane for
eternity—which is exactly the amount of time it takes to make a person stark, raving mad. But
someone’s looking out for her, and she’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too
much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently, it is. Bummer.
She’s missed her daughter. She’s missed Reyes. She’s missed Cookie and Garrett and Uncle Bob. Now
that she’s back on earth, it’s time to put to rest burning questions that need answers. What happened to
her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine for a
broken heart? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and
hilarious novel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author DARYNDA JONES won a Golden Heart and a RITA for
her manuscript First Grave on the Right. A born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing
damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast
alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two
beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.
BUY LINK:

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250149411

DARYNDA’S SOCIAL LINKS:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Darynda
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/darynda.jones.official
Website: http://www.daryndajones.com/
SMP Romance Twitter: https://twitter.com/heroesnhearts & https://twitter.com/SMPRomance
SMP Romance Website: https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/


A FUN FACT FOR EACH OF THE CHARLEY BOOKS:

First Grave on the Right

 The concept for First Grave came about while Darynda was working as a sign
language interpreter in her hometown. She stole many of the names from students
at the schools where she worked, including Reyes, Garrett, and Amber. As far as
Darynda knows they have all forgiven her for her thievery.

Second Grave on the Left

 Uncle Bob is a combination of two people: Darynda’s oldest brother, Luther, and
the principal at the high school where she worked for several years.

Third Grave Dead Ahead

 This was originally titled Third Grave Straight Ahead, but Darynda’s web
designer, Liz Bemis, asked her to change the name to Dead Ahead. Firstly, it fit
the content better, and secondly, Liz got tired of spelling the word Straight wrong
while updating the website. Dead is much easier to type.

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet

 Quentin Rutherford makes his first appearance in this book. While his first name
was stolen from Darynda’s little brother and his last name stolen from yet another
Jr. High student, Quentin is physically sculpted from her oldest son, Jerrdan, a
bona fide blond-haired, blue-eyed devil with a sparkling smile that melts even the
staunchest of hearts. And, like Quentin Rutherford, he was born Deaf. Not that he
let it stop him for a second.

Fifth Grave Past the Light

 This book was fun to write! Darynda was trying to come up with something truly
creepy to throw into the book, and she figured what would be creepier than
having an apartment full of departed women crawling up the walls, skittering
across the ceiling, and huddling in the corners? Also, it is one of the hotter books,
so that was fun, too. Because, you know, Reyes.

Sixth Grave on the Edge

 Darynda really wanted to open this one on a humorous note. She wanted to have
Charley on a stakeout with a departed elderly man, who also happens to be naked,
riding shotgun. Which begs the question: Are we really stuck in (or out of)
whatever we are wearing when we die for all eternity? ‘Cause that would suck.

Seventh Grave and No Body

 Osh’ekiel was originally supposed to be in one book only. And he was supposed
to be a very bad guy. But Darynda fell in love with him while writing the book
and decided to redeem him and give him a bigger role. Just how big his role
would become didn’t come to Darynda until plotting Eighth Grave. He has been
one of her favorite characters since she wrote that first scene with him.

Eighth Grave After Dark

 Darynda wanted to really turn the tables on Charley and force her to have to stay
in one place, thus the sacred ground of the convent came into play. It was fun and
challenging to write a “locked room” mystery, so to speak, but that’s why she
loves writing so much.

The Dirt on Ninth Grave

 One of Darynda’s favorite books in the series, she looked forward to writing this
book ever since she came up with the concept while plotting Sixth Grave. Part of
what makes a romance so fun is the falling-in-love part, and she wanted Charley
to fall in love with Reyes all over again. This book was doubly fun because the
audience knows all the characters’ backstories, and they get to watch in
anticipation as Charley slowly unravels the mysteries of her past, while seeing her
fall head-over-heels for the same guy all over again.

The Curse of Tenth Grave

 This book had one of those too-close-for-comfort calls. Right before Tenth Grave
went to print, after going through editors and copyeditors and readers of all shapes
and sizes, a savvy proofreader let Darynda in on a little secret: A Sherpa is part of
a culture, not an occupation. Thanks to this razor-sharp reader, Darynda narrowly
escaped insulting an entire culture in one fell swoop. Aka, her worst nightmare.
Her gratitude is unending.

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight

 Darynda dreamed of going to Scotland for so long, she finally decided to just put
it in one of her books. She had Charley accidentally materialize in the magical
country, only to find out weeks after finishing the book that she would finally get
to go there herself. In person. For realsies. It was even more magical than she’d
imagined it would be, and she can’t wait to go back.

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave

 This book has one of Darynda’s favorite epiphanies EVER!!! She thought, what if
someone out there in the universe, a child perhaps, knows everything about Reyes
and Charley? Everything starting from their supernatural heritage to their human
identities? And what if that person wrote a book about them? Or a series of
books? Say, perhaps, a set of children’s books and Garrett just happens to stumble
upon them while doing research? How fun would that be? And the international
bestselling children’s book (fictionally speaking) The First Star was born.

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave

 By far the hardest story in the series to write, penning the last Charley book was a
bittersweet experience. But Darynda knew she had to go big or go home, so what
better way to go out with a bang than to end the world as we know it by starting
the zombie apocalypse? Because that’s what writers do. We start apocalypses.

ARC · NetGalley · St. Martin's Paperbacks · St. Martin's Press

Blog Tour + Excerpt: First Earl I See Tonight (Debutante Diaries: Book 1) by Anna Bennett

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperback

Date of publication: October 30th, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Debutante Diaries

First Earl I See Tonight—Book 1

The Duke is But a Dream—Book 2 (expected publication date: July 30th, 2019)

Where you can find First Earl I See Tonight:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

An heiress with a daring proposal. An earl who’s determined to resist her. And a love that just might be written in the stars… 

Recently jilted by his fiancée, David Gray, Earl of Ravenport is not in the market for a wife. Even if Gray didn’t have his hands full renovating his crumbling country house, it would take more than a bold marriage proposal from a headstrong young beauty to thaw his frozen heart. Gray is confident that spending a week at his ramshackle estate will change her mind about marriage, but every passionate moment he spends with her tempts him to change his…

A talented artist, Miss Fiona Hartley desperately needs her dowry money to pay off a blackmailer set on ruining her sister. The handsome earl seems a sensible choice for a husband…if only she can convince him that romance will play no part. But marrying in name only may prove difficult for Fiona. Gray can’t help but be dazzled by her genuine warmth. Yet as their feelings deepen, Fiona’s deadline looms. Will her secrets destroy them, or is true love their final destiny?


Excerpt:

“Lord Ravenport,” Lady Callahan intoned, closing
her fan with an expert flick of the wrist. “Please, allow
me to present my daughter Miss Sophie Kendall and her
friends Miss Fiona Hartley and Miss Lily Hartley.”
Gray exchanged the expected pleasantries, then turned
to Fiona. A halo of loose curls crowned her head, and she
worried her plump bottom lip. Her pink gown exposed the
long column of her neck and the curve of her shoulders;
he could almost see her pulse beating wildly at the base
of her throat.
His instincts screamed for him to run right out of the
ballroom, and yet his boots remained rooted to the floor.
Worse, before he knew what he was doing he’d asked her
to dance.
“It would be my pleasure,” she stammered, taking his
arm.
As he led her to the dance floor he questioned his own
good judgment—and not for the first time that day. He’d
saw Miss Hartley trip and tumble into the orchestra
at the Millbrook ball. He’d been dancing with Helena at
the time but had paused to help her up.
So much had changed since then.
He had no idea if Miss Hartley’s dance partner had been
to blame for the incident or whether she was prone to

16 A N NA BEN NE T T
falling, but just to be safe he tightened his hand on her
waist. And they began moving to the music.
The first measure had barely played before she asked,
“You received my letter?”
“I did,” he said noncommittally, twirling her beneath
his raised arm.
When she faced him again, she looked him directly in
the eye. “What do you think of my . . . offer?” she asked,
her voice cracking on the final word.
He tamped down an unexpected pang of sympathy. “I
think that we hardly know each other.”
“True, but that is easily rectified, is it not?” There it
was—an unmistakable hint of desperation. And a sense of
urgency that even her letter hadn’t conveyed.
“It is,” he conceded. “However, I suspect that the more
we know each other, the less we’ll like each other.” Cynical
but true in his experience. His parents certainly hadn’t
grown fonder of each other. Neither had he and Helena.
She winced and looked away before regaining her
composure. “Perhaps. But we needn’t like each other.”
Gray chuckled at that. “I never thought I’d meet some­
one more jaded than I.”
“So, you’ll consider my offer?” she pressed.
“I will not,” he said firmly. Under different circum­
stances, her fortune may have tempted him. But she was
clearly intent on using him for her own purpose—and he
suspected that she’d set her sights on him for reasons be­
yond his title. After all, there were half a dozen peers in
attendance now who’d leap at the chance to marry a
young and unconventionally beautiful heiress.
But he was not one of them.
“It seems rather closed­minded of you to dismiss me
summarily,” she shot back, displaying a boldness that was
borderline rude—and refreshing.

F IR ST EA R L I SEE TON IGH T 17
“If I said I’d consider your offer, I’d only be giving you
false hope. Delaying the inevitable.”
“The inevitable rejection, you mean,” she clarified.
“Yes.” He was still reeling from the sting of Helena’s
rebuff and wouldn’t wish anyone that sort of pain and
humiliation.
“Please,” she begged. “I realize that it’s highly unusual
for a woman to propose marriage—”
“It’s unheard of.”
“Surely you must be curious—as to why I did it.” She
looked up at him, her shining blue eyes challenging him
to deny the truth of her words.
Gray shrugged. “You have your reasons for making the
offer; I have my reasons for declining it.”
“Give me the opportunity to explain,” she pleaded. “Just
a quarter of an hour to make my case. If, after that, you
remain unconvinced, I promise I shan’t mention it again.”
He must be out of his damned mind to consider engag­
ing in further discussion with Miss Hartley. The very last
thing he needed was another conniving, self­serving fe­
male attempting to interfere with his life. He had opened
his mouth to tell her so when someone bumped into his
back—hard.
Gray’s torso collided with Miss Hartley’s chest, and she
stumbled two steps before he wrapped an arm around her
slender waist, catching her just before she landed on the
parquet floor. She gasped and clung to his jacket, her ex­
pression an odd mix of relief and mortification.
“Oh dear,” she breathed.
Their faces were so close he could see unexpected dark
blue flecks in her irises and the individual freckles dotting
her nose. “Forgive me,” he said.
“For what?”
For what indeed? Steering her into the collision? Grip­

16 A N NA BEN NE T T
ping her waist too tightly? Or for staring at the swells of
her breasts and having decidedly wicked thoughts while
he should have shielded her from further embar­
rassment? Ignoring her question, he asked, “Are you all
right?”
“I am.” Her cheeks turned a charming shade of pink.
She blew out a breath and shot him a shaky smile. “When
it comes to dance floor mishaps, I confess I’ve survived
much worse.”
Gray looked over his shoulder to see how the other
couple fared, surprised to find Helena and her dance part­
ner smiling apologetically.
And the truth struck him. For the last ten minutes, while
he’d been dancing with Miss Hartley, he’d been completely,
blissfully unaware of Helena and what she was doing. Even
more remarkable, he’d forgotten that she was in the room.
“Meet me in Hyde Park tomorrow,” he said to Miss
Hartley, mentally cursing his own weakness. “I will listen
to what you have to say, but don’t expect anything to
change my mind.”
The corners of her mouth curled in a triumphant smile.
“Thank you. All I ask is that you allow me the chance to
explain the advantages of the arrangement—for us both.”
“Forgive me if I remain skeptical,” he drawled. “I’ll
meet you near the footbridge. Three o’clock?”
“You won’t regret this,” she said earnestly, but the prick­
ling sensation between his shoulder blades suggested
he would. In spite of her naïveté and candor—or maybe
because of those things—Miss Hartley could prove far
more dangerous to him than Helena had ever been.


About the Author:

ABOUT THE BOOK:

An heiress with a daring proposal. An earl who’s determined to resist her. And a love that just might be written
in the stars, in First Earl I See Tonight by Anna Bennett.
Recently jilted by his fiancée, David Gray, Earl of Ravenport is not in the market for a wife. Even if Gray didn’t have
his hands full renovating his crumbling country house, it would take more than a bold marriage proposal from a
headstrong young beauty to thaw his frozen heart. Gray is confident that spending a week at his ramshackle estate
will change her mind about marriage, but every passionate moment he spends with her tempts him to change his…
A talented artist, Miss Fiona Hartley desperately needs her dowry money to pay off a blackmailer set on ruining
her sister. The handsome earl seems a sensible choice for a husband…if only she can convince him that romance
will play no part. But marrying in name only may prove difficult for Fiona. Gray can’t help but be dazzled by her
genuine warmth. Yet as their feelings deepen, Fiona’s deadline looms. Will her secrets destroy them, or is true love
their final destiny?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that
books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in
London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She
dreamed of writing romance but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.
Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she
loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her
husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes when she quotes Jane Austen.
Anna’s books include of the Wayward Wallflowers series and the Debutante Diaries series.

BUY THE BOOK:
https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/historical/first-earl-i-see-tonight/

SOCIAL LINKS:
Anna’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/_AnnaBennett
Anna’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnaBennettAuthor/
Anna’s Website: http://annabennettauthor.com/
SMP Romance Twitter: https://twitter.com/heroesnhearts & https://twitter.com/SMPRomance
SMP Romance Website: https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/


My Review:

I am not going to go into my entire spiel about how much I love historical romances. Because you all have heard it before and I don’t want to bore you. I will say that I was becoming bored with historical romances. As well written as some might be, they all seemed to follow 1 of 2 formats. You have the plucky heroine who gets in over her head and the alpha male hero rescues her. Or, the hero is tortured over something that happened in his past and the heroine heals him. While First Earl I See Tonight does have a tortured hero, that is the only part of the plot that was predictable.

First Earl I See Tonight is about Fiona Hartley. Fiona had received a note from a blackmailer demanding money by a certain date. If he/she didn’t receive that money, an article would be published in a prominent newspaper about her younger sister, Lily. The blackmailer claimed to have evidence that Lily was the illegitimate daughter of a well-known madame. If that came out,  Lily would be shunned by the ton and her chances for a good marriage would be over. Desperate to avoid that, Fiona writes a note to the Earl of Ravenport, asking him to marry her and outlining why they would have a good union. Gray, having been dumped by his fiancée, is amused and shocked by the note. Determined to scare her off, he invites her to his crumbling country manor house, The Fortress. Instead of scaring her off, it charms Fiona. Gray realizes that there is so much more to Fiona than what he thought. But he cannot love. A traumatic event when he was a child had forced him to seal that part of him off. Can he open up and let Fiona into his heart? And will Fiona find out who the blackmailer is? Can she trust Gray enough to let him know what-is going on? Will she have to let true love go to protect her sister’s reputation? Read the book.

I loved the cover of First Earl I See Tonight. It encompassed everything that was going on in the book, except the blackmail. The model looked exactly as I thought Fiona would look. I loved that The Fortress was in the background. And the diary was there, along with Fiona’s deceased mother’s necklace. Loved it!!!!

I loved Fiona. For a girl of her time, she was very forward. I mean, she wrote to Gray, asking him to marry her. That is unheard of for her era. Girls did not do that. And it was so freaking refreshing and new!! I had menioned above that I was getting bored with reading historical romances. This book pulled me back from the edge of not reading them. I loved her argument for making her case and her reaction to Gray asking if she was with child. I laughed out loud at that. Fiona was not graceful either. I mean, she met Gray by falling into the orchestra playing at a party. She was also loyal to her family. She would do anything to keep Lily’s parentage out of the papers and save her from becoming shunned. Her only fault was that she should have told Gray sooner than she did about the blackmailer.

I liked Gray. I will admit, I did laugh when I read his response to Fiona’s request. I would have noped the heck out of there. Burned the note and not looked back. But, he was intrigued by it. Which is why he visited her at her home and questioned her the way he did. Which was hilarious because of Fiona’s responses. I liked his plan to scare her into not wanting to marry him by inviting her to The Fortress. That blew up in his face, big time. It was her way of seeing the beauty in everything that sent him down that slippery slope to love. Because he kept his emotions shuttered, I wasn’t sure about his feelings for Fiona until they had sex. What cemented it for me was when he read that sweet but awful poem at the ball. While it was bad, it was so sweet. I cried when he told Fiona about his family and why he felt he couldn’t love. I wasn’t expecting what he told her. I was sobbing because, man, he was only 11. Which is my son’s age. He was a baby. Being exposed to that broke my heart for him.

I have had issues in romances where there is zero romance. That there is no build-up to the sexual relationship. Whelp had no issues with that here!! Gray and Fiona had a friendship that evolved into a relationship before they fell in love. Loved it. It made the sex scenes so much more juicer to read knowing that.

Let’s talk about sexual tension. OMG, it was insane. All Gray had to do was look at Fiona and bam, it was there. I did like that the author did attempt to hold them off from having sex. She had them do everything but sex. But, it was meant to be and it was fantastic. They were like bunnies. In a cottage, In a lake, In a closet (I sound like Dr. Seuss…lol). I did wonder how people didn’t know what was going on.

I was surprised at who the blackmailer was. It was a twist that I didn’t see coming. But, what I also didn’t see coming was that person threatening Gray. Which set off a series of events that made me both mad and sad. What also made me mad were the reasons why this person decided to blackmail Fiona. Man, talk about petty. I did like that Gray ended up getting the last word in, though. “My hero” did go through my head.

The end of the book was fantastic. All the storylines were ended in a way that satisfied me as a reader. I cannot wait to read book 2.

What I liked about First Earl I See Tonight:

  1. Fiona
  2. Gray
  3. The storyline

What I disliked about First Earl I See Tonight:

  1. Fiona not telling Gray about the blackmailer
  2. Why the blackmailer chose Fiona
  3. What happened to Gray when he was a child

I gave First Earl I See Tonight a 4-star rating. This was a well written, humorous book was an engaging storyline. I connected with the characters. I did not like who the blackmailer ended up being and that person’s reason for choosing Fiona.

I would give First Earl I See Tonight an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is mild violence. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread First Earl I See Tonight. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review First Earl I See Tonight.

All opinions stated in this review of First Earl I See Tonight are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

ARC · book review · NetGalley · St. Martin's Paperbacks · St. Martin's Press

Blog Tour + Excerpt: A True Cowboy Christmas (Cold River Ranch: Book 1) by Caitlin Crews

A True Cowboy Christmas (Cold River Ranch, #1)

3.5 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: October 30th. 2018

Genre: Romance

Series: Cold River Ranch

A True Cowboy Christmas–book 1

Where you can find A True Cowboy Christmas: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

From USA Today bestselling author Caitlin Crews comes A True Cowboy Christmas, the first in a sensational series debut about a cowboy, a farm girl, and the greatest gift of all. . .

Gray Everett has a heart of gold but that doesn’t mean he believes in the magic of Christmas. He’s got plenty else to worry about this holiday season, what with keeping his cattle ranch in the family and out of the hands of hungry real-estate investors looking to make a down-and-dirty deal. That, plus being a parent to his young and motherless daughter, equals a man who will not rest until he achieves his mission. Now, all Gray needs are the help of his lifelong neighbor… .who happens to have grown into a lovely, spirited woman.

For Abby Douglas, the chance to join forces with Gray is nothing less than a Christmas miracle. Much as the down-to-earth farmer’s daughter has tried to deny it, Abby’s been in love with stern, smoking-hot Gray her whole life. So when Gray proposes a marriage of convenience as a way to combine land–and work together toward a common cause–Abby can’t refuse. But how can she convince Gray that sometimes life offers a man a second chance for a reason… .and that their growing trust and mutual passion may be leading to true and lasting love?


Excerpt:

“Why would you try to tell me that chemistry
doesn’t matter? Of course, it does.”

“I’m not saying it doesn’t matter. But sheer stubbornness matters more.” He heard the intensity in his voice but

did nothing to temper it. “If people want to stay married,
they do. If they want that marriage to be a good one, they
work on it and make it that way. It’s not rocket science.
It doesn’t require your online profiles. You don’t need to

get matched on your smart phone. You make a commit-
ment to someone, then you keep it. It’s as simple and as

hard as that.”
He watched in fascination as her hands curled into fists
at her sides.
“I appreciate that you have experience being married,

and that gives you a platform to make sweeping state-
ments,” she said, her voice low as if she was fighting back

her own intensity. “That’s great. But you’re missing that
I’m not interested in the state of marriage in a general
sense. I’m telling you I am not going to marry someone I
have no chemistry with. That has nothing to do with me
being stubborn, not stubborn, or insufficiently committed.
It’s actually all about the fact that I’m not staggering
around in a grief-induced daze, proposing marriage to
people I’ve never looked at twice before in my whole life.”
That should have annoyed him because he wasn’t
dazed. Amos had been a mean, unhealthy old man. His
death hadn’t been a real surprise. Gray wasn’t sure he was

46 CAITLIN CREWS
grieving him so much as the father Amos had never been,
and he knew he wasn’t crazy with it. But he couldn’t seem
to lose his grin, especially when he moved closer to her.
Because when he did, she lost that scowl. Her eyes went
wide, that cute flush brightened up her face again, and she
had to tip her head back to look at him. Not as much as
some of the other girls he’d dated had, as she’d pointed out.
Gray liked that too. He didn’t have to hunker over her.
She was . . . right there.
He had an urge and went with it. He reached over and
curled his fingers around her ponytail, then pulled them
gently along the length of it.
And figured the chemistry question was answered by
the way her breath went shuddery.
But he didn’t end it there.
“If I’m following all this,” he said, his drawl low. Thick.
“You don’t actually have any objections. You think we
maybe ought to date first. You’re worried we don’t have
chemistry. But at the end of the day, you’re not opposed to
the idea.”

“It’s crazy. And I’m worried that you’re crazy, in a clin-
ical sense.”

“If you agree to marry me, I’ll take you on a date or
two. If that’s what you want.” His hand was still tangled
in her hair, and he was close enough now that he could
catch her scent. Gray breathed deep. She smelled like
rosemary. And something that reminded him of the pies
she and her grandmother had brought over the day after
the funeral, warm and good. Right. “But we can settle the
other question right here.”
“What do you mean . . . ?”
Gray didn’t wait. He didn’t answer her question, half
stammered out with her hazel eyes so wide they looked
like summer gold.

A TRUE COWBOY CHRISTMAS 47
He used his free hand to cup her cheek, flushed and
smooth beneath his palm. Then he bent—only a little,
which struck him as unexpectedly hot—to take her mouth
with his.
He felt her tremble. And there was something about the way she melted into him as their lips touched, then brushed,
as if she was being pulled by some kind of magnetic force
he was half certain he could feel himself.
Gray had only meant to kiss her to make a point. The
way a gentleman might, not that he’d ever met too many
gentlemen out here where the mountains and the land were
the only things that mattered.
But Abby’s lips were soft and velvety beneath his. And
she made a tiny sound in the back of her throat that he
could feel like a flickering flame.
Before he knew it, Gray was angling his head to one
side and licking his way into her mouth.
As if he couldn’t help himself.
And everything got hot. Bright. Impossible.
This was Abby Douglas. Abby Douglas. There was
something deliciously wrong about it being Abby that
made it hotter, wilder.
It rolled in him and made a joke of him imagining he
was in control of any of this. Of her.
Of this sudden storm of sensation that would have taken
him off his feet, if that didn’t mean he would have had to
let go of her.
When the door slapped open, both of his hands were
sunk deep into her hair, and Abby was up on her toes,
pressed against him, her arms wrapped around his back.
It turned out Gray wasn’t going to have to worry about

easing his way into some or other form of eventual chem-
istry with the woman he already knew would make him a

good rancher’s wife. He was going to have to worry about

48 CAITLIN CREWS
what the hell to do with all this chemistry—so much it was
like a lightning storm and he kept getting hit—with a
woman he’d never paid the slightest attention to until his
father’s funeral.
The fact that the front door had opened penetrated the
heat and fog that was swirling around him.
Finally.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
From USA Today bestselling author Caitlin Crews comes A True Cowboy Christmas, the first in a sensational
series debut about a cowboy, a farm girl, and the greatest gift of all. . .
Gray Everett has a heart of gold but that doesn’t mean he believes in the magic of Christmas. He’s got plenty else
to worry about this holiday season, what with keeping his cattle ranch in the family and out of the hands of hungry
real-estate investors looking to make a down-and-dirty deal. That, plus being a parent to his young and motherless
daughter, equals a man who will not rest until he achieves his mission. Now, all Gray needs is the help of his
lifelong neighbor… .who happens to have grown into a lovely, spirited woman.
For Abby Douglas, the chance to join forces with Gray is nothing less than a Christmas miracle. Much as the down-
to-earth farmer’s daughter has tried to deny it, Abby’s been in love with stern, smoking-hot Gray her whole life. So
when Gray proposes a marriage of convenience as a way to combine land—and work together toward a common
cause—Abby can’t refuse. But how can she convince Gray that sometimes life offers a man a second chance for a
reason… .and that their growing trust and mutual passion may be leading to true and lasting love?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
USA Today-bestselling, RITA-nominated, and critically acclaimed author Caitlin Crews has written more than
seventy-five books, including Frenemies, Princess from the Past, A Royal Without Rules, and Undone by the Sultan’s
Touch. She’s won fans with her romance, Harlequin Presents, women’s fiction, chick lit, and work-for-hire young
adult novels, many of which she writes as Megan Crane (including the dystopian Viking romance Edge series).
These days her focus is on contemporary romance in all its forms, from small-town heat to international glamour,
cowboys to bikers to military men and beyond. She’s taught creative writing classes in places like UCLA Extension’s
prestigious Writers’ Program, gives assorted workshops on occasion and attempts to make use of the MA and Ph.D.
in English Literature, she received from the University of York in York, England. She currently lives in the Pacific
Northwest with a husband who draws comics and animation storyboards, and their menagerie of ridiculous
animals.
BUY THE BOOK:
https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/contemporary/a-true-cowboy-christmas/
SOCIAL LINKS:
Caitlin’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/megancrane
Caitlin’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeganCraneAndCaitlinCrews
Caitlin’s Website: https://megancrane.com/
SMP Romance Twitter: https://twitter.com/heroesnhearts & https://twitter.com/SMPRomance
SMP Romance Website: https://heroesandheartbreakers.com/


My review:

When I got the invitation to review A True Cowboy Christmas, I laughed. Seeing that my invite was back in July, I wasn’t even thinking of Christmas yet. Christmas wasn’t even on my radar. But, when I read the blurb on Goodreads, I knew that I had to read this book. Why? It was a western for one. They have become one of my favorite romance genre’s to read. The other reason was that it was a Christmas romance. Those are always good books to read. So I figured, mixing those two books would be fantastic. And I was right.

A True Cowboy Christmas is about Abby and Gray’s romance. Abby had been in love with Gray her entire life. She never thought that he would notice her. She also never imagined that she would be married to him. Gray has known Abby his entire life. But, at his father’s funeral, Gray notices her. Deciding that he can now remarry, Gray approaches Abby and she agrees. What they both weren’t expecting was a red-hot passion to spring up between them. They also didn’t expect Abby’s venomous mother and the ghost of Gray’s father to get in the way of the marriage. Can they overcome everything? Or will Abby leave Gray like every other woman in his life?

Having the main characters be engaged within the first two chapters of the book put me off a bit. I couldn’t understand why Gray decided that he needed to be married and it had to be to Abby. He barely knew her. Barely noticed her. I will admit that I eyerolled hardcore during those scenes. I also, prematurely, called for this book to be a fluff piece. A book where there is little to no drama and the main characters get along famously after they get married. Yeah, shouldn’t have done that.

I was surprised at the layers that the characters had. I wasn’t expecting Abby to have such a screwed up childhood or a mother that hated her. I also thought that her grandmother, who raised her, would step in and stop the verbal abuse. She didn’t. I also wasn’t expecting Gray to have as many layers as he did. His childhood was worse than Abby’s. I didn’t understand until he started telling Abby why Christmas wasn’t celebrated in the house. My heart broke for him. Even the secondary characters had layers. It was insane!!

I loathed Lilly. She was a despicable human being. I didn’t want to believe that she could be as nasty as she was to her own daughter. I was even more shocked when Abby’s grandmother stood up for Lilly. I wanted to scream “Why are you letting her talk to Abby that way? WHY” No wonder Abby had self-esteem issues. I will say that I cheered when Gray put Lilly in her place at Thanksgiving. And I fist pumped when Abby finally did. And yes, I get too vested in these books…lol.

I liked Abby but I also felt bad for her. Her self-esteem was at a zero. She was pining away for a man who didn’t even notice her. If I were in her shoes, I would have acted the same way when Gray put everything on the table. I also understood why she wanted nothing to do with Lilly. I mean, the way that woman treated her awful and she didn’t want anything to do with her. I did think her love of Christmas was infectious. She started getting me in the Christmas mood while reading the book.

I had a harder time connecting to Gray. He was too even-keeled for my taste. It took me a while to realize that he was as damaged as Abby was. Maybe even more. Then I started feeling bad for him when he started opening up to Abby about his childhood and why he didn’t celebrate Christmas. What I didn’t get was why he thought his father would have changed with a grandchild. It seemed that his father did as much damage to Becca as he did to his own sons.

The secondary characters made this book. Gray’s brothers added an interesting element to the story. I also liked Abby’s best friends. As for Abby’s grandmother, I didn’t care for her. She didn’t know how to put her foot down with her daughter and make her stop saying those things to Abby. Becca was a sweetheart but she had her issues too. Mainly from her grandfather. But such a sweet girl and one of the few people who stood up for Abby.

I didn’t care for the sex scenes. While they were well written, they didn’t do anything for me. For someone who lived like a monk, Gray had amazing stamina. And Abby didn’t feel any discomfort when her virginity was taken. It didn’t feel true to me. I did get the passion and love, though. But I didn’t connect with the sex scenes.

The end of the book was amazing. Talk about a Christmas miracle. What Gray did was amazing and brought tears to my eyes. And the news that Abby had for him, was amazing. I am hoping that there will be another book in the series. I would love to see one about Ty or Brady. Or one of Abby’s friends!!

What I liked about A True Cowboy Christmas:

  1. Characters had layers
  2. Could connect to the main characters
  3. The end of the book

What I disliked about A True Cowboy Christmas:

  1. Abby and Gray being engaged without knowing each other.
  2. Lilly. I loathed her.
  3. The sex scenes. Didn’t do it for me.

I gave A True Cowboy Christmas a 3.5-star rating. I loved that this book took place around Christmas. I was surprised at how layered the characters were. I liked that I could connect to the characters on a personal level. And I loved the end of the book. But there were things that I disliked. I didn’t like Abby and Gray being engaged right off the bat. I didn’t like the sex scenes. And I loathed Lilly.

I would give A True Cowboy Christmas an Adult rating. There is sex but it is not explicit. There is mild language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would recommend A True Cowboy Christmas to family and friends. I would also reread this book.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review A True Cowboy Christmas.

All opinions stated in this review of A True Cowboy Christmas are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

ARC · book review

Stripped Down (Tap That: Book 1) by Erin McCarthy

Stripped Down

3.5 Stars

Publisher: 

Date of publication: October 29th, 2018

Genre: Romance

Series: Tap That

Stripped Down–book 1

Where you can find Stripped Down: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | BookBub

Goodreads synopsis:

His best friend’s hot older sister.
Her younger brother’s annoying sidekick.
And one forbidden kiss in high school…

It was complicated back then. It’s even more so now.

Because former mean girl Sloane rolls back in town to find Rick stripping at a charity event like he was born with biceps.
And single dad Rick is her landlord.
And her brother will murder him if he has sex with her.

But sometimes you have to strip it all down to see what was there all along…


My review:

Rick and Sloane have a history. Sloane was a former mean girl who shared an earth-shattering kiss with her younger brother’s best friend. Rick was that friend and he has changed in the years since that kiss. Sloane is not looking to start a relationship. Hurt by a bitter divorce, all she wants is to be left alone. But that doesn’t happen. After seeing Rick stripping for a charity auction, Sloane needs to see if Rick lives up to the promise in his boxers. Rick wants to know if kissing Sloane now was as good as kissing her back then. Determined to keep each other in the friends with benefits zone, they both start to fall for each other. But can it last? Can Rick and Sloane keep it at sex? Or will it blow up in their faces?

I wasn’t too sure if I liked Rick and Sloane as a couple. I got rebound relationship vibes from them. Sloane was fresh from a divorce. Her ex-husband cheated on her and that made her feel like she wasn’t attractive. So, I wasn’t surprised when she ended up sleeping with Rick.

I thought it was hilarious that such a big deal was made about Rick’s package. I giggled through Sloane’s reaction to seeing it. I giggled through people saying that “he grew into it“. Seeing that I was in bed, I got some dirty looks from my SO because well, it was 11pm and I was laughing my fool butt off.

I liked that Rich thought himself to be a smooth operator. His confidence was awesome. His determination to sleep with Sloane was amazing, considering at his bestie threatened to rearrange his face. His one-liners to her were hilarious. But I also liked seeing his other side. His mature and responsible side. His devotion to his 9-year-old sister was amazing. I was saddened by the fact that he had to become her legal guardian at such a young age. But I was also saddened over the situation that led to it. His truth bomb on his father was something that needed to be said. It saddened me to see that he grew up like that but still. He was the complete package.

I felt bad for Sloane. I couldn’t imagine how she felt when her husband told her that he was cheating on her. Betrayed was the closest thing that I could come up with as a feeling. I didn’t blame her when she moved back to her hometown. I was a little surprised when she decided to hook up with Rick and then keep hooking up with him. I was also surprised when she started having feelings for him.

Sloane and Rick did have some unbelievable chemistry. From the minute their eyes met, it radiated from them. So I wasn’t too surprised that the sex was hot. I did think that Sloane was going to have a problem walking because Rick was so big (haha). The scene on the motorcycle was insane. I will never look at a motorcycle the same again.

The end of the book was a big “Eh” for me. I did think that Sullivan’s reaction after the Ferris Wheel scene was a bit much. Also, what is with everyone ditching the baby with Axl? Other than that, I liked the end of the book. It was sweet. Sloane deserved it.


I gave Stripped Down a 3.5-star rating. This was a fast read with memorable characters. There were some elements that I didn’t like. The ending didn’t resonate with me as much as I wanted it to. Also, I didn’t think that Rick and Sloane made a believable couple. Other than that, I enjoyed reading the book and look forward to book 2.

I would give Stripped Down an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is mild violence. There are some triggers in this book. They would be cheating and animal neglect/abuse. I would suggest that no one under the age of 21 read this book. Same goes if you are triggered too.

I would reread Stripped Down. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a warning about the triggers.


I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Stripped Down.

All opinions stated in this review of Stripped Down are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


Have you read Stripped Down?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

book review · Global Publishing Group · Non ARC

Tetterbaum’s Truth (Just Call Me Angel: Book 1) by S.R. Claridge

Tetterbaum's Truth (Just Call Me Angel Book 1)

4 Stars

Publisher: Global Publishing Group

Date of publication: August 16th, 2015

Genre: Romance

Series: Just Call Me Angel

Tetterbaum’s Truth – Book 1

Traitor’s Among Us – Book 2

Russian Uprising – Book 3

Where you can find Tetterbaum’s Truth: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Angel Martin plans to marry Tony and live happily ever after until Tony disappears. Nursing a broken heart, she takes a job at Tetterbaum’s Pub, unaware it is the most prestigious Mafia hangout in Chicago. She finds herself suddenly caught in the middle of a revengeful scheme from a past she’s never known and a blackmail scandal that has left several dead, and she’s next on the hit list. Racing to find answers, Angel’s life is left hanging in a twisted balance of deception and revenge, and the only way out is to expose the truth… TETTERBAUM’S TRUTH


My review:

I am not normally a huge fan of Mafia-inspired thrillers but when I read the blurb for this book, I had to read it. I am glad that I did read this book because it was good. It was a little slow to start but once I got past the chapter explaining Angel’s background and her relationships, the book picked up steam. And the ending was excellent!!!

Tetterbaum’s Truth is the first book in the Just Call Me Angel series. Angel Martin has become content with her life. She owns a successful pub. She also has an on again/off again relationship with a man she only knows as Grayson. But that changes when she gets injured in a car accident that kills Grayson. Everything that Angel knew about herself and her past is revealed to be false. While she is coming to terms with who she is, she is also dodging hitmen. She is also trying to solve the mystery behind a massacre that turned the four Mafia families against each other. Who can she trust? Can she expose who was behind the massacre?


I couldn’t believe what Angel went through in this book. It was unbelievable. Car accident? Check. Finding out that she had a mysterious past? Check. Being stalked by strange men who wanted to kill her? Check. Getting kidnapped? Check. I kept thinking to myself “Her therapy bill is going to be HUGE“. I thought her reactions to Grayson’s death was a bit much. I mean, she demanded to see his body and then she broke into his house to cry. I got some serious obsessive vibes from her. On the flip side, I thought that her reaction to her past was fantastic. I would have acted the same way. Not believing until evidence is shown.

Andrew rubbed me the wrong way. When he was introduced in the book, I thought that something was off about him. He was always on the verge of saying something. I don’t understand why he didn’t tell Angel everything when he told her about her past and the danger she was in. Heck, he even put her in danger himself. There was a point in the book where I wondered what his deal was. Plus, I don’t like it when a guy calls a woman “sweetheart” if they aren’t in a relationship. It makes them sound condescending. Plus, putting a tracker on someone screams stalkerlike behavior to me.

I liked Grayson. He was mysterious and Angel couldn’t keep away from him. I was rooting for them to get together, even after it was revealed who and what he was. And, man, I was beyond upset when what happened. I threw down my Kindle and said a few choice words.

The secondary characters made this book. From Olga to Tony, they created a rich background for the story to be set against. They made Angel’s story much more poignant to read.


There were two major plotlines in Tetterbaum’s Truth. Both of those plotlines were filled with action and suspense. The author did a great job at keeping who Angel’s father Compare was. She also did a great job at keeping exactly where Tetterbaum’s tapes were. When the storylines were merged, they were merged in such a great fashion. I was scared for Angel at that point.

The first major plotline dealt with Angel and her past. While I didn’t like how she was told (Olga should have told her), I thought she did a fantastic job at processing everything that was told to her. I know that if it was me, I would have noped the heck out of there. I also loved her full name!!!

The secondary plotline dealt with the Mafia, Tetterbaum’s tapes and how Angel was going to right past wrongs. I learned more about the workings of the Mafia from this book than I ever knew. There were different terminology that I have never heard before. I also liked how the author had Angel figure out where Tetterbaum’s tapes were. I would have never thought to look where she did. I enjoyed how Angel got to the truth of what happened to her father and cleared his name.


Tetterbaum’s Truth fit right into the mystery/thriller/suspense genre. I liked how the author tried to throw in a bit of a love triangle in there. It will be interesting to see who Angel will end up with.

The end of Tetterbaum’s Truth was great. I liked how the author wrapped up all the storylines. I was surprised at who Angel’s Compare was. I was also surprised at the measure that he went through to get Tetterbaum’s tapes. But justice, Mafia-style, was served. I did a fist pump when justice happened. I was also surprised at what Angel did at the end of the book. Is she ready for that? I am eager to read book 2. Only because I have some questions that concern Andrew and Tony.


I gave Tetterbaum’s Truth a 4-star rating. I enjoyed reading this book. It was a fast-paced read that kept me on the edge of my seat. I didn’t like how Angel was continuously kidnapped or had guns held up to her head in the book. There are triggers in Tetterbaum’s Truth. They are extreme violence, kidnapping, and attempted rape.

I would give Tetterbaum’s Truth an Adult rating. There is extreme violence. There is language. There is sex, but not graphic. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Tetterbaum’s Truth. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would tell them about the triggers, first.


I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Tetterbaum’s Truth.

All opinions stated in this review of Tetterbaum’s Truth are mine.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**


Have you read Tetterbaum’s Truth?

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