Monthly Archive: August 2015


wish you were hereWish You Were Here

by Phillipa Ashley

Published by Sourcebooks Landmark
294 pages
Genre: chick lit; romance
3.5 / 5


Beth Allen has moved on…

It’s been eight years since she and Jack Thornfield met on an exotic holiday and sparked up a seriously promising romance. But then he disappeared without a trace, and Beth’s life got dreadfully busy, demanding, and altogether complicated.

Then Jack and Beth run into each other again…while she’s applying for an exciting new job in London-at his company. For necessity’s sake, but against her better judgment, she takes the job, and from that moment on, complicated doesn’t even begin to describe it…

My Review:

Beth and Jack met eight years ago while on vacation in Corsica. She thought both felt love; she was certain of it, in fact. Yet she has heard nothing from him since he put her on a plane to leave, despite his promises that he loved her and would come for her.

When she interviews with him for a job, the betrayal she felt all those years ago comes back full force. Beth isn’t sure she can work for Jack, yet she needs the job, and it’s something she’s good at doing. Jack is glad – and relieved – to have Beth working with him. He knows he has some apologizing to do, and he wants to help her understand what happened when she left Corsica.

This is a sweet, adorable romance novel that might just make you cry. (I did. I had to grab more than one tissue.) Beth and Jack are enjoyable and likable, the sort of chick lit couple you want to be together. He tries to do the right thing, even if the right thing hurts him most of all, and she somehow manages to maintain hope that she will get the love she wants.

There is one scene with some sexy times, and it isn’t wildly detailed. No Red Rooms of Pain here, kids. Sometimes you want a romance novel that makes you smile (and occasionally cry), and this book fits that perfectly.


About the Author:

I first started writing when I was four, when I sent in a joke to The Beano. After leaving school, I went on to read English Language & Literature at Oxford. Since then, I’ve worked in advertising, journalism and PR.

I didn’t start writing fiction until 2005, after joining an Internet creative writing site. My first novel, Decent Exposure, a sexy romantic comedy set in the Lake District, was published in October 2006. It topped the Romance chart, won the RNA New Writers Award and was made into a TV movie called Twelve Men of Christmas which aired on the Lifetime channel in December 2009. It is now making its way to the rest of the world and/or on DVD.

And wow! How time flies when you’re having fun. I’ve now had 12 books published including US Amazon Kindle Top 100 best sellers with Dating Mr December and Wish You Were Here. My new Oxford Blue series for Penguin written as Pippa Croft has also hit the romantic erotica Top 30 and iTunes Top 100 romance charts in the UK, US, Norway, Australia and Belgium.

My books have been or are being translated into all kinds of languages including Thai, Turkish, Bulgarian, Italian and Russian as well as being published in the USA by Sourcebooks.

I live in a Staffordshire village with my husband and daughter but I try to spend part of the year in the Lake District – walking, visiting literary locations and trying to track down the ultimate Lakeland pub and tea shop. I also love body boarding and have recently had my first surfing lesson.

– See more at:

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Review copy provided from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Photo banner, 851 x 315 featuring a sensual couple in B&W with the cover of First Encounters, an upcoming release by Charming Man, author.

Book Title: First Encounters

Author: Charming Man (aka A. S. Wilkins)

Genre: A Romantic-Erotic Story Collection


First Encounters offers a male insight into the realms of sensual romance, exploring the thought provoking world of liaisons between strangers.

On a hot summer’s night, a man awakes from a peaceful slumber, roused by a mysterious beauty appearing at his bedside. Is she real or merely a Night Vision?

Escaping the stresses of daily life to indulge in a little rest and recuperation, a weary businessman man unexpectedly engages a gorgeous exhibitionist in a voyeuristic Beach Encounter.

A chance meeting at a busy airport sees a young entrepreneur in the company of a seductive stranger for the duration of his flight to New York. She has a sexy secret to tell, but only if he shares one first; a Mid Air Collusion he’s unlikely to forget in a hurry.

Headmaster Peter Thompson is faced with a predicament when he summons a troubled sixth form student to discuss her latest misdemeanour. Refusing to accept her fate, Ariana takes control of the situation the only way she knows how.

While island hopping around the Cyclades, a backpacker is lured off the beaten track by a sexy local girl he meets on his travels. Was the need to satisfy his curiosity a good idea or A Greek Tragedy waiting to happen?

A college student embarks on a road trip, but didn’t envisage making the journey with a sexy hitch-hiker in tow. Two strangers find themselves thrown together in a slow-burning, tortuous tale of boy meets girl, set to the sounds of the new wave era. Will it be the end of the line when he reaches his destination or will The Hitcher lead him down another path?

Charming Man’s journey starts here; dare you join him?

About Charming Man

Photo of author A. S. Wilkins, also known as Charming ManCharming Man, aka author A. S. Wilkins explores the thought-provoking world of sensual romance through themes such as encounters between strangers, sexual fantasies, illicit relationships, voyeurism and more.

A S Wilkins has been writing sensual romance for over fifteen years. It all started quite by accident, following the tragic death of his wife in 1998, when he was left with two small children to bring up alone, as well as manage his own software consultancy.

While still in a state of shock and running on auto-pilot, he settled into a daily routine of dropping the kids off at day care, fulfilling his nine to five obligations, collecting the kids in the evening, feeding them, bathing them and putting them to bed with a night-time story, before collapsing in front of the television and crying into a large glass of red.

He had neither the opportunity nor desire to meet anyone new, yet he craved companionship. Posing as Charming Man, after the name of his favourite song by his favourite band The Smiths, he began to trawl online chat rooms, striking up conversations with anonymous individuals who may or may not have been who they said they were; it made little difference to him.

A S Wilkins wears his heart on his sleeve, and it soon became apparent he was able to engage openly with people from all walks of life, be they male or female; but mostly female it has to be said. Many of his early conversations on the net were innocent in content; he would pour his heart out to anyone who would listen, and in return he would provide a shoulder to those who were equally going through difficult times. He found the process very therapeutic and saved him a fortune in counselling!

Before too long, these intimate exchanges left him wanting more, such is the nature of making a new acquaintance. However, charming by name and charming by nature, he chose never to cross the line until encouraged to do so by others. This led to many a cat and mouse war of words with many a like-minded soul, which both intrigued and excited him. It was during this time he wrote his first short story, Night Vision, detailing his longing for the next love to enter his life.

The more he chatted, the more he became obsessed with the notion of sexual encounters between strangers. Still not in a position to embark on a new relationship in the real world, he continued to engage women in cyberspace, and together they would contrive a variety of scenarios from the respective comfort of their laptops. Many of these scenarios were later to become short stories; Beach Encounter, Mid Air Collusion, Ariana, A Greek Tragedy and The Hitcher, to name a few.

Fast forward several years and A S Wilkins has found happiness once more, having settled down north of London with a new partner and their combined family of four children. The release of Fifty Shades of Grey in March 2012 prompted him to dust off his short stories for his partner to read. She was impressed and managed to persuade him to publish them. Shortly after, was born.

Writing as Charming Man, A S Wilkins is always on the lookout for the next encounter to write about. When two individuals make eye contact across a room or on a crowded train, and a connection is made, this is often the green light that sets his imagination on fire. A knowing look is all it can take; a word might never be spoken. However, the minute an affinity is perceived, a scenario is hatched in his head, which is then honed over the coming days and weeks into a believable idea for a story.

And this final point is key; whereas it’s true to say that many of his works are clearly fantasies, it’s important to him that these fantasies are believable. The idea of a twenty-seven year old billionaire meeting a twenty-one year old virgin just doesn’t cut it for Charming Man.

Find out more about Charming Man by visiting his website at

Other Stalker Links

Twitter @charmingxman
Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Profile

Email –

A photo of a couple on a balcony, featuring a statement by Charming Man about why he is passionate about


Ill-Give-You-the-Sun-Jandy-NelsonI’ll Give You the Sun

by Jandy Nelson

Published by Dial Books
384 pages
Genre: young adult
5 / 5


Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

My Review:

How good is this book? Well, first of all, “good” is an insult. Let me see if I can come up with something more effective. How compelling? How intoxicating? How sublime? How FREAKING TRANSCENDENT is this book?

It is so compelling and intoxicating and sublime and transcendent that I am worried about writing this review for fear that I will not do Jandy Nelson justice.

Noah and Jude are twins who look nothing alike. He’s dark and awkward and socially withdrawn, while she is golden and bright and open to friends and engagement. The two have an ongoing barter system of sorts in which, believing that they own the universe, they offer its various parts in exchange for something. When Noah, an artist who draws and paints, sketches a cubist-style portrait of a mysterious – and naked – British male model, Jude offers him the sun in exchange for the drawing. It magnetizes her, and she must have it.

This turns out to be one of the last friendly exchanges between the two.

It isn’t that Noah and Jude are combative or competitive with each other. Quite the opposite, in fact. Noah acknowledges certain truths: their father loves Jude more, and their mother shows no preferences. The latter point, in fact, becomes the chisel that causes the first fracture. Remember that Rod Stewart lyric? The first cut is the deepest? Such is the case between Noah and Jude.

Exacerbating the situation is the appearance of Brian, the boy next door. That first cut? It has a partner now, and so strong is the resentment that Noah and Jude hold against each other that their relationship might never overcome the onslaught.

Told from both Noah and Jude’s perspectives, the time frame jumps back and forth between Noah’s story, the “before,” and Jude’s, the “after.” You see what divided the twins, and you see what might tear them asunder for the rest of their lives.

This novel is an ode to art and the power it has over us. Jandy Nelson uses magical realism to show the depth and breadth of art – the way you can actually see someone’s spirit in the colors and bursts and flares that emanate from them. Jude is an artist, too, only her form is sculpture. One twin draws and paints, the other molds. Separately they create beautiful parts, but together they could create stunning fullness. Noah, however, is not inclined to any sort of partnership with his sister. As he observes, “Revolutionaries aren’t team players.”

Noah certainly is a revolutionary, although he heads in a direction he does not anticipate. The same goes for Jude, who is every bit as revolutionary as her brother. She does not see art as her future, yet it is there, within her grasp. She needs Noah to help her find her way, though, just as he needs her.

As much as this is a book about the power of art, it’s also about the power of love. Jude and Noah each realize love’s destructive power; for the most part during their sixteen years, destruction is what they know best. But as Jude comes to see, “Love does as it undoes. It goes after, with equal tenacity: joy and heartbreak.”

Yes, twins joy and heartbreak are as physically present as Noah and Jude. You can’t have one without the other. You can’t know joy unless you’ve experienced heartbreak, and vice-versa. Jude puts it this way: “We are, each one of us for the other, a key to a door that otherwise would’ve remained locked forever.” What she and Noah need to understand is that they are the keys for each other, and without each other, parts of them – important, vital parts – will never be opened.

I could go on and on about symbolism (the names ‘Jude’ and ‘Noah’ alone) and subtext and all that sort of stuff. The literature geek in me is so excited about this book that I made it part of the reading list for my AP seniors this year. I cannot wait to analyze and discuss it.

You need to read this book is you appreciate lyrical writing. You need to read it if you like characters who make you feel, all the way to your toes. You need to read this if you want to experience joy and heartbreak yourself.

It’s that …. good.


About the Author:

Here’s a mishmash:

My all-time favorite novels are One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

The first YA and MG novels I read as an adult were Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Looking for Alaska by John Green and Walk Two Moon by Sharon Creech. It changed my life.

As picture books go: William Steig.

Some poets I love: Pablo Neruda, Anne Carson, Ilya Kaminsky, John Berryman, C.D. Wright, and Dr. Seuss.

A favorite line from a poem:

“. . . the thing perhaps is to eat flowers and not to be afraid.”
–ee cummings

Another couple lines I love:

“The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark.”
–Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

And this:
“Later she sat on the ground in the forest between school and home, and spring was so bright and beautiful, the warm air touched her so tenderly, she could almost feel herself changing into a flower. Her light dress felt like petals.
“I love everything,” she heard herself say.
“So do I,” a voice answered.
Pearl straigtened up and looked around. No one was there.”
–William Steig, The Amazing Bone

Some more:

I’m currently on sabbatical but worked in publishing for many years as a literary agent at Manus & Associates Literary Agency, representing lots of amazing writers.

I have a BA from Cornell, an MFA in poetry from Brown and another MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. I might go back to school again sometime, to study art history and religion. I like to teach as well.

I love rivers, really hot weather, poetry, art, Franz Marc and Marc Chagall, going to many movies in a row, going out to dinner, to France, to the symphony, orange and magenta, a couple wretched reality shows, Pierre Bonnard’s windows, tulips, night-blooming trees and people, myth, magic, music, solitude, sunlight on water, museums, gusto, geekiness, giants, absolutely all finger foods, so very many movies, GIRAFFES, dinner parties with my friends, redwood forests, late nights and early mornings, clunky heels and jewelry, being ridiculously in love.

I adore Northern California, have lived in San Francisco for over twenty-seven years. I’ve recently painted my apartment walls orange like Lennie and Bailey do in The Sky Is Everywhere.

I’m superstitious.

Spiders profoundly freak me out.

I daydream a lot.

As spiritual beliefs go, I’m with Jude in I’ll Give You the Sun, who, after much travail, aspires to be “a wobbly people pole that tries to bring joy into the world, not one that takes joy from it.”

Some quotes about writing I like:

“I finally figured out that if you are going to step on a live mine, make it your own. Be blown up as it were, by your own delights and despairs.”
—Ray Bradbury

“Read over your compositions and when you come across a passage you think particularly fine, strike it out.”
—Samuel Johnson

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.”
—Jack London

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
—Oscar Wilde

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
—Nathaniel Hawthorne

“When in doubt, tell the truth.”
—Mark Twain

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
—Mark Twain

“To sum it all up, if you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must write dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfume and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish for you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories—science fiction or otherwise. Which means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
–Ray Bradbury

One last favorite quote:
“I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination.”
–John Keats

And another:
“Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”
–Willa Cather

Just one more:
“No, I do not weep at the world—I’m too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”
—Zora Neale Hurston

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Unblocked Collection CoverThe Unblocked Collection

by Marni Mann

Published by Booktrope
542 pages
Genre: erotica; romance
3.5 / 5


One taste was all it took…
Derek Block seeks revenge.
Frankie Jordan seeks professional dominance.
He wants her, she wants him.
Lines that can’t cross begin to blur.

Derek Block demands more.
Frankie Jordan wants to run.
Pleasure complicates business.
But some passion is just too hard to resist.
Things are getting hotter as real estate gets real…

Derek Block confronts his past.
Frankie Jordan’s past pursues her.
Secrets threaten to keep them apart.
They want to let go of each other, but can’t.
Their passion is too hot to resist.
Things are scorching as real estate gets real…

Derek Block is ready to fight.
Frankie Jordan must make a decision.
Their pasts are demanding attention.
Confessing the truth may not be enough.
But can their intense passion sustain them?

Derek Block needs to protect those he cares about.
Frankie Jordan fears the loss of those she loves.
Darkness drives them.
But could it drive them apart?
This is Episode Five, the final Episode in the Timber Towers Series.

Unblocked Collection Graphic 2

My Review:

Ladies, meet Derek Block.

Eschewing suits for flannel and deference for dominance, Derek is a man of mystery yet is also accessible. He knows what he wants and he gets it.

And what he wants is Frankie Jordan.

She’s the daughter of a successful real estate broker, although she resolutely refuses to allow nepotism to be the cause of her success. This is a woman who began in the mailroom and has held nearly every job at her father’s business. Now she is on the cusp of earning a top managerial spot. What she needs is Derek Block’s brand new high rise as her account.

At first theirs is a strictly professional relationship, but COME ON. You know that won’t last. Frankie discovers that Derek is even more adept at pleasuring a woman than he is at designing buildings. Strap on your vibrators, girls. When Derek starts rocking that headboard, he will rock it right into next week.

Clearly neither Derek nor Frankie reads romance novels because these two think – they really believe – that they can have a sex only, no strings attached relationship. Yeah …. no. Not that either is open to disclosing that they are seeing each other. Frankie doesn’t want to risk her father’s censure, and Derek is blocking certain truths from Frankie. (GET IT? Blocking truths?)

Across this series of novellas, you will find some corporate intrigue, some romantic intrigue, jealousy, passion, romance, emotional cruelty, professional malfeasance, and, occasionally, True Love. And a whole lot of sexy times.

It’s a fun, hot series, even if it feels a bit drawn out. The occasional lapses in pacing and somewhat predictable storyline are overcome, though, by the romance between Derek and Frankie. Neither is too good to be true, and you know, as you read this book, that they are mean to be together.

Just don’t forget to have that vibrator handy …

Unblocked Collection Graphic 1

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Best-selling Author Marni Mann knew she was going to be a writer since middle school. While other girls her age were daydreaming about teenage pop stars, Mann was fantasizing about penning her first novel. She crafts sexy, titillating stories that weave together her love of darkness, mystery, passion, and human emotion. A New Englander at heart, she now lives in Sarasota, Florida with her husband and their two dogs who subsequently have been characters in her books. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop working on her next novel, she’s scouring for chocolate, sipping wine, traveling to new locations, and devouring fabulous books.

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Review copy provided from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

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SLOW BURN (A Driven Novel)

slow burnSlow Burn

by K. Bromberg

Published by Signet
400 pages
Genre: erotica; romance
3.5 / 5


Reeling from the sudden loss of her sister, Haddie Montgomery has sworn off relationships. All she wanted from Beckett Daniels was a sexy distraction to help her escape her pain for just a little while….There weren’t supposed to be any strings attached—so why can’t she shake the memory of that unforgettable night from her thoughts? Or the taste of his kiss from her lips?

No matter how hard Haddie tries to forget about him, Becks relentlessly tries to prove that she should start living for today. But she is determined to avoid romantic commitment, and she can always use her ex-boyfriend’s reappearance to help snuff out the slow burn within her that Becks has sparked….

Or will fate force her to realize that this kind of connection doesn’t come along very often and a chance at love is worth the risk?

My Review:

I’ve been on a bit of a K. Bromberg tear of late. First came the Driven trilogy (or, as I like to think of it, COLTON DONAVAN), which was pretty awesome. Now here we are with Haddie and Beckett’s story, which is a nice addition to the Driven saga.

Haddie was Rylee’s roommate, until Rylee up and married Colton (which … why wouldn’t she???), and Becks is Colton’s crew chief. They first met in Driven, when Colton decided that Rylee and Haddie needed to accompany him and Becks on a quick trip to Vegas. Bromberg hinted at the spark of chemistry between the two, so it isn’t surprising to see them come together (no pun intended) in this book.

There are, as you can assume, problems that these two need to surmount, and all of those problems are Haddie’s. Becks is open and ready for a relationship, but Haddie? Not so much. The reasons for her reluctance become clear throughout the novel, although Haddie’s way of dealing with them is, I am sad to report, kind of unoriginal.

One of the things I enjoyed so much about Driven, Fueled, and Crashed is that Colton and Rylee are so fully developed that you feel as if you know them as well as you possibly can. Is that due to the trilogy format? I don’t know. I felt like they were pretty well drawn in the first book; the next two deepened and broadened my understanding of them, certainly. So maybe the fact that Haddie and Becks feel a little one-dimensional can be attributed to them only having one book for us to get to know them.

Bromberg relies, a bit too heavily, on running internal monologues as a means for us to understand Becks and, to a far greater extent, Haddie. It started to feel like overkill at various points in the book because it takes away from the time that Haddie and Becks spends together, and you want them together. Not just because of the way those two rock that headboard, but because their relationship is interesting and sweet and engaging. When they’re apart and the action takes place mostly in Haddie’s mind, the book loses a step. There is also the matter of Haddie’s ex-boyfriend, who takes up residence in her home. That thread goes nowhere, to the point that I wondered why Bromberg included it in the book at all.

But the biggest issue with this is Haddie’s reaction to some disturbing and potentially heartbreaking news. Her need to push away the people closest to her – including Rylee – and try to manage this situation on her own is so cliched. You’ve seen this dozens of times in dozens of other books.

However. K. Bromberg knows how to tell a romance story, and that skill does not disappoint at all. Clearly Haddie and Becks belong together. The only thing keeping them apart is Haddie, and you will spend most of this book hoping that Becks keeps believing that she’s worth the trouble she causes.

One of the highlights of this story is being able to check in with Colton and Rylee. There is one scene between Becks and Colton that is as sweet and charming as you will find. Colton tries to explain to his BFF why he is the man he’s become, and he does so by glancing at the ring finger on his left hand. It’s Rylee. She gives him strength. Can Haddie do the same for Becks?

I enjoy the way K. Bromberg writes, and I’m overly excited for Aced, a look at Rylee and Colton’s relationship ten years after Crashed ends. This book isn’t my favorite, but I’m glad I read it. Becks and Haddie deserved their story to be told.


About the Author:

Author K. Bromberg is that reserved woman sitting in the corner, who has you all fooled about the wild child inside of her—the one she lets out every time her fingertips touch the computer keyboard. Kristy lives in Southern California with her husband and three small children. Her motto is ‘have lap-top, will travel’ because she writes around school drop offs, entertaining her four year old (who is still not in school full time), homework battles, and endless soccer practices. When she needs a break from the daily chaos of her life, you can most likely find her with her Kindle in hand, devouring the pages of a good, saucy book.

On a whim, K. Bromberg decided to try her hand at this writing thing in late 2012 and published her debut novel,DRIVEN (#1), in May of 2013. She followed DRIVEN up with the release of FUELED (#2) in August 2013, which was highly successful and drew attention from the publishing industry that had previously rejected her.FUELED was named one of Amazon’s publisher picks for Top Romance of 2013. CRASHED (#3) was released in March of 2014 and went on to take positions on the New York Times and the USA Today Best Sellers lists as well as created enough interest to land DRIVEN on the USA Today list as well. UNRAVELED – a short story followed in the BEND anthology and became a USA Today best seller. RACED (a Colton POV novella) was released in September 2014 went on to become an USA Today Best Seller.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: FIND ME (The Found Duet Book 2)

find me book tour


I have been waiting for this book since I finished its immediate predecessor, Free Me, not to mention the Fixed Trilogy. It may have only been a month or so, but it feels like YEARS.

find me it's live


Gwen Anders came to The Sky Launch to begin fresh, away from the horrors of her past. She fit in quickly, becoming good friends with her co-manager, Alayna Withers and the owner of the club, Hudson Pierce. Though the circumstances that brought her here were not the best, she’s never felt more at home.

But starting a new life means letting go. And there are some things she doesn’t want to leave behind – like JC, the man who taught her how to let loose. The man she wasn’t supposed to fall in love with. The man she doesn’t want to lose.

Now, with the reason she ran still a threat, Gwen fears she’ll never be able to move on completely. And if she does, can she still hold out hope that JC loves her enough to come and find her?

find me teaser 1

My Review:

When last we saw Gwen and JC, he was headed into the Witness Protection Program, destination and duration unknown, and she was headed back to New York after the two had an emotional confrontation in Las Vegas, during which Gwen found out JC got married in a drunken stupor after he proposed to her.

JC had warned her that he did stupid things when he was drunk. Consider this particular move Exhibit A.

Find Me picks up not quite a year later. Gwen is co-manager of Sky Launch, along with Alayna Pierce (the lucky LUCKY girl who married Hudson) and she has a little something-something going on with nineteen-year-old Pierce brother Chandler. Theirs is a relationship based solely in sexual release, at least as far as Gwen is concerned. But when you’re dealing with a nineteen-year-old’s feelings, it’s never that simple.

Accustomed to closing herself off from anything emotional, Gwen is still reeling from the way JC freed her to feel. She certainly does feel: she feels grief and loss at not having JC with her, she feels guilt for rocking that headboard with Chandler (who, let’s just say, has room for improvement when it comes to the sexy times), and she feels nervous anticipation at possibly seeing JC again.

It’s no way to live, actually, and Gwen has changes to make. She sets July 4th as the date when she will stop waiting for JC. Independence Day, when she will let freedom ring.

Buuuuut … you know that JC won’t be gone permanently, right? Even if (when) he does come back – when he finds her – will he still want her? Will she still want him? Will they still love each other?

Laurelin Paige builds the tension, keeping you wondering what will happen between Gwen and JC. All along, Chandler hovers, waiting to soothe Gwen’s troubled soul. Maybe he’s the right man for her, granted with a little sexual instruction.

And about that sex. Anyone who has read Laurelin Paige’s books knows that the woman can write those sexy times. Chandler may not quite have Hudson’s skills in rocking that headboard, but he’s young. He can learn. We already know what JC can do, but he isn’t around right now, is he. Chandler sure is.

For those of you curious about Alayna and Hudson, they make more than one appearance here. Hudson is still Hudson, but Alayna seems to have gained more confidence in herself. It’s nice to see. You also get a few glimpses of Norma and Boyd, who continue to think that they are hiding their relationship from Hudson. Yeah. Good luck with that.

Whereas Gwen needed to learn to let herself fully feel in Free Me, she needs to learn who she is with and without a man in her life in Find Me. She has depended on others, primarily Norma, to direct and guide her throughout her life, and now it’s time for her to chart her own path. She turns to Alayna for help, but she’s learning to make her own decisions. In order to have the relationship she wants, she first needs to find herself. Neither Norma nor Alayna allows a man to define who she is, and Gwen has to internalize this as well.

Will JC find Gwen? Will Chandler be the one who shows her unconditional love? To some degree, it doesn’t matter. Gwen’s self-discovery takes precedence, and only once she fulfills that will she be the woman that the man in her life needs and deserves.

I enjoyed this one sooooo much. But then again, I am, I admit, a dorky fangirl when it comes to Laurelin Paige.

find me er 3


I grabbed my cell and checked the time. It was six-twenty-nine. I threw it in my purse and turned back to the mirror to give myself a pep talk. “We will not have sex. We will not have sex. We will not have sex.”

Jesus, I was so horny already, and I hadn’t even seen him yet. I’d thought about taking care of myself before JC got there but wasn’t sure if that would make things better or worse. By the time I’d decided it would make it better, Ben was there, and now JC was ringing my buzzer.

“You look incredible,” he said when I opened the door.

I blushed as I gave him a onceover. He was dressed in khakis with a fitted shirt and a lightweight jacket. Lots of buttons, I thought. Which was a good thing, considering how damn good he looked. Had he always been that buff? “You do, too.” My thighs felt hot. Good thing I’d changed out of my pants.

I really should have pulled out my vibrator earlier.

“You brought flowers?” I’d been so taken by him I hadn’t noticed the small bouquet in his hands. Three red roses dressed with some smaller white bell-shaped flowers I couldn’t identify were wrapped in a red ribbon. I hadn’t expected it. “I didn’t know you were the kind of guy who brought girls roses.”

He shrugged with one shoulder. “I’m trying to impress you. I have a feeling this date is a test of some kind, and I want to make sure I pass.”

“Not a test,” I said dismissively. Though, wasn’t that what this was? A test to see if we got along as well outside the bedroom as we did inside? “But thank you. You do impress.”

I shifted my weight to one hip and flitted my glance between JC, still standing on the other side of the threshold, and the flowers in my hand. “I should put these in water.” But I wasn’t sure I was ready to invite him in. Because in meant we’d be closer to my bed. And my couch. And my kitchen counter. All of which were locations that could be tempting.

Really, I just shouldn’t be anywhere alone with him.

Either JC felt the same way I did or he could read my mind. “You can do that later. The plastic containers on the stems should last until we get back. And we should get going.”

“Perfect.” I set them on the console table behind me, relieved and nervous all at once. I took a deep breath, grabbed my purse, and turned back to him. “Let’s go!”

In the hallway, he offered me his hand. I took it, then, there it was—the shock of his touch as his fingers weaved with mine. I let out an involuntary sigh, and with it bricks of tension fell from my body. Release. It shuddered through me as electricity sparked up my limb from where we were connected and spread throughout my body, and I wondered if this was what it felt like to melt. What it felt like to be frozen for so long and then, finally, to have the sun brush against cold ice, transforming it into something more fluid, something entirely different.

I glanced down to where we were joined, so overcome by how right it felt to be touching him in this simple way. When I looked back at him, I found his eyes pinned on me. His expression said he’d felt it too.

“You messed up, you know,” he said, as we started toward the elevator. “You were supposed to wear something that I didn’t want to rip off of you.”

My cheeks heated—actually, I wasn’t sure they’d ever cooled from the first blush he’d caused. “You said it would be impossible for me to wear anything that wouldn’t elicit that response. The only other choice was to go naked.”

“That would have been an excellent choice.”

“But not very practical.”

“I’ve never been a fan of practical.” He pushed the call button and the elevator doors opened immediately, the car likely still there from when he’d arrived.

We stepped inside, our hands still molded together. The doors closed, and I so badly wanted to turn and kiss him.

Instead I delivered the short speech I’d practiced since I’d woken up that afternoon. “I think I should tell you, I don’t have sex on first dates.”

“Wow. That’s…surprising. Considering we had sex before we’d ever even been on a date.” He squeezed my hand. “But, after you left me with blue balls this morning, I already figured out you’d turned into a prude.”

I laughed. “I’m not a prude. I’m cautious. And that’s nothing new. That’s always been me.”

“Yes, it has.” The short phrase was full of subtext, and I knew he was remembering how uptight I’d been when we’d first met. Icy. Frigid bitch.

“I’m better than I was,” I assured him.

He nodded. “I know. Otherwise you wouldn’t have given me even this much of you. And if you want to wait, then I can too.”

What I wanted was to push him against the wall and devour him.

But that was an in-the-moment want, and long-term, I wanted a relationship that was real and lasting. “Thank you. It means a lot.”

He leaned in close and, though we were alone, whispered in my ear. “I’m not going to say that I’m not dying to have you under me, Gwen. Because I am. But I’m dying to just be with you more.”

Despite the descent of the elevator, his words sent me floating. “You’re really good at that impressing thing.”

He gave me my favorite grin. “Who knew?”

find me er 2

Purchase Links:

FIND ME is the HIGHLY ANTICIPATED sequel to FREE ME and the Conclusion of Gwen and JC’s Story


Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

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About the Author:

Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio.

STALK HER:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

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Haven’t read this series yet, check out FREE ME at:

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Cover Reveal: SINS OF SEVIN




(A standalone)

A Contemporary Romance novel

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author

Penelope Ward

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Cover Information

Cover designer: Letitia Hasser, r.b.a designs

Photo: Scott Hoover Photography

Model: Zeb Ringle

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RELEASE DATE: September 21, 2015


From the New York Times bestselling author of Stepbrother Dearest, comes a new forbidden STANDALONE romance.

What happens when the one you want is the only one you can’t have?

My name is Sevin.

Homeschooled and sheltered by my ultra-religious family, I was always taught that lust was a sin.

Elle was the girl who’d been carefully chosen for me.

After a long-distance courtship, I’d be moving into her family’s guesthouse so that we could get to know each other in the months before the wedding.

Boundaries were set: no inappropriate touching, no kissing, no sex before marriage.

I’d accepted those rules and my fate.

Until I met the one I wanted to sin with.

That was when restraint became a problem…especially since the one wasn’t Elle.

It was her sister, Evangeline.

You know what they say about best laid plans.

My name is Sevin, and I have sinned.

Told in alternating points of view, Sins of Sevin is a full-length standalone novel. Contains graphic sexual content and harsh language. Only appropriate for adult readers age 18+.

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Meet Penelope Ward

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 10-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.

Stalk Her: Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

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Other books from Penelope Ward

Cocky Bastard

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Stepbrother Dearest

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Jake Undone (Jake #1)

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My Skylar

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Jake Understood (Jake #2)

Amazon B&NiBooks kobo



somebody I used to knowSomebody I Used to Know

by David Bell

Published by Penguin
432 pages
Genre: mystery; suspense; thriller
4 / 5


When Nick Hansen sees the young woman at the grocery store, his heart stops. She is the spitting image of his college girlfriend, Marissa Minor, who died in a campus house fire twenty years earlier. But when Nick tries to speak to her, she acts skittish and rushes off.

The next morning the police arrive at Nick’s house and show him a photo of the woman from the store. She’s been found dead, murdered in a local motel, with Nick’s name and address on a piece of paper in her pocket.

Convinced there’s a connection between the two women, Nick enlists the help of his college friend Laurel Davidson to investigate the events leading up to the night of Marissa’s death. But the young woman’s murder is only the beginning…and the truths Nick uncovers may make him wish he never doubted the lies.

My Review:

Nick Hansen is forty, divorced, and remains in the town where he went to college and where his life fell apart.

Twenty years earlier, his ex-girlfriend – and soulmate and the woman he was convinced he would be with for the rest of his life – died in a house fire. Nick doesn’t fool himself. He knows he never got over Marissa’s death, and everything he has done since amounts to surviving that loss, a sort of treading of water. He did get married and became a stepfather to a beloved stepson, but has Nick lived? No. Not in the least.

When he bumps into a young woman who looks exactly like Marissa, he is, to put it simply, intrigued. Before he can find out more about this girl, she turns up dead in a sketchy motel room, and she had his name and contact information. The cops are every bit as intrigued as Nick.

There are a couple of mysteries here. First, who is this mystery girl? Who killed her? Second, who really was Marissa?

Nick is determined to find answers to both. He thought he knew Marissa and everything about her, but he begins discovering new facets to her, secrets that she kept from him. He believes that she and the mystery girl are somehow linked, and he needs – not just wants, but needs – to understand how.

One of the mysteries turns out to be not as much of a mystery as you read the book. You figure it out, although you may not know the hows and whys until those are later revealed. The other one unfolds more slowly, and David Bell tosses out a few red herrings to make you suspect different people and motivations. Both resolutions feel legitimate and believable, not contrived or manipulative.

In order for this book to work, you have to fully invest yourself in Nick and his story. He’s a good guy, someone who deserves to get out from under the sadness that blankets every aspect of his life. The only truly fulfilling relationship he has right now is with his dog. All the rest are broken in one degree or another, and none comes close to replacing what he had with Marissa. Yes, there are times when you want to shout at him to get over her already, but Nick thinks of her as not just an ex-girlfriend, but as the woman he was supposed to be with. He can’t replace her. He can’t get over her. She was too significant to him, and her loss is omnipresent.

David Bell maintains a steady pace, ratcheting up the tension and suspense as he drives you closer and closer to finding the answers to your (and Nick’s) questions. You want to protect Nick from bad news, even as you know that he will need to face certain truths in order to free himself to live a rich, full life.

This is an easy book to get into, and once you start it, you won’t be able to put it down. I enjoyed the heck out of it. There is one subplot involving an on- and off-again girlfriend that wasn’t as satisfying, but the book as a whole is entertaining and well done.


About the Author:

David Bell was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. More specifically, he was born and raised on the west side of Cincinnati, which matters—a lot—to people from Cincinnati. The sound of Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall broadcasting Reds’ baseball games provided the soundtrack to his childhood.

David attended St. Catharine of Siena grade school and spent countless hours at the Westwood Public Library developing his love of reading. As a child, one of his favorite books was KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS by Mabel Louise Robinson. David read this book over and over and was disappointed when he grew up and found out the stories in the book weren’t true.

David then attended high school at St. Xavier in Cincinnati. He took his first creative writing class at St. Xavier and wrote his first short stories. Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on how one looks at it—those stories, written before the age of computers, are lost forever.

David attended college at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Not only is it one of the most beautiful campuses in the country—and at the time was home to one of the best basketball teams in the country—it was a great place for someone interested in books and writing to study. David majored in English and took as many classes in his major as he could, studying everything from Homer to Saul Bellow and Grace Paley. He only took one creative writing course—and again those stories are lost to the ages—but he did decide, absent any other job options, that it might just make sense to try to pursue a career as a fiction writer.

Do you really want to know about David’s twenties? Does anyone?

David worked a series of odd jobs—waiter, bartender, book store clerk, telemarketer—in a series of odd places—Shreveport, Louisiana; Savannah, Georgia; Washington D.C. After six years of that, he decided he had had enough of the real world and went to graduate school for creative writing. First for an M.A. at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and then for a Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati. During graduate school, David wrote a few novels, which still survive on his hard drive but have not been published, and sold some short stories to journals large and small—Western Humanities Review, Backwards City Review, The Edge: Tales of Suspense. Some of these journals still exist even after publishing David’s work.

After completing his Ph.D., David returned to teach at Miami University as a visiting professor of creative writing for one year before accepting a tenure-track job at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, North Carolina. After two years in the Tar Heel state, David moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky where he accepted a tenure-track job atWestern Kentucky University. While at WKU, David sold his novel CEMETERY GIRL to NAL/Penguin. When he is not teaching or writing, David watches lots and lots of movies and reads lots and lots of books. He also enjoys walking in the cemetery near his house with his wife, writer and blogger Molly McCaffrey.

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Review copy provided from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Bootycall 2

bootycall 2Bootycall 2

by JD Hawkins

Published by JD Hawkins Publishing
109 pages
Genre: erotica; romance
3.5 / 5


I’m going to show her just how good a bad boy can be…

Everything’s riding on my comeback, but suddenly, Hollywood is the last thing on my mind.

Gemma Clark was supposed to keep me out of trouble, but now I’m in way over my head. What we have is real — too real. It’s just a matter of time before it all comes crashing down.

I need to face my demons, but what happens when she discovers the truth?

My Review:

At the end of Bootycall 1, Gemma thought that Dylan had left and abandoned her in Las Vegas. This book picks up right when that ended, so you immediately find out where Dylan went and what happened. Sort of – you find out enough, I guess.

And that comprises my issues with this book: you sort of find out enough.

Dylan thinks he wants Gemma in his life, but he has Issues, and until he confronts and deals with those Issues, he will be of no use to Gemma. At the same time, he’s starring in a big comeback movie on which his future as an actor rides.

You absolutely must read Bootycall 1 to get what you need out of this book. (And, again, I wonder why these two were not combined into one book. Together they equal less than 250 pages.) There are hints as to what plagues Dylan in the first book, and here they are more fully fleshed out. That they are clichés is somewhat beside the point. I guess as demons go, Dylan’s are believable, if only because you’ve seen them so many times before.

JD Hawkins is an astute writer, and he realizes that he has to bring his couple together as quickly as possible, especially when he’s working with only about 100 pages. Readers want to get to the hot headboard rocking, and therefore Gemma and Dylan need to be together. So Praise Kama Sutra, Hawkins serves up the sexy times post haste.

And they are goooood.

Strap on your vibrators, girls. You will need them to help you reach …. release.

As established in Part 1, Gemma is the backbone in this relationship. She’s the strong one, despite Dylan having the Hollywood Bad Boy thing going for him, so the success of their romance relies on whether she has enough strength for the two of them.

The Bootycall books are quick, fun, hot reads, and join me in anticipating more from JD Hawkins.


About the Author:

JD grew up in Southern California and now lives with his wife in Venice, CA. He also has lived in NYC, India and Thailand. He loves to travel and has basically been everywhere, from Australia to Europe and the Middle East. He has a boring corporate day job where he covers people’s asses for a living and hopes to leave this world soon and make a living doing the things he loves. He enjoys surfing and he’s also a martial artist, his main passion, specializing in South-East Asian fighting styles.

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bootycall 1Bootycall 1

by JD Hawkins

Published by JD Hawkins Books
130 pages
Genre: erotica; romance
3.5 / 5


Red carpet. Backstage. VIP all the way, baby.

When you’re the prince of Hollywood, and everyone wants a piece of the action. I’ve got paparazzi stalking my every move, and supermodels lined up to spread their legs for a shot at fame. But this girl is different. She’s been hired by the studio to keep me in line. One wrong move, and my comeback is going up in smoke.

I should keep my distance, but I’ve never played by the rules.
I’m going to show her just how good a bad boy can be.

My Review:

As you read this quick, deliciously spicy book, picture Colin Farrell as Dylan. DO IT. (JD Hawkins says that Farrell was his “inspiration” for the character.) Doing so will make this an even more deliciously spicy book to enjoy.

Dylan is a once-hot actor on the brink of career death. Thanks to an offer to star in a sure-fire hit, he has one last chance at success, but that chance hinges on a babysitter hired by the studio. Perhaps this would not be a problem, if said babysitter didn’t happen to be Gemma, the woman with whom Dylan just shared a tantalizing, erotic, one night stand, thanks to a Bootycall App.

Can they keep their hands off each other? Can Gemma keep Dylan under control?

Gemma comes into this arrangement after suffering through a series of disappointments that could crush someone weaker. Her strength is at the focus of this book and its successor because without her, Dylan stands to lose everything. He may not realize that, but Gemma (and Dylan’s employers and pretty much everyone else) does. Like the Insatiable books, you get the perspectives of both the hero and heroine, which is helpful in such a fast-paced story.

What the book lacks in plot it makes up for in hot headboard rocking. And I mean H-O-T. This is JD Hawkins’ third book (he previously delivered the steamy duet of Insatiable 1 and 2), and he proves himself an adept talent at writing erotic romances. Strap on your vibrators, girls. The sexy times are nicely detailed and quite effective, if you know what I mean.

Followers of my reviews know that I have a particular animus toward a series comprised of novellas when they could be combined into one substantial novel. Those feelings have not changed, regardless of how hot JD Hawkins’ writing may be. And so I shall continue tilting at windmills.


About the Author:

JD grew up in Southern California and now lives with his wife in Venice, CA. He also has lived in NYC, India and Thailand. He loves to travel and has basically been everywhere, from Australia to Europe and the Middle East. He has a boring corporate day job where he covers people’s asses for a living and hopes to leave this world soon and make a living doing the things he loves. He enjoys surfing and he’s also a martial artist, his main passion, specializing in South-East Asian fighting styles.

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