Spotlight: A Sea of Lies by H. Dillon Hunt

Bree Harrington and Sam Hudson have oceans between them. For one thing, she’s married. The legitimacy of her marriage, or lack thereof, is not enough to push their relationship past the bounds of friendship, but it doesn’t take long to realize they’ve both found something others have searched the world for… The other half of their soul. 

 
Sam leaves Bree breathless from the moment they meet. Bree leaves Sam heartless from the moment she leaves.
 
When Bree’s husband dies, she finds herself utterly alone. And after years of trying to put the broken pieces back together, fate gives her and Sam a second chance. But the years of distance between them have come with many omitted truths. Can a once in a lifetime kind of love survive a sea of lies?

 

H. Dillon Hunt lives in Huntsville, Alabama where she grew up and will never ever, ever get to leave. If she had it her way, she would live in Seattle, but she loves her family so she stays in the slow-moving, muggy, Ala-freakin-bama.
 
She and her husband Tim have five fur-babies together, two dogs Sammi and Shadow and three cats, Teddy, Thea, and Felicity. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading Harry Potter (Ravenclaw but a Slytherin if you cross her), working as a makeup artist, or riding horses. By day, she works as an interior designer and wedding planner, and by night she writes and tries to live out her fantasy as a rock star. She is currently writing her third standalone novel, which will release in 2020.
 
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Cover Reveal: Violet Addiction by Kirsty Dallas

Title: Violet Addiction: Author: Kirsty Dallas

Genre: Contemporary Romance: Published: November 2014

Cover Design: KD Publications

Soul mates don’t always make each other
happy . . .they make each other feel.
I was just a shy teenage girl when Cain
breezed into my world in a flurry
of musical notes and lyrics. 
He made me feel everything
when in reality I was nothing.
Cain loved me at my worst,
his arms held me at my weakest.
I think we were meant to be,
except, I did it all wrong.

Kirsty Dallas is an international bestselling and award winning author from the south east corner of Queensland, Australia. Her comedy romance, Decker’s Wood, was an Amazon, iBooks and Nook bestseller, and was also a Goodreads Top 10 Comedy for 2014. Novels to date also include the highly acclaimed Mercy’s Angels Series which tackles the subject of violence against women, and standalone novels Breeze of Life, Violet Addiction, Stupid Love, the award winning dark romance, When Nothing Is All You’ve Got, and Liberty.

Kirsty Dallas’ stories are renowned for their raw honesty and engaging characters. Plots that delve into the frightening subjects of abuse, rape, drugs and violence are twisted into the pages of her books, bringing heart stopping action and a roller coaster of emotion.

Working with Australian Director and screen writer, Chris Sun, Kirsty worked as script editor on the horror feature film, Boar. Boar was signed to Universal Pictures Australia, and was released in 2018.

 

Kirsty has three books sets for release in early 2019. Beauty Part 1 & 2 are a dark romance novella duet derived from Anita Gray’s bestselling ‘Blaire’s World’, and Zombie Playlist is a standalone romance set in a zombie ravaged Texas, and explores the possibility that music can get us through anything, even a crumbling society. For further information on her previous and or future work, you can find Kirsty at:

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Spotlight: Fairy Tale Lies (Book #1: Opposites Attract Series) by DK Marie

Greta and Jacob aren’t looking for love, but when they meet their attraction is white hot, melting away all self-restraint. Both times.

The first is a stormy spring afternoon, spent indulging in each other’s bodies. They parted ways convinced they’re nothing more than an erotic chapter in the other’s life. However, when they unexpectedly meet again, Jacob isn’t willing to let Greta slip away. He convinces her to give them a chance.

Lust turns to love, but resentments fester. People close to Greta repeatedly interfere until Jacob’s convinced Greta will never see him as anything more than a blue-collar nobody. A temporary indulgence. Greta fears she isn’t strong enough to stand against both her family’s scorn and Jacob’s growing anger.
As tempers flare and passions deepen, Greta and Jacob have to decide if their love is strong enough to shatter the cynicism and misconceptions of what it means to be each other’s fairytale ending.


DK Marie’s a voracious reader. Her number one love is romance and devours any and all of its genres, but also enjoys thrillers, horror, and non-fiction. Basically, if there are words on a page and a spectacular story, she’s diving in, heart and soul.

However, there’s one thing she loves even more, and that’s writing her own steamy contemporary romances. They’re a mixture of heart, heat, and humor. Brimming with confident heroines and kind heroes, all living, loving, and lusting in and around her hometown of Detroit, Michigan. 

When not falling in love with her characters, DK Marie is laughing, relaxing, and planning her next adventure with her family. Okay, and also drinking boatloads of coffee, chatting on social media, and dreaming about her next travel destination.
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Review: Heartbreaker by Inara Scott

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Mistakes? She’s made a few…

Dropped out of high school? Check. Ran away with loser boyfriend at age sixteen? Check. Fell for every line from every guy? Sadly, check. But now, Tess Papion has started over. Juggling multiple part-time jobs while finishing her college degree, she’s not letting anything get in her way. Especially not a sexy angel investor with “one-night disaster” written all over him.

Mason Coleman just inherited a 200-pound invalid Mastiff—and an intriguing, unusual, and thoroughly infuriating dog nanny who turns his life upside down the moment she steps through his front door. No matter how she makes him feel Mason doesn’t do commitment—so what happens when he falls for her? And worse, what happens when she wants nothing to do with him?

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Source: NetGalley and Entangled Publishing          Rating: 4/5 stars

Not many love stories start with a 200 pound Mastiff with a bum leg 😊  Mason Coleman doesn’t actually own the lazy beast he currently has possession of, but he is going to care for him until his sister can reclaim her slobbery monster.  Unfortunately, Mason can’t be there 24/7 for the beast as he so clearly needs which leads Mason to an embarrassing bit of begging which results in Tess Papion becoming the beast’s caretaker. 

Tess’s background has brought her to the point in her life where she has learned to rely on only herself.  In Tess’s experience, relying on others only brings you heartbreak, disappointment, and debt.  Tess may have next to nothing now, but she doesn’t have any debt and she sure isn’t looking for a man to cause her anymore heartbreak.  With many jobs, a house that’s falling apart but hers, and a goal of vet school, Tess only accepts Mason Coleman’s offer because of the beautiful beast who clearly needs her, and the ridiculous amount of money Mason is offering.  Sure, Mason is smoking hot and certainly knows how to turn on the charm, but he has “love ‘em and leave ‘em” written all over him.  Yeah, it’s best to avoid temptation like that.

Mason just can’t understand Tess.  He can clearly see she wants him, but she is startingly stubborn and insistent on keeping their relationship strictly professional.  Because he’s a gentleman, Mason agrees to most of Tess’s terms, but doesn’t agree to ignoring her and letting her be to just complete her job and go home.  In fact, Mason makes it his mission to get to know Tess, understand her, and with luck, that effort will be rewarded with some sexy times.  Because of his own past, Mason naturally assumes he will be successful, but he hasn’t ever met anyone like Tess.  In short order, Mason realizes he hasn’t ever met anyone like Tess and that changes everything for Mason.  In fact, meeting Tess and getting to know her causes Mason to reevaluate nearly every aspect of his life. 

The days go by quickly for both Tess and Mason and as they get to know one another, over coffee and long walks with the slobbery beast, each begins to question some their most basic life choices.  Mason makes Tess want to consider trying and trust someone other than herself, and Tess causes Mason to consider seeing the same woman beyond his normal four dates.  Their lives begin to blend beyond the care of the hulking beast, and both find it harder and harder to ignore the growing feelings and palpable chemistry.  That is, until the unthinkable happens and Tess completely melts down!

The Bottom Line: This was my first Inara Scott read and I’m feeling pretty good about coming back for some more!  With the exception of one thing – Tess’s constant whining about not relying on anyone other than herself – I quite enjoyed this book!  I have a hard time resisting a hot guy caring for a fur baby in need so this one really started off quite right for me.  As the book wore on I found I very much liked the entire cast of characters, especially Mason’s two best friends. The expanded cast of characters very much adds to the overall depth of the read and clearly sets up the next two books in the series.  To be sure, this one has a bit of everything including good dialogue, appropriate sexy times (nothing gratuitous!), some fine humor, and just enough drama to be a properly emotional read.  I’m ready for book two and sincerely hoping it’s Connor’s story; what a wonderfully oblivious nerd he is 😊

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Mini-Review: A Slice of Magic by A.G. Mayes

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Susanna Daniels has spent over twenty years wondering why her beloved Aunt Erma disappeared from her life. When Aunt Erma leaves a voicemail asking for help at her pie shop, Susanna thinks she’s finally going to get the answers she’s been waiting for.

But when Susanna arrives in the small town of Hocus Hills, Aunt Erma is gone, leaving only a short note and her mischievous dog, Mitzy. Running a pie shop is harder than Susanna could have ever imagined. To top it off she has an inspector and an overzealous gym owner breathing down her neck. Then a cookie shop opens up down the street bringing competition she can’t afford.

As if that isn’t enough, strange things start happening around town.

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Source: NetGalley and HarperImpulse         Rating: 3/5 stars

The Bottom Line: I can’t say I was blown away by this book, but I did like it and am glad I gave it a shot. In truth, A Slice of Magic reads like a combination of a paranormal read and a cozy mystery so, a cozy paranormal.  From the beginning, you (and Susanna) understand there is something drastically different about Hocus Hills.  As Susanna works diligently to keep her aunt’s immensely popular pie shop afloat, she suspects there is something big she is missing that is keeping her from baking perfect pies and being fully accepted by the rest of the town.  For several weeks, Susanna struggles to understand what it is she is missing and when the truth finally comes to light, it is far weirder and more awesome than she ever could have expected.  Ultimately, this is a decent read that is very quick and while I wouldn’t put it to the top of your TBR list, I would pull it out on a day when you’re just in the mood for something light, fun, and full of tasty treats.

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Mini-Review: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

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Masha is drowning. Once a spirited, independent woman with a rebellious streak, her life has been forever changed by a tragic event twelve years ago. Unable to let go of her grief, she finds solace in the silent company of the souls of her local Victorian cemetery and at the town’s lido, where she seeks refuge underwater – safe from the noise and the pain.

But a chance encounter with two extraordinary women – the fabulous and wise Kitty Muriel, a convent girl-turned-magician’s wife-turned-seventy-something-roller-disco-fanatic, and the mysterious Sally Red Shoes, a bag lady with a prodigious voice – opens up a new world of possibilities, and the chance to start living again.

Until the fateful day when the past comes roaring back…

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Source: NetGalley and Two Roads          Rating: 5/5 stars

The Bottom Line: I spent roughly the first 30% of this book having no idea where it was going and not caring one bit!!  From the moment this book opens you are drawn into Masha’s story, her pain, and her struggle to move beyond the loss of her beloved son.  That movement is aided significantly by Masha’s own realization about the effect her grief is having on her family and friends, a conscious decision to make changes and move forward, and the friendships she develops with Kitty Muriel and Sally Red Shoes.  As the friendships develop, Masha learns to see life as a thing worth living and not a thing to regret and feel guilty over.  In fact, as Masha draws closer to both Sally and Kitty Muriel, she finds deep wisdom and valuable life lessons can be learned from the older woman, lessons that help push Masha beyond her grief and toward a better and happier life. 

Beyond the friendships, which are utterly fascinating, I also very much enjoyed Masha’s trips to the cemetery.  While this may sound decidedly morbid, Masha’s trips are actually full of imagination and joy.  Though she is dealing with her own loss and pain, Masha has turned the cemetery into a place that celebrates life and imagines, quite literally, the lives of the people who now occupy many of the graves.  To deal with her own issues, Masha has created a rich and wonderful world populated by the dead or, as Masha calls them, her family on the other side.  I quite enjoyed these trips to the cemetery as much as Masha’s beast of a dog 😊 

In truth, I absolutely requested this book based on the title alone!  How do you refuse and/or ignore a title like The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes?  What I got was a wonderful story, a deep and rich world populated by wonderfully unique characters and a twist that left me reeling.  This one is an absolute top recommendation!

Pre-order now for the June 11, 2019 release: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Hardback

 

Mini-Review: The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe

41812813Connie Goodwin is an expert on America’s fractured past with witchcraft. A young, tenure-track professor in Boston, she’s earned career success by studying the history of magic in colonial America—especially women’s home recipes and medicines—and by exposing society’s threats against women fluent in those skills. But beyond her studies, Connie harbors a secret: She is the direct descendant of a woman tried as a witch in Salem, an ancestor whose abilities were far more magical than the historical record shows.

When a hint from her mother and clues from her research lead Connie to the shocking realization that her partner’s life is in danger, she must race to solve the mystery behind a hundreds’-years-long deadly curse.

Flashing back through American history to the lives of certain supernaturally gifted women, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs affectingly reveals not only the special bond that unites one particular matriarchal line, but also explores the many challenges to women’s survival across the decades—and the risks some women are forced to take to protect what they love most.

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Source: NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company     Rating: 3/5 stars

The Bottom Line: I wanted to like this book so much more than I actually did and I can only pinpoint one element which kept me from truly loving a book that is generally right up my alley.  Here’s my issue: the paranormal elements don’t feel at all like they fit with the rest of the story.  I feel like this book is two books, one historical fiction and one paranormal, squished together for a poor fit.  Any historical fiction related to witches and the Salem Witch Trials is going to be able to stand alone for many readers so adding the paranormal elements to this particular story didn’t feel either needed or necessary.  What’s more, I found Connie to be the least likeable of all the characters which left me struggling to root for her.  I did like Sam, Grace, and Zazi a whole lot and feel like they really kept the story moving more than Connie did: Sam is a kind soul, Zazi is a firecracker, and Grace is just the right amount of hippie.  I also enjoyed the explanations of the time period and the magic and how the past dramatically impacted the present.  If it weren’t for the wonkily (that’s a technical term) added paranormal elements, I think I would have felt much differently about this book and been able to assign it a much higher star rating. 

Pre-order now for the June 25, 2019 release: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Hardcover| Audible