Tuesday, August 30, 2016

5 STAR REVIEW Taming the Highlander by May McGoldrick

Taming the Highlander 
Scottish Relic Trilogy #2
by May McGoldrick
This new historical romance from May McGoldrick pits one spirited lass against her biggest challenge yet: a Highland lord who has no desire to lose his heart.

Publisher ~ st. martin's press romance
Categories ~ historical romance
Find This Book At ~ Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


This new historical romance from May McGoldrick pits one spirited lass against her biggest challenge yet: a Highland lord who has no desire to lose his heart.

Innes Munro has the ability to "read" a person’s past simply by touching them, but her gift comes with a heavy price: her freedom. Forced to stay at desolate Castle Girnigoe, Innes never expects to be drawn to the wounded warrior who haunts its dark passages and challenges her at every turn.

Conall Sinclair, the earl of Caithness, carries the scars of battles with the English and the lash marks of their dungeons, but the wounds that fester within give him even greater pain. Isolating himself from his clan and the rest of the world in a tower perched on the wild Scottish coast, Conall is reluctant to let the spirited Innes close to him, however neither can deny the growing passion that ignites with every look, every touch.

But can Conall ever love a woman who can read his darkest secrets and feel the pain he hides... and can love really tame all fears? As dangerous forces close in, Conall and Innes must take the ultimate leap of faith and forge a bond of trust that will save them both...or lose each other forever.



Book 2 of the Scottish Relic Trilogy hits a 5 STAR home run! The authors continue mesmerizing the readers with a solid well written story of intrigue, mysticism, brokenness within families and love.

This fast paced plot deals with Conall being fractured due to war and injury, Innes who can touch no one and of course families trying to heal and create a world where they can all be happy and loved.

The well thought out plot will keep the reader on the edge of their seat wondering if Conall and Innes can find a way to communicate and open themselves to each other. It was interesting seeing the authors fully develop the compassionate love story part of the plot before they brought in the same evil villainbrutal Sir Ralph Evers from Much Ado About Highlanders book #1 of this series. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the humor that is interwoven in the story with the marriage of Innes's younger sister, Ailein to Bryce, Conall's younger brother. It was amusing watching those two bicker from the moment of their wedding. The readers will be delighted when they discover what all the bickering was about.

I give this 5 STARS for it's compassionate portrayal of Conall and the interjection of some humor to offset the intensity of the love story.

A copy was gifted in exchange for an honest opinion via Netgalley.


My Reviews Of The Series ~
Much Ado About Highlanders #1 ~ my review
Taming the Highlander #2 my review
Tempest in the Highlands #3 ~ my review
 
May McGoldrick
(a.k.a. Nikoo & Jim McGoldrick)

Two peas in a pod, a pair of halfwits, the Laurel and Hardy of romance fiction...Nikoo & Jim McGoldrick were married in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin 68 years ago before a worldwide television audience. After a honeymoon tour of their oil fields in Iran, they embarked on a writing career that has produced dozens of New York Times bestsellers, two Academy Award Winning film adaptations, and a Nobel Prize for Literature. After all this, fortune FINALLY smiled on them and they won the New Jersey Lottery. Taking their two sons, Nikoo and Jim spent a year backpacking through Africa and then seven years in Tibet, teaching the Dalai Lama the subtle intricacies of Scrabble. Upon returning to the States, these two storytellers wrote thirty adult and young adult novels, two of which were RITA finalists and three which were NJRW Golden Leaf winners. They have also written two nonfiction works. Nikoo picked up an engineering degree somewhere along the way, and Jim has a PhD in 16th Century British literature. 

These two write under the pseudonyms of May McGoldrick, Jan Coffey, and Nicole Cody and they now reside in Watertown, Connecticut.

Find the Author At ~ Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Guest Reviewer #USofBooks Empire Falls by Richard Russo



For more information on the United States of Books (click here for details).

The United States of Books the State of Maine


Empire Falls
by Richard Russo

Guest Reviewer: HC at The Irresponsible Reader (where you can find a longer, more rambly and personal version of this post) 


It is just daunting to try to talk about this book -- especially in something that'd make a decent-length blog post and not a full-fledged dissertation. Empire Falls won Richard Russo his (seemingly) inevitable Pulitzer Prize in 2002 and stands as one of the greatest achievements in his storied career. It is at once a story about a town and a man, microcosms for the state and the nation; it's both sweeping and epic while being personal and intimate.

The story centers on Miles Roby, manager of the Empire Grill in Empire Falls, ME. He has an ex-wife (who I truly despised), a daughter (who I wanted more of), an ex-mother-in-law that seems to like and respect him a lot more than her own daughter, s (even if they don't see eye to eye much lately). But more importantly he has a patron -- the town matriarch, owner of the Empire Grill, and most of the various places of employment in town. She's a patron, a would-be surrogate mother (for a select few), and petty tyrant over the city. It's one of those small towns where the mayor/council/etc. have real power, but it's only the power she lets them have, you know? Francine Whiting isn't evil -- well, I'll let you decide for yourself -- but at the end of the day, she thinks she's doing what is right for Empire Falls, the Whiting legacy and her daughter -- whether or not anyone wants what she thinks is best. She still could be evil, I guess, and I could very likely made a case for it. Anyhow, let the reader decide.

The trials and dreams and efforts of Miles and his family as he tries to do something different with his life are the core of the novel -- but they're not all of it. The town is full of interesting people -- many aren't vital to the overall story (but you can't know until the end who those are), but they all add flavor. Most are so fleshed out that you could imagine a short story/novel centered on them. While reading Song in Ordinary Time a few months back, I kept asking myself what made the people in that novel so unlikeable when in many ways they reminded me of Empire Falls' cast. I came to this conclusion (and have since reconsidered and still think it's basically right): Russo uses the flaws in his characters to emphasize their humanity, Morris uses the flaws to emphasize their flaws.

But I come not to bury Morris (again), but to talk about Empire Falls, so let me focus on this a bit more: the flawed humanity isn't pretty, it's frequently ugly, people who make mistakes (some tragic, some dumb) are usually trying to do the right/moral/noble thing and it doesn't work. But it's real. This could all be real. Even Janice, Miles' ex, is a well-developed character -- and I think I've met a handful of people just like her -- and I wouldn't dislike her as much as I did if Russo hadn't nailed the writing.

There's an event towards the end -- one of the two or three that you ultimately realize the whole novel has been leading up to -- that in 2001 would've been truly shocking (shocked me a few years ago), but in many ways it's de rigueur now. 2016 readers might be bored by it, but I can't imagine that many readers in 2001 were. I'm not going to say more -- just if you read this, put yourself in the shoes of readers from 15 years ago when you get to that bit.

Yes, Empire Falls is slow (sometimes), ponderous (sometimes) but it's also inspiring (sometimes), heartwarming (sometimes) and many other things that I could parenthetically qualify. But every negative about it is utterly worth it for the positives.

What I learned about Maine: (haven't done this in awhile, whoops). It's a beautiful state, filled with people who could be better educated, who aren't vocationally ready for what's coming for them thanks to the technological shift in jobs. It's a state where people, nature and industry who have been damaged by reckless policies and practices. It's a state where nature exerts itself every now and then to remind people how powerful it is. Basically, Maine's just like every other state in the union -- just a little different.

One more thing, not that this'll surprise many, but I'd advise skipping the HBO miniseries -- yeah, it's a fairly faithful adaptation, it just doesn't have the heart.

I'll be honest with you, I didn't read this book for this series of posts -- breaking a personal resolution. There were 3 reasons for this: 1. Time; 2. I really wasn't up for the emotional punches this delivers, and 3. I didn't need to -- I still remember it well enough to discuss at a length greater than I have despite being 4 years and change since I read it. That right there should tell you something about the book -- hundreds of books later and I almost feel like I read it a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure that this is the Russo novel I'd tell people to start with (probably Straight Man), and I don't think it's his best (probably Bridge of Sighs (tells a story almost as epic in scope, with greater economy and greater depth when it comes to individual characters), but there's no denying the talent on display here, the greatness of the execution, the vibrancy of the characters, or the impact it has on the reader. No brainer, 5 Stars from me.

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REVIEW Release #GIVEAWAY Event ~ An Indecent Proposal by Katee Robert


AN INDECENT PROPOSAL
 by Katee Robert

When a no strings attached arrangement turns into something more, Cillian O’Malley and Olivia Rashidi must overcome the family ties that bind them. Fans of Jackie Ashenden’s Make You Mine and Kresley Cole’s The Master, will devour the super steamy and fast paced third book, An Indecent Proposal in the wildly popular O’ Malley series by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Katee Robert.


Title: An Indecent Proposal
Author: Katee Robert
Series: The O’Malley Series #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing- Forever

Synopsis:
Greed. Ambition. Violence. Those are the "values" Olivia Rashidi learned from her Russian mob family-and the values she must leave behind for the sake of her daughter. When she meets Cillian O'Malley, she recognizes the red flag of his family name . . . yet she still can't stop herself from seeing the smoldering, tortured man. To save her family, Olivia sets out to discover Cillian's own secrets, but the real revelation is how fast-and how hard-she's falling for him.

Plagued by a violent past, Cillian is more vulnerable than anyone realizes. Anyone except Olivia, whose beauty, compassion, and pride have him at "hello," even if she's more inclined to say good-bye to an O'Malley. While his proposal of sex with no strings seems simple, what he feels for her isn't, especially after he learns that she belongs to a rival crime family. Cillian knows that there is no escape from the life, but Olivia may be worth trying-and dying-for . . .

Get More information at: Goodreads  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes


Though traditionally I am not a fan of mob genres this book caught my attention. It could of been the great cover or synopsis but for whatever reason I decided to read it, I sat mesmerized throughout the book reading it in one sitting. 

Cillian and Olivia are like oil and vinegar and the author does a superb job of keeping this sexual tension throughout the story. Cillian's character shows a broken man in the inside who has no clue what his life is about while from the outside he has it all going for him. Being inside his head really sparked my compassionate side and drew me to him with a desire that he would be able to find happiness.

Olivia was full of spunk and her no nonsense "I will survive" personality won me over to her side. She is shown as strong, loving, compassionate with those she trusted as well as tough and a survivor. She is quick to make decisions and if they are wrong to correct them as soon as she can.

This is an unusual love hate story as it involves lots of mob families jocking to be number one but all intertwined by loves in other mobs.

I know the reader will love this story and I give it 4-1/2 STARS for being a complex but clear read.

A copy was gifted in exchange for an honest opinion via Netgalley.



~~ My Reviews Of The O'Malleys Series ~~ 

The Marriage Contract #1 - My Review
The Wedding Pact #2 - My Review
An Indecent Proposal #3 - My Review
Forbidden Promises #4 - My Review
Undercover Attraction #5 - Coming November 2017

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29271/?




New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and it changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and speculative fiction romance novels, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her wee ones, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 





Excerpt #1
“Hey, stop!”

She ran after him, thankful she’d put on her badass studded boots instead of the pair of heels she’d been jonesing after. An eight-hour shift on her feet would have her hating herself if she’d gone with the pretty shoes—and they would have made it impossible to catch up with the O’Malley.

She grabbed his arm and froze at the feel of his muscles flexing in her grip. Holy wow.
He finally turned to face her and it struck her that, without the bar between them, he was so much larger than she was. Not large like her ex, Sergei—this man was built lean instead of for brute strength—but he still dwarfed her. And he smelled good, like some kind of spicy men’s cologne that instantly had her thinking thoughts she had no business entertaining.
Like what it would be like to bury her nose in his neck and inhale deeply. The insane desire to do so almost overwhelmed her.

Everything about him was overwhelming, from his beautiful face, to his impeccably styled dark hair, to the tattoos peeking out of his clothes at neck and wrists. The ink creeping up the side of his neck was like a wild thing trying to escape from his insanely expensive suit, a strange combination of brutal strength and poised polish that she should have known better than to be attracted to.

Except, apparently, her body hadn’t gotten the memo.

She realized she was still clutching his arm and made herself let go so she could offer back the cash. Right, because that’s why you chased him down a dark street. “I don’t want your money.”
“It’s called a tip, sweetheart. It’s just good manners.”

“I don’t want it.” Even as she said it, she wondered why she was being so damn stubborn about this. He hadn’t asked anything of her. All he’d done was throw too much money at a bartender, which was something plenty of drunks did from time to time. Except he wasn’t drunk. She should be elated at having the extra cash—God knew she needed it. Instead, there was a growing recklessness in her chest, one she’d thought she’d outgrown a long time ago. “Just take it, okay?”

“No.” His gaze narrowed on her face, giving her the sudden thought that he saw too much. Before she could decide what to do with that, he moved closer, giving her another whiff of that cologne that made her whole body break out in goose bumps. Or maybe it was the man himself, the streetlights creating a skeleton’s mask of his face, turning his eyes into dark pits of shadows. “Why do you care so much?”

“Oh my God, just take it back.” She should drop the cash and head for home. Or, hell, at least take a few steps away so that she wasn’t in danger of brushing against him if she took a deep breath.
But she couldn’t force her hand to unclench or her feet to create any distance between them. She cleared her throat, trying to get her thoughts back on track. “I didn’t ask for your charity.”

“Yeah, I got it. You win. I’m an asshole.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Not in so many words, no.” His gaze raked her body much the same way it had back at the bar, making every alarm in her head go off. Spending any more time in this man’s presence was dangerous, though she couldn’t say for sure what she was most afraid of. She lifted her chin in challenge, demanding…She wasn’t sure what she was demanding. Her gaze dropped to his mouth, and she licked her lips. What am I doing? Walk away. Walk away right now.

No. Not yet.

He murmured, “If the shoe fits…”

And then he gripped her jaw and kissed her.

Find The Author At ~

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Katee Robert's An Indecent Proposal Excerpt Reveal


AN INDECENT PROPOSAL
 by Katee Robert

When a no strings attached arrangement turns into something more, Cillian O’Malley and Olivia Rashidi must overcome the family ties that bind them. Fans of Jackie Ashenden’s Make You Mine and Kresley Cole’s The Master, will devour the super steamy and fast paced third book, An Indecent Proposal in the wildly popular O’ Malley series by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Katee Robert.


Title: An Indecent Proposal
Author: Katee Robert
Series: The O’Malley Series #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing- Forever

Synopsis:
Greed. Ambition. Violence. Those are the "values" Olivia Rashidi learned from her Russian mob family-and the values she must leave behind for the sake of her daughter. When she meets Cillian O'Malley, she recognizes the red flag of his family name . . . yet she still can't stop herself from seeing the smoldering, tortured man. To save her family, Olivia sets out to discover Cillian's own secrets, but the real revelation is how fast-and how hard-she's falling for him.

Plagued by a violent past, Cillian is more vulnerable than anyone realizes. Anyone except Olivia, whose beauty, compassion, and pride have him at "hello," even if she's more inclined to say good-bye to an O'Malley. While his proposal of sex with no strings seems simple, what he feels for her isn't, especially after he learns that she belongs to a rival crime family. Cillian knows that there is no escape from the life, but Olivia may be worth trying-and dying-for . . .

Get More information at: Goodreads  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes


Though traditionally I am not a fan of mob genres this book caught my attention. It could of been the great cover or synopsis but for whatever reason I decided to read it, I sat mesmerized throughout the book reading it in one sitting. 

Cillian and Olivia are like oil and vinegar and the author does a superb job of keeping this sexual tension throughout the story. Cillian's character shows a broken man in the inside who has no clue what his life is about while from the outside he has it all going for him. Being inside his head really sparked my compassionate side and drew me to him with a desire that he would be able to find happiness.


Olivia was full of spunk and her no nonsense "I will survive" personality won me over to her side. She is shown as strong, loving, compassionate with those she trusted as well as tough and a survivor. She is quick to make decisions and if they are wrong to correct them as soon as she can.


This is an unusual love hate story as it involves lots of mob families jocking to be number one but all intertwined by loves in other mobs.


I know the reader will love this story and I give it 4-1/2 STARS for being a complex but clear read.

A copy was gifted in exchange for an honest opinion via Netgalley.



New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and it changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and speculative fiction romance novels, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her wee ones, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 

Connect with Katee at: Website | Facebook | Twitter| GoodReads | Instagram |




Excerpt
“Thanks.” There it was again, that look that threatened to curl her toes. He reached out and took the washcloth from her and tossed it onto the nightstand. “I’m going to kiss you now.”
She should object, move away, do something other than rest her hands on the top of his thighs and tilt her head up. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Didn’t the last few years teach you anything? Apparently not, because she wanted Cillian to kiss her again, and she wanted him to kiss her now.

Truth be told, she wanted him to do a whole lot more than that.

Olivia licked her lips. “Okay.”

His lips quirked up at the edges. “I can see I’m blowing your socks off. Let’s see if I can do better.” He cupped her face with one hand and then his mouth was on hers, soft and teasing, testing—nothing like the forceful kiss that started everything last night. She opened for him immediately, driven by the lightning dancing just beneath her skin. She wished she could blame it on being skin-starved, but the truth was that this man was doing more with a near-innocent kiss than Sergei had ever done with his entire body and hours at his disposal. I am in so much trouble.

Then Cillian’s tongue stroked hers and she was lost. She gripped his thighs as he explored her mouth, giving herself permission to do some exploring of her own. He was all lean muscle, as if he’d been melted down and stuck in a forge, only to come out new. She ran her hands up his legs, stopping just short of his hips.

He took it from there. He ran his fingers through her hair and down her back, inching her closer until there was nothing more than a breath of distance between them. It would have been so damn easy to lean forward and touch him, pressing her body against his, but the separation was almost unbearably erotic. She shivered again, tilting her head back to give him better access.
She’d never been kissed like this, like she was something to be savored…valued. Like he had all the time in the world and he’d still never get enough.

Common sense tried to rear up and remind her that it was a goddamn kiss, not a lifetime commitment, but then his thumb feathered across the underside of her breast, and all rational reasoning flew right out the window.

He rested his forehead against hers, and groaned. “You’re making it hard to be good, sweetheart.”



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