Review: It Takes Two to Tumble (Seducing the Sedgwicks #1) by Cat Sebastian

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Author: Cat Sebastian
Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Format: Paperback
Page Length: 304 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Some of Ben Sedgwick’s favorite things:

Helping his poor parishioners
Baby animals
Shamelessly flirting with the handsome Captain Phillip Dacre

After an unconventional upbringing, Ben is perfectly content with the quiet, predictable life of a country vicar, free of strife or turmoil. When he’s asked to look after an absent naval captain’s three wild children, he reluctantly agrees, but instantly falls for the hellions. And when their stern but gloriously handsome father arrives, Ben is tempted in ways that make him doubt everything.

Some of Phillip Dacre’s favorite things:

His ship
People doing precisely as they’re told
Touching the irresistible vicar at every opportunity

Phillip can’t wait to leave England’s shores and be back on his ship, away from the grief that haunts him. But his children have driven off a succession of governesses and tutors and he must set things right. The unexpected presence of the cheerful, adorable vicar sets his world on its head and now he can’t seem to live without Ben’s winning smiles or devastating kisses.

In the midst of runaway children, a plot to blackmail Ben’s family, and torturous nights of pleasure, Ben and Phillip must decide if a safe life is worth losing the one thing that makes them come alive.

I’ve been putting this book FOREVER because I’ve been waiting for an audiobook release. I absolutely loved The Turner series in audiobook, and was expecting for these to be released in audio too; but alas, it seems like they will be released in audio for quite some time (if ever). I’m still new to historical romance, seeing as how I’ve only read the three books in The Turner series thus far. But luckily, Cat Sebastian has managed to rope me into the genre with this gay Sound of Music-ish story. Maybe without the songs, twirling about a hill, and all the children, but you get the idea.

It Takes Two to Tumble is about a vicar, Ben, and a sea captain returning home while on leave, Phillip. Phillip’s wife has passed and his three children are left to pretty much their own devices. No one wants to work at the Dacre house with the wild children, and it is only out of the goodness of his heart, and as a favor really, that Ben looks after them in the meantime.

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ARC Review: Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert

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Author: Annabeth Albert
Publication Date: April 16, 2018
Format: ARC
Page Length: 352 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. All the stars, you guys. Is this my favorite Out of Uniform book? I want to say…maybe? I managed to read this book in one sitting, because I could not put it down. It’s hard to beat At Attention and On Point, BUT this might have done just that.

The story starts out in the past, to the day Mark and Isaiah meet for the first time at Mark’s sister’s wedding. Back then, Mark definitely thinks Isaiah as being too wild and too young. The backstory is actually a sad one, marked by tragedy. Mark’s sister, Dani, and brother-in-law, Cal, have been killed in a car accident and leaves behind three children. Cal is Isaiah’s cousin. And while Mark was away in the military, Isaiah was the one who babysat and looked after the children. Mark knows next to nothing about raising kids, but will do anything within his power to make sure he gets custody.

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April 2018 Wrap-Up

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Hey, lovelies! Here’s my April check-in, and y’all, April has been a MONTH. I went to not one, but TWO book festivals this month and I am still recovering.

San Antonio Book Festival
April 7, 2018

It was my third year attending the San Antonio Book Festival, and this festival is a blast. There’s a lot of authors and the festival does invite quite a few big name YA authors every year. This year was ridiculously cold for no reason, but I got to meet Holly Black (for real this time, since the last time I met her was at a comic con and I was NOT prepared with books for her to sign) and Neal Shusterman! This is probably the…third time I’ve met Jason Reynolds, and he is a delight each and every time. His talks are always so inspiring and I definitely recommend going to meet him and listen to him speak if you have never done so!

North Texas Teen Book Festival
April 21, 2018

This is my first year attending NTTBF, and definitely my first time driving up to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I was scared of going to this event at first because there’s a LOT of people. But then I remembered that I’ve braved comic cons in San Antonio and Austin with even more people in attendance, so why not go? I’ve been dying to meet Sarah Rees Brennan ever since I read In Other Lands last year, and she was my MUST MEET AUTHOR. She is so sweet and I could have talked to her forever.

Jennifer Nielsen was my other must see author because I read her Ascendance Trilogy three years ago, right when I started picking up books and reading again after college. Don’t let the fact that the series is middle grade fool you. It’s delightfully appropriate for all ages and contains plot twists that makes the series heartfelt and fun.

Other wonderful authors I got to meet were Nic Stone (check out Odd One Out coming out later this year!), Brendan Kiely (his latest book, Tradition, looks so good!), Shaun David Hutchinson  (I LOVED We Are the Ants and I need to read his latest works), and Ally Carter!

One of the best things about NTTBF is how they have a LOT of events specifically for teen readers and it’s one of the things I wish I got to have when I was in high school. The festival also makes sure to have a lot of books on hand for sale, and best part? They have most of the books signed, so even if you don’t get to meet an author in the big signing line at the end of the day, you get a chance to pick up a book first thing in the morning!

Will I be going back next year? I definitely plan to! ❤

Goodreads 2018 Challenge Update

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Review: Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

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Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
Format: Paperback
Page Length: 368 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Ten years ago, Braden was given a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in his father’s upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four mile per hour pitch already has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.

Holy shit, you guys. What even is this book??? I saw this book at a bookstore and picked it up on a whim and I finally got a chance to read it. And I read the entire book in one day. It is just that good. I am entirely blown away by the fact that this is a debut novel. There’s an underlying intensity that builds and builds with each chapter. The story jumps between the past and the present, but it never feels like it’s taking away from the story. It feels like it’s another layer that gets peeled away to reveal the the heart of what makes these characters who they are.

Trigger warnings include homomisia, racism, emotional abuse/emotional manipulation, physical abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

This book is about 16-year-old Braden Raynor. In the beginning, we see him as a kid in the first grade and he’s with his dad and brother at a major league baseball game. It was the last time they all went to a game together. His brother is 11 years older, and by current day, he hasn’t seen his brother in two years. This story is subtle. At first. There’s tension between Braden’s older brother, Trey, and their father, Martin. But we’re led to think it’s just a teenage son butting heads against his dad. But is that really all there is?

Current day, Braden is home alone. His father got dragged off in handcuffs by the police, under the charge that he killed a police officer. They live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. Braden’s dad is a Christian radio show host and is beloved by the town. Braden was raised in church, and knows the bible. He believes in God and prays and bargains with Him to make things better. But this latest trial with his father is what really makes him question his faith.

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Blog Tour Excerpt + Q&A: Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1) by L. Penelope

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Author: L. Penelope
Series: Earthsinger Chronicles
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Page Length: 384 pages

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SYNOPSIS

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

Read on for an excerpt!

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Review: Exhale (Flesh and Bone #1) by Joel Abernathy

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Author: Joel Abernathy
Publication Date: March 28, 2018
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 262 pages
My Rating: 2 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

Two men haunted by the same ghost…

Falling for “the other man” in my marriage was never part of the plan. Then again, according to Nicolae Ursache, I am the other man, and human wedding vows don’t apply. Not to werewolves.

Nicolae is a smug, arrogant alpha male stereotype–and I do mean alpha in the literal sense–but when the same people who killed my wife kidnap my teenage daughter, he’s my only chance at getting her back. The fact that Nicolae was my wife’s rightful mate means that we share a mutual interest in bringing Ellie home, but I never could’ve imagined how he planned to do it.

I will do anything to protect my daughter. Even if it means becoming the plaything, or worse, of the man I loathe most.

This dark shifter romance contains mature subject matter.

**NOTE: There is no mpreg in this universe.**

Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call this a dark shifter romance. It’s not any darker than your usual angsty shifter book and doesn’t contain anything that could really be labeled taboo, so that’s probably misleading. In the author blurb at the back of the book, it is mentioned that the author of this story is a pseudonym for author L.C. David. On the surface, the book is enjoyable and a quick read until you hit the 70% mark. Sometimes you can have stories where it’s a good, solid book and the ending completely kills the book. Sometimes the story before that point is enjoyable enough where you can still think of the book fondly afterwards. Well, this is not one of those times. This story already had issues, but I was willing to overlook them if the story ended well. BUT it didn’t, so I’m kind of bitter.

The premise of the story starts off interestingly enough. A father is convinced someone murdered his wife and his only evidence is a letter from another man hidden in his wife’s possessions that comes off as a bit…possessive. Jack is gay, but when he got a girl pregnant in high school, he married her, raised a child, and took a job at the coal mines to support his family. He’s sacrificed everything  for them, but his wife had been hiding some pretty big secrets from her family.

It turns out Jack’s wife, Francesca, or  better known as “Franny”, was already engaged to be married to another man, and that Francesca and that man are alpha werewolves of two large packs in Europe.

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Release Day Blitz + Giveaway: Her Claim (Legally Bound #2) by Rebecca Grace Allen

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Author: Rebecca Grace Allen
Publication Date: April 23, 2018
Publisher: Rebecca Grace Allen Enterprises
Length (Print & E-book): 90k words, 345 pages
Subgenre: Contemporary erotic romance
Content warning: BDSM, rough play, enemies to lovers, breath play, consensual non-consent

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SYNOPSIS

She’s no princess. He’s no prince. Then again, they never wanted a fairy tale.

Cassie Allbright takes no prisoners. A half Cuban ball-busting attorney, she’s too tough to admit what she wants in bed. But tough is the only way to cut it in her high-powered firm, and Cassie doesn’t need a knight in shining armor. And she definitely doesn’t need Patrick Dunham—an arrogant, chauvinistic man-whore with a knack for pissing her off.

Bound to the helm of his family’s publishing house, Patrick is shackled to a life of power and wealth he never wanted. Seduction is his only distraction—his nights of pleasure always temporary, because happily-ever-afters are not for him. But while luring a woman into his bed has always come easy, the high-and-mighty Cassie has never succumbed to his charms.

Their verbal sparring turns to foreplay, but instead of scratching an itch, it only whets their appetites. Patrick gives Cassie a taste of what she’s secretly craved, and Cassie’s dark desires stir up things Patrick never knew he wanted. Enchanted, he offers to fulfill her most dangerous fantasies. She agrees, with an iron-clad escape clause: her heart is off-limits, and so is his.

Funny thing about hearts, though. They have a way of ignoring the fine print.

Warning: This book isn’t for the faint of heart. Disclosure includes angry, vying-for-control hate sex and one steamy weekend in Miami. Ready? Break the caution tape and proceed.

Read on for an excerpt and a giveaway for one of two Rebecca Grace Allen’s backlist e-books at the end of this post!

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