Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Anouska Knight

Since You've Been GoneSeries: Standalone
Genre: Women's Fic/Chick Lit
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: 7/29/14
Format: ARC
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  B&N

How do you learn to love again?

In one tragic moment, Holly Jefferson s life as she knows it changes for ever. Now to the external world, at least she s finally getting back on her feet, running her business, Cake. Then she meets Ciaran Argyll.

His rich and charmed life feels a million miles from her own. However, there s more to Ciaran than the superficial world that surrounds him, and he too is wrestling with his own ghosts. Will Holly find the missing ingredient that allows her to live again and embrace an unknown and unexpected tomorrow?

I always, always forget just how much I adore Women's Fiction until I start a new story. I'm particularly fond of those set in or around England. I feel like serendipity played a part in my receiving  Since You've Been Gone becaue it was exactly what I needed.
**Sidenote: I had the song "Since You've Been Gone" -the Pitch Perfect version, the entire time I read this!**

When the story begins, we have Holly Jefferson waiting on her husband Charlie. There seems to be some resentment going on, and it's more than the fact he's missed dinner. Something is off. As we soon realize, Charlie is dead, killed in an accident when he went into work on his day off. Charlie has been dead for nearly two years, but Holly hasn't fully moved on. She does well enough to put her friends and family at ease, but she waits for him, in her dreams. She refuses to continue to update the home they were remodeling. It's very, very sad obviously. Holly isn't consumed by her grief, but it's always there: when she gets mail addressed to Charlie, runs into his coworkers as she walks through the forests he loved, sees his uncompleted work in their home. She's knows he's not coming back and doesn't live in denial, but she's not moving forward. And at only two years, it's completely understandable.

Holly owns a bakery, Cake. When she's hired to deliver a very...interesting (hilarious and unappealing) cake to the lively Fergal Argyll, she briefly meets his son, Ciaran Argyll. Quickly brushing off the delivery and meeting, Holly is surprised when Ciaran shows up at Cake to return a form and order his own cake. Ciaran is polished and wealthy, nothing like her beloved Charlie. An awareness comes over her for the first time in years, and it makes Holly uncomfortable. Ciaran is a wealthy, worldly playboy, an Holly is a baker, content to live her quiet life. Ciaran was just a dream guy, though. He appreciates Hollys lack of interest in his wealth and her refreshingly honest and laid-back personality. What's really important to me, as well-something I always look for in a story with a widowed spouse-is Ciaran's respect for Hollys husband, and the love she still holds for him. That is so important to me. It's way too easy, and sometimes offensive, when the deceased is portrayed as flawed and unimportant, therefore leaving the loved one to move on with little complication. This is important to Holly, obviously, and helps set her at ease. But, she's so reluctant to take another chance on love. To act in what she believes is a betrayal to Charlie's memory, and to move on.

The lovely characters and their delicate romance sets Since You've Been Gone up so nicely. What's even better is that the author nailed the execution. The story is emotionally heavy, appropriately, but never veered into full-on depressing. There were moments in which we experience Holly's profound grief, and then we get Ciaran's dad flashing his goods. Or her employee unabashedly getting it on with a celebrity at a work function. We had Ciaran's own emotional moments, how the loss of his mum devastated him and his father, how a betrayal tore him apart. And then, we'd get his dad shooting an elephant gun and scaring them. The funny, quirky moments balanced very nicely with the drama.
Since You've Been Gone was such a big story, filled with rich characters, so many of whom I enjoyed. Employee Jesse is fun and very cool, a great friend who always seemed to know exactly what Holly needed. Her sister Martha is a bit overbearing but comes from a place of love and worry. Her pregnancy woes were adorable. Brother-in-law Rob is a big, loving guy who wants to keep his girls happy. Ciaran's dad was a delight, a Scot who's built a family fortune from nothing, and has spent that past thirteen years in bouts of booze and depression (and women) to ease the loss of his beloved wife, and who's ridiculous, oafish charm made Holly (and me) smile.

This book really had it all. A fantastic heroine with a strong sense of self and a difficult and brave emotional journey. A hero who's heart and words were true and strong. Excellent supporting cast. A hilarious birth scene. A hilarious flashing kilt scene. And a fulfilling, engaging love story. I cried several times, I smiled even more. What a fantastic story, fantastic debut. I highly recommend Since You've Been Gone to fans of women's fiction and romance. Anouska Knight is definitely on my watch list!

Favorite Quotes
  If the voice alone hadn't told me which Argyll was coming, the athletic line of his thighs and other things through those joggers did. I tried to get my grimace back, but when I Iooked at the woman next to me I was met with an expression of total bafflement. I couldn't do this! I couldn't be friendly and annoyed at the same time!
 He looked at me, unsure, and then again be pulled my horse closer before his hand found its place again at the back of my neck. He sat there, holding me they way, giving me a fighting chance to say no, but I was ready for him this time, I knew what to do... I saw him lean in this time, watching him draw all the way in before I let him kiss me again. Slowly, sweetly, as though he were opening his favorite present.
  "Yes, I want to be like my father. To be driven insane by a woman because of how much I love her and how much she loves me. My father loved my mother since the day he first saw her playing in the street when he was eight years old, and every day since." He leant in, just a breath away from my mouth. I watched his lips as he spoke. "I want to feel that, too, Holly, to be maddened by it. For it to be real."
  I couldn't say it. Not yet. But I could feel it, lingering there on my lips, waiting to be spoken. I pushed myself up on tiptoes, and let him feel the words were they lay, ready to be released into the world when the time came. This kiss was my promise to him that I would never use him, or care where he bought his clothes, or leave him for a bigger number. And his promise to me? He didn't need one.

About Anouska Knight
Rookie author of women's fiction with a penchant for love, laughter and peanut M&Ms (In no particular order)

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Excerpt and Giveaway: A Safe Space by EM Tippetts

Welcome to the promotional event for A Safe Space with E.M. Tippetts, hosted by Wordsmith Publicity. Visit the tour homepage to find all the tour reviews, excerpts and teasers. .

Title: A Safe Space
Author: E.M. Tippetts
Age Group: NA
Genre: Contemporary Romance


Everyone needs a safe space.

For Lizzie Warner, that space has always been in front of the camera on her hit show, or on stage to a sold out concert arena. Since before she can remember, she’s been a star, but that may be about to change.

She’s nineteen. Her show has been cancelled and now she’s going to play the lead in a new prime time drama series, but is the world ready to take her seriously, or will she be typecast as the cute tween queen forever?

Her network has decided to be aggressive and has invested millions of dollars in an ad campaign for her show, money she’s not sure she can earn back. Her co-star can’t stand her, and the writing for the show turns out to be poor at best. The only reason Lizzie didn’t walk away from the job offer to begin with is because she’s broke, the victim of a decade of bad money management.

Then there’s Devon, the personal trainer at her gym. Arrogant and abrasive, he’s the last guy she should ever find attractive, but she has a hopeless crush on him anyway, and he doesn’t seem entirely disinterested either. In fact, sometimes he’s downright sweet to her. If only he weren’t an untamable bad boy who uses and dumps women like they’re nothing. Though Lizzie’s friends warn her to stay away, he’s the only person who can create what she needs: a safe space. But is there any way she can break him of his years' long habit of being a user?


   “I’ve never dated anyone so…” I really shouldn’t have said that, I think. This is Devon, and he is only a part time friend. Ten minute from now he’ll be a jerk once more.

   “Sure you haven’t.” He snorts.

   I shake my head and direct my gaze at the mops leaned against the far wall.

   “Wait, seriously?”

  “Can we talk about something else?”

   “No way. How is that possible?”

   “I’m, you know… only nineteen.” That just makes it sound worse. Someone could make a comedy skit out of this dialogue. “And I work 24/7/365. I never had the time.” That’s easier to admit than that no one’s ever shown real interest. I’ve been hit on, of course, and had fans propose to me and all that, but none of the tiny group of guys whom I’ve actually gotten to know has ever seemed to see me that way.

   “And for your show you’re gonna have to get your sexy on,” he says.

   “Right. At least the show will be entertaining for you. And just think of how much money you can make selling that little detail about me to the tabloids.”

   “You should be more worried about me telling the world that you don’t warm up enough before your workouts and your form on the weight machines is way off.”

   Not his usual kind of joke. That one had a real, malicious bite to it.

   “I’m being a jerk, aren’t I?” he says.


  “Sorry.” I hear his clothes rustle as he moves again, and I startle when he slides right next to me against the wall. Our arms touch from shoulder to elbow. “I wasn’t well socialized as a small child,” he says.


   “Hey, I really am sorry. I just… most of the time I have no idea what to say to you.” 
  “Then don’t say anything.”


  I sense this hurt him, though, so I look sidelong at his profile. “You got a problem with leaving me alone?”

   He raises his eyebrow, looks down at me, and reaches out to touch my face.



Purchase Links

2 winners will receive a prize pack that includes: a signed paperback of the book, one pen of the winner's choice from EM's Etsy store (, and coupons for free Pie Pops.


About EM Tippetts

Emily Mah Tippetts writes science fiction as Emily Mah and sweet romance as E.M. Tippetts. A lifelong New Mexican, she lives with her family in Santa Fe, though she's been known to spend years at a time in the UK, her second home. Aside from being a writer, she's been a lawyer and jeweler, and is currently a stay at home mother, polymer clay artist, book designer/formatter, and owner of E.M. Tippetts Book Designs.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: The Millionaire Affair by Jessica Lemmon

The Millionaire Affair (Love in the Balance, #3)
Series: Love in the Balance #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Love in the Balance #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: 6/24/14
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4-4.5 stars

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  BN
Millionaire ad executive Landon Downey has a policy: no romantic relationships allowed. So when he's saddled with his six-year-old nephew for a week, he doesn't think twice about asking Kimber Reynolds to act as live-in nanny. What he doesn't expect is the undeniable attraction to the woman he hasn't seen since they were kids. And not only does she like him back-she suggests they work their way down a list of extracurricular activities in the bedroom. How can he resist?
Kimber wants to prove once and for all that she can love 'em and leave 'em with the best of them. All she has to do is keep her sixteen-year crush on Landon out of the equation. No problem . . . until she realizes she may not be the only one whose heart has gotten completely tangled up in their no-strings agreement!


My Review

Oh you guys, I am so happy I read The Millionaire Affair! This is a book that wasn't even on my radar until an invite to read it came my way. I'm really overwhelmed with books right now, but something about this one niggled at my brain. Apparently the niggle was right because I adored this book!

It's kind of funny that I did decide to read The Millionaire Affair, since I'm consistently whinging on about how I like books about "normal", working-class men. My husband saw this one and was like, "I thought you said you were tired of billionaire books." At first I thought I'd been busted, as if it were a guilty pleasure. But then I had a lightbulb moment and replied, "He's not a billionaire, babe, he's a millionaire. That's completely different. Plus, he's not even a Dom like all the other rich dudes, so I don't even know why we're having this discussion." If you're reading this thinking that I am logical yet ridiculous, then you're probably in the same boat as my husband.

My point being, The Millionaire Affair isn't the standard mega-rich dominant alphahole story. So if you tend to be wary of that sub-genre, don't let this one scare you off.

The Millionaire Affair is the classic, falling-for-little sister's-best friend trope, made even better by the fact that Kimber had an epic crush of Landon sixteen years ago. And boy, did that old spark flare back to life when they reconnect. Especially when Landon gets a load of Kimber now. The years have treated her well, turning her from a frizzy-haired teen with a mouthful of braces to a thirty-two-year old redhead bombshell with a flair for vintage clothing. Kimber is a heroine most readers will like, I believe. She's has little worries about herself that made her relatable, not so overcome by inferiority that she's annoying. She has a big heart that's been mistreated by the men she too easily falls for, which just made her more endearing to me. She was funny and a little goofy, which is always a plus in my book. I just really liked her.

Our hero Landon Downey happens to be super wealthy, but he's also a relatively well-adjusted, hard-working man from a happy, supportive family. That's not to say he doesn't have an issue or two, particularly when it comes to emotions and intimacy. At times I felt like he was just emotionally-stunted rather than "damaged" (or perhaps those are the same thing), and I wanted to tell him to grow up and move onward and upward and all that. Looking back, I got it, and as far as issues go, it made sense. So yeah, his reasons for being the Tin Man -to reference the book- we're actually valid, if not a little frustrating. But honestly, Landon was a very likeable hero, particularly when he lets himself feel, and when he stops denying that he's fallen hard for Kimber. He was patient with her issues, selfless to his own detriment at some points. I like that he realized he needed to rein in his compulsion to give her what he believed she needed. Landon wasn't a man who wanted to take over Kimber's life, he only wants to be a part of it.

So as you might have deduced, Kimber and Landon have a crazy chemistry that they agree to indulge, for a limited time. Kimber's best friend urges her to have a fling, just to prove she can. Kimber's mom has taught her to never commit her life to a man. Can I just say that the people on Kimber's life give the worst advice. Poor girl. So Landon is on board with this plan because he doesn't want love or a family but he does want Kimber. I mean, we all know these book flings turn out just as expected, yes? No. No, they never ever do, guys. But that's okay because it makes for a fun read.

Of course Kimber and Landon fall for each other. Add in a major turn of events, and you have a fling-turn-forever type of situation here. Naturally, these two won't go down the road to true love without a fight. They're opposites in most ways, which does scare Kimber off. I got it, even when her stubbornness at keeping her emotional distance from Landon made me a little crazy. And Landon, he's emotionally-stunted, remember? This leads to angst and heartbreak and tough realizations, and I ate it up! The Millionaire Affair gave me the same feelings I used to get when reading one of those really good harlequin category romances I used to sneak from my aunts as a teen. Super romantic and emotional and really, really yummy.

The Millionaire Affair was so good. It made me happy and content and really pleased I'd chosen it to enjoy on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Favorite Quote
  "This is the talking bed," she teased as he licked a path to her collarbone.
  "So, talk." He kissed her arm. "Start with something like Oh, Landon"--he tongued her shoulder--"then yes, Landon." He smiled, his teeth lightly nipping her flesh. "Maybe thrown in a please and a don't stop."
  As he slid down her body, she found herself murmuring those words in order, then out of order. Until there was nothing left but incoherent syllables.
The Love in the Balance Series

Tempting the Billionaire  Can't Let Go (Love in the Balance, #1.5)  Hard to Handle (Love in the Balance #2)  The Millionaire Affair (Love in the Balance, #3)

 (covers lead to GoodReads pages)

About Jessica Lemmon
Jessica LemmonJessica Lemmon writes sexy contemporary romances with a squeeze of humor for Grand Central (Tempting the Billionaire, Hard to Handle) and Entangled (If You Dare).

She is an artist, dreamer, former meateater, fun-loving, fast-talking wife, and a den mother to two dogs. She loves to hear from her fans.
Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  GoodReads


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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Courtney Reviews: Best Man with Benefits (Wedding Dare #4) by Samanthe Beck

Best Man with Benefits (Wedding Dare, #4)
Series: The Wedding Dare #4
Series: The Wedding Dare #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Publication Date: 6/9/14
Format: eARC
Pages: 229
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars


How far can one favor go…

Logan McCade arrives at his best friend’s wedding overworked and in desperate need of a vacation, only to discover his best man duties have been…expanded. He must coax Colton’s sister out of her shell, or risk her hiding in her room all week. Logan figures he can handle one introverted bridesmaid, but he’s not expecting how much he enjoys “handling” Sophie…or how much she enjoys being handled.
Socializing has never been web designer Sophie Brooks’s strong suit, but she’s determined to shed her wallflower image and embrace the “New Sophie”—a feat made easier with the supremely sexy Logan McCade tempting her to explore all her forbidden fantasies. If she’s not careful, she just might fall for the best man.
Sophie’s sweet, sexy, and delectably awkward demeanor brings much-needed calm to Logan’s hectic life. With the nuptials only days away, Logan is forced to face the possibility that his favor to a friend might have become something else entirely…and that he’s not willing to let Sophie go. Ever.

Courtney's Review

Best Man with Benefits is the 4th installment of The Wedding Dare and I LOVED IT!!!!

 I am in awe of these authors so far (having read two parts if it now) because the continuity of the characters and storyline is so perfect. I honestly didn't feel like there was any difference at all, and I think that will make you (and definitely me) excited as a reader to read this series. As an avid reader too, I know how big of a commitment it is from the get to to know there is five stories here, but do NOT be is worth it.

 Samanthe Beck's novel follows the Best Man (obvs) Logan McCade and the groom's baby sister (who isn't so little anymore) Sophie Brooks. Logan is a workaholic and I came to love him...but do you know how many times I wanted to smack him (I'm quite violent with my words, sorry)for putting his work before other things....You don't know! You will know if you read it. Because you must.

 Anyways, Logan seems like a uptight, buttoned up CEO, and Sophie seems like a quiet, no thrills or frills girl, who hasn't came out of her shell....Well....let me tell you. Samanthe Beck did not disappoint with opening these two up in the bedroom in ways that I was hot for. Holy crap, Sophie is a powerful woman when she wants to be, and the way that Logan allows her to be and do whatever she wants was awesome too!

 This story is the epitome of why I love romance. There was plot, there was story, there was sex and steam, and a journey that we got to go on with the characters through Samanthe's stellar writing that wasn't too horribly angsty, but had just enough suspense that I wasn't sure how things would end up! I can't wait to read more by her!!

The Wedding Dare Series

Dare to Resist (Wedding Dare, #0.5)  Falling for the Groomsman (Wedding Dare, #1)  Baiting The Maid Of Honor (Wedding Dare, #2)  Seducing The Bridesmaid (Wedding Dare, #3)   Best Man With Benefits (Wedding Dare, #4)
(covers lead to GoodReads pages)

About Samanthe Beck
Wine lover, sleep fanatic, and USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy contemporary romance novels, Samanthe Beck lives in Malibu, California, with her long-suffering but extremely adorable husband and their turbo-son, Hud. Throw in a furry ninja named Kitty and Bebe the trash talking Chihuahua and you get the whole, chaotic picture.
When not clinging to sanity by her fingernails or dreaming up fun, fan-your-cheeks sexy ways to get her characters to happily-ever-afters, she searches for the perfect cabernet to pair with Ambien.

Cover Reveal + Excerpt: When You Were Mine by Elizabeth Reyes

We are so excited to share the sexy cover for When You Were Mine by Elizabeth Reyes. We also have a great little excerpt to share as well!

Title: When You Were Mine ( A Moreno Brother's novella)
Author: Elizabeth Reyes
Age Group: NA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 2014


When her head was screaming “enough,” her hopeful heart continued to whisper “wait.” 
It's the only way Valerie Zuniga can justify her ongoing addiction to the amazing but ever, elusive Alex Moreno. Mesmerized by the profound connection neither has ever quite understood, Valerie  accepts their crazy relationship for what it is—non-exclusive. 
That is until the incredible highs no longer numb the sting of the intense lows.   
As tasteless and slippery as pride can be, for Alex it's always been the hardest pill to swallow.  
Faced with a final ultimatum, the choice is a no-brainer for Alex. Despite his insanely busy life he's determined to prove to Valerie, that not only is he ready to commit, it's what he's always wanted—to claim Valerie as his exclusively.  
But just as it kept him from admitting his real feelings all those years, will his obstinate pride once again step in and ruin things just when they're finally getting it right?  


"Why are you here?" she demanded.

"I wanna talk to you?" he asked hopefully.

"No," her response was too quick—abrupt. "I'm busy now. Try me another time."

Okay maybe he deserved that. But he knew she wasn't busy. He knew he had to convince her to hear him out. Alex was determined to say everything he came here to say to her tonight. And then he saw it. The movement behind her. His eyes zeroed in on a guy sitting at her small kitchen table looking equally as relaxed as Valerie texting something on his phone and there were two glasses of wine on the table. 

Alex took him in for another second from top to bottom as the slow boil inside him began to bubble. The guy put his phone down then reached for the bottle of wine and poured them each a little more. 

On instinct Alex put his hand on the door in case she even thought of trying to slam the door on his face. That wasn't happening now. And any hope of this night ending amicably like he'd been optimistic about was instantly squashed. He turned to Valerie whose earlier incensed eyes looked a little panicked now. "Who the fuck is that?"  

 Don't forget to add When You Were Mine on GoodReads!

About Elizabeth Reyes
"I write because I must. It's not a choice or a pastime, it's an unyielding calling and my passion."
~Elizabeth Reyes

USA Today Bestselling Author, Elizabeth Reyes continues to answer her calling on a daily basis. Since releasing her debut novel FOREVER MINE (MORENO BROTHERS #1) in 2010 she has since published five more in that series, FOREVER YOURS, SWEET SOFIE, ALWAYS BEEN MINE, ROMERO and MAKING YOU MINE, with more stories about the Moreno family and their friends to come. She's also published a second series, 5th Street which includes, NOAH, GIO, HECTOR, ABEL. FELIX the fifth in the series is scheduled to release November 13th 2014. Her Moreno Brother's spinoff series FATE includes FATE, & BREAKING BRANDON, there is also more of this series still to come. Her latest release and first in a brand new series is DESERT HEAT about the diverse but equally sexy Santiago Brothers living in Las Vegas.

When she's not writing (which is rare)she spends as much time as she can with her husband of over twenty years, two teen children, Great Dane, Dexter and big fat lazy cat, Tyson.

Keep up with all her upcoming books/events/signings by visiting her

You can also keep up by liking her fan page on

Following her on
Twitter and follow her Instagram

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen

Whether you’re looking for a romance that makes you laugh, makes you ‘walk the plank’, keeps you guessing, or stars your favorite paranormal, look no further. Select books have the single-title stories you crave, and the longer length you need to really get ‘lost’ in a great book. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page.

Today I'm happy to be featuring Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen!

Dakota Halifax loves to be in love. In fact, as one of Las Vegas’s premier wedding planners, she’s built a whole career around romance. Which is why her own wedding has to be nothing short of perfect. And then her fiancĂ© jilts her. While she’s waiting in her wedding dress. On a cruise ship already out at sea.

Once back on dry land, Dakota tries to pour her heart into her business and weekly wedding advice column, Get Ready to Wed. But how can the heartbroken celebrate others’ true love? When she reconnects with her childhood best friend, surprisingly sexy and all-grown-up casino bouncer Brendan West, Dakota wonders if maybe she can fall back in love with being in love.

But then her ex reappears, begging for another chance and suddenly Dakota questions if she’ll ever understand love. Can someone once-burned and twice-shy ever find her way down the aisle again?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

My (Mini) Review
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Madsen's. Whether it's YA with a paranormal or gothic twist, a swoony, slightly wacky and heart-tugging romance, or a story that has a strong chick lit feel, if she writes it, the chances are excellent that I'm going to love it.
Ready to Wed was no exception. This was a story of Dakota Halifax, jilted bride and newly-turned skeptical wedding planner. Dakota had quite the emotionally-challenging journey in this story, with her beliefs on love and weddings challenged at every turn. Add in a swoony guy, Dakota's former best friend Brendan, and you have a recipe for the kind of love story that will make you smile and make you believe. 
Dakota was a lot of fun. Like a lot of Madsen's heroines, she's a sweetheart, but also really snarky and witty. Jake was another of Madsen's good-guy heroes, which happen to be a favorite of mine. Kind, charming, sexy and not afraid to make Dakota his, Brendan had me from the beginning.
If you're looking for a strong, character-driven story that will make you smile throughout, once again, you can't go wrong with Madsen. Ready to Wed was great!
Favorite Quotes
   "Men are like will get attached, bring them home, and they will shit all over everything you love."
  Brendan lowered his forehead to mine. "I've loved you one way or the other since the first day we met, Dakota Jane Halifax, and I'll keep doing it, no matter what happens. Even if we find out we're better as friends." 
About Cindi Madsen
Cindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children. She is the author of YA books All the Broken Pieces, Cipher, and Demons of the Sun and adult romances Falling for Her FiancĂ©, Act Like You Love Me, and Cinderella Screwed Me Over.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blog Tour: The Longest Night by Kara Braden ~ Review /Guest Post / Giveaway

 I am so excited to welcome author Kara Braden to the blog today, to discuss her book, The Longest Night. I also have a review to share with you (spoiler alert: I loved it!) along with a giveaway. Thanks for stopping by!

The Longest NightSeries: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casa
Publication Date: 7/1/14
Format: ARC
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars

This could work, whispered the little voice in the back of her mind, the voice that had been silent for seven years…

Years ago, former Marine Captain Cecily Knight fled her dark past and the nightmares forever haunting her nights. Alone in the remote Canadian wilderness, she survives day to day…until Ian Fairchild comes storming into her life and shatters her protective seclusion.
Aloof but intriguing, defensive but undeniable, Ian is everything Cecily shouldn’t want but can’t ignore. He watches her with shrewd blue eyes, as if determined to decipher her secrets…and for the first time in years, she finds herself coming alive beneath the hands of a man with too many scars to count.
As the hushed and harsh winter closes in around them, two lost souls find themselves on the precipice of a love that could save their lives…or destroy them forever.

My Review

Oh yeah....I just love a good cabin romance, particularly when the characters are struggling, emotionally vulnerable wrecks.

That made me sound mean, didn't it?

The Longest Night was a delicious cabin romance, full of tension and lust and emotionally-laden
moments that had me pulled in the whole way through. The story centers around Ian, a lawyer recovering from a prescription painkiller addiction, and Cecily, former soldier and by all appearances,
 a recluse. When Ian is released from his latest treatment program, he's told by his bosses to stay out
of Manhattan for at least several months. His brother Preston (who'd better be getting a book, Ms. Braden)knows of one place to send him, a remote cabin in the Canada wilderness, to stay with

Ian doesn't particularly want be in a remote location, but is out of options. Cecily doesn't want Ian's intrusion, but after Preston's actions seven years prior, she owes him any favor. The story begins with a lot of tension between the two, not hostile, just a bit uncomfortable due to their experiences. He doesn't want to be there, she doesn't want him there, but their both resigned to make the best of it. But as with the best cabin romances, the two quickly develop a deep level of comfort that came across as authentic. The fact Cecily's cabin is only accessible by plane or quad (I think what a lot of us know as a four-wheeler), has limited electricity and internet, and it's too effing cold to even go outside most of the time, has Ian and Cecily in constant close quarters and contribute to the quickness of comfort level and intimacy.

So you go into The Longest Night thinking Ian is the one who needs the most. He's still in a lot of pain from an injury, and he's coming off of an addiction. Surprising though, Ian is in a mostly good place with his recovery. He knows he must stay clean, and at this point, his distress stems from pain and not the addiction. The character who appears the strongest is the one who needs someone the most, Cecily. Her past is a mystery to him, but Ian is a keen observer, noticing scars and wounds that don't line up with military medical care. This obviously piques Ian's curiosity, and leads to a tiny bit of snooping, where he discovers Cecily was a POW in the Middle East. This also explains how Cecily knows Ian's brother, Preston. Which by the way, makes for a very interesting story in itself. I really need his book!
Cecily's body language exudes constant alert and tension. She keeps a weapon on her at all time, doesn't sleep well, suffers nightmares when she does, and doesn't like to feel evenly remotely confined. This is why Cecily lives a life of seclusion. Not only does she recoil from people and
unknown situations, but she is terrified she will react badly and inadvertently hurt someone. The
author did such an amazing job of digging in and properly expressing the logic and fears of someone with Cecily's condition. Here's where Ian becomes a swoon-inducing romantic lead: instead of being put off or scared by Cecily, Ian senses that he can help her in a way no one has figured out yet. As a brilliant attorney with fantastic observation skills, he has reading body language and anticipation down to a fine art. He reads and anticipates Cecily's thoughts and fears, giving him the ability to
know when and how to touch her, when to back away. He knows how to angle his body in a way that won't trigger her reflexes, how to touch her, hold her, even make love to her in ways that give her the all of the power, and builds trust.
I was thoroughly enjoying The Longest Night, but with Ian's actions, the way he treats her with delicate precision, deference and confidence in her ability to adapt and be pushed, all to prove to her just how strong she is...that is when I fell in love with the story.
So obviously, Ian and Cecily fall in love. Then the question becomes, what will they do about it? Will Cecily ever be able to follow Ian back to society? Will Ian give up his life to stay with Cecily in her remote world? How will they fit into each other's lives? I will say that the author surprised me with the answer, in that it's not ever a definitive answer and like life, I believe it will evolve over time. I do know that in my opinion, the author handles this the very best way possible.
The Longest Night is a love story full of longing and passion, brilliantly crafted characters who's growth was fulfilling and thought-provoking. This book made me a happy reader and I have already formed a line for her next book, The Deepest Night.

Favorite Quotes

  She looked down as he opened the cardboard, revealing multiple boxes of condoms shrink-wrapped 
together. "Dear God, are you preparing for the collapse of civilization or something?"
  Ian looked up at her. "Is there anything else to do in the winter here?"
  "If we actually use all of those, we'll probably be dead from exhaustion."
  "At least we won't be bored.""

  He wanted nothing more than to throw her down her back and pin her to the mattress, leaving her body open for him to take whatever he wanted, but not yet. Perhaps not ever, though he would work 
diligently to help Cecily overcome her fears. The thought of watching her struggle to endure not pain but pleasure, of Ian pushing the boundaries of her desire for before granting her any relief, was intoxicating.

Ten Things Ian Would Tell You About Cecily

1. Cecily isn’t a technophobe, but she has an irrational love for anachronisms like paper maps and her  manual typewriter.
2. Cecily follows Rule Nine: Always carry a knife.
3. After explaining Rule Nine to Cecily, she binge-watched all of NCIS in a week and a half. If I were any less secure, I’d be worried she was going to leave me for Gibbs.
4. Cecily talks to the TV, pointing out inconsistencies, especially in military shows. Since I do the same around courtroom dramas, we’ve sworn never to watch back episodes of JAG together.
5. Taking Cecily to Per Se for their tasting menu was an exercise in patience. “No, really. When is the 
actual food going to be here?”
6. After Per Se, I took her out for a burger and fries. I also signed a promise to never take her out for a tasting menu again.So much for visiting the French Laundry if we ever go to California.
7. I gave Cecily a day pass to a salon for a haircut, massage, facial, and manicure/pedicure. Six weeks later, she got a haircut at a $10 barber. I couldn’t tell the difference.
8. I lost Cecily for three hours at The Strand bookstore...
9. ...and for four hours at the American Museum of Natural History. It turns out she was in one of the dinosaur wings.
10. Cecily thinks I’m indulging her by mounting the deer antlers in a place of pride over the couch because they clash with the modern decor. She must not notice my smile every time I see them.

And One Thing Cecily Wants To Add
1. Ian’s wrong about number ten. I notice every time he smiles. (But the deer antlers do look a little 
silly with the couch.)

The Longest Night  The Deepest Night

(covers lead to GoodReads pages)

Purchase Links 

Amazon  |  B&N  |  Books A Million , Hastings , IndieBound , Indigo , iTunes ,Kobo

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About Kara Braden
Kara BradenKara Braden makes her debut in modern romance with The Longest Night, a story of love in isolation. She believes that engaging, romantic fantasy can be found everywhere in the world, even in the most unlikely places. With the support of her wonderful husband, cats, and dogs, she writes from her home office outside Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends her time hiding from the sunlight and heat. (Photo credit: Stephanie Cole)

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