Monday, February 18, 2019

The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty ~ Excerpt & Giveaway

Today we have the excerpt reveal of THE STAND-IN BOYFRIEND by Emma Doherty! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy on March 12th!

Title: The Stand-In Boyfriend

Author: Emma Doherty

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 12th

About The Stand-In Boyfriend:

Livy Chapman is in love with Jessie Stephenson. It’s that simple. She has been for years but he only see’s her as his best friend. His best friend who copies her homework, relies on her to bail him out of trouble and who he hooks up with other girls in front of.   Enough is enough and when Chase Mitchell, star of the soccer team, and all round Mr. Popular steps in and convinces her that they can do each other a favour by pretending to date, Livy is just crazy enough over Jessie to agree to it.   I mean, Chase is just her stand-in boyfriend. Nothing could go wrong. Right?



 

Exclusive Excerpt:

“What’s wrong? Everything going okay with you and Jessie?”

“I don’t know where he is.” My eyes flash around the room, but he’s not in here either. Where the hell did he go? He wouldn’t just leave would he?

“I’m sure he’s around. He must have gotten stuck talking to someone.”

I shake my head. For some reason, I have a bad feeling about this, but I don’t know why. I mean, yeah, I was gone for half an hour so of course he’s not just going to stand there on his own and wait for me, but there were a lot of people in the kitchen—he could have just joined them, and he said he’d wait for me. We had a connection, didn’t we? He wouldn’t just walk away. “Have you seen him?”

Sophie shakes her head. Her eyes narrow in concern and she takes a step closer to me. Anyone else would laugh and tell me I’m being stupid, but Sophie knows me too well for that. She knows I’m getting anxious and panicky. “Should I come look for him with you?”

I shake my head, glancing behind her at Mark and Jackson, who have been joined by more of their crowd. “No, no. You’re right, he’s probably back in the kitchen by now and I just missed him.” I force a smile then back out of the room. I turn back in the direction I came from, intent on returning to the kitchen and even trying subtly to do some of those breathing exercises the child psychologist I saw in middle school told me to do when I start to get anxious. I walk past the huge spiral staircase in Aaron’s hall.

I pause, my heartbeat hammering my chest, and I don’t know what makes me do it but I step up onto the first step, and then the next, and the next, until I’m heading upstairs with my eyes locked ahead of me. I know what goes on in the upstairs bedrooms at these parties. Every Monday morning, the Grove Valley High rumor mill is in full swing talking about who hooked up with who. 

But Jessie was waiting for me!

Jessie was looking at me like I was special, like he was finally seeing me differently and something was definitely happening, but that doesn’t stop the sickening feeling in my gut. Despite the fact that my heart is pounding and I can feel my hands shaking, I know I need to rule this out.

I get to the top and look down the hall just as a girl in my trig class emerges from the first bedroom on the right with a boy I don’t recognize. She smiles sheepishly as she passes me, the cocky grin on the guy’s face making it clear what they’ve been up to. I force myself to smile, ignoring the dead weight in my stomach as I take a couple of steps farther along the hallway.

I suddenly feel stupid. What the hell am I going to do now that I’m up here? I’m certainly not going to go knocking on any doors just to check if Jessie is behind one of them. The thought alone makes me blush bright red. He’s probably downstairs in a corner talking about his latest video game obsession and I’m stalking the halls of Aaron’s mansion. I almost laugh out loud at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. I decide to try to find a bathroom now that I’m up here, hoping it’s obvious from the outside that it’s a bathroom and not a bedroom, and continue walking, assuming the bathroom will be at the end of a hallway. I take a right at the end (seriously, that’s how big Aaron’s house is—the hallway leads onto another), and that’s when I stop dead.

That’s when I feel my heart crack in two.

That’s when I find Jessie.

With Courtney. Making out against the wall.

Somehow I manage to not say a word as I watch them kissing…as I watch his hand under her top, groping at her body…as she makes these ridiculous noises like she’s in some sort of adult film, dropping her hands to his belt buckle and starting to undo it.
I feel like I’m going to throw up.

I start to back away, tears already in my eyes, and I swear, I swear Courtney looks my way for a split second and a smirk covers her face when she sees me standing here. Then Jessie reaches for the handle of the door she’s leaning up against and they both tumble into the room, slamming the door behind them.

I am so stupid. I am so, so fucking stupid. My body starts shaking and fresh tears roll down my face. How could I think tonight was going to be it? How could I be dumb enough to think Jessie might actually like me back? I swipe away at the tears, heartbroken that he’s just dismissed me after what felt like a new beginning, but at the same time angry at myself. I should have known. I should have known better than to think I might actually get what I want, and I can’t cover up the sob that escapes from my throat.

“Uh…” I jump out of my skin at the voice behind me. “Are you okay?”

I whirl around to see Chase Mitchell standing there, looking the most awkward I’ve ever seen anyone look. I turn my back to him and swipe at my face, trying to get rid of the tears, which won’t stop falling.

“Yeah,” I reply. “I’m fine.” It’d be more believable if my voice wasn’t cracking as I speak. I wait to hear his footsteps back away, sure the sight of a crying girl is enough to make him run for the hills, but instead he steps around me while I stare at my feet.

“Livy.” I shake my head frantically. I can’t look up. I can’t face anyone right now, not when it feels like I’ve just had my heart ripped in two. “Livy,” he says again softly, and something about his voice, the way there’s no mocking lilt and the concern in his tone make me look up at him. He’s standing by the door opposite the one Courtney and Jessie are in, and he pushes it open. “Come in here. It’s Aaron’s room—no one will see you in here. It’s been locked so there’s no one inside.”

I nod, because honestly what else can I do at this point? My body won’t stop shaking and I’m having no luck stopping the tears. I just need to sit down for a couple of minutes and pull myself together before I have to face the party again.

Once inside the room, I sink down onto Aaron’s bed and look down at my hands, twisting my fingers together in a desperate attempt to stop them from shaking. I can’t believe how stupid I am. I can’t believe I let Sophie convince me this time might actually be different. I’m in here feeling like my world has ended while Jessie is across the hall having sex with his ex.

“Are you okay?” Chase asks again.
I startle slightly at his voice. I wasn’t expecting him to stick around. I wish he’d disappear; I don’t want anyone seeing me like this.

I force a smile and look up, but it wobbles as fresh tears tumble down my cheeks at the memory of Courtney looking at me. She must have been at the party all along and seen me with Jessie in the kitchen. She clearly took my absence as her opportunity, and Jessie certainly didn’t look like he had any objections.

“Honestly, I’m fine. Something happened earlier at home and I was just thinking about it,” I lie.

Chase doesn’t look away from me. “I saw Stephenson go into that bedroom with Courtney,” he tells me.

And there it is. My humiliation is complete. Chase Mitchell is witnessing my meltdown after watching my best friend hook up with his ex.

I look away, swiping my hand across my face. God knows what I look like right now. My makeup is probably running everywhere. I let out a sigh and feel my shoulders sag even farther.

“He doesn’t see you, Livy.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I whisper. “I told you, I was just thinking about something that happened earlier.”

“Liv—”

“Chase, please,” I plead, another errant tear streaking down my face. “Just leave me alone, okay? I can’t deal with anyone seeing me like this.”

He doesn’t reply as I squeeze my hands and try to focus on pulling myself together, but after what feels like an eternity, I hear the door open then click shut behind him. I burst into tears all over again because not only is Jessie back with Courtney, now everyone in school will know what a pathetic loser I am.

 

About Emma Doherty:

Emma Doherty was born in Yorkshire, England. She attended university in Newcastle before moving to London. She loves to travel, write, spend time with friends and family and hear from her readers.

Connect with Emma:

Instagram | Facebook

Enter Emma’s Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer ~ Review & ARC giveaway



An instant New York Times Best Seller! In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse.
It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.





It's been a really long time since a book grabbed hold of me the way this one did.  I was sucked into the pages and stuck there until all 496 pages were devoured.  And then I paced around because I want book 2.  I need more.  This book will hold you well after the last page is read.  I keep thinking about the story.  The characters.  The land they lived in.  They own me and I miss them.  I want to start again and read it over.  I long for more.

Harper is from Washington DC.  Her life is less than good.  She tries to help take her of her mother who is suffering from cancer and look out for her brother who is just trying to help them survive.  One night she is doing just that when she is sucked into an enchanted world.  A world with it's own problems and people she begins to care for.  But nothing is as it seems and any hope she has of getting back to help her family or even help the people of Emberfall is slim at best.

I love Harper.  She struggles with cerebral palsy but she doesn't let it define her.  It doesn't matter that things are impossible, she tries anyway.  She stands up to a Prince, a enchantress and a guardsman.  A Princess she is not but a champion she becomes.  I love her spunk.  She's determined to learn to protect herself.  She learns too.  She speaks her mind and she does what she believes is right.  She rocks it.

As for Rhen, he is in an impossible position.  He may have been an arrogant a$$ when this curse began but that has been tortured out of him.  I want to slap Lilith for her stupid curse.  She's just a spoiled brat that didn't get her way.  Too bad she has some magic that makes Rhen's life miserable.  He's tried very hard to break the curse.  The guilt he feels for each failure is a huge weight upon him.  His concern is for his people.  And I love him for it.  Whatever Harper ends up feeling, Rhen loves her.  And my heart breaks for him.

There is also Gray.  It's not a love triangle, really but there is something.  It's hard to explain.  This man, though, he is honorable.  He cares for Rhen.  He's loyal to him.  I fell for him hard.  And I hope there is more about him in the next book.  I need more about him.  There is not a cliffhanger so much as a plot line not finished or the weavings of a second story left to tempt us.  The major part of the story is resolved.  I just...I need that second story.  And a year is a long time to long for more.

The writing is amazing.  I was startled several times by things that never even occurred to me.  The twists and turns right up to the very end capture your attention and hold you in the story.  The characters are real and you are cheering for them.  The hatred for Lilith is a real thing.   I wish her more than death.  When an author can pull my emotions so strongly into the story, the writing is amazing.

Rhen does not try to romance Harper.  There is some but she is leery of it.  It is their banter, their alliance, their friendship and finally their trust that leads them to each other.  It is a different kind of romance.  The rest is a slow burn that is sweet and true.

This book, this world, these characters have woven itself in my heart and I can't wait for more!





                                             



Val's giving away her ACR copy!
It's SIGNED!

US only



Sunday, February 17, 2019

Stacking OUR Shelves ~ 2/17/19


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  Make sure to checkout her post with links to all the other participates.

Click covers for Goodreads links


For Review...



Thanks goes to...

MIRA
Harlequin
St Martin's Press

Bought...







For Review...


Storm and Fury (The Harbinger, #1)



Thanks go to...


Inkyard Press



Bought...


Lord of the Fading Lands (Tairen Soul, #1)



KindleUnlimited...


A Star Pilot's Heart (All the Stars in the Sky, #1)The (Alien) Nanny for Christmas (Stolen by an Alien #6)Princess SOS (The Ravager Chronicles, #1)The Dark Princes (The Ravager Chronicles, #2)


That's what we added to our shelves this week! What do you think? What did you add to your stacks? Leave us a comment and link us up!


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Book Boyfriend (Book Boyfriends #1) by Claire Kingsley ~ Review

Book Boyfriend (Book Boyfriends, #1)Source: KindleUnlimited.

Book Boyfriend (Book Boyfriends #1) by Claire Kingsley


He's too hot for words.

Mia

Alex Lawson might as well be the hottest book boyfriend imaginable. A fun, romantic, possessive, panty-melting man. And the best part?

He’s real.

For a girl like me—a slightly awkward book addict—Alex is a dream come true, straight off the pages of my favorite romance novels. But our story is turning into a whirlwind romance—the kind that only exists in books.

And I wonder if we’re heading toward our own happily ever after, or if he’s too good to be true.

Alex

Here’s the thing. I’m not a bad guy. Lying to Mia wasn’t part of the plan. Finding success as a romance author using a female pen name wasn’t part of the plan either. But sometimes life takes unexpected turns. Like realizing the woman you’re falling for is your alter-ego’s online best friend.
Online, she thinks I’m a woman named Lexi. In person, she knows I’m all man. I want to worship her body and claim every inch of her.

But if she finds out the truth, I could lose everything.




After weeks and weeks of scrolling across this book while browsing KindleUnlimited titles, I finally caved and gave it a shot. The premise is stellar, and I was so here for some cute fluff. And honestly, Book Boyfriend did deliver...but not quite as much as I'd hoped.

I think part of my issue here is that my expectations were too high. I picked up this book ready to have a great time reading it, anticipating that I'd fall in love. And while I did like the book, it definitely wasn't one I got super into and fell head over heels for. That said, part of the reason I didn't love Book Boyfriend is because of the way it was written. I guess it just didn't drag me in deep enough so I was left wanting MORE. More investment, more feels, more of everything.

And that leads me to my next point: Book Boyfriend really does deliver on pretty much all fronts. It's cute and fluffy. There are swoons. There are funny moments. And I really loved the characters. Especially Mia who was shy and quirky and awesome. But even with all of that, it wasn't ENOUGH. I wish it had gone deeper.

All that said, the book was easy to fly through. I started and finished it in less than a day without breaking a sweat. The beginning of the book does a particularly good job of setting up the story in a way that makes it easy to get pulled in enough to continue straight through.

Overall, Book Boyfriend is a quick, fun, fluffy romance. Unfortunately, it all fell a little short for me. I loved the premise, liked the book, but was left wishing for more.


3 stars - A fun, fluffy romance that fell a little short for me.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Cowboy Wolf Trouble by Kait Ballenger ~ Review



Seven shifter clans call the Montana mountains home.

But a new evil will stop at nothing to tear their world apart.

For centuries, the shifters that roam Big Sky country have honored a pact to keep the peace. Even bad-boy rancher Wes Calhoun, former leader of a renegade pack, has given up his violent ways and sworn loyalty to the Grey Wolves. But his dark past keeps catching up with him…

Human rancher Naomi Evans cares only about saving the ranch that was her father’s legacy. Until a clash with Wes opens up a whole new world—a supernatural world on the verge of war—and Naomi, her ranch, and the sexy cowboy wolf stealing her heart are smack dab in the middle of it.

 




Hmmmm, I wonder how to explain my feelings about this book.  

I love shifter books and when I saw this start of a new one that had a cowboy flavor, I was excited to check it out.  And there were a lot of parts that I loved.  And some I was just meh about.  So it ended up being a 3 star for me.

I really liked the overall story and how it's set-up for more stories.  I enjoyed the lore of the world with packs that work together to keep their world safe and the humans in the dark.  Of course there are human hunters that think all shifters are bad.  They should probably focus on the vampires in this one.  They seem to be strictly evil.   It was interesting that Wes was the former bad guy.  He certainly paints himself to be a monster.  Oh course, when we get all the details, he's not as bad as he believes.  I did really like him.  I liked Naomi and her heritage.  She has a lot of spunk, standing up to Wes a lot.  I liked them together.  

I think the meh part for me was the writing.  Or the structure of the story.  There were so many details about the area and descriptions of clothes and such but story details were rushed through.  Now, I know that the author can't tell us certain things right away without ruining the plot.  That's not what I mean.  I get that you leave out things until later.  It's just that some things were rushed to the point that that's where the misunderstanding came between characters.  And I think it could have been done so much better.  It happened too much and made me unhappy.

The heat level is high in this one and the writing there is rich in details.  Wes has a hard time keeping his hands off her from the start.  She calls to him.  But humans and shifters aren't allowed to be in relationships, so they resist.  Yeah.  You know how that goes.

It's a deceit story.  I might read a second book in the series but it's not a favorite by any stretch of the imagination.


                                  

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Year I Left by Christine Brae ~ Cover Reveal


The Year I Left
Christine Brae
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: July 30th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Carin Frost doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother, she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it’s the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she’s just losing her mind.
Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship—and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance, until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island. In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, BOLD. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself.
An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, this is a story of a woman’s loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back.



Author Bio:
Christine Brae is a full time career woman who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. Her second book, His Wounded Light was released in December, 2013.
Christine's third book, Insipid, is a standalone that was released in June, 2014, and her fourth book, In This Life, released in January 2016.
Her latest work, Eight Goodbyes was released on August 28, 2018.
When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.
Christine is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin Literary Management.


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Swoon Thursday ~ 2/14/19


Who doesn't LOVE a good swoon?!  We love them for sure!  Check out our swoon below and then add to the fun.

Post anything that made you swoon, past or present read.  Include the cover, blurb and links.  Please no spoilers.


Free (Chaos, #6)Through good times, bad times and times of war, Cole “Rush” Allen grew up in the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Along this journey, he watched his father, Tack, and his MC brothers fight, sweat, bleed and die to steer the Club to legitimacy.

And they’ve got one more battle on their hands.

A battle they have to win.

But when Rush meets the woman who put herself right in the thick of it, he knows he has to stop at nothing to get her out.

Rebel Stapleton has lost someone she loves to murder and she’s the kind of woman who’s going to do something about it. She puts her career on the line, and her life, to bring the man who did it to justice.

That is, she does this until Rush Allen intervenes.

Chaos is at war and they’re about to face the ultimate showdown. They’ll have to negotiate skeletons from the past, enemies becoming allies, and loved ones in the line of fire on their ride to be…

Free.


Swoon...


"I think I cried my makeup off." 
He smiled and bent his neck to say to the top of her hair. "You're beautiful, Rebel, probably just as beautiful or even more without makeup."

I adore Rush. He's a sweetheart.


That's our swoon this week! What about you? Leave us a comment & a link.