Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

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Buy it here: Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

She went missing. He moved on. A whole world of secrets remained—until now.

Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.

Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him…even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.

Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?

A tour de force of psychological suspense, Bring Me Back will have you questioning everything and everyone until its stunning climax.

You know, as a blogger, I tend to have a lot of books floating around at any given time. Months ago, I snagged another book by this author, and I just haven’t gotten around to it (#bookwormproblems). But then I got a chance to read “Bring Me Back” and I was so excited since I’ve been eager to read this author.

Oh.My.God. My mind was absolutely blown.

I finished several days ago and I’m still thinking about the story and the crazy thing is that once I knew the conclusion, it made me want to re-read the book because it has made me see everything differently. That is how you know you’ve got an amazing thriller in your hands.

Finn and Layla were in love. Until things fell apart. Layla goes missing and Finn eventually moves on. Twelve years later, Finn is engaged to Ellen, Layla’s sister. But suddenly Finn starts getting clues that Layla hasn’t disappeared like everyone thought.

One of the best aspects of this story is that you truly have no idea who is a good or bad person. You think you’ve totally figured it out and then you realize you were wrong. Or were you? It was so much fun trying to guess at where this story would lead. None of the characters are overly likable, but you also don’t dislike them. For me, that helped this story go to the next level. Because I was unsure of the characters, I was always slightly suspicious. Then I would think I was figuring it out, until I wasn’t.

Then when I got to the end, it was so insane. I always feel like you get the blurb saying “you won’t believe the ending”. But with this book, it’s true.

If you love thrillers, or are looking for a book that will be different than anything else you’ve read, you need to read “Bring Me Back” by B.A. Paris.

 

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Maybe This Time by Nicole McLaughlin

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Buy it here: Maybe This Time by Nicole McLaughlin

Maybe This Time is the next heartwarming contemporary romance from Nicole McLaughlin in her Whiskey and Weddings series.

Jen Mackenzie has been knocked down more than a few times, but she always gets up and makes sure she has the last word. It’s the reason she now considers herself equal parts self-sufficient and free-spirit. But since losing her job and trying to help her mother beat cancer, real life—and her occasional careless choices—have begun to catch up with her. Her one saving grace: The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s go-to wedding venue. The only catch: One of the owners, TJ Laughlin, happens to be the one man who somehow manages to make Jen feel inadequate.

TJ has secretly had a thing for Jen since high school. Now, as her new boss, it’s a daily struggle between revealing his feelings and wringing her beautiful neck. Only one thing is for certain: he can’t stand idly by and watch the woman he cares for struggle. She may be convinced that accepting TJ’s help is a weakness. But all he sees in Jen is beauty and strength, inside and out. As things finally heat up between them, can TJ find a way to convince Jen that love is about give and take—and having it all, together?

This is the first book I’ve read from Nicole McLaughlin. I admit that I do get nervous trying a new author. I think it’s because I want to love her every book that floats my way and I feel bad if I don’t like something. But I didn’t need to worry. I actually read this book in one sitting. It was easy to read and I became so invested in these characters.

Jen Mackenzie might be one of my favorite female characters ever. She is exceptionally flawed. She’s made some poor decisions, she has her own insecurity, plus her present day life brings a lot of stress. I aligned with Jen. There was a scene where she sort of breaks down as all of the stress just hits her. I cried right along with her. Her stress and anguish just soared off the page.

TJ Laughlin is, again, a favorite character. When you look at these characters, without meeting then, you see TJ as the rich kid and Jen as the poor kid. Which is true. But having money, or not having money, doesn’t leave you immune to insecurity or issues in life. TJ has many battles, they are just of a different caliber. Even with all of that, TJ isn’t scared to give Jen his love.

Jen and TJ are in their early 30’s. I feel like this is a weird thing to hone in on, but I really appreciated that the characters weren’t so young. And the fact that they both had sexual experience. I know we all love a good virginal, first love romance, but I also appreciate when the characters have experienced life with other people. It makes the connection so much stronger. There was one particular love scene in the story where you the passion was so intense and, as a reader, I understood how these two could feel how they did.

If you enjoy contemporary romance, you will enjoy this story. But if you also love seeing a couple overcome the odds, you would also love Jen and TJ’s story. Both characters have flaws that are realistic, and when we see these two come together, the passion and chemistry seem to jump off the page.

 

 

Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins

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Buy it here: Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins

THE PICTURE OF ROMANCE

A dedicated painter, Miss Sophia Hastings is far more concerned with finding the right slant of light than in finding Mr. Right. But when an overheard conversation hints at danger for another local artist, Sophia is determined to get involved. Even if it means accepting help from an impossibly good-looking vicar who insists on joining her investigation—and threatens to capture her heart…

Reverend Lord Benedick Lisle knows that Sophia is no damsel in distress. But he won’t allow her to venture into peril alone, either. . .especially since he finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature so alluring. But protecting her from harm is becoming more difficult than the vicar could have expected as he and Sophia confront their fiery mutual passion. Who could have known that the art of love would prove so irresistible?

Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins is a page-turning Regency romance and part of the Studies in Scandal series.

 

I swear I don’t like historical romance. No. Not my genre, won’t ever be. And then I read one Manda Collins book over the Christmas season and here I am, devouring another and not being able to put it down. I think I like historical romance. Please welcome me to your club with open arms.

Our story starts with Miss Sophia Hastings painting near the edge of a cliff. Everything is going well until she slips. Luckily Lord Benedick Lisle is there to help. But before he can help her, both overhear an ominous conversation.

My favorite aspect of this overall story is how the author stays true to the history within the story, but the characters never become stuffy or hard to understand. Sophia is progressive and is one of the ladies of the Beauchamp House, where women are encouraged to use their intellect. For Sophia, this translates into art and painting. So while I get the great historical aspects, I am not left with antiquated characters. I truly appreciate that.

The author gives us a fantastic build up between Ben and Sophia. Throughout the story, we see multiple characters trying to gain their romantic affections. Ben, being the Vicar and a man of stature, he is highly sought after. Sophia, a beautiful young lady who is wickedly talented and intelligent. As you read along, you can truly see why Ben and Sophia work well together and if you were to be standing there, watching the scene unfold, you would put them together.

If you enjoy this author already, you will definitely enjoy her latest work. But even if you are on the fence about historical romance, I would encourage you to read this book. There is romance, mystery, and great interactions between the characters throughout the entire story. Definitely a fantastic read that will give you a break from everyday life.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendriks and Sarah Pekkanen

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Buy it here: The Wife Between Us

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

This book is eerie. I struggled to come up with the right word. But eerie seems the best way to describe this tale of new and old lives interconnecting.

Vanessa and Richard were once married; living their happily ever after in a nice home, surrounded by their wealthy friends and fancy things. But then, Richard meets “the replacement” and everything changes for Vanessa.

Vanessa’s character broke my heart. I would feel like I hated her, then could sort of understand her, and I’d move onto annoyance with her behavior and then I’d go back to heartbreak. The authors captured her despair, abandonment, and chaos exquisitely.

Nellie is the soon-to-be new wife to Richard. Nellie is cookie-cutter. She’s this sweet young woman, who teaches preschool, waitresses at night, and somehow manages to find “the one” in Richard. He never wants to talk about his ex and Nellie never pries. She has her own issues that she isn’t sharing either.

One thing about this story is that it moves slowly. This isn’t a fast-paced action thriller. It  sort of carries on, as if it’s on a nice Sunday stroll.  It just is. I think that fact is what lulls the reader into comfort. You think you’re reading about these two women, and their lives. The thrill in this story is how normal it seems. Men and women get married and divorced all the time. Relationships break apart. It could happen to anyone.

Another thing that I didn’t like initially but started to appreciate the more I thought on it is this book has several twists and turns. I figured out one but because this story is so dynamic, figuring out one of the twists didn’t ruin the whole story. You can understand one portion of the puzzle but you still don’t see everything.

This book is reminiscent of “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on the Train”. If you enjoyed either of those stories, you will enjoy this one. I’ve heard a lot of buzz that this book is also being turned into a movie, and I’m not surprised to hear that at all. This book is dynamic, terrifying, and downright eerie. Readers will not be disappointed.

 

Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

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Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

The best gift of all is the one you share with someone else. . .

From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn’t a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry—just a few no-strings dates while he was in town.

Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously—how could she not, when she’s rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he’s just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love…for real. And Deacon can’t help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it’s the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who’s become Deacon’s favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?

Macy Frost might be a descendant of Cupid. But even if she’s not, she’s one heck of a matchmaker. And that skill is about to come in handy with Deacon, a newcomer who shows up unexpectedly.

The biggest component of this book that I found myself loving was how the story came to life. The descriptions were so vivid and I could easily see Macy and her cat, Oscar, walking to work. I could see her office, her home and it’s piazza. I could see Fran, Deacon, George, etc. This author does a wonderful job with the imagery. I would read this author again for that piece alone.

In complete fairness, Macy was a little hard for me to like. She sort of rode the line between society girl and a little slice of wild child, and because of this, some of her sweetness came off a little too proper to me. One scene that comes to my mind is that she has only known Deacon a day or two and she’s fantasizing about him making love to her. I was fine with that scene, but Macy isn’t that old, and the wording just felt a little awkward. With that said, I felt like a lot of her actions and words did make sense for her character. It just wasn’t a personal favorite of mine.

This story is told in two viewpoints, alternating between Macy and Deacon. I enjoyed Deacon’s chapters a lot more. I think he was a bit more honest, his tone seemed more realistic to me. Deacon isn’t interested in finding a soulmate. He needs Macy’s help to find a few dates to appease the aunt who cared for him growing up. Nothing more. But Macy is convinced that she can find the person he’s meant to be with. But what if that person is Macy?

The other nice aspect of this story is that you get a full-length book. Amazon has this listed as 346 pages, which is significantly longer than other holiday books I’ve come across. So I appreciated that the story wasn’t rushed and I got to really savor the story.

I think this book is perfect for anyone who loves holiday romance but also for someone looking for a lighter, cheerful read. The story comes to life and you feel like you’re in Charleston as you read along.

 

The Legend by Donna Grant

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The Legend, an all-new sexy standalone from Donna Grant is available now!

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The Legend by Donna Grant
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

A LONE STAR LOVER

They live to protect. They live to fight for honor and justice. They live to love the women who have captured their souls. These are the Sons of Texas, from New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant.

In The Legend, Callie Reed doesn’t need a man to protect her. An expert sharpshooter and renegade hacker, this Texas-born spitfire’s got the skills and the courage to stand up to any danger―no matter how deadly. But when she becomes the target of a shadowy organization known as the Saints, Callie is forced to team up with the one man she can’t outshoot: the gorgeous, and infuriating, Lone Star legend named Wyatt Loughman…

A Delta Force Colonel with a rock-hard body and stone-cold heart, Wyatt has been teasing and tormenting Callie since they were playmates on his family’s ranch. Of course, he’s wildly attracted to the fiery, strong-willed Callie. But he’s always hidden his feelings behind a wall of Texas tough and military cool, even as he’s burning up with desire. Can Wyatt save Callie’s life―without putting her love in the line of fire?

The Legend Countdown - 00

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Check out the Playlist Here:

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Playlist - The Legend

Start the series of STANDALONES today with The Hero

The Hero

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About Donna:

Donna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, four cats, and one long haired Chihuahua.

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