Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Release Day: No Cowboy Required by JoAnn Sky + Giveaway

May 15th, 2018 by Debbie's World of Books

Welcome to Reno, Nevada, the Biggest Little City in the World! Sweet Home Alabama meets Raising Helen in this sweet small town contemporary romance debut from Golden Heart® Award finalist JoAnn Sky!

About No Cowboy Required:

Release Date: May 14, 2018

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Series: A Biggest Little Love Story

Synopsis:

Enemies make the best partners…

As a photographer in NYC, Grace Harper is a pro at handling the unexpected–which comes in handy when she inherits the ranch home she ran away from seven years ago…along with a young, autistic stepbrother she’s never met. And because nothing ever goes easy for her, Grace finds her frustrating, sexy ex-flame, Noah, taking care of JJ. But she’s getting out of this nowhere town fast, so she’ll have to find a way to keep from throttling Noah—without kissing him first.

Noah Taylor may be enemy number one to Grace, but she needs his help. He knows the girl he used to love is still there, beneath the heels and fancy clothes, so he’ll help her—and keep his distance like she says she wants. Only the more time they spend together, the closer he wants to get. Grace has no intention of staying, but she belongs in his arms—he just has to prove it to her.

Add to your TBR list: Goodreads

Available at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Excerpt:

Copyright© 2018 No Cowboy Required

JoAnn Sky

She stopped shuffling the papers and stood but didn’t face him. “I want you to keep the farm, and I want to help you do it. But I need a new start, too.” She took a deep breath, turned her head just slightly over her shoulder toward him. “On my own.”

He watched those three little words barrel toward him. In another second, they’d knock him on his ass. He grabbed her arm and turned her around. “And that’s just the way you like it.” He leaned into her, watched her pupils dilate. “Doesn’t that get lonely?”

Her lips parted, as if to respond. But no words came out. She stared at him, waiting. For what, he wasn’t sure. She licked her lips.

To hell with whether it was love or lust or chemistry or kryptonite. He swooped in, covered her mouth with his, and drank her in. He thought she would push him away. Instead she pulled him closer, offered him more.

He took it at first, deepening the kiss, his tongue probing, tasting. It was good. She was good. But it could be better. He did care whether it was love or lust. He needed to take it slow, make it mean something.

Maybe then she’d stay.

Giveaway

JoAnn is offering one (1) lucky winner a $50 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About JoAnn Sky:

JoAnn Sky has written for years as part of her job (business and marketing plans and the like). One day she tried her hand at writing for fun—and like it. Now she authors adult contemporary romance and young adult romance with a magical twist as well as children’s books.

JoAnn is a two-time Golden Heart® finalist (YA category and Contemporary Short category). Originally from the Midwest, JoAnn currently lives in northern Nevada with her husband a.k.a. love of her life, three teenage children, and three crazy rescue dogs.

Visit her at https://joannsky.com/ where you can sign up for her newsletter (and check out www.dogsandbooks.com for additional information about her children’s books). You can also connect on Twitter at @jaskybooks (http://twitter.com/JASkyBooks) or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/joannskyauthor/).

JoAnn is represented by the fabulous Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency.

Connect with JoAnn: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

 

Posted in Blog Tour, Contemporary, Romance | No Comments »

Review: Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir

May 3rd, 2018 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Netgalley

Publication date: May 15, 2018

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Series: Six Tudor Queens #3

Rating: ★★★★★

About the book

Acclaimed author and historian Alison Weir continues her epic Six Tudor Queens series with this third captivating novel, which brings to life Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII’s most cherished bride and mother of his only male heir.

Ever since she was a child, Jane has longed for a cloistered life as a nun. But her large noble family has other plans, and, as an adult, Jane is invited to the King’s court to serve as lady-in-waiting for Queen Katherine of Aragon. The devout Katherine shows kindness to all her ladies, almost like a second mother, which makes rumors of Henry’s lustful pursuit of Anne Boleyn—who is also lady-in-waiting to the queen—all the more shocking. For Jane, the betrayal triggers memories of a painful incident that shaped her beliefs about marriage.

But once Henry disavows Katherine and secures his new queen—altering the religious landscape of England—he turns his eye to another: Jane herself. Urged to return the King’s affection and earn favor for her family, Jane is drawn into a dangerous political game that pits her conscience against her desires. Can Jane be the one to give the King his long-sought-after son or will she meet a fate similar to the women who came before her?

Bringing new insight to this compelling story, Weir marries meticulous research with gripping historical fiction to re-create the dramas and intrigues of the most renown court in English history. At its center is a loving and compassionate woman who captures the heart of a king, and whose life will hang in the balance for it.

My Thoughts

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a historical fiction and I forgot how much I love them. I’ve seen Alison Weir mentioned quite a bit when it comes to historical fiction so when I saw this one available on NetGalley I decided I had to request it. Thankfully I was approved and I was immediately sucked into the book. For being over 500 pages long it certainly didn’t feel like it as I flew through it. Alison Weir has a way of writing that draws the reader into the book and I felt as if I was an observer in King Henry VIII’s court watching everything occurring in front of me.

Jane Seymour isn’t one of the Henry’s wives that I’ve ever heard much about so I didn’t go in with any great expectations. The author notes that not much is actually known about Jane Seymour’s inner thoughts but I thoroughly enjoyed her take on what life might have been like for Jane.

I’m curious how the first two books in this series takes place since we see a lot about Anne Boleyn in this one but I enjoyed it so much I want to go back and read them. Definitely a great introduction to Alison Weir’s works!

Find it online

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Other books in the series:

Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen

Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obsession

Posted in 5 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction | No Comments »

Blog Tour: The Good Luck Sister by Jill Shalvis + Giveaway

May 1st, 2018 by Debbie's World of Books

This summer, romance blooms again in Wildstone!

After a difficult few years, Tilly Adams is ready for life to start going right. Though she has a case of first-day nerves teaching art at the local community college, she knows it isn’t anything a few snuggles from her rescue puppy won’t cure. Until she sees Dylan Scott again, her one-time BFF and first love sitting in the front row.

Dylan knows he should’ve left well enough alone, but when he sees Tilly living her dream, he can’t help but make contact. Ten years ago, he left Wildstone and everything in it behind, including Tilly. He had his reasons, but now he wants her back in his life, anyway he can get her.

When Tilly agrees to design the logo for Dylan’s new helicopter touring company, it’s business only . . . until she finds herself falling into his arms once again.

Can she possibly open her heart back up to the only man who’s ever broken it? But soon they’re both realizing the truth—love always deserves a second chance.

 

Publication Date
May 1, 2018

Get Your Copy Today!
Amazon | Avon Romance | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks

EXCERPT

Chapter 1

 

“I’ve finished my free trial of adulthood and am no longer interested, so please cancel my subscription.” From The Mixed Up Files of Tilly’s journal.

Tilly Adams sat in the vet’s office staring at the doctor in shock. “Say that again?”

Dr. Janet Lyons smiled. “I think Leo faked being sick. Probably so you’d stay home from work today.”

Tilly looked down at Leo. “You do know he’s a dog, right?”

All six pounds of him smiled up at her. About a month ago, she found him on a street corner hiding beneath a bus bench; wet, dirty, cold, hungry and matted. He’d been Dobby meets Gremlin meets neglected, abused Care Bear. Tilly had looked around for an adult, and then had to remind herself that at twenty-five years old, she was legal herself. So then she’d searched for an adultier adult, but she’d been the only one in sight.

So she’d scooped the little guy up and had brought him to the SPCA, who’d said he was about five weeks old, a possible Maltipoo, which meant he came by his care bear look naturally. He was malnutritioned and suffering from mange. They’d said they’d do what they could, and Tilly had turned to go. That had been when she’d seen all the eyes on her from an endless row of cages … and she’d realized her care bear would soon be sitting in one too. Then she’d heard herself offer to foster him until they found him a forever home.

They’d found him one too. Tilly had signed the adoption papers last weekend in spite of the fact that just that morning he’d escaped his crate, eaten her favorite sneakers, destroyed her favorite pillow, and then yakked up the stuffing from the pillow.

He was a destructo of the highest magnitude, and something else too. He had no idea how small he was. He went after her sister Quinn’s twenty-plus pound cat and her neighbor’s hundred pound black lab with the same fierce, fearless gusto. Turned out, the little guy had a bad case of small-man syndrome, which was how he’d earned his name.

Leo, short for Napoleon.

And now on top of Leo’s impressive chewing skills, his escape artist skills, and his ability to get up on her bed and yet still not understand why stepping in his own poop was annoying, he had a new skill.

He’d faked being sick.

Proud of himself, Leo smiled up at her. Smiled. An hour ago he’d been coughing and limping and acting all sorts of odd. Now he just kept smiling up at her while sending her meaningful glances at the open dog biscuit bin between her and the doctor.

Dr. Lyons laughed and gave him one.

“Dogs can’t fake sick,” Tilly said while Leo inhaled the biscuit whole before licking the floor to make sure he got all the crumbs. “Can they?”

Dr. Lyons scooped him up and gave him a kiss on his adorable snout. “Yours did.”
Tilly sighed. It was too early for this. She’d had a crazy late night. Not hanging at Whiskey River, the local bar and grill. Not at a club with friends. Not working on her designs for he upcoming graphic art showing.

Nope, she’d been on a serious stress bender — a marathon of Game Of Thrones. She hadn’t fallen asleep until after two and her alarm had interrupted her in the middle of a really great dream starring Jon Snow.

Dr. Lyons handed Leo over. He immediately snuggled into the crook of Tilly’s neck and dammit, her cold heart melted on the spot and she hugged him close. “You’re sure he’s okay? He was coughing. And then he limped funny. And then he wouldn’t eat.”

“But he hasn’t coughed once that I’ve seen. And he’s not limping either. And you said all his food vanished while you took a quick shower.”

“Yes,” Tilly said.

Dr. Lyons waited for her to catch up.

Tilly sighed. “He really did fake me out.”

 

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author JILL SHALVIS lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventure.

Author Links

website facebook twitter goodreads Amazon icon

 

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Review: The Bride Takes a Groom by Lisa Berne

April 24th, 2018 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Received for review

Publication date: April 24, 2018

Publisher: Avon Books

Series: The Penhallow Dynasty #3

Rating: ★★½☆☆

About the book

Lisa Berne’s Penhallow Dynasty continues with a pair of star-crossed childhood friends who meet again years later—and find love where they least expect it…

Katherine Brooke may be a fabulously wealthy heiress, but she’s trapped, a pawn in her parents’ ruthless game to marry her into the nobility. Then Captain Hugo Penhallow—so charming, as handsome as a Greek god—comes into her life once more, and suddenly she sees a chance to be free.

As a Penhallow, his is one of the highest names in the land, but still his family is facing ruin. So Katherine boldly proposes an exchange: his name for her money. But only if Hugo understands it’s merely a practical arrangement, and that she’s not surrendering herself entirely.

Back from eight years in America and determined to give his younger siblings a better life, Hugo agrees. He’s never fallen in love, so why not? Yet neither of them guesses that this marriage will become far, far more than they ever dreamed of.

My Thoughts

I have to admit I really struggled with this book. I picked it up and put it down several times simply because the heroine really rubbed me the wrong way. Katherine has had a tough upbringing, there is no denying that. However, I have to say she is certainly lucky Hugo and his family are so kind hearted to give her a chance and believe there is something more beneath the surface. I’d have to say with a majority of other people she would have been dismissed as being a royal PITA because wow! Some of the things she says and does would have made me want to slap her. Yes, she has these random grand gestures of charity but still it took a good long while before I even found her tolerable. By the end she definitely made some strides towards likability but it was a little too late and she never endeared herself to me.

Hugo on the other hand was so congenial and took everything in stride that he almost came across as spineless. I wanted to cheer whenever he ever showed a hint of being disgruntled with Katherine’s attitude, words and actions because I felt there is a fine line between being easy going and being a door mat.

The storyline itself seemed disjointed as well and a few times it felt like sub-plots were thrown in at random. I think if it had been a little more focused it would have been a enjoyable book because it could have focused more on developing the characters. Unfortunately this book just didn’t hit the high notes for me.

Find it online

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Posted in 2 Star Books, 3 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction, Romance | No Comments »

Review: What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell

April 18th, 2018 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Received for review

Publication date: March 27, 2018

Publisher: Avon Books

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the book

Wanted: Governess for duke’s unruly children

Edgar Rochester, Duke of Banksford, is one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in England, but when it comes to raising twins alone, he knows he needs help. The only problem is the children have chased away half the governesses in London. Until the clever, bold, and far-too-enticing Miss Mari Perkins arrives.

Lost: One heart to an arrogant duke

Mari knows how to wrap even the most rebellious children around her finger. But their demanding, wickedly handsome father? He won’t be quite so easy to control. And there’s something else she can’t seem to command. Her heart. The foolish thing beats so wildly every time the duke is near.

Found: A forbidden passion neither can deny

As his employee, Mari is strictly off-limits. But what if she’s the one breaking all his rules? In the game of governess versus duke, how can Edgar maintain his defenses when the only thing he wants to do is let the tempting beauty win?

My Thoughts

Mary Poppins was one of my favorite movies growing up and this romance definitely brought Mary Poppins to mind. Edgar’s children may have scared off one nanny after another but when we meet them they really aren’t bad children. They’ve been through a lot – they’ve lost their mother, been uprooted from the only home they really knew and left with a father who doesn’t seem to want them. It’s understandable that they are out of sorts and causing all sorts of mischief.

Fortunately for the children, Mari steps in as a nanny who understands what they’re going through and works her magic to not only help heal the childrens’ hurts but also helps bring them closer to their father. Mari isn’t afraid to stick up for what she believes is right and doesn’t cave when faced with a glowering Edgar. I loved her character and watching the children blossom under her care.

I liked Edgar’s character but I didn’t fall in love with him. Yes, I felt bad for him because he obviously cared about the children but didn’t know how to show it and it was heart warming to see him take Mari’s suggestions on how to make the children less homesick to heart but there’s was no extra oomph to his character that made me swoon. I did enjoy Mari’s character enough that I was rooting for their romance throughout the story though. All in all this was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to historical romance lovers.

Find it online

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Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction, Romance | No Comments »

Review: The Duke Who Ravaged Me by Diana Quincy

April 17th, 2018 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Received for review

Publication date: April 17, 2018

Publisher: Loveswept

Series: Rebellious Brides #4

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the book

Adam Fairfax, the Duke of Sunderford, happily enjoys a different woman (or two) every night—or he did, until his wards landed on his doorstep. Ever since Sunny took in the seven-year-old twin girls and their prim and proper governess, Isabel Finch, his love life has been a shambles. But, as time goes by, Sunny catches himself getting lost in Isabel’s haughty blue eyes, or following the curves beneath her unbecoming dress. An unexpected kiss ignites a passion that shocks him into realizing how thin the line between love and hate can be.

If Isabel’s hidden past were revealed, she could lose everything. Oddly enough, only when “Sinful Sunny” is near does she feel safe—or safe enough to speak up in defense of the girls. The duke’s decadent lifestyle is a disgrace, and clearly he considers Isabel a nuisance. Still, she can’t help admiring his sculpted cheekbones, strong-cut jaw, and tousled chestnut hair. When their lips meet, it’s almost as if he could kiss the secrets right out of her. Worse, she’s tempted to let him. . . .

My Thoughts

This was my first book from Diana Quincy and it definitely won’t be my last! I have to admit I had my doubts if I would enjoy this book because Sunny was so unlikeable at the beginning but hands down to Ms. Quincy for writing such an amazing character. It was actually really nice to see such a manwhore make a turnaround that came about gradually and wasn’t instantaneous just because he fell for a pretty face. He really was such a jerk when his two wards show up and I swear he really needed a swift kick in the rear. Not to mention the comments he makes to Finch and even when he wasn’t trying to be rude he still managed to stick his foot in his mouth. So believe me once he started to change and his two wards worked their way into his heart it really tugged at my heart strings. It was just so sweet to watch and I liked seeing how his relationship develops with his wards, Prudence and Patience, that is separate from his relationship with Finch.

Sunny’s relationship with Finch evolved very nicely and I loved that it wasn’t instalove and we get to see Sunny and Finch go from genuinely despising each other to understanding each other and eventually falling in love. The twist at the end was unexpected but entirely satisfying. This was such a wonderful romance that I highly suggest!

Find it online

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About Diana Quincy

Diana Quincy is an award-winning former television journalist who decided she’d rather make up stories where a happy ending is always guaranteed.

Fans of Madeline Hunter, Lisa Kleypas and Sabrina Jeffries will love Diana’s Regency world of dashing dukes, irresistible rogues and the headstrong, determined women who capture their hearts. New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes says SEDUCING CHARLOTTE is “Sweet, steamy, and thoroughly enjoyable…Equal parts action, passion and fun.”

Growing up as a foreign service brat, Diana lived in many countries and is now settled in Virginia with her husband and two sons. When not bent over her laptop or trying to keep up with laundry, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family and dreams of traveling much more than her current schedule (and budget) allows.

Diana loves to hear from readers. You can follow her on Twitter @Diana_Quincy or visit her website at dianaquincy.com

Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction, Romance | No Comments »

Review: The Ladies of Mandrigyn by Barbara Hambly

April 13th, 2018 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Purchased

Publication date: March 29, 2011

Publisher: Open Road Media SciFi & Fantasy

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the book

Gifted with courage, strength, and the intelligence to know when to fight, Sun Wolf is the greatest mercenary in a land overrun by war. With his first lieutenant, Starhawk—a woman more deadly than any man—at his side, he has laid waste to countless cities, taking the best of their treasures for himself, and distributing the rest among his bloodthirsty crew.
Then a woman comes to him, an emissary from the town of Mandrigyn, a lush port city recently sacked by a powerful, mad wizard of unmatched abilities. She offers Sun Wolf untold riches for the use of his army, but the captain is not fool enough to wage war against a magician. He refuses her offer, but that is not the end of it. The women of Mandrigyn can be very persuasive.

My Thoughts

I have to say I normally would not have picked up this book just based off of the cover or the blurb BUT one of my favorite authors, Maria V. Snyder, mentioned that she loved Barbara Hambly and she was inspired by her writing I had to give it a go.

While I can’t say I loved it as much as I did Maria V. Snyder’s books it was quite enjoyable. What makes it such an interesting read is that none of the characters are perfect. They’re all flawed in some way that actually makes them more relatable and initially I had mixed feelings towards them. I wasn’t sure if I liked them or felt distaste towards them but in the end most of them managed to win me over. Sun Wolf is crude, participated in some questionable activities but by the end of the book you can’t help but like him. Starhawk inspired similar feelings in me. Initially I found her hard to relate to but as we see her travel with Fawn, have to face her own feelings towards Sun Wolf and then deal with her insecurities of being a woman and having to deal with “womenly feelings” I came to sympathize with her.

Though the story mainly deals with Sun Wolf having to train the women of Mandrigyn for war I can’t say I felt like I truly developed any strong feelings one way or another for any of the women. I think they served more as a foil to show off Sun Wolf’s transformation in attitudes towards both women in general and his own feelings about others.

The ending came as a bit of a surprise and did leave me wanting to read the next book. So glad I gave this book a try!

Find it online

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Posted in 3 Star Books, 4 Star Books, Books, Fantasy | No Comments »

Review: Fast Burn by Lori Foster

April 10th, 2018 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Received for review

Publication date: March 20, 2018

Publisher: HQN

Series: Body Armor#4

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the book

For the woman who’s his perfect match, he’s willing to break the rules…

The moment Brand Berry meets beautiful, driven Sahara Silver, the connection between them is electric. It’s also something he can’t pursue. Sahara wants him, sure—to join Body Armor, where his MMA skills, size and cocky attitude make him perfect for her elite crew of bodyguards. For Sahara, the agency always comes first, and Brand needs more. Yet when she’s kidnapped by men searching for her missing brother, he doesn’t hesitate.

Somewhere along the way, flirting with Brand for the sake of business turned very personal. Despite his refusal to join Body Armor, it’s Brand who steps up when Sahara needs him most. Now there’s no more time for games, and no point denying the hunger they both feel. They’ll escape together or not at all. But if they survive, can Sahara finally surrender control to claim this blazing passion?

My Thoughts

I’ve loved this series and have been waiting for Sahara to get her story and while it didn’t hit it out of the park for me it was still an addicting read.

The main reason it’s not a 5 star for me was that in all the previous books Sahara was a total kick ass character. She’s strong, she’s smart, she knows how to manage all these alpha male former MMA fighters and does it all while maintaining the respect of her entire team. In this one I felt she lost a little of that in control, cool thinking woman who’s ready for just about everything. Yes, she does make a pretty nifty make shift weapon when she gets kidnapped at one point but then at other times she makes what’s obviously bad choices despite the rest of her guys pointing out their bad choices. Granted she’s much more emotional in this book because her brother is involved but I felt she tipped a bit too far to the little lady that doesn’t think clearly and needs to be rescued from her own bad decisions by Brand. This wouldn’t have bothered me so much if we didn’t see through out the entire series just how capable she is and how she is able to think through most issues and make the smart, rational choices. Still giving her slack because of her emotional involvement with the hints of what happened to her brother I’d give this book a solid 4 stars.

I loved Brand and seeing the sparks fly between he and Sahara was great. While we saw some of her not so smart decision making in parts of the book we also get to see some of her softer sides when she interacts with his aunt and uncle as well as the wives of the rest of the former MMA fighters. Not to mention I also loved seeing the other guys and where they are at in their relationships with their wives/girlfriends.

The story line itself was pretty predictable but still really engaging. I read it in pretty much one sitting and can’t wait for more from Lori Foster. She is an amazing author and is an auto-buy for me for sure!

Find it online

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Other books in the series

Under Pressure

Hard Justice

Close Contact

Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Contemporary, Romance | No Comments »

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