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Release Reviews: Paint the Stars: Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn

Paint the Stars (Free Fall, #3)
Christina Lee & Nyrae Dawn
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Released February 20, 2017
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Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Ezra Greene has made a pretty decent life for himself. He has a nice apartment and spends his days doing the one thing he’s always loved—creating art. Despite being somewhat of a grumpy recluse, he’s even made a few loyal friends. When he takes a side job painting a mural at a local holistic center, he can’t help being curious about a certain friendly and self-assured yoga instructor, even if he doesn’t buy into any of that Zen crap. His holier-than-thou family already tried fitting him inside a box, and he swore he’d never be molded into anybody’s belief system again.

For Daevonte Randall, adulthood has worked out pretty well. He’s close to his parents and lives with an awesome roommate. He’s content with weekend hookups, teaching yoga, and taking college courses. What he doesn’t expect is to be so intrigued by the brooding and reserved painter he’s been tasked to stay after hours with at the center. Something fascinates him about Ezra, even after Daevonte’s attempts at flirting gets him friend-zoned on the spot.

As weeks pass, Ezra and Dae get to know each other, and soon their friendship catches fire. But Ezra’s been burned pretty badly before so trust and intimacy has to be earned. Daevonte feels up to the task, but it proves difficult as Ezra continues to keep his emotions in check. Dae’s only willing to wait so long, and when they’re dealt a surprising blow, Ezra needs to decide if love is worth the risk, that is…if it’s not too late.


Fans of this series know Ezra--the previous room mate of Gabriel and then Conner. He's the quiet, broody, controlled artist who keeps to himself and shows his passion with his paints. He doesn't do hook ups or relationships, and he does no put himself out there. His sexuality is something that has been an issue for him, and his past has made him wary of trusting people, but he has his core group of friends that know more about him than anyone else does.

Daevonte is a younger college student and yoga/meditation instructor at the holistic center where Ezra is painting a mural. Dae is fun, vibrant, clever, flirty, and persistent. He is used to having casual sex and nothing serious. He pushes and challenges Ezra, and tries to hook up with him. But as Ezra begins to open up a bit more about his life, Dae realizes that he would rather keep him as a friend rather than push him to hard and make him uncomfortable.

But the more time they spend getting to know each other, the more an attraction grows--on both sides. And Ezra begins to feel more comfortable in showing physical affection, as well as letting him in more. Their interactions are sweet, genuine, and tentative. But these two could light up the page with just kisses.

Dae never planned on anything serious, and certainly not love. His parents have given him a good example of how young love can be sustained with commitment and work. But he is young and somewhat afraid of going all in with Ezra who still has a tendency to keep him at arm's length.  And Ezra still has fears and insecurities about his previous relationship and his family's religious background.

This is a slow burn story of friendship that turns into more. But both have fears that hold them back or make them wary. It's intense, tender, passionate, and emotional as they try to navigate a new relationship together that neither saw coming.

They could bring out the best in the other, but sometimes it was tempered by fear. Dae never had experienced feelings for anyone before, so it was a whole new experience for him. But Ezra made him crave more.  He pushed Ezra out of his comfort zone, brought him passion, and made him laugh and  feel alive. But he could also center him. Their connection built slowly over time, and their physical attraction and feelings followed gradually.

But the more connected and serious  they become, the easier it is to be more fearful and insecure about the fact that they could lose it or that the other one does not feel the same. So they have to figure out what they want and need to be able to effectively communicate it.

All of Ezra's friends from the previous books are accounted for--Gabriel and Lucas, Conner and Jamie, and Henry. I like the fun dynamics of this group, and how they try to support each other despite their differences and issues. Dae's best friend, Maria, and both of their families are also featured. Their families really influenced both of the guys in various ways and shaped the men they were becoming.

This story was slow paced and a slow burn, but it was easy to become invested in them and I really liked both of them. I was already intrigued by Ezra, so was glad to see his layers peeled back. They were opposites, but also balanced each other. They could share their individual interests and make them common ground. It was not overly angsty, but there were challenges to face. It was more about emotional connection than sex, but it was also passionate and intense. It was a journey for both of them to find acceptance, trust, fight fears, and embrace life.

Both of the author's writing styles flowed seamlessly together in this dual point of view story. I love the title and how the stars and light theme was woven into the story.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

I have been reading M/M romances for a little over a year now, and Nyrae Dawn (Riley Hart) and Christina Lee are individually the two authors I’ve read the most books by. Since they wrote two previous collaborative works that I enjoyed (Touch the Sky, in fact, was one of my top-ten books of 2016), I was definitely looking forward to Paint the Stars. I loved the characters and the story found here, but while everything worked out the way it should have, the ending came across as too rushed for me to get the emotional impact I think the authors were intending it to have, and that ultimately made this the least favorite of the three books for me.

Ezra Greene grew up in a conservative and religious home in the Midwest where he felt like an imposter playing along with beliefs that didn’t fit with his own feelings. After escaping to West Hollywood, he has developed a good life for himself though his painting. Other than having a few close friends, he largely keeps to himself and comes across a bit of a grump. For a man who doesn’t care about hooking up and doesn’t fall in love easily, though, that’s safer than putting his heart out there to be squashed again the way his first love did. When he accepts a commission to paint another mural at a local holistic center, one of the part-time yoga instructors, Daevonte Randall, stays late while Ezra paints after hours. The arrangement works well for Daevonte because it gives him time to do homework for his college classes, and it also gives him a chance to flirt with the reserved painter he finds so fascinating.

The plot of Paint the Stars is almost entirely focused on the friendship and then relationship that forms between Ezra and Dae. It’s a well-developed and satisfying slow-burn romance caused largely by the double whammy of Ezra being demisexual—for those who aren’t familiar with the term, it refers to a person who does not experience sexual attraction to a person without first having developed a strong emotional connection—and his one and only serious relationship ending in heartbreak in one of the worst ways possible. Being uninterested in relationships, Daevonte starts off pursuing Ezra as an attempt to hook up with him, but Ezra shuts him down and eventually explains why. The authors handle this scenario perfectly and in a way that serves a dual purpose too: Ezra is not one to share much about himself, so this scene not only explains his character to Dae, it sets the stage for growth of feelings over the course of the story as Ezra slowly lets him in.

The characters really are what make this novel a worthwhile read. While some readers may find the pacing to be slow simply because they’re used to sexual tension causing intimacy to occur rather quickly in a romance, it’s the slow burn here that makes Ezra true to his character’s nature. Dae, too, is a great character and together they create an interesting pairing. Unlike Ezra, Dae is outgoing and flirty, but he’s also grounded. Whereas Ezra’s relationship with his parents are strained at best, Dae has nearly as good a relationship with his parents and extended family that a early twenty-something could hope for. And though Dae had never been interested in a serious relationship before, his parents were ideal role models in teaching him about love can be.

In addition to commending the authors for their portrayal of Ezra as a demisexual character, they also deserve praise for a positive rendering of Dae as a minority and mixed-race character, along with the fact that they in no way made race into an issue with anyone in the story. Dae’s parents’ story is far from ideal, but they worked hard to make sure Dae had not only their full love and support but also the means to provide him an adequate childhood. So often when racial differences are a part of a romance, they often play to stereotypes as a means to provide the character with an internal conflict. It was refreshing that this wasn’t the case here, and I wish more stories that used this trope would follow this example.

As great as I thought the characters and pacing of the story were, I have to admit I was disappointed with how quickly the resolution to the story’s primary conflict happened. I’m not going to go into detail because I don’t want to spoil it, but at the 80% point, Ezra is forced to confront something big from his past, and it puts the relationship between Ezra and Dae in jeopardy. The problem isn’t in how the situation is handled by each of the characters but in what the authors choose to present the reader to show how the resolution is done. Instead of giving the reader the scene showing Ezra directly working his way through the problem and the emotions surrounding it, the authors skip over it and only give a brief mention of Ezra having done so. The story ends at 91%, so as big of a challenge as it is to Ezra and Dae’s relationship, it’s over very quickly and with very little on-page angst over it. Unfortunately, this left me with the impression that it was too easy, and it really needed to be something strong to make the end result completely believable. Instead, I felt more of an “oh, okay” reaction. This fact is the sole reason why my rating is not significantly higher than it is.

With respect to the Free Fall series as a whole, Paint the Stars fits in wonderfully with the beautiful storytelling and engaging characters Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn established in the first two books. As such, it makes a good finale for the set. In spite of the ending of this book being somewhat of a letdown for me, I heartily recommend the whole series to those who like romances that focus primarily on creating strong and believable attachments between the characters, for these authors are both masters at doing just that. Everything else they do beyond that is just gravy.

The authors generously provided me a complimentary copy of Paint the Stars in exchange for this fair and honest review.
What do you usually do to relax?” I ask him. 

“Besides paint?” I nod and he continues, “You really want to know?”

“Nope.” I wink at him and he rolls his eyes. 

“Smoke weed.”

“Whew.” I tease him. “I thought it was going to be something bad by the way you were acting. Go get it. Let’s light that shit up.” I’ve never been a huge fan of weed. Not that I dislike it, because it can be fun, but it makes me giggle for a little while and pass out. I typically don’t want to just randomly pass out. 

“Okay.” He pushes off the counter, sets his coffee down, and disappears down the hallway. There’s some rustling in the other room. A moment later he’s back with a small loaded pipe in his hand. “You can have green,” he says, offering me the first hit. 

Our fingers brush when I take the pipe from his hand. He hesitates for a second, then nods at me as though he wants me to go ahead and put the pipe to my lips. I do. Instead of handing me the lighter, Ezra flicks the flame to life and then holds it over the weed. It crackles and pops and burns as I inhale, the smoke stinging my lungs and my throat. He pulls back, and I set the pipe down, and his eyes are burning me the same way the flame just did with the pot. My stomach flips, and he keeps looking, and holy fuck that was hot for some reason.  

He takes the pipe back, still watching. He puts it to his lips, still watching. He takes a hit, still watching. There’s something about the way Ezra looks at you. It’s as though he can see something in you no one else can. Like he looks deeper because it’s easier to look inside of someone else than to look inside himself. It makes me feel like he’s seeing things I didn’t know were there. Like he’s asking questions he can’t find the words to ask and like he’s trying to make sense of all of it himself. 

“Here,” he says before he hands the pipe back. I put it to my lips, and we continue on that way, him lighting for me and me passing the pipe back to him until the bowl is dusted. His eyes only briefly dart away from me from time to time, otherwise their searing stare is locked with mine. It’s the most intensely he’s looked at me since I met him.

“Wow,” I tell him. “I almost feel like I need a cigarette even though I don’t smoke them. I don’t know how all this works for you, but on my end, that was kind of hot.”

A laugh bursts out of Ezra’s mouth— it’s infectious and happy, and I realize it might be the most honest one I’ve ever heard from him. It makes me decide right then and there to do whatever it takes to make it happen again and again until it becomes a habit for him. That’s what friends are for, right?
Touch the Sky (Free Fall #1)
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Released March 28, 2016
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Read our 4.5-star reviews: JayKim, & Rachel

Lucas Barnett and Gabriel Stewart didn’t have it easy as kids. They were only trying to deal with bad situations at home when they became lifelines for each other. Their pipe dream was to someday meet in LA, where Lucas would design skyscrapers, and Gabriel would learn to fly. But then Gabriel disappeared without so much as a goodbye, and Lucas got himself in trouble with the law.

Five years later, both men are at a loss when they run into each other at a Hollywood bar. Lucas is still angry, but it’s not as if Gabriel could control how his mind and body had betrayed him. Being found on the ledge of that bridge had changed everything.

The attraction is immediate, but it’s more than their inability to keep their hands off each other. Neither man expects the fierce connection pulling them together. Unfortunately, ignoring their problems doesn’t make them disappear. Gabriel’s internal struggles are serious…dangerous. And no matter how much Lucas wants it to be true, saving Gabriel won’t make up for not being able to save his mom. If they don’t find the strength to face their own demons before the darkness takes hold, they risk more than just losing each other forever.


Chase the Sun (Free Fall #2)
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Released September 9, 2016
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Read Our 4 and 4.5 star reviews


Jamie Tolland has only ever known his small Oregon town. Same job, same friends, same gay bar. He feels obligated to stay, especially as his mother’s illness progresses. But when a situation presents itself in the form of a vintage sports car, he jumps on the chance to not only repair it, but also drive it to its new owner in LA.

Conner Murphy left Oregon years ago to make his life in West Hollywood. Like his unconventional parents, he’s always been a free spirit, never settling on one job or girl for too long. When he inherits his late uncle’s classic Chevelle, he’s more than happy to let his childhood friend Jamie help.

Jamie and Conner are as different as night and day. Even after years of living apart, they still have a blast together—but now it’s mixed with an undeniable spark of attraction. Before they know it, they can’t keep their hands off each other. For Conner it’s all new and exciting, but Jamie isn’t the type of guy who takes this sort of intimacy lightly.

Conner soon realizes that Jamie quenches something deep inside of him that no one has before, but he doesn’t know how to handle a real relationship. As Jamie’s time in LA comes to an end, and the more they struggle to get on the same page about their feelings, the more Jamie realizes that trying to tie Conner down is as futile as capturing the sun.
Christina Lee 
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Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.

Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I've been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn't until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.

I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M Contemporary Romance. I'm addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job. 



Nyrae Dawn

Nyrae Dawn can almost always be found with a book in her hand or an open document on her laptop. She couldn’t live without books—reading or writing them. Oh, and chocolate. She’s slightly addicted.

She gravitates toward character-driven stories. Whether reading or writing, she loves emotional journeys. It’s icing on the cake when she really feels something, but is able to laugh too. She’s a proud romantic, who has a soft spot for flawed characters, who make mistakes, but also have big hearts.

Whether she’s writing young adult, new adult, or adult you can always count on a healthy dose of romance from her books. She likes to tackle tough subjects, and believes everyone needs to see themselves in the stories they read.

Nyrae is living her very own happily ever after in California with her gorgeous husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two incredibly awesome kids.

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Release Reviews: Preston's Honor: Mia Sheridan

Preston's Honor
Mia Sheridan

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Release Date February 19, 2017 

There were two brothers—identical twins—and though I loved them both, my soul belonged to only one. 

Annalia Del Valle has loved Preston Sawyer all her life. The daughter of an impoverished migrant farmworker, she grew up as an outcast in what was no more than a tiny, cooped up shack in California’s Central Valley. But her heart found freedom in the land, in the wide-open spaces of Sawyer Farm, and in the boys who were her only friends. 

Preston has yearned for Annalia since he was a boy. But a sense of honor kept him from pursuing her until he’s unable to hold back any longer and their worlds—and bodies—collide one hot summer night. A night that sets off a chain of events that will alter their lives forever.

Now Annalia is back in town after disappearing without a trace for six long months. Determined to reclaim her heart, her life, and the baby she left behind—the son who was created in a moment of lust and love and pent-up yearning.

Preston has survived grief, a ravaging drought, and the despair of heartache, but he’s not sure he can survive Annalia again. And he might be unwilling to try. Will pride and bitterness keep him from the one thing he’s always longed for?

How do you heal what is irreparably broken? How do you forgive that which is unforgivable? How do you discover that real honor comes not from circumstance, but from the place deep in our hearts where truth resides? And how do you move beyond the wounds of the past to discover that some loves are as solid as the ground beneath your feet, and as enduring as the earth itself?

THIS IS A STAND-ALONE SIGN OF LOVE NOVEL, INSPIRED BY GEMINI. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. 

Mia Sheridan completely broke me, then put me back together. She does this to me every single  time. It makes me both afraid and extremely excited to open one of her books. She pulls me into these stories and these towns and makes me feel like I am right there living with these characters...this time on a farm and small town in California.  I feel what they feel and these people seem so real. They're flawed, complex, and strong even when they don't realize it. They make mistakes and bad choices with serious repercussions. This one was full of so much tension, miscommunication, and pain. But it also featured a heartfelt and beautiful love that built over time, had to sustain tragedy and grief, was damaged, and then had to find a way to come back to life again.

Annalia Del Valle came from poor beginnings as the the daughter of a  Mexican immigrant woman who worked on the Sawyer farm for a time. At a young age, Annalia met two boys would would changer her life--twin brothers, Preston and Cole Sawyer. They became her best friends. And as they matured, so did their feelings and needs. Cole was the funny, outgoing twin that everyone loved. Preston was the serious, fiercely protective, and honorable one. Annalia was reserved, secretive, and sweet, but felt unworthy and unwanted. She never wanted to a burden or hurt anyone, but always felt like the unloved, dirty, cast-off. They both loved her in their own way, and she felt for both of them. But only one truly held her heart and attraction. But they were good about holding their secrets close.

Their story was not an easy one due to rivalry, jealousy, miscommunication, fear, and guilt. Preston was such a man of honor that he was willing to sacrifice his own heart at times. He could internalize so much, and also felt like he would never hold her heart even if there was attraction. And he felt guilt and shame over the lack of control over his own feelings and actions. Cole was the easy-going and assertive one, so he was easy to care for without complications. And sometimes Preston felt like he lived in the shadow of his brother. They often confused and tied Annalia up in knots. She learned young to live within her expected parameters and not to hope for more than she deserved. Their fear and insecurities, along with their failure to be truly honest, made their relationships even more complicated. There was such a push and pull. They would struggle or resist, then start to give in, and then doubts would set in. And eventually several situations occur  that will change their lives forever.

This story begins in the present with a heartbreaking story in dual points of view and then takes us back through their childhood and teen years in flashbacks, until it finally returns us to the point that first drew us in, and then finishes their story. I was completely captivated and emotionally invested. I was tense, frustrated, angry, and my heart just hurt. They were multi-faceted, likable characters that showed growth throughout. They endured so much and always seemed to be just a step behind in finding their chance at happiness. Their hearts were so invested, but they managed to hide what they truly felt and made so many mistakes. 

The story was unique, flawlessly written, emotional, and powerful. It weaved so many layers into it, creating this love story that was also so much more. This was a journey of self discovery and empowerment for the main two characters that were used to waiting around in the background, and were afraid to say what they wanted or fight for it. Annalia especially had such self worth issues and it was hard to believe in her own capabilities and ask for more. It had social implications about the have and have-nots, and discrimination. It was educational regarding the plight of migrant workers, the poor, and the challenges of farming. It dealt with various family dynamics and the effect on the children. And also the need for acceptance and a sense of community. And it even touched on the stages of grief and mental health issues.

But at its core it really was a poignant, tumultuous, riveting friends-to-lovers and second chance love story. I was a freakin' mess over this one! I could not put it down, and was up way too late. And I got to a certain point that gave me literal goosebumps and chills. And when I did finally try to go to sleep that night, well really early that morning, it was all I could think about.

And even though Annalia's return brings back a host of negative feelings, it also brings a slim possibility of hope. If they want a chance, they will have rebuild trust, be honest, be vulnerable, communicate, take a stand and fight for what they really want. But they would also have to face their pasts and deal with the pain, anger, grief, mistrust, loss, and fear that has come between them. 

Is forgiveness for their mistakes truly possible? With so much history and pain still affecting them, can they really find a way to begin again? They truly have so much at stake.

Much of their story focused on their feelings of love that they thought were unrequited, disappointment, regret, pain, and broken dreams. There were times of despair, grief, loss, and heartbreak where they couldn't find themselves much less reach out and hold onto the other. Their coping skills often just made the problems worse and confused the issues more. They lost so much time due to doubt, poor communication, misunderstandings, and hopelessness. But there were also periods of uncontrolled passion, small joys, sweetness, and humor to balance it out. 

I am still in a total book hangover and emotionally spent over what this author and what these characters put me through. But that is what makes a truly exceptional book. So Mia Sheridan did not disappoint me, and these characters will live in my heart as some of my favorites. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Once again, Mia has crafted a world that pulls readers in, breaks them down, and puts them back together. I’ve come to expect the emotions her stories pull out of me, but am still surprised by the feelings her words create.

Annalia Del Valle grew up following the Sawyer brothers around their farm, trailing after them through the woods, one twin was her best friend, and one she fell in love with. But as the daughter of a migrant farmworker, she kept to herself, always an outsider except when she was only with the brothers.

Preston loved Annalia, but his sense of honor had him standing back rather than stepping forward until one night that would set off a chain of events that would hurt them all.

From the moment we meet Annalia and Preston in the prologue, I couldn’t help but be curious about the events that sent Annalia running and what Preston had faced by staying in their small town. The pain their shared, each in their own way was palpable from very early on.

As both characters are naturally quiet, they don’t always communicate out loud the reasons behind their actions, and those actions often have lasting consequences. Neither character is perfect. They both hold their own notions of what the other is thinking without really knowing. But it is the flaws they each have that makes them so relatable, so easy to sympathize with.

As the story progresses through flashbacks and then meets up with the scene set in the prologue, I couldn’t stop reading without knowing what resolution these two were going to find, because the lead up is heartbreaking and I needed to find some peace. And as the story continued further, there was even more at stake than just two hearts. 

This was an emotional second chance, friends to lovers combo. As Annalia and Preston navigated the pain they had created, they also had to face some pretty hard truths about the situations they had had a hand in creating, learning more about themselves in the process than they realized they could. While this story wrecked me in the process, by the end I felt the peace I had been looking for, the peace *they* had been looking for, and I find myself stuck thinking about this family and their next steps.  

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 A Sign of Love Series can be read as stand-alones  and the stories are not related. But we recommend each and every one as exceptional reads.

The exceptions are Leo and Leo's Chance (male alternative POV) and 
Becoming Calder (part one) and Finding Eden (part two).


Leo's Chance (male POV of Leo):
Goodreads/Amazon

Stinger: 
Goodreads /Amazon
Archer's Voice:

Becoming Calder
(part one)

Finding Eden
(part two)

Midnight Lily
Mia Sheridan 

Mia Sheridan is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. Her passion is weaving true love stories about people destined to be together. Mia lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband. They have four children here on earth and one in heaven.

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Cover Reveal: Say I'm Yours: Corinne Michaels


SIYbannerforsitedate   

SayYours Amazon   

From New York Times Bestseller, Corinne Michaels, comes a new second chance standalone romance.

I spent twenty years waiting for Trent Hennington to open his eyes and see me. But it was all for nothing. He chose to keep himself guarded and let me walk away, proving that my time and efforts were wasted.

 I'm done being invisible.
 It's time to move on.

A single dance sets my new reality into motion, and I welcome it. After all, Cooper Townsend is perfect. He's kind, sexy, and attentive--everything a girl could want.

I thought I got it right this time. That my heart could mend, and I would be happy. Apparently, some things really are just too hard to walk away from.

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All can be read as stand-alones


Say You'll Stay
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One word. 
Stay.  

It was all he had to do. Instead, he got on that bus and took my heart with him. 

That was seventeen years ago. 

I moved on. Marriage. Kids. White picket fence. Everything I ever wanted, but my husband betrayed me and I was left once again. 

Alone, penniless, and with two boys, I had no choice but to return to Tennessee. He wasn’t supposed to be there. I should’ve been safe. However, fate has a way of stepping in.

This time around, the tables are turned. It’s my decision. Second chances do exist, but I don’t know if we can repair what’s already been broken . . .


sywm-amazonSay You Want Me

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Our 4.5 to 5 star reviews

From New York Times Bestseller, Corinne Michaels, comes a new friends to lovers standalone romance. 

There’s no way I’ll fall for Wyatt Hennington.

He can keep his Southern drawl, irresistible smile, and those pick-up lines all to himself. I made the mistake of sleeping with him not once, but twice. I’m not stupid enough to give him round three, especially after he left me in the middle of the night so I could see myself out. I vow to return to Philadelphia and forget him.

It proves easier said than done.

When the doctor informs me I’m the winner of door prize number two, I put my life on hold and head back to Bell Buckle. Three months and if we can’t make this work, I’m gone.

The problem is—when the cards are stacked against us, and I can’t bring myself to leave him, I’ll finally know if he truly loves me or if all my fears were real . . .
Corinne Michaels

Corinne Close MediumCorinne Michaels is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of The Salvation Series and Say You'll Stay. She's an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn't ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha heroes are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart. 


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Review Blitz: Mack Daddy: Penelope Ward


Mack Daddy

Penelope Ward
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Release Date February 12, 2017

From New York Times bestselling author, Penelope Ward, comes a sexy, STANDALONE second-chance romance.

They called him Mack Daddy. No, seriously, his name was Mack. Short for Mackenzie. Thus, the nickname. Perfect, right?

So was he: perfect. The perfect physical male specimen.

At the private school where I taught, Mack Morrison was the only man around in a sea of women.

Everyone wanted a piece of the hot single father of the sweet little boy.

I was riddled with jealousy, because they didn’t know that—to me—he was much more.

They didn’t know about our past.

He’d chosen my school for his son on purpose, because Mack and I, we had unfinished business.

As my friend Lorelai so eloquently put it: “Unfinished business between two people who are clearly attracted to each other is like an eternal case of blue balls.” And I was suffering in pain from my case.
I was still intensely attracted to Mack. I tried to resist him, immersing myself further into a relationship with another man just to protect my heart.

Not to mention, getting involved with a parent was strictly against school rules. But seeing Mack day in and day out was breaking me down.

And soon I might be breaking all the rules.

Author's note – Told in alternating points of view, Mack Daddy is a full-length standalone novel.



This is a story of friendship, love, and second chances. Mack and Francesca were college friends. They seemed like opposites, but developed a true friendship and gradually more unresolved feelings for the other. She was shy, awkward, quirky, nerdy, and her anxiety affected her interactions with people. Mack was bold, unfiltered, cocky, and gorgeous. He challenged her to step out of her comfort zone, take chances, and be who she wanted to be. She grounded him. He struggled due to factors in his life not easily changed. And eventually, circumstances made them lose touch.

But now eight years later, he is back. He has managed to get his son into her first grade class. Part of it is for his son and part of it is because of their unfinished business. He wants her back in his life...and he hopes he does not have to settle for just friendship. The older Mack is still funny, outspoken, and incredibly hot, but he is also caring, protective, and vulnerable. He is the most sought after DILF at the school, but he has his own agenda. He knows what it is like to lose someone he cares about and is fearful of not being able to change it. And other worries in his life add more stress. 

Frankie has matured into a strong woman and role model. She is honest, caring, and was living a good, stable, and happy life. But Mack coming back threatens to breaks down walls she put up a long time ago.

Their lives are no less complicated now...maybe even more so. There are other people involved, some who do not want to see them happy. And he has to keep his son a priority.

This is humorous, passionate, angsty, frustrating, and emotional. These two had a truly rocky road while trying to find their way to happiness and it was easy to lose hope. I cold feel the strong connection, need, and longing between these two, but it seemed like they would take one step forward and two steps back. I got frustrated with each of them at times due to their choices, and also at the problems they faced.

It was told in dual points of view in present and flashbacks. The past is gradually revealed to us as they are reuniting in the present. There were antagonists that made my blood boil and some side characters that had me grinning. Mack was quite entertaining during a lot of the book with his sense of humor and big mouth. But he was also emotional, tender, and protective, so he really touched my heart. Situations in his life kept trying to chip away at any bit of happiness he could find. Frankie was confused and torn between the life she was living and a promise of something different. But Mack would be the biggest risk of her life.

It's about timing, soul mates, true love, and navigating life. The characters were flawed. Their circumstances were far from perfect. Taking risks, fighting for what you want, and choosing the person alongside you is so important. There were some surprises and twists. There are some tough subjects and choices.  It was a bit different having  a story where the main characters had significant others when the story took place--him in the past and her in the present. There were a few things that I would have liked handled differently, and sometimes there seemed to be so much going on that it was a bit overwhelming. 

Overall, it was full of tension, drama, and emotional turmoil, but also humor, fun, and intense feelings. In other words, it was quite a roller coaster ride, but it was also entertaining and intense along the way.

I was gifted an arc in exchange for an honest review. 
Penelope Ward

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She’s a fifteen-time New York Times bestseller of twelve novels. Having grown up in Boston with five older brothers, she spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 12-year-old girl with autism and a 10-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.    


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