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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely

A Review by Wendy
 5 The Timing Needs to be Right Stars
* * * * *  
Spoiler Free
Timing is Everything...We can think something is just right; we then can have it ripped away from our grasp and feel devastated. It could be a pursuit of career advancement or a personal relationship. It doesn't matter...if you thought it was The Real can hurt.
Yet, as painful or frustrating the situation may has a way of making us push forward and learn our life lessons. These life lessons make us who we are and who we become...and so if we are presented with another opportunity which could involve that promotion or lost love...Timing Could Mean Everything.

Because of timing, those life lessons... they have helped you be the person you are now, not who you were...and maybe now you are just the person who needs to be standing before that lost love.

This is the premise of Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely. Ms. Blakely writes all sorts of romances and each of them brings a swoon factor coupled with real-life situations.
She takes three friends who had been close as close can be...and have one of the men hiding his love for the woman. He missed his very small window of opportunity to show his interest in her. His best friend showed up and before you could say Hey, I am interested in her...The sparks between the friend and the gal were happening. He never threw his hat in the ring, never tried to be an option for her interest...

Instead... He stayed the Best Friend of both of them for a decade. It was painful but also wonderful because he still was in this woman's orbit. He loved both of them and was always there for both. He was there for the marriage as the best man, he was there for the opening of their restaurant and supported all the good times.

But he was also there for the difficult times...for the friend who married the gal had issues. He couldn't handle the social pressures of being a chef with a successful restaurant. The booze became the "other woman" and finally after many asks and then rehab attempts, our gal finally needed to step away and end the marriage. Our chef has a tragic end leaving both friends, Leo and Lulu, with memories and emotional hurdles to handle.

Now life throws these two back together after a couple of years separation. Lulu had left NYC for California to heal herself and finally grow her own career. She was a chocolatier and was able to take her talents and finally open her own boutique shop. She has the perfect business partner and now has two locations, Miami and now the city. Her life has been devoted to making herself strong and her business known. Her talent is so solid, people have been discovering her goodies.

Leo's love of chocolate has guided his career. He had the taste buds but also had the business smarts too. He followed his dreams and goals and now works with a chocolate company he loves. He is back in NYC after traveling the world sourcing great chocolate. These two meet at a chocolate convention and although both have "moved on in life", the friendship is still there.

What is a shock for Lulu is the new eyes she sees Leo with...When did Leo develop those hard muscles...What is that sexy scent he has...and why am I looking and that rock hard ass...Leo is taken with Lulu yet, continues to play things close to the vest...He doesn't want to lose her friendship.... yet the feelings he thought he had buried...are starting to creep back up.

What is the game changer is Lulu... and when she decides to take a risk...for Leo, all bets are off.

This story is so loving... it had me so many times. It touches on so many real feelings a person can have. I also loved the development of these characters. Each was fleshed out and you could understand them from the start. What was telling was their growth... their need to understand who they were now and how that impacted everything. There were other secondary characters who made their presence know. Lulu's mom was amazing. Her wisdom was the best. Lulu's business partner also was given some reading time giving us a tease about a possible future storyline.

Lauren Blakely gives swoon-worthy men all of the time...Leo is a very special one. Lulu was a perfect fit for him and when you finish this book, your heart will be full and have a true understanding of how Timing Really Can Be Everything.

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In December she’ll release UNZIPPED, a hilarious romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!

Work In Progress by Staci Hart

 Coming Soon
 Work In Progress by Staci Hart

Oh how wishes can come true...
Well, sort of...

Handsome Manly Man standing at the altar...Check
Baby Pink Roses in my hand...Check
A True Love till the End of Time...


Nope, here I am ready to marry this man offering everything...
A Brillant Career I always wanted...
A way to do something good...
Just a Huge Hiccup...

It was supposed to be all for show
But now it feels more like a Loving ...

Work In Progress - January 24th, 2019 

Here is the review for the first book,
Piece of Work, to hold you over!

 A Review by Wendy

 4.5 More Than Expected Stars
* * * *1/2  
Spoiler Free 
Think about this...Hyorin Van de Meerjust landed the highly coveted internship at the Met! This is what she had been working towards. Her entire academic experiences had focused on European Paintings research. Rin submitted the necessary kudos from professors and mentors resulting with the Met deciding she was The One.

Now with all of the excitement and anticipation of this huge opportunity, Rin was now in front of the museum and will be meeting those she will be working with. As she looked at the regal woman in her designer clothes walking towards her, Rin realized she made a mistake...


Because Rin was dressed in her normal research clothes... clothes that worked on Harvard's campus. Clothes that allowed her to disappear and not be noticed... because being noticed never worked out in Rin's favor.

As a product of Dutch and Korean heritage, somehow Rin's body never felt like it worked in-sync... limbs and arms too long, feeling like there were obstacle courses waiting to trip her up...and they usually did. Also as graduate student, who had money for fancy clothes that never seemed to fit right. Being six feet tall, clothes were a challenge and time spent researching art was more important than researching well fitting clothes.

So there Rin stood, once again, feeling like she wished she was invisible. Yet, Rin knew she belonged in the Met with this internship. She had the knowledge and the goods. She had been looked at before with the type of disdain her supervisor showed. She moved forward and noted what she would need to do in order to do her position.

Dr. David Lyons is close to having his personal dream come true. He has been working endlessly to bring all of the most accomplished Fine Art pieces together under one event like no other. He has acquired the loans of most of these works with the show's main focus of Michelangelo's David still out of reach.

This is the reason for the show... David in all his 17 foot glory somehow captured this man long ago during his studies in Florence. He looked into the eyes, felt the carved marble and a connection, a calling was established... they not only shared the same name, he felt they shared the same soul.

He has done almost everything he can to bring this work to the Met. Unfortunately, the Florence Museum Curator has decided no.

But things for David haven't ever been easy. His father, a powerhouse in the Museum World and head of the Met, had played fast and loose with his relationships... dating back to David's mother. His father welded power and wealth with no one immune to his whims. Even his son was just collateral damage...and the scars from that experience had changed David...
Not Loving meant no hurt. A Lesson learned well.

These two people literally collide and both of their lives will never be the same. Rin is tongue-tied and can barely speak in front of this man. He is a human work of sculpted art. Each time during her first days, she does her assignments given from the snooty supervisor. David reads her work and is shocked with the details, intelligence, whit and insight. She intrigues him and wants to know more.

Rin goes home to her posse... women who met at college and stayed friends throughout. They all live together in a beautiful brownstone bought by a family member who invented something that was sold on TV. When these women band together to assist Rin with her wardrobe woes...a butterfly emerges.

It's not so much as she needed these items... well she did...It was that she was finally taught how to dress her magnificent body...allowing her to catch up with the brilliance of her mind.

Amazing what a well fit pencil skirt, silk blouse and heels can do... topped off with a perfect red lipstick. Rin found her strength and stopped worrying about people looking at she was the one in control causing it. It was a freeing experience.

This new woman, this confident person walks into the Met and this time David sees her - granted same woman...but then again, her confidence was the difference which caused him to fall to his knees metaphorically.

This book is extremely layered and there is so much more then the humor, romance and HEA. I found the relationship, forbidden, dangerous and hot at the same time. David is not the most user friendly boss...and his desire for Rin was something he had difficulty keeping at bay...

There was angst, hot, hot times, incredible art and the whole environment of the Met. Also very savvy, smart scenes about intrigue...and the way both characters had to figure out what was important for them to be who they needed to be.

Rin was someone to admire...even when she felt she made a mistake... her inner strength was at her core. David had a lot to work out and when he realized his foolish behavior...He worked it out.

This was my first Staci Hart read but will not be my last. She laid enough groundwork for us to want Rin's posse to get their own books. I have a sneaky feeling we might be learning more about those women...fingers crossed.
A gifted copy was provided by author for an honest review.

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life: a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom to three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, even though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey, and her favorite word starts with f, ends with k.

From roots in Houston, to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north in Denver, until they grew a wild hair and moved to Holland. It’s the perfect place to overdose on cheese and ride bicycles, especially along the canals, and especially in summertime. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, gaming, or designing graphics. Stay connected!
Reader Group:
Snapchat: @quirkybird

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

A Review by Wendy
4.5 Winning Debut Stars
* * * *
 Spoiler Free

Yes, this Major Romance reader is cleansing the palate...
No Cowboys or Alphas
No Swooning or Gahs...
This time a little Hard Core Mayhem...

It seems All to Many Times Now...
Things are Happening Again...

To the One who Knows how Horrific these Things can be...
No One Is Listening To Her...

No One is Paying Attention like they Should...
Because these Things keep Happening...
And She Knows it is only a Matter of Time...
For It will Come Again...
This had all the elements to cause continual reading...I took longer breaks at work... stayed up too late and got up early because I could not read this fast enough.

I have a history of being a Mystery reader so my mind was working from the start and had narrowed down what I thought all of the catches were...But then this new author would throw a few things out there to make me doubt myself and good on her... because even though I was correct in the end...She had me going many times during the reading.

This was a gritty and intricate story and I think it showed off Joanna Schaffhausen talent well. 

A gifted copy was provided by St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for an honest review.

Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She's an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only victim who lived.

When three people disappear from her town in three years, all around her birthday—the day she was kidnapped so long ago—Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer’s closet all those years ago.

Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he's washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can’t help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery’s waking nightmare, and now both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them...with a killer who can't let go.

No Mercy (Ellery Hathaway #2) by Joanna Schaffhausen

A Review by Wendy
4 Had Me At Hello Stars
* * * *
Spoiler Free
I was lucky enough to have read the first book, The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen. I read it in a fury to get it all, engrossed throughout.

Now we have another strong entry with the returning characters of Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham coming back together to see what is what with two different cases they find themselves drawn to...

Emily is on involuntary leave...note involuntary from her job. She killed a murderer and refuses to apologize for doing it. The powers that be send her to "counseling" and little do they realize what they have done. Emily is not the type of person who is going to get all touchy-feely and share her past life with a circle of others in the therapy. She has too much she has worked to keep hidden all of these years.

Instead, Emily uses her innate skills; she listens and observes. She hears a woman in the group reveal clues which may point to a man who was unfairly convicted for an arson crime. With another member, she experiences a need so strong from a rape victim, she reaches out to her FBI profiler friend to look into it.

What happens next is a read which will take you through all of the steps a profiler goes through, a continued friendship between two professionals and harrowing thrill ride to its conclusion.

A gifted copy was provided by St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for an honest review.

Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham take on two difficult new cases in this stunning follow-up to The Vanishing Season.
No Mercy is award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen’s heart-pounding second novel.
Police officer Ellery Hathaway is on involuntary leave from her job because she shot a murderer in cold blood and refuses to apologize for it. Forced into group therapy for victims of violent crime, Ellery immediately finds higher priorities than “getting in touch with her feelings.”
For one, she suspects a fellow group member may have helped to convict the wrong man for a deadly arson incident years ago. For another, Ellery finds herself in the desperate clutches of a woman who survived a brutal rape. He is still out there, this man with the Spider-Man-like ability to climb through bedroom windows, and his victim beseeches Ellery for help in capturing her attacker.
Ellery seeks advice from her friend, FBI profiler Reed Markham, who liberated her from a killer’s closet when she was a child. Reed remains drawn to this unpredictable woman, the one he rescued but couldn’t quite save. The trouble is, Reed is up for a potential big promotion, and his boss has just one condition for the new job—stay away from Ellery. Ellery ignores all the warnings. Instead, she starts digging around in everyone’s past but her own—a move that, at best, could put her out of work permanently, and at worst, could put her in the city morgue.

Valentines Days & Nights by Assorted Authors

A Review by Wendy
 5 With Love to Readers Stars
* * * * *  

Spoiler Free- And Gifting To Readers FREE!!!