BLOG TOUR – REVIEW: Midnight Valentine by J.T. Geissinger

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“How can you remember someone you’ve never met?”

Megan and Cassidy were childhood sweethearts who thought they’d be together forever, but fate had other plans. Soon after they were married, Cass’s life was tragically cut short. Still grieving her soul mate five years later, Megan moves to the small town of Seaside, Oregon, hoping to rebuild her life.

Her first night there, she meets the town recluse, Theo. Withdrawn, guarded, and mysteriously silent since a terrible accident left him scarred, Theo takes an instant and inexplicable dislike to Megan. But as their paths cross again and again, Megan becomes convinced there’s more to Theo than meets the eye.

When she discovers the reason for his silence, his nightmares, and especially his pointed dislike, Megan becomes convinced of something far more astonishing.

Is a second chance at a once-in-a-lifetime love possible, or is a broken heart the cruelest kind of liar?

 

♦4.5/5-STAR REVIEW♦

Uniquely powerful and oddly fantastical, Midnight Valentine told an unusual love story with heavy undercurrents of heartbreak and second chances. In working with two characters with an abundance of loss–a widowed heroine and a hero who lost himself after a horrific accident–there was a risk of having so much sorrow that hope couldn’t find its way in, but Geissinger found the perfect balance that captured the anguish without negating the prospect for something wonderful finding its way in.

The universal likability of Megan was felt instantly upon opening this novel. Her cynicism and pessimistic nature along with her shield of sarcasm made her character feel real, palpable, and quite humorous at times; she wasn’t without scars and tools for preventing anyone getting close to her, and she wouldn’t have felt as evocative as she did without any of that. The grief and anguish bled through the pages, and became a living entity, and when Megan and Theo inhabited a scene together, those emotions swelled, but slowly became tinged with a growing attraction. The push-pull and tension that radiated between them was ever-growing, but through each encounter they continued to evolve and take a step forward in not just healing but moving on, too. That slow build and magnetism between the two was wonderfully done and created a very organic and natural feeling of coming together–and so well-fitting for a couple with their level of baggage.

Oftentimes unique is thrown around pretty easily, but the premise of this love story is very much a unique tool for bringing two people together. And though I can’t speak of it without giving a lot away, I was honestly surprised I fell into it the way I did. I believe it was how well the characters were written, how beautifully the buildup to the crescendo was, that I was able to swallow up the fantastical elements. In case that sort of wording scares you, there’s nothing paranormal involved; it was purely an added effect to a love story that felt otherworldly. Only because there was a bit of ambiguity about a certain piece at the end was this not a true 5-star read.

Midnight Valentine was simply a beautiful love story. One that will have you believing that anything is possible. The characters were brave and resilient, but markedly true to their separate forms of trauma, and I adored them and the entire story from beginning to end.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

JT Geissinger

A former headhunter, J.T. Geissinger is the author of more than a dozen novels in contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense.

She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and is a two-time finalist for the RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America®. Her work has also finaled in the Booksellers’ Best, National Readers’ Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards.

Join her Facebook reader’s group, Geissinger’s Gang, to take part in weekly Wine Wednesday live chats and giveaways, find out more information about works in progress, have access to exclusive excerpts and contests, and get advance reader copies of her upcoming releases.

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BLOG TOUR w/ REVIEW: About That Kiss by Jill Shalvis

Heartbreaker Bay Book Five; Interconnected Standalone

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When love drives you crazy . . .

When sexy Joe Malone never calls after their explosive kiss, Kylie shoves him out of her mind. Until she needs a favor, and it’s a doozy. Something precious to her has been stolen and there’s only one person with unique finder-and-fixer skills that can help—Joe. It means swallowing her pride and somehow trying to avoid the temptation to throttle him—or seduce him.

the best thing to do . . .

No, Joe didn’t call after the kiss. He’s the fun time guy, not the forever guy. And Kylie, after all she’s been through, deserves a good man who will stay. But everything about Kylie makes it damned hard to focus, and though his brain knows what he has to do, his heart isn’t getting the memo.

… is enjoy the ride.

As Kylie and Joe go on the scavenger hunt of their lives, they discover surprising things about each other. Now, the best way for them to get over “that kiss” might just be to replace it with a hundred more.

 

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

About That Kiss was a sweet, sultry romance with a love story between an unlikely couple. As my first Jill Shalvis book, I enjoyed the balance between character and relationship buildup, and how there was just the right amount of tension in both as the story progressed. Shalvis captured Kylie’s personality well and brought her out of the shell she’d been in, and made her strong for doing it not just for love but for her own self. Anyone who is an old soul like her will find a sense of belonging with that character, and it was something that was palpably felt. Her connection with Joe felt untouched and pivotal, something that built wonderfully as they spent more time together.

With the perfect amount of fun mixed in, About That Kiss was an enjoyable novel from beginning to end. Shalvis’ writing was easy to get into and effective in bringing the reader into the story of not just these two characters but past and future characters from the series, too. Even though I started the series with this book, I never felt like something was missing or that it wasn’t possible to jump in at any point. With low angst and the perfect amount of butterflies given, anyone who opens this book will fall for it from the first page.

As a side note: There’s a line in the book about ‘PTSD-proofing’ a house. I understand wanting to make your characters’ issues seem real, but this line was offensive and a bit ignorant. You can’t proof a house from a disorder, any disorder (and for that matter, you can’t proof a house from getting PTSD). You can safe-proof a house from someone who has self-harming tendencies, but that is in no way ‘PTSD-proofing.’ I’m sure the author didn’t mean any offense, but as someone with that disorder, I would recommend being a bit more careful in how something is worded. 

 

♦EXCERPT♦

Joe studied her. “I asked you once before, but now I’m going to ask you again. Is there something going on between you two?”

She tossed up her hands. “Why do you both keep asking me that about each other?”

His eyes narrowed. “I thought nothing was going on.”

“And before today, I could’ve passed a lie detector test on that,” she said.

“What happened today?”

She paused. Not because she had anything to be ashamed of, but because she wasn’t quite sure what had happened.

“Kylie.”

She sighed. “It’s nothing.”

“Try again,” Joe said and gave her the very male universal go on gesture.

She rolled her eyes. “Fine. He . . . finally made a move on me.”

Joe didn’t budge. Not a blink, not a muscle twitch, nothing, but she could’ve popped corn off the electric tension coming off him.

“Describe ‘made a move,’ ” he finally said.

She crossed her arms. “And again, how is this relevant to my case?”

He just gave her that careful stare again and she thought wow, those eyes of his should be registered as a lethal weapon, because she found herself opening her mouth and spilling her guts. “He kissed me.”

“He kissed you.”

“Yeah,” she said. “Do you know that you often repeat what I say?”

“What kind of a kiss?” he asked.

She was momentarily bewildered. “I don’t know. It was a kiss. A normal kiss. A nice kiss.” She cocked her head at him. “How many kinds of kisses are there?”

He just looked at her for a long moment before coming toward her. He backed her to the wall and pressed his big hands on either side of her head.

“There are many kinds of kisses,” he said.

Her breath had backed up in her throat, where her heart had lodged, pounding wildly. “S-s-such as?”

“Such as this one.” And then he leaned in and covered her mouth with his.

At the touch of Joe’s mouth, Kylie’s brain stopped being capable of rational thought. His tongue gave a knee-weakening stroke against hers and she let out a shockingly needy moan as she clutched at him, fisting her hands in the material of his shirt at his chest. Only when he’d thoroughly plundered and pillaged and left her boneless did he lift his head and look into her eyes.

“Wow,” she whispered, fully aware she was still holding on to him like he was a lifeline, but the bones in her legs had liquefied. “I mean . . .” She shook her head. “Wow.”

He nodded. “Yeah. So to be clear, that wasn’t ‘a normal kiss’ or even ‘a nice kiss.’ It was a ‘wow’ kiss. Any questions?”

“Just one,” she said softly. “Can I have another?”

Joe didn’t have to be asked twice. His mouth immediately descended again, his fingers sliding into her hair to change the angle of the kiss to suit him. It was a controlled, alpha thing to do, but she had only one thought—nothing about the usually carefully, purposely leashed Joe was in control at the moment.

And she liked it.

She had no idea how long they went at it because she was in absolute heaven. Who knew that the man could use his preferred silent mode to communicate in a way that she finally approved of?

Only when she was completely breathless and about to strip him down to his birthday suit did she manage to pull back.

“Any more questions?” he asked, also a little bit breathless, which was more than slightly gratifying. Dumbly, she shook her head. His eyes softened and he gently he stroked his thumb over her bottom lip. “And FYI? Gib’s an idiot.”

 

♦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 adventures.

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REVIEW: Follow Me Back by A.L. Jackson

Fight For Me Book Two; Standalone

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The next seductive, unforgettable stand-alone romance in the FIGHT FOR ME series from NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson . . .

Kale Bryant. Arrogant. Gorgeous. Commanding.

This ER doctor is married to his job. His only vice is one-night stands and short-lived flings. He learned a long time ago loving someone isn’t worth the risk.

Harley Hope Masterson. Beautiful. Brave. Sweet.

The owner of a small coffee shop knows what it’s like to struggle. Embroiled in a bitter divorce, she’s threatened with losing everything.

When Kale accepts a new position down the street from Hope’s shop, he begins to question every wall he’s built around his heart.

He wants her in a way he hasn’t wanted anyone.

One touch is fire.

One kiss, and he’s spinning out of control.

But taking her won’t come without consequences.

Hope is in for the fight of her life. One neither of them saw coming.

Now Kale must decide if loving her is worth risking it all.

She will fight with everything she has.

But sometimes even hope needs a hero . . .

 

♦3.5-STAR REVIEW♦

Follow Me Back was an emotional story that brought two heartbroken people together after they had long given up hope for their happy ending. Jackson’s prose was poetic and heartfelt, easily bringing readers into the setting of a fantastical love story. Both characters were emotionally drained from devastating situations in their past, and I loved that they were still so vibrant and willing to see what each other had to offer. And I enjoyed seeing a playboy find something of value worth having in life.

Sadly, though, I had difficulty connecting to this story in the same way that I’ve connected to every other Jackson book. There was something missing, for me, and it created this mental block where I couldn’t enjoy the connection they formed. In all honesty, I’ve been wondering if the issue lay with Kale since I couldn’t get a good sense of him and his choices/actions. This isn’t to say that the story was bad or that I didn’t enjoy it, it just didn’t strike me or fill my heart up–rather it was just shallow reading. This isn’t normal, as I’ve said, for how her books usually effect me–stomach flutters, ache in the chest, emotional responses–so it either simply wasn’t a book for me or I was in a weird place mentally that prevented my connection when I read it. I know many others are raving about it, so give it a try because Follow Me Back had so much potential to hit all of the emotional buttons a good story hits, and it may just do that for you.

 

♦EXCERPT♦

“Kale.” It was a murmur.

Praise.

A spark.

Because his mouth crashed against mine.

His arms wound around my waist, and he pulled me into his apartment.

He kicked the door shut behind us without breaking the kiss.

Hot hands explored. Gliding down my back. Palming my bottom. Roaming up my sides.

A moan rippled up my throat, and his tongue swept into my mouth, tangling with mine.

Needy and desperate.

Overpowering.

Overwhelming.

My head spun, and I was suddenly in his arms.

My legs wrapped around his narrow waist.

Second nature.

Exactly where I belonged.

“Hope,” he mumbled at my mouth as he carried me through his massive, open loft.

The floors echoed with his heavy footsteps as they thudded across the worn, dark planks and toward the massive leather couch set up in the middle of the living space.

Pure masculine style and impeccable taste with the need for comfort at the root of it all.

Just like the man.

Setting me down on the dark cushions, he dropped to his knees on the plush white rug.

Expression predatory.

No doubt, he was preparing to devour and destroy.

He palmed my knees. The simple contact made me arch and gasp.

“It’s getting harder and harder to resist you,” he murmured, voice scrapping and raw.

“Then why are you trying?”

 

♦SERIES♦

A Fight for Me Novella (#0.5); Standalone

Previously published in the Glamour Anthology as Red Hot Pursuit

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Fight For Me Book One; Standalone

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♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, as well as the newest BLEEDING STARS novels. Watch for the next installment STAND, coming Spring 2017.

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 24587 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

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REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

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Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back his to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time tells a love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live. It is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

♦4.5-STAR REVIEW♦

How to Stop Time is an inventive and captivating story that details the very long and adventurous life of its main character, Tom Hazard. Haig’s storytelling is magnetic and fantastical, pulling so easily on the curiosity and wonder of a character so rare and the amazing historical figures he meets through time. Told in various eras of time along with the present–lent to help in seeing how it shaped him–it all encapsulated to telling one exciting story.

Tom Hazard, for as unique as he is, is a character one can easily relate to and like. Underneath the fun things he’s done in the past, his basic human wants and needs are just the same as everyone’s: to find happiness. Haig perfectly captured the sad loneliness underlying his every century, and how deteriorating the mind can be when deprived of affection and stability. Seeing him battle the Society of his people for what his heart truly wants, and warring with the possible selfishness of that choice and how it could affect everyone around him, was absolutely heartbreaking.

Knowing this has been adapted for screenplay, that Benedict Cumberbatch is coined to be the leading man, I cannot wait to see how a tale such as this plays out on the big screen. Haig skillfully brought the imagination to paper and made it accessible for readers to become a part of it. His writing style is as different as the plot, and together they created one fast-paced, beautiful story.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Matt Haig is a British author for children and adults. His memoir Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children’s book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit in his own country and is translated in over 25 languages. It is being made into a film by Studio Canal and The Guardian called it an ‘instant classic’. Neil Gaiman said of his writing: ‘Haig has an empathy for the human condition, the light and the dark of it, and he uses the full palette to build his excellent stories’. His novels for adults include the award-winning The Radleys and The Humans.

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