HOOKED ON YOU by Kate Meader – Review and Giveaway

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SYNOPSIS:

The steamy Chicago Rebels series returns with this racy and sassy tale of embittered hearts, second chances, and going for the goal—on and off the ice.

Violet Vasquez never met her biological father, so learning he left his beloved hockey franchise—the Chicago Rebels—to her is, well, unexpected. Flat broke and close to homeless, Violet is determined to make the most of this sudden opportunity. Except dear old dad set conditions that require she takes part in actually running the team with the half-sisters she barely knows. Working with these two strangers and overseeing a band of hockey-playing lugs is not on her agenda…until she lays eyes on the Rebels captain and knows she has to have him.

Bren St. James has been labeled a lot of things: the Puck Prince, Lord of the Ice, Hell’s Highlander…but it’s the latest tag that’s making headlines: washed-up alcoholic has-been. This season, getting his life back on track and winning the Cup are his only goals. With no time for relationships—except the fractured ones he needs to rebuild with his beautiful daughters—he’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore sexy, all-up-in-his-beard Violet Vasquez. And when he finds himself in need of a nanny just as the playoffs are starting, he’s faced with a temptation he could so easily get hooked on.

For two lost souls, there’s more on the line than just making the best of a bad situation… there might also be a shot at the biggest prize of all: love.

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REVIEW:

What a marvelous ending to such a fantastic series. Kate Meader’s Chicago Rebels books have been consistently amazing from the start with the prequel In Skates Trouble all the way down to the last Hooked On You. I have enjoyed reading about this team–this wonderful mishmash of a multicultural family–so much that I cried at the end. I will miss these characters, they have hooked me in and I’m finding it hard to let go. I might have to reread the whole series from the top.

Violet and Bren. I’ve been looking forward to their story since Irresistible You and Hooked On You delivered big time. They danced around each other for a whole season until finally, there was no fighting their feelings anymore. Their interactions are snappy, sweet, sexy, highly satisfying, and swoon-worthy. I laughed, I teared up, had a lump in my throat many times. I knew they’ll end up together, but man, did Kate make them work for it. I loved, loved, loved that they both have their demons to conquer and they each vanquished them individually, but with the thought of the other as inspiration when they claimed the victory.

Kate did a fabulous job of wrapping up the series, tying up all storylines from previous books while still keeping Violet and Bren at the center of Hooked On You. All the characters appeared and although I will forever be in love with Remy DuPre, I have room for everybody else in my heart: Harper, Isobel and Vadim, Dante and Cade, Addison and Ford, Erik, and Bren’s adorable daughters – Franky and Cat.

With themes of family, redemption, acceptance, and always, LOVE, Hooked On You and the Chicago Rebels should appeal to everyone. Oh, and there’s hockey, too. Five Stanley-Cup-winning stars for me.

 

DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE CHICAGO REBELS SERIES!

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ABOUT KATE MEADER

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Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.

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OPENED UP by Eva Moore – Review and Giveaway

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Title: Opened Up
Series: Exposed Dreams #1
Author: Eva Moore
Genre: Sexy Contemporary Romance 18+
Release Date: May 2, 2018
Cover Designer: Render Compose
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39854198-opened-up

Blurb:

Payroll
Purchase Orders
Peanut Butter Cups

Not necessarily in that order…

Sofia Valenti dreams of a life spent designing beautiful homes for the family business. But as her to-do list can attest, that dream is still far away. Stuck doing office work for Valenti Brothers Construction and stress eating her weight in chocolate, she wants more than hand-me-down responsibilities. When her father, Dom, signs up the whole family for a reality TV show, Sofia sees a chance to grab the spotlight for her dream. What she doesn’t count on is the sexy head contractor knocking down her ideas and her barriers like it’s demo day.

Adrian Villanueva has spent his life on the outside looking in. When Dom talks retirement, Adrian sees his chance to finally buy his way into the company he helped build. He’s certainly not going to let the inexperienced designer daughter with expensive taste and mouthwatering curves stand in his way. Ignoring his old crush on Sofia the girl will be easy. He’s had a decade of practice. It’s the appeal of Sofia the woman that threatens to bring him to his knees.

When hidden attraction flares into open desire, they must decide if a chance at love is worth giving up on a lifetime of dreams.

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Intense and real

There’s a lot to unpack. First, I like the fact that the characters are deeply rooted in reality, that you can easily identify a friend, a family member, even yourself in place of Sofia, Adrian, Dom, Jo, the Shahs, etcetera. Eva has infused her characters with their unique sets of talents and insecurities in a way that is relatable to the readers. She has always been able to that with her books. Her heroines are often women who are besieged by self-doubt, even as they strive to gather strength to overcome them on their own. Sofia is one such heroine with her issues about her body image and her desire to have more control over her position in the family business.

Adrian as the hero is a good foil for Sofia. He is consistently on her side even as he has his own ambitions he wanted fulfilled. He is a great son, a supportive boss, and a considerate lover. What I like is that he is not without fault. His machismo sometimes comes out to play to the frustration of Sofia as she gets that from her father already.
I like the main characters in this book. I also like the inclusion of diverse supporting characters. My heart goes out to Adrian’s mom and her fears. I’m glad that was resolved in the end. On the other hand, I am not enamored of Sofia’s parents. Maybe they will be redeemed in the upcoming books, but right now, I am not simpatico with Dom and Jo.

Lastly, the “reality show” backdrop is fantastic and all the construction discussions and terminologies are fascinating. I don’t know anything about home renovation, I don’t watch it, but Eva made it easy to keep up with the narrative.

A good read, Opened Up deserves its place in your TBR.

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Author Bio:

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Winner of Cherry Adair’s Finish The Damn Book Contest 2017, Eva Moore writes sweet and sexy contemporary romance, after leaving a career in the classroom to raise her daughters. Opened Up is the first book in her new Exposed Dreams series, set in the world of home renovation reality TV. Eva now lives in Silicon Valley, after moving around the world and back, with her college sweetheart, her three gorgeous girls, and a Shih Tzu who thinks he’s a cat. She can be found most nights hiding in her closet/office, scribbling away, and loves to hear from the outside world. You can find her at www.4evamoore.com.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/4evamooreauthor
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Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/FriendsForEvaMoore/
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Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/authorevamoore
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Excerpt:

“Well, babe, I gotta say, more money always sounds good to me.”
Ugh. It’s like he does it without even thinking. She passed him the paperwork and pointed to the pertinent sections.
“I just started going through this. Give it a read-through, and tell me if you see any red flags. I’m going to refill my coffee.”
She needed a minute to calm her swirling thoughts, and sitting in a small room with a man who simultaneously generated a low-level buzz of attraction while also making her want to punch him in the stomach was not helping. His proposal had stunned her, and she’d not responded well. She pulled down another mug out of force of habit and filled it before topping hers off as well. She added one sugar and a healthy dollop of cream to his, fake sugar and cream to her own.
All done, but nowhere near ready to return, she braced her hands on the peacock granite countertop, stretched her arms long and dropped her head between them. She lengthened her spine and took a deep breath, aiming for some of the peace she’d felt when she’d dropped into a yoga class with Brandy.
Change itself was nothing to fear. So what if most of the changes in her life had been awful? That didn’t mean these changes were going to be bad, too. She could handle whatever needed handling. She’d managed before, and she could do it again. And she was absolutely full of crap. She was three seconds from panicking, and her deep-breathing exercises were getting trapped in her clenching throat.
“Hey, are you okay?” Adrian’s deep, husky voice skittered up her spine, leaving a trail of goose bumps that didn’t subside when she jumped and squealed.
Why did this man have the power to make her feel like a twelve-year-old girl? She spun to face him, only to find that he’d invaded the space she’d cleared and was reaching for her shoulder, as if to steady her. She backed away swiftly, bumping into the counter and rattling the cups. Remembering why she’d come to the kitchen in the first place, she handed him the coffee she’d made him, being careful not to scald herself with a brush of his fingertips. She could pick apart the ridiculousness of her response later.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” She retreated into a sip of her own fortifying mug.
He mirrored her sip and stepped back as well. Message finally freaking received. Good.
“You know how I take my coffee?” He grinned as if this detail somehow meant something special.
“I know everyone’s coffee order. Have you not noticed who keeps the lists for meeting coffee runs? Or who is constantly being charged with stocking the kitchen? Or did you just think a magical caffeine fairy came in at night and brought lattes to all the good little boys?” She tried once again to take him down a peg while setting him straight. She couldn’t have him thinking that she’d been watching him, paying attention to his personal preferences. Even if she had.
Once again, her sarcasm flew right over his head. He raised the contract in his hand and held it out to her.
“Listen, I tried to read through this, but it might as well be written in Latin. Can you walk me through the specifics?”
“I just got it myself. Give me a day or two to really pick it apart, and I’ll fill you in.”
“Thanks, angel. That sounds good.” He tossed the contract on the break room table, supremely confident, coffee in hand.
She’d wager he hadn’t even heard the “Sure thing” she’d managed through clenched teeth. How could she be so attracted to someone who pissed her off so royally?
Good thing he didn’t know, or he’d be insufferable.

 

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THE WAY OF BEAUTY – Camille Di Maio Blog Tour/Giveaway/Guest Post

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THE WAY OF BEAUTY

by

Camille Di Maio

Genre: Historical Fiction / 20th Century / Literary

Publisher: Lake Union Press

Date of Publication: May 1, 2018

Number of Pages: 384

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Synopsis

cover HI RES The Way of Beauty_previewHearts and dreams evolve in the shadow of the once-magnificent Penn Station.
Vera Keller, the daughter of German immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, finds her life upended when the man she loves becomes engaged to another woman. But Angelo Bellavia has also inadvertently opened up Vera’s life to unexpected possibilities. Angelo’s new wife, Pearl, the wealthy daughter of a clothing manufacturer, has defied her family’s expectations by devoting herself to the suffrage movement. In Pearl, Vera finds an unexpected dear friend…and a stirring new cause of her own. But when Pearl’s selfless work pulls her farther from Angelo and their son, the life Vera craved is suddenly within her reach—if her conscience will allow her to take it. Her choice will define not only her future but also that of her daughter, Alice.

Vera and Alice—a generation and a world apart—are bound by the same passionate drive to fulfill their dreams. As first mother and then daughter come of age in a city that is changing as rapidly as its skyline, they’ll each discover that love is the only constant.

 

PRAISE FOR THE WAY OF BEAUTY:

“The Way of Beauty is a thing of beauty. The writing is gorgeous, the story is engaging, the characters are amazing. The amount of research that goes into historical fiction just astounds me. Add this to your TBR!”

“If you want to be swept away by a love story set in a fascinating and meticulously researched past, Camille Di Maio is the author for you. Don’t miss this one.”

“A captivating story of love and family that spans several generations.”

“The writing transports you to the time, not so long ago when women had to choose between love and their rights. Camille Di Maio’s dialogue, descriptions, and relationships create a complete picture of the era and struggles. Great book club book.”

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Inspiration for Writing The Way of Beauty
Guest Post by Author Camille Di Maio

It’s funny, for me at least, how a book starts and how it ends up.

The idea for The Way of Beauty came while I was sitting on my bed and my then-15yo daughter came to sit with me. She’s got a good creative head, so I asked her if she wanted to brainstorm with me.

We were all over the place. There was a secret diary, a father/daughter story thread, dual time periods, you name it.

But in the end, it was an image that came to my mind that became the foundation. I had this concept of a soldier kissing his girlfriend goodbye in a train station. He was in a WWII uniform and sunlight streamed through the cathedral-like windows making the dust look like sparkling diamonds.

The train station image stayed with me, so I began to do research. I knew I wanted to set it in New York, and as I was familiar with Penn Station, I started there.

I searched for pictures, and most of what came up was this beautiful, soaring structure. My first thought was, “I’ve been to Penn Station many times, but I must not have been upstairs. I’ve never seen this!”

What I did not know was this: it doesn’t exist anymore.

The gorgeous, marble, soaring, majestic train station I was seeing on the internet was torn down in the 1960s to build Madison Square Garden.

I dove into some research, my favorite part of writing historical fiction. And I learned that the station was the brainchild of Alexander Cassatt, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. And coincidentally, the brother of Mary Cassatt, the famous painter.

In 1900, Cassatt was frustrated that all train travel toward New York ended in New Jersey, where travelers would then take a ferry over crowded waters to Manhattan. So he began a project to build tunnels underneath the East and Hudson Rivers. He traveled to London and Paris to study some of the world’s greatest train stations and endeavored to make his bigger and better.

I researched the sandhogs – the men who dug those tunnels at great peril, and I read about the strangers Cassatt hired to secretly buy up buildings in the Tenderloin so that they could demolish them and build the station.

Penn Station was magnificent when it was completed in 1910 and it was expected to last centuries. But in the 1950s, as air and car travel increased, railroad companies fell into financial trouble. And Penn Station was sold.

The arc of the station – its creation, heyday, and destruction was fascinating, and I knew that this would be the backbone of my story. I created the characters of Vera, Angelo, Pearl, Emmett, Alice, and William and how their lives and loves paralleled the story.

All of this was planned out, the frailest of outlines laid out as a framework. But the joy of the writing – for me, at least – is putting meat on those bones.

The biggest surprise in my writing was how captivated I became by the suffrage movement. I vote in every election – midterms, local ones, presidential ones, you name it. So I wouldn’t say that I take the right for granted, and I appreciate those who’ve fought and died for that right. But that makes me think about the military. I hadn’t given significant thought to the women who championed that right a century ago. The character Pearl was a firecracker from the start, but her involvement in the suffrage movement became deeper and deeper and as I learned the extremities that some of the women went to – even going as far as having hunger strikes – and I knew that she needed to get that involved. Her storyline – initially meant to be somewhat secondary became much larger. A cornerstone of the story.

The book, then, evolved into the story of women and their emerging roles as the world changed around them. And I’m so happy that it did.

Life takes turns we don’t expect. And so does writing. But those surprises are often the sweetest bits. And I hope that as long as I have the privilege of doing this work, there will be many more discovers that wait to be illuminated.

 

AboutTheAuthor

~Romance Writers of America Honor Roll Inductee~

Camille recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a fuAuthor Pic DiMaio_previewll-time writer. Along with her husband of 19 years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far) and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She overdoses on goodies at farmer’s markets (justifying them by her support for local bakeries) and belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. The Memory of Us was Camille’s debut novel. Her second, Before the Rain Falls was released on May 16, 2017, and The Way of Beauty is her third novel.

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5/2           Review                             Hall Ways Blog

5/3           Review                             Books in the Garden

5/4           Guest Post                       Carpe Diem Chronicles

5/4           Excerpt                            That’s What She’s Reading

5/5           Review                             Reading by Moonlight

5/5           Promo+                            Chapter Break Book Blog

5/6           Review                             Momma on the Rocks

5/7           Author Interview            The Page Unbound

5/7           Top Five                           Story Schmoozing Book Reviews

5/8           Review                              StoreyBook Reviews

5/9           Guest Post                         Missus Gonzo

5/9           Character Interview       The Librarian Talks

5/10         Review                               Tangled in Text

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Book Recommendation: Irresistible You by Kate Meader

My book recommendation of the week is Kate Meader’s Irresistible You. I love sports romances and this one is hot, hot, hot. I reviewed it for NetGalley and this is what I posted on Goodreads and Amazon.  pro_reader_120

“Five icy-hot stars. Kate did it again! She delivered another book with a delicious hero one can’t help but fall in love with, a strong heroine you can relate to, a fascinating story you enjoy following along, and fully fleshed-out secondary characters whose future books you’re looking forward to reading. Irresistible You is funny, but also addresses several heavy issues like sexism and violence against women. It’s super sexy and incredibly fun to read. I love both Remy (He cooks! He reads Pride and Prejudice!) and Harper and enjoyed their journey into love. I also love the team, the hockey, the sisters, and the DuPres. The pacing is just right and the situations were realistic. Although many characters were introduced, none of them detracted from the fact that this is Remy and Harper’s book. That’s very well done by Kate Meader. This is truly a wonderful first book in her new series. I can’t wait to read the rest.”

 

About the book:

IRRESISTIBLE YOU
Chicago Rebels series, Book 1
Kate Meader
Pocket Star EBooks
August 14, 2017
$1.99 (August 14th – August 27th, 2017)
$5.99 (After August 27th, 2017)
ISBN 9781501168550

“Meader’s strength is creating characters who live, breathe, and jump off the page; Remy and Harper shine, and the supporting cast of characters, including Harper’s half-sisters, is very strong. The mix of sexual tension and emotional decisions will lead Meader’s series launch to many a keeper shelf.”
—Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

“Meader takes her readers on a breathtaking, non-stop, glorious ride. The sex scenes are lyrically written with fresh, descriptive prose. Enough is included about hockey to add its fast rhythm to the book. Remy’s family is multi-faceted and fills the pages with joy. Readers will love the relationship between Remy and Harper, and will be excited for the next story — Isobel’s.”
—RT Book Reviews Four and a Half Star TOP PICK

IRRESISTIBLE YOU kicks of the all new, scorching Chicago Rebels hockey series by Kate Meader, featuring her signature “steamy sex scenes, colorful characters, and riveting dialogue” (Romantic Times). Three estranged sisters inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.

Harper Chase has just become the most powerful woman in the NHL after the death of her father Clifford Chase, maverick owner of the Chicago Rebels. But the team is a hot mess—underfunded, overweight, and close to tapping out of the league. Hell-bent on turning the luckless franchise around, Harper won’t let anything stand in her way. Not her gender, not her sisters, and especially not a veteran player with an attitude problem and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.

Veteran center Remy “Jinx” DuPre is on the downside of a career that’s seen him win big sponsorships, fans’ hearts, and more than a few notches on his stick. Only one goal has eluded him: the Stanley Cup. Sure, he’s been labeled as the unluckiest guy in the league, but with his recent streak of good play, he knows this is his year. So why the hell is he being shunted off to a failing hockey franchise run by a ball-buster in heels? And is she seriously expecting him to lead her band of misfit losers to a coveted spot in the playoffs?

He’d have a better chance of leading Harper on a merry skate to his bed…

IRRESISTIBLE YOU is available at:

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About the author:

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Kate Meader was raised on romance. An Irish girl, she started with Catherine Cookson and Jilly Cooper novels, and spiced it up with some Mills & Boon. Now based in Chicago, she writes romances of her own, where sexy contemporary alpha heroes and strong heroines match each other quip for quip. When not immersed in tales of brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, Kate lives on the web at katemeader.com.