Saturday, December 27, 2014

2015 challenge: Scavenger Hunt II

Scavenger Hunt  2015

This time there are 3 varieties: easy , medium  and hard . So you can choose between 10, 20 and 30 books. See which one suits you!

As always, if the requirement is something in the cover, that thing has to be an important feature of the cover  not something you need a magnifying glass to see.  
Please read the rules at the bottom of the post carefully.
Sorry numbers 11 and 21 look funny, I can't fix it :(


  1. Read a book set in the United Kingdom or Ireland  (any of the countries)
  2. Read a book released in 2015
  3. Read the second book in a series
  4. Read a book starting with the letter H
  5. Read a book with a one word title
  6. Read a book with a number in its title (cardinal or ordinal, it can be in numbers or letters)
  7. Read a book where the MC is a musician or dating the former ;)
  8. Read a book from a debut author
  9. Read a book with a shoe on the cover (sneaker/boots/ sandal etc  )
  10. Read a book without a love triangle

(the 10 from the EASY challenge plus these 10)

11. Read a retelling

12. Read the last book in a series
13. Read a book by a German author
14. Read a book with a love triangle
15. Read a book with a blue dress on the cover
16. Read a book from an author named Jennifer or Richard
17. Read a book with an animal on the cover
18. Read a book with a day of the week in the name
19. Read a book that has a dome
20. Read a book with alternate POV

(the 20 from the EASY and MEDIUM challenge and add these 10)

21. Read a book where the MC has the name of a flower
22. Read a book written in the 20th century
23. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
24. Read a book where the MC is the hunted (can be a killer, a demon, anything you like)
25. Read a book that was originally written in French
26. Read a book set in the 18th century
27. Read a book written in the 19th century
28. Read a book set in Atlanta, New Orleans or San Francisco
29. Read a book whose author was born in a country starting with the letter A,   C or G
30. Read the first book in a series that has more than 10 books

The rules:
  • The challenge will run from January 1st – December 31st 2015.
  • Select, read and review a book from each category listed above during the year. 
  • You can’t use the same book in two categories.

  • To be eligible for the prizes, you have 2 options:  a) create a post on your blog where you document your progress and link it to this page or b) create a goodreads folder and label the books you've read.
  • There will be 2 prizes: A book up to 20usd for one winner among the ones that complete the Hard variety and a book up to 10usd for one winner among the ones that complete the medium variety. (it's international, provided that TBD ships to your country)
  • I ask for a review because, otherwise I can't confirm whether you actually read it or not. Things like: "I loved it" or "I hated it" don't count as reviews. :D 
  • Whenever you finish, enter the rafflecopters below. (it's your responsibility, don't forget!)

Hard variety giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Medium variety giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: Sex on the Beach (Cocktail Cruises #2) and giveaway

Cocktail Cruises - Box Set

by Allie Boniface

Enjoy all three of the Cocktail Cruise stories in one volume, along with cocktail recipes and excerpts from some of your favorite USA Today and Amazon best-selling authors – available only in this collection!

Quick Facts                                        
Release Date:  December 1st, 2014                
Genre: Contemporary Romance                                           
Formats to buy: Paperbacks and all ebook formats

Heat Level: R-rated for sexual content; 3 Flames (Contains occasional sensual, explicit love scenes, and the language used to describe them may be graphic and direct)

Tequila Sunrise (Cocktail Cruises #1):

Louise wants to find love on board a romantic singles’ cruise – and it looks like her prayers are answered at a speed dating event.
Toby is too busy for a serious relationship; he only goes on the cruise because his best friend’s family owns the line and his sister works on it. But when he meets the luscious Louise at speed dating, his heart’s a goner.
When Lou discovers the dating service uses unethical business practices, though, she’s determined to reveal them, and the resulting publicity hurts Toby’s friends and family.

Can he convince her that true love exists beyond numbers?

Sex on the Beach (Cocktail cruises #2)

Cassidy is an elementary school teacher with a secret: a sexually adventurous online life led under a foolproof alias. Her motto? Enjoy sex and the single life as much as possible.
Bryce works for a major cruise line, which gets him all the sun, sand, and women he could want. But he meets his match in Cass, who’s even less interested in commitment than he is.

When her school’s financial crisis places Cass at the center of a firestorm, she must decide whether she’ll let Bryce become the first man she’ll trust with both her secrets and her heart. 


- I was given this copy in exchange for an honest review -

3.5 stars!

This is the first book I read by Allie Boniface. I was drawn to it because I thought that the names (Cocktail names) were a fun touch and also because I’m a fan of cruises.

Romance + cruises = MY THING!

What can I say about "Sex on the Beach"? 

The best things:

  • First of all, the cover is gorgeous. 
  • The writing style is fresh.
  • I liked the friend. Lou is amazing! And she is the protagonist of Book 1 (Tequila Sunrise) so I’ll be getting it soon!
  •  I enjoyed how the story unfolded when they were back on land, with a tiny bit of mystery and drama. 
  • The sexy scenes were nicely done.
  • I found the “Savvy tip of the day” really funny and I believe it’s a nice detail.

Savvy tip of the day:

"Don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind, even if it scares you".

  • There is a happy ending and that earn points with me hehe. 

The not so amazing things:

  • Everything happened too fast, but probably because the book is short. On the bright side, that makes it super easy to read. I read it in just one afternoon.
  • I wanted more cruise story. Most of the story develops on land. 
  • There were a few editing errors but they don’t divert the reader from the story at all. 
  • Cass. I didn't like her much.  
For example: when she first got on the cruise, she said she wasn’t there to pick up a man but she stared at two guys in 2 minutes with a lusty attitude. 
And definitely, it’s different to be laid back, confident and not wanting commitment than being slutty. 
As the story continued,  she changed but at first she was: "looking for her skimpiest bikini", making comments such as “men always notice my different eyes in the morning when I’m naked in their bed” in the first 5 minutes of a talk  with a guy  O.o . Sorry, but I couldn't relate to her. 

Though After one unworthy accusation towards Cass, Bryce gets closer to her to help and they start connecting a bit more and she opens her heart. That part I enjoyed more because it felt more real. 

Anyway, a nice summer read (ok, summer for those who live in the southern hemisphere!)
If you want a spicy and entertaining read, take a look at it.

Between the Sheets (Cocktail Cruise #3)

Andrea is determined to merge a cruise ship career and single motherhood. But that leaves zero time for sex or love, so when she has a chance for a fling with a sexy cruise ship dancer, she goes for it.
Sebastian enjoys a low-key life as the ship’s dance instructor, a welcome change from his previous life in Argentina as the star of a hugely popular dance show. But when Andrea sweeps into his life, everything changes.
Will new love help him come to terms with his past, and convince her to find room in her life for another man? 

Here is an excerpt of  Sex on the Beach:

Bryce ran the back of one hand down her bare arm as he leaned over to flag the bartender. Electricity shot all the way up to Cass's shoulder, and something deliciously warm and familiar tingled between her legs. She brushed his shoulder as she reached for her drink, telegraphing a message that registered in the light of his eyes.He took a long swallow of his beer, then rested one elbow on the bar and turned toward her. Two inches, maybe one, separated them. She could smell him. If she leaned forward, she could probably taste him. And damn, but that mouth looked like it would know what to do on a woman’s body.“That pick-up line, by the way?” she said. “The good-luck charm? Weak.”He clutched his chest as if she’d shot him. “Was it that bad?” The corner of his mouth quirked up. “I thought it had flair.” He touched the neck of his beer bottle to her glass. “Women like flair.”Cass crossed one leg over the other and let her dress ride up. “Flair is over-rated.” She ran her fingers through her hair, loose and falling past her shoulders. “It takes more than that to win a girl over.” A nice ass will do, though, she thought. Good smile and wit helped too, and so far Bryce was three for three, though she wouldn’t tell him that.
“Decided to take the free cruise?”“I did.”“How’s your friend Louise?”“She’s fine. Spends a lot of time with Toby, but I’m guessing you already know that.” She sipped her martini. “What about your buddy? The one from the bachelor party? He get married yet?”“Yep. Valentine’s Day.” He cocked his head when she didn’t answer. “I take it you're not a fan?”“Of marriage? Or Valentine’s Day?” Not either one, she wanted to say.  She set her glass down after another sip. “Thanks for the drink. But I think I’ll be going.” First conversations never needed to last longer than a few minutes. She’d leave him wanting more. 

The Author
Allie was born and raised in a tiny community in upstate New York, which probably explains her fascination with the magic of small town life. She holds a B.A and M.A. in English Literature and is a full-time high school English teacher in the northern NYC suburbs, where she currently resides. When she isn’t teaching or writing, she and her husband love to travel both in the United States and abroad. She is the author of seven novels and three novellas and writes sensual contemporary romance because she loves exploring the emotions that connect us all!

U.S and International: 

$10 Amazon gift card, E-copy of Tequila Sunrise

a Rafflecopter giveaway

U.S only:

Signed paperback of The Promise of Paradise (also by Allie Boniface)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 15, 2014

Review and giveaway: Nellie by Cynthia Woolf

Nellie (The Brides of San Francisco I)

by Cynthia Woolf

Quick Facts                                        
Release Date:  November, 2014                
Genre: Historical Romance. Western                                              
Formats to buy: Paperbacks and all ebook formats

Book Synopsis
Nellie Wallace is a young widow with two children. In post civil-war New York, the men are scarce and none want the burden of a wife with children. Her dead husband's family is wealthy, and cruel. Desperate to escape their influence, and eager for a home, a husband, and a stable life for her children, Nellie decides to make a new life in San Francisco as a mail order bride.

Saloon owner Blake Malone is a bachelor and likes it that way. He worked hard for everything he has, but the San Francisco City Council won’t approve his plans to build a family emporium unless he is a family man himself. The solution? A mail order bride from New York who will bring him a ready-made family, stability, and the council's approval.

Blake expects his future wife to care for his home and, other than helping him impress the city council, to stay out of his business. He expects life as usual. What he gets is an unexpected desire to win Nellie's heart, a dangerous threat to his new bride, and a rich benefactor determined to steal his new family out from under him.  Blake believed his battle for success a hard one. But he will discover that the battle to win Nellie's heart and keep his family safe is going to take everything he's got.



April 28, 1865
RAP! RAP! RAP!If only she could fix her problems with a needle and thread she’d be set. Nellie looked up from the socks she was darning toward the knocking on the front door.Who could that be? She set aside the socks, straightened her dress, checked her reflection in the mirror on the wall in the hall, patted her blond hair back into place and then answered the door.“Mrs. Robert Wallace?” asked the soldier in dress uniform who stood at attention on her front porch.Oh, God. No. Please. No. “Yes,” she said, trying to keep the tremor from her voice. “I…I’m Mrs. Wallace.”The young soldier handed her an envelope. “I regret to have to inform you that Lieutenant Robert Wallace was killed at the Battle of Appomattox on April 8, 1865. I’m sorry for your loss, Mrs. Wallace.”Nellie didn’t know what to say over the lump in her throat. She always knew this could happen—from the first moment Robert joined, to his last farewell eight months before Violet was born.“I, uh, thank you, Officer…”“Black, ma’am. Sergeant Black.”“Thank you for letting me know, Sergeant.” Her grip tightened on the door knob. “I…I have to sit down now.”“Of course, ma’am. Do you need help?”Nellie shook her head. “No. Thank you. I’ll be alright.”The man saluted her, turned and walked down the sidewalk to the waiting carriage.How many of these calls did he have to make today? Was I the only one? I doubt it. Not in a city the size of New York.She closed the door and leaned against the wall next to it, her legs no longer able to support her, she slid to the floor. Tears left salty trails on her face, but for the life of her she couldn’t remember crying. Screaming, cursing God, yes, but crying, no. Even though our marriage wasn’t what I’d dreamed it could have been when I was a child, I shall miss him. He had his good side, he was funny and could make her laugh. He was gentle every where except…no I will not think about that now. I endured and have two beautiful children.How am I to tell Henry his father is dead? Violet was just a baby and didn’t know her daddy but Henry… Her son missed his father something fierce. Robert had doted on Henry. They spent so much time together that Henry cried for days when his father left the last time. And now I have to tell him his father is never coming home. How do I do that?She wiped her cheeks with the backs of her hands, took the hanky from her apron pocket and blew her nose.  No need to put it off. The task would be difficult enough, without waiting and making it harder. Perhaps she and Henry could grieve together. In any case, she needed to be strong for her son and daughter. She was all they had now.Taking a deep breath, she mounted the stairs to the play room and her children.

5 super stars

The first book I've read from Cynthia Woolf was "Fiery Bride", also  about a mail order bride. After that, I read 3 more, also historical, which I enjoyed greatly but to be honest, I believe mail order brides is what this author does best. I simply loved this book.

One thing you need to know before jumping into one of Cynthia's books is that they share something in common: they are simple (forget those hard to understand plots) and also they are sexy but nonetheless classy. We have some hot scenes but nothing too graphic.

In this book we meet Nellie a sad widow that needs to go on with her life because she is tired of enduring her awful in-laws for the sake of her children. 
On the other hand, we meet Mr Blake Malone: sexy, galant and mysterious. Also with no wish to fall in love. Ow! and he owns a saloon...

They meet due to an arrangenment that is extremely clear. He will provide the money, she will provide the family he needs in order to fulfill a business deal.
None of them is expecting to feel so attracted to each other.

I loved the way Blake was able to reach Nellie's heart and go past her fears. She unravels when they are together and to see how the love grows is mesmerizing.

We also have some other interesting characters, such as Maddie (crazy as a cow but I loved every time she showed up because she spiced up the story) and little Violet (so sweet).

The plot, as I said, is simple but entertaining and the book just flows. I kept turning the pages and read it all in a few hours.

The writing was nice and yes, I will totally recommend it.

Get to know the author:

Cynthia Woolf is the award winning and best-selling author of ten historical western romance books, one short story, and one novella in the anthology Lost in a Kiss, with more books on the way. She was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.

Their closest neighbor was one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.

Cynthia was and is an avid reader. Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week. This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug. She wrote her first story at the age of ten. A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.

Cynthia loves writing and reading romance. Her first western romance Tame A Wild Heart, was inspired by the story her mother told her of meeting Cynthia’s father on a ranch in Creede, Colorado. Although Tame A Wild Heart takes place in Creede that is the only similarity between the stories. Her father was a cowboy not a bounty hunter and her mother was a nursemaid (called a nanny now) not the ranch owner.

Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she's made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.



Other Titles by Cynthia Woolf:

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