Saturday, 30 April 2016

Review: Mayday (Lovestruck Librarians #3) by Olivia Dade

Helen Murphy loves her supportive family, her close-knit circle of friends, and her part-time job at the library. What she doesn't love: the fact that she's a thirty-six-year-old near-virgin who lives in her parents' house. Eager to move out and reclaim her independence at long last, she's determined to get the library's new Community Outreach Coordinator position. Even if that means working side-by-side with the one man she desperately wants to avoid--Niceville's ambitious mayor Wes Ramirez, who happens to be her only previous lover, and the source of her greatest humiliation…

Wes needs to make up for his disastrous one-night--actually, make that one-hour--stand with deliciously nerdy librarian Helen. As they plan the city's upcoming May Day celebrations together, he'll try to prove he can do better, in bed and out. It may take every bit of his creativity and determination, but their budding romance has already gone down in flames once . . . and he'll be damned if he'll let Helen go a second time.

Paperback, 242 pages
Expected publication: May 10th 2016 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is May 10th, 2016.

This story is the third instalment in the Lovestruck Librarians series but can be read as a stand alone.  While I did read the previous book, it was not required to enjoy this one.

What I like about this series is that the female leads are not the stereotypical beauty queens that you find in so many books of this genre.  The character in this story was still beautiful but also real.  She was not a stick figure and shopped in the plus size section of the department store.  Although don't even get me started on what is considered a plus size these days, I could go on for hours but that would be fore a different blog.  What I am trying to say is that the everyday female can identify in at least some way with Helen because we are all beautiful, flaws and all.

Wes took a while to win me over.  His lack of self esteem really was a turn off for me.  He did however grow stronger as a character as the story progressed.

If you like a little steam in your stories then this one delivers.  As the synopsis says, Wes is determined to make up for a less than stellar "performance" and thinks of multiple ways to make this happen.  There is no lack of steam within these pages.

An entertaining read.

About the Author

(from her Goodreads profile)

While I was growing up, my mother kept a stack of books hidden in her closet. She told me I couldn’t read them. So, naturally, whenever she left me alone for any length of time, I took them out and flipped through them.

Those books raised quite a few questions in my prepubescent brain. Namely: 1) Why were there so many pirates? 2) Where did all the throbbing come from? 3) What was a “manhood”? 4) And why did the hero and heroine seem overcome by images of waves and fireworks every few pages, especially after an episode of mysterious throbbing in the hero’s manhood?

Thirty or so years later, I have a few answers.

1) Because my mom apparently fancied pirates at that time. Now she hoards romances involving cowboys and babies. If a book cover features a shirtless man in a Stetson cradling an infant, her ovaries basically explode and her credit card emerges. I have a similar reaction to romances involving spinsters, governesses, and librarians.

2) His manhood. Also, her womanhood.

3) It’s his “hard length,” sometimes compared in terms of rigidity to iron. I prefer to use other names for it in my own writing. However, I am not picky when it comes to descriptions of iron-hard lengths. At least in romances.

4) Because explaining how an orgasm feels can prove difficult. Or maybe the couples all had sex on New Year’s Eve at Cancun.

During those thirty years, I accomplished a few things. I graduated from Wake Forest University and earned my M.A. in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked at a variety of jobs that required me to bury my bawdiness and potty mouth under a demure exterior: costumed interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, high school teacher, and librarian. But I always, always read romances. Funny, filthy, sweet—it didn’t matter. I loved them all.

Now I’m writing my own romances with the encouragement of my husband and daughter. I found a kick-ass agent: Jessica Alvarez from Bookends, LLC. I have my own stack of books in my closet that I’d rather my daughter not read, at least not for a few years. I can swear whenever I want, except around said daughter. And I get to spend all day writing about love and iron-hard lengths.

So thank you, Mom, for perving so hard on pirates during my childhood. I owe you.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Sale Blitz: Welcome to Forever by Annie Rains

Get WELCOME TO FOREVER for $0.99 for a Limited Time!

A Hero's Welcome Book One
Annie Rains
Released Dec 1st, 2015

If you love Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery, or Jill Shalvis, you won’t want to miss the Hero’s Welcome military romance series! Welcome to Forever introduces a small coastal town where America’s best and brightest risk everything for love.

In Seaside, North Carolina, there are two kinds of people: Marines, and kids of Marines. Then there’s Kat Chandler. Recently hired as the principal of Seaside Elementary, Kat makes it her mission to turn the school into a place of peace and calm. That’s not going to be easy with hard-liner parents like Micah Peterson storming in, telling her how to do her job—and then kissing her with those gorgeous lips of his and turning her brain into mush.

As a Marine Sergeant and a single dad, Micah Peterson has just two priorities: doing his job better than anyone else, and getting the absolute best for his son, Ben. But when he meets Ben’s beautiful new principal, a different yearning shifts into focus. He wants her, sure, but he’s also moved by the connection Kat forges with her students. So after learning that she refuses to date Marines, Micah sets two more objectives: convincing Kat to give him a chance . . . and then holding on to her forever.

“Have you thought about that kiss?” she asked, as he leaned in close to fasten her seatbelt. She couldn’t control what was coming out of her mouth. “Because I have. A little.” She started laughing again. Val had warned her that she was a horrible drunk, and evidently, it was true.

“What have you thought about it?” he asked, his voice low and bristly. Her buckle snapped into place with a loud click. He could step back now, but he didn’t.

And she didn’t want him to. What was the point of being drunk if you couldn’t say and do what you wanted, and then apologize for it in the morning? No one blamed a drunk, they blamed the drink. “I thought that I liked it. The kiss. It was amazing.” She held her breath as he lingered in front of her, his hand still resting on the seat’s buckle.

“I thought the same thing.”

“You did?” She swallowed thickly, as her heart rode up her throat.

His brow lifted. “You sound surprised.”

“I’m out of practice.” She nibbled on her lower lip, drawing his gaze there. Then his gaze flicked back to her ring. Just the thought squashed the flutterings in her chest, leaving a deep ache that vibrated with the alcohol. 

“He’s been gone for two years,” she said.

Micah’s brows pinched together softly.

Explaining about John in her state wasn’t a good idea, though. She might start crying, which she didn’t do in front of others anymore, and right now all she wanted to do was forget everything but their kiss. That she wanted to remember. “You could kiss me again,” she said softly.

His smile deepened and, damn, he smelled good.

Leaning in closer to her ear, his hot breath melted her as he whispered, “Kat, you’ve had too much to drink. I’m taking you home now.”

Before she could process what he’d said, he stepped back and shut the Jeep’s door, the sound as offensive as if someone had crashed cymbals in her ears. A moment later, he reappeared on the driver’s side and cranked the engine, another sound that made her wince.

She closed her eyes, unsure of what to do with her drunken emotions.

“If I kiss you again, I want to be one hundred percent sure it’s what you want. Not because my almost ex is walking up and you want to help me out. Not because you’ve had too much to drink and want to escape.”

She suddenly felt very tired, as the Jeep Cherokee headed out of the parking lot. “So, you are going to kiss me again?” she asked. Before she could hear his answer, though, her eyes closed and the sounds of the road and his voice, and the blood thundering in her head, blurred together. She remembered their kiss, the feel of his stubble roughly brushing against her cheek, and the way he had smelled like pine and fudge brownies.

No, wait. His eyes reminded her of fudge brownies. He didn’t smell like them.

Her eyes fluttered open. Yeah, she was definitely going to regret tonight in the morning.

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Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America's largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn't writing, she's spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors. Represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NYLA).

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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Review: Blown Away by Brenda Rothert

In an emotionally charged, wickedly hot novel of love and loss, a passionate affair gives two daring storm chasers the strength to overcome shattered dreams and the courage to build a future together.

One year after her fiancé died in a heartbreaking accident, Drew McGovern decides to honor his memory by joining his old storm-chasing buddies on their latest excursion. What she’s not so sure about, however, is whether she’s ready to move on. Drew wasn’t expecting to feel the powerful pull of desire toward Colby’s best friend. But there’s no denying the intensity of their connection . . . or the heat he inspires in the parts of her that are still very much alive.

Aiden O’Neal doesn’t trust himself around Drew. He’s wanted this girl for a long time—long enough to remember the stab of jealousy he felt the first time he saw her in Colby’s arms. Now he’s trying his best to behave himself. But when the wind starts blowing and the adrenaline starts pumping, Aiden can’t resist the urge to claim Drew as his own. Because when it comes to desire, he’s hoping to make lightning strike twice.

ebook, 205 pages
Expected publication: May 3rd 2016 by Loveswept 
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

Blown Away was a really quick book to read. I finished it easily in one sitting.

The book began with Drew losing her fiance in a terrible accident and then skipped forward a year when she decided she needed something different and joined his old storm chasing team. Aiden was a member of this team who was also her fiances best friend. He had always had a crush on Drew but never said anything or acted on it because of his best friend.

Drew and Aiden's story was typical of this genre. Both of them had issues from their past, both felt an attraction and both tried to deny that attraction. Aiden did not get close to women and did not do love especially with his dead best friends fiance. Drew felt like her chance at love had past. There were many complications, misunderstandings and a whole lot of sexual tension. You could cut it with a knife. All of the elements were there for a hot and steamy read.

I liked Drew and Aiden and I was routing for them as I turned each page. Admittedly, I was not the biggest fan of Aiden's in the beginning but he grew on me. He was the no strings attached, one night stand kind of guy with a list of girls to call when he had an itch to scratch. Please, there is nothing attractive about that. However, it was the way he was around Drew that eventually won me over.

Sometimes you just want a fast but entertaining read and this book fits the bill. With some exciting storm chasing, angst, chemistry and a whole lot of heat, this book gave me the things that I require out of this genre. I'm hopeful that maybe there will be some future stories about the other members of the storm chasing team.

About the Author
Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She's a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends, and happily ever afters.

Connect with Brenda

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Release Blast & Giveaway: Forever With You by Heatherly Bell

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The Starlight Hill Series #5
Heatherly Bell
Releasing April 26th, 2016
Tydandon Publishing and Heatherly Bell Books

She forgot something on the way to the courthouse …

Sophia Abella has a good life, even if she is a little stuck.  Not quite single, not quite married, she keeps men at a safe distance. But when her ex-Marine husband returns to town and takes the job of chief of police, it might finally be time to get that paper work done once and for all. After all, most of her family already thinks she’s divorced.

They’re not actually, in the fullest sense of the word … divorced.

Years ago, Riley Jacobs chose the Marine Corp over his wife and has regretted his decision every day since. But once a Marine always a Marine, and he’ll use every tactical advantage he has to get Sophia to realize that she’s the only one for him.

Love and marriage … take two

He didn’t answer but only studied her. “Eat.”
She took a bite somewhat automatically and felt immediately annoyed with herself for listening to him. “You’re bad for me.”
What she didn’t say, because she didn’t even want to voice it, was that he’d somehow become nothing but a constant reminder of loss. Pain. Of a fear so overwhelming and raw it threatened to take over everything in its path.
“I’m not. I’m what the doctor ordered.”
“You’re like eating Chunky Monkey every night instead of once a week. Not a good idea.”
He moved closer, so that his shoulder was touching hers. “So what do you want? Vanilla?”
“Not vanilla.” She took another sip, moved her legs and Hershee jumped off her lap, disgusted with Sophia for not sitting still enough for Her Highness. “Maybe Neopolitan. It’s good enough but not so much that I want it every day of the week.”
Riley stood up, took Sophia’s bowl and set it on the coffee table. He pulled her up off the couch, his hands on her elbows. The blanket fell to the ground at her feet. “Admit it. You’d like to have Chunky Monkey every day of the week. And sometimes you catch yourself thinking about it in the middle of the day. Wondering how you could get away with it.”
She’d forgotten how perfect it felt to be this close to him, their breathing comingled. Without a doubt, she’d once known he would have breathed for her if he could. He would have done anything for her.
“You want Chunky Monkey. Admit it.” He pulled her closer, until she could feel every hard ridge of his body and then closer still.
“Wait. Are we still talking about ice cream?”
“No.” He kissed her. Not a tender kiss at all, but rough and claiming.
Her hands fisted his shirt, and then with both hands she untucked it at his waist, letting her palms glide up his hard chest, touching the soft short hairs between her fingers. How she’d missed this, missed him. No matter what, they’d always had this part right. Touching, feeling.  Riley squeezed her ass, his other hand sliding under her sweater to tug her bra cup aside. But then just as suddenly as he’d kissed her, he stopped.
“Stay with me.” She pulled on his arm, directing him toward the bedroom.
“Slow down, baby.”
“It’s this way to the bedroom.” Sophia tugged on his hand again, a little like trying to move a mountain. “Just like your floor plan but reversed.”
“Wait.” He bit his lower lip and didn’t move.
“I don’t want to wait. I’ve waited long enough.”
“You can wait a little bit longer, can’t you?” He grimaced.
“Why should I?”
He chuckled and framed her face with both hands. “Because I need you to be sure.”
“Oh, that. I’m sure, Riley. I want this. I want you.”
“No,” he said and his hands dropped down. “I want you to be sure about us.”
“You and me. Us. Forever. Can you tell me you’re sure about that?” He studied her.
“Listen, you and I …”
“Yeah.” He moved away from her, picking his jacket up on the way to the door. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“But—” Was he seriously leaving her? Now? After all that talk about Chunky Monkey? Bastard!
“Eat your soup,” he called out and shut her front door.

When early onset stage fright dashed dreams of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status, Heatherly tackled her first book in 2010, and now the people and voices that occupy her head refuse to leave. She no longer sings unless you count randomly bursting into song to annoy her children (and the dogs).

If she were not an author, Heatherly maintains she would be a detective and a criminal's worst nightmare. She watches Dateline every Friday night and takes notes.

She lives in northern California with her family, including two beagles, one who can say 'hello' and the other who can feel a pea through several pillows.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Pre-Release Blitz & Giveaway: His Scandalous Kiss by Sophie Barnes

COMING 7.26.16

Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #3
Sophie Barnes
Releasing July 26th, 2016
Avon Books

Thorncliff Manor is the perfect setting for a masquerade ball . . . where the heart’s secret desires are about to be uncovered in this scintillating Regency romance from Sophie Barnes

Richard Heartly has exiled himself from society since the war, plotting his revenge for a terrible betrayal. A masked ball at Thorncliff Manor is intended to be a brief diversion. Instead, he encounters a fascinating young woman as entranced by the music as he is. He can’t reveal his identity to Lady Mary. But her siren song keeps drawing him back, and their clandestine meetings could be hazardous to his plan—and to her virtue . . .

Avoiding an unwanted marriage was easy when Lady Mary was ignored by the ton. Thanks to her dazzling appearance at the masquerade, she’s a wallflower no longer. Eligible suitors abound, yet the only man she wants is the brooding, seductive companion who keeps his face hidden. A man who tempts her to disclose her own shocking secret, one that could divide them forever . . .

And as silence settled between them, he allowed his gaze to sweep across the terrace in silent observation until it finally found one singular lady who stood like a beacon in the night due to her lack of embellishments. 

“Who is that?” Richard murmured close to Lady Duncaster’s ear.

“Who is who?” she asked, searching the crowd.

“The lady standing next to the potted rose tree.” She was turned sideways, offering Richard a view of only her profile as she spoke to an older woman.

“Considering the number of potted rose tress on this terrace, you will have to be more specific.”

“Of course,” Richard said, surprised that he hadn’t noticed. “I am referring to the lady in the . . .”—he struggled for an apt description—“whitish gown with gold along the bottom.” It was a very plain gown, he noted, not as puffy as the rest. It had no frills or lace, but was cut in a simple style that hugged the torso before flaring out below the hips. It reminded Richard of something that might have been worn by a medieval queen. Rebelliously, the lady had even chosen to wear her hair down, resulting in a tumbling mass of dark brown curls that almost reached her waist.

“I see what you mean,” Lady Duncaster said. “There is an elegance about her that surely would be lost if her gown had been outfitted with beads, feathers, and lace.”

“She would have looked just like the rest,” Richard said as the lady who’d captured his interest  turned to look in his direction. The upper half of her face, including the bridge of her nose, were completely concealed by a Colombina mask that matched her gown. Even so, Richard found himself helplessly drawn to the sharp look in her eyes. And her lips . . . they were the sort of lips that a man like him—a man who’d spent five years without female companionship—would be sorely tempted to kiss. Clenching his jaw, he expelled a slow and tortured breath.

“Perhaps you should ask her to dance,” Lady Duncaster suggested.

Without thinking, Richard stood, then sat back down again when he recalled that a gentleman did not stand while a lady remained seated. “Perhaps not,” he said, chancing another glance in the lady’s direction. To dance with her would do nothing but torment him. She would never be his. It was best if he remembered that.

Lady Duncaster shrugged. “I think you may be sorry if you do not,” she said. “Take it from a woman who never held back, but who always lived her life to the fullest—there is nothing worse than growing old with regret.”

Squeezing his eyes shut, Richard tried not to think of all the things that could never be changed. 

“Unfortunately, it does not seem as though I will have much choice in that regard.” It was impossible to keep the bitterness he felt from seeping into the words.

“If you say so.” She was silent for a moment before saying, “You are not the only one faced with obstacles, you know. In my experience, when it comes to romance, there are plenty of things that can get in the way of that happily-ever-after, which is why it is only the most determined who ever secure a love-match. That said, 
I do believe it is time for that minuet you promised me. Shall we proceed?”

Reluctantly, Richard nodded. “By all means.”

Lady Duncaster’s insightful words had thrown him slightly off balance. His expectations of ever sharing a future with a wife and children had been dashed long ago. He’d come to terms with that, even if he wasn’t happy about it. In fact, he was still bloody furious and very much aware that there was little chance of altering his fate, though he still sought retribution. Indeed, he doubted that there was anything on earth that could make him stop his vendetta. It had become an obsession over the years—a living creature whose hunger he hoped to one day satisfy. He could not afford any distraction, least of all when it would serve no purpose.

And yet, in the space of only a moment, an eccentric old lady with a towering wig perched precariously on top of her head and dressed in a gown that looked more like a bouquet of flowers than something one might actually wear, had forced a tiny piece of hope upon his mind. It made him wish that he had the courage to do as Lady Duncaster suggested and seek out the mystery lady, perhaps ask her to dance. But it was a fanciful thought—a dream that he deliberately allowed to fade.

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Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She's lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian. She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor's degree from Parsons. But, most impressive of all, she's been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion: writing. When she's not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Review: Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

Hadley St. Clair's life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.

Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably "feels like home" to Hadley. Hadley and Sam's connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.

Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.

Expected publication: May 3rd 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers      

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is May 3rd, 2016.

The tagline on the cover of this book tells it all, "Their story got complicated before they even met".

Written for the YA audience, this story covers the gamut from broken families, parental affairs and the aftermath, anger, first love and forgiveness. 

I really feel like the teenage emotion was captured accurately for the situations that Sam and Hadley were in. Written from both of their perspectives, it was clear that they were struggling with all of the conflicting emotions due to their circumstances.  Then add in the new feelings of young love and you have yourself a roller coaster.

What I had a hard time identifying with was the parents in this story.  Yes adult mistakes were made by the adults but the way they handled the aftermath just seems wrong.  Both mothers pulled away from their children when the natural instinct should be opposite.  As a result I could never warm to either of them as I found them selfish.  It is ironic that I found Hadley's father as the one with the most redeeming qualities.

I think that this is a story that will do well with the teenage audience.  There is just enough of everything to keep them interested.

About the Author

Ashley Herring Blake is a poet, teacher, and YA novelist. Her debut novel, SUFFER LOVE, follows two teens as they attempt to wade through an intense relationship complicated by their parents' infidelities. Ashley lives in Nashville, TN.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Review: The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Things and Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.

Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he's getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.

Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.

Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she's recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.

But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: April 26th 2016 by Washington Square Press 
Genre: Womens Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

This book is the story of three best friends who had what they feel like is a terrible fortieth year. It was the year that things seemed to fall apart in their lives.They are given the opportunity on their fiftieth birthdays to go back to the year they turned forty and basically have a " do-over."

This is something that I'm sure most people have fantasised about. If I could go back, what would I do different? If only I had done this instead of that. What was I thinking? But if you could go back, would you? Making different choices doesn't necessarily make things better, it only alters the course of the path you are on. This book tackles that very topic and it tackles it very well. In fact, I believe that this book would make a fantastic book club choice because of the endless discussions and debates you could have around it.

I loved all three of the women at times and hated them at others. With their opportunity do do things over and get the outcome that they desired I found that they were quite selfish at times. It really brought out the uglier side of them, in my opinion. In their efforts to get their desired outcomes they neglected their friendships and they suffered because of it.

Although the plot was a little slow at times it was a great story of friendship, love and ultimately self discovery. The three woman learned a lot about themselves through their second chance at happiness and what they were willing to risk in their quest to get it.

It really made me question what I would do if the opportunity was presented to me. What would you do?

Check out Terri's thoughts on The Year We Turned Forty here.

About the Authors
Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been best friends for 25 years and survived high school and college together. Liz lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and two children. Lisa, a former talk show producer, now lives in Chicago, IL with her husband, daughter and two bonus children.


Sale Blitz: Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne


Lauren Layne
Released Aug 25th, 2015

In a novel that’s perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne delivers a sexy take on the timeless question: Can a guy and a girl really be “just friends”?

When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they’re still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland’s trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben’s no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can’t seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.

The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker’s ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.

My sophomore year of high school, I had a short-lived friendship with this girl named Korie Hamilton.
She was nice enough.

A little too much purple eyeliner, a few too many likes sprinkled throughout her constant chatter, but we had every class together our first semester, so we kind of became friends by default.

Anyway, Korie was forever yammering on and on about how her best friend on the entire planet was Stephen Daniels, a boy she’d known for all of four weeks before promoting him to BFF status.

Apparently it was, like, ohmigod, like, the best thing ever to have a guy she could talk to without complicating things with romantic entanglements.

Real best friends can generally go more than a couple hours without mentioning each other’s name, but Korie found a way to fit Stephen’s name into every other sentence.

Just friends my ass.

I guess technically they were platonic for a while. Stephen had a girlfriend named Libby Tittles, or something unfortunate like that, and Korie had this on-again-off-again thing with her junior high boyfriend.

But anyone who’s ever seen a movie, or watched TV, or just had basic awareness of human  interaction saw exactly where Korie and Stephen were heading: Humpville.

Even though Korie swore up and down that she didn’t like him like that, both of their significant others were long gone by Thanksgiving of sophomore year.

By Christmas vacation, Korie wasn’t uttering quite so many likes. Why? Because Stephen’s tongue was in her mouth before school, after school, and every freaking weekend.

But we all know how this ends, right? Just a few short months later, not only were Korie and Stephen no longer dating, they sure as hell weren’t best friends.

Their short-lived romance and ensuing breakup barely even registered a blip on the gossip chain, but I’d like to think it taught some of us high school girls a valuable lesson:

Guys and girls can’t be just friends. Or not best friends, anyway.

Shit gets too complicated.

But let’s fast-forward a few years, shall we?

I’m now twenty-four, and I have a public service announcement to make: I was wrong.

Guys and girls really can be best friends.

It is possible to have a platonic relationship with a guy where there are no romantic inklings, no sexual fantasies, and no naïve proclamations of I don’t like him like that in a torturous attempt to hide an agonizing unrequited love.

How do I know this? How do I know that a guy and a girl can be best friends without romantic entanglements?

Well, let’s see, I’ve been on the female end of one such platonic relationship for six years now.

Six. Years.

True story:

Ben Olsen and I met the summer before our first year at University of Oregon during freshman orientation. We were assigned to the same group in one of those terrible ice-breaking activities where you have to put a sticky note on your head and guess what kind of safari animal you are, or something, and we just . . .


I don’t know why we clicked in the Hey, you’re cool but I have no interest in boning you kind of way, but we did.

Maybe it was because I was in stupid insta-love with another guy in our group. Or maybe because my ovaries were hyperaware that Ben’s ridiculous good looks would lead to heartbreak. But whatever the reason, we did the implausible.

We became best friends.

And, yes, every single one of my female friends has given me the exact same warnings I gave Korie Hamilton way back when: It won’t work. 

My friends are split down the middle on how it will actually go down, but they’re all convinced that it will go down.

Half think that Ben and I are soulmates who are just biding our time until marriage and babies.
The other half think that we’re going to have too much to drink one night, have awful sex, and never speak again.

Ben and I proved them wrong when freshman year ended and our friendship was still intact. Sophomore year? Repeat.

Junior year, we really upped our game. Not only were we closer than ever, but we became roommates. It happened sort of by accident when one of his housemates backed out at the last minute, and I belatedly realized I couldn’t bear one more year of dorm food, so I moved in. And it worked. So we did it again senior year.

Here we are, two years after graduation, still living together, although we’ve upgraded from crappy off-campus housing in Eugene to a slightly less crappy two-bedroom house in the Northwest neighborhood of Portland.

And yes. Still platonic as ever, with not so much as a hint of change in the air. I’m crazy in love with Lance Myers, my boyfriend of five years, and Ben . . .

Well, Ben’s on a rather awe-inspiring mission to seduce the entire female population in western Oregon.

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Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals. 

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).