Spotlight on "Ride Hard"

"Ride Hard"
by Laura Kaye
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Source: sent by publisher


Summary from goodreads.com:

Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders . . .

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before . . . 




Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher.

Review and Giveaway! "The Groom Wore Plaid" Blog Tour

To celebrate the release of Gayle Callen's newest historical romance, "The Groom Wore Plaid", I'm happy to participate in the blog tour with my review and a tour-wide giveaway of FIVE print copies of the book!!

"The Groom Wore Plaid"
by Gayle Callen
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: Feb 23, 2016

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Falling in love means tempting fate in this passionate new novel in USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen's Highland Weddings series.

Maggie McCallum's dreams about her new fiancé aren't the romantic sort. It's not just that she was bartered to Owen Duff like a piece of property to end a clan feud. She's also haunted by premonitions of his death on their upcoming wedding day. Yet the exasperating Highlander won't let her call it off, even though his life and his clan are both in jeopardy.

Owen has wanted Maggie in his bed since he first glimpsed her years ago. If their union restores peace between their clans, so much the better. But while lusting after another chief's sister had its risks, growing to trust Maggie is far more dangerous. Owen is falling deeply in love with the one woman he cannot hope to claim . . . and survive.
My Review:

Books like this are why I love historical romance novels. I lost myself for an entire morning reading this book as quickly as possible. The story and the writing flowed along so nicely, the pages just kept turning almost of their own accord. I've read romances were the actual romance between the leads might have been stronger or more star crossed, but I loved the way this book had balance. The supporting characters and side mystery really drew me in as much as the romance story.

The romance was much more of a slow burn between the hero and heroine but it was quite believable that way considering the circumstances. Maggie and Owen had met and actually had a bit of a romance when they were teenagers. But Own was betrothed to another woman, and dismissed Maggie's visions of the death of his bride as a jealous ploy for his attention. Flash forward ten years, and Maggie's vision had come true, and the couple finds themselves betrothed as part of a contract between their two families.

Maggie has a vision of Owen dying this time, and she devises ways to keep him at arms' length and even make him think she is an unsuitable bride. Of course, he wants to marry her anyway and it's so cute to see him immune to all of her plots to make herself both unattractive and disagreeable.

The leads are strong, Owen is so serious and tries to make himself unaffected by any emotions. He comes along nicely though, and his attraction and affection for Maggie is always apparent. Maggie is somewhat funny in her attempts to keep Owen away. It does become just a bit tiresome to hear her always referring to her dream of his death, but it shows how seriously she takes her visions.

The supporting characters are so much fun and keep the story lighthearted. Kathleen, Maggie's maid is so sweet and genuine. Cat, Owen's sister, is refreshing in that she is always on Maggie's side even though their family's don't get along.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: Gayle Callen hits it out of the park with this historical romance. There is a little something for everyone and the romance, the storyline, and the characters all tie together for a seamless, page-turning read.



Purchase Here:

THE GROOM WORE PLAID –

http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062268006/the-groom-wore-plaid


THE GROOM WORE PLAID on Goodreads

HIGHLAND WEDDINGS series on Goodreads



About the Author

After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, GAYLE CALLEN found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than twenty historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion, the Laurel Wreath Award, the Booksellers’ Best Award, and been translated into eleven different languages. The mother of three grown children, an avid crafter, singer, and outdoor enthusiast, Gayle lives in Central New York with her dog Uma and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero. She also writes contemporary romances as Emma Cane.

Visit her website at www.gaylecallen.com.


Connect with Gayle Callen

Website - www.gaylecallen.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GayleCallen

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GayleCallen

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/46974.Gayle_Callen


Tour-Wide Giveaway!

The publisher is giving away FIVE copies of "The Groom Wore Plaid" during the blog tour! Enter for your chance to win below!

This contest and Rafflecopter widget is run by the publicist, not In the Hammock, the info you submit, prizing and emails will be handled and administrated by the publicist.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Recipe from Gena Showalter! Naughty or Nice Blog Tour Giveaway

Today, I'd like to welcome the Harlequin Naughty or Nice Blog Tour to In the Hammock! I'm featuring a recipe from author Gena Showalter along with a tour-wide giveaway!!



"The Harder You Fall"
by Gena Showalter

Synopsis: 


Find Gena Showalter:


More info on "The Harder You Fall" here:

Bestselling Author Gena Showalter Shares Her Favorite Recipe: Cornbread and Spicy Turkey Stuffing

I found this recipe several years ago and despite protests from my family—too spicy!—decided to give it

a try. I’m so glad I did! The spiciness is tamed by the cream (it’s like winning a bad boy with a heart of

gold…you get the best of both worlds). So go ahead, dim the lights and unbutton your pants. You’re

going to eat way too much. But your taste buds will thank you.



Ingredients for Cornbread:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups stone ground cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

4 tbsp white sugar

5 eggs, beaten

6 tbsp butter, melted

3 cups buttermilk



Ingredients for Stuffing:

2 tbsp salt

2 tsp ground white pepper

2 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp onion powder

4 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried thyme

6 tsp chopped fresh basil

4 bay leaves

1 cup minced onion

1 cup chopped green onions

1 cup chopped parsley

2 cups chopped red or green bell pepper

2 green chili peppers, chopped

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 cup butter

2 cups chicken broth

1 tbsp hot sauce

7 eggs, beaten

2 cups evaporated milk





Directions for Cornbread:

Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Butter a 13 × 9 inch pan.



Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar, and mix well.





Whisk together the eggs, butter and buttermilk. Add wet to dry ingredients, mixing just until

incorporated. Pour into prepared pan.



Bake in preheated oven until top is browned and a toothpick comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Allow

to cool completely.





Direction for Stuffing:

In a small bowl, combine the salt with the white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder,

oregano, thyme, basil and bay leaves.



In another bowl, combine the minced onions, green onions, parsley, red or green peppers, chili peppers

and garlic.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the spices and cook for a few minutes. Add the vegetables and

cook about 5 minutes. Do not allow the vegetables to brown. Add the broth and hot sauce. Stir and cook

5 minutes more. Crumble the cornbread into the skillet and mix then remove pan from heat.

Whisk the eggs and evaporated milk, and pour into stuffing mixture. Return to low heat and cook,

stirring, for about 2 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Place stuffing in a bowl, and let cool before

stuffing turkey.




Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your recipe, Gena!! This sounds so yummy!!

Check out the rest of the tour stops here on the TOUR PAGE


Now for the tour-wide giveaway!!!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • 1 print copy of The Harder You Fall by Gena Showalter, White Wedding Christmas by Andrea Laurence, A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Wrapped in Red by Nana Malone and Sherelle Green
  • 1 eBook copy of A Copper Ridge Christmas by Maisey Yates and Under the Spotlight by Kate Willoughby
  • 100,000 Harlequin MyRewards points
  • 2 Harlequin Classics limited edition notebooks
  • 1 Brenda Jackson Westmoreland limited edition notebook
Please enter via the Rafflecopter form.
Giveaway and Rafflecopter are run by Kismet Tours and Harlequin. In the Hammock does not control the giveaway, entry information, or prizing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


"Lady Killer" Review

"Lady Killer"
by Joelle Jones
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: Sept 15, 2015

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Josie Schuller is a picture-perfect homemaker, wife, and mother—but she’s also a ruthless, efficient killer for hire! A brand-new original comedy series that combines the wholesome imagery of early 1960s domestic bliss with a tightening web of murder, paranoia, and cold-blooded survival.

* New original series by Joëlle Jones!

* Dark comedy, gritty action, and killer laughs!
My Review:

This graphic novel casts a 1960s housewife as a trained killer, and not even her perfect husband and children know about her secret life. The art in this book is gorgeous and will appeal to anyone who loves that mid-century style and doesn't mind the blood and gore. The book doesn't take itself too seriously, and fans of dark comedy and campy-ness will love this tale.

I love the contrast of Josie's life at home with her family up against her spot-on precision at killing the bad guys. I liked seeing the "helpless" 60s housewife played against the intelligent and strong woman that Josie is in her professional life. It's a constant internal struggle for her, trying to decide if she wants to cut ties with her profession.

The story held my interest until the end, but the real star here is the artwork. It's just gorgeous! The artist captures the era perfectly and creates a beautiful and strong heroine.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Setting: 5/5

Art: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: This is the unexpected tale of 1960s housewife turned killer, with a captivating story and superb art!


Buy from Dark Horse Comics: https://www.darkhorse.com/Books/26-356/Lady-Killer-TPB


Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall" Review

"The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall"
by Katie Alender
Publisher: Point
Release Date: Aug. 25, 2015

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time…

Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females—an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.

But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia gets trapped.

And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.

Ghost girls wander the halls in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia finds that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, as well, harbors shocking truths within its walls—truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.

But she’ll need to act quickly, before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.

From master of suspense Katie Alender comes a riveting tale of twisted memories and betrayals, and the meaning of madness.
My Review:

This one took a long time before it really grabbed me, but once it did, I couldn't put the book down! What a  perfect creepy read for this time of year! The author takes a big risk and I really think it payed off and made for a very interesting and unique take on a ghost story. This story is super spooky at times, but in addition to the ghost story, there is a heartfelt message about the bond between families.

Since I love historicals, I love that even though this is a contemporary story, some of the ghosts lived 100 years ago. The storytelling really ties the past into the current story. There is interesting commentary on what it means to be 'troubled' both today and in the past, especially for women.

I loved the recurring theme of "everything is not always what it seems." I feel like this applied to the story over and over again. It was really eye opening and reminded the reader be open minded about everyone and everything, and not to take anything at face value.

You really have to read this one for yourself to truly understand the core of the book. I don't want to give any spoilers here, but know that this one really picks up speed around 20% into the book!


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: The perfect read for a dark and stormy October night!


Grab this one right now for Kindle for only $2.99!! I'm not sure how long this price will last, so double check the price before you click buy!!


Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Wonder Woman Vol. 7: War Torn" Review

"Wonder Woman Vol. 7: War Torn"
Writer: Meredith Finch, Artist: David Finch
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: Sept. 8, 2015
Source: sent by publisher


My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Please welcome the new superstar creative team of writer Meredith Finch The new creative team of writer Meredith Finch and artist David Finch takes over! A mythological force seemingly tied to Wonder Woman’s role as War has attacked the Amazons, and as her own people lose faith in her, a new queen arises to take her place! Guest-starring Superman, Swamp Thing, Aquaman and more. Collects WONDER WOMAN #36-40 and ANNUAL #1.
My Review:

With excitement building for Gal Gadot's portrayal of Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Film, now is the time to do your homework and study up this fantastic superhero! Wonder Woman struggles with both external and internal battles in this graphic novel, both of which keep the pages turning!

Diana is finding it difficult to balance her role in the Justice League with her roles as Queen of the Amazons, and The God of War. Some of the Amazons think she is spending to much valuable time as a superhero and not enough time as their queen, so a new, and evil, queen is created to take her place. When she's not dealing with this supervillain, Diana struggles with how being the God of War is affecting her decisions. She doesn't want to be so aggressive but becoming The God of War has undeniably changed her. Never fear, because Wonder Woman is still driven by her desire to help those in need, always putting others first.

The issues in this collection tie together seamlessly. You're never left missing part of the story. I love that the other members of the Justice League show up to help Wonder Woman on her journey. It's always great to see Superman, Aquaman, The Flash, and others. The art is beautiful, and can also be at times gruesome as well.  

Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Setting: 4/5

Art: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5


Bottom Line: This graphic novel finds Wonder Woman moving a new direction in her life, and I think it's successful as a set up for future volumes!

Buy from DC Comics: http://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/wonder-woman-vol-7-war-torn

 
Check out Entertainment Weekly's feature on the upcoming Batman V Superman film!


Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Bounce" Blog Tour! Excerpt and Giveaway!

 Today, I'm happy to participate in the blog tour for "Bounce" by Noelle August!! Read on for an excerpt and a tour-wide giveaway!!


"Bounce"
by Noelle August

bounce 
Synopsis:
This final chapter in the fun and steamy New Adult trilogy by Noelle August (authors Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger) features two aspiring musicians who must choose between their careers…and their sizzling attraction for each other.


Playing the occasional club gig just isn’t cutting it for twenty-two-year-old cellist Skyler Canby, who’s trying to support herself and her mother back home in Kentucky. Persuaded by her best friend Beth to accompany her on an audition for the first feature film launched by Blackwood Entertainment, she figures why not? Beth’s a shoe-in for the lead, but maybe Skyler’s newly dyed pink hair will help her stand out enough to score a small speaking part.

Never in her wildest dreams does Skyler imagine she’ll land the lead role or that she’ll have her shoes knocked off her feet by the kiss her audition partner, Grey Blackwood, plants on her—a kiss that feels very real and not at all “acted. ”

After throwing a party that causes thousands of dollars of damage to his older brother’s home, reckless musician Grey Blackwood gets roped into working off his debt on the set of his CEO brother’s newest project. Grey spends his days fetching coffee and doing odd jobs around the studio, but he lives for nights when he performs with his band. He knows if he can stay focused, success as a singer is just around the corner. But that’s tough with a distracting pink-haired girl occupying his every waking thought.

Skyler and Grey have every reason to resist each other. But, like a song neither of them can get out of their minds, they have no choice but to go where the music takes them.

Excerpt:
 
Skyler's Point-of-View, Chapter 20
"Good lord in a basket, it’s him all right. Grey. Illuminated by the golden lights coming on along Venice Boulevard. With suds and water sluicing off his ridiculously ripped body, cascading from his massive tattooed biceps, running down his taut muscled abdomen. His swimsuit sags dangerously low, clinging to his sturdy thighs, making, um, everything, pretty evident.


And evidently pretty impressive.

Probably, this would be a good time to actually speak some words, but even in a town full of hot, hot people, this is kind of stratospheric.

“Yep, it’s me.” Grey reaches back to turn off the shower, which breaks the spell, so I can at least avert my gaze like a decent person. Then he rubs a towel vigorously over his gleaming body and tucks it around his waist.

He has a strange look on his face—peevish, embarrassed, and it feels suddenly like we’re intruding on something. Or maybe it’s just me. I think about that moment in my trailer. His fingers on my skin. My wanting and not knowing what to want.

“Uh, so, what are you up to?” I ask in an effort to win the prize for most obvious question ever. “I mean, I can see what you were up to.” Seriously, Sky? “But, uh, were you just in the water? What brings you out here?”

“I’m crashing nearby. At the garage where my band rehearses.”

“Really?” asks Mia. “Why?”

Grey looks from me to Mia and then back to me, weighing something. Maybe whether or not he can trust us. He’s got this hot, coiled energy all the time, like he’s always holding back. Like he’s an animal caged inside a human body.

“Just staying there for a few weeks.”

“Because of your mom?” I ask. It was obvious from their interaction on set that there’s some bad blood there, though compared to my mom, she seems kind and thoughtful, whip-smart and curious without being overbearing. Which makes sense, given her offspring.

Then I remember that Grey’s not really her offspring. He said “stepmother,” and the way he said it really answers my question.

Which is good, because he doesn’t actually answer it. Instead, he gathers up his stuff—surfboard, wetsuit—and gives us a grin. “I gotta head out,” he says, as though nothing’s hanging there between us. He looks away for a second, following the path of a guy in an Obama mask as he weaves his way up the boardwalk on a ribbon-festooned unicycle. “Told some friends I’d hook up with them tonight.”

“Wait,” says Mia. “So, you’re just sleeping in a garage? Like on an air-mattress or something?”

Grey shrugs. “A couch. It’s okay.”

“And taking freezing cold showers out on the beach? That doesn’t sound great, does it, Sky?”

“No, it doesn’t,” I say, but I’m afraid of where she’s going with this.

“Can’t you stay at a hotel or something?”

He shakes his head. “Money’s a little tight right now. I’m giving Adam almost every penny to pay him back for the house, and I don’t really have…” Again, he goes silent, and I can feel, literally, the tension of him wanting to talk, wanting to say more to someone. Needing it.

“Why don’t you come stay at our place?” Mia blurts. We have that in common. The blurting thing. “I mean, I’m just about all moved out, so there’s room.”

Ay, dios. No. No.

But I can’t say anything. I can’t tell my best friend, who knows I’m talking to Brooks, starting to maybe, sort of, think about where that could go, that having Grey in my apartment, so close all the time, is a very dangerous, very bad idea.

Grey shakes his head. “Nah, I appreciate it, but I’m cool here. I promise. Thanks, though.” He takes a few steps toward a squat gray building with weather-beaten shutters and a tiny, shed-like garage in the back. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

“Hang on,” says Mia, pulling me along. She gives me a look, tipping her head in his direction, like she’s tapping me in for the debate. “You’re cool with it, right, Sky?”

“Of course.” Not. In no way. “But it seems like he’s got it under control here. So, if—”

My words disappear, though, because Grey’s pulled up the garage door, the muscles of his broad back and shoulders shifting smoothly as he thrusts the door up along its rusting track.

“See?” he says, pointing to a lumpy white couch sporting what looks like a half-century’s worth of mystery stains—a perfect complement to the funk of beer and weed and sweat potent enough to make my eyes water. “Perfectly fine, right?”

But, like me, he’s lousy at hiding his feelings. Even turned away to shove some empty beer cans into a garbage bag, his body language tells me everything.

He doesn’t want to be here in this musty space, crowded with furniture and audio equipment, the only natural light coming in from the tiny half-moon windows set into the garage door, which faces a dim alleyway.

“You should come stay with us,” I say, surprising the hell out of us both. “I mean, this is…”

“It’s fine,” Grey insists. “I don’t need much, and I’m hardly ever here.”

I think how different he is from Brooks, who says what he means, tells you—without hesitation—what he wants.

“Come on,” says Mia.

“Seriously,” he tells us. “It’s really nice of you to ask, but I’m fine. I can’t afford—”

“I paid up on the place through the end of the lease,” Mia says. “You can just chip in on food and utilities. I’m sure you can manage that, right? It’s only for a few weeks. And you’d be rooming with two awesome, super hot girls. How can you say no to that?”

He looks at me, and I can see he’s worried about the same things I am. Rooming together. Being too close, constantly one second away from making a really dumb choice. He’s young and too reckless for me. And a musician, on top of it all. He’s everything I don’t need sharing my space.

But something tugs at me, makes me put all of those concerns aside. I see it in his smoke-gray eyes, which are so alive, so deep and full of thoughts. Some pain or fear lives there. Something that makes it so hard for him to accept. To take a simple kindness. It’s not just about me but about trusting. Anything.

Seeing that, I can’t let him spend another night in this crappy place. Just…alone.

"You should come home with us,” I say. 'It will be…a lot better than this, I promise.'"-- Noelle August, Bounce

About the Authors:
Question: What do you get when friends pen a story with heart, plenty of laughs, and toe-curling kissing scenes? Answer: Noelle August, the pseudonym for renowned editor and award-winning writer Lorin Oberweger and New York Times bestselling YA author Veronica Rossi, the masterminds behind the Boomerang series.

Connect with them:
Website-Twitter-Facebook

Check out the series on Amazon:


Tour-Wide Giveaway!
This contest and Rafflecopter widget is run by the publicist, not In the Hammock, the info you submit, prizing and emails will be handled and administrated by the publicist.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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