Friday, August 1, 2014


When I started blogging back in 2011, I would have never known that I would still be doing it in 2014. Blogging started out as an outlet for me – kind of like a diary - to release some of the pent up thoughts I had about the books I was reading. I had no known knowledge of the huge book blogging community that existed, and was surprised to meet so many other people who shared my enthusiasm. Because of this awesome community, I was able to discover so many great new books and authors and learned about the wonderful community that supports all of these indie and trade published writers.

One of the best things to happen ever since I started blogging was meeting so many great people who were just as crazy about books as I was. Over the years, I’ve met so many new friends online and they have all really enriched my life in one way or another. One of those cool peeps is, Ali Hymer of Ginger Read Reviews. She’s not just another reader or blogger who shares the same reading interests as I do, but also a really wonderful friend. I swear, she’s my long lost sister, if my sister were a pale, red headed woman. I’m amazed how similar our minds work the same way. It's like we share the same brain some times. It's awesome and a bit scary.

Anyways…..I do have a point to this post. It’s not just a letter to gush about Ali.

So, after working so well together on the Emerald City Author Event, we decided that we needed to find a way to continue working with each other. After some deep thinking and soul searching – LOL! Not a lot of soul searching went on because we have no souls – we decided to join forces and start a brand new blog and call is BLACK HEART REVIEWS. We’re sad to be letting go of our own blogs, but also really excited to be venturing into something new. Reading has and always will be a passion of mine, but I think this new venture has rejuvenated my passion for blogging. I’m really looking forward to having a co-blogger again, and I love being able to brainstorm with someone else, and come up with new ideas or features with someone who is like minded as me.

So…I hope you will all follow me on the new blog, BLACK HEART REVIEWS. The blog will officially launch on August 1st and we have some exciting things planned for the month. Ali and I are also working on another side project and I hope we’ll be able to give you more information on that soon. 

Thanks again for all the support you all have given me on Keep Calm & Read Romance for the past year. Having to start all over again is a little scary but I'm excited to be doing it with a friend who shares the same passion as I do about books. I hope you stop by my new home and hope to continue to follow me on my new adventure!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Guest Review: Seducing the Bridesmaid by Katee Robert

Series: Wedding Dare #3
Format: Digital ARC
Release Date: June 9, 2014
Publisher: Brazen / Entangled
Source: From Publisher for Review
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

She has a plan. He’s about to change it.

Regan Wakefield is a headhunter in both name and personality: driven, motivated, and unafraid to pursue what—and who—she wants. Naturally, she’s thrilled when her friend's wedding offers her an opportunity to score Logan McCade, the practically perfect best man. Unfortunately, groomsman Brock McNeil keeps getting in her way, riling her up in the most delicious of ways. But Brock’s smooth southern charm isn't part of the how exactly did they end up having searing-hot sex?

Regan may pretend the erotic electricity sparking between them is merely a distraction, but Brock knows better. She refuses to see beyond the devil-may-care façade he presents to the world, while he sees straight throughhers. Changing her mind—and getting under her skin—is a challenge he can’t resist. And when he wins, Brock will do whatever it takes to convince Regan that the best man for her is him.

Regan Wakefield is a woman who knows what she wants. She is a professional in both business and in private life. Everything in her life must go according to a plan. She hasn’t had an easy life and has worked hard to get to where she is. She does not have time to play games and has her mind set on what she wants. In this instance, what she wants is Logan McCade. He is the CEO of his own company, driven for results and gorgeous. He fits her plan perfectly. What else could a girl want? 

Brock McNeil is a country boy. He has never really put himself forward to reach his full potential. He has been happy to slide along doing what he has to do to keep his father happy. He lives in the shadow of his older brother’s seemingly perfect existence or so he would have everyone believe. But when he spots Regan as the bridesmaid at his best friend’s wedding he decides that some things may be worth working to achieve.

One night together. What could it hurt? Regan figures it won’t hurt anything as long as she can keep it on her own terms. Then she can get back to putting herself in front of Logan to try and catch his eye. He is the type of man for her, after all. But after one night, Brock is left wanting more and trying to figure out a way to convince Regan that she really does want to take a chance with him. 

Regan is a hard character to like at first. But once you catch some glimpses at what she has gone through to get to where she is and the insecurities that she faces, she is much more relatable. Brock is lovable from the start but he does have a thick headed. I would have liked to be able to give him some advice part way through the book. 

I really enjoyed this book. I did read another of the Wedding Dare series and the characters are all linked together in the books. I loved that I could place what was going on with the other characters that I had already read about while I was reading this book. Knowing the ending of this story before reading it made it a little different. I really like books with multiple points of view and this one did not disappoint. Now I need to get the rest of the series and read them!!

Katee Robert learned to tell stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her favorites then were the rather epic adventures of The Three Bears, but at age twelve she discovered romance novels and never looked back.

Though she dabbled in writing, life got in the way—as it often does—and she spent a few years traveling, living in both Philadelphia and Germany. In between traveling and raising her two wee ones, she had the crazy idea that she’d like to write a book and try to get published.

Her first novel was an epic fantasy that, God willing, will never see the light of day. From there, she dabbled in YA and horror, before finally finding speculative romance. Because, really, who wouldn’t want to write entire books about the smoking-hot relationships between two people?

She now spends her time—when not lost in Far Reach worlds—playing imaginary games with her wee ones, writing, ogling men, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

Connect with Katee

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Guest Review + Giveaway: Grace for Drowning by Maya Cross

Series: Standalone
Format: Digital ARC
Release Date: June 29, 2014
Publisher: Maya Cross
Source: From Author for Review
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Hope is a dangerous thing. I know that more than most. Everything good I've ever had has been stolen from me — my friends, my fiancé, my innocence, some would say even my sanity. All I have left is the cage. Fighting is the only thing that eases the ache inside me even a little. It’s the only thing that keeps the bottle at bay.

I was content to ride out my life alone. I was done dreaming that things could be better. But then I met Grace, and from that moment, all I could do was dream.

She's battling those same demons, only she's losing. I don’t want to care, but something about her calls to me. That pain in her eyes is so sharp, so familiar. I know it’s only a matter of time before it pulls her below the surface.

I can help her, and maybe, just maybe, she can help me too. For the first time in what feels like forever, I've got hope, and that scares the hell out of me.

Logan Anderson is a troubled and sexy ex-soldier turned mixed martial arts fighter and bouncer who's at war with himself. Suffering from PTSD and a recovering alcoholic he has many demons he has to contend with inside his head along with the fighters he faces in the ring. He's made some major strides with fighting his demons and is no longer in a daily battle with the bottle even while working at a bar as a bouncer. It's while doing his job he first encounters a beautiful yet drunk Grace. The things he sees in her eyes are the same things he used to see in the mirror every day. He knows he needs to help her but yet he let her walk away. He feels like he failed her in just those few minutes but what can he do?

"Is that something I should be worried about?" I asked, nodding subtly in his direction. She glanced over and gave a little laugh. "That depends on if you have a weakness for six packs and ink."

Grace left New York with her boyfriend so he could work the gambling circuit in Las Vegas. Unbeknownst to her he became indebted to some serious loan sharks and ended up taking his own life and left her alone to pick up the pieces. Those pieces were just too much for her. She started drinking heavily, lost her job, and was close to being evicted until a friend of a friend found her a job at Charlie's Bar. Knowing she couldn't work at a bar and drink at the same time she was able to cut herself off; Until those old memories and feelings crept back up. She feels like she failed Tom because she didn't pick up on his problems. She didn't realize he was in deeper than she thought. Blame. That's what she put on herself for his death. It's a heavy cloak to wear but she did it.

She didn't realize until a few days of working at Charlie's that Logan had once thrown her out of there. She remembered him telling her he knew how she felt being at the bottom of the bottle. She started drinking a lot off the clock and a little here and there at work when Charlie told Logan he was gonna let her go. He knew she was getting worse. Logan asked for one chance to help her like Charlie had helped him. Charlie agreed. Then Grace agreed that she would let him help her; he could be her sponsor of sorts.

"An addiction is a living thing. It's insidious, it's powerful, and it will do anything to ensure it gets fed. It hijacks your body and whispers in your ear, and it knows exactly what to say to snake it's way past your guard."

Quitting anything cold turkey is difficult and things got worse especially when feelings began growing between the two of them. Logan didn't want to put more on Grace than she could handle but after a big fight at Final Blow - the MMA side project Charlie owned and Logan fought for - all those feelings came out and the truth surfaced.

"If it's a choice between losing you all together or taking that risk, then for me it's no choice at all."

What happens when two alcoholics with troubled pasts and an unstable present fall for each other? Will they just be the crutch the other needs? Or will they be able to overcome all that holds them back?

Can love conquer all???

"Hope is a dangerous thing, but now it's a risk that I'm willing to take."

Just a side note here - addiction is a terrible thing. Ms. Cross did a great job describing what Grace and Logan were going through. And as for PTSD, I don't know much but I felt everything Logan was going through. I hurt with him, I felt and seen everything he did. Hats off to you, Ms. Cross, you did a great job!

Maya Cross is a writer who enjoys making people blush. Growing up with a mother who worked in a book store, she read a lot from a very young age, and soon enough picked up a pen of her own. She’s tried her hands at a whole variety of genres including horror, science fiction, and fantasy, but funnily enough, it was the sexy stuff that stuck. She has now started this pen name as an outlet for her spicier thoughts (they were starting to overflow). She likes her heroes strong but mysterious, her encounters sizzling, and her characters true to life.

She believes in writing familiar narratives told with a twist, so most of her stories will feel comfortable, but hopefully a little unique. Whatever genre she's writing, finding a fascinating concept is the first, and most important step.

The Alpha Group is her first attempt at erotic romance.

When she's not writing, she's playing tennis, trawling her home town of Sydney for new inspiration, and drinking too much coffee.

Connect with Maya

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review + Giveaway: Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire

Series: Maddox Brothers #1
Format: Digital ARC
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Atria
Source: From Publisher for Review
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Fiercely independent Camille “Cami” Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt.

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red.

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

In the first installment of the Maddox Brothers books, readers can experience the rush they felt reading Beautiful Disaster for the first time, all over again.

I don't know if she has subliminal messages hidden in between the lines, or that she's sprinkled crack over her words, but there is just something about Jamie McGuire's writing that makes me so addicted to her books. I first fell in love with Travis Maddox in Beautiful Disaster, and now Jamie has me gushing over Travis' older brother, Trenton, in BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION.

After dropping out of college at Eastern State University, Trenton “Trent" Maddox is living back at home with his father, and working at the local tattoo shop, Skin Deep. Like with his younger brother, Trenton was quite the ladies man at Eastern, and dates beautiful college co-eds left and right. But a tragic accident changes Trent’s world and instead of folks on campus talking about his playboy reputation, they are talking about the accident that has left Trent feeling an enormous amount of guilt.

"He had the best and worst effect on me. As if everything I was - and wasn't - was desirable. I didn't even have to try."

Camille “Cami” Camlin has been working since she was a young teen, hoping to escape her family and home as soon as she was able to. Now a sophomore at Eastern State, Cami is happily living her college life going to her classes during the day, and bar tending at the popular local bar, The Red Door. When Cami’s boyfriend calls to let her know that he has to cancel their weekend, again, Camil is left dejected and heads to Red Door forget her sorrows and unwind a bit.

"You can borrow me anytime. I'm perfect for sweater weather." 
"Be careful. I might hold you to that."
"Don't threaten me with a good time."

What Cami doesn’t expect to happen that night is for Trent Maddox to walk up to her table and flirt with her. Cami has known Trent for most of her life, but this is the first time that he’s ever paid any attention to her. Like I said, it’s hard to resist a Maddox brother, and soon Cami finds herself falling the bad boy.

"Whether is was fair or not, Trenton was what I knew."

Now, I promised the wonderful folks at Atria Books, that I would not be divulging any secrets or spoilers from BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION, so this review will be vague on some of the things that happens. I will say that the first book in the Maddox Brother’s series is just as addictive as Beautiful Disaster. Cami and Trent’s story in BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION takes place just a little bit before Beautiful Disaster, and Cami and Trent’s story runs parallel with Abbi and Travis’s. Travis does make a few appearances and we see snippets from Beautiful Disaster, but all-on-all, this is Cami and Trent’s story. Trent was a major surprise, in that he is a lot more gentle than what I had pictured him in my mind. He's still got a bad boy side of him but I really loved seeing the softer side of his personality. He's dealing with guilt that he's been holding on to for a long time, and the tragic events that changed him made me see this different side of himself that I hadn't expected.

"Have you ever wanted something that you knew you shouldn't have? That it was wrong on every level, but you knew you needed it?"

Like I said earlier, there is just something about Jamie McGuire’s writing that makes her books so utterly addictive. There are some twists and surprises in this book that that made me more excited for what's to come. From her characters to her story telling, BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION is a wonderful start to the Maddox brothers that has made me more than excited for the rest of the books. 

JAMIE McGUIRE is the New York Times bestselling author of A Beautiful Wedding, Red Hill, Walking Disaster, Beautiful Disaster, and The Providence trilogy. She and her husband, Jeff, live with their children just outside Enid, Oklahoma, with three dogs, six horses, and a cat named Rooster.

Connect with Jamie
Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter


Click the picture below to check out the BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION Tour wide Giveaway where you can enter for a chance to WIN signed limited edition Jamie McGuire books!!

Click HERE if you'd like to follow the BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION Blog Tour

Friday, June 13, 2014

Emerald City Author Event Spotlight: Tillie Cole

Keep Calm & Read Romance is super duper excited to be one of the organizers for the upcoming Emerald City Author Event on Saturday, June 14, 2014 in Seattle, WA! To get everyone excited and ready to for the signing event, every day until June 13th, Keep Calm & Read Romance will be featuring authors attending the event. We have over 30 YA, NA, Contemporary, Erotica, PNR and UF authors attending Emerald City Author Event and I hope that you'll get to know a little bit about each author before June 14th. I will also have Emerald City Author Event details and information at the bottom of the post for those of you who are just hearing about the event or just need a reminder about the details.

Tillie Cole

Amazon & USA Today Best Selling Author, Tillie Cole, is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother -- a farmer's daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses. 

Being a scary blend of Scottish and English, Tillie embraces both cultures; her English heritage through her love of HP sauce and freshly made Yorkshire Puddings, and her Scottish which is mostly demonstrated by her frighteningly foul-mouthed episodes of pure rage and her much loved dirty jokes.

Having been born and raised as a Teesside Smoggie, Tillie, at age nineteen, moved forty miles north to the 'Toon', Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where she attended Newcastle University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Religious Studies. She returned two years later to complete a Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching High School Social Studies. Tillie, regards Newcastle to be a home from home and enjoyed the Newcastle Geordie way of life for seven 'proper mint' and 'lush' years.

One summers day, after finishing reading her thousandth book on her much loved and treasured Kindle, Tillie turned to her husband and declared, "D'you know, I have a great idea for a story. I could write a book." Several months later, after repeating the same tired line at the close of another completed story, she was scolded by her husband to shut up talking about writing a novel and "just bloody do it!" For the first time in eleven years, Tillie actually took his advice (he is still trying to get over the shock) and immediately set off on a crazy journey, delving deep into her fertile imagination. 

Tillie, ever since, has written from the heart. She combines her passion for anything camp and glittery with her love of humour and dark brooding men (most often muscled and tattooed – they’re her weakness!). She also has a serious side (believe it or not!) and loves to immerse herself in the complex study of World Religions, History and Cultural Studies and creates fantasy stories that enable her to thread serious issues and topics into her writing -- yep, there's more to this girl than profanity and sparkles!

After six years of teaching high school Social Studies and following her Professional Rugby Player husband around Europe, they have finally given up their nomadic way of life and settled in Calgary, Alberta where Tillie spends most of her days (and many a late night) lost in a writing euphoria or pursuing a dazzling career as a barrel-racing, tasselled-chap wearing, Stetson-sporting cowgirl... Ye-haw!

Books Tillie will have available at Emerald City Author Event


Be sure to pick up your books and get them personalized by Tillie at the Emerald City Author Event!

Saturday, June 14, 2014
11:30AM - 4:00PM

Please Note: This is a FREE event but Registration is required. Tickets are limited. Please only register for one group time frame. Author line-up may change at any time. To keep up to date, make sure you follow Emerald City Author Event on Facebook.

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