Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: Friction by Sandra Brown

FrictionTitle: Friction
Author: Sandra Brown
Publisher/Publication Date: Grand Central Publishing; August 18, 2015
Genre: Romantic Suspense; Mystery; Thriller
Source/Format: Purchased; Hardcover

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a gripping story of family ties and forbidden attraction...

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?


My Thoughts:


I am having almost too much fun with thrillers/mysteries lately—i.e. Map of Bones by James Rollins. So, when I saw Friction by Sandra Brown at the book store, I immediately wanted to read it just based off the synopsis alone. I haven’t read anything else by Brown yet; however, Friction turned out to be a very good start. 


I was impressed by Brown’s ability to establish a credible conflict so early on in the novel, one which the main characters were immediately thrown into the center of amidst more personal issues. Plus, these were characters I could root for since page one. I wanted things to work out for them, really I did, but the majority of the book had them in some pretty bad situations, which as far as mystery/thrillers go, was pretty entertaining.

Friction was definitely a page-turner. I sped through the book in a couple of days. As I mentioned above, there was a lot going on. With Crawford Hunt dealing with a custody case concerning his daughter, Georgia—a case that put him on the opposite side of the courtroom from his in-laws—so he didn’t need anything more to complicate his life. However, that’s exactly what he got when a tragedy occurs at the courthouse. I think Brown handled the conflict well. She also left room to explore the consequences of strained relationships between family members, and the ethical expectations of certain occupations—like being a judge or a lawyer, and even a detective. 

The mystery aspect was really good, and there was a generous amount of suspense in the story. There was some romance, but it didn’t really take the focus away from the mystery.

Crawford Hunt made some mistakes in his life, and multiple characters throughout the story state this fact. He was described as reckless and prone to acting without fully judging the situation. Brown showed this too, but managed to give a plausible reason for his reactions to certain situations. Holly Spencer has issues of her own to deal with—such as keeping her position as judge out of the hands of her rival—she had a lot she needed to focus on. I liked their interactions despite the circumstances.

The conclusion was somber but nicely wrapped up the story. So, in terms of endings, it was a good one. So, at the end of the day, Friction was an unexpected favorite. 


Rating 5/5

Friday, August 12, 2016

#EPSUMMERCARNIVAL & Giveaway: Scandalous Historical Photo Booth!



Step right up to the Entangled Summer Carnival Photo Booth! Who doesn’t wish they could step back in time and dress up in some of those fantastic fashions? Our Scandalous and Select Historical authors are talking about which historical figures they would dress up as for our historical photo booth. Let us know who you would want to dress up as and snap a photo of yourself for your photo album.


I have a passion for collecting stories of eccentric women throughout history who dared to step outside the dictates of society. If I were to dress like any of these women, I would choose the most willful one of the bunch. Daughter of an earl, Lady Hester Stanhope (12 March 1776—23 June 1839) was niece to William Pitt the Younger. She acted as his secretary while he was prime minister of England. The government knew that Lady Hester Stanhope was the brains behind Pitt, so upon his death, she was awarded a lifetime pension, which she promptly used to pursue an outrageous life in the Middle East. Off she went by sea, only to have her ship crash on the rocks in Rhodes. She lost everything but the clothes on her back, and had to borrow from the Turks. That's when she discarded tight corsets and heavy layers of fabric and took on their manner of dress—the men’s dress, that is. Thereafter, Lady Hester never wore anything but robes, turbans, and slippers while she tramped about in the desert, slept in the tents of Bedouin sheikhs, traipsed through Turkish palaces, and learned to smoke a water pipe. Oh, and for a while, she took a British lover twelve years her junior. I simply had to weave unconventional Lady Hester Stanhope into my series Those Magnificent Malverns, so I created an eccentric grandmother who’d been Lady Hester’s accomplice on those scandalous desert journeys. 



If I could dress up as a historical figure, I’d pick Lady Jersey of the Regency period. She’s perfect for me because I write Regency period historical romances. Lady Jersey was one of the patronesses of Almack’s, the exclusive club where young ladies hoped to find a desirable marriage match. Gaining a voucher to Almack’s was like a Quest for the Holy Grail. Only the patronesses—a select group of ladies—decided who could cross the club’s threshold. For a night at Almack’s, I’d love to dress as Lady Jersey in an exquisite ball gown. My dream gown would be cerulean blue crepe with short sleeves over a slip of white satin. The bodice would be cut low and adorned with silver beading, and the hem would be delicately embroidered with silver flowers. My hair would be in the Grecian style with soft curls around my face and the back pulled into a chignon and decorated with a simple wreath of white flowers. A diamond necklace, diamond drop earrings, two diamond bracelets, long white gloves, and white satin slippers would complete the outfit. Who wouldn’t feel beautiful wearing this for a night out? 



I would dress as Anne Bonny, a pirate in the 1700s. She disguised herself as a man and sailed the seas with her lover, Jack Rackham. Anne was a strong woman who fought alongside her brethren as an equal. She was tough and demanded respect—although she dressed as a man, many knew she was a woman. You could almost say she was a pioneer in feminism before the word actually existed. What a woman!



If I could dress up as any famous historical figure it would have to be Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. I’ve always found this woman fascinating, and strong of character, and the fact she’s related to Diana, Princess of Wales is just another boon against her name. For a woman who married at just 17, she became one of the most famous, and at time scandalous figures of the Georgian period. She partook in political speeches, was a leading fashion icon (which many tried to emulate) and gambled away what we would consider small fortunes. She fell in love with a future prime minster of England and had love affairs. Who’d not want to dress up as the Duchess of Devonshire, if only for a day.



Though Catherine the Great is often remembered for her scandalous personal life, her accomplishments as the Empress of Russia were remarkable, which is why I choose to dress up as her. Well, that and the amazing gowns and jewels she owned. Catherine wasn’t a native of Russian, but just six months after marrying the Emperor, with the help of her loyal guard, she was able to oust her husband and become the empress. During her rule, she triumphed over several uprisings, greatly expanded Russia’s territory, and was an enlightened ruler who wrote several books, was a champion of the arts, and was responsible for amassing much of the treasures that are housed in the Hermitage Museum. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the rumors about her engaging in inappropriate activities with a horse are not true.


GIVEAWAY

Don't forget to check out the authors and their books!

Portrait of a Forbidden Lady by Kathleen Bittner Roth
On sale for just 99¢!


About the Book:

Lady Georgiana Cressington is living a nightmare. Coerced by her father into returning to her childhood home, the young widow becomes a pawn in another of his heartless games. Her return to Summerfield Hall reunites her with the man she once loved before their hearts were shattered by a devastating betrayal.

Sir Robert Garreck, an artist knighted by the queen, lives in a mansion near the family estate Georgianas father won in a crooked card game. Rob sets out to regain Summerfield Hall to keep Georgianas son from inheriting Robs rightful home. However, when he and Georgiana are thrown together, he craves the forbidden lady he never stopped loving. Facing danger and a long-hidden truth, Georgiana and Rob try to claim the powerful love they once had.

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Author Info:


An Artful Seduction by Tina Gabrielle


About the Book:

1815 London

His lust for revenge will be his downfall…

Eliza Somerton has a dangerous secret. As the daughter of the infamous art forger who duped half the ton, shes rebuilt her life under a new name. But when an old forgery goes up for auction, her fathers enemy, Grayson Montgomery, outbids her and presents her with an unimaginable choice: help him find her father or hell ruin her.

For years, Grayson, the Earl of Huntingdon and one of Londons top art critics, has sought justice. His well-laid plans finally come to fruition when he learns of his enemys beautiful daughter. But Eliza possesses a sensuality and independent spirit that weakens his resolve, and as the heat between them sizzles, what started as revenge soon blossoms into something sinful…


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His Pirate Seductress by Tamara Hughes
On sale for just 99¢!


About the Book:

A woman of passion. A man of principle. And only one can win…

With her sons life in the balance, Catherine Fry is forced to locate and steal the priceless Ruby Cross of the Knights Templar. She knows who has it–its just a matter of coercing Thomas Glanville, the handsome and incredibly stubborn captain of the ship shes captured, into telling her the exact location. Fortunately, Catherine knows that there are many ways to get a man to talk…


Captain Thomas Glanville has the cross and hell be damned if hes going to hand it over now that he finally has the means to buy a ship of his own. Hes at the mercy of a fiery woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. But Catherine has no idea who shes dealing with–and Thomas has his own means of charming a woman into his mercy and his bed…

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Author Info:


A Stolen Season by Tamara Gill


About the Book:

One small mistake in the past will change everything about her future…

Archaeologist Sarah Baxter just broke one of the biggest rules of time travel: leaving a piece of 21st-century equipment in 19th century Regency England. Unfortunately, when she goes back to retrieve it, she makes an even bigger mess of things— resulting in the death of an English earl. Now his brother is not only out for revenge, but he also has Sarahs device. Which means an entirely different approach.

It doesnt occur to the new Earl of Earnston that his charming acquaintance is responsible for his brothers death. He is merely swept away by a passion that threatens his very reputation. Yet he gets the distinct impression that Miss Baxter is hiding something from him. Now Sarah must find a way to steal back her device, hide the truth about the earls brother and—most importantly—to not fall in love…

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Author Info:


One Last Kiss by Ally Broadfield


About the Book:

Their love transcended time…
                                          
London, 1812. Captain Mikhail Abromovich would rather single-handedly face the entire French army than follow orders to deceive Anna, the woman of his heart, by feigning a courtship to hide his covert activities.

Ever since a gossip sheet revealed the details of her extensive dowry, Princess Anna Tarasova has been overrun by fortune-hunting lords. When her childhood sweetheart mysteriously appears in London and asks to court her, it seems too good to be true.

For Mikhail, who is both soldier and spy, being chosen to represent Russia in secret negotiations with Britain should be the assignment of a lifetime. But once his deception is revealed, hes certain Anna wont believe his love is real.

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Stop by the other carnival booths, and visit the #EPSummerCarnival Facebook event to chat with authors.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

#EPSummerCarnival & Giveaway:Select Contemporary Man Candy Concession Stand!




Welcome to the Select Contemporary Man Candy Concession Stand-featuring heroes that are so irresistible, you'll be kicking your current book boyfriend to the curb! Below, MK Meredith, Abby Niles, Hayson Manning, Alison Bliss, and Carol Pavliska are kicking off the Man Candy Wars by introducing you to their heroes (both new and old). So be sure to read up on these men so you can vote for you favorite fictional man candy at tonight's Man Candy Wars!


Drago


My name is Drago DeLuca.

I’m known in the Italian business world as The Dragon, but don’t let that dissuade you. I may be a corporate carnivore, but a maiden in or out of distress is surely my favorite meal. Women are beautiful creatures, and one who isn’t afraid of her power, who shows spunk and confidence is like eating dessert first. All the glory, followed by a savory dish that leaves one satisfied for days.

Though I’m a man of the world, my heart belongs to my nonna. She’s the one women I’d give everything up for. That’s the kind of loyalty you get from me once I believe your love is true. But therein lies the challenge. Experience has taught me true love is a rare, and one might even say endangered, entity. I admire bravery and intelligence and if ever both qualities were found in one woman who also puts me in my place, the temptation would be far too great to resist--and believe me, once you get a taste of The Dragon, you won't want me to.



Brody



I hate these things. The internet is too impersonal. I’m more of a one-on-one, face-to-face sort of guy. But what the hell, Abby asked me to tell all you lovely readers a little about myself. Since I love that woman, she gets what she wants. Though if I had my preference, I’d rather do a meet and greet so I’d have the honor of seeing each of your beautiful faces. 

Unfortunately, this will have to do for now. I’m Brody “The Iron” Minton. I’m a heavyweight fighter. But don’t let that tough man career fool you. While I can knock the shit out of any man I square off with, and will do so without hesitation, I’m a huge softy. I blame it on having five sisters. 

As far as I’m concerned, family is everything. I take my role as Uncle Brody seriously. To prove my point, I have a white Persian cat named Princess—picked out and named by my niece. Yes, it can be embarrassing to tell people that, but that child is my world. And if she wanted to name it Princess, then by damn, that cat was going to be named Princess, and to hell with anyone that laughed at me for sticking to it. 

I love my Harley and going on long rides in the country. I find my peace out on the open road.  
Tattoos are cool as fuck.  I’m working on finishing my sleeve right now. I have a couple more frames to go. One of Hawkeye then of Deadpool. Yes, I’m a comic book nerd and I’m not ashamed to admit it. 

I believe women should be treated with respect. I have five sisters, remember? I’ve watched them cry too many times over douchebags. I refuse to be one. 

Well ladies, I need to jet. My niece will be here in just a bit. I’m babysitting for a few hours so my sister and her husband can go on a much needed date. I hope each one you has an amazing day!



Brody

Dug


The name I go by at the moment is Dug. You all don’t know me yet. I am book two of the Bound series. You might have met me in Bound to the Bounty Hunter.  I don’t talk much, but I observe a lot, especially my work colleague Arabella Tennyson, who used to go by the name of Mia. Guess she’s hiding secrets too. There isn’t a lot to know about me. I like my beer cold and my food hot. I don’t date, and I don’t do relationships which kills my mother and sisters, who have not stopped matchmaking since I landed back in Colorado where I now work for Harlan Franco. I foster severely neglected dogs, I’m a Bronco’s supporter, and I once had a perfect life. 
Jake



I’m FBI Special Agent Jake Ward and, without a doubt, I am your ideal man candy hero. I may not always be forthcoming with my feelings, but I’m always honest. Maybe even to a fault. Okay, so I can be a bit cocky and arrogant at times. I admit it. Some might even say I’m infuriatingly alpha. Mostly because I like for a woman to play by the rules. Oh, wait. I’m supposed to be listing my good qualities, aren't I? Okay, let me try this again. I’m protective, loyal, and rule-abiding…when I get to make the rules. I’d take a bullet for those I love, and I always protect what’s mine.
Julian


I’m Julian and I don’t do crowds, so I’m honestly not looking forward to being dragged off to a carnival and paraded around as man candy. And although I’ve been promised a spot in the kissing booth if I behave myself, I’m highly suspicious I’ll end up in the dunking booth instead. One thing I definitely won’t be doing at the carnival is eating carnival food. I haven’t always treated my body like a temple, but I do now. No meat, no dairy, lots of working out. I admit that some people find it annoying, but nobody complains about the result. In fact, women seem to rather enjoy it. They also appreciate my many tattoos, British accent (I might play that up a bit), and lightning fast fingers. Get your minds out of the gutter, loves. I’m a guitarist. I’m also known for the somewhat peculiar condition of synesthesia, which means I see sounds as colors. Believe me it’s not as lovely as you might think. It’s why I left the stage for the sanctity of my recording studio. I no longer crave the spotlight, and the attention of one special woman is all I need. Be sure to stop by and say hello at the carnival. I might end up being the thrill ride of your life.

GIVEAWAY

Don't forget to check out the authors and their books!

Malibu Secrets by MK Meredith, on sale for just 99¢!

Malibu Secrets by MK Meredith, on sale for just 99¢!

About the Book:

Every girl has a secret (or two)…

On the verge of losing the Malibu home she inherited from her great-aunt, Addi Dekker is completely failing to prove to her family she can make it as a writer. Not exactly how a girl proves her independence. If she doesnt want to give up her dream and go back to the soul-sucking job she just left, Addi has to swallow her dislike of Hollywood and rent the house out to the sexy-as-hell film producer.

And maybe (shhhh!) save money by secretly living there, too.


Roque Gallagher is pouring his heart and savings into his first independent film to make the industry acknowledge him for his talent and not just his family name. Addis home is perfect for the shoot, but shes far too tempting. Hes never been able to handle work and a relationship, and this is the film of a lifetime. Between a shrinking budget and his director quitting, the last thing he needs is a sexy-as-sin tease like Addi. And he has a feeling theres something shes hiding

Find it online:


Author Info:


Fighting Love by Abby Niles, on sale for just 99¢!


About the Book:

A fight of redemption may cost him the only woman hes ever loved …

Former Middleweight champion and confirmed bachelor Tommy “Lightning” Sparks has lost it all: his belt, his career, and now his home. After the devastating fire, he moves in with his drama-free best friend, Julie. One encounter changes everything and Julie is no longer the girl hes spent his life protecting but a desirable woman he wants to take to his bed. Knowing his reputation, hes determined to protect Julie more than ever—from himself.

Veterinarian Julie Rogers has been in love with Tommy since she was ten, but would love to get over the man. Shes quiet nights at home and a glass of wine. Hes clubbing all night and shots of tequila. As friends they work great. As a couple? No way in hell. She just cant get her heart to agree. When she starts spending time with another fighter, the man whos always treated her like a sister is suddenly not being very brotherly and enflames her body like never before.


Can two childhood friends make a relationship work, or will they lose everything because they stopped FIGHTING LOVE.

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Author Info:


A Wife in Name Only by Hayson Manning

About the Book:

Shell bargain anything to save her island…

Trapped in a loveless marriage, Zoe Hughes escaped to make a new life for herself on the tiny island of Tonga. Now she runs a successful boutique honeymoon resort. Selling true love is easy. No one needs to know shes married in name only. At least until Americas premier honeymoon magazine wants to publish a feature on her perfect marriage. Now she must convince her estranged husband to rip himself away from plotting corporate takeovers in LA to save her island paradise.

Rory agrees to come for forty-eight hours, but only because he needs the positive PR. To his surprise, the wife he finds in Tonga isnt the same woman he married. Now shes so much more…


When a storm strands Rory in Tonga, will he win back his wife or leave paradise empty-handed?

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Author Info:


Rules of Protection by Alison Bliss


About the Book:

Its rule breaker Emily Fosters birthday, and like everyone at The Jungle Room, she just wants to get some action. Unfortunately, she stumbles on the wrong kind, witnessing a mob hit. To protect her, shes entered into the Witness Protection Program with by-the-book Special Agent Jake Ward as her chaperone.

When the location of their safe house is compromised, Jake stashes Emily deep in the Texas backwoods. The city-girl might be safe from the Mafia, but she has to contend with a psychotic rooster, a narcoleptic dog, crazy cowboys, and the danger of losing her heart to the one man she cant have.


Jakes as hot as he is infuriating, and she cant help but push all his buttons to loosen him up. Their mutual, sizzling sexual attraction poses a dilemma: Jakes determined to keep her safe and out of the wrong hands; shes determined to get into the right ones—his.

Find it online:


Author Info:


Color Me Crazy by Carol Pavliska



A fight of redemption may cost him the only woman hes ever loved …

Former Middleweight champion and confirmed bachelor Tommy “Lightning” Sparks has lost it all: his belt, his career, and now his home. After the devastating fire, he moves in with his drama-free best friend, Julie. One encounter changes everything and Julie is no longer the girl hes spent his life protecting but a desirable woman he wants to take to his bed. Knowing his reputation, hes determined to protect Julie more than ever—from himself.

Veterinarian Julie Rogers has been in love with Tommy since she was ten, but would love to get over the man. Shes quiet nights at home and a glass of wine. Hes clubbing all night and shots of tequila. As friends they work great. As a couple? No way in hell. She just cant get her heart to agree. When she starts spending time with another fighter, the man whos always treated her like a sister is suddenly not being very brotherly and enflames her body like never before.


Can two childhood friends make a relationship work, or will they lose everything because they stopped FIGHTING LOVE.

Find it online:


Author Info:

And be sure to stop by the other carnival booths for more fun and giveaways and each day stop by the Facebook event page to chat with the authors.


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