Monday, August 10, 2015

BOOK REVIEW ~ HOLD ME FAST BY LYDIA MICHAELS







Title:  Hold Me Fast {McCullough Mountain 7}

Author: Lydia Michaels

Genre: Romance

Heat Level: Romance (graphic)

Book Length: 258 pages

Date of Publication: August 10, 2015





Blurb:

It’s more than a mountain. It’s a love story generations long.

Maureen O’Leahey has always hoped for a family to love, but with so many men returning from a lost war, she finds life to be a bit less romantic than expected—until she stares in to the blue eyes of Frank McCullough. Though the odds are against them, Frank and Maureen can’t seem to keep their distance. Against her father’s wishes, Maureen falls for the boy trying so hard to make it as a man and Frank fights to keep every promise made to the fiery red head that’s captured his heart.

During difficult times, they find solace in each other. As Frank struggles to do right by his young bride and Maureen aches to be a good wife, they are taught the true value of patience and shown the strength of unconditional love in this memorable story of a devoted Irishman and an untamable woman with a remarkable spirit.


Buy Links:




Book Review



There are not that many series that make me wish they were real and I could travel to for a visit . . . maybe stay for a week . . . or forever.

And one of my favorite series on that list is Lydia Michael's McCullough Mountain. Seven swoon worthy romances that have put me through the emotional wringer . . . and I have enjoyed every gut-wrenching moment. Every audible and slightly inappropriate snort of laughter. Every sob-fest as I lost it and could no longer see the words in front of my face.

I have fallen hard for this family. They have found a special place in my heart and burrowed deep. Hold Me Fast is the last book of this series and even though I am sad to see the end, I am very well satisfied how Michaels concluded their journey.

Throughout the series, Maureen and Frank McCullough have been the backbone of this Pennsylvania Irish family. Their roots are deep, their loyalty unshakable, and their love for one another unending. They have struggled to get to where they are and faced hardships. To finally get to see how Maureen and Frank get together is the supreme icing on such a delicious and spicy cake.

I have always loved Maureen. She has been my favorite secondary character throughout the series. Her sass and strength had me laughing one minute and crying the next. And I have to say, her style of swearing is epic. I have a highlighted several sections on my kindle for Maureen's colorful and witty retorts.

Frank, although quiet, has had me charmed from the get go, as well. He's a lumberjack . . . logger. Not sure what the politically correct term is, but I envision nicely corded muscles. Thick arms. Tanned skin from hours out in the sun. Firm tush. Strong, capable thighs. Flannel.  (Sigh)
He is such a virile hero--hard working, devoted, and . . . Irish. Yes, I admit I have a weakness for such things. But I guarantee it would be hard for any warm blooded woman NOT to fall for this man.

The first half of the book is how Frank and Maureen meet and their rocky beginning. They endure ups and downs, heartaches, and the struggles of discovering exactly who they truly are as individuals and what they want from their marriage.

The second half was especially awesome--as the reader gets to revisit with the rest of the clan. Kate, Colin, Luke, Finn, Kelly, Sheilagh, etc . . . have had some very interesting developments and it was great to catch up on their lives. Although . . . as a side note here . . . and in no way negative . . . I could have had more Kelly time. AHEM. But that's just my obsessive streak showing. There is NEVER enough Kelly time.

Lydia Michaels has done a fantastic job creating a series worth reading . . . and rereading . . . and falling in love all over again. I have no doubt I will be visiting McCullough mountain whenever I need a good laugh or an emotional cry.

Come to the mountain. It will be a journey well worth taking--you won't want to leave.




Connect with Lydia Michaels:



Excerpt:

“When’s that birthday of yours, love?”
She frowned. “July twenty-fifth. Why?” Was he planning on getting her a present?
He nodded, making a masculine sound in his throat. “I’d like to get my lips on you before then, lassie.”
Appalled, she turned and scowled at him. “And that is how you ask? I’d like a lot of things, Frank, mostly, to meet a man who knows how to ask a woman for favors. And if that is why you’re waitin’ for my birthday you can just forget it. I’m saving myself for marriage.”
Every trace of cockiness fled his face as her words sank in. Oh Christ. She wasn’t necessarily saving shit, but it pissed her off that he’d assume the calendar was all that was holding him up from gettin’ into her knickers.
“I wasn’t… I hadn’t meant to insinuate—”
“Don’t try backtracking now. I know what you meant.” It was like her mouth had disconnected from her brain and there was no stopping her words.
Like a runaway train, she’d unleashed on him. “You think I have nothin’ better to do than wait around so you can legally take my virginity? You can think again, Mr. McCullough. I have standards and they aren’t the sort that crumble for some blue eyed, silver-tongued Irishman wantin’ to put his lips on me. I’ll be expectin’ a gentleman, next time I see you, if your lips will be getting’ anywhere near me—”
His mouth was suddenly crushing hers as he pulled her halfway across the seat and cut off her words. She’d never been kissed before, at least not like that. His hand cupped the back of her head as his mouth slanted and his tongue pressed deep, teasing and awakening parts of her she’d rather ignore. Her eyes held wide as his other hand fit around her thigh and massaged through the fabric of her skirt.
“You talk entirely too much, Maureen O’Leahey,” he whispered against her lips. “I’m thinkin’ it’s high time a man shut you up in a way you found acceptable.”
He kissed her again and her chest lifted, her nipples tightening as heat pulled in her stomach and a strange pressure set her insides on fire.
“No,” she mumbled as his hand slowly rubbed higher on her thigh. Pulling back as that hand steadily crept to a place she strongly considered off limits to others, she did the first thing she could manage and smacked him across the jaw.
The sharp slap left the car in dark silence. Quietly, he chuckled. “You really are something.”
“I told you,” she said, out of breath. “You’ll need to be a gentleman to get your lips on me. Buyin’ me dinner doesn’t prove shit.”
The side of his mouth kicked up in a half-smirk. “You sure got a mouth on you, woman.”
She liked being called woman, considering she was only seventeen. “And wouldn’t you like to see all the things it can do.”
His half-smirk turned into a full smile as he laughed. “Well, look at you. You’re tongues as sharp as mine is silver. You better be gettin’ home before real trouble finds you. Tomorrow’s a big day.”
That was right. Tomorrow she was graduating. Funny how such a monumental achievement paled in comparison to being kissed by Frank McCullough.
“Good night, love,” he said, cracking open the door.
“Frank?” He stilled and she took a second to process her sudden insecurities.
He paused, still facing the door. “Yes, Maureen?”
“The kiss… did I do it okay?”
His head tilted as he again faced her. “Have you not been kissed before?”
“Never like that,” she whispered, her fingers tracing where his mouth had been.
He slid back inside the car and turned to the windshield, pulling his lower lip in for a taste. A quiet chuckle escaped, but he didn’t seem amused. “You’re that innocent then?”
“Never mind,” she immediately said, wishing she’d never opened her mouth—for anything.
“No, it’s fine. I shouldn’t have assumed…” he shook his head. “A gentleman indeed.” He laughed. “I’m sorry I came on so strong, love, but when I’m around you, I lose sight of right and wrong and all I can tell is that I want you.”
Her eyes widened as she choked on her words. “Me?” That couldn’t be right.
His gaze turned on her, his eyes appearing almost pained. “Aye, you. I think you’re bonny, smart, funny, and I think about you naked every day.”
“Frank!”
“Sorry, but it’s true. Your curves enchant me.”
Was that how men and women spoke to one another? “I’ve never been naked in front of anyone but my mum and my sisters.”
A smirk pulled the corner of his mouth tight. “We could remedy that.”
She smacked his arm. “Don’t be a pig.”
“I have a healthy appetite for beautiful women, love. There’s nothin’ wrong with that.”
“Aye, well if your wantin’ this woman you’ll lose your taste for all others, do you understand?”
“Aye.”
They were silent for several minutes. She fidgeted as she waited for him to say more, but he didn’t. Finally, she broke the silence. “What does this mean, Frank? People will talk if they see us together.”
“It means I like you.”
“Like me? Why?”
He shrugged and pointed to his chest. “It’s here, in the way my chest gets tight at just the sight of you and I want to hold you fast, but never feel like we have enough time.”
“Oh.” That was rather sweet and more poetic than she’d expected. “Are you saying we’re…”
“I want you to be mine for more than a minute.”
Lots of things were longer than minutes but still quite short. “Are you askin’ to date me? I’m not trying to be thick headed, but I’ve never much dated and…”
“Aye. I’m wantin’ you to be mine, Maureen O’Leahy. Mine and only mine.”
Liquid heat swirled in her belly as her veins pulsed with excitement. “I can’t let my parents know.”
“It’s no one’s business.”
Insecurity made it difficult to look in his direction. She didn’t want to say the wrong thing and sound foolish. “I…I never much dated,” she repeated.
“Me neither.”
She laughed, still finding that hard to believe. A thought occurred to her and she frowned. “I’ll not have you hitting on other girls if you want to be with me.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
His gentle tone retrieved a bit of her courage. “And I’m not easy. I’m not promising you a thing, if you get what I mean.”
“Aye. It’ll keep.”
Shooting him a sidelong glance, she snickered. “You seem certain I’m keepin’ it for you.”
“You are,” he said with palpable cockiness.
Her mouth gaped at his surety. “There’s something wrong with you.”
“To be sure, but I speak the truth. I’ll have you, Maureen O’Leahey, make no mistake of that. I’ll be a gentleman for you, as you’re deserving of such, but make no mistake, I’m a man and I will not deny what I want no matter how long you deny me from gettin’ it.”

Author Bio:

Award winning author, Lydia Michaels, writes all forms of hot romance. She presses the bounds of love and surprises readers just when they assume they have her stories figured out. From Amish vampyres, to wild Irishmen, to broken heroes, and heroines no man can match, Lydia takes readers on an emotional journey of the heart, mind, and soul with every story she pens. Her books are intellectual, erotic, haunting, always centered on love.

Lydia Michaels loves to hear from readers! She can be contacted by email at Lydia@LydiaMichaelsBooks.com






Click here for Virtual Release party link:

Other Titles by Lydia Michaels:

Falling In
Breaking Out
Coming Home
Sacred Waters
Skin
Chaste
Faking It
Forsaking Truth
As Tears Go By
Hold Me Fast
Simple Man
Breaking Perfect
White Chocolate
All 4 You
To Catch a Wolfe
Chasing Feathers
Called to Order
Calling for a Miracle
Destiny Calls
Call Her Mine
Blind (Coming October 2015)











Saturday, November 22, 2014

BOOK REVIEW ~ AS TEARS GO BY -- LYDIA MICHAELS

Title: As Tears Go By (McCullough Mountain, Book Six)
Author: Lydia Michaels
Publisher: Secret Cravings
Format: ARC eBook
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 18, 2014


ARC provided by author for honest review







Sometimes love speaks without a word and throws the world into color.

Braydon McCullough has spent his life searching for the perfect woman. When a shy beauty propositions him, he assumes he’s found her. Blindsided by their chemistry, his life takes a bewildering turn when she vanishes as quickly as she appeared.

Becca Stevens can’t afford to take risks, but when persuaded by friends to commemorate her divorce by approaching a gorgeous stranger in a bar, common sense abandons her. After an unforgettable night of passion, she panics, running back to her methodical life, promising never to be so reckless again. That is until her Braydon unexpectedly tracks her down.

Braydon’s unwelcome persistence is a complication to Becca’s already challenging life. As a single mother of a son living with autism, she has no room for personal affairs. Braydon’s determination tempts to show Becca how vibrant life can be if she’d only dare to dream again.









Award winning author, Lydia Michaels, writes all forms of hot romance. She presses the bounds of love and surprises readers just when they assume they have her stories figured out. From Amish vampyres, to wild Irishmen, to broken heroes, and heroines no man can match, Lydia takes readers on an emotional journey of the heart, mind, and soul with every story she pens. Her books are intellectual, erotic, haunting, always centered on love.Lydia Michaels loves to hear from readers! She can be found of Facebook or contacted by email at Lydia@LydiaMichaels.org























I cannot rave enough about how much I love the McCullough men. Lydia Michaels has created a series I have grown quite fond of and knowing it is reaching its conclusion has me a bit sad. 

Okay, truth? I'm totally devastated. 

That being said, As Tears Go By is an emotional read dealing with heart breaking issues. Something Michaels has done throughout the McCullough Mountain series. She knows how to tug at your heartstrings and sucks you inside her world--a world where family loyalties  and romance shine. 

Braydon McCullough has had his heart broken once. His girlfriend, Sammy, ended up marrying his older brother, Colin. His search for finding that perfect someone has left him alone in the big city and wanting what others in his family has found. He wants a woman who will choose him above all others and, until then, he plays the field like any typical male would do. 

Becca Stevens is just coming off a failed, ten-year marriage.  The ink on the divorce papers is barely even dry. Her best friend and boss convinces her she needs to approach the sexy man sitting across the bar and have a one night stand. 

Not looking for a relationship, she approaches Braydon McCullough. And they share one night of hot,sweaty sex that leaves both unprepared for what follows.

As Tears Go By is a tale of forgotten dreams, broken vows, and inner strength. One of the core themes I loved in this story revolves around Becca. She is a single mother struggling to take care of her son, who is autistic. Being a parent is soul-draining, emotionally harrowing at times, and the most thankless job on the planet. But having to raise a child with autism has a trillion different issues-ones that Becca has met, and surpassed, with each turn. Her entire world centers on her son and there is no time for a relationship in her life. 

Braydon is amazed by Becca's strength, her love and devotion to her child, and the passion hidden deep inside a woman afraid to follow her dreams. He wants to give her everything. Be the man her husband failed to be. And more importantly, Braydon wants Becca to choose him over the man who originally claimed her as his wife. But fears and the past continue to plague Becca's heart and threaten to break the delicate connection the new lovers share. 

Be prepared to experience an emotional journey as you read As Tears Go By. It has all the components of an addicting series: laughter, love, and a sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine.  

Favorite moments:

"Special like you like him a lot or special like he has an IEP?"
"What would a kid be doing with a bomb?"
"Not an IED, you ass. An IEP. An individualized Education Program." 

"I'm sorry," Carla said, leaning close, but keeping her eyes on Kelly. "My vagina's in some sort of spasm right now. I couldn't quite make out your words." 

"Smurf sex is when you fuck until you're blue in the face." 

"Why are you trying so hard?"
"Why are you waiting for us to fail?" His shoulders drew up tight. He shook his head. "I guess I thought trying was what people did when they cared. I've never experienced so much opposition in my life." 

Friday, October 24, 2014

SEVENTH GRAVE AND NO BODY BY DARYNDA JONES with GIVEAWAY



Title: Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson, Book Seven)
Author: Darynda Jones
Publisher: St.Martins Press
Format: Hardback, 336 pages
Genre: Mystery, Series, Romance, Paranormal


Blurb: 
Twelve. Twelve of the deadliest beasts ever forged in the fires of hell have escaped onto our plane, and they want nothing more than to rip out the jugular of Charley Davidson and serve her lifeless, mangled body to Satan for dinner. So there’s that. But Charley has more on her plate than a mob of testy hellhounds. For one thing, her father has disappeared, and the more she retraces his last steps, the more she learns he was conducting an investigation of his own, one that has Charley questioning everything she’s ever known about him. Add to that an ex-BFF who is haunting her night and day, a rash of suicides that has authorities baffled, and a drop-dead sexy fiancĂ© who has attracted the attentions of a local celebrity, and Charley is not having the best week of her life.

A tad north of hell, a hop, skip, and a jump past the realm of eternity, is a little place called Earth, and Charley Davidson, grim reaper extraordinaire, is determined to do everything in her power to protect it.

We’re doomed.



Buy Links



Meet Darynda Jones



NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com.



Excerpt:

He stood and took my hand into his. He looked like one of those jolly priests who preached about hellfire and damnation but then qualified his sermon with an assurance that if his parishioners strayed, they need only repent to be washed of their sin. I’d tried to be washed of my sin once, but I ran out of Dial. Tricky business, that.
“I’m Father Glenn,” he said, his voice and manner full of exuberance. He had sandy hair, thinning up top, and wire- framed glasses fitted over chubby cheeks. “I didn’t mean to interrupt your lunch.” He gestured toward the lunch he could see through the adjoining door. It sat on my desk, calling my name. Metaphorically.
My stomach growled on cue. I offered a sheepish grin, then said, “Oh, no, I’m saving it for later. I’m not the least bit hungry.”
“Gutsy,” he said as I sat in the chair next to the one he’d been sitting in.
“Gutsy?”
He followed suit, crossing his legs to get comfortable. “Fibbing to a priest,” he explained.
“Oh, that.” I laughed and waved it off. “I do that kind of crap all the time. Except to my clients,” I assured him. “I don’t lie to my clients.”
I took the interior stairs back to my office, refusing to spare another glance his way. Just as I put my plate on my desk, I noticed a priest waiting in Cookie’s office. He was wearing a jacket and jeans, but the collar gave it away every time. We’d apparently forgotten to lock the door, but in all my years as a PI, a priest was new. I felt like I should do the sign of the cross as I walked forward, but I could never remember if it was up-down-left- right or up-down-right-left. I was so bad with directions.
“I’m sorry,” I said, going over and holding out my hand. It was shaking even more now than it had been that morning. Shaking from too much coffee was one thing, but shaking from none at all? Utter agony. Torturous. Inhumane. Of course, Reyes and his new gal pal could have had something to do with my trembling. “I didn’t mean to leave anyone waiting here,” I continued. “I’m Charley.”




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