ARC Review & Dream Cast: TOO HARD TO FORGET by Tessa Bailey

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The third book in New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey’s Romancing the Clarksons series about four siblings on a cross-country road trip, perfect for fans of Gena Showalter and Julie James!

This time, she’s calling the shots.

Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.

In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.

 

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My Review & Thoughts

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Lawdt! Tessa Bailey has done it again! She’s gone in and ripped my heart out and then put it back together in the most beautiful way. I’m already a huge fan of fan of Tessa’s but this series has renewed my love for her even more. The Romancing The Clarkson series follows the four Clarkson siblings as they drive cross country from California to New York to fulfill their mothers last dying wish for her children.

TOO HARD TO FORGET is the third book in the series and one of the most teased books by Tessa herself.  Peggy Clarkson is the youngest sibling and the one with the most mysterious love life. Peggy and the remaining Clarkson gang make a pit stop in Cincinnati where Peggy attended college so that she can confront the man who broke her heart. Football coach Elliot Brooks hasn’t seen Peggy in three years and is shocked when she pops back into his life once again. Elliot is closed off and going through the motions in his life. He might be successful on the field, but he’s miserable in his own dark life.

I can’t tell you how emotional this book was. Full of plenty of feels. I loved how the story was told in dual POV and past and present so that we could see the real emotional pull between Peggy and Elliot. I’m usually not a huge fan of second chance romances because I always feel like I’m missing out on something that has happened between the couple off the page. But Tessa has a wonderful way of telling a complete and whole story so that it doesn’t even feel like a second chance romance. And of course Tessa always knows how to bring the steam and the sex scenes. She’s earned the nickname Queen B for having the most amazing smexy scenes, emotional, and fleshed out characters and wild good times.

And because she’s so good at leaving you wanting more, I absolutely cannot wait until September to read Belmont and Sage’s book. My grabby hands need it STAT!! Bravo Tessa for writing yet another amazing book to add to your portfolio of amazing writing!

*I received a copy of this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way effects my thoughts and opinions.

XOXO, 

-M 

 

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Author Dream Casting

Too Hot to Handle

Dream Cast

Tessa Bailey

For the record, this is SO HARD. For the Romancing the Clarksons series especially, I have a specific image in my mind for each character and none of them match an actor/actress perfectly. So I am going to take Elsa’s advice and Let it Go (let go of the images in my head, that is). Enough rambling! Here is my dream cast (the main characters, anyway) for TOO HARD TO FORGET!

 

Jon Hamm

Coach Elliott Brooks: Jon Hamm. Now, I’m not talking about suave Don Draper. If Jon is going to pull off my hard-ass football coach, he’s going to need some scruff and a bad attitude. There was an episode of Mad Men where Jon went juuuuust the right amount of dominant and that’s what makes him my Elliott.

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Peggy Clarkson: Ashley Greene. This one is a little easier. I think Ashley Greene is incredibly beautiful and she could also pull off Peggy’s devil-may-care flirtatious presence, while still guarding secrets with her eyes.

Kyler

Kyler Tate: Christian McCaffrey. Okay, so he’s not an actor. He plays for the Broncos. But he has the perfect sexy charmer smile and a ton of charisma. I would pay for his acting classes myself!

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Alice Brooks: Kiernan Shipka. Might as well stick with a Mad Men theme, right? She already played Don Draper’s daughter (Sally Draper) and can exude angst like nobody’s business, so she’s a great choice for Alice!

 

About The Author

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Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

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Cover Reveal: PRESERVATION by Kate Canterbary

Some things have to fall apart before they can be put back together.
 
PRESERVATION
The Walshes #7
Kate Canterbary
Releasing May 23, 2017
Vesper Press


Two lonely hearts.
Just once, she’d like
to be someone’s first choice.
She’s strong-willed
and spunky, but she’s left picking up the pieces from her ex’s lies and
manipulations, and daydreaming about taking a scalpel to his scrotum.
Flying under the radar
is what he does best.
He’s laid-back and
loyal, but he wants the most off-limits woman in his world, and nothing will
ever make that a reality.
An arrangement of
mutual benefit.
Two months, four
dates.
Five, if things go
well.
Five at the most.
But possibly six.
Definitely no more
than six dates.
Only the appearance of
a romantic relationship is required, and they expect nothing more from their
time together. There will be none of those
benefits involved.
One wild weekend.
 
After waking up in bed
together—very naked and even more hungover—the terms and conditions of their
arrangement no longer apply. Now they’re faced with something riskier than
exposing their fake relationship:
letting go of the past and zipping up the future.
Some things have to
fall apart before they can be put back together.

 

Kate Canterbary doesn’t have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean–Pacific or Atlantic–is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people—be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane—ever since. Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn’t writing sexy architects, she’s scheduling her days around the region’s best food trucks.

Start The Walshes series for ONLY $0.99

ARC Review: Ain’t He Precious by Juliette Poe

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Ain't-He-Precious-FOR WEB-newWelcome to Whynot, North Carolina, population 3,872. It has one stoplight, one bar, and the one-and-only Trixie Mancinkus.

Eleven years ago, Trixie graduated Harvard Law, turned down a job offer from one of the most prestigious law firms in Boston, and headed home to Whynot to open her own firm. Not only did she leave behind the big city, but she also left her boyfriend of three years. And just so we’re clear… that would be me.

So what am I doing in Whynot at this very moment? It seems Trixie needs help with a legal case and for some insane reason, she called on me for assistance. I’ve been in town for five minutes, and I’m every bit as out of place as I feel. Trixie is all sweet, southern curves to my tailored suits and high-priced haircuts. It’s a culture clash of north versus south and about the only thing we have in common is our physical attraction to each other.

But I have a new motto since coming to Whynot: When life hands you lemons, all you need is a little sex and sweet tea to make things better.

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SecondChance

 

Excerpt

Over lettuce wraps, I let her vent more about her brother but I only let this go on during the appetizer. Once our entrees arrive, I insist we change the subject. She’s not calming down, only getting more worked up, and diversion has always worked best with Trixie.

“Raleigh seems to be a nice town,” I say conversationally in an effort to get her relaxed.

She rolls her eyes at me because as much as I know how to “handle” her when her temper is spiked, she recognizes the fact that I am indeed handling her. Apparently, she finds it adorable. She cuts a piece of her orange chicken and gives in to my attempt to switch the conversation. “It really is. It’s spread out so you don’t have that overwhelming big-city feel, but you have all the luxuries a big city affords like museums, professional sports, fine dining, etcetera.”

“Overwhelming is an interesting choice of words,” I observe. “You didn’t feel that way in Boston, did you?”

I’m surprised when her cheeks turn a bit red. Her voice is reluctant when she admits, “Yeah… it was a bit too much for me.”

My mouth hangs open as I stare at her. How could I not know that? We had made plans to live in Boston, and there was a time when she was completely on board.

“I’m sorry,” she blurts out. “I know what you’re thinking… Why would I have even considered all those plans we’d made if I felt that way?”

“Got to admit… this is a bit surprising to hear.”

Trixie puts her fork down and levels her gaze on me. “Ry… I loved you. And I loved Cambridge. It was small and well… comfortable. It wasn’t small like Whynot, but it reminded me of home a bit. But honestly, I was only considering staying there in Boston because of you. I didn’t like it at all. Too many people. Too much concrete and glass. Too much noise. It’s just not me.”

“You should have said something a lot earlier than you did,” I reprimand her quietly. I can’t help feeling a bit angry over this revelation, because who knows what would have happened had we had some honest discussions about where we wanted to go that could suit both of us.

“Would it have changed anything?” she asks me bluntly. “You were set on Boston. You wanted that job at Hayes Lockamy. You worked your ass off at Harvard and the clerkships to get that job offer. It was everything to you.”

“It wasn’t everything,” I tell her sharply.

“Maybe not,” she retorts. “But it clearly meant more than me. As I recall, I asked you to come to Whynot to practice, and I got a resounding ‘no’ to that offer.”

“You sprung that on me at literally the last minute, Trixie,” I say angrily. “After I’d accepted the job offer at Hayes Lockamy. You didn’t give me any time to process any of it.”

“And you didn’t bother to try to talk me into staying,” she snaps.

“Seriously, Trix,” I say in exasperation. “I’ve been here two days, and I’ve watched you in your element. You were born to live here. This is where you’re supposed to be. Being a small-town lawyer in Whynot surrounded by your close-knit, if not nutty, family is what brings you joy. Are you seriously trying to infer that you would have left all of this to stay in Boston with me if I’d just tried to talk you into staying?”

“No, what I’m saying,” she sneers at me as she leans across the table but I don’t miss the light sheen of tears in her eyes, “is that you and I clearly weren’t meant to be, and we’re both better off for making the choices we did.”

Now that hits me hard, right in the middle of my chest, and I have to resist the urge to rub my knuckles over my breastbone to ease the pain.

Trixie merely pushes up from her chair, grabs her purse, and practically runs out of the restaurant.

“Shit,” I mutter as I stand up. I grab my wallet, take out enough money to cover the meal and tip, and toss it down on the table.

I jet out of the restaurant, scan the area, and see Trixie walking quickly toward her car. I wouldn’t put it past her to jump in it and drive off without me, so I break into a fast trot to catch up with her. My hand latches onto her elbow just as she reaches her car, and I spin her to face me.

“What the hell, Trix?” I ask her with frustration, anger, and a little bit of self-loathing that I let the conversation get so out of hand. I’ve always been the mild-mannered one between the two of us, knowing how to deftly control and sidestep her temper so it doesn’t get the better of her.

Or me.

I brace, expect her to rail and rant some more. Instead, she launches herself right at me, making a tiny hop to throw her arms around my neck. Her mouth comes to mine hard as one of her hands grips into my hair, fisting it tight.

Jesus Christ… stars wink in my vision at the feel of her mouth on mine, so long forgotten and yet completely familiar all at once. I don’t think—just act. My arms band around her tight, hauling her body to mine. I push her back into the side of her car, tilt my head, and I kiss her back with every bit of longing and regret that she seems to be mutually feeling in this moment.

 

 

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My Review 

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This sweet and charming book was the perfect palate cleanser. Short and sweet, but still brimming full of emotions. I’ve read Sawyer Bennett before, so I already knew going into this book that I was going to enjoy every single word. I really loved the close family aspect between Trixie and her family. Especially between her and her grandfather. You could tell that they mean everything to her and moving back home to Whynot after law school was the best decision for her, even if it meant leaving Boston and her relationship with Ryland. Trixie and Ryland end up reconnecting after eleven long years away from each other and in the course of four short days in the quirky and charming southern town.

This was the perfect beginning to a new series. I’m really excited for Trixie’s brother, Lowe’s story which was nicely set up in this book. If you’re a fan of second chance romances and have a few hours to kill with a novella, then I highly recommend this book.

*I received an copy of this ARC via the author in exchange for an honest review*

XOXO, 

-M 

 

AuthorPhotoJuliette Poe is the sweet and swoony alter ego of New York Times Best Selling author, Sawyer Bennett.

A fun-loving southern girl, Juliette knows the allure of sweet tea, small towns, and long summer nights, that some of the best dates end sitting on the front porch swing, and that family is top priority. She brings love in the south to life in her debut series, Sex & Sweet Tea.

When Juliette isn’t delivering the sweetest kind of romance, she’s teaching her southern belle daughter the fine art of fishing, the importance of wearing Chucks, and the endless possibilities of a vivid imagination.

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