Penny Reid

Review: Dating-ish by Penny Reid

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Title: Dating-ish (Knitting in the City #6)
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: 16 May 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Humour, Romance

Author's links: BlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads
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My rating: 5 Stars

Blurb

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 
1) She’s fed up with online dating, 
2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 
3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of human kind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:

Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

Review

I'm a huge fan of Penny Reid and have been reading and loving her books ever since she released her debut romcom Neanderthal Seeks Human back in 2013. Her stories, though contemporary romance and quite realistic in some aspects, are also so wildly imaginative and full of unexpected fun and curious facts that I always find myself utterly delighted reading them. She takes her readers on crazy fun rides with every story she writes and this one was no exception.

Penny Reid creates romances that weird and awkward and geeky but mostly so much fun and some deep meaningful social commentary hidden behind all the hilarity.

The hero in Dating-ish, Matt, is a robotics engineer hero, delightfully socially awkward, with hidden sex appeal and domineering streak. He was so certain and confident in the things he knew and (he thought ) understood, but he was genuinely perplexed by the things that didn't fit his neat view of the universe. And of these things was Marie. And he got totally enthralled by her. 

As much I loved Matt, I want to give Penny Reid special thanks for writing Marie, the quiet, loyal friend that far too often fades in the background. People often fail to see her, even her friends, yet they all rely on her in times of trouble. She is strong, independent, efficient, deeply romantic, looking for her perfect match. I really liked how unafraid she was to try new things, to go after her dreams, unwilling to settle for less.

The plot involves more than the usual share of crazy shenanigans: professional cuddling, orgasm meditation and dry humping and wow, it was totally hilarious.

On a more personal note, I want to mention the subplot with Janie and Fiona's pregnancies. It was so good and uplifting for me to see how different they can be for every woman. There was no judgement, no shaming and it made me so happy to read it considering pregnancy/baby stories almost never work for me.

This is a slow-burn romance, Matt took his sweet time to act because of his own self doubt.We get glimpses of the past that shaped him and through the story we see him move past it, overcome the burdens and scars it left on him and though it still affects his world view, he is smart enough not to let it rule his life completely, determine his future. In a way he reminded me of Cletus, so confident and sure of himself, of his purpose, yet things change for him, slowly, change sneaks up on him, opening new possibilities for him, leading him to the happiness he desperately craved. 

I'm sure I have missed a lot of important points in this amazing romance. It touches on so many things and all of them important - online dating, and new technologies and family and friends and the nature of love and attraction and how to trust someone, to rely on them without losing yourself  and ..., in short, it's wonderful and fun and you should just read it!


Antonia Aquilate

New and Debut: Antonia Aquilante

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My guest in today's New and Debut feature is Antonia Aquilante, author of the mm fantasy series Chronicles of Tournai, published by Dreamspinner Press. Come meet her and learn about the inspiration behind her stories and what's next for her. There is also a short excerpt from her latest release, The Sorcerer's Guardian at the end of the post.


Meet Antonia

1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?

Thank you so much for having me today! I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing—or at least coming up with stories. When I was little, I would draw them or act them out with my dolls. I decided I would be an author when I was in middle school. We had a short story writing assignment, and I turned in 60 pages. I never stopped writing, though it took me a long time to seriously pursue publication. As for romance, I think I always wanted to write romance too. No matter what I wrote, someone fell in love and lived happily ever after. I started reading romance when I was about twelve and realized not long after that I was writing it too.

2.  Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?

I could talk all day about favorite books and authors! I’ll try not to go for that long, though. Here are some favorites: Jordan L Hawk (especially the Whyborne & Griffin series), K.J. Charles (I don’t think I can pick a favorite!), Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter is one of my favorite historicals of all time), Avon Gale (her Scoring Chances series, especially Power Play), Rhys Ford (especially her Sinners series), Heidi Cullinan (Love Lessons), Joanna Chambers (her Enlightenment trilogy), Tessa Dare (A Week to be Wicked is so good). I’ve also recently read Peter Darling by Austin Chant and The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian and loved them.

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?

My inspiration comes from everywhere—things I see or hear or read and then my mind somehow puts them together and presents me with characters or story ideas. I find travel so inspiring. I love seeing and learning about new places, immersing myself in the history and culture. I always come home (reluctantly!) with so many new ideas. I wish I had the budget to travel all the time.

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?

So far, all of my books are adult fantasy romance, but I’m working on a contemporary too, so thought I love fantasy romance and fantasy worlds, I’m sure that isn’t all I’ll write. All of my books are really romantic and emotional and always end in happily ever after.

5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.

The Chronicles of Tournai series is fantasy romance, set in the fantasy world of Tournai, a place of magic and legend. Each book stands alone with a complete plot and romance with happily ever after. They’re full of magic, romance, and intrigue. The latest book, The Sorcerer’s Guardian, came out in November. It’s the story of a sorcerer sent on a mission for the prince and the soldier sent to protect him. They clash and are attracted and ultimately fall in love while working to protect their country. The next book is in edits now and should be out in September (and it has dragons in it!).

The Sorcerer’s Guardian Buy Links: 

Blurb

Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, has honed his Talent through years of study and made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, and arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings, which is how Savarin prefers it. Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack. They are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. To his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompanies him.

Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain and takes pride in his service. He must obey the princes’ orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere. And despite his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, he has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. Loriot and Savarin clash during their journey, but there’s another reason for the tension between them, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still fortify Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution endangers both him and the royal family.

Author Bio and Links

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent - they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.



  
Excerpt

The sound of water splashing came from the other side of the screen, followed by a long sigh. He could picture Savarin stepping into the tub, but he shouldn’t. He turned back to his boots and wrestled them off one by one, dropping them beside Savarin’s. As the splashing from the bath continued, he fought with the rest of his sodden clothes, undoing ties and buttons to remove each layer. He dropped the clothing on the floor and was mildly surprised at how much water remained in it. It pooled around the growing pile of wet fabric. 

His skin was damp and clammy, and he shivered even though the room was warm. Grabbing the towel from the corner of the screen, he dried himself off. More noise came from the other side of the screen, water being poured into water. 

“The tub is full for you, Loriot,” Savarin called. 

“Thank you.” He wrapped the towel around his waist and gathered his wet clothes from the floor, now puddled with water. When he came out from behind the screen, he found Savarin in the bath, his knees sticking out of the water because his legs were far too long for the tub. It would have been funny seeing the elegant sorcerer scrunched up in the too-small tub if it wasn’t for Loriot’s uncomfortable awareness of Savarin being naked. 

Savarin didn’t seem to have the same problem. 

The maid was back, replenishing their supply of towels and gathering the used ones. She reached for the clothing in his arms. “I’ll take those from you, sir.” 

He relinquished them into her hold. “I’m afraid we’ve made something of a mess. The floor is quite wet from the clothes, and us.” 

“I’ll mop everything up, sir.” She bobbed another quick curtsy and left with the wet clothing and towels, shutting the door behind her. 

Left him alone with Savarin, who seemed to be relaxing, eyes closed, in his cramped bath. “Are you going to use the water they carried up here for you or just stand there all night?” Savarin asked suddenly. 

“I thought you were asleep, though I don’t know how you could be in there.” 

Savarin’s lips quirked into almost a smile. “It isn’t the most comfortable of tubs. The one at home is much larger. I can stretch my legs in it.” 

He didn’t need to think of whatever luxurious tub Savarin had at home or Savarin in it. Was he really expected to just bathe next to Savarin as if it was nothing? 

“Seriously, though. Are you going to use your bath? If not you could add some of the hot water to mine. But you must be cold. It’s summer but it hardly feels like it out in this storm.” Savarin still didn’t open his eyes. 

Irritation rose in Loriot at Savarin’s offhand remark, fed by irritation at his inability to ignore Savarin tonight. “And whose fault is it that we were caught out in it to begin with?” 

Savarin’s eyes flew open, and he glared at Loriot. “Excuse me? How is that my fault?” 

“You were the one taking far too long this afternoon. We would have beaten the storm here if it weren’t for that.” 

Savarin struggled to sit up straighter and twist to face Loriot but seemed to give up when he realized there was no room for him to do so. “What I was doing out there was our whole purpose for being on this journey.” 

“Yes, but then you stopped doing it to think about it and pace around. Which you could have done here and not gotten us soaked by the rain.” 

“The storm arrived far earlier than even the weatherworkers anticipated. I can’t be blamed because it caught us off guard.” 

“But if you had kept the time limit we agreed on, we might not have nearly drowned out in it,” he said through gritted teeth. 

“And now you’re just being overdramatic. We were far from drowning. We got wet.” 

“We could barely see out there! We might have wandered off the road and gotten ourselves killed.” He probably was being ridiculous, but he didn’t care. Savarin had to admit his fault in this. He couldn’t just arrogantly go about doing whatever he pleased. 

“The light I made guided us. We wouldn’t have wandered off the road.” Savarin’s eye roll sent Loriot’s irritation shooting into anger. 

“Do you not understand how dangerous that storm is?” As if to punctuate his words, thunder boomed, and he could have sworn the whole building shook. For an instant, everything froze, but the inn didn’t fall down around their ears. “Your friend warned you about how dangerous they would be. It’s why we’ve been planning so carefully. To make sure we were safely here before the storms and not trying to ride around or camp out in them.” 

“I’m quite aware of what Gemella said.” 

He stalked closer to Savarin. “Then why are you being so arrogant and ridiculous about this?” 

“Ridiculous?” Savarin’s voice went quiet, and he stood in the tub, long legs unfolding beneath him. “Did you just call me ridiculous?” 

“I see you have no objection to my calling you arrogant.”

“I’m arrogant? You need to listen to yourself. You arrogant, smug—” Loriot had no idea which of them moved first. Maybe they moved together; he didn’t know. What he did know was that one second Savarin was hurling a litany of insults at him and the next they were kissing. Only kissing was too tame a word for what they were doing. 

He and Savarin were devouring each other. 

giveaway

Release Day blitz for Dating-ish by Penny Reid

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Dating-ish, an all new standalone from the USA Today bestselling Knitting in the City romantic comedy series by Penny Reid is now LIVE!

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'Dating-ish' can be read as a standalone, is a full length 100k word novel, and is book #6 in the Knitting in the City Series.
There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 1) She's fed up with online dating, 2) She's so fed up, she's willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 3) She knows how to knit.
After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of humankind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:
Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he's not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different--and crazier--solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?
LIVE-02

Read Today!

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Meet Penny Reid:
Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja. AuthorPhoto-500x500-300x300

Connect with Penny:

Twitter: @ReidRomance

Annika Martin

Release Day Blitz for Enemies Like You by Joanna Chambers and Annika Martin

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Enemies Like You by Annika Martin & Joanna Chambers is NOW LIVE! 
Covers by http://rbadesigns.com
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They're dangerous men. Absolute enemies. And totally hot for each other. Will has never met anyone like Kit. He’s arrogant. Gorgeous. Lethal. The most expensive bodyguard money can buy. And Will can’t seem to resist him. A simple command in Kit's cut-glass accent makes Will want things he’s never wanted, do things he’s never done. Their red-hot chemistry is off the charts. Just one problem: Will has vowed to kill the billionaire that Kit is hell-bent on protecting. And Kit has secrets, too—his own reasons for sacrificing his soul, piece by painful piece, to keep one of the worst men on earth alive. This is a stand-alone contemporary M/M romance.
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They're dangerous men. Absolute enemies. And totally hot for each other. Two years ago, the men in Will’s unit were killed in an ambush because they were betrayed. Now he has a chance to go after the corrupt billionaire who sold them out. One problem: the billionaire’s bodyguard. Nobody knows what he looks like; they only know him by the trail of bodies he leaves behind. Will their passion destroy them both? Kit’s a hardened assassin who’ll do what it takes to protect his boss. But when Will moves on the billionaire at an elite party, things with Will and Kit take an unexpected—sexy—twist.
Now Kit has to convince Will to walk away--from his quest for justice, and from the red-hot passion that keeps resurfacing at the most inopportune times.

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About the Authors:
Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. In between studying, finding a proper grown up job, getting married and having kids, she spent many hours staring at blank sheets of paper and chewing pens. That changed when she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna's muse likes red wine, coffee and won't let Joanna clean the house or watch television.
Connect with Joanna: Twitter / Website / Facebook

Annika Martin is a NYT bestselling author who enjoys writing dirty stories about dangerous criminals and hot spies. She loves helping animals and kicking snow clumps off the bottom of cars around the streets of Minneapolis, and in her spare time she writes as the RITA award-winning author Carolyn Crane.
Connect With Annika: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter

Author Interview

New and Debut: Laura Bailo

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It's Monday again and this means time for you to meet yet another new author. I'm happy to welcome Laura Bailo to the blog today. She is a debut author with Dreamspinner Press and her novella The Sun Still Rises which is part of the World of Love series. 


Meet Laura

1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?

Hi, I’m Laura, though if you’re reading this I guess you already know that. I’m Spanish and I mostly write things in English. As for my decision to become a romance writer, it just kind of happened? I’ve always loved reading – to the point where when my parents had to ground me when I was a kid they took my books away – and I discovered romance novels a few years ago. From then on, I was lost in their worlds. That was about the time I was coming back to writing too, and I decided to try my hand at writing something in English. The first thing I wrote was a little flash fiction story thatyou can find on my blog
(https://laurabailo.wordpress.com/2016/04/03/he-was-there-i-remember/). 
And then Dreamspinner Press issued a call for a series called World of Love, in which each book would be set in a different country. That was when the proverbial light bulb that lives above my head turned on; I could write a story set in Spain, I know the country pretty well after all. So I claimed it, and they gave me the go ahead, and a few months later, The Sun Still Rises was born. 

2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?

I definitely can! I’ll even restrict myself to romance and to choosing just one book from each author, so you all don’t get bored. Let’s see: I love Alexis Hall, and while I love everything he’s written, I have to say that his little nerdy book Looking for Group will always have a special place in my heart. Then there’s KJ Charles, who does historical as if she’d lived those times herself. As for a favourite book, I adored everything about An Unseen Attraction. Eli Lang’s Half is so far one of the best books I’ve read this year – and it’s a debut! Another favourite of mine is Elliot Cooper, and I keep telling him to write faster because I’ve already read everything he’s written. I particularly liked his take on zombies in My Boyfriend’s Back. Amy Rae Durreson does scary so well I sometimes feel compelled to close my eyes while reading her books. A Frost of Cares is probably my favourite of hers. I love Antonia Aquilante’s Tournai series, and if I had to choose a favourite it would be The Sorcerer’s Guardian, because of the slightly older leads. I could go on forever, but I think it’s better for you if I stop here. 

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?

I honestly have no idea how to answer this. I think I learn from every book I read, and I keep picking things up here and there. I would love to be able to say one day “my style will remind you of…” but right now I can’t do that. 

As for inspiration, it can come from the wildest places. Sometimes a small sentence strikes me and I need to write a full character from it, or I can wake up with a new idea for a story. I don’t really understand how it works, but so far I’m not complaining. 

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?

I want to write everything! I contracted a short story with Nine Star Press for a FF anthology, and that one is paranormal and also set in Spain. Right now I’m working on a story with 17 year old MCs (asexual and bisexual boys). And then I also started a fantasy story a while ago that so far has been abandoned, but I do plan on getting back to it sooner rather than later. So I’m pretty much all over the place. 

5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.

My upcoming release is also my first, and it’s called The Sun Still Rises. It’s the story of Erik, a man mourning his father that finds himself in Pamplona during the San Fermín festival with nowhere to sleep. But then he meets David, who kindly offers him his guest room. The two get to know each other quite quickly, and there’s a connection between them that Erik’s not sure he wants to acknowledge. You’ll have to read it to see what happens next.

Author Bio and Links

Laura Bailo is a veterinarian and a teacher in training who can do surgical sutures but can’t sew on a button to save her life.  
She lives in Spain with far too many books and boxes full of notebooks. She loves exploring the narrow streets of Pamplona and she’s known to have gotten lost in her own city. She loves reading, singing and trying out new cooking recipes, and if she’s feeling adventurous she may try to do all of these at the same time.
She loves hearing from people and you can find her at:




The Sun Still Rises
Blurb

Erik’s father lived for Pamplona’s yearly festival and the running of the bulls. Now he’s gone, and Erik flies to Pamplona on a whim to see the festival his father loved—without booking a room first. He’s looking at sleeping on the ground until friendly David from the tourism office offers to share his home.

When Erik realizes he trusts David, that he might even be willing to face his anxiety to get to know David better, he begins to understand what this trip could mean. Pamplona is even more beautiful when seen through David’s eyes, and Erik might have traveled around the world just to find himself. But can he hold on to his newfound confidence—and to David—when it’s time to go home?

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Pre-order link: Dreampsinners

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