RSS

Category Archives: Book Review

Review – Baked Fresh – Annabeth Albert

baked freshBaked Fresh
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: #2 in the Portland Heat series
Rating: ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher via Netgalley

Description:
From its famous coffee to the mouthwatering fare at its cafés, restaurants, and bakeries, Portland, Oregon, has a lot to whet the appetite, including the hard-working men who serve it all up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…

Vic Degrassi is a baker on the rise, and it’s all thanks to his rare ability to make—and keep—his New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking, or graduating from culinary school, Vic goes after what he wants—and gets it. This year? He wants Robin Dawson, the sweet-hearted hottie who volunteers with him at the local homeless shelter.

When he learns that Robin is suddenly single after being unceremoniously dumped, Vic is more than happy to offer a shoulder to cry on—or at least a fresh-baked pastry to bite into. But it’s been a long time since Vic’s gone on a date, and he’s nervous about risking his friendship with Robin. So when their flirtation turns into a steamy night together, Vic and Robin have to figure out if they’re friends with benefits or lovers in the making, and if Robin is ready for something more than just a rebound. There’s only one way to find out: turn up the heat…

Review:
**This Review Includes SPOILERS**
When I picked up Baked Fresh, it had been a while since I had read any m/m romance because I had felt myself getting burnt out on it. However, a friend proposed Baked Fresh as a group read in one of my Goodreads groups and I was sufficiently intrigued that I decided to request it via netgalley. Unfortunately, my interest based on the description and cover soon waned…I had a hard time figuring out why but ultimately, I realized, that I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters/couldn’t emphathize/sympathize with them. Added to that, my mental image of the 2 characters didn’t match with what was on the cover – specifically, one of the charaters had weight loss surgery and was described as being cuddly and that isn’t a term I would use to describe either guy on the cover.

Aside from the whole cover disconnect, I felt like Robin and Vic just didn’t talk – there were so many discussions they should have had, that never occurred. For example, Robin is an ex-drug user, but you never find out when/why he became addicted or how he kicked the addiction. Or Vic, who had had the lapband surgery, never really addressed his personal issues with Robin – he was so insecure about who he was (I guess in part due to his size/weight issues), but for me, it just wasn’t enough. I felt empty when it came to their relationship. There was also a really quick transition in the relationship between Robin/Vic that just felt empty – it went from them not dating (or not wanting to date), not dating, not dating, don’t want to have sex, to jumping each others bones – I just wanted more.

Overall, I was disappointed in Baked Fresh because I was hoping for so much more – I don’t know if its because I hadn’t read the previous book in the series that may have set the scene a bit more…Overall, I gave Baked Fresh 2 stars

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Book Review

 

Tags: , , ,

Review – Rescuing an Angel – Ann Jacobs

25570582Rescuing an Angel
Author: Ann Jacobs
Series: #4 in Oil Barons series
Rating: ☆ ½

Review copy provided via Publisher

Description:
One fateful misstep for Gayla Levine was all it took for her once-adoring fiancé to walk away and her demanding father to disown her. Determined to finally turn her life around and embrace her newfound independence, she wants nothing to do with men or relationships—until she meets Dan Newman, a sexy surgeon who sends a shock of electricity through her every time they touch.

Dan Newman has spent his life struggling to overcome his own crippling past by devoting himself to healing others who have suffered. Now a world-class surgeon, he’s confident in his ability to face anything life throws at him—until he meets a headstrong Texas beauty who has his pulse racing and fills his dreams with impossibly sensual visions.

As they fall into a passionate romance that takes them both to the burning edges of pleasure, these two damaged souls must both confront their darkest demons. Because Gayla is haunted by the echoes of being called a failure and torn by the fear that she’ll be rejected once again, and Dan, who has proved his worth to so many others, now must convince himself and Gayla that they deserve the powerful love they’ve found.

Review:
This is a hard review to write, because I’ve read and enjoyed the author in the past and this book didn’t even come close to what I expect of her. However, I did finish it – although there was some heavy griping during that time…however, before I was even done, I knew I needed to do some research into the history of the book, because the netgalley description mentioned that it was a previously published book (Dallas Heat).

From the get-go, I had issues with how the cover portrayed (or didn’t portray the story) and actually the same could be said for the series title. The cover of the book (guy in a cowboy hat) with a horse and oil rigs in the background meant that I expected those things to make a significant appearance in the book – so I was disappointed to find out, that there was only one brief mention of the main characters going horseback riding and only one very minor secondary character alluded to as being involved in oil. However, when I went and looked at the previous editions, there was only one of the four (that I saw) that actually looked like it was related to the book.

Aside from that, the writing just felt really chunky and didn’t flow well. I don’t know if it was because it had been revised several times, but something just didn’t click for me. Although I have to wonder how much my opinion of the book was based on my expectation of what I was going to get, compared to what I actually did. I did think the story itself had potential and I liked Gayla/Dan – but I just couldn’t get past my perception. That being said, I have enjoyed the author in the past and will try some of her more recent stuff to see if that is maybe where my disconnect with the author’s writing was. Unfortunately, I could only give Rescuing an Angel only 1.5 stars.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 22, 2015 in Book Review

 

Tags: , , ,

Review – The Truth About Alice – Jennifer Mathieu

16068341The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It’s true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there’s only one person to ask: Alice herself.

Review:
So I actually read this book earlier this year and marked it off as being reviewed, when apparently I only actually imagined doing that…lol! So some of my thoughts on this may be a bit patchy but there are also parts that really stick out (even 6 months or so later). I’ll be the first to admit that one of my guilty pleasures are lifetime movies (you know the ones, my daughter ran away and became addicted to drugs; my daughter got pregnant as a teen; my son is going to be a teen father and adopt the child type movies). They are like cotton candy for me, I get emotionally invested in them, and by the end of the movie, I’m happy that my life isn’t screwed up like that and I just move on to other things. The Truth About Alice kind of reminded me of one of those movies (and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

The book itself is told in an alternating POV from 4 different students at the high school where the title character was also a student. I found it intriguing how the author didn’t actually include Alice as a POV – maybe to keep up the idea of the perceived “truth” about her, rather than the actual truth…It was also interesting seeing how the characters devolved into the gossips and then evolved into more responsible young adults as the book progressed – although it was the person that I kind of least expected to stand up to the gossip that did.

My biggest complaint, I think, was the everything tied up too quickly – it was like alice is a slut, she did xyz and then all of the sudden, everything seemed back to normal…maybe that was how it was supposed to be – indicative of how gossip is hot one day and then not the next…but it left me feeling kind of empty in the long run. I wanted a bit more closure at the end…Overall, I gave the Truth about Alice 3.5 stars because it was something different (or at least that I’ve read) in the YA writing world.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 20, 2015 in Book Review

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Review – Recipe for Temptation – Gina Gordon

19005702Recipe for Temptation
Author: Gina Gordon
Series: #4 in the Madewood Brothers series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
She’s the woman he loves to hate.

Penn Foster wants a lot of things. She wants a spot on the board of a charitable foundation. She wants to win the stupid, plastic family trophy. And more than anything, she wants her tall, hot, and brooding boss naked in her bed. Now, on a Hawaiian vacation with her family, she’s desperately trying not to think about how he’d sound whispering dirty things in her ear.

He’s the man she can’t have…or can she?

Cole Murphy keeps himself locked down, away from the press and out of the spotlight. Still haunted by a traumatic childhood, his ability to trust has been decimated. Penn, with her sexy body and confidence, is the only person able to drag him out of his shell. Which is why he crashes her vacation and accepts her proposition for no-strings sex. But is the inescapable heat building between them a delicious temptation, or will it end in total disaster?

Review:
I’m very much a mood reader when it comes to picking which books to read when (although I also do a lot of reading challenges, which make me get out of comfort zone). One of the reading challenge, I’m currently trying to finish up, required a book set in Hawaii and when I came across the description for Recipe for Temptation, I knew that I had to pick it up. And to say that I was quickly sucked in, would be an understatement…you know, how sometimes you pick a book up and it just doesn’t catch you immediately, so you put it down and start another one (or 5 or 6) and then there are other books, where you start reading and before you know, its 2am and you have to get up at 5am…yeah…Recipe for Temptation was definitely the latter of the two (although it wasn’t quite 2am, more like 12:30…haha!

I fell in love with Penn from almost the first minute I was introduced to her – I don’t know why, maybe because she was just so likable (and REAL) compared to her family who were…OMG, how to even describe them. It actually reminded me a lot of my extended family at times – how everyone seems to be perfect, except for me (although when all is said and done, I’m probably one of the more successful of my siblings/cousins – even if i’m not married/no kids). And as for Cole…any guy who is willing to drop what he is doing, to travel to another country (since the rest of the series is set in Canada) to help the woman he loves (even if he doesn’t want to admit it)…yeah, where can I line up to be issued one of them! haha!

I didn’t actually realize that this was #4 in a series, until after I started reading and was introduced to the Cole’s brothers, but that only made me want to read more (and in the week following me completing this, I read those other 3 books). Seeing Penn and Cole’s relationship develop through those books, only deepened how I felt about them in this one. I would recommend reading the previous 3 books in the series first, in nothing else to more understand Cole’s background and how important Penn really is to ALL of the brothers in the series (and bonus, all 4 books are hot and smexy!)

I know for sure that I will be checking out more books by Gina Gordon in the future – in fact, I could very easily see her being added to my auto-buy list, if the rest of her writing is as strong as the Madewood Brothers series. A solid 4 stars for Recipe for Temptation!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 19, 2015 in Book Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Review – Audacity – Melanie Crowder

22521938Audacity
Author: Melanie Crowder
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000.
Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world.

Review:
One of my favorite things to do (if I have the time) at the library is to just browse the new releases/new purchases shelf and see if there is anything that catches my eye. While I was looking at the young adult shelf a couple of weeks ago, there was something about Audacity that made me pick it up. I can’t explain exactly what it was, but the cover caught my eye, as did the brief description on the book flap – so I said, what the heck and added it to my stack of books. I will say that I didn’t look close enough to realize it was a novel told in verse until I got home (not that that’s bad, it just took me by surprise) – but since I have read/enjoyed books told in that format before, I figured I would enjoy it and I wasn’t wrong.

Audacity tells the story of Clara Lemlich, a young Russian immigrant who became involved in the rise of labor unions in the early 1900’s. I had never heard of her until this book, but now I want to read more about her. I knew a little bit about the establishment of the unions in NYC during that time period, and a bit more about the Triangle Fire which occurred during that time period – but it’s not one that i’ve really studied (and honestly, don’t really remember it being covered in any of the US history courses I took in college). I thought this went well with my idea to read books about different women in history and how they contributed (as a follow-up to listening to The Invention of Wings, about the Grimke sisters). Clara Lemlich lived up to this quote that I love, “well-behaved women rarely make history” – even from a young age she wasn’t destined to be the meek mannered female that she was expected to be – she pushed all the boundaries that were available to her – wanting to learn more, do more and be more – not just being settled with her lot in life.

I found that the novel told in verse approach was something unique to historical fiction – i honestly don’t know how popular it is, I know its the first time i’ve come across it in this genre (my other experiences with it have been for contemporary/realistic fiction writings). I kind of want to see if I can find more like it because it was really well done. The pages and segments of the book flowed well between the different events that occurred in Clara’s life, including not only her union work, but also events in her life prior to that. I’m intrigued to not only read more by this author, but also more about the time period in history.

This is a book that I would recommend to adults and teens alike, its written in a way that teens would find it enjoyable, as well as adults and for adults, it may cover a slice of history that you aren’t familiar with. Overall, I gave Audacity 4 stars and intrigued to read more by the author in the future.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Book Review, Review

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Review – Homefront – Jessica Scott

homefrontHomefront
Author: Jessica Scott
Series: #1 in the Homefront series (spin-off from Coming Home series)
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publicist via Netgalley

Description:
He’s always loved her…
First Sergeant Gale Sorren waited a war and half a lifetime for a chance to get stationed near the ex-wife who left him years ago. When he finally musters the courage to see her, the life he imagined she was living was nothing close to the reality.
She’s never stopped loving him…
Melanie never stopped worrying about Gale each time he headed off to war. But he’s never been there when she needed him and she’s had fifteen years to steel her heart against him.
But when Gale moves to Fort Hood, he finally has a chance to make things right with Melanie and the daughter she raised without him.
Can Mel trust her heart to a man who has always let her down?

Review:
So in all honesty, I actually read this book a couple of months ago and planned to get my review written then, but things turned insane (like usual) and I found myself behind on reviews. So since this is ARC August, I’m taking the opportunity to catch up on a few ARC’s where I have read the books, but the reviews haven’t been posted, so please bear with me ;)

Homefront – oh where to start…(and no that’s not a bad thing)! This is the first book in Jessica Scott’s new series (also aptly named Homefront) and is a spin-off of her popular Coming Home series. I wanted to point this out up front, because a) if you haven’t read her coming home series, you need to high tail yourself to your nearest book dealer and purchase them and b) because you may encounter spoilers for couples in those books (so you have been warned!).

In Homefront, we meet FSG Gale Sorren (First Sergeant for those of you who don’t speak military) – who is returning to Ft Hood (the basis of most of Jessica’s books) as part of a Battalion reorganization/replacement that occurred in a previous book (It’s Always Been You – Ben/Olivia). I’ll admit that I fell for Gale the minute he was introduced – he reminded me a lot of several of the senior enlisted personnel I’ve worked with over the years – the ones who care more about their men/woman, than playing the political game. But you could also tell that he had demons (for lack of a better word in his background) which were soon revealed. I think one of my favorite things about Jessica’s writing is the amount of realism she brings to the stories – based on her experiences as an Army officer.

One of my other favorite things about Jessica’s writing is that her females, be they military or not, are kick-ass – one of the biggest issues I have with many romances is that the females need to guy to step in and save them, but that is not present in Jessica’s books – in fact, her heroine’s prove in every book that saying, anything you can do, I can do better – it is always a pleasure to read her books because of this and Homefront was no different. The heroine in Homefront, Melanie, is Gale’s estranged wife and I’ll admit that I ended up bawling as they reconnected through his daughter (who he has really never gotten to know all that well). So Homefront hit my happy reader button on some many things – a well-written military romance, a second chance/rekindled love romance, and where the child (or should I say young-adult) in the book was key to the storyline moving forward and not just in the story for added drama.

Homefront had Jessica’s typically witty humor that I love, and yet manages to tackle one of the issues of military life. I gave Homefront 4 stars and hope that some of you will pick it up and read it soon.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 5, 2015 in Book Review, Review

 

Tags: , , , ,

Review – Playing with Temptation – Erika Wilde

21503708Playing with Temptation
Author: Erika Wilde
Series: #1 in the Players Club
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author via Netgalley

Description:
When Raina Beck is given an invitation to The Players Club, all she wants is a night of decadence with a gorgeous, sexy stranger. The seductive, mysterious man she meets fulfills her deepest desires and most erotic fantasies, giving her a night she’ll never forget. But forgetting him isn’t quite so easy.

Logan Cruz prefers his women submissive and compliant in the bedroom . . . everything the independent Raina is not. Yet from the first moment he lays eyes on her, he’s determined to make Raina his. Despite her resistance.

When Logan is assigned to protect Raina from a stalker, everything between them changes. Sex becomes more than just physical, and emotions run deep. Falling in love was never on Raina’s agenda, but can she let go of the past and surrender the one thing he wants the most . . . her heart?

Review:
I’ve been reading romances for a long time (close to 18yrs) and as such, I am always on the lookout for new and intriguing ideas within the story. And while Erika Wilde’s first book in her Players Club series wasn’t completely different/unique, it was (at least for me) an improvement on most of the current books available out there. As I was reading, I could tell that she had done her research into the various facets of the story, including how a security company would approach a problem such as Raina’s, and how clubs may operate.

For the moment the book opened with a scene in the Club, I felt like I was there with Raina – seeing it for the first time and getting intrigued. There was something about Ms Wilde’s writing style that just sucked you in. And of course, when we were introduced to the mystery man, all bets were off…lol! Even once Logan was identified later on, there was just something about him that, that I just wanted more. I did find Logan’s sister to be a bitch at first and while she did grow on me, I never really liked her. I do love how we are seeing more and more books being released with women who are open to exploring their sexuality through the use of toys and that authors are including these stores (and owners) in their character line-up. I especially like how they are no longer being treated like someones dirty little secret – with toys needing to be hidden in a back room away from the public.

I found that the mystery was well-developed but didn’t over-take the whole romance angle of the book (as happens occasionally). Although I will admit, I figured out who the stalker was (or at least had a good idea) before it was revealed. But the ultimate ending was satisfying.

Overall, I gave Playing with Temptation 3.5 stars and a solid erotic romance read.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Book Review

 

Tags: , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 517 other followers