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Review – It’s a Wonderful Fireman – Jennifer Bernard

it's a wonderful firemanIt’s a Wonderful Fireman
Author: Jennifer Bernard
Series: #6.5 in The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description (Goodreads):
Hard-edged fireman Dean Mulligan has never been a big fan of Christmas. Twinkly lights and sparkly tinsel can’t brighten the memories of too many years spent in ramshackle foster homes. Although he’s established himself as one of the top firefighters at San Gabriel Station 1, he doesn’t think he’s good enough for someone like gorgeous Lizzie.

Lizzie Breen is used to fighting—from her alpha male brothers, who try to smother her in the name of safety, to the life-threatening childhood illness she overcame. She knows what she and Mulligan feel for each other is a lot more than a fling, but she can’t get him to see that. The only gift Lizzie wants to give him this season is her love, but he’s not willing to accept it.

When Mulligan is trapped in the burning wreckage of a holiday store, a Christmas angel arrives to open his eyes. But is it too late? This Christmas, it’ll take an angel, a determined woman in love, and the entire Bachelor Firemen crew to make him believe … it is indeed a wonderful life.

Review:
I’ll admit that my reading of this series has been spotty as much as I am a sucker for fireman (and cop) romances. I’ve read the first book, the prequel and now the Christmas one (but never fear, the rest of the books are loitering on Mt TBR and will hopefully get tackled in the new year). So I didn’t have the background with the characters that many of the readers/reviewers had. I vaguely remember Dean from the previous books as being a bit of a stoic kind of guy – but honestly that is a character trait that I like. I will admit that I don’t really recall Lizzy, but since it was obvious from the writing, I’m guessing she was introduced in one of the books I haven’t read yet.

This was almost the perfect Christmas read. I love reading novella’s at this time of year, because they are normally short and sweet, hit the sweet spot, without (normally) being too sickly sweet (which I’m totally not a fan of) and It’s a Wonderful Fireman delivered. Told predominantly though flash-backs (which are often a hard way to tell a story), I could see Dean and Lizzie’s relationship develop (and I’m a sucker for friends2lovers stories). I really enjoyed seeing how their story developed and the fact that it took place over a longer period of time than a typical romance. While It’s A Wonderful Fireman was short (only about 140ish pgs), it felt like a complete story with a beginning/middle/ending – that to me is quite often missing in novella’s.

After reading Dean and Lizzie’s story, I’m looking forward to going back and reading the other books in the series, so I can “get to know” them a bit more and then maybe i’ll re-read their story, just for the heck of it ;) It’s A Wonderful Fireman is a solid 3.5 star read – rounding up to 4 on Goodreads and other places. I’d recommend for people who like Christmas novella’s, fireman romances and friends2lover romances.

Purchase Links:
Amazon – It’s a Wonderful Fireman: A Bachelor Firemen Novella (The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel)
Barnes & Noble – It’s a Wonderful Fireman: A Bachelor Firemen Novella (The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel)
Kobo – It’s a Wonderful Fireman: A Bachelor Firemen Novella (The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel)

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Posted by on December 16, 2014 in Blog Hop, Book Review, Uncategorized

 

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Review – Cinderella’s Dress – Shonna Slayton

cinderella's dressCinderella’s Dress
Author: Shonna Slayton
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
Being a teen-ager during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dress is even tougher.

Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she’s working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dress, life gets complicated.

Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart shipped off to boot camp, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.

Review:
Sooo, I actually read Cinderella’s Dress back in June prior to its release, started to write my review and then got distracted by some life stuff (here’s a hint, if you want time to read/review, don’t sign up for a triathlon that will take 15 hours to complete – just sayin’). But as I look back at all the books i’ve read this year, trying to figure out which review to post next, the cover of this one caught my eye, because honestly, its gorgeous and i’m a total cover whore. Yeah, i said it, i’ve been known to pick books up based solely on the cover – sometimes it has been successful, like with this book, other times I’ve been majorly burned. So gorgeous cover combined with a fairy tale retold and I was a happy camper.

I really enjoyed how the author managed to work the various elements from the original Cinderalla (specifically the dress and the wicked stepsisters) into a YA romance (although, while marked as YA, most adults would likely enjoy it also). But the author did a great job moving the setting to a WW2 time period – her descriptions made you feel like you were experiencing the war through Kate’s eyes. I really liked Kate as a character – she wasn’t willing to accept the status quo of what was expected for women who were working at the time (being store models and seamstresses), she wanted more and was willing to work for it and prove that she deserved the job she wanted/got.

The underlying Cinderella element was good and the mystery of the dress – and the idea of did Cinderella actually exist? (I mean, I loved the Drew Barrymore movie where it was based in historical context) and the way the author developed the story made it seem plausible/likely. There was a truth to the way the author wrote the book that I enjoyed (if that makes sense). Both the main and the secondary characters were well-developed – none of them seemed fake (for lack of a better word) – I could easily see (should a movie be made) how they could be portrayed.

Overall, I gave Cinderella’s Dress, 3.5 stars and would recommend for anyone interested in fairy tale re-tellings or YA historical fiction.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Hard to Forget – Incy Black

hard to forgetHard to Forget
Author: Incy Black
Series: #2 in the Hard To… series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
A warning ignored…a love denied

Four years ago, Commander Jack Ballantyne followed Special Agent Lowry Fisk into a death trap. Fortunately, both of them lived to tell the tale, but when he had Lowry drummed out of the British Intelligence Service for her own safety—and his own peace of mind—he knew she’d never forgive him.

Lowry Fisk knew, she just knew, that the Assassins, the secret black-ops unit of the Service she and Jack belonged to, had a mole. And as the Assassins Commander, Jack should have believed her, even though she had little evidence beyond a gut feeling. But when he hadn’t, she’d taken it upon herself to find the traitor—and ended up assaulted, shot, and left for dead. Jack had come to her rescue, but it had been too little, too late. Now all she wants to do is forget the attack, the Service, and the sexy, steely-eyed Commander with the power to make her feel weak.

But the mole is on the move, and he’s coming for Lowry to finish what he started. Jack has to get the stubborn, dangerously gorgeous woman to let him back into her life and allow him the Assassins to protect her—without allowing her to worm her way into his heart

Review:
I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for Secret Agent storylines – I mean, who doesn’t love James Bond and those types of characters? so when I came across the description of Incy Black’s series in an email from her publisher, I was intrigued. Since this was the 2nd in the series, I opted to go back and read the first one before picking up this one (although the author did say when I tweeted her, that this could be read as a stand-alone – and looking back, I agree). In fact, after I finished reading the first book (while not bad, it just had some things that didn’t work for me), I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pick up Hard to Forget, but I’m glad I did – because I enjoyed it more than the first.

There were times when I wanted to take both Jack and Lowry’s heads and clang them together to have some sense knocked into them, because man did they both do some silly stuff – both prior to the book’s main setting (told in flashbacks) and during the main portion of the book. But even with that, Lowry wasn’t the typical TSTL heroine that you see, who ends up getting herself into trouble and needs to be rescued – in fact, it was her willingness to do whatever was needed for the mission to be accomplished that actually made me like her.

My main issue with the book was Jack – he was, for lack of a better word, a jackass – and honestly, it took me about 3/4 of the book before I even really started to not hate him as a character, and even then, he was barely redeemed by the end. I just didn’t think that he did anything during the course of the book to really warrant Lowry forgiving him for how he had acted in the past.

Even with my issues with Jack, I gave Hard to Forget 3.5 stars, which was an improvement on the previous book. I’m interested to see where she takes the series, and more importantly, I want to know if Will (who has been a secondary character in both books so far) is going to get his own story – because he needs one.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Designed for Love – Kelsey Browning

designed for loveDesigned for Love
Author: Kelsey Browning
Series: #4 in the Texas Nights series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Ashton Davenport: Hot blonde. Old Money. Off-limits.

That’s how Mac McLaughlin sees her, anyway. And now that he’s enduring a temporary self-imposed exile in tiny Shelbyville, Texas, he’s seeing her way too often. Mac only wants to succeed as the contractor for the Lily Lake development in order to rebuild his reputation and return to Dallas, pronto. A sexy distraction like Ashton was not in the plans.

Mac McLaughlin: Hot builder. Cash poor. Hands-on.

Ashton kissed her trust fund goodbye and left her life as a society princess to prove she could make it on her own. Developing Lily Lake is her big chance, but it’s hard to stay focused working side-by-side with bossy, rough-around-the-edges Mac. Especially when he pulls off his shirt.

When the discovery of an endangered species derails the project, Mac can’t afford to stick around for a stalled job. His and Ashton’s explosive chemistry aside, he’s outta there…unless she can convince him that they just might be able to build something together.

Review:
There are times when I can’t wait for a series of books to end, and others where I get upset knowing that the stories have all been told and it is time for it to end. For me, Texas Nights by Kelsey Browning is one of the latter. For four books now, we have experienced the adventures of members from Shelbyville, TX as they find friendship, love and lust in their respective stories, and Designed for Love was no different.

In DfL, we meet up with Ashton Davenport, who was first introduced in Running the Red Light, the second book in the series, where she was the less than nice – ok, make that bitchy manager who Roxanne had previously worked for – and a spoiled brat to boot. I remember disliking her then and was really unsure whether the author would be able to redeem her for me. But, she managed to do so. I don’t know if it was the antics of her dog, Napoleon, who made me laugh so hard that I worried about pee’ing my pants; or how she was willing to try new things, even if she might get burnt – but over time, I found myself liking her and glad that the Ms Browning decided to give her, her story.

Then, there was Mac…oh Mac, Mac, Mac…its funny – three of the last five books I’ve finished (including this one) somehow feature a main character involved in construction – either as a general contractor, re-furbishing a house, or as an electrician – I must be on a construction romance theme kick ;) – but then of course, hot, sweaty, smexy men…I mean… However, as with most books, I still want something more – I think my biggest issue with DfL was that I wanted to know more about Mac – unlike the heroes in the previous books (Jamie/Cam/Beck), who had been featured in other books, this was (as far as I can recall) my first introduction to Mac (meaning, if he did appear in a previous book, I totally don’t remember). There was so much mystery surrounding him, that I was kind of disappointed and wanted a bit more when it came to the reveal about his history. Not a major gripe, just something I would have liked more of.

By far my favorite character, as alluded above, was Napoleon, the dog. I love it when an author creates an animal that is essential to the storyline (and not just put in to have a dog in the story). Of course, having following the authors blog and seen her passion for animals, that doesn’t surprise me. I have to wonder if any of Napoleon’s antics were events that have occurred in real life…especially the jock strap incident…

Overall, I gave Designed for Love a solid 4 stars, and am sad to see the series end :(

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Wood, Screws & Nails – Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme

wood screws nailsWood, Screws & Nails
Authors: Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme
Series: #1 in the Hard Hats series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Aaron Costa’s summer was all planned. Despite having to remodel the family lake house, it would be a vacation of sorts, and he had every intention of enjoying it—until the friend who was supposed to help him got injured and left him in a lurch. He decides to take the opportunity to bond with his son and hires Julian and his roommate, Malachi, to assist.

As a broke college student, Malachi could use the money, and spending the summer with Aaron for eye candy sounds like a dream. “Look but don’t touch” becomes his motto. But when Julian starts flaking on his responsibilities and Malachi and Aaron are forced to spend long hours alone together, their mutual attraction is impossible to resist.

Aaron can’t fight the temptation sexy Malachi presents. But more than their age difference stands in their way, not the least of which is Aaron’s semi-closeted status and the fact that he’s never openly discussed his sexuality with his son. He has no idea how Julian will react when he learns his father is not only gay, he’s also dating his best friend.

Review:
As I look back on this book, I wonder where to begin because for the most I really enjoyed the experience reading this writing venture between Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme. This wasn’t my first time reading Piper (and I’ve highly enjoyed her previous books), but it was my first time reading Kade’s stuff. I will say looking back, that the writing styles between the two blended together so well, I honestly had no idea who wrote what parts (which I loved). I’ll also point out that I loved the double entendre in the title – Wood, Screws, & Nails – not only did it fit within the whole construction theme of the book, but also within the romance and dirty talk (and I am a sucker for dirty talk among couples).

I’ll admit the whole age different between the two main characters at first kind of squicked me out – I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like the age-gap idea in romance, but I think it was more the younger guy being the same age as his son. I know that shouldn’t have bugged me, but at first it did. Thankfully, as their relationship started to develop, those feelings that I had dissipated and I liked seeing their love for each other blossom. But I won’t ever be able to look the same way at a construction site if I ever get my house re-done because of one particular scene about ¾ of the way through (but don’t worry – I’m not going to spoil it for you guys who haven’t read it yet).

While not a dislike, per say, I had visualization images of Malachi/Mal – mostly because (and I know this is weird), but I have a friend from the Navy, Malachi, who also goes by Mal – so I kept seeing him when the authors were trying to paint a different image. I know that is probably weird, but mostly, I think its because Malachi isn’t a real common name, so it was natural for me to draw (or not draw similarities)

Most of my dislike from the book stemmed from my dislike of Julian. In general, be it books or real life, I hate seeing people who get away with whatever actions they want with no consequence. I spent a good portion of the book, alternating yelling (mentally) at Aaron to do something about him and hoping that nothing serious would actually happen. Even at the end, I felt that the resolution was just too nice and tied up in a pretty bow. That part of the book needed just a little bit more to fully-flesh out the conflict.

Aside from the whole Julian issue, I really enjoyed Wood, Screws, & Nails and am interested to see how the next book in the series (Hook, Line & Sinker) plays out – even if it appears as though it has different characters. I like the pairing of Piper and Kade in writing and think this is a partnering that could last through a few more books (pretty please!).

Overall, I gave Wood, Screws, & Nails 3.5 stars.

~Dee

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Someone Else’s Fairytale – E.M. Tippetts

someone else's fairytaleSomeone Else’s Fairytale
Author: E.M. Tippetts
Series: #1 in the Someone Else’s Fairytale series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Jason Vanderholt, Hollywood’s hottest actor, falls head over heels for every girl, Chloe Winters, who hasn’t gotten around to watching most of his movies. It’s the ideal fairytale… for most people. The last thing Chloe needs is public attention. It brings back dangers from the past that she’s worked her whole life to escape.

Review:
I was taking a break from all the romance I was reading. I purchased this book for free from amazon after reading a few reviews on there.
I liked the writers style. I found myself in the middle point of the book thinking it was almost over. I thought I had gotten to the twist of the book but I was wrong. This book not only a chic lit but it holds some mystery as well.

Chloe is a girl after my own heart I loved her. She is the girl that could be everyone’s best friend. She is strong smart and funny. However when it comes to men she has a complicated past in more ways than one. She holds so many secrets up until the end that you have to keep reading to see if she gets her happy ever after or not.

Chloe has a group of friends that do play a big part in her world some of them less significant than others. I found myself not to fond really of any of them they were there for her but it just seemed that they were only there some of the time. Part of that was Chloe and her will to do it on her own and not burden anyone. She is wanting to work in forensics and she works hard as it is. Not taking hand outs and just trying to prove she is not her mother in any way.

Matt who is one of her friends I found myself drawn to him and hoping he was the guy he presented himself to be. He is this cowboy who walks around with a purity ring on. You know that something interesting has got to be going on there. Is he a down home gentle man or is he just pretending.

Chloe’s mom was my least favorite she was just to much about herself to even see her daughter for who she was. Right to the end after everything I still wasn’t convinced that she wasn’t there for herself and not her daughter.

Josh when your introduced to him, he is walking on to the set of his next big movie. Next to Chloe was a guy who fast became my friend. However when I read him I imagined James Vanderbeek. I don’t know why. He treats Chloe with respect and treats her like a person just a she treats him. The friendship that they have is something that I have had myself just not with a movie star. I wanted him to end up with Chloe I wanted to know why she didn’t have feelings for him. He is doing all the right things and made her break out of her shell a little at a time. I just waited for something in his past to pop up and ruin this for them.

The story that comes out is shocking and sad. It has just the right amount of twists and turns and some great epic kissing scenes. You find yourself telling Chloe to open up her eyes and look at what is going on in front of her.

I want to share just a few quotes with you from the book that I thought were good.

Quotes
“No. You may know more than me about just about everything, but not men, I have got enough bad experiences to have a doctorate in this.”

“Come on, Chloe, I thought, English is your first language, Try to speak it coherently”

I hope you pick up Someone Else’s Fairytale. I give it a 3 out of 5 Stars. I liked it but it just felt like it was missing something in the end.

~Kristin

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Long Way Home – Neve Cottrell

long way homeLong Way Home
Author: Neve Cottrell
Series: #1 in the Mangrove Island series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Tyler Barnes can’t believe his eyes when Alexis MacAdams walks back into his life. His high school crush left Mangrove Island seventeen years ago and never looked back. He’s held on to the memory of her, even though she never gave him a second glance. Now Alexis is back for the holidays and Tyler is determined to make a lasting impression before she slips away again. He soon learns, however, that her broken heart needs to heal before he has a chance to win it. Can Tyler convince her to risk her heart for a second time?

Review:
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a sucker for childhood crush/reunited romance/second chance romance type stories (i’m throwing them all in together, because in general, at least 2of those elements are normally represented somehow). so when Ms Cottrell sent me an email requesting a review for her debut novel, I was intrigued. The cover immediately caught my eye, you could tell that time and effort had been put into the design and it looked suitable for a book set on an island with lots of beach scenes.

Unfortunately, after I started reading, I hit a bit of a snag – I don’t know what it was exactly, but I really struggled with the writing style for probably the first 20% or so. In fact, I actually debated putting it down and not finishing the book. But then, I got stuck on a bus in traffic with only my phone to keep me entertained for a couple of hours and I picked up Long Way Home and started reading again. And this time, it worked. I don’t know what it was when I first tried to read it, compared to the second time, but it just worked for me.

Overall, I thought the author did a good job of developing her characters – there were a few places where I felt like some of the actions of the characters were a bit disconnected with how I imagined them, based on previous descriptions. There were also a few places where the dialogue between the characters seemed overly formal, compared to how people really talk (like the use of contractions). But I think that is something that will develop more fully overtime.

I am interested to see where she goes next with the series, as there were many secondary characters in Long Way Home that I would like to see more of. Overall, I gave Long Way Home a solid 3 stars.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in Book Review

 

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