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Review – Get Lucky – Anthology

get luckyGet Lucky
Authors: Robin Covington, Nicola Marsh, Kelsey Browning, Avery Flynn, Kimberly Kincaid, Sara Humphreys
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Nicola Marsh – Walking the Line
Ellie is a decade older than Finn but that doesn’t stop the charming Irishman from wooing her.
Ellie doesn’t believe in the happily-ever-after dream any longer, not since hers imploded a long time ago. But can a smooth-talking Irishman sway a hard-hearted cynic to believe in love again?

This was my first time reading anything by Nicola Marsh and while I found the story intriguing, it just didn’t quite do it for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good older woman, younger man story but I didn’t ever really feel for Ellie- I found her annoying. But I enjoyed the author’s writing style, so I may check out something else by her in the future. I gave her installment 3 stars.

Kelsey Browning – Amazed by You
Author’s assistant Olivia McLaughlin must pull off an extravagant St. Patrick’s Day garden party to win a coveted promotion, but her success hinges on landscape designer Cody Kavanaugh, her old high school boyfriend. Now, Olivia must decide which she can’t live without—the job that will make her a success or the man offering her a second chance at love.

I’m a huge fan of Kelsey’s and this story was no different. I loved Olivia as a character, and her relationship with Cody was cute – i’m a sucker for a reunited type romance. although I will say that Sadie, Olivia’s slightly (ok, mostly) neurotic employer. I can’t wait to see if she gets a story in the future. I gave Amazed by You 4.5 stars.

Robin Covington – One Little Kiss
Trapped by a snowstorm in the same place at the same time, Leighton and Jonas must decide if their hot night together was the end of their story or if they started forever with just one little kiss…

This story was a hard one of me to rate – because I did enjoy it but towards the end I found myself wanting more. I would love to see it taken and turned into a full-length story because there was so much potential and everything just felt rushed for me. But it had Robin’s familiar writing style and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff in the future. This story got 3.5 stars from me.

Avery Flynn – Big, Bad Red
There’s nothing little or naive about this Red Riding Hood. Red runs the biggest fencing operation for fairytale treasures out of the back of Granny’s Pub. But when she comes into possession of the Caladbolg sword things get hairy–as in hot, sexy Liam MacTíre the werewolf hairy.

I’ll admit that I am a total sucker for fairy tale retellings and Big Bad Red hit all my happy buttons. I loved Red as a character and the story was hot (oh holy heck was it hot). I would love to see more books written in this world and I know that i’ll be checking out Avery’s other Fairytale retellings (since I already love her contemporary romances). Big, Bad Red got 3.5 stars from me.

Sara Humphreys – Luck of the Irish
Banished to the mirrored realm for hundreds of years, Declan Aherne had nothing but time to plot his revenge and mourn the loss of his beloved wife. But when a beautiful human woman, with a familiar amulet, stares into the mirror….Declan’s luck was about to change.

Sarah Humphrey’s was the second new author in the anthology to me. I really liked the idea of a Leprechaum as a hero – i mean seriously, how cool is that? And the story that Sara wove was great, intriguing and complex. Unfortunately, the ending left me feeling kind of irked because it didn’t really end and unfortuntely, that dropped my rating for this installment down to 3 stars.

Kimberly Kincaid – Something Borrowed
When her successful brother announces his plans for an impromptu wedding in Ireland, unlucky-in-love chef Sasha Arrington is stuck between the Blarney Stone and a hard place. Sasha needs a wingman for her brother’s wedding, and the romantic destination could be just what James Sullivan needs to tempt Sasha out of the friend zone.

I’m in a toss-up over whether Kimberly’s contribution or Kelsey’s is my favorite. There was something about Sasha and Sully’s story that just hit all my happy buttons. I loved the sexual tension between them and it kind of reminded me of the movie, The Wedding Date, which I will always watch when I get a chance. Although I will say, really Sully, UVa…no, just no. I gave Something Borrowed 4.5 stars.

Overall I really enjoyed all 6 books in this anthology and I will be checking out the two new authors (Nicola Marsh and Sara Humphrey) in the future. but my 2 favorite stories by far were Kelsey Browning and Kimberly Kincaid’s. Overall, I gave the anthology 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Yoga for Runners – Christine Felstead

YfRYoga for Runners
Author: Christine Felstead

Description:
As a runner, you strike the ground 1,000 times per mile, with a force of two to three times your body weight. You can feel that impact in the muscles, ligaments, and bone structures throughout your body. Thankfully, “Yoga for Runners” addresses both the physical and mental demands of the sport. Whether you are new to yoga or have practiced for years, “Yoga for Runners” provides you with the most effective poses–88 poses in all. Each pose is described in detail to ensure correct execution, maximizing the physical benefit and decreasing the risk of injury.

You’ll learn how simple yoga techniques can be incorporated into your existing running workouts and routines to eliminate chronic aches and pains. Discover how each pose can be sequenced to address a specific need, such as strengthen and lengthen the hamstrings, strengthen and increase mobility of the hip joint, eliminate lower-back and upper-body discomfort, speed the recovery process after a practice run or a race, maintain a strong core, or just restore and rejuvenate to prepare for an upcoming event. These sequences target all troublesome muscle regions. Anatomical illustrations and descriptions explain why these poses and sequences decrease your risk of acute or chronic injury as well as why they are beneficial to your training regimen.

Review:
I say that I am inflexible is probably the understatement of the year. Similar to weight training, I find it really easy to not do my daily stretching in favor of getting another swim workout in, or going for a run. Partly because my dog tries to help (in the way only a German Shepherd can) and partly because if I sit down on the floor, 9 times out of 10, sleep is probably going to ensue (there is something about laying down that just gets me every time). But I came across this book at the library one day and I was intrigued because it talked about how you could squeeze yoga in to your daily life, which (for as obvious as it should have been) stunned me. My perception was always that I needed to dedicate an hour or so to go; find a studio that worked with my insane schedule, or buy/borrow a DVD etc. This book totally changed me mind on that.

While the first few chapters focus a bit on the history of yoga and its application to helping runners, the meat of the book is the later parts where it discusses all the different positions/postures you can do; what body parts each of them help with and towards the end simple progressions that can be done (some in less than 10 minutes) to help. So come back from a run, spend 10 minutes doing a quick set of sun salutations and move on – it is definately, something I know that I will be incorporating into my training.

Unfortunately for me, the book was a library book and i didn’t really want to/couldn’t photocopy all the stuff I wanted to – so I’m planning on ordering it and adding it to my growing library of training references. Like a previous review of a strength training book, this one is hard to rate until I have a chance to fully test out the various sequences, but never fear, I shall let you know.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-up Christmas Relationship – Brittainy C. Cherry

totally ridiculousOur Totally, Ridiculous, Made-up Christmas Relationship
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
All families have secrets, and Jules Stone’s is no exception. Deciding not to follow in her family’s Oscar-winning footsteps, Jules chooses to take a more behind-the-scenes career in one of the Top 10 Talent Agencies in Chicago. After being dumped five hours before spending Christmas with her dysfunctional family, she needs a plan to avoid their judgmental eyes.

Enter: Kayden Reece.

Kayden is the black sheep of his family, being the one actor drowning in a world of doctors and lawyers. Never really getting a jumpstart at his acting career or landing a big time role, he can feel his dad’s disappointment soaking into his spirit.

When Kayden gets a chance to meet and sign with a big name agent at Walter and Jacks Talent Agency, he’s ready to prove everyone wrong. Jules stumbles into the building in shambles, ugly crying, and begging to pay an actor a big sum of money to be her made-up boyfriend for five days, Kayden jumps at the opportunity—finally able to say he landed a role.

When secrets start to unravel, Kayden and Jules must learn that all families have their baggage, sometimes co-stars fall in lust, and it’s important to always have invisible mistletoe hanging around.

Review:
Sometimes when you are home with bronchitis and feeling cruddy, a cute romance is just what you need and Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-up Christmas Relationship hit all my happy buttons. Last week I was lucky enough to get an unplanned 3 day vacation from work (unfortunately, not by choice) and while looking for something to read, I came across this book in Kindle Unlimited. Honestly, I think someone had recommended it, but darn if I can remember.

Anyways, I will admit that the title at first made me chuckle and then shake my head – because honestly, I was expecting a comedy of errors type plot device – I mean, at least, that is what I would image when you use the word ridiculous in a title. But it turned out to be a rather sweet romance – although I will admit that the secondary characters (family members mostly) were so whacked out that maybe ridiculous is an appropriate description.

While I’m not always a fan of the fake marriage/marriage of convenience plot device (I mean, since normally its needing to pose in order to get an inheritance or a job), in this case it worked for me, because it revolved around the simple desire of wanting to show your family that you are successful/loved etc. Yeah, maybe a bit cheesy, but when you are introduced to Jules family, you’ll find out why I say that. And opposite to that, there was Kayden’s family that was (pardon my french) a bunch of assholes (well, aside from his mom). They were the most obnoxious group of people I’ve read about in a good long while. One of the things I really liked about the book was that there wasn’t the huge secret/big misunderstanding trope that is used so frequently. While there was a bit of one, it didn’t take up the whole plot and was resolved relatively quickly.

Overall, a cute contemp romance that will just (hopefully) make you feel happy inside ;)

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – The Risk – Skye Jordan

the riskThe Risk
Author: Skye Jordan
Series: #1 in the Xtreme Heros series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Former Olympian turned physical therapist to the elite Julia Bailey knows all about pushing the limits. But when a sexual harassment suit costs her a dream job—not to mention her reputation—she takes on the biggest risk of her life. Rehabilitating the X Games’ most notorious bad boy might be just what she needs to secure the funds for her own treatment center. Problem is, the only kind of recovery her new client is interested in is under-the-covers freestyle—gear optional.

Daredevil snowboarder Noah Hunt is a rock star—on and off the slopes. A recent accident might have him down, but he’s far from out. He doesn’t care what the sexy therapist with the sweet curves says. He’s got sponsors to impress and trophies to collect, and taking things slow and steady just ain’t his style. A little dirty talk and a sizzling night later, Julia learns just how fast and hard he likes to play. Too bad for him, his heart goes all in, and one wrong move could cost him more than just his career.

Review:
Skye Jordan is a name that I have heard thrown around both groups on Goodreads and on Amazon as a author I should try, but as seems to be the case, I have a book of hers sitting on the pile, but not yet gotten around to reading. So when the opportunity arose to review her newest book as part of the launch blog tour I was intrigued enough by the description and by the cover (I mean, seriously, have you SEEN the cover?!?!) that I knew I wanted to try it and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed.

From the get-go you could tell how much research the author had done not only into the world of snowboarding (which I know very little about), but also physical therapy (while never having busted my ankle, some of the techniques described have been used on me during various periods of recovery from other sports injuries). It added a sense of realism to the story – although I will admit that you could tell some of the process had been speed-up to fit with the storyline. However, from the description, I kind of expected more about the issues Julia had prior to working with Noah, but they were fairly hidden away/downplayed in the story – which was a bit of a let-down (I always figure if something is important enough to be featured prominently in the blurb, then why not include it more in the storyline…otherwise, it just feels as though it was added for angst and not really conducive to the story).

I liked the whole development between Noah and Julia as a relationship in general – but then I’m a sucker for doctor/patient and other healthcare themed romances. It very vaguely reminded me of an old school Sandra Brown (Adam’s Fall) but with the physical therapist being a former athlete. The romance between Noah and Julia felt hot and yet sweet at the same time – I actually like how she tortured him a bit before giving in and how she was willing to fight people who said “i’m the specialist that’s why” when it came to his health. My least favorite part of their romance was the random thoughts that Noah had towards the end that felt a bit 50shades-ish – it didn’t add to the story at all, and honestly felt like it was just added in as a shock factor. It was because of that, that I actually lowered my rating from 4 stars, down to 3.5 – it just felt unnecessary/didn’t work for me (don’t get me wrong, I read erotic romance regularly, but in this instance, it just wasn’t needed (IMHO).

Overall, I enjoyed the Risk – the romance was for the most part really well done and Ms Jordan did a good job developing the sexual tension between Noah and Julia. I will be curious to see where she takes the series with future books and I know that I will be moving other books that I have by her up my to-read pile.

Buy Links:
Amazon – The Risk (Xtreme Heroes 1)
Barnes and Noble – The Risk
Apple – The Risk
Kobo – The Risk

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Haven Lake – Holly Robinson

haven lakeHaven Lake
Author: Holly Robinson
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
Sydney Bishop hasn’t returned to Haven Lake, her idyllic childhood home, since a pair of shocking, tragic deaths shattered her family when she was only sixteen. Now a child psychologist engaged to marry a successful surgeon, Sydney has worked hard to build a relationship with Dylan, her fiancé’s teenage son, so she feels nothing but empathy when he runs away—until she discovers that his hitchhiking journey has led him to Haven Lake and her mother Hannah’s sheep farm.

Sydney returns to Haven Lake for the first time in twenty years to coax the boy home. Against her daughter’s wishes, Hannah offers to take Dylan in until he’s ready to reveal his own troubling secrets. Now, for Dylan’s sake as well as their own, Sydney and Hannah must confront the devastating events that tore them apart and answer the questions that still haunt their family—and the suspicious surrounding community—about what really caused two people to die on their farm those many years ago.

Review:
This is a hard review for me to write because Holly Robinson has been a favorite author of mine since I read her book The Wishing Hill a couple of years ago, so when I got my hands on Haven Lake I was excited to dig on it. In fact, when I received my copy of it, I had a picture posted on twitter within about 10 minutes of opening the package. But when it came to reading it, I don’t know if I wasn’t in the right mood, or there was something that just wasn’t working for me, but I struggled with the initial stages. At one stage early on (I was maybe about 40 pages in), I put it down because I was struggling and there is sat, glaring at me from my bedside table for probably a good month or so (books rarely last that long as a current read). But on a snowy weekend, I curled up with Haven Lake and after I got past the chapter or so that I was stuck on, the rest of my reading was pretty much smooth sailing.

Much like her previous books, Haven Lake is a woman’s exploration into her life – what has gone wrong? what has gone right? what does she need to change to be where she wants to be? But I had issues relating to Sydney – I just felt like she wasn’t relatable – in fact, she was (at least to me an unfeeling bitch). She may have become slightly more redeemable as the book progressed for the most part, but honestly, yeah, I could have cared less.

I was much more interested in both Hannah and Sydney’s soon to be step-son, Dylan – they were to me the more interesting of the cast of characters. I’m always intrigued by people who decide to live off the grid (and while Hannah wasn’t completely off, she was fairly well unplugged) – mostly because I know I could never do it. I like my phone, my computer, Facebook, Starbucks etc wayyy to much ;) I also liked how Holly developed Dylan’s character – all I wanted to do while I was reading his portion was wrap him up in a huge hug (and then bitch-slap his father…). He reminded me of Gigi in Holly’s other book, Beach Plum Island. As a writer she has the troubled teen character very well developed (and they don’t seem to be cardboard cut-outs of each other, each are unique).

I ended up giving Haven Lake 3.5 stars because of my thoughts about Sydney through-out, since she was the main character and I just struggled to like her. As well as the fact that I very easily put this down and wasn’t in any rush to pick it back up, like I did with previous books by Holly. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as previous books, I think reader’s who like women’s lit may enjoy it.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Make Me Up – Avery Flynn

make me up Make Me Up
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #3 in the Killer Style series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
Former special ops-turned private-investigator Cam Hardy leaves a trail of broken hearts wherever he goes. He’s all charm and sex appeal, and who can blame him for putting it to good use? Besides, it works damn well on the stunning and tough-as-nails makeup artist Drea Sanford. Only this time, Cam may be in over his head…

Drea is trying to keep her naughty affair with Cam a secret. After all, he’s Harbor City’s version of a Casanova…if Casanova had a motorcycle. When Cam makes their hot little liaison known to the public, however, Drea vows never to have sex with him again. Then one of her clients turns up dead. Now Drea is suspect number one—and she needs Cam’s help. But sleeping with him is one thing…trusting him is quite another.

Review:
Ever since Avery introduced Drea in High-Heeled Wonder as one of Sylvie’s partners in crime (and knowing Avery and her 2 partners in crime, I have an idea of who Drea is modeled after, I think) – i’ve been waiting for her story. She has one of those quirky personalities, that I could see early on was going to make for a fun romance between her and whoever her partner ended up being. And don’t worry, Cam didn’t disappoint either. Although I will admit that while I remember Drea from previous books in the series, I don’t have as much of a recollection of Cam (although, I’m sure that he has made an appearance because he works for the same Private Investigations company that previous characters have been employed by).

In keeping with previous themes, each chapter of Make-Me Up started off with a quote about make-up and its influence on life. That being said, anyone who knows me, knows how much I am not a make-up girl. Diverging a bit from my review (but it kind of ties in), I needed to buy make-up for an event a few years back, so my friend took me to Sephora and asked the sales woman to help…let’s just say, deer in the headlights was probably a good description when she started asking me about my make-up routine and t-zones…but even with my lack of make-up wearing (i mean, seriously, make-up or 10 min more in bed in the am…bed is going to win); I could connect to Drea as a character.

I will admit that the mystery/suspense element for me was fairly obvious and I knew the reveal about halfway through the book, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of Drea/Cam’s romance. I loved how Drea was a strong enough/confident enough woman in her own sexuality that she was ok with having a sex-based relationship with someone because that is what she wanted (does that make sense?). Overall, I gave Make-Me Up 4 stars and can’t wait to see what Ms Flynn comes up with next.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Chasing Desire – Joya Ryan

chasing desireChasing Desire
Author: Joya Ryan
Series: #3 in the Chasing Love series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
It’s her best friend’s wedding, and Autumn Lane is trussed up in a pink bridesmaid dress with a big “everything is great” smile plastered across her face. She’s not going think about her life imploding, or spending the next two weeks housesitting in the ridiculously small town of Diamond. No, she’d rather think about the tattooed hottie in the wedding party…and how to turn the wicked way he’s looking at her into a night of intense pleasure.

Huck Galvin is fiercely attracted to his mystery woman’s no-BS attitude, but their one-night-no-strings plan backfires when Huck discovers that Autumn is the out-of-towner he’s “chaperoning” for the next two weeks. Outside the bedroom, the two can’t stand each other, yet Huck can’t deny how much he wants one more night with her. But Autumn isn’t going to make it easy for Huck. Not by a long shot…

Review:
I had an unplanned day off work today (thank you 6″ of snow and the Federal Gov’t closing), so in typical fashion after shoveling myself out of my driveway, I jumped in the car and headed out for a pedicure, kindle in hand with Joya Ryan’s new book just sitting there waiting to be read. Yes, I am that kind of dork when it comes to reading! So I settled in to get my pedicure, opened my kindle and was sucked into Huck and Autumn (Auto’s) story. I’d read the first book in the series previously (although not the second), so I knew the context in which the opening scenes took place (and while I think this could easily be read as a stand-alone – knowing the previous couples in the series is also advantageous).

Ms Ryan has a very smooth but energetic way of story-telling – you find yourself sucked into the story, clicking away one page/screen at a time, and before I knew it, I was over 3/4 of the way done (thankfully, I still had to wait for my toe nails to finish drying, so I could finish reading before I left). but I’m sure no one wants to read about my adventures in pedicures (although I will admit picking a nail polish can be kind of an adventure) ;) So on to the book…

Where to begin…I loved Autumn as a character, she was kick-ass and thankfully didn’t have any TSTL moments (to stupid to live) like many heroines in romances nowadays. Her job as a mechanic was something different (I can only think of one other romance featuring a female mechanic right now (Start Me Up – Victoria Dahl) – although plenty of ones with male mechanics (maybe because the visual of a grimy, sweaty man just makes hearts go aflutter). And you could tell that the author had done her research and Autumn was believable in how she presented herself – her job wasn’t just in the story as a place-holder/in the background – it was an active part in moving the plot and relationship between her and Hank forward. Seriously, I mean, not many women (at least that i know) would grab tools on the day of a friends wedding (while she is supposed to be getting ready) to fix something that needed fixing…I’m just sayin’

And then there was Huck…ok, so yeah, the name threw me at the beginning because it just seemed to out of left field – I mean, I was having visions of Huckleberry Finn at times, and not the tattooed/pierced bad boy he was. While he was presented in a very visual way, I do wish some more of him as a person was developed – there were some great one-liners with him and his father about his lack of mechanical skills (even if he could build anything else) – and I felt the lose that he suffered, that made him part of the curmudgeon that he could be seen as being early on in the story.

As with my previous books i’ve read by her, one of Ms Ryan’s strengths is the secondary characters who appear in the town. I particularly liked Huck’s father and you could see from his characterization how much he loved his son/wanted to see him be happy. I also liked seeing Jenna and Colt (from bk 1 again); and now I want to go back and read book 2 for Penny and Sebastian’s story. if you want a fun, smexy, mostly-angst free contemporary romance, I highly recommend Joya Ryan’s Chasing love series. 4 stars

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Book Review

 

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