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Review – The Husband Games – Jamie Farrell

the husband gamesThe Husband Games
Author: Jamie Farrell
Series: #1 of the Misfit Brides of Bliss series
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Review Copy Provided By Author

Description:
After Natalie Castellano’s marriage imploded on the field of the Husband Games in Bliss, Illinois, the Most Married-est Town on Earth, the last job she expected to inherit was planning the fiftieth anniversary of her hometown’s unique Games. But with her mother’s unexpected passing, that’s exactly what Natalie’s doing. And the position demands that she play nice with CJ Blue, the man who ultimately caused Natalie’s marital demise.

Winning Bliss’s Husband Games and being crowned Husband of the Year was the brightest spot in CJ’s short marriage. Since his wife’s untimely death, he’s taken himself around the world, hiding from his grief. But now, family obligations have him trapped in Bliss, where he’s been invited to participate in the Games and humiliate himself in the name of closure. The whole town wants him to play. The whole town, except one. And he can’t decide what bothers him more—that Natalie doesn’t think he belongs in the Games, or that she’s right.

These two would make great enemies. But all games aside, the more they find themselves in close quarters, the harder it is to deny their mutual attraction. She’s battled Bliss’s bridal brigade, and he’s jumped out of airplanes and soared over waterfalls, but now they’re both facing the biggest risk of all: taking another chance on love.

Review
So as a reader I love finding new authors to read and I thank my friend Jen every day for introducing me to Jamie Farrell. From reading her first book just over a year ago, I’ve been an avid fan (probably almost bordering on fan girl) – so when I got a special delivery in my email of my ARC of Husband Games, yeah, there was definately some happy dancing going on (figuratively, if not literally). I’d been lucky enough to see the cover long before it was released and I fell in love with it (I mean, look at it, who wouldn’t) – so I knew the book was going to be awesome. And thank god, Jamie delivered.

I will admit, I wasn’t sure about the whole weddings being a predominant role of the story – I mean, a town described as the most wedding-est town in the US, but juxtapose that with a main character who is divorced and well, there may be something there. I loved Natalie – from the first introduction of her until the end, she is probably one of my favorite female characters recently – although I will admit that she did have a few dumb moments where I wanted to shake her. But at the same time, I could see how much that was self-protection from the shenanigans from town-persons.

And then there is CJ – oh CJ, CJ, CJ – former winner of the Husband Games, now a widower and newly returned to town. Words can’t describe my thoughts on CJ – he is the perfect guy – I mean, down to his ability to distinguish his SO by the perfume she wears (or can he?). But Natalie and CJ have a history, one that she vividly remembers, but he has no idea about.

But even though the story was a romance, my favorite (and at the same time) most hated character was the Queen General – the woman who basically controlled Bliss – I know I was supposed to hate her, and I did truely – but oh my god, how she was developed as a character, I couldn’t help but also like her as well (yeah, I’m weird I know). Especially how it all came together in the end.

I loved the idea of the husband games – I mean, a competition based solely around the idea of which husband is the best at various tasks – doing laundry (ha); cooking a romantic dinner (anyone have the fire dept on auto-dial), or just all around-awesomeness. The secondary cast of characters (including CJ’s family – which consists of too many siblings for me to recount); Natalie’s sister who is going to get her own book in the future (if my RUMINT is to be believed), made the story all the more enjoyable.

I will admit that I was surprised by how hard this review was for me to write, considering how much I enjoyed the book. I don’t know what it was, maybe, that there is so much I wanted to say, but I couldn’t without going too far into spoiler territory. Either way, I loved Husband Games, a solid 4 stars and can’t wait to see what Jamie comes up with in the future.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Problems in Paradise – Kelsey Brown

problems in paradiseProblems In Paradise
Author: Kelsey Brown
Series: #3 in the Texas Nights series
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Review Copy Provided By Author

Description:
Eden Durant hasn’t always been Eden Durant. She’s made a fresh start in Shelbyville, Texas, far from her mother’s notoriety. Running the Paradise Garden Café is as much excitement as Eden wants—or it was, until she meets Beck Childress. Although he’s the one man who could expose her past, she’s willing to open up enough to see if he might be her future.

Chief Deputy Childress is determined to get to know the real Eden, when he isn’t busy cleaning up after the sheriff and running in the election to replace him. When several men fall sick after eating in Eden’s café, he investigates even as her mysterious past raises both his suspicions and his protective instincts.

As their relationship heats up, so do the pressures of Beck’s campaign. When Eden’s secrets are revealed, jeopardizing his dream of becoming sheriff, he’ll need to choose: serve and protect the town he loves or the woman who makes it home.

Review:
I blame Jamie Farrell for my current addiction to Kelsey Brownings books – back when book 2 in the Texas Nights series (Running the Red Light) was released, she was talking about it on her facebook page and like a sucker, I one clicked it on Amazon and was hooked. I will however admit that while I remember Beck from the previous books, I don’t have as strong a recollection of Eden. I vaguely remember the discussions about her organic vegan restaurant – which I found funny, since the series in set in Texas (yeah, I know it was supposed to be) and how most texans I know (although not that many) are red meat lovin’ people. So seeing the interaction between Beck, the self-avowed junk foodie and Eden, the organic, homemade, health food junkie made me squee. (and yes, squee is a word!)

The sexual tension between Beck and Eden was hot enough that I found myself fanning my face a few times while reading – i’m sure red in my skin tone is such an awesome look! But it wasn’t overly done – meaning, there was so much more to the story than sex. Especially, the mystery about who was trying to sabotage both Beck’s campaign for Sheriff (I personally, still don’t get that, shouldn’t the Sheriff be the best at the job, not the person that can lie, whoops, I mean campaign the best). I will admit that I kind of had the mystery figured out before the reveal, but then I quite often do – its rare that I had no idea prior (except with this darn new J.K. Rowling book that STILL has me stumped, but that is a story for another day). I will admit that I did like the underlying, OMG, vegetarian food may kill us vibe that I got from several of the characters who made an appearance – it reminds me very much of my family and how they still react to this day with my sister who is a vegetarian (going on 10 years now). Such an insight, it was like the author is or knows someone who is a vegan and sees the interaction that occurs between us meat eaters (yeah, I’m admittedly one) and the non-meat eaters – haha!

Plus as with her previous books, we got to visit once again the couples from both Personal Assets (bk 1) and Running the Red Light (bk 2), but without their stories taking over, they were just there, in the background, hanging out, like good friends do. So basically, sexy contemporary romance, personal beliefs tension (carnivore vs. vegan), unresolved sexual tension and lite mystery make so a great read from Kelsey Browning. Overall, I gave Problems in Paradise 4 stars.

Kelsey will be giving away 1 copy of Personal Assets (the first book in the series) to one lucky commenter, so make sure you leave some love below (and your email, so I can get a hold of you if you win) and good luck. You have until July 25th (next Friday)

Buy Links:
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Amazon
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Barnes and Noble
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Carina Press
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Books A Million
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Kobo

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Enemies on Tap – Avery Flynn

enemies on tapEnemies on Tap
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #1 in the Sweet Salvation Brewery series
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Review Copy Donated by Author

Description:
Enemies …After years away, Miranda Sweet returns to Salvation, Virginia to save her family’s brewery, but her fate is in the hands of her lover-turned-enemy, Logan. What’s a girl to do when the only person who can help her is the man who betrayed her?

Lovers …Logan Martin can’t believe his luck when the woman who smashed his heart to smithereens walks into his bank asking for his help. What she doesn’t know is that he needs the land her brewery is on–and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

An Irresistible Combination …Their wager becomes a battle between their attraction and their determination to win. But it’s in each other’s arms that they realize there might be more at stake now than their bet. With the town against the Sweet Salvation Brewery’s success, Logan has to choose between what’s expected of him and what he really wants…

Review
Oh Avery, Avery, Avery…lol! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for an Enemies to Lover story – it is probably one of my favorite romance tropes. So when I saw the description of Enemies on Tap, and then saw the post on facebook that there were going to be ARC’s available, I was on it faster than (insert some kind of inappropriate joke here) – which goes along with the story itself.

To say that I hugely enjoyed EoT (since i’m too lazy to write out Enemies on Tap everytime – sorry Avery!) is an understatement. There were times I was laughing so hard, I’m sure the people around me (I was on the metro heading home from work) probably through that I was having an attack or something. EoT was a short read (only about 160 pgs according to Amazon), so I managed to read it in about 2 metro rides – but I made the drudgery of my day job just fall away as I was sucked into Miranda and Logan’s story.

I will admit that for a good portion of the first half I wanted to go and find a baseball bat, reach into my kindle and boing Logan over the head. He was such a stick in the mud – and yet at the same time, I could kind of understand with the history that he shared with Miranda and the small town prejudices (having grown up in one myself, it was almost like a reoccurring nightmare). The whole Sweet and Martin dynamic (think Hatfield and McCoy’s without the shooting at each other – although I’m surprised it hadn’t gone that far) was funny and it was like Ms Flynn had grown up in a town where stuff like that occurred. The romance wasn’t as hot as some, but there was a reasonable amount of UST between Miranda and Logan, as well as some seriously hot moments – it just wasn’t all wham, bam, thank you ma’am type stuff (which is a pet peeve of mine).

But it wasn’t just Miranda and Logan who I loved – there was a colorful cast of secondary characters that made up the town of Salvation, Virginia. I think my favorite secondary character, aside from the curmudgeon of a Brewmaster (who rumor has it is going to get his own book in the future) was Ruby Sue and her pie (yes, the pie is a secondary character in my mind!) and with quotes like this:

“I’ll be damned. Miranda Sweet, is it you or is my glaucoma acting up again?” Ruby Sue sat her glass down on the Formica countertop with a clank. “You always did know how to make an entrance. Who do you think you are, the Queen of England?”

I can’t wait to see more of her in the later books.

I am kind of bummed that I failed to write down some of the awesome quotes that I found while reading – I always think about it and then forget. Thankfully people on Goodreads do a much better job than me (yes!).

I can’t wait for the next book in the series, to see where it goes (and of course, to see what Miranda and Logan get up to in the future). In fact, I was even tweeting the author, almost as soon as I was done, asking her when the next book was going to be out. This book has firmly put Avery Flynn on my current autobuy pile. 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Hard Hats and Doormats – Laura Chapman

hard hats doormatsHard Hats and Doormats
Author: Laura Chapman
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Review Copy Provided by Author via RABT

Description:
Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion–-because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

Review:
When I read the description of Hard Hats and Doormats, I was intrigued – having worked in a male dominated capacity for a few years, it is an environment that I know and can appreciate (while also getting exceptional frustrated with). Although, I will admit that I know little about the oil business – so reading about that was introducing me to a whole new world. I sat down on Thursday night intending to only read a chapter or so on my kindle, but I was soon sucked in and before I knew it, I had read about 50% of the book (not complaining because it was the great way to start a holiday weekend). Ms Chapman has a very smooth writing style, that isn’t overly flowery, but just works well.

The relationship between Jason and Lexi made me giggle because it reminded me so much of workplace relationships that I have seen – not that I agree with them – but sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t – I liked how they tried to keep theirs on the DL, even though everyone “knew” about it. Because that is just how it always seems to be, the more something is tried to be kept quiet, the more people actually seem to know about it (I wonder if there is a psychological theory in there somewhere..)

I will admit that I was kind of disappointed in the fact that while she worked in a male-dominated world, Lexi was still in what could be seen as a more female-centric position (human resources/training). I would have loved to have seen her more in the environment, or actually doing a job on one of the oil platforms. I was also kind of disappointed in how little she seemed to know about the company she worked for – yeah, she could spout all the various rules/regulations – but when it came to the actual functioning of the company – it seemed like she had never really bothered to learn (and I can kind of see where the Doormat label could be applied). I don’t know, maybe it is just me, but if I was working for a company where I was a complete newb, I’d be down on the deckplates, trying to learn as much as I could.

However, even with those issues, Hard Hats and Doormats was a solid read. It wasn’t overly romance/spicy, but rather toned down (at least to me – others may disagree). I know I’ll be looking forward to reading more by Ms Chapman in the future. Overall, I gave Hard Hats and Doormats 4 stars for a lite contemporary romance/chick lit read.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – This Year’s Black – Avery Flynn

this years blackThis Year’s Black
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #2 in the Killer Style series

Review Copy Provided by The Author

Description:
A fighter since birth, Allegra “Ryder” Falcon would rather trade in her all-black wardrobe for head-to-toe hot pink than let anyone ever see the cracks in her tough exterior. But one night with a stranger changes everything.

Devin Harris may have given up his MMA fighting dreams for high fashion, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t always in control. So when someone embezzles millions under his watch, he isn’t going to let the private investigator working the case go it alone—even if she is the woman who blew him away in bed and then blew him off.

Just when it seems like it couldn’t get any hotter between Ryder and Devin, the case takes them to a tropical paradise where the danger increases. From the catwalk to the pineapple fields, they have to work together to track down the missing millions before the thief finds—and kills—them.

Review:
Oh where to begin, after i finished up High-Heeled Wonder a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if Ms Flynn’s second book in the series could be more enjoyable, since I seriously enjoyed it (I mean, mystery featuring a fashion blogger), but when I saw the Allegra “Ryder” (sister of the hero in the first book) was going to be the heroine in the second book I was intrigued – she was the kind of female who reminds me, of, well me…haha! well, not really, but a kick-ass, no excuses, get the job done kind of chick, who also isn’t dumb, like so many heroines in romsus/mystery type books (you know, the ones who are TSTL – for lack of a better word). But at the same time, she isn’t afraid to ask for help (holy crap – a character that actually realized they aren’t invincible…shock gasp). And then there is Devin – the bad boy to the core, trying to hide who he really is under dress shirts and ties – listening to what society/his family think he should do. There was something about him that made me just want to give him a huge (and do other dirty things to him – hehe).

I will admit that I’m kind of conflicted over whether I liked the mystery more in the first one or this one – although I will admit this one had less mystery (since I figured out the who-dun-it before the reveal) than the first one, but more suspense in the resolution of the storyline. Plus the vivid images that Ms Flynn painted of the island just sucked me in (I really could have booked a ticket then and there).

I will say my one gripe is the dress that Ryder is wearing on the cover, it just soo wasn’t sexy in any way shape or form, at first i thought she might have been pregnant and trying to hide the evidence, but no, it was just really loose and gathered in weird places – yeah, I know probably pedantic, but it soo wasn’t sexy to me.

All I can say, is that she needs to hurry up and write more books! 4 stars overall and a recommendation for anything who likes hot romance with a touch of mystery.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Here There Be Dragons – James A Owens

here there be dragonsHere There Be Dragons
Author: James A Owens
Series: #1 in the The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series

Narrator: James Langton
Run Time: 8hrs and 27 minutes

Description:
The Imaginarium Geographica

“What is it?” John asked.
The little man blinked and arched an eyebrow.
“It is the world, my boy,” he said. “All the world, in ink and blood, vellum and parchment, leather and hide. It is the world, and it is yours to save or lose.”

An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica — an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between worlds into the Archipelago of Dreams.

Pursued by strange and terrifying creatures, the companions flee London aboard the Dragonship. Traveling to the very realm of the imagination itself, they must learn to overcome their fears and trust in one another if they are to defeat the dark forces that threaten the destiny of two worlds.

Review:
So my initial thought after finishing this was how the heck have I not read/listened to this author before. I initially bought it back in February of 2011 and then never listened to it, but I needed a book that had been shelved as fantasy and sci-fi for a challenge, as well as trying to knock off some of my purchased and not listened books off the pile. I was immediately sucked into the story. Its actually pretty easy to describe – take any fantasy book that you have probably heard of in the past, and then mash all of the various worlds together into a series of islands and a governing council and you’ll have the basis of the story.

It begins in 1920(ish) England, so there was immediately a historical feel to the story, along with the impact of the war, which is felt by several of the main characters. We are introduced to Jack, John and Charles who are the protagonists of the story (and there is a pretty cool twist at the end over who the main characters really are). A murder of a mentor and the mission to protect the Imaginarium Geographica, or the atlas of all the imaginary worlds that we believe exist.

The entire story was like a roller coaster of adventure – it was literally on the go from the get-go – I think the whole book took place only over about a 4 day period (or so it seemed, maybe it took a bit longer). And while it was a longer book, it didn’t feel like it was long – I was sucked in (and for the first time in a long-time I found myself sitting in the car listening to just a couple more minutes…). This is the kind of book that would appeal to not only adults but children, while the main characters were older (in their early 20’s), it was written in a way to appeal to a younger audience with the adventures.

It was my first time listening to a book narrated by James Langton. I do think that his strengths were in the male voices which were the predominate part of the book. While his female voices weren’t bad, they were definately weaker than the male ones. I will say, however, that I plan to see what else he has narrated in the future. I’ve already added the second book in the series to my audible wishlist for a future credit.

Overall, I gave Here, There Be Dragons 4 stars and a high recommendation to other people who enjoy fantasy with touches of realism.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2014 in Audiobook Review

 

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Review – Asking for Trouble – Rosalind James

asking for troubleAsking for Trouble
Author: Rosalind James
Series: #3 in the Kincaids series

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Sometimes you go looking for trouble. And sometimes, trouble finds you.

Alyssa Kincaid knows she needs to make some big changes. A move to San Francisco is the first step, and now it’s time to get serious, and to get the rest of her life on track. If only her messy life would cooperate. And if only it had Joe Hartman in it.

Joe knows one thing for sure: Making a move on his best friend’s little sister, the beloved youngest sibling in the closest thing to a family he’s got, would just be asking for trouble. Unfortunately, Alyssa always does seem to be asking for trouble. And it’s getting harder and harder for Joe to resist answering.

Review:
Ok, i’ll admit to being a huge Rosalind James fan – I stalk her on Twitter to find out what new stuff she has coming out, so when I saw Asking for Trouble mentioned, I jumped on it and asked her oh so nicely, if she would let me review a copy. Thankfully, she agreed (although, I would have bought it if she had said no). But as things go, sooo many books, too little time – so it started at me from my kindle for a good couple of weeks before I managed to get to it (but if you ask me, I was saving it for when I needed a pick me up!)

Anyways, back to the book – this was Alyssa and Joe’s story. Alyssa is the youngest sister of Gabe and Alec who feature in the first two books in the series and Joe is Alec’s best friend and business partner who we met in the second book – although, there is some history to the pairing. I will admit that the brothers best friend/little sister story line often gives me some squick moments because it always seems like there are huge age differences between the two, but thankfully, there is only 4 years between Joe and Alyssa – that made it seem much more believable/workable to me.

I loved Joe – there is something about the tough guy that I love, especially a tough guy with a shaved head – its totally sexy. I will admit that there were a few times that Alyssa drove me a bit nuts, but it was kind of nice seeing her come into her own – especially seeing her tell her brother off – that whole scene made me laugh out loud – i’m sure the people at the bus stop were looking at me like I was nuts. But don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t your mom’s sweet romance – it was hot and sexy and there were a couple of scenes with some lite bondage (since I know not everyone is a fan of that, so this is a warning).

At the end of the book, I that feeling feeling of book depression – you know, when you finish a good book and not sure what you are going to read next. Of course, as soon as I was done, I was bugging the author on what she was going to be releasing next – what can I say…lol! Overall, I gave Asking for Trouble 4 stars and it is probably one of my favorite books by her so far.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2014 in Book Review

 

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