Tag Archives: 4 stars

Review – I’ll be Home For Christmas – Lori Wilde

i'll be home for christmasI’ll be Home For Christmas
Author: Lori Wilde
Series: #7 in the Twilight, Texas series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Christmas in Twilight, Texas, is all merriment and mistletoe. The Cookie Club is whipping up their most festive sweets, the townspeople are scrambling to get their holiday shopping done, and Joe—a hometown guy with a restless heart—is dreaming about the woman he wants to kiss most…

…And who happens to be staying at his sister’s place over the holidays, while Joe’s sister is away. But Joe isn’t quite sure he wants to be a living Christmas present to runaway law student Gabi Preston.

Joe thinks the sassy sweetheart he nicknames “Trouble” won’t inconvenience anything but his healthy sex drive. But when he discovers the reasons Gabi escaped from her life, he aches to give her everything she’s never had. As the magic of the season draws them together, the gift of love is the only one worth giving…

Its my favorite time of the year currently and by that I mean, the time of year when romantic christmas movies start showing up on various channels – one of my favorite movies in this arena is The Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet where 2 strangers switch houses for Christmas to escape from the insanity of their lives – so imagine my surprise when I’ll Be Home for Christmas had a similar premise where the heroine, Gabi, switches homes with the hero’s sister, Katie.

While I had never read Lori Wilde before (although I think several of her books might be loitering on Mt TBR)…she was already off to a solid start for me. I’ll also admit (and probably previously noted) that I am a sucker for small town romances – so authors like Susan Mallery and her Fool’s Gold series are comfort reads to me; as well as books that feature family members in each book finding their HEA’s. So not only was I totally in my happy zone with a small town romance and a family storyline – I mean what could go wrong? (don’t worry, nothing did).

Honestly, its really hard for me to write reviews for books like this because it was just a solid read – I got sucked in to Joe and Gabi’s story – some of Gabi’s antic’s made me laugh, and I’ll be the first to admit, I had no idea what a Yurt was, until I read this book (if you want to know, you’ll have to google it). And there is something about guys that are the salt of the earth, work with their hands that just makes them more approachable (at least to me) – maybe because my dad is a blue-collar worker and its the environment I grew up in.

There were a few angsty moments where I wondered how the story was going to play out, but all is all, totally satisfying and I know that I will be coming back and reading the previous books in the series. That being said, it should be noted that this is #7 in a series, but can be read stand-alone – as a reader, I got to see the HEA’s of previous couples, but no real spoilers (for lack of a better word) from the other books – just a delight in knowing that there are more books for me to read. A solid 4 stars for this sweet Christmas read and (at least for me), the rest of the series will be going on my 2016 reading list.


Posted by on November 25, 2015 in Book Review


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Review – After the War – Jessica Scott

after the warAfter the War
Author: Jessica Scott
Series: #2 in the Homefront series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author via Netgalley

A terrible loss…
Captain Sarah Anders lost her husband to the Iraq war and has nearly lost the career she loves. Sent to Fort Hood, she only wants to do her job and take care of the daughter she’s raising on her own. She never counted on running straight into a memory she’d tried to forget.
A love he never forgot…
Captain Sean Nichols never got over Sarah. He simply tried to forget her amidst the war and the chaos of combat. But when she’s assigned to investigate his unit, he comes face to face with the woman no war or any amount of time could make him forget.
A dark secret…
As Sarah gets closer to the truth, Sean must accept that actions he took during the war may end the tentative love building between them. And even if Sarah can forgive him, Sean may never be able to forgive himself.

I always seem to hesitate when I pick up a book by Jessica Scott, not for fear of the writing, but more for fear of how much I am going to end up crying while reading…I can’t think of one of her books yet that hasn’t made me blubber like a baby in places and After the War was no different. In After the War, Ms Scott tackles the often unwritten about tragedy of war, the death of a spouse – especially, as in this instance, when the initial couple was dual military (meaning both were serving at the same time); and then following on, what if that widow(er) finds love again and how do they/can they move on. In the case of Sarah and Sean – there was that history between the two of them, which to me, made the relationship more believable. I could see from the writing that Sean still loved Sarah, even though they had been separated for many years and while Sarah was struggling with being a widow and a single mother, Jessica made her transition to love again appear believable to me.

As with all her other books, the other characters in After the War just enhanced the story and make it all the more real. Including the Col that Sarah worked for – I spent the vast majority of the book wanting to just scream at her for her behavior towards Sarah and yet at the same time, its behavior from senior officers that I have observed in real life (those that don’t have families and hate individuals who do because it interferes with their perception of the individual doing their job; the idea that if the Army (or Navy) wanted you to have a family they would have issued you one. I’ve been lucky enough to not personally experience this, but I know women who have.

As with her previous books in the series (and the series that lead into this one) – Jessica managed to walk the line between love and angst, but I will say that I did end up tearing up a little bit – not as much as I have in previous books, but enough that I was reaching for a box of tissues towards the end. After the War got 4 stars from me and I already have the next book in the series waiting on my kindle (although I am rapidly running out of books by her to read)

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Posted by on November 8, 2015 in Book Review


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Review – More than Water – Renee Erickson

more than waterMore than Water
Author: Renee Erickson
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel wrong. It just…feels.

EJ Cunning, an art history major, dates musicians. Foster Blake, a chemical engineering major, can’t sing a tune. They’re not each other’s type. They’re coworkers.

Then, one night leads to sex—sex between friends—which leads to an agreement. It all seems so simple—but nothing ever is.

Many layers build a person’s facade.

Look into the depths for what’s hidden within.

It’s more than water. It’s a story—a living and breathing substance beyond the reflective surface.

More than Water is one of those hidden gem romances that I probably never would have discovered if it wasn’t for someone raving about it on the amazon romance forum and it being available in Kindle Unlimited (I can safely save I’ve gotten my money’s worth over the last couple of months). Normally I’m not a huge fan of the new adult genre of romance because the vast majority of the books are overwhelming angst ridden, but this one hit all my sweet/happy spots. There was a bit of minor angst towards the end but overall, it was a genuine romance between two opposite personality people with a bit of geek love mixed in.

I loved that Foster was a chem engineering major, it is def. one that you don’t see often show up in book – it seems that the majority of the time, the majors that characters have lend themselves to more partying than actual studying; whereas in More than Water that is what drew me to Foster – how serious and down to earth he actually was, but at the same time, he could joke around like a normal guy (although I will say for the most part – there are exceptions, that isn’t my experience with engineering majors). And then there was EJ, who in defying her families wishes was pursuing a degree in art history. I loved how she was a rebel when compared to what her parents wanted her to do and yet, it made a really good story – More than Water wasn’t just a romance, it was about finding yourself in the world – who you are – are you going to be the water that follows the predetermined river, flowing smoothing over everything; or will you be the water that will eventually carve a new path and form a new river in the world…i don’t know about you, but I think I would prefer to be the latter over the former.

There was something about Ms Erickson’s writing that just drew me in – I started reading More than Water around 1pm on a Saturday afternoon, with the plan to only read a couple of chapters before going to do typical weekend shenanigans…and before I knew it, it was 4pm, i hadn’t accomplishing anything all day, with the exception of finishing up More than Water (yes, i read it all in one sitting – I can’t remember the last time a YA or NA book sucked me in like that). I think one of my favorite parts (aside from the romance that is) was the descriptions of EJ’s various pieces of artwork and how they suited the different parts of the story. I could tell from reading that the author had obviously done her homework into different forms of both art and chemistry and how they intermixed with each other.

Honestly, I could continue to fan girl about More Than Water and Ms Erickson for a while, but I’m looking forward to reading more books by her in the future. I gave More Than Water 4 stars and recommend it to people who like sweet and slightly sexy new adult romances that are light on the angst.

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Posted by on October 31, 2015 in Book Review


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Review – These Battered Hands – Laurel Ulen Curtis

these battered handsThese Battered Hands
Author: Laurel Ulen Curtis
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Blood, sweat, hard work, and a disconcerting lack of tears—my entire life—was meant to culminate in a flourish of glory and significance.
I’d thought I’d always known exactly what that meant.
But I’d had the timing wrong by about three minutes.
I knew now.
This moment wasn’t everything. The one person I found myself wanting more than anything during it was.
One preconceived notion can haunt you for the entirety of your life.
I thought I owed it to myself and to everyone who’d ever backed me to do what was expected. What was right. What I was supposed to do.
But nothing is forbidden in love. Not circumstances or propriety or the denial of the object of said affection.
I knew now.
This was it.
If I wanted it, I had to take it.

This gymnastics love story is more than grips, rips, and battered hands.
For Calia Nickleson and Nikolai Bagrov, it was everything.

Its really hard to say what exactly caught my eye about These Battered Hands, but there was something in the book description that just screamed read me and I am glad that I did. These was something so raw about Ms Curtis’ writing style that I just found myself sucked it and didn’t want to leave the world that she had created. I’ll admit that I know next to nothing about gymnastics, aside from the fact that I watch it during the Olympics and gaze in awe at what these men and women can do (I tried gymnastics growing up, and let’s just say it wasn’t all that successful…lol). But even I could tell that the author was well-versed in the world of gymnastics – she was able to easily fuse the different technical explanations for routines into the story, in a way that made it educational and yet fun to read. I actually felt like i learned quite a bit which could make watching the 2016 Olympics all the more entertaining next year ;)

I liked how the romance between Callie and Nik developed – it wasn’t a wham bam type one, but rather a severe dislike (at least Callie’s side) and a desire to help her (on Nik’s side) and it just happened. I also enjoyed how the author didn’t have to rely on the sexual scenes the move the story forward – they were there, but it just felt natural – there wasn’t too much or too little (if that makes sense?). And while there were definately a few angsty spots towards the end, it wasn’t the totally manufactured type angst that is so often used, but rather a potentially naturally occurring incident used to provide some angst/tension, as well as moving the story towards its ultimate conclusion. I will admit that I wasn’t a fan of Callie’s dad (in fact he was a manipulative bastards), but then, as a reader i wasn’t supposed to be – although I could see why he did some of the things that he did – i just didn’t agree with them…at all!

One of the things I found really cool with the authors writing style was how the words from the end of each chapter and the start of the new chapter merged together and yet each one was from a different POV (the story alternated chapters between Callie and Nik). It was definitely a writing technique that I had never really noticed before in books, but it made the flow between the 2 POV’s much smoother and less choppy. The symbology of Callie’s battered hands from being a gymnast, the power in them was something that i kind of felt awe over – we take our hands for granted every day, so to hear them described in this way throughout the book just make it all the more poignant.

This was the first book i’ve read by Laurel Ulen Curtis, but it wasn’t be the last, in fact, I hope to check out some more of hers in the near future. I gave These Battered Hands 4 stars and definately recommend for people looking for a solid, fairly non-angsty sports-based (since I count gymnastics as a sport) romance.

LaurelUlenCurtissmallerAbout Laurel:
Laurel Ulen Curtis is a 28 year old mother of one. She lives with her husband and son (and cat!) in New Jersey, but grew up all over the United States. She graduated from Rutgers University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology, and puts that to almost no use other than forecasting for her friends and writing a storm chasing heroine! She has a passion for her family, laughing, and reading and writing Romance novels. She’s also addicted to Coke. The drink, not the drug.

Laurel’s Social Media:

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Posted by on October 1, 2015 in Book Review


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Blog Tour/Review – Treasured by Thursday – Catherine Bybee

Treasured 400x600Treasured by Thursday
Author: Catherine Bybee
Series: #7 in the Weekday Brides
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by NetGalley

Gabriella Masini: She’s a woman haunted by her past, with the scars to prove it. She believes that fairy tales are for other people. An elite matchmaker at Alliance, she’s great at crunching numbers, but something doesn’t add up with her latest prospective client: a billionaire bad boy with his own secrets. When Gabi refuses to be his temporary wife, Hunter forces her hand with an offer she can’t refuse. But marriage to a man like that could never last…or could it?

Hunter Blackwell: Only his bank account is bigger than his ruthless ability to obtain anything he wants. These days, he has a secret reason to settle down, at least for a while—and he thinks the sensual and sassy Gabi will fit the bill perfectly. But when their marriage of convenience becomes downright dangerous, Hunter must decide how far to take his vow to honor and protect Gabi forever.

Ok, I’ll admit there might have been literal jumping up and down from excitement when I got the email from Catherine Bybee’s assistant wanting to know if I would participate in the upcoming blog tour for her newest book. I’ve been blogging for a while now and still get excited when authors (and their assistants) ask me if i’m interested in reviewing their books, because it lets me know that people do actually read my reviews/blog ;). Double bonus for this one was that I have been working my way through the series in the last couple of months – but I have been trying to savor the books, knowing that one day it would all end (and unfortunately, that day seems to be now (sad panda).

One of the things I like the most about this series was that I didn’t necessarily have to read the books in order (I mean my OCD makes me want to…but you don’t have to)…in fact, I jumped from reading books 1-3, to reading book 7 for the blog tour and while you see the HEA’s for some of the later couples in the series, there was nothing that occurred in those books that caused me to be confused in reading (which is always good, since i tend to get confused very easily at times!) But at the same time, I loved seeing the couples from the first 3 books (that I had read) and how they were still so much in love with each other (considering the fact that the books are all based on a marriage of convenience premise).

I will admit that now that i’ve finished Treasured by Thursday, I have a hard time picking which book (of the 4 I’ve read) feature my favorite couple. Up until yesterday, I would have said the first book, because I was a total Blake/Sam sucker (and love the fact that they renew their wedding vows every year) – but now, I think Gabriella and Hunter might try to push them out of the running (but it could be an interesting battle, that is for sure). Honestly, its hard to describe what i love about Catherine’s writing…she just seems to nail the emotion perfectly and I can rave all day about her (in fact, she is one of my go-to authors for contemporary romance recommendations). I also know that when I sit down to read one of her books that I need to block out at least several hours, because I find it really hard to stop once I start (nothing wrong with that right?)

But on to Hunter and Gabriella – I will admit that I don’t remember Gabriella from previous books, her name doesn’t ring a bell (it could be that she was there, but a minor character, or she could not have been introduced yet – i guess, I’ll find out when i jump back to book 4 in a little while). But when she was introduced and her horrible driving record was brought into the storyline I just laughed (I will admit mine isn’t as bad as hers, but i’ve had a few issues in my time, including a run-in with a deer) – so it was like we were made to be book friends. And as for Hunter, well, i couldn’t help but like him, i mean how many people are honest enough to say they don’t have a lot of close friends (I don’t know many)…

I will admit that i liked how the romance between Hunter and Gabriella was relatively slow to build – they had their ups and their downs and times when as a reader, i wanted to slap both of them upside the head (a la gibbs)…but i think for me that is why i like these books – they show how marriage (be it true love or one of convenience) isn’t necessarily going to the a smooth path, like many romances out there – makes them more believable (for lack of a better word) and shows the individuality that each person brings to the relationship.

It was bittersweet reading the last book in the series (or is it, since she is out of weekdays), knowing that there won’t be any more (as of right now), but i can always hope/dream that maybe a spin-off will occur because i would love to read more (and I’ll be going back to pick up the other 3 books in the series that I haven’t read yet)…Treasured by Thursday got 4 stars from me and I highly recommend it to someone who is looking for a contemporary romance that is sweet and yet sexy at the same time. Fans of Kimberly Kincaid and Tracy Brogan would enjoy.

Bybee PhotoAbout Catherine:
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her two teenage sons in Southern California.


Amazon: Treasured by Thursday
B&N: Treasured by Thursday
BAM: Treasured by Thursday
BOOK DEPOSITORY: Treasured by Thursday


Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Blog Hop, Book Review


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Review – Audacity – Melanie Crowder

Author: Melanie Crowder
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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.

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.

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


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Review – Just One Taste – Kimberly Kincaid

23433952Just One Taste
Author: Kimberly Kincaide
Series: #4.5 in the Pine Mountain series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

A little home improvement can go a long way…

Jesse Oliver was a medic in Afghanistan, but back home in Pine Mountain he’s happy to switch gears as the Double Shot bar’s new sous chef. When his apartment floods and his old Army buddy offers the family’s dilapidated lake house as temporary quarters, Jesse thinks a little remodeling on the creaky duplex sounds like a fair return favor. That’s before he sets eyes on the gorgeous woman moving into the other side of the cabin—and discovers she’s his buddy’s kid sister, a.k.a totally off limits.

Kat McMarrin has fought hard for her space, and she’s not too interested in sharing it. Of course, her job as a physical therapist means she won’t see much of Jesse, even if he’s a few thin floorboards away—unless she seeks him out. And with his sculpted body and slow-burn gaze, she might be tempted. Maybe the fixer-upper projects she has planned for the cabin will keep her mind off him. Or maybe her instincts to strip the place down will get out of hand…

Normally I glom Kimberly Kincaid’s books as soon as I get my hot little mitts on them, but for some reason, I didn’t jump into Just One Taste as soon as I got my copy. Looking back now, I am thankful for that, because one Sunday when I was stuck in bed feeling cruddy, I had a favorite author that I could read – which always makes you feel better. This was a cute/short entry into the Pine Mountain series and was just what I needed.

We previously meet Jesse in the last book of the series and knew that he had some secrets/background that he didn’t necessarily want to talk about and I remember after reading the last book, I was like, I want to know more about him. I will also admit that I’m a sucker for friend/sister (or friend/brother) type romances, mostly because there is that idea of the idea of a hands-off type approach (meaning does any brother want their friend dating little sister…). But Kat wasn’t the meek heroine that seems so present in many contemporary romances today – in fact she was uber-smart and not scared to show it (and you could tell that Kimberly had done her research into the educational background that Kat possessed because it rang true to me). The conflict between Kat and Jesse was intriguing and I totally sided with Kat on the need for own space (that’s why i’ve not had roommates since college). But seeing the relationship develop between the two of them was a fun ride and I enjoyed how they had multiple points of intersection in their lives before they ended up staying in the same cabin.

Just One Taste had Kimberly’s trade-mark sassy dialogue and witty humor, as well as steam resulting smexy scenes. I’m just disappointed to know that this series is wrapping up soon (even if I know she’ll have other books coming out). If you want a smexy handyman type romance, with an extremely smart heroine, then Just One Taste might be the book for you.


Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Book Review


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