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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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Review – Do Over – Mari Carr

do overDo Over
Author: Mari Carr
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Sometimes once is not enough…

After twenty-five years of marriage, Faith Wainwright wonders what she’ll do next. Her kids have moved out and sometimes she feels so distant from her husband, Troy.

Right before their anniversary, Troy gives Faith an unexpected gift: a journey through their hometown to reenact all their “firsts.” Their first date. Their first kiss. And especially the first time they made love—only better.

Each stop on their tour becomes an opportunity for Faith and Troy to rediscover how explosive their passion can be. Now Faith knows exactly what she’s going to do—Troy, over and over again…

Review:
I’d call Do Over by Mari Carr a palate cleanser book – in that it was a short quick read, that packed a punch and honestly, was much better written and constructed in the 70-odd pages, than a lot of romance novels that hover in the 300pg range. It takes an especially skillful author (IMHO) to write a great short-story and Mari Carr seems to have capitalized on that – I honestly, don’t know if I’ve read a bad book by her yet.

My favorite thing about this book was that it focused on a couple who had been married for 20+ years and the idea of a trip down memory lane. In a way, it was similar to the idea in Strong, Silent Type (Lorelei James) and Making it Last (Ruthie Knox)- about rediscovering love. And its something I would really like to see more of. I mean, yes, the typical romance is one where a couple meets/falls in love and gets married (or most of the time) – but what happens after the vows are said; after children are raised – how does a couple stay in love when life and going-on’s can make you forget why you fell in love with them in the first place. Do Over in short, but I was totally sucked into the story – and as I was reading, I would go back and re-read a section or a letter because it did tug on my heart-strings. Plus, the fact that the impetus of the story was from the husband’s perspective (him recreating their memories) made me just want to say awww.

Short but powerful read, well-deserving of a 4-star rating. Read this if you just want to feel giddy about falling in love all over again.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Seducation and Snacks – Tara Sivec

seduction snacksSeducation and Snacks
Author: Tara Sivec
Series: #1 in the Chocolate Lovers series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Claire is a twenty-something, single mom that grudgingly helps her best friend sell sex toys while she attempts to make enough money to start her own business to give her foul-mouthed, but extremely loveable (when he’s asleep) toddler a better life.

When Carter, the one-night-stand from her past that changed her life forever, shows up in her hometown bar without any recollection of her besides her unique chocolate scent, Claire will make it a point that he remembers her this time.

With Carter’s undisguised shock at suddenly finding out he has a four-year-old son and Claire’s panic that her stretch marks and slim to none bedroom experience will send the man of her dreams heading for the hills, the pair will do whatever they can to get their happily ever after.

Review:
What can I say about this book that I didn’t like, little to nothing. This book has it all a great mix of vulgar language, one night stands, sex toys and of course chocolate. This book is so well written I can say that you laugh so much you may end up with a twat tap if you laugh to hard in public.

Claire is by far one of the women you find yourself instantly connected to. Claire takes everything in stride. She does have a few moments of break down. No one is perfect. Finding out that you may be pregnant after a one night stand with a guy you don’t know and have no clue if he remembers you. She ends up back home and putting her life on hold her dreams of opening up a business with her long time friend Liz. That was a no go.

Carter is searching for the girl he slept with 5 years ago at a frat party the girl that haunts his dreams. Every time he smells chocolate he thinks of her. He cant seem to get her out of his head. The question is, is she just a dream? He spends the first part of his 5 year with his crazy ex who ends up cheating on him with his neighbor while watching well that I will leave for a surprise because I laughed so hard I about peed.

This book is full of surprises but it’s also very straight forward so you can see it coming. The characters are easy to connect with and they leave you with a happy ending. I know there are more books to this series, however, I was very happy with the way this book ended and have not found that I needed to read the others.

If you are looking for a funny, quirky romance with a touch of awe moments in it then this is the book for you.

I found these quotes to be the ones I love the most. Just a sneak peek into the craziness that is this book

Quotes
“Its a pain you forget all about once you have that sweet little baby in your arms.” Bull Shit. I CALL BULLSHIT.

“You know, I think its time i turn my vagina into an Arby’s Beef and Cheddar (minus the cheddar) and saddle myself down for a minimum of eighteen years to someone who will suck the soul and will to live right out of my body.”

“Give me a cat over a kid any day. You can open up a bag of Meow Mix, Plop it down on the floor next to a bucket of water, gone on vacation for a week and come home to an animal that is so busy licking its own ass that it has no idea you were even gone.”

Seriously you couldn’t go wrong with this book for me it gets a 4 out of 5!

I hope you pick this one up it’s a seriously great read.

~Kristin

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Anthology – Snowy Days, Steamy Nights

SDSNBoxedSetFinalSnowy Days, Steamy Nights
Authors: Katy Regnery, Jamie Farrell, Veronica Forand, Kate Forest, Jennie Marts, Susan Scott Shelley
Series: #.5 in the Glendale Riptide series; #2.5 in the Misfits Brides of Bliss series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided in Exchange for Review

I’ll admit that I always find it hard to review anthologies – because as anyone who has read my reviews know, I tend to like to write fairly detailed reviews and sometimes contributions in anthologies make that hard to do. You want to make sure to include a good review of each book, without going overboard, or having an exceptionally long review. Overall, I enjoyed the various installments and found several authors I’m looking forward to trying again in the future/

FROSTED – Katy Regnery – 3 stars
This is the first book I’ve read by Ms Regency (although I see her name come up quite frequently on book recommendation threads/message boards). Unfortunately, I left her story in the anthology feeling like I was missing something. I was really looking forward to the idea of a romance between an older couple (the main character, Grace, is in her mid-50’s) and a second chance romance to boot (because I’m a sucker for those). But Grace just left me feeling cold – I never really got the feeling that she was ready for a new romance, she was still too preoccupied with her past and honestly, I found her to be quite off-putting. I sort of liked Trey (the main male character), but if I had been him, I would have run screaming from Grace. Unfortunately, Frosted, just lacked overall for me. But I’ll likely give the author another chance, maybe a full-length story will work better for me.

GROUNDED – Kate Forest – 3.5 stars
This is the first book I’ve read by Kate Forest and it won’t be the last. I really liked the idea of being stranded at an airport (since god knows, I’ve gotten stuck enough times). The main character, Julia’s reaction to Chicago weather made me laugh because I have several friends like that and Ms Forest managed to get the irksome nature just right. I liked Jeremy as a character, and seeing him develop/come into his own made me happy. I love how he loved his mom and would go to bat for her – it made me smile. I’d be intrigued to see more books about people who could be linked back to this story (employees for Jeremy’s company, friends of Julia). This could be a good way to start a series, but also works well as a stand-alone.

MELTED – Jennie Marts – 3.5 stars
From reading the description, I was looking forward to this installment in the anthology – since I’m a sucker for second chance stories and for the most part, this was a good read. Unfortunately, I found myself wanting more while I was reading. I like the theme of a rekindled summer romance from when they were teenagers, but at the same time, it also revolved around the big misunderstanding theme which kind of irked me. I think this would have been a better stand-alone story that could have been developed a bit more. Although I had a few issues with Melted, it was a cute read and I will be checking out more books by Ms Marts in the future

REKINDLED – Susan Scott Shelley – 4 stars
If I was asked which of my books in the anthology was a favorite, it would be a toss-up between Rekindled and Smittened (Jamie Farrell) – I have definately found a new author that I am looking forward to checking out and reading in the future. One of the things that I appreciated in this story was that while it was a second chance story, neither of the main characters really had the major woe is me doldrums that comes when a relationship doesn’t work out (meaning that while they still loved each other/missed each other; they tried to move on to the best of their respective abilities. Plus, I loved the dog in the story and hope to see him show up in later books. Bonus is that this story kicks off a new series and i’m looking forward to trying to out.

SMITTENED – Jamie Farrell – 4 stars
I’ve never hidden my love of Jamie’s books (since she is also a friend) and when she offered me the chance to review the anthology, I jumped on it. Her story takes place in his Misfit Brides of Bliss series, which she introduced in her book, The Husband Games. All I can say right now, is that I want some of the sexual connotations ice cream that was featured in the book, I mean Chocolate Orgasm, hello! (although my discovery of wine flavored ice cream may just have to tie me over). Dahlia reminded me of Jamie in a way (I’m sure some of the tales she tells have ended up in her books) and Mikey was just a bad boy looking for love. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out (yes, I virtually stalk her).

SNOWED – Veronica Forand – 2.5 stars
Snowed was another story that I thought had potential, but unfortunately for me, didn’t work in the novella format. I felt like the author needed more time/length to develop the story. It seemed rushed and unfinished in places to me. There were a few places where I really found myself rooting for the characters, but then it was like the next scene just happened and I felt like I was missing something. but the ending was at least optomistic, and I’d be interested to see if she could develop the story into more of a series with other people who were featured in the story. However, while I felt like I was missing something with the story, I did like her writing style and am intrigued enough to want to try more of her stuff (and I think I have at least one of her books on Mt TBR).

Overall, I enjoyed the majority of the stories in the anthology and felt like it was a good way to be introduced to new authors. My 2 favorite stories in the anthology were Rekindled and Smittened – but I look forward to seeing what all of the authors do in the future. Overall, I gave the anthology 3.5 with a wide variety of ratings from the individual contributions.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Book Review

 

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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 – 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 – 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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