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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

Description:
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…

Review:
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.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Trouble on Tap – Avery Flynn

25465775Trouble on Tap
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #3 in the Sweet Salvation Brewery
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
What fun is life without a little bit of trouble?

Retired supermodel and forever wild child Olivia Sweet is nothing but trouble. The youngest Sweet triplet is back in her hometown, but instead of a triumphant return it’s a parade of humiliations. She’s broke, homeless and dealing with the fallout from her scumbag ex-boyfriend publishing naked pictures of her to a revenge porn website.

Staid and stalwart veteran Mateo Garcia has seen more trouble than a man ever should in his lifetime. He’s gone from pretty boy Marine to a small town police chief with a chip on his shoulder and scars covering the left side of his face. Now his former lover, Olivia, is back in town and living next door.

When the two are forced to work together to fix up the crumbling veterans’ center, the sparks fly between the beauty and the man who sees himself as a beast. Not everyone is happy that Olivia is back home though and Mateo has to choose between the town who wants her gone and an uncertain future with a woman who he thinks could never love him…

Review:
There are always series that I am sad to see end and the Sweet Salvaltion Brewery is one of them. Over the last year, I have highly enjoyed the adventures of the Sweet sisters, but I kept waiting for Olivia’s story – I guess because she is the wild child and while I am more similar to Natalie as a character, I harbor an inner wild child (or at least, I think I do). And i’m a sucker for second chance romances, so Trouble on Tap hit all my happy spots. I will admit that I am honestly trying not to go all fangirl on my review because this book was what I needed after a series mediocre reads.

I think what I enjoyed the most about Trouble on Tap was seeing Olivia’s struggle to find her place in the world. As a former model she had been top of her career and then having to make a transition and essentially start over again – its something that many of us have to face – be it a new job, transitioning from the military (like Mateo) or any other kind of scenario where a major change occurs. I found her struggle to be real in a way that was almost scary to me. I saw so much of myself in that struggle from when I changed career fields a few years ago – that idea of how/where are you going to land and will I/you succeed?

And Avery did a great job of continuing the theme of small town hatred for the Sweet sisters – I felt so bad for all of them throughout the series. Maybe because I grew up in a small town and know how they operate, but everything just hit home – the behavior of people to those they consider outsiders (in my home town, if you didn’t have a certain last night it didn’t matter what you or your family did to contribute)…it was almost like at times, Avery was channeling some of my experiences growing up.

I loved the relationship between Mateo and Olivia and how they reconnected. There is something about a wounded solider realizing that they aren’t just their injuries that makes them attractive. That Olivia was able to look past his injuries and see him for the guy she loved way back when (even if he had been a dick to her)…

Trouble of Tap was a roller coaster of emotions for me (thanks Avery!) but I don’t regret it for one second. I would say make sure you have time to sit down and read, because if you are anything like me, once you start, you’ll read through to the end (and that made for a sucky day at work the next day). I gave Trouble on Tap 4 stars and am sad to see the series end (although hopefully my craving for Pecan Pie will now disappear – since I don’t even like the stuff!).

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Finding Fisher – Dakota Madison

finding fisherFinding Fisher
Author: Dakota Madison
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Franklin Smith was the perfect fiancé. He was at the top of our class at Stanford and had been recently accepted to Harvard Law. But Spring Break our senior year of college changed everything. He went back home to New Jersey and never returned. At his funeral I discovered a guy I never knew. His secret past. And a twin brother, Fisher, I didn’t know existed.

Review:
For me, this was one of those books where I went into it expecting something totally different than I got – not that that is entirely bad. When I was reading the description, I saw there was a note from the author stating that donations were going to go towards supporting a non-profit providing housing support to individuals with AIDS in Atlanta, so that combined with the fact that several people on goodreads had tagged this as a mm romance, rather than a mf one…I was quite surprised to find out that the main character was a college aged female named Chloe…(which even now reading the description gives no clues away). That being said, I really enjoyed the premise of the story – a significant other with a secret and what happens when it all goes wrong.

This was a relatively quick read (less than 200pgs), but I thought the author managed to pack a lot of plot into that relatively short period of time. There was a well-defined beginning/middle and end (which is often a gripe of mine when it comes to shorter novellas) and all of the characters seemed to be well-rounded and developed rather than one-dimensional. I found myself sucked into Chloe’s feelings as she discovered everything that she had known for the last few years had been a lie. I will say that I thought my biggest issue with the book was how quickly Chloe seemed to move on with her life – I get that she wasn’t married to Franklin, but even then, everything just seemed to go too quickly – I actually wish that there had somehow been a bit of a time delay – yet, at the same time, I think that would have potentially ruined the flow of the novel.

This was the first book that I have read by Ms Madison, but it wasn’t be the last. I found that her writing was solid and very relatable. Overall, I gave Finding Fisher 4 stars and found it to be a solid weekend read.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Featured Author Friday – Kelsey Browning

featured author friday

Welcome back to Featured Author Friday! There was a bit of a delay in getting this one launched because my next guest author has been busy gallivanting the countryside with her writer cohort in crime on a Free Little Library Book Tour” So I wanted to give her some time to get home and (hopefully) put her feet up for a little while ;) Please welcome Kelsey Browning! I discovered Kelsey through one of my other favorite authors, Jamie Farrell, when she posted about Kelsey’s new release on her facebook. The description intrigued me and before long, I had one-clicked away and added her books to Mt TBR! Her books are described as Sassy, sexy and sweet romances set in Texas (and of course, what kind you expect from an author who wears such awesome cowboy boots!)

kelsey browningDee: What has been your favorite book to write so far?
Kelsey: That’s like asking which of my children is my fave. Oh, wait a minute, I only have one kid! ;-) Personal Assets was the first book I wrote from start to finish, and so it has a very special place in my heart. It did go through extensive content edits when it was acquired by Carina Press, and those edits taught me a ton. But as far as sheer fun, I’d have to say Designed for Love. I knew I would revisit Ashton Davenport and her wily little dog, Napoleon, in that story. Interestingly enough, the Texas Nights series was originally supposed to be only three books until I wrote Ashton into Running the Red Light. But once I wrote her as the antagonist of that story, I knew she needed one of her own! I had a ton of fun using Napoleon to torture Ashton’s love interest, Mac.

Dee: Who would you say your biggest writing influence is?
Kelsey: You ask the hard questions, don’t you? I think that’s changed over the years as I grow and change as a writer. When I started out, I probably would’ve told you I wanted to be Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Jennifer Crusie when I grew up. I kinda still do, but I read all over the place—from thrillers to nonfiction—to get inspiration these days. Especially since being an author isn’t just about writing anymore. In publishing now, you have to be an entrepreneur too. So I look to people like Dan Blank, Joanna Penn and other author-entrepreneurs for inspiration.

Dee: What is best writing advice you can give?
Kelsey: Just do it. Yeah, I know, people hate to hear that. But it’s true. Believe me, I’m one of those writers who has studied. I’m always looking for something that will make me a better writer. But at the end of the day (or in my case, at the beginning), you have to put words on the page. Fear will try to stop you (Steven Pressfield is brilliant at talking about resistance. Writers, read The Art of War for Writers stat). I’ve written well over 10 books and that fear plops down on me almost every time I sit down to write. Do it anyway.

Dee: If you could cast your book as a movie, which book would it be and who would have the starring roles?
Kelsey: Nancy Naigle and I would love, love, love to see The Granny Series books (Southern, humorous women’s fiction) made into movies. We say these gals are just like Dirty Harry, only over-50, female, and from the South. Early on, I was told my writing was too “over the top,” meaning I wrote crazy scenarios. Well, when it comes to our Granny Series characters—Lil, Maggie, Sera, and Abby Ruth—we can let our OTT freak flag fly! Hmm…so who would I cast for these roles…
Lillian – Annette Bening
Maggie – gosh, Maggie’s hard for some reason. Maybe a Sigourney Weaver/Melissa McCarthy mix
Sera – Michelle Pfeifer
Abby Ruth – a Jamie Lee Curtis/Jane Lynch combo

Dee: If you were a character from the Wizard of Oz – which one would you pick and why?
Kelsey: Well, I played the wicked stepmother in my fourth grade class’s production of Cinderella. But I was seriously typecast. ;-) That being said, I’d have a heckuva lot of fun playing the Wicked Witch of the West. I want to be one of those people who loves being nice and sweet like Glinda. But in reality, my finely honed sense of snark just won’t allow me to be that way. What can I say? It’s just too damned fun to be the bad girl. :-)

Find Kelsey on Social Media
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Pinterest

Buy Kelsey’s Books
Texas Nights
Personal Assets (Texas Nights Book 1)
Running the Red Light (Texas Nights Book 2)
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights Book 3)
Designed for Love (Texas Nights Book 4)

By Invitation Only
Amazed by You: a contemporary holiday romance (By Invitation Only Book 1)

The Granny series (with Nancy Naigle)
IN FOR A PENNY (The Granny Series Book 1)
FIT TO BE TIED (The Granny Series Book 2)
In High Cotton (The Granny Series Book 3)
Always On My Mind: A Jenny and Teague Novella (The Granny Series Book 1)

And it wouldn’t be Featured Author Friday without a giveaway – so comment below for a chance to win a Kelsey Browning book of your choice. Entries will be open until Friday May 29th!

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Featured Author Friday

 

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Review – Before I Fall – Jessica Scott

before I fallBefore I Fall
Author: Jessica Scott
Series: #1 in the Falling series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
Stay focused. Get a job. Save her father’s life.

Beth Lamont knows far too much about the harsh realities of life her gilded classmates have only read about in class. She’ll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah – a guy who represents everything she hates about the war, soldiers and what the Army has done to her family.

Noah Warren doesn’t know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he’s going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn’t break his promises. Except he doesn’t count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous and distracting as hell. One look at Beth threatens to unravel the careful lies Noah has constructed around him.

A simple arrangement turns into something neither of them can deny. And a war that neither of them can forget could destroy them both.

Review:
I’ve been a fan of Jessica Scott’s for over a year now because I love the realism that she manages to inject into all her books. As I warn people when I recommend her stuff, don’t expect a military romance that is full of bunnies and rainbows – you will be disappointed – they are gut-wrenching and realistic, and you will often find yourself going through an emotional roller-coaster (and that is what I love about her stuff). But at the same time, I’m firmly in the skeptical camp about the New Adult (NA) sub-genre of books – mostly because for me, they are a time period that I want to forget (I mean, what woman REALLY wants to be reminded of herself in those years between high school and college). So I will admit that when I saw Jessica was branching off into NA and trying something, I wasn’t sure if I would pick up Before I Fall or not – but when it was offered as a review copy via NetGalley – it just seemed like fate.

In Before I Fall, you meet Beth and Noah – Beth a struggling college student, acting as a primary care-taker of her father (an injured military veteran) and Noah, a former Army soldier, now pursuing a college degree. From the get-go, I was pull into the trials and tribulations of Beth and her struggles. I will admit that compared to her other books, Before I Fall, was much more in your face (as the reader) for highlighting issues with the VA medical system. I mean, you hear from veterans and in the media how much it is broken, but Jessica was able to elevate the level of horror I felt to mind-boggling. As a former Navy member, I just don’t get it and I guess I should thank my lucky stars every day, that I haven’t been forced to use their services yet.

Its always hard for me to peg what exactly I love about Jessica’s writing – its not only the realism that she brings to her books, but also the emotions. So many books nowadays just leave me feeling empty because I don’t experience the emotional connection – but I do with her books (and often will read it in a single sitting, or very soon after). Before I Fall did have a high level of angst, mostly inter-personal with Beth and her father; and Noah and his PTSD, and less on the Beth/Noah front – that I appreciated – although there were a few places, where I just wanted to reach out and shake her because I expected her to know better based on her experiences. But that being said, Jessica Scott delivered another solid read and I’m intrigued enough to want to pick up the second one in this series (as well as read her other new series). Before I Fall got 4 stars for me, but as a warning – make sure you have a box of tissues nearby while reading – you may need them.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Featured Author Friday – Rosalind James

featured author friday

Welcome to the second installment in Featured Author Friday. Today, I’m happy to feature Rosalind James. I’ve been reading Rosalind’s stuff for nearly three years after helping to do a cover reveal for one of her books on my blog. Her cover art caught my eye because of how simple and gorgeous it is, as well as how unique her voice was at the time. Her first series (Escape to New Zealand) was based around the All Black Rugby Team (just google them doing the Haka – a Maori traditional dance – prior to their games). She has since written another series featuring siblings based in California and her newest series will be published by Montlake Romance (one of the Amazon imprints) later on this year. On top of that, the audiobook of her first New Zealand book was just nominated for an Audie in the Romance category (for best romance audiobook of the year). I hope you like her stuff as much as I do!

RosalindInterview with Rosalind

Dee: I LOVE the titles of your books – how did you come up with them?
Rosalind: I love ironic titles. At first, my first book, JUST THIS ONCE (Escape to New Zealand) was going to be called “Rescue Me” (because Hannah keeps telling Drew she doesn’t need to be rescued), but then Rachel Gibson published a new book called…yep, “Rescue Me.” And since I’d written a sports romance and that’s what she’s known for, that ws a clear no-go zone. I had written a second book, and I knew it was going to be called JUST GOOD FRIENDS, and I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be cool if they all had “Just” titles—and were all ironic? So that’s where that one came from. And the series title, “Escape to New Zealand”—that one, I’m really proud of. My first two books were about women who escaped their lives and started over in New Zealand, and I felt like that was what the country had done for me. Beyond that, I just…don’t know. I figure it out when I’m most of the way done with the book, because the title has to fit the “feel” and mood of the book. Except NOTHING PERSONAL. I came up with that long before I even started writing. It came from that “The Godfather” thing: “It’s not personal, it’s business.” It’s a book about a business relationship, a somewhat insulting situation that’s foisted on the hero, that’s supposed to be “nothing personal.” Needless to say, it gets very personal! (Including in the conference room. Probably the steamiest scene I’ve ever written.)

Dee: How do you manage to divide your time between writing and all the other stuff you have to do to find readers and let people know about your books?
Rosalind: Man, that’s the $64,000 question! It can be hard sometimes. I got lucky early on with a free offer one week in that resulted in 2,000 books sold my first month, and another free offer four months in (plus a shout-out from the fabulous DEE—really. It gave me a big boost) that took me to the next level, with 20,000 books sold that month. And then I think word of mouth did a lot of marketing for me, so I wasn’t in the position of having to try to build from scratch. Nowadays, I admit that I don’t do as much marketing as some authors—or as much as I should, but once I’m writing a book, I just want to be doing that. I have an assistant who schedules promotions for me, thank goodness. Other than that–I generally have a really broad idea of where I want to be strategically, and then I try to follow the 80/20 rule: do the 20% of things that will give me the 80% of results. I enjoy interacting with readers on Facebook and so forth, and I’ll admit to a bias toward doing things I enjoy. But I’ve never chased Goodreads groups, spent time trying to connect with bloggers I don’t know, or the like—the really time-intensive stuff, mostly because I’m shy and hate the idea of poking around at somebody who isn’t interested. Shudder

Dee: If you weren’t writing romance, what would you write?
Rosalind: Well, I’ve started writing real-deal romantic suspense, and I’m loving that (I’ve written a couple of books with mystery/suspense elements, and now I’ve got a brand-new romantic suspense series for Montlake Romance), so perhaps thrillers? Not women’s fiction, even though I think I have quite a few readers who enjoy that genre most–I love the happy ending too much! What I love about romance is that it can deal with all kinds of love: not just lovers, but husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers, friends, even love of place and of country, which is something I write quite a bit about. It also catches people at those pivotal moments in their lives when they are making the big decisions—it’s a way to write about both two individuals’ and a couple’s journey. I love writing from the man’s point of view as well as the woman’s, too, and romance is the place where you can most easily do that. And I love to write sex, but I can’t do it until my couple is in love and knows each other well—which leaves out erotica, darn it. I guess we’d say I’m stuck!

Dee: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Rosalind: Oh, lots of stuff is real life. My first book, JUST THIS ONCE, is pretty well autobiographical. (They say “write what you know,” so…) Some people have said that Hannah is “annoying.” I never realized how annoying I am, apparently! Some people have also said that my first hero, Drew, is too good to be true, and I laugh, because I took so much of Drew straight from my husband. (Who sadly is NOT the captain of the All Blacks, however.) The opening scene, where Hannah almost drowns in a rip, is based on something that happened to me in New Zealand. My new series (Paradise, Idaho) as well as my book WELCOME TO PARADISE, are set in the Idaho town where I grew up. And everyplace I talk about in the New Zealand series is someplace I visited. It’s so much fun to write about my characters doing some of the fun things I’ve done. Emotionally, too: many of the emotional situations are either situations I’ve been in, or are heavily influenced by something I went through myself. It has to resonate with me to resonate with readers, I think. Plus, I’ve always said I don’t have that much imagination, and it’s true. You know how authors are always saying they have hundreds of ideas stuffed in a file? I’ve had 14 ideas. Well, 16. The 14 books I’ve written so far, and the next two coming up!

Dee: Dog or Cat?
Rosalind: Dog all the way. (Don’t hate me, cat people! I’m allergic.) I used to foster Labrador Retrievers, and now I just have one: the one I couldn’t give up. His name is Charlie, and he’s my writing partner and a total goof. He’s 11 years old and 85 pounds of lovable fun.

Find Rosalind on Social Media
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

Buy Links for Rosalind’s Books
Escape from New Zealand
Just For You (Escape to New Zealand)
Just This Once (Escape to New Zealand Book 1) (Currently Free)
Just Good Friends (Escape to New Zealand Book 2)
Just For Now (Escape to New Zealand Book 3)
Just for Fun (Escape to New Zealand Book 4)
Just My Luck (Escape to New Zealand Book 5)
Just Not Mine (Escape to New Zealand Book 6)
Just Once More (Escape to New Zealand Book 7)
Escape To New Zealand Boxed Set (Books 1-3)
Sweet Talk Boxed Set (Ten NEW Contemporary Romances by Bestselling Authors to Benefit Diabetes Research plus BONUS Novel) (Currently Available for Pre-Order – Release Date – May 1, 2015)

The Kincaids
Welcome to Paradise (The Kincaids Book 1)
Nothing Personal (The Kincaids Book 2)
Asking for Trouble (The Kincaids Book 3)

Paradise, Idaho
Carry Me Home (Paradise, Idaho) (Currently Available for Pre-Order – Release Date – June 16, 2015)

And because it wouldn’t be an interview without a giveaway – I’m gifting one lucky commenter an ebook choice of one of Rosalind’s books (must be able to accept gifts from Amazon). Please make sure you leave your email address in the comments. The giveaway will close next Friday (the 24th of April)

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Featured Author Friday

 

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TBR Tuesday – 7 April 2015

TBR TuesdayDance Upon the Air
Author: Nora Roberts
Series: #1 in Three Sisters Island series

Date Purchased: November 11, 2010

Review: As long as I’ve been reading romance, Nora Roberts has been a staple in my library – she is one of the few authors I can normally just grab and go – but there are a lot of her backlist that I haven’t ventured in to, although I own many of them. Dance Upon the Air, first published in 2001, is one of them. I think I grabbed the audiobook at a sale on Audible a few years ago. Unfortunately for me, while it is one of her older works, I also felt too much like her other paranormal trilogies/quartets – even now they start blending together. While the audiobook itself wasn’t long (in the 11 hour range), the book itself just felt like it dragged and I spent a good chunk of the time wanting to slap the main characters. This was a 2 star listen for me. Dance Upon the Air was a 2 star listen for me, the narrator was slightly better (3 stars for it)

What book did you discover on Mt TBR this week?

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

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