Tag Archives: romance

Review – All Wrapped Up – Kimberly Kincaid

all wrapped upAll Wrapped Up
Author: Kimberly Kincaid
Series: #5 in the Pine Mountain series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided via Netgalley

Christmas is coming to Pine Mountain—and it has a way of stirring up memories, good and bad. Nick Brennan may manage the Double Shot bar smooth as good whiskey, but his past is a hot mess. When he runs into a burning building to save a little boy, some people start thinking there’s more to his heroism than holiday spirit. And then the local reporter assigned to the story turns out to be gorgeous Ava Mancuso, the girl who got away.

Ava knows what it’s like to have a past. But the changes she’s seen in Nick since she knew him do more than set off her natural curiosity—his warm eyes and gruff charm have her instincts fired up. Still, all the chemistry in the world doesn’t erase history, even when Nick invites her to his little sister’s mistletoe wedding. Does he have a heart under all those secrets? Or is this going to be just another Christmas past?

It’s always bittersweet when a favorite series comes to an end and often times it feels like you are saying goodbye to family, and that is how the Pine Mountain series has felt to me. Since the very beginning with her entry in the The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap Anthology (along with Donna Kauffman and Kate Angell), I have felt like I was a member of the resort town of Pine Mountain, through their trials and tribulations, finding love and lust with friends, co-workers, enemies and neighbours. Alas, all good things must come to an end and All Wrapped Up did just that, it wrapped the series up in a slightly angsty, but none the less enjoyable romance, that also gave us a sneak peek into Ms. Kincaid’s new series that will be out in the near future (and yes, I have the first book pre-ordered already!).

One of the things I love about Kimberly’s writing is how she takes a minor character from a previous book and gives them their HEA in a later book, case in point, Nick from All Wrapped Up – we had previously met him in Fire Me Up, where he was the surly bar manager in the pub that Teagan (the main character) was running and even then, you knew, that he had a secret of some kind – there was this brooding essence about him…I didn’t put two and two together on who Ava was, however, until I read AWU – she is the sister of Pete Mancuso, who was the hero in the anthology that kicked this series off, so it really was a case of bringing the series around in a full circle and wrapping it up.

I loved the fact that Kimberly was able to meld the romance in such a way that it brought the former lovers element into it, along with a secret that could potentially keep our lovers apart and giving us a glance into the lives of all of favorite pine mountain couples who have gone before. As I reader, I don’t know if I could have asked for a better book to finish up this series (and introduce me to the characters in her new one – although, I will say, one of them is going to have some serious grovelling to do before I’ll forgive him and see that he is indeed hero worthy)…4 stars for All Wrapped Up – I’m sad to see the series end (which I’ve said several times now), but wasn’t let down at all through-out it. While I’m not a huge re-reader, I could easily see these books being added to my comfort read pile in the future.

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Posted by on October 6, 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.

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Posted by on October 1, 2015 in Book Review


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Review – Dodging Temptation – Avery Flynn

25935349Dodging Temptation
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #1 in the Retreat series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Dodge Loving wants revenge…and he’s about to get it. On the cusp of closing a multi-billion-dollar luxury resort deal, Dodge can’t afford for anything go wrong. But then a fiery redhead shows up, the paparazzi hot on her trail, and throws his world into chaos. He has to get rid of her. Immediately.

Harper Conner just wants to be left alone, but after slapping her cheating senator ex-husband during a televised press conference, she’s a hot commodity. The ultra exclusive resort in Wyoming seems like the ideal place to hide—and work—so there’s no way she’s letting the Type-A jerk who runs the place fire her.

Despite the animosity sparking between them, Dodge and Harper can’t keep their hands to themselves. This thing between them can’t happen. It won’t. But his mother has other ideas…and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make sure Harper and Dodge fall in love.

It’s weird, I always seem to struggle writing reviews for books that I enjoyed, especially if the author is one of my go-to ones, like Avery Flynn is – I wish I could explain it. Case in point, I have had a draft of this review sitting in draft format on my blog page for about 3 weeks now (yes, you read right, three weeks)….I mean, this was an Avery Flynn book, so I knew it was going to be good, but at the same time, since it was kicking off a new series, I was kind of skeptical as well (since first books in series don’t always work for me)…but anyways…let’s talk about the Loving brothers and their HEA’s (or rather, just about Dodge)…

I’ve commented before that enemies to lovers is a favorite romance trope of mine, I love seeing these couples overcome their differences and hatred of each other to have a relationship and for me, Avery hit so many happy buttons with the Dodge/Harper romance. I mean, seriously, what wasn’t there to love about Harper, giving her ex what was due to him on national TV, even if it did turn her into a scandal and had the paparazzi chasing her. And what better place to try and escape said scandal than an exclusive resort…Dodge is the owner of said resort and to say sparks fly between the two of them is an understatement…

I’ll admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Dodge at first, he kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but as the book progressed he did grow on me. Of course, it helped that he had some awesome scenes as the relationship between him and Harper developed (and I can safely say, I don’t know if i’ll be able to look at pistachio ice cream the same way again…). Of course, he did exhibit typical dumbass male tendencies, including exceeding stubbornness (which is both a blessing and a curse it seems…). Dodging Temptation was full of Avery Flynn’s trademark sass and snark, as well as spicy love scenes and I’m intrigued to see how the rest of the series is going to turn out.

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Posted by on September 29, 2015 in Book Review, Uncategorized


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Review – Delectable – Adrianne Lee

Author: Adrianne Lee
Series: #1 in Big Sky Pie series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Publisher via Netgalley

Montana real estate agent Quint McCoy will tell you that the most important thing is location, location, location. It’s a lesson he learns all too well when he goes incommunicado for a four-week fishing trip to Alaska. While he’s away, his mother Molly turns his office into the pie shop she has always dreamed of, Big Sky Pie. But that’s not the only surprise in store for him.

On her way out of town, Callee McCoy only wants to say a fond farewell to her beloved mother-in-law. But Molly soon persuades Callee to stay and lend a hand at the new shop, even if it means heating up the kitchen with her soon-to-be ex. As Callee and Quint rediscover their recipe for love, they realize that some couples are so sinfully good together that one delectable taste is never enough . . .

Delectable was one of the books that I identified as a to-read during ARC August and looking back, I have to wonder why I didn’t read it for so long. Honestly, I have no idea…I mean, the cover is gorgeous (and makes me hungry for pie…hmm) and the story included several of the romance tropes I love, including second chance/reunited romance and foodie romance (and trust me, I don’t know if i’ll be able to look at pie making the same way ever again)…so Delectable for me was a pleasant surprise. This is the first book that I had read by Adrianne Lee but after taking a look at her Goodreads profile, it looks like she has been writing for a while (which I always like, because it means i potentially have a backlist of books to dig into a read).

But anyways, back to Delectable – I’ll admit when I first started i was a bit skeptical, i mean Quint was (for lack of a better word) a jackass – he just up and leaves (in the very beginning) with no word – i mean, if I had been his wife, his ass would have been mine…just sayin’ And worse yet, he expected everything to remain the same after he pulled that stunt – i mean, sorry dude, the world does not revolve around you…but i did think the author did a good job in trying to balance the him groveling/trying to fix his mistakes and the acceptance of his wife/ex-wife…it wasn’t just a i’m sorry and she fell at his feet really to accept his apology and move on.

For me thought, the best part of the story was actually the foodie part, the pie making – i will say i def. felt my stomach growling a few times while reading and I had a craving for cherry pie (even though I’m not a huge fan of it). And of course, there were several smexy scenes involving pie making (which would likely be a lot messier than it was in the book…). In the end, I found Delectable to be a cute second chance romance novel and I gave it 3.5 stars – but I was intrigued enough by the other characters in the books, to add the rest of the series to Mt TBR. Hopefully I can get to them sometime in the next decade ;)

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Posted by on September 8, 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
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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Blog Hop, Book Review


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Review – Sweet Adventure – Penny Watson

sweet adventureSweet Adventure
Author: Penny Watson
Series: #3 in the Klaus Brothers series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Sven Klaus, Chief Toy Designer for Klaus Enterprises, will protect his family at any cost. He’s prepared to battle the most threatening adversaries to do it–frost flowers, snowstorms, Yeti. And beautiful tenacious tabloid journalists.

Andi De Luca’s reporting career is built on lies–about corrupt politicians, greedy Hollywood stars, and Bigfoot. Now she’s determined to uncover the truth about Klaus Enterprises, and she always gets her story. Even if it means revealing her own secret desires to Santa’s son.

After all the lies and deception are exposed, will Andi and Sven survive this North Pole adventure? Or will YETI MAKE THEM DEADY?

As a note, I started writing this review last year and just found it in my draft…I thought I had posted it…

I love it when I check my email in the morning and I get the notification that a book i’ve been waiting for is released – I do a total happy dance – virtual if in the car, real if I’m at home. So it made my day when I saw on twitter that Penny had released the 3rd book in the Klaus brothers series. This is a series I’ve been following for a couple of years now, ever since she released her first book. I will admit to having known Penny from the Amazon forums for several years where she is a frequent participant.

For those of us that had been reading the series, the first part of the book was well-known because it had been a teaser at the end of Sweet Magik (and i might have re-read it several times while waiting)…but Sven had me from the get go…he was the brother that we met in the first book and I immediately wanted to see him get his HEA. And I mean, seriously, a toy designer, can i please have one of those for Christmas? And Andi – well, she is kind of like that terrier who latches on and just won’t let go (which I guess is a good description of a journalist)…I will admit that I liked/related more to Sven than to Andi, who I found to be kind of annoying – but oh well…

Honestly, I will admit that since I’m looking back to a book I read last year and i’ve read about 270 books since then, my mind is a bit hazy on what I do and don’t remember (do you blame me?)…but on the bright side, Penny posted that book 4 is in progress – hehe! maybe i’ll try to squeeze a re-read of Sweet Adventure in before it releases (and the revise this review)…

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Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Book Review


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Review – Rescuing an Angel – Ann Jacobs

25570582Rescuing an Angel
Author: Ann Jacobs
Series: #4 in Oil Barons series
Rating: ☆ ½

Review copy provided via Publisher

One fateful misstep for Gayla Levine was all it took for her once-adoring fiancé to walk away and her demanding father to disown her. Determined to finally turn her life around and embrace her newfound independence, she wants nothing to do with men or relationships—until she meets Dan Newman, a sexy surgeon who sends a shock of electricity through her every time they touch.

Dan Newman has spent his life struggling to overcome his own crippling past by devoting himself to healing others who have suffered. Now a world-class surgeon, he’s confident in his ability to face anything life throws at him—until he meets a headstrong Texas beauty who has his pulse racing and fills his dreams with impossibly sensual visions.

As they fall into a passionate romance that takes them both to the burning edges of pleasure, these two damaged souls must both confront their darkest demons. Because Gayla is haunted by the echoes of being called a failure and torn by the fear that she’ll be rejected once again, and Dan, who has proved his worth to so many others, now must convince himself and Gayla that they deserve the powerful love they’ve found.

This is a hard review to write, because I’ve read and enjoyed the author in the past and this book didn’t even come close to what I expect of her. However, I did finish it – although there was some heavy griping during that time…however, before I was even done, I knew I needed to do some research into the history of the book, because the netgalley description mentioned that it was a previously published book (Dallas Heat).

From the get-go, I had issues with how the cover portrayed (or didn’t portray the story) and actually the same could be said for the series title. The cover of the book (guy in a cowboy hat) with a horse and oil rigs in the background meant that I expected those things to make a significant appearance in the book – so I was disappointed to find out, that there was only one brief mention of the main characters going horseback riding and only one very minor secondary character alluded to as being involved in oil. However, when I went and looked at the previous editions, there was only one of the four (that I saw) that actually looked like it was related to the book.

Aside from that, the writing just felt really chunky and didn’t flow well. I don’t know if it was because it had been revised several times, but something just didn’t click for me. Although I have to wonder how much my opinion of the book was based on my expectation of what I was going to get, compared to what I actually did. I did think the story itself had potential and I liked Gayla/Dan – but I just couldn’t get past my perception. That being said, I have enjoyed the author in the past and will try some of her more recent stuff to see if that is maybe where my disconnect with the author’s writing was. Unfortunately, I could only give Rescuing an Angel only 1.5 stars.

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Posted by on August 22, 2015 in Book Review


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