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Review – Crossing Hearts – Kimberly Kincaid

crossing-heartsCrossing Hearts
Author: Kimberly Kincaid
Series: #1 in the Cross Creek series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Book Won in a Giveaway Held by Author

Description:
Hunter Cross has no regrets. Having left his football prospects behind the day he graduated high school, he’s happy to carry out his legacy on his family’s farm in the foothills of the Shenandoah. But when a shoulder injury puts him face-to-face with the high school sweetheart who abandoned town—and him—twelve years ago, Hunter’s simple life gets a lot more complicated.

Emerson Montgomery has secrets. Refusing to divulge why she left her job as a hotshot physical therapist for a pro football team, she struggles to readjust to life in the hometown she left behind. The more time she spends with Hunter, the more Emerson finds herself wanting to trust him with the diagnosis of MS that has turned her world upside down.

But revealing secrets comes with a price. Can Hunter and Emerson rekindle their past love? Or will the realities of the present—and the trust that goes with them—burn that bridge for good?

Review:
So I actually read Crossing Hearts close to a month ago – it was officially the first book that I read in 2017 but since it had a release date of today (which means, Happy Book Birthday dance), I decided to wait to post my review. But as in typical Kimberly Kincaid fashion – I just end up gushing over her books! I swear – I haven’t read a bad one by her yet and Crossing Hearts just made my heart go all squishy inside.

I’ve never hidden the fact that reunited love/second chance love is a favorite romance trope of mine – combine that with small town romance and rancher romance (with a women in a kick ass career) and yes – there was little that I didn’t love about how Crossing Hearts came to be. I will say that sometimes family drama in small town romances kind of bugs me and Emerson’s family kind of ticked me off a bit – but at the same time, since she wasn’t all the forthcoming with her medical issues – I don’t blame them entirely either. It is proof positive that bad news only gets worse over time – especially when it is being withheld from people who love you.

One of the things I have always appreciated about Kimberly’s writing is the level of research and detail that she incorporates into her stories. I’m not sure who she worked with to get all the details on being a physical therapist, or how MS affects the body – but you could tell from the writing that she was able to meld the information that she gained from different sources into such a well-developed, well-rounded character. And as for Hunter…well, what wasn’t there to love – former high school athlete, willing to sacrifice his dreams to stay at home to help his family out – yeah, i’m gushing. I can’t wait for the next two books in the series and to see his brother’s HEA’s!

4.5 stars for Crossing Hearts and unfortunately not, I have to start the tedious wait time for a new book by Kimberly (which just sucks!)

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – The Kidnapped Christmas Bride – Jane Porter

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00050]The Kidnapped Christmas Bride
Author: Jane Porter
Series: #3 in the Taming of the Sheenans series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided via Netgalley

Description:
All he wants is a Christmas memory…

Trey Sheenan has cultivated his reputation as Marietta’s resident bad boy, until one day he lets things go too far and he loses everything—his freedom, his fiance McKenna Douglas, and his infant son.

McKenna has loved Trey since they were kids, but she’s had enough. When Trey is sent away for five years, McKenna is determined to do what’s right for her and baby TJ, which means putting her mistakes—namely Trey—behind her, and move on.

When Trey is released early, he returns to Marietta determined to beg McKenna’s forgiveness and become the father TJ needs him to be, only to discover that he’s too late. McKenna’s marrying local insurance agent Lawrence Joplin in a candlelight Christmas wedding.

Or is she?

Once again, Trey risks everything, but this time it’s for love….and the memory of one perfect Christmas together as a family.

Review:
The Kidnapped Christmas Bride is a book that I’ve had sitting on the pile for quote a while (yes, bad person who requested the ARC and didn’t read in a timely manner), but with Christmas rapidly approaching (and yet, the weather thinking it is much more like early fall); I was looking for a book that I hoped would get me into the Christmas-ish type mood. The picture of the bride in her wedding dress with snow covering the ground seemed like the perfect way to try and get into a Christmas mood.

This was also the first time that I’d read anything by Jane Porter, although I’ve seen her books at my local library before. So I also got to dig my teeth into someone new, which is something I enjoy. The Kidnapped Christmas Bride was well-written, so much so that I wanted more – it was a short read but I felt like it was a complete story. I will point out that The Kidnapped Christmas Bride is book 3 in a series, so there were some hints of the previous books and how everything worked out in them (since I know there are many people out there who like to read books in order – i’m not one of them).

The Kidnapped Christmas Bride used second chance romance and redemption romance/trying to get your life back, in this case, after a stint in jail. I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually read a fiction book that featured someone who had very recently been released from prison (most of the ones I can think of, it had been in their past, as part of the bad boy persona). So this was something different for me and I kind of liked the approach that the author took. Although I don’t know if kidnapping your former love is the way to necessarily start your life over again (just sayin…). While I liked Trey, McKenna kind of rubbed me the wrong way – I could understand Trey’s actions, but hers were kind of tacky, i mean, it was her wedding day…maybe its because I have a hard time seeing how people can get all the way to the wedding day/the alter before realizing it isn’t the relationship for them…like seriously! I think in part that is why I only gave this book 3 stars.

That being said, while I wasn’t a fan of McKenna, I enjoyed the authors writing style enough, that I will probably check out something else writing by her in the future.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – A Love to Last – Kelsey Browning

a love to lastA Love to Last
Author: Kelsey Browning
Series: #1 in Prophecy of Love series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Her boots were made for walking…

Drifter Delaney Shields plans to breeze through Prophecy, Texas, before setting off on an around-the-world trip of a lifetime. She never expects to see sexy-as-sin Cal Maddox, the man she ran out on a decade ago. One look between them and their past attraction ignites, flaming hotter than ever. But acting on it would be disastrous because she’s not the sticking kind, and Cal has roots a mile deep.

Cal Maddox left the military only to find both the health of his dad and his hometown failing. When Delaney walks into his father’s custom boot shop, she spurs emotional memories and sexual fantasies Cal has no business indulging in. Especially once he realizes she’s the next Prophecy bootmaker, the only person who can design custom cowboy boots with the power to change a person’s destiny. But if fanning those old flames will keep her in Prophecy, he’s willing to take the heat, even if it means keeping secrets and risking his heart again.

Duty and desire throw Cal and Delaney together, but will their feelings be strong enough to forge a new bond or will they destroy their second chance at love?

Review:
Sometimes when everything looks dull and dreary in the world, you just need to curl up under the covers with a favorite author and read their newest release and that is just what I did when Kelsey Browning’s newest book came out. It had been a fairly crappy week in the world with different events, so all I wanted to do was shut down and find my happy place. And from the time I picked up A Love to Last, to finishing up the final page, I was in my happy place. Unfortunately, as with previous books, my enjoyment ended all too soon because of my inability to stop reading her stuff once I start (and yes, that makes for some long days following book releases…)

Anyone who follows Kelsey on social media has probably seen the picture of her sitting in a chair with her feet, clad in cowboy boots sticking out to the side – so when I saw that the book had a basis in a company that designs and makes custom boots. Added to that, the whole idea of a prophecy boot – a boot that has its exact pair in your soul (or is it sole) mate. And to make a triple whammy, A Love to Last is a second chance romance which is one of my favorite tropes in the romance genre.

there is something about Delaney that made me both jealous of how footloose and fancy free she was, but at the same time, making me want to execute a well-placed Gibbs slap. And yet, at the same time, I just wanted to give her a hug because that just seemed to be what she needed. And while I know Cal was there for her, yeah, well….lol. And then there was Cal – wanting to be all that his family needed, but not quite fitting the bill when it comes to inheriting his father’s legacy as the prophecy boot maker. I think we have probably all felt that – the desire to be something that maybe just wasn’t meant to be.

As always, the romance of Delaney and Cal was supported with a very colorful cast of characters, including Cal’s father, the current (and ornery prophecy bootmaker), as well as siblings, and townspeople. I’m excited to see where this series goes over the next couple of books. A solid 4 stars and can’t wait for me – a perfect read for a rainy day.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Delectable – Adrianne Lee

18453252Delectable
Author: Adrianne Lee
Series: #1 in Big Sky Pie series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Publisher via Netgalley

Description:
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 . . .

Review:
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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Review – Homefront – Jessica Scott

homefrontHomefront
Author: Jessica Scott
Series: #1 in the Homefront series (spin-off from Coming Home series)
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publicist via Netgalley

Description:
He’s always loved her…
First Sergeant Gale Sorren waited a war and half a lifetime for a chance to get stationed near the ex-wife who left him years ago. When he finally musters the courage to see her, the life he imagined she was living was nothing close to the reality.
She’s never stopped loving him…
Melanie never stopped worrying about Gale each time he headed off to war. But he’s never been there when she needed him and she’s had fifteen years to steel her heart against him.
But when Gale moves to Fort Hood, he finally has a chance to make things right with Melanie and the daughter she raised without him.
Can Mel trust her heart to a man who has always let her down?

Review:
So in all honesty, I actually read this book a couple of months ago and planned to get my review written then, but things turned insane (like usual) and I found myself behind on reviews. So since this is ARC August, I’m taking the opportunity to catch up on a few ARC’s where I have read the books, but the reviews haven’t been posted, so please bear with me 😉

Homefront – oh where to start…(and no that’s not a bad thing)! This is the first book in Jessica Scott’s new series (also aptly named Homefront) and is a spin-off of her popular Coming Home series. I wanted to point this out up front, because a) if you haven’t read her coming home series, you need to high tail yourself to your nearest book dealer and purchase them and b) because you may encounter spoilers for couples in those books (so you have been warned!).

In Homefront, we meet FSG Gale Sorren (First Sergeant for those of you who don’t speak military) – who is returning to Ft Hood (the basis of most of Jessica’s books) as part of a Battalion reorganization/replacement that occurred in a previous book (It’s Always Been You – Ben/Olivia). I’ll admit that I fell for Gale the minute he was introduced – he reminded me a lot of several of the senior enlisted personnel I’ve worked with over the years – the ones who care more about their men/woman, than playing the political game. But you could also tell that he had demons (for lack of a better word in his background) which were soon revealed. I think one of my favorite things about Jessica’s writing is the amount of realism she brings to the stories – based on her experiences as an Army officer.

One of my other favorite things about Jessica’s writing is that her females, be they military or not, are kick-ass – one of the biggest issues I have with many romances is that the females need to guy to step in and save them, but that is not present in Jessica’s books – in fact, her heroine’s prove in every book that saying, anything you can do, I can do better – it is always a pleasure to read her books because of this and Homefront was no different. The heroine in Homefront, Melanie, is Gale’s estranged wife and I’ll admit that I ended up bawling as they reconnected through his daughter (who he has really never gotten to know all that well). So Homefront hit my happy reader button on some many things – a well-written military romance, a second chance/rekindled love romance, and where the child (or should I say young-adult) in the book was key to the storyline moving forward and not just in the story for added drama.

Homefront had Jessica’s typically witty humor that I love, and yet manages to tackle one of the issues of military life. I gave Homefront 4 stars and hope that some of you will pick it up and read it soon.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2015 in Book Review, 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 – 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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