Saturday, March 25, 2017

Book Reivew - Helping Helper by Tara C. Allred

ABOUT THE BOOK
“He’s not a friend, he’s my husband. And he’s gone.”
En route to Salt Lake City, intending to start over, their car breaks down near the struggling mining town of Helper, Utah—and then Tony leaves Kora behind.

Alone, broken and angry, especially that her family was right in their judgment against Tony, Kora decides to stay in Helper and aid in it’s art-centered transformation.

But in working to save her new home, Kora learns first love only happens once.

For a second chance at love, a much greater risk is required.






REVIEW
Not that I don't appreciate the very adult romance novels we normally review, but Helping Helper was a breath of fresh air.  With a well paced plot and characters you don't mind hanging around with, it is an all round good read with enough romance to keep things interesting.  I always appreciate an author who can put as much passion into a grazing touch as a super steamy scene, which Tara C. Allred manages well.

New beginnings are rarely clean or straightforward, and Allred doesn't take it easy on her heroine.   We get to see the full cycle of grief, exploration, forgiveness and growth.  The romance genre sometimes forgets the finer points of relationships and relationship building.  It's not all "I've never felt like this before."  Sometimes, it's "OMG, I have felt just like this before, and it's terrifying."  From that perspective, I found Helping Helper very satisfying.

There were only a handful of times I was removed from the story namely anytime a silk shirt is mentioned or anytime I looked at the title.  I try not to judge a book by it's cover, but ever since Jon McLaughlin's Promising Promises I have been averse to the present participle / noun combination. 


OVERALL RATING - 5 STARS!
MATURITY RATING - Strictly PG-13

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tara C. Allred is writer of fiction whose previous works have won several awards including as a finalist for the Kindle book awards.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR
You can contact Tara through her website at taracallred.net.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Review - HOT Witness (Hostile Operations Team #9.5) by Lynn Raye Harris

ABOUT THE BOOK
Eva Gray has a secret. Eight years ago, her sister entered the Brothers of Sin Motorcycle Club and never came back. Seven years ago, she vowed revenge, even if she had to change everything about her life to do it—her look, her name, her face.

Now she’s stalking the Brothers and looking for weakness. She’s close to achieving her goal, so close she can taste it. But a prominent federal judge is now in ICU, and Eva’s the only one who can prove the club hired the hit.

Jake Ryan was once a Brother, but he got his life together when a judge gave him a choice: prison or the military. He took the military and he’s never looked back. Now, as a member of the lethal Hostile Operations Team, he’s accustomed to working on the side of justice.

So when Declan MacKenzie comes to Washington DC and asks him to infiltrate his old gang to protect a witness and get evidence, he doesn’t hesitate to do his duty. But little does he suspect that Eva Gray is a girl he once knew or that she’s on a mission of her own. A mission that could see them both dead before they’re through.

When the warrior meets the vengeful virgin, nothing and no one is safe…


REVIEW
For those of you waiting patiently for book 10 in the Hostile Operations Team series, Lynn Raye Harris provides you a short and sweet novella featuring new characters in the world of the MacKenzie Family.  The MacKenzie family series was originated by Lilliana Hart who provides the forward for today's review. 

Crafting intense, believable romance is tough in a novella.  My kindle clocked me in at about an hour of total read time,  a little longer than an episode of This is Us, which always tugs on the heart strings.  It's not like the writers of This is Us are introducing new characters, giving us backstory, giving us a climax (or, ahem, several), and a conclusion in that time frame.  Given the constraints, Lynn Raye Harris does an admirable job crafting characters who have actual motivations and emotions.  As an intro reader to the HOT series, it does make want to read more of the author's work even if the description of this work includes the phrase "the warrior meets the vengeful virgin."

The characters tick some boxes for me.  My red blooded American heart absolutely does flip flop at the idea of a super jacked solider with commitment to ideals like freedom looking at me like he wants all of me.  Tattoos are hot, and so is Jax Teller...I mean Ryder Carsen...I mean Jake Ryan.  Man, with all the sandy blonde bikers running around, I am amazed I have not taken up a full fledged fantasy MC life.  The heroine, Eva, is  tough and artsy and motivated, and spoiler, wears granny panties.  The story has surprisingly feminist take on consent and masturbation, though I wouldn't share it with my daughter as some kind of roadmap on healthy relationships. 

The love scenes do have a build up, but in some cases feel like the story serves the love scenes instead of the love scenes being an integral part of the story.  As always, that is my primary gripe, but considering the novella format, it is understandable. 

OVERALL RATING - 5 STARS
MATURITY RATING - 18+ a little steamy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynn Raye Harris is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the HOSTILE OPERATIONS TEAM SERIES of military romances as well as 20 books for Harlequin Presents. A former finalist for the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award and the National Readers Choice Award, Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome former-military husband, two crazy cats, and one spoiled American Saddlebred horse. Lynn's books have been called "exceptional and emotional," "intense," and "sizzling." Lynn's books have sold over 3 million copies worldwide.


CONTACT THE AUTHOR
To be kept up to date about all of Lynn's new books, as well as to receive exclusive content and have the opportunity to enter special giveaways, sign up for Lynn's newsletter here. Or text the word HOTTIES to 66866.

You can learn more at her website, http://www.LynnRayeHarris.com, or come and visit her at her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLynnRay.... Lynn loves hearing from her readers!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Review - What it Takes: A Kowalski Novel by Shannon Stacey

ABOUT THE BOOK


Revisit all of your Kowalski favorites while falling in love with a brand-new romance in this reunion novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey 
Laney Caswell is looking for a change. A decade's worth of less-than-happy matrimony behind her, she wants peace—movies, books and, best of all, a new job at the Northern Star Lodge in Whitford, Maine. Spending the summer living in a camper is her chance to rediscover what makes her happy, and a perfect transition to her new life.  
Being a paramedic in Whitford is nothing like Ben Rivers's city life, but when Josh Kowalski offers him the job, the lure of his hometown is too much to resist. Also too much to resist: Laney Caswell. Ben always thought he'd have a wife and kids, a happy family like the Kowalskis have all built, but he never made time in his life. Now he's found a woman who draws him like no other and helps him dream again—and the last thing she wants is a husband.  
When the annual Kowalski family camping trip is moved to the Northern Star, both Ben and Laney are surrounded by the kind of happiness they've always wanted but never had. It just might be theirs—if they can put aside the past and reach for it together.



REVIEW

This story works as a stand-alone, but is meant just as much as a love letter to the fans of the Kowalski books.  Going into the book I honestly had mediocre expectations, expecting it to be 50% catching-up with the old characters and 50% focusing on the central characters.  I was pleasantly surprised at how Shannon Stacey managed to get the reader caught up in the lives of the rest of the family and still keep the focus on Laney and Ben.  The secondary story focusing on a couple from one of the previous books, Sean and Emma, was also done well and added to the overall story and my enjoyment of the book.  As I started this review, this book could be read as a stand-alone, although you (like Laney) might start to get confused by who all the other characters in the book are, but the previous books in this series are well worth reading if you have a spare month or two...


OVERALL RATING - 5 STARS!
MATURITY RATING - 18+ a little steamy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. From May to November, the Stacey family spends their weekends on their ATVs, making loads of muddy laundry to keep Shannon busy when she’s not at her computer. She prefers writing to laundry, however, and considers herself lucky she got to be an author when she grew up.

You can contact Shannon through her website, http://shannonstacey.com, where she has maintains an almost daily blog, or visit her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/shannonstacey, her Facebook page, http://facebook.com/shannonstacey.authorpage, or email her at shannon@shannonstacey.com.



Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review - Addicted to You by Renita Pizzitola

ABOUT THE BOOK

In a sweet, sexy novel for fans of Abbi Glines, Monica Murphy, and Christina Lauren, the author of Just a Little Kiss tells the story of two friends who each want more—and the love triangle that's holding them back.

In the sleepy fishing town of Port Lucia, everyone knows everyone, but Isla Diaz really knows Colby Callahan, with his blue-gray eyes and the tousled brown hair always tucked sexily into his cap. After all, Isla has been crazy about Colby ever since she can remember—even if he treats her like a kid sister. Now, without her best friend, Felicity, around, Isla spots a golden opportunity to take things to the next level . . . or at least wrangle a kiss out of Colby.

By random chance, a tropical storm is headed toward the coast, leaving them stranded together overnight—and there's nothing to do but drink. As the evening wears on, Isla gets the feeling that her not-so-secret crush may finally release her from the friend zone. With her dreams finally coming true, Isla isn't about to pump the brakes, but is this just a one-time thing? What if the next morning, she needs more than Colby's prepared to give?

Little does she know, Colby would like nothing more than a real relationship with Isla. She's always been the one. But there's a very good reason he's been keeping his distance. Someone else loves her too, someone who also means the world to Colby: his brother.

Praise for the novels of Renita Pizzitola

“Brinley and Ryder are the perfect combination of sweet and hot. They'll have you pulling for second chances.”USA Today bestselling author Lisa Desrochers, on Just a Little Crush

“Be prepared to swoon hard over Ryder in Just a Little Crush, Renita Pizzitola's impressive New Adult debut. Brinley and Ryder are drawn together in an almost hypnotic way and I couldn't help but be mesmerized by the utterly sexy, sweet, romantic, and scorching moments between them. I loved it!”—Christina Lee, author of the Between Breaths series, on Just a Little Crush

“In the tradition of new adults everywhere, Felicity and Mason stumble through their new relationship as it transitions from a summer sweetness to autumnal angst . . . [with] charming secondary relationships and [a] beautifully detailed setting.”Publishers Weeklyon Just a Little Kiss



REVIEW


I've become a fan of Pizzitola's books over the first couple in this series.  I have the expectation with New Adult Romance that there will be a fair amount of misunderstandings and whining because that is realistic and typical for anyone in their early 20's.  I had a harder time getting past that in this book than in previous books and it sometimes kept me from staying in the story.  Part of that is because the story was just thin in this book.  The characters were still interesting and the chemistry between Colby and Isla is undeniable, but that is pretty much the story with a few misunderstandings mixed in.  I still enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more by Pizzitola, but this didn't stand-up to her earlier books.


OVERALL RATING - 4 STARS!
MATURITY RATING - 18+ a little steamy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Renita Pizzitola is the author of New Adult Contemporary Romance and Young Adult Fantasy. When not writing, she can be found feeding her caramel macchiato addiction and reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Austin, Texas. 

Renita welcomes emails from her readers. To learn more please visit www.renitapizzitola.com

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Book Review - Montana Mornings by Kim Law

ABOUT THE BOOK

Gabe Wilde has never been more ready for a change. Thirty-three and in the midst of a divorce, he’s packed up his second-grade daughter and come home to Birch Bay, Montana. New house, new career, new life. Only, with changes come stress. His daughter is struggling with the transition to their new norm—and Gabe is out of ideas as to how to help.
Erica Bird is mired in her own worries. After impulsively leaving the teaching job she loved, she may finally be free from her cheating ex, but separated from her family and everything she’s ever known, second guesses linger. Substitute teaching in Birch Bay is fine for the time being, but what will her future hold?
When Gabe’s daughter winds up in Erica’s class, the two meet—or rather, reunite. Neither has forgotten their college romance or the tender feelings they once shared, but will their complicated pasts destroy their second chance? Or will old desire lead to a new love when each needs it most?



REVIEW

I have been waiting to learn more about Gabe's story since he was first introduced and I was not disappointed.  Kim writes Gabe's character so well.  He is trying to be a good Dad, but he isn't perfect and at times is nowhere close, and that makes him in some ways even more likable.  Erica on the other hand sometimes comes off as a little too perfect but is also exactly what Gabe and Emma need.  This is a well written story about the struggle of a Dad trying to figure out how to be a Dad and help his daughter live in a world with a broken family he isn't able to fix and also a second chance romance.  Fans of Kim Law will love this book and anyone who is looking for a story with heart will want to pick this book up as well.


OVERALL RATING - 5 STARS!
MATURITY RATING - 18+ a little steamy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a child, award-winning author Kim Law cultivated a love for chocolate, anything purple, and creative writing. She penned her debut work, The Gigantic Talking Raisin, in sixth grade and got hooked on the delights of creating stories. Before settling into the writing life, however, she earned a degree in mathematics and worked for years as a computer programmer. Now she’s living out her lifelong dream of writing romance novels. She’s won the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Golden Heart Award, been a finalist for the prestigious RITA Award, and served in various positions for her local RWA chapter. A native of Kentucky, Kim lives with her husband and an assortment of animals in Middle Tennessee.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Book Review - Unexpectedly Hers by Jamie Beck

ABOUT THE BOOK

By day, bashful wallflower Emma Duffy works at her family’s bed-and-breakfast. By night, she secretly pens erotic romance hot enough to melt the snow in their cozy Rockies town.
But Emma’s real life is about to heat up when her mother books the entire inn to a professional snowboarder, hoping the publicity will put them on the map. In a karmic twist of fate, that guest is Wyatt Lawson, the man with whom Emma had shared the secret one-night stand that became the inspiration for her novel and its dreamy hero. Worse, a film crew is documenting his comeback just as her debut is about to hit the shelves. Emma’s only saving grace is that Wyatt doesn’t remember her—and hopefully he never will.
When Wyatt arrives in Sterling Canyon for several weeks of intense training, the last tumble he expects to take is falling for a girl, especially one as shy as Emma. Unlike groupies with their hidden agendas, she isn’t using him—or so he believes…until the film crew uncovers Emma’s pen name and steamy novel.
Wyatt’s comeback run can withstand a fall or two, but can his heart recover from this crash and burn?



REVIEW

I'd describe Unexpectedly Hers as more Women's Lit than Romance.  Sure, there is plenty of good steamy romance packed inside the book, but that discounts the amount of story and self discovery in the book as well, for both Emma and Wyatt.  This story really works in so many ways I can't help but recommend the read  for anyone who is looking for a meaty story, a little romance, and little adventure along the way.


OVERALL RATING - 5 STARS!
MATURITY RATING - 18+ a little steamy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jamie Beck is a former attorney with a passion for inventing stories about love and redemption. A recent inductee into the Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll, her popular stories include her sassy Sterling Canyon books and emotionally complex St. James novels. In addition to writing romantic women’s fiction, she enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking, and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family. Visit her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JamieBeckBooks.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Book Review - It Started with a Kiss by Marina Adair

ABOUT THE BOOK


With a kidney transplant behind her, Avery Adams is determined to channel her inner adventurer and explore everything life has to offer. Only problem is, the closest she’s ever come to a real-life adventure was sixth-grade science camp. So to seize the summer in her rustic Sierra Nevada town, she takes a job as a guide at the local adventure lodge. But Avery doesn’t realize her biggest challenge will register at six-plus feet of rugged good looks and alpha-male charm.
As a member of the Sequoia Elite Mountain Rescue team, Tyson Donovan has made a life out of cheating death and rescuing weekend warriors from the treacherous terrain. “The world is my home” is more than just a motto; it’s what scares off women who would otherwise try to tie him down. When his dad’s health lands the family’s adventure lodge in serious danger of going up in flames, he moves home—and quickly remembers why he left. Until he meets Avery, the irresistible new guide who makes him want to stay.
Tyson gives the inexperienced Avery a lesson in romance that her books could never teach her. And with her undeniable spirit for life, Avery shows Tyson the healing power of love. But with one misstep, everything comes crashing down, and they’ll both have to take the biggest leap of all—into the kind of adventure that lasts a lifetime.



REVIEW

This is the first book in a new series by Adair, one of my favorite go-to authors for touching story.  This book delivers as expected.  Adair has created characters that are real and feel like real people you could be friends with and want to get to know better.  On the love story side, the chemistry is great and doesn't feel rushed and the story is a great balance of romance, family, and friendship.  


OVERALL RATING - 5 STARS!
MATURITY RATING - 18+ a little steamy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Marina Adair is the #1 bestselling author of beloved romances such as the Sugar, Georgia books; the St. Helena Vineyard series; the Heroes of St. Helena series; and the Sequoia Lake books—of which It Started with a Kiss is the first installment. Marina enjoys writing contemporary romance novels in which the towns are small, the personalities are large, and the romance is explosive. Marina holds a master of fine arts in creative writing and lives with her husband, daughter, and two neurotic cats in Northern California. She loves interacting with her readers. You can follow her on Twitter at @MarinaEAdair and sign up for her newsletter on her website at www.MarinaAdair.com/newsletter.