New Release Review! HER OUTBACK SURPRISE by Annie Seaton (Prickle Creek #2)

Synopsis:

Angie Edmonds is content with life in her small town. Being alone doesn’t bother her. Really. Until Liam Smythe, the man who broke her heart, shows up at her vet clinic with an injured puppy. Unfortunately, he’s just as irresistible as she remembers. In an attempt to prove to him that she’s moved on, somehow a little white lie begins…

When Liam returns to help run the family farm, his enjoyment of the slow life in Spring Downs surprises him. After all, he’s used to the thrill of chasing the next big story. Running into the girl he’s never been able to forget is unexpected, and he’s shocked to learn she’s getting married–to someone who’s not him. She’s off-limits, but Liam can’t stop thinking about the gorgeous vet and what could have been. But convincing her he’s changed will be harder than finding a needle in a haystack.

 

Review:

Her Outback Surprise is a sweet, second-chance romance set in–you guessed, it–the Australian Outback. It’s second in its series, but if you haven’t read the first book yet ( Her Outback Cowboy ) no worries; the bits you absolutely need to know about it are explained here too (why Liam and his cousins come back to the family farm, and what their plans for the future are, more or less) though the fact that this is the second book does make for a somewhat awkward start to this one with a bit of jumping around time-wise.

Overall I liked Angie and Liam, and it wasn’t hard to root for them to (finally!) be together in the end. The flashback bits felt a bit superfluous, though (especially since their important bits were usually recapped through a character’s thoughts and/or conversation a minute or two after) and this was definitely an example of a story whose main conflict could have been resolved with one decent conversation between the MCs, which was definitely frustrating. Liam especially was guilty of being exceptionally dense for about 90% of the book, and Angie tended toward the wishy-washy side of the spectrum more often than I would have liked–still, this was a pleasant way to spend a cozy fall afternoon reading.

Plus, there was a cute puppy and a newborn baby in the mix, so–win-win! 🙂

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

New Release Review! THE CINDERELLA FANTASY by Sara Jane Stone


The Cinderella Fantasy
by Sara Jane Stone

Synopsis:

A princess who has lost her faith in love . . .

Lucy Linden’s prince charming (a.k.a. her fiancé) disappeared three months before the Big Day. Determined to pick up the pieces, she dives into the world of online dating. But the only men interested in a woman whose day job involves playing Cinderella leave Lucy looking for an exit strategy before the main course. And the man rushing to her rescue isn’t the solution to her problems. Jared is a walking, talking fantasy—if Lucy’s daydreams began and ended in the bedroom. No one would ever mistake South Florida’s bored billionaire bachelor for a long-term prince.

A man willing to risk everything to prove he’s her prince . . .

Jared Mitchell pushes the limits, in the boardroom and in bed. When his best friend and business partner’s little sister sends up red distress flares, he’s thrust into the role of pseudo-big brother. He’s never had a thing for Cinderella. But now he’s fighting his desire to make the princess his—even if he has to risk his empire to deliver her happy-ever-after ending.

 

Review:

The Cinderella Fantasy is a cute and sweet (if somewhat silly at times) contemporary romance. The idea of three friends and roommates who have their own business which lets them dress up as princesses (birthday parties, hospital visits, etc.) is a unique one, and I am interested to see what is in the works for the other two “princesses” (though is one of the books going to have “Mulan” in the title? Somehow I suspect not, which is a bummer 🙁 ).

Lucy’s dating disasters were fun to read (thigh gap???!!!), and the temptation of her older brother’s best friend/business partner makes for an entertaining troupe. I got a little aggravated with Lucy’s back-and-forth over her relationship with Jared (my job is important to me but you can’t work too much or else?) and still am not sure how I feel about her brother’s involvement in the start of their relationship. The ending also comes about really quickly, given all of the angsty back and forth will-she-won’t-she drama that came before…

Still, though, The Cinderella Fantasy was an entertaining way to pass the time. It’s not going to be my favorite book from this author, but I am interested enough to see where this series will go with the other two girls.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.


View all my reviews

New Release Review and Giveaway! DISORDERLY CONDUCT by Tessa Bailey (The Academy #1)

Disorderly Conduct
by Tessa Bailey
Series: The Academy
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Avon Romance
Publication Date: August 29, 2017

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone…

Police academy cadet Charlie Burns can’t believe his luck when the gorgeous blonde he meets in a bar murmurs those magic words: “Nothing serious, ’kay?” Mind-blowing, no-strings sex with Ever Carmichael—it’s the holy grail of hookups for a guy who’s too busy following in his law enforcement family’s footsteps to think about getting serious. Charlie’s all about casual…that is, until Ever calls it quits and his world tilts on its axis.

Ever knows that when you control the relationship game, you can’t get played. But for the first time, she wants more than short-term satisfaction. Step one: end her fling with commitment-phobic Charlie. Step two: sacrifice herself to the ruthless NYC dating scene. Yet everywhere she turns, there’s Charlie, being his ridiculously charming self. No online match or blind date compares to the criminally hot cop-in-training, but they’re over. Aren’t they?

If love is a four-letter-word, why does the idea of Ever seeing someone else tie Charlie up in knots?  Now he’s desperate to win her back…and a little date sabotage never hurt anyone, right?


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Review:

Well.

I liked Charlie and Ever together–their chemistry is amazing–and really liked the secondary characters–Jack, Danika, Nina, and Greer–and am hoping that all of them will get HEAs in future books (Jack’s is next, and Danika/Greer are strongly hinted at; leaving Nina, who’s not at the Academy, the only real question mark. Fingers crossed!) The steamy scenes are, as is to be expected, steamy with a capital S here.

All good things.

But…

I did have some issues with Charlie and Ever’s motivation here. Their reasons for not wanting relationships–stemming from family issues/histories were somewhat believable, but only to a point. Ever turned hers around pretty quick after a single visit with her mother (whom she calls “Mother”–this just felt weird without family pearls and fortunes and memberships in the DAR involved) and her new issue becomes I’m not worthy of a real relationship with Charlie instead (WTH?). Charlie’s comes from his childhood and his misperception of an event, and it too is resolved with a single incident. And don’t get me started on his sabotage of Ever’s attempted dates, which is so beyond not cool it’s not funny.

Fortunately, he does do a good grovel (though I do question the use of taxpayer-funded resources in his final effort, the one that came before was awesome) and they really are fantastic together, which helps to make up for the shortcomings here. Jack’s (and Danika/Greer’s and hopefully Nina’s) are still to come, and I have high hopes for them, so…

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

About Tessa Bailey:

Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention. She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! ROMANCING THE WALLFLOWER by Michelle Major (Crimson, Colorado #8)

In a Colorado mountain town, a good girl kindergarten teacher propositions a sexy bad boy uncle of one of her students…It’s all part of ROMANCING THE WALLFLOWER by Michelle Major

About ROMANCING THE WALLFLOWER:  

Dedicated kindergarten teacher Erin MacDonald isn’t the type to make the first move on a man—especially gorgeous David McCay, her secret crush. But when a crisis involving one of her pupils offers a chance to help the pro baseballer turned local brewery owner, Erin goes way out of her comfort zone. So way out she makes a shocking suggestion!

David moved to the Colorado mountain town to look after his sister and her son. Now he’s a stand-in parent to his nephew, trying to fight his attraction to Erin…who just propositioned him. David is nobody’s hero. So why can’t he convince the sweet, kindhearted beauty that she deserves better than him? Is it because they’re the perfect imperfect match?

On Sale in Print: August 22, 2017

On Sale in Digital: September 1, 2017

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 Add ROMANCING THE WALLFLOWER to your TBR pile on Goodreads!

Excerpt:

“Stop staring at the hottie brewmaster’s butt.”

Erin MacDonald choked on the gulp of strawberry daiquiri she’d just swallowed. “I’m not staring at anyone’s butt,” she said as she grabbed a wad of napkins and dabbed at her chin and shirtfront. “And don’t talk so loud.”

Melody Cross, one of the second-grade teachers at Crimson Elementary, snorted. “It’s a crowded bar on a busy Thursday night. No one can hear me.”

But Melody had the kind of booming voice that could quiet a room full of squirming eight-year-olds the afternoon before summer break. The tall table they stood at was a good five feet from the bar, but Erin swore she saw the man’s broad shoulders stiffen.

“Want me to take a picture of him?” Suzie Vitale, her fellow kindergarten teacher, offered with a tipsy smile. “It lasts longer.”

Before Erin could stop her, the curvy blonde aimed her phone at the backside of the gorgeous guy who not only worked the bar but also owned Elevation Brewery. The brewpub had opened a little over a year ago and had become a popular hangout for both locals and tourists in the quaint mountain town of Crimson, Colorado.

Erin had noticed David McCay, the brewery’s owner, the first time she’d stepped into the nouveau rustic—and very on-trend for Colorado—space. He was tall and lean, with dark blond hair that curled around the collars of the flannel shirts he favored. David McCay was as handsome as a movie star and built like he spent endless hours tossing huge sacks of barley—or whatever it was beer brewers did.

Erin, who was built like she spent her days sitting cross-legged on a reading rug, had surreptitiously watched him each time she came into the bar with friends or coworkers for a random happy hour or birthday celebration. He was often tending bar or sometimes she’d spot him coming out from the back, wearing the heavy rubber boots and backward ball cap that she’d quickly learned were his uniform when actually brewing beer.

Colorado was known for its craft brews, and the fact that Elevation had made a name for itself so quickly was a testament to his hard work and talent at running a business.

At least that’s what Erin wanted to believe. Her mother liked to remind Erin that she too often assumed the best about people, which allowed them to regularly take advantage of her.

But David McCay hadn’t taken advantage of her, even though it was the stuff of her fantasies. Even though his nephew, Rhett, was now in her kindergarten class and David had been with the boy and his mother for back-to-school night. Erin had barely been able to put a sentence together with David towering over the other adults in the back of her classroom, but he hadn’t bothered to acknowledge her. Heck, it was doubtful he even knew she existed.

Except when she blinked and looked up, he was staring straight at her. Sparks of awareness flamed through her body, setting every inch of her skin on fire. He lifted one thick brow as if he could read her thoughts. Which might be impossible since it felt like all of her brain cells had spontaneously combusted under the weight of his stare.

She heard Melody giggle behind her, and Suzie gave her a little shove forward. David now stood at the edge of the bar, only a short distance from her, with movement all around him. Customers in groups laughed and talked. A waitress set her tray on the rich wood bar top. A group of women at near the edge of the bar vied for his attention. But his focus remained on Erin.

Then something—someone—suddenly blocked her vision. Cole Bennett, Crimson’s recently elected sheriff, was talking to David. Cole was also tall and broad, and to use one of her mom’s favorite expressions, made a better door than a window.

Erin shifted to the right as she overheard Cole mention Rhett, David’s nephew. David’s gaze hardened and his jaw clenched. Unable to stop herself, she moved forward, sidestepping a couple heading toward the back of the bar and a group of twentysomething guys who looked like they’d just come off a hiking trail, until she stood directly behind the sheriff.

She was five feet four inches tall in the clogs she favored for work, so both men towered over her and were completely unaware she was listening to their conversation. Invisibility was Erin’s unintentional superpower. She knew much more than she should about her coworkers and neighbors, simply because people didn’t notice she was there.

“Rhett is safe,” Cole told David. “But they can’t get him to come out.”

“What the hell was Jenna thinking?” David asked, then scrubbed a hand over his jaw. “No, don’t answer that.”

“She’s in trouble, David. The crowd she’s running with—”

“I’ll handle it.” He pulled a set of keys out of one of the pockets in his tan cargo pants. “I just need to tell Tracie I’m leaving for the night. I’ll be over for Rhett.”

“I have to call Social Services,” Cole said softly, and Erin felt the tension ratchet up a notch.

“Give me some time with him first, okay?”

“Can you—”

“I’ll handle it,” David repeated. He moved behind the bar and spoke to the woman filling two pint glasses from the tap.

The sheriff walked out of the bar, patrons instinctively clearing a path for him although he wasn’t in uniform tonight.

When she looked up, David McCay stood toe-to-toe with her. She realized she’d moved forward to block his path from behind the bar.

In her daydreams, she’d compared his eyes to the brilliant summer sky above the ragged peak of Crimson Mountain or the iridescent cobalt of a tropical lagoon. But now his frosty stare was more like the ice blue of a glacier, so cold a shiver passed through her.

“I don’t have time for this, sweetheart. You and your friends are going to have to play your liquid courage bar games with someone else.”

“It’s not a game,” Erin said.

“Darlin’, you ordered a froofy drink in my bar. It’s either a game or a joke.”

This close to David, the heat and frustration radiating off him made her feel different from the woman she knew herself to be. She was aware of her body in a way that was new and exhilarating. She wanted more. She wanted…something she couldn’t name. Still, the promise of it made her weak with longing.

Also braver than she’d ever been. Or maybe crazy was a better word, because when he moved to step around her, she placed a hand on his arm.

“I can help with your nephew.”

 

Review:

Romancing the Wallflower is a sweet romance with some very amusing moments (love what Erin has David listed as in her phone, LOL) alongside some very touching ones. The kids in this book…OMG, they just about ripped my heart out. So cute!

Both Erin and David had super-negative views of themselves–Erin as an undesirable, “invisible” person and David as a guy who’s been letting those he loves down his whole life–which was understandable to a point (I get the invisibility, I do–I set my bangs on fire in a classroom of kids with not one, but two teachers in it, and NO ONE NOTICED except by lab partner…I know invisible), though it did feel like it all went on too long. Still, they managed to come around in the end and pull out all the stops for a super cute ending.

Plus, did I mention the kids? 😉

Romancing is the eighth book in the Crimson, Coloradoseries, but it worked just fine as a standalone.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

Author Bio:

Michelle Major grew up in Ohio but dreamed of living in the mountains. Soon after graduating with a degree in Journalism, she pointed her car west and settled in Colorado. Her life and house are filled with one great husband, two beautiful kids, a few furry pets and several well-behaved reptiles. She’s grateful to have found her passion writing stories with happy endings. Michelle loves to hear from her readers at www.michellemajor.com.

Connect with Michelle: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

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New Release Review! CHECK MY HEART by Christi Barth


Check My Heart

by Christi Barth

Synopsis:

The death of his little brother turned Kurt Lundquist’s world upside down. He channeled his grief into skating his heart out–and ultimately leading his hockey team to win the championship. Now, all he wants to do is throw a party with the Cup in his brother’s honor. He’s got no clue where to start…until he runs into the gorgeous hospice nurse who took such great care of Jasper. She’s waaay off limits, but he’s desperate, and hires her to help him.

Lisette Broussard’s heart broke a little more every time a patient died. Losing the brave brother of a hockey star was the last straw. Learning a new specialty was supposed to change her life for the better, but it used up her savings. Then the slam dunk job with the New Orleans championship hockey team mysteriously disappears. So she jumps at Kurt’s offer of a job, no matter how temporary. No matter how…dangerous, given how much she’s always crushed on him. No matter how risky it is to fall for Kurt, since he’ll always associate her with the grief of losing his brother.

But the more time they spend together, the deeper they both fall. Kurt’s heart begins to thaw…and then heat. Lisette can’t resist him, and throws caution to the wind. She’ll take whatever time he gives her. Can they move beyond the pain of the past and focus on a future together?

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Excerpt:

God. Why would Lisette want to keep touching such a wallowing, messed-up son of a bitch? The words, the truth that kept him immobilized on this decision ripped from his throat like gravel spraying from his Harley tires. “Tell me how I can turn my back on my team and my friends and still be able to look myself in the mirror.”

She pressed up against his back, arms circling his waist like a life preserver. “How do you do it now? How do you look past your grief to see what’s truly in your reflection?”

“I don’t.”

Her fingers curved into his stomach. “You don’t look in mirrors?”

“Not for a while now.” Trying to make light of it, Kurt rasped a hand across his two-day-old stubble. “I’ve got an electric razor. Makes it so easy I can do it with my eyes shut. I was tired of seeing nothing but a scowl.”

“Oh, I get it, believe me. But feeling good, being happy? It takes practice every bit as much as skating.” Going up on her tiptoes, Lisette murmured into his ear, “I declare that smile practice is now in session.”

Then her fingers splayed, arrowing down to just below the waist of his shorts. Just enough to make him wish they’d damn well keep going. She scraped her teeth along the cords of his neck, then licked a path down to where Kurt knew she could feel his pulse jackrabbiting through the skin. Lisette sucked. Sucked and swirled her tongue. That was all it took to bring his dick into a full-out lunge, trying to meet her fingertips.

Kurt reached back and around to pull her closer. He got two handfuls of the sweetest ass he’d ever touched and squeezed. Kneaded. His hands almost completely covered those taut globes. He couldn’t wait to see how they’d look doing exactly that on her naked skin.

He didn’t care if she gave him a hickey. Didn’t care that the guys would give him a mountain of shit if he walked into the locker room with a love bite like a teenager. The only thing Kurt cared about was the way her tongue lapped at him, sending shivers of sensation straight down to his dick.

They weren’t really kissing. They were fully clothed, in a fucking warehouse. They weren’t even face-to-face. But her assault on his neck was so damn hot, Kurt was ready to shove up her skirt and take her on the floor, with the goddamned goldfish watching.

Whispering, breath feathering against his ear, Lisette ordered, “Look at your reflection in the bowl, Kurt. What do you see?”

He turned his head to catch a smug, satisfied grin curling up the edges of his mouth. Huh. Kurt twisted to see her wet lips and flushed cheeks. Guess she’d enjoyed giving as well as getting. Which turned him on even more. “You think I’m good in a practice session? You should catch me in the real deal.”

 

Review:

Start with an absolutely heartwrenching beginning (have tissues handy!) and an intriguing premise (older brother of cancer patient falls for hospice nurse)–throw in a hockey hero (aforementioned older brother) and you should have a hat trick, right? That was my hope when I started reading Check My Heart, a hope which was only partially fulfilled.

I liked both Kurt and Lisette, the hero and heroine (AKA brother and nurse). Buying into their relationship push-pull was a bit trickier, though–maybe if we’d seen them in the beginning, instead of finding out about it later on? (Especially since their individual accounts of that time don’t quite seem to jive–both claim to be drawn to the other, but neither seems to think that the other is even remotely interested (I get it; the younger brother is dying, etc., but still…)) They also seem to go pretty quickly from Jasper will always come between us to getting over that obstacle (I don’t actually think there was a moment of them getting over it–though maybe I just missed it, somehow? Or promptly forgot all about it?) My biggest issue, though, was with

Spoiler Inside SelectShow
 Even when it was admitted to and moved on from, it still rubbed me wrong.

Altogether this wasn’t a bad way to spend a few hours, though. I mean, there is a hot hockey hero who has the bonus of being a great older brother and a very sympathetic nurse who knows how to plan kick-butt parties, plus the resolution is sweet and fairly believable. It’s not my favorite from Ms Barth, but I’m not sorry I read it, either.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

View all my reviews

 

About the author:

USA Today bestselling author Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series.

Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.

For information on books, new releases and more, visit her Website

 

Author Links:   Website | Twitter | Facebook   | Goodreads

New Release Review! ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL by Jennifer Probst (Billionaire Builders #3)

“Property Brothers meets small-town sexy with a twist of sweet.”

−Publishers Weekly


All or Nothing At All
JENNIFER PROBST

 

“Probst’s final book in her Billionaire Builders Series is a gut-wrenching, intensely emotional, second-chance romance. The fast-paced dialogue vividly details every emotive scene…The stars and little girl costar are unforgettable, and the series tie-up is exceptional.”

RT Book Reviews, 4 star review

 

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst invites readers to spend one last time with the Pierce Brothers in this third volume of the Billionaire Builders series.  ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL (on-sale July 25th; Gallery Books) is an all-new, heart-wrenching, and sexy contemporary romance perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins or Julie James.

Tristan Pierce left the family business to carve out a life of his own, but never forgot his passionate affair with the much younger, inexperienced Sydney Greene, or the hurtful breakup that tore him apart. When he’s forced to return home and face his past, will he be able to carve out a future, or will lies ruin his second chance at love?

Sydney Greene loved Tristan her entire life but when he left, he took not only her heart, but her trust along with him. Now that they’re together again, it’s time they both face the biggest secret of all…

Buy it now:

 

Additional Praise for Jennifer Probst:

“For a sexy, fun-filled, warmhearted read, look no further than Jennifer Probst!”

−Jill Shalvis, New York Times bestselling author

“Jennifer Probst knows how to bring the swoons and the sexy. All or Nothing at All wraps up the Billionaire Builders with secrets, second chances, and ALL the heat!”

–Amy Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

Review:

This was a tough one to rate. Since the first book in the series, it was pretty clear to the reader that there was something between Tristan and Sydney, and it didn’t take too much mental gymnastics to make the leap to figuring out what Syd’s big secret probably was. Second chance romance can make for a really delicious read, so I was really looking forward to this one.

The first 40% of the book was everything I could have hoped for–angsty, delicious second chance-ness and all. Once Syd’s secret comes out, though, it was hard to get behind the all of choices and decisions that both Syd and Tristan make and demand. The fact that they both work so hard to keep Becca happy is a saving grace, but at times this book was hard to read. I was determined to get to their HEA, though, and kept going. Seeing the couples from the other books (Tristan’s brothers and their coworker) helped to make things better, even at the darkest moments.

So…I ended with mixed feelings on this one. There were parts I liked and parts that made me a little crazy. In the end, though, I really did like Tristan and Syd even if I didn’t agree with everything they did, and was happy to see them end up at a HEA with Becca. It was great to see all the “billionaire builders” get happy endings, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Ms. Probst has in store for us next.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jennifer Probst’s novels, novellas, and e-books range from sexy contemporary romance to erotica. She lives in upstate New York. For more about this multitalented New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author, visit www.JenniferProbst.com.

New Release Review! CAN’T BUY ME LOVE by Marie Force (Butler, Vermont #2)

BLURB: 

Mary Larkin was hard at work as the office manager at the Green Mountain Country Store when Cameron Murphy brought her dad, Patrick, in to visit. That fateful first meeting, which took place in You’ll Be Mine, sets the stage for Mary and Patrick’s long-awaited romance in Can’t Buy Me Love!

Mary enjoys her predictable, satisfying life in Butler. If it’s a little lacking in excitement, well, that’s okay with her. But after meeting Patrick and getting to know him better at his daughter’s wedding, Mary is intrigued by the well-known, sexy billionaire businessman.

Patrick is equally intrigued. For the first time since he suddenly lost his wife thirty years ago, he has met a woman who makes him feel less lonely, and all he wants is more of his Sweet Mary from Vermont. Flirty phone calls become a weekend away together that takes his relationship with Mary to the next level.

But with six hours and two vastly different lives standing between them, can Mary and Patrick find happily ever after together? And after telling her father to keep his hands and everything else off Mary, will Cameron approve of her father’s new romance?

——

REVIEW:

Can’t Buy Me Love is a sweet romance–a second-chance at love for two older characters–and if you’ve read Cameron’s (Patrick’s daughter) story, especially the story of her wedding, where Patrick and Mary first met, you’re bound to absolutely love this cozy. comfortable romance. There really isn’t a whole lot of conflict–not half as much as the blurb makes it sound like there is–just the rather short story of a gentle wooing by a guy who definitely knows what he wants and the woman who is more than happy to give it to him.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

——

AUTHOR BIO:

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 contemporary  romances, including the Gansett Island Series, which has sold nearly 3 million books, and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books, which has sold 1.5 million books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series, written under the slightly modified name of M.S. Force. All together, her books have sold more than 5.5 million copies worldwide!

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie’s many reader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

AUTHOR LINKS:
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New Release Review! ROAR by Cora Carmack (Stromheart #1)

Synopsis:

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

 

Review:

I’m having a hard time rating this one, wavering between 3 and 3 1/2 stars. The world created here is interesting, but even after almost 400 pages of it there’s a whole lot I still don’t “get” about the storms, the stormhearts, the various people who fight/tame/control/call/are destroyed by them. Toward the end some things became more clear, but others? Still not. I’ll freely admit, though, that this could at least partially be me.

We see events from 5 different POVs, which felt like a bit much–especially when so many of the POV switches were so sudden. I found myself having to back up and re-read a sentence or two nearly every time, because it wasn’t immediately obvious that we were seeing a new person’s perspective, and that made the reading experience feel a bit choppy. Again, this could be me, but it made reading the book feel like more work than it had to be.

Aurora/Rora/Roar’s not one, but two instances of insta-love (no, it’s not really a love triangle as I’d originally feared, but might be later? Hard to say for sure) felt a bit silly, and so did her feeling of insta-betrayal from one of them (justified? Maybe. Probably. But honestly, the jury’s still out on that one, as far as I’m concerned–I have a feeling there’s more good in him than not…though yes, I could be totally wrong here. Actually, I’m not a huge fan of either of the love interests at this point, so…) I did like how she tried to take things into her own hands, but from the beginning I couldn’t help but feel that there had to be a better way to do it. Given what we learn toward the end, that feeling appears to be justified, so…

Gah. I just don’t know. Honestly right now the two things that are most likely to have me picking up the next book in the series are wanting to see what will happen with Nova (Rora’s childhood friend whose POV we didn’t see nearly enough of) and the fact that things got really interesting at the very end. It’s not a cliffhanger, per se, but it does leave you at a point where you want to find out more. So…we’ll see. A definite…probably.

Maybe?

Rating: 3 stars / C+?

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

New Release Review! WITHOUT WORDS by Delancey Stewart



About WITHOUT WORDS:

Sometimes love speaks for itself…

After an accident in the line of duty, firefighter Roberto DeRosa’s life is turned upside down. His career fighting fires is over, and he’s left with an uncertain future and an injury that makes communicating difficult for him. The only time words flow easily is when they’re lyrics and he has a guitar in his hands. Talking to women is definitely out, especially if they have bright blue eyes that seem to see right into his soul.

Dani Hodge is on the brink of realizing her dream of opening a small combination wine and book store in San Diego’s funky Ocean Beach neighborhood. But before she can open the doors, there’s work to be done, more work than she can do herself.

When the tattooed guy who completely ignored her at a bar walks by and offers her a hand wrangling a tile saw, Dani can’t afford to say no—and why would she say no to Mr. Strong and Silent when his stare conveys more than words could?

Add WITHOUT WORDS to your Goodreads TBR list here!

withoutwords

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Excerpt:

I caught Trent’s attention at the bar, putting my back to the girl and focusing on getting my heart to slow down, letting my blood cool.

And just when I’d gotten control of myself again, she was right fucking next to me, and my mind went blank.

Or most parts of my mind, at least. The parts in charge of caveman stuff—the parts that screamed at me to pick her up, throw her over my shoulder, and find a wall to fuck her against—those parts were working fine. Unfortunately.

“Hi,” she said.

Shit. Shit, shit, shit.

I stared at her. I was blank. I reached for a word to give her and my mind was empty. Even the one word she’d said would have been fine. I could have parroted it back to her. But it had fluttered up into the noise and light inside the bar and evaporated. Even that one simple word was out of my reach.

I watched her expression change. She’d said “hi” like she was extending a bridge, a thin filament I might just be able to risk stepping onto. But as she waited for me to return her greeting, to say fucking anything at all, the bridge dissolved.

And her face closed up. The sparkle in her bright eyes faded, and her energy pulled back inside her, leaving me cold again. A mixture of fear and surprise replaced the glow on her face, and I felt both guilty and monstrous as I watched what it did to her. She let other words fall between us. Nonsense, really. I’d made her uncomfortable, unhappy. And I already knew she was a girl I never wanted to see unhappy.

Finally, she turned around and went back to her table, pulled the other girl toward the door, and disappeared into the night beyond. And the strange light that had filled the club was extinguished.

 

Review:

Without Words is a sweet story about starting over. Overall, it’s an enjoyable read, and Rob and Dani are likable characters. The way they’d get out of actual communication, though, made me more than a little nuts. Some miscommunication/hesitation to speak can work. And yes, I know it’s called Without Words and that Rob’s traumatic brain injury affects his speech, but still, it goes way too far here. I spent a good 50% of the book shouting jeez, would you two just talk it out already? every time the two of them got close and then (often literally) ran away from each other.

Still, it did keep me turning the pages. I could definitely see myself trying another book from this author in the future.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About Delancey Stewart

Delancey Stewart has lived on both coasts, in big cities and small towns. She’s been a pharmaceutical rep, a personal trainer and a wine seller. Despite lots of other interests, she has always been a writer.

A military spouse and the mother of two small boys, her current job titles include pirate captain, monster hunter, Lego assembler, story reader, and tech writer. She tackles all these efforts from her current home outside Washington DC.

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New Release Review! KNOCKED UP by Christine Bell


Knocked Up

by Christine Bell

Synopsis:

Luke Anderson had exactly two things on his mind: Getting the f&%k out of Alhouette, Louisiana, and opening his own bike shop. But when he meets sweet little Tawny Mitchell at a bonfire by the lake, things get so hot, he’s almost tempted to stay in town a while longer.

Almost.

Tawny Mitchell has her life perfectly planned now that she’s graduated college. Become a school nurse, form some roots in a small town and, eventually, find a kind, hard-working man to start a family with. The type of loving, close-knit family she never had growing up. But when her best friend convinces her to go to a party and let her hair down, just this once, she never dreams that the consequences of that steamy summer night will change everything…

 

Review:

Cute story! Likable characters and a feel-good HEA make this quick read an enjoyable one.

The first 25% or so seemed a bit extraneous, though, given the title–we all knew what was coming, and were just waiting for the characters to get caught up. Once they did–well, Tawny did anyway; we had to wade through a period of non-communication on her part, a trend she continued for much of the book–things picked up fast. Luke, for all of his I-gotta-get-out-of-this-town-ASAP, was a really stand up guy, and easy to root for. Tawny had a few more issues, which were fairly understandable even if her tendency to OTT react on her own was the main cause of their conflict.

She came around when it counted, though, which made their ending all the much sweeter.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


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