Monday, July 6, 2015

Must Love Cakes by Virginia Nelson

Title: Must Love Cakes
Author: Virginia Nelson
My Rating: B+

Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Watkin's Pond #3
Main Characters: Carrie, Grady, and Ben
Release Date: June 2015
Publisher: Samhain
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
When two delicious men are on the menu, skip the appetizer and go straight to dessert.

Carolyn Bannister lives the sweet life as co-owner and operator of a bakery with her two best friends. Small towns being what they are, though, she finds herself at a party one night, slinging back shots while trying to ignore the woman wrapped around her ex.

Grady Brooks and Ben Shipman have always taken care of their longtime buddy, and tonight is no different. Though they’ve shared women in the past, they never considered getting sexually involved with Carrie—at least not out loud. Why not get back at her douche of an ex by playing into the longtime rumors about the three of them being involved in a relationship?

Any initial hesitation goes up in smoke when faked kisses get all too real. Though they break apart, everything has changed. Now neither Grady nor Ben can pretend they don’t want the one woman they’ve always loved. 

But in this gossip-ridden town, it’s not as if the three of them can openly date. Or…can they?

Warning: Contains two men and one woman up to their apron strings in repressed sexual tension. Throw in battery-assisted phone sex, and something’s definitely rising. Not all the decadent treats in this story are edible, but they’re guaranteed piping-hot—and calorie free. “Batter” up!

My Review:
There's a lot of story here for how short this book actually is. My favorite thing about it is that this is a great friends to lovers story. 

Grady, Ben, and Carrie have been best friends and business partners for years. The guys have lusted after Carrie forever and have shared women before, but she is their ultimate fantasy...but she's never shown any interest in either of them. In this small town there have always been rumors about the three of them, but up until now they've been unfounded. But then the guys get the smallest hint that Carrie might be open to something else...something more. 

These three are good friends, but they've been very good at hiding their true wants. Carrie fantasizes about the two guys. The two guys have discussed their fantasies about Carrie between themselves for years. They've just never all discussed it as a group...until a drunken party gets a bit out of control.

I liked the way this story built up...what the three are doing is fairly taboo, and they are aware of that. As a result, the build-up worked really well. No one wants to screw up the good thing they have between the three of them. Their entire lives are built around one another. They can't mess that up. 

I liked the three characters. The two guys are very different, but they compliment one another perfectly. As most women, Carrie has self-image issues, but these guys are incredible. They don't see her flaws...only her beauty, and that was so sexy. In fact, the entire book was sexy. It's not very long, but it's a great, satisfying read. I definitely recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A New Hope by Robyn Carr

Title: A New Hope
Author: Robyn Carr
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Thunder Point #8
Main Characters: Ginger and Matt
Release Date: June 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Starting over is never easy, but in Thunder Point, where newcomers are welcome and friends become family, it's possible to find yourself again. In this brand-new story, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr takes us on a moving and rewarding journey as a young woman finds new hope. 

After losing her child, Ginger Dysart was lost in grief. But since moving to Thunder Point, a small town on the Oregon coast, and with the help of her cousin Ray Anne, Ginger is finally moving forward. Her job at the flower shop is peaceful and fulfilling, and she's excited to start her first big assignment, assisting with the Lacoumette wedding. 

In spite of her lasting heartache, Ginger finds herself swept up in the pleasure of the occasion. But the beauty of the Lacoumette farm and the joy of the gregarious family are ruined by an unfortunate encounter with the bride's brother, Matt. Struggling with painful memories of his own recent divorce, Matt makes a drunken spectacle of himself and Ginger when he tries to make a pass at her, forcing Ginger to flee the scene in embarrassment. 

But when Matt shows up at the flower shop determined to make amends, what started out as a humiliating first meeting blossoms into something much deeper than either of them expected. Discovering they have a lot in common, they form a solid friendship, though everyone around them worries that Ginger will end up with a broken heart yet again. But if Ginger has the courage to embrace the future, and if Matt can finally learn to let go of the past, there may still be hope for a happy ending.

My Review:
I have to say...this is one of the most unlikely starts to a romance ever and I loved it for that. 

Matt has been having a hard year since he and his wife divorced. His family now calls him Mad Matt and his unhappiness overflows onto Ginger when they both attend his sister's wedding and he gets too drunk to function respectably. In an effort to make amends they end up in a friendship...tied by their respective bad marriages and resulting unhappiness. 

It doesn't really start out that way, but I love that these two had a friendship before their romance really developed. In the end, the romance feels fast, but they really established a good base of friendship first...with their nightly phone calls and texts. I like that. And I couldn't help but feel for these two. They both were fully committed to their marriages so when they ended so horrifically, they are both understandably horse-shy to try that ever again. The joke when they're just friends is that they might give their romance a try when they turn 50. It's a sweet, slow-moving romance set in a really romantic vista...the back of the truck, on the farm, in the blooming trees...the visuals are amazing and so romantic.

Matt is from the Basque family that remind me of gypsies. I did love the moments on his family farm and the traditions within the family. They farm pears, grapes, livestock and it seems like there was one other crop. I loved how Ginger just jumped right in to life on the farm and it just fit...especially with her interests in plants. I also love that while yes, Matt is a farmer, he has the scientific degrees to back that up. That was a good detail.

And the whole story takes place in the normal, sweeping stories of Thunder Point. As there has been in all the other books, there are several stories happening in the background. Ginger works for Grace (heroine in #7) at the flower shop. Grace is getting married in this book while trying to settle her demanding mother who has ALS into her new life at TP. So with that story line, we also meet two new characters...LinSu, the nurse, and her son Charlie. They will be featured in Book #9, which I didn't realize until after I finished the book. I definitely look forward to that story, because I did enjoy their interactions in this book.

Overall, it was a good read. As the series goes on, I'm getting to where I enjoy the sporadic story lines and mishmash of characters better, and I do enjoy to revisit the other characters from the other books. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Kiss Me by Susan Mallery

Title: Kiss Me
Author: Susan Mallery
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Fool's Gold #17
Main Characters: Phoebe and Zane
Release Date: June 2015
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery creates the small-town destination for romance in charming Fool's Gold, California—where a loner cowboy finds the one woman who can capture his heart... 

After Phoebe Kitzke's kind heart gets her suspended from her job in LA, she swears off doing favors—until her best friend begs for help on the family ranch in Fool's Gold. Unfortunately, sexy cowboy Zane Nicholson isn't exactly thrilled by the city girl's arrival. 

Thanks to his brother's latest scheme, Zane has been roped into taking tourists on a cattle drive. What Phoebe knows about ranching wouldn't fill his hat, but her laughter is so captivating that even his animals fall for her. One slip of his legendary control leads to a passionate kiss, but she's exactly the kind of woman a single-minded loner needs to avoid. 

In his arms, Phoebe discovers she's a country girl at heart. Yet no matter how much the small town feels like home, she can't stay unless Zane loves her, too…but is this cowboy interested in forever?

My Review:
This book took a different turn for a Fool's Gold story. After 17 installments to the series, there are certain things that I've come to expect...the small town festivals, gossip, and Mayor Marsha. But this book was different. This one takes place almost entirely on Zane's family ranch and during this cattle drive that he's been forced to take greenhorn's on to teach his younger brother a lesson about life. It was different, but I like that Susan Mallery is mixing it up a bit.

There's a whole underlying thread to this who have suffered during childhood that flows throughout. There are a couple of children on this cattle drive who are part of the foster system and too old to probably ever get adopted. They've had it really rough and their entire situation is heartbreaking. While Phoebe and Zane aren't really a part of their story besides being in the same circumstance together, they have similar ties. Phoebe also grew up in the foster system so she knows the loneliness the kids face. While Zane had a family, his father was distant and unloving, and that left him with scars too. 

Those scars from childhood run deep. For Phoebe it means that she tries to take care of other people. For Zane it means he doesn't connect with anyone...keeping a high wall between him and others so that they can't hurt him like his father did. Zane also is really rough on his younger brother trying to keep him from making the same mistakes as the detriment of both Chase's well-being and their very important relationship. 

My heart ached for both Zane and Phoebe. While they both have a support system...Phoebe has her friend Maya and Zane has Chase and Maya, they're both lonely and very much alone in their lives. I loved watching them slowly connect and realize what their ties to one another meant. 

Then there's the overall cattle drive. I loved the theme and setting for this book. The visuals for the cattle drive were incredible. I loved Phoebe's antics with how she connects to the animals and the land...such a surprise for this city girl. I enjoyed the group dynamic of the greenhorns and where that Fool's Gold small town mentality came in to save the day. It was a great book and definitely made for some entertaining summer reading. I think this is a great armchair tourist read...all the sensations of going on a cattle drive without all the sore muscles and roughing it realities. 

I liked it!  

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Searching for Always by Jennifer Probst

Title: Searching for Always
Author: Jennifer Probst
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Searching For #4
Main Characters: Arilyn and Stone
Release Date: June 2015
Publisher: Pocket
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jennifer Probst sparks a blissful mind-body connection as her “sexy, satisfying” (Kirkus Reviews) new series continues!

She’s an expert in helping others de-stress, but Arilyn Meadows is running on fumes. Along with her job counseling singles seeking soul mates at the Kinnections agency in Verily, New York, she’s a yoga teacher, animal shelter volunteer, anger management therapist, and helping hand to her beloved grandfather. No time to find Mr. Right—but after discovering her yogi boyfriend in a compromising asana, Arilyn would rather dog-sit for her honeymooning friend Kate than risk her heart on another downward dog. And when police officer Stone Petty—radiating masculinity and bad-boy attitude—is sent to her for mandatory lessons in cooling off when the job gets too hot, Arilyn vows to ignore his seductive glances and sexy grin. But there’s no halting their sizzling flirtation—a red-hot, high-speed chase that’s breaking all the limits.
My Review:
This entire series has been fabulous, but this book was the perfect end to it. There was just so much to love about this book. 

I love Arilyn...and I especially love the fact that normally she's a calm, sedate, centered person. But at the beginning of this novel, she's pissed. Her jerk of a boyfriend of 5 years just cheated on her...again. So as she begins teaching anger management classes with Stone and two others, she's having a few anger issues of her own. And Stone revels in pushing her anger buttons. Seriously, these two were combustible when they got together and it made for such fun reading. I spent the first half of the book simply grinning because of the bantering back and forth between the two of them. Serious sexual chemistry for them that made it a great book to read. 

Then there's Stone...he's a cop and he has a trigger...domestic disputes that involve kids. There's a reason he has that trigger and it isn't an easy fact, it's pretty darn heartbreaking. But it made me fall in love with his character even more. And what's so great about that Stone isn't normally a character that you'd think you'd fall in love with. He's jaded, and bitter, and sometimes flat-out mean...but those are his ways of deflecting. Deflecting personal connections and my heart just melted for him. 

And then there's Pinky...sob. BEST. STORY. LINE. EVER. OMG, I loved that ugly little dog and the depth that she added to Stone's character. Every time he interacted with her, my heart melted just a little bit more. And the imagery of this big, bad alpha walking around with her under his arm...LOVE. IT.

This book was simply a good read...just like the entire series has been. The romance was amazing. The chemistry was through the roof. The characters were spot-on perfection. I loved Arilyn and all her causes and new age views...she has a pure heart and only wants to do good in the world. And for all of Stone's bitterness and bile, he's a good guy and I fell in love with him despite all that. Together they make a great book and I'm so happy that I got to read their story. 

This story = happiness. Read it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Cover Reveal: Harmony's Healing by T.J. West


Harmony's Healing
By T.J. West

Cover Model: Daniel Wells

Danny Jay, lead guitarist of the hottest new band, JINXS has found himself fighting for control in his own life. He can’t control his father’s choices, the sister he blames for his abandonment or his best friend dating his sister. It’s the ultimate betrayal leaving him bitter, angry and unforgiving.
Harmony’s older sister raised her after their parent’s fatal car accident instead of going into the foster care system. When tragedy struck again Harmony made the hardest choices to pay the bills and survive. She gets a second chance to build a better life when offered a job at Montgomery Suites, where she crosses paths with Danny.
After one horrible drunken evening at Montgomery Suites, Harmony takes care of Danny and feels a connection but he is damaged and reserved. Will these two abandoned souls be able to heal each other?


Twitter: @AuthorTJWest

Amazon: Author Page
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Cover Reveal: Chasing Cassidy by D. Kelly

Book: Chasing Cassidy by D. Kelly Expected Release Date: July 28, 2015
When Zachary Stafford first set eyes on Cassidy Pope she was being beaten by her father. After witnessing the traumatic event, he made it his mission to befriend her. As the years pass, their relationship evolves and Cassidy not only gives Zack her friendship but her love, as well. Cassidy spent her childhood being verbally and physically abused. The best part of her life is her friendship with the Stafford twins, Zack and Rylee. Although she tries to put on a brave front, the years of abuse have turned Cassidy into a woman filled with insecurities who doesn’t believe she deserves love. Especially not the kind of love Zack has given her for the last twelve years. On their wedding day, Cassidy’s insecurities get the best of her and she does the one thing she knows how to do well…she runs. Zack is devastated and when he discovers why Cassidy ran, his devastation becomes fury. Long ago, Zack made Cassidy a promise he fully intends to keep and sets off on a journey to bring her back into his arms where she belongs. Will Zack and Cassidy get their happily ever after, or will Cassidy’s inner demons keep her from getting the only thing she ever wanted in this world? To be loved. Chasing Cassidy is a standalone novel.
Add Chasing Cassidy to your TBR on Goodreads here.
Rylee bounces out the door and bounds down the stairs before our feet even hit the first step. I’m sure she’s trying to sneak in a kiss before we get there. “She was talking about what I think she was right?” “What sex?” I answer teasing him He shudders with just the thought “Yeah” “Of course she was” I answer with a laugh “So sick, I figured as much” he mutters “Don’t worry Zack, I’ll never tell your sister how well you wield your mighty sword.” He stops in his tracks halfway down the stairs cracking up. “Oh my God Cassidy that’s fucking classic! I almost wish you could, just so I could see her expression.” Then he whispers seductively in my ear “But if that’s how you’re going to describe my fucking magnificent cock, I really hope it’s in jest.” He nips the tip of my earlobe and sucks on my neck pulling me closer to him. His magnificent cock is pushing against my hip making sure I’m aware his description is indeed accurate. “Yes it’s just a joke. But you’d understand why if you could have heard her description of…” “Lalalalala” he cuts me off with his fingers in his ears and bounds down the stairs. “Oh gross! Seriously? Come on! Pete we’re about to eat. Damn Ry, you’re making me lose my appetite.” Oops guess he walked in on them anyway. “Paybacks a bitch big brother get used to it.” Rylee tosses back at him as I walk right past the kitchen and out to the patio. I’m starving and this will either end quickly or go on all night. Pete exits the house right behind me and takes a seat, followed by Ry and Zack. “There’s not enough bleach in the world for my eyes after that.” Zack complains as I begin dishing out food. “Stop whining Zack it was just tongue I’ve seen you with your ass in the air mid thrust so don’t talk to me about bleach.” Rylee pretends to stick her finger down her throat and gag. Zack does have the decency to look embarrassed, but it only lasts a second. “If you would have knocked first that wouldn’t have happened.” He taunts and she rolls her eyes at him. I love how Pete just stays quiet and sips on his beer. “New house rules starting now, no one gets to fuck in our house but us.” “Seriously Zack? We weren’t fucking, not even close to it.” Ry snaps back at him “I know” he says with a smile “I’m just making a pre-emptive strike in case you get too drunk to drive tonight.” “If I get too drunk to drive tonight I’ll call a cab because I’m definitely getting fucked.” Both Pete and I respectively choke, him on his beer and me on my salad. Zack gives Pete a long glare and Pete just shrugs. Damn I think I love him already. “You just said I couldn’t break her heart you didn’t say I couldn’t make her scream.” Pete points out hysterically. Hell, I’m laughing so hard I’m crying at this point.

In celebration of Chasing Cassidy, D. Kelly has made her first book, Breaking Kate, free for a limited time. Breaking Kate is book one of The Acceptance Series.
I’m a wife, a mom and a dog lover. I’m also a taxi, problem fixer, extreme multi-tasker and my kids biggest fan in anything that they do. I love to write, so when my career suddenly derailed I turned back to my love of writing. I married my high school sweetheart… how cool is that? Margaritas and sarcasm make me happy. Chocolate makes that happiness grow exponentially. People who make me laugh are my favorite kind of people. I believe Karma is a bitch who slaps back hard and that mean people suck. I’m California born and raised, I love the beach but hate the sand. The Acceptance Series is my first series with more books to come soon. Follow D. Kelly: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | AMAZON

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis

Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Jill Shalvis
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Cedar Ridge #1
Main Characters: Aidan and Lily
Release Date: June 2015
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
RESCUE MECedar Ridge, Colorado, is famous for crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, and pine-scented breezes. And it's the last place Lily Danville wants to be. But she needs a job, and there's an opening at the hottest resort in her hometown. What has her concerned is the other hot property in Cedar Ridge: Aidan Kincaid-firefighter, rescue worker, and heartbreaker. She never could resist that devastating smile . . .

The Kincaid brothers are as rough and rugged as the Rocky Mountains they call home. Aidan has always done things his own way, by his own rules. And never has he regretted anything more than letting Lily walk out of his life ten years ago. If anyone has ever been in need of rescuing, she has. What she needs more than anything are long hikes, slow dances, and sizzling kisses. But that can only happen if he can get her to give Cedar Ridge-and this bad boy-a second chance . . .

My Review:
Jill Shalvis is back with an all-new series and all I can say is yay...because I think I may love this series more than her Lucky Harbor series. This one is set in Colorado with a family of five kids working hard to save the family resort...while at the same time doing their other jobs. For the hero, Aidan, in this first book that means he's a firefighter and works on the search and Rescue teams for the mountain. Yowza...I do love the outdoor, rugged, alpha theme this first book sets up for the entire series. This one is definitely going to be a winner. 

But this book is also about Lily. She hasn't been back to Cedar Ridge for ten years. She left when her sister and father died suddenly and she blames herself for that. But she didn't just leave the town, she left Aidan too. Although they weren't truly involved yet, they were on the cusp of something special and it ripped out Aidan's heart when she left. 

There's so much to love about this book. I love Aidan and his relationship with his siblings, Mitch, his mother. This is a guy who makes deep connections and he doesn't let go of those for anything. While they all give one another a hard time, they are ALWAYS there to stand with and behind their family. Lily doesn't understand or have that. For the last ten years, she's been completely on her own and independent. To have Aidan there propping her up at every turn is disconcerting and scary for her. She can't learn to rely on him like that. 

There is a lot emotionally going on for both these characters. Aidan is having all sorts of issues within his large family. And Lily is simply lost, not sure she can trust again, or forgive herself. There are a ton of feels within this book and the romance was great. Aidan is the definition of alpha. His job is to protect everyone...from fires, from their own idiocy, from nature. He saves people on a daily basis. And if there's ever a character that needs saving and love, it's Lily. The whole circumstances around her sister and father's deaths were heartbreaking. But Aidan is hiding his own dark secrets and regrets. 

The book was amazing and the rest of the series cannot come out fast enough. I love this family. Hudson and his worries for his missing twin Jacob. Jacob who is out there somewhere wounded from war, but not making contact with his family.  Kenna who's lost everything in a skiing accident and doesn't know where to go from here. Then there's Gray and Penny...high school sweethearts and the oldest son...the happy couple who are showing everyone else that there may be hope out there for true love. I loved them all and each of their stories promise to be fabulous reading as only Jill Shalvis can create. (I'm really hoping Mitch, Aidan's firefighter partner, gets his own story too.)

I highly recommend this one. Gorgeous scenery. Lots of outdoor activity and adventure. And an incredible heart-stopping climax that I adored!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.