Friday, January 31, 2014

Just One Day by Sharla Lovelace

Title: Just One Day
Author: Sharla Lovelace
My Rating: A 

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: -
Main Characters: Jessie and Andie
Release Date: September 2012
Publisher: Beyond the Page
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
She has nothing but time . . .

Twenty-four hours. That’s how long Andie Fremont has to say yes—or no. At forty-four with a daughter in college, she’s no young kitten with starry-eyed ideas of what love is. Still, when the man who is everything she should want pops the question with a ring he knows isn’t her style, during a party she didn’t want to have, Andie balks. Something tells her that it isn’t right. 

Looking to clear her head, Andie hits the Texas highway in search of an answer. And when she stumbles upon an old roadside diner she decides waffles might be it, at least for now. What she didn’t expect to find was Jesse Montgomery. The man who stole her heart and broke it all in one day, two decades earlier.

As a Texas-size storm takes shape outside, the electricity between Andie and Jesse builds inside. Suddenly Andie is faced with more than just yes or no. As the storm clears there are two men who will want answers.

My Review:
There is so much to this little novella. It's a little astounding because it really does only cover one day, but it's truly so much more. 

Andie's been dating Brad for two years. She's 43, has a daughter in college, and a divorce under her belt. By all appearances she's pretty settled in life...until Brad pops the question and she panics. He's fine with that even though she threw up when he asked her in front of 60 of his closest he gives her 24 hours to think it over. She takes off driving and ends up at a roadside diner...where something magical happens.

This is my third Sharla Lovelace read and I absolutely am a HUGE fan. Romance is magical and she always adds that tiny, paranormal, magical touch to her books that I just love. This one is all about...FATE!

happy sigh.

It's a great little novella. There's amazing action in it...did not see that coming. And a set of coincidences that leaves no doubt that fate is real. Andie and Jessie had a single 24 hours, 22 years ago. They have a second chance in this book and it's so romantic. I loved it! The little ties that bind them together all through the story....LOVED. It's a book about second chances and having things happen when they should. It was a great story and I loved every single moment of reading it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Offside Chance by Mercy Celeste

Title: Offside Chance
Author: Mercy Celeste
My Rating: A 

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Southern Scrimmage #3
Main Characters: Jude and Will
Release Date: January 2014
Publisher: -
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Judah Brody meets William Slater and it's loathe at first sight. 

Jude had spent his whole life in his famous brother’s shadow. Returning to New Orleans seemed like a good idea now that Levi was back home. But Jude couldn’t turn around without something of Levi’s getting in his way. In this case it’s Levi’s best friend, a three hundred pound knuckle-dragger named Slayer, who likes strippers, football, porn and making Jude’s life miserable—not necessarily in that order. 

William Slater’s season couldn’t get much worse. He lost his house to fire, his contract was set to expire, and his prospects of getting picked up by another team were slim to none. House sitting for his best friend was the only bright spot in an otherwise bleak New Orleans winter. Until Levi’s stuck up nerd of a brother came to stay. 

A freak winter snow storm, deep familial secrets, and a whole lot of male/male bonding wasn't exactly in the game plan. But bragging rights were on the line and there wasn’t an offside chance in hell of this game going into overtime

My Review:
Whew, where to even start this review? I stayed up half the night last night devouring this book. I have just loved this entire series and this book was right up there with the other two. 

I don't think I've ever read a more unlikely couple than Jude and Slayer. Jude is uptight, repressed, ice-man...on the surface. Slayer is homophobic, rough, outspoken (most times too much so)...on the surface. 

At first sight, they hate each other...and honestly that doesn't change much throughout the book. I know you're sitting there asking....Wait, isn't this a romance? Yes, it is. For these two, fighting is most definitely foreplay. They give each other a really difficult time and then somehow always end up making out. And that's saying something since both of them are most definitely straight...well, kind of. LOL

The one thing both these guys have in common is Levi, Jude's brother and Slayer's best friend. And they both are completely blown away by the revelations that have come out about, flamboyant, cross-dressing, dancing diva Levi or Livy, his other personality. Neither of these guys had ANY clue and they are both confused and feeling a little hurt and betrayed that he didn't trust them enough to share. And how can he be gay?!? No signs of that they are both questioning a lot of things. Add to that they are living together and things just kind of happen, much to the shock of BOTH of them. And there is a whole lot more story to all that. Reasons why they can't be gay, regardless to all the evidence saying that they are.  

The book was a great read. Neither one of these guys are ones that I expected to connect to like I did. This is a great example of gay-for-you storyline and I loved how emotional both these guys became when faced with each other. For me, their romance worked because they became human together. They fight like nothing else, but even that...they are pushing each other and in the end, that becomes a good thing. 

Both the other couples from the other two books play heavily into this book and I loved seeing them again, although my heart hurt for Bo and Dylan all over again. That was a difficult story line, but in the end it made sense. It was good to see Levi getting a better handle on who he is too. I loved the scenes between him and Jude, which weren't always positive. They definitely have their issues and they didn't magically go away. Their relationship worked for me. I do love Levi's reactions to the Jude and Slayer combo.

Mercy Celeste has talked in the past about this being the final book in the series. I hope that's not still the case. It felt like she left the story open for more books....maybe Angel?? I'm crossing my fingers....

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Slow Burn by Sam B. Morgan

Title: Slow Burn
Author: Sam B. Morgan
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: -
Main Characters: Brody and Zack
Release Date: January 2014
Publisher: Loose ID
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Detective Douglas Brody has only ever known the life of a cop. Raised strict but fair by his police chief father, he joined the academy right out of school, climbed the ranks hard and fast, and now works homicide for the City of Charleston. The job is his entire life. For years it’s kept him happy enough to minimize the side of him that craves what he believes is wrong. An accident on the job puts him on medical leave and everything in Brody’s world changes. He has to prove himself once more to be best cop in the department, all while dealing with Zack – his persistent, sexy, and out of the closet physical therapist.

Zack is tan skin, big grins, floppy hair and tackles his job with the same full-blown enthusiasm he does everything else. When the “patient from hell” is thrown his way by another PT who can’t handle him, Zack is committed to achieving the impossible. His new patient is a head strong and hot as hell homicide detective, who oozes as much resentment as he does sex appeal. Any involvement with a patient, especially a man who is so deep in the closet he can’t see light, is something Zack swore he’d never do. But Brody slowly proves too much to resist…

My Review:
From the moment I started reading this book, I didn't want to put it down. Brody is a homicide detective working on a serial killer case. He's chasing down a suspect when he blows out his knee... surgery, physical therapy, and desk duty are in his future and he is NOT happy about it. Taking the brunt of his unhappiness is his new PT, Zack. Luckily Zack is up to the challenge that Brody presents and begins to bully him right back. They both have one get him better. 

I liked the dichotomy in this book. Brody is this tough, staid cop who has some good bulk on his 6'2" frame. But Zack at 6'4" is more of a laidback, go with the flow, beach-bum kind of guy...BUT Zack is the one who takes charge in their relationship more times than not. Brody is so far into the closet, he simply doesn't have much experience and so Zack is taking the lead. I liked that especially when Brody would get brusque and abrasive....Zack didn't take it. He'd push right back. It really made this story work for me. Brody is so afraid of this type of relationship, but he can respect Zack in more than just sexual ways. Zack is his size and toughness as well as the fact that they are simply combustible sexually. 

And this book is really hot! There's a lot of sexual tension that builds up between the two so when it overflows....whoa! This is a book that will definitely leave you the very best way. But it truly is so much more than that. Brody is a man conflicted. He grew up in a world where being gay was not only wrong, but it was shameful and almost considered criminal. He doesn't know how to be gay so has just denied that part of himself...almost completely. Zack sees his struggle, but has had his heart shattered in this type of situation before. He really doesn't want to go there again.

I liked the way the resolution was done (no spoilers here). A lot of times in these types of conflicts it's hard to believe that the resolution will truly work out for the long-term. Brody's epiphany did not have that feel for me. I loved the way that it tied up both story lines in such an incredibly believable manner. It made me fall in love with him just a little bit more. 

And we have to talk about Brody's job a bit. He's after a serial killer. As a result, there's a bit of a suspense line going on here in the background. That was good. I'm a huge romantic suspense reader and LOVED the action and that entire side of the story. 

I'm excited. This was the first book I've read by this author and I immediately went and bought his other book. If it's as good, I think I have a new auto-buy author. I love it when I discover those!

Crooked Tree Ranch by RJ Scott

Title: Crooked Tree Ranch
Author: RJ Scott
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Montana #1
Main Characters: Nate and Jay
Release Date: December 2013
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
On the spur of the moment with his life collapsing around him Jayden Sullivan answers an ad for a marketing expert on a dude ranch in Montana. With his small family he moves lock stock and barrel from New York to Montana to start a new life.

Foreman and owner of a third of the ranch, ex rodeo star Nathaniel 'Nate' Todd has been running Crooked Tree Ranch. His partners in the business convince him that he needs to get an expert in to help the ranch survive. He knows things have to change and but when the new guy turns up, with a troubled family in tow - he just isn't prepared for how much.

My Review:
This is a book about two different families struggling to survive. 

Jay's the head of his family which consists:
*His sister Ashley who got pregnant at fifteen, suffers from depression, and sent her ex to prison for beating her and her son.
*His fifteen or sixteen year old niece who's in the grips of rebellion...goth dress and attitude
*His six year old nephew Josh who they've just discovered is dyslexic
This family has lived in NYC their whole lives, but Josh is pretty much the breadwinner for the family and when he loses his marketing job with no alternative in sight, they begin to look at other directions.

Nate's the head of his family which consists of:
*Gabe, his younger brother
*Luke, the youngest who's 17.
Nate has his own dyslexic issues and is also struggling to keep the family dude ranch afloat....something that's become harder and harder as the economy depresses. Hiring Jay is a last-ditch effort and Nate honestly doesn't think it's going to work.

Both of these families are definitely dealing with their challenges brought on by losing their support systems (parents) early in life. That was the one thing that truly worked in this book. The two families complimented each other so well and made them a cohesive and stronger unit as one. I loved that aspect of it. 

Then there is the whole Montana ranch portion of the story...Oh my, LOVE! Luke is a photographer and Jay is trying to showcase the beauty of the ranch. As a result, there were so many really visual descriptions of the scenery that I just loved. I felt like I took a quick trip to Montana in this book and it was beautiful...and romantic....and so fun!

This is only my second RJ Scott read, but I can guarantee you that I will be adding more of this author's books to my TBR pile. She writes beautiful stories that leave me feeling better for having read them and I love that in a book!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Texas Hold 'Em by Christie Craig

Title: Texas Hold 'Em
Author: Christie Craig
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense 
Series: Hotter in Texas #3
Main Characters: Austin and Leah
Release Date: January 2014
Publisher: Forever
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:

A HOTTER IN TEXAS NOVEL The last thing veterinarian Leah Reece needs is a man in her life. They're nothing but trouble-and not even the fun kind. But when her apartment is broken into and Leah suspects Rafael, her dangerous half-brother, of foul play, she can't deny she could use a little help. She just never expected that help would come with twinkling blue eyes and a sexy smile... All PI Austin Brook wants is to nail Rafael DeLuna, the man who framed him for murder. He'll do anything for information-even lie about his identity to charm Leah, DeLuna's half-sister. But her sweet dimples and fiery spirit soon make her more than just his only lead. Leah becomes his every desire. As Austin closes in on DeLuna, it's clear he won't go down without a fight. Now the only way Austin can protect Leah is to reveal all of his secrets and risk losing her for good.
My Review:
This entire series has been fabulous. This is the final book in the series and I love that it ended on a high note with a good story. Austin and Leah are the main couple in this book. The three PI's are still out to get the guy who framed them for murder and sent them to prison for 18 months. That guy just happens to be Leah's older half brother. So Austin moves in next door to her hoping to catch an idea of where her brother is. Instead, he gets caught up in Leah.

Leah doesn't trust guys in general. She doesn't want to get involved as she's been hurt before. But Austin is nothing if not relentless, but I loved that just about everything that goes wrong for him does. This is a guy who is used to having his charm work on women, but Leah is VERY resistant. She's also worried. Her older brother is harassing her about her younger brother. And unfortunately, her younger brother is tired of her overprotective nature so he tends to ignore her checking up on she just worries about him more. 

The absolute best part of this story....Austin has a serious cat phobia. After being attacked and left needing many stitches on his side and ear at the age of four, he is terrified of cats and their claws. Well, Leah just happens to be a feline vet with four cats living in her home. The story was filled with cats and Austin was constantly jumping from them while the entire time he was trying to hide that fact from Leah. I seriously was laughing out loud with the scenes between him and the cats, especially when he was breaking into her apartment or when he ends up with his own adopted kitty who likes to snuggle up with him while he's sleeping. Those scenes with him waking up with a cat on his chest had me laughing out loud. 

All the characters that have played into the other books make an appearance in the book....yay. And like in the other books, there was a really heart-warming secondary romance that I loved. Overall this has been a great series. They are books you can settle into to read and know that they are going to be pure entertainment. A bonus is that they are set in Texas and that always works for me.

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

Top Off Tuesday: Ablaze by Morgan Black

Hmmm, this cover is VERY nice...

Ablaze by Morgan Black

Story Overview:

*This book is not suitable for readers under the age of 18* 

What if love was like gasoline? Light a match and become engulfed in it's flame.
Cheyenne is attempting to run into the arm’s of her betrothed Collin, when fate intervenes and she becomes trapped at her family’s cabin with another man. Luke, a ranch hand at her father’s farm, makes her heart race. When the lights go out, she finds herself falling into his arms, and into his bed.
This is a serialized set of erotic romance titles. Ablaze is the first installment and it is novella length.

It's so fun to see so many people get excited about this meme.
(But honestly, we're looking at gorgeous men and talking about can that be a bad thing?)
If you want to play along, we have a plethora of Top Off Tuesday buttons for you to choose from:
created by Deb at HEA Romances with Kick

created by Missie at The Unread Reader


created by Diana at Book of Secrets

Pick one...or all and post it to your blog post.
Then find you a gorgeous cover featuring a gorgeous male specimen and head on over to The Geeky Book Blogger and post your link. We can't wait to see what good books you've found!
Hosted by Geeky Book Blogger's Book BlogOn a Book Bender, & Smitten with Reading (me!)

Monday, January 27, 2014

From the Outback by Ann B. Harrison

Title: From the Outback
Author: Ann B. Harrison
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: -
Main Characters: Sami and Mason
Release Date: October 2013
Publisher: -
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Although desperate to get out of her dead end job, Sami is cynical when she hears of an inheritance from the grandfather she never knew. But once she and her young brother arrive in the beautiful valley, she discovers they are not wanted...especially by the sexy vineyard owner next door. 
Will she persevere and make a home for them, or give in and take the easy money when the going gets tough?

My Review:
Do not judge this book by the story description that has been put with it. It's truly not a very good representation of this story. This story is about Sami. She's a very proud, very stubborn girl who's had a lot of hard licks over her lifetime. She grew up on a farm in the Outback and truly never had much interaction with other people because her family farm was so remote. But when her mother died, leaving Sami destitute with a young brother to take care of, they had to sell the farm and she went to work in town as a barmaid. The towns people looked down on her and she developed a screw-you attitude. It's the only way she survived.

So she's a bit leery when she finds out she's inherited a ranch right outside of Sydney, especially when the sleazy solicitor immediately talks down to her and tries to convince her to sell it. She goes into the whole situation with her back up. See, the solicitor's son owns the neighboring vineyard and wants part of her property for his plantings. Dad wants to make sure he gets it any way possible. But his son, Mason, is not that way. He's willing to accept that Sami doesn't want to sell. It's disappointing, but he can make other plans. That's the basic set-up of the story.

This is a story set on a prosperous ranch in Australia. Next door is the vineyard. I loved the scenes set in Mason's vineyard...the created such a pretty setting. 

The hardest part about this book is getting past Sami's character flaws. She's extremely prickly and defensive. She attacks with the slightest provocation especially when she's feeling cornered. She's not an easy character to love just because she is so harsh and hard, but she's had to become that way to survive all the heartache in her life. Plus she just truly hasn't been around many people besides her family and the ones she has been around, haven't exactly been kind. 

Mason sees all that but he likes the honesty of it. Most of the girls he's dated have been Sydney socialites who are beyond fake. He's intrigued by Sami and the fact that she's completely honest about who she is. 

There's are two other characters in Sami's world that are worth mentioning...the ranch hand/manager- Tibby and her little brother- Garth. I love how both these guys call Sami out when she's over the top or wrong. I also really liked that she's a super-prideful girl, but is always willing to apologize when she's wrong. 

As an American, I enjoyed this view into Australian ranch life. Overall, it was an entertaining little read. There were a few minor editing hiccups especially in the first half of the book, but if you can overlook that, this might be a book for you.  I certainly enjoyed my escape to this Australian ranch.

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