Saturday, March 31, 2018

Never Let Go by Jill Sanders (audiobook)

Title:  Never Let Go
Author: Jill Sanders
My Rating: B
Narrator: Lauren Ezzo

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Haven, Montana #2
Main Characters: Trent and Addy
Release Date: February 2018 
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Activist meets corporate in this sizzling romance author Jill Sanders.
Trent McGowan has never been the guy who doesn’t get what he wants. He and his brothers are making a go of the oil business, and he’s always had a bit of a reputation with the ladies. Only lately, something’s been missing—something Trent never realized he needed…until he sees his childhood crush standing on the picket line, trying to destroy his company. And what happened to turn sweet Addy Collins into a sexy activist?
Environmentalist Adrianna Collins has returned to her hometown of Haven, Montana, on a mission to stop destructive oil mining. She never imagined that the corporate face on the other side of the protest line would be her lifelong crush. The Trent she remembers is better known for flirting than, uh, fracking, and she can’t believe he’d risk his city to make a quick buck.
Now Trent’s determined to prove that he’s not the person she thinks he is. If he can earn Addy’s trust, he might be able to save his company—and bring Addy home for good.
My Review:
Overall: 3.5
Performance: 3.0
Story: 3.75

Overall, I'm enjoying this series. I like the three brothers and their mother and what they're trying to do in this small town with their oil business. My husband works in the oil business at the same time that we believe in environmental issues...not an easy balance, so I really, really love what the author is trying to do with these guys and their company. 

This was an interesting story just because Addy is a huge environmental activist, actively protesting the McGowan's oil company...not exactly a match made in heaven. But the story works...even if Addy did seem to lose a bit of her fire by the end of the story as her focus shifted from her job to her family issues. The book felt a bit split just because Addy's conflict was split into two very separate issues.

But I did like Trent's home life and the things that are developing there for this series. And I really enjoyed Trent and Addy as a couple. I also LOVED the puppy developments and all their names....oh, and the horse names were PERFECT. 

Note: I really didn't like this narrator much. While she had great voices that were very distinctive from one another, she had a weird way of inflecting her narration. Her narration was extremely precise and as such there was a distinct end at the end of each sentence that felt too much like she was reading. There were several times throughout the audiobook where it was so bad that it distracted me from the story...not good. 

So, not the most gushing review I've ever written, but don't misread me...I did enjoy the book and am fully looking forward to the final book in the series.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Promo Post: Don't Call Me Cupcake by Tara Sheets



A cupcake baker with magical abilities suddenly finds herself competing with the unfortunately handsome owner of the fancy new bakery across the street in Golden Heart® Winner Tara Sheets's magical romantic comedy releasing April 24th, 2018.


Rafflecopter for Don’t Call Me Cupcake First Look Celebration Giveaway:

Tara is offering one (1) lucky Grand Prize winner an Alex & Ani cupcake charm bracelet and a paperback ARC of Don’t Call Me Cupcake. Two (2) Runner-Up winners will receive a paperback ARC of Don’t Call Me Cupcake! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:


Direct Link:


About Don’t Call Me Cupcake:


Title: Don’t Call Me Cupcake
Author: Tara Sheets
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Zebra Shout – Kensington Publishing
Series: The Holloway Girls
Format: Digital eBook / Print
Digital ISBN: 1420146264
Print ISBN: 9781420146264

Synopsis:

There’s a very special kind of sweetness to life on Pine Cove Island …

Most families have a favorite recipe or two, handed down through generations. The Holloway women are a little different. Emma Holloway, like her grandmother before her, bakes charms into her delicious cupcakes, granting the recipient comfort, sweet dreams, or any number of good things. It’s a strange gift, but it brings only happiness. Until gorgeous, smooth-talking newcomer Hunter Kane strolls into her shop, Fairy Cakes—and Emma makes the mistake of selling him not one, but three Sweet Success cupcakes.

Hunter, it turns out, is opening a fancy new restaurant and bakery right on the waterfront—Emma’s competition. To make matters worse, the town committee has decided to split the upcoming summer festival contract between the two, forcing Emma to work with her nemesis. But she can’t afford to split her profits. The solution: create a recipe that will make Hunter leave town permanently.

The Holloway charms are powerful. But there are other kinds of magic in the world—like red-hot first kisses, secret glances, and the feeling that comes with falling truly, madly, inconveniently in love . . .

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes  |  Books-A-Million


Excerpt:
Copyright© 2018 Don’t Call Me Cupcake
Tara Sheets

“You.” A woman’s voice called behind him, and he turned to see the cupcake girl marching toward him. She was still wearing that black-and-white frilly apron. With her blond ringlets flying around her delicate face and flinty sparks in her gray eyes, Hunter felt like he was about to be attacked by a sexy Goldilocks.
He searched behind him as she approached, to make sure she wasn’t talking to someone else. “Me?”
She stopped in front of him, a little out of breath from her march down the street. Her chest lifted and fell intriguingly over the white apron lace, but her rosebud mouth was pursed tightly and Hunter took a step back. He had seen that look on women before. Goldilocks was not happy.
“Yes, you,” she said through gritted teeth. “You lied to me. You’re not a tourist.”
“Uh,” Hunter glanced around for a moment. “I’m not?”
“No, you’re not.” She stepped in close, grabbing the pastry box out of his hand. She peered inside and glared up at him in accusation. “And of course. You had to go and eat all three of them, didn’t you?”
He blinked. “But, I paid for them, remember?”
“That’s not the point. You. Ate. Them.”
“Yes,” he said carefully. Maybe Goldilocks liked to spike her morning porridge. “They were delicious?”
Ugh.” She stomped her foot and he tried not to smile. She was irritated, yes, but so damn adorable. Even if she was a little bit odd.
“You shouldn’t have eaten them because you weren’t being honest with me. You’re not just a tourist passing through. You’re the new owner of that.” She pointed to the empty waterfront building that would soon be his fancy new cafĂ© and restaurant.
“Yes.” He held out his hand and gave her his best smile. “I’m Hunter Kane.”
She frowned back at him, ignoring his hand. “I know who you are. And you should have told me that before I gave you those Sweet Success cupcakes.”
“Why?”
“Because I own Fairy Cakes, and now your business is going to take away all my customers.” She looked so upset that Hunter felt a twinge of pity for her, even though she was being ridiculous. Competition was the name of the game in any industry, and restaurant ownership was no exception. “Look, I’m sorry you feel that way, but it’s just business. And why would my eating your chocolate cupcakes be a problem anyway? It’s not like I’m going to steal the recipe or something.”
“Ha,” she scoffed. “As if you ever could. My cupcakes are special, and everyone on this island knows it.”
“Oh . . . kay.” He still wasn’t quite sure what she was getting at.
“And now you’ve gone and eaten them.” She threw her hands up in the air.
Hunter frowned down at her. “Well, excuse me, ma’am. I thought that was the whole point of buying them.”
She jammed her hands onto her hips. “First of all, I’m twenty-five years old. Don’t call me ‘ma’am.’ Save it for old ladies with lapdogs.”
“Fine, Cupcake.” He shouldn’t have said it. He knew it. But something about her righteous indignation made him want to tease her. She gasped, her eyes narrowing on him like an angry feline. He was so dead.



About Tara Sheets:


TARA SHEETS is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Her work has earned first place recognition in literary contests nationwide and her debut novel, Don’t Call Me Cupcake, won the 2016 Golden Heart® award sponsored by Romance Writers of America®. Tara began her career as an author in the Pacific Northwest, inspired by the rain and the misty mountains and the rivers of Starbucks coffee.  She now lives in the warm, wonderful South where she can stand outside with no coat on, and she finds that pretty inspiring too.  When not writing, Tara enjoys life with her book-loving family and a book-eating dog named Merlin. She is represented by Sarah Phair at Trident Media Group.

Connect with Tara:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  BookBub





Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Changing the Rules by Erin Kern

Title: Changing the Rules
Author: Erin Kern
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Champion Valley #3
Main Characters: Cameron and Audrey
Release Date: March 2018
Publisher: Forever
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
This alpha athlete is about to meet his match...

Cameron Shaw knows exactly what he's doing when it comes to coaching high school boys on the football field, but caring for a six-year-old girl is a whole different ballgame. When a gorgeous, highly opinionated woman shows up with his niece in tow and claims he's Piper's new guardian, Cameron's first response is "hell no." But he can't abandon a little girl who just lost her mother....


Audrey Bennett wasn't planning to stick around town, but Piper's gruff, way-too-good-looking-for-his-own-ego uncle clearly needs help. The longer she stays-watching Cameron teach Piper to make pancakes and tie her sparkly pink shoelaces-the harder it is to leave. Especially when he stops arguing and gives Audrey the most toe-curling kiss of her life. But just as she thinks he might be the one, a secret he's been keeping threatens to tear apart their happy little family.
My Review:
Sweet and heartbreaking with a small town romantic vibe...I really enjoyed this one. It definitely helps that I'm a west texas gal where we live by high school football, so everything about Cameron's career resonates with me. 

But beyond that, there is so much to love about this story. The story about Cameron and Dianna's family broke my heart. I hated that they never got the chance to connect, but love that she left Piper in his care...because he needs that connection. Cameron hasn't had an easy life, so for him to be so completely wrapped up in this tiny little girl is awesome. I loved watching him fall in love with her. 

And then there's Audrey. For her to give up this time to make sure that Piper got the situation she needed melted my heart. She has so much love and devotion to this little girl. I couldn't see how she could even consider leaving her, no matter how much Dianna had wanted it. She's in such a hard place...torn between this little girl and her real life which she has to eventually get back to. 

Overall, it was just a fantastic book. I really did enjoy reading it. It was pure entertainment and I can definitely feel good recommending it.

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

Monday, March 26, 2018

Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

Title: Point of Contact
Author: Melanie Hansen
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series:
Main Characters: Trevor and Jesse 
Release Date: March 2018
Publisher: Carina Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Only love can heal an impossibly broken heart 

There’d forever been a thread running through Trevor Estes’s life—his son, Riley, strong and constant like a heartbeat. But when Riley is killed in combat, everything in Trevor’s life unravels into a mess he doesn’t know how to mourn.

Then Jesse Byrne, Riley’s friend and platoon mate, arrives on Trevor’s doorstep with a box of Riley’s things. Jesse’s all-too-familiar grief provides an unlikely source of comfort for Trevor: knowing he’s not alone is exactly what he needs.

Trevor never imagined he’d find someone who fills his heart with hope again. As the pair celebrate Riley’s memory, their unique bond deepens into something irreplaceable—and something neither man can live without.

But diving into a relationship can’t be so simple. Being together means Trevor risking the last link he has to his son…leaving Jesse to wonder if he’ll ever be enough, or if Trevor will always be haunted by the past.

This book is approximately 120,000 words.


My Review:
Hands down, this is absolutely one of the best books I've ever read. I don't care if you read anything else about this review, but you need to buy this book. It was phenomenal...and heartbreaking...and hopeful...and gut-wrenching...and romantic. I literally would go from sobbing through one paragraph and then to laughing out loud in the next. It was so, so good and so well written. 

I seriously cannot say enough good things about this book. 

But let me at least try. This book is truly Trevor's story. Trevor was a single teenage dad at the age of seventeen. When his son, Riley, turned 20 he was sent to the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan with his best friend, Jesse. This is their story...the three of them. Because the story is very intertwined. It's intertwined with grief, surviving, love, and recovering from the world's worst devastation. 

Both Jesse and Trevor are trying to deal with Riley's death and they find comfort in spending time with one another. At first, it's simply a friendship developed from their mutual grief, but slowly it becomes more. And for Jesse, this is a big deal because the single other person in his life that he'd come out to besides quick hook-ups was Riley. 

Seriously, there is so much emotion to this story. The epilogue just about killed me, but there were moments throughout the entire book where I was a sobbing mess. My husband is retired military and I have a twenty three year old son who's active duty...so the grief aspects really hit me hard. 

But beyond the grief is a beautiful romantic story. I loved Jesse and Trevor together. Jesse was the oldest of their squad and Trevor had Riley so young, there's not as much of a difference between their ages as it sounds. I loved how they worked their way through their emotions and respected how each of them dealt with their losses.

It was simply a beautiful story that touched me in every emotional way possible. I loved it so, so much and WILL be reading it again. I desperately hope Carina Press comes out with it in paperback so I can add it to my keeper shelf. 

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

The Little Library by Kim Fielding


Title: The Little Library
Author: Kim Fielding
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m) 
Series
Main Characters: Elliott and Simon
Release Date: March 2018
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Elliott Thompson was once a historian with a promising academic future, but his involvement in a scandal meant a lost job, public shame, and a ruined love life. He took shelter in his rural California hometown, where he teaches online classes, hoards books, and despairs of his future.

Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.


In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.
My Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was simply a sweet romance that engaged and entertained me from the moment I started reading it. I liked both Simon and Elliott and that they are both at this crossroads in their lives. They're both in a vulnerable place and finding one another is great. 

Elliott is amazing. I sooo could related to him especially his propensity to one-click buy his books. I also have that issue and reading this book...I may need to build a little library for my front yard, because that was simply awesome. I loved how the library brought a sense of community to the neighborhood. It was magical. 

I enjoyed the creativity of the guy's dates and that first date had me laughing at loud at just the utter awkwardness of it. But there are so many sweet moments, so many romantic moments, I fell in love with the story. And it is a romantic story. Simon is still deeply in the closet. Elliott's been deeply burned by someone in the closet...and that brings a lot of the conflict. But so much of this is new to Simon (dating a guy) that I just loved that aspect of the story. 

Like I said I was thoroughly engaged and entertained, and the book left me with happy, warm feelings. It's a sweet romance and I'm so glad that I got to read it. 

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