Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Review: Letting In Light by Emma Davies

Rowan Hill means many things to many people, but to Ellie Hesketh it represents new beginnings. Putting her life back together after a break-up is going to take time, but the crumbling country estate—as much in need of TLC as she is—seems the perfect place to do it.

But Ellie is not the only person for whom Rowan Hill is a refuge. There’s Will, damaged and complicated, whose secrets almost nobody knows. And Finn, his brother, who’s finally decided to stop running from his own past. As Ellie is drawn further into saving the estate, she can’t help but try saving the brothers too—and she’s sure she knows just how to go about it. The trouble is, she’s been accused of meddling before…

By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this story of friendship, forgiveness and unexpected romance reveals the lies we tell to hide dark secrets—and what can happen when we let in a little light.


Oh, goodness. Where to start on this one. I've not had the chance to read anything by Emma Davies previously. This one was pretty good! Interesting characters, a great storyline and smooth flow is exactly what I look for in a great book and this one had it all. 

Okay ... before I go any further ... there were some ... translation issues for me. Yes, this book is written in English but there were quite a few words and phrases that really stumped me. For example: I need to get a ripple on. What the hell does that mean? No clue. Don pinny was another one, what the hell is a conker and for the love of everything warm and fluffy ... please tell me that chocolate digestives are cookies because it sounds like medicine for a rumbly stomach. If that's the case, I would not want to live in that town because EVERYONE eats digestives. Yeah, you can figure out what the words mean just by using deductive reasoning ... most of the time. 

I thought that the plot of the book was interesting ... a massive amount of time passes while in the book and even though there are large chunks of time missing from being explained or delved into, it wasn't a bad thing. Davies somehow accounted for these chunks and had the book flow steadily along. I really enjoyed the pacing of everything that happened within the book. 

Some books you just speed through because you can't wait to see what happens next and you're just so caught up in what excitement is bubbling up that you just blow through it. This book is the opposite ... you go slow and by taking your time, the entire plot is really enhanced because it's almost as if you're on this journey with the characters and not just watching it from afar. 

Basically, this was a great book. Until I got to the ending. For some reason, the emotions fell really flat for me. There were these earth-shattering revelations that the characters were going through and they just weren't as emotionally invested in the revelations or the outcome as they seemed to let on. I hope that made sense ... I didn't feel it from the characters. I didn't feel the despair or happiness or anything else that I would have thought would be a big character building moment. 

Good book, I'll probably read another by this author in the future but I will probably shy away from it if it is over 500 pages again. That is just A LOT all at once. I think that it could have been broken into two books and played out beautifully. Just my opinion though. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available Now

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Book Review: Feel me Break by Tara R.

Chloe Reed and Nick Grayson couldn’t have more different lives. Where Chloe had a bleak future and was trying to deal with a loss that had left a hole in her heart, Nick was a happy-go-lucky guy, leading a carefree life with a path set.

Until one fateful night, they met and everything changed. The night that gave Chloe hope for the future, left Nick scarred for life. Was their meeting a one-off tryst or was their story just beginning?

This is the first book/novella that I've read by this author. I think I read that the author is Canadian - not a damn thing wrong with that but they do use different words and phrases for some things. No big deal ... just thought I should pass that along since I was a little confused at first but I quickly picked up on what (I thought) that the author meant. 

Okay, I'm not going to delve too deep into this one since it is only 70 pages. If I'm not careful, I'll let something slip and then I'll have the spoiler police all over me. 

The story is very sad. Devastatingly sad. I had to put the book down for a bit because one of our boys had an emergency - I needed to look at one of our cats run after some toy for the 500th time that day - anyway, so when I went back to the book, I was still smiling about the stupid cat and then I felt badly for having a happy thought while reading this book. THAT'S how sad this thing is. I don't know that I read one paragraph where my heart wasn't being ripped out of my chest. Now, that's not a bad thing. It's actually a great thing if an author can pull those kinds of emotions out of a reader. It did become an issue the further I got into the book ... the sadness was just overwhelming. I wanted something ... ANYTHING ... to look up. 

I think that it was because of the high emotions that this book evoked that it did seem to drag. I don't know if it just felt that way because I was slogging through tears four feet deep on my way to the next page or what. It most definitely felt like a lot more pages than just 70. 

I'm not sure how I feel about reading the next book in the series. I don't know if I can live in a world without a sun or happy emotions for a couple hundred pages. Seventy may have been my limit. I'm also one of those people where I don't handle sad situations very well ... I make jokes or say things that are in bad taste because I'm just trying to alleviate some of the tension that heightened emotions evoke. I was a little uncomfortable reading some of this book because of the issues that the characters are experiencing. If that stuff had happened in real life, I would have faked my death to avoid having to talk about anything serious. 

Pretty okay book, I wish that it was a little quicker in pace and that it didn't have a cliffhanger because cliffhangers make me homicidal but it's a novella ... kinda par for the course!!

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available Now

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Book Review: The Billionaire Bachelor (Billionaire Bad Boys #1) by Jessica Lemmon

Manwhore. That's what the board of directors-and the tabloids-thinks of billionaire bachelor Reese Crane. Ordinarily he couldn't care less, but his playboy past is preventing the board from naming him CEO of Crane Hotels. Nothing-and no one-will keep him from his life's legacy. They want a settled man to lead the company? Then that's exactly what he'll give them.

Merina Van Heusen will do anything to get her parents' funky boutique hotel back-even marry cold-as-ice-but-sexy-as-hell Reese Crane. It's a simple business contract - six months of marriage, absolute secrecy, and the Van Heusen is all hers again. But when sparks fly between them, their passion quickly moves from the boardroom to the bedroom. And soon Merina is living her worst nightmare: falling in love with her husband . . .


Every time that I pick up a book by a new (to me) author and I really enjoy it, I just want to kick myself because of all the time I've wasted not knowing about them previously. All this time, I could have been reading books by Jessica Lemmon but NOOO. At least I've found her now. She's one that I know if I see her name on the cover that I will just absolutely love what's printed on the pages. A little extreme after just reading one book by her, right? Not really. When you know, you know. 

I actually didn't even have any notes on this one. Usually, I'm found furiously typing notes on my Kindle as I read but not this time. I didn't want to take the time to write something about what I was reading when I could actually BE reading. 

The characters were fabulous. I loved how spunky Merina was. She has a mind of her own and she doesn't hesitate to let you know what's going on inside it. That's not to say that she doesn't get embarrassed sometimes ... she does ... but that doesn't stop her from doing it again! Lemmon did a great job with making Merina seem outspoken and bashful at the same time. I can't imagine that getting those two attributes to mesh so perfectly was an easy endeavor but she did it. Reese was equally as perfect. He's this no-holds-barred businessman who has his eye on the prize but his heart has a different prize in mind. Gosh, I loved Reese. The juxtaposition of the hard and soft parts of his personality really made me love him so much more. 

Merina and Reese together? (Insert squee) They are definitely one of my favorite couples of the year. The way that they were together just made you sigh and think about how awesome love is. Enough of the mushy stuff ... the chemistry between these two was absolutely explosive and it made you excited to see what in the world could happen next. 

Well, you guessed it, I enjoyed this one. A lot. I finished it last night and wanted to pick it up and start all over before I was even done with the last sentence. I would have been happy if it had gone another 200 pages or so. I just didn't want it to end. Guess I have a new author to add to my 'Favorites' list!

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available Now

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book Review: Hard to Hold (Hard to Play #1) by Katie Rose

New Jersey Hurricanes striker Logan Hart lives for the grind of training, the adrenaline of competition, and all the perks of the road—until his ex hands him a baby and tells Logan to raise her on his own. He’s eager to pass this bundle of joy into more capable hands and get back to his hard-playing, hard-partying ways. But when a beautiful, blond drill sergeant of a nanny turns Logan’s life upside down, he sets a new goal: winning her heart.

Isabella Bennett takes pride in teaching the rich and famous how to become loving families. Her no-nonsense style is just what Logan and his crying, copper-haired cutie need. So why can’t she get the image of Logan’s tanned, muscular body out of her head? Isabella’s here to whip a new father into shape, not fall for a sexy ladies’ man. But their chemistry is too tantalizing to ignore, much like the temptation to trust someone with her deepest secrets—and embrace a loving family all her own.

When I first got this book from NetGalley, I guess I glossed over the fact that it was about a soccer player. I started playing softball when I was 5 years old and I loved it so much, that I thought I would branch out to other sports when I was around 10. Let's just say that I didn't last a whole season. I was taught to never quit and usually my parents would make me ride out any commitments that I had made but I think they hated it as much as I did, so they let me quit. Quite plainly, it sucked ass. I thought it was boring beyond belief. So back to softball it was for me. Anyway, unfortunately, soccer hasn't gotten any more interesting for me since then. I practically raced over the parts that were about soccer because my eyes started glossing over. Not a good sign.

The characters were okay ... I didn't really feel any connection to them. Actually, the emotion that I felt the most was irritation at the name Cinnamon ... people were just walking around, acting like this was a perfectly normal name. Yeah. It's not. I think that I would have liked Paprika as a name better than Cinnamon. Every time I read that name, I just became irrationally irritated for some reason. Anyway ... I liked Logan and Isabella but they weren't memorable to me. I couldn't tell you what either of them looked like if my life depended on it. Again, not good. Their relationship was interesting ... the dynamic between Logan and Isabella was a nice push and pull but again, it just wasn't memorable. The characters needed just a little more umph, you know? Not that I know how to fix them but something was definitely missing. 

The plot of the book was just ... okay. It moved along at a sluggish pace for me. There were times when nothing was really going on but it felt like chapters were dedicated to that nothingness. It wasn't really chapters ... just pages ... but it felt really long. It just dragged the book out. And I don't want to talk about the soccer stuff again. It just did nothing for me. Except distract me from the name Cinnamon. That was one good thing that soccer has done for me. I gave it three stars, so something must have been good about it, right? Well, yes. There were parts that were entertaining for me but they were just so few and far between and coupled with the character issues I had, I couldn't rate it higher than a three.

This just wasn't the book for me. Next time, I'll pay closer attention to the dude's job before I pick up a book. Not the book for me, so I'll pass on the rest of this series.

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available: September 13th, 2016

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Book Review: Dirty Work: An Anthology by Amanda Heger, Harper St. George & Tara Wyatt

Nothing can keep a Hennessy from what he wants, even if it means getting dirty... And these men are good with their hands.

When an inheritance forces Natalie Green back to her hometown, she finds herself knee-deep in family heirlooms and unwanted memories. And some of those memories involve landscaper Chris Hennessy—the guy whose virginity she took all those years ago. As the two begin rekindling an old flame, Natalie realizes her entire life is about to be UPROOTED.

When lawyer Rachel Cambridge's life falls apart, she should be heartbroken. So why can't she drag her thoughts from the bad boy she walked away from years earlier? Sexy mechanic Sage Hennessy isn’t interested in forgiveness, but he won’t say no to a night in his bed. Will it be enough, or will Rachel get back the one man who's ever REVVED her engine?

Cynical sports journalist Charlie Grant isn't looking for love, especially not with smartass carpenter Adam Hennessy. But when Charlie hires Adam to rebuild her deck, she can't seem to keep her hands to herself. When smoking hot sex turns into something more, she's worried she might get NAILED.

Follow the rough-around-the-edges Hennessys and the women who snag their hearts in DIRTY WORK, an anthology with novellas by Amanda Heger, Harper St. George, and Tara Wyatt.

This is the first anthology that I've ever read. I don't know if it was a conscious choice to not have picked one up ... in the past, I've not been a fan of novellas because they didn't seem like full and complete stories to me. I'll be honest, if one of my favorite authors hadn't asked me to give it a read, I probably wouldn't have given it more than a glance since it is an anthology. I'll admit ... and please don't tell my husband because he doesn't think it's possible ... but I was wrong. I must have not picked good novellas in the past because these three ladies are bad. ass. 

Oh!! Before I forget ... here's the deal ... when an author writes a book that is so earth-shattering that I add them to my list of trusted authors, I'll just read what they send me without reading a blurb, without looking at any book news or previews ... I just pick it up and start reading. That's what happened with this one. I dove right into it without knowing even one tiny piece of info on it and by the time I got to the second novella, I thought that these authors had lost their minds. Out of the three authors, two of them had used the same last name within their story. Talk about confusing! I thought I'd never keep things straight and as I was questioning their sanity and whether they had taken the time to talk to each other in order to avoid this kind of chaos, I realized ... this anthology is about three dudes from the same family ... hence the same last name ... and I'm an idiot. Anyway ... I just avoided you being an idiot like me. You're welcome. Now go order Dirty Work.

I'm just going to touch on each novella briefly ... they were all rated almost exactly the same with me and I don't want to give away any spoilers; so no long diatribe on each. Again, you're welcome. The first novella, Uprooted by Amanda Heger, was awesome. I knew within the first few pages that it was going to be a five-star reading situation and I was right. Heger told such an intricate and heartwarming story in so few words and it was perfect. I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything since it was a shorter story. Everything was well written and it made me add Heger to my list of authors to book-stalk in the future. 

Next up is Revved by Harper St. George ... it was really the same type of situation with this book. I adored the characters, the story was so well written and I knew within the first few pages that this was also going to be a five-star novella. It did slow down for me just a tad bit in the middle but for the most part, the five-star feeling didn't diminish until I got to the very end and I actually wanted to give it less stars just because it ended too early. I ADORED Sage and I just wanted more of him. 

Last but definitely not least is Nailed by Tara Wyatt. Cheeky little title on this one. Which, I loved. Right from the first page, I was laughing. The back and forth between Adam and his friend was just hilarious and I actually read it twice because I enjoyed that part so much. The rest of the novella didn't disappoint. It's filled with a snarky and sassy heroine that you'll adore and a relentless hero that you can't help but love. It was great from the first page to the last and I was really sad to get to the last paragraph.

All in all, this is an anthology about second chance loves. When you pick this up, be prepared to read at least one novella per sitting. Grab a cup of coffee and go sit down in your comfy chair because you're not getting up until you get to the next novella. I blew through these a lot quicker than I probably should have. I should take my time and savor every single word but when an author is good, and these authors are great, you don't want to take your time because you're on this amazing roller-coaster with unforgettable characters and touching stories and you just don't want it to stop. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available: August 16th, 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Book Review: Entice (Hearts of Stone #3) by Veronica Larsen

Turns out I’ve been faking being an adult.
My job? My apartment? The pretty life I've built?

Let's just say I've made some mistakes.

I'm knee-deep in the mess I've made when I find him. Tall, dark-haired, and rough around the edges. The boy I never noticed is all grown up, in all the right ways. And he's not about to let me forget it.

He can try to pretend he's immune to our attraction. I'm trained in the art of persuasion and I love a challenge.

But how can he know the answers to questions I haven't thought to ask? I’ve been putting out fires, fighting like crazy to get my life back on track. And this man? He acts like he knows who's holding the match.

Maybe there's no such thing as mistakes.
What if it's all just sabotage?

If I wasn't already a massive fan of Veronica Larsen, I would be now. This book has pushed my love of her writing to an almost awkward place. Not stalkerish ... but close. The author once told me that I might find that the main character (Emily) just might be my spirit animal and I would have to agree with her wholeheartedly.

The characters are absolutely fabulous in Entice. To say that I'm slightly obsessed with tall, dark and broody Owen would be an understatement. And Emily. This chick has no filter what so ever. The things that just fly out of her mouth are statements that I would NEVER consider saying but I've secretly always wanted to. I'll be honest, she has a serious case of verbal diarrhea. While I wouldn't want to be plagued with this affliction, it is hilarious to read. Emily is just brutally honest and she thinks that everyone is just dying to know what is on her mind. Now, that isn't always the case but again, it's fun to experience through these pages. And Owen was a perfect match for this fiery little woman. He didn't even flinch at the outrageous things that would fly out of Emily's mouth! It was fun just watching to see if he would ever have a reaction to her potty mouth. I won't tell you if he did, you definitely need to experience this one for yourself. 

There's a pretty cool thing that Larsen has going on with this Hearts of Stone series. All of the books are considered standalone novels but if you read them in order, it enhances each of the stories so very much. Plus, all of them are great and you'll want to read them anyway, so you might as well read them in order, right?

I really don't have any critiques for this book. I adored everything about it; I enjoyed the pacing, the writing style, (especially) the characters and everything in between. These books are written in such a way that you really don't want to put them down and before you know it, you've missed lunch AND dinner and you are just wasting away but at the same time, totally satisfied because you're reading a book that you can't bring yourself to close. 

Larsen has placed herself at the top of my MUST READ list and I know that I'll be a fan for life. Also ... this is one of those books that if we are going to be friends, you have to read it. No exceptions. Don't worry, you won't regret it. 

Available Now

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Book Review: Entangle (Hearts of Stone #2) by Veronica Larsen

It begins small.
His smoky blue eyes strike hers until the air between them flickers.
Her whispered suggestion blows the spark into a flame.
A guarded heart. A relentless pursuit.
An insatiable chemistry that yields to a torrid affair.

Alexis Stone
I tried to do things the right way. I wore the big white dress and rode off with Prince Charming. Then Charming changed his mind. Some people rush to fill the holes left by their past, but I stripped my life bare. Right down to the essentials: Me, myself, and I. Now I'm thriving, running a successful company and I'm sure I've got everything I want. Enter Leo, a gorgeous, blue-eyed specimen of a man, who walks into my company and introduces me to a level of attraction that is inescapable, undeniable, and utterly consuming. I have two choices, I can either edge around the intense chemistry between us or plunge right through it until there's nothing left. I'm done playing by the rules, but nothing can prepare me for what's on the other side.


This is the second book in the Hearts of Stone series by Veronica Larsen. I originally thought that it was the first because that is what it says on Goodreads but there are definitely spoilers in here from the book Enamor ... which leads me to believe that this is in fact, the second book in the series. Are they massive spoilers? No. Not at all but the book does take place years after Enamor. Might as well read that one first! 

Anyhow ... since I met Lex (Alexis) initially within the pages of Enamor, I was already semi-acquainted with her character and I was super excited to see that she was the focus of this book. In the first book, she's very stand-offish and almost detaches herself from other people and that continued on into this book. It's nice to see a really consistent character within a series. Larsen didn't lose touch with her as she was focused on other main characters - that's a great thing and shows you what a talented author Larsen is. 

I've seen a lot of reviews that really just bash the main character, Lex. They say that they find her to be closed off and cold-hearted. Hello! That's her character!! You're reading about a woman that has completely shut down, basically. She feels that she had her chance at love and missed the boat. She's jaded. She's broken. And she's absolutely perfect the way that she is. I detest characters that have their shit together. Who wants to read about a perfect person with the perfect life? Not this lady. 

And Leo ... I loved him. He's screwed up as well. I wouldn't have it any other way. He has this horrible take on women and relationships. They are there to scratch an itch. Hey, to each their own. I just really enjoyed the interactions between Leo and Lex. They were honest and gritty and not always pretty. Bottom line: they were realistic. 

The turmoil that Lex and Leo go through separately and together is enough to just break your heart. They go on this journey where the destination is muddled, more often than not and where no one knows where the next fork in the road is going to lead. It was heartbreaking during quite a few points. Tears were brought to my eyes on a couple of occasions with Lex because of how broken she felt. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Entangle. In the first book of the series, Enamor, I laughed and in this one, I was sad. I can't wait to see what the next book in the series has waiting for me within its ivory pages. 

Available Now

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Review: Calculated Risk by Zoe M. McCarthy

Believing they're too opposite to attract, a jilted, vibrant marketing gal and a private numbers guy spend Thanksgiving with his family. She loves classical music; he listens to 70s tunes. She drives a red SUV; he owns a beige sedan. She orders a peppermint shake with extra chocolate bits; he prefers vanilla. What can change the improbable odds they'll fall in love?


When I first picked this book up, I had no idea that it was a Christian romance novel. Not that this genre is a bad but I just prefer to not read them. I enjoy a well placed f-word and based on the previous Christian romance books that I've read in the past, they are just very slow paced and everyone is sugary sweet and almost unrealistic. 

Unfortunately, that's what I found with this one as well. The characters were ... okay. I didn't find myself drawn to either character because I wasn't interested in them at all. They had these emotions about breakups that should have endeared Cisney and Nick to me but it didn't happen. I think it may have been because the conversations were dull and honestly, the characters were dull as well. I was just plain bored after the first chapter or so. 

There were these weird things that would happen ... this thing with the post-its ... Cisney would write basically every thought that she had, on a post-it. Nothing wrong with that and it doesn't seem weird to me ... I do it all the time. But the way this author wrote about her habit, she made it sound like Cisney was hiding dead cats in her bathtub and then reading them a bedtime story at night. McCarthy made  Cisney sound like a weirdo for writing on pieces of paper. I totally didn't get that.

I don't want to give anything away but in the beginning, Cisney is talking to someone about this piano and someone refers to the piano as "The Old Girl" and Cisney thinks that it's crass for them to call a piano that name. I guess it's just me but I don't see how calling an inanimate object The Old Girl is being insensitive. OR irreverent. If someone runs into the middle of a church service and starts heckling the pastor, THAT would be irreverent. I mean ... I guess you could say that the nickname is irreverent if you worship the piano or something ... I don't know. It was just weird. I didn't get those two things and that is where I started to pull away from the book. 

The rest of the novel was uneventful. The characters within the book are perfect - particularly Nick's family - and it made for a very bland read. Something was just missing and it was a healthy dose of umph. You know, the stuff that makes you think back on a book and be like, "WOW! THAT CHANGED MY LIFE". Unfortunately, this didn't change anything except my views on Christian romance novels ... I'll not be reading another one. Ever. I just need a tad bit more excitement to keep me interested, I guess. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available Now

Monday, July 4, 2016

Book Review: First Touch (First and Last #1) by Laurelin Paige

When Emily Wayborn receives an answerphone message from her former best friend Amber, she knows something is seriously wrong. Emily hasn't spoken to Amber in years, and when Amber uses a safe word in her message that Emily recognises -- a word they always used to get out of sticky situations during their wild partying days -- she knows Amber needs her help. But when Emily tries to find her, she discovers that Amber is missing.

Determined to track her down, Emily follows a chain of clues that lead her to enigmatic billionaire Reeve Sallis. Renowned for his shady dealings and playboy reputation, Emily is convinced that Reeve knows something about Amber's disappearance. To try and discover the truth, Emily sets out to seduce him. But when she's forced to decide where her loyalty lies, how will Emily choose between saving Amber and saving her heart?


I received this novel last year from NetGalley and somehow, I skipped over reading. No idea how that happened but at least I was able to sit down with it this last week. I've never read a book by Paige before, so I really had no idea what to expect with First Touch but if I'm being completely honest ... it really just wasn't the book for me. It wasn't what I expected AT ALL. And unfortunately, I don't mean that in a good way this time. 

The characters were ... different. Emily is a very damaged girl and I see Reeve as damaged as well. To me, it seemed like they were two mismatched plates that had been shattered and someone tried to put them back together as one. Geez. That doesn't even make sense to me but that is what these two characters felt like to me. I really just didn't like either of them. On ANY level. 

What must it be like to be so desperate for attention that you are willing to let someone debase and abuse you? I'm not just talking about physical abuse, I'm talking mental abuse and psychological abuse as well. Emily likes being punished in the bedroom and basically treated like trash. This chick is okay with being constantly berated and treated like she's worthless. Hey, to each their own but it's definitely not something that I enjoyed reading about. This crossed the line between sexy dirty talk and verbal abuse. Stuff would happen in the bedroom and Emily would feel horrible about herself but then she would go back to it. Over and over again, year after year and with countless men.

When I originally picked this book up, I thought that there would be a little suspense with the looking for her friend part of the story but that whole storyline was pushed way to the side. The sex and Reeve's possession of Emily took center stage. That was a little bit of a let down. I was more interested in what happened to Amber than I was about how many times Emily was going to be spanked or forced to give a beej because she talked to a dude that she wasn't supposed to or looked at a man that crossed her path.

Literally thousands of people on Goodreads adore this book but it just wasn't for me. Maybe I'm taking it too seriously or something and because of that, I'm not seeing the sensuality in the relationship between Emily and Reeve ... I don't think that's the case but I guess there is a slim chance that it could be. All in all, just not for me. I won't be reading any more of the series. 

*I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

Available Now