Monday, May 30, 2016

Fate of a Marlowe Girl by Beth Fred

From Goodreads:
When twenty-four-year-old Tiffany escapes her sister Kammy's too wild Cancun bachelorette party, she finds herself in a bar with the unwanted attention of a gorgeous local named Luke.

Luke may be charming but Tiffany is leaving in two days and doesn't need any complications. But complications are exactly what she gets when the cops show up to raid Kammy's party. When Kammy is arrested, Tiffany agrees to have dinner with Luke, so he'll help her get Kammy out of jail.
Kammy's arrest forces her to spend an extra day in Cancun, meaning she'll miss a crucial meeting, and as an accountant in tax season, she is already drowning in work. Not to mention, every second she spends with Luke makes it harder to leave. With Luke, Tiffany can forget about work.

But will the airport be their final goodbye?


My Take:
This was a quick and fun read. In fact I read the whole thing while sitting in the air port waiting for my flight.

I felt for Tiffany as she struggled to deal with her obviously pampered and spoiled rotten sister. She sort of frustrated me because she let her family walk all over her. I think that's one reason I liked Luke right away. He was the true knight in shining armor coming in to defend and protect her. Even from herself.

I loved where this ended up. It was the perfect travel read.

Cute, clean, and quick (novella length). 4 stars!

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Friday, May 27, 2016

Chances Are by Traci Hunter Abrasion

From Goodreads--
Maya Gupta is a survivor. After escaping an impending arranged marriage in India as a teenager, she has thrived in America. But now she faces her greatest challenge yet—cancer has invaded her life, and unless she finds a way to participate in a clinical trial in Washington, DC, this may be one battle she loses. When Maya’s best friend Kari offers Maya the lifeline of a place to stay—her brother’s currently vacant DC apartment—the young woman eagerly accepts and goes to meet her fate . . .

Ben Evans’s plans have changed, and he’s heading home for some much-needed rest and relaxation during his off-season in the major leagues. Upon arriving at his DC apartment, however, Ben is shocked to find Maya—his sister’s friend, who he hardly knows—in residence. He soon finds himself trapped between protecting his above-reproach reputation and searching for a way to help a woman he is coming to admire. When Maya’s fight to survive her disease becomes more complicated than ever, she and Ben scheme an extreme solution to her predicament that tests to what lengths they’re willing to go together to save Maya’s life.

My Take--
It only took 5 hours to read. Note, not the best to read while flying. It's emotionally powerful and I cried through many scenes leaned up against the airplane window in an effort to hide.

Abramson makes you care about Maya from the very beginning. Her quiet strength and tenacity makes you ache with each thing that tries to tear her down. I wasn't sure about Ben at first, but it didn't take him long to be raised to "knight in shining armor" status.

We don't get bogged down in medical terms, but everything feels real and believable. The entire story is heartbreakingly sweet. The ending might have felt a touch easy, but if Abramson had gone into all the recovery still to come it might have ruined the "happily ever after" affect.

I give Chances Are by Traci Hunter Abramson a solid 5 because I couldn't put it down and it made me laugh and cry.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Wedding Wager by Regina Duke

From Goodreads:
Kevin Wake hates being rich. He despises everything his father stands for, but he can’t abandon his kid sister and baby brother. Their future is tied to his own. When his father threatens to rob them all of their mother’s legacy, Kevin takes bold action to protect what should be theirs.

Megan Mully is out of the hospital at last. But she’s homeless, jobless, broke and alone. Love is the last thing on her mind. Kevin is just a means to an end. She never expected him to steal her heart!

My Take:
This seems to be the "in" thing. Rich person needs to marry for some reason, finds someone who needs money to pay off bills of some sort and they fall in love for real. In that regard, you could say there were no surprises here, but Regina Duke still tells a lovely story.

At least in this one Megan and Kevin both have reservations that make the crazy situation a bit more believable. And I appreciated Duke's "fade to black" approach to taking things beyond kissing. The other endearing quality of this book is how Megan interacts with Kevin's siblings. They are kind of out there, but she accepts them and loves them for who they are in that moment--children hurting for love. I think she could relate to them more than she wanted to admit.

This was a quick, easy read, and although it was predictable, I enjoyed it. Solid 4.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sweet Confections by Danyelle Ferguson

From Goodreads:
According to Rachel Marconi chocolate heals all wounds. That and throwing darts at pictures of her ex-boyfriend. Burned by yet another bad relationship, Rachel decides to reprioritize her life, putting her dream to compete on a Food Network Challenge on the top of her list and dating at the bottom crossed out in red sharpie.

But what's a girl to do when a certain sexy guy keeps asking her out?

Cue in Graydon Green, a former pro hockey player turned restaurant owner. After a lot of persistent and humorous teasing, he finally convinces Rachel to commit to a date. Just when things begin to warm up, threatening notes directed at Rachel arrive. When her bakery is vandalized, Graydon's protective streak goes on red alert. Is it her obsessive ex-boyfriend stalking her? Or maybe a challenger trying to sabotage the competition?

Either way, Rachel is definitely going to need more chocolate - perhaps drizzled over ice cream and devil's food cake.

My Take:
This is my first novel by Danyelle Ferguson. I was immediately drawn into the strong voice of the work. It was fun, upbeat and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the back and forth between Rachel and Graydon.

The suspense part was even better. I didn't immediately know who the culprit was, and I love that!

I give Sweet Confections a 4.5 because I loved every minute of it and highly recommend it. It's a wonderfully fun read with a good mystery as well.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Friday, May 20, 2016

Home Matters by Julie Ford

From Goodreads:
According to her mother, Olivia Pembroke was born to be a star. But how is she supposed to be famous when she can't even get a decent acting gig? Her lucky break comes when she lands an audition for a wildly popular home improvement show. Even though she has no design training and has never held a power tool, she refuses to let that stop her. She's confident that her destiny is finally within reach.

When her affections are torn between her heartthrob co-host and the irritating, yet somehow endearing lead contractor, does she continue to reach for the stars? Or does she design a new happily ever after? One that leads not to the fading lights of fame and fortune, but to a love that will burn forever.


My Take:
It seems I haven't read in forever although it's probably only been a month or two. I was ready for something short to get me back into things. Over the weekend my daughter and I attended a writer's conference and picked up lots of new books by the other authors.

When I saw the cover of this book I knew I had to read it. I'm addicted to HGTV and DIY Network, plus hubby and I are currently renovating our home. Throw in a sweet and clean romance and I'm all in! This is also a great example of giving an author another chance. I started reading another of her books a while back and didn't finish. The writing was good, but whether it was my current life load or something else, I put it down and didn't come back. This book held my attention from page one. I could relate and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I loved that the conflict that keeps our protags apart is something realistic. Not some over the top device because they "just can't get together yet." I could relate to Olivia. She's had her life planned out forever. She knows what her goals and expectations are, and she doesn't shift gears quickly. That's how I am. I need time to get used to a new idea. Figure out how that changes things and decide if I'm willing to do that. This is the core of what keeps her from accepting Pete too soon.

At first I thought Pete was "all in" way too easily, but that was explained well as the book progressed. Olivia looks like his dead fiance. Enough said.

Spoiler Alert (sort of):
I loved what Pete says to convince Olivia that he loves her for her and not because she reminds him of the previous girl he loved. Truly sigh worthy!

There was a typo or two--but that's me getting nit-picky so I have something to critique here. Oh, and I really wish Olivia had stuck it to William a lot worse than she did. And that I got to see it. :)

All in all I really enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting. I give Home Matters a solid 4!

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Played by Liz Fichera

From Goodreads:
This Game Is Getting All Too Real

He said: I like to keep under the radar and mostly hang out with my friends from the rez. But when I saved Riley Berenger from falling off a mountain, that rich suburban princess decided to try to save me.

She said: If I can help Sam Tracy win the heart of the girl he can't get over, I'll pay him back for helping me. I promised him I would, no matter what it takes.

My Take:
Oh man, where to start. First of all, Fichera writes "real." She's got the crazy teenage drama down. Add in her great multicultural angle and you have a read that just feels different from every other story out there.

This story has some of the same characters from Fichera's novel HOOKED. Only now we aren't focused on Fred (a girl) and Ryan. Riley is Ryan's sister. She's always been the "good" kid and she's done with it. The pressure has finally broken her. She's ready to do some living of her own.

I don't want to give a step by step synopsis, but goodness a lot of stuff happens! There was only one spot that I had issues with. Riley goes to a party and gets so drunk she can't remember what happened. There are compromising photos though. She's says she didn't think the guy actually "did anything" to her, but it bugged me that she wasn't more upset about it all. She could have been raped and she just brushes it off. Her rebellion gets way out of hand, but isn't that the way life usually goes?

Sam turns out to be a really good guy in spite of his gruff exterior. He's got a soft heart and he's loyal. When they finally get together I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Even though you knew it would work out, the tension was on going until the very end.

There were parts I didn't enjoy as much as Hooked, but I still thought the story was well written. I give it a solid 4.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fourth and Long by Liz Isaacson

From Goodreads:

Can one summer together make up for eight years of separation?

Commander Brett Murphy left his family’s construction firm in Oklahoma City for a life of hard work at Three Rivers Ranch. Alone, without a wife and kids, Brett needs the camaraderie he enjoyed while serving overseas with his Army buddies, Squire Ackerman and Peter Marshall.

What Brett doesn’t need is the reappearance of his ex-wife. Fiery Kate Donnely has come to Three Rivers to confess to Brett that they’re still married, and oh, he has a seven-year-old son she never told him about. At least not in letters she mailed.

Eight years ago, Kate left Oklahoma City only weeks after Brett’s first deployment, shamed because of her bad choices and the unborn child of a man she’d already asked for a divorce. She needs him to sign the papers now or she can’t have access to her hefty inheritance. But Brett absolutely does not want Kate to take his son away from him again.

They strike a deal: She’ll stay at Three Rivers for the summer so Brett can have the opportunity to get to know his son. How far will they have to go and how much will they have to forgive in order to become a family?

My Take:
I really enjoyed this story, but I did have an issue with one major point. How do you not tell a man you really loved that he has a son for 8 years? From the letters we see Kate write over the years, it's clear she's still in love with him. Crazy, manipulative, overbearing mom and grandma or not, I'd find some way to contact the man I loved. The man I clearly hoped would come for me. I don't buy that she'd be stupid enough to think he'd just "know" where she was.

Take that out of the equation and the rest of the story is wonderful. The conflicting emotions when they reconnect, the mistrust, the hurt, the hope. The writing is clean and powerful.

I especially enjoyed the little snippets that showed the unsent letters and emails Brett and Kate wrote to each other over the years. Everything in them made sense based on the fact they were not in contact with each other. But then again, how hard is it to hit "send"?

I still give Fourth and Long a solid 4 because I enjoyed the progression of their relationship, the fact it was clean, and the compelling writing. 

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read

Friday, May 13, 2016

Running from the Cowboy by Cami Checketts

From Goodreads:
Missy Horman escaped an abusive marriage and returns to Snow Valley to help her father deal with her emotionally disturbed mother. Volunteering to teach a youth Sunday school class seems like a good way to get out of her comfort zone—until she ends up kissing Porter Wilson in front of a bunch of teenagers. Embarrassed, and secretly thrilled, by the kiss, she writes Porter off as a playboy. But, Missy wasn't the only one affected and Porter's new mission in life is to prove that there's more to him than flirting and world-tilting kisses. He wants to show her that a true cowboy knows how to treat a lady and, if Missy can't keep her wits about her, she might just let him.

My Take:
This story was part of the newest Snow Valley set (which I haven't read yet, but I'm looking forward to it!)

The last time we saw Missy Horman, she had made a pass at her long lost boyfriend Luke (Porter's brother). What I remember liking about Missy is that when she discovered Luke was in love with someone else, she gracefully bowed out. She recognized that she wasn't ready for what Luke had already found with Annie. She's still not sure she's ready to risk her heart again, but Porter has decided she's what he wants.

There is good give and take, push and pull with this story. The emotions are natural and like any woman, Missy has the right to change her mind. I'm referring to her adamant phrase, "I don't like cowboys." I actually liked it when Missy would spout some childish thing in an effort to distance herself from Porter. I liked the way Porter handled it even more. Ever patient, he let her work through everything in her time. Of course, a few stolen kisses might have helped keep her on the path he wanted her on.

This was a great new story from one of my favorite authors. Solid 4!

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

First Crush by Heather Tullis

From Goodreads:
Third-grade teacher Maddie McCormick was thrilled when the greenhouse classroom actually came to fruition—but she hadn’t counted on angering the local street thugs, or their threats.
Police officer Ben Belliston hadn’t planned on fatherhood—ever—but gaining custody of his orphaned niece had him rearranging all of his priorities. She and Maddie, her new teacher, bonded right away, so he was happy to provide a little off-duty security in the greenhouse—it was more than a fair exchange for the way Maddie helped his niece from her shell. He hadn’t expected to begin seeing his best friend’s little sister in a new light, or the way it would make him question all of his future plans.

My Take:
I'm a sucker for life-long friends that finally see their relationship can be more. Probably because I was friends with my own husband for ten years before we were old enough to get married. :)

Anyway, Maddie is a sweetie. Kind, considerate, gentle. She's exactly what Felicia needs after her abusive mom overdoses and leaves her alone. Ben doesn't realize it, but Maddie and Felicia together are what he needs to heal the wounds of his own troubled past.

Tullis does a great job creating believable characters who are suffering from real situations. Maddie is a normal woman whose been in love with her brother's friend for a long time. She tries dating others in the hopes of moving on, but it just isn't the same. Ben carries the baggage of an alcoholic dad and an enabling mother. Felicia lives in fear of disappointing other and being slapped around for it. Ben and Felicia need to learn to trust and accept the love that's being given to them. Maddie's steadiness is perfect.

I felt the story progressed naturally and believably. There was just enough tension from the gang members threatening the greenhouse to cut the sweetness of the romance.

The only bad thing I can think of is the ending came really fast for me. I wanted Ben to have to work harder to earn back Maddie's trust after his declaration of love. Don't get me wrong, it was good and I enjoyed it, but for some reason I can't put my finger on, I wanted just a little more.

I give First Crush a solid 4.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Monday, May 9, 2016

Third Time's the Charm by Liz Isaacson

From Goodreads:

Book two in the Three Rivers Ranch Romance series by bestselling author, Liz Isaacson.

First Lieutenant Peter Marshall has never felt as safe and whole as he does at Three Rivers Ranch. With massive scars covering most of his upper body, he's self-conscious and searching for his life's purpose. He thinks he's found it in Courage Reins, an equine therapy program for veterans he's starting out at the ranch. He didn't plan on the beautiful Chelsea Ackerman looking at his deformities with admiration.

After her second failed engagement, Chelsea vows she'll never wear another diamond ring. But as she and Pete work together to train the horses and launch Courage Reins, she heals faster than she thought possible. Pete has a truckload of debt and no way to provide for a family, but Chelsea helps him see past all the obstacles, all the scars. With so many unknowns, Pete and Chelsea will have to develop the love, acceptance, and faith needed to find their happily ever after.

My Take:
We met Pete in the previous book SECOND CHANCE RANCH, but only glimpsed Chelsea over a few phone conversations with her brother Squire. Now we get to know both of them even better.

Three Rivers Ranch has worked wonders on Pete. He's feeling better about himself, at peace with his life, and he's found a new purpose. Chelsea on the other hand doesn't want to be on the ranch. The problem is she doesn't want to be anywhere. Traumatized by a previous relationship and the death of her fiancé, she's carrying more guilt than she can bear.

Pete recognizes the signs as soon as he meets Chelsea and enlists her help with the horses, knowing they can help her.

Once again, Isaacson does a great job letting the emotions feel real and progress naturally. They do happen fast, but it all makes sense. Even the choices Pete makes regarding his business and the growing relationship makes sense. Sort of. Okay, it does. I can totally see a guy make this decision thinking it's the only way to accomplish both his goals--one at a time. Come on, women multitask all the time. :) LOL

All in all, I give Third Time's the Charm a solid 4. 

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Anyway, fun, clean, sweet, and I like the way Isaacson talks about the hidden scars we often carry around with us. Trauma comes in many forms and we all need to learn how to forgive ourselves and others so we can be whole again.


Friday, May 6, 2016

West of Paradise by Marcy Hatch

From Goodreads:
Katherine Kennedy has it all—she’s beautiful, wealthy, and engaged to a man who, at one time, seemed perfect for her. Only she can’t marry him, and she can’t say why. All she knows is there is suddenly nothing she wants. Not her fiancĂ© Antonio. Not any of the hundred thousand things her money can buy.

Jack McCabe comes home from the war with a pretty medal and a lot of ugly pictures in his head. He has nowhere to go, nor anyone to go with. All he has is a vague sense of discontent, a restlessness that will not abate.

Separately, Katherine and Jack are drawn to Paradise Tours on the privately owned Cristobel Island, a resort promising life-altering adventure. Just choose the time and place. Suddenly they find themselves over 125 years in the past, 1881 to be exact. Neither of them knows the other is a fellow time-traveler.

For Jack McCabe it’s the life he craves, and he’s at the top of his game—until his run-in with Alanna McCleod, the beautiful but deadly train robber. Katherine no sooner lands back in time than she is mistaken for Alanna McCleod and can’t understand why—until she sees the wanted poster.

Set in the Old West, this high-spirited tale of mistaken identity, romance, and murder is part historical fiction, part time travel fantasy, and completely captivating.

My Take:
I should admit that Marcy is a friend and fellow moderator over at Unicorn Bell with me. She is also with the same publisher I am--WiDo Publishing. This is her debut novel and holy cow does she come out swinging. I read her book in one day. It's been almost a week and I've put off this review for one reason.

I'm not sure what to say.  I've been trying to think of real "review-type" things to say, but I can only think of a few and I'm afraid you'll think I'm just being nice to a friend. But that's not it at all. The fact is I got lost in the story and didn't pay any attention to the writing. I felt fear for Katie, angry at Jack for being such a jerk in the beginning, but grew to like him as much as Katie did.

Marcy floored me by making me feel like I really was back in 1881. The style is different, but the details were as good as the Louis L'Amour books I read as a teen. Didn't see that one coming did you? Yes, it was awesome. And when our characters were in the "near future" time of their actual time, Marcy had nice little details that made it feel real and totally possible. Nothing way out there crazy, but just little things that still gave it the flavor of "not now".


The best way I can sum it up is--Back to the Future III ...
...meets Somewhere In Time.


I give West of Paradise by Marcy Hatch a solid 5 because I couldn't put it down, and I've already asked her if there is going to be a sequel. She said she'll think about it.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson

From Goodreads:
After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.

Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn't afraid to show him that he doesn't. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.

My Take:
Super cute! Okay, I love all things Pride and Prejudice as it is, but the modern versions aren't all the same quality. This book holds its own.

It is sweet, cute, heart-wrenching even at times.

I liked that Anderson didn't try and perfectly mimic the pattern of Jane Austen's pride and prejudice. This story has its own plot line but the emotional journey is the same as Austen's work.

Emma is a soft hearted hard working aunt. She's given up her artistic dreams to take care of her niece, but she had no idea how hard it would be. And how frustrating with her good looking neighbor judging her.

Kevin's on track for a great future. It may not be the one his mother wanted for him, but he's a great pediatrician. Everything is going the way he wants, until the dump next door gets a new tenant. How is it that every time he tries to help his pretty neighbor she yells at him? He just wants to do the right thing.

I love the natural progression of their friendship. On top of all that, this is clean! As soon as I finished reading, I took the kindle up to my 16 year old daughter who is also a huge Austen fan.
Being able to share a story with her bumps this up to 5 stars.

My rating scale for book reviews
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

New Release! The Independent One by Cami Checketts

I am so thrilled to announce the release of The Independent One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance.


Find it on Amazon * Goodreads


Haley Turnbow escapes to the tropical Isla del Sol for an ideal vacation with her five-year old. She doesn’t plan on the resident ghost stalking her and the island’s fine-looking owner drawing her in with his confident, fun personality.

Cal Johnson is king of his own island, happy and busy. A beautiful mom and her wild little boy flip his world upside down. He falls in love with both of them knowing they’re going to leave at the end of their vacation and he might not recover from the loss.

Can these two independent adults trust their hearts or is it not worth the risk?


Excerpt:
A tall, well-built man swept in before Haley could reach Taz and easily lifted her boy into his arms.

“Hey, bud, you’re not supposed to do flips on this staircase, that’s for the diving board.”

Taz laughed and Haley’s heart slowed a few beats. “Taz,” she cried out.

The man turned with her son and she noticed dimples and blue eyes, but she could only focus on her boy. Taz launched himself into her arms. Haley held him close, inhaling the baby lotion he kept claiming he was too old for. She took several long breaths as she tried to reassure herself he was
okay. 

Their rescuer turned to the older couple. “Are you both all right?” he asked.

“Oh, sure,” the man said, his arm around his wife’s waist. They were a darling couple, dressed to the nines with her hair perfectly coiffed and his hair missing.

“Is the little boy okay?” the woman asked, patting her hair.

“I think so,” Haley said. “I’m so sorry he hit you.”

“No, dear, I’m just fine.”

Haley nodded, grateful for their graciousness. She checked Taz for injuries. He had some rug burns on his face and elbow, but thankfully only the one on his elbow was bleeding. “Oh, bud, you scared me! Do you hurt anywhere?”

“Nothing ‘cept my endbow.” Taz held up his arm for her to see. “Kiss it?”

Haley laughed shakily and kissed near the ouchy spot. “We’ll find you a Band-aid.”

“A Ninja Turtle one?” Taz’s dark eyes lit up. He covered himself in Ninja Turtle Band-aids quite regularly. 

The man with the dimples turned back to her as the older couple wished them well and headed down the hallway to the shops. He placed a warm hand on her back. “Ma’am, can I take him from you? You’re shaking like a belly dancer.”

Haley laughed, but clung tighter to Taz. This was her little man and she wasn’t about to hand him over to some stranger—she couldn’t resist looking the man over—no matter how intriguing the contrast between his dark hair and skin and his deep blue eyes. “I have specialized belly dancer
training so it’s okay.”

His dimples deepened. “Nice.”

“Thank you for your help Mr…”

“Johnson.” He kept his arm on her back and wrapped his other hand around her elbow. His hands were strong and warm and she couldn’t help but notice how nicely he smelled, a great combination of musk and man. “Come up to my office so I can check both of you out.”

Haley bristled. The only men she let tell her what to do were her dad and her brother. Scratch that, the only men who ever tried to tell her what to do, but failed, were her dad and her brother. She shook him off. “Sorry, not going to some strange dude’s office and nobody needs to check me out.”

He laughed. “My apologies, ma’am, but I’ve already checked you out.” He pumped his eyebrows and she was struck by the fact that he was much too attractive and much too friendly.

_____

I had the privilege of pre-reading this for Cami. There will be a full review post of it in another week or so. However, today I'll just tell you that I really enjoyed it. There was good tension from the mystery as well as between the two characters. Taz really made the whole story though. Fun and the perfect glue for these two people.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Hooked by Liz Fichera

From Goodreads:
Get hooked on a girl named Fred...

HE said: Fred Oday is a girl? Why is a girl taking my best friends spot on the boy's varsity golf team?

SHE said: Can I seriously do this? Can I join the boys' team? Everyone will hate me - especially Ryan Berenger.

HE said: Coach expects me to partner with Fred on the green? That is crazy bad. Fred's got to go - especially now that I can't get her out of my head. So not happening.

SHE said: Ryan can be nice, when he's not being a jerk. Like the time he carried my golf bag. But the girl from the rez and the spoiled rich boy from the suburbs? So not happening.

But there's no denying that things are happening as the girl with the killer swing takes on the boy with the killer smile.

My Take:
This modern day Romeo and Juliette was enthralling. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down and I read the whole thing in one day. In fact, when my kindle battery died with only 2 1/2 chapters to go, I took some drastic measures. (because I'm having issues charging it and can't sit and hold it while plugged in) I plugged it in, did all the little crazy things needed to get the charging light to come on, and then read the rest while standing beside my desk, bent over sideways to get the right angle.

And it was worth it!

Fichera does a great job keeping the tension moving forward with misunderstandings, prejudices, teen hormones, bullying best friends, family issues, and so much more. She pulls you into Fred and Ryan's world with ease. Everything is believable and rings true.

Bonus Points:
  • It is a modern day Romeo and Juliette themed story, but you don't ever think, "Oh, this is like Romeo and Juliette" while reading.  
  • The sport is GOLF! Loved that she didn't make Fred a football player or something else a little more mainstreamed. 
  • I loved that Fred was Native American. Fichera did an excellent job portraying Fred's mixed feelings about where she fit in the world, or which world she wanted. 
  • Great family dynamics--the good and the bad.
  • Ryan's best friend? SCARY and demented.
I give Hooked by Liz Fichera a 5 for keeping me hooked. 

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3:  I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure