Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Groom Wore Plaid (Highland Weddings #2) by Gayle Callen


Blurb...

Maggie McCallum's dreams about her new fiancé aren't the romantic sort. It's not just that she was bartered to Owen Duff like a piece of property to end a clan feud. She's also haunted by premonitions of his death on their upcoming wedding day. Yet the exasperating Highlander won't let her call it off, even though his life and his clan are both in jeopardy.

Owen has wanted Maggie in his bed since he first glimpsed her years ago. If their union restores peace between their clans, so much the better. But while lusting after another chief's sister had its risks, growing to trust Maggie is far more dangerous. Owen is falling deeply in love with the one woman he cannot hope to claim . . . and survive.



This is the 2nd installment in Gayle Callen’s Highland Weddings series. Like the 1st book, The Wrong Bride, The Groom Wore Plaid is a fun story. The witty banter between Maggie and Owen made me chuckle more than a few times. Their passion - though it didn’t happen until later in the story, made this a steamy read! There’s also a mystery, a little poignancy, and overall The Groom Wore Plaid is an entertaining tale and a great addition to the series.

There are definitely characters I’d like to know more about, and I’m looking forward to what Ms. Callen offers up next in the series.

An ARC was provided by Avon Books. In appreciation I’m giving them an honest review.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie by Dean Koontz, Narrated by Christopher Lane

Blurb…

In a profound, funny, and beautifully rendered portrait of a beloved companion, bestselling novelist Dean Koontz remembers the golden retriever who changed his life. A retired service dog, Trixie was three when Dean and his wife, Gerda, welcomed her into their home. She was superbly trained, but her greatest gifts couldn’t be taught: her keen intelligence, her innate joy, and an uncanny knack for living in the moment. Whether chasing a tennis ball or protecting those she loved, Trixie gave all she had to everything she did, inspiring Dean and Gerda to trust their instincts and recapture a sense of wonder that will remain with them always. Trixie lived fewer than twelve years; in this wide world, she was a little thing. But in every way that mattered, she lived a big life.


I literally just finished listening to Christopher Lane’s brilliant performance of Dean Koontz’s poignant A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie, stopping only long enough to blow my nose and wipe the tears from my eyes before writing this review.

I can’t find the words to use to tell you how amazing this memoir is. It’s not just a story about a man and a woman and their dog, it’s what I can say is one of the most life enriching stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading or listening to. I was so impressed and moved by Mr. Koontz's openly candid thoughts and recollections of how Trixie changed his life, and in my opinion, in many ways, saved it. There are so many quotes I wanted to share, but being on audio and being a complete blubbering ninny while listening to the most profound of the quotes I wasn’t able to catch them.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a depressing story. Sure, there were moments I sobbed so deeply I was sure I'd never recover, but in fact it’s one of the most uplifting, hopeful, insightful books I can remember experiencing, and I will listen to it again and again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Leaving Yesterday (Laurel Falls #1) by Zoe Dawson

Blurb...

Rafferty Hamilton doesn’t plan on putting down roots anytime soon. With her divorce final, the hotel heiress has left Manhattan behind to scout new locations for her family’s chain of resorts. Which is why it’s so frustrating to be stranded in Laurel Falls while a good-looking, slow-talking, Stetson-wearing mechanic takes his sweet time with her overheated coupe.

A decorated vet who paid his dues in Afghanistan, Trace Black can fix anything with an engine and get it revving—even Rafferty’s ridiculous sports car. He couldn’t say the same for the knockout driver, who looks like she’s never gripped a gear shaft in her life. Women like Rafferty don’t usually stick around in Laurel Falls, but Trace finds himself showing her everything his hometown has to offer before she cruises on down the road.

As the days pass, Rafferty finds herself charmed by the pace of life and the openhearted warmth of the residents. She’s even tempted to trust again—and it’s all thanks to Trace. He’s not the kind of guy she’s used to falling for, but he just might be the man she needs.

Leaving Yesterday is the first book in Zoe Dawson's new Laurel Falls series, and it's everything I love about small town contemporary romance. The people of Laurel Falls are down-to-earth, hard working, and loyal. They've got hopes and dreams, trials and triumphs and, no matter what, they will always have your back! All this makes them people I can't help but cheer for and care about.

One of the things I most enjoyed about the story - and there are many things to enjoy - is Trace's unshakable devotion to his family, especially his youngest brother, Harley, who suffers with PTSD, the result of his time in the Marines and a mission gone very wrong. Trace feels the guilt of of Harley's illness, blaming himself because Harley was following in Trace's footsteps when he enlisted, wanting to be like his big brother. There's a lot of poignancy throughout the book, but this... this really tugged at my heart.

Another person to love is Rafferty. Sure, she's a product of her upbringing, but she is - without a doubt - her own person. This becomes crystal clear when she sets aside her 'assignment' and opens her eyes to the beauty of the people and the town she found herself stranded in. She might be a wealthy, big city girl, but she's not ostentatious, nor is she foolish enough to let a good thing pass her by!

The bottom line... Leaving Yesterday is a wonderful start to this series, which promises to be an amazing one. If you love Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, or Rachel Gibson, you won't want to miss out on the romantic, passionate, captivating world and people of Laurel Falls.

An ARC was generously provided by Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept. In appreciation I'm giving them an honest review.

About the book:

Print Length: 268 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Click here to purchase Leaving Yesterday: A Laurel Falls Novel, from Amazon

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Defying the Odds (Battered Hearts #1) by Kele Moon


Blurb...

When struggling waitress Melody Dylan gives a handsome, lonely stranger a simple gift she has no clue her life is about to take a drastic turn.

The stranger ends up being Clay Powers, a famous UFC heavyweight fighter. Clay’s large build and dangerous fists have always intimidated. People in his hometown keep their distance and Clay is fine with that. Everything changes when a new waitress at the local diner buys him a piece of pie on thanksgiving. Touched by the gesture when it’s obvious she can barely afford to survive, her warm smile and lush body churn up powerful feelings that leave Clay wanting more from her than pie.

Melody is running from her past and the small, country town of Garnet is the perfect hiding place. With an ex-husband after her and scars from her abusive marriage etched deep, the last thing she expects is to fall for a man who makes a living with his fists, but she can’t resist Clay or the tender connection they share.

Finding love in the most unlikely of places, the passion is undeniable, but Clay and Melody know their haunted pasts and unpredictable futures leave the odds stacked against them.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: violence.

I'm keeping this short because there are already so many awesome reviews out there.

Defying the Odds is the first book in the Battered Hearts series and a very, very sweet story. In fact, it's uncommonly sweet given that it's also an extremely hot tale, and readers used to edgier erotica might miss that in this story.

I adored Clay and Melody and loved watching their relationship grow. Wyatt and Jules are also great, in an annoying family members kind of way.

Click here to purchase Defying the Odds from Amazon

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Star Crossed (Battered Hearts #2) by Kele Moon


Blurb...

Heavyweight MMA fighter, Romeo Wellings comes from the hard streets of New York where his family ties to the mafia cause him nothing but pain. His life takes a surprising detour when he crosses paths with the twin sister of his long time enemy. After a steamy one-night stand, he faces the fight of his life, but it’s not in the cage. The secret relationship that blooms between Romeo and his real life Juliet has him battling his family and a dark past rather than let her go. 



The only lawyer in her hometown of Garnet, Jules Conner is also a volunteer Sheriff’s deputy and co-owner of a successful MMA training center. Strong and dependable, Jules is always there for those who need her. Until one forbidden night in Las Vegas with Romeo leaves her feeling so alive she can’t stop reaching out to the sexy, bad boy of MMA, even knowing the forbidden love affair could jeopardize everything.



As the tide rises against them and the people they love work at keeping them apart, Romeo and Jules hold onto a dream for a better life together and vow to go down fighting rather than accept a tragic ending.


Quickly...

*sigh*

I'm so in love with the men of Garnet - and New York! The main characters are great and the supporting cast is just as great. Exciting, poignant, and burn up the pages sexy, Star Crossed is one hell of a read!

I can't wait to read Wyatt's story next!!

Click here to purchase Star-Crossed from Amazon

Monday, January 25, 2016

Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City #1) by Penny Reid


Blurb...

There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse.

Not at all what I expected....

....and so much more than I had hoped for!

This is, start to finish, a great read. It's laugh-out-loud funny, charming, romantic, with just enough angst to keep me off balance, but not so much that I dreaded reading on. You see, I hate angst-ridden stories. They upset my stomach, give me a headache, and keep me awake at night....but this is one entertaining, 'left me with a smile on my face' read!

I was actually quite surprised - though I don't know why, given the amazing reviews and high ratings. I was expecting something light, fun, and unemotional. I was wrong. That's not what I got - and I'm glad for it! I fell hard for Janie and Quinn, Janie's quirky friends, and Quinn's unconditional devotion. There truly are mannnnnnnny things to love about Neanderthal Seeks Human, so if you've been hesitant to try it, as I was, hesitate no more. I can't recommend this highly enough!

(At the time of this posting, Neanderthal Seeks Human is, once again, free for Kindle readers. See link below.)

Click here to purchase Neanderthal Seeks Human from Amazon

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Heaven Can't Wait (I-Team #1.5) by Pamela Clare



Blurb...


Lissy Charteris and Will Fraser are two weeks away from getting married when Lissy suggests they put a bit of traditional romance into their lives by giving up sex until their wedding night. Though Will thinks it’s a crazy idea, he’s not about to admit he can’t do it. The two end up making a bet, vowing not to be the first to ask for sex. But what starts as a bet turns into a game of no-holds-barred seduction—winner take all.




Heaven Can’t Wait is only about 90 pages, but leave it to Pamela Clare to give us wonderful characters and a fun, sexy story that easily rivals some full length novels I’ve read. This story takes place between Extreme Exposure and Unlawful Contact, but I read it out of order and had no problem whatsoever. I'm giving this 5 stars because, in my opinion, unlike many short stories, this one didn't feel lacking in any way... other than I wish it were longer because it was so good.

Will Fraser and Lissie Charteris are two weeks away from their wedding day and everything is wonderful. They’re madly in love and their sex life is sizzling hot. They’ve begun moving their things into the home they’ll share when they return from their honeymoon and everything, everything seems perfect. Until Lissie gets a phone call from her relationship jaded mother who begins filling her head with doubts about whether she and Will are really in love, or if they’re merely in lust. Suddenly worried that they are doomed to end up unhappy like her parents did, Lissie suggests to Will—under the guise of experiencing an old fashioned romance—that the abstain from sex until after they are married, which leads to some funny, frustrating and incredibly hot scenes and kept the story interesting and moving at a fast pace.

Keep in mind, Heaven Can't Wait is not a romantic suspense as is the rest of the I-Team series. This is just a glimpse into Will Fraser's happily ever after and a feel good read. I truly love Pamela Clare’s full length novels and the way she gives us characters who are real, whose actions, reactions and emotions are convincing. She gives us stories and people that we can relate to, and this short story is no different. If you’re a fan of her I-Team series, I’d really encourage you to pick up Heaven Can’t Wait, available in ebook format or in an out of print anthology called Catch of the Day, and enjoy Will and Lissie’s sweet, touching and sexy story.

Click here to purchase Heaven Can't Wait from Amazon


The I-Team reading order, so far:

1. Extreme Exposure
1.5 Heaven Can't Wait - a novella found in the out of print anthology Catch of the Day and on ebook
2. Hard Evidence
3. Unlawful Contact
4. Naked Edge
5. Breaking Point
5.5. Skin Deep
5.9. First Strike
6. Striking Distance
6.5. Soul Deep
7. Seduction Game
7.5 Dead by Midnight