Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Love Far From Home by Annette Lyon {Review}

Love Far From Home by Annette Lyon
Kindle Edition, 219 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Blue Ginger Books 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/2TWRPsf    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44541996-love-far-from-home
 
Journey to to California, Yellowstone, and Las Vegas on three romantic trips in this boxed set of novellas by USA Today bestselling author Annette Lyon:

THE PIER CHANGES EVERYTHING
Alexandria has one last task to perform for her late husband, who died much too young: scatter his ashes in the Pacific Ocean. She goes to the Santa Monica Pier to do just that, but her plans get sidetracked after meeting Michael and feeling an immediate connection to him. They grab lunch, and the more time they spend together, the more they discover that they have in common—including past romantic hardships. As the day wears on, Alexandria begins learn that her heart just might be able to find love again.

OUR SONG
Cassie and Matt have been dating in the Yellowstone area for two years, and things are, well, average. When Cassie meets up with two college friends who are visiting, their love lives like sound like fairy tales: rose petals, chocolates, candles on the beach… Cassie goes home feeling like she’s missing out. After all, repeatedly watching Old Faithful erupt and walking through sulfur-smelling gases at Fountain Paint Pot don’t exactly say “romance.” Maybe things with Matt aren’t going anywhere, and it’s time to move on. Then she discovers that perception and reality are completely different things. Now she can only hope it isn’t too late to show Matt how much she really cares.

HEAD OVER HEELS
Tristan is proud to be an entrepreneur, running a popular singles’ lifestyle blog. So when she gets an offer to cover a singles convention in Las Vegas, she needs to find a way to get there from another freelance job in Salt Lake without breaking into her personal savings. Her friend sets her up with a co-worker who happens to be driving that way, and Tristan is more than surprised to come face-to-face with a man she has a lot in common with, not to mention seems to click with right away. The two decide to play a prank on Tristan’s friend, and pretend that they are smitten with each other, but soon, the lines between pretend and reality start to fade.
 

My Review: 5 Stars 
 
THE PIER CHANGES EVERYTHING
 
Second chances are so romantic. Michael and Alexandria both have pasts to recover from and after spending a day together, find comfort in each other and in a surprise revelation. This story is filled with nostalgic moments, as well as hope for the future and really tugged on my heartstrings.


OUR SONG

It's so easy to take life and relationships for granted and to think the grass is greener on the other side. There were some sweet and important lessons learned in this story and I thought it was a super fun and romantic story.

HEAD OVER HEELS

I've never thought about meeting the man of my dreams at a Comic Con! It's so sad when a quick meeting there leaves a girl wanting for more, but Tristan has no way of finding her Loki again. A humorous second meeting puts Tristan on a road trip from Salt Lake to Las Vegas with a man who seems to be her match.

The way these two characters click just feels so right. I love the way they work together to get back at their friend and that long car ride really gives them time to discover their common threads. My heart was warmed by this road trip and the results from it. And bonus? These two are really into 80s music.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Maybe It's You by Christy Hayes {Review}

Maybe It's You by Christy Hayes
Kindle Edition, 294 pages
Published February 4th 2019 by CAH LLC 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KFLV8KV   
 
Reagan Bellamy’s neighbor is everything she never wanted. Despite her best efforts to ignore him and fly under his radar, Dash Carter refuses to wither under her stare and leave her alone. So what if he’s totally hot? Who cares if her roommates think he’s adorable? Reagan’s too busy to waste time on a loser with musical pipe dreams. Between classes, studies, and her need to stay ahead of the game, she’s got too much on her plate to give him the time of day.

Dash Carter is a man on a mission. He’s done a total 180 and for the first time in a long time feels optimistic about the future. He’s clean, he’s on a good path, and he’s surrounded himself with people who make life better, not worse. Unfortunately, his neighbor—the one girl who’s always piqued his interest—still thinks he’s a slacker, bothering Dash more than it should.

Acting on an opportunity to show Reagan he’s a changed man, Dash inadvertently puts her in a difficult position with her new boss and sends her down a path she hasn’t the time or inclination to pursue. Desperate to make things right, Dash becomes more invested in her life despite warnings from his mentor to not get involved with someone whose beliefs don’t match his own.

Reagan’s not sure what it says about her that she’d rather deal with Dash the deadbeat than Dash the Bible thumper. The more she digs her heels in against the religious freaks she’s forced to interact with, the more she begins to question everything she’s built her life upon. When the tide begins to turn in Reagan’s heart and her worldview flips upside down, trusting God means putting everything on the line, including her heart.

My Review: 3 Stars
 
It's refreshing to read a new adult story that's centered around one's faith and finding God, but this one was almost too centered on that. The book begins with Reagan stumbling home after a night of heavy drinking and sleeping around and I wasn't too sure where it was going to head. A long, meticulous process of change results from that night and Reagan finds herself on the path of change after her neighbor, Dash, shows her some kindness and she realizes he's not the type of person he once was. While I did enjoy her path, it was a little too heavy for me at times. I love to read to escape and to enjoy a fluffy read and I do enjoy some meatier topics in my books, but this one almost focused on the religious aspects too much for me.

I love character growth and this one powerfully delivered. Dash is a man with deep convictions and restraints, especially given his talents and career path. Reagan is driven and stubborn and her background drives her to become even more rigid in her passions, yet God can change all, as is very apparent with these characters. No past is too sinful to overcome.

Content: mild+ romance (implied sleeping around, kissing, light innuendo); very heavy religion

Monday, March 18, 2019

Don't Bet on Love by Victorine E. Lieski {Review}

Don't Bet on Love by Victorine E. Lieske
Kindle Edition, 169 pages
Published March 7th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 https://amzn.to/2XUZUNk    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44310588-don-t-bet-on-love
All's fair in love and high school.

It was just a simple bet.

Get the school’s ice queen to go to Homecoming with him. Lane didn’t think it would be a big deal. He was on the football team. Girls liked him. He takes the challenge. What he didn’t know was that the ice queen overheard the whole thing.

Trudy was having the worst day of her life. And then she overhears Lane and Gabe talking smack about her. If Lane thought he could sweet talk her into going to Homecoming with him, he was going to be disappointed.

But when the principal forces her to tutor Lane in calculus, she’s stuck.

Trudy devises a plan to get back at him. What she didn’t plan on was losing her heart to him.
  
My Review: 5 Stars

I love a cute YA romance and this one has a few layers to unravel. The biggest message that I loved was you can't make rash judgements. People always have things going on that you might know nothing about until you really get to know them. 

Trudy has some really hard things going on in her life. Like really hard. And football bully, Gabe, doesn't make her life any easier. When she overhears Gabe making a bet with his friend, Lane, about her, she comes up with a plan to get them both back. 


I really liked these characters. Trudy is a tough one to crack, but is sweet on the inside. I loved watching her shell crumble and really loved her new friendship with band geek, Jessica. Lane isn't who he seems at all. As his masks are peeled away, his true teddy bear self is revealed. 

There are moments to laugh, moments to feel anger, moments to swoon, and even moments to cry all wrapped up in this tender romance. I thought the author did a great job in portraying the hardships of teenage life, while allowing for great characters growth through mistakes, life lessons, and emotional challenges. This is definitely a new series to lose your heart to and I've got my eye watching out for more.


Content: mild romance; mild moments of grief; mild moments of bullying

Friday, March 15, 2019

To Love a Lord by Michelle Pennington {Review}

To Love a Lord by Michelle Pennington
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published March 9th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
 https://amzn.to/2O4fodm   
A proper lord, an ardent young miss, and a love note gone astray.

She didn't mean to lose it...

But once the love note was discovered, scandal seemed certain.

A forbidden letter from a handsome rake had seemed so romantic at the time, but now it will undoubtedly mean her downfall. Even with the threat of ruin hanging over her, Patience realizes her heart is turning in a new direction. But no matter how Lord Stanton's eyes linger on her, he would never tie himself to a lady with no dowry—especially if she were to lose her reputation.
 
Schemes and plots tangle amidst romance and rebellion in this Regency romance written in the tradition of Georgette Heyer. Grab your copy!

My Review: 5 Stars

I loved this Regency romance! This charming story all seems to revolve around a mysterious love letter, which really captured my attention and gave a delightful element to this story, especially once all of the characters arrived at a house party and the tangled web of connections and slight mystery truly begin.

Speaking of characters, they were so amusing and I loved them all! I enjoyed watching all of the dynamics, good and bad, as they gave such an entertaining flavor to the story. Lord Stanton was such a dashing man and Patience the perfect counterpart. Countess Du’Breven has got to be one of my all-time favorite characters, as she's old enough and empowered enough to through society's expectations to the wind.

The entanglements and sweet, budding romances left me with a smile on my face. Book 1? Yes! I can't wait for more!

Content: mild romance

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Sanctuary by Traci Hunter Abramson {Blog Tour Review and Giveaway}



Sanctuary by Traci Hunter Abramson
Paperback, 312 pages
Published March 1st 2019 by Covenant Communications 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 https://amzn.to/2TzMHee   
Kristi Hartinger has come to terms with her life as a single, thirty-something woman. She was in love . . . once. But following her boyfriend's tragic death, no one else could capture her heart. And nothing else could fill that void, though the serenity of the ocean came close. Two years ago, Kristi left the craziness of her Wall Street career behind and embraced a simpler life on her family's private island off the coast of Maine. As a resident of the small beach community, she anticipates a quiet future—until she comes face-to-face with her past.

Ace Samson is dead, or so the world believes. As a member of a secret organization known as the guardians, he was forced to fake his death years ago, leaving everything behind when he became an agent. So when he is selected to offer a potential new recruit a job with the organization, Ace braces himself: for the first time in more than a decade, he must face the woman he loved—and left.

Kristi's world is rocked by Ace's sudden reappearance, and she's soon drawn into his world of danger and cover-up. But when Kristi herself becomes a target, Ace will do whatever it takes to protect the only woman he has ever love.

My Review: 5 Stars

Abramson is an author that I will automatically read because her books are that good. In fact, I didn't even read what this one was about and had a blast not knowing what was coming.

This is a GUARDIAN novel, but they don't have to be read in order, although knowing the back story to different characters is fun. Kristi lives a simple life on an island in Maine. I have a hankering to visit Maine now, to experience the villages, the ocean, the clams, and the quiet life. When Ace suddenly reappears in her life after almost twenty years, her world turns upside down, and not necessarily in a good way. Someone wants her dead and it's a race against time to figure out who and why.

I love Kristi's self-reliant, matter-of-fact personality. She loves being connected with her past and is good at taking care of herself, discovering ways to make her life more efficient. Ace is somewhat of a mystery, but he's good at completing any mission to the best of his ability. I loved the tumultuous connection between Ace and Kristi, especially because it served an important purpose to the story. There is an underlying longing of what cannot be, yet there are sparkles of hope glimmering in the peripheral vision of the big picture.

The danger and suspense had me on edge, as the quiet mystery of the forest and ocean served for most of the setting. I was on edge and deeply immersed, hoping with all my might for the outcome I wanted, as these twists and turns tossed me around. Such a great book!

Content: mild romance; mild+ moments of danger, violence, and peril  
Giveaway: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Schedule:
*March 15th: https://brightlystreet.com/, https://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/, http://minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/, http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/, http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/, http://sweetlymadejustforyou.com/

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Crushing on the Billionaire by Jennifer Griffith {Review}

Crushing on the Billionaire by Jennifer Griffith
Kindle Edition, 237 pages
Published March 12th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/2VYj3wb   
 
A divorced billionaire and his devoted secretary must work together to save his company. An arranged marriage is his only hope—and the matchmaker's worst nightmare.

Tatum Carlyle is hopelessly devoted to her boss. As executive assistant to the brilliant CEO, she’s in Dawson Rafferty’s life every day. He depends on her for everything professional. If only he could depend on her for everything personal.

A crush on the boss is cliché, but how can she help it? He’s all she wants, but he doesn't—and can’t—notice her. Curse those company bylaws regarding intra-office relationships! But now he's asked her the impossible—to find him a wife.

He'd do anything to save his company—even get married again.

Dawson Rafferty is in danger of losing his company as an unknown enemy threatens a hostile takeover. If that happens, he'll lose the medical advancement he’s nearly perfected. Millions of lives hang in the balance.

To keep control of his company and save lives, he needs a loyal wife to buy up the reserved shares—before the shareholders’ meeting. After his last heartbreak, he doesn't dare trust himself to choose another wife.

Dawson needs a matchmaker. Someone reliable. Someone connected. Someone with good judgment. His loyal assistant, Tatum, is his obvious only choice. She's never failed him, but can she find his perfect match within three weeks?

The word crush has never been so apropos.

Crushing on the Billionaire is Book 2 in the Billionaire’s Reluctant Wife series by Swoony Award-winning author Jennifer Griffith and USA Today best-selling author Cynthia Savage.  
 
My Review: 5 Stars
 
"Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!" Yes--I loved the matchmaker aspect in this swoony contemporary romance. Dawson needs a wife...and fast. Who better to help him find one than his ultra efficient assistant, Tatum? 
 
Dawson is every girl's dream. He's rich, handsome, smart (think, Geekface), and sweet, but he's also totally clueless when it comes to love. Or maybe it's more that he's gun shy, after his divorce. I love how focused he is on his work, the way he's able to turn the other cheek in the face of the villain, and how his impending marriage is not for him, but to save his company. He's very selfless in that way. Tatum completely blossoms once she's removed from the office setting. She's efficient, yes, but she's also a Jane-of-all-trades, has connections everywhere, can do almost anything, and is very self-sacrificing. 
 
The combination of these two characters nearly took my breath away and the combustible energy definitely made me swoon. I love the slow burn and the layers that were peeled away as Dawson and Tatum came to know each other better. This story isn't without conflict and that served to add a flavor of tension to an already delicious romance. 
 
The way this story is told and how it unfolds is such a delightful treat. Ms. Griffith has a way of writing that sings to my soul and slaps a silly smile on my face every time and let me just say...I'm crushing on the billionaire for sure!
 
Content: mild, swoony romance

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Origami Girl by Danyelle Ferguson {Review}

Origami Girl by Danyelle Ferguson
ebook
Published March 5th 2019

 https://amzn.to/2XIp3us    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40187659-origami-girl

Josephine loves teaching crafts at the Crystal Creek children's hospital, until she's assigned to help Dr. Weston Blake learn how to relate with his patients. As she helps the young doctor soften his sharp edges, relax his rigid folds, and open up to the people around him, she finds she can't help but love the man he's becoming.

As Josephine prepares to graduate from art school, she is offered her dream job. The complication: it's located in another state and Weston must stay behind to complete his medical residency. Josephine is torn between pursuing a career she always wanted or the possibly of true love.

Previously featured in the With a Kiss anthology.

 
My Review: 5 Stars

ORIGAMI GIRL is a true case of opposites attract. First impressions aren't always accurate and sometimes walls need to be knocked down to get to the heart of a person and sometimes a person isn't as flighty as she seems. I loved the setting and the character growth, especially with Dr. Blake. Jojo was such a fun an light-hearted character. The romance was a sweet complement to the slightly sad hospital situation.

Content: mild romance

Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde {Book Spotlight}

Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Shadow Mountain 
 

 https://amzn.to/2NZObs5   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40878710-waiting-for-fitz

Addie loves nothing more than curling up on the couch with her dog, Duck, and watching The Great British Baking Show with her mom. It’s one of the few things that can help her relax when her OCD kicks into overdrive. She counts everything. All the time. She can’t stop. Rituals and rhythms. It’s exhausting.

When Fitz was diagnosed with schizophrenia, he named the voices in his head after famous country singers. The adolescent psychiatric ward at Seattle Regional Hospital isn’t exactly the ideal place to meet your soul mate, but when Addie meets Fitz, they immediately connect over their shared love of words, appreciate each other’s quick wit, and wish they could both make more sense of their lives.

Fitz is haunted by the voices in his head and often doesn't know what is real. But he feels if he can convince Addie to help him escape the psych ward and everything will be okay. If not, he risks falling into a downward spiral that may keep him in the hospital indefinitely.

Waiting for Fitz is a story about life and love, forgiveness and courage, and what’s necessary to let go and learning what is truly worth waiting for.

Monday, March 11, 2019

A Better Version of Me (The Destiny Saga Book 2) by Cindy Ray Hale {Review}

A Better Version of Me (Book 2 of the Destiny Clark Saga) by Cindy Ray Hale
Kindle Edition, 183 pages
Published March 1st 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 
 https://amzn.to/2HjaHuJ    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44166568-a-better-version-of-me
 
Destiny Clark is shocked when she finds out she got a major role in her school’s production of Les Miserables. And better yet, she’s cast alongside her crush, Isaac Robinson, the most popular guy in school. But then she realizes she’s not cast as his love interest, but instead has to sing her true feelings of rejection onstage in front of the whole school.
 
That’s when she decides to launch plan B. If she can get Preston Nelson, her guy friend from church to agree to be her boyfriend, maybe she won’t look so stupid in front of everyone. The problem is, she can’t ignore her feelings for Isaac, and the more time they spends practicing, the stronger her feelings seem to get.
 
Will Destiny be able to cool things off with Isaac and start something new with Preston or will she be stuck facing humiliation?
 
My Review: 4.5 Stars
 
I love this series and love the additional details that have been added to Destiny's story. This author does such a great job of channeling the angst, insecurities, and first love experiences of a teen, especially with the parents of both Destiny and Isaac against the crushes.
 
The friendships and connections between the characters are very sweet, strong, and emotionally realistic. In fact, they're probably my favorite things about the story, aside from the budding chemistry. 
 
There is an invisible, yet tangible tension overshadowing the story, as it's apparent that this relationship just may be doomed before it even begins, but the heart knows no boundaries and it's amazing to watch everything unfold. 
 
Destiny is a solid character and I can't wait to continue on with the sage. My only complaint? It just ends. Ugh--I don't like to be kept waiting. 😉
 
Content: mild romance; moderate religion 

Hitching the Pitcher by Rebecca Connolly {Review}

Hitching the Pitcher by Rebecca Connolly
ebook, 220 pages
Published February 5th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
 https://amzn.to/2NBOk4Z    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42756182-hitching-the-pitcher
Running into his former college girlfriend wasn’t supposed to happen. Falling for her again wasn’t supposed to happen either.

Sawyer Bennett has a secret. A risky thing, being one of the popular Belltown Six Pack, a group of six guys from the same college baseball team, all of whom got drafted and now play in the Major Leagues. Between the media frenzy over them and his bond with the guys, his secret has to stay carefully hidden if he wants it to stay that way. He needs to focus on his pitching and let everything else fall away.

Confessing his secret to Erica Moore was definitely not supposed to happen. But the harder he falls for Erica, the more important his secret—and she—becomes.
My Review: 4 Stars

I'm so excited for this new series! This tight-knit group of professional baseball players met in college, but they still keep in touch and have such an interesting and endearing connection with each other still. The camaraderie the Six Pack has is so fantastic!

Book One is the story of a pitcher, Sawyer, who is know as Skeeter. He is struggling to balance everything in his life, but it seems that his biggest battle is striving for perfection. It's impossible to be perfect at everything, but Sawyer is determined to try and with those efforts, he just may lose his second chance with Erica. 

I love how easily this second chance happens and it's probably due to the patience and kind-hearted forgiveness that Erica possesses. These character's characteristics and emotions are on full display and engaged me, making these people seem real and like friends. In fact, basketball is my #1 favorite sport, but I'm kind of wishing I could be a part of this group.

I'm definitely looking forward to more of this series--play ball!

Content: mild romance; mild language
Welcome to Belltown! Six baseball players meet in the college town of Belltown, Massachusetts, becoming best friends, their lives intertwining as they each get called up to the Major Leagues. Follow Sawyer, Cole, Axel, David, Ryker, and Levi in these six swoony sports romances.

More Belltown Six Pack Romances:
Hitching the Pitcher
Falling for Centerfield
Charming the Shortshop
Snatching the Catcher
Flirting with First
Kissing on Third
  

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Romance is in the Air: Author Taylor Dean





A Me and You Thing by Taylor Dean

THE DEEPEST HEARTACHE IS THE ONE YOU DON'T SEE COMING.

Golden couple, Sawyer and Quinn Denali, have an amazing love story. A match in every way, their happiness is evident to all who spend time with them. The arrival of twin baby girls completes their picture-perfect family.

When Quinn has the opportunity to help others on a two-week volunteer trip, she reluctantly leaves her family, knowing a short break from the demands of motherhood will be good for her. She doesn't expect the trip to change her life forever. But it does. It changes everything.

Struggling from day to day, the young family moves forward, finding happiness . . . and love.

But fate isn't done mixing things up in their lives. When an unexpected event leaves them all reeling, the unspoken question rings loudly and can't be ignored: "What happens now?"

A Me and You Thing is a novel that explores the strength of enduring love and friendship.










He lightly brushes my lips with his own, and I scoot a little closer. Mmmmmm, five years of marriage and my attraction for this man has never waned. I never knew I could love someone so much. Even better, he feels the same about me. We’re far from perfect, yet we’re a perfect match for each other.

Frankly, that’s as perfect as love gets.

I bury my head in his warm chest, listening to the sound of his strong heartbeat. He hasn’t let himself go since we married. He runs every morning at unspeakable hours and, like a fine bottle of wine, ripens with age.

“Are you sure I should go on my trip? I’m consumed with guilt every time I think about it.”

I love our life together in our shingle-style two-story beach house on 5201 Beachcomber Lane. It’s a decent size home, even if it’s a little on the older side. No matter, I adore it. It might not be directly on the beach, but we have amazing ocean views from the second story. Close enough.

“You’ll be doing something important, Quinn, something that really matters. I love you for wanting to go, for wanting to help. Your passport arrived yesterday. See, it’s a sign. The universe just sent you a telegram.”

A light scoff emerges from me. He runs his hands through my longish blond hair. My brown eyes close while I enjoy his tender touch.

“What was I thinking? I don’t want to leave you or our babies.”

“Hey, it’s only two weeks, sweetheart. In the scheme of things, that’s hardly any time at all . . ."






















 
Author Taylor Dean

Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it's paranormal, contemporary, or suspense--you'll find all sub-genres of clean romance in her line-up.














Giveaway Details
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 3/29/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from Clean Wholesome Romance and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


a Rafflecopter giveaway