Friday, April 9, 2021

Hawaii Ever After (Burke Billionaire Romance #4) by Rachelle J. Christensen {Review}

Hawaii Ever After (Burke Billionaire Romance #4) by Rachelle J. Christensen

Kindle Edition, 184 pages
Published April 7th 2021 by Peachwood Press 
A ballet dancer at the end of her career.

A handsome Hawaiian who chops coconuts for a living.

Their two worlds collide with a smoldering kiss, but is the chemistry enough to overlook their differences?

Gracie Cardulo has performed for the New York ballet for over a decade, but her body can’t keep up with the rigorous demands of dance anymore. She arrives on the isle of Kauai for her billionaire best friend’s wedding to consider new job options and ends up dancing with the best man, Pika Sepe. The entire island is filled with romance when she’s with the handsome Hawaiian, but can she truly be happy without dance?

Pika has always worked a blue-collar job and most of the time barely makes ends meet. When Gracie dances into his life, she inspires him to go after his dreams of taking tourists on island adventures. In between deep-sea fishing, sweet kisses, and hikes along the Na’ pali coast, Gracie and Pika each find something they were missing.

When Pika’s ex-girlfriend stirs up trouble, Pika and Gracie must dig deep to find out if their love is meant to be. Can they hold together when people keep trying to pull them apart? Will their love last beyond the beautiful island sunset, or fade into the deep waters of doubt?

♥This novel is Book #4 in the Burke Billionaire Romance Series and includes a bonus sneak peek of one of my books! Books can be read in any order.
My Review: 4.5 Stars
Sometimes a delightfully sweet romance set in a tropical location is just the vacation that is desperately needed, especially in today's world, and this one was much wanted today. 
Gracie is on the verge of her ballet career ending and becoming reacquainted with Pika in Kauai at their mutual friends wedding was exactly the spark required to set their common attraction ablaze. Although there was trouble some in paradise, this story was easy and satisfying. I loved the descriptions of The Garden Island and since I was fortunate enough to go there once several years ago, I could vividly picture (and even smell) things in my mind, and I loved every single minute of it.
While there is an instant love, Pika and Gracie are fantastic characters. It was so enjoyable to watch them work together to decorate their friends house, while discovering more about themselves and making some big life decisions. I would have loved more, but all in all, this was a great escape! 
Content: mild romance 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese {Review}

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese

Paperback, 416 pages
Publication: April 6th 2021 by Bethany House Publishers 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given. 

Molly McKenzie's bright personality and on-trend fashion and beauty advice have earned her an impressive social media following, as well as a big paycheck each month. When her manager-turned-boyfriend says she has an audition to appear as a host on a makeover show that nominates underprivileged youth, her dream of further fame seems to be coming true. There's just one catch: she has little experience interacting with people in need.

When her manager-boyfriend convinces her to partner with a local organization, she begins volunteering with a summer youth program. The program's director, Silas Whittaker, challenges her at every turn, but she swiftly grows more attached to the kids--and him--every day.

As Molly experiences an acceptance unlike anything she's known, she wrestles with the lies she's been believing about herself for years. She thought she knew what mattered most in life, but maybe she's had it wrong this whole time, and there's more to being truly seen than what she's built her entire life on.

My Review: 5 Stars
What really matters in life? Sometimes it's hard to recognize. Although I have no desire to become one, social media influencers are very intriguing to me. Nicole Deese delivers an amazingly heartfelt and authentic story, and it caught me off guard. I was expecting superficial, and maybe that's how Molly's service journey started, but her genuine and vivid persona, grit, and perfected online presence was a magnet for everyone who came in contact with her and absolutely perfect for this book.
Molly is the type of character that you can't help but adore and idolize and want to be like. Although she appears to be very successful, I love that there's room for her to grow and learn more about herself. I love how she engages with the youth program and discovers it's more than a stepping stone for her next career move. And can we talk about Silas? What a perfect contrast! That stoic man is compassionate, dukely, and charismatic.
I just loved everything about this book. The whole cast of characters felt alive and multi-dimensional. They were real and flawed, yet extremely likable and I couldn't get enough. I loved the Pacific Northwest setting, which lent an interesting vibe that set my heart ablaze once a romance sparked. 
Deese does a phenomenal job of bringing the reader into the story. The strings of hope, forgiveness, and love were written amazingly well, creating a beautiful tapestry that I just wanted to frame and keep in my forever.  

Content: mild romance (kissing, vague mention of intimacy); mild+ religion; mild+ talk of past situations (drugs, death, attacks, etc)

Monday, April 5, 2021

Beehives and Broken Heroes (Harvest Ranch Romance #11) by Ellie Thornton {Review}

Beehives and Broken Heroes (Harvest Ranch Romance #11) by Ellie Thornton

Kindle Edition
Published April 5th 2021 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given



His upright nature will teach her to love again.

Her fiery spirit will bring him back to life.

Allie Ward is swearing off men for good. She’s had it with their lying, thieving, and cheating ways. What she needs to focus on is bettering herself and her business.

But the studly, new investor to her “Sticky and Sweet” honey company, Brandon Carroll, keeps getting in her head. He’s not like the guys she’s dated before. He’s reserved, tough, hard to rile, and surprisingly flirty when she least expects it. She’s torn between wanting to hide from him, and wanting to kiss the life out of him. But, she’ll do neither because she’s a professional . . . and done with men.

Ex-military police officer, Brandon Carroll falls fast for Allie Ward. With her open, crazy, and vivacious zest for life, she’s exactly what he needs to mend his broken heart. But when a ghost from his past rears its sinister head, Brandon will have more than a gorgeous, fighting redhead to deal with. By law, he must keep the mounting dangers stamped “top secret” from her.

But Allie isn’t going to tolerate secrets. In fighting to keep his past from her, he just might lose her for good.


My Review: 4 Stars

It always seems like you meet someone when you swear you're done looking, and that's just what happened to Allie. Brandon and Allie had an instantaneously clash of chemistry that was fun to watch this sweet romance unfold. 

Both Brandon and Allie are fun characters. The random friends that appeared were entertaining too, especially the sneak attacks. While there's also a reason for why people do what they do, Brandon and Allie each had a flaw that didn't sit well with me, so it's a good thing they're both so likable--that made it easier to overlook those minor annoyances.

Harvest Ranch is a great small town and I would have loved to see more of it and its residents in this story, but I loved the mix of romance and danger. The kernels of suspense hinted at more and I loved how everything came together, popping the characters into the middle of a perilous situation. But I must say, that ending was the butter drizzled on top--sweet perfection!

Content: mild romance; mild moments of peril

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Until Vienna (Romance on the Orient Express #3) by Heather B. Moore {Review}

Until Vienna (Romance on the Orient Express #3) by Heather B. Moore

Kindle Edition, 168 pages
Publication: April 1st 2021 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
Georgina Ballard has been disappointed in love more than a few times, a fact that she is uncomfortably aware of amid her sister’s wedding preparations. When her elderly aunt Rowena bids Gigi to accompany her on an art tour across Europe, Gigi hesitates but eventually resigns herself to the train journey alongside a group of aged art connoisseurs, if only to mollify her aunt.

Once aboard the Orient Express, Gigi is pleased to discover that not everyone on the tour is in their twilight years: Clyde Haskins, an energetic young art professor from the University of London, will serve as the group’s tour guide. Clyde is equally intrigued that a young lady has joined the tour, and Aunt Rowena and her friends immediately set out to play matchmaker. Clyde and Gigi both find humor in Aunt Rowena’s antics despite knowing that each is determined to keep their heart carefully guarded. Yet, the enchantment of their European exploration weaves an undeniable spell between them. When their journey ends, can their holiday love story endure the obstacles of real life?

My Review: 5 Stars
I adore this series! The Orient Express is so fascinating and mysterious. I mean, it's just a train, but it's so much more, especially with the common thread of the peculiar foreign character--Nicholas.  
Although the events and stops along the way were intriguing, it was the characters that completely won me over. Gigi is accompanying her aunt and friends on the journey and the professor leading the excursions is very likable. The older ladies had me laughing with their busybody antics and matchmaking. Oh, the matchmaking was such a fun element! Gigi and Clyde had a wonderful friendship that hinted at something more and had me cheering them on and swooning. I even loved the women close to Gigi who were left back home. Gigi had a very strong support system and adapted well to them all nosing into her business, as they all had her best interests at heart.
Moore does a brilliant job of bringing this time period and these delightful characters to life. I nestled right into this story and felt like I lived it along with them. Charming and sweet, this is a story that has stayed in my thoughts for days.
Content: mild romance 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Temporary Roomie by Sarah Adams {Review}

The Temporary Roomie (It Happened in Nashville #2) by Sarah Adams

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: April 1st 2021 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
What happens when you have to play nice with your greatest enemy? Revenge.

Drew Marshall may have let me move into his spare bedroom while my house is being renovated, but don’t think for one second his kindness comes without strings. Big, ugly, fake relationship strings.

That’s okay, though, Dr. Andrew. I’ll agree to your terms, move into your house, and act like
your girlfriend when the big day comes; but I also plan to make your life miserable—make you pay for what you did to me.

I may not be good at forgiving or forgetting, but I’m excellent at getting even.

Get ready to laugh until you cry with this sizzling, hilarious, closed-door romantic comedy!
My Review: 5 Stars
Do you ever wish you could be like someone else? I'm an introvert who always thinks of the perfect comeback hours, or even days, after I need one. Jessie is tough, feisty, independent, and has a rapid wit overflowing with sarcasm. Can I be her? Or could some of her cleverness rub off on me? She's quick on her feet and those comebacks fall from her mouth before she can even finish thinking of them. This raw talent is exactly what pits her against her best friend's brother, Drew. The banter those two had would rival any professional tennis match, with the zingers flying back and forth faster than my dog can snatch a spoonful of peanut butter. But an underlying current of attraction emerges in the middle of the battlefield, which only intensifies the emotions and raises the stakes.  
When pregnant Jessie needs a place to stay, Drew's mostly empty house is the perfect solution, but once again, it's an all-out war of unbelievable pranks that had me gasping, laughing, and even swooning. They've each met their match and it's game on.
Adams has an incredible talent of creating a story with layers. On the surface, the reader sees the humor, but as the coatings are stripped away, a raw vulnerability is discovered, treating the reader to a gamut of emotions, with love and amusement prevailing.
I've never met a Sarah Adams book I haven't not only devoured, but absolutely enjoyed on every level. The pregnant romance trope can be tricky to navigate, but Adams does it brilliantly! Kudos to her for another amazing, swoony story!
Content: mild+ romance (swoony, kissing, some innuendo, implied intimacy); mild+ language

Monday, March 29, 2021

While You Were Speaking (Harvest Ranch Romance Book 10) by Maria Hoagland {Review}

While You Were Speaking (Harvest Ranch Romance Book 10) by Maria Hoagland

ebook, 215 pages
Publication: March 29th 2021 by Red Leaves Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given
He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s fiancée.

She wasn’t supposed to fall in love at all. ♥ ♥

Lucy Morrowitz has two dreams. First, to reopen the Starlight Drive-In Theater left to her by her parents. And second, to marry her celebrity crush—renowned motivational speaker Carter Hughes. Neither goal is remotely attainable, and she’s fine with that—they’d never been more than a lark—until her co-worker, WHHR’s morning drive DJ Crew Keller, convinces the Harvest Ranch community to rally around Lucy in saving the small-town landmark. Then, when Carter Hughes accepts her Hail Mary of an invitation to give the kickoff speech at the Harvest Ranch spring cleanup, suddenly, neither of her dreams feels quite as far out of reach.

Zachary Hughes, on the other hand, has never been much of a dreamer. He doesn’t have glamorous a job as his brother, but it’s steady and reliable, even if he doesn’t love it. He’s not as well-known, either, but he’s never been one to seek attention. In fact, there’s nothing Carter has that Zach envies—until he meets his fiancée. Because of her, Zach finds himself reaching for more: A job he looks forward to every day, rather than settling for the family business. A town where he’s known, and not just as Carter’s little brother. And the perfect person to spend his life with—someone who laughs with him, challenges him, accepts him, loves him. Someone like Lucy.

And yet, are these the kind of dreams that will bring either one of them happiness? Perhaps the motivational speakers are right—Lucy and Zach can reach your dreams. They just have to make sure they’re reaching for the right ones.

♥ ♥ Enjoy this fresh take on a classic '80s rom-com. A small-town, sweet forbidden romance that has you dreaming of an evening spent at the drive-in with your sweetheart. ♥ ♥

My Review: 5 Stars 
Harvest Ranch strikes again! I love this charming town and I love meeting more of its citizens. Lucy is trying to get the old drive-in movie theater up and running again and when Zach and his family descend upon the town to support his brother, Carter, who is a big-time motivational speaker helping with an event, all the sparks break loose.
The mid-90s film that this story pays tribute to was one of my favorites and I loved the modern take with the small town twist. There were a few scenes that were very reminiscent of the movie and had me smiling and laughing as they played out in my mind. Hoagland does a great job of incorporating the familiar with the original, and the events tied in nicely with the rest of the series, showing a different angle to the big events. 
I loved Lucy and Zach! From their interesting occupations to their sweet interactions to the undeniable chemistry, they slipped right into my heart. Obviously, the supporting cast of characters was as zany and quirky as I hoped they would be and I just couldn't get enough. 
This was another great addition to the Harvest Ranch series. Now...would someone grab me a Dr. Pepper and surprise me with a mix-in?
Content: mild romance 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Love & Luck (Love & Gelato #2) by Jenna Evans Welch {Review}

Love & Luck (Love & Gelato #2) by Jenna Evans Welch

Hardcover, 303 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Simon Pulse 
Source: Audiobook
"I wanted this to be real life, not a detour...."

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once-inseparable siblings.

But when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s finally able to escape her anxious mind—and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is, if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

My Review: 4 Stars
This author has a way of grasping teenage angst and modern issues that teens face by the horns and immersing it all in an emotional story. Addie and her brother, Ian, are fighting while at an aunt's wedding in Ireland and a big change of plans, unbeknownst to their mother, leads them on a wild adventure across the Emerald Isle. 
The sibling relationships pierce the heart, while the guidebook that Addie follows was an unexpected turn. It was difficult not to feel Addie's anxiety over the big secret that is keeping her from her enjoying the normal brother-sister relationship with Ian. Rowan, a new Irish friend, added a lighter element to a somewhat melancholy feel. While there wasn't a lot of romance, the issues between friends and family were plenty, and the cast of characters and charming escapade allowed for an entertaining literary vacation.   

Content: mild language