Review (quick and dirty #5 FINALLY): Summer at the Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard 

I’m all caught up! Here’s the fifth and final Friday night quick and dirty book review: 

I love this series set in the French countryside! Emmy is a wonderful Jane-of-all-trades at Rupert’s lovely inn, and there’s no shortage of chick-lit drama. “Interesting” guests, crazy ex-wives, and family secrets drive the plot forward fast and furiously. I like that Emmy is soft-hearted yet doesn’t stand for any nonsense… and the other characters appreciate that about her as well. What most impresses me is how Pollard writes about real life issues with lightness and whimsy. GUESTHOUSE is so fun that you don’t even realize you’ve read about divorce, grief, mortality, trauma, and tolerance. All you feel is love, laughter and friendship — which are balms for all of life’s messy parts. C’est bon. 

-calliope

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Review (quick and dirty #3): Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery 

I was so happy to read this smart, fun, contemporary, relatable book about two very different sisters — the farmer and the fashionista. What’s underneath is what really matters, of course, but the ladies needed to find that out themselves. There were nosy gossips, nice guys who definitely didn’t finish last, big jerks who get sent on their merry way, and a couple of romances that made me sigh with giddiness. You’ll get all you bargained for and more in this novel with terrific dialogue and likeable characters. Reminded me of Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor books. Excellent writing. 

-calliope

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Review: Fire Inside (Chaos #2) by Kristen Ashley

imageLanie Heron just wants to hook up with Hopper Kincaid for one night. She’s not been with anyone since the death of her fiancé eight years ago. There’s always been an undercurrent of attraction between the two since they first met.
So the one night stand leads to many more nights together with Lanie, the drama queen, being resistant to any type of relationship with Hop.

Fortunately Hop is persistence and patient and handles her well. He helps deal with her troubled parents as well the guilt that she still holds over the death of her fiancé. Also, we get to know what really happened in regard Hop cheating on his ex. Finally, we learn that Hop is a rock star who can melt Lanie’s heart with a Bob Seger.

This book’s timeline runs concurrently with Tab and Shy’s. So don’t expect a resolution to storyline of Benito Valenzuela wanting to take over Chaos territory.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable read. I loved getting to know Hop better and could tolerate the high drama that Lanie can bring. As always, the epilogue worked well to add additional happiness to Hop and Lanie’s HEA.

This is the second book in the series. I highly recommend that you start with the first book, Own the Wind before diving into this one. The motorcycle club is huge and lots of characters are involved. I would hate for you to be confused.

3/5 stars

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.

~Thalia

Buy Book 1 Own the Wind: A Chaos Novel

Buy It Now Fire Inside: A Chaos Novel

Review: Keeping Her: A Losing It Novella by Cora Carmack

image2.5/5 stars

Garrick and Bliss are going to London to meet his parents. Bliss is very worried about meeting his mother. Garrick tries to re-assure that everything will be ok.

In London, Bliss meets his two oldest friends first. Then they go Garrick’s parents’ home, where a surprise engagement party awaits them. And that’s just the start. There is some more added un-needed drama. I wish the novella focused more on Garrick and his two friends, instead of the melodrama.

This novella is for hard-core fans of the series. You are not missing anything if you skip it.

Looking forward to the next full-length book in this featuring Bliss’ friend, Kelsey in October.

~Thalia

Buy It Now Keeping Her: A LOSING IT Novella

Find Out They First Met & Got Together Losing It

Review: Her Favorite Rival by Sarah Mayberry

imageAudrey and Zach both have painful pasts. Audrey ran away from home at the age of sixteen. Although she came back home, her parents never truly forgave her. Instead they lavished attention on her younger sister while became she became the black sheep of the family.

Zach’s parents were recreational drug users. His mom became addicted to heroin after the death of his father in a motorcycle accident.

Audrey and Zach have overcome their hardships and are successful in the corporate world. They are both buyers for a large hardware chain of stores. A new CEO has come on board and they want to prove themselves in hopes of getting a promotion to category manager. Audrey has the experience. Zach has the academic qualifications.

They see each other as rivals but working together on a report allows them to get to know each other. An attraction develops. Naturally, they flirt.

“Why do men always buy manual cars?”
“Because we like to be in control.”
“Why do women always buy automatics?”
“Because we like to conserve our energy for some important things.”
“I have plenty of energy left to spare, don’t worry.”

They eventually give in to this attraction and it is Audrey who initiates this. It is Zach who insists that it goes beyond one night, who wants to start dating her.

“He didn’t care. Maybe that was because he was so tired, or maybe it was because he’d spent the night beside his sick mother, and turning his back on something -somone- who felt as good and life-affirming and right as Audrey did seemed nuts.”

It is mutual decision that they keep it quite from work for now.

As they open up about their families, they are there to console, comfort and support each other.

The category manager position does eventually open up. Both are asked to interview. No matter whom is selected, I firmly believed that the other would be proud and supportive of the other.

“All right. It’ll probably end in tears, but if you think we can handle this, I guess we’ve got to do it.”
“We can handle it.”

This is another winner by Mayberry. She writes compelling and sometimes heartbreaking stories featuring everyday, hardworking characters. It was a pleasure to see Audrey and Zach fall for each other as they deftly handled their career aspirations and difficult past.

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.

~Thalia

Read Clio’s review of the prequel featuring Audrey’s sister.

Buy It Now Her Favorite Rival (Harlequin Superromance)

Review: An Invitation to Sin by Sarah Morgan

imageThere’s an instant attraction when Taylor Carmichael and Luca Coretti meet at the wedding of his cousin. They end up kissing when they bump into each other later. Unbeknownst to them, photographs were taken of the embrace and sold to the tabloids.

Taylor is trying to overcome her bad girl past and become a respected actress. She has a forbidden list, which include carbs and men like Luca, that she thinks will help her stay out of trouble. When she is confronted with the photos, she blurts out they are engaged.

Luca is also trying to overcome his playboy reputation. He wants to be on the board of his fashion house while his brother is away. (The brother’s story is told in book 1, but you don’t need to read it to understand what’s happening in this book.) He learns quickly that Taylor claims they are secretly engaged. He tries to tell the board the truth but they think that since Luca is ready for such a commitment as marriage, then he is maturing and ready to be a member of the board. Thus begins this delightful tale of a fake engagement. As they spend time together as couple, they get to know each bother while trying to handle the sizzling chemistry between them. Luca helps Taylor to have fun and eat some carbs. Taylor, well, I think that is the one weakness of this book. I really didn’t see what was about Taylor that made Luca fall in love. Yes, they have amazing chemistry and he becomes very protective of her, but still I wonder a little bit.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this take on a familiar trope. The engaging couple and great dialogue make this book easy to recommend.

ARC provided publisher via NetGalley.

~Thalia

Buy It Now An Invitation to Sin (Harlequin Presents)

Review: Stay With Me by Elyssa Patrick

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Hailey Bloom has been singing and acting since she was a small child. (She was on Broadway by the age of six). She was pushed into the spotlight by her domineering mother. Hailey is giving it all up.

She’s at Green College in Vermont. She’s eager to begin a new, normal life away from Hollywood. More importantly, she wants to discover who she really is and what she wants to do.

Hailey attends her first campus party and is besieged by fans. She goes outside to escape and meets Caleb Fox.
“You know who I am.”
He shakes his head slowly. “I don’t think I do.”
“Huh?”
“I know of you, but I don’t know you.”

The spark is immediate. But Hailey is wary as she’s been used by previous boyfriends whom have dated her to gain attention. Even though it’s cold, she declines his offer to drive her home.

She literally runs into him again the next day as she is shopping at a farmer’s market. They have a “meet cute” which involves spilt tea and blackberries.

I loved seeing courtship of Hailey and Caleb develop. They banter, hang out and go on dates. It was a joy to see that attraction grow to something more.

I also loved meeting Caleb’s sister, Daphne, and his housemates, including Griff, who aspires to be a librarian. A librarian. They make a great support system for Hailey as she struggles through some her classes.

As Hailey contends with freshman year in college, she also has to deal with her mom. This is the one weakness in the book. Hailey’s mom is a one- dimensional character. You only know her through what Hailey says about her. And the mom does sound pretty evil. So when her mom drops a huge bombshell about an incident in Hailey’s past, I wanted to see a confrontation between them so that Hailey can give her the much deserved smackdown.

As for the incident, she is saved from additional embarrassment by her former best friend, Alex Randall. Alex is a bad boy actor waiting to be redeemed. I hope he gets a book.

Caleb proves to be best kind of hero and boyfriend with his response to the secret in Hailey’s past. He’s supportive and empathetic and exactly whom Hailey needs in her life.

I was ecstatic to recieve this book from the author. More so after reading it and getting to meet Hailey and Caleb and the rest of the gang at Green College. There are more books to come, featuring different characters and I can’t wait to read to them all.

Take a chance on this new author. You won’t be disappointed!

~Thalia

Buy It Now Stay With Me