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

20130826-074538.jpg
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

Review: A Royal Without Rules by Caitlin Crews

image“Prince Pato, international manwhore and noted black sheep of the Kitzinia royal family, was the biggest waste of space alive. He stood for nothing save his own hedonism and selfishness, she wanted to be anywhere in the world but here.Anywhere.”

Poor Adriana has been assigned to watch over Prince Patricio (Pato). Pato’s brother, and heir to the throne of Kitzania, will be getting married in a few weeks. Adriana has to prevent Pato from behaving inappropriately and causing embarrassment to the family.

Adriana comes from scandal herself. Three descendants have been mistresses to the Kitzanian royal family.“It isn’t my dirt but I’m covered in it, head toe, but I’ll be clean. Ever.”
As Adriana and Pato work together, the disdain grows to an attraction. More importantly, there’s trust building between them. Pato shares a secret that explains his hedonistic lifestyle.

Overall, I enjoyed their story. I encourage you to pick this one up. Just because there are many Harlequin titles published each month doesn’t mean the books aren’t worth reading. This is one of those gems that is. Pato and Adriana make a scandalously, delightful couple.

3.5/5 stars

~Thalia

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.

Buy It Now A Royal Without Rules (Harlequin Presents)

An Early Look: Review: Cake by Lauren Dane

imageARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.

This novella is part of the Harlequin’s new Cosmo Red-Hot Reads line. (The first one, by Sylvia Day, will be released tomorrow). It definitely lives up to name of the line.

Gregori is a successful multi-media artist. He’s also very, very hot with his tattoos, nipple rings and beard. Wren, currently attending art school, is working hard to get her graphic novel published. Her job as a bike messenger helps pays the bills. Wren has been delivering packages and paperwork for Gregori for a year now.

They have slowly developed a friendship in that year. She always makes her deliveries to him last so that they can chat about his work or her art school. He provides her with scrumptious treats and hot tea.

Underlining the friendship is a super-charged attraction. When they do finally have sex, it is scorching. It scares Gregori how amazing the sex is and how at ease it is to be with Wren. He’s divorced and very wary of being in a relationship. He is the first to back away.

Wren is a fabulous, take-charge heroine. She sees that Gregori is skittish and scared but doesn’t back down from what she wants and doesn’t let Gregori push her aside. She shows him in every way that their relationship will be different than the marriage he had.

“I came here to get some distance between us. To cool things off.” She stepped closer. “I know. I came here to put an end to such silliness.”

Although, this is a short read, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything in the story. I belived in Wren and Gregori’s HEA. Wren is a fierce heroine. I adored her. She never let Gregori give in to his insecurities about their relationship.

This novella will be out Monday, September 15. Go and pre-order this! You won’t regret it!

~Thalia

Pre-order It Now Cake

Review: Rush by Maya Banks

imageThe book opens with Gabe Hamilton mentally lusting after one of his best friend’s (much younger) sister at the grand opening of his hotel. Mia Crestwell is attracted to Gabe as well. They end up making out at this party. They stop and he tells her to meet him at his office the next day.

Gabe offers Mia a job as his personal assistant. She’s naturally confused. He explains, “The purpose of your working for me is so you’d be at my side at all times. And I’d have you when I want & how I want.” Let me backtrack a little to mention that Mia is a recent college graduate. Gabe is 13 yrs. older than her AND the sister of one of his dearest friends & business partner. This is his proposition to her. It gets worse. She accepts! It gets much worse. He hands her a contract to read stating the terms of their relationship.

The contract states that Mia will “cede power to him not only in the bedroom, but in all aspects of their relationship as well.” Gabe’s end of the contract is “that all her needs would be met, physically and financially. There was nothing at all about emotional needs.” Does Mia sign this contract? Of course, she does, otherwise there wouldn’t be a book. I wish there wasn’t a book. And I wish this was not the first book I won on Goodreads. 😦

The rest of book book lives up to the horrible premise of the book. A lot of excuses are made about why Gabe behaves the way he does. None are valid enough to justify his treatment of Mia. I gave this book 2 stars because I did like his friends, especially the sarcastic Ash.

I won this book though the First Reads giveaway on Goodreads.

~Thalia

Buy It Now Rush (The Breathless Trilogy)

Review: It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis

imageAli Winters is having a rough day. She discovers that her boyfriend is cheating. Said boyfriend dumps her before she can dump him. She was living with her now ex-boyfriend, who didn’t renew the lease on the house, which now leaves her homeless.

Luke Hanover is not having a good day himself. He was in charge of the investigation of multiple murders, with the prime suspect being a prominent senator. The case ended with the death of the senator’s aide and the senator killing himself. Luke is using all of his vacation time to return home to Lucky Harbor and to be left alone.

Unfortunately, Ali is still at his house when he goes home. Feeling bad for her situation, he allows her to stay. Soon, he is helping her investigate who stole the 50K that Ali is accused of stealing. Also, he is dragged into investigating smaller crimes that his grandpa’s friends need help solving.

It is always fun to visit the small but lively town of Lucky Harbor. I enjoyed watching Ali and Luke circle each other and eventually give in to their lust. I liked seeing that lust develop into something more. Ali and Luke both have some baggage involving their families that they must overcome.

The outcome of the books in this sweet, funny and sometimes sexy series is always predictable but thoroughly enjoyable to read. There is sequel bait with Luke’s two friends, Jack, the firefighter and the mysterious, unseen, military man, Ben. I look forward to their stories and revisiting Lucky Harbor.

This is the 7th book in the Lucky Harbor series but it can definitely be read as a standalone. It’s a great entry to the series because it’s the start of a trilogy within the series. The next book features Jack and Ali’s friend, Leah.

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.

~Thalia

Buy It Now It Had to Be You (Lucky Harbor)

Review: Own the Wind: A Chaos Novel by Kristen Ashley

imagePrior to this one, the only Kristen Ashley book that I have read was Motorcycle Man. I was curious about Shy & Tabby, which prompted me to request this book.

What I liked about this book:
1) No rambling sentences that inhibited my ability to understand what was going. Thank you, KA’s editor!
2) The romance between Shy & Tabby after they declared their love for each other. For me, the book really took off at this point. You just knew no matter what happened, they had each other. There was a great combination of sweet & sexy moments.
3) The way Shy & Tabby handled the club’s reaction to them. Also, when Shy had an opportunity to be promoted in Chaos, I liked the choice he made and his decision behind it.

What I didn’t like:
1) The time jumps in the beginning. It hindered my ability to connect w/ Shy & Tabby.
2) I wanted to see more of the development of them being friends.
3) The liberal use of the word “bitch.” It was used 60 times, as an adjective, a verb & a noun.
4) Tyra was also called Ty-Ty & Cherry. Sometimes she was called two of those names in the same paragraph. It became confusing.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I think it’s helpful that you read Motorcycle Man, but I think there’s enough information given to read this book as a standalone. The paperback is less than $6. The Kindle book is less than $4. It’s worth the risk to venture into this motorcycle club.

Thalia

Buy It Now Own the Wind: A Chaos Novel

Review: Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

imageWarning: when reading this book you will 1) crave pie  and 2) want to have a Colin Firth movie marathon.

This book is chick lit/ women’s fiction. It is about three women at crossroads in their life. Veronica, the baker of amazing pies, moved back to her hometown, Boothbay Harbor, a year ago. At 38, she’s wondering if she will ever find a Mr. Darcy, of her own. Bea, just found out that she’s adopted. She learns that her birth mother lived in  Boothbay Harbor. Bea goes there to find her. Gemma, a reporter, just lost her job. Oh, and she’s just discovered she’s pregnant. But she won’t tell her husband. She goes to Boothbay Harbor, hoping to get a job and a big assignment at the local newspaper.
Guess who’s also coming to Boothbay Harbor to shoot a movie?
The book weaves back and forth between the three women. Woven into their lives is Colin Firth. His movies and personal life are discussed. So they meet him? Will one of the women find a Mr. Darcy of her own? Answers are given, of course, as these women meet, become friends as they try to overcome their challenges, with help from Colin Firth.
Thalia

Buy It Now Finding Colin Firth: A Novel