BITTERSWEET by Sarina Bowen
I’m always a little hesitant when contemporary romance books are written in first person, but wow, Sarina Bowen did an outstanding job of pulling me in and keeping me engaged with the characters. While the story does start off a little slow, letting us get a good insight into both Griff and Audrey, once it hit the quarter mark, it took off. The “Shower Scene” was smoking hot. I’d put it on par with Roxanne St. Claire’s “Shed Scene” and that’s saying something.
Audrey and Griff were cute as a couple. Definitely a case of opposite attracts, but I loved how Audrey brought out his softer side. And Griff, while a little on the grumpy side (she even calls him Grumpy Griff), when it came to Audrey and his family, he was everything you’d want a romance hero to be. I found the story to be sweet, sexy, and charming. The secondary characters, everyone from Zara, the bartender, to the hired hands, to Griff’s extensive family made this story come to life.
I will give one trigger warning: the scene with the pig…Let’s just say he’s going to be dinner, and I might never eat ham again. I had to skip a few pages there.
Otherwise, it was a great story and I’m really looking forward to reading more by Sarina Bowen.
HARD TARGET by JB Turner
A page turning thriller!
This is my first book by JB Turner and I really enjoyed it from start to finish. It was fast-paced, with a hard-as-nails protagonist that has common sense, a strong moral compass, and loyalty. The story was filled with twist and turns, some you’d expect and others that will surprise you.
I found the characters interesting and likable, and the plot engaging. Definitely will be checking out more of JB Turner’s work.
IMMORTAL ANGEL by Lynsay Sands
A slow build to a steamy romance.
While Immortal Angel is book #31 in the series, it can be read as a standalone as it really just focuses on the one couple.
Did I love this book? Sadly, no. However, with that said it was a well-plotted, well-written book. My problem was the cover, the prologue, and the description made it sound like a more action-packed story. What action there was — outside of the prologue— was over in the blink of an eye. This was pure romance, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just felt a little misled.
As to the romance, Ildaria and Joshua (GG) were wonderful together. There was laughter and adorableness (come on…who doesn’t love a big guy who is a total sucker for a small dog!), and some very sexy love scenes. Both main characters were well rounded with complex backstories. Both were strong willed, honorable and troubled by events from their past, which made for great conflict.
The book also had fun secondary characters like Marguerite, Sophia, Joshua’s mom (loved her), the very, blunt Lucian and let’s not forgot the bundle of fur— H.D..
If you’re looking for a paranormal that focuses on the romance and the issues between human and vampire as a couple, this is the perfect book for you.
A cute, lighthearted read.
I love discovering new to me authors, especially when the writing can transport me to a new local. This is the first Sue Roberts book for me and I enjoyed watching the main character, Alice grow throughout the story as she went on holiday with her best friends, future sister-in-law, and then faced her true feelings about her life, her goals and the relationships she had with her family and fiancé.
Alice is a very likable character, that is easy going but has a hidden adventurous streak that I could relate to. The supporting cast did a great job of showing all the different sides to her and helping her along on her journey of becoming the person she was meant to be.
The author had a light touch when it came to description, however it was enough to make this reader want to book a trip to Crete and soak up that Grecian sun, while surrounded by pristine white beaches and hot Greek men. As for classifying this as a “fun, feel-good romantic comedy,” that’s a bit of a stretch. It is fun. It is feel-good in the end, but the story isn’t really focused on the romance so much as Alice’s feelings about her out-of-control wedding planning fiancé, her unsupportive mother, and not being happy with her career. I would classify this more as a light women’s fiction with a romantic element. Maybe even a little on the “chick lit” side.
Overall, an enjoyable read especially if you are looking for something that is light, a bit fluffy, and has more of a storyline than just your average romance, and still has a happily ever after.
HIDE AND SEEK, by Mary Burton
I don't think it's actually possible for Mary Burton to write a book that I don't love.
Hide and Seek was no exception.
I loved the fast pace plot, that held just the right amount of twists and turns that keep me up reading well past my bedtime. Great characters (main and secondary), great setting, dialogue and narrative.
And now, I'm ready to binge read nothing but Mary Burton (this happens every time when I read this author).
Beautifully written. Tragically sad. A family pulled apart by addiction, secrets and loss. And yet, there is hope and sweetness, and love.
Once I started, I could put this book down. I stayed up way past my bedtime totally entrenched in this story with my heart breaking for both Kit and Josie. It brought tears to my eyes and made my heart sigh.
This is exactly the book we all need right now to remind us to find the little joys in life, not to live in fear, and “Never Miss a Chance to Celebrate.”
I stayed up until four in the morning reading this story. I couldn’t put it down, and yet I woke feeling refreshed, happy, and lighter than I had in days. That’s what a good book can do, it can erase your stress and restore your faith and hope.
The characters were wonderful with complex, and complicated backgrounds, but you instantly are attracted to them. Sam is so much fun, yet there’s a strength to her that she didn’t know she had that pops out at times and makes you cheer her on. And at other times, she’ll break your heart with her fears and doubts and insecurities. Duncan sounds like the most amazing—and fun—guy you’d ever meet and then you meet him and he’s anything but. It makes you crave to know his history and you’ll find yourself rooting for him to find his joy in life again.
The story is classified as women’s or family life fiction, but it’s so much more. It’s a romance in the truest since of the word, a love story, a tale of friendship, and yes, family drama. While it tugged at my heart, it wasn’t depressing, although it had its sad moments. Katherine Center has a way of writing about some of life’s toughest moments in way that lifts the character and the reader up, and reminds us that we are stronger than we know, that there is good even in the bad, and leaves you (or at least this reader) craving more from her.
I don’t know if the world will still be as despondent when the book releases in July, but one thing I’ve learned is we always need hope, laughter and love, and you’ll find it here. Do yourself a favor and pre-order this book now!
I finally got to read the full story of THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT and I LOVED IT.
If you read my “extended preview review” you’ll know that I was captivated right from the start by this book. I love strong, smart heroines and female characters and Farrah Rochon totally delivered. But for a romance to work, it has to have great chemistry between the two main characters, in this case, Samiah and Daniel, and those two burned up the pages from the start.
Samiah, is wicked smart, strong, sexy, sassy and successful, as are her two friends and sister. Yet, they are not perfect. They are driven, yet just like most of us they listen to their hearts and sometimes that gets them hurt, which makes them totally relatable. Otherwise, they would have been somewhat intimidating. But what I loved the most about these women (and the sister) is the instant bond they formed, the support they gave each other, and the strength they lent to each other when needed. So while this is a romance, it was also a friendship story and how important those people are in our lives when it’s time to focus on us. The story also had great family dynamics with a super supportive sister and the perfect husband who is everything you want in a brother-in-law. I mean, the man brought carbs when needed! Enough said about him.
As to the romance, it was sweet, funny, touching, and smoking hot. There’s something about the forbidden fruit here. Daniel had totally had my interest piqued from the start. He had me asking, “What was his game?” And wondering, “Could I trust him or was he going to be another dirtbag?” I’m happy to say, Definitely not a dirtbag. Try totally swoonworthy. Daniel was such a great match for Samiah. Smart (you’d have to be to keep up with her), but compassionate. The kind of guy who asks how you’re doing and genuinely wants to know. Such a rare quality. He was also funny, insightful, and sexy (guys with glasses…sigh).
Together these two are a powerhouse. I loved their wit and banter, but also how Samiah was open to trusting again and how Daniel respected her. The plot was great and not filled with too much tech speak that I felt lost, but enough that it read like the character really knew her job. I hate when characters get cool job titles and you never get to see them at work, but that wasn’t the case here. And there’s a tiny mystery to solve, which was another fun aspect of this story.
Overall, I thought THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT was well written, witty, funny, sexy and a thoroughly enjoyable read. I’m completely looking forward to the next in the series.
THE WEDDING WAR by Liz Talley
SPOILER ALERT: This ISN’T a romance, but then again, it’s not billed as one. If you’re looking for one of Liz Talley’s sweet, fun romances, stop right now. But if you’re looking for a story about life including broken friendships, marriages in trouble, finding yourself…then this is the book for you.
First, I fell in love with Liz Talley’s writing eons ago when reading her romances. She’s talented and has a knack for bringing humor to the page, along with touching moments that just send a zing straight to your heart. So, when she released her first Women’s Fiction book, Room to Breathe, I one-clicked without a moment’s hesitation. And guess what? I loved it, just like I loved THE WEDDING WARS.
Now, these women are not sweet. They’re not even remotely nice to each other and sometimes to others, but life and circumstances have shaped them into the people they are now. And that’s life. Real life. We’ve all had moments we’re not proud of, but what I loved about this book, is the author’s ability to show these horrible sides of these women and then tell a tale of redemption and forgiveness. It’s a tale of facing your own demons and recognizing that you’re not perfect, that your life is not perfect, and growing up enough to own your own faults, as well as make the steps necessary to improve.
It’s not all dark and dreary and depressing. There are humorous moments. There are touching moments between the two once-upon-a-time best friends where you can see hope. And there are moments of enlightenment where you just have to cheer for both Mel and Tennyson to open their hearts and give each other a chance again. There are also heartbreaking moments dealing with a marriage in trouble, and some sexy moments as one of them starts to find love, real love and a chance at happiness.
I found the story funny, moving, sad, and hopeful. The writing sharp, witty, and thought-provoking. And while we don’t get our typical Happily Ever After like we do with Ms. Talley’s romances, we do get to witness the true strength of women’s hearts and souls and what they are capable of dealing with and handling.