Romance Books

Book Review – Nuts by Alice Clayton (Hudson Valley #1)

After losing almost all of her clients in one fell swoop following an accident involving whipped cream, private chef to Hollywood’s elite Roxie Callahan gets a call from her flighty mother, saying she’s needed home in upstate New York to run the family diner. Once she’s back in the Hudson Valley, local organic farmer Leo delivers Roxie a lovely bunch of walnuts, and soon sparks—and clothing—begin to fly. Leo believes that everything worth doing is worth doing nutsslowly…and how! But will Roxie stay upstate, or will the lure of West Coast redemption tempt her back to Tinseltown?

4 stars

When I saw that Alice Clayton had a new book coming out, I was really excited.  I loved Wallbanger and The Unidentified Redhead – two of the funniest books I read in a long time.

Nuts is the story of Roxie Callahan, a private chef in Los Angeles who is called home to Bailey Falls, NY (sounds like it’s right out of “A Wonderful Life) to run the family diner while her mother is a contestant on the Amazing Race.  Roxie is not at all excited about returning home.  She feels she has been defined as the person she is now while in California.

Upon returning home, she literally falls in the lap of Leo Maxwell, local farmer and beautiful man.  Leo and Roxie’s chemistry is instant – and hysterical.  There are a few more mishaps that involve falling, among other things.  Roxie has no plans to stay in New York once her mother returns, a point she makes abundantly clear throughout the book.  Roxie becomes reacquainted with her high school crush Chad – and his husband Logan.  I really liked them.

Most “small town” books have a lot of cattiness and annoying, gossipy townspeople.  This book did not have that.  This book, to me, had a very slow start.  It was also really detail heavy.  Details that were unnecessary (two pages about walnut groves).  There was a surprise in the book which was really good and I didn’t see coming; it was tastefully written and believable.

Overall, this was fun story and I would recommend it.

Romance Books

Book Review – Center Mass by Lani Lynn Vale

Luke Roberts came to the small lazy town of Kilgore, Texas with one thing on his mind: Forgetting. He wanted to forget why he left. Forget those emerald green eyes that haunted his dreams. And forget how it felt to have his heart ripped out of his chest by a woman who didn’t like the fact that he had a child. It was something he’d been doing a damn fine job of doing, too. Until Reese smashed through every one of his defenses, and made him feel center massagain.

Reese Doherty was just trying to do the best for her little girl. So she moved to the little boomtown nearly an hour from where she grew up to be the school nurse for Kilgore’s littlest people. That’s where she met him. The SWAT officer and the man that would change her life forever. The sexy man who liked to drive fast, and live life like it should be lived. He drove her crazy, and became something she could barely live without.
But Luke was a hero. A man used to risking his life to make the world a safer place. Something Reese had to decide whether she could handle or not. Preferably before her and her daughter became too attached.

Just when she’s ready to give him her whole heart, her world takes a huge hit, and everything she thought she knew wasn’t as it seemed.  Luke wasn’t a quitter, though. Damn far from it, and he’d prove to her that he’d be there when the dust settled. Whether she wanted him to be or not.

3 out of 5 stars

I knew I wanted to read this book by looking at the cover; yummy.

Center Mass is the story of Reese and Luke, two single parents who meet under interesting circumstances and develop a relationship.   Reese is a school nurse and single mother, raising her daughter on her own in Kilgore, Texas.  Luke is a cop; a SWAT team member, who is also raising a daughter on his own.

While I enjoyed this book, there was some unnecessary drama within.  There was a side story with the father of Reese’s daughter and Luke’s ex-girlfriend, that was pretty stupid.  The chemistry between Luke and Reese, however, was off the charts, as were the sex scenes.

I’m really happy I discovered this book, because I’ve discovered two new series; this one and the Dixie Warden MC’s series.  All of which has yummy covers like this one.

I would recommend.

Romance Books

Book Review – A Lover’s Lament by KL Grayson and BT Urruela

In a matter of seconds my entire world changed, and it was in that moment that I stopped living and simply began to exist.   In my grief, I sent a letter to the first boy I ever loved. I hoped in writing it I’d find some peace from the nightmare I was living, some solace in my anger.  I didn’t expect him to write back. I wasn’t prepared for his words, and I certainly wasn’t ready for the impact this soldier would have on my life. A deep-rooted hate transformed into friendship, and then molded into a love like I’d never known before.   Sergeant Devin Ulysses Clay did what I couldn’t: he put the shattered pieces of my heart back together, restoring my faith in humanity and teaching me how to live again. But now that I’m whole, I have a lovers lamentdecision to make. Do I return to my life as I knew it and the fiancé I left behind, or do I walk away from it all for the only man to ever break my heart?
***
I’ve been living in hell, but you won’t hear me complain.   These men depend on me, as I do them, and this brotherhood is the only family I’ve ever known.  The Army saved me from a callous mother and a life on the wrong side of the tracks that was quickly spiraling out of control. So unlike most of the men in my platoon, going home wasn’t something I longed for.  I was content overseas, spending my days defending this country that gave me my life back. Fighting became my new normal … until her.
A letter from Katie Devora—a letter that I almost didn’t open. Her words put a fire back inside of me that I didn’t know I’d lost. She gave me hope during a time when I was fighting every day just to stay alive, and now it’s time I fight for her.

3 out of 5 stars

I’m a giant sucker for a second chance love story.  It’s one of my favorite categories.  A Lover’s Lament is just that – a second chance romance.

ALL is the story of Katie and Devin, best friends turned lovers at 17 years old.  Devin had a rough childhood- mother was an abusive addict. Katie had a normal childhood – two parents etc.  Devin has to move with his mom – and leaves without a word, leaving Katie devastated.

Flash forward 10 years.  Katie is involved in an accident with devastating consequences.  In therapy, Katie is told to write a letter to a soldier and low and behold, Devin’s name is on that list.

There were some good things about this story, but there were some things I didn’t like about this book.  Here’s a list.

Things I liked:

  • Devin. He was very likable and took great care of his men.
  • Devin’s fellow soldiers.
  • The hot man on the cover.
  • Maggie, Katie’s best friend.  She was great.
  • The alternating POV style of writing.

Things I didn’t like:

  • The name of the book. Lame.
  • Katie’s whining and self pity.
  • How quickly Katie forgave Devin for what he did.
  • Katie’s sister. She was a real bitch.
  • Unresolved issues.  There were a lot of them.
  • Long, detailed chapters that were completely unnecessary. I skipped a lot of it because, quite frankly, I was bored.
  • The ending. What happened was really overly dramatic and unnecessary.

This was a pretty good story, and one of the authors is a veteran who was wounded in action, but this book could have a lot shorter and way less detail heavy.

Romance Books

Book Review – Lev by Belle Aurora (Shot Callers #1)

From the moment Lev Leokov spots the young woman hiding behind her hair in the middle of the gentleman’s club, he can’t take his eyes off of her.  For the very first time in his life, he is affected. Having been told his entire life that he can’t process or understand emotion, he considers it a big deal.lev

When Mina Harris gets caught red-handed with a wallet that isn’t hers, she falls apart. She’s tired, lonely and hasn’t eaten in days.

Lev offers her an ultimatum… A nice warm bed, a hot meal and a job, or the cops.

Mina takes her chances with Lev.
After all, a person with nothing has nothing left to lose.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Belle Aurora has quickly become one of my very favorite authors.  Why?  She writes complex, amazing characters that you instantly care about.  Lev is no exception.

Lev is Lev Leokov.  Does that name ring a bell?  It should if you read the Friend-Zoned series.  Nik and Max are also Leokov’s.  While the Friend-Zoned series is more romantic comedy, Lev is way more like a drama.  But that’s a good thing.

The story begins with Mina Harris, who is living on the streets and dying of starvation.  She sneaks into Bleeding Hearts Gentlemen Club and attempts to steal the wallet of the owner, Sasha Leokov.  She is stopped by Lev Leokov, who works security.  Lev is instantly taken by Mina (despite the fact that she probably smells god awful) and gives her three options.  One is to call the police, one is to come with him and work from him, and I can’t remember the other.  She chose option 2.  He takes her home and cleans her up, and of course, she is stunning.

Mina has had a rough life.  Her mother died when she was 12 and she went to live in foster care.  She fell in love with her foster brother and had to leave the foster house at 17 – and ended up on the streets.  She is instantly taken by Lev, but doesn’t understand him.  Lev seems to have Aspberger’s syndrome or something similar.  He is super smart but kind of socially awkward.

Lev is a tough nut to crack, but Mina somehow breaks down Lev’s walls a bit throughout the story.  There are a few things in the book that are kind of beyond imagination (like Mina, who didn’t graduate from high school, coming up with a business idea that can “save the day”).  But the story about two broken people (Lev is not broken because of Aspberger’s but because of severe physical abuse he suffered as a child) who can come together and find love is beautifully told.

I found the side story about Anika, a childhood friend who is in love with Lev, to be pretty annoying.  I also found the “Irina” storyline annoying as well.  But overall, this was a good story with great characters.  We even got to see Nik, Max, Tina, Helena and Asher!  That was super exciting.

I would recommend.

Romance Books

Book Review – Slider by Stacy Borel (The Core Four #2)

Dr. Turner Brooks may be the professional brother, but he’s also the adrenaline junkie. When he meets Annabelle, a girl scared to death of veering from the path she’s paved for herself, all he wants to do is push her out of that comfort zone.

Annabelle has already lost too much. She wants to stay focused on her new nursing job and away from unnecessary risks. Turner Brooks is exactly that – an unnecessary risk. She’s heard the rumors about him flying around the hospital, describing him as a “womanizer” or “sex god.” Yeah, she doesn’t need that.

Still, Turner tries to teach her that life is full of risks worth taking. As they grow closer and she begins to let go, the unexpected happens. Will they be able to recover from that surprising fastball or could this be the final strike out?

1 1/2 out of 5 stars

Can I get my $2.99 back because this book SUCKED.  Not only did it suck, it totally sucked.  Bender must have been an illusion, because the LONG anticipated next book was not worth the money or the time reading.

Slider is the story of Annabelle and Turner.  Annabelle’s parents died in a car crash and she lives in a safety bubble she’s created for herself.  Turner, on the other hand, is an adrenaline junkie.

So what was good about this book?  Really, only the cover.  There is NO character development, and story moves at a choppy and uneven pace, and Annabelle is pretty much a bitch.  I’m not even sure why I finished this (though I’ll admit, I skipped many pages to get to the end – I was THAT bored).

Save yourself $2.99 and a few hours and skip this book.  I won’t be reading the next one about Macie and Dodger because a) this book sucked and b) Macie was such a bitch in this book.  I think I’m done with Ms. Borel.

Don’t recommend.

Romance Books

Book Review – The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan (Game On #2)

Gray doesn’t make friends with women. He has sex with them. Until Ivy.

The last thing star tight-end Gray Grayson wants to do is drive his agent’s daughter’s bubblegum pink car. But he needs the wheels and she’s studying abroad. Something he explains when she sends him an irate text to let him know exactly how much pain she’ll put him in if he crashes her beloved ride. Before he knows it, Ivy Mackenzie has become his best texting bud. But then Ivy comes home and everything goes haywire. Because the only thing Gray can think of is being with Ivy.  Ivy doesn’t have sex with friends. Especially not with a certain football player. No matter how hot he makes her…

Gray drives Ivy crazy. He’s irreverent, sex on a stick, and completely off limits. Because, Ivy has one golden rule: never get involved with one of her father’s clients. A rule that’s proving harder to keep now that Gray is doing his best to seduce her. Her best friend is fast becoming the most irresistible guy she’s ever met.  Which means Gray is going to have to use all his skills to get himself out of the friend zone and into Ivy’s heart. Game on

4 out of 5 stars

Nothing like being 20% into a book and realizing it’s number 2 in a series!!!  I digress.  And by the time I realized it was book 2, I was in and wasn’t going back.

Football is one of my two favorite sports.  Hockey is the other.  So when I realized this book was about a football player, I was super happy.  Then we meet Gray. And he is freaking awesome!

Ivy is the daughter of a sports agent, and spent her whole life around sports.  She and Gray form a friendship through text message while Gray borrows Ivy’s car – a pink Fiat – for a 6 foot 4 tight end!  The banter and chemistry between Gray and Ivy was fun and sweet from the start.  I liked both of these characters a lot – especially Ivy.  She was a very tough girl.

I will now have to go back and read the first book – but that’s ok.  Can’t wait for the third book!

Romance Books

Book Review – Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!
Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life. His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…
But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang.
Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-headed heart is she willing to risk?

4 out of 5 stars

I am a cover whore.  The better the cover, the more likely I will read the book.  I’m going to admit – I hated this cover, but I LOVED this book!  Don’t always judge a book by its cover:)

Truth or Beard is the story of Jessica James, a girl from Green Valley, Tennessee, who has a case of wanderlust (wants to travel the world) and moves home to save money and pay off her student loans.  Jessica has pined after Beau Winston for years, and doesn’t get along real well with his identical twin Duane.  Duane, however, has been pining for Jessica for years.

A case of mistaken identity brings Duane and Jessica together.  Their relationship moves pretty slowly (especially in the bedroom) but their banter is fun.  There are a lot of brothers in the Winston family, and I’m excited for the coming books about the brothers.

I liked Jessica a lot.  I hated her brother Jackson – A LOT.  He was a huge dick and I hope that one of the future books is not about him.  But Duane was such a sweetheart.  He was so sweet to Jessica, wanting to properly court her.  I found it refreshingly old-fashioned.

I would highly recommend this book.  Lots of fun!