Monday, November 27, 2017

Sugar Pine Trail, A Cozy Romance for Winter

An unlikely attraction brings comfort, joy and unforgettable romance this holiday season!
Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she's been living. She's made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn't one of them. Julia's looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker's latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia's care for the holidays, she'll take any help she can get—even Jamie's.

Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that's much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can't last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever…
Sugar Pine Trail
Haven Point #7
RaeAnne Thayne
Harlequin Books
Pub Date: 9/26/17
Genre: Romance
Rating: 4/5
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I was first introduced to the Haven Point Series when I read Snowfall on Haven Point. Since then I've managed to keep up with the series as it continues.  Serenity Harbor solidified my love for this cozy romance series and I really didn't think the next story could top it, but Sugar Pine Trail came mighty close. It's something to do with the cute kids and pets with big personalities that keep me coming back!

Sugar Pine Trail focuses on librarian Julia Winston who spent the last 10 years caring for her ailing parents and not truly living her life. When playboy pilot Jamie Caine rents out the upstairs apartment in her home, she has to fight not to become his next conquest. Lines are blurred as Jamie, who vowed not to get close to the uptight librarian, goes out of his way to help when Julia becomes the temporary foster parent of two boys in need. Joining together over the holiday season Julia and Jamie learn that despite the long, scary road to reach it, love is possible.

Julia is a genuine, true-blue character that I can only dream of emulating. I loved this character for so many reasons but mostly because of how selfless she was when she pushed into the lives of Davy and Clint and helped them in a time of need. Her selflessness made her story that much more touching and the ending that much more bittersweet. Even Jamie's character struggled with a loss that shaped his actions and the course of their romance. I love how these stories emphasize family and kindness to strangers. Sugar Pine Trail was no exception as readers are pulled into the fold of the ever growing and loving Caine family.

Out of the three Haven Point novels I've read to date, Sugar Pine Trail has the most heart. It's the perfect novel to cuddle up with during the cold winter months.
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

Read my reviews of Snowfall on Haven Point and Serenity Harbor!

Catch up on the whole Haven Point Series:

Friday, November 24, 2017

Are You America's Next Reality Star? (Review)


Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.

Luckily The Fishbowl is all about puzzles and games, the kind of thing Jen would love even if she wasn’t desperate. The cast checks all the boxes: cheerful, quirky Birdie speaks in hashtags; vicious Ariana knows just how to pout for the cameras; and corn-fed “J-dawg” plays the cartoon villain of the house. Then there’s Justin, the green-eyed law student who always seems a breath away from kissing her. Is their attraction real, or a trick to get him closer to the $250,000 grand prize? Romance or showmance, suddenly Jen has a lot more to lose than a summer...
America's Next Reality Star
Reality Star #1
Laura Heffernan
Pub Date: 3/7/17
Lyrical Shine
Genre: Romance
Rating: 5/5 Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Laura Heffernan brings readers laughs and romance in this shining debut. America's Next Reality Star takes you inside the fishbowl as a group of randomly selected strangers competes for $250,000.

Jen Reid is enduring the life of a marketing professional until everything comes crashing down around her. She has to find another place to live, she finds out her serious boyfriend is married, and finally, she loses her job. Just when she needed it, the position on a puzzle-based reality show that she auditioned for comes through. Now Jen has to compete against 11 other contestants in battles of brain and brawn to earn viewer votes and avoid elimination.

America's Next Reality Star has a brilliant concept excellently executed. The characters are realistic and the competitions fun and exciting. Between the drama and games, I'm surprised we're able to get a well-rounded romance out of this story. Justin, a fellow contestant, and Jen strike up a friendship during the auditions that grows well beyond the limits of the show. It's hard to have a romance with millions of people watching your every move, but somehow it's a piece of cake to steal memorable moments.

I felt like I was getting a backstage view of an MTV reality show. We even get inside the head of secondary characters as they talk about who they want to vote off the show, or how they feel about the games they have to participate in. There's no shortage of drama as Jen deals with clashing personalities and fierce competitors.

This series starter is a definite for a fun and entertaining read. I haven't read anything like it thus far and I'm excited to catch the following novel, Sweet Reality!
*ARC provided in consideration for an honest review*

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Single Malt Murder (Review)

Abigail Logan never expected to inherit a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands. But in the first novel of an engaging new series blending fine spirits with chilling mystery, Abi finds that there are secrets lurking in the misty glens that some will go to any lengths to protect . . . even murder.

When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.
Single Malt Murder
Whiskey Business Mystery #1
Melinda Mullet
Pub Date: 3/21/17
Alibi (Random House Publishing)
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 3/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo

If you have a fascination with Scotland and whisky, then the Whisky Business Mystery series deserves a spot on your TBR list. Melinda Mullet takes readers inside the world of whisky distilling to solve a murder mystery in the first novel, Single Malt Murder.

Abi Logan just lost the last remaining member of her family. Her Uncle Ben raised her when her parents died in an accident. Now that he's gone everything he owned belongs to her, including a Scottish whisky distillery. Someone, however, is trying to scare her off. A series of threats follow her from London to Balfour, followed by sabotage to Abbey Glen. Abi, along with her fierce dog companion and best friend, is on the case. She'll complete the terms of her uncle's will, and on top of that, figure out who's trying ruin the distillery.

Single Malt Murder is a typical cozy mystery that falls just short of truly intriguing. I liked the in-depth access to the whisky distilling business, but that's only a small part of what keeps me ensconced in a mystery. There isn't a strong suspense factor involved. Maybe it's the writing style or my inability to see if the story was leading me somewhere I absolutely wanted to follow, but I had a hard time keeping my mind in the story. Abi uses the skills she's learned from her photojournalism career to try to solve a murder, but those skills don't help her. The answers fall into her lap and she puts it all together after the culprit practically shouts it from the rooftop. She's a passive amateur sleuth who only follows where her instincts lead her and she doesn't see the big picture.

I'm trying not to be too hard on Abi. This is her first mystery, after all. However, I did want more than a linear plot from Single Malt Murder. Fireworks would have been nice, but maybe I'll find it in the next Whisky Business Mystery.
*ARC provided in consideration for review*

Monday, November 20, 2017

Romantic Suspense That Keeps You on Edge

First came the floods. Then came the bodies. The victims—strangled, then buried along the shores of the Mississippi—have finally been unearthed, years after they disappeared. He remembers every satisfying kill . . . each woman’s terror and agony. But there’s only one he truly wanted. And fate has brought her within reach again . . .

Jaci Patterson was sixteen when she found the first golden locket on her porch. Inside were a few strands of hair wrapped around a scrap of bloodstained ribbon. Though the “gifts” kept arriving, no one believed her hunch that a serial killer was at work. Now Jaci has returned home . . . and the nightmare is starting once more.


Back then, Rylan Cooper was an arrogant deputy sheriff convinced that Jaci was just an attention—seeking teen. It was a fatal mistake. There’s a murderer in their midst, someone determined to settle old scores and keep playing a twisted game. And it won’t end until Jaci is his forever . . .
Pretend You're Safe
The Agency #1
Alexandra Ivy
Pub Date: 8/29/17
Zebra (Kensington Books)
Romantic Suspense
Rating: 4/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Pretend You're Safe is romantic suspense at it's finest. Alexandra Ivy gives readers a story that's creepy and thrilling in one go. Jaci Patterson enjoys the close bonds of her small town community. But when gruesome gifts from her past begin to resurface everyone becomes a suspect. Her childhood crush Rylan Cooper steps back into her life under the guise of providing her with high tech security, but he would rather escape to California and take her away from danger.

Readers are first engaged in the story when bodies are discovered by Jaci's neighbor. This scene sets the tone for the novel: dark and ominous. Ivy leads readers through a story rife with tension and worry. Jaci is the last person you'd expect to be on the receiving end of this kind of attention. She's a hard working, independent woman raised by her grandparents after her father died and her mother abandoned her to start a new family.  Somehow she's grabbed the attention of a serial killer. The person sending her lockets is hiding in plain sight and the local sheriff is having a hard time tracking him down. Thankfully, Rylan is determined to protect Jaci throughout the ordeal. The two of them put the romance in this suspense and warm you after the chilling conclusion.

Alexandra Ivy does romantic suspense well and she even adds a little family drama on the side. I thought there was going to be a bit of a love triangle thrown in for good measure, but it didn't really pan out by the end of the story. It hardly mattered because the need to know who's behind the sordid lockets is intense. Pretend You're Safe is a hot start to The Agency series, perfect for fans of Kat Martin or Cynthia Eden.
*ARC provided in consideration for an honest review*

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Blog Tour: Wyoming Winter

There's something about those Wyoming men... New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer returns to the Cowboy State with a brand-new tale of desire and deception

Cultivating his vast Wyoming ranch is all security expert J. C. Calhoun wants. His land is the only thing the betrayed rancher can trust in after discovering his fiancee was pregnant by another man. But all J.C. holds dear becomes compromised when a lost little girl leads him to Colie Jackson, the woman who destroyed his life.

Colie stops at nothing to protect the people she loves. Years ago she left J.C. for his own good. Now, for the sake of her daughter, she must depend on a hard-hearted man who won't forgive her. As a band of ruthless criminals tracks their every move through the frozen Wyoming winter, Colie and J.C. will be forced to confront the lies that separated them--and the startling truth that will bind them forever...
Wyoming Winter
Wyoming Men #7
Diana Palmer
Pub Date: 10/31/17
HQN Books
Genre: Western Romance
Rating: 4/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

Wyoming Winter takes readers back to the cowboy state where the men are as fierce as they are loving. Diana Palmer's seventh Wyoming Men novel tells the story of J.C. Calhoun, Ren Colter's head of security, and the innocent young woman that melts his hardened heart. Colie Jackson has been in love with J.C. for as long as she can remember. Even though he's much older and has a reputation around town, she doesn't hesitate when he offers to take her on a date.

There are many factors moving against their blossoming relationship. For instance, Colie had a conservative upbringing while J.C. has traveled the world and lives a modern lifestyle. Colie's father is a minister and disapproves of the relationship. Only time and life experience will determine if these two will ever find a happy ending.

What I love about the few Diana Palmer stories I've read is that they begin with something in the character's lives that they have to overcome whether it's a problem of their own making or outside influences. This story has that special little something that Diana Palmer adds to her stories to draw you in and make you feel something for the main characters. If they make a mistake you hope they can redeem themselves or if they get hurt you want to jump in and make it all better. The characters are laid bare for readers to truly see who they are and what they desire, which makes it easy to keep reading to see how they resolve their issues. The story moves at a fast pace and I'm amazed at how Colie and J. C. are transformed by the end. If you loved the previous book, Wyoming Brave, you'll love Wyoming Winter even more so!

The Wyoming Men series is perfect for fans of Linda Lael Miller and Maisey Yates. Also, if you haven't read any of the previous stories, jump on it. You don't want to miss out on these heartwarming romances!
*ARC provided in consideration for an honest review*

See my review of Wyoming Brave!

Harlequin is offering one (1) lucky Grand Prize winner a $25 Amazon Gift Card and three (3) Runner-Ups a winner's choice eBook from Diana Palmer's HQN backlist! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway
About Diana Palmer:
Diana Palmer, AKA Susan Spaeth Kyle, was born in 1946 in Cuthbert, Georgia, the eldest daughter of William and Eloise Spaeth. She and her younger sister, Dannis, were raised in Chamblee, where Susan graduated from Chamblee High School in 1964. The family moved to Cornelia, Georgia, in 1965. Susan married James Kyle in 1972. They have a son, Blayne, who is married to the former Christina Clayton. They are both graduates of Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. They live in Tennessee and have a daughter, Selena Marie Kyle, born in February, 2009.

In 1991, Susan returned to college and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, in 1995. She continues to work on her master’s degree in history as time permits. Her first novel as Diana Palmer was published in 1979. She has over 115 novels in print. She has written historical novels as well as contemporary romance, and has produced science fiction, with her novel THE MORCAI BATTALION appearing in hardcover in 2007. Two sequels to this book have been released as eBooks. THE MORCAI BATTALION: The Recruit and THE MORCAI BATTALION: Invictus are both available from all eBook retailers now. Her latest hardcover novel is INVINCIBLE by HQN, released in August 2014 and mass market paperback novel is WYOMING STRONG by HQN, released November 2014.

Susan’s hobbies are gardening, knitting, crocheting, astronomy, archaeology, and animals. She has dogs, cats, birds and lizards. She enjoys getting mail from her readers, but is slow to answer it.
Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Blog Tour: Deal Breaker

Nixie Rowland is having a bad day. Rushing home to drown her sorrows in ice cream and reality television, she decides to take a shortcut to the subway where things take a turn for the worst. But Nixie’s bad luck doesn’t end there—the white knight who comes to her rescue is none other than the Dark Knight of Wall Street, a cocky Manhattan mogul whose ego barely fits inside his penthouse. To her horror, Nixie discovers the sizzling attraction between them is off the charts, and rising fast. Spending the night in his bed does nothing to lower the heat… And everything to set her heart on fire.

Nash Knight doesn’t have room in his life, or his heart, for anything beyond one-night stands or casual flings. And he certainly doesn’t make a habit of rescuing damsels in distress. Except that this particular damsel slips beneath his armor, the vulnerability she covers with a false show of bravado hitting him somewhere deep. Nixie is everything he never wanted… And exactly what he needs.

With Nixie on the run from a controlling ex, and Nash trying to salvage a business deal at risk because his conquests in the bedroom are overshadowing his wins in the boardroom, there’s one simple solution for them both: a marriage in name only. But when lust becomes love, will their untamed emotions be a deal breaker?
Deal Breaker
Billionaire Bosses #2
Tara Leigh
Pub Date: 11/14/17
Swerve (SMP)
Rating: 4/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

Out of all the stories about penthouse players and young billionaire entrepreneurs, Deal Breaker has been the most interesting. In the second Billionaire Bosses novel, Tara Leigh brings two lovers together by the connection of tragedy and the hope of happily ever after.

Nixie is on the run from her ex-boyfriend who planned to marry her for the money she'll receive when she turns 25. Nash is a hardworking mogul who's hobbies are work, work, and women. The two are in different places in their lives. Where Nixie plans on putting down roots, Nash does everything in his power to avoid a committed relationship, even when it comes to the mother of his adored niece and nephew.

The story is crafted excellently. I was intrigued by the way the two characters were brought together. They both suffered tragic losses that affect their actions in the present, yet Nixie and Nash work their way toward a happy future. I did expect there to be a little more drama to shake the emotional aspect of the plot. There is some drama that stems from Nash's ex, but it seemed mechanical as though it was only added to thicken the plot. I didn't really get engaged in that part of the story. I was more focused on how the marriage of convenience trope would play out in the story. Tara Leigh does a marvelous job of throwing that into the story to provide the ultimate challenge for Nixie and Nash.

Overall, Deal Breaker is a sizzling romance, both cozy and steamy that will keep you wrapped up until the end rooting for Nixie and Nash.
*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

Read the first book: Penthouse Player

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About Tara Leigh:

Tara Leigh attended Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia Business School in New York and worked on Wall Street and Main Street before “retiring” to become a wife and mother. When the people in her head became just as real as the people in her life, she decided to put their stories on paper. Tara currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut with her husband, children, and fur-baby, Pixie.

Connect with Tara: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Refreshing Addition to Romance

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other...

They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want...
The Wedding Date
Jasmine Guillory
Pub Date: 2/6/18
Berkley Books
Genre: Romance
Rating: 5/5
Amazon | B&N | Kobo

This is the story I've been looking for! Jasmine Guillory sets the tone for romantic comedies in the upcoming year. The Wedding Date takes readers from an impromptu meeting in a stuck elevator to a whirlwind romance across the state of California.

Alexa Monroe finds herself accepting a date with gorgeous Drew Nichols after getting stuck in an elevator with him. She's going to be his buffer against the awkwardness of attending his ex-girlfriend and friend's wedding. With some trepidation on both sides, Alexa agrees to be Drew's fake girlfriend for the night. As it turns out, the two have an undeniable chemistry that extends well beyond the wedding. Their busy schedules don't keep them from spending the weekends with each other even though they live an hour from each other by flight.

I'm not usually a fan of the fake date/fake girlfriend trope, but this setup was too intriguing to pass up. Drew has a type: tall, skinny, and blonde. Alexa is the complete opposite but her skin tone and curvy figure hardly matter to Drew as he's so attracted to her carefree laugh. I love that neither of them have a second thought about spending time with someone outside of their race. Even so, Guillory doesn't ignore the differences between their cultural backgrounds. Their relationship was not without its drama and setbacks, but Guillory keeps it realistic. The story moves at a steady clip giving you a chance to get to know the characters below the surface.

The Wedding Date is a refreshing addition to the romance genre. You will love the fun and flirty vibe throughout the story and when it ends you'll be pining for more!