Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Contemporary Holiday Romance Review: The Mistletoe Trap (Heart in the Game #2) by Cindi Madsen @CindiMadsen @EntangledPub


From the moment Julie sees her best friend, Gavin, in the airport, it’s like no time at all has gone by instead of months and months. No matter how long they’ve been apart, their relationship has always been steady, comfortable, and decidedly just friends. Even though their meddling parents have hung what seems like unlimited amounts of mistletoe everywhere she goes this holiday season, Julie knows some things will never change.

Gavin is well-aware his family’s wanted him and Julie to get together since forever, even though he’s been friend-zoned since they could talk—and he’s been happy to play that role. After all, as the new starting quarterback for the San Antonio Mustangs, he’s got enough on his plate without adding romance to the mix.

But between playing elves in the holiday bazaar to nights spent one-on-one watching rom-coms or soaking in their town’s hot springs, suddenly the “reverse parent trap” they’ve fallen into is actually starting to work. But this could be one scheme where letting themselves get trapped might be way too dangerous.

Each book in the Heart in the Game series is STANDALONE:
* The Wedding Deal
* The Mistletoe Trap

Publication date : November 16, 2020
Publisher : Entangled: Amara
ASIN : B08L1PKJ26
Print length : 269 pages
Purchase Link: Amazon

My Review:

The Mistletoe Trap is one of the cutest romance books I've read in a long time. Julie is a quirky heroine who spouts stories about her life in the lab, some of which would be considered inappropriate in certain circles. She and I would get along great. It takes a lot to gross me out and her stories about things she's dissected would be interesting to me. As such, though, she finds dating to be a problem and the last guy she dated called her boring. Talk about a low-blow to her self-esteem. Fortunately, she has her bestie, Gavin, a pro football player, who she's known since their days in diapers. They may live miles and states apart- Julie in Arizona and Gavin in Texas - they talk as often as they can and are about to join their families in their hometown in Colorado.

Gavin has just been signed as the new quarterback for the San Antonio Mustangs. When an injury sidelines him, he chooses to rest and relax with a little more time at home in Colorado. Knowing his family and Julie's family have been trying to set them up for years, Gavin takes their shenanigans in stride. That is, until feelings for Julie bubble to the surface and they find themselves falling for each other. Everything boils over, however, and Julie and Gavin wonder if changing their relationship could ruin what they have together.

I absolutely loved Julie and Gavin in this book. Everything I want in a romance is front and center with this one. There was laughter, tears, joy, and sadness, complete with meddling family members and a little bit of heat. The Mistletoe Trap is everything I expect in the friends-to-lovers trope and then some. The author's writing style is mesmerizing and I was engaged in the book from the minute I read the synopsis. I couldn't put the book down and read it in one day. I really need to read more by Cindi Madsen, she is a great writer.

I was provided a copy of this book to read but my opinions are my own.

Rating:

 

Visit the Author: http://cindimadsen.com/

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

#Review: Temptation's Crown (Mists of Magic and Mayhem Series, Book 6) by H.P. Mallory ~ An Epic Fantasy Romance Series

 


Episode 6: Temptation’s Crown

Rowan is just a child, but living in the world she is has forced her to grow up, faster than maybe she should have. When she’s attacked and nearly killed, the most unlikely of allies will come to her defense…

Pagan knows he shouldn’t trust Nyx and yet, he can’t help but feel like he’s falling for her. But when he agrees to infiltrate the Masked Magistrates in order to steal a lodestone, they will both find themselves in a situation they didn’t bargain for...

Stone is frantic. Emma has been abducted by possessed students, Clark at the forefront. Meanwhile, Stone, Jupiter and Kevin are imprisoned in the one place they’d turned for refuge. How will they escape and what will this delay mean for Emma?

And what happens when Jolie is reunited with her sister and her closest friends?

Find out what happens in the sixth episode of the Mists of Magic and Mayhem Series!

MISTS OF MAGIC AND MAYHEM:
1. Shadow Phantoms
2. Circle of the Moon
3. Hallowed Flames
4. Hush of Ruin
5. Arcane Ambitions
6. Temptation’s Crown

Publication date : November 10, 2020
ASIN : B08N71QBSH
Purchase Link: Amazon

My Review:

Episode 6 in the Mists of Magic and Mayhem series is wrought with danger everywhere. Rowan is attacked with only one or two saviors. Emma has been kidnapped and Stone is in a frenzy to save her. Pagan and Nyx find themselves in a treacherous situation. Jolie, Bryn, Sinjin, Odran, and Morse are united in the Abyss but getting out may not be as easy as getting in.

The sixth episode in the Mists of Mayhem series is action-packed, fast-paced, and pulls the reader in effortlessly and keeps them engaged. I am excited to be back in this world. Along the way through this fresh, new adventure we get to meet new characters, venture into new settings, and learn new things. The story is engaging and branches in several directions, but it's done smoothly.

This series is amazing. I love that we are back in the world of Jolie Wilkins and we get to see what they are up to 10 years after the end of the Bryn and Sinjin series. Each book draws you in and the endings keep you wanting more. I’m constantly on edge, waiting for the next book.

I was provided a copy of this book.

My Review:

Monday, November 30, 2020

Gallant Ghosts and Ghastly Gentleman: A Paranormal Mystery Novel (Lucy Westenra Book 2) by J.R. Rain and H.P. Mallory

 


So, that saying that goes: ‘when it rains, it pours’… yeah, it’s pretty much spot on. Not that I ever really had good luck, but I’m not sure how much worse my luck could get…

For the first time in a really looooong time, I’ve got a boyfriend—Dr. Henry Jekyll. And he’s everything you’d want a boyfriend to be—charming, sweet, loyal. Only problem is, I can’t be left alone with him.

Yeah, you heard that right. Ever since I agreed to becoming a full-time employee of the Holmwood Association (that apprehends monsters), I’m being kept under lock and key. If I’m allowed outside the compound, it has to be with a chaperone—all owing to the fact that I’m half-vampire.

But here’s the part where my luck takes a serious plunge… while on a date with Henry (and Simone—our chaperone), I notice a shadow lurking just outside the opera house. Thinking it’s none other than the bane of my existence—Dracula, himself—I follow it. And I nearly get killed by a collapsing parapet of bricks.

That’s when I realize this isn’t the work of Dracula, because Vlad would never kill me—not when he wants me to return to him forever (ahem, over my undead body).

Meanwhile, numerous people around Sacramento are spontaneously combusting and the finger seems to be pointing at Morfran—a demon who grants favors. Yet, when I start to investigate, I realize Morfran is involved, yes, but only in so much as he’s being targeted. Also targeted are all his clients who bear his mark… and guess who’s included in that esteemed crowd?

Yep, you guessed it.

Now, I’ve got to hurry up and figure out whodunit before I become another spontaneously combusting victim.

Le sigh.

Publication date : November 18, 2020
Print length : 251 pages
Publisher : Rain Press
ASIN : B08NWJH4JD
Purchase Link: Amazon

My Review:

I was thoroughly entertained by Gallant Ghosts and Ghastly Gentlemen. The Lucy Westenra series has shot up to the top of my favorites list. The paranormal elements, inclusion of characters from several different classic stories, mystery, and humor are a wonderful combination. I enjoyed Lucy's wit, sense of humor, and sarcasm. She may be half-vampire but she blends into the human world seamlessly. 

They mystery is fun and full of twists and turns. The characters are quirky, well-written, and some are quite complex. Other characters are in the background or we only get a brief glimpse. Hopefully, they are characters that we may see expanded on in future books.

Vlad's amorousness toward Lucy still has her see-sawing between her vampiric side wanting him and her human side detesting him and it takes an abrupt turn when memories begin to surface. Lucy has been battling against her vampire for generations, knowing that once she fully embraces her, she will go from the bounty hunter doing the hunting to being the vampire being hunted. She's clearly on team human but Vlad is a temptation threatening her ability to stay that way. Fortunately, Vlad is slowly losing his allure to Lucy (not to her inner vamp, though), as she now has a boyfriend in Henry Jeckyll.

If you're looking for a fun and fast-paced read by a wonderful pair of authors, look no further. Gallant Ghosts and Ghastly Gentlemen today!

I was provided a copy of this book to review.

My Rating:


Sunday, November 29, 2020

#Review ~ Caught A Mermaid Romance (Sea Temptress Series #1) by Kimberley Cale #Mermaids #Romance

 

A vengeful pirate…

Ruthless pirate captain Quinn O’Connor is bent on getting revenge on the creatures who wrecked his ship and killed his crew. When he claims their leader as his captive, he doesn’t expect the scorching consequences that come with being stranded with her on a mysterious island.

A beautiful sea temptress…

Lorelei, a daughter of Poseidon, is willing to bargain with the dangerous pirate who captured her in order to save the ones she loves. He believes the worst of her and her kind, and when he drags her onto dry land, turning her beautiful tail into a pair of unsteady legs, she’s not sure if she’ll be able to return home—and soon she starts to wonder if she really wants to.

Magic and mayhem bring them together…

With each smoldering kiss, each heated touch, their desire blazes higher. Can they overcome misunderstandings and monstrous enemies seeking to tear them apart? Will a mermaid challenge her fate for the love of a pirate? Will the vengeful pirate give up his revenge and take on a god to save his mermaid?

Paperback Info:

ISBN-10 : 177728211X
ISBN-13 : 978-1777282110
Paperback : 224 pages
Dimensions : 6 x 0.56 x 9 inches
Publisher : Kimberley Dow
Publish Date: August 11, 2020

eBook Info:

ASIN : B08D7T8YSK
Print length : 226 pages
File size : 391 KB
Publication date : September 10, 2020

Purchase Link: 

Amazon

My Review:

Quinn O'Connor is pirate captain of The Mayhem, until sirens wreck his ship and lure is crew to their watery graves. All Quinn wants now is revenge and if taking a siren captive is what it takes then so be it. When Lorelei awakens on an island, she knows her life is over. She can't survive on land, no mermaid can. When her captor tells her a tall tale about how mermaids become human, she stares at him in disbelief. Unfortunately, the tale becomes true. The misfit pair, a pirate and a mermaid, soon turn their hatred for one another into something else after Lorelei makes a deal - her body for his help to find a treasure on the island on which they currently are stranded. After the treasure it found, will Quinn keep his part of the bargain and will Lorelei not only turn back into a mermaid but be able to save her sisters and herself from her dangerous father, Poseidon?

Caught is an interesting and unique mermaid tale. Poseidon is not very nice to his daughters. Lorelei is being forced to wed the son of an ally but he manages to kill each of his brides. While trying to keep her sisters in line and figure out how to avoid marrying someone dangerous or having her sisters forced to marry him, Lorelei gets captured by Quinn. She's told of a treasure on the island containing a weapon that could change the power in the ocean in short order. In an effort to prove to Quinn she's not the siren that destroyed his ship or crew, she makes a deal with him. Her body for the treasure - as long as she gets the weapon.

The line the author writes in the sand concerning consent almost had me putting the book down. Quinn's character is so hellbent on bedding a mermaid after she loses her tail, I wanted to reach into the book and slap him. The author avoids any true assault but the discussion is there in Quinn's mind and there is some rather risky hand placements. I hope the next book doesn't include any similar scenes between the hero and heroine. Once I was past this particular section of the book, the rest was smooth sailing. The sex was steamy and there was a definite shift in the interactions between Quinn and Lorelei.  

The character develop was well done. She took Quinn from aggrieved pirate with woman issues to a kind, caring, and loving man willing to do whatever was necessary to help Lorelei. Lorelei, herself, was a strong character. She may have had a rough go of it after turning human but the author did not write her in a way that perceived weakness. She new what she had to do to get off the island and save her sisters. She also broke Quinn's heart out of its stone fortress, allowing him to see that not all women are out to swindle men or that women are only good for one one thing. Other than the issues I discussed above, Caught is a delightful enemies-to-lovers romance. Events taking place in the sea are a bit dark but just add another element to the story. 

I was provided a copy of this book to review.

My Rating:

    

Thursday, November 26, 2020

#Review ~ Snow (Colors of Crime, Book #6) by Sophie Lark

 

A Love Worth Fighting For…

In the ring they call me Snow, because I’m stone cold. I don’t feel fear or pain... I don’t feel much of anything.

Or at least, that’s how it was until I met innocent little Sasha.

She doesn’t belong in my world. She’s trapped here because she owes a debt she can’t possibly pay...

I want this girl more than I’ve ever wanted anything. The problem is, she already belongs to a Bratva boss who plans to sell her virginity to the highest bidder.

I have to find a way to set her free.

I want to be her first, and her last…

“Snow” is a virgin dark mafia romance.

Publication date: April 15, 2020
ASIN: B085N73T1S
Print length: 279 pages
Purchase Link: Amazon

My Review:

Snow is a fighter in an underground boxing circuit. He has little use for anyone, including the Bratva bosses who him to work for them. He fights and he leaves. That changes when he sees her, an innocent, on the arm of one of the most dangerous men he knows. 

Sasha can't believe her life has been reduced to being the personal doctor of a Bratva boss and his unsavory group of men. They call her at all times of the day and night, forcing her to do unthinkable things. She spend all that time in school and in order to save her father's life, she sold herself to Krupin. Now, it seems, he needs her to be present at his underground boxing tournaments. 

When Snow and Sasha meet, the chemistry is solid and the sparks fly. Neither is prepared for the onslaught of feelings. Snow knows he has to rescue her from Krupin or she and her virginity are going to be sold to the highest bidder. The bidder being a boss even higher and nastier than Krupin. Be prepared for a dark Russian mafia story.

I love the characters. They are written well and are realistic. The suspense and twists in the story keep me on the edge of my seat. Lyrically, the author is a star. Her use of descriptive language, metaphors, and vivid imagery take this book to the next level. Snow hit all of positives for story, character development, world building, passion, and suspense. I look forward to getting my hands on the next book.

I was provided a copy of this book to read.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

#ContemporaryRomance Review ~ You Can't Buy Love (Life Lessons, Book #3) by Melanie A. Smith @MelASmithAuthor

 

Money can’t buy happiness, but neither can pride …

Julianna Magnusson is tired of working her tail off at her thankless job as a nurse practitioner for the cardiac unit at Rutherford Hospital. Tired of having little to no time for her own life. But most of all, she’s tired of pretending that she’s happy about it all. So when her boss insists she attend the annual hospital charity gala, spending a ton of money on a dress to impress a bunch of stuck-up snobs doesn’t exactly sound like her idea of a good time.

Still, ever the dutiful employee, she makes an appearance. Only to meet a handsome stranger named Noah who stops her from drunkenly confronting the man who owns the hospital about all the issues at work. Then Noah does so much more, giving her a night of passion that she’ll never forget. Still, Jules has no intentions of taking it further. As timely as meeting him was, Noah is many things she’d never want in a man: Clearly elitist, arrogant, and bossy, he’s nothing more than a one-night stand.

Which was a great plan until he turns up at her hospital with a mind to shake things up in a way that could affect her career and her decision to write him off, igniting an epic battle between them as the chemistry that sparked the initial attraction transforms into a battle of wills. Their clash could jeopardize everything Jules has worked for — or, if she can look past her own pride, it might lead to everything she needs. In the fight between what we think we want and what life has in store for us, what wins?

Publication date: August 11, 2020
Print length: 227 pages
Publisher: Wicked Dreams Publishing
ASIN: B08B51WKPH
Purchase Link: Amazon

My Review:

Julianna "Jules" Magnusson is a nurse practitioner in the cardiac unit at Rutherford Hospital. Her hard work and loyalty prevent her from having a social life, especially since the hospital keeps downsizing even though the patient population continues to increase at alarming rates. When she's forced to attend a charity gala for the Rutherford Group, she plans to give good ol' Mr. Rutherford a piece of her mind. Fortunately, a mystery man named Noah steps in to prevent her career suicide. One night of passion her satisfied and she pushes him into unavailable category. Jules most likely won't ever see him again anyway, since they move in different social circles. The game changes when Noah steps foot in her hospital and makes thing worse than they already are right now.

Jules and Noah are truly fantastic characters. Jules is strong, caring, and wants nothing more than the powers-that-be to take a good look around at what's going on in their hospital and make appropriate changes. When Noah steps in and begins making changes that may affect her job, the jobs of her co-workers and friends, and still doesn't attend to the problems at hand, Jules assumes her her battle stance. The battle of wills between Jules and Noah stems from the chemistry displayed during their initial meeting but continues to evolve into something else entirely. They are good for each other but Jules and Noah need to work a few things out that require discussion, not conversations with themselves. 

I really enjoyed You Can't Buy Love. The author's writing style is conversational and invited. The book is engaging, with wonderfully developed characters, and a setting that is described perfectly. I was able to get into the story, stay connected to the characters, and work through the frustrations of both Jules and Noah. I understand Jules' concerns with the continued decrease in personnel, leading to an increase in responsibilities. The author did a great job realistically delving into the methodical way employers continue to eliminate jobs, requiring current employees to absorb those tasks along with their own. It's frustrating, stressful, and completely unethical and shameful. Yet, it happens all the time, in every industry. 

You Can't Buy Love is a great book and I highly recommend it.

I was provided a copy of this book to read.



Saturday, November 14, 2020

ARC #Review: Snowed in with the Firefighter by Victoria James @VicJames101 @EntangledPub @MissRiki #ContemporaryRomance #TeamFinn (Shadow Creek, Montana #7)


Dr. Melody Mayberry’s life just took a turn that’s left her questioning everything. Where better to hide out than the remote family cabin in the mountains? The last thing she expects to find there is her swoon-worthy brother-in-law, the one man who may have more baggage than her.

Finn Matthews is not ready to face the fact that the recent injury he sustained in a fire may have ended his firefighting career. He’s not interested in sharing the cabin with anyone, let alone Melody, and their family just texted with yet another unwelcome surprise—they’ll be there Christmas Eve.

To keep their meddling family at bay, the two team up to fake a little holiday cheer. But between ridiculously competitive Monopoly games, marathon Christmas decorating, and a storm that strands them together with nothing but a fire and a warm couch, they realize something major—their fake holiday cheer isn’t feeling so fake anymore, and that’s something neither of these two Grinches expected...

Print length : 156 pages
Publisher : Entangled: Bliss
Publish Date: November 16, 2020
ASIN : B08L1Q7HMX

Pre-Order: Amazon







Melody Mayberry and Finn Matthews are two broken souls trying to hide away from the world. When Melody shows up at her sister and brother-in-law's mountain cabin, she soon discovers she's not alone. As she hauls her belongings inside, Melody is met by Finn, her brother-in-law's brother. She just wants peace and quiet, to be alone, and wallow in her grief. Finn is trying to come to grips with his life-altering injury that may just end his career as a firefighter. He has no time to entertain Melody, or anyone for that matter. 

After amicably agreeing to share the house and stay out of each other's way, they are hit with another surprise...Their family will be joining them for Christmas. In an effort to get back at their family for meddling, Melody and Finn join forces to pull a fast one on them. All bets are off, however, when the fake front they portray backfires on them.

Melody and Finn have a humiliating backstory that punched me right in the gut. My eyeballs leaked a little bit of moisture as I relived the event that wrecked her. She may be a successful doctor now, but her childhood was horrible. Despite her upbringing, Melody is a kind and compassionate character. She's struggling with a recent event but she's closed up tight and has a hard time opening up to Finn. Finn, on the other hand, opens up to Melody, surprising himself. His pain is both physical and emotional and the author did a spectacular job with his character. I'm #TeamFinn all the way.

Snowed in with the Firefighter is another fantastic book by Victoria James. She is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is realistic and her subject matter for each book is believable. Her heroines and her heroes are not perfect but they are perfect for one another. She writes impassioned and realistic contemporary romances. I've read most of her books and each one manages to evoke emotional responses from me. At the very least, I tear up during some part of the novel. Her characters are believable and realistically written. She touches on topics that are sensitive but she writes them with class and respect.

Victoria's writing is phenomenal. Her characters, the plot, themes, drama, and passion pull the reader in and keeps them engaged. There is true emotion that can be felt by those readers who become one with the books they read (like I do). I am able to get lost in the novels and put myself right into the middle of them. I feel for the characters and drawing on my emotions is what makes a book worth 5 stars for me. If I hurt with them, cry with/for them, laugh, or get angry, then the author did a fantastic job and has written the perfect book for me.

I was provided a copy of this book to read.