Monday, 12 March 2018

Review: Home With You by Shirlee McCoy

The Bradshaw brothers never dreamed they'd return to their hometown. But tragedy has brought them back together in Benevolence, Washington, where they’re finding generosity, surprising revelations—and unexpected love . . .  
Sullivan Bradshaw is in way over his head. A car crash killed his brother, Matthias, and critically injured his sister-in-law. It’s Sullivan's turn to care for the couple’s six children and the ancestral farm, but the die-hard bachelor and art professor is hardly family-man material. What he needs is the perfect nanny-miracle worker-saint. What he gets is pretty Rumer Truehart, a free spirit who will change everything he ever thought he wanted . . .

Rumer learned the hard way that nothing is for sure, much less forever. And she certainly  understands why Sullivan’s unhappy childhood makes him a strictly no-commitments kind of guy. But she can't help being drawn to this thoughtful, gentle man. And when trouble strikes, she’s determined to win his trust—and show him love can be a promise for keeps.

Kindle Edition, 352 pages

Published February 27th 2018 by Zebra

Terri's Thoughts

I had received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you.  This story came out at the end of February and I am just getting around to writing a review as life has gotten in the way of my reading time.

I went in to this story with somewhat low expectations.  The reason being is that the whole nanny-employer romance has been written a million times and I thought I had read them from every angle.  This story taught me not to judge a book by its cover (pardon the pun) as it soon showed me that there is still a fresh take on an old plot.

The main reason is the children.  Normally there is one or two super cute kids inserted in to the romance however in this case their were six.  These were six very different and all adopted children that had issues of their own.  This made the story more interesting for me as it really shifted the spotlight to them instead of Sullivan and Rumer and in my opinion this was a good thing.  It made their journey seem a little more natural and lets be honest was a refreshing change from the usual plot of attraction where we are subjected to numerous near kisses before submitting to their attraction and not much else.

This story taught me a lesson that you never really know what you are going to get until you read the story.  This is the second story I have read by McCoy and based on how I enjoyed this one, I really need to go and take a look at her other work.

About the Author

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Review: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

#1 bestselling author Sophie Kinsella's emotionally charged new standalone novel about marriage and family, and how those we love and know best can sometimes surprise us the most.

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected "until death do us part" to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprises, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

With a colorful, eccentric cast of characters, razor-sharp observations, and her signature wit and charm, Sophie Kinsella crafts a humorous, yet thoughtful portrait of a marriage and shines a light on the danger of not looking past the many layers of the ones you love to discover how infinitely fascinating--and surprising--they truly are.

Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Expected publication: February 13th 2018 by The Dial Press
Genre: Womens Fiction/Chic Lit

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

After a visit to the doctor for insurance purposes Sylvie and Dan found out that they were both extremely healthy and that they should live very long lives. Another 68 years together according to the quirky and unusual doctor. This news would make most people happy but it put Sylvie and Dan into panic mode. How in the world would they keep things fresh and interesting for that many years? This was how Project Surprise came to be. It was a plan to execute a number of different surprises for each other to keep their relationship fresh and exciting. However, as all things in life, things didn't always go as planned and what started out as a series of surprises turned into secrets and discoveries.

This book started out in typical Kinsella fashion with a bunch of quirky characters and a humorous and somewhat outrageous plot. I was hooked immediately and I was thoroughly enjoying the blunders and missteps that went along with each surprise. However, it didn't take long for the book to shift and the tone to change. It started becoming a little more serious and a lot more dramatic but not in a funny way. Although I was still enjoying it, I missed the style that I have come to know and love from Kinsella. While I was craving some light hearted humour I was getting some pretty serious relationship drama with only a sprinkling of humour.

Fans of Kinsella's usual style may not enjoy this book as much as her others because it had a different feel to it. That was the case for me. Although I still liked it, it was my least favourite of her books to date. The characters were still unique and quirky but the plot wasn't as quirky as I was hoping. The very beginning and the very end were fabulous but the middle lacked a little of that special something that she is known and loved for. It was still very much worth the read but different from what you might expect from her.


About the Author

Sophie Kinsella has sold over 40 million copies of her books in more than 60 countries, and she has been translated into over 40 languages.

Sophie Kinsella first hit the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the Shopaholic series – The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (also published as Confessions of a Shopaholic). The book’s heroine, Becky Bloomwood – a fun and feisty financial journalist who loves shopping but is hopeless with money – captured the hearts of readers worldwide. Becky has since featured in seven further bestselling books, Shopaholic Abroad (also published as Shopaholic Takes Manhattan), Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic & Sister, Shopaholic & Baby, Mini Shopaholic, Shopaholic to the Stars and Shopaholic to the Rescue. Becky Bloomwood came to the big screen in 2009 with the hit Disney movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy.

Sophie has also written seven standalone novels which have all been bestsellers in the UK, USA and other countries around the world: Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, Wedding Night, and My Not So Perfect Life, which was a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Best Fiction in 2017.

In 2014 she published a Young Adult novel Finding Audrey about a teenage girl with social anxiety and her madcap family, and in January 2018, Sophie published her first illustrated book for young readers about the charming adventures of a mother-daughter fairy duo, Mummy Fairy and Me (also published as Fairy Mom and Me).

Sophie’s next novel, Surprise Me, presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage—its intricacies, comforts, and complications. Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered, and will be published in February 2018.

Sophie wrote her first novel under her real name, Madeleine Wickham, at the tender age of 24, whilst she was working as a financial journalist. The Tennis Party was immediately hailed as a success by critics and the public alike and became a top ten bestseller. She went on to publish six more novels as Madeleine Wickham: A Desirable Residence, Swimming Pool Sunday, The Gatecrasher, The Wedding Girl, Cocktails for Three and Sleeping Arrangements.

Sophie was born in London. She studied music at New College, Oxford, but after a year switched to Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She now lives in London, UK, with her husband and family.

Connect with Sophie


Saturday, 17 February 2018

Review: The Sweet Spot (Willamette Valley #1) by Heather Heyford

Welcome to Ribbon Ridge, Oregon, a small town steeped in history and graced with verdant valleys. In the first book of Heather Heyford’s newest series, a family-run vineyard is the perfect place to find yourself . . . and lose your heart.

A summer friendship ripens into something more . . .

The Vineyards at Ribbon Ridge is about as far away from the big city as Philadelphia music teacher Jamie Martel can get, and it’s the perfect place for her to forget her troubles for a while. But can a dream vacation turn into her real life? When she is offered a summer job at the lush Oregon vineyard, she decides it is time to find out.

Hank Friestatt took over The Vineyards when his parents passed. Committed to keeping their legacy alive, he has poured his heart and soul into the family business. With things back on track, he’s torn between tradition and a tempting opportunity to cut and run. Yet something about down-to-earth Jamie is making him question his plans. As the grapes are harvested and the leaves start to turn, Hank vows to keep the promises he made. Saying goodbye to Jamie, however, may be a lot harder than he thought . . .

Mass Market Paperback

Expected publication: February 27th 2018 by Lyrical Press, Inc

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

As in many of Heyford's work, this story uses the wine country of Oregon as a backdrop.  It is clear that she is a big fan of wine and has an extensive knowledge of wine making in this story.  There are several details that the wine connoisseur will appreciate.  While I don't hold the same love for the beverage or how it is made, those who do will appreciate the detail.

This story is essentially about lost dreams and learning to create new dreams with the cards that are dealt to you.  The journey of Jamie and Hank takes us through their self discovery as they learn what it is they want from life and each other.

I enjoyed the storyline between Hank and Jamie and a little less about the wine making backdrop.  This is individual preference and I am sure that I am in the minority and I can see how this will be enjoyed by many.

Overall a good story and I will continue to follow Heyford's work.

About the Author

Heather Heyford writes contemporary romance novels set in the wine country, where she visits frequently to drink pinot noir research books.

Heather sold her first romance series in 2014 to Kensington Publishing’s then-new digital imprint, Lyrical Press. After gaining a following in digital, her first mass market paperback series will launch in early 2018 with The Sweet Spot, a contemporary love story set in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Review: Want You (The Garner Brothers #2) by Stacy Finz

The smart and sexy Garner brothers have turned Glory Junction into California's hottest extreme sports town--and a thrilling adventure of the heart is always part of the deal . . .

The savvy CEO behind his family's outdoor sporting empire, TJ Garner has his choice of women. But the only one he wants is way out of bounds. Deb Bennett has been his brother Win's on and off girl since they were teenagers. And Deb's still waiting for Win to quit fooling around and realize she's The One . . .

Deb carves the ski slopes and rides the rapids like a champion--it's getting her every day life in order that's the real challenge. When she turns to Win's big brother for financial advice, TJ spontaneously offers the hard-working waitress an executive job at Garner Adventure. To Deb's surprise, the job is a blast--and so is working for TJ. She always knew he was a heartthrob, just like all the Garners, but he's charming and attentive too. Of course, given the choice between him and Win there's no contest--or is there? . . .

Expected publication: February 27th 2018 by Zebra Shout

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

This is the second in the Garner brother series and while it could be read as a stand alone, I recommend starting the series at the beginning simply because I love these brothers and all their stories need to be read.  Or read this one and then go back and read Colts story.  Either way I am sure you will fall in love with these brothers.

I love the town of Glory Junction that this book is set around.  A bustling adventure resort type town centered mostly around winter sports albeit not limited to it.  This is funny because I hate everything about winter (typing this while it is snowing and freezing rain outside my window).  I think it is the whole sense of community and vibe that has me smitten with the town.

Now to the actual story. The storyline with Deb and TJ is pretty typical.  They have both secretly been in love with the other since high school however have stayed away from each other for their own reasons.  The big one being Win, TJ's brother.  With the tight family dynamic between the Garner brothers, this does pose to be a problem.  As you know, these type of issues have a way of sorting themselves out throughout the pages of the story.

What I liked about this story is that there were some sub plots present that kept the story fresh.  Aside from Deb & TJ, there was a story with Win, and to a lesser extent a story with Darcy.  Could the combination of these two be the topic of the next installment?  I am certainly hoping so, I think it would be an interesting dynamic.

The only thing I am slightly confused about (and perhaps mentioned in my review of the first story as well) is why it appears Josh has already had a storyline when this is only the second book and the first featured Colt.  I can only assume that his story was told in Finz' previous Nugget series, I just cant remember.

If you are a fan of this genre, this book will be a hit with you.  A tight knit family, an tight knit adventurous town and some heated chemistry between its townsfolk.  What more could you ask for?

About the Author

Stacy Finz is an award-winning former newspaper reporter. After more than twenty years covering notorious serial killers, naked-tractor-driving farmers, fanatical foodies, aging rock stars and weird Western towns, she figured she finally had enough material to launch a career writing fiction. She is the author of the Nugget Romance series (Kensington/Lyrical Press) about a small mountain town that has a strange way of giving people unexpected reasons to start over--and find the most irresistible chances to fall in love

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Review: Finding Georgina by Colleen Faulkner

What happens after you get what you've always wanted? In Colleen Faulkner's thought-provoking and emotionally compelling novel, a mother is reunited with the daughter who was abducted as a toddler--only to face unexpected and painful challenges . . .

It's the moment Harper Broussard always dreamed of. Her daughter Georgina, snatched fourteen years ago during a Mardi Gras parade, is standing before her, making cappuccinos behind the counter of Harper's favorite New Orleans coffee shop. Harper's ex-husband, Remy, has patiently endured many "sightings" over the years, and assumes this is yet another false alarm.

Yet this time, Harper is right.

The woman who kidnapped Georgina admits to her crime. Georgina, now known as Lilla, returns to her birth parents. But in all of Harper's homecoming fantasies, her daughter was still a little girl, easily pacified with a trip to the park or a cherry snowball. In reality, she's a wary, confused teenager who has never known any mother except the loving woman who's now serving time. Harper's younger daughter, Josephine, has spent her life competing with the ghost of a perfect, missing sister. Trying to bond with the real, imperfect version isn't any easier. And though Remy has agreed to give their strained marriage another chance, he and Harper struggle to connect.

Clinging to dreams of reuniting has been Harper's way of surviving. Now she must forge new ones on an often heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful journey--one that will redefine her idea of motherhood and family.

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: February 27th 2018 by Kensington

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Kensington via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

I chose to read this story because of the topic, and I chose to love this story because of the topic.  Think about it the scenario, there are so many emotional points of view to consider that it is almost as overwhelming as the topic.

Faulkner chooses three different points of view to tell the story.  Georgina (Lilla) - the child who was abducted at the age of two and it now sixteen,  Harper - The mother who had her child taken away from her, and JoJo - the fourteen year old sister who has been living with Georgina's ghost her entire life.

Starting with Georgina, I really felt for her struggle.  In one swift moment her happy life that she had known for sixteen years, technically fourteen, was completely torn upside down.  Her loving mother is suddenly in jail and she is swept off to live with a family she does not know or remember.  Expectations are placed on her that she can't possibly meet as she struggle to come to terms with what happened and figure out how she fits in to her new reality.  I felt her journey was honest and realistically portrayed.

I struggled a little more with Harper.  Her expectations of her happy family reunion were so far from realistic it was rather sad.  The fact that she insisted Georgina be called by her birth name even though that is not the name she was raised with, the fact that she insisted shew as catholic although raised Jewish, and the fact that she was controlling and over protective.  I found myself judging her frequently until I stopped to think about it.  Who am I to say how I would act in that situation.  It does make sense that she was over protective of the daughter left behind and that she wanted her returned daughter to fit right in to her family life.  As far as her anxiety and overthinking, wouldn't I do the same in her situation?  Although I would like to think I would handle it better, I am pretty sure I would also be a train wreck.

I felt JoJo's journey to be the most identifiable.  As the youngest she was the most immature however surprisingly offered the most insight to the situation.  I completely understand how she struggled to live with the ghost of Georgina to suddenly have the ghost living under her roof.  I understand her tentative steps to get to know her while at the same time trying to maintain the somewhat normalcy her life had before.  As far as her understanding of her parents she was the only one who could see in to their relationship objectively.

The jury is out on Remy.  While I found him the only voice of reason at first, I felt his action above everyone else's ended up being the most selfish and self serving.

This story made me think and I like that.  An event like this impacts multiple people and the ripples just keep going.  I really really enjoyed this read.

About the Author

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Review: Furry Christmas by Sotia Lazu

Alice is spending the holidays alone with her best friend’s cat, while everyone she knows is out partying. To add to the fun, a huge stray dog just made a mess of her parents’ living room, and her dreams are haunted by the sexy stranger she slept with almost six months ago.

Quinn thinks he wasn’t always a dog, but he can’t be certain, because the killer migraines kick in. His collar reads Prince Charming, and he may turn out to be just that, if only he manages to remember that one important thing in time for… What?

All Quinn’s sure of is he knows Alice. All Alice needs to do is believe in magic.

And they’re both running out of time.

Published December 14th 2017 by Acelette Press 
Genre: Romance
Kristine's Thoughts:

I am in the minority according to other reviews on this novella but I have to say that I did not like this book at all. In fact, I found it quite disturbing. I think it was suppose to come across a little fairytale "ish" but it came across as... I'm not quite sure. You have a woman and a dog who use to be a man who had a one night stand with said woman. The dog ends up at her house and whenever he (as the dog) is lying in her bed she has vivid sexual dreams/encounters about the dog when he was a man. I know and understand that she was not having the actual encounters with the dog form of the man but the dog was in the bed and it was just a little creepy.  Nope, just couldn't feel it.

 About the Author
Sotia cries at sappy movies and wishes she could take in all the stray dogs in the world. She lives in Athens, Greece, with her husband--whom she met through writing--their son, and their two rescue dogs, one of which might be part-pony.

Her genres of choice are romances with a twist and urban fantasy novels, always with vivid erotic elements. Her characters aren't exactly hero-material at first glance; she likes making them fight for their happiness. Still, the romantic in her can’t resist happy endings.
Connect with Sotia

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Review: Must Love Horses (Lazy S Ranch #2) by Vicki Tharp

The dust hasn’t settled on one woman’s past, but amid the breathtaking hills and valleys of Wyoming’s high country—and with the encouragement of one special man—her spirit won’t be broken . . .

Sydney Teller is as determined as the wild mustangs she was raised to train. Her reckless parents destroyed their reputation in the business—and hers, by association—yet Sydney knows she can prove herself, if she’s just given a chance. That where the Lazy S Ranch, and sexy Bryan “Boomer” Wilcox comes in . . .

Bryan risked life and limb on his tours in Iraq, and he knows damaged goods all too well when he sees them. Problem is, Sydney looks damn fine in a saddle and she’s got moves that can’t be learned. He doubted her at first, but now he wonders if they can navigate life’s obstacle course together—and indulge their own animal instincts . . .

Sydney can’t deny her attraction to Bryan, yet she’s wary of his demons. But when foul play threatens the ranch, and their futures, Bryan gets a chance to rediscover the hero he’s been all along—and Sydney gets to show she’s got what it takes to tame the wildest impulses—in both man and beast .

Expected publication: February 20th 2018 by Kensington

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

This is the second in a series and I had not read the first however it can be read as a stand alone.  My only hesitation is that I did not have a love affair with this story so not sure if reading the first story may have improved my view.  I don't think so but you never know.

This story seemed to have an identity crisis to me.  I will start with the title.  It is called Must Love Horses.  While Sydney is a horse trainer and has a back story of her parents being reckless horse trainers, the story is not really centralized around this fact.  Aside from her occupation, I couldn't see where the storyline had anything to do with the love of horses.

Speaking of Sydney, I had a hard time with her as well.  She saw the red flags when it came to Bryan and knew that she could not get involved with him.  Knowing this she still felt the need to throw herself at him at every opportunity even when he warned her he did not do casual.  The mixed messages she threw out were mind dumbing.

Then there was the storyline of their trek in to the mountains.  This may be hard to express without giving away spoilers but I had serious issues with it.  Knowing what they knew concerning recent activity, they still felt it necessary to investigate on their own without back-up.  Seriously?  They just threw themselves in harms way without thinking of the consequences?  While it was necessary for the rest of the plot to unfold, there must have been a better way to take the story in that direction without making the characters look like fools.

Lastly, and this is common to this genre of story and not unique to this only this book, but the way the L word came so easily.  I know that traumatic events can bring emotions to the surface however where was the foundation leading them to this discovery?

Sadly I was not a big fan of this story.  I just felt that some aspect were not developed enough while other aspects took up too much of the storyline.  While Tharps writing was easy to follow, the story just wasn't for me.

About the Author

Vicki Tharp makes her home on small acreage in south Texas with her husband and an embarrassing number of pets. When she isn’t writing or you can usually find her on the back of her horse—avoiding anything that remotely resembles housework—smelling of fly spray, and horse sweat.