Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tasty Book Tours: Sweet Cowboy Christmas Sweet, Texas # 3.5 By: Candis Terry Review + Giveaway


 
Sweet Cowboy Christmas Sweet, Texas # 3.5
By: Candis Terry  
Releasing November 25th, 2014
Avon Impulse 

Mature Content Advisory, must be 18+ for some adult situations.

Blurb
Mistletoe, holly, and cowboys, oh

my! Christmas in Texas has never been sweeter.

Years ago, Chase Morgan traded in his dusty cowboy boots for the shimmering lights of New York City and a fast track up the corporate ladder. But when his shiny life is turned on end just in time for Christmas, Chase knows he needs to reevaluate even if that means going home to Texas to endure his least favorite holiday.

When Mr. Tall, Dark, and Smoking Hot walks through her door at the Magic Box Guest Ranch, Faith Walker sees just another handsome, rich exec looking to play cowboy for a week-at her expense. She’s sure the grumpy, but sexy as hell Scrooge will put a crimp in her holly jolly plans. Until a sizzling kiss has her seeing him in a new light.

Chase is haunted by secrets, and even though it goes entirely against her “hands off the guests” rule Faith is tempted to help him leave the past behind. As the magic of the season swirls around them, she is determined to succeed because now she is certain one sweet, cowboy Christmas will never be enough


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22552585-sweet-cowboy-christmas?from_search=true
After leaving his old life behind in Texas due to his father's passing for the lights of New York City, the last thing Chase Morgan expected was a near death experience due to his fast track corporate job. Now he finds himself in Sweet, Texas during Christmas season trying to reevaluate his direction in life and get the rest that his doctor insists on.

As Chase ends up on Magic Box Guest Ranch, he finds his way into the pretty owner's life. Faith Walker loves the holiday season and finds joy in decorating her ranch for Christmas, holding charity events, and giving gifts to children.When Chase finds his way onto her ranch, Faith finds him a little too hard to resist. Not when Chase is proving everything she thought of him wrong. The Sweet, Texas weather isn't the only thing that ends up warming up.

Another quick Christmas novella read. I really like these. I enjoyed the first book in this series, and have not been able to read the rest but I do like Terry's writing. There is just something so warm and endearing about her books and her characters. The storyline was sweet, simple, and I found myself enjoying every minute of it. Faith was just a character full of heart and it was hard not to like her. Chase was just as great. The chemistry between seemed perfect for this short story, and Terry had managed to pack quiet a lot into this short read. Sweet Cowboy Christmas was a nice little novella that satisfied my craving for some Christmas fun.

Author Info

Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers. Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.


Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads










Rafflecopter Giveaway (Grand Prize: Print or Digital Set of SWEET, TEXAS Series (Bks 1-3) and $25.00 Amazon Gift Card)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: Spell Check by Julie Wright


Spell Check by Julie Wright

Published June 10th 2014 by Heart Stone Press
Paperback, 218 pages
Series: Stand-Alone?
Genre: Young-Adult Paranormal

AmazonGoodreads


Summary from Goodreads
A skeleton is rattling its way out of the closet marked
“FAMILY SECRET! KEEP OUT!”

Allyson Peterson believes that being hanged by the
Salem High Witches is the absolute worst thing that
can happen. But when her powers, wrested from the
trolls of ancient Sweden, manifest themselves, she
realizes that a prank hanging by vindictive cheerleaders
is the least of her worries.

Ally accidentally sends her parents to the jungle to fight
anacondas, turns her brother into a mute, and curses the
entire cheerleading team with an illness that has no cure,
proving that her spells need a little checking. Her Swedish
grandmother shows up to help her through the worst part
of all—surviving the Troll Trials and saving the guy of
her dreams from a vengeance that has festered through-
out generations.

The power is in her, if she can just get the magic right.
After finding out that the women in her family inherit powers that were wrested from the trolls of ancient Sweden, Allyson Peterson did not expect the amount of responsibility or troubles they can cause. Suddenly the saying, 'be careful of what you wish for' holds a whole new meaning. Especially after accidentally sending her parents off to the jungle to fight anacondas, cursing the cheer-leading team and turning her own little brother mute. Now her Swedish grandmother is involved in fixing her mess and preparing her for the Troll Trials, if she could survive them first.

Not at all what I expected, but it was a pleasant surprise anyway. This story felt quiet a bit juvenile to me. I was actually surprised by the main characters age of 16, since I felt she acted way younger. With the theme and the characters actions and the elements, this story probably would have done a lot better if it was for the way younger audience. Allyson's actions baffled me sometimes, but it was nice to see a bit of character growth in this book, especially for a stand-alone. The thing that seemed to have confused me the most was the odd love interest. I didn't really feel it. It was kind of awkward and I have to admit I did not expected it to turn out the way it did in the end, it almost felt kind of forced, especially since the one big scene between Allyson and her love interest was odd, short lived, and looked like it might actually head in a completely different direction.

The plot line was cute. I thought the author had a great imagination, but once again - I felt it could have done better if it was for younger audience. Somethings did leave me feeling a bit confused. Like... Why was there a death penalty if Allyson refused to take the Vow? That was really never explained. Second, the trials felt a little silly to me. I did not understand how on earth they would benefit her in the real world. Her magic suddenly went from being simple wishes to something much more, it felt unexpected and unprepared. Third, I just could not wrap around my head why on earth Allyson's archenemy Lisa hated her so much and had caused her so much trouble. I felt that it should have been addressed a bit more in the story.

Overall, I liked the magic. The concept was cute and original. The story was fun and It did draw me in. Aside from a few things that left me confused and unsure of, this was a pleasant read.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Tasty Book Tours: Tempting Mr. Weatherstone Wallflower Weddings Book #0.5 By: Vivienne Lorret Review + Giveaway


 
Tempting Mr. Weatherstone
Wallflower Weddings Book #0.5
By: Vivienne Lorret
On Sale Nov 25th, 2014
Avon Romance
 

Blurb

Penelope Rutledge longs for passion, but only with the man of her dreams: the brilliant, dashing Ethan Weatherstone. If only her longtime neighbor would open his eyes and realize how much she loves him. If only they weren’t best friends with so much at stake. Penelope knows her future - and their friendship - is in her hands, but is she willing to take the biggest risk of all on the man she loves?
If it were up to Ethan, life and love would be as predictable as the figures in his ledgers - certainly nothing like the adventures Penelope longs for. Yet his childhood friend has grown into a beautiful, feisty woman blissfully unaware of the danger she causes when near. Ethan knows he must save Penelope-and her reputation...but can he save himself from the temptation of her lips?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22836686-tempting-mr-weatherstone
Penelope Rutledge has been in love with her long time neighbor and friend for a very long time. She wishes he would break free from his routine and sameness and give in to the passion she had been longing for. She wants something different in her life and is very tired of the fact that Ethan Weatherstone does not seem to return her feelings. Unable to marry anyone else when everyone else pales in comparison, Penelope wants to leave town and set out on her own adventure. Unless Ethan has a say in it first...

Such a cute quick story. This was a great way for me to experiment with an author that is new to me. I stepped into this book gingerly testing the waters and boy was I happy with the results. Lorret's writing was interesting. I really liked following Penelope and Ethan as the two best friends stumbled their way through dealing with these feelings they have for each other. For Ethan, he doesn't want to lose Penelope, scared that his actions would only chase her away and why would he want that if he liked having her this close? Even if it means sacrificing his feelings. For Penelope, she wants nothing more than for Ethan to love her back and give her something different in her life.

Best friends to lovers is one of my favorite tropes, so I was so excited about this short story and I did not come out of it disappointed. Short, but somehow it worked. Lorret did a great job in telling Penelope's and Ethan's story in this short novel.


Author Info
I fell in love with fairy tales and the romance behind happily ever after at a very young age. Like a lot of you, I tweaked the fables bit by bit in my imagination until they suited me perfectly. By the time I was eleven, a teacher encouraged me to start writing.
Throughout the years that followed, my teachers remained my most fervent supporters, giving me the tools I needed to continue my journey as a writer.
My husband and I have two teenage boys, who are heroes in their own right. For now, we live in a small Midwestern town near Lake Michigan…until a time in the future when a new adventure calls us to other shores.
I am currently working on my next novel, but I always enjoy hearing from my readers. Feel free to email me at vivienne@vivlorret.net


Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for $35.00 Harry & David Gift Card

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Review: What the Lady Wants: A Novel of Marshall Field and the Gilded Age by Renee Rosen


What the Lady Wants: A Novel of Marshall Field and the Gilded Age by Renee Rosen

Published  November 4th 2014 by NAL Trade
Paperback, 448 pages
Series: Stand-Alone
Genre: Historical Fiction

AmazonGoodreads


Summary from Goodreads

In late-nineteenth-century Chicago, visionary retail tycoon Marshall Field made his fortune wooing women customers with his famous motto: “Give the lady what she wants.” His legendary charm also won the heart of socialite Delia Spencer and led to an infamous love affair.

The night of the Great Fire, as seventeen-year-old Delia watches the flames rise and consume what was the pioneer town of Chicago, she can’t imagine how much her life, her city, and her whole world are about to change. Nor can she guess that the agent of that change will not simply be the fire, but more so the man she meets that night.…

Leading the way in rebuilding after the fire, Marshall Field reopens his well-known dry goods store and transforms it into something the world has never seen before: a glamorous palace of a department store. He and his powerhouse coterie—including Potter Palmer and George Pullman—usher in the age of robber barons, the American royalty of their generation.

But behind the opulence, their private lives are riddled with scandal and heartbreak. Delia and Marshall first turn to each other out of loneliness, but as their love deepens, they will stand together despite disgrace and ostracism, through an age of devastation and opportunity, when an adolescent Chicago is transformed into the gleaming White City of the Chicago’s World’s Fair of 1893.
There are books out there that sometimes I have a hard time expressing what I want to say in my reviews. This one happens to be one of them. The writing was beautiful, the story was captivating and the characters were full of heart and marvelous.What the Lady Wants starts out with a bang when the author drops us in the middle of the hardest times in Chicago, during the night of the Great Fire, and it takes off and a full roller-coaster from there.

The story is told from a young lady's prospective by the name of Delia, who comes from a family with lots of money. Having all that money did not stop Delia from living quiet the difficult life. Marrying at a young age to a man named Arthur, who also came from money and having the unfortunate luck of finding herself completely in love with another married man. From falling into nasty society gossip, losing a lot of her friends and still able to pick herself up and move on from the hurtful snide remarks and being shut the door on by people who she thought were her friends.

The story follows three very unlikely friends. Marshall is a great character, who seemed to have been a great man. He had a failing marriage and has went through a lot of pains when it came to growing his store. The first time he lost his store in the Great Fire he rebuilt it from the ashes shortly after. I loved seeing how his story progressed over the ages, how Marshall wanted to move with the times and deliver something exquisite and different. The man has made history with everything that he went through. Just when things seemed like they were going smoothly something else knocking him down and he got back up again, stronger, better, bigger.

I watched the rise and fall of labor unions in the day and workers wanting money. The dark times that came as a result. I watched Delia struggle with being in love with Marshall, the affair, and whose wife refused to grant him the divorce they both wanted her to. I liked that the author threw in such a big curve ball with Delia's husband and his sexuality. Arthur came from money, and he was Delia's best friend but their marriage was solely based on friendship. He was a tortured soul in a way. He didn't amount to anything that his father wanted him to, and he was kind of lazy. Lot's of times we watched Delia compare him to Marsh, wishing he had half the motivation Marsh did - who also had money, but that did not stop him from changing the face of the dry goods store.

I had to go and look this up, which store exactly it was that he had build. Turns out it is one we all know these days as Macy's. After it's been sold off to another company and renamed.

A truly great and wonderful story. I adored the writing and found myself savoring every moment. With realistic characters, it was hard not to get pulled in!



Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Tour: Can’t Wait Hunted Series Prequel By: Jennifer Ryan Review + Giveaway


 
Can’t Wait Hunted Series Prequel
By: Jennifer Ryan
Releasing November 11th, 2014
Avon Romance
Mature Content Advisory, must be 18+ for some adult situations.
From the All I Want for Christmas is a Cowboy Anthology comes Jennifer Ryan’s story of Caleb and Summer. Before the Hunted series they had a whirlwind romance not to be forgotten...

Caleb Bowden has a lot to thank his best friend, Jack, for - saving his life in Iraq and giving him a job helping him run his family’s ranch. He also introduced him to the most incredible woman he’s ever met. Too bad he can’t ask her out. You do not date your best friend’s sister. Summer and Caleb share a closeness she’s never felt for anyone, but the stubborn man refuses to turn the flirtatious friendship into something meaningful. Frustrated and tired of wishing to be happy, Caleb tells Jack how he feels about Summer. With his friend’s help, he plans a surprise Christmas proposal she’ll never forget - because he can’t wait to make her his wife. 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22552581-can-t-wait?ac=1

A quick sweet read that is great for this upcoming Holiday season. With me lately being in a holiday mood already, Can't Wait was just what I needed to satisfy that kick. The only downside? It ended far too quickly just as I was beginning to enjoy it.

Caleb Bowden is in love with his best friends sister, but he is afraid to move on it because the last thing he want's is to ruin his friendship that's very important to him. Both him and Jack served in Iraq, and it's thanks to Jack that Caleb still has his life and now his job. Summer has never felt so close to anyone as she feels to Caleb, but the man is too stubborn to take their friendship into a more meaningful level. With holiday season on the horizon, will spark finally fly?

Like I said, cute story. I enjoyed both Summer and Caleb. I really liked how Summer went for what she wanted and wasn't afraid of it. I thought their relationship and flirtation was cute. I couldn't help but root for them even if I knew what the outcome was going to be. I was a little proud of Jack's reaction in the end and for Caleb when he took that final leap. It was a sweet, cozy, romantic read. Too bad it was a little too quick, yet at the same time it worked pretty well for the story. I thought the author covered ground fairly well.

Author Info
Jennifer Ryan is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series and The McBrides Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.

Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway (Digital Set of The Hunted Series, Books 1 – 4)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Release Day Review: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel


The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel 

Published November 11th 2014 by Entangled: Teen
Paperback304 pages
Series: The Book of Ivy
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia

AmazonGoodreads


Summary from Goodreads

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…
United States destroyed by nuclear war, causing a small group of survivors to fall into conflict over which family should govern this new nation in their darkest hour. After Westfalls loss to Lattimer's over presidency there are lots of bad blood between the two families. The peace between the two groups of people who took sides is now maintained by marrying the daughters or sons of the losing side to the daughters or son of the winners.

It's Ivy's turn. After the president's son request to marry her and not her sister Callie, Ivy is now thrown under the bus at only 16 years old to marry the presidents 18-year-old son Bishop Lattimer. She is now expected to be a good wife and bear him children as soon as possible. Yet the boy who seemed to have come from this cruel family is nothing like she had at all imagined. Bishop is kind, patient and seems to really understand Ivy. I even found myself falling in love with him. I loved the way he treated Ivy and that he came out completely opposite of what she thought he would be. I liked the understanding between them and how he opened Ivy's eyes out to the truth about his character. Their relationship wasn't perfect but I did find it cute and realistic.

This book was so much fun. I found myself hesitant at first but as the story went on I found that I absolutely enjoyed it. I liked the setting and how not everything is really black and white, that there is a lot more to what Ivy has been informed by her family and I liked learning that with her. I thought the idea for the book was well done. The city is surrounded by a fence and no one knows what's on the other side of it and are too scared to venture beyond it, so they use the fence as a punishment for the no good doers.

I have to admit, for some reason maybe it's just me but the book reminded me a bit of the Delirium series. Not as far as love being a disease, because it wasn't here, but there are other small similarities as far as the world and how it's created and the isolation and not knowing the beyond. I swear, if book 2 has a love triangle in it, I will totally scream.

Other than that, the writing was great. The author really knew how to tell a story and it showed through the emotions it invoked in me. As Ivy started to learn a little more and got two sides of the story, I found myself frustrated and angry with her family. I was even more disgusted at the end. I won't go into it, but seriously how can a father do that to his own flesh and blood. It was... disturbing to say the least.

I cannot wait for book two, even if the possible date is November 2015 :( a year from now!



Monday, November 10, 2014

Review: In the Mood for Love (Cupcake Lovers #4) by Beth Ciotta

Every so often when I can, I will be generating a random number and picking a book from the older ARC's that I have received in the past but have not had a chance to review (life getting in the way) that way I can clean up some of my other ARCs piles and give these books a fair chance.

In the Mood for Love (Cupcake Lovers #4) by Beth Ciotta

Published July 1st 2014 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Paperback, 320 pages
Series: Cupcake Lovers
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: Kissing to steamy-ish

AmazonGoodreads

Mature Content Advisory, must be 18+ for some adult situations.

Summary from Goodreads

When Harper Day blows into the small town of Sugar Creek, Vermont, she takes the sleepy community completely by surprise. A stunning beauty and frenzied workaholic, the celebrity publicist based out of L.A. maintains she will only be in Sugar Creek for vacations. The cozy atmosphere of Sugar Creek, however, has other plans. Haunted by a troubled past and insecure about her future, Harper finds solace in doing publicity for the Cupcake Lovers. Now if only she could get her life back in line, and put a stop to this newfound attraction she has for

one of the members…

Sam McCloud feels an intense connection to Harper, which makes things way more complicated. Still reeling from his wife's untimely death and focused on raising his two young children, Sam doesn't have the emotional strength to get close to a woman again. But when he finds Harper in a jam and the best solution leads to them constantly being together, Sam cannot deny their attraction. True, Harper is from a different world and still struggling with her past, but Sam is determined not to lose another woman he loves…

I enjoyed Beth Ciotta's previous writing with her steampunk series and was a little surprised when I realized that I have yet to read her contemporary romance. So when In the Mood for Love popped up on my to read list, I did not hesitate to tackle it and came out pleasantly surprised.

Beth tells a wonderful story about two very broken people. One is Harper Day, who is a celebrity publicist and a major workaholic. The other is a widowed father of two children Sam McCloud, a proud member of the cupcakes club. Sam is having emotional connection issues with other women ever since his wife has passed, but Harper day seems to be the only one that he would bother to look twice at. Too bad that Harper doesn't want a major relationship, just a little bit of fun, until she get's fired and is about to be deported to Canada where her not so happy past awaits her. Sam proposes marriage, and Harper has no way of declining.

Great story. It was nice, I enjoyed it. I liked following Sam and Harper as they both slowly healed each others hearts as well as meeting the rest of the Cupcake lovers. Thought I have not read the previous books, I found this one okay without it. Sure I wanted to know more about the characters in it, but that did not stop me from enjoying the story. I liked how Ciotta also threw in chapters with other characters in it, branching out into setting up the possible story for the next book.

It was a sweet read and I liked Ciotta's charming characters and storytelling. To me Cupcake Lovers was more of a comfort read and made me kind of wish my husband knew how to bake some cupcakes heh.