Review: Not So Vanilla, by Morgan Noel

Title: Not So Vanilla
Author: Morgan Noel
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

“Bartholomew’s life is perfect. He’s got a job he loves, he’s in a committed relationship with his loving boyfriend who appreciates his neurotic tendencies, social anxiety, and general awkwardness. It’s not ‘white-picket-fence-and-Golden-Retriever’-perfect, but their nice little apartment in the city and the cat they rescued from the shelter come pretty close. 

The domestic bliss gets disturbed when his boyfriend Kyle brings a very hot friend from high school into their sanctuary, making both of them wonder if perhaps ‘perfect’ is as relative as good sex.” (description from Goodreads)

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A quick read (listen, for me technically). Didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I had thought going into it. I felt a potential for these characters to really go somewhere and develop, but much was left out for me. There’s a great premise having a third guy come to live with a couple and there was conflict there. Mew had a chance to grow both sexually and socially, too. While he technically did by the end, it was a bit too easy of a conclusion and then the story was over. I think working this into a larger story could do all the characters justice and I would be interested in reading that book.

Still, with the potential I feel it had, I’ll be checking out more of Noel’s writing. I may stick to text over audio though. Mew came out as too whiny for being a sole narrator and maybe that shaped his character into an even less enjoyable one than he was created to be.

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You can buy this book from:

AmazonAudible

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About the Author:

Full of snark and bitterness about failed careers, I’ve decided to pursue writing, like a real author

Find out more:

#Review: In Walks Love, by @romafrosthart

In Walks LoveTitle: In Walks Love (Evergreen Valley Flirt #1)
Author: Roma Frost Hart
Rating: 3/5 stars

“Return to the beloved, quaint town of Evergreen Valley for an enemies to lovers flirt romance and discover how your favorite side characters find their sweet happily-ever-afters along side the Hallidays in these novella-length stand-alone flirt romance books!

Hudson Deveroux is proud of the billion-dollar developmental corporation he’s built from the ground up. Blueprints, contracts, and cold-hearted board members have filled his life for the past five years. So when the fun-loving and beautiful Avery challenges his decision to demolish an old building holding back a major project he’s equally irritated and intrigued by her beauty and wit. He tells himself it was only a sweet kiss one heart-warming afternoon, but he never anticipated the power of a woman on a mission.

In desperate need of a story, award-winning journalist Avery Grant returns to Evergreen valley in the hopes of refilling the creative well while visiting family. Only the quiet getaway she’d hoped for is upended when a roguishly handsome Hudson steps into her family’s floral shop with an ultimatum and an impossible deadline. Never did she think her next piece would fall into her lap, but she senses there’s a bigger story behind those sexy hazel eyes and she aims to find out before her family loses everything they’ve worked years to build. Renewed with a goal and armed with an arsenal of sweet kisses and small-town persuasion, Avery sets out to prove even the ice-cold heart of a bigwig can be melted in a small town like Evergreen Valley. ” (description from Goodreads)

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In Walks Love is what the series name suggests. It’s a flirt of a novella. A hint at a small town called Evergreen Valley. I haven’t read Hart’s main Evergreen Valley series yet, but having read this novella, I want to.

While I didn’t think this was the best novella I’ve read, it was still a good quick read. It was cute and light-hearted. I feel that the characters and the story itself weren’t able to be fleshed out enough to do them justice. There’s a good start here. It was just over fast and done a bit shallowly. Rewrite this as a novel and I think it’ll be amazing. I’m intrigued by Avery and the town.

Having read this novella, the Evergreen Valley main series is now on my radar. I think it’ll be well worth my time to visit this small town again.

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You can buy this novella from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Roma Frost Hart is the sweet ‘n flirty pen name for bestselling author Talina Perkins.

Roma writes fun and flirty contemporary romances that capture the hope of the four seasons with heartwarming stories while embracing family and friendship. Her stories are filled with love and laughter as every character finds true love and their happily ever after–without the steamy scenes.

Originally from the Carolinas, Roma traded her inner country girl for year round flip flops and sundresses at a young age. Married to a former U.S. Recon Marine, she currently resides in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where the sun is always shining and the beaches are a constant lure to her muse. When she’s not at the keyboard or mastering her skills as a wicked sand castle extraordinaire, Roma Frost loves spending time with her four kids and enjoys the wild ride of raising four teenagers.

Roma Frost also writes steamy paranormal and military romances as Talina Perkins and you can find out more about both of her incredibly popular Hex My Heart and Wylde Den series on her website.

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Review: Saved by the Cowboy, by @AJ_Pine

Saved by the Cowboy 2Title: Saved by the Cowboy (Crossroads Ranch #1.5)
Author: A.J. Pine
Rating: 5/5 stars

“Cowboy to the rescue

Once upon a time, Sheriff Cash Hawkins left his simple life for something bigger—and came home with a broken heart. Now he has everything he needs right here in Oak Bluff, California—his job, his dog, and a quiet ranching town best explored on the back of a horse. 

Olivia Belle believes in fairy tales—just not for herself. So when her boyfriend drops to one knee at his sister’s wedding with a proposal that is more business than romance, she hightails it out of San Francisco in search of the only evidence she knows that true love exists—her grandparents’ lost love letters from fifty years ago. 

When Olivia speeds into his town like a modern-day Cinderella in her ball gown and glass slippers, Cash’s careful existence is finally thrown for a loop. Maybe the answer Olivia’s looking for is in Oak Bluff, but the life she ran from is more than 200 miles away. As for Cash . . . he knows a thing or two about being left on bended knee. Olivia Belle could be his happily ever after . . . if this runaway bridesmaid doesn’t run off with his heart.” (description from Goodreads)

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I’ve been reading romance novels for years. What I haven’t done was venture into the world of cowboy romance. That’s all changed with A.J. Pine’s latest novella Saved by the Cowboy.

Since reading this novella, I’ve already looked into getting book 2 in the series and I already own book 1 that’s sitting next to me ready to read. Pine hooked me with her characters early on. That’s always key for me. It also helps that there’s a small town setting, even if it wasn’t explored too deeply this time around. There’s a hint of that great small town feel that I enjoy finding in the romances I read.

I’d rather not go too deep into what made this novella work so well for me. It’s a good one to dive into without much info. It was hard to put down once I started and I hope both Cash and Olivia show up again in the rest of this series.

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You can pre-order the ebook from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

But if you don’t want to wait until August 7th, you can grab this novella bundled with Sara Richardson’s True-Blue Cowboy (releasing tomorrow, July 31st) from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

A teen librarian by day and a romance writer by night, A.J. Pine can’t seem to escape the world of fiction, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s the author of the If Only series (Entangled Embrace), the Only You series (Berkley/Intermix), the Kingston Ale House series (Entangled Select), and the upcoming Crossroads Ranch series (Forever Romance). When she finds that 25th hour in the day, she might indulge in a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires, superheroes, and a certain high-functioning sociopath detective. She hails from the far off galaxy of the Chicago suburbs.

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Review: Man Hands, by @SarinaBowen and @Blunder_Woman

 

Man HandsTitle: Man Hands (Man Hands #1)
Author: Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby
Rating: 4/5 stars

He puts the “screw” in screwball comedy…

BRYNN
At thirty-four, I’m reeling from a divorce. I don’t want to party or try to move on. I just want to stay home and post a new recipe on my blog: Brynn’s Dips and Balls.

But my friends aren’t having it. Get out there again, they say. It will be fun, they say. I’m still taking a hard pass.

Free designer cocktails, they say. And that’s a game-changer.

Too bad my ex shows up with his new arm candy. That’s when I lose my mind. But when my besties dare me to leap on the first single man I see, they don’t expect me to actually go through with it.

TOM
All I need right now is some peace and quiet while my home renovation TV show is on hiatus. But when a curvy woman in a red wrap dress charges me like she’s a gymnast about to mount my high bar, all I can do is brace myself and catch her. What follows is the hottest experience of my adult life.

I want a repeat, but my flying Cinderella disappears immediately afterward. She doesn’t leave a glass slipper, either—just a pair of panties with chocolate bunnies printed on them.

But I will find her.” (description from Goodreads)

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While I’ve been following Sarina Bowen’s work for a few years, what made me check out this book was her co-author. I’ve only had the pleasure of listening to Tanya Eby read other author’s books. This time, I got a taste of her writing. Bowen is a great author and along with Eby Man Hands was a great book to pick up.

The comedy in this book reminds me of Tara Sivec’s writing. They all are hilarious most of the time and don’t pull punches. Along with that, but characters are also sweet and a great fit for each other. I even ended up enjoying the reality show elements of the book, despite not enjoying them in the real world.

The only (minor) thing that brought the rating down for me was the pacing of the story. I felt it was a little on the speedy side. With how much I was enjoying the characters and their interactions, I felt the story as a whole was a little rushed. I think there was room to stretch it just a little more while not fluffing it up. Maybe there’ll be a novella with more of this couple to satisfy my needs. Even without that, there are more books in this series for me to read!

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You can grab this book from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Sarina Bowen:

Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over two dozen contemporary and LGTB romance novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestseller’s list in February, with Brooklynaire. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.

Sarina Bowen is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.

Sarina’s books are published in a dozen languages on four continents. In 2016, The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with a RITA award for Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.

Find out more:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords

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About Tanya Eby:

Tanya is a member of SAG/AFTRA. She is a narrator and has over 500 titles to her credit. She also narrates under the name of Tatiana Sokolov for books that are particularly saucy (AKA erotica books). When not narrating, she’s working on her own writing. Check out her books: Easy Does It, Blunder Woman, Pepper Wellington and the Case of the Missing Sausage, Foodies Rush In,  Tunnel Vision, and Synchronicity. She also has a food blog at dips.tanyaeby.com.

Find out more:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

Review: To Get Me to You, by @KaitNolan

TO Get Me to You

Title: To Get Me to You (Wishful #1)
Author: Kait Nolan
Rating: 5/5 stars

“Just a city girl, living in a lonely world.

Displaced Steel Magnolia Norah Burke doesn’t know the meaning of failure. But when she threatens to blow the whistle on some shady business practices at her Chicago marketing firm, she gets fired fast as all get out. Licking her wounds, she heads back below the Mason-Dixon for a little home-grown Southern comfort.

Just a small town boy.

With his iron-clad Mississippi roots, Councilman Cam Crawford is a man who values tradition, preservation, and the love of a good dog. When a big box warehouse store tries to capitalize on his hometown’s economic downturn, it seriously burns his biscuit. He’s not about to let anyone’s ambition destroy what he holds dear.

A David vs. Goliath story with a side of grits.

This unlikely pair just might be the perfect allies–in war and out. But as the battle to stop GrandGoods heats up and sparks of attraction turn to something more, will Norah’s bigger-picture perspective go with Cam’s “keep it as it is” attitude? Are they meant to be like biscuits and gravy? Or are they just as wrong as unsweetened tea?“(description from Goodreads)

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I’m a sucker for a romance set in a small town. What this sub-genre normally has is the ability to world build, develop a large cast of characters, and make you want to visit the town itself, all while enjoying the main plot (the romance) of the book. That’s what Kait Nolan did in this book. And she did it well.

Nolan’s first Wishful novel sets the bar high for the rest of the series. She has strong characters, in both personality and how well they’re developed. Cam and Norah were great to get to know, and the rest of their friends and family weren’t lacking, even if they were secondary characters. I feel that moving forward with this series Kait won’t need to spend too much time building up most of their stories. It’s all there in this first book, while no bogging down the book with too much information. Nolan skillfully gave the readers what they need as they need it.

Along with the characters, the setting of Wishful was a joy to read. It was, as many small towns are, a character in itself. There’s much more to explore in this town and the antics that I’m sure will occur. I’m ready to keep coming back for visits in the rest of this series. Maybe I’ll see you all there.
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You can grab this book from:

Amazon | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Kait Nolan is stuck in an office all day, sometimes juggling all three of her jobs at once with the skill of a trained bear—sometimes with a similar temperament. After hours, this RITA® Finalist author uses her powers for good, creating escapist fiction. This Mississippi native has something for everyone, from short and sweet to Southern contemporary romance to small-town romantic suspense—all featuring heroes you’d want to sweep you off your feet and rescue you from work-day drudgery. When not working or writing, Kait’s hanging out in her kitchen cooking and wishing life were a Broadway musical.

A passionate believer in helping others, she has founded a writing challenge designed for people who have a life (aka we NaNoWriMo rejects who can’t give everything up for the month of November).  Please check out A Round of Words in 80 Days.

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Review: The Text Dare, by @Amy_Sparling

The Text Dare

Title: The Text Dare (First Love Shorts #1)
Author: Amy Sparling
Rating: 5/5 stars

“Sixteen-year-old Jess Parker is stuck babysitting her little brother all weekend, which is why she accepts her best friend’s dare: to text the random phone number they found written on a lost piece of algebra homework. When the owner of the number texts back, Jess and Max hit it off through their anonymous conversation. The last thing Jess expected was to spend her boring weekend texting the guy of her dreams, and now that she’s crushing hardcore on a guy she’s never met, she hopes he’s actually the guy he claims to be.“(description from Goodreads)

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I was in the mood for a quick, light read and that’s what I got with Amy Sparling’s The Text Dare. This is the first book in a young adult novella “series” from Sparling and I’ll be reading the rest for sure, next time I’m looking for a guaranteed enjoyable novella.

What I enjoy with Sparling’s work is that she’s able to write the teenage first person so believably. I’m no longer a teenager, but from what I remember a lot of the main character’s inner thoughts and interactions felt familiar and realistic. Sparling’s characters aren’t too mature for where they’re supposed to be in life, and they also weren’t too immature and kiddish. I appreciate this when reading a Young Adult book.

I also think that with a novella based almost completely on text interaction, there was more meet to it than expected. The characters were able to develop through these conversations, just like face to face dialogue could have done, and these were characters that hadn’t even met when their conversations started.

I’m curious what the next novella has in store for me. Maybe it’ll be my next weekend read.

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You can grab this book from:

Amazon

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About the Author:

Amy Sparling is the author of The Summer Unplugged Series, Deadbeat & other awesome books for younger teens. She also writes books for older teens under the name Cheyanne Young.

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New Release: #LosingLeah, by @TiffanyKingYA

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Some bonds can’t be broken.

Ten years after the tragic disappearance of her twin sister Leah, sixteen-year-old Mia Klein still struggles to exist within a family that has never fully recovered. Deep in the dark recesses of her mind lies an overwhelming shadow, taunting Mia with mind-splitting headaches that she tries to hide in an effort to appear okay.

Leah Klein’s life as she knew it ended the day she was taken, thrust into a world of abuse and fear by a disturbed captor―”Mother,” as she insists on being called. Ten years later, any recollections of her former life are nothing more than fleeting memories, except for those about her twin sister, Mia.

As Leah tries to gain the courage to escape, Mia’s headaches grow worse. Soon, both sisters will discover that their fates are linked in ways they never realized.

 

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Want to grab a copy of Losing Leah? You can get it from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

And if you’d like to read my review of the book click anywhere in this sentence.

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About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling author Tiffany King is a lifelong reading fanatic who is now living her dream as a writer, weaving Young Adult and New Adult romance tales for others to enjoy. She has a loving husband and two wonderful kids. (Five, if you count her three spoiled cats). Her addictions include: Her iphone and ipad, chocolate, Diet Coke, chocolate, Harry Potter, chocolate, zombies and her favorite TV shows. Want to know what they are? Just ask.

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