Tempted and Taken- Rhenna Morgan

The sexy “nerd”: Morgan has introduced a different fantasy man in each of her Men of Haven books, and we finally come to the one that is geared to my specific fantasies. Although, Knox is more of a computer whiz than brainy geek (Rhenna, I’d still like a true Star Wars-obsessed nerd/history buff in a future book), he was still completely swoon-worthy. But, what really surprised me is how much I enjoyed the heroine. Let’s get into it!

The Story-

Darya is working to start a new life for herself, and she is determined that Knox Torren will be part of it. The computer whiz hacker has skills she can only dream of, but if she were to be mentored by him, she could start her own business and really be independent. Knox is suspicious of the mysterious woman who reached out to him with a “business proposal”. When he finally meets her, he has to know more. But, everything doesn’t add up with “JJ”.

My Thoughts-

If you read the previous Men of Haven books and hoped for a little more heat, you will be pleasantly surprised, because this is HOT! Personally, the full-on anal was a tad more than I wanted, but I know everyone has their preferences. While I loved the character of Knox as I expected to, I was surprised to like Darya so much. She is so straight-forward with her emotions and desires: a fully- confident woman who goes after what she wants when she decides. At the same time, she is not stuck up or off-putting. The new Russian characters are intriguing, and I cannot wait to see more from them in the future. 

Bottom Line-

If you, like me, adore the Men of Haven books, you are gonna love this one too. This is my fave contemporary series, and each book is like a piece of chocolate that I savor. I’m going back in for another piece (Beckett), but my bag is empty until sometime next year. 😦 Seriously, if you like contemporary at all, read this entire series. 5 stars

The Cowboy Christmas Hero- Donna Grant

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Today we are welcoming a new reviewer to the mix! Nicole is fairly new to romance and loves anything with a great story.

This is my first book by Donna Grant. This was short, cute, and followed the typical romantic line: two people with tragic backgrounds who don’t want to be healed and want to shut out the world for their self given responsibility.

The Story-

Abby is raising her younger brothers who are a handful. When one gets arrested for stealing cattle, she doesn’t know what to do next. Clayton is home to save his family’s ranch, but ends up making a deal that might save him too. 

My Thoughts-

The thing that kept me reading was the heroine’s relationship with her younger brothers. The girl had become a mother figure to the boys. Instead of the boys becoming resentful, they wanted to take over the role of protectors which I thought was sweet and wanted to see more of. However, enter the hero of the love story, and he becomes the physical male role model. At this point, I got tired of how everyone wanted to protect their female whether she was lover or sister. I get tired of too much me Tarzan you Jane stuff. Also, I understand this is Texas and I’m sure their weather patterns are just as sporadic as ours here, but who the hell would have sex on a picnic blanket the week before Christmas? It’s like there were plenty of jackets in the beginning of the book, it’s too cold to ride a horse without one, freezing rain at one point, and they are having sex outside completely naked. Pneumonia was not mentioned.

The Bottom Line-
I would read something else by this author, but maybe would skip the last two chapters just because the proposal and wedding were the least interesting parts of the story. On the other hand, I want to ride a horse now…or at least pet one. 3 1/2 stars

Becoming Bella- Sarah Hegger

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I really enjoyed the first in this series, “Positively Pippa”, so I was looking forward to another fun alliterative tale from Sarah Hegger. “Becoming Bella” did not disappoint as it gave us another hot Evans brother and a heroine to root for. Sexy, home-town romance here! The best of both worlds; you get the heat along with the sweet.

The Story-
Bella is determined to become her own woman and break free of the crush she has had for so long. She has armed herself with a list of things to do for single people at Christmastime, and she is checking it off. Nate, the “former” object of her desire happens to catch Bella in a somewhat compromising position, and suddenly can’t see her as that untouchable little sis-type he has always held at arm’s length.

My Thoughts-
I loved both Nate and Bella as well as the lovely secondary characters that populate Ghost Falls. (The next door slutty neighbor lady is wonderfully entertaining!) Their first kiss and subsequent sexy times are sooo hot. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a kiss in a book… “Wanting, waiting, needing, dreaming, dying a little inside year after year. It all ripped through her in a wave and Bella lost her shit. Lost. Her. Shit.” Yep. That totally got me. I can’t imagine a more perfect description of someone finally getting that kiss they’ve always wanted. I loved their story. Obviously. The only hiccup I had was the “bad guy” who served to provide another conflict and let Nate act all alpha. If he had been a normal romance bad guy, I could have handled it fine and walked away with no issues. But he got super-scary. I am not normally one with a need for safe spaces and trigger warnings, but he got trigger warning scary. And I had a little trouble coming back from that enough for a satisfying, warm HEA. I was still a little shook.

The Bottom Line-
I loved these characters!!! It went a bit dark for me toward the end, but the story and the connection between these two was hot and wonderful. Again, Hegger captures that perfect mix of small-town romance and sizzling sexy times that make me one happy reader. 4 1/2 stars

Blame it on the Bet- L.E. Rico

Blame-It-On-The-Bet

This “Bliss” book is set in an adorable Irish pub in Minnesota setting with “whiskey sisters” named after various brands of whiskey. This is Hennessy’s story, and it is like a not-cheesy Hallmark movie. Having previously read and enjoyed Rico’s hot contemporary, “Solo”, I was looking forward to this one, especially since I spent 5 years of my life in North Dakota. It didn’t disappoint; Rico got the vibe of small-town almost-Canada perfectly from hotdishes to the lethal ice on the sidewalks.

The Story-
Hennessy’s father just died and left her and her sisters with a mountain of debt and an Irish pub that he was all set to sell. The buyer, Bryan Truitt, travels to Minnesota to complete the sale. Of course, he is charmed by the small town and its inhabitants.

My Thoughts-
While this may sound like a story you’ve heard or a movie you’ve seen (starring Candace Cameron Bure), Rico’s smart sense of humor and approach make it feel entirely fresh. She populates the town with an array of secondary characters, and some have a lot more going on than you might figure. I was initially a bit confused by all the characters with the androgynous whiskey names, but I soon got everyone straight and appreciated that she took the time to really flesh out who these people are. It makes me even more excited for future books. As I said above, she got the mid-west charm down to a “t” and made me miss my stand-in home for a few years. The romance is well-developed, especially in the motivations and background of the hero. Since this is a “Bliss” book, the sex happens behind closed doors, but I didn’t feel like it detracted from the story. (For the most part…What can I say? I like the door open.)

The Bottom Line-
If you like Hallmark movies, this is so much smarter than those usually are, although it would make an excellent Hallmart Christmas movie. (series!) I can’t wait to read Bailey’s book eventually because I loved her particular brand of sass, but whichever Whiskey Sister is next, I’m game! 4 stars

Review and Blog Tour: Positively Pippa- Sarah Hegger

Positively Pippa Banner

Review
When I was in my twenties, I went through a phase where I loved the sweet Harlequin American Romance series and books by Debbie Macomber. But as I got in to my thirties, I abandoned those romances for something a little steamier. I’ve tried to go back to the sweet contemporary a few times, but each time I feel kind of let down by the lack of passion. “Positively Pippa” was the perfect remedy.
Story-
Pippa has just lost her fancy Hollywood television job because of some bad editing on behalf of her jerk ex-boyfriend. No one in Hollywood will stand up for her and tell the truth, so she heads home to Ghost Falls to lick her wounds.  When Pippa left Ghost Falls all those years ago, Matt stayed to take care of his family after tragedy struck. Now that Pippa is back, both need to reevaluate where their lives are headed.
My Thoughts-
I know this sounds like a typical “coming-home” romance, but it is really so much more than that. Even though Pippa seems likes exactly the kind of person I would not like, I totally got her and her motivations and found myself rooting for her hard. Matt is amazing, but he too, became more real as the book went on, and I liked him even more once we saw his weaknesses.  The secondary characters truly bring this novel to another level; I had a completely clear picture of Ghost Falls and the people we were dealing with. I can’t wait to get to know some of them even better in future books. The other thing I want to mention is the heat… These two have great chemistry and this book has some very nice sexy moments.
Bottom Line-
This book went very fast for me; so much so, that I stayed up late reading one night which almost never happens for me and contemporaries. The characters really drew me in, and I really enjoyed it. I think this would make a great movie; it’s a little steamy for Hallmark, but Lifetime or Passionflix would totally work. I would love to see Philomene on screen. This is the perfect blend of sweet, home-town romance and sexy times. 5 stars!

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“Note From Sarah: Thank you for stopping by the Positively Pippa Blog Tour. There’s a lot of goodies up for grabs I want to let you know about. I hope you’ll join me on release day for a very special Facebook Party where fellow author Kristi Rose and I will be giving away a $400 gift card to Stitch Fix! Everyone who signs up for my newsletter right now is also entered to win one of a kind, custom made adornments from local Colorado designer SimaG Jewelry. Finally, to celebrate Pippa on this blog tour, I’m giving away some things she would love – a planner, Ulta Beauty Gift Cards and, of course, books!”
 
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway Below – One Grand Prize Winner will receive a $150 Gift Card to Ulta + the Pippa’s Favorites Bundle (Planner, Pen and Pouch) and a book, two more winners will receive a $100 and $50 Ulta Beauty Gift Card as well as a book each and 5 winners will get a copy of Positively Pippa!
Gift cards and Bundle are only open to US Residents only, international entrants are eligible to win a Positively Pippa e-book. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
Pippa Blog Tour Giveaway (1)

Solo- Lauren Rico

solo

Check out that cover! Hot guy with glasses? Ummm. I had to read this book since sexy, smart guys are totally my thing. Blurb? A music grad student SNOWED IN with her hot professor! Ok, so I minored in music in college AND love the snowed in trope. Did Lauren Rico write this book with me in mind? Couldn’t wait to read it at this point…

 

The Story-

Katherine is a grad student who is almost finished with her masters degree in composing. She is under a ton of pressure with a politician dad that results in her getting followed by reporters and tons of shade thrown her way from other students etc. because of her dad’s stances. On top of all that, her professor HATES her and gives her no slack when she is late due to her stressful job(s).  When she accidentally gets snowed in with him, nothing good can happen, right?

 

My Thoughts-

Lauren Rico is a talented writer. You should know that right away. She has a great way with words, super developed characters and drives the plot throughout. I was completely immersed in her world and identified with Katherine intensely. So intensely in fact, that I had some trouble when the hero was mean to her. Yes, Drew is insanely hot and damaged and smart and talented, but I had some trouble forgiving him.  This could have been a quick and easy ride of super sexy fluff, but it ended up having so much more depth than I expected. So, if you are expecting a typical contemporary with a billionaire-type guy who seduces an ingenue, think again. This is more of a thoughtful tale with carefully-drawn characters who are flawed and have some real struggles. Is it hot? Absolutely. Does it still fulfill my love of snowed-in tropes? Yeppers. There just happened to be more going on than I expected. Was I disappointed in that? Not at all.

 

The Bottom Line-

This is a contemporary with some great tropes and twists, but it doesn’t happen to be a fun romp. This is more like a real relationship with ups and downs, smiles and tears, and complex characters, but ultimately extremely satisfying. 4 1/2 stars

Payback- Christina Phillips

Payback

After reading the first book in the Viking Bastards MC series, “Hooked”, I knew I would be coming back for more. This second installment did not disappoint, but it did surprise me.

The Story-
Amelia comes from a family that was involved with a rival MC of the Viking Bastards. There was enough bad blood that she wants revenge, and the only way to do it is to go undercover as a bartender at Odin’s. She doesn’t expect her mark, Gage, to be anything like the sexy, protective guy she immediately has the feels for.

My Thoughts-
This second book is definitely darker than the first one, but has all the heat and pace that this author is so good at. Toward the end, it raised my eyebrows and had me wondering about how far she was willing to go to raise the conflict stakes in the story. I’m still not sure if she crossed that line or not, but I will say that it made me think… which fun Viking MC romance/eroticas don’t tend to make me do. The characters are well-rounded
(with a great alpha hero) with intricate motivations, and the book reads incredibly fast. I only sort of hope that the next book in this series leans back in the “fun romp with a bad boy” direction.

The Bottom Line-
If you like alpha males and MCs, this is probably your thing. If you want a quick, hot read with some emotional depth and a dose of darkness, this is right up your alley. If you want fun, hot sexytimes without the angst, I suggest the first book in this series. All that being said, I will be back for the next Viking Bastard! 3 3/4 stars

Buy it Now: Amazon

Wild and Sweet- Rhenna Morgan

Wild and Sweet is the second book in my new favorite contemporary series by Rhenna Morgan. Seriously, if you haven’t met the Haven Brotherhood yet by reading about Jace in “Rough and Tumble”, you absolutely should do that now. And guess what? Zeke is just as appealing as Jace, just in an entirely different way. 
The Story

Zeke is a trauma doc and is one of the amazing men who make up the Haven Brotherhood. When the sister of one of his close friends has a dangerous run-in, Zeke comes to the rescue and is knocked off his feet. Gabe is a mechanic and has never been great with people. When Zeke begins to show interest in her, Gabe has trouble believing that it’s real. 
My Thoughts

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this series. It’s like Morgan has taken a different male fantasy for each book and drops them one by one for us like candy on a trail that I never want to end. Zeke, the hot doc with a heart of gold, is not as obvious and brazen as Jace from the previous book, but he sneaks up on you and by the end of the book, I couldn’t pick between the two. His care and process in making Gabe feel safe and loved would make any woman jealous. Gabe is also an interesting character in her own right, and it is refreshing that Morgan has no inhibitions about her characters having flaws like normal people. It makes it that much more satisfying when those normal people find exceptional love. 
The Bottom Line-

This is an excellent addition to this series, and I will be buying every book in this series. If you like your contemporary with amazing alpha males and just enough edge to have an excellent plot without overdosing on the danger drama, these books are so for you! 5 stars
This eARC was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Rough and Tumble- Rhenna Morgan 


Contemporary isn’t normally my jam. I like my romance to let me escape to another world or another time, but let me tell you: if Rough and Tumble represents now, I want to stay.   Ms. Morgan has previously been a fantasy fave of mine, but in this new series, her writing, her characters, and her heat level hit a new ballpark altogether.
The Story-

Vivienne has always helped her sister out of bad decisions. In fact, her sister’s bad decisions have informed how she lives her life: clean and safe.  When she meets Jace while saving her sister from yet another drunken scrape, he is anything but clean and safe. He is a rough alpha that immediately tempts her to let her wild side loose.
My Thoughts-

Jace is everything. He is the perfect blend of alpha: protective, directive, but aims to please in only the best way. Things that would sound cocky or annoying coming out of most character’s mouths just sound sexy when Jace says them. I melted my way through this book, reading and rereading chapters. Viv is totally relatable, with a great dog and a funky room that I wish I had in my own house. The Haven Brothers (just wait!) are each special in their own way, and I think Ms. Morgan decided to create a series based on the various fantasies of women. We have a cowboy, a doctor, a brooding security guy, a hot nerd, and a Scot. I think that about covers it, right ladies? I am personally most excited about the hot nerd, Knox, and the Scot. What can I say? I have a weakness for plaid… Either way, this book is the perfect introduction to what I believe will be an amazing series.
Bottom Line-

This book is special. Like 5 stars, life-changing, special. I will read it again, and I can’t wait to hear what they do with the audio book. If Jace sounds as hot as he is in this book, that is gonna be totally worth it. If you like contemporary, this is such a no-brainer. If you don’t, this book may just convert you. Warning: it is so hot. Don’t get me wrong; there is a definite love story, and it is not just sex, but Jace makes it hot as hell even when they are just chit-chatting.  Yes, I am raving, but if this book doesn’t get nominated for some stuff this year, I will be shocked. It’s that good. 5 very strong, shiny gold stars!

BUY IT NOW!

Amazon (Print, Kindle, & Audio) – http://bit.ly/RT1-A-US
Amazon CA (Print, Kindle, & Audio)- http://bit.ly/RT1-A-CA
Amazon UK (Kindle, & Audio)- http://bit.ly/RT1-A-UK
B&N (Print, Ebook, & Audio) – http://bit.ly/RT1-BN
iBooks (Ebook) – http://bit.ly/RT1-iB
Kobo (Ebook) – http://bit.ly/RT-Ko
Google Play (Ebook) – http://bit.ly/RT1-Go
Audible (Audio Book) – http://bit.ly/RT-Aud
Harlequin (Print, Ebook, & Audio) – http://bit.ly/RT-Harl
Carina Press – http://bit.ly/RT1-CP

Millionaire Makeover- Naima Simone

“Millionaire Makeover” is my first book by Naima Simone, and it will definitely not be my last. Right up front: this is not a typical millionaire book.  And for me, that’s a good thing. For some reason, the trope of some prick rich guy falling for his secretary doesn’t really speak to me (Pride and Prejudice notwithstanding).  The fact that the guy has money is not really integral to the plot; in fact, this is really more of a second chance romance. 

The Story-

When Niall’s best friend and practically brother died, he had a one-night stand with BFF’s younger sister.  It was everything, but when he woke in the morning, he found a letter from dead BFF asking him to take care of her and help her find a guy “worthy” of her.  Since he feels that he is definitely NOT that worthy guy, he backs off and leaves her.  Fast-forward a few years, and Khloe has a good job and a crush on her boss.  When her best friend suggests making her appear more desirable by taking a hot date from a bachelor auction to an upcoming function, Khloe reluctantly agrees.  Of course, the bachelors are masked, so she doesn’t realize that she is, in fact, bidding on Niall.

My Thoughts-

My favorite thing about this book is how much Niall appreciates Khloe for who she is.  He has no desire to change her; he worships her curves. He daydreams about all the naughty things that he wants to do to her. He showers her with gifts.  I also love how normal Khloe is.  She doesn’t normally dress up for work, preferring comfy, loose clothing (hello Lularoe!) and is generally laid-back.  Khloe’s “makeover” is not about changing who she is because Niall is all about who she is.  It’s more about pampering her and making her feel special. Who doesn’t want that?  The romance was perfectly built with so many hot moments before they even got it on.  And OMG, this book made me cry. Sentimental sigh. I did not expect to have so many feels from a “millionaire” book. 

The Bottom Line-

This is a wonderful contemporary.  I will be reading more from Ms. Simone very soon. She has hooked me into her millionaire books, at least, and who knows? Maybe I judged the genre too quickly. Either way, this receives a sentimental 5 stars from me and a great big smile/sigh.