Saturday, August 20, 2016

Seaside Christmas by Stacy Claflin


Synopsis:

He can’t stand her. She thinks he’s crazy. Will their feelings stay etched in permanent ink?

Cruz Hunter has always stuck out in his small hometown. Now that he’s covered in tattoos, the residents peg him as even more of an outcast. It seems like the whole world is against his dream of opening a local tattoo parlor.

When he finally finds the perfect place for his new business, Cruz discovers a pastor and his daughter have already bought it. The only thing more irritating than the change in his plan is Talia, a beautiful and feisty argument in a dress. Cruz would like nothing more than to have her out of his life and his mind, but for some reason, she’s the only thing he can think about.

If Cruz and Talia can stop arguing long enough, opposites may do much more than attract.

My Review: 4 Stars

Cruz has always been the outcast in his small town of Kittle Falls. People have always been quick to judge him because of what he looks like on the outside. His dream has always been to open a tattoo parlor but when he approaches the town council they give him the run around. They see him as a trouble maker who will only bring shame and seedy characters to their small tourist town. But he is determined to make his dream come true and he refuses to give up. Just when he thinks they are finally okay with his shop he is duped and lied to by them. The building that he has chosen has been sold out from underneath him to a pastor and his daughter. How will he ever make his dream come true if everyone refuses to see past his exterior and see him for who he really is?

Talia and her father Allen move to the small town of Kittle Falls in search of a fresh start after her mother's sudden death. Her father is ready to make the move from assistant pastor to head pastor and has found the perfect building. It is in need of a lot of work but they are up for the challenge. Little did they know that part of that challenge would include the hurt and angry Cruz. They had no idea that the building had been promised to him before they purchased it. How can they get him to understand that they had nothing to do with what the council has done? 

Allen is very understanding and reaches out to help Cruz in any way he can. But Talia isn't as trusting as her father is at first. She too was guilty of judging Cruz by his outer appearance. But when he's willing to help them do whatever he can, including halting the progress on his own shop, to open up their church as soon as possible she's quick to right her wrong. She slowly starts seeing the real Cruz and is drawn to him even more. But can two people from different walks of life really make a relationship work? Outside forces and insecurities will work double time to keep them apart but when it's meant to be, nothing and no one will stand in their way. 

I have really enjoyed this series. It was a fun getaway and along the way I discovered a new author to add to my list! I have to admit I was sad to see this series just end. I would have loved an epilogue of some kind tying everything together and wrapping up all the lose ends. It would have been perfect! I am definitely looking forward to reading the next series... The Bayside Hunters! :) 

And of course I cannot forget my casting! I am a bit in love with these two... ;) What do you think?! 


Monday, August 15, 2016

Kisses Between the Lines - An Echo Ridge Anthology


Over All Rating: 3.5 Stars

The Kiss Thief by Rachelle J. Christensen 

As the head librarian of the Echo Ridge Library, Britta Klein thrives on order and categorization. Unfortunately, the old church-turned-library is in desperate need of a renovation. The Harvest Hurrah fundraiser seems to be the answer, but plans keep going awry. With help from Milo Geissler, accomplished musician, piano tuner, and kiss thief, each catastrophe is narrowly avoided. When Milo goes to great lengths to help Britta find a key classic book, she begins to wonder if there is more to life than books and order. Can she allow this man who speaks the language of music to tune her heart to a new song?

My Review: 3 Stars

After being made fun of in elementary school, Britta has spent the majority of her life trying to hide her German heritage. She refuses to abide by her mother’s wishes of marrying a strong German man with a strong German heritage. She will not let her children grow up being made fun of like she was. Little did she know that fate had something else in store for her… ;)

From the moment Milo first laid eyes on Britta, he knew there was something special about her and he just had to get to know her better. However, she had built the walls around her heart so high, he knew he would have a hard time knocking them down. But never underestimate a man in love… ;)

The Lion, The Witch, & The Library by Lucy McConnell


Jennifer Solomon's birthday wish is for the one thing she's been too shy to go after: Kirke Staples, Echo Ridge’s resident playwright, an avid mountain biker, and her best friend. Friend, as in don’t kiss, don’t covet, and don’t under any circumstances fall in love with the man. But it’s too late—she’s already fallen in love. Hoping for a birthday kiss that will change everything, she arranges an "accidental" meeting with the handsomest man on the library board. Her carefully laid plans are thrown off track when the beautiful Bay Barington sweeps into town and casts a spell over Kirke. In her efforts to win Kirke’s heart, Jennifer is forced to take a look at her inner self and decide what type of woman she wants to be, a lion or witch.

My Review: 3.5 Stars

Jennifer has been in love with her best friend Kirke for awhile but she is too scared to cross the line from best friends to something more. There is a lot at stake but Jennifer knows that if she doesn't take that next step, she could be missing something amazing in her life. She plans and prepares for the day of her confession only to be taken off guard by Kirke's announcement of the famous Bay coming to town. Now she has to decide whether to fight for love or let it slip through her fingers.

Kirke has been blinded by fame, fortune and loaded promises, He thinks that with Bay at his side, his career will skyrocket. Little does he know that Bay is a wolf in sheep's clothing and all her moves are to better her career, not his. Disaster strikes and Kirke is left feeling alone and discouraged. In an instant his eyes will be opened and he will have to decide what he really wants in life. He only hopes it isn't too late to fix the mess he created for himself and his best friend.

The Last of the Gentlemen by Cami Checketts

Despite the hardships she’s faced, Emma Turner, is determined to make a good life for her three children. Working nights and struggling through life doesn’t leave much time for romance, which is just fine as far as Emma is concerned. But when her son's good-looking lacrosse coach takes an interest in her children, Emma has to fight off the smolder in her stomach and banish her daydreams. This school-girl crush needs to end before she embarrasses her son and herself. If only she could tell that to her heart.

My Review: 4 Stars

Emma has had it pretty rough in her short 34 years. But she is determined to make a better life for her 3 adorable kids. She works hard and sacrifices a lot to make sure they have everything they need. However, this leaves zero room for love. But she still can’t help but notice her son’s lacrosse coach, Chayton. Sadly, she doesn’t think he will ever see her as more than his favorite lacrosse player's mom.

Chayton can’t get the beautiful Emma off of his mind. There is just something about her that he is drawn to. It just feels right for them to be together, for him to be a father to her 3 kids. But how can he convince her that next step? How can he get her to give them a chance? If anyone deserves a happily ever after it is Emma and Chayton. Gotta love a man who has made up his mind and refuses to take no for an answer! ;)

Much Ado About a Kiss by Heather Tullis

Fay’s life is just fine, thank you. Running the cafĂ© she’d practically been raised in: Check. Her artwork in a gallery: Check. Volunteering on the library board: Check. The one thing she doesn’t need right now is a guy in her life—especially her brother’s irritating best friend from high school, so when the two men announce that they are moving home to start a ski and mountain bike shop in town, she isn’t pleased. If only she could completely forget that one kiss she and Austin shared in high school. Why does he have to upset her just-fine world? Not this time. Not if she can help it. But can she?

My Review: 3 Stars

Fay has her whole life figured out. She has a success diner, her art is in a gallery and she’s volunteering on the library board. She just doesn’t have time for her estranged father who wants to make amends or for Austin, the boy she shared a mind-blowing kiss with in high school. Her life is perfectly fine without either of them in it… or is it?

Austin can’t understand what he did to Fay to warrant her hatred of him. In his mind, a single mind-blowing kiss in high school should not be the cause. He really wants to move forward with her but she is consistently defensive and cranky around him. But that is no match for a man who has been in love with her for years… ;)

**I received a copy of this book from one of the authors in exchange for my honest review.**

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Seaside Dances by Stacy Claflin


Synopsis:

Dream big. Dance often. Love completely.

Zachary Hunter is no stranger to rejection. After multiple failed efforts to get his novel published in New York, he's counting on a trip home to turn his luck around.

Jasmine Blackwell has big dreams. She hopes her internship as a dance instructor in Kittle Falls will be the stepping stone she needs to achieve her lifelong goals.

After a chance meeting, neither Zachary nor Jasmine can deny their attraction. They fear their aspirations are too big to let a relationship tie them down. Can they have both love and the careers of their dreams?

My Review: 4 Stars

After living in New York for a few years, Zachary feels like he has been chewed up and spit out. His writing career didn't take off like he had hoped, he lost his job at the local newspaper when it closed down and his ex-girlfriend is one of the biggest jerks around. He is in desperate need of a fresh start and decides the best option would be to move back home to Kittle Falls. But with rejection after rejection, he has no clue how to move past it to get himself back on track. Finding love was the furthest thing on Zachary's mind. In fact, after his last relationship, he has sworn off women for good.

Jasmine had one of the worst childhoods. Growing up with alcoholic parents, never having money and having nothing but negativity around her, Jasmine's life could have turned out a whole lot different than it did. She had decided long ago that she would be the one to break the cycle. She graduated high school, went to school to become a dance instructor and was on the verge of getting her certificate. All she needed to do was complete her internship in Kittle Falls and she will officially be an instructor. With so much to accomplish, she doesn't have time for love.

But a chance encounter with each other has both Zachary and Jasmine rethinking their stance on love. Jasmine is just what Zachary needs to face past hurts, inspire him to start his next book and help him take the biggest step in his career. And Zachary is just what Jasmine needs to prove that not all relationships are like the ones that she grew up around. True love, trust and loyalty can be found in relationships, you just need to have a little faith.

The Seaside Hunters is such a fun series! I really am enjoying it. Seaside Dances was definitely a good addition to this series. I really enjoyed Zachary and Jasmine's story. It was believable and I liked seeing the roles reversed a bit. Jasmine being the strong, bold one and Zachary being the shy, nerdy one. I was kind of worried about this working but I'm happy to announce that I was pleasantly surprised. The execution was really done well. I can't wait to read more by Stacy Claflin. She is definitely being added to my favorite authors list. :)

And of course we can't forget my casting... ;) 


Friday, July 29, 2016

Flashback Friday #3


It's been forever since I have done a Flashback Friday post and thought what the heck! Let's do one today! ;)

This week's Flashback Friday post is from July 2015. Yes... it's only a year ago but I don't care! I loved this book! And now I want to read it again! Haha. So... without further adieu I give you...


Synopsis:

There is a law irrevocably decreed in the state of Alabama that you must choose a team. You're either an Auburn fan or an Alabama Fan. There is no fence sitting or waffling. It’s one or the other. However, it doesn't mean that you can’t fall in love with someone from the opposing side. They even have a name for it ... House Divided.

Ellie Eaton and Brady Jackson were just such a couple, but unfortunately they were separated by more than just their loyalty to a university. Against the odds and against the rules, Ellie and Brady dove right into the forbidden current of friendship and then love. Their sweet, innocent romance was one for the storybooks, but old rules and family prejudices ultimately tore them apart, just as they were each ready to depart to their beloved universities, Ellie to Auburn and Brady to Alabama. But years later, when near tragedy strikes, they're brought together again and given a second chance at love, this time with the help from some very unlikely sources.

House Divided is a sweet romance filled with southern charm, a dash of humor and, for good measure, a pinch of lies and intrigue.

My Review: 5 Stars

The small town of Kaysville, AL has 2 sides... the Jackson side and the Eaton side. You had to chose one or the other... you could not be Switzerland.

Growing up Brady and Ellie were NOT allowed to talk to each other... it was forbidden. You see... he was a Jackson and she was an Eaton. And you know what they say... when you tell someone not to do something over and over and over again they are bound to break the rules and do it anyway. Brady and Ellie did just that!

I loved seeing how their relationship started out and watching it grow from friendship into love! Seriously so stinkin cute! It wasn't always easy but they tried their best to make it work. But when Brady's dad gets sick, Brady will do what ever he can to make life easier on his family... even if that means breaking up with Ellie and causing both of them to be miserable! :( After graduation they head their own separate ways but neither of them ever got over the other.

Years later a family emergency calls Ellie back to Kaysville. She hasn't been back since she left for college and she is definitely not looking forward to it! But she loves her aunt and will do anything for her.. including promising to stay through the holidays. Little does she know the plans that her Aunt Lu has in store for her... ;)

Ellie is bound and determined to stay far away from Brady! But that doesn't really work when you have a very determined man who is still head over heels in love with her and a very stubborn aunt who will stop at nothing to make sure she is happy... even if that means seeing her in the arms of a Jackson.

*dreamy sigh* I LOVE Brady! Seriously... I do! The man is absolutely amazing... even when Ellie is being extremely stubborn and needs to be Gibbs slapped! Holy hannah! That woman... I swear! I wanted to shake her and say what the heck is wrong with you?! Can you NOT see what's right in front of your face?! Sheesh! Lol. Thank goodness Brady could be just as stubborn! ;) Hehe.

And just real quick... Brady's mom... holy crow Batman! Woman be CRAZY! I seriously felt so bad for Brady, his brothers and his dad! And I was so sad for his dad and how that all ended... talk about breaking my heart! But at least they were finally able to get to the bottom of things and figure out why the Jackons and the Eatons hated each other.

All in all I absolutely love House Divided! I can't believe I waited so long to read it! And it's official... Jennifer Peel is definitely one of my favorite authors! She just has a way of sucking you into her stories and not letting you go until you get to the end! It's amazing and I love it! Can't wait to read more by her!

Side note... I have learned that I can NOT start one of her books during the week! It's torture when I have to put it down and go to work! Seriously... I get so mad when that dreaded work gets in the way of my reading time! Lol.

*dreamy sigh* Are you ready for my casting choices?! Eeeek!! I loved reading House Divided and picturing these two as our hero and heroine! It seriously just made it THAT much better! What do you think?!
 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Swoony Award Shout Out!



For those of you who don't know, I am one of the four hosts of the Swoony Awards. As I was going through the list trying to find my next read, I started noticing that all my favorites are getting hidden! And we just CANNOT have that! Since April is almost over, I thought it would be a good idea to give a shout out for the 2016 Swoony's and see if I can get my favorites up to the top again! ;)

What are the Swoony Awards?

The Swoony Awards are a reader’s choice award recognizing excellence in clean romance fiction. We wanted a way to show our appreciation to these awesome authors who write the kind of books that we love. It’s also a great way to find new books and a good go-to when looking for something fun to read.

What books are eligible for a Swoony Award?

-ONLY books PUBLISHED December 1, 2015 – November 30, 2016 are eligible, Please DOUBLE check publication dates before nominating books!
-Books must be published or have arc reviews before nomination. Since the award is based on readers having actually read and enjoyed the book(s) they are voting for, the book has to have been published or arcs read in order to receive votes.
-Intimacy: No sex, no/low closed door/fade-to-black, no/low innuendo, nothing crude or crass
-Language: None/mild (No F words or other explicit language) nothing overly crude
-Violence: Mild/low
-Page Count: Novellas or Novels only, 100 pages or higher, no short stories this year
-Age: Only Young Adult, New Adult and Adult, NO children’s or middle grade

Where do you vote for the Swoony Awards? 

On Goodreads! If you don't have an account it is really easy to sign up for one! And it's an AMAZING place to keep track of which books you have read, which books you want to read and of course see all kinds of reviews on books! 

What books have I read so far this year that are eligible? 

I am SO glad you asked! I would LOVE to share them with you! ;) Hehe. 

Taylor Lynne by Jennifer Peel
Rachel Laine by Jennifer Peel
Chasing Fireflies by Taylor Dean
A Season to Love by Nicole Deese
Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt
Love Under Construction by Danyelle Ferguson
The Resilient One by Cami Checketts
The Feisty One by Cami Checketts
The Rebellious One by Jeanette Lewis
The Protective Groom by Lucy McConnell
The Passionate One by Jeanette Lewis
First Crush by Heather Tullis
Duchess by Nikki Wilson
One Enchanted Christmas by Melissa Tagg
Winter's Kiss by Laura Bastian
His Kind of Cowgirl by Karen Rock
The Reclusive Billionaire by Lucy McConnell
Write Me Home by Crystal Walton
Hawaiian Masquerade by Rachelle J. Christensen
Change of Heart by Jennifer Moore
The Independent One by Cami Checketts
Shadows in the Curtain by Cami Checketts

There are almost 200 books nominated for a Swoony Award so far! You can click here and go straight to our list! Head on over, check out the list and if there are any books on there that you have read and LOVED then make sure you VOTE! If you have read a book that is eligible but has not been added yet then make sure you VOTE to add it to the list for everyone to see! But make sure you check the entire list before voting. Again, please make sure to DOUBLE check the eligibility before voting! Oh! And feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads if you would like.. ;) Hehe.

One last thing...

Note to Authors:
If you’ve written a book that matches the above criteria fill free to nominate it for a Swoony. Help bring awareness to your nomination, we are doing some promoting, but sometimes a newsletter, Facebook, Twitter or blog post directly from the author is the best way to let your fan base know your book has been nominated and help it get all the votes it can get.

Note to Voters:
This is a great way to let authors know you appreciate all their hard work. You can vote for up to 100 books on the list. We’ve also learned that the order you rank the books you vote on does affect the overall score of the book. So take a minute and make sure you have your books in the order you want them. Invite your friends to vote! Voting ends December 31, 2016.

So what are you waiting for?! Let's show all these AMAZING authors how much we love them AND their books! Ready?! GO VOTE!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Chasing Fireflies by Taylor Dean


Synopsis:

My sisters think I’m crazy.

But, I’ve never forgotten the mysterious woman from my childhood who told me Paul is the name of my one true love.

She told me to search far and wide for him.

I haven’t stopped looking ever since.

When I stumble across an article about a successful American entrepreneur named Paul who lives and works in China, I’m intrigued. When the opportunity to teach English in China presents itself on the same day, I know it’s not a coincidence.

It’s destiny.

My sisters say I’m chasing a dream.

Just like the fireflies we tried to catch on the warm summer evenings of our youth, the dream seems beyond my grasp. Will my quest for the elusive Paul always be just short of fulfillment?

My sisters tell me it’s a fool’s errand.

Until I remind them of the day we saw the Red Bird.

The memory silences them.

The Red Bird Incident remains inarguable—and proves my search for Paul is not a silly fantasy.

I will find Paul . . . I will.

My Review: 5 Stars


Ok guys... this is going to be one of the hardest reviews I have ever written! Why?! Because I absolutely LOVED this book but I can't write my review the way I normally do because I will take the chance of giving things away! And I really, REALLY don't want to ruin it for anyone! Part of me wants to tell you to stop reading my review right now if you have not read this book just in case I let something slip. But the other part of me wants to share the awesomeness of this book by telling you to stop what you're reading right now and read this book! Yes... it is THAT good in my opinion!

Savannah met Miss Pearl when she was only 11 years old. From that moment on, she knew that she must follow what Miss Pearl tells her to the letter. She devotes her life to finding Paul. When she gets discouraged she thinks of other things Miss Pearl has told her that came true and she knows she must keep on searching for Paul. He is out there, he is real and she must search far and wide for him. After reading an article in her college magazine, she decides to take her search to China. Everything is falling into place and she just knows she will find Paul in China.

She does indeed meet Paul while she's there. But there is another that catches her eye as well. The only problem? His name is not Paul... it's Julian. The more she gets to know both Paul and Julian, the more confused she becomes. Savannah will have to do a lot of thinking and soul searching. Her destiny has always been Paul. But why does she feel such a strong pull towards Julian? Will she chose to stay true to what Miss Pearl has told her? Or will she venture on a different path to see if she can find happiness on her own?

I seriously LOVED this book! I had a hard time putting it down and got frustrated when real life got in the way. I wasn't able to read it for 2 full days and I found myself thinking about Savannah's story, wondering who she would pick, how it would end and wishing I could just pick it up and read! From the friendships, to the relationships, to the food and the different adventures the group went on... it was a perfect read for me! There was not one thing I disliked about this book!

This is my very first book by Taylor Dean and I can tell you without a doubt that it will not be my last! She literally sucked me in from the very beginning and I loved the journey she took me on! This is an AMAZING addition to The Power of the Matchmaker series. I am SO glad I picked this one up! Have I told you yet that I loved it and that it's AMAZING?! ;)

And in the spirit of not giving anything away... I give you my casting! ;)


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Seaside Heartbeats by Stacy Claflin


Synopsis:

Sometimes love shows up when you least expect it.

After years of hard work, architect Lana Summers just wants a relaxing vacation in the beach town of Kittle Falls. Instead, she suffers unexpected heart problems, and finds herself in the office of a gorgeous cardiologist—who only makes her heart work harder.

Brayden Hunter left his successful cardiology practice in Dallas to be closer to his aging parents. Focused on building a health care clinic in his hometown, he doesn't want any distractions. However, the beautiful Lana is one he can’t seem to avoid.

As their attraction grows, they stumble upon a 160-year-old mystery. Brayden catches her adventurous spirit as they chase after answers, and he can’t help falling for her. But can he convince her to stay in the small beach town and with him?Sometimes love shows up when you least expect it.

My Review: 4 Stars

Lana has spent the last 9 years in school trying to get her architecture degree in record time. When her family decides to vacation for the summer in Kittle Falls after she graduates, she is more than ready for the break. She is definitely looking forward to the down time before she starts working at the same firm as her father. But after a trip to the emergency room where she discovers she has a heart condition, she decides it's time to get her priorities straight. Does she still want the same things that 18 year old Lana wanted or does she see her life heading in a different direction?

After his dad has a medical scare, Brayden decides that it's time to move back to Kittle Falls to be closer to his family. He'll work at the hospital that's 30 minutes outside of town until he can find enough doctors who are willing to help him open up a 24 hour Urgent Care clinic in Kittle Falls. With so much going on around Brayden it's causing him to step back and reevaluate his life. He knows that someday he would like to get married and have a family. But between working long hours at the hospital and working on getting the Urgent Care up and running, there is just no time for dating right now.

From the moment Lana and Brayden first laid eyes on each other they felt an instant connection. But dating is the furthest thing from both of their minds. After a couple of chance meetings they decide that maybe fate has something else in store for them.

I really liked Lana and Brayden's relationship. Yes, it was a little fast but when it's right, it's right! I also enjoyed the mystery aspect of the book. It was fun to see them figure out the 160 year old murder of their town's founder. Another plus for me was their families. I loved the closeness that they all shared. And little Ryland and Nolan were adorable! Such a fun age! :)

There were just two things that kind of bugged me. Lana's dad being one of them. The way he treated Lana when she told him she wasn't sure which direction she wanted her life to go in got on my nerves a bit. You're an adult for crying out loud! Act like one! I swear I wanted to Gibb's slap him a time or two. Haha. And Cruz.. what is up with the way he's talking?! At times he's normal but every once in awhile he would break out in "slang". I had a hard time believing that a man his age would be ending his sentences with "yo". I have noticed it in the 3 books I have read so far and I have to admit I am a bit nervous about his book. Not sure if I'll be able to handle the "dudes" and "yos". Lol. But other than that I really enjoyed the book. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.

And my casting... *sigh* Love them! :)