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! :)


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Hawaiian Masquerade by Rachelle J. Christensen



Synopsis:

When Lexi Burke escaped the remnants of a cold winter in Chicago for the beaches of Kauai, it wasn’t a random vacation. She left the hectic pace of Burke Enterprises behind with enough money to retire at age thirty-two, intent on settling into the idyllic existence of island life. Until she met local photographer Derek Mitchell—a talented man with a grudge against rich tourists.

From art night to snorkeling lessons, hiking, and chopping coconuts, Lexi can’t talk herself out of spending time with the handsome, hardworking man who knows the value of every dollar. She also can’t find a way to tell him the truth about herself. But then Derek is selected to help in a benefit at a masquerade ball as one of the eligible bachelors up for auction. Lexi must decide whether to wear a mask or unveil her true self and risk losing Derek’s trust and a chance at love.

My Review: 4.5 Stars


Lexi is an overworked, stressed out business executive and life is passing her by. After doing some soul searching she realizes that what she needs is a fresh start. Making the biggest and scariest decision of her life, she chooses to leave her job and her home in Chicago to begin a new journey on the beautiful island of Kauai. With a clean slate, she can do anything she wants, be who she wants to be, discover who she really is outside of her business world.

Derek has struggled all his life financially. He is unable to make ends meet on the income from his photography business alone. In order to pay all the bills and keep his business going, he must help is friend, Pika, by chopping coconuts on the side. As a photographer on the island of Kauai, he has seen lots and lots of tourists. The ones he does his best to stay away from are the wealthy ones. All the encounters with them growing up has left him with very strong feelings of resentment towards them. He thinks they are all the same and has no qualms about expressing his opinion of them.

When Lexi and Derek meet for the first time, there is an instant connection. Neither one of them were looking for any kind of relationship but fate had something else in store for them. But before they can move forward, Lexi must come clean about her wealth and Derek must overcome his issues with money and realize that not all billionaires are the same.

Watching Lexi and Derek become friends, going on adventures together, seeing who they were and what made them tick had me falling in love right along with them. They were both amazing characters with huge hearts! They both know that this life is not about money and how much you have. It's about the journey, the little things, family, friends, living life to the fullest and just being grateful for all the blessings and beauty in our lives. *le sigh*

Can I just say how much I fell in love with Hawaii just from this book?! The descriptions were amazing and I felt like I was right there with Lexi and Derek. Hawaii has definitely been added to my bucket list! I am definitely jealous of my good friend who will be moving there in a week! I can't wait to live vicariously through her! 

While I really enjoyed this book I would have loved just a little bit more! Like seeing more of Lexi and Derek's relationship after he discovered she was a billionaire. We all know how much I love my epilogues! ;) Hehe. The ending just seemed a bit rushed to me. And Eliza... what really happened with her?! She's plotting evilness, it's discovered and BAM! No one knows why nor does anything happen to her? Did I miss something while I was reading? Hmmmm.... 

So... I just have to say... this is my first book by Rachelle J. Christensen and I am proud to announce that it will not be my last! I am seriously loving this series and all the new authors I am adding to my list! So much fun! :) 

And this casting! It was definitely tough! Trying to find the perfect match had me wanting to pull my hair out! Haha. But I'm pretty happy with these two... ;) What do you think?!


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Seaside Surprises by Stacy Claflin


Synopsis:

Work hard. Play often. Love unconditionally.

Tiffany Saunders is on the run. When she winds up stranded in a seaside town, she wants nothing more than to forget her horrific past and kept moving. But a chance meeting with a handsome local changes everything.

Jake Hunter has some deep emotional scars and is trying to cope with running the family business. The last thing he wants is a relationship—until a mysterious brunette walks into his store and complicates it all.

Tiffany prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong—in her rear view mirror. But dark secrets cannot stay hidden forever. Just as the walls around Tiffany’s heart start to come down, the past catches up with her. Will true love be able to conquer all?

My Review: 3.5 Stars

When Tiffany's husband becomes too abusive, she turns to her grandpa for help. Between him and his poker buddies they are able to get her a used car, new identity and money for her to escape and start fresh somewhere where her ex will never find her. She had been on the run for several days when she stumbles upon Kittle Falls. Exhausted and in need of sleep, she decides to stay for a night. While shopping for food she meets Jake. There is just something about him that draws her in. But she is hurt, broken and trusts no one. Will she ever be able to undo the damage her ex has done and open up to anyone again? 

Jake has spent years putting everyone else's needs in front of his own. Between taking care of his dying sister for two years and then having to take over this parents convenient store so they can mourn the loss of their daughter, he is beyond physically and mentally drained. He needs a break and he needs things to change like yesterday. When he meets the beautiful Tiffany for the first time, he starts realizing all the things he has been missing out on. 

Jake is definitely intrigued by Tiffany and will do anything and everything in his power to get to know her better. She is resistant at first but slowly realizes that Jake is one person that she'll never have to worry about hurting her. But is she willing to put his life in danger to see where things could lead between them? Or will she move on to the next town before she gets in too deep?

Seaside Surprises was a cute, quick read that I enjoyed. There were a couple things that bugged me while reading. There were a few inconsistencies here and there but the main one was his parents. Ugh! I get that they were stressed, I get that they had lost their daughter but hello! Jake lost her too! They were absolutely horrible to him for the majority of the book in my opinion. He is the one that put his life on hold to take care of all their needs. And they pay him back by treating him like the red-headed step child?! Nope! Not liking that at all! That storyline really left a bad taste in my mouth for his parents. Especially when they treated his other brothers (who were never around mind you) a lot better than they treated him. I really wish we could have seen them actually admitting they were in the wrong and see them make an effort in fixing their broken relationship. 

But I am not going to let them stop me from moving on to the next book in this series! I am looking forward to Brayden's story! :) 

And of course my review wouldn't be complete without a casting... ;) What do you think?!


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Not Always Happenstance by Rachael Anderson



Synopsis:

Lani has lived in Hana, Hawaii for five years. She's learned to surf, fish, dive, and manage her grandmother's bed and breakfast. She's also learned to take one day at a time the way it should be taken--relaxed and unrushed, savoring every moment.

But, like a large wave on the brink of breaking, her life is about to crash out of control. A proposal of marriage, a conniving grandmother, a cryptic Asian woman, and a handsome guest, and suddenly everything calm begins to churn, everything clear becomes confused, and all that was normal segues into peculiar.

As Lani struggles against the current to hold her ground, she realizes that she can either continue to fight and eventually lose, or take a take a leap of faith, hold her breath, and ride the wave wherever it takes her.

My Review: 3.5 Stars

I'm going to start out by saying I know I am in the minority here. I really, really wanted to LOVE this book since I have LOVED all of Rachael's books I have read so far. But alas, I had a hard time getting into this book and connecting with the characters. :( 

When Lani discovered that her grandmother was in need of help with her Bed & Breakfast, she gave up everything to move to Hawaii to help her. Five years later, she is still there and loving it. She can't see herself anywhere else. When her boyfriend, Derek, of 9 years proposes, she's not sure what to do. She loves him but she's not IN love with him. But he has been so patient with her and her move out to Hawaii that she feels like she owes him. She says yes knowing that she will be settling for less than she deserves. 

Easton is a world traveler. He loves going out and discovering things off the beaten path. He loves adventure and doesn't see himself settling down... ever. When he arrives at the Bed & Breakfast Lani's grandmother owns, he is immediately intrigued by the dark haired beauty who is full of spunk and sass. But Lani is quick to dismiss his flirting and his charm. She is engaged to another man after all. But Easton doesn't let that stop him. There is just something about Lani that draws him to her. Now, if he can just get her to admit that she's making the wrong choice with old what's his name. 

But when Lani finally does admit that Derek is totally wrong for her, will Easton step up to the plate to see if what they have could go anywhere? Or will he take off just like he always does when his assignments are over? 

While I loved the banter and friendship between Lani and Easton, I had a hard time believing they would have a forever happily ever after. The chemistry seemed to be lacking to me. I would have liked to see more of them together as a couple rather than the self discovery that they both needed to go through. A balance between the two was missing for me. 

This series has really taken off with a lot of my bookworm buddies and I will definitely be checking out more books. I have already purchased a couple of them.. just got to find the time to read them. ;) 

And of course I can't forget my casting! These two pretty much jumped out to me from the beginning. What do you think?! ;) 


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Cupcakes and Cowboys by Lindzee Armstrong


Synopsis:

He's everything that broke her heart

Cassidy wants two things—to make her cupcake shop a success, and to forget the ex-fiance who traded her for the lights of Hollywood. She can’t stand actors, movies, or anything resembling the guy who ruined her life. So when Jase—best friend of her ex and A-list actor—shows up at the ranch to research an upcoming role, ignoring her past becomes impossible.

Jase is desperate to escape Hollywood, and ranch life gives him a temporary reprieve. But ranching is starting to feel less like preparing for a role and more like the life he’s always wanted. And he can’t help envisioning Cassidy as his co-star. Can Jase convince this stunning cupcake shop owner that he’s really a country boy at heart?

My Review: 3.5 Stars

Cassidy had put her life and her dreams on hold for her fiance, Drew, only to be left at the alter. Hurt and broken she struggles to get her life back on track. She is determined to live her dreams and put herself first for a change.

Jase is an actor who has done well for himself. But no matter how many movies he has been in or how much money he makes, he is having a hard time finding happiness in acting. He travels to Oklahoma to live on a ranch to prepare for his next movie. But while he's there, he'll question even more if acting is really what he is meant to do.

Cassidy and Jase got off to a rocky start but soon found themselves being drawn to each other. The more they got to know each other and spend time together, the more they wanted their futures to include each other. But their new found relationship is put to the test when they come face to face with Cassidy's past. Will they be able to face it together and get their happily ever after?

While I enjoyed this book, there was something missing for me. I would have like to see Jase stand up for himself a little more and put certain people in their places before disaster strikes. I would've also liked to see Cassidy have a little bit more faith in Jase, The ending also felt rushed to me. I would have love an epilogue of some kind... even if it was just a month or two down the road.

All in all Cupcakes and Cowboys was a cute, quick Saturday read. This is my first book by Lindzee Armstrong and I can tell you I will definitely be checking out more books by her. :)

And of course I can't forget my casting. This one was pretty much me because there wasn't much description of our hero and heroine. :)