Love on the Slopes by Amy Manemann

25449257For Jessica Harley skiing is her life and Jackson Hole Ski Resort is her home. She has had her eye on buying the resort for as long as she can remember. When she comes back from an enforced vacation by her employer she comes home to find that he is selling the resort and when she finds out whom to, she blows her top.

Dom DeRenzi is an old family friend of the Harley’s and was a one time love of Jessica’s. He has inherited from his father the business savvy to take over buildings that need attention and money to restore them to former glory. He has returned to Jackson Hole following a divorce and has brought along his young son with him.

Jessica is livid that the resort has been sold out from under her and can’t believe it’s her old lover who has done it. While Dom knows he has hurt Jessica in the past he wants her to help him with the resort, she knows it’s ins and outs better than anyone else. He knows it wont be easy to work with her but he wants the resort to succeed. Jessica has her own problems in dealing with Dom, while she is mad at him she still has feelings for him and doesn’t want that to get in the way of the goal of making the resort better. Knowing that Dom has a son and is married she stays away emotionally as much as possible. But as the sexual tension mounts can she truly keep her emotions under wraps.

This is a light romance with the usual will they/ wont they and the normal things thrown in the path of love having a second chance. While I liked the book it was predictable and an easy read for me, something to read after a heavier more intense book.

ARC provided by author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 stars

Crash

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True Devotion by Liora Blake

24733682 Synopsis: Devon Jenkins is a feisty blonde, and Simon Cole is the arrogant, sexy guitarist playing in her brother’s band. When they met for the first time, it went something like this: He hit on her, she shot him down, he made a lewd joke, she told him he was an idiot.

In the two years since then, not much has changed. From the way Simon flirts shamelessly with any set of ovaries within a 100-mile radius, Devon knows the smartest thing she can do is keep an impenetrable wall between them.

But sometimes the smart choice isn’t necessarily the right one…

True Devotion is the follow up to True North which was the story of Trevor and Kate. Devon is Trevor’s sister. While I enjoyed Trevor and Kate’s story I fell in love with Devon and Simon. I read this book in one sitting from cover to cover. There was so much I enjoyed about it. The hero in the book, Simon, was one that I loved from just about the beginning. I expected a very alpha male who needed to be in charge just because of this being a rock star book. Simon, however, definitely surprised me with his love of reading all genres and his tenderness. He is the one who is all in with the relationship with Devon from the beginning and doesn’t want to do anything casual. I loved seeing the male being the one ready to commit for good and not being hesitant to settle. Another part of Simon’s personality that was unexpected was his inner geek that he was unashamed about. He had no problem with having unicorn sheets and fun geeky dishes and displaying all of that throughout his house even though he a supposed to be some kind of rock god. Men who know who they are and embrace it are the best kind.

You might also stumble across my supersecret stash of very filthy romance novels. I have a soft spot for the ones with shirtless cowboys. But other than that it’s pretty square around here.
Please tell me you’re kidding about the shirtless cowboys.
Raising his eyebrows suggestively, he lowers his voice. I don’t know. You’ll have to find out.
Those cowboys are so rugged. Everyone has a kink don’t they? Mine might be a cowboy in just his hat and a smile.
If you ever say ask me to say ‘giddy up when we’re having sex, I’ll know it’s true.

Devon is the one who had self esteem issue and it’s hard to watch her struggles throughout. But it is understandable to see why she has problems with accepting love with where she’s come from. Devon and Trevor grew up in the ghetto and didn’t have anything until Trevor’s band started to make something of itself. She always made assumptions about Simon and thought he was a pretty rich boy and when she discovers there’s so much more to him she doesn’t think she’s good enough for him and that she’s keeping him from finding a great socialite wife. She’s a very flawed heroine but seemed pretty realistic to me since most women I know have a running commentary in their head about their own flaws.

While I loved Simon my favorite thing about this book is the balance of the humor and touching parts of the book. I found myself laughing so much at certain parts because Simon and Devon had great banter back and forth which always cracked me up. But what I found particularly surprising were the parts that had me a little teary. I’m not a big cry-er with books but there were some parts that I found extremely touching.

Liora Blake was a new to me author with the first book in this series but I’ll definitely be reading more of hers after this one!

ARC received via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

5 stars

~Melinda

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Review + Character Interview: The Girl Next Door by Amy Jo Cousins

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I’m so excited because Cash from The Girl Next Door agreed to stop by and answer some questions for me.

Hi Cash, thanks for joining me here and answering a few questions for me!
Since we saw you last you your life changed a lot which was really surprising to see at first. One of those major changes included moving away, on your own, to Chicago. What was your favorite and least favorite thing about living in Chicago?

Chicago totally rocks. My one favorite thing? Gaaaaahhhh, I can’t pick just one! The lake is awesome and the people are super cool. I got my favorite tamale guy. Ooh, there’s a giant sculpture fountain thing downtown where you can splash around in this really shallow pool of water. It’s mostly kids who do it, but dude, taking off your shoes and stomping around in a giant puddle on a hot day? Nothing better. I got Steph so wet when we went there. *pauses, laughs at your gigglesnort* I meant I splashed her! Jeez. Mind. Gutter. But yeah, that’s awesome in the summer. Um, least favorite thing? When my window AC unit breaks down in July. I don’t know if Chicago was built on a swamp or what, but man, it gets fricking humid and hot here. You can sweat your balls off.

First your best friend came out to you a few years ago and you became really good friends with his boyfriend. Then you became friends and even friends with benefits with Steph who’s bisexual and now your rather young cousin who is newly out shows up on your doorstep in Chicago. What do you think it is about you that draws people to you?

*looks down, scratches his head* Aw, I don’t know, man. The world is full of people who are dicks sometimes, you know? I try not to be a dick. I think my friends know I got their backs and, like, there’s nothing they can tell me that’s gonna make me not like them. I mean, except if they’re, I don’t know, serial killers or something. I got limits. But being gay or bi or whatever? No biggie. People who freak out about that are scared, maybe. And I get it. It was weird at first. I mean, dudes kissing was all gross, no way, dude for me at first. But now I’m like, “Yo, get off your boyfriend. We’re playing Call of Duty here.” *shrugs* Don’t be a dick. That’s a good rule.

Speaking of Steph, she’s pretty badass, which makes me kind of love her. What did you miss the most about her when you weren’t in contact?

*turns pink* I’m maybe not gonna say the first thing I thought of here, okay? But seriously, Steph is just…awesome. She’s a badass who doesn’t take my shit. Or anyone’s shit! She’ll throw down in a heartbeat. But the thing is, she’s really a softie on the inside, so you gotta make sure to take extra care with her. Because it’s easy to think nothing can hurt her, but that’s like the opposite of true. Plus, she makes me laugh my ass off. Oh, and she totally murders songs when she sings in the shower. Don’t tell her I said that. But girl cannot sing. At all. It’s totally great. Cracks me up.

One of my favorite things about you and Steph as a couple is that you listen to each other when it comes to sex and fantasies. And even better is that you indulge them occasionally! Which leads to a ridiculously hot threesome scene with another guy. Do you have any regrets about that and would you do that again?

No regrets, man. None. Nope. That was fucking hot. The thing is, we talked so much about it and we both knew it was totally okay to call it off at any point, so we had, like, a safety net. And that made it super chill. Man, talking about sex is so hot. I’d do that all day long. Would I do a threesome again? Now that I’ve done it, I can see how that kind of thing can go way wrong, so I don’t know. I think the circumstances and the people have to be pretty damn perfect. We got hella lucky. I’m not about fucking up friendships or making my girl feel bad. And Varun moved back home! Which still sucks. I miss that guy. But if we all ended up alone together in a room again? Yeah, things might go down. *laughs* Or up. I don’t know which way sounds dirtier!

Okay, just one silly question for you – if your love story with Steph were going to be made into a movie who would you cast to play her? And who would you cast as you?

Who’s the hottest chick out there? That smoking hot, smiling girl from Game of Thrones, Natalie Dormer. Give her dark hair and shave the side of her head and yeah, she could play a mean Steph. And me? Chris Pratt. That dude’s awesome. He’s funny as hell and has a great ass. That’s me all over. *winks*

Thanks so much for stopping by, I really appreciate it! You’re one of my favorites.

Thanks! You’re totally awesome, too. This was a ton of fun. But seriously, don’t tell Steph I said that thing about her singing in the shower. She’ll kill me.

So obviously I love Cash. He’s just a great character from start to finish. Anyone who has read any review of mine knows I have a thing about covers and this cover is wonderful – featuring such a strong looking woman on it that it’s truly why I wanted to read it immediately. I actually read this completely out of order and fell in love with this book so much that I then went back and read the first two books. Since then I’ve read this another two times and my enjoyment hasn’t changed at all. The cover had almost everything to do with me reading out of order. The Girl Next Door is part of the overall series but works as a standalone. I didn’t feel lost when I read this the first time, I knew what was going on so if you jump right in here don’t worry about that. I will say that you get more enjoyment if you read book 1 though because you’re introduced to both Steph and Cash in that book.

At first I gave this 4 stars but after having this book stick with me for 2 months and recommending it to everyone I know who likes this genre- and people who don’t- I realized it was actually a 5 star read for me. Steph is a complete badass, a complex heroine, which is the kind I love. And Cash I fell in love with in Off Campus where we first met him. He’s hilarious yet tender hearted and so incredibly open minded. This couple is definitely one of my favorites in all of NA and that’s saying a lot with how much I read in this genre.

If he was going to bare his soul, he’d do it with this girl, and no one else, but he’d cop a feel at the same time, because hey, multi-tasking.

This is both a really hot book and a very touching one. Some people have questioned why the author wrote a m/f book in the middle of a m/m series but it worked so well for me. The heroine is bisexual and the hero is best friends with the gay couple from the first book. I think that more and more series having a book be m/m in the middle of a m/f series like Sarina Bowen did and Amy Jo Cousin did here can only make things better and move things along for diversity.

ARC received via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

5 Stars

~Melinda

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The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

23278537“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Have you ever read a book that crept inside of your chest and cradled your heart in it’s pages?  This book has done this for me.  It’s blown a gentle breeze across my heart.

Perdu is French for lost, and Perdu is just that lost. He is on a quest to not only heal himself but to find release from his demons with the one person who shouldn’t by right help him.  This story starts as one thing and morphs into another. There are a lot of damaged people in this book and the quest that Perdu takes them on is not only for him but as much for them as well. I felt as if I took that journey with Perdu and the details of the trip along Frances rivers were brought alive by the author who did a stunning job in the details. Perdu slowly changes and grows as the story progresses and again, it becomes more.

The story she wove is one of delicacy and of strength.  This is a beautiful book, one that took me deep into it and made me fall in love with it.  I can’t explain why only that it did.  If you want a book to refresh you heart and soul, then this is the book for you!

Book provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5/5 stars

Crash

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Weightless by Sara Bannan

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Adamsville Alabama is like any small southern town. They worship God, pray at school events and cheer on their football team. Girls talk about makeup, fashion, who the hottest boy is, things that teenage girls all over talk about. Brook is a cheerleader going out with THE best looking guy in school, Shane and her best friend Gemma, who is the preacher’s daughter, is dating Andrew. All of this changes when a new girl moves to Adamsville from New Jersey. Carolyn is 15 and is everything the local girls want to be. She is popular, pretty, and thin and uses designer products and wears designer clothes.

When school starts Carolyn becomes very popular with everybody. She makes lots of friends but when she is seen with Shane things start to turn against her. Brook and Gemma start making comments, nothing big but comments that start to circulate. Brook talks about Carolyn behind her back… then starts to post comments on Face book. Little things that other know are wrong, or right depending on whom you talk to. Girls start to talk about Carolyn, commenting on her weight, how much she has lost, and about her clothes, her hair, and what she is doing. She becomes a person of fascination and also one of contempt.

As the book progresses things start to spiral downward and gets more out of control.

This is a book about bullying modern day style. Where social media can play a big part of an individuals down fall. Videos and text messages are a new form of bullying platform. It also highlights how much worse girls are towards each other, the jealousy and pettiness that some girls of that age obsess about. I think that in many ways girls are far worse bullies that guys can be. It was pretty intese what these girls did and also scary at how much they banded together to gang up on one girl who was, while not completely blameless for what was going on, battling her own demons and was going about things best she could.

This is a book that should be read in junior high, even though it takes place in high school. It’s written at a level for kids of that age group and written in a style that they can understand. Parents can get something out of this as well, a better understanding of just how much social media can be used as a new form of bullying and how kids react, or don’t, to what is going on around them

ARC recieved by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review

4/5 stars

Crash

 

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Review: Carter Reed 2 by Tijan

25042819 Synopsis: Carter bought his way out of the mafia to protect Emma, but when an old ghost returns to the Mauricio Family, a chain of events starts that can harm everyone. While Carter must decide to return to the Mauricio Family or not, a face that is oddly familiar to Emma comes into her life. She’s given the chance to discover more about her family while tension between the rivaling Mauricio and Bertal Family comes to a head in an explosive way. The truce is officially off, and when the two worlds collide, Carter’s decision is made.
He didn’t start this war, but he will end it.
He will do anything to protect Emma.

I discovered this author through Jane from the review blog Dear Author – which if you’re not reading you really should be – and I’m really glad I did. I’ve read through most of her back list with my favorite being the Fallen Crest series that is most of Tijan’s fans favorite! This is the sequel to the first Carter Reed, which I really enjoyed and gave 4 stars to. What I like about Tijan’s books is that they’re very over the top and dramatic. Many of the characters in her books are still in high school but their lives are much more complex than any adult in real life I know. Normally I’m not a big fan of angst but her characters don’t have the extreme angst that make them cry non-stop and need to be rescued. No, Tijan’s female characters are usually hardcore and whatever dramatic situation that has happened to them they deal with and move on. While they may need rescuing, they’re usually helping with their own rescue which of course I love.

So, about this specific book, unfortunately it was just average for me. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great but it was good. I had two main problems with this book. The first one being that Emma and Carter seemed to be apart for most of it. The whole point of the first book was to get the two of them together and give them their HEA or at least their HFN. It seemed in this book every time they were together their scenes were saying goodbye or hello and never actually being together. I like my couples together for at least a portion of the book. To be fair there were definitely a few times here and there but it just was so brief that it didn’t satisfy me enough. Their love for each other is very strong and it’s apparent that nothing will keep them apart but I would have liked to see them together.

You go where they go. You walk their same path. What happens to them, happens to you. It’s the burden of loving someone. You deal with it because that person is there when you need them.

My second problem with the book was that Emma kept waffling back and forth with her emotions. She and Carter were strong throughout the book in terms of their relationship but all of her other relationships she kept leaving and coming back to. I was getting really tired of seeing the same scene repeated over and over again with her friends. I like her friends and the relationship she has with them and I understood the complicated nature of those relationships. But the repetition was what was driving me crazy. Then a sister comes out of nowhere and the waffling continues with her. It just seemed disconnected to me with everything going back and forth like that.

This book was a bit of a let down for me but definitely won’t keep me from reading any more of Tijan’s books. She’s very talented and I won’t hesitate from reading the next Fallen Crest. That’s what I would recommend if anyone was looking for a book of hers to read.

3 Stars

~Melinda

Amazon

Review: For Real by Alexis Hall

25500803 Synopsis: Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. For real. Heh (see what I did there?). I just don’t love this cover which is disappointing because I love everything else about this book.

The first aspect I liked about this book was the subverting of conventions in different ways. That’s always something I appreciate in any book and the conventions are turned upside down almost right away when Laurie and Toby meet. Toby is this skinny 19 year old who comes into a BDSM club, obviously out of place and unsure of himself, and Laurie finds himself drawn to him for reasons he can’t figure out. Laurie is almost 20 years older than Toby and initially resists even the phsyical attraction to Toby. I’ve read books that turn the physical conventions on their heads – with a scrawny guy being the more dominant one in a relationship but this book explored this aspect fully. It’s told in a dual POV, which I’ve mentioned doesn’t always work for me, and in this case not only does it work it also helps explore these physical aspects in much greater detail. We get to be in both of their heads and explore what Toby is thinking through each of their interactions. Even more interesting to me was to hear what Laurie was thinking, both during and after. Alexis Hall did a wonderful job of capturing his complex emotions while submitting to someone so much younger and smaller than him.

I know I’ve only been with him twice. That I hardly know the guy. But I also don’t know how you fall in love, except by wanting to. So maybe that’ll do. For now, anyway.

What I found really well done was the two completely different voices. They each have their own, unique ones and the reader would never mistake one for the other. While they’re both trying to work through the complexities that come with the relationship Toby brings his vulnerability of age and not knowing what he wants to do with his life. It’s interesting to see the power dynamics shift in the relationship constantly back and forth as Toby deals with those issues. Laurie has an almost ennui feeling towards the scene and is grieving a previous relationship. There were no overt bids for power in this relationship – which I liked – but the balance between Laurie and Toby shifted all the time and that felt very realistic to me.

Okay, you know what I think is ina-fucking-propriate? People who don’t love each other. People who hurt each other. People who stay together out of fear or habit or apathy. We’re in love, how is that wrong?

The writing is beautifully done and I really loved both characters. Not only was their relationship realistic but just the general aspects of life that happens during the course of the book and the “life lessons” from those moved me as well.

As you can tell, I loved this book. If you like m/m I would highly recommend this book!

5 Stars

~Melinda

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