January 31, 2015

Book Review: Indecent Proposal by Molly O'Keefe

Summary (GoodReads)
With his chiseled jaw and his thick blond hair, Harrison Montgomery was born to lead. Four generations of Montgomery men have served the state of Georgia and now he’s next in line. Harrison, though, is driven to right wrongs: namely to clean up the political mess left by his father’s greed and corruption. But Harrison must first win his congressional bid, and nothing can get in his way—not even an angel who served him whiskey and gave him a shoulder to lean on and a body to love for a night. Problem is, she’s pregnant. Scandal is brewing and there is only one solution: marriage.

Damage control? Ryan Kaminski can’t believe that a cold, calculating political animal now inhabits the body of the emotionally vulnerable stranger who’d given her the most unforgettable night of her life. Really, she doesn’t want anything from Harrison, except to be left alone to have her baby in peace. But Ryan is broke, jobless, and essentially blackmailed by Harrison’s desperate family to accept this crazy marriage deal. For two years, she will have to act the role of caring, supportive wife. But what is Ryan supposed to do when she realizes that, deep in her heart, she’s falling in love

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the set up for Indecent Proposal, because during that first encounter, Ryan and Harrison had a lot of chemistry and it was fun. After that? well, I liked Ryan a lot more than I did Harrson. 

Ryan was smart and was trying to do what was best for her baby, even if that meant going through with the whole charade marriage and actually helping Harrison with his campaign - I respected that she really did her best for him and tried to be what he needed; and that her experience acting and modeling came in handy there and that it was acknowledged.

Also loved the bond that formed between Ryan and Harrison's best friend - really, they were probably my favorite relationship in the book - who had more in common than what seemed at first. 

Harrison? Well, I thought he meant well but other made dumb mistakes trying to avoid repeating the mistakes his parents made. He wasn't particularly warm or likable, though you could see that he cared for the people in his life. 

By the end, I sort of felt like Ryan could have done better than him, though. 

Another thing that sort of bothered me was how much time was spent in the campaign and in Ryan's back story, rather than focusing on Ryan and Harrison's actual relationship, the other stuff was much more developed than the romance and that's just not what I expect of a romance book. 

And I was WAY more intrigued by, say, Ryan's brother than by Harrison or any of the other characters. 

January 27, 2015

Release Day Blitz: Bridges Burned

Bridges Burned
By Chris Cannon
January 27, 2015

Don’t just fight the system…burn it.
Since discovering she is a shape-shifting, fire-breathing dragon on her sixteenth birthday (surprise!), Bryn McKenna’s world has been thrown into chaos. Being a “crossbreed”—part Red dragon and part Blue—means Bryn will never fit in. Not with dragon society. Not with the archaic and controlling Directorate. And definitely not when she has striped hair and a not-so-popular affection for rule-breaking…

But sneaking around with her secret boyfriend, Zavien, gets a whole lot harder when he’s betrothed to someone else. Someone who isn’t a mixed breed and totally forbidden. And for an added complication, it turns out Bryn’s former archnemesis Jaxon Westgate isn’t quite the evil asshat she thought. Now she’s caught between her desire to fit in and a need to set things on fire. Literally.
Because if Bryn can’t adapt to the status quo…well, then maybe it’s time for her to change it.


On the drive back to school, Bryn reflected on how her life had recently gone to hell. It had all started when flames shot out of her mouth on her sixteenth birthday, proving she wasn’t completely human. Since then she’d been shipped off to a secret school for dragons—the Institute for Excellence—where she was learning how to control her shape-shifting dragon powers. She’d faced discrimination, death threats, and poisoning. She’d been blown up and involved in a battle to the death with a radical Revisionist member—and she’d been there for only a few months.

Though not everything about her new life was bad. She had a sexy boyfriend, Black dragon Zavien Blackthorn, and two good friends, Clint and Ivy. Being a crossbred dragon meant she had both the Red and Blue dragons’ breath weapons, fire and ice, and even though she was the only crossbreed, she could still outfly even the fastest Blue. Of course, that’s why some of the other Clans hated her. She’d upset the natural order of things in this color-coded world, where the Directorate dictated what Red, Black, Green, Orange, and Blue dragon Clan members could do as a profession and whom they could marry. It was absurd. Yet most dragons didn’t question it.

Part of Zavien’s appeal lay in the fact that he headed up the student Revisionist group that petitioned the Directorate to change outdated laws. Bryn glanced at Directorate lawyer Merrick Overton, who was driving the Cadillac SUV hybrid she was riding in. Her classmate and former nemesis Jaxon Westgate rode shotgun. She and Jaxon no longer hated each other. Scratch that: he no longer hated her based on his father’s vendetta against her mother, but that didn’t mean they were friends. Funny how saving someone’s life could turn you from enemies to…what? Not friends. Frenemies, maybe? Who knew? It’s not like she wanted to hang out with him, but there was a weird level of trust between them now that she didn’t know what to do with.

BUY IT ON AMAZON, ITUNES, BARNES AND NOBLE, & KOBO: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/bridges-burned/


Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures. Going Down In Flames is the first book in Chris Cannon's shape-shifting dragon series.

January 26, 2015

Book Review: What I Love About You by Rachel Gibson

Summary (GoodReads):

Ex-high school cheerleader Natalie Cooper could once shake her pom-poms with the best of them. But she's paid for all that popularity—her husband's run off with what's left of their money and a twenty-year-old bimbo named Tiffany. Leaving Natalie to manage a photo store and having to see some pictures she, well, really shouldn't.


Then she comes toe-to-manly chest with Blake Junger. Exiled to a remote cabin in Truly, Idaho, Blake wants nothing to do with anyone. Instead, he's determined to struggle with his demons and win—all on his own. But the last thing he needs is Natalie distracting him with her luscious curves and breaking down the barriers of his heart.


My Thoughts:
What I Love About You was a very sweet read, very quick and easy to read. I liked both Blake and Natalie, and Natalie's daughter Charlotte.

In fact, I think the relationship between Charlotte and Blake was probably what I liked best about about this story, they are each other's best friends and it's adorable.

Blake on his own? well he had issues, mainly his drinking which I don't think was handled all that well all the time - he has near daily stare downs with a bottle he keeps in his house, just to prove to himself that he can, which seems counterintuitive to me - and he could be a little mean sometimes, but over all he was a nice guy.

Natalie was more uptight but I appreciated she wanted to do the best for her kid in all circumstances, and really tried to make that happen. I also liked her job as a photographer and photo developer, it was fun when she was in the shop.

All in all, a solid novel, I enjoyed going back to Truly, Idaho and getting tangential updates on characters for past books.

January 24, 2015

Book Review: Undertaking Love by Kat French

UK Covers are so cute!!!
Summary (GoodReads):
When Marla Jacobs discovers that the shop next to her Little White Wedding Chapel is to become a funeral parlour, she declares all-out war.

Marla’s chapel in the sleepy Shropshire countryside has become a nation-wide sensation, but the arrival of Funeral Director Gabriel Ryan threatens everything Marla has worked for. She can picture the scene: wedding limos fighting for space in the street with hearses; brides bumping into widows; bouquets being swapped for wreaths.

Marla’s not going down without a fight. She enlists a motley crew of weird and wonderful local supporters, and battle lines are drawn. But, as soon as Marla meets her nemesis, she realises just how much trouble she’s really in. His rugged good looks and Irish lilt make her stomach fizz – how is she supposed to concentrate on destroying him, when half the time she’s struggling not to rip the shirt off his back?

My Thoughts: 
There were many things I liked about Undertaking Love: it was cute, I liked Gabriel a lot and I enjoyed the whole Wedding Chapel vs Funeral Home war thing (even if the war was mostly in Marla's head) and the whole dynamic of the small town. 

I loved that Gabriel actually had a good reason as to why he was a funeral director and was proud to be good at his job - he thinks it's important to help people during that difficult time; and that funerals are as much about love as weddings are - and that he wasn't willing to back down. 

Marla sometimes annoyed me though, mostly because she thought her business was simply superior because who doesn't like a wedding more than a funeral? But she's not all bad either, she cares about her adopted town and her friends and she has moment where she's very likable and nice. 

Also, I felt like the cast of characters was a bit large and we were covering a lot of subplots at the same time, and the only subplot I really cared about was the one about Marla's best friend and her marriage.

Anyway, Undertaking Love was a good read, even if at times it felt a little long.

January 22, 2015

An Open Letter to the March Family Letters...

Dear March Family Letters,

I wanted to like you. I really did but I'm afraid we are going to have to part ways sooner rather than later - you feel free to lord it over Frankenstein M.D. that you made me drop you faster than Victoria did - because, to put it succinctly, you kind of suck. 

Now, let me to throw my bonafides on the table: I love Little Women, I love the movie, I have read the book over fifteen times, I even watched the animes (all 3 versions of it) and I have seen pretty much all the movie, riffs and other adaptations made of it (the March Sisters at Christmas, anyone?). 

I know MY Little Women.

But I'm starting to believe that maybe you don't, March Family Letters. 

See, the story of the March sisters is a simple one: a slice of life melodrama about four sisters who are very different from each other but love one another. That's it. Yet all characters have a spine, an inner motor that dictates their lives and their personalities. 

You don't seem to be grasping that. 

Meg isn't serious, she is lady like and put together (she would never ever be caught looking like the frightful mess she looks like in some of your 'letters'), she actually enjoys going to parties and being with her friends, the snobbier the affair the better because she does crave social status. 

Amy is gorgeous in a traditional sort of way (and she is blond, dammit!), she can be capricious, and she sure annoys Jo. But she's also mostly described as someone who is charming and polite who is both sensitive and practical in equal measures. 

Beth is shy with strangers, but actually has a lot of friends, she's not an island nor is she dependent on her sisters for everything, she in fact spends most of her time alone fending for herself. She's strong and thinks of others first, she would never refuse to be on a video for her mom, nor would she be snarky about it. 

And Jo, darling Jo whom I hate and love sometimes in equal measure- Jo is a tomboy, she is impulsive and has a bit of a mean streak, she is also smart and very creative and fiercely loyal even if she's pretty much a brick when it comes to other people's feelings. 

She wouldn't make a whole video raging because someone addressed a letter to her wrong. She would probably have enjoyed being called a dude. She calls herself "The man of the house" a few times in the book, you know? 

Now I am all for twists and turns and for turning stories on their head, as long as you acknowledge and respect the story you are telling. But you seem to be very badly miscast, March Family Letters. I could argue until I was blue in the face that Jo March needs to have a gorgeous head of hair to be Jo March, but I could have easily let that go if you had captured the spirt of her.

But nope, you seem to have casted these girls as if you were aiming for a parody or a satire, not for a retelling. They are over the top, and stiff and Jo's mouth seriously freaks me out (it's like it has a life of its own). 

There has to be certain chemistry and dynamic to the March family and I'm just not seeing it. You are going through the beats but not showing the true love and annoyances behind a family.

Because that's the thing that has endured about Amy, Beth, Jo and Meg through out the years: they feel like a real family, the make each other mad and they cheer each other on. And from the moment the book opens on that cold week before a Christmas without presents, you feel it: all the tension and the petty grievances of teenage girls and all the love of a family who has struggled together but that is better off for it. 

Until you find that core, you won't find who these girls are, and until you do, you won't work as a retelling of this beloved story. 

And you will be one audience member short, because I'm seriously done with you,


So, that's me and the March Family Letters, what about you? Is anyone else watching it? Have strong feelings about it? Let me know.

January 16, 2015

Book Review: Between the Sheets by Moly O'Keefe

Between the Sheets 
Summary (from GoodReads):
After years of running, Wyatt Svenson has now parked himself in Bishop, Arkansas, trying to do the right thing and parent a son he didn’t even know he had until recently. Over six feet tall and packed with muscles and power, Ty likes to get his hands dirty, fixing his motorcycle at night and keeping his mind away from the mistakes he’s made. Then his pretty neighbor shows up on his driveway, doesn’t bother to introduce herself, and complains about the noise. First impression? She should loosen up. Funny that she turns out to be his son’s elementary school art teacher—and the only one willing to help his troubled boy. Ty needs her. In more ways than one.

Though Shelby Monroe is safe in her structured life, she is drawn to Ty’s bad-boy edge and rugged sexuality. What if she just lets it all go: her worries about her mother, her fear of heartbreak, and her tight self control? What if she grabs Ty and takes a ride on the wild side? “What if” becomes reality—intense, exhilarating . . . and addictive. But Ty wants more than a secret affair. He wants it all with Shelby. But will she take a chance and open her heart? Ty is determined to convince Shelby to take the biggest risk of her life: on him

My Thoughts: I had a few mixed feelings about Between the Sheets. On one hand, I really liked Ty, on the other Shelby drove me crazy.

Ty I liked and understood: he wasn't sure how to handle his son, he wasn't always happy to be living in a small town where people judged him (and his son) because of his appearance, but he believed it was the best for his kid, so he stuck to it and started to adapt. He tried really had to be there for the people he cared about and I found him very likable, sexy even.

Shelby, didn't fare so well with me, though. She was a bit of a martyr regarding her mother - her mom suffers Alzheimer's and Shelby is determined to singled-handedly take care of her, accepting only minimal help from the people around her much as they offered - which was borderline dangerous for both of them. She was a really good teacher and tried to help Ty's son, but for herself she was just too hard on herself in a way that made me dislike her. 

Now, she and Ty did have some chemistry and the sex was hot between the, but sometimes those parts felt a little disjointed from the rest of the story.

That being said, it did take me a little while to get into the story, but once I did I enjoyed reading it, even if I was more interested in Ty and his fixing bikes than in Shelby's side of the story. 

January 6, 2015

Book Review: This Christmas by Jeannie Moon

Summary (goodreads): Single mother Sabrina Gervais has built a happy life with her daughter Charlotte in their eastern Long Island hometown of Holly Point. Having Charlie meant putting some of her own dreams on hold, but Sabrina is content to surround herself with family and friends, safe from the realities of the outside world. She had enough of that when the man she loved broke her heart. 

Jake Killen’s career in professional hockey has brought him many rewards on and off the ice, but returning to New York brings back a flood of memories. When he sees Sabrina again, he discovers that he didn’t just away from her ten years ago, but also from their unborn child. 

Struggling with anger, guilt, and chemistry that’s off the chart, Sabrina and Jake wonder if they can find love again and, this Christmas, make all their wishes come true.

My Thoughts: 
Secret baby plots are one of my catnips, so when I read the summary for this story I was all over it. I was surprised to realize that this is actually part of an anthology of sorts, which tells the story of four friends around Christmas, that was interesting (particularly as each story was written by a different author) but since I read it as a stand alone I can say that I both perfectly understood the story... and I still felt like I was missing something of context. 

But none the less, This Christmas was a sweet story. Sabrina and Jake both made many mistakes when they were young but when they met again, they don't beat around the bush. Jack can quickly tell that Sabrina's daughter is his and wants in immediately, and Sabrina doesn't deny it or him. 

They dealt with the situation pretty maturely, I thought, and I appreciated that. The bonding between Charlotte and Jake was a bit too quick for my taste, but at the same time this is a novella and that was a bit to be expected.