Monday, February 29, 2016

February 2016 Reads


     Well February is coming to a close and soon it will be spring…hopefully!  I read a total of nine books this month but one turned out to be a novella that I wasn’t aware of so the number really is only eight.

          I was going to try to branch out and read some different genres this last month instead of just romance but looking back on my spreadsheet I didn’t do so good with that promise to myself.  I really only read and finished one book this month that “might” be considered non-romance-OOPSY!  I’ll try better in March. Really, I will!

February’s Books:

The Mother Road by Meghan Quinn: Loved this book!  See my review here. 4.5/5 stars

Some Sort of Crazy by Melanie Harlow: Number 2 in a great series! 4/5 stars

Stealing Rose by Monica Murphy:  Also number 2 in a series but I was disappointed in this one. 2/5 stars

Priest by Sierra Simone:
I was excited to read this one because it is set in a nearby town but it was just okay for me. A little far fetched and to be honest, the whole sex in a church with a priest really creeped me out.  3/5 stars

Some Sort of Love by Melanie Harlow: The final book in the series and I think it was my favorite-see my review here. 4.5/5 stars

Cupcakes & Ink by Helena Hunting:
I thought this was the first book in a series but turns out it was just a little prequel novella-it was good (love this author) but really short and I was disappointed because I didn't realize that beforehand-totally not her fault.   3/5 stars

After You by JoJo Moyes: Review to come-just going to say: SO GOOD!

Three Simple Rules by Nikki Sloane: This wasn’t quite what I expected and it was very, very naughty.  I like some sexiness but this was too much for me.  2.5/5 stars

Happy Spring and here's hoping for some great reads!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Some Sort of Love by Melanie Harlow

Summary by Amazon:

You might think I had it all—a career I loved, a supportive family, the Nixon metabolism but not the Nixon ears, and a salary that supported my lavish taste in designer shoes, fine wine, and lacy lingerie … but I had no one to share it with.

Until the day I ran into him—my one night stand from college with the crooked smile, let’s-get-out-of-here eyes, and dirty, dirty mouth.

Cute and cocky then, today Levi Brooks is six feet four inches of hot bearded fantasy. A sexy single dad with broad shoulders, strong hands, and a fantastically big … heart. (I mean, it’s massive. And generous. And it pumps so hard … um. Sorry. Lost my place.)

Being a good father means everything to him, but he's keeping me at a distance because he thinks I deserve someone better — a man who can give me more time, more attention, more of himself. He doesn’t believe he could ever be enough.

But he's wrong.

He’s everything.

My Thoughts:

     This is book number three of the Happy Crazy Love series but it can be considered a stand-alone.  My recommendation though? Start at number one (Some Sort of Happy) and read them in order….but I’m anal like that.

     Well, what can I say? Melanie Harlow has done it again with this series which is loosely connected to her last one, Frenched, in that those characters make an appearance or two.  The Nixon sisters are the leads in this new series and I am very sad to say that this is the last book.

     This is the story of eldest sister, Jillian, and her reunion with a college fling, Levi.  A lot of things have changed over the last decade for them both but they definitely still have a spark between them! Levi is sweet, conflicted and a bit of a dirty talker!  If that’s your jam then you will love him!

      I love that these books always make me laugh and always give me All of The Feels.  Ms. Harlow is excellent at giving you a fresh, new storyline but still making you cry and laugh all at the same time!  If I had to complain about something it would be that there’s a lot of pages during the Falling For Each Other part but it seemed a little like the Making Up part was shorter and rushed….what can I say, I like the angst!

P.S. This is the second check off of my ReadingChallenge for the year in that it was A Book I Read in a Day-which ought to tell you how awesome it is.

 4.5/5 stars on this one


Visit Melanie's Facebook page:

Monday, February 22, 2016

Series I Love

     I love a good series!  It’s not that I don’t read and enjoy a stand-alone novel but there’s just something about finding and delving into a great new-to-me series that just can’t be beat.  It’s even better if I find one that has been around awhile and has several books released in it so I don’t have to wait for the next installment!

     I think what I like about a series (even just a trilogy or quartet) is that it gives you a chance to really know the characters.  If you find a character that you enjoy or can relate to it is so much more enjoyable to be there through several books to watch them change and grow.

     Below is a list of some of the series that I have enjoyed in the past and also a couple of recently published or discovered ones. 

Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben: I found this series through an online book club that I used to belong to and after reading the first one with them I quickly devoured the rest of the series!  This is more a thriller/mystery series but there are a lot of funny moments too…and GREAT news is that Mr. Coben has recently announced that he’s working on another book after many years of no Myron & Win. YAY!


Alphabet Series by Sue Grafton: I discovered this series while perusing the library many years ago and I still love Kinsey! Sad to think that we are almost through the whole alphabet and therefore almost done with Kinsey’s story. This series is also in the mystery/thriller category.

Outlander series by Diana Galbaldon:  In the summer of 2014 I started seeing ads for the Outlander t.v. series and at the end they said “based on the bestselling series”…well I had to check that out! The show looked really good and since I would much rather read the book-I was sold!  I have read all of the main series books except for the last one (#8) because I am trying to savor it and make sure I don’t have to wait 2+ years for #9! These are hard to pin down genre wise but I would say it is more historical fiction than anything else.

Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich:  I came upon this series when I found the first three books on the bargain table at B & N over 10 years ago and have read them all except the latest #22.  To be honest after the last few have been a bit of a letdown I wasn’t too worked up about getting the latest one but I figured I would give it a try because I hate giving up on something I have been involved in for so long.  I assume these are considered mystery books but they are funny too!

Pucked series by Helena Hunting:  I came by this writer through

Facebook of all places but I am so glad I did! She is such a great writer and these books are not just sexy but HILARIOUS as well! If you enjoy a good love story without cheesy-ness and with humor and fun then check this series out.


Happy, Crazy Love series by Melanie Harlow:  Another new-to-me writer with some great writing skills! I just finished this series (review of #3 to come) and it was so good that I can’t wait to read it again.  This series has such great characters and such great storylines with the angst and turmoil of beginning relationships but also funny moments as well.  Sad that this series is over. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Heat Exchange by Shannon Stacey

Summary from Amazon:
     Lydia Kincaid's shipping back to Boston, but she's not happy about it. She left to get away from the firefighting community—her father was a firefighter, her brother's a firefighter and, more importantly, her ex is a firefighter. But family is number one and her father needs her help running the pub he bought when he retired. Soon, Lydia finds it hard to resist the familiar comfort and routine, and even harder to resist her brother's handsome friend Aidan.
     Aidan Hunt is a firefighter because of the Kincaid family. He's had the hots for Lydia for years, but if ever a woman was off-limits to him it's her. Aside from being his mentor's daughter, she's his best friend's sister. The ex-wife of a fellow firefighter. But his plan to play it cool until she leaves town again fails, and soon he and Lydia have crossed a line they can't un-cross.
     As Aidan and Lydia's flirtation turns into something more serious, Lydia knows she should be planning her escape. Being a firefighter's wife was the hardest thing she's ever done and she doesn't know if she has the strength to do it again. Aidan can't imagine walking away from Boston Fire—even for Lydia. The job and the brotherhood are his life; but if he wants Lydia in it, he'll have to decide who's first in his heart.

My Thoughts:
     I liked the story for the most part but the main female sometimes needed a good smacking on occasion.  I like Lydia in that she was confident (most of the time) and that she stood up for her sister when no one else really did but sometimes she took some crap (mainly, from her family) that I don’t think she should have or would have “in real life”. 

  My other issue with this story was that things would start to get sexy then like Emeril Lagasse *BAM* it was over (and NOT because the author was trying to keep it clean-ish, that ship had sailed).  If you are going to start some sexy times don’t just rush past them. As they said on Seinfeld, “You don’t ‘yada-yada’ sex!”

     This is not to say that I didn’t like Heat Exchange because I did! The storyline was good and a slightly older woman falling for her younger brother’s best friend is not a plotline you see often, so that was new.  I cannot imagine being in a relationship of any kind with a firefighter as it would be very stressful and hard to handle. 

Coming from a family filled with firefighters I can see where Lydia struggled with her feelings for Aidan, I just wish she had not been so wishy-washy about talking about it. One minute she is a strong, confident woman but the next, not so much. There was an attempt at angst but I never really felt we delved very deep into the feelings enough to really feel all that bad for Lydia.

     Overall, I liked the characters, the fresh plot line, and I think that this series has a lot of potential.  I’m hoping that in the next installment that there are a little bit deeper dives into feelings and less wishy-washy females.
3/5 Stars

"Listen to this. Marcy comes over and she tells me that her ex-boyfriend was over late last night and 'yada yada yada I'm really tired today.' You don't think she'd yada yada sex?"
"I've yada yada'd sex."
"Yeah. I met this lawyer, we went out to dinner, I had the lobster bisque, we went back to my place, yada yada yada, I never heard from him again."
"But you yada yada'd over the best part."
"No, I mentioned the bisque."
- George, Elaine, and Jerry, in "The Yada Yada"

Monday, February 15, 2016



      Do you have those books that you just love and even though you know what is going to happen you still have to read it again? I have several of those!
     My husband thinks I’m crazy when I re-read books because “you already know what happens!?!”, but what he doesn’t understand is that I always seem to catch something new or different.  It’s not about the ending so much as the way the author go us there that is so enjoyable and I think a lot of people miss that point.

     Yes, I know what is coming in the plot but whether it’s devastating or not I have to read it again!  Sometimes when I go back I catch things that I missed the first time around and it makes the story even better.  Other times, knowing the outcome enhances the story because the author has foreshadowing that I didn’t realize in the initial reading.  If the book is good a second (or even third) read is just as enjoyable as the first and maybe even more so.

Here are some books that I have read more than once: (I have a rather eclectic collection of books-don’t judge)

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen: I’ve read this 3 or 4 times but if you include the audio book and/or the BBC movie? The number for this one is probably closer to 6-7.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: I don’t know what it is about this novel that I love so much but I’ve read this one at least four times.

Sweet Addiction by J. Daniels:  I’ve read this series twice-except for the latest installment-and still laugh out loud at it.  Love Dylan & Reece-Ms. Daniels is excellent at angst and sexiness
Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich:  I have loved this series for years but I must admit to being a little disappointed in the last few books.  The first six or seven in the series have been read by me at least three times.
Lucy Valentine series by Heather Webber:  This is a great cozy-ish mystery series that I just love the characters in it!  It’s been a little while since I read it the second time so it might be due for a third soon…
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown:  LOVE this book!  I enjoy learning about religions and history so throw in a crazy mystery and I am there!
Anything by Melanie Harlow:  That’s not the name of a book I just literally mean anything by this woman.  Just finished her latest trilogy and immediately wanted to start it all over again-she is so incredibly talented!

     That’s it, for now…but I am currently working my way through Pucked for the second time and I have plans to re-read Outlander in preparation for delving into book #8 for the first time and I have recently had a hankering to re-read the Jack Daniels series by J.A. Konrath as well so this list will be growing. J

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Mother Road by Meghan Quinn

Summary from Amazon:

Never in a million years would I have pictured myself as an axe-wielding, dragon lady, chopping up multi-colored flannel shirts into my very own plaid mulch. But here I am, chopping away my frustrations.

It all started when my brother, Paul, convinced me to go on one last family road trip across the Mother Road with him and my dad.. Just like old times, right? Wrong. What Paul fails to mention is his best man, Porter, will be joining us, who just so happens to be my childhood crush and the man who broke my heart four years ago.

What is supposed to be a fun, family bonding experience across Route 66 turns into a war of pranks, awkward moments and bathrooms full of dirty flannel shirts and day old beard clippings. Paul’s know-it-all attitude and Porter’s devilish charm brings me to the brink of my sanity on my seven day trek across the United States with three bearded men in a small 1980’s RV.


My Thoughts:
      My review for this book? Shut up and go buy it…NOW! As of today the Kindle version costs $3.99 and it’s worth twice that! 

     In the words of my teenage daughter, “I literally LOL’d”.  This book is funny, sweet, shmexy, sad and wonderful.  Reading The Mother Road at work during my lunch break got me some interesting looks because I was laughing so hard many, many times. 

     The characters are quirky and crazy and you will want them to be a part of your family.  Marley is intelligent, funny, confident, smartass that has no problem sticking up for herself amongst this crazy (and gross) group of men she is stuck in a RV with as they travel across the country in a memorial trip for their mom.  The three bearded men driving her nuts are so weird and funny that you will instantly love each of them.

     This is the first book of Meghan Quinn’s that I have read and after this I will definitely be looking for more from her.  Great characters with wonderful relationships, no cheesy emotionless lines of gook that make you cringe.  Believable emotions and angst!

     This is one of those books that once I am done with it I wish I could un-read it so that I can go back and read it for the first time, again….am I the only one who ever wishes this?
5/5 stars!

Monday, February 8, 2016

New Additions

Remember when I said that I wasn’t going to use my gift cards for a while and I was going to try to read from my TBR pile because it was so huge? Yeah, me neither...

Here’s what I used my first Amazon card on:

The Mother Road by Meghan Quinn: kept hearing how hilarious this was and I needed a good laugh so….

Some Sort of Crazy by Melanie Harlow: love all of her other stuff and as this is #2 in the series and #3 was being released shortly I just had to have this one.

A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage: lots of recommendations on this one for lover’s of Outlander and the price was lowered!

Crown Me by Geneva Lee: #3 in the Royal Saga and a fave hometown girl!

Stealing Rose by Monica Murphy: #2 in a series that I started last year and loved but the price was a little steep for my thrifty tastes

The Redhead Plays Her Hand by Alice Clayton: #3 in a series that is great for some laughs

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare: keep getting recommendations for this series…not my usual cuppa but we’ll see…

Priest by Sierra Simone: this one comes highly recommended and it is set in an area VERY close to home so I can’t wait to try it!

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: I keep hearing how great this series is so when book #1 went on sale for Kindle for $1.99 I had to get it!

So the pile grows again….

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

Summary from Amazon:
“In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it...”

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.
Release date: 3/1/2016
Pre-Order here!

My Thoughts:

     Wow, just wow.  I was slightly nervous about reading this book because I loved the Spellman Files series so much that I was scared that Ms. Lutz’ non-Spellman book would be a letdown.  Not. At. All. 
          This book is a wild, crazy, twisting, turning ride that kept me wondering and thinking constantly but still never able to guess what would come next for Tanya/Amelia! Having to constantly stay “off the grid” and always be on the lookout for a new identity that you can “borrow” is nearly impossible in our technologically advanced world and only causes more stress for Tanya.  I cannot imagine living on the run, always having that fear in the back of your mind, and never being able to trust or talk to anyone. 
          There is so much more to Tanya’s story than what you first realize in the opening chapters, Ms. Lutz keeps you on your toes and guessing what could possibly cause Tanya’s need to run.  The whole mess unravels as you go along which makes the story that much more enjoyable and makes you sympathize even more with her troubles.  I can’t say much more without spoiling something but trust me that this is a very exciting, thrilling and entertaining story that you definitely must read!
4.5/5 stars

Monday, February 1, 2016

January Reads

     January was a pretty good reading month for me as I managed to get in 10 books.  Four of these ten books were really good 4+ star reads for me and only one of the books was just ho-hum. Not a bad month!
     I read about 4 less books this January than I did in January of 2015 which is all part of my plan for the year.  As mentioned in a previous post, my plan is to slow down my reading this year and enjoy it more instead of trying to hit some number goal and rushing through books.

Here’s what I read last month:

1) Star of Fortune by Nora Roberts: first in a new trilogy and quite a bit more magical than she usually does-4/5 stars

2)  PuckedUp by Helena Hunting: #2 in the Pucked series and just as lovable and hilarious-3.5/5 stars

3)PuckedOver by Helena Hunting: see my review here-4.5/5   
     *first check off of my Reading Challenge for this year   
                    for a book published in 2016

*any excuse to use this pic

4)  DirtyEnglish by Ilsa Madden-Mills: just an ok read for me as it wasn’t what I thought it would be and reminded me of another book I had read before-3/5 stars

5)  Friction by Sawyer Bennett: my lowest rating for the month-if you are looking for lawyer romance/sexy try Emma Chase instead-2.5/5 stars

6)  Landline by Rainbow Rowell: interesting read, see my full review here-3/5 stars

7)  TheWoods by Harlan Coben: one of my favorite authors who NEVER disappoints-4/5 stars

8)  NeanderthalSeeks Human by Penny Reid: read my full review here-3.5/5 stars

9)  HeatExchange by Shannon Stacey: review to come!

10)  ThePassenger by Lisa Lutz: another of my favorite authors-review to come!