Review: Mr. Good Enough by Jamie Farrell (@TheJamieFarrell) 4.5 stars

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Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

The blurb:
Maddie Mason isn’t desperate. She’s simply tired of waiting for the universe to deliver her Mr. Perfect. So she’s turning to the dating website she created, MisterGoodEnough.com, to finally find her future.

Online matchmaking is perfect for Maddie, because:
A) History has proven she’s a poor judge of decent husband material.
B) The dating pool in her crumbling little hometown is all but dried up.
C) She wants babies.

Trent Sawyer is not Mr. Good Enough material, because:
A) Twelve years ago, he stomped the stuffing out of Maddie’s naïve little teenage heart.
B) The man might look good in a tool belt, but she’s sure he’s up to something nefarious.
C) He doesn’t want kids. Ever.

But if Maddie were to fall for a guy like Trent, it would only be because:
A) When he apologizes, he apologizes big.
B) He’s fixing their little farm town, one dilapidated home at a time.
C) Her world is a brighter place with him in it.

So should Maddie:
A) Go for Mr. Second Best and the family she’s always wanted?
B) Take her Mr. Almost Perfect without the babies she craves?

Either way, there’s nothing simple about settling for Mr. Good Enough.

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Okay, y’all… (Wait. Did I just “y’all”? I totally blame this book. Anyway.) You remember how much I ranted and raved about Jamie Farrell’s first book, Southern Fried Blues? I adored it. I wanted to crawl right inside that book and live there, especially if I got to be Anna Grace. Well, Mr. Good Enough certainly left me feeling the same way. I love Farrell’s work because everything is so real and down-to-earth. I love her strong female leads, and her sexy southern boys. This book definitely warmed up this Canadian girl over a cold weekend! I have to explain my 4.5 star rating – I just want to read more. I want to know what comes next for these characters! It’s hard to say goodbye.

Maddie Mason is a cute and quirky gal who’s recovering from a broken heart and searching for someone to settle down and make a life with. Everything about her is unconventional for her little town. From her purple streaks to her funky paint colours, and her internet business – not to mention her ‘single’ status. The townspeople think her web based matchmaking service is the devil’s work. Maddie and her business partner Gina need a success story to prove to the town that their services are helpful, and Maddie needs a man. Mixing business with pleasure makes complete sense …right? I mean, it’s not like anyone’s ever heard of that being a problem in the past.

Trent Sawyer left this town runnin’ and never looked back. With an abusive father, a neglectful mother, and a dead best friend he sure didn’t have much to stick around for. His parents didn’t want to admit that he’d ditched them for a better life, so when someone with the same name died somewhere else in the country, they told the townspeople it had been their son – the hometown hero, star of the basketball team, “Swish Sawyer”. Needless to say, it’s more than a bit of a surprise when he shows up in town after getting some bad news.

Trent made a damned fool of Maddie in highschool. She’d thought he was the be all and end all, and he had made her feel so insignificant that she’d never really been able to get over it. But Maddie is a lovely and kind person, so of course when Trent shows up feeling sorry for himself and needing some help, she agrees to help him. After all, he’s got no one else. When Trent starts to show a little more than friendly interest in her, Maddie’s old feelings flare to a new fire, but she isn’t sure she can forgive him. Not only do they have to deal with their past, but they will have to have a serious talk or to about the potential for a future.

So you should:
A) click here and buy the book. Read it for yourself and see how it all turns out.
B) the answer is A.

This week, Jamie is offering up Mr. Good Enough for $0.99, save $3.00 off of the regular price. Get it while it’s hot!

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Review: Lone Warrior by Lori Austin (@Lori_Austin)

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Rating: 4/5 stars

The blurb:

The third book in the exciting and sexy “Once Upon A Time In The West” Series from Lori Austin.

Rose Varner needs a man……

But not just any man. The one known as “White Ghost with Hair of Fire.” He may be the only way to rescue her daughter, Lily, from the Cheyenne.  Legend has it he was once the Cheyenne’s captive, but his courage impressed them so much that they accepted him as one of their own. Yet the man Rose finds seems far from legendary…

Luke Phelan’s tortured past has driven him to live as a recluse in the Smoky Hills of western Kansas. Having vowed to keep his distance from the Cheyenne, Luke refuses to accompany Rose on her rescue mission. But her bravery in the face of dangerous odds changes his mind. Now as they ride toward their destination, they’ll battle outlaws, bounty hunters, and their own rising desires before finding Lily. But the cost to Rose will be high, and her budding love for Luke will be put to the test…

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This was a really interesting read for me. I started with the first in the trilogy, because I don’t like to read things out of order. I was sucked right into Beauty and the Bounty Hunter right away and loved the characters, so whipping through the books wasn’t an issue. When I got into Lone Warrior, I was hooked on Austin’s strong, yet beautifully broken female leads. I was so glad that this book was on par with Beauty. I also really enjoyed Luke’s character; that slightly crazy, feral thing was surprisingly sexy on him.

What… is that weird? Okay, stay with me here.

Luke has been alone in the hills for a long time, hearing voices that tell him to do terrible things. When the voices tell him to kill Rose – he doesn’t. And that one decision changes his world forever.

Rose isn’t your typical “wild west” woman. She’s definitely wild, but she’s also strong and self sufficient. I love a good, strong heroine and Rose is definitely a member of that club. She’s not without fault, but being able to relate to her as a mother made me connect with her character, and I really felt for her throughout the book.

This was the first time I had read any “wild west” themed romance novels. I had always thought that they weren’t my thing. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed these books, and I loved getting a peek at what Alexi and Cat were up to as well.

The love scenes are steamy without being raunchy, and chemistry is intense, and the plot is full of twists and turns. I really enjoyed all three of Lori Austin’s books, and I bet you will too!

Review: Running the Red Light (Texas Nights #2) by Kelsey Browning (@KelseyBrowning)

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The blurb:

After wearing a “Least Likely to Succeed” label all her life, Roxanne Eberly is hell-bent on making her Red Light Lingerie store successful. Although the residents of small-town Shelbyville, Texas, are a little…lingerie-resistant, she’ll win them over eventually. So when a former employer sues her, putting a major wrinkle in her careful plans, she reluctantly accepts help from hot-stuff Houston attorney Jamie Wright.

Jamie’s on track to become his firm’s youngest partner, but discovers an unwritten prerequisite—marriage. Turns out, the only woman he wants is Roxanne, but peddling thongs and sex toys isn’t a suitable career for the spouse of an up-and-coming attorney.

Jamie’s tangled up in Roxanne’s lawsuit, her life and her lingerie. But if they’re ever going to make it work, Roxanne’s big-city boy will have to decide what he values more: the career he always thought he wanted or the woman he never thought he’d fall for.

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I have never been so excited to receive an ARC as I was to get this one. When I read Personal Assets (Texas Nights #1) I immediately wanted more of Shelbyville and the amazing characters created by Browning. If you haven’t read the first installment, you can find my review here. It’s not that I wasn’t satiated after reading the first book, but I was so much in love with the town, the story, and the characters that I couldn’t wait to visit them all again and hear more of their stories.

Jamie Wright is the lawyer brother of Cameron Wright, the super sexy grease monkey of Personal Assets. He is driven, and when the opportunity arises for him to make partner as his law firm, he’s willing to do just about anything to make it happen. The problem is, the firm likes their partners to be settled, and settling means finding a wife. Not just any wife, mind you; a wife that the firm would deem a suitable companion for fancy dinners and galas.

Roxanne Eberly is the owner-operator of Shelbyville’s lingerie/adult novelty store ‘The Red Light’. She’s also Allie Shelby’s best friend …you know, the Allie Shelby who’s seeing Cameron Wright? Cameron Wright, brother of Jamie Wright …the lawyer who is also the silent partner in both Allie and Roxanne’s businesses? So of course, when Roxanne gets slapped with a lawsuit by her former employer, Jamie gets involved. Roxanne is an independent woman, and she doesn’t like to be rescued but, she eventually (albeit reluctantly) accepts help from the sexiest lawyer she’s ever laid her *ahem* eyes on.

There’s no denying that the chemistry between them is explosive, but Roxanne and Jamie both have a different plan. After all, it’s never a good idea to mix business and pleasure, right? …but what if pleasure is your business?

I can’t say enough good things about this author and her work. The plot lines (and the sexual tension) have a great sort of ebb and flow to them. One of the things I like most about Browning’s writing is that she has a knack for taking the characters’ budding relationships right to the brink, where you think ‘this is it! Finally!’ but then some sort of personal emergency or awkward interruption occurs and you’re left hanging, but in the best way possible. It just makes that moment so much sweeter when it finally comes around again.

I urge you not to miss out on this series. I’m already chomping at the bit for Texas Nights #3!

Mid-week ManCandy: My Fantasy Boyfriend League

One of the many perks of doing this book blog is that I get to chit chat with some great authors. We connect through their work, but I have developed a new sort of friendship with a few of the awesome gals whose work I’ve reviewed this year. One of those awesome gals is Jamie Farrell, author of Southern Fried Blues. (If you haven’t read her book, you can find my review here. And once you’ve read the review, you can hop over to her blog and find links to buy the book via your choice of bookseller.)

I’m fairly new to the blogging world, and I have a hard time keeping with my own posts, never mind the blogs I try to follow. I realised today that I hadn’t checked in on my Fantasy Boyfriend League team for a while. It might seem silly, but it’s actually a lot of fun to make the team (visual aids are encouraged) and share it with friends, like me, right here on this blog. I made the team up after reading one of Jamie’s blog posts, and I’d love to hear who’s on your FBL team too.

Here’s mine. (You can find the position descriptions on Jamie’s blog, and of course, feel free to invent your own.) The boyfriends can be book boyfriends, tv boyfriends, actors, musicians, or whoever you like.

LF: David Gandy. The man knows his clothes, and he can wear the heck out of a three piece suit. Plus, there’s lots of bending over to get the clothes in and out of the machines.

BR: Ian Somerhalder. The only problem is that I wouldn’t get to look at him much during this activity, so he’s going to do double duty as the (shirtless) Dish Doer.

DD: see above.

LM: Alexander Skarsgard can mow my lawn all day, every day. Especially shirtless. (I’ll be honest, I would like to put him in each position… of the FBL, of course.)

FM: Mathew Gray Gubler

CB: AJ McLean from the Backstreet Boys. I don’t care how cheesy anyone thinks this is. I have loved him for 20 years, and I will love him for 20 more. His daughter has turned him into a big pile of guyliner wearing mush, and it makes my heart happy.

FB: John Krasinksi, because he’s SO adorable and totally goofy.

CG: Jackson Davis. (He’s the hero in Southern Fried Blues. You’ve gotta read it to get it.)

DP: Joe Manganiello. He’s into all kinds of cool sport stuff… and sports mean sweaty and possibly shirtless.

ASR: Nate Ruess. I adore him, and his quirks.

IS: Justin Timberlake. I’ve seen the man dance, something tells me his ‘itch scratching’ skills are probably pretty good.
CWT (car washing team): Adam Levine and Ryan Gosling.

Recently, extra points went to Justin Timberlake (for his AMA performance), Ian Somerhalder (for his undying love of animals and recent instagram posts of himself covered in puppies), and Joe Manganiello (because he recently released a book. A workout book. Meaning television appearances where he demonstrates exercises and lifts heavy things, often in a muscle shirt).

So, who’s on your team?

New Blog Post: Upcoming Projects

So… I’ve signed myself up for quite a few things in the months of December and January and I hope I can keep up with it without compromising the quality of my reviews. …what? I think they’re pretty well done, so sue me! 😉

I’m going to be evaluating some books for a competition, doing some reviews for a company’s holiday campaign (assuming they select me, which they may not) and I’ve got a great ARC up my sleeve. That one is on deck, and I’m so pumped to share it with all of you!

Not to mention, this weekend brings the beginning of December! How’s everyone’s holiday shopping going? *brushes shoulder off* Yeah, I’m done. Now before you go getting all snippy about it, I had to get it done before the first because we’re going to Disney World on the 7th. Okay, now you’re allowed to get snippy. Just teasing, I know not everyone thinks Disney World at Christmas-time is a bucket list item, but I definitely do.

I’m hoping to have one review go up before Monday, and the next to auto-publish while I’m away. I won’t be able to check on it while I’m gone so I hope it works like it says it will. We’re celebrating Christmas with my side of the family this weekend, so I’m finishing up some home made items and doing some wrapping over the next few days on top of all of the regular pre-roadtrip duties. Not to mention the ever-growing mountain of laundry. How does one tiny child with tiny clothes end up with such a huge amount of laundry? As soon as she’s big enough, I’m teaching her how to use the machines; I am *not* going to looking after all of this when she’s a teenager. (Someone remind me that I said that in 10 years, please and thanks.)

Well, I guess it’s back to the daily grind for me for now. Hope all of my American readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and please, if you’re going to shop on Thursday night, don’t get trampled.

Cheers,
S

Review: Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorenson (@jessFallenStar)

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Rating: 4/5 Stars

The blurb:

Nova Reed used to have dreams-of becoming a famous drummer, of marrying her true love. But all of that was taken away in an instant. Now she’s getting by as best she can, though sometimes that means doing things the old Nova would never do. Things that are slowly eating away at her spirit. Every day blends into the next . . . until she meets Quinton Carter. His intense, honey brown eyes instantly draw her in, and he looks just about as broken as she feels inside.

Quinton once got a second chance at life-but he doesn’t want it. The tattoos on his chest are a constant reminder of what he’s done, what he’s lost. He’s sworn to never allow happiness into his life . . . but then beautiful, sweet Nova makes him smile. He knows he’s too damaged to get close to her, yet she’s the only one who can make him feel alive again. Quinton will have to decide: does he deserve to start over? Or should he pay for his past forever?

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I don’t know about you all, but I’m getting pretty tired of the billionaire stories. Breaking Nova was a refreshing read for me, but it also caused me some anxiety since I have a teenaged sister. Sometimes I forget about the kinds of scary things that can happen! I digress …I thought this was going to be about a love triangle. Yes, I’d read the blurb. I just assumed something different was going to happen in the beginning than what actually transpired.

Nova is an intelligent young woman who has just returned to her hometown for the summer following her freshman year at college. I’ve used the phrase “beautifully broken” about another character in another book by a different author, but the term applies here too. Perhaps, differently. Nova is so young, and so inexperienced in many ways. Because of “that day”, she lacks the drive to live out her days actively. She is so sad, and I just wanted to pick her up and carry her away. I felt her pain, even though I haven’t shared her experiences. That’s good writing.

Delilah …oh, Delilah. I liked her at the beginning. A friend with something in common, someone to talk and share with who would understand a little of what Nova was feeling …sounds like the ideal situation. Except Delilah wasn’t all that she seemed, and I grew to dislike her very quickly.

Funnily enough, I liked Quinton immediately. I guess I have a bit of a soft spot for troubled young men who feel something. I’m a bit of a fixer, I suppose. This guy has been through something really terrible, and really wants to shut off his feelings about everyone and everything. Cut off by his family and most of his friends, he turns to a life of drugs and one night stands to numb the pain.

When Nova and Quinton meet, they both feel for the first time in a long time. They feel for each other, for themselves, and they also feel guilt. Lots of guilt. I was expecting this book to be very angsty, but the guilt and sadness really overtook it. I’m glad of that, actually, because it really made you process what these two were feeling instead of read faster to get somewhere in the story that allows your pulse to slow down again. It’s good to slow down and feel the story sometimes instead of get lost in it.

The beginning of the story was slow-going for me. It usually starts slow for me when the characters are this young, because you have to get to know their parents or the story behind why they don’t have any parents. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when you read late at night as I do, it’s hard to want to keep reading after a full chapter of background information. I’d likely do better to start these ones during the day. Once it got going though, I had a hard time putting it down to go to bed and I’ve found myself very tired a few mornings this week! It was easy to root for Nova and Quinton to find happiness in each other, but without resolution I feel a little stuck. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where these two end up in the second part of their story. I could really picture each different setting in the book in my head, but I saw the trailer and the concert the most clearly. I could really put myself into those places as if I was that proverbial fly on the wall, watching what the characters were going through.

This was the first book I had read by Jessica Sorenson. I had requested another via NetGalley but was not approved. I look forward to reading the other one when it is released.

Sorenson writes with conviction. Her characters are solid, and the plot keeps your interest. I found that this particular book would build up for anticipated event, but then it wouldn’t happen – over and over. Again, not a bad thing. It kept me going through the pages wondering what the climax would eventually be. It was a good, steady-reading book. Not the whirlwind read that I had expected.

*ARC obtained via NetGalley

Review: The Virgin: Revenge by J. Dallas

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Rating: 3/5 Stars

The blurb:

I was seventeen when I met Drake Gallagher. Seventeen, naive, foolish…and in love. Or so I thought. That summer, and the months that followed, set the course of my life.

Ten years later, I’m still struggling to put the pieces of me back to together.

It’s time to stop struggling. It’s time to take control…and maybe, it’s time for a little revenge.

He doesn’t have time for naive little virgins?

Well, I’m not naive anymore.

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Shannon is a mid-twenties urban professional out for revenge on an older man who broke her heart back in her teenage years. She seeks him out and lands a job as his administrative assistant, thinking he doesn’t remember her and she will have plenty of time to plot and execute her revenge.

Drake is the “Boy Genius” of the family business. For his age, he has a surprising list of accomplishments in the business world and is a hard-hitting executive. Lots of money, lots of power.

It doesn’t take long for Shannon to notice that Drake is looking at her a little longer than necessary, or finding excuses to spend more time with her. The problem is, Shannon is finding that she, too, is just as guilty.

I’m not sure if this is one of those books that is meant to start with a excerpt from the ending (because it seemed odd to me that it just jumped right into the story, and I felt a little lost) or if it’s a glitch in the eARC I received via NetGalley. Regardless, I’m not a fan of books (or movies for that matter) that begin with the ending. Obviously the important part of the story, is the story itself; how they got to the ending. But for me, the ending is important too, and if I already know how it ends, I have a hard time getting through the story. Clear as mud? Okay, moving on.

I enjoyed the general plot of this book, including the minor cliffhanger at the end. What I didn’t like was that the characters didn’t have much depth. I didn’t feel a connection to either one, and therefore didn’t have much of a vested interest in the outcome. Usually with New Adult, there is so much drama between two characters that I feel a strong connection to, as well as intense chemistry between the protagonists. I didn’t get that here. I felt that we spent too much time inside Shannon’s head in the present, and not enough time learning how and why she got so messed up about Drake. Maybe I will see more of what usually draws me in with book two. I’m hopefully that since I have a little bit of background on Shannon and Drake, I’ll feel the pull and be more interested in the second installment.