Review: Tempting Her Neighbor by Laura Jardine

Reviewed by Sara

Tempting Her Neighbor is book one in Laura Jardine’s Small Town Temptations series. In it, Cole Sampson, a curmudgeonly, misanthropic software designer, moves to a small town to get away from all the people in the big city. Cole had an abusive father and it’s caused him to be mistrustful and generally grumpy. He’s hoping small town life will allow him to live simply and in peace.

Have I mentioned Cole hates people?

Cole hates people like I hate bathing suit shopping, with an unholy passion. Unfortunately for him, his neighbor, Rachel Malone is not getting the people hating message.

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Review: The Hookup By Kristen Ashley

Reviewed by Sara

The Hookup is the first book in Kristen Ashley’s Moonlight and Motor Oil series. In it, Eliza, Izzy, Forrester, a newcomer to the small town of Matlock, wakes up in the bed of alpha male, hot mechanic, Johnny Gamble. Izzy, who’s fairly inexperienced and has had several problematic relationships, isn’t a game player, has never hooked up, and is a bit of a dreamer. She had a great time with Johnny and wants more, but isn’t sure quite how to go about getting it or even if Johnny’s interested. Add to this the sudden and unexpected arrival of her sister and infant nephew, without her ne’er do well brother in law and Izzy’s life is in disarray. Thankfully, she has her best friend, her devoted sister, an adorable baby boy and a good portion of the town of Matlock at her back. Good things are on the horizon for Izzy if she can just push through.

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Review: Love and Other Wild Things by Molly Harper

Reviewed by Sara

Love and Other Wild Things is book 2 in Molly Harper’s Mystic Bayou series and is based on the Audible Original audiobook of the same name. This Paranormal Romance follows energy witch, Danica Teal, who has relocated to Mystic Bayou to help The League, an international body that governs all supernaturals and their relationships with non-supernatural, get more information on and calm the recently turbulent rift. The rift, a energy source that drew the first supernatural inhabitants of Mystic Bayou to the remote Louisiana countryside, has become destabilized. It’s tearing and it’s have a negative impact on the townsfolk, both supernatural and mundane. Danica has the abilities to work with the rift and she needs the funds from her work to help save her grandfather’s farm. What Danica isn’t prepared for is a potential romance with Mystic Bayou’s mayor and bear shifter, Zed Berend, or having to deal with some seriously deadly office politics.

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Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Reviewed by Sara

Back in 2009, when I was reading mostly Paranormal Romance, I came across Soulless by Gail Carriger. It had werewolves and vampires, golems and ghosts all set in Victorian England. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the story wasn’t written like a Paranormal-Historical, but was actually this really cool subgenre I hadn’t ever read before, Steampunk. Steampunk, at least the way Carriger writes it, takes a time period like Victorian England and through intense world building and the addition of steam powered technology creates a fantastical, but still familiar alternate history.

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Review: Tomboy by Avery Flynn

Reviewed by Sara

I have been thoroughly enjoying Avery Flynn’s Hartigan series and was thrilled when the most recent book in the series, Tomboy was released in February.

ER nurse Fallon Hartigan loves her friends and would do just about anything for them, but when her friend Lucy needs her to help a sick client, she thinks twice. It’s not that Fallon doesn’t want to help, it’s just that Lucy’s client is the most hated man in Harbor City, Zach Blackburn. The newly acquired defenseman for the Harbor City Ice Knights cost Fallon’s team a mint to bring on and then has not only turned out to be a dud on the ice, but he’s also got a major attitude problem. Fallon puts aside her love of the Ice Knights and her dislike of Zach to help, but ends up way over her head as a paparazzi takes her picture leaving Zach’s and that, plus Zach’s sudden upswing in hockey abilities has her thrust into the spotlight as Zach’s lucky charm. While Fallon is able to work her newfound fame to her advantage, what’s not advantageous are her feelings that seems to be changing where the bad boy hockey player is concerned.

Zach Blackburn never started out to be the bad boy of hockey, he just wanted to play. Unfortunately, he learned the hard way that it’s best not to trust and that sometimes the people that care for us the most can hurt us the worst. When Fallon comes into his life, he does everything he can to push her away, but her resilience, her wit and her indomitable spirit make it difficult for him to keep away. As their attraction grows, Zach has to decide if he’s willing to trust Fallon or if he’s going to let the his past get in the way of what could be a fantastic future.

The Hartigan’s series has been a complete joy for me to read and Tomboy is no exception. Avery Flynn does such a great job taking female characters who are outside the norm. They aren’t traditionally pretty, they’re plus size, or, in Fallon’s case, a tomboy, and gives them the role of heroine. This in itself is great, but what Avery Flynn does that is extra special is that she avoids the make-over cliche and doesn’t pit her characters against the traditional heroines. Fallon isn’t special because she’s, “not like other girls.” She’s special because she’s unique, funny, smart and kind. I love that Fallon, like Lucy and Gina from the first two books in the Hartigan series, doesn’t have to change and that she isn’t competing in some imaginary competition with other female characters.

It would have been pretty easy for Flynn to have mentioned Fallon’s looks and limited how they affected the story to simply Fallon’s relationship with Zach, but thankfully she doesn’t. Love may be blind, but it’s easy to see how a person’s appearance that’s considered outside of the traditional standards of beauty is often fodder for ridicule and derision. In Tomboy,  Flynn takes into account Zach’s celebrity and includes the backlash Fallon faces at the hands of the Harbor City media and Internet trolls. This adds a level of genuineness to the book that takes it from a fun and sexy read to something thoughtful and more than a little uplifting.

Along with what I’ve mentioned above there were so many other elements that I loved. As a Canadian, I know what it’s like to live in or near a town obsessed with hockey/a specific hockey team (Go Leafs!), and Flynn has brilliantly captured what that’s like in Tomboy. I love that Fallon has actual work responsibilities just like a real person. My only real complaint, which isn’t much of a complaint, is that I wanted Tomboy to be a bit longer. I would have loved to have seen Tomboy’s villains get their comeuppance and a bit more of the romance between Fallon and Zach.

Tomboy is a fun, sexy and thoughtful Romance. I look forward to the next book in this great series.

Rating: A

Click to purchase: Amazon

Tomboy
by Avery Flynn
Release Date: February 18, 2019
Publisher: Entangled Amara

Review: Tempest by Beverly Jenkins

Reviewed by Sara

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I love Historical Romances. The majority of the Historicals I read and have read are set in Western Europe. In the past, I’ve found North American Historicals, which, let’s be honest, are more often than not Westerns, to be problematic or even a complete whitewash of history, emphasis on the “white.” However, when I saw a sale on the much esteemed Beverly Jenkins’  highly praised novel Tempest, it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up.

This the third book in Jenkins’ Old West Series, follows Regan Carmichael as she arrives in Wyoming Territory to be the mail order bride to town doctor and widower Colton Lee. Regan is excited for an opportunity for adventure as much as she is the prospect of marriage and family. However, her first first impression leaves something to be desired. Thinking Dr. Lee is a bandit, her first interaction with the doctor comes through the barrel of her Winchester in the form of a bullet to the shoulder.

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Review: Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

Reviewed by Sara

Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite Historical Romance authors. I’m a huge fan of her Wallflower series and have also enjoyed her Ravenels series. Now she’s combining them and I am thrilled beyond belief.

Phoebe, Lady Clare is the daughter of notorious (former) rake Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent and Evangeline (Evie) Jenner (the heroes of Lisa Kleypas’ Devil in Winter). She was raised in a house full of love and affection and found her husband at a young age in her best-friend, Henry. When Henry dies of a lifelong illness, she is left alone with her two young sons and a lifetime of memories. One of these memories is of the extreme bullying that Henry endured as a child away at boarding school at the hands of West Ravenel.

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Review: Muffin Top by Avery Flynn

Reviewed by Sara

I bought Muffin Top, the second book in Avery Flynn’s Hartigans series, as soon as I finished the first book in the series Butterface. Like Butterface, Muffin Top is a sexy, funny, feel good book with great female characters and a story that doesn’t take the easy route. I loved it.

As you can probably guess, based on the title, Muffin Top is about a plus size heroine. Lucy Kavanagh is a big girl and she can take care of herself. She’s also an actual big girl and so attending her high school reunion with all the bullies that made her life miserable seems a little more daunting than the usual problems she solves as Harbour City’s premiere crisis communications specialist. When hot firefighter Frankie Hartigan swoops in to save her from some unsolicited dietary advice, she lets her reunion fears slip and soon Lucy catches herself agreeing to let him accompany her on her road trip home and for the week long reunion events as her “boyfriend.” After miles on the road and facing off against the mean girl of her past Lucy’s fictitious relationship with Frankie doesn’t feel so fake. Maybe there’s more than meets the eye to the handsome firefighter.

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Review: Butterface by Avery Flynn

Reviewed by Sara

Butterface, by Avery Flynn, was released back in July 2018. At the time, the book received a lot of favorable reviews, and people genuinely seemed to like it. I didn’t buy it then, but this past January I noticed it for sale on Amazon, so I picked it up and I’m very happy I did.

Gina Luca knows she’s not conventionally pretty and she’s come to peace with it. She’s got a great set of girlfriends, a protective pair of brothers who love her, a fantastic old, Victorian home she’s renovating and a successful wedding planning business. However, when a kiss cam and a cruel prank leave her up close and personal with hot cop, Ford Hartigan, she wishes she wasn’t the town butterface; everything is great about her “but her face.” After the disastrous night with Ford, Gina’s relieved that she’ll likely never see him again, but things don’t go as planned and soon the two are in a fake relationship, he’s sleeping on her couch and fixing up her home. It doesn’t take long for fake feelings to change to real feelings and for Gina to hope that maybe things with Ford might lead to the happily ever after she’s always dreamed of.

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Review: Free by Kristen Ashley

Reviewed by Sara

I will be the first to admit that I’m a pretty big Kristen Ashley fan and have a huge place in my heart (and library) for her Chaos motorcycle club series. Free is the seventh and final novel in the series, and while I was sad to have the series end, I was excited to see how she would wrap things up.

Through the Chaos series, the club has been in conflict with various baddies, but the baddest of them all is Valenzula, a drug dealing pimp, a misogynistic murderer and a porn producer. His empire has taken out a number of innocents including Rebel Stapleton’s best friend Diane. To collect evidence to incarcerate Valenzula, Rebel puts her skills behind the camera to use and is deep undercover as the new director for Valenzula’s high-end pornos. Not only is she digging up dirt on Valenzula, Rebel is also looking into disgraced Chaos member and uber bad guy Arthur Lannigan, AKA Chew. Rebel knows everyday she walks a dangerous tightrope, but is completely committed to see that neither Valenzula or Chew is able to hurt or exploit another woman again.

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