Passion Rising – Original Sin #4 by J.A. Huss, Johnathan McClain

REVIEW

What an amazing journey this has been and I’m so pleased that I shared the ride with Maddie and Tyler.  Because that is what we do, as readers we immerse ourselves into the worlds of the character and the lives they live.  If a book is written well then we can get completely lost in another time and space…an alternative reality, and that is exactly what I got through the course of these four books.

I felt the emotions, although slow to begin with, as Tyler and Maddie grew closer only to be torn apart, either through their own actions or by some evil drug lord! The pain and heartbreak of losing friends and loved ones, the joy and happiness of finding that one person who makes your life complete.

Often I forget that I am on a journey through life, that this is the one and only shot I get at being here with those I love.  It does not mean that I can’t escape every so often into the realms of the fictional, more that the time I spend here, doing whatever I am doing, is what leads to the life I choose for myself.  That is essential what Tyler and Maddie discover. Each choice they make leads to the next and decisions will lead in different directions.  I loved the use of the “choose-your-own-adventure books” they are a great metaphor for life, except maybe where if you choose the wrong path you don’t get to start back at the beginning, you have to keep moving forward towards the end of the book.

Going to miss Maddie and Tyler but that is the great thing about books…they can be reread!

The EOBS is great.  Johnathan has a really wonderful outlook on life and I could hear Tyler in some of the things he says.  Julie is a fantastic author in her own right and I have read many of her books (The Mister Series are a particular favourite of mine).  I eagerly await to see what the next creation is that this duo will bring us.

Synopsis

Old demons are back.

Maddie’s dealing with the fallout of her choices. Safety and happiness are relative, elusive things she’s desperate to have. But they will forever remain out of reach until the demons of her past are laid to rest.

Tyler’s mistakes resurface to haunt him and he’s just beginning to understand that money can’t fix a broken relationship. He must open his heart and search for answers he’d rather not find.

She wants peace in a world made of chaos.

He wants to rid himself of a lifetime of guilt.

They’re soul mates, but that’s no guarantee.

They’ll need to rely on each other to find their happily ever after.

Because the fight never ends—it just gets easier with someone at your side.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38605802-passion-rising?ac=1&from_search=true)

 

 

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

REVIEW

This is the first book I have read by this author and, although it took a while to get used to the writing style, I found that I did actually enjoy it as a light-hearted read.

The basic premise of a book club meeting once a month to discuss Jane Austen was what initially drew me to this book as I have read all Austen’s work, albeit quite a while ago, however there is not so much book discussion as general life and daily issues to contend with. I admit that I was, on occasion, quite confused about which character and time frame the book was currently focused on as it continually flipped between present day and flashbacks to the past.  I did enjoy finding out about the life’s of each character as I read through and how they had all finally become ‘The Jane Austen Book Club’.

The six individuals within the book each have their own story to tell that generally depicts a defining moment which shapes them into who they become.  In some cases it is from childhood but others it is during their adult life.

This book is about love, friendship, relationships and finding yourself.  You are never too old to achieve any of these.

I do feel an urge to reread my Austen collection now!

Synopsis

In California’s central valley, five women and one man join to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. Over the six months they get together, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her eye for the frailties of human behavior and her ear for the absurdities of social intercourse, Karen Joy Fowler has never been wittier nor her characters more appealing. The result is a delicious dissection of modern relationships.

Dedicated Austenites will delight in unearthing the echoes of Austen that run through the novel, but most readers will simply enjoy the vision and voice that, despite two centuries of separation, unite two great writers of brilliant social comedy.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2152.The_Jane_Austen_Book_Club)

A Summer Scandal by Kat French

REVIEW

Loved this book. As is the way with Kat French’s book I became completely engrossed in the characters and their lives. Violet is the woman I think many of us wish we could be. She is not happy to just let life pass her by or take the easy and safe option. Don’t get me wrong, safe and easy are often the better option but in this case I think Violet would most definitely have had a miserable life if she stayed on the path she was on.

Cal is lovely and, despite the brief episode in the middle of the book, I’m glad he finally came to his senses. The black sheep from the the privileged family, his line of work had me laughing when it was revealed. Violet took it all in her stride and although she was momentarily surprised it didn’t last long. The use of the pier was awesome.

This book was filled with love, whether it be open or concealed, real or illicit, it is there. There are mysterious elements at play as well and the intriguing plot line had me wondering what was going to be revealed next.

Loved the ending….very fitting.

This is an ARC review courtesy of Netgalley

Synopsis

Summer has never been so scandalous…

When Violet moves to Swallow Beach, she inherits a small Victorian pier in with an empty arcade perched on the end of it, and falls in love immediately. She wants nothing more than to rejuvenate it and make it grand again – but how?

When she meets hunky Calvin, inspiration strikes. What if she turned the arcade into an adult-themed arcade full of artisan shops?

Not everyone in the town is happy with the idea, but Violet loves her arcade and business begins to boom. But as tensions worsen and the heat between her and Calvin begins to grow, life at Swallow Beach becomes tricky. Is it worth staying to ride out the storm? And can Violet find her own happy ending before the swallows fly south for the winter?

Sexy, sassy and full of heart, Kat French is back in a new summer sizzler

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35886940-a-summer-scandal?ac=1&from_search=true)

The Legacy of Falcon Ridge – The McLendon Family Saga #8 by D.L. Roan

REVIEW

This family has been with me for a long time now and I have followed everyone of them as they have embarked on their own life adventures. Seeing the whole family brought together for Dani and Clay’s wedding is just another step along the path that will never end because even when the author hangs up her pen I will still be carrying these wonderful people in my heart.

Every member of the family makes an appearance in this book along with some of the newer characters who I know we are going to be seeing a lot more of. Dani’s wedding is fast approaching and the effect this is having on the Dad’s is hilarious. Grey is is usual self, and we wouldn’t have him any other way. Matt is cool, calm and relaxed….yeah right! But Mason, I think he may have had a personality transplant!

There are some very emotional moments and some downright sad ones, I was right there with them in that room. Word of warning have tissues at the ready….

This story encompasses so many of my favourite characters and shows them at their best. I laughed with the family. I cried with the family. I breathed a sigh of relief with the family. And I congratulated with the family. I am a quiet observer of this family and I thank D. L. Roan for bringing them to us.

A new series will soon be in the making featuring the Sterling Family (Clay’s family) but I do feel that there will still be more to come from Falcon Ridge. For one thing we are missing Cory – Could there be a Detective McLendon series in the future? I wait with baited breath for what comes next.

Synopsis

The Wedding Countdown Begins…..

As Dani and Clay plan their happily ever after, the McLendon family prepares to say goodbye to one of their own, and pass their legacy of unconditional love to the next generation. Grab a box of tissues and some chocolate, and take one final journey to Falcon Ridge in this heartwarming and passionate conclusion of the McLendon Family Saga.

Author Note: D.L. will miss the McLendons as much as her readers. While she has other stories to tell for now, she may visit Falcon Ridge in the future, and share her journeys in additional volumes.

The McLendon Family Saga Reading Order:

The Heart of Falcon Ridge
A McLendon Christmas
Rock Star Cowboys
Rock Star Cowboys: The Honeymoon
The Hardest Goodbyes
Return to Falcon Ridge
Forever Falcon Ridge
The Legacy of Falcon Ridge

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36556148-the-legacy-of-falcon-ridge)

Wedding Bells at the Dog & Duck: The perfect springtime romantic read – Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples

Ellie Browne is looking forward, with her partner Max, to hosting Christmas Day lunch at The Dog & Duck, but heavily pregnant now and with a snowstorm brewing outside, it seems that things might not go quite to plan.

After the dramatic events of the holiday season, Ellie settles into her new life at Max’s country mansion Braithwaite Manor, juggling work and family as best she can. When she’s asked to help organise a summer wedding for one of her best friends it’s only natural that her mind turns to her own, non-existent, wedding plans! 

With Max decidedly lukewarm on the whole subject and other family complications threatening to disrupt life further, Ellie fears there’ll never be wedding bells at the Dog & Duck after all.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36320756-wedding-bells-at-the-dog-duck)

REVIEW

Funny and heart-warming continuation of Max and Ellie’s story at the Dog and Duck.

With the imminent arrival of their first child Max wants to get married but for reasons of her own, Ellie does not.  When assigned the role of wedding planner for her best friend, Ellie finds herself surround by all things romance and soon feels the bug, however Max seems to have gone right off the idea.

Ellie and Max are such a wonderful couple.  They are not massively into personal displays of affection and even moments of jealousy and soon brushed aside.  They are definitely a couple who will stay the distance, even if the bells are not ringing for them this time.

A feel-good story full of laughs, romance and caring with a few surprises along the way.  This book is just what you need when the sun is shining on a chilly Spring day.

Sin with Me – Original Sin #1 by J.A. Huss, Johnathan McClain

Two broken people in a city fueled by sin.

Maddie isn’t looking to be saved. She knows the only person you can count on is yourself. Her moral compass might not point true North these days—but at least she’s still standing.

The Military taught Tyler about loyalty. Being there for your brothers is the only thing that matters—but when it mattered most, he wasn’t.

She’s got a ticket straight to Hell. He’s already been there and back. 

She needs to win. He just needs to stop fighting.

Some sins scar your soul so deeply, you’ll never be the same.
But this Devil in disguise might just be the angel he needs to forgive himself.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37030228-sin-with-me)

REVIEW

Oh Wow! A fantastic beginning to this new series.  Julie Huss has for a long time now been one of my favourite authors and I can honestly say she has done good with pairing up with Johnathan McClain.

The way that Tyler is written had me in hysterics despite the somewhat desperate need behind his actions. The constant talking to himself inside his head is genius because, lets face it, most of us go off on internal monologues and completely lose track of where we are and what we are doing.  Reading about what was going on inside Tyler’s mind is also a little scary!

Maddie had to grow on me. It took me a while to understand why she was putting herself through what she was when realistically there was no need.  But as the story progressed her reasons became clear and I was really starting to feel her despair and outrage with life and the injustice of it all.  The loneliness and hopelessness.

I loved the duel POV.  All too often romance novels are only written from the female perspective.  Men have feelings and emotions too and I love when a writer captures the thoughts and reasons  behind the actions of the lead male character.

For anyone who has read Julie’s previous work there is a little homage to a certain character we all know and love,.   To anyone who hasn’t….what’s the matter with you?!

Angels Fall will continue the story of Maddie and Tyler in the Original Sin series.

Izzy As Is by Tracie Banister

The party is over for bikini model Izzy Alvarez. For six years she’s made a good living by flaunting her God-given assets on runways and in front of cameras, but now as she approaches the big 3-0, the bodacious Latina is shocked to learn she’s aged out of the profession that’s kept her in mojitos, mani/pedis, and designer thongs. What’s a girl with a taste for the finer things in life and no marketable skills to do?

Getting a regular job is too boring to even consider, so Izzy decides to follow in the footsteps of her newly-engaged frenemy and become a trophy wife. Although she’s desperate and too broke to get a chipped nail fixed, Izzy still has standards for her future husband, which means no uggos, no vertically-challenged guys, and no geezers who need to pop a blue pill to perform in the bedroom. Enlisting the aid of her computer whiz nephew and her closest pals, Izzy goes on the prowl for a rich, marriage-minded man, encountering likely candidates in a lot of unlikely places.

The high life she’s dreamed of may be within reach when Izzy meets a charming, successful man who’s not only hotter than a steamy summer night in Miami, but ready to settle down. Now all Izzy has to do is make sure her loud, crazy Cuban family doesn’t scare off el hombre perfecto—oh, yeah, and squelch those pesky, romantic feelings she keeps having for the sweet, cash-strapped guy she’s known forever.

Will Izzy’s hunger for money win out, or will her fiery heart demand to be heard?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37801330-izzy-as-is)

REVIEW

Hilarious from start to finish. Izzy is a great character who, as a model,  has always used her perfect body to get what she wants, but when she finds out that her age is now against her she takes matters into her own hands….time to get a rich husband!

I thought that Izzy’s self-absorbed and superficial attitude would make her really annoying. It turned out that this part of her character just makes it funnier when she had to deal with various situations that arise, such as dealing with a mother who joins her son on your date, or when your fiance is being a tiny bit neglectful. FYI, Izzy doesn’t like being neglected!

I love all of her friends and family.  The dynamic between Izzy, Pilar and Ana is brilliant, throw in a mother who has a flair for the dramatic and you’ve got yourself one crazy family.

I’ll be honest, I thought Eduardo was just a bit too perfect, even for Izzy, and I felt that despite his money he wouldn’t make her happy.  It didn’t help that I already had a bit of crush on Zane!

Topaz, Nacho and Zane are the ultimate friends.  Standing by Izzy through thick and thin.  The connection between Izzy and Zane is undeniable and I don’t think anyone will be surprised by the outcome…although there are some definite surprises ahead.

I will have to read Pilar’s story soon – In need of Therapy