Books, Romance

Review of Finally Mine: A Small Town Love Story by Lucy Score

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5 of 5 Small Town Stars

Finally Mine is the second book in a series about the couples in a small town called Benevolence. The first is called Pretend You’re Mine, which was the first Lucy Score book that I ever read. I have been fortunate enough since then to have become a member of her ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) team, and am so happy to have been given the chance to read Finally Mine!

I have to admit, I wish I could have gone back to read PYM before reading FM, but due to time constraints (not to mention the SNEAK ATTACK of this book on us unsuspecting readers!), I was not able to. (I did find a paperback copy of PYM at a used bookstore the other day, though, so a re-read is in my future.)

It had been so long since I’d read PYM, that I only had vague recollections of what happened in that book. I do remember a fun polar plunge and a very sexy office scene, and a mention of Gloria and Aldo here and there, but other than that, I could have used a refresher.

That being said, you could totally read this book as a standalone, without having read PYM. It would give you some spoilers about things that happen in PYM, but I don’t see it as a big problem. I actually loved that it wasn’t really a sequel, as it took place around the same time as the events in PYM were taking place. (Penny Reid does that with her Winston brothers series, and I really enjoy that.)

The bottom line: Aldo and Gloria have a complicated history, which is one of my favorite kinds of couples. They are both damaged, in more ways than one, and the real heart of this book is whether each of them can see past their scars (not wounds!) and allow themselves to love and be loved.

As an Army brat, I really liked the military aspect of this story. There’s also the Small Town feel that Lucy is so good at (see her Blue Moon series), as well as some very fun sexy times. Not every author writes these well, but Lucy really does! This particular book delved into some interesting issues surrounding sexy times, which I won’t spoil, but it was very well handled and I enjoyed it very much.

I will admit that I do hate that inevitable moment when the couple “breaks up,” and I *really* hate when it’s because one or the other of them is being an idiot, and that’s what happens here. But I understand that the conflict has to happen so that they can have their reunion and subsequent HEA.

Lucy Score is one of my favorite authors. She is crack-me-up funny, but oftentimes, she will hit you with a life lesson that is simple but profound. For example, “It doesn’t matter what happens to you. In the end, all we are is our ability to love. That never gets taken away or diminished.” and, “Without pain, there is no joy.” Phew. Deep!! Her writing made me tear up multiple times in this book. I love when that happens.

This may be my new favorite Lucy Score book, and I was especially excited to see that we will be going back to Benevolence sometimes next year to see Lincoln Reed meet his match!

Buy Finally Mine on Amazon, or read for free with Kindle Unlimited!
Continue reading “Review of Finally Mine: A Small Town Love Story by Lucy Score”

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Books, Paranormal

Book Review of Time’s Convert

3 of 5 stars

I know, where have I been and why haven’t I posted a review in a while?  Here’s why!

I was lost in the highly anticipated follow up to the amazing All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. This book is 436 pages of somewhat dense text. Took me some time to get through! I follow Deborah on social media and the day earlier this year when she finished her book, she posted a picture of the pages all piled up with the caption “I like big books and I cannot lie”. Cracked me up.

So the All Souls Trilogy is very likely one of my top favorite reads of all time. I couldn’t wait to get back together with these characters and live in their world for a while. This book follows the story of Marcus. His story is cleverly woven into past true historical events (for example, he was there when the Liberty Bell cracked). Most of this story is in the past with a few chapters in the present. Throughout the story we get to experience what it is like to become a vampire as Marcus’ mate Phoebe decides to become immortal and spend the rest of time with him, “evermore”.

I gave this 3 stars, whereas the other books earn a 5 (I would give way more than that if it was a thing). For me it was not as exciting and action packed as the first three and at times but was nice to learn his backstory. I hope to see more of these great characters. For extra fun, A Discovery of Witches is now a TV show in England and will be coming to the US on Sundance Now. I’ll be subscribing 🙂

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Romance

Dual Review of “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating” by Christina Lauren

Beth’s Review 

Bekka and I have pretty similar taste in books, and often compare notes while reading the same ones. When we discovered that we were both planning on reading Christina Lauren’s newest release, “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating,” we decided that we should each write a review for the blog!

If you’re not familiar with this author, Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. They have written a couple of different series together, as well as several standalones. With the exception of their very first book, Beautiful Bastard, I have really enjoyed every single one of their books. I will even go so far as to say that they have ruined me for other authors! It is very rare for me to give another author’s work 5 stars, because most of the other books I read can’t live up to the wonderful stories written by these two ladies.

That being said, I only gave Josh and Hazel four stars. It is a best friends to lovers romance, which I love. It’s very funny and witty and clever, which is true of all of their books. I loved the zaniness of Hazel, and the way she adores her best friend, the straight-laced Josh. I liked the premise, where they want to help the other find their “person,” so they each choose someone they think the other would like, and go on double dates together. Of course, things do not go as planned, and with each disastrous date, we readers just want to shout at them, “Can’t you see you’re falling in love with each other?!?!” While I did enjoy this book, it lacked the emotional punch of Roomies, Beautiful Player, or my very favorite, Love and Other Words, (a book I still haven’t written a review for because it left me so emotionally drained!)

 

Bekka’s Review

Beth said “all the things”. These authors have raised the bar on romance reads. First things first, here are my impressions of “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating”.

I gave it 3 stars. I know, I know. I enjoyed the writing, it was so clever at times, and very very entertaining. The ebb and flow of the story line, and the seamless progression to where these two main characters end up was applaudable (I think I made that word up). She finds a guy who she considers perfect and compares all other men to. Josh who is the Yin to her Yang creates a playful and satisfying story. They become good friends and as entertainment, set each other up on double blind dates. You can always feel the undercurrent of where this was going and you root for them the whole way. Why 3 stars? There is something about when a main character is messy and very free sprited that doesn’t grab me 100%. I know its a personal preference – I most enjoy when I can connect to a main female character, with this one, I liked her, she had LOTS of “character” but I didn’t feel that personal connection. I definitely recommend it because it is an entertaining and enjoyable read.

Back to the writing duo of Christina and Lauren. My counterpart Beth gives me great recommendations for reads. The day she told me to stop everything and read “Love and Other Words” changed my lens on Romance novels. It pulled on my heart, and really had me connected. Truly, one of the best I’ve read in a long time. “Roomies” was a nice surprise, not at all what I was anticipating.  I will continue to read and post about works from this great duo.

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Author spotlight, Books, Free book, Uncategorized

Free book alert!

If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you already know that I am a big fan of the smart romances of Penny Reid. I discovered today that the first book in the Knitting in the City series, titled Neanderthal Meets Human, is FREE for a limited time. Get started on this fantastic series by getting your free copy! As a reminder, if you haven’t already gotten the fourth book in the series, it is still free and you can find it here: Beauty and the Mustache

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Neanderthal Seeks Human

Books, Romance, Uncategorized

Review of Boy Toy, Man Hands book 3, by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby

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4 of 5 hilarious stars

I really love this series. My favorite is still Man Card, but Boy Toy was VERY good. I adored Liam… where can I get one of my own? 😉 I love a couple with a backstory, and while this one wasn’t all that complicated, it was ADORABLE.

I had a tiny issue with Sadie being all concerned with a 6-year age difference, but I understand it was less about the number of years than it was about the difference in life experience.

I LOVE a man who is invested in children that are not his own, especially when their dad has not been! These two ladies are very good at writing remarkable sexy times, but there is also heart to the story, and I always love seeing what the couples from the previous books are up to! If you haven’t read Man Hands or Man Card, you’ll definitely want to read those before tackling Sadie and Liam!

Buy Boy Toy on Amazon

Books, Romance

Review of Doctor Strange Beard, Winston Brothers #5, by Penny Reid

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Five of Five enthusiastic stars

I’m a big fan of Second Chance Romance stories, as well as characters with a complicated history, so I really couldn’t go wrong with this one. I may be in the minority, but I really liked that this book took place much later than the previous book in this series. I liked seeing bits and pieces of what has been going on in the five years since we’ve heard from these characters that I’ve loved for five books now (six, if you include Beauty and the Mustache, which you should.) I also like the little hints of things to come in future books that Penny has promised us. (Cletus and Jenn’s cozy mystery series, anyone?)

Honestly, Beard in Mind, Winston Brothers #4, was a difficult book for me to stick with. Being a Penny Reid book, it was very well-written, but I found Shelly very hard to relate to. I really loved Beau, and I wanted him to be happy, and glad he found that happiness with Shelly, but BiM was not my favorite. So, there was nowhere to go but up, as far as this fifth book was concerned. I already loved Roscoe from what I knew of him from the previous books. I liked Simone, as well, especially because she wasn’t a new character that popped up, but one that had been around for a while. It’s hard to review this book without giving anything away, and I don’t want to spoil anything, so just READ IT! I think you can read this one without having read the previous books in the series, since it takes place long after the first four books. (Keep in mind that Beauty and the Mustache is still FREE on Amazon, so pick it up if you haven’t already!)

One of my pet peeves is when the author takes the easy way out, and the conflict between the characters stems from a misunderstanding or a stupid argument. Penny Reid never does this. When her characters are in conflict, it is about something real and usually pretty devastating, and a simple conversation is not going to fix the problem (unlike the books with the stupid misunderstanding, which can usually be resolved if the characters just open their mouths and TALK!)

When we get to the point where Roscoe and Simone have their moment of conflict, you can totally see things from both perspectives because it is a legitimate issue, not a made-up one. There is also a moment where I felt that there would be no way for the conflict to be resolved, and I must admit I skimmed through the next couple of pages to find out whether my fears would be confirmed. (They weren’t. PHEW!)

I really loved this book. I feel like we’ve waited a long time for Roscoe’s story, and I’m so happy with it. The audiobook should be released later this month, and I will put it on my wishlist (especially if Chris Brinkely does the narrating!)

Of course, DSB left me wanting more of the Winston Brothers, especially Billy. I know I’m not alone in stating that I simply cannot wait for Beard Necessities, releasing October 2019, which happens to be my birthday month. 🙂

Buy Dr. Strange Beard on Amazon

Author spotlight, Books, Romance

Spotlight Author of the Month: Penny Reid

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You know the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? The first time I read a book by Penny Reid, I did exactly that. I’d gotten the first book in her Winston Brothers series, entitled Truth or Beard, for free through a newsletter, and I did what I normally do once I download a free book: forget all about it. Then one day, I was scrolling through the books on my kindle and my gaze fell upon this awesome cover. While I know we’re told not to judge a book by one, with a cover image like that, I figured it had to be good. It was, after all, different from what my daughters call my “shirtless man books.” I was hooked from the start, partly because the book opens with a Lord of the Rings quote, but mostly because of the history the two main characters, Jessica James and Duane Winston, share. (I love it when characters have a complicated backstory!) I finished this book in three days.

Most of the time, a series has three siblings, and each gets their own book. Duane Winston has five brothers (in no particular order, his twin Beau, Billy, Jethro, Cletus, & Roscoe) and one sister, Ashley.  To date, the Winston Brothers series has five books, with more to come. Duane’s sister Ashley’s story is part of another series, called Knitting in the City.  Lucky for you, Ashley’s book is FREE for a limited time (link below). Penny Reid is also the author of the Hypothesis series, the Rugby series (with L. H. Cosway) and the upcoming Dad Bod series.

I have read every one of the Knitting in the City books, and also own most of them on audiobook. (Side note: Joy Nash, who does a lot of the narrating in both of these series, is AMAZING. I am VERY picky about my female narrators, because I don’t like the way the majority of them do the male’s voices.) I have read all of the Winston Brothers books so far, except the most recent, Dr. Strange Beard, which I am saving for my beach vacation next week!

Penny Reid is known for “smart romances.” You’ll read about bitcoins, the Nigerian oil crisis, RICO charges, Artificial Intelligence, and the NSA. She is hysterically funny, and her books make me FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS! I remember when I was reading Dating-ish, book #6 in KitC, and something happens to Marie, the main character. Penny’s incredible writing made me feel as if it had happened to ME. I honestly had to put the book down and walk away for a couple of days, because I was so profoundly affected by it. That’s the sign of an excellent and well-written book, right there!

If you’d like to find out more about Penny Reid, you can check out her website http://pennyreid.ninja/ and sign up for her newsletter. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Even better, you can start reading one of her books for FREE right now! After you’ve fallen in love with her writing, be sure to join like-minded readers in her Facebook group, called Sharks of Awesome!

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Get Beauty and the Mustache for FREE