Friday, July 31, 2015

#173 : Breaking Her Rules by Jennifer Snow : Review



GENRE: Fiction – Romance

NUMBER OF PAGES: 231

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Beyond the Cage #1

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of Red Moon Book Tours.

REVIEW:

Our protagonist Walker is a rookie who wants to fight in the MMA. He dropped out of law school much to the disappointment of his father who cut him off financially as a punishment. Gracie, our female protagonist is a successful MMA agent. Walker happens to be her best friend’s brother on whom she had a huge crush on when she was 12. When Walker lands in her couch as he doesn’t have a place to stay, she realizes that the crush hasn’t exactly faded out. Things turn complicated thanks to Walker’s sudden boxing match and Gracie’s pretty much absentee boyfriend, Erik. Eventually Gracie ends up making a choice between her career, her boyfriend and Walker.

This was one of those types of books that I really couldn’t decide if I hated it or liked it. The writing was simple and pretty much normal. The story was appropriately paced but predictable in spite of having few twists and turns. The characterization was the high point of this book. Almost all the characters, from Erik to Gracie to Walker to Tyson, were all well carved out. Not having read any MMA based romance before, I really didn’t have a standard to compare this book with. Though given that this is the first MMA romance that I’ve read, I’m not sure this is what I expected. I half expect some sabotage and espionage with the fights. Thankfully the book never had any awkward situations or erotic scenes that absolutely drive me mad. The story has enough potential for spin offs.

MY SAY: Entertaining read. You won’t hate it nor will you go gaga over it.

RATING:

PLOT : 6/10

NARRATION: 7/10

CHARACTERISATION: 7/10

BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 3/10 (Lower the better)

OVERALL RATING: 7/10


The writer is giving out THREE $20 Amazon Gift Cards. Check out the giveaway here

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#172 : Breaking Her Rules by Jennifer Snow : Spotlight




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Book Description:







Walker Adams was supposed to follow in his lawyer father’s footsteps, but instead he’s training to be an MMA fighter. And while he works for his chance to make it in the Maximum Fight League, he’s bunking on his baby sister’s best friend’s couch. Gracie Andrews is all grown up—in all the right places. But she’s engaged to the fight match-maker who holds Walker’s career in his hands…




Gracie had almost convinced herself that she’d put her silly childhood crush on Walker to rest. But the sight of him sleeping in only a pair of boxer briefs makes it clear that some things never change. And as old sparks turn to flames, Gracie is forced to decide between the future she thought she wanted or the man she’s never stopped loving…







Excerpt:







“Whoa…occupied,” Walker Adams said, quickly reaching for a towel as the bathroom door swung open.







“Shit, sorry.” Grace shut her eyes as she slammed the door, but not before seeing much more of her best friend’s older brother. Something her fifteen-year-old self would have gone to extreme measures to see.







Well, that image was going to take a brain injury to forget.







“I’ll just be a second,” he called through the door as she turned to leave.







“No worries-take your time.” She checked her watch. She had fifteen minutes before she had to leave for work. They would need to come up with a better routine if they were going to be roommates for several weeks.







Several weeks. Holy shit. How had Kylie talked her into this? When her best friend had called from California to ask the favor, she wished she hadn’t answered the call because Kylie had asked her a question she’d been unable to refuse.







“He’s desperate,” Kylie had said.







Desperate was one word that failed to come to mind when she thought about Walker. She was pretty sure he’d never wanted anything too long before getting it. “Really?”







“Yes. I mean, he will never admit it, of course, but he’s left himself zero options. If he’s not attending classes, Dad says he’s not paying his rent or helping him financially until he wakes up and realizes he’s ruining his future.”







That sounded like Judge Adams. He saw one future for his son and Grace didn’t expect the man to ever support the fighting career Walker had dropped out of law school to pursue. She’d sighed. “All I have is a pull out sofa-no spare room.” She cringed at the thought of someone sleeping in her living room…even for a few weeks. She’d never had a roommate, preferring her privacy and space.







Roommates were messy and loud and…messy.







“Trust me-he’s not picky right now. He’s been sleeping in his Jeep for the last few weeks. He finally told me and I’m a little worried about him living on the streets in Las Vegas.”







Her resolve melted. The idea of Walker Adams down on his luck was a completely foreign one. The high school valedictorian and football star was not exactly lacking in the ‘good fortune’ category. Not when it came to success or brains or looks…so how had the guy voted ‘most likely to succeed’ in high school end up needing her pull out sofa?







“Okay, he can stay here…but you know I’m moving in three weeks, right? July 31st my lease is up and I’m moving in with Erik.”







“I was kinda hoping you’d come to your senses…” her friend had mumbled.







“Nope, still planning a future with a successful, gorgeous man.” She didn’t take offense at Kylie’s attitude toward Erik. The one and only time her friend had met her boyfriend, the Christmas before, they hadn’t exactly hit it off. Erik was kind of an acquired taste. His abrupt manner could be a little off-putting to those who didn’t know him well.  Normally, if her best friend and boyfriend didn’t get along, it would be a cause of stress for Grace, but with Kylie a thousand miles away in L.A. and their visits rare these days as they both climbed their respective corporate ladders, her friend’s opinion seemed to matter less.







“Fine…Well at least he hasn’t proposed yet, so there’s still hope.”







Grace rolled her eyes. “So when is Walker getting here?” Changing the subject was always the best course of action whenever their talks turned to her relationship.







“I’ll text him right away with your address and he’ll be there soon. He can’t be that far away.”



Fan-fucking-tastic. Her best friend’s brother, a guy she’d been completely in love with at fifteen, and a man she hadn’t seen in almost five years would be her new roommate in a matter of minutes. “Can’t wait to see him,” she’d lied.





And boy, in less than twenty-four hours, she had certainly seen him. Every last perfectly tanned, sculpted inch of him. From the short dark hair, chiseled chest and shoulders to his drool-worthy abs and-ahem-everything else. Everything else.






Bio:

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Jennifer Snow lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and four year old son. She is a member of the Writers Guild of Alberta, the Romance Writers of America, the Canadian Author Association, and SheWrites.org.  She is also a regular blogger on the Heartwarming Authors site and is a contributing author to Mslexia Magazine, WestWord Magazine and RWR. She has also taught RWA Chapters courses online.  Her 2013 Holiday Romance-The Trouble With Mistletoe was a finalist in the 2014 Golden Quill Contest and the Heart of Denver Aspen Gold Contest.

Her publishing credits include two holiday novellas, previously published by The Wild Rose Press, now re-released or being re-released as self-published editions through Amazon. The Mistletoe Fever was an Amazon bestseller for two weeks in the category of Kindle Short Reads. Her six book small town, Brookhollow series is published through Harlequin Heartwarming and she has a new MMA sports romance series releasing through Berkley/NAL Intermix in 2015. RT Reviews has given each of her Brookhollow series books 4 stars.

She also hosts an annual SnowGlobe Award contest in recognition of holiday themed romance stories, with over forty entries each year, with participants ranging from new authors to NYT Bestselling authors, such as Brenda Novak and Sarah Morgan. More information about the contest can be found at www.snowglobeawardcontest.vpweb.ca
She is active on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and various blog sites and has a monthly author newsletter.


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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

#171 : Happily Ever Single by Jessica Frances : Review + Giveaway

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GENRE: Fiction – Romance

NUMBER OF PAGES: 259

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of RABT tours! Thanks guys!

REVIEW:

A female protagonist who simply doesn't have this need to have a man in her life to feel complete or wholesome – An unusual story line isn't it? A good prompt for me to pick up the book.

Lucy is a successful business women who runs her own clothes store. She is in her late twenties and has never felt the need for a man to complete her life. Her life is just perfect according to her, but her mother believes other wise. She keeps pushing Lucy to date and sets her up with horrendous dates. Unable to put up with such blind dates, Lucy turns to an agency to get dates for all her family events. Things go smooth until she one of her arranged date falls sicks and she is forced to take the agency owner's brother in law – Oliver, as her date. Ollie is fun and bonds instantly with Lucy's family, who are convinced that he is the perfect match for her. Things get complicated leaving Lucy suffocated. The story ends on a “happily-ever-single” note.

Romance writers often stereotype women to be the nagging witch who goes on yapping at men until they commit to marriage or kids. This writer, Jessica, gave a much needed refreshing premise to the story. The protagonist Lucy emphasizes on one very important point that the society somehow fails to understand – Not every woman needs a man to complete her, she can be successful with being backed by a man romantically involved with her. This is not unheard of but is widely ignored and definitely not used in romantic novels. This writer took a big gamble by inculcating such a premise. The gamble evidently paid quite well! The characterization and the narration aided this concept in being delivered effectively. I was expecting a traumatic history for Lucy's character which eventually resulted in this state of hers. To my pleasant surprise there was no such thing which affirmed the premised of the story. Jessica brilliantly reversed the romantic notions associated to a male and female where in the male is a commitment-phobic and the female pesters for lifelong commitment.

MY SAY: A refreshing change from stereotypical romance.

RATING:

PLOT: 8/10

CHARACTERISATION: 8/10

NARRATION: 8/10

BOREDOM QUOTIENT:2/10 (The lower the better)

OVERALL RATING: 8/10

AUTHOR LINKS: Facebook,Goodreads

BOOK LINKS: Amazon, Barnes & Noble


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Monday, July 27, 2015

#170 : The Lion Mountains by M L Eaton : Review

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GENRE: Fiction – Literary

NUMBER OF PAGES: 164

FORMAT: Paperback

SERIES / STANDALONE: Faraway Lands #2

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from the writer! Thanks a lot Marion for sending this beautiful book to me.

REVIEW:

Having read most of Marion’s works, needless to say, I’m a big fan of hers already. Evocative writing filled with descriptions and tiny details are a rarity these days. In fact, the very genre of literary fiction has been diluted over the years so much that the writing has waned into the equivalent of an instant coffee – watery and flavorless. This book is a pleasant exception much like the writer’s other books.

“The Lion Mountains” is a heartwarming tale of happy little English girl – Melanie in the enchanting land of Sierra Leone, Africa. Melanie in her own sweet way of a child understands the cultural differences between her country and that of Africa while discovering the dangers that lurks beneath the sweet exterior of the country that she very much taken by. The story is part of the writer's own experiences in the country.Narrated from the view point of the child, the story delivers a strong message that is essential for an adult, more than a child, to lead a peaceful life.

It is evident that the writer, Marion, is extremely proficient in the art of storytelling, for it is apparent in the way the book has been written. I could visualize the sights and feel the atmosphere of Sierra Leone through the story. Most importantly, I could step into the shoes of an 8 year old who tries her best to understand the complicated dynamics of an adult’s life. The writer effortlessly deals with complex themes of cultural differences, women oppression and the liberal culture of Africa. In short, the book is a pure joy to read and a perfect material to assimilate and ponder upon.  

MY SAY: A must read just for the human values the writer has dealt with.

RATING:

PLOT : 8/10

NARRATION: 9/10

CHARACTERISATION: 9/10

BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 1/10 (the lower the better)

OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10

AUTHOR LINKS: Website 

BOOK LINKS: Amazon



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Thursday, July 23, 2015

#169 : Hearts Don't Lie by Shirleen Davis : Book Blitz!






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Description:







Mitch MacLaren has reasons for avoiding relationships, and in his opinion, they’re pretty darn good. As the new president of RTC Bucking Bulls, difficult challenges occur daily. He certainly doesn’t need another one in the form of a fiery, blue-eyed, redhead. 







Dana Ballard’s new job forces her to work with the one MacLaren who can’t seem to get over himself and lighten up. Their verbal sparring is second nature and entertaining until the night of Mitch’s departure when he surprises her with a dare she doesn’t refuse.







With his assignment in Fire Mountain over, Mitch is free to return to Montana and run the business his father helped start. The glitch in his enthusiasm has to do with one irreversible mistake—the dare Dana didn’t ignore. Now, for reasons that confound him, he just can’t let it go.







Working together is a circumstance neither wants, but both must accept. As their attraction grows, so do the accidents and strange illnesses of the animals RTC depends on to stay in business. Mitch’s total focus should be on finding the reasons and people behind the incidents. Instead, he finds himself torn between his unwanted desire for Dana and the business which is his life.





Excerpt:



Red hair had never turned him on, nor had outspoken women. He preferred brunettes with soft curves, warm smiles, and open arms that knew when to let go. Mitch had the feeling if Dana ever got her claws into a man, it would be all over except for the sounds of surrender. From her description of Kell Corwin, she may have found someone to keep her occupied for some time. The knowledge didn’t give him any comfort. He moved toward her, taking the box off the hood of the truck and stowing it on the seat next to him, then turned to look at her.







“Have a safe trip, handsome.” Her blue eyes sparkled in the moonlight, although he could detect a look of what? Melancholy…regret?







“No goodbye kiss?” he half-teased.







Her gaze narrowed on his, her lips set in a thin line as if she struggled with a decision. “Sure, why not.” She rose up on her toes, placing what was meant to be a peck on his cheek.







In a quick move, Mitch wrapped his hands around her arms, pulling her tight as he shifted, his mouth finding hers. The kiss was demanding, coaxing, the intensity sucking all the air from her lungs. She pulled her arms free, wrapping them around his neck, drawing him down as their tongues collided, tangling, as if fighting for dominance. He set his hands on her waist, dragging her closer, taking everything he could as heat flared between them. Letting his hands roam up and down her back and hips, he grabbed her shirt, intending to pull it free. Instead, her moan snapped him out of his passion-induced trance. As quick as it started, he set her aside, his breath ragged.







“That was some goodbye kiss, lady.”




Bio:



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Shirleen Davies writes romance—historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense. She grew up in Southern California, attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day she provides consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But her real passion is writing emotionally charged stories of flawed people who find redemption through love and acceptance.  She now lives with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona.





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