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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

ARC Review: Pull Me Closer by Sidney Halston

Pull Me Close is a book that I think you readers who love romance and emotion will truly appreciate.  This is the story of Katherine and Nico. The author spends quality time in this book building these characters and drawing you into what makes each of them unique. Nico has a history of being betrayed by a woman with some serious issues. He figures that the last thing he needs in his life is a woman with issues. Enter Katherine who has more issues than Vogue magazine.

I have to say, when you think of 'how I met your mother' type stories, the first thing that comes to mind is not 'I met your Mom when she was losing her shit in the middle of a panic attack.' That's how Katherine and Nico meet. I was fascinated by the whole thing because I was wondering how the author was going to build a love story from the hot mess that was Katherine and Nico. Nico thinks Katherine is a druggie, Katherine thinks Nico is an a-hole (which he was at first) then BAM, love starts to grow.

Katherine has a serious issue with anxiety.  She is basically scared of everything and lives in a self imposed prison. When you find out why she has the fears she has you will have to say 'ok, yeah, that totally makes sense.' This is the first book I've read about a survivor of the crisis Katherine went through.  When dealing with a topic that so many people are familiar with, the author could have easily gone wrong but she didn't.  I felt like this book was really believable in terms of what happened to Katherine and how she responded.  I really felt her agony and her struggle to reconnect with the world. It was deep.

In his own way Nico has also locked himself off because of fear. He, like Katherine, found himself the victim of a situation over which he had no control. As a result, he tries to control everything and just winds up making himself and the people around him miserable. You wouldn't think Katherine and Nico would be a good match. They were both a little dysfunctional. But, I love a story about how two people can offset each others crazy. That is what happened in this book. Katherine was honest and non-judgmental because of all that she had been through. Nico needed that more than anything.

The falling in love part of this book is so sweet. These are two characters you really want to see happy and you feel good when things work out for them. The only reason this book is a 3 star and not higher for me is because there just isn't any edge to it. I just need a little more steam and grit to keep me into the story. But if you just like a good romance story, this book is a 4 or a 5 for you easily.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Audiobook Review: My Skylar by Penelope Ward, Narrated by Casey Jones and Piper Goodeve

My Skylar by Penelope Ward is a standalone novel, but those that have read Jake Undone will recognize Skylar and Mitch. After reading Jake Undone, I couldn't wait to get to know these characters better, but don't worry if you haven't read Jake's story as you don't need to in order to understand anything. I thought that both Casey Jones and Piper Goodeve did a great job narrating this story, and I enjoyed listening to them as Skylar and Mitch's story unfolded. 

Skylar and Mitch were best friends who both secretly loved one another, but one thing after another kept them apart. First Skylar had cancer and then Mitch did something that caused Skylar to leave. Years go by, but now that Skylar is back Mitch is more determined than ever to make Skylar his again. Though Skylar is back, she is with someone. But Mitch knows that Skylar isn't happy and that she is about to make a huge mistake. Mitch vows to do whatever it takes to make sure that he doesn't lose her forever. 

I loved Skylar and Mitch. Their love and connection was so strong, and it was obvious that they belonged together. They both made a ton of mistakes, one of the biggest being the fact that they never communicated well. There were so many things that could have been prevented had they just talked to one another and been honest about their feelings. A lot of that was age though, and it was hard to blame them for some of that since we all do questionable things in our youth. The one thing that I can say with absolute certainty though is that the love these two felt for one another was undeniable and never dimmed or diminished no matter what they went through. There were so many obstacles that they faced and so many things that happened, but they never stopped loving each other through all the hurt and time apart. The chemistry between them was there from their very first meeting, and it just grew with age and the more time they spent together. I absolutely loved them together and couldn't get enough of their relationship. 

Overall, I loved this story even when it was difficult to get through. There were times that my heart felt like it was literally breaking for these two. While I did love so much of this story, there was one thing that I didn't care for. I hated that this story went there, and it felt a bit unnecessary and cliche. After everything that these two had already been through, I was hoping for them to finally get a break, and while the story did recover it wasn't exactly what I had been hoping for for these two. Suffice it to say I wanted to reach through my Kindle and strangle a character, and I could have easily done without said character. I still think that Skylar and Mitch's story is well worth the read, their love is epic and what we all dream of finding. Skylar and Mitch will definitely stick with me, and I think that these narrators did a great job of bringing the story to life and giving it depth that isn't possible by just reading the story alone. I highly recommend this one and I can't wait to read more from Penelope Ward. Her stories are heartfelt and emotional, and while they are hard at times to get through, I have never been disappointed by her yet.

Purchase: | Audiobook | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | 

Feature and Giveaway: Bottom of the Ninth by Jami Davenport

This long-awaited story of the third Wolfe brother introduces the Seattle Skookums baseball team.

Zeke Wolfe, the man who’s written off his entire family, rescues a young woman and three children on a stormy Seattle night. Before he knows it, he has an instant family and a fake fiancĂ© he’s certain he doesn’t want.

Paisley Madison dreams of having a real home for herself and her sister's children. When a handsome baseball player drops into her life, she knows a gift when she sees one and hires herself as his assistant.

As their business arrangement turns into something much more personal, Paisley and Zeke's pasts threaten to destroy their precarious hold on a future together. Can they conquer their demons and find love, or will they run from their pasts and abandon their future together?

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

ARC Review: Make Me Stay by Rebecca Brooks

Make Me Stay is the first book in the Men of Gold Mountain series by Rebecca Brooks. I was excited about this one because I love sports romance stories and Austin is a retired skier and this one sounded like it would check all my boxes. I have to say though that while there were some cute and sexy moments here, ultimately I had a tough time getting over a few details and that kept me from loving the story. 

Austin retired from a successful skiing career after an injury changed his life. Now Gold Mountain is his home and refuge and Kane Enterprises threatens to ruin everything for Austin once again. When Austin meets Sam on the slopes, he has no idea that his sexy one-night stand is also Samantha Kane, the woman determined to get him to sell his land for her to develop. As Sam and Austin start to fall for one another it is only a matter of time before the truth comes out. 

Sam and Austin had a lot of chemistry. They were great together, and their scenes were sexy. They were clearly forming a connection and I would have loved to have seen the focus more on that, rather than the secret being dragged out to the very end. As much as I loved these two together, the secret about Sam's identity seemed to be used solely for the purpose of building conflict and I would have preferred to see these two deal with that earlier so that we could have seen more depth to their relationship. 

As much as I wanted to really love Austin, the author made that a bit impossible as she made him come off as a bit too stupid for my liking. Austin knew he was supposed to be meeting a woman named Samantha Kane, and yet when he bumped into a woman named Sam he was just completely clueless. I found that to be completely unbelievable and hurt my enjoyment of the story as well as how much I could like Austin's character. I think that this book had potential, but unfortunately it was just hard for me to really feel invested when things were unrealistic for me right off with this story. Don't get me wrong it was still a good read, and aside from that it was a sweet and sexy romance. I would read more in the series and I think contemporary fans will enjoy this story even if they don't all love it.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | 

ARC Review: A Date at the Altar by Cathy Maxwell

Gavin Whitridge has waited long enough to find a match. In the two books prior to this one, his two younger brothers steal the show and get the girl. Gavin is so understanding though and gives both unions his blessing. Unfortunately for him, rumors have begun to fly and people are wondering about him being snuffed two times.

Sarah Pettijohn gave all she had so that her niece could live the life she deserved. Now that she's settled in America, Sarah has found herself in dire straights. She's past due on the rent of a horrible place in a bad neighborhood and losing weight due to lack of food. She was born on the wrong side of the blanket and has no familial connections. 

So Sarah grudgingly decides to do a repeat performance of her past persona, The Siren. It's a singing part for a Naughty Review, but the managers promise her that they'll stage her play in return. She hopes that this will turn things around for her so she can become a play manager. Unfortunately, a pathetic excuse for a man attacks her onstage and basically starts a riot. Luckily for Sarah, Gavin is there to save her.

Gavin and Sarah had met previously when his twin brother eloped with her niece. They were at complete odds with each other which was quite entertaining. I enjoyed that the battle of wits and wills between them continued in this book. Then they find a connection and admiration for each other that leads to love. It also leads to struggles and difficult decisions.

Gavin was as splendid as I had built him up to be in the two previous books of this series. Sarah is his perfect match! The story gave me a similar feeling to Moulin Rouge, but the plot differs greatly. The ending was a bit cheesy and maybe a tad too perfect for some people but I ADORED it! I really feel this series and this book in particular are a must for any historical romance readers.

I cannot think of one aspect of this book that I didn't like! Cathy Maxwell does an amazing job writing about love. I am sad that the series is over, but thankfully I have been introduced to this wonderful author and can now delve into her other books. 

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |