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Friday, September 4, 2015

RFTC Back to School Event with AJ Pine

AJ Pine writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend them with a happily ever after. As an English teacher and a librarian, AJ has always surrounded herself with books. All have one big commonality–romance. Naturally, her books have the same. When she’s not writing, she’s of course reading. Then there’s online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes) and, of course, a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires and superheroes. And in the midst of all of this, you’ll also find her hanging with her family in the Chicago burbs.

Audiobook Review: The Accidental Countess by Valerie Bowman, Narrated by Alison Larkin

I am a big fangirl of Valerie Bowman. I was first introduced to her when I read “The Unexpected Duchess” the first book in the “Playful Brides” series. I’ve read all the books up to “The Irresistible Rogue” and Bowman does not disappoint. She is a fun, witty, creative and her characters are charismatic. Although I enjoyed all the books in the series, “The Accidental Countess” was not one of my favorites. I really struggled when I read it and that is why I decided to hear the audiobook so I can see if it would give me a different experience.

I personally really love listening to audiobooks because they provide me with a different perspective then when I read. I love to hear the characters in another person’s voice. This is Lady Cassandra Monroe’s story. Cassandra or Cassie is the quiet and sweet friend of Lucy and Jane. She has been in love with Julian all her life. When Julian, a second son, goes off to war, it is Lady Cassandra that rights to him for all the years he is gone. However, Julian was promised to her cousin Penelope and even though a formal engagement was not announced it is assumed by their parents that they will marry when Julian returns.

Some things I really love about this story is the funny and witty things that Cassandra and her friends are either saying or coming up with. I love their friendship and it reminds me of Lisa Kleypass’s series “The Wallflowers.”

Some of the big issues I had when I read the books was Cassandra and Julian. I liked them but I did not love them. They both felt very flat to me and that did not change in the audiobook. Another big issues for me was the plot. It was so convoluted that it grated on my nerves. Lucy decides that when Julian comes home she is going to present Cassandra as Prudence Bunbury a fictional person. Julian doesn’t know that Cassandra and Prudence are the same person. Lucy hosts a house party where all the people involved, because of difference reasons, go along with this charade. It was not enjoyable to me and I had to remind myself of who was who. Needless to say when Julian discovers the deception he is very angry and doubts what he knew about Cassandra during their correspondence. I do have to say that although I was very frustrated with Julian and Cassandra I enjoyed Garret’s presence in this part of the story.

What I did love, as I mentioned before, is the friendship between the ladies. I also loved the snips of Jane and Garrett. I didn’t really pay too much attention to Donald and Daphne in this book so it was refreshing to pick up some things I missed the first time. Also, Daphne and Rafe become such important characters later on I really enjoyed the development of their character in this story. Overall, this was a fun read. Bowman is a very creative and unique author. Alison Larkin was a great narrator. Her tone and accent were perfectly suited for this story.

**Audiobook provided by Tantor**

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

Thursday, September 3, 2015

ARC Review: Watch Over Me by Sydney Landon

When this book began, I was really hopeful, it seemed like a book that was right up my alley. There is a bossy alpha male, Dominic and a curvy chick with a little bit of an attitude Gwen who hook up pretty quickly. That’s pretty much all it takes to hook me, normally. My problem with this book…Well, I had several problems with this book so let me start with the first problem.

Gwen hooks up with Dominic after she is rejected by Mac who runs off and marries another chick like the day he dumps Gwen. Here’s where things get dicey though, Mac and Dominic are best friends and co-owners of a business. I thought for sure that was going to wind up being a big issue and I was looking forward to the drama/confrontation/whatever. But then, it doesn’t happen. Gwen just hooks up with Dominic and it’s as if the whole Mac thing never happened. I found that truly confusing.

My next issue were the friend scenes. Authors have to be careful about how they use supporting characters. In this book there were a lot of rambling conversations between Gwen and her best two girlfriends but I didn’t feel like it added anything to the story. And because it didn’t add anything, it took away from the story because there were way too many pages of Gwen just hanging out with and talking to her girls. I got to the point where I just started skimming those sections to get back to the actual story.

Next issue, I’m all for insta love except in this book. I just didn’t like the way the relationship between Gwen and Dominic began. It made Dominic seem kind of like an undiscriminating robot who couldn’t do anything but follow his penis. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s how all men are right? But no, seriously, we gotta give the guy some kind of internal thought process.

My last issue that I absolutely could not overcome was the writing of this book. I just did not like the writing. What I disliked the most was the language was used by the author. The references to people swooning every 12 pages, made me want to hurt somebody. And then there was all the really awkward slang being thrown around. For example, at one point Gwen says “holy wet panties” and I was like WHAT? WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!?!?!?! The language was just so cheesy I couldn’t get into what the author was actually saying.

And oh yeah, the sex scenes are really mediocre.

I am sorry, I gave it the old college try and based on other reviews out there a lot of people enjoyed this book. You can go ahead and give it a try but it wasn’t the book for me.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Her Lucky Cowboy by Jennifer Ryan

Her Lucky Cowboy is my first book by Jennifer Ryan. While it is the third book in her Montana Men series, it can be read as a standalone with interconnected characters. There was a lot to like here, and I really enjoyed a lot about this book. There were however a few things that kept this one from being five stars for me. 

Dane Bowden only has to last eight seconds on the bull he is riding in order to win the championship so that he can fulfill his plans and retire from bull-riding and return home to his family's ranch. But the bull has other ideas, and although he wins, he finds himself once again saved by the angel that saved him as a child. With her in front of him once again, Dane realizes that she wasn't just an angel that disappeared. Now a doctor, Bell is the first to jump in when Dane is injured once again. Dane is determined to get to know Bell, as she has never been far from his mind and he was never able to forget her. But Bell is reluctant to let Dane close knowing that her inexperience and social awkwardness can't possibly compete with the many women Dane is used to seeing. But Dane's accident is a wake-up call for him, and he is ready to prove to Bell that the only woman he wants is her. Can she let him in and trust him enough to take a chance on something more? 

I liked both Dane and Bell. I thought that these two were great together and I loved their connection. Seeing them get to know one another and take things slowly was nice. Dane was patient and gave Bell time to adjust to something she had no experience with. Yet he also didn't let her avoid him or push him away like she tried to do. I was glad that he was persistent, and I think that was exactly what she needed. I loved seeing them figure things out, and they were really sweet with one another. Their feelings were genuine, and their connection was natural. They also had great chemistry, and the attraction between them was clear. 

I will say that this book was very slow and frustrating at times. Bell had a horrible upbringing, and that had a huge effect on her. She was awkward and didn't understand things that most of us take for granted. She had a lot of ground to make up, and sometimes that was very tough to get through. I wanted her to stop constantly doubting Dane and quit pushing him away. I do understand it, but as a reader sometimes it got old. I also didn't care for the fact that there were extra POVs in this story besides just Bell and Dane's. I felt like it was distracting and gave this book a disjointed feel. While I understood the reason behind it and that the conflict/drama was needed, I felt like this delivery method was not to my taste and I would have preferred something else. I did like the characters here though, and I am very interested in going back and reading the previous books. Jennifer Ryan might have been a new to me author, but I will be looking for more from her in the future. If you like sexy cowboys with your romance, this is definitely a book worth checking out. Bell and Dane were great, and I think that a lot of readers will really enjoy their story.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

RFTC Back to School Event with Chelsea M. Cameron

Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car, tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman) and playing fetch with her cat, Sassenach. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

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