Crank by Adriana Locke

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Crank by Adriana Locke

This is one mistake Sienna Landry can’t buy her way out of.

As Walker Gibson looks at her, then at the damage to his precious truck (that she may or may not have accidentally inflicted), she knows she’s in trouble. It’s not the busted headlight and dented grill that’s sunk her though. It’s the downright sinful man in front of her that’s the problem.

The small town mechanic is broody. Rough. Smells like engine grease and gasoline and Sienna isn’t sure why that’s so sexy, but it is. It so is. She’s ready to peel off her panties at the drop of his wrench.

He wants her too. She can feel it when he brushes against her. Experience it as he presses her against the wall of the shop. It’s thinly veiled in his deep, brown eyes when he looks at her like she’s everything he’s ever wanted. So why won’t he give in?

The damage to Walker’s truck is the first of many mistakes between the two of them, ending with truths that rock Sienna’s world. Nothing can fix her broken heart except the love of a man that won’t, maybe even can’t, love her back.

Crank is a standalone romance in a new small town, blue-collar series from USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke. Join readers everywhere as they fall in love with the delicious Gibson Boys.

Okay, I’m going to cut to the chase and tell you I loved this book. If you just want to know if I loved it or not, know I loved it and thought this is one of best pieces of work from Adriana Locke.

Now let’s talk about the why. One of the biggest reasons that this book, and specifically Sienna Landry, spoke to me was the depth of her character. If you’ve read the Landry series, one thing you remember is that Sienna has wanted independence from her family for awhile. She doesn’t want to be estranged or anything drastic, but Sienna wants to live her life, and be her own person. She doesn’t want to be in the shadow of her last name. This aspect comes through so strongly in scenes where she specifically says this, but her behavior throughout the book echos her character’s actual desires. The Sienna Landry that we see in the Landry series is the same Sienna Landry we get here.

When Walker and Sienna first meet, Sienna gets herself into a mess after swinging a bat into Walker’s truck. At one point, Sienna tells Walker that she is a woman of her word, and she truly is. You can rely on Sienna Landry.

Walker Gibson has issues. Some small, some big. The author presents Walker in a unique way and I appreciate that. We see some flashes of his past and you start to understand why he’s so skittish. Again, I enjoy that these characters and their individual stories have a lot of depth and it’s clear that the author let everyone develop fully.

This story is the start of the Gibson Brothers Series and I loved the slivers of the other brothers that we get to see. It’s enough to definitely make me want the other stories and get a small inkling of what might be coming. I liked this as a reader but I also thought it was a smart move on the author’s part too. This series is set in a small town in Illinois and the author nailed it. The way the small town is portrayed, the seasons, the pop vs soda issue (it’s always pop, obviously). The detail that the author chose to pay attention to and incorporate is priceless.

If you’ve never read this author before, then you can read this book and know you are getting an amazing piece of her work. If you’re already a fan of Adriana Locke, I can confidently say you will love this story. The depth, the story itself, the details; all are fantastic and make this story a must-read for me.

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Keeper by Amy Daws- Audiobook

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Keeper by Amy Daws

They were best friends until they became roommates. 

Booker Harris has spent the last several years pushing himself to become the best goalkeeper in the Championship League. Tired of living in the shadows of his headline-splashing brothers, he has finally carved a path of his own.
As a child, Poppy McAdams was content in her own little make-believe world, until the boy next door with dimples and pained eyes came barreling into her makeshift fort demanding all her attention.
Best friends for most of their lives, everything changes when Poppy abruptly leaves London for University.
Now she is back, and gone is the awkward girl from Booker’s youth. She has been replaced by a stunning woman with secrets.
Secrets that Booker is desperate to know.
Sharing a bedroom wall with your best friend from childhood quickly turns to anything but sweet and innocent.
I have always seen people loving audiobooks, but I’ve never tried it before. I think I was always scared that I would end up zoning the story out and hours would pass and I would realize that I had no idea what was going on.
I was wrong.
I was given the opportunity to check out “Keeper” by Amy Daws in audiobook. And I am absolutely loving it. Having dual narration from Will Watt and Charlotte Cole really brings this entire story to life. I never really guessed that this would matter, to be totally honest. But it does and from the moment I started listening, this story literally seemed to come to life in my mind. Hearing their voices made me feel like I was right in the moment. It was fantastic.
The story of Booker and Poppy is really sweet and while you would call it friends to lovers, I appreciated the direction the author took with this story. In the past, I’ve always felt like some friends to lovers have taken the path of one friend liking the other and the other person treating the first like a jerk. This story does have a slight tinge of that, but Booker and Poppy’s past is more about miscommunication and being young.
This book is absolutely hilarious. One of my favorite facets of these characters is how real they are. One scene that comes to my mind is when Poppy and Booker are first living together. Poppy is immediately worrying about going poo. Later, Booker is worrying about the bathroom arrangements and trying to remember to put the seat down. It was just this hilarious inner monologue that you know people have thought before. The humor made these characters come to life for me, and the added bonus of experiencing this story in audio only made it better.
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s already fantastic in written form, but I highly recommend allowing yourself the enjoyment of the audiobook. The narrators bring Booker and Poppy off of the page and into real life. A must-read and a must-listen to!

The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

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The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant returns to Texas, where a small-town legend just might find the greatest gift of all in The Christmas Cowboy Hero

’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays—even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything.

Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped raise since she was a teenager. Keeping them in line is no small task while she’s also working toward her college degree. And now that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle at the East Ranch, Abby is at her wits’ end. But there is a silver lining: Clayton East. He believes in second chances, and is willing to give one to her brother this Christmas. Letting beautiful Abby—and the inescapable longing in his heart—off the hook, however, is a whole ’nother story. Could it be that the woman of this local hero’s dreams has been back at home all along?

So when I started prepping my  review of this latest release from Donna Grant, I kept thinking it was a novella. Then I looked and realized this book is over 300 pages in length. So one of the big things I can say about this story is that it moves quickly and it’s definitely a story that sucks the reader in. When I started it, I felt like I was halfway through in no time at all. For me, I love stories that flow this well.

Our story starts out with Clayton East avoiding calls from his mother, back in Texas. Clayton is an ex-Navy SEAL and is working in South Africa, protecting animals from poachers. (Yeah, I was swooning in the first chapter). Then he finally takes the call from his mother, where he learns the East Ranch is in major trouble.

We then meet Abby Harper, where she’s running to the police station because her brother, Brice, has been arrested. The crime? Stealing cattle from the East Ranch. Abby is devastated since she’s been raising her brothers since she was 18. With a mother who ran out on them, Abby and her brothers only have each other. Clayton and Abby immediately have an attraction to each other. Clayton decides to extend a second-chance to Brice, by allowing him to work off his major debt to the ranch, instead of pressing charges against him.

While this is happening, Clayton and his family are also dealing with the realization that their CPA embezzled a significant amount of money from them. Abby works for a different CPA in town as an assistant and starts helping Clayton look through the financial records for the ranch.

“No, Abby Harper, I’m going to pay you what you should’ve been earning all this time. You’re worth it.”

This quote really stuck with me while reading. Several times in the story, Clayton lets Abby know that she’s worth it, and someone else’s loss is his gain. Abby’s brothers realize the sacrifices she’s made for them, even though Abby never mentions it, never complains. So to see Clayton see these things in her, and make her feel valued and appreciated, it was like Abby was able to blossom when she was around the East family. This was especially heartwarming to see because as the reader goes along, you realize how much Abby really has done for her family.

This story might be one of my favorite Christmas stories. You get all of the Christmas activity, but then we see forgiveness, fresh starts, love, and even suspense. This is a Christmas novel that any reader could enjoy because there is a little bit of something for everyone.

Cuffed by K. Bromberg

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Cuffed by K. Bromberg

From the New York Times bestselling author, K. Bromberg, comes a new series about three brothers, the job that calls them, and the women who challenge them.

“I hate you. I never want to see you again.”

Grant Malone is not the reason I moved back to Sunnyville—at least that’s what I tell myself. Yet, those parting words I said to him back in third grade, ring in my ears every time a townsperson brings up one of the Malone boys. I thought time had healed my wounds. I was wrong. Nothing could have prepared me for how I felt when I finally saw him again.

Twenty years does a lot to turn a boy into a man. One who hits all my buttons—sexy, funny, attractive, and a police officer. But Grant is off limits because he knows too much about my past.

But I’m drawn to him. That damn uniform of his doesn’t hurt either. It’ll be my downfall. I know it.

What’s one night of sex going to hurt . . . right?

***

I’ve always loved Emmy Reeves.

That’s why I’m shocked to see her all these years later. The shy girl I once knew is all grown up.

Adventurous and full of life, she owns my heart now, just as much as she did back then. Convincing her of that is a whole different story.

I’ll give her the one night she asks for—like that’s a hardship—but when it comes to letting her walk away after, she has another thing coming. There’s no way in hell I’m letting her go this time without a fight.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2yF3ktD

iBooks:  http://smarturl.it/CuffediBook

B&N:  http://smarturl.it/CuffedBN

GoodReads:  http://bit.ly/2atr83J

K. Bromberg is one amazing author. I’m not new to her work, but I admit I haven’t read The Driven series, which is the series that everyone seems to know her for. But every time I get the opportunity to dive into her new work, I’m always blown away. This author takes topics that are tough, or even unusual in the book world, and the words flow seamlessly.

Emerson Reeves and Grant Malone are best friends in the third grade. But Emerson has a secret, one that Grant tells. Grant never sees Emmy again. Not until she pops up in Sunnyville, 20 years later and calling him “Officer Sexy”. But that’s before she realizes who he is.

One of my favorite aspects of both Grant and Emmy is that they are both doing their own thing before they run into each other. Neither one is looking for anything serious and neither one is lacking a slumber party partner. We see male characters like this frequently, but we don’t always see the female characters in this way and I appreciated that.

Emmy is one tough woman. She is this skydiving, stubborn, intelligent, sexy woman. This character is where we see the author shine. Emmy has been through a lot through her life; and while parts of her past may haunt her, it never defines her. Emmy is living her life, and she is willing to leap.

About Damn Time Teaser

Grant Malone is something else. Lord, I am happy my town does not have their own Grant Malone on the police force because the ladies would be committing crimes to get into his handcuffs. He’s the son of the former Police Chief of Sunnyville and he has aspirations for himself. He’s handsome and he knows it. He’s also a good man. He had his eyes on Emmy before he knew it and now that he’s an adult, he won’t let her go this time.

This story is fantastically written and readers experience everything from humor to heartbreak and back again. The author tackles tough situations with her characters but the story never becomes dark nor does it diminish the realities that Emmy or Grant are experiencing.

This book isn’t just about the past, it’s not just about second-chances, it’s not just about fun with handcuffs. It’s so much more than any of these tropes and it goes beyond humor, heartbreak, or redemption. A must-read for anyone who wants a story that will truly pull at your heart, all while making you cheer for the characters.

With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

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With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

A wallflower determined to fulfill a dying promise, the rogue she jilted years ago, and an orphaned baby are all brought together amidst the magic of Christmas in this new novella from Manda Collins.

Miss Merry Parks makes a deathbed promise to a schoolfriend that her infant daughter will be taken to her absent father. There’s only one problem—to find the baby’s father, she’ll have to consult his cousin, Viscount Wrotham, the man she jilted five years ago. The man she couldn’t forget.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, is stunned to find Merry Parks—looking more lovely than ever–on his doorstep with an infant in her arms. His shock soon turns to dismay when he learns his own cousin William is the man who abandoned his wife and child. As head of the family he’s duty bound to see right is done. But he can’t let this opportunity pass. He’ll take Merry and the baby to his cousin, but he’ll woo her back in the process.

Merry agrees to travel with Alex and the baby to Wrotham Castle, where the entire Ponsonby family has gathered for Christmas, but her plans to see the baby settled then leave are ruined by a snowstorm. After five years apart, Alex and Merry will spend the week getting reacquainted. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the holiday, or the magic of the season, but there could be something else in the air this Yuletide…A Christmas Reunion.

I’ve never read Manda Collins before. In all honesty, I don’t usually read historical romance either. Once in awhile I will, but it’s typically an author I’m familiar with and know that I already enjoy their writing. This book is opening my eyes to new horizons though.

This book is the definition of what a holiday romance should be. There’s love, second chances, snow, a sleigh ride, some family drama, Christmas. I have enjoyed other holiday books but a lot have felt forced or like it didn’t capture the magic of the season. This book captured that magic for me.

Merry’s friend, Charlotte, delivers a baby but dies after from complications. Merry’s final promise to her friend is to find the father of the baby and ensure she has a family to care for her. Unfortunately for Merry, she needs help from the very man she once was betrothed to, Alex Ponsonby.

A few of the things I really enjoyed about this book were both Merry and Alex’s characters. Even though they are both proper and appropriate to the time period, both are more than willing to stand up for what is right. Merry is nervous to have to turn to Alex for help, but she is selfless and does the right thing for the baby. Alex, who is still reeling from the hurt of Merry leaving him, puts aside his own resentment and vows to help Merry and the baby.

Another aspect I loved about this story is that while it’s definitely historical, there are moments of humor and a few twists. One twist is Alex’s Grandmother. She is a total witch. Then there is a slight touch of mystery with one of the holiday guests. It just the right amount of extra little elements to keep you interested but it didn’t overpower the actual fact that this is a holiday romance.

Historical Romance fans: this is the holiday romance for you. To be honest, I feel like the majority of readers could enjoy this book. It’s not overly heavy, the magic of Christmas remains throughout the story, and the great romance between Alex and Merry is the icing on the cake.

 

 

Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

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Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

The best gift of all is the one you share with someone else. . .

From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn’t a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry—just a few no-strings dates while he was in town.

Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously—how could she not, when she’s rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he’s just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love…for real. And Deacon can’t help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it’s the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who’s become Deacon’s favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?

Macy Frost might be a descendant of Cupid. But even if she’s not, she’s one heck of a matchmaker. And that skill is about to come in handy with Deacon, a newcomer who shows up unexpectedly.

The biggest component of this book that I found myself loving was how the story came to life. The descriptions were so vivid and I could easily see Macy and her cat, Oscar, walking to work. I could see her office, her home and it’s piazza. I could see Fran, Deacon, George, etc. This author does a wonderful job with the imagery. I would read this author again for that piece alone.

In complete fairness, Macy was a little hard for me to like. She sort of rode the line between society girl and a little slice of wild child, and because of this, some of her sweetness came off a little too proper to me. One scene that comes to my mind is that she has only known Deacon a day or two and she’s fantasizing about him making love to her. I was fine with that scene, but Macy isn’t that old, and the wording just felt a little awkward. With that said, I felt like a lot of her actions and words did make sense for her character. It just wasn’t a personal favorite of mine.

This story is told in two viewpoints, alternating between Macy and Deacon. I enjoyed Deacon’s chapters a lot more. I think he was a bit more honest, his tone seemed more realistic to me. Deacon isn’t interested in finding a soulmate. He needs Macy’s help to find a few dates to appease the aunt who cared for him growing up. Nothing more. But Macy is convinced that she can find the person he’s meant to be with. But what if that person is Macy?

The other nice aspect of this story is that you get a full-length book. Amazon has this listed as 346 pages, which is significantly longer than other holiday books I’ve come across. So I appreciated that the story wasn’t rushed and I got to really savor the story.

I think this book is perfect for anyone who loves holiday romance but also for someone looking for a lighter, cheerful read. The story comes to life and you feel like you’re in Charleston as you read along.

 

Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery

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Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery

From the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Susan Mallery, read the second irresistible installment in the Happily Inc series!

Mathias Mitchell’s easy smile hides a world of hurt. After the worst kind of family betrayal, he moves to Happily Inc., California—the wedding destination town supplies a steady stream of bridesmaids, perfect for his “no promises, no pain” lifestyle. Yet he can’t stop watching for his beautiful, elusive neighbor on the animal preserve behind their homes.

Gamekeeper Carol Lund knows she’s not special enough to attract an alpha male like Mathias, so his offer to help her adopt a herd for her lonely giraffe is surprising—and his determined seduction, even more so. But just as she finally welcomes him into her bed, his careless actions crush her heart. Will she give him a second chance to prove she’ll always come first in his heart?

Don’t miss You Say It First, the first book in the Happily Inc series. 

I’ve been a fan of Susan Mallery for awhile now and I admit freely that I miss the character’s from her Fool’s Gold series. Well, if you also feel that way, then the wedding destination town of Happily Inc is for you.

The biggest thing I enjoyed about this book, and the author itself, is that for the most part, things are kept light. Yes, there are some conflicts but for the most part, I always feel like this author keeps me pulled into this fantastical small town. Are some pieces a little unrealistic? Yes, but I also think that makes it fun. I mean, who wouldn’t love a pub called “The Board Room” where you play board games while having drinks? I know I would love that.

Another thing that was different about this book was the fact that we have almost simultaneous love stories happening. We have Carol and Mathias, but then we also have Violet and Ulrich. I enjoyed getting a little more story in this book. I haven’t read every Susan Mallery book but I don’t feel like I’ve seen her have two love stories in one. So I enjoyed that aspect.

With that said, there were a few things I did struggle with. This is only the second book in the series and there were a lot of characters floating around. By the time I got to the 30% mark, I had met almost thirteen different people in this town. Combined with the fact that you have two love stories happening, it was a bit much at times. There was almost a point where you’d miss someone, and then be trying to figure out where you met them before. It wasn’t a crisis to me, but I will say it made the book not flow as well for me because I kept trying to keep track of everyone.

If you are already a fan of Susan Mallery, and in particular, if you were a fan of her Fool’s Gold series, you will love Happily Inc. We even get a couple tiny mentions of Fool’s Gold in this book. This book is light and I always enjoy a trip to one of the author’s fantastical small town worlds.