Tyson Palmer’s story starts with him hitting rock bottom before he is mercifully given another chance to be the player and the person he was meant toTyson Palmer’s story starts with him hitting rock bottom before he is mercifully given another chance to be the player and the person he was meant to be before he let himself lose control. We follow Tyson as he is helped up and changes himself and tries to make amends for his past. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Tyson pushing and redeeming himself. The story was more effective for showing us Tyson at his worst and then rising up to become the man everyone knew he could be.
Dani was also very a interesting character. Her tenacity and determination made her equal to Tyson, but she was more than that. I loved that she was often flustered around Tyson. It made her easy to relate to as well as showing her human side. We didn’t get her side until much further into the story, as Evanovich used the first quarter of the book letting us get to know Tyson, but it did not mean that Dani’s side was lacking.
This book was truly fun to read and hard to put down. I love Evanovich’s storytelling and how it differs slightly from most contemporary romances, and even if she does utilize a particular trope that I find hard to swallow sometimes, I enjoyed watching the show, as it was. There’s a big pay off here for the reader because we are pulling for Tyson even as we are feel connected to Dani (at least I did), despite the fact that they both pretty much screw each other over at one point or another.
I really enjoy Evanovich’s books. This is the third connected book but they can all be read as stand-alones and aren’t a “series”. The steamy romance combined with the sports theme and fantastic characters have made me add Stephanie Evanovich to the top of my favorite author list. I can’t wait for her to write more.
I am thoroughly invested in the Cedar Ridge series by Jill Shalvis about a group of siblings with the same father but different mothers who run a skiI am thoroughly invested in the Cedar Ridge series by Jill Shalvis about a group of siblings with the same father but different mothers who run a ski resort in Colorado. I've been there since the beginning rooting for them to get their lives together and find that perfect person for them. Aidan and Hudson both had great, satisfying stories, but I have to say that I was very interested in learning more about Jacob, Hudson's twin. Jacob left home at 18 and joined the Army and hasn't contacted his siblings since. Well, he's back. In this particular instance, I was more interested in the family conflict than in the romance, though the romance was pretty great. I wanted everyone to just hug and make up, though I knew it wouldn't be that simple. I already knew Hud's side of the story and now I wanted to get to the why of Jacob's distance from his family. Of course, I fell right in love with Jacob, just like Sophie did, and every time he felt guilt or pain, I felt it too. I'm such a sucker for an alpha guy.
Truthfully, I liked Sophie a whole heck of a lot, too. I really loved her tenacity and the strength she exuded. I love that she refused to be a doormat and was smart and tough. She was a good match for Jacob.
Another stellar love story by Jill Shalvis. She's the one you want to read if you need hot romance, a sweet love story, and lots of laughs. She's the gold standard, people. ...more
3.5, i guess. I was about 1/2 way through before I stopped comparing it to Stephanie Plum--and there's a lot to compare--but then I started getting int3.5, i guess. I was about 1/2 way through before I stopped comparing it to Stephanie Plum--and there's a lot to compare--but then I started getting into the story & it was okay. There's a lot of cliches and the writing is...let's just say there's room for improvement. I might continue the series because it was fast paced and I love a humorous mystery...but I doubt it'll ever be a favorite....more
Lydia Kincaid is reluctantly going back to Boston, temporarily, to help her sister, who’s recently separated, and her dOriginally posted on Gone Pecan
Lydia Kincaid is reluctantly going back to Boston, temporarily, to help her sister, who’s recently separated, and her dad to run the family business, a bar. Having grown up in Boston with her dad and brother as firefighters and marrying a firefighter, she is not ready to get back into that life. Not long after she returns to town, she is struck by an attraction to Aidan, her brother’s best friend and a fellow firefighter. Not that anything can come from it because he’s younger than her and also works with her brother, Scotty, making her attraction forbidden. Aidan is also wildly attracted to Lydia, but he actually makes a move, and they begin a secret relationship to scratch the itch, hoping to get it out of their systems.
This is the first book in the Boston Fire series by one of my favorite authors, and oh, what a great beginning. There were many different conflicts at play here. Aidan sees Lydia’s father as a mentor and surrogate dad. He also works at the same station as Scotty, which makes any person related to or in a previous relationship with Scotty off limits. For her part, Lydia does not want to become involved with another firefighter. Her ex used the job as a way to meet women and it is one of the reasons that Lydia has moved out of state.
As Aidan and Lydia’s relationship becomes less about sexual attraction and more about the L word, there is frustration on all sides. Aidan does not like lying to Scotty and everyone else about where he’s going and with whom he spends his time. This, of course, puts a strain on Aidan & Lydia’s relationship, as well as her insistence that she will be moving back out of state as soon as her sister is able to work again. Her sister, Ashley, has a pretty great storyline, as well, involving her uncommunicative and seemingly unemotional husband, Danny, also a firefighter.
It’s been a while since I read any contemporary romance, but this book has made me crave more. Shannon Stacey has a way with characters, making them likable and complex. She is also very good at drawing you into the setting. I really forgot that the book was set in Boston because it had a very small town vibe about it. I loved that aspect of it. I also loved all the various family dynamics and the thrilling emotional rollercoaster of a romance between Lydia and Aidan.
Bailey has just been “rescued” by Hudson, who is the head of ski patrol and a co-owner, along with his siblings, of the Cedar Ridge ski resoGone Pecan
Bailey has just been “rescued” by Hudson, who is the head of ski patrol and a co-owner, along with his siblings, of the Cedar Ridge ski resort. Bailey has finally gotten her life back after having cancer for years. She’s ready to start living it by her own terms, which includes checking items that she never thought she’d be able to do off her bucket list. One of those items is painting a mural, which she’s just been hired to do at Hudson’s resort.
Hudson is a busy man. He works for the resort, he’s a cop, he takes care of his siblings and his ailing mother, and he’s desperately trying to find his twin brother, who left when they were 18 and has not been seen or heard from by him or his family since. Hudson feels and carries a lot of responsibility. But this responsibility has weighed him down and made him make walls around himself that no one has been able to breach, with the exception of his own family.
When he meets Bailey, he is immediately drawn to her and their mutual attraction is inconvenient for both of them because she has a new lease on life and he has no plans for leaving Cedar Ridge.
Hudson is the best kind of alpha man. He’s affectionate, gives with his whole heart, and doesn’t expect anything from Bailey that she isn’t willing to give. Sure, he’s a little stubborn and unwilling to really put himself out there for fear of not having his feelings returned, but it was quite enjoyable watching him fall in love with Bailey and fight/love/be there for his siblings and mother.
Bailey was a refreshing change of pace from most romance heroines. Not that all heroines don’t have genuine issues, but Bailey’s issues really helped to put a lot of things in perspective for me personally. I loved everything about her. I loved that she had peach fuzz hair and wore crazy colored stocking caps. I loved that she never apologizes for the way she is living her new life. I loved that she was there for Hudson and helped him to see that he was more than just the helper and he was not to blame for the decisions of others.
Jill Shalvis always has me turning pages quickly. Every single book I read by her, I fall in love with the male lead character. He’s my favorite until I read another of her books. This book was no exception. Hudson was a fantastic alpha guy. It was very easy to see why Bailey would be attracted to him and fall for him so completely. Bailey was also a great character, with a lot of spunk and very likable. It’s hard to find new ground when writing and/or reading romance, but I loved Bailey’s background and the fight she had in her. She never asks for sympathy and she’s pretty adorable. To summarize: fantastic, likable characters; interesting storyline; hot alpha with emotional issues…there’s a lot to love here.
Helen is taking an extended hiking vacation, never mind that she has never done anything like it before. She’s spent the last year, after her divorce,Helen is taking an extended hiking vacation, never mind that she has never done anything like it before. She’s spent the last year, after her divorce, pretty much cut off from the world. All she can stomach for company is her little dog, Peanut, who hates everyone, including Helen. Helen’s brother, Duncan, is supposed to be dogsitting, but him being Duncan (i. e., immature and irresponsible), he’s forgotten this promise. Helen then learns that Duncan’s equally irresponsible roommate and best friend, Jake, is going on the same hiking trip as Helen and asks her for a ride. Helen feels that Jake is part of the reason for Duncan’s inability to grow up and resents him as well as Duncan, but eventually relents and agrees to drive with him across country.
The trip opens Helen’s eyes to many things about Jake that Helen didn’t care to know before, such as changes to his appearance that she hadn’t noticed before because she never really saw him before as anything other than a kid who annoyed her as much as Duncan.
“I guess sometimes you just get an idea of a person in your mind, and that’s what you see when you look at him, no matter what.”
This seems to be an essential problem of Helen’s. She gets caught up in how she perceives people and has a hard time seeing them as their true selves. Helen is very stunted emotionally and has a hard time with people in general. She is a generally unhappy and seemingly angry person. She is ripe for a change of heart and a breakthrough, which she is hoping that this trip will deliver. Helen wants to use this trip as a spiritual journey. Jake’s presence would hinder her ability to be anonymous and take the necessary steps she needs to move on from her divorce.
Right from the start, Jake surprises Helen and continues to do so throughout the book. I loved Jake because he never backed down, never gave up. His optimism and charisma really drew me to him as a person because I generally tend to be more like Helen, closed off from new people and experiences. Helen has to continuously reevaluate both herself and Jake, as well as the other people they are thrown together with on this trip. People start to distinguish themselves as separate entities rather than as the cliches that Helen attributes to them when she meets them.
I read this book in ONE SITTING. I cannot tell you the last time that happened. I stayed up until 1:30 reading this. When I woke up I reread the last couple of chapters. I was so invested in these characters and this story that I could not put it down. I wanted to know what would happen but I also didn’t want it to end because I came to love these characters. I loved the hiking aspect of the book and seeing Helen find her true self and coming into her own. I loved watching her change the other hikers perceptions of her, because she is not the only one who makes snap judgments. I enjoyed watching her make friends and fall in love.
Make no mistake, this is a book about falling in love. There is a really special, lovely, satisfying (and slightly shocking) relationship that develops and that, in part, is what made me keep turning pages. But Helen’s journey is about more than romance and you are pulling for her every step of the way. One of the most satisfying aspects of this book is that Helen’s perceptions of the people around her change, she’s no longer stuck in the same frame of mind, and she comes to see that she is capable of more than she realized. Helen’s journey helped me to realize that I might be more capable than I realized, too, and to try to find a different way to look at things and to open myself up to new experiences. Let’s go hiking! (No, kidding). And now I must find and devour Katherine Center’s entire backlist.
Lucy is a native of the New Jersey shore, but her life is nothing like the people in the reality show. Lucy is contentOriginally posted on Gone Pecan
Lucy is a native of the New Jersey shore, but her life is nothing like the people in the reality show. Lucy is content with her life on the shore where she is used to having people come in and out of her life with the seasons. One of those people is Conner, her next door neighbor, but only during the summer. Conner is charismatic and adorable, with a string of girls in his wake. Lucy and Conner also have a mysterious history that goes back to the fall, though known each other for years. This memory clings to Lucy and leaves her longing for Conner, though 1) he never called her after the storm, 2) she has a boyfriend, and 3) he has a girlfriend. But they can’t seem to stay away from each other, despite all of these and other obstacles.
I really loved Lucy because she knew who she was and didn’t apologize for being smart and a science nerd. She didn’t feel the need to change herself. She is keeping secrets from everyone about Conner, but I do think that is understandable.
Conner and Lucy were very cute together. I was pulling for them the whole time. There were lots of issues with Lucy’s friends, her boyfriend, and her brother that really frustrated me on Lucy’s behalf, but it added to the story and served to bring Lucy and Conner closer. This is a very cute, sweet book that pulled me in immediately and kept me invested in the story and in Lucy’s life. Doktorski also wrote How My Summer Went Up in Flames, which I also loved, so I have to say I recommend this book and all of her books. They are quite entertaining with great main characters.
Iris Smythe-Smith is a cellist in her family’s dreaded annual musicale. She’s one of four unmarried cousins that playsoriginally posted on Gone Pecan
Iris Smythe-Smith is a cellist in her family’s dreaded annual musicale. She’s one of four unmarried cousins that plays a musical instrument and is forced to perform every year for the peers of the Ton. Sir Richard attends the musicale with ulterior motives and sets his eyes on Iris. He has a reason to find a wife and find one soon. He’s even so desperate that he forgoes finding one with a large dowry. Iris catches his eye and once he meets her, he is determined that she be the future Mrs. Kenworthy.
Iris is skeptical. She is attracted to Sir Richard and maybe even interested, but he seems to be moving fast and laying it on a bit thick. Sir Richard creates a scene that makes it clear that they must marry and his plans start to fall into place.
I loved this book and read it in just a few hours. I was so curious about Sir Richard and his issues. I figured it out right before it was revealed, but I felt that the big issue was an interesting one that I hadn’t read about in a Regency romance before. Another reason I loved it so much is because the two main characters were fantastic. I loved Iris’s wit and determination, but I also really felt for her because she was falling in love and was receiving mixed messages from her husband. Richard, too, was a very complex and interesting character. We’re privy to his thoughts, so I knew he was trying to be honorable at the same time he was determined to use Iris for whatever his needs were.
This might be my favorite couple from the Smythe-Smith series. There was very little sexual escapades, which fit the story, but made me a bit disappointed. I do think that that Richard could have been more upfront about what was going on and I think he still could have gotten the girl. There were issues about him not telling when he could have, and I was disappointed right along with Iris by this when she found out. Still, I did like Richard, despite his shortcomings, and I was pulling for him & Iris to have a happily ever after.
Grace Wilde is running away. She has decided to transfer to an international school in Korea for her senior year in ordOriginally posted on Gone Pecan
Grace Wilde is running away. She has decided to transfer to an international school in Korea for her senior year in order to get away from all the drama back home in Tennessee. Grace is the daughter of Stephen Wilde, a big time country music producer. Grace has also seen the bad side of fame, people wanting to be close to her because of her family, like the ex-boyfriend she caught cheating on her, and she is ready to be known only for herself.
Grace is immediately welcomed to Korea by her adorable roommate, Sophie, who grew up in America, but has ties to Korea because her mom still lives there. Sophie is close to her twin brother, Jason, who is a famous Korean pop star. Grace initially wants nothing to do with Jason because he seems arrogant, but he and his band mates, Yoon Jae and Tae Hwa, soon become part of Grace’s inner circle.
Grace was a hard character to like. She’s very closed off and judgmental, as well as being a bit of a snob. She is also very inconsistent in her thoughts and actions. One minute she’s sighing over how hot Jason is, but admonishing herself that she cannot like him and the next minute she gets upset when he seems to show signs that he might not be into her. Grace has a lot of family issues that also hold her back and they play a big part of her acting the way she does. I felt for her on some level, but more often she irritated me.
Jason, on the other hand, was just adorable. I am a big softie for the strong, silent type, and he definitely fit the bill. We don’t really know what’s going on in his head, at least not at first, but he has his own issues to deal with. I do like the parallel that the author drew between Jason and Grace’s brother’s issues. This made me understand Grace better, even if they didn’t exactly make me like her completely.
In the end, the book is sweet and I liked the romance that developed. The story was unique and I found the characters to not be one-dimensional, which is always appreciated. This book is being compared to other contemps, but it’s definitely has its own place and style.
Dean Mulligan hates Christmas. I KNOW! What’s up with that? Well, it turns out that he has good reasons due to the factOriginally posted on Gone Pecan
Dean Mulligan hates Christmas. I KNOW! What’s up with that? Well, it turns out that he has good reasons due to the fact that his childhood was littered with abuse from a stepfather, a drug addict mom, and time spent in foster care.
When Mulligan gets trapped in a store in a burning strip mall for Christmas, he manifests his own Clarence the Angel (from It’s a Wonderful Life) in the form of his former girlfriend, Lizzie Breen (sister of Fred from The Night Belongs to Fireman).
Lizzie and Mulligan are an unusual pair because he grew up the way he did, and she grew up in a loving family. Lizzy has four overprotective, older brothers, though she can handle them. The problem with Lizzie and Mulligan’s relationship is that Lizzie puts no limits on where their relationship can go, but Mulligan thinks that Lizzie deserves better than someone like him. So, like an ass, he breaks up with her.
Dream Lizzie uses Mulligan’s down time waiting to be rescued to show him ways in which his being there for someone made their life a little better, a la It’s a Wonderful Life.
I am a sucker for It’s a Wonderful Life and Scrooge, so any time there is a book, episode, or movie that uses this trope, I am all over it. This adaptation was really very well done. Mulligan is all kinds of tough and untouchable, but he is completely helpless when it comes to Lizzie. Their relationship, the little bit we saw in flashbacks, was hot and sweet. I do love when an alpha man falls hard.
I generally don’t like flashbacks and in this case, with Mulligan’s abusive history, I was particularly afraid that the flashbacks would be depressing, but I was pleasantly surprised by them. The flashbacks focused less on the bad things and more on positive things that came from Mulligan’s past.
I liked Lizzie because she was obviously in love with Mulligan, but she wasn’t pining away. She was at a place where she was ready to move on with her life, though she still tried to find a place for Mulligan in it. Lizzie’s relationship with her brother, Fred, and the other firefighters on the scene was cute and added another dimension to her and the story.
This is a novella, so it’s about half the size of a regular novel. It was just the perfect size for the story and it really read quickly. I’m sad that this is the last of the Bachelor Fireman series, but I did love seeing old faces and catching up with former MCs. I did hope that there would be an epilogue that showed Lizzie and Mulligan in the not so distant future, but it ended on a good note. We are also introduced to a future hero from Bernard’s next series about baseball players and I’m in like already.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a quick, fun, sexy Christmas story with a happy ending, It’s a Wonderful Fireman will make all of your Christmas dreams come true.
At the end of Heir of Fire, we were left in a bad place. It was terrifying and it seemed hopeless. So it was with greatOriginally posted in Gone Pecan
At the end of Heir of Fire, we were left in a bad place. It was terrifying and it seemed hopeless. So it was with great trepidation that I opened Queen of Shadows.
Spoilers for Heir of Fire --> (view spoiler)[Dorian’s been locked into a Wyrdstone collar by his father, Sorscha’s been killed, Aedion has been taken prisoner, and Chaol’s escaped, barely. And Aelin, AKA Celaena, is on her way back from Wendlyn, ready to kick ass and takes names. Though she is unaware of what awaits her, and we (the readers) tremble in fear and resignation of the horrible things to come. (At least, I did…metaphorically, anyway.) (hide spoiler)]
I don’t want to give a synopsis of the book because SO MUCH HAPPENS (the book is over 600 pages long) and pretty much anything I say would be a spoiler. However, I want to acknowledge how this book made me feel.
I think Queen of Shadows is the best book of the series. The theme of the book is Hope. Hope when it seems like the world is ending, like there is nothing of beauty and goodness left in it. Aelin has come into her own as a part-Fae Queen of Terrasen, no longer willing to hide. She is determined to bring down the King of Adarlan and free her people and all of those under the reign of this tyrant. She will not be stopped.
There were lots of new characters added to the story, characters that add a lot to the story and go a long way to fleshing out the already staggeringly complex plot. Old characters also add a lot to the narrative, their growth and the way they change or the things we learn about them adds another level of awe at Maas’ storytelling prowess. We learn many things and the story progresses so much. We are also rewarded with closure that I know I’ve been hoping for since the novellas. My ships are torn apart, but new ones, maybe even better ones, are being built on the ruins.
Another pertinent theme is the power that the women characters wield. These glorious, beautiful, selfless, amazing women…some of the best written women I’ve ever read. I have to note that in Heir of Fire, I wasn’t a big fan of the witches. I didn’t see how Manon could be an ally because it was clear in Heir of Fire that that was the direction it was going in. And in this book, I was still dreading reading the parts with them in it, but I stand corrected. I see potential, I see where it could be going (I’m really not going to speculate because Maas does an amazing job of surprising the hell out of me), and in the end, I was looking forward to those chapters. The men aren’t too bad either, all swagger and Alpha-ness.
I want to give a shout out to my new favorite characters, Nesryn, Elide, & Lysandra. Let’s have tea one day soon. Miss you already. Love you.
To sum up, you’re in for a very surprising and hopeful book. Maybe you’ll want to stop reading because everything seems lost, but think of Aelin, she will give you strength. Think of Dorian and what he’s enduring, and think of Chaol’s haunting pain and guilt. You will persevere and you will be rewarded. Nothing worth having comes easy.
Jess has a lot of stuff going on. Her husband left 2 years ago (though she’s actually fine with this) and she is raisinOriginally posted on Gone Pecan
Jess has a lot of stuff going on. Her husband left 2 years ago (though she’s actually fine with this) and she is raising his son and their daughter. She was a young mother and dropped out of school, so what she does to make ends meet is clean houses. She doesn’t get anything from her ex, though he’s not really her ex as they’re still married, because she knows that he is depressed and does not have a job. So Jess makes do. Her stepson, Nicky, is being beaten up because he dares to be unapologetically different and her sweet, brilliant daughter, Tanzie, is being given the chance to go to a private school.
Ed, meanwhile, is in some hot water. He is being investigated for insider trading for just about the stupidest reason you can imagine. Ed is a bit socially stupid, but because he is good-looking and relatively well off, his ineptitude with women has made life difficult for him. While he is drowning his sorrows, he keeps running into Jess, who cleans his house and is the waitress at the local bar. One night, he is so wasted that she helps him because, despite his being an ass to her, that’s the kind of person she is. Then Jess does something she would never do to ensure a better future for her daughter and that’s where the story gets going.
I’m not going to lie, it took me a little while to get into. This is my first book by this author and I was pleasantly surprised that it takes place in England (I do love that setting for a book). I have a lot of friends who really love this author and I’m glad I requested the book for review. The reason that it took so long for me to get into is that there was a bit of a setting up period before the road-trip part of the story.
Once the road trip started, though, I breezed through this baby. There was something really amazing about Jess. She’s essentially a single mother, works her fingers to the bone, and does everything she can for her family. She’s not the type to sponge off the system and she tries to teach her children that the easy way is not always the best way. But like all of us, she makes a mistake that she intends to correct, but then she forgets about it and it eventually comes back to bite her in the butt.
Ed’s involvement with this family seems to be both spontaneous and uncharacteristic, especially given the parameters that he has to stay within to be able to help them. But he rises to the challenge, which is admirable of him and the beginning of his transformation. And there’s the fact that the issues that Jess and her family are dealing with make Ed’s seem unimportant. During the course of their trip, Ed and Jess overcome the stereotypes that they have for each other and actually come to need each other in a way that they had not expected. They are both independent and have very strong personalities as well as a standard of conduct about themselves that is very rigid, which makes their ultimate relationship very sweet.
Over the course of the book, these characters came to mean a lot to me. The things that they went through and the life that they lead made me want to hold them all close to me, put them in a glass case so that they could never be hurt. But that is, of course, unrealistic. This book kind of helped to restore my faith in humanity. At the very least, it put a smile on my face. It’s about redemption and finding the person who makes you better and being resilient. It’s about family and love and survival. It is a beautiful story and made me a big fan of this author.
Toni, a renowned tomboy, gets in trouble and as “punishment” is sent away from her best friends, three guys, to attendOriginally posted in Gone Pecan
Toni, a renowned tomboy, gets in trouble and as “punishment” is sent away from her best friends, three guys, to attend an all-girls school. She basically has no experience with girls but is thrown in there and is floundering, especially when it seems like her best friends, Loch, Cowboy, and Ollie, are phasing her out. In an effort to help a fellow classmate and maybe friend, Emma, Toni offers up Loch to make Emma’s boyfriend jealous. This spurs other classmates to ask for rental services of the guys that Toni knows and a business takes off. It also spurs a jealousy from Toni regarding her friends, Loch in particular.
When I saw this book on netgalley, I was very excited. I am such a sucker for friends to lovers story. So I knew going in that she was going to fall for someone and it’s pretty clear early on that it’s her best friend and neighbor, Micah, aka Loch. I really enjoyed watching her slowly realize the depth of her feelings for him. She was very hesitant to change and it was sometimes painful to see her put in situations where her feelings were put to the test because she really could not handle them. I loved Toni and Emma’s relationship, and Emma’s personality. I really loved Micah, he was such a cutie and so patient with Toni.
Overall, it was a very sweet book, focusing on relationships with friends and overcoming resistence to change. I read it very quickly and would recommend it to younger teens. Toni’s friendship with the guys is based on their growing up in the same neighborhood and their belief in monsters, like Sasquatch, so that was different and interesting. I wanted them to find that mysterious creature they’re searching for, who they call Champ. But mostly, I enjoyed watching Toni grow up.