Sunday, September 18, 2022

PAWS AND PREJUDICE by Alanna Martin

 

Publisher: Forever
Date Published: June 29, 2021
ISBN#
    ‎ 978-0593198858
Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by Gina (myreviewbooks@aol.com)    
Obtained via publisher

3 Hearts

Ian Roth, along with his best friend Micah, have set their sights on building a brewery with unique beers and because of a book he read long ago, Ian wants to build it in Helen, Alaska. Before arriving he wasn’t aware of the decades long feud between the Porters and the Lipins, but he quickly found out. Wallace Porter is anxious to help Ian and Micah get the brewery off the ground and to help he offers his daughter, Kelsey’s, talent as a writer…a blog and advertising writer. Ian is on board with having her help but there’s one problem…she has dogs. Three dogs. Three big dogs. And Ian is terrified of dogs.  Any dogs.

Kelsey Porter has a reputation as a tough as nails, not all that nice person. Her whole life she’s bought into “the feud” and done her part. Her three dogs, Romeo, Juliet and Puck are all she really cares about and she has nothing nice to say about anyone who doesn’t adore them along with her. When she meets Ian and he basically runs the other way from her and her dogs, she has nothing nice to say anything to or about him. But a promise is a promise. When Kelsey soon finds out that Ian’s not that bad of a guy. In fact, she finds him outright hot as well as a nice person, she considers giving him a chance. But Kelsey has a secret, one that Ian quickly stumbles on. When he quickly shows her how nice he really is the barriers between the two begin to come down. Or can they?

I enjoyed the first book in Alanna Martin’s Hearts of Alaska series and was eager to dive into book two, PAWS & PREJUDICE. Sometimes you just need to escape every day life and sit with a romance and Martin delivers that escape. I visited Alaska about thirty years ago and her descriptions remind me of that amazing vacation. She brings together what I like about small town romances with a love of dogs and a couple that defies the odds. Among the aspects I enjoyed about the story is how she handled Ian’s phobia about dogs.  She also touched on how it is to be Jewish in a small town.

The constant reminders of the feud go a tad old after a bit as did how often Ian and Kelsey thought the other one was hot. It was a much better read when they got past the thinking about the other’s hotness and got on with the relationship. I liked how Ian and Kelsey confronted their own issues and tried to help the other with theirs.

 

I’m looking forward to the next entry in this series.

 

 

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

 

                                                                           

Sunday, September 11, 2022

TALES FROM THE EDGE: PART ONE BOX SET by L.M. Somerton

Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Date Published: April 2019
ISBN: 978-1-78651-732-6
Contemporary, Bondage and BDSM, Erotic Romance, Gay

E-book
Reviewed by Gabrielle (meingee@yahoo.com)

Weblink: https://www.pride-publishing.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=70603
Obtained via publisher

Rating: 4 Hearts


This collection of stories introduces the reader to a group of men who enjoy a different kind of lifestyle than most. Each story brings us into the lives of the men who work and play at the club called the Underground. Nobody knows when love will find them, and these men are in for a ride. Their hearts will never be the same after love takes hold, but will they fight for what they could have or let it slip away?


I enjoyed each of these books and would find it hard to pick a favorite. There are four stories and four couples but one family. As each couple finds their way, they can always count on the rest of the men to support and help them through it all. I loved each character in this series. As soon as I decide one is a favorite the others each show me why they should be my favorite. The Doms all love their subs and would do anything to protect them. It was nice to see that the subs were just as strong as the Doms if not stronger. I enjoyed the way the stories all intertwined with each other. They flow together nicely. The author creates a wonderful world with men who are not perfect but are worth the risk. Each man has his own problems to work through, but he is not on his own. It was nice to see the camaraderie between everyone and the way everyone is ready to defend and help one another. The depth of the friendships adds a nice touch to these stories. I loved each couple and the journey that they had to take to find their happiness.


This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

HEART ON A LEASH by Alanna Martin

Publisher: Forever
Date Published: April 27, 2021
ISBN#
   ‎ 978-0593198834
Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by Gina (myreviewbooks@aol.com)
Obtained via publisher
4 Hearts

Taylor Lipin left Helen, Alaska to pursue her dreams along with being tired of the decades long family feud with the Porters. Up until now she’s had a great life in Los Angeles.  She has friends, a job she enjoys and plenty of dates. Things are moving along until bad news hits…and the old adage of it coming in threes features in the bad news. She’s laid off from her job and then a phone call comes from her sister, Lydia, that their mother has taken off.  Not just taken off, but their parents are divorcing. Lydia insists Taylor come home and help run the family inn and without her job to fall back on as an excuse not to go, Taylor heads home to Helen. On her first day back she meets what could be the man of her dreams—Josh Krane.

Fresh out of medical school Josh opted to come to mellow, small town, Helen, Alaska. He didn’t want the pressure of a big city hospital and the loan forgiveness program for practicing in a rural community held certain appeal for him. Several of his family lived in Helen so it would be like coming home. He’s met a few women, but none of them caught his attention for more than a passing moment. That was, until, he met Taylor.

With the instant chemistry between them, what can go wrong, right?  Except their families have been feuding through several generations and it doesn’t look like any end is in sight. Can true love win out over a long time family feud?

Admittedly the two cute dogs on the cover of HEART ON A LEASH by Alanna Martin was what drew me to the story. There is just something about a story that features a dog (or a cat) that tells me it’s going to be the perfect fictional escape for me and HEART ON A LEASH was exactly that. The “Romeo and Juliet” story has been done over and over. The Hatields and the McCoys have nothing on the Porters and the Lipins. It could have been a pretty boring story since the feuding families has been done over and over, but Martin’s writing took me right into Taylor and Josh’s story. She goes beyond the family dynamics and takes her readers into the hearts and minds of the characters while they confront many of the issues we all encounter at some point in our lives.  The rural Alaskan town sounded like the ideal vacation spot and reminded me of a vacation I took in Haines, Alaska. Pristine, beautiful country, friendly people and away from the hubbub of city life. It was one of the best vacations I’d been on and there are elements in the story including a camping trip sounded like the perfect getaway.  The three dogs in the story, Jay, Pepper and Bella along with Merlot, the cat, make the story one that you just want to curl up and read from start to finish.  The romance between Josh and Taylor is the kind of major toe curler that makes me a major romance reader.

 

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

 

                                                                           

Sunday, August 28, 2022

THE TRUE LOVE BOOKSHOP by Annie Rains

 

Publisher: Forever
Date Published: July 5, 2022
ISBN#
   ‎ 978-1538710067
Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by Gina (myreviewbooks@aol.com)
Obtained via publisher
3-1/2 Hearts


Tess Lane lost the love of her life when her husband, Jared, died in a suspicious car accident three years ago. With her husband’s former best friend, River Harrison, back in town old wounds surface mainly because of how River almost ruined her wedding.  When an injured River shows up in her book store, Tess soon finds her feelings toward him changing. When she learns he is looking into Jared’s death she insists on joining him in his investigation.

River Harrison is a former Marine – although ask a Marine and they will tell you once a Marine, always a Marine. He is a man of is word and a strong sense of right and wrong. When he caught his friend, Jared, sleeping with another woman days before his marriage to Tess, River insisted Jared to the right thing and come clean to Tess. Jared refused to and River decided it was on him to expose his cheating. Now he’s looking into some suspicious activity around Jared’s death and more than one secret is about to be unveiled. When Tess insists she be part of the investigation, despite is personal feelings for Tess, he agrees.

I probably should have taken a break between reading Annie Rains’s THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE and THE TRUE LOVE BOOKSTORE because she is her own tough act to follow.  THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE was just such a perfect story. Ideal for when you just want a good romance and great for introducing teens to reading romance. With TRUE LOVE BOOKSTORE I loved the idea of Tess’s book club and how she tries to have something for everyone in town to read. Her story, having her husband die in a suspicious car accident was a sad one and how she picked herself up after was well done. Where the story bogged down for me was the repetition of how she has “brown” skin and that she was mixed race. But sometimes she was, and sometimes she wasn’t.  I got it after the first ten times. I didn’t need to be reminded in virtually every chapter.

I got it that River was a Marine. Ask a Marine, as I said above, they will tell you once a Marine, always a Marine so the constant referring to him as a former Marine was like nails on a blackboard to me.

THE TRUE LOVE BOOKSTORE, like the other books in this series, is a standalone story. You don’t need to read them in order – although you should if you want some good reads – to enjoy them. Rains does add some passages that bring readers up to date on the characters from earlier books and it’s good reading to see how their relationships have progressed. I have a feeling Lara, Tess’s assistant at the bookstore has her own story to tell and I look forward to the next read in this series.

 

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE by Annie Rains

 

Publisher: Forever
Date Published: October 12, 2021
ISBN#
   ‎ 978-1538703472
Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by Gina (myreviewbooks@aol.com)
Obtained via publisher

5 Hearts

Lucy Hannigan hasn’t had the best year. With her mom first getting stick and then dying, the holidays are looking pretty bleak. Added to that are the stream of seemingly never ending bills her mother left behind. What was her mother thinking with all these changes and additions to her home?  Making things even harder is that the love her life, the man she was engaged to be married to, but who dropped her without a word, is still in town. Not only is Miles Bruno still in Somerset Lake, he’s a deputy sheriff.

Miles Bruno never left his home town and really hasn’t wanted to. Despite having a hard life growing up, things are looking pretty good for him now, as an adult. He has a good job, good friends and looking to buy his first home. He still hurts from his broken engagement and can’t help but hope to make amends when Lucy moves back in town. Can Lucy and Miles put their past behind them and move forward to a happy ever after now?

Sometimes you just need to sit down with a cup of tea, a cat on your lap and sigh over a really good romance. Annie Rains gives her readers that exact thing in her CHRISTMAS VILLAGE. There are themes in the story we can all relate to and Rains ties them all into a wonderful read. While the story takes place from just before Thanksgiving through the New Year, it is an ideal book to read anytime because of how she delves into the foibles of human nature. Broken and mended hearts, down on their luck families with friends and neighbors who are there to support them, a gossipy character who makes you laugh and an adorable dog and cat, what’s not to like?

The CHRISTMAS VILLAGE is the second book in Rains’ Somerset Lake series but stands completely on its own. She does catch readers up a bit on Jake and Trisha from The Summer Cottage, but the focus of the story is on Miles and Lucy. There are hints as to who will have the next story and what their futures hold. Book 1 had a few quick appearances by the town’s blogging gossip, Reva. She’s more present in the CHRISTMAS VILLAGE and a hoot. Rains doesn’t rush the relationships between her characters, but takes them through the ups and downs we all encounter at some point. She writes for any age and guys would enjoy this one too because it shows they too have a softer side. It’s an ideal read to introduce a teen to reading romance while at the same time, perfect for an adult to curl up when you just want a good read.

 

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.