Friday, February 16, 2018

Romance Week: The Landscaper Series by Robin Stone

Romance Week

Read for: TBR & Romance Week

Steam Level
6 out of 6: And I should have added that hi as an over the top option because this is definitely it! This story verges on the line between erotic romance and erotica, but luckily it has a solid story and fully developed characters to go with it. But it is extremely explicit and if you aren't into that then maybe pick one of the other books I featured this week; if you are looking for something to get your water boil, this is the book for you!

Synopsis: "She said her husband was at work. He wasn't. Kyle enjoys working outdoors as the owner of a small landscaping business. Most of his customers stay inside while Kyle and his crew take care of their yards. But not Tracy Dawson, the rich housewife who lives on the hill. Tracy spends summer afternoons beside the pool, watching Kyle from behind her dark sunglasses. Her flirtatious banter and low-cut bathing suits fuel Kyle's fantasies. Tracy invites him into the guest house for a little afternoon delight. But when Tracy admits her husband was watching, Kyle gets ready for a beat-down. Instead, Mr. Dawson makes Kyle an offer he can't refuse... Kyle begins a relationship with Tracy and Eric that takes him places he never imagined. The chemistry between the threesome intensifies over time, and Kyle joins them on vacations. But when Tracy bursts into tears and Eric shares his doubts about the relationship, Kyle is thrown into a tailspin. Can they resolve their differences and stay together forever?"

My Review: I started this series a couple of years ago with just the first book, but I am glad I was able to get the complete series bind up. I really enjoyed this series, the characters were all great and well developed, and their dynamic relationship with all of its ups and downs was great to follow from start to end. The love and connection each of the characters had came through on each page, as did the tension and heat of that connection. We follow Kyle, the landscaper throughout the series as he has the most development of character and story, but I really loved Eric as a character. Definitely some ups and downs throughout the story and at times you will have your heart in your throat and maybe even be brought to tears. All in all a great story with plenty of steam and yet a solid story that works through some difficult issues and forces the characters do evolve with the relationship.

My Rating: If you are up for a polyamorous book definitely give this series a shot! I really enjoyed this bind up and give it a rating of Four Paws.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Romance Week: Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley

Romance Week:

Read for: Recent Purchase/Audio Challenge

Previous Book in Series:

Steam Level
5 out of 6: While it may not happen often, but they are a scandalously married couple and they certainly start some fires! 

Synopsis:  "Only one man could match a lady like this—scandal for scandal.

Six years ago, eighteen-year-old Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized all of London by eloping the night of her come-out ball with the notorious rake, Lord Mac Mackenzie. After three turbulent years of marriage, she scandalized London once again—this time by leaving him. 

Now Mac has resurfaced, every bit as charismatic, and with one goal: to seduce Isabella back into his life and his bed even if it means acting like a real gentleman. But when Isabella rises to the challenge of posing nude for Mac's erotic paintings, her pent-up hunger for the decadent rake is exposed as well, and she finds herself unable to resist the smooth strokes of an artist at work.

But someone's been watching them—dangerously close. This ingenious forger with designs on Mac's paintings also sets his sights on Isabella herself. Deciding to become Isabella's protector, Mac vows to never leave her side, whether his independent and proud lady likes it or not."

My Review: I have been meaning to read the second book in this series after absolutely loving the first (Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie) sometime last year. I finally got around to picking this one up and am wondering why I waited so long again. I really enjoyed that there was a history there, Isabella & Mac already had the whirlwind romance and marriage. Now we find them at odds and living separately. I enjoy the way they obviously care for each other and all of the Mackenzie family, but there is still all the push and pull between them. I also like that it wasn't a issue of miscommunication that tore them apart but as it comes out there were actual things that needed to be worked on. I really enjoyed the development of the story and the characters, and especially the inclusion of all the side characters.

My Rating: I really enjoyed this one and hopefully won't be waiting quite as long to continue the series with the next two books.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Romance Week: Favorite Couples that Give Me Relationship Goals

Romance Week

So I wanted to have a little chat today, so I didn't have to play favorites with romance books by featuring one on Valentine's Day.  So instead I thought we could chat about our favorite couples from books, in particular the ones that stand the test of time and trials, the ones that our goal relationships.  For me this often means an older couple in a story that might be sub-characters that guide the main character throughout the story.  I am the first to admit that I am not the best at keeping track of details from books I have read (I am trying to improve this) so I may miss a few but these were the ones that really stood out to me when I thought of this topic.  I feel like it isn't often that we get to see a long standing relationship in romance novels, so often the main characters have single parents (often bitter and hates love) or absentee parents, they are so far in the background you don't get to really see them or don't have any parents at all; so when a book comes along with parents who have a good solid relationship to set an example for the main characters, I really love it!

So here are some of my all time favorite couples I hope to be like someday . . .

This is going to surprise some of you who have followed me for a while, but there is something I actually like about the Harry Potter series!  Mr. & Mrs. Weasley are definite relationship goals.  They stand up for each other and their family. They managed to survive the initial rise of he who should not be named even openly against him.  Their marriage also managed to survive raising so many children, especially the twins. 

So this was my favorite book of last year and one of the many reasons was the relationship with Ove and his wife.  Their marriage lasted so many years and he is so dedicated to her. Even though we don't get to meet her in the story, you can't help but feel the love and devotion they have for each other.

I mentioned this just the other day in my review, but Gertrude and Otto have quickly jumped to the list of top couples.  They weren't even the focus of this story but they are there in the background the whole time, together and solid and encouraging love the whole time. I can only hope that I still feel that close to my husband years down the road.

JD & Vivi from both the Compass Brothers and Compass Girls series rank right up there.  They have an underlying story line throughout the two 4 book series that will tug on your heart strings.  The love they have for each other and the love they have for their families is so strong.  They support each of their children and grandchildren in their life decisions and are available for when they need help.

Molly and Lincoln Abbott are my absolute goals! They are the parents of most of the characters throughout the Green Mountain/ Butler VT series and I just adore them.  They have managed to own, run and grow a business for years and then have 10 (yes you read that right 10) children and still remain strong in their love and marriage. They are also protective of their family but at the same time are willing to let their children make their own mistakes and will catch them on the fall.  The kids all look up to them and turn to them with problems.  I can only hope that I am as supportive and loving to my husband and one child.

It has been 5 years since I read this book and I still remember the relationship that John and Alice had.  This isn't a romance but their life played a large roll in the story.  As what will happen when you look at relationships that have stood the test of time, you eventually come to the end and that is where this story finds us.  Alice suffers from Alzheimer's but John stays by her side the whole way, caring for her even when she doesn't remember the bond they share.  If that isn't love then I don't know what it is.

Steven Manchester is a master at these books, like Rocking Chair, he brings us Bella and Don when Don is down to his last 12 months. Bella remains strong for him the whole way, making sure that he gets to fulfill as many of his bucket list items as possible, and he makes sure that it isn't all about him too. Talk about staying strong together when things could have torn them down.

Yes, I know they are all fictional and life is never perfect but even in these fictional stories, real life problems are given to the couples and the way they respond is very real too. I can only strive for the type of relationships these couples all have.  What are some of your favorite couples that you look up to in books?

Happy Valentine's Day to you and those who you love and love you!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Romance Week: Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle (New Release in the Rocky Mountain K-9 Series)

Romance Week:

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Reviews & Love this series & Author

Previous books in series:

Steam Level
3 of 6: A good amount of tension and definitely some bedroom time but it was moderate and can be skimmed over if it isn't your thing.

Synopsis: "He's always been a haven:
For the lost. The sick. The injured.
But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he'll do more than heal her battered spirit―he'll defend her with his life.

K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe's very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path―but for all his big heart, he's never been in love.

Until he meets Sarah Clifton's haunted eyes. Until he realizes he'll do anything to save her.

All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there's no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth...but he'd never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah's finally ready to face whatever comes her way.

It's time to take a stand."

My Review: I have been an avid Katie Ruggle fan and will continue to consume all of her books. I have really enjoyed this series so far and of course jumped at the opportunity to read the next book in this series. I must say that Ruggle does an outstanding job of writing the male heroes that capture my heart, the silent and intimidating yet marshmallow and cuddly inside type of guys. I absolutely adored Otto and his soft way with the animals. I must say though that Sarah didn't really appeal to me, I prefer my female characters to have a little more spine, but near the end when her love of animals really comes out she did really win me over too. I did really like that the romance really took a step back in this book and the action came to the forefront, there is still the romance and a bit of steam but with everything else going on I am glad it didn't take over the book. I also love the twist at the end, it was starting to sound like the series was ending here but we got one more little shock to keep it going. Only 6 more months to wait!

My Rating:  This one had some ups and downs for me, I adore Otto (though he can't beat George from the previous season) but I wasn't a huge fan of Sarah until she actually did something. It was also very action packed, which I am okay with but it just didn't seem like that much was really feasible.  I still give it a rating of a solid Four Paws!  Also note, when are we going to see a doberman?! Poor Niko is getting a bit of a complex.

I received this book via Netgalley, the above is my honest review.

If you want to find out more about Katie Ruggle and her work, and I really urge you to, check out her Goodreads Page or Website.

Survive the Night was just released on February 6th so you can get your own copy in print or digital format from Barnes & Noble or Amazon or request it from your local book provider.

Also be sure to enter my giveaway going on now for a chance to win her first full series, Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue.  - Enter HERE

Monday, February 12, 2018

Romance Week: #Giveaway - My Biggest Ever

Romance Week

So what would a big feature week be without a giveaway?! I have been stashing little goodies away for some time now just waiting for the right time to give it all away and I think now is the time. 

I have 2 big prizes for you guys . . .
 One is a physical prize packages that includes 4 print books and a ton of romance author swag, bookmarks, magnets, key chains, etc.  (I have been collecting these goodies over the past 2 years at the Fall In Love in New England Romance Convention)

The other is a set of 4 full series of some of my favorite romances from the past couple of years, including: 
Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Series by Katie Ruggle (4 Books)

Firebrand Series by Elisabeth Naughton (3 Books)

Elsker Saga by S.T. Bende (3 Books)


The Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet (3 Books)
(I may add a few more individual books as well, I need to sort through my Amazon gifts folder)

Below is the Rafflecopter entry form, follow me on my various social media platforms, you can tweet once a day to earn points, and I want to hear about your favorite couple, the one you hope to have a relationship like some day.  

Of course with anything else we have rules
~You must be 18 or older to enter (books are adult books)
~Enter the giveaway via the below Rafflecopter methods
 ~This is open internationally too (any incurred customs fees are your responsibility)
~ Must give me a mailing address to send them to (believe it or not I have had winners in the past who didn't want to give an address so was unable to claim their prize)
~ Giveaway runs from now through February 18th at 12:00am EST
~Rafflecopter will randomly select the top 2 (1st name drawn will have their pick of prizes)
~After I contact you, you will have 48 hours to pick your prize or I will move on to the next name and select a new winner. 

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
5 Minute Star Wars Villain Stories (Bedtime Story)
Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet (Romance Week)
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert (Romance Week)

 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

7 Ate 9
The Water Hole
It's Only Love
Mountains of the Moon
Goodnight, Little One
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
Landscaper Series
I Love My Love

Currently Reading:

Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley - Audio - 62%

Pages Read/ Time Listened
67:28 Hours Listened (9:31 listened this week)
4,862 Pages Read (978 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
Moonsilver by Kathleen Duey
Silver Thread by Kathleen Duey
The Silver Bracelet by Kathleen Duey
Mountains of the Moon by Kathleen Duey
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
I Love My Love by Reyna Biddy
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Gods of the North by Lucy Coats
We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson
Life Changing Manga of Cleaning Up by Marie Kondo
To the Sky Kingdom by Tang Qi
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley
Letters from Wolfie by Patti Sherlock
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
Dead Man's Walk by Larry McMurtry
Luck Love and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
Ravenous by MarcyKate Connolly
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds
Smuggler's Run by Greg Ruka
The Lost Stone by Jordan Quinn
The Scarlet Dragon by Jordan Quinn
Sea Monster by Jordan Quinn
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller


And just like that we are already mid-February!! It was a busy week last week and I decided to throw together a romance week this week for Valentine's day.  I know not everyone is into it or has a valentine, but I love romance books and when better to share them?!  So I will be having a few reviews, a giveaway later today and a few discussion posts so I hope you have time to come back and join me!  Also, my book orders over the past month and a half all decided to come in at the same time (Hubby was not amused). I really need to get better about checking the library before I buy a book, because several of the ones ordered are available for immediate borrowing or have a very short wait list.

We have been having beautiful weather here lately and got to spend a bunch of time this weekend outside. Munchkin and I had an intense game of hide and seek, which was really fun. Then the whole family went for a walk, it was so nice but gosh I need to start exercising because I was a bit sore after the 3 miles up and down hills. We also got to go out to dinner, something we don't do often, but after reading The Coincidence of Coconut and all the talk about cheese curds and hard cider, I needed to have some!  All and all last week was a pretty great week and I am looking forward to more weeks like that, hopefully the weather can hold out!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Romance Week: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

Romance Week

Read for: Enjoyed the author in the past & Recent Purchase

Steam Level:
2 of 6: There is a bit of bedroom scene in the later part but it isn't overly descriptive but the scene leading up to it certainly builds the temperature.

Synopsis: "YOU'VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancĂ©…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together."

My Review: I really enjoyed Reichert's Simplicity of Cider last year and it linked up with her previous books, so I am finally getting around to reading them. I really enjoyed this book even though I have seen the theme of food critic/chef and the conflict several times before. With that said, I loved the food descriptions, I ended up starving the entire time I was reading the books (even woke Hubby up and told him we are going for cheese curds ASAP). I really enjoy when an author can describe a food so well that you will die if you don't get to eat it right away! I also enjoyed the easy way between the characters and the local fun they enjoyed. It has me looking at my own area a little differently. Also Gertrude and Otto have my heart, I do adore them. It was a light, fun and easy read. I hope that we get to revisit some of the side characters in other books soon!

My Rating: I rather enjoyed this book, I adored the characters, though not the trope so much but it was pulled off really well. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Note: There is a recipe for the infamous coconut cake in the back of the book. I have not tried it because no one in my family really like coconut but I want the special vanilla!!