Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: "Losing an Edge (Portland Storm)" by Catherine Gayle

Tired of being the second-best Babcock, Levi “501” Babcock is ready to outshine his older brother. Outranking his brother proves harder than he imagined—until he meets a sinfully sexy gold-medal-winning figure skater. She might be the prize he’s been searching for all along.

Bubbly and spirited Cadence Johnson is determined to escape the shackles of her former partner. Moving to Portland gives her the fresh start she’s craved, but the last thing she can afford is a distraction like Levi Babcock.

When Cadence’s past comes back to threaten her and her life is on the line, Levi might be the safety net she never realized she needed. But will Levi still care about Losing an Edge to his biggest rival, or can he finally step out of his brother’s shadow to become the hero in his own game? 

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Another great book in the Portland Storm series, Losing an Edge is the long-awaited story of "501". Levi Babcock is the younger brother of golden-boy Jamie (Babs), and he feels like he's been living in his shadow his entire life. It was interesting to see his struggles with self-confidence -- he has a very self-deprecating way about him that makes him endearing to the reader. It's interesting to see him come into his own as he fights his way out from behind his brother's shadow and becomes his own man.

Cadence is a strong character, although she doesn't realize it. She coming out of a painful, abusive relationship and that makes her doubt Levi's feelings for her and her own judgement when it comes to men. Who knew that Levi was just the one to help her find hope for true love.

Like most Catherine Gayle books, there is a great supporting cast of characters, from her new skating partner and his fiance, to Jonny and Sara and their hilarious preschool-aged son who repeats every word he hears, which in Jonny and Sara's house, means a string of out-of-place expletives. I laughed out loud several times when Connor would drop a well-place outburst at the most inappropriate time. 

A great addition to the Portland Storm series, one that prompted me to go back and re-read the series from the beginning again, loving each book again. 

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


About the Author:
Catherine Gayle is a USA Today bestselling author of Regency-set historical romance and contemporary hockey romance with a New Adult feel. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.

If you enjoyed this book and want to know when more like it will be available, be sure to sign up for Catherine’s mailing list. You can find out more on her website, her blog, at Red Door Reads, at Hockey Romance, at Facebook, on Twitter, and at Goodreads. If you want to see some of her cats’ antics and possibly the occasional video update from Catherine, visit her YouTube account.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Review: "Wine and Her New Year Cowboy" by Donna Michaels

*Citizen Soldier/Harland County Series crossover novella*

Texas cowboy, Lucas Harper relocates to the Poconos when he’s named guardian of a teenager in the will of a father he didn’t know existed. New job, new Guard unit, new house, and a new sister fills his ‘new’ limit…until he meets his sister’s new boss. A Mr. Wrong magnet, pizza shop owner Evie Martelli decides to go ‘no male’ for the New Year, but the sexy, southern, older brother of her employee tests her resolution.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

My Review:

Wine and Her New Year Cowboy is the story of Evie and Lucas. After a string of dud dates, Evie has decided to take a break from men - just as Lucas arrives in town. After years of her brother threatening any man in his unit that turns an eye towards Evie, her brother is pushing her towards Lucas. Evie is a sweet character who is giving towards her friends and family.

Lucas is a transplant from Harland County, TX and it was a fun crossover. He's dropped everything to take custody of a sister he didn't know he had. He is typical alpha male and it's fun to watch him fumbling with the early days of parenting a teen. Despite both Evie and Lucas knowing now is not the best time to start a relationship, they nonetheless do. And it follows the typical ups-and-downs of a new relationship with silly misunderstandings getting blown out of proportion and pushing two people away from each other who are just perfect for each other. Its a sweet story set over the holidays with the culmination of a New Year's Eve surprise!!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Goodreads • Amazon Exclusive

About the Author:
It’s all my mother’s fault.

She read to me before I could read and opened up that magical world where I still reside today. Then came television and movies. Now I had three avenues that fed my imagination...and boy could I eat! As you no doubt figured out, this lead to my writing career. I’m a NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon Bestselling Award winning author. Phew, that was a mouthful! Multi-published in e-book and print with several publishers, I certainly have a ton of voices in my head.

I’m happily married to a military man for 28 years.  We have four children and several rescued cats. Michael’s been in the Army National Guard since before he graduated. The Guard has been a part of our lives right from the start. It was only natural for the military to spill into my writing.  God bless the military and their families. Thank you all for your sacrifices. ♥

You already know my mom inspired my love of reading,but it was my dad who got me hooked on movies. Even now, if I had the time, I could happily go from one movie to another all day long. They are the reason I love mixed genre and why I can’t just stick to just one in my writing, although, as you can tell, I have a soft spot for cowboys and the military.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks for getting to know me a little better. Remember, keep reading to your children. The journey you’re igniting is precious. And the next time you’re at the movies, turn around. I just might be the person sitting behind you. No, not the one throwing popcorn (it’s too expensive to waste). I’m the one already imagining the sequel.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Tour: "Playing Catch" by Rachelle Ayala

On the field and off the field, bartender Jeanine Jewell plays, collecting one-night stands like baseball cards. She doesn’t need a man, except to curl her toes and make her scream. She’s learned the hard way that the one who cares more is the one who gets hurt—and the last thing she can handle is getting hurt, or having anyone discover her shameful secret.

Scoring women is easy for catcher Kirk Kennedy—they don’t call him “Catch and Release” for nothing. He never goes back for a repeat performance. Being traded to a new city is an opportunity for new adventures—until he runs into Jeanine and she refuses to go home with him. Intrigued, Kirk is determined to catch the elusive blonde and keep her to himself. When he proposes a wingman to wingwoman friends without benefits relationship, he’s surprised she accepts.

The no benefits clause soon falls by the wayside when neither Jeanine or Kirk can resist their explosive chemistry together. But despite the sparks between the sheets, they both refuse to acknowledge they’re anything more than friends.

Everything changes when Kirk discovers his past is the one Jeanine is hiding from.

Trigger Warning: The heroine was sexually abused by her foster father and has flashbacks.

My Review:

I love baseball so I was excited to read Playing Catch. A warning for those who are sensitive to triggers - this book deals with child and sexual abuse.

Jeanine and Kirk are both great characters. They both find themselves in a similar situations in their lives - no connections, no commitment sex. And in that way, they are perfect for each other. The characters are well developed and the backstory is well developed. The backstory is introduced over time and is effective in keeping the reader engaged throughout.

The only issue I had with how Kirk and Jeanine interacted once they had both started getting help. I felt it was counterindicated based on their histories and backgrounds and it gave me a bit of concern. But, as the story progressed and the crisis point reached, I saw where the author was headed and understood why that part of the story was included, it just rubbed me a bit the wrong way. But, in true romance novel fashion, Kirk and Jeanine find their way through their struggles and back to each other. And I really enjoyed the surprise that was waiting for Jeanine when she was ready!

Available to buy from...

"A truly extraordinary story that fearlessly demonstrates the transforming power and the breathless wonder that love can bring to a life in need.” - Amber on Goodreads

"I couldn't put down this serious story about love overcoming all." - Chantel on Goodreads

About the author
Rachelle Ayala is a bestselling Asian American author of dramatic romantic suspense and humorous, sexy contemporary romances. Her heroines are feisty and her heroes hot. She writes emotionally challenging stories but believes in the power of love and hope. 

Rachelle is the founder of an online writing group, Romance in a Month, an active member of the California Writer’s Club, Fremont Chapter, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has won awards in multicultural and historical romance.

Sign up for her NEWSLETTER to get a FREE surprise book and her latest book news HERE!

Visit her Reader's Guide HERE

Find the author on the following sites...
Website   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Google+   Goodreads   Amazon Author Page

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: "His to Protect" (Bears of Grizzly Ridge) by Elena Aitken


When Harper Bentley’s life begins a death spiral, she does what any self respecting woman would do—she heads for the mountains. More specifically, Grizzly Ridge. A brand new—and very remote—lodge in the wilds of Montana. The last thing she expects to find there is deliciously sexy Axel Jackson, who is more than a little wild himself and reigniting feelings she’d long since buried.

From the moment he lays eyes on her, Axel knows Harper is more than just a guest at his lodge. Much more. Every bear shifter has a mate. She’s his. And whether his brothers believe in fated mates or not, nothing will keep Axel from what is his. But first he’ll need to convince Harper that what she’s feeling is more than lust. It’s fate.

Genre: Paranomal Romance (Shifters)
My Review:

This is a new genre for me, so I didn't know what to expect. As I began reading His to Protect, I found myself trying to replace "human" activities and emotions to those being felt by the character when shifted, just to try and put myself in context. But before long, I was fully engrossed with the story and it carried me along without having to re-focus my perspective anymore. I hesitated to read the book at first, since it is pretty far out of my typical contemporary romance genre, but I'm so glad I took a chance on this new genre from a favorite author. Axel, the hero was extremely alpha, very protective, but also sensitive to Harper. I love how the shifter aspects of the story were integrated so smoothly that there were times I was trying to figure out whether Axel was in human or bear form. The heroine was a strong, sexy woman and I love how her mind was open to a relationship like she'd never experienced before. A wonderful read that leaves you wanting Axel's brothers' stories - they can't come soon enough!

Goodreads • Amazon

About the Author:

Living in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in the foothills of Alberta, Elena spends her days chauffeuring her twins and writing stories – basically, living what she loves! Elena escapes to the mountains as often as possible and can often be found sitting by the water, plotting her next book.