The Goodmans by Clare Ashton

Clare Ashton writes books that you love to read. They are complex, fun and capture your attention the whole way through. She builds characters and relationships with such skill you cannot help but be swept off your feet.

The Goodman family is messy and downright loveable. They are all charismatic individuals who love each other fiercely and also step into mess after mess. The majority of the times, we, the readers are seeing life from the perspective of Maggie, Jude, and Abby. These characters are quirky, infuriating, and irresistible. Maggie, Jude’s mother made me want to scream one minute and hug her very next.

Abby and Jude are both doctors. They met as teenagers at university and became fast friends. When Abby was just nineteen and away at school her mother was struck by a drunk driver and killed. That tragedy solidified Abby and June’s friendship. Jude and her family became touchstones for Abby and she has incorporated them into her life ever since that fateful day. Abby loves Jude, as a best friend sure, but so much more than that. Her feelings run so much deeper, and she knows nothing can come of it. Jude has always dated me and has never given her an inclination of being anything but straight. When Jude’s boyfriend, suddenly proposes, the walls Abby has erected come tumbling down. No matter how hard she tries Abby cannot hide her heartbreak.

This story is about best friends seeing each other in a new light, Jude sees Abby in a way she has never looked before. She opens her mind to being with Abby in a new and suddenly very attractive way. What it also is confronting the past and being open to a new future. For a long part of the story, I kept wondering why we had Maggie’s perspective. It all makes sense when an old friend comes into town.

This book is fun, dynamic and keeps you hooked. Clair Ashton does not disappoint. This book is one I cannot recommend enough.

A fabulous five-star book!

  • Publisher: Breezy Tree Press
  • Link: http://a.co/8mceNSE
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Code of Conduct by Cheyenne Blue

I am a total sports junkie, love it! So, when I get a chance to read sports based novel I almost always jump at the opportunity. I will not lie, the cover of this book grabbed my eye and totally sold me on this one. I have never formally played tennis but I am fascinated by the game. Code of Conduct by Cheyenne Blue is a book that puts tennis front and center. It’s not used just as a backdrop that has no bearing on a romance-first story; professional tennis makes the two main characters who they are and drives the plot.

Viva Jones is a professional tennis player who has had an amazing career, a career she does not want to end. Unfortunately, years of being an elite athlete have taken its toll and her body is failing her. Viva’s body is screaming for a break, her head tells her it’s time to retire but her heart doesn’t know how to walk away from the sport that she loves and is truly her life’s passion.

Gabriela Mendaro is a silver badge tennis umpire. She is just one rung away for the very coveted top position as a gold badge. Very few women reach this pinnacle and Gabriela has her sight on becoming one. A chance meeting with Viva cannot derail her career. There is a slew of ethical issues with an umpire and a player being friends, not to mention anything more. Unfortunately for Gabriela, her draw to Viva is hard to deny no matter the repercussions.
This slow burn romance is one that keeps you on your toes. The two protagonists have a nice chemistry and the whole we shouldn’t be together, just adds more spark to the fire. Overall the story is well balanced. I tend to think some sports-focused romance books tend to be too heavy-handed in the athletic aspect of the book often overshadowing character development and/or the romantic connection between the leading ladies. This is absolutely not the case with this book. Blue writes a great story, one where you are rooting for a happy ever after.

4 out of 5 stars

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Worth the Wait by Karelia Stetz-Waters

Long lost loves is a trope I am always drawn to. I think because you always have that angstiness. I love angst. Totes adore it! I love that emotion of I miss you, I want you, what the hell did I do to F it up so badly. Roll that into some heartache and throw in past high school drama and you have me interested. Add that to it that one of our leading ladies is an actress, okay twist my arm, give it to me. Give me this book! So when Karelia Stetz-Waters reached out to me, I could not resist in giving this book a go. I am so glad I did. This was a fabulous read that kept me interested the whole time.

Avery Crown has been a reality television star for the past fifteen years. She has a good thing going with her home makeover show. She works with a great crew, her co-star is her best friend and she is adored by her fans. Avery loves what she does. Everything is perfect career-wise, but what eats her up is that one fateful day her senior year in high school that she turned her back on her best friend and her mega-crush. She chose a chance a stardom over her heart, and her heart has never forgiven her for it. When her tv show, King & Crown delivers her back to Portland to do a remodel and it coincides with her high school reunion, Avery crosses her fingers and toes that this will be her chance to reconnect with the girl that she let get away.

Merritt Lessing has zero intention of returning to Vale Academy for her fifteenth-year high school reunion. She doesn’t want to go back but at the insistence of her friend, Merritt agrees under duress. She wants to help her friend Lei-Ling get a cameo on King & Crown to jumpstart her food truck business. She knows that this opportunity could help her friend break out into this competitive industry. She agrees to aks Avery Crown, the girl that shattered her heart for help, but it takes all of her willpower to go back. Avery walked out on her and never looked back, those scars have stayed with Merritt for years and have defined every relationship she has attempted.

I totally loved Avery and Merritt. I thought they had a great chemistry together that just jumped off the page. This is a book where you know these two are meant to be together but like most star-crossed loves the universe is going to throw everything including the kitchen sink in their path. They are going to go through obstacle after obstacle including a lot of miscommunication to come to happily ever after. If you have patience I promise you will love this book. A lot of fun, some angstiness and a good romance.

3.5 out of 5 stars

  • To purchase: Link: http://a.co/4W12LhD

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Alias by Cari Hunter

Cari Hunter gas a new book out, Alias. You don’t need to read further to know that this is a damn good book. It was written by Hunter, a damn good book is guaranteed each time she puts one out? I will expand because this is my review, DUH :), but one thing you can count on is that when you pick up a book by Hunter it is going to be awesome. She is an amazing author that weaves intricate tales and keeps you right on the edge of your seat.

Alias introduces us to a woman, Rebecca Elliott, who has been severely injured in an automobile accident. She has large gaps in her memory and has no clue who she is and how the accident happened. The passenger how was riding with her is deceased and the Welsh police are asking questions about what happened on that fateful night. The clues just aren’t adding up, something is definitely off. I won’t go into more details, I’ll just leave you with this Rebecca is not who she seems and there is a big ol’ can of worms about to get opened.

Detective Bronwen Pryce was the first one on the scene. She has a gut instinct that this automobile accident is way more than what it seems. Nothing fits and something continues to niggle at her mind. Pryce refuses to let things go and write this off as an accident. She needs to know more about Rebecca Elliott and why she was headed out of town in such a hurry.

In Alias, I loved the mystery, crime, suspense of the book. I thought it was done fabulously. Perfect if you will. What nags me about this book is I thought the romance was misplaced, ill-timed and surprisingly unnecessary. If it wasn’t a romance it would have been better, it just didn’t help the book at all. It felt like an afterthought that was pasted into the book and didn’t really jive with the characters or the flow of the story. It would have been so much better if the characters had a moment in the end when everything was squared away and all the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed.

Overall a fabulous mystery that I highly recommend.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Room Service by Fiona Riley

Room Service is a nice romance with a solid storyline, good dialogue and a lot of hot sexiness. I do not think this Is Riley’s best book though. Is it good? Yes, it is. In the acknowledgments portion of the book, the author writes that she wrote this book before Miss Match. From Miss Match through her Perfect Match Series you see each book get better and better. The writing goes from really good to freaking fantastic. With this book, I felt not quite there with the protagonists, the supporting characters add little to the story and were distracting. I felt like I was reading this story from afar rather than being in the moment. The ending dragged and seemed a bit overdramatic given the characters actions in two-thirds of the book. This book is super hot though. Riley cranks up the tension and the sexiness sizzles off the page.

3 out of 5 stars

Room Service

 

Sparks Like Ours by Melissa Brayden

I want to start this review by saying how glad I am that this is not a trilogy. There is one more and oh how I cannot wait for Hadley. Don’t get me wrong Hadley’s story is going to be outstanding but aren’t all of Brayden’s stories. Let me tell you Gia Malone and Elle Britton bring the heat. Hell yes they do, the heat they bring is hot, smoking hot.

Gia and Elle are fierce competitors. Elle is the currently the number one female professional surfer. She has adoring fans and is the face of women’s surfing. Gia is number two and is doing everything in her power to get her points total to top Elle’s. They don’t hate each other but there is some definite tension. Ooooh, don’t you just love the tension and the whole got off on the wrong foot/rivals scenario, Lord knows I do! Two elite athletes that are both fierce competitors, you know right off the bat that Brayden is going to give you some fabulous angst mixed in with amazing dialogue, light-hearted fun, and characters that steal your heart.

Gia is driven, ambitious and solely focused on being the very best female surfer. She loves surfing for the pureness of it and to fuel her competitive spirit. Catering to sponsors and being friendly with reporters is part of her job but something she is less than comfortable with. Elle gets under Gia’s skin because she not only knows how to play the game, she has reporters, fans, and sponsors eating out of her hand. This peppy people person drives her mad.

What draws you so much to these Gia and Elle is that they act like real people. They are flawed, they make mistakes, they get tipsy on margaritas in a bar and blurt out something that they shouldn’t. Perfection is boring. Brayden makes them come alive right off the page. You love them for their missteps and their triumphs. You love them because she makes them feel real.

We aren’t reinventing the wheel here folks. Brayden has her formula and by golly, I am so glad she does. It works and it’s not good, it’s great. I for one, think my lucky stars that Melissa Brayden writes lady loving books because she is one of the very best and takes it to the next level every single book. She writes the stories that you come back to. Not once, or twice, but time and time again because they give you all of the feels. Isn’t that why we love romance? Those little flutters that pull of your heartstrings, that paragraph that makes you smile, the joy of a first kiss. Her books are the ones you cherish.

An easy 5 stars!

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Tinderbox Under Winter Stars (The Tinderbox Tales Book 2)

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to read more about the adventures of Elise and Nessa. I adore these two characters, not to mention you know when you pick up a book by Emma Sterner-Radley it going to be fantastic.

When we left these two amazing ladies at the end of Making a Tinderbox, they were on the move to escape the Queen of Arclid. Fleeing Nightport to head to the bitter colder climate if Storsund. They are hoping to go so out of the way that the Queen and hopefully, her spies cannot find them.

This book is full of adventure and you see and feel Nessa and Elise struggle to find their footing both in their new world. Sterner-Radley describes everything in such detail you can see the setting unfold before your very eyes. Everything is new, so different from what these two ladies have ever experienced. You feel their wonder and trepidation. I tend to pull away from books where there is a lot of world-building because often times the author forgoes the human interaction. Never fear Elise and Nessa’s relationship are still the forefront of this book.

Nessa and Elise are dynamic characters. They just find a way inside your heart. This book has it all, Adventure, intrigue and above all else a fabulous romance. This is one series I will treasure and look forward to Emma Sterner-Radley has in store next.

5 out of 5 stars

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