Ask, Tell by E.J. Noyes

When you see a book get rave reviews, over an over again, you rush to read it right. Shoulda, coulda, woulda! I have had this book on my list of to-reads for months now, why the delay, I am not sure, but I am so glad I finally read this one. It was an amazing way to get 2018 started.

Captain Sabine Fleischer is an Army surgeon currently deployed in Afghanistan. Her days are filled desperately trying to save the wounded men and women that are serving in the war. When we meet Sabine she is struggling to fight her crush on her superior as well as navigate a nine-year relationship that is sinking fast. Her longtime partner is tired of military life. Vic, her girlfriend, was never a being a fan of the Army and the years of separation have created a crater that cannot be fixed. Sabine is trying to get through this deployment and navigate her life back in the States. No easy feat, and it’s all begging to crumble around her.

Colonel Rebecca Keane is Sabine’s superior as well as the object of her massive crush. She’s a gifted surgeon who is rock solid under pressure, respected by her peers and all around a good person. Sabine is drawn to Rebecca even though she knows there is no way they can ever be together. Everything is against them especially her relationship status and military policies. I won’t ruin the story for you, just know that Sabine and Rebecca have a magnetic chemistry together, and love always conquers all.

Reading this book, you feel the horrors of war, the pain of a breakup and the utter despair our service members must have felt serving in the military under DADT. This book was amazingly well written, I cannot say that enough! EJ Noyles transported me to the medical camp and put me right there with the main characters. The story is heart-breaking, romantic, sexy as hell and shows the resilience of the human spirit. It’s hard to believe that DADT only ended in 2011. Thank goodness it did! A great read well worth your time.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Winter Calling by Lynn Galli

It was freezing bitter cold this weekend, so what better to do than curl up with a book and read about a romance at a ski resort. Winter Calling is by Lynn Galli, so you know it’s going to be a quality read. It was it totally was, it was a sweet romance that was a great way to pass a winter’s day.

The book alternates between the point of view of both main characters. Tru Daring is the part of the Human Resources at the local ski resort. Tru is a likable, cheerful and always has something positive to say. She loves her job, her community and has the best relationship with her sister Blythe. She also has a huge crush on the new CFO, Renske Van der Valk.

Renske is the opposite of Tru. She is an ice queen with a hard, no-nonsense personality. Her job is to improve the financial stability of the ski resort and she has made more enemies than friends turning this company around. Renske doesn’t mind that she hasn’t made any friends with her co-workers, she is a loner by nature but she does have a soft spot for one certain gregarious HR staff member. Renske thaws a bit after she begins to spend more time with Tru. She really melts when she befriends Blythe. The Daring sisters reveal the softer edges of the ice queen.

Overall, the book is an adorable read. My one complaint it is on the short side.

3.75 out of 5 stars

  • Penikila Press
  • Link: http://a.co/8NwjtSC
  • Winter Calling by [Galli, Lynn]

The Origins of Heartbreak (Lakeside Hospital #1) by Cara Malone

I’ll admit it right now. I love romance books within a hospital setting. Give me a doctor book any day. Now in real life, hell to the no. I can barely watch Grey’s Anatomy, any type of blood and I’m out, literally. So really, it was a no-brainer to start The Origins of Heartbreak by Cara Malone.

Megan Callahan is her second year of medical school. Megan is 100% focused on her studies and has very little time for anything else. Relationships are a no go. She dated her former girlfriend for six years and still holds a heavy heart and a ton of guilt for how she broke the other girl’s heart.
Alex McHenry’s has had the year from hell. Heading into her sophomore year in art school, her dad died suddenly of a heart attack. Alex dropped out of her university and has spent the past months caring for her despondent mother and fighting her own depression. Taking the first step, Alex decides to enroll in her local community college’s paramedic program. The EMT’s that came to help her father were so amazing and kind that that has stuck with her as something she would want to do for someone else.

Megan and Alex meet in the medical examiner’s office to witness an autopsy. An unlikely meeting starts a friendship that neither was looking for. These two have an attraction to each other is immediate. What really makes to book shine is the fun, witty flirtatious banter that these two have when they are together. Neither is willing to jump into anything serious. Megan is convinced that she is no good for any women, only bring heartache and destruction to any relationship. Alex is coping with the loss of her father and weaning off the depression medicine that has depleted her sex drive. What you get is a slow burn with flirty friends that can’t seem to deny themselves the other one. These two have lots of fun text messages and quick meet-ups over coffee.

I am so ready for book two. I cannot wait to see what’s next for Alex and Megan. I hope Cara Malone plans to make Ivy and Chloe a part of the series. They are definitely an interesting pair supporting characters.

4.25 stars out of 5

  • The Origins of Heartbreak: A Lesbian Medical Romance (Lakeside Hospital Book 1)
    by Cara Malone
    Link: http://a.co/3dQZ80M

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Mistletoe Mishap by Siri Caldwell

When an author asks me to review their books I am always filled with wonder and a whole lot of trepidation. I want to do their book justice in my review but even more so I want to be wholeheartedly honest as well. It’s so hard when a book is not my cup of tea, and thankfully Mistletoe Mishap makes this review a cake walk. So good and delightfully cute, this book is an absolute gem of a read.

Viv and Kendra have been together for years. In that time they have had lust, romance, bucket loads of love but the last four months they have hit a bit of a rut when it comes to sexy time. After a caller on the radio suggests she is going to ask her fiancé to wait six months till the wedding night to have any bedroom activities this gets a conversation flowing and an acknowledgment of said sexy time rut. Kendra in a fun loving way challenges her beloved Viv to a contest of who can make the other, well you know, the most number of times.

When ensues is a delightful story full of fun, mischief and a lot of witty banter. It’s no easy feat for a writer to tackle an established couple, but Siri Caldwell does and she does it so well. This is a fun-loving book that is so adorable it will just melt your heart. You want this in your life!

4.25 out of 5 stars

Mistletoe Mishap by [Caldwell, Siri]

Long-Distance Coffee (Midnight Coffee #1) & Coffee and Conclusions (Midnight Coffee, #2) 

Long-Distance Coffee (Midnight Coffee #1)

I really, really like Emma Sterner-Radley’s work. She is a writer that gives you a great story with interesting characters that draw you right into the story. I love when an author can take you away from reality and pitch you right into their book. Sterner-Radley is one of those authors.

Erin Black is a personal trainer residing in Manhattan. She is a loner and suffers from insomnia. Her sleepless nights turn into late night infomercials and surfing Twitter for entertainment. Her boredom leads her to meeting Isabella Martinez. Isabella is the mother of an infant that has stomach issues that keep them both up. Erin becomes her late-night companion, first through sarcastic interaction on Twitter and then into more personal communications via Skype.

This is slow-moving, long-distance friendship that eventually blossoms into more. These two bare their souls to each other, needing a friend and finding it in the most unlikely place. They have witty banter that can turn into fun/playful as well as serious.

A super cute story that ends rather abruptly. You will need to go into this one knowing that the sequel is essential.

4 out of 5 stars

Coffee and Conclusions (Midnight Coffee, #2)

Book one of this series ended rather abruptly, so I was very glad to see the publisher did not waste any time with getting the next installment out. I’m going to get right to it and say I really enjoyed the first book, Long-Distance Coffee. I thought it was a sweet story of two lost souls connecting and finding each other. They bared their feelings and hurts to each other, needing a friend and then finding that once in a lifetime chance at love. A sweet, heartfelt story that consisted of adorable banter between the two main characters.

The second book left me feeling more along the lines of meh. Let me explain. This part of the book we finally get the two characters to meet. Woohoo! That’s a great moment. Really a couple of great moments, but then the story began to just drag. It was too much talking and it felt soap-boxy and unrealistic later in the book. I felt myself wanting to skip paragraphs and even rolled my eyes at the parts that I thought were a bit over the top.

I think this series would have been better slimmed down and made into one book. The second part felt too long. Just my opinion, though. I enjoyed Emma Sterner-Radley’s work and look forward to where she takes me next.

2.75 stars rounding up to a 3

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A Heist Story by Ellen Simpson

I really like Ellen Simpson’s first book, The Light of the World. It captured my attention and gave me a fabulous story with captivating characters. So needless to say when her second book dropped I raced to get started on it.

Right from the beginning, I was like okay what do we have here and Ocean’s 11 type heist story, maybe some Keyser Söze big reveal type character. Nope, no we have none of those things. I’m really not sure what we have other than a lot of talking and characters that are just unlikeable. Marcey and Kat are just awful. So unpleasant, the more they hooked up the dirtier the story felt. You have to have someone for the reader to cheer for. The main players are so horribly dreadful. If the story ended with their demise I would have cheered.

I hate ragging on a book. I really do, especially when the author is obviously a very good writer. The problem everything piece of this book is so long, so confusing and then it’s just over. I am assuming this book was setting its self-up for a sequel, but it didn’t make me want to come back for more. I would love to read another book by Ellen Simpson, I just don’t ever want to read about Marcey or Kat ever again.

2.5 out of 5 stars

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Rock and a Hard Place by Andrea Bramhall

Romance novels that have a sport of some sort tend to draw me in just on the premise alone. Rock climbing especially when you bring in climbing the major summits like Everest, Annapurna or Denali I am beyond intrigued. The thought of people willingly putting their lives at risk for their passion is both badass and terrifying. No desire to do it, I’ll keep my feet on the ground, thanks, but read it oh hell yeah.

The premise is tricky though. You either are going to weave the romance perfectly in with the sport or you tip too far technical and it becomes way more sport related than I need. The line is pretty thin here. Unfortunately, the latter seems to be the case in Rock and a Hard Place by Andrea Bramhall. While I liked the romance, too much time was spent on tieing knots, safety measures, and climbing techniques.

Overall, the rating of this book was kind of a conundrum to me. The writing overall is done well. I thought the relationship development was based on too much miscommunication, but not bad. I also thought that there were too many dramatic, unnecessary conflicts that didn’t make the story more enjoyable. I wished it had focused more on the budding relationship between the two main characters with less dramatic interferences. Now with that being said, I would pick up an Andrea Bramhall book with zero reservations any day.

3.75 out of 5 stars

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