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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The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley

There are books out there that you love, 5 stars all the way, you read the book, you love it and depending if you are like me you will most likely read them again. There are some books though and these are the truly great ones. You know these books, The Blind Side of Love, How Sweet It Is, and And Playing the Role of Herself. The books that are truly in another realm of greatness. Outstanding books that pull emotion from you, that the story wraps you in a cocoon and all you see and hear is the characters on your page. Those books are the ones when you find them you treasure them forever. I found one!

The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley isn’t good, it isn’t great, its next level amazing. This book is exceptional in every single way. No flaws, no lags, no character misses. Nope, it is phenomenal. Yes, I used my thesaurus for adjectives. You cannot just say awesome eleventy billion times, come on now.

Anna Gale is a new dancer at the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. She has been a ballet dancer all her life, she lives and breathes it. Coming to New York from Dubuque, Iowa to studying and dance under the greatest ballet dancer of the modern era is her dream come true. Anna embodies this wholesome rock solid nature. She’s one of these really good people that others cannot dislike because she is just a noble person. She cares for others, even when it’s in her best interest not too. She works harder than everyone else without complaint and eager to do so. Ballet literally fuels her soul.

Victoria Ford is known as the greatest ballet dancer in modern times. When she danced audiences were captivated by her skill and artistry. An injury to her knee has sidelined her from dancing so now she choreographs and runs the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. Victoria is not an easy woman to please, she is beyond tough, she expects excellence from everyone around her and when it’s less than that you can expect biting, caustic remarks intended to sting. She is truly the emotionally detached ice queen.

This is a dialogue-heavy book, with lots of exchanges between characters. Lola Keeley takes her story and layers it. There is no skipping ahead or fast-forwarding through life moments, hell no. This author takes her time and draws out the story and the tension The sub-plots are done with craftsmanship and skill. She creates supporting characters that are distinct and authentic. The banter between Anna and Victoria, oh the banter, well its legendary and they talk like real honest to god people. The key to real-life characters is nuance. Lola Keeley could teach a class on it because her characters have it and it is glorious. As the reader I thank you.

It’s bittersweet when this book ends. This is a story that I adored, absolutely cherished. I miss it already, but know without a doubt will visit many times again. Lola Keeley made true love jump off a page like a ballerina in a Grande Jeté. Her first book by the way. Yeah, WOW and that wow is the understatement of the year.

All the stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • To Purchase: https://www.ylva-publishing.com/product/the-music-and-the-mirror-by-lola-keeley/

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Blend by Georgia Beers

I really like the way Georgia Beers writes. I love the way she develops characters that are interesting, dynamic and well, hot. It’s been a while since I have read her stuff, the reasoning, I have not a clue why, but I am so glad I picked up her latest novel, Blend. This is a fantastic romance novel. So good, fabulous!

Lindsey Kent is the general manager of a wine bar, Vineyard. Lindsey is likable, cheerful and always has something positive to say. She loves her job. She lives and breathes wine and has an amazing relationship with Ellen Bradshaw, the owner of Vineyard. When Ellen tells her she is taking a sabbatical to explore the world, Lindsey is truly excited for the widow. What is is not excited about is learning that she will need to run all of Vineyard’s business decisions through Ellen’s youngest daughter, Piper.

Piper Bradshaw is the direct opposite of Lindsey. She is an ice queen with a hard, no-nonsense personality. Her job is in the financial sector, and she has learned to be hard-nosed and closed off to thrive in this male-dominated field. Piper’s work and the loss of her father two years ago has hardened Piper’s heart. She is a closed off control freak. Having to work with Lindsey throws her orderly world off-kilter.

These two get off on the wrong foot. Neither is excited about working with the other. Lindsey has big ideas of how to take Vineyard to the next level and draw in a younger hipper crowd. Piper is hesitant to change anything, not wanting to change anything her father created when opening the business. The butt heads, but as their time together increases the begin to see each other in a new light. The walls fall, and perceptions fall away. The chemistry between these to is dynamic and sexy.

You know a book is good, first when you don’t want to put it down. Second, you know its damn good, when your reading it and thinking, I’m totally going to read this one again. Great read and is absolutely a 5-star romance.

5 out of 5 stars

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Survival Instincts by May Dawney

Survival Instincts by May Dawney was absolutely stunning! It has everything you want and need all wrapped up in one glorious tale. This is EASILY the best book I have read in 2018! The romance gives you the feels, the characters are strong, badass dynamic women! Off the charts amazing read.

Lynn Tanner is a survivor. That’s what she does, that all she knows how to do. In a world that was devastated by war, living by your wits and survival skills is a must. Lynn has no family left, she has kept to help and traveled the wilderness living off the land for a decade. Traveling south from Ottawa, Lynn is determined to head south to avoid another harsh winter. Traveling along, she kinds a dog, Skeever, whose owner had just passed. Meeting this dog makes Lynn take stock of just how lonely she is. Even the will to hunt has diminished. His arrival changes everything for Lynn.

What is amazing about Lynn is her mental fortitude and resilience. She is one of those characters that while her life has been so difficult, she never gives up, she fights for everything she has, every day. Her spirit captivates you as the reader. You love her for her weaknesses as much as her strengths.

Dani Wilson is the other main character in Survival Instincts. Dani is a skilled hunter, but Lynn see’s her as weak, and an adversary she believes she came overcome if necessary. These two definitely get off on the wrong foot. Dani is witty, extremely smart, and tough as nails. These two go toe to toe and then become an unbeatable force. They are so different but absolute equals.

I think what really sets this book apart from so many others is how multi-layered it is. May Dawney has given you a long detailed story full of twists and turns and characters that stay with you long after you turn the final page. Dawney takes her time and draws the characters out. Backstories are cleverly crafted, the scenes are set, and you feel the story as much as see it as you read. I was equally mesmerized and terrified at the same time. What I loved most of all, and I am talking really loved, is how the character’s chemistry between each other is just dynamite. It just jumps right off the page! You have sexiness, cuteness, agonizing pain and badassness all rolled into one epic adventure. This book is so beyond awesome!

6 out of 5 stars! SOOOOOO GOOD

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Hearts Like Hers (Seven Shores #2) by Melissa Brayden

Sooooo, I read Melissa Brayden’s newest book, Hearts like Hers. OMGeezy, let me tell you something, Melissa Brayden is a true romance badass. This book is everything. E V E R Y T H I N G! I could throw out adjectives for greatness all day long and it still wouldn’t be enough. The queen of romance has dazzled me yet again, and I cannot thank her enough for it. Brayden doesn’t just write a love story, she writes an epic love story!

Hearts like Hers focuses on Autumn Primm, the owner of The Cat’s Pajamas coffee shop. Autumn is witty, she’s sarcastic and an all-around adorable character. She has spent her life up until now completely learning the coffee trade and now running her small business. An invitation to her ex-girlfriend, Olivia’s, wedding hit Autumn especially hard. Not for the fact that she has any residual feelings for her former lover, no, that ship has sailed. What she feels is more the loss of a chance, she has let her love life evaporate while she has been solely focused on business. So she forces herself to watch the ex get hitched and comes to the conclusion its time to have a child, she’s going to take that next step in life even though she has not found her Mrs. Right.

Kate Carpenter is the newest residence at the Seven Shores apartment complex. She has taken a two-month hiatus from her job fighting fires in a small sleepy town in Oregon. She needed to get away. Kate was in the right place at the right time to save two small children from a house fire, but it wasn’t without pain and suffering for everyone involved. Touted as the town’s hero, Kate wants anything but the attention. She heads to Venice for some rest, relaxation and far away from anyone that will call her a hero.

This book, to me, deviates from the Brayden formula just enough. Now, I have never been one to knock said formula because to me it works and it works exceptionally well. There is a reason that readers drop everything for these books, they are time and time again outstanding reads. What I’m saying is this book is captivating and keeps you on your toes. The slight change up works but even more than that it’s just about two fabulous characters that have so much chemistry. I’m talking chemistry for days. Big and bold smoldering chemistry! This book is hot and sexy, with all the wit and spark you expect from the master of dialogue. Brayden stepped up to the plate with this one, she pointed her bat Babe Ruth style into the grandstands, and nails that sucker out of the park. This is a true romance that does every single thing to perfection. Every. Single. Thing! Once again Melissa Brayden stands at the top. She unequivocally is the queen of romance.

All the stars!!!

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My Top 10 Books of 2017

Best of 2017

Well, this year has come to an end. It was like riding the crazy train all year long. In terms of books, I thought the year started off strong, hit a pretty significant slump and then once fall rolled around, boom we had so many amazing books it was hard to keep with all the awesomeness coming my way. I swear I read five-star after five-star books for six weeks straight. Thanks to all of you on here, I love finding great recommendations from y’all and seeing your thoughts on the books that I loved or felt blah about.

Overall my favorite book of the year: Edge of Glory by Rachel Spangler
This one hit on everything I love the most when it comes to a romance book. Captivating characters, one being an ice princess. Yessss! Then make them badass athletes with a slow burn hate to love scenario. Well, you go me. I was hooked. This one just resonated with me and easily goes into my must read again and best ever categories.

Tricky Chances: The Clinical Years (Tricky, #2) by Camryn Eyde
As close at it can be this one was right up there. So, so good. Ice princess medical student. A heartbreaking breakup and then that good old get the girl back with laying all the emotions out there. I love this series.

Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O’Beirne
An absolutely delightful book that was a breath of fresh air. So full of diverse characters and two mains who are just amazing. Emily O’Beirne is just an amazing writer, and in this book, she took her amazingness to a whole other level.

Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson
Halfway through this one and I wanted to close it and start it back over. It was so damn good that I wanted to savor every chapter. This one was outstanding. Loved it!

Worthy of Trust and Confidence (Agent O’Connor, #2) by Kara A. McLeod
You have a fantastic mystery, a ton of corruption and a love story that just won’t quit. The two main are badass Secret Service agents with smoldering hot chemistry. I don’t need to say much more, do I?

Known Threat (Agent O’Connor, #3) by Kara A. McLeod
Yeah, the follow-up is one here too. This series has me hooked for sure. This book was one of the ones I was most excited about. Oh, and it so delivered! This one is better than the predecessors. It will stick with you long after the last page and have you impatiently waiting to meet up with these characters again.

Making a Tinderbox (The Tinderbox Tales, #1) by Emma Sterner-Radley
This is one of those books you find and just turn to mush because it did everything right. It took a hold of my heart, as sad as I was that the story was over, I was dazzled by its brilliance as well. I am so glad there will be more in this series.

The Brutal Truth by Lee Winter
Tension, oh that glorious sexual tension. This was a long slow burn that was delightful. Everything about this book is done right. The writing is crisp, the characters, well they were amazing and the dialogue could go from biting to amusing at the flip of a page.

The Price of Cash by Ashley Bartlett
Ashley Bartlett has me spellbound with this series. This is one of the other books that I was so excited about finally getting my hands on this year. I love how she writes, it’s fast-paced and sharp. Her characters are multi-faceted that live their lives in a grey area of a whole lot of wrong but is it really that bad? This is the moral dilemma of epic proportions that haunts both or our main character. Cash the lovable drug dealer and Laurel the undercover cop that is head over heels in love with her. SOOOO GOOD!!!!

Repercussions by Jessica L. Webb
A roller coaster ride of awesomeness is what this book is. Twists and turns with a ton of sexiness. This psychological thriller like no other is the f/f romance genre. You cannot put this one down once you start.