A Wish Upon a Star by Jeannie Levig

A Wish Upon a Star by Jeannie Levig is a fabulous read. This book has those little moments that pull at your heartstrings. A slow burn romance that uses tension in the most glorious way. Leving writes a balanced well-written book with characters that you just cannot get enough of. So damn good!

Leslie Raymond has had her heart shattered. The wounds are deep and extraordinarily painful she decides to move from her home in Florida back to her childhood residence in Burbank, California. This is a chance for a new beginning, a chance to heal and start fresh. What is she isn’t prepared for is her gorgeous neighbor and her amazing daughter.

Erica Cooper is a college professor and mother to Siena, a special needs child that that is on the autistic spectrum. Siena is immediately taken to Leslie and her dog. They strike up and unlikely friendship that is filled with understating, patience and kindness.

Erica and Leslie each have baggage and trust issues from previous relationships. They develop an easy friendship that builds as the story moves along. It feels real, I cannot say how impressive these characters are. They are three dimensional and are 100% relatable. Not to mention the chemistry between Erica and Leslie is out of this world.

What makes this book special is not just the two mains and their romance but how Siena and even Gus, the dog all play such an intricate role in the book. You cannot help but fall in love with them all. This is an amazing story.

5 out of 5 stars

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books                       https://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/books/a-wish-upon-a-star-by-jeannie-levig-2726-b

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Breaking Down Her Walls by Erin Zak

Julia Finch is running away from life. The destination is 100% unknown. How can you run away totally from your past and self-hatred? She tries like hell too, that is until her beat-up old clunker of a car finally gives up on her journey in a teeny tiny Colorado town. With little money, she has to make a deal to work off her automobile repair debt by lending a hand at a large cattle ranch.

Julia spends her days shoveling manure and bonding with the ranch’s horses. Her immediate connection to these beautiful working animals endures her to the ranch’s owner, Elena Bennett.

Elena Bennett spends her time working her ranch and being perpetually pissed off. Her heart has been broken too many times and she cannot shake off her anger. Her wife was killed in an automobile accident breaking her heart the first time, the second women she trusted with it decided to up and leave her with little warning. Now she’s just angry and a bit broken. When she first meets Julia she is hard bitter and has very little patience for the new ranch hand.

I like the premise of the story. Two characters overcoming past tragedies to find their way to love, trust and respect. For the most part, I enjoyed this book. I will be honest I thought the ex-girlfriend showing back up after her disappearing act was a bit contrived and made to story slow way down and become a bit too contrived. I mean if your ex-lover dumps you with no word, disappears out of town and now you have a new lady you are just pining for you’re going to hang out with said ex when she shows back up. Hell no! Penn showing back up was a monumental waste of reading space. It would have been infinitely better spent on dialogue between the two mains.

Overall a good book that I am happy that I spent some time with.

3 out of 5 stars

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Shadowboxer by Jessica L. Webb

If you start by just looking at the front cover of this book, you’ll notice a few things. Now sometimes a cover doesn’t do the book justice, this is absolutely not the case for Shadowboxer. The cover is dark and gritty. The focus is on heavy boxing gloves that have been battered and bruised, much like the kids that face life in the foster care system, on the street, and in abusive homes.

Jordan McAddie was raised in a home by two parents who abused alcohol. Her father was an emotionally abusive drunk. He took is abuse out on the mother of his children and well as the kids, finally going so far that Jordan was removed from her parent’s custody. We meet Jordan as she is well into her career as a child advocate and social worker in Halifax. Jordan uses her past experience as a professional boxer as a way to connect with the local kids. After working grueling hours she spends all her free time opening up her boxing gym to local kids interested in the sport and needing a place they can feel wanted.

When new funding for her gym comes available from a large corporation, Jordan is faced with a face from her past. Ali Clarke is back in Halifax as a representative for Centera Corporation. Her job is to learn from the youth at Jordan’s gym and create some good PR for her company. Ali is the one Jordan let go of so long ago. Her first and only love is back in Halifax. To see Ali again is a blessing, but also brings back all those old feelings. These two have a new chance at love if they are willing to risk it.

As heavy as the subject is about kids that are in desperate need of better representation and social services this book gives you lightness and hope as well. Ali and Jordan have a fabulous chemistry and it’s a delightful slow burn romance. At times this book is heavy but the counterbalances are done well. The secondary characters add so much to the book but never out shadow the mains. That is hard to pull off and Webb did it flawlessly. More than anything this one keeps you hooked.

4.5 stars out of 5

  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Purchase: https://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/books/shadowboxer-by-jessica-l-webb-2675-b

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Bring Holly Home by A.E. Radley

A.E. Radley knows how to deliver a great story. Her newest book, Bring Holly Home is one of her best yet! A great ice queen romance gets me every single time.

Victoria Hastings is one of the world’s most influential people in the world of high fashion. As the editor-in-chief of an international fashion magazine, Arrival, Victoria is busy, demanding and an absolute ice-queen. Her assistants are known for fleeing, and if they don’t get away first they are often times fired for inconsequential reasons. Under all of her tough exterior, there is a sweet woman who loves fiercely. You just have to break down the massive concrete barriers around her heart.

Holly Carter is one of the few assistants that handled working with Victoria with ease. Victoria threw every challenge her way and Holly met expectations with ease and excellence. So when Holly up and walked away during Paris Fashion Week, Victoria was surprised and unbelievably hurt. Twist! Holly didn’t leave to quit, somehow she was injured and developed amnesia. The young assistant has been living in Paris for a year now.

This ice queen age gap romance will keep you on your toes all the way to the end. Radley keeps the tension taut all the way through the last chapter. My only grievance with this book is that I wish there had been more one on one interaction between the two leading ladies. A little more dialogue would have launched this book into the next stratosphere. With that being said, this book is a really great read, and I sincerely hope that we get another book featuring Victoria and Holly.

3.75 out of 4 stars

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Bait and Switch by Blythe H. Warren

Basically, I started writing this blog as a cathartic way of getting my feelings out about what I. So many times, especially after Kindle Unlimited unrolled, I would read a great review, purchase a book and then go WTF. So many bad book suggestions by Amazon and so much money wasted. A few months ago, I get nailed by a reader on the blog, just ranting at me about a bad review and how mean and awful of a person I was. That book was special to her and how dare I claim that it was not an amazing, fabulous read. It wasn’t that bad a review either, 3 stars actually. To me, the book was not to my taste and I pointed out the reasons, always trying to be fair but honest. Why I’m saying this is in such a convoluted way is that it’s funny, awesome and so fascinating to me how some books can be one person’s treasure and another person was like blah, next, please.

Bait and Switch by Blythe H. Warren is one of those books that I went in with high hopes and came out on the other side wondering what did I miss. By no means a lacking book, but I did not resound with me personally. My biggest reason, I did not really connect with the main character, Liv. I for the life of me could not see why Mira would be interested in her, other than being good at her job, character wise she was flat and uninteresting. I felt like as the reader I was supposed to already get and like Liv. Other than working at an aquarium, and a love for beer, I don’t know much more about her. The book is told from her POV so I would hope to have more understanding of this character and what makes her tick.

Just because Bait and Switch wasn’t my cup of tea and Liv wasn’t the protagonist of my dreams doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t read this author again. I absolutely would. Thanks for reading my rant!

3 out of 5 stars

The Secret Pond by Gerri Hill

Gerri Hill is a phenomenal writer. I love her books and have read almost everything she has published. What I love most about Hill’s writing is she sets the scene perfectly. In The Secret Pond, I felt as if though I could truly see the landscape of Leakey, Texas. She described it perfectly, Hill transported you right into one of the most beautiful places in the vast state of Texas.

There’s going to be a but now. While the setting for the book was perfect, the romance was not. Our two main protagonists in the story have been dealt horrific losses. Lindsey McDermott, an architect from Dallas, has lost her entire family to a plane crash. I’m talking everyone, parents, grandparents, both siblings, siblings spouses and their children. Hannah Larson lost her husband to a fifteen month battle with a brain tumor. She watched her husband deteriorate as cancer ravaged his body. So when these two ladies meet, they have so much backstory and pain to navigate through.

The majority of the book is spent with Hannah’s son Jack, playing in the Frio River or a secret pond on the McDermott ranch. Lindsey meets Jack, and they see a bit of themselves in each other, grief recognizing grief. They fish, swim and enjoy summer, finally including Hannah on their adventures. That takes you through almost 75% of the book. After halfway, I could not see any way for these Hannah and Lindsey to have a romance. They do, but it feels less than and rushed.

I will continue to read every book Hill writes, this one just was not my favorite. It felt long, a bit repetitious and the romance felt like an afterthought.

3 out of 5 stars

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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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