Monday, March 26, 2012

Hot Under Pressure

Hot Under Pressure is the final novel in the Rising Star Chef series from Louisa Edwards. From the author’s website.~

Loaded with the hottest dishes and sexiest chefs, the Rising Star Chef competition is about to boil over for one pair of all-star cooks who can’t stand the heat—of working so close together...


Henry Beck thought he’d already faced the toughest kitchen challenge of his life. After all, what could top sweating it out as a Navy cook on a submarine? But when he learns his competition for the title of Rising Star Chef is the sweet hippie girl he married...and left...ten years ago, the heat is on.


Now Beck and Skye Gladwell are going head to head in the finals...and sparking up old flames every time they touch. But Skye wants more than a win over the man who abandoned her when she needed him most—she wants a divorce! Then her sexy almost-ex makes a deliciously dangerous proposition. He’ll give in to her demands, but if his team wins the RSC, he has a demand of his last taste of the only woman he ever loved.

I was lucky enough to get an early copy of Hot Under Pressure from NetGalley thanks to Louisa.  I’m a huge fan and was so excited to get my hands on this final book in the series early.

I absolutely loved this book. Beck and Skye are both such amazing characters and I enjoyed getting to know them both better in this book. The chemistry between Beck, or Henry as Skye calls him, is obvious anytime they are in the same room.  I loved getting to know more about their history together and apart. Both Skye and Beck are so strong, yet there was a vulnerability about each of them that made me love them even more.  I love a book that wrings out every emotion possible for me, and with Hot Under Pressure I was moved to both laughter and tears at different time…sometimes at the same time even.

The final challenge for the RSC competition just about killed me. The stories both Beck and Skye told had me bawling my eyes out. Of course, the story doesn’t end there and we are given more of their story with an amazing epilogue. I’ll be the first to say I’m not always a fan of an epilogue, but I agree with Louisa completely that we needed to see what the future held for these characters and it was very well done.

The release date for Hot Under Pressure is March 27, 2012 and I suggest you pre-order in advance or run to your nearest bookstore on release day to get this book.

I loved this book so much, I want to share the love, so I’m giving away a digital copy of this book, or if you are new to the series, any book in the RSC series. All you have to do to qualify is to comment on this post between March 26 – March 30. I’ll use to select a winner and post the winner this weekend. Please let me know in your comment if you prefer kindle or nook format. I know I can gift from both Amazon and B&N, but not sure who else allows gifting of e-books.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Barefoot Season

Barefoot Season is the newest release from author Susan Mallery. From the back cover.~

Product Description

Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she's still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner's suite occupied by the last person she wants to see.

Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn's cheerful veneer.

Single mother Carly has weathered rumors, lies and secrets for a lifetime, and is finally starting to move forward with love and life. But if the Blackberry Island Inn goes under, Carly and her daughter will go with it.

To save their livelihoods, Carly and Michelle will undertake a turbulent truce. It'll take more than a successful season to move beyond their devastating past, but with a little luck and a beautiful summer, they may just rediscover the friendship of a lifetime.
I’m a big fan of Susan Mallery’s books, and was excited to get a chance to read Barefoot Season early. I have to say, I liked Carly much more than Michelle at the beginning of the book. However, as I read more and more about each of their lives, I came to respect and like them both. Both Michelle and Carly have been put through so much in their lives.
I’ve come to expect lots of emotion when reading books from Susan Mallery, and she totally delivers with Barefoot Season. The initial turbulence between Michelle and Carly gets better the more the two women are around one another. The betrayals that occurred in their past seem to become much less important as they work together to save the Inn and the only real home either woman has had for years.
Not that it is all sunshine and daisies. Both women had hurt the other in the past and Michelle is dealing with some serious PTSD issues. Add in trust issues for both women, and you have drama all over the place. I did like watching Michelle and Carly become not only friends again, but even allies against those people who didn’t have their best interest at heart. I also fell pretty fast for the men who came into both Michelle and Carly’s lives. Jared and Sam were both so strong and patient when it came to the women they wanted to have in their lives. While I think the relationship of Michelle and Carly was the one that grew and was really the most important one to this story, I loved watching each woman find the right man.
I was lucky enough to get an early copy of Barefoot Season from NetGalley. The actual release date is set for March 27, 2012.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gentlemen Prefer Nerds

Gentlemen Prefer Nerds is the new release from Joan Kilby. From the Carina Press website.~


Self-professed nerd Maddie Maloney is an expert on jewels. Jewel thieves are another matter entirely! So when a mysterious Englishman warns her that a thief known as The Chameleon is after the rare pink diamond on display in her aunt's shop, she tells herself it's just a joke. Even if she can't get Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome out of her mind...

But Fabian Montgomery doesn't give up easily. He's everywhere she goes, convinced the thief will strike. And when the diamond does go missing--and Maddie is suspected of stealing it--he whisks her away from the police and together they pursue The Chameleon.
Fabian plunges her into a glamorous world far from her humble workshop and transforms geeky Maddie into a sophisticated siren capable of espionage. Her mission: to seduce The Chameleon and steal back the diamond.

But Fabian isn't telling her everything--like who he works for, and why he's so interested in The Chameleon...

I really enjoyed Gentlemen Prefer Nerds a great deal. Maddie Maloney cracked me up. She admits to being a nerd and has no problems with her status as one. She is really much stronger than she gives herself credit for, and proved she was quite capable of being sexy when she wants to be as well.

Fabian Montgomery was a cross between James Bond and Remington Steele (why yes I’m showing my age with that reference, but Pierce Brosnan played both). He kept secrets from Maddie, but still needed her help in finding both The Chameleon and the stolen diamond, named The Rose.

There was really great chemistry between Fabian and Maddie from the very first. It only got stronger the longer they were with one another. You could tell they were falling hard for one another early on, even if neither seemed willing to admit it first.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Gentlemen Prefer Nerds from NetGalley. The actual release date from Carina Press was March 12, so my post is going up a little after the release. You can purchase Gentlemen Prefer Nerds from your favorite online e-book retailer.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Only Have Eyes For You

I Only Have Eyes For You is the 4th book in The Sullivans series by Bella Andre. From the author’s website.~

Sophie Sullivan, a librarian in San Francisco, was five years old when she fell head over heels in love with Jake McCann. Twenty years later, she’s convinced the notorious bad boy still sees her as the “nice” Sullivan twin. That is, when he bothers to look at her at all. But when they both get caught up in the magic of the first Sullivan wedding, she knows it’s long past time to do whatever it takes to make him see her for who she truly is…the woman who will love him forever.

Jake has always been a magnet for women, especially since his Irish pubs made him extremely wealthy. But the only woman he really wants is the one he can never have. Not only is Sophie his best friend’s off-limits younger sister…he can’t risk letting her get close enough to discover his deeply hidden secret.

Only, when Sophie appears on his doorstep as Jake’s every fantasy come to life-smart, beautiful, and shockingly sexy-he doesn’t have a prayer of taking his eyes, or his hands, off her. And he can’t stop craving more of her sweet smiles and sinful kisses. Because even though Jake knows loving Sophie isn’t the right thing to do…how can he possibly resist?

I found Bella Andre’s books thanks to many of my friends on twitter. I love her books and was so excited when I saw Sophie’s story was released. I love the entire Sullivan clan, but there was just something about Sophie that spoke to me. Maybe it’s our mutual love of books, but I wanted her story from the moment I first met her. I didn’t love Jake when he first appeared, but only because he was a bit rude at first. However, as soon as I saw how much he really cared for and wanted Sophie, I loved him just as much as the Sullivan men.

Sophie has loved Jake pretty much her entire life. She is tired of everyone looking at her as the “nice” twin in the family and takes steps to ensure her family, and especially Jake see her as more. When she shows up on Jake’s doorstep after to wedding set on seduction, Jake really does try to fight his attraction to her. It doesn’t work, but he does try to keep his hands to himself. Sophie and Jake are like two puzzle pieces finding their match when they are together. The heat was off the charts and I was concerned my kindle might melt a couple of times.

Sophie and Jake end up in a situation where they must figure out how to solve things together. Sophie shows the strength that has always been in her when she stands up for herself about what she wants in life. Jake shows how strong he is when he shares his secret with Sophie and when he stands up to her overprotective brothers.

I Only Have Eyes For You is another winner in the Sullivan clan series. I laughed and cried as I read this story and the steaminess level was perfect. I had said to many of my friends Gabe & Megan’s story was my favorite of the bunch, but Sophie and Jake took the top spot away from them. Love spending time with this family and can’t wait for Zach’s book, If You Were Mine to come out this summer.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Three Wishes

Three Wishes, formally titled Your Wish is My Command by Stephanie Bond was recently updated and re-released for ebook. From the author’s website. ~

Be careful what you wish for…

Ladden Sanderson is an antiques dealer in Sacramento, California with the ill fortune to have fallen in love with Jasmine Crowne, the governor’s girlfriend. But the most he has to offer the lovely interior designer is an antique rug for her latest job: redecorating her boyfriend’s bedroom in the governor’s mansion. He thinks he might have found a great rug at the auction he just left. While he’s cleaning a copper lamp that came in a lot with the rug, an earthquake erupts, reducing his store to shambles. A homeless man appears with outlandish stories of being a genie and granting Ladden three wishes. Ladden sends him on his way, but bizarre things begin to happen—things that don’t exactly endear him to Jasmine, or her powerful boyfriend!

The “genie” appears and disappears at the oddest times…and then there’s the rug Ladden bought that seems to move around on its own volition. By the time Ladden starts to think there could be something to this magic thing, he’s wished himself into a hole the size of the
Grand Canyon! But he still has one wish left--should he wish for his own happiness, or Jasmine’s, even if her happiness means his heart will be broken? A riotous contemporary twist on a classic tale

I was sent a copy of Three Wishes from the author for review. I’ve read many of Stephanie Bond’s books over the years and was excited to read Three Wishes.  As soon as I realized it was a contemporary romance of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, I was even more excited.

I really enjoyed Three Wishes a great deal. I loved Ladden Sanderson from the moment he appeared. I really liked Jasmine Crowne when we met her as well and could tell there was a bit of mutual attraction between Ladden and her. Of course, their path to true love has a few bumps in the road. First, Jasmine is dating the governor, Trey McDonald, who is running for re-election and not doing well in the standings. When Ladden buys an amazing rug at auction and ends up with a box of junk to go along with it, he finds a copper lamp, which once clean releases a genie, who lets Ladden know he now has 3 wishes for setting him free from his prison. Ladden thinks the genie is a homeless man and doesn’t realize the truth until he has already made 2 of the 3 wishes. Although Jasmine is attracted to Ladden, she has re-invented herself and doesn’t think she could be happy with someone who doesn’t share her goals. However, Ladden and Jasmine are attracted to one another and thanks to some help from the genie, who Ladden calls Gene; they find themselves spending more and more time with one another. I liked how both tried to fight their attraction to one another, especially since Jasmine was dating the governor.  Ladden and Jasmine do give in to their attraction and even get to ride over the city on a magic carpet, which cracked me up so much.

Ladden proves he is more than worthy of Jasmine’s love when he makes is third and final wish. Bond gives her readers passion and much to laugh about in this modern-day telling of Aladdin. I look forward to reading many of the updated and re-released stories Bond is working on for the future.

***UPDATE*** Three Wishes is currently free from Amazon until Sunday (3/18/12). To get your free copy to read on your kindle or kindle app, click on this link.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Brook Street: Thief

Brook Street: Thief is the 1st book in Brook Street trilogy from Ava March. From the Carina website.~

London, 1822

It was only supposed to be one night. One night to determine once and for all if he truly preferred men. But the last thing Lord Benjamin Parker expected to find in a questionable gambling hall in Cheapside is a gorgeous young man who steals his heart.

It was only supposed to be a job. Cavin Fox has done it many times--select a prime mark, distract him with lust, and leave his pockets empty. Yet when Cavin slips away under the cover of darkness, the only part of Benjamin he leaves untouched is his pockets.

With a taste of his fantasies fulfilled, Benjamin wants more than one night with Cavin. But convincing the elusive young man to give them a chance proves difficult. Cavin lives with a band of thieves in the worst area of London, and he knows there's no place for him in a gentleman's life. Yet Benjamin isn't about to let Cavin--and love--continue to slip away from him.

I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this book from NetGalley. I can honestly say I’m pretty new to reading M/M romances since I only started reading them in the last year. However, I’d seen many of my twitter friends talking about this book and knew I needed to give it a try. I’m really glad I did too.

I really loved the romance between Benjamin and Cavin. Benjamin had never been with another man before and Cavin was so sweet their first time together, especially since Cavin was supposed to be using Benjamin and then stealing all his money. As much as Cavin knows he should stay away from Benjamin, he really can’t seem to stay away. Benjamin knows nothing of Cavin’s past and falls for him pretty soon after they first meet.

When Benjamin learns of Cavin’s past, his feelings for the other man don’t change at all. Benjamin and Cavin have an extremely passionate relationship and their love and passion for one another is like any other couple. Of course being as it was 1822, their relationship really couldn’t be put on display for all to see. I could see how much they loved one another with every single touch they shared.

This was the first book I’ve read from Ava March, and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future. The release date for Brook Street: Thief is set for March 19, 2012 and is available from your favorite online retailer.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nutrisystem Update

I finished up week 3 of the Nutrisystem program on Saturday and I've now lost 7 pounds over 3 weeks. I'm still loving the food on the program, and have found the food to be much better than it was many years ago when I tried the plan. So far, I've only really found 2 meals I didn't like. Luckily, I get to change my auto-delivery order every single month. I made sure I picked my favorite foods to eat over the next month and can't wait for my order to arrive on Tuesday.

I've also found myself  enjoying fruits and veggies again. I love veggies more than fruits, but have found several fruits I really like. Veggies have always been easy for me to eat. I grew up with a garden in the back yard, so there really are very few veggies I don't eat. I've even learned how to eat smaller portions when going out to eat at restaurants.

I'm also doing much better with my fitness than I was 3 weeks ago. I'm still working with my 5K training group each week. We meet for group workouts on Tuesday evening and Saturday morning and I walk on my own 2 other days. I'm adding core training to my daily fitness plan, and hope it helps me get back to running sooner. Right now I'm 13 pounds away from starting back with my jog/walk intervals. I'm feeling much better, but know for my joint health, I need to wait until those additional 13 pounds are gone.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Oracle's Moon

Oracle’s Moon is the newest book in the Elder Races series by Thea Harrison. From the back cover.~

In the latest Novel of the Elder Races, an untested young woman must claim her place as the Oracle-and contend with a powerful Djinn who has decided to become a part of her life…

As a second daughter, Grace Andreas never had to worry about the intrigues of the Elder Races. But when her sister, Petra, and Petra’s husband are both killed, Grace inherits the Power and responsibilities of the Oracle of Louisville, as well as her sister’s two young children-neither of which she is prepared for.

Yet, she is not alone. Khalil, Demonkind and Djinn prince of House Marid-driven by his genuine caring for the children-has decided to make himself a part of the household both as their guardian and as an exasperating counterpoint to Grace’s impudence toward the Elder Races.
But when an attempt is made on Grace’s life, she realizes that Khalil is the only one who can protect her-and offer her more than any mortal man…

I’m a huge fan of Thea Harrison and love her Elder Races series. In fact, the first 3 books in the series are among my favorite books from last year, with Dragon Bound, the first in the series, being my favorite book read in the paranormal romance/UF genre. Harrison gives her readers another winner with Oracle’s Moon.

I have to admit Khalil hasn’t really been one of my favorite characters up to this point in the series. However, he more than redeemed himself in this book. I can’t say he is my favorite hero from this series, but he is definitely in the running. We first met Grace when she helped Rune and Carling in Serpent’s Kiss. Grace is a strong woman who has just inherited the Power and the position of Oracle, as well as her sister’s young children, Chloe and Max. She is still recovering from the injuries she suffered in the wreck that killer Petra and her husband, yet  she is willing to step up to help others in her position as Oracle.

Khalil has pledged to help protect Grace and the children from their very first encounter. He soon finds himself not only drawn to the kids, but Grace as well. The connection between Grace and Khalil is strong, stronger than even connections he has had with other over years. Grace can call for Khalil with very little effort and it is quickly apparent there is a mutual attraction between them. Of course, Grace is a human and Khalil is a Djinn, so they do have some issues to overcome. However, when an attempt is made on Grace’s life, Khalil will call if any and all favors to protect Grace and the children.

The attraction between Grace and Khalil grows with each passing day. I’ve come to expect pretty powerful passion from couples in Thea Harrison’s books, and she delivers once again in Oracle’s Moon. I loved how Grace, Khalil and the children become their own little family as they work to figure out who is behind the attacks on Grace and her family.

Thea Harrison kicks it out of the park with this 4th book in the Elder Races series. The official release date for Oracle’s Moon in both print and digital formats is March 6, 2012, but I understand it is already being shipped from some online retailers.