Monday, August 19, 2019

Hard Wood by Lauren Blakely

Women often say a good man is hard to find. And a hard man is even better.

That's why I'm quite a catch—good, hard, loaded, and wait for it... I'm ready to settle down too. But the woman I want to pitch my tent with lives clear across the country. Neither of us wants to get lost in those woods. All I have to do is resist her for the week she's in town.

I try. I swear I try. But yeah, that doesn't work out. 

And after one fantastic night with my good friend Mia, I'm ready to give her years of nights under the stars. What's a few thousand miles when love's involved? But there's a hitch in my plans—she just hired my adventure tour company. If there's one thing I'm committed to, it's running a squeaky clean business. Number one on my list of iron-clad rules?

Don't screw your customers.

But what's a guy to do when she's so hard to resist? How hard can it be to keep our hands off each other for a quick group tour down the hills and over the trails? I'm about to find out, and I have a feeling I'm going to need a new badge of honor because things are about to get very hard in the woods.

Series: Big Rock #6 | Publisher: Lauren Blakely Books  | Narrator: Sebastian York  | Length: 5 hrs and 16 mins |  Genre: Contemporary Romance  | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3.5 Cups

Challenges Read For:  -  Blogger Shame Literary Pickers  - Picnic Food
I’m slowly cleaning up my blogger shame list and this one was up next. I’d met Patrick and Mia in Joy Ride and knew their story would be a fun one and, I wasn’t wrong.
Here’s what’s going on: Mia and Patrick have been dancing around each other for a bit before finally taking the plunge at her brother’s wedding. Things are starting to fall into place for them until Mia hires Patrick’s adventure company to host her company’s group retreat and Patrick’s their guide. He has one rule: don’t sleep with clients—not only could things get messy, they could get dangerous too. Now Patrick must figure out how to keep Mia at a distance without harming their new relationship.
This was a cute little falling for your best friend’s sister who is off limits romance. I was expecting this one to be a little on the steamy side, but it turned out to be rather light.
Patrick and Mia made a cute couple. They’re both successful business owners ready to settle down. It was refreshing to see adults actually acting like adults for once. They also have a nice, playful banter between them.
As with most of Blakely’s books, there’s no major obstacles the characters have to get through to be together. It was rather light and fun from start to finish.
There are adorable sections in the book from Zeus, the cat’s, POV and it just gave the book that extra charm and entertainment.
I really enjoyed Sebastian York’s narration; he even brought the cat to life. I also like how this one started off with nature sounds in the background.
Overall, this was the book I needed at the time. It was light and adorable but having just listening to a string of thrillers, this book just what I needed. If you’re looking for a quick Summer listen, pick this one up.

Big Rock Series
.5 A Little Big Rock
1. Big Rock
2. Mister O
3. Well Hung
4. Full Package
6. Hard Wood

Thursday, August 15, 2019

All-Butter Short Dead by H.Y. Hanna

Gemma ditches her high-flying job and returns to Oxford to follow her dream: opening a traditional English tearoom serving warm buttery scones with jam and clotted cream, and fragrant tea in pretty bone china… Only problem is–murder is the first thing on the menu and Gemma is the key suspect! And the only people Gemma can turn to for help are four nosy old ladies from her local Cotswolds village – not to mention a cheeky little tabby cat named Muesli.

Who is the mysterious woman Gemma met on the flight back from Australia and why was she murdered? Now Gemma must find the killer, solve the mystery and clear her name if she’s to have her cake–and serve it too.
Series: Oxford Tearoom Mysteries #0.5 | Publisher: Wisheart Press  | Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery | Source: Amazon Freebie (at the time of purchased in 2016) | Rating: 4 Cups

Challenges Read For:  -Cruisin' Thru The Cozies - Book of My Choice
I’ve been enjoying this series—I’m seven books in—and thought I’d finally go back read the prequel. I’m glad that I did. It was a nice change to see the beginning of Gemma’s amateur sleuthing and the start of her teashop.
Here’s what’s going on. Gemma’s finally returning home from Australia to start a new chapter in her life, which includes starting her own teashop. Although her intentions are put on hold when she becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation. To make matters worse, she barely knows the woman who sat next to her on the flight let alone who would want to murder her. As the police set their eyes on Gemma, Gemma’s dream of owning a little teashop slips further from her grasp. Working alongside a group of four elderly women known as the ‘old biddies’, Gemma must catch the murderer before she’s charged with a crime she didn’t commit.
For me, these books have been a bit up and down. Some work, some I struggle with although this one was a good one. It was a nice little introduction to Gemma, her circle of friends, and the setting.
The mystery in this one was easy to figure out although I found it had an interesting approach and required a bit more digging around as the victim had memory issues and Gemma was going on very little information from the start and unreliable information at that.
Overall, while it was a fun and quick little read, it doesn’t actually add a lot to the story that’s not already known once you’ve read a few of them. I picked this up in 2016 (according to Amazon) when it was a freebie, so I didn’t really mind that it didn’t add a lot to the series. I’m not sure, given that this one is a short story, that I would pay the $3.99 for it. If you’ve read a few in the series, I would say wait until this one either goes on sale or is free.

Oxford Tearoom Mystery Series
All-Butter ShortDead 0.5
Till Death Do Us Tart  #4 
Muffins and Mourning Tea  #5 
Four Puddings and a Funeral  #6 
Another One Bites the Crust  #7  
The Dough Must Go On #8 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

One Summer's Night by Kiley Dunbar

Kelsey Anderson is stuck in a rut so big, she’ll need a four-wheel drive to get out. She’s just been made redundant from her dead-end job, and boyfriend Fran is so busy climbing up the career ladder that he’s forgotten how to have fun. She needs to change her life - and fast.

She stumbles across an advert for tour guides in Stratford-upon-Avon, and it seems like the perfect way to bring the sunshine back. In an impulsive move, she moves from her small Scottish village to Shakespeare’s birthplace, armed only with a suitcase and her battered copy of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Kelsey quickly falls in love with the place, her job as a tourist guide allowing her to explore every inch of the picture-perfect town, from cosy cafes to the picturesque banks of the river.

But it’s not just the town that captures her heart, as she finds herself torn between the actors Will and Jonathan, who both vie for her affections.

But will beautiful Peony, the lead actress at the Oklahoma theatre company where Jonathan is playing Oberon in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, play a role in keeping Kelsey and Jonathan apart?  

Or will flirtatious, charming Will, the fellow tour guide who has set his sights on Kelsey, keep the star-crossed lovers from finding their happy ending?
Publisher: Audible | Narrator: Eilidh Beaton  | Length: 9 hrs 54 min | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 2.5 Cups

Challenges Read For:  Literary Pickers  - Home security/alarm  - 2019 Try Something New New-to-me Author
This one has me a bit confused, if I’m being honest. One on hand, I really enjoyed it yet, on the other hand, I couldn’t get invested in Kelsey. Truth be told. I struggled to like her.
I liked that this one was a bit different. Rather than being centered on Jane Austen or the Brontë sisters, this one focused on Shakespeare’s birthplace and his works. I found that to be rather refreshing. And the Stratford-upon-Avon setting really came to life; I truly felt as though I was walking in Kelsey’s shoes as she traveled this lovely land.
Kelsey, for me, was a bit hard to like. She’s going through a lot of changes in her life but I don’t feel as though she’s growing or learning from these changes. She seems very childish to me, very dependent upon others. And I don’t feel like she wanted to grow/learn from her experiences. She basically spent the entire book complaining about this and that without doing anything to change/improve the situation.
And the romance…or rather the moping about, as it should be called as I didn’t see any actual romance happening. When Kelsey arrives in Stratford-upon-Avon, she’s drawn to Will—the handsome yet playboyish actor who was her tour guide mentor—but then she bumps into Jonathan—an American actor touring England with the Oklahoma theatre company. Rather than attempting a relationship with either one, she steals a few kisses from Will while pining over Jonathan, whom she believes is dating an another actress in the theatre company.
The whole of the conflict in this one could have been summed up with one question that was never asked. It just didn’t work.
It seemed like the author was attempting her hand at writing a comedy of errors but, for me, it just fell flat. The ‘errors’ were just too easy to figure out had the characters actually talked to one another.
This was my first time listening to Eilidh Beaton and I found I rather enjoyed her narration. Her male narration was a bit iffy at times but still enjoyable.
Overall, I enjoyed the setting of this one but the characters and plot just didn’t amuse me. It felt that this was a coming of age novel where the character never found her stride. Others may like it but, for me, I needed more. More growth, more plot, more communication.

Friday, August 2, 2019

The Spectacular Book Tag

 I found this tag a few months ago over at Angela’s blog: Angel’s Guilty Pleasures and it was such a fun tag that I had to play along. Make sure you stop by her blog, check out her answers, and see where she discovered the tag.  

1. What are your favorite book covers?
A good cover draws me to the book. Here are a few of my favorites from the last couple months.

2. What are your favorite book titles?
I have favorite books but not favorite titles.
3. Have you read a book and didn’t know why they named it that and what was the title?
I’m sure I have but nothing comes to mind at the moment.
4. Have you read a book with a character that made you mad?

Overruled by Emma Chase—Stanton Shaw—ugh! I read that book, what 4-5years ago and Stanton Shaw still makes me growly and not in a good way. I even snarl a bit when I pass the book on my shelf. The guy was such a dick.
5. Is there someone or something from a book you would never want to come across?
I’ve been reading a lot of murder mysteries, thrillers, and paranormals lately so I definitely wouldn’t want come across anything from any of those.
6. If you could meet a character in person from a book who would it be?
Where to start? lol Jamie Fraser from Outlander is top on my list followed by Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre. I’d have to throw in Gabriel Nightengale from Molly Harper’s Jane Jameson/Half-Moon Hollow series.
7. What book are you currently reading?

The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul by Eleanor Herman. A little strangle, slightly gross, but definitely a fun and interesting non-fiction read if you’re into odd little historical facts.
8. Have you read a book that made you cry?

I’m not really a crier but Nearest Thing to Heaven by Lynnette Austin brought up all the feels.
9. What is the weirdest book you have read?
I read a variety of weird books (see current read listed above) so it’s hard to pick just one that stands out in all it is weirdness.
10. What is the worst book/series you ever read?

The Riding Hard Series by Jennifer Ashley Normally, I’m a fan of Jennifer Ashley but this series just didn’t thrill me and I ended up stopping after book 3.
11. If you could only read one more book the entire year what would it be?
I’d have to go with Voyager by Diana Gabaldon.  It’s a brick of a book and maybe I’ll actually finish it. It’s not bad, it’s just a bit draggy and fails to hold my attention.

I’m not going to tag anyone although feel free to grab the tag and play along either on your own blog or in the comments.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Baby Daddy by Kendall Ryan

We met in a trapped elevator.

Emmett was on his way to work, sophisticated and handsome in his tailored suit and tie.

I was on my way to the sperm bank. Awkward, right?

At thirty-five, my life hadn’t taken the path I thought it would and I was tired of waiting—I wanted a baby. And I was ready to take matters into my own hands to make it happen.

After our ill-fated elevator encounter, Emmett insisted on taking me to dinner—he also insisted on something else—that I ditch my plan involving a turkey baster and let him do the job. He would be my baby daddy. He was a wealthy and powerful CEO with little interest in diapers or playdates. And since he didn’t want kids, I’d be on my own once his bun was in my oven, free to go my own way.
But once his baby was inside me, it was like a switch had been flipped, and I got a whole lot more than I ever bargained for.
Publisher: Kendall Ryan | Genre: Contemporary Romance  | Source: Won | Rating: 3 Cups

Challenges Read For:  - Literary Pickers  Toilet/commode/outhouse-
I won this one during my book club’s monthly giveaway and while it was hot and sassy, I don’t really feel as though this was a stellar read. It wasn’t a bad book, I just feel like the whole plot has become a trend of sorts and once you’ve read one it’s hard to be impressed by the other. I mean, sure there were a few variations thrown into this one but it basically boils down to read one, read them all.  
Here’s what’s going on. When Jenna gets trapped in an elevator on her way to the sperm bank, she never imagines that the handsome stranger trapped with her would offer to father her child the old-fashion way. Married to his job and not wanting a child of his own, Emmett sees this as his perfect chance to do something for someone else. Neither Emmett nor Jenna realized that their plan is a bit more complicated than just making a baby. Now that they’ve finally admitted to having feelings for each other, a business deal threatens to tear them apart before they can even begin.
Jenna and Emmett were rather fun together—although, at times, she came off as a bit selfish. She wasn’t the easiest for me to like. I thought that Emmett was rather sweet and admirable. The bit drama could have been avoided if they had actually talked to each other instead of shagging like rabbits but it was resolved almost instantly making it feel a bit useless.
Overall, not the worst book I’ve read and not the best. It was fun and quick but I’m sort of over the whole single lady wants a baby, goes to the sperm bank, but some bloke offers his services instead trend.