Wednesday, October 30, 2019

REVIEW: Christmas Kisses by Allison May

Title: Christmas Kisses
Author: Alison May
Publisher: Choc Lit
Publication Date: November 2017
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: Three girls, three kisses, three gorgeous Christmas stories...

Holly hates Christmas with a passion and can't wait to escape it - but then the flight to her once-in-a-lifetime holiday destination is canceled...

Cora has had the year from hell, and faces a bleak Christmas working in Golding's department store - in the most unflattering reindeer costume imaginable...

Jessica is in denial after her husband's betrayal, and can't help but think back to when her life still seemed so full of hope and promise...

Three years from hell, three sets of broken dreams, three girls in desperate need of Christmas spirit. Is the perfect Christmas kiss all it takes?

Includes Holly's Christmas Kiss, Cora's Christmas Kiss and Jessica's Christmas Kiss.

My Thoughts: My first pick for Christmas themed reading of 2019 started out magnificently with Christmas Kisses by new to me author Alison May. Three individual stories focusing on a different character who have all lost the Christmas spirit. The main thing I enjoyed is that even though each story is individual, they are all connected and I really enjoyed all of them. I found the character’s engaging and their experiences intriguing and interesting and I had a difficult time putting the book down. Thinking back, I’ve tried to pick a favorite of the three, but it’s nearly impossible. I had empathy for each character and their situation and was invested in their situation from the beginning.

My Final Verdict: Readers looking for a wonderful story to bring out the Christmas cheer and the spirit of the holiday should definitely start here. Though this was my first read by Alison May and the publisher, I hope it won’t be my last.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Christmas Kisses from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

REVIEW: Suddenly Sorceress by Erica Lucke Dean

Title: Suddenly Sorceress (Ivie McKie #1)
Author: Erica Lucke Dean
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: December 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: PMS can be a real witch.

Ivie McKie isn’t your run-of-the-mill kindergarten teacher. After an encounter with a horny goat, followed by a confrontation with her lying, cheating fiancé, Ivie is shocked when the big jerk suddenly transforms into a skunk—the black and white furry variety.

Enlisting the help of her shopaholic friend Chloe and sexy club magician Jackson Blake, Ivie is forced to play a literal game of cat and mouse as she races against the clock to change her ex back before she's arrested for his murder.

With every new spell comes a fresh wave of sexual desire, drawing Jack further into Ivie’s troubles—her panties, the car, the kitchen, and assorted seedy bathrooms along the way.

Ivie soon discovers what every witch worth her spell book knows: There’s nothing worse than a bad case of Post Magical Syndrome.

My Thoughts: The timing for Suddenly Sorceress by new to me author Erica Lucke Dean couldn’t have been more perfect. With Halloween right around the corner, this book caught my attention at an opportune time. It’s a great story to kick off a series about a sorceress who doesn’t know she is a witch until her jerk of an ex-fiancé demands the ring back so he can give it to another woman. Not really sure how it happened but when Ivie comes back to her senses, Matt the Rat is now a skunk…literally.

Now, Ivie is racing around trying to figure out how to change Matt back before the police come knocking. Along the way, she changes him into a snake and a few breeds of dog. There may have been a rat in there somewhere too. I had a hard time keeping it all straight but since he was a creep, I didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about his condition. It seemed that Matt had full awareness of what was happening to him and I really liked that, though he doesn’t show one iota of remorse for the crappy way he has treated Ivie. Personally, she should have left him as a skunk and had Animal Control come and pick him up. He doesn’t deserve to walk upright on two legs.

I really enjoyed this story and the shenanigans Ivie and her BFF get into wrangling help from two magicians. I especially enjoyed the Ivie’s relationship with Jackson. All I will say is that he is not all he appears to be. This story ends on a high note for both Ivie and her BFF (kudos to Chloe for her brilliant Halloween costume idea) and leaves a major segue into the next book.

My Final Verdict: A very good choice for readers wanting a Halloween theme story that will hold their attention with the zany storyline that gave me many laugh out loud moments. Fans of paranormal romance will enjoy the backstory of how Ivie got her powers and the effects using magic has on her.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Suddenly Sorceress from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Sunday, October 06, 2019

REVIEW: Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin

Title: Fairytale Beginnings
Author: Holly Martin
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: July 2015
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: Love is an open door…except when it keeps slamming in your face.

Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming – he’s out there somewhere, isn’t he?

When Milly is given a job to investigate the origins of an historical building in the village of Clovers Rest, she’s not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breath away - a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner…Cameron Heartstone.

As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can’t ignore the intense chemistry building between them. But they’ve both been hurt badly before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily-ever-after?

My Thoughts: Fairytale Beginnings by new to me author Holly Martin was a cute story about a girl who finds her happily ever after in the most unexpected way. Milly is an unusual character; very likable and easy to relate to but she initially comes across to me as immature. She’s obsessed with all things Disney, wears sparkly pink everything and appears to be in over her head with her job assignment. I found Cameron to be very likable and easy to relate to as well but didn’t think he and Milly had an instant chemistry. I honestly struggled with this book because the story seemed to meander without really going anywhere.

Happily things picked up as Milly and Cameron began spending more time together, exploring the castle and grounds and researching the history. The introduction of a ghost, meeting the odd villagers and the arrival of Cruella deVil’s little sister, Olivia reignited my interest. This book took much longer to read than I would have liked, but once it started to pick up, I was locked in with anticipation of what would happen next. Unsolved mysteries, secret passageways leading to God knows where, lost treasure and a beautiful castle that draws the reader in with a subtle magical bippity boppity boo and before I knew it, I was enjoying the story.

Readers who look for a happily ever after in the stories they read will enjoy this offering, once they get past the slow beginning.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Fairytale Beginnings from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, September 03, 2019

REVIEW: Ms. Conception by Jen Cumming

Title: Ms. Conception
Author: Jen Cumming
Publisher: Tryst Books
Publication Date: May 2015
Genre: Chick-Lit / Women’s Fiction
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: Abigail Nichols has tried everything from rash-inducing herbal creams to acupuncture in a desperate, last-ditch effort to get pregnant. Wedged into her iPhone schedule among new business pitches and rebranding design meetings is Abby’s ovulation cycle, along with potential opportunities for illicit afternoon quickies.

With all of their hopes and savings on the table, Abby and her husband Jack enter the whispered world of fertility clinics. Along with a meddling mother-in-law, competitive pregnancies, and constant obligatory sex, Abby’s baby-track mind conspires to ravage her career, her marriage, and her sanity.

One thing she knows for sure: a healthy sense of humor (and the occasional glass of red wine) is the best coping strategy. One thing she wishes she knew: whether it will be enough. Ms. Conception is an honest but light-hearted novel inspired by the ups and downs of fertility treatments and the emotional burden that rests on those trying to conceive.

My Thoughts: Ms. Conception by new to me author Jen Cumming delivers a good story about a woman’s struggle to get pregnant, which parallels the author’s personal experiences in fertility resolutions. Abigail Nichols has always wanted to be a Mother and when the story begins, she and her husband Jack have been trying for a good while, with negative results and increasing frustration. They decide to pull out all the stops and invest an obscene amount of money on the fertility clinic route, where the procedures she has to endure sound horrific and made me question whether it was worth it as there are still disappointments ahead of them.

Eventually Abby does get pregnant despite the struggles she has gone through and for me, the book just fell a little flat. It was still good, and my favorite scene in the book is when Abby is in labor and her domineering and annoying Mother in law shows up in the birthing room! I just felt that for me, once Abby got pregnant, everyone just kind of went, “our work here is done.” I found the story of Abby and Jack’s experiences before she got pregnant more enjoyable as well as the issues Abby is facing at work. It seemed like after she got pregnant, the story sped up and all of that was forgotten and OH HERE, have a promotion……by the way, the promotion is well-deserved, but I had real concerns if Abby would even have a job by the end of the book.

I don’t understand why more attention wasn’t placed on the option of adoption. I think that with so many children in the world without loving parents, it seems a little selfish to me to overlook it because you really want a little girl that has your wife’s eyes, hair, whatever…I would have gotten more enjoyment if Abby and Jack adopted a baby, only to find out they are knocked up with triplets…OK, soapbox has been put away.

Despite all that, I did enjoy this story. Abby’s assistant, Scott, was fabulous and would be a hoot to hang out with. He initially comes across as a great stirrer of the pot and total drama queen, but in the end he has Abby’s back and goes above and beyond for her. I am still shaking my head, however, at the name of Abby’s niece.

My Final Verdict: Readers looking for an interesting and light read centered on a serious issue will enjoy Ms. Conception. The characters are realistic and the subject matter is both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Abby is a real trooper for what she goes through to achieve her dream of motherhood and I can’t help but admire her strength of spirit and tenacity.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Ms. Conception from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, August 24, 2019

REVIEW: Faking It by Leah Marie Brown

Title: Faking It (It Girls #1)
Author: Leah Marie Brown
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: May 2015
Genre: Chick-Lit / Women’s Fiction
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: Haven't you ever told a little lie in the name of love?

Vivia Grant couldn’t be happier. She has her dream job and is about to marry her dream man. Does it really matter that she’s led him to believe she’s a virgin? After all, being in love makes every experience feel like the first time anyway! But an unexpected encounter with an ex-lover is about to expose her embarrassing lie…

When Vivia’s fiancé discovers the truth, he ends their engagement—via text—and uses his connections to get her fired. Unemployed and heartbroken, Vivia begins planning her new future—as a homeless spinster. But her best friend has a better idea. They’ll skip the Ben & Jerry’s binge and go on Vivia’s honeymoon instead. Two weeks cycling through Provence and Tuscany, with Luc de Caumont, a sexy French bike guide. Too bad Vivia’s not a big fan of biking. And she’s abysmal at languages. Will she fib her way through the adventure, or finally learn to love herself—and Luc—flaws and all?

My Thoughts: Faking It by new to me author Leah Marie Brown is a very enjoyable story and the first book in a series. Vivia Perpetua Grant (Holy Mother of God, what is the matter with her Mother to name her that???) has always felt she doesn’t measure up to the ideal expectations of who she should be. She was named after a long-dead saint and as such, should live a life of purity and chastity, or so her Mother thinks. The first problem with that is Vivia enjoys sex; a lot. Though she is far from being a tart, she has been around the block several times. The second problem with that is Vivia feels enormous guilt for her colorful sexual past. The third problem is she has lied to her fiancé and led him to believe she is a virgin. I’m assuming was is the operative word here because I have a hard time believing she has been with Nathan for any length of time and they never slept together. Yeah, I know; semantics.

Unfortunately for Vivia, whether she and Nathan have been physically intimate or not, she allows Nathan to believe he was her first and mere days before their wedding, Vivia runs into a one-night stand from college. Not a big deal, I know, but thanks to his big-mouth friend, all of Vivia’s secrets are exposed. Of course, Nathan doesn’t take it well and ends their engagement, via text! And to add insult to injury, he has her fired! Good job, Nathan, you have won Knob of the Year award.

Vivia’s best friend, Fanny, decides they will go on Vivia’s honeymoon and like the Travelocity Gnome, document all the adventures Vivia’s engagement ring is having in France. What follows is a grand adventure, bicycling through Provence and Tuscany with a really hot Frenchman as their guide.

Any woman having the rug ripped out from under her by love can relate to Vivia. Yes, she shouldn’t have lied, but I had a huge problem with the way Nathan reacted, especially with having her fired. I found that petty and vindictive and for that, I am praying for bowling ball sized kidney stones for that creep. I also had a slight problem with how quickly Vivia moves on to Jean Luc. Rebound romances rarely work and for some make things worse. I was disappointed that Vivia didn’t take more time for herself. Figure out who she is and be OK with that so that she never again has to be someone she isn’t. I mean, that ALWAYS works out, doesn’t it? Vivia hates bicycling so she reverts to old patterns and isn’t truthful about that either. Honestly, it’s her honeymoon, though Nathan the Knob, picked it out, and she should be allowed to honeymoon the way she wants. Her need to be accepted and not disappoint anyone pushes her to do some pretty bizarre things.

Overall, this story ends on a high note and Vivia comes out on top, but there are loose ends that the epilogue didn’t answer for me. I will have to look for the second book in this story to find out what happens between the last chapter and the epilogue. I really liked Fanny and there’s a book for her too in this series.

My Final Verdict: I recommend this very entertaining story to every woman who has been let down by love or who is trying to be someone she isn’t because she doesn’t think she is good enough. Fans of interesting storylines taking place in amazing locales with strong characters will also enjoy this story.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Faking It from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, August 10, 2019

REVIEW: Only When It's Love by Olivia Spring

Title: Only When It’s Love
Author: Olivia Spring
Publisher: Hartley Publishing
Publication Date: February 2019
Genre: Chick-Lit / Women’s Fiction
Buy The Book: Amazon

Description: Alex’s love life is a disaster. Will accepting a crazy seven-step dating challenge lead to more heartbreak or help her find Mr. Right?

Alex is tired of getting ghosted. After years of disastrous hook-ups and relationships that lead to the bedroom but nowhere else, Alex is convinced she’s destined to be eternally single. Then her newly married friend Stacey recommends what worked for her: a self-help book that guarantees Alex will find true love in just seven steps. Sounds simple, right?

Except Alex soon discovers that each step is more difficult than the last, and one of the rules involves dating, but not sleeping with a guy for six months. Absolutely no intimate contact whatsoever. Zero. Nada. Rien. A big challenge for Alex, who has never been one to hold back from jumping straight into the sack, hoping it will help a man fall for her.

Will any guys be willing to wait? Will Alex find her Mr. Right? And if she does, will she be strong enough to resist temptation and hold out for true love?

Join Alex on her roller coaster romantic journey as she tries to cope with the emotional and physical ups and downs of dating whilst following a lengthy list of rigid rules.

Only When It’s Love is a standalone, fun, feel-good, romantic comedy by British author Olivia Spring, about self-acceptance, determination, love and the challenge of finding the one.

My Thoughts: In today’s day and age, Alexandra is a woman most single people can relate to. Looking for and hoping to find “The One.” With a plethora of online dating sites at our finger tips, it should be easy, right? Not so, in Alex’s case. For years, she has experienced one disastrous relationship after another. Alex cannot understand why she is continuously ghosted and is convinced Mr. Right does not exist. When Alex’s married friend shares what worked for her, Alex immediately dismisses it. It’s crazy and will never work. There is NO WAY Alex can go six-months without sleeping with someone she is dating. This self-help book guarantees Alex will find true love if she follows the steps and the six-month abstinence is one of them.

First of all, I was just as skeptical as Alex. I had serious doubts she would find anyone willing to go that long with zero intimate contact. No heavy kissing, petting or any of that other stuff. None of it. Hearken ye back to the 19th century, people, where a chaperone was present when a gentleman was courting a lady. I even asked my husband if he would have waited six months when we started dating. He’s still laughing. My first thought was, “OK, she finds a guy willing to wait and six months later, they become intimate, and it’s complete CRAP! Now what?” That’s six months our Alex will never get back. But, here’s the thing. What does Alex have to lose? If it doesn’t work, she hasn’t lost anything; not really. She’s already wasted loads of time on guys who are ghosting her, so she decides to go for it.

I really enjoyed tagging along with Alex as she embarks on her challenge. Some of the characters she meets, THANK YOU GOD, don’t last beyond that first meet and greet. I won’t go into detail about who she ends up with because that was the best part, so you are going to have to read this book. I adored Alex and related to her and her situation completely. Dating is a precarious precipice and whether you are male or female, the ups and downs can be quite the roller-coaster ride.

My Final Verdict: This witty rom-com will resonate with fans of chick-lit and women’s fiction. Interesting characters and a highly entertaining story will draw the reader in and provide several hours of enjoyment.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Only When It’s Love from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

REVIEW: Straight To Hell by Michelle Scott

Title: Straight to Hell (Lilith Straight #1)
Author: Michelle Scott
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: October 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: The Devil Never Forgets a Deal

I, Lilith Straight, was the woman you always wanted to be. I was married to someone better looking than your husband; we lived in that house you always wanted. Within a year, however, all of that changed. My marriage dissolved, my house burned down, and my job hardly paid the bills. So when I was hit by a car and died, I thought my life couldn’t get any worse. Boy was I wrong.

Hell was not the place I imagined. It was worse. During my brief stay, I learned some disturbing truths about my family. Most worryingly my ancestor’s deal with the devil promising him every female descendent as a succubus.

So these were my options: Life on earth as a soul-sucking seductress. Or death and pass the succubus baton to my sweet little daughter. There was no choice. Welcome to hell on earth, Lilith. Mother, teacher, wanton she-demon.

My Thoughts: I received this book from the publisher via Net Galley and man, oh man, how fortuitous it was that I noticed this book and submitted a request to review it. Never having read anything by this author, I was not familiar with her voice or writing style, but after reading the description of this book, I couldn’t resist. Lilith Straight isn’t the type of woman I would seek out a friendship with. She even puts it quite eloquently, herself. She’s the woman the rest of us want to be. From the better looking husband and amazing home and money out the wazoo, the rest of us peasants can only stand on the sidelines and dream of that kind of life. But then everything changes for Lilith. She loses it all. Husband, house and money all go bye-bye. Can it get any worse? Lilith finds out first hand just how worse it can and does get. Lilith gets hit by a car and dies; oh and then she wakes up in Hell. Still not that bad, you say? Lilith finds out her ancestor made a deal with the Devil and her soul, along with the souls of every female descendant are in service to Hell as a Succubus. The fine print puts Lilith between a rock and a hard place when she learns that if she refuses her assignment, then her young daughter is up next.

This book was a lot of fun. Though Lilith is dealt a very bad hand, she tries to make the best of it, trying to find some balance between her succubus duties and her Mom duties, all while keeping it a secret from her friends and family. Throw in a sexy incubus that Lilith spends a lot of time with and a demon or two, Lilith has her hands full. In case you are wondering how demons shop, this book will show you and trust me, they don’t hit the racks at Ross or Nordstrom!

My Final Verdict: This book was highly entertaining. The plot flowed smoothly and the characters were interesting and easy to relate to. I liked Lilith immediately and couldn’t wait to see what she would do next. She struggles with authority and it will be interesting to find out what is in store for Lilith next.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Straight to Hell from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Followers

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at sharalsbooks@yahoo.com Happy Reading! :o)