Monday, September 18, 2017

Early Review of Acting on Impulse (Love on Cue #1) by Mia Sosa

Title: Acting on Impulse
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Love on Cue (Book 1)
Format: Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse (October 31, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062690345
ISBN-13: 978-0062690340
Author's Website:
Notes:  All quotes need to be checked against final copy as they are subject to change. I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Tori was just dumped by her boyfriend--not in person, not by phone, and not by text messaging, but very publicly during an interview on a talk radio show. When asked if there was anyone special in his life he'd responded, "No", and then announced he was taking a "breather" from the dating scene.  Angry, upset, and desperate to get away, she books a last minute trip to Aruba giving herself some time to relax. recover, and reflect on the whole relationship. While there she meets Carter. She's sworn off men decreeing them off-limits, at least for the moment, but there's something about Carter that draws her to him.

Carter Stone just finished filming his first movie, and he's in the worst shape of his life. He looks like an emaciated version of Grizzly Adams. He's come to Aruba to relax and begin gaining back the weight he lost for the role he played. At present he doesn't look like the TV heart throb that he is and that suits him just fine. The weight loss and beard have taken their toll on him, but he likes the anonymity it affords him. When he meets an attractive woman who is just his type, however, it makes his pursuit of her all that more difficult as his is not the only eye she's caught at the resort. She's gonna make him work for her attention...
This was a sweet, humorous, and sexy story. I was intermittently laughing, chuckling, and grinning while reading. I liked Carter from the start. He's knows what he wants and is patient and determined enough to wait for it. Tori, on the other hand, is skittish and wary of him at the beginning, but as she gets to know him she slowly, oh, so slowly, starts to warm to his pursuit.

Tori was a strong, confident and smart young women who values her privacy. When she learns Carter's true identity she's torn. On the one hand she feels something stirring between them, on the other she doesn't want to end up being known as one of his many conquests. Carter has his work cut out for him because Tori has no wish for a casual relationship. I actually liked that about her, and Carter has to convince her he's in it for the long haul.

Carter is the type of guy almost every woman falls for. He's sweet, thoughtful, and funny all wrapped up in a gorgeous package. He's the type of guy who has plenty of acquaintances, but few friends--by design. He's learned to be slightly wary of people because many have tried to use his stardom to further their own agendas over the years. Since he doesn't look like himself, given his present appearance, he feels free to open himself up to Tori, and lets her see the real Carter--Carter Williamson--not the made up persona of actor Cater Stone. While she makes him jump through hoops and leads him on a merry chase, he believes she's worth it because he sees something special in her right from the start.

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. It was cute, fun, witty and a most enjoyable read. The characters were easy to relate to and well rounded. The story had a steady pace and kept my interest from start to finish. A lovely debut by author Mia Sosa. I look forward to reading more books by her in the future. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a SHOWER rating--a cold shower is necessary (need I say more?). Some books should come with a warning - make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order. lol

Monday, September 11, 2017

Early Review of The Way to London: A Novel of World War II by Alix Rickloff

Title: The Way to London: A Novel of World War II
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 19, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062433202
ISBN-13: 978-0062433206
Author's Website:
Notes: I received and eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Lucy Stanhope is a spoiled debutante living the good, but boring life in Singapore as World War II encroaches upon its shore. Just months before all hell breaks loose, her mother banishes her to England to live with her estranged aunt as punishment for her total disregard for priority and for almost sabotaging her stepfather's business deal. As the ship makes its way to England, however, it's torpedoed, and so begins a journey that will test her inner strength and beliefs ultimately changing her life forever.
This was a lovely journey of self discovery. When we first meet Lucy she is a self indulgent young woman desperate for attention, but who goes about getting it in all the wrong ways--sometimes to the point of recklessness. She's always felt a bit like an outsider, constantly being moved from one place to another and never setting down any roots. With no immediate plans for the future and constantly trying to gain her mother's approval and affections, she tends to act out and do what she wants. While not happy about going to England, she hopes she'll somehow manage to find her place in the world. When a chance encounter with a Hollywood producer suggests he could make her a star, she really think much of the offer. As the idea begins to take root, she sets her sights on being "discovered" as she suspects Hollywood might be her ticket to getting her what she wants. Her mother would no longer be able to deny her existence and maybe, just maybe, be happy to lay claim to her.

Bill is a young boy whom Lucy befriends. Separated from his mother during the evacuation program set up to save London's youth during the worst of London's air raids, Bill is equally ignored and frequently finds himself in trouble. In Bill, Lucy finds a kindred spirit often times seeing bit of herself in him. Right from the start, the two get along swimmingly. Together they decide to venture into the war torn region of London--one in search of his mother, the other for a shot at stardom.

Lucy is more than she first appears. As the story progresses, we watch her grow as an individual and find herself right before our eyes. Instead of trying to do things that will get her mom to notice her, she starts trying to figure out what she wants. She begins to wonder what would make her happy. That's a luxury that until recently she really had no control over. As she makes her way to London with Bill, she loses her prickly disposition and begins to open up to life, love, and all the possibilities that exist..

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It hooked me at the get-go and kept my attention. I hadn't a clue what to expect with this one, but it was intermittently funny, witty, and serious. I enjoyed the multifaceted characters, and felt as if I'd stepped through a portal back in time. I'm not sure taking a young boy back to London in the middle of a war zone was the wisest of decisions, but I enjoyed the journey and story nevertheless. I'll definitely be reading more books by this author in the near future.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Early Review of Escape to You (Montana Heat, #1) by Jennifer Ryan

Title: Montana Heat: Escape to You
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Romance Suspense
Series:  Montana Heat (Book 2)
Format: Hardcover; 320 pages
Publisher: Avon (August 29, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062697196
ISBN-13: 978-0062697196
Author's Website:
Notes: This one does include violence towards women, so be aware. I received an ARC from the publisher at RWA. All quotes need to be checked against the final version as they are subject to change prior to publication. All errors involving quotes are most likely my own.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ashley Swan disappeared a little under a year ago from the Hollywood spotlight. She was at the height of her career and still climbing after winning her first of what many predicted would be many Oscars. With no evidence of foul play or anything to suggest she'd met her end, many believed she simply gave it all up and walked away. But when Ashley Swan stumbles onto the property of a DEA agent in the middle of a snow storm severely under dressed with a young boy in tow the truth of what really happened begins to unfold. She did not walk away. She was kidnapped.

Now trying to reclaim her life with the help of Beck, she'll need to make sure the man who kidnapped her doesn't get away with it. For the man who took her has powerful friends in high places, and enough dirt on many others that getting charges to stick on him will be very difficult.
Escape to You is the first in the Montana Heat series and a spin-off from her Montana Men series. DEA Special Agents Caden and Beck "Trigger" Cooke first make an appearance in Stone Cold Cowboy. Caden's story can be found in the Montana Heat prequel novella, Protected by Love. This story, of course, contains Beck's.

This was a roller coaster ride of a read. There were twists and turns, highs and lows, and just when you thought you knew everything that was going on, another layer of the story is revealed. There is a lot going on in this one and it makes for a very addictive and suspenseful read.

Ashley is a very strong and brave young woman who feels like a shell of her former self. She'd been touted as one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. Now she looks like she could play the starring role on The Walking Dead without any makeup. When she sees a means to escape from her captor, however, she doesn't hesitate to take the young boy who was held captive with her along. Considering she has to carry the boy a good portion of the way in her condition, that says a lot about her character.

Beck, just came off of an undercover assignment that went terribly wrong, and is in hiding from those he attempted to bring down. He's hoping to stay out of the spotlight, and when Ashley tells him her story, he realizes they need to be very careful how they handle things. Ashley is afraid the media will twist things on her and make her out to be the villain. If the charges against her kidnapper don't stick, she'll forever be looking over her shoulder wondering if he's out there somewhere planning to come after her once again.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. It had all the things I look for in a good romantic suspense novel. I loved the chemistry between the two main character, the drama of the situation, the suspense from not knowing if the kidnapper would be caught, and all the twists and turns Ms. Ryan threw in between. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a FAN rating--the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice. I highly recommend this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Order of the Montana Heat series:

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Early Review of Dirty Dancing at Devil's Leap (Hellcat Canyon #3) by Julie Anne Long

Title: Dirty Dancing at Devil's Leap
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hellcat Canyon (Book 3)
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (August 29, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062672886
ISBN-13: 978-0062672889
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes need to be checked against the final version as they are subject to change prior to publication. All errors involving quotes are most likely my own.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Avalon Harwood was on top of the world. She'd help create a new game that became one of the hottest selling gaming apps on the market. It led to the start of a new company and kept a significant amount of money in her bank account.  Just as she thought life couldn't get any better, her world came crashing down around her. She found her long term boyfriend and co-creator of GradYouAte in bed with another woman.

Trying to get her emotions in check, she runs home to Hellcat Canyon where she makes the impulsive decision to purchase a house that she's loved from little on. The house was put up on the auction block and she paid a pretty penny for it. Then she finds out the person she'd been bidding against was one of the house's previous residents--a guy she'd once had the biggest crush on, Maximilian “Mac” Coltrane. She also finds out he happens to be her new neighbor.

He's hoping to convince her to move out.
She's got other plans.
And so a battle of the wills, wit, and pranks ensues...
This was the third book in the Hellcat Canyon series and it can be read as a standalone. Other than taking place in Hellcat Canyon, the previous two books don't really come into play with this story which primarily focuses on the two main characters, Mac and Avalon.

This was a book that reminded me a little of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. The way these two tried to out do each other with their pranks and to force the other's hand was too funny. It was a battle of will, wits, and pranks that had me giggling and laughing throughout the book. It also allowed you a little insight into each of their characters. While the pranks left me shaking my head, they weren't mean spirited only deceptively devious mostly in a hilarious way.

Avalon Harwood is a smart and strong young woman who is emotionally distraught when she comes home. Her feud with Maximilian “Mac” Coltrane comes at just the right time. It lets her focus on something other than her heart ache. The fact that he's a gorgeously handsome man and that she is extremely attracted to him helps even more.

Mac has issues of his own. The family everyone thought to be so perfect really wasn't. His father is presently residing in jail. His brother and he seldom speak, and all of that has had a profound affect on him. He's gone back home to find himself. Avalon will unwittingly help him.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. I enjoyed observing the banter, shenanigans, flirting, and chemistry going on between this couple. I liked watching what started as a mutual indifference for one another turn into one hot, steamy, and meaningful relationship. Plus, the grand gesture at the end won over my heart. While the beginning was more emotionally charged than some might like, I loved how Avalon handled herself and coped with everything. Additionally one of the last things she says to her ex had me grinning from ear to ear. I'd quote it, but I'd be getting into spoiler territory. On the Lisarenee Romance Reading Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I loved it and highly recommend this one.

Order of the Hellcat Canyon series:

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Early Review of Love Will Always Remember (Shades of Love #3) by Tracey Livesay

Title: Love Will Always Remember
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Shades of Love
Format: eBook
Print Length: 257 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse (August 29, 2017)
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
ASIN: B01GZS3624
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes need to be checked against the final version as they are subject to change prior to publication. All errors involving quotes are most likely my own.

Leighton Clarke is engaged to Thomas Moran. Together they hope to become one of  D.C.'s power couples. The only problem is that Leighton finds herself in the uncomfortable position of being extremely attracted to his younger brother, Jonathan. She manages to reign in her attraction, but when an accident leaves her with amnesia, things get complicated because Jonathan tells the hospital staff he is her fiance so she won't be alone...

"Leighton is in a coma, With a swollen. Brain." He emphasized the pertinent words, in case his brother hadn't initially understood their importance.(...) 

"I can't. The new system needs to be in place before the end of the fiscal year." 

"They can have someone else handle it."

"If they send someone else, I can kiss this partnership goodbye. I've given that firm ten years of my life. That partnership is mine."

"Your fiance is here, fighting for her life. You need to be here with her. Helping her. Not in London."

"Leighton knows how crucial this assignment is. I'll get valuable face time with some of the partners. She'll understand."

"How can she understand? I don't understand."

Love Will Always Remember is the third book in the Shades of Love series and it can be read as standalone. While the couples from the previous book make an appearance, their stories are self contained and no spoilers from the previous two are revealed in this one. You can go back and read them later and not feel like you know everything already.

This was a sweet and sexy take on While You Were Sleeping but with some major plot twists. At first I had some apprehensions about a woman falling for her fiance's brother, but quickly realized that Thomas and Leighton's relationship isn't as it should be. Thomas is too self involved and a marriage between the two is destined to fail. His reaction to Leighton's accident put the exclamation point on that sentiment.

The contrast between Jonathan and Thomas was interesting. Both are successful and smart, but their priorities and personalities differ drastically. Thomas' career comes before all else while for Jonathan those he cares for come first. I found it interesting that Leighton was attracted to these two similar yet very different men.

Leighton is a very complex individual. We find out early that she's changed a lot in the past several years. Because of her amnesia she's able to do something that few, if any, of us are ever able to do; look at her life from a different perspective--that of her six years younger self. What she sees disturbs her. As the mystery of how she went from who she was to who she became is revealed, we gain a deeper understanding of her relationships and choices. I loved how she managed to get a second chance at being the person she truly wanted to be.

Overall I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I loved how Ms. Livesay was able to capture how those people we trust and care about the most can have a profound affect on us. They help shape and mold us into who we are and who we'll become. How sometimes their decisions can make us question, sometime even alter, our own beliefs and choices, but not always in a good or positive way. I think this is my favorite book so far by Ms. Livesay. I loved the hidden depth flowing beneath the storyline. On the Lisarenee Romance Reading Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Order of the Shades of Love series:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Early Review of Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1) by Scott Reintgen

Title: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad)
Classification: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: The Nyxia Triad
Format: Hardcover; 384 pages
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (September 12, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0399556796
ISBN-13: 978-0399556791
Author's Website: n/a
Notes: I received an eARC loan from Penguin Random House's First to Read program. Thank you.

Sixty-three years ago Babel Communications discovered a habitable planet they dubbed Eden. The planet, however, was already inhabited by a race they named the Adamites. The planet contains a rare substance called nyxia. Nyxia can be manipulated into just about anything the mind can imagine without much more than a mere thought. Babel Communications has found a number of ways to use the substance, and it has secretly become the most valuable resource in the world. Their mission is to harvest as much of this material as possible. The only problem is the Adamites don't take too kindly to strangers, but Babel thinks they've found a way around this.

 Adamites revere children and young people because they are no longer able to produce any offspring of their own. The reason is most likely that there are no more females left on the planet. Emmett Atwater is one of ten youths chosen to, according to Babel Communications, be at the forefront of the most serious space exploration known to mankind. He and his fellow recruits are told the results of their mission will change the outlook for our entire species.

From the start, however, Emmett has reservations regarding the mission. All the teens selected come from low income households. Then there's the little matter of the way he was picked for the program. Emmett never applied for the position, Babel Communications approached him through his school. As the mission gets closer and closer to Eden, he begins to see things that make him question things.

The stakes are high.
The rules keep changing.
Not all will survive.
And only 8 will be chosen to ultimately complete the mission.
This was a fun book that had something I'd like to see more of--a black protagonist. The young adult class of books appears to have overlooked a huge audience and we need more young adult black heroes, both female and male. There's a missed opportunity here and I'd like to see the gaping hole in this classification filled. It's long overdue, and I hope this is the first of many more such books to come.

Emmett is a smart, streetwise, observant, and adaptable young man. As he tries to fit in and earn as many points as he can to qualify as one of the lucky 8 to be chosen to be part of Babel Communications exploration team, we see him grow as an individual. He also manages to collect a few friends and enemies along the way. The selection process tests each candidate's survival and adaption skills, but quickly changes from a regular competition into something much more ugly and deadly. I can't help but feel the competition was meant to be a distraction under the guise of a teaching and selection tool, but we'll have to wait and see if this ends up to be the case.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. The story contained an intriguing mix of elements reminiscent of Ender's Game, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Avatar while managing to stay uniquely its own. I'm curious what the next book has in store because just before the group reaches its final destination, Eden, the book ends. I can't wait to find out more about the Adamites and what Bable Communications is hiding. I'm positive there's going to be a lot of twists and turns thrown at us in the next book. I, for one, can't wait. An excellent debut for a talented new writer. I highly recommend this one.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Early Review of The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare

Title: The Duchess Deal
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Girl Meets Duke
Format: Hardcover; 288 pages
Publisher: Avon (August 22, 2017)
ISBN-10: 006269720X
ISBN-13: 978-0062697202
Author's Website:
Notes: I received a copy of the ARC at the annual RWA conference in Orlando.

Once upon a time a young seamstress, down-on-her-luck, decided to take matters into her own hands. She put on the wedding dress that had been ordered but never paid for, marched into her client's ex-fiance's house, and demanded payment. Little did she know the man, a Duke, would make her a  proposition--one she'd find she couldn't refuse...

 "Here is your choice, Miss Gladstone. I can pay you the two pounds, three shillings." (...) "Or," he said, "I can make you a duchess."
This is an example of Tessa Dare at her finest.The Duke of Ashbury, was injured during the war. He bears most of his battle scars on his face and many have trouble meeting his gaze as they are unable to see past his scars. Since returning from the war he's lost his fiance, become a recluse, and moonlights in the evening as a vigilante earning himself the moniker 'the Monster of Mayfair'. He knows a love match is not in his future so when Emily Gladstone barges into his study and doesn't cower, isn't appalled by his appearance, appears to be of genteel background, and is rather pretty, even in the horrendously gaudy gown his former fiance chose, he decides she's the one that he wants.

Emily is a strong young woman and a talented seamstress. For six years she's had to fend for herself and has done rather well considering her circumstances. When the duke makes his offer she doesn't immediately accept thinking it to be some kind of ruse to make her his mistress. When he persists in his pursuit, she finally takes him seriously, but timid she is not. She gives as good as she gets and doesn't let him get away with bullying her. She challenges him every step of the way and slowly coaxes and lures him out of his self imposed isolation and back into the land of the living.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. It was a deliciously sweet and sexy romance that had elements reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast. It's a book about seeing beyond the facade one presents to the world and seeing into the heart and soul of the individual who lurks beneath. I loved the way Emily handled Ash and the way she gently teased and coaxed the beast right out of him. While he tried not to show it, Ash had a lot of pent up anger and emotions he needed to work through. In some ways he mourned the loss of who he used to be. It took Emily to show him that he still had much to live for and while his outside appearance might have changed he was still the same man on the inside. I absolutely adored this one. On the Lisarenee Romance Reading Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I very much enjoyed this one.

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