Author: Ames

Guest Review: Driven to Temptation by Melia Alexander

Posted July 26, 2016 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Driven to Temptation by Melia AlexanderReviewer: Ames
Driven to Temptation by Melia Alexander
Published by Entangled
Publication Date: June 13, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 200
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three-half-stars

Aidan Ross might be an engineering genius, but people skills? Not this soldier’s forte. Thankfully, a trusted friend is accompanying him to a make-or-break tradeshow…but then a bubbly redhead hops into his truck, claiming to be his new road trip buddy. She’s a gorgeous distraction he can’t afford. Or ignore.

Delaney Harper comes from a family of engineers—male engineers. With several impressive projects under her belt, she’s on a mission to prove she can hang with the big boys, too. But cracking the sexy, closed-off CEO is tougher than she expects…and hotter than she could have imagined.

With the tempting woman disrupting his carefully planned schedule, Aidan can’t focus on the road, much less their upcoming presentation. The future of his company is riding on this trip, and if they’re to land a huge account, he has to keep his head—and his heart—in the game…

Two things ticked my happy reader list with the blurb for this book. A socially awkward hero and a woman trying to make it in a profession that’s previously been dominated by men. And Driven to Temptation lived up to my expectations.

Delaney Harper comes from a family of engineers. Her mother would rather she marry an engineer than be one, but Delaney wants to prove her mother wrong. When her boss gets sick, she jumps at the chance to take his place with Aidan Ross, the co-owner of the company, on a road trip to a conference. Aidan is not good with people and rarely comes into the office. So he doesn’t even recognize Delaney as his employee when she starts loading up his truck. He really doesn’t want her to tag along and the beginning of their road trip only reinforces that feeling. Aidan comes across as a bit anal and his ex-wife called him the Ice King. Despite his awkwardness, Delaney keeps making an effort to get to know him. Eventually Aidan stops seeing Delaney’s actions as annoying (like eating in his truck, stopping to rescue dogs on the highway, etc). He likes how she shakes up his life and even though their schedule has been shot to hell, he can’t deny that its been fun. She even fixes a situation that could have derailed their presentation at the conference they’re attending.

I liked Delaney and Aidan. They complement each other. Delaney is a bit of a tomboy who thinks her looks should have nothing to do with how well of a job she does. She’s quite driven and smart. Her one blind spot is her looks. She’s not a hag, but she doesn’t dress to impress. She’s more comfortable in a t-shirt and jeans. Being an engineer, that’s a more practical outfit than a skirt and heels. And Aidan. He knows people aren’t his strong suit and he can tell what he should do in a given situation but he just can’t (who can’t relate to that?). Delaney’s personality draws him out and he becomes more approachable. Knowing Delaney is his employee, he fights the growing attraction he feels towards her. That obviously doesn’t last and he and Delaney get to know each other very well at the conference.

Because of the ensuing conflict and resolution, I did not have a problem with Delaney being Aidan’s employee. My only quibble with the book was the length. It was a quick 215 pages (according to Entangled’s website) and a lot of story was packed into those pages. I felt that Aidan and Delaney fell for each other a bit quickly but I did not doubt their feelings. I would have liked to have seen that part of the story expanded a little bit. Overall, I enjoyed the characters and the story. There was character growth with both Aidan and Delaney and I like seeing a woman be successful in engineering.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Posted June 21, 2016 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah MorganReviewer: Ames
Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan with Love #1
Also in this series: Sleepless in Manhattan, Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love, #2), Miracle on 5th Avenue, Miracle on 5th Avenue
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: June 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 384
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four-stars

USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan introduces From Manhattan with Love, a sparkling new trilogy about three best friends embracing life—and love—in New York 

Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she's now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than Manhattan? But when Paige loses the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone.

Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother's best friend, New York's most in-demand date and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige's fledgling company a big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever?

I enjoy Sarah Morgan‘s writing and I cannot resist a sibling’s best friend plot. Picking up Sleepless in Manhattan was a win-win on both fronts.

Paige Walker heads into work one morning 100% sure she’s in for a promotion. The last event she organized was a big hit and she knows she’s a hard worker. Except, things don’t quite work out that way. Her dragon-lady of a boss lets her go, citing financial reasons. And things get worse when her two best friends, Eva and Frankie, are also let go. This was Paige’s dream job and she’s despondent. Her older, over-protective brother wants to cheer her up (and check on her) so he ropes his best friend, Jake, into stopping over that evening so they can deal with all 3 ladies. Jake and Paige have an antagonistic relationship. They used to be friends when Paige was a teenager, but when she declared her love for him, he shot her down. He’s been annoying her on purpose ever since. Despite their feelings about each other, Jake is the one who ends up helping Paige get over her loss. He knows Paige’s ultimate dream is to one day be her own boss and he talks her into stepping up the timeline a bit. He offers to help her get her on her feet, financially and with business advice, but Paige is really independent and says no, she wants to do it on her own. But after a few weeks with her new company, Paige still isn’t seeing any big business so she swallows her pride and goes to Jake for help. This has them working close together and brings some of their past issues to the forefront. For example, Jake is such a jerk because he is attracted to Paige, but her brother made him promise to stay away from her. Paige has no clue and even though she denies having feelings for Jake, she still cares about him. Working in close proximity (Jake’s form of help is hiring her new company to throw a party for his company), it isn’t long before they cross that line and get physical. But Jake’s past rears its ugly head when he feels Paige is getting too far under his skin.

I enjoyed Sleepless in Manhattan. I liked the feisty back and forth between Jake and Paige. I liked the circle of friends, Eva, Frankie and Matt. And Paige and Jake. I liked their characters. Paige was so independent and stubborn because of health problems as a child. She was sick of being protected and coddled so her wanting to stick up for herself was understandable and commendable. Jake’s backstory is a bit different. His mother abandoned him when he was young, so he definitely has some issues with love and women. But he was adopted by a great woman named Maria, and I liked her character too. Together? Paige and Jake are awesome. When they first meet, Paige is in the hospital, and Jake was the only one who didn’t treat her like she was fragile. So they had a past as friends. But like I said, things changed when Jake turned Paige down. As adults, Jake has a bit of a player reputation, never dating anyone long term. He’s afraid after he and Paige start hooking up when he’s disregarding his personal rules to make exceptions for her. Of course this leads him to acting like an ass. But I liked how everything was wrapped up and look forward to Sunset in Central Park, book 2 in this series, From Manhattan with Love.

Sleepless in Manhattan was enjoyable with a well rounded cast of characters and a satisfying romance. 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Until It’s Right by Jamie Howard

Posted March 21, 2016 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Until It’s Right by Jamie HowardReviewer: Ames
Until It's Right by Jamie Howard
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Pages: 242
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Goodreads
four-stars

Haley Mitchell is tired of moping. With her broken heart repaired with a thick layer of duct tape, she’s ready to put her ex behind her and move on. After a chance encounter in a club, she’s convinced she’s met Mr. Perfect. But when he accidentally gives her the wrong number, the stranger on the other end of her texts becomes her confidant.

Kyle Lawson has always had more luck with computers than women. So when the new temp, Haley, arrives, he has the misfortune of falling for her, only to land firmly in the friend zone. But when he learns the mysterious woman he’s been texting is actually Haley, he keeps the entire thing a secret.

As things move straight from platonic to decidedly hot, Kyle must come clean about his secret texting identity and risk losing the woman he’s fallen in love with.

Until It’s Right is Jamie Howard’s second book. Although not listed as a series on Goodreads, Until It’s Right and Until We Break are connected. I did not read Until We Break but I felt I got enough of that story from details revealed in Until It’s Right.

Haley goes out dancing one night in an effort to move on from a relationship and she has a moment with a good looking guy. She gets his number but when she texts him a few days later, she realizes she has the wrong number. But the humorous replies of her wrong number pal has her continuing their conversation. Out of a joke they refer to each as Lois and Clark. While this is happening, she also begins a temping job at an office. She quickly becomes friends with the IT guy, Luke. Luke is a cute guy. He is definitely the hot, nerdy type. And Haley is interested. There is definitely a spark between the two of them but Luke is hesitant to make a move because his ex did a number on his self-esteem.

It’s not a spoiler to say since its in the blurb, but Luke figures out that Haley is his mystery texter, Lois. He’s torn as soon as he discovers the truth but circumstances prevent him from telling her the truth at first. And when Haley finally opens up to him and they get closer, he realizes he has even more to lose if Haley finds out who’s on the other end of that wrong number.

I enjoyed Until It’s Right. Haley was a sweet character that was done wrong in the previous book. She has some trust issues with men and even though she feels a spark with Luke, she’s hesitant to open up. That’s why she likes her texting thing with Clark. He’s anonymous and supportive. And Luke was supportive too! Because he was Clark. It was kind of funny when he got jealous of himself. Luke was a great guy. He was that wonderful mix of awkward but hot geek. And he was sweet. He has weekly dinners with his family and he takes Haley along one night when she’s got no plans.

There was character growth for Haley. She thinks she needs to change who she is to be like the type of woman her ex left her for. She needs to come to accept herself, and I believe she does once she hears the truth about what happened with her ex. With the issues that both her and Luke had in regard to exes, there was definitely some crossed wires in the development of their relationship. I enjoyed that because it wasn’t smooth sailing. And then there’s the biggie – Haley obviously has to find out who she’s texting. I thought the author did a good job of how that rolled out. It’s a bit predictable for a conflict but I liked how it was resolved.

If you’re in the mood for a sweet romance, I definitely recommend Until It’s Right. 4 out 5.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Posted February 24, 2016 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Vengeance Road by Erin BowmanReviewer: Ames
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: September 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 330
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When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate.      In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.   

I have to be honest and say this book initially caught my eye because of the cover. I love it!

But then reading the blurb drew me in and made me want to read this book. I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed the movie True Grit and this kind of reminded me of that.

Kate’s path is set for revenge when she comes home one day to find her father murdered and her house on fire. As a child growing up, her father drilled into her head if anything happens to him, she’s to go to “Abe in Wickenburg.” But first Kate has to find out who killed her father then she can go find Abe. After she goes to see Abe she plans on tracking them down the murderer and killing him. When she arrives at Abe’s homestead, she finds out he died, but he also told his children that a girl will be coming to them for help. However, Kate has disguised herself as a boy, so she calls herself Nate Thompson. Abe’s adult sons, Jesse and Will, never thought a Thompson would show up on their doorstep but they do have something for ‘Nate.’ A letter from her father that outlines why he was murdered. Basically it was gold. So Kate heads out but it isn’t long before she realizes she has a tail – Jesse and Will. They claim they’re headed in the same direction for work, they usually do a cattle run and that’s where they’re headed. Kate doesn’t want them at first but when they save each other from a run in with Kate’s father’s murderers – the Rose Riders – Kate decides they can stick around. She doesn’t appreciate the fact she has to continue pretending to be a boy but she can see the benefits to teaming up.

Some crazy hijinks ensue with Kate, Jesse and Will. Eventually the guys figure out she’s a girl (when she gets shot!) and they have quite a few run ins with the Rose Riders before a final showdown. Kate also picks up another straggler, a young Aboriginal woman, who also helps out when things go topsy turvy for this crew.

I enjoyed Vengeance Road. It was like a western road trip that I could easily see made into a movie. It wasn’t a lighthearted story though, Kate has moral dilemmas to face (can she really kill in cold blood?) and there was unexpected losses and a real twist at the end. But she was a strong heroine and I liked that she went after what she thought was right even though several people told her to turn back. She had gumption. This was the first book I read by Erin Bowman but I would definitely read something by her again. I’m glad I picked this book up.

3.75 out of 5

Reading Order

Vengeance Road
Retribution Rails


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Guest Review: Sustained by Emma Chase

Posted September 2, 2015 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Sustained by Emma Chase

sustained
Ames’ review of Sustained by Emma Chase.

A knight in tarnished armor is still a knight.

When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand.

Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be.

Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I’m going to Mommy & Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal’s office.

Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her…and the kids.

And that — that, I know how to do.

Sustained is book 2 in The Legal Briefs series and it can be read as a standalone. However, I read and enjoyed Overruled so if you want to read a quirky book, check it out.

I’ve read a couple Emma Chase titles and she definitely has her own fun style. I’m not sure she’s for everyone but if you like romances from the hero’s POV and he has a snarky internal voice, you should give her a shot. And that’s what we get with Sustained. Jake is a top-notch attorney who defends scumbags and kind of only sees women as a good time. He’s actually a jerk about it. But a scare with one-night stand has him rethinking his slam-bam-thank you ma’am MO and his friends talk him into getting to know a lady before he sleeps with her. First of all, Jake hates that idea. He’s more into instant gratification but he figures he’ll give it a shot. While he’s unsuccessfully trying out the dating scene, he meets Chelsea when he doesn’t have her nephew arrested for theft.

Chelsea’s older brother and his wife died in a horrible car accident, leaving her the legal guardian of six children, ages 14 to 10 months. She was working on her graduate degree and she’s put everything on hold for her family. She’s doing the best she can but these young rascals are definitely keeping her on her toes. The latest incident is Rory trying to steal Jake’s wallet. Jake drops Rory off at home but leaves his card for Chelsea because she’s hot. But Jake gets entangled with Rory again when the youngster steals and crashes a car. Jake understands the grief the children are dealing with and he develops a soft spot for them. But there’s nothing soft about him when it comes to Chelsea. (I couldn’t resist! haha)

Ok, right from when Rory and Jake face off in the street after Jake realizes his wallet is missing, I knew this was going to be a fun book. And it was. A few years ago, if you had asked me if I liked children in my romance, I would have made a face and adamantly said no. Well I am singing a new tune! I loved Chelsea’s nieces and nephews. They were quite precocious and I like how they had Jake wrapped around their sticky fingers in no time. I laughed at their antics and I thought the way the romance played out was quite sweet too. Although this family is dealing with their grief, the book didn’t feel too heavy. And Jake grows as a character by the end of the book. He goes from a man who is very career focused and doesn’t want anything holding him back to a great guy. A knight in tarnished armor. I liked his transformation and I really enjoyed the characters. I don’t say much about Chelsea, but she’s strong. A 26 year old taking on six kids? She’s kick ass too.

Overall, I recommend Sustained. It was a touching but funny story. Thoroughly satisfying.

4.25 out of 5.

This book is available from Gallery. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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