Tag: Ames Reviews

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 / 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
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: June 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
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
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 242
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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, Historical
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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Five Books Everyone Should Read: Guest Reviewer Ames

Posted October 18, 2015 by Holly in Features | 2 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

Today our very own guest reviewer Ames shares her list of Five Books. Ames and I tend to have similar taste and I’m seeing a lot of wonderful goodness on this list. max


I don’t like making decisions, like the best of or my most favorite. I like to keep my options open. So I was thinking with this list of 5 Books Everyone Should Read would be focused on the books I turn to whenever I’m in a reading slump. But the more I thought about it, I’ve read some stellar books that I can recall like I read them yesterday that I’ve never re-read. So my list of 5 books are a mix of those books that really touched me and had a long-lasting effect and those that I turn to when I need to jumpstart my reading mojo.

Because its like choosing a favorite child, these are in no particular order.

almost like being in loveAlmost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger

A high school jock and nerd fall in love senior year, only to part after an amazing summer of discovery to attend their respective colleges. They keep in touch at first, but then slowly drift apart.

Flash forward twenty years.

Travis and Craig both have great lives, careers, and loves. But something is missing …. Travis is the first to figure it out. He’s still in love with Craig, and come what may, he’s going after the boy who captured his heart, even if it means forsaking his job, making a fool of himself, and entering the great unknown. Told in narrative, letters, checklists, and more, this is the must-read novel for anyone who’s wondered what ever happened to that first great love.

Nath introduced to me this author and for that I am eternally grateful. I am not a big fan of epistolary novels but this book is the ultimate. Memos, letters, journals – Kluger uses all these different forms of communicating to tell an awesome story about two boys who fell in love in high school and the journey to reunite after twenty years apart. I laughed and I cried. The author also uses this format in My Most Excellent Year and Last Days of Summer and I highly recommend those two books as well. Read this book, you won’t regret it!

dragon bound by thea harrisonDragon Bound by Thea Harrison

Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder races.

Holly had recommended this novel to me a few times before she held me hostage and forced me to read it. I could have kicked myself for not reading it sooner. But I think I more than made up for it by the amount of times I’ve read it. haha Also, I was so in love with Pia and Dragos that I could not read the next book in the series for years. Nothing could top this ultimate power couple for me and to this day I love Pia and Dragos.

count to tenCount to Ten by Karen Rose

In all his years in the Chicago Fire Department, Lieutenant Reed Solliday ahs never experienced anything like this recent outbreak of house fires – devastating, vicious and in one case, homicidal. He has another problem – his new partner, Detective Mia Mitchell. She’s brash, bossy, and taking the case in a direction he never imagined.

Mia’s instincts tell her the arsonist is making this personal. And as the infernos become more deadly, one look at the victims’ tortured faces convinces her and Reed that they must work closer to catch the killer. With each new blaze, the villain ups the ante, setting firetraps for the people Reed and Mia love. The truth is almost too hot to handle: This monster’s desire for death and destruction is unquenchable … and for Mia he’s started the countdown to an early grave.

Here’s another one that Nath recommended. I wasn’t too keen to read it at first because I don’t like romantic suspense but there’s something about this book that works for me on so many levels. Mia is a kick-ass detective and Reed is an uber hot investigator for the fire department. The romance is extremely well woven around the mystery (of an arsonist/murderer). This book is the perfect balance between suspense and romance.

bet meBet Me/Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie

Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes, and keep him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.

But Fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they’re dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all-true love.

Out of all the Jennifer Crusie books I’ve read, I could honestly only narrow it down to these two. I can’t pick, both really are my favorites. Reading one leads me into reading the other. Crazy for You features a friends-to-lovers plot with a cute rescue dog that I absolutely love. Did I mention friends-to-lovers is my favorite romance plot? And then Bet Me has delicious Cal and a cat that loves Elvis and a prickly heroine who loves good shoes. I love that Min doesn’t apologize for who she is. And Cal…swoon. crazy for you

On Wednesday, Quinn McKenzie changes her life. On Thursday, she tries to get somebody to notice. On Thursday night, somebody does.

Quinn McKenzie is dating the world’s nicest guy, she has a good job as a high school art teacher, she’s surrounded by family and friends who rely on her, and she’s bored to the point of insanity. But when Quinn decides to change her life by adopting a stray dog over everyone’s objections, everything begins to spiral out of control. Now she’s coping with dognapping, breaking and entering, seduction, sabotage, stalking, more secrets than she really wants to know, and two men who are suddenly crazy . . . for her.

the winter roseThe Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

It has been twelve years since a dark, murderous figure stalked the alleys and courts of Whitechapel. And yet, in the summer of 1900, East London is still poor, still brutal, still a shadow city to its western twin. Among the reformers is an idealistic young woman named India Selwyn-Jones, recently graduated from medical school. With the help of her influential fiancé–Freddie Lytton, an up-and-coming Liberal MP–she works to shut down the area’s opium dens that destroy both body and soul. Her selfless activities better her patients’ lives and bring her immense gratification, but unfortunately, they also bring her into direct conflict with East London’s ruling crime lord–Sid Malone.
India is not good for business and at first, Malone wants her out. But against all odds, India and Sid fall in love. Different in nearly every way, they share one thing in common–they’re both wounded souls. Their love is impossible and they know it, yet they cling to it desperately. Lytton, India’s fiancé, will stop at nothing to marry India and gain her family’s fortune.
Fractious criminal underlings and rivals conspire against Sid. When Sid is finally betrayed by one of his own, he must flee London to save his life. Mistakenly thinking him dead, India, pregnant and desperate, marries Freddie to provide a father for hers and Sid’s child. India and Sid must each make a terrible sacrifice–a sacrifice that will change them both forever. One that will lead them to other lives, and other places . . . and perhaps–one distant, bittersweet day–back to each other.

The Winter Rose blew me away as I was reading it. India is a female doctor in a time when women were typically not going to university (right before WWI). She decides to work for those living in poverty and gets involved with Sid, a crime boss in London. This was a time of great change in England and India was affected by it all. She’s torn between her noble family and the family she makes for herself in the slums. I like how all these plots were intertwined and India and Sid were gripping characters that I was rooting for right to the end. I won’t lie, it made me cry. A beautiful book.

I hope sharing these books with you piques your interest if you haven’t read any yet. I found it hard to limit myself to these five. I think I could add a couple more. Maybe I’ll come back with another five books in a couple of weeks! LOL Now I’m off to reread one of them…

About Ames:

I’m just a girl, living in her bookish world. With two awesome sidekicks, Maximus and She-Ra.

Visit her on the web: Bookish Ames | Twitter | Goodreads

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