Author: tamaramorning

Book Review and Blog Tour:   The Sweetest Thing, by Sasha Summers

Image belongs to Harlequin.

Title:    The Sweetest Thing
Author:    Sasha Summers
Genre:    Romance
Rating:  DNF

A stolen family recipe has all the ingredients to turn a rivalry into romance…

For Tansy Hill, nothing is sweeter than honey from her farm—except maybe revenge on the man who broke her heart and humiliated her all those years ago. Dane “The Viking” Knudson has been Tansy’s rival since childhood, and though he’s grown into a frustratingly handsome charmer, he’s also standing between her and the best honey award at the Honey Bee Festival, which Honey Hill Farms desperately needs to stay afloat.

Fanning the sparks that have forever flown between them, the competition is on. Sure, Tansy and Dane have plenty in common—more than they’ll admit—but Dane’s plans to expand Viking Honey are also on the line. When buried family secrets come to light, they’ll have to decide whether taking a chance on each other is worth risking the happiness they’ve been longing for.

I read 15% of this before putting it down. Enemies-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, but when the characters involved are petty, hateful, and just rude and unpleasant, it’s a hard no for me. I don’t actually care if they fall in love because I can’t stand reading about them.

Sasha Summers lives in Texas. The Sweetest Thing is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour:   An Affair at Stonecliffe, by Candace Camp

Image belongs to Harlequin.

Title:    An Affair at Stonecliffe
AuthorCandace Camp  
Genre:    Romance
Rating:  4 out of 5

Noelle Rutherford will never be accepted by the London ton. Her late husband, Adam—a free-spirited aristocrat with bohemian tendencies—married her for love, much to the dismay of his well-heeled family.

In the wake of Adam’s death, Noelle is approached by Carlisle Thorne, who was raised as a brother to Adam. Noelle is horrified when the severe, irascible Carlisle offers her money in exchange for taking her young son, Gil, to be raised at the Rutherford estate, Stonecliffe.

Convinced that Carlisle will use any means necessary to take Gil from her, Noelle flees, hiding from Carlisle and the Rutherfords for five long years. But Carlisle never stopped looking for them.

When he finally catches up, it’s clear that each has made wrongful assumptions about the other, and grudging mutual respect gives way to a close bond that is both lively and tender.

And when Noelle and Gil find themselves in danger from someone after Gil’s inheritance, she and Carlisle must work together to protect what matters most—even if it means losing their hearts.

I really liked Noelle, and I enjoyed this read. I liked the mystery running through it, and all the supporting characters were well-done and intriguing. The characterization, as Noelle and Carlisle go from being enemies to lovers was fun to read, and this was a sweet story with a vein of strength and attitude through it.

Candace Camp is a bestselling author. An Affair at Stonecliffe is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour:   Sweet Home Alaska, by Jennifer Snow

Image belongs to Harlequin.

Title:   Sweet Home Alaska
Author Jennifer Snow  
Genre:    Romance
Rating:  3.5 out of 5

Skylar Beaumont never wanted to return to Alaska. Still, when duty calls, she can’t refuse. And, as a third-generation “Coastie” and the only female captain in the local coast guard, she has too much to prove. Being stationed in her hometown of Port Serenity isn’t ideal—but she’ll tough it out until her transfer goes through and she can move on to warmer waters. That’s the plan, at least, until she crashes into Dex Wakefield. Again.

Shocked to see his secret high school sweetheart after all this time, Dex can’t help but wonder if he should finally come clean. Skylar deserves to know the real reason why he abandoned the dream they’d shared—and broke her heart. But this small tourist town is home to one big grudge where their families are concerned… And leaving the past behind might be the only way Dex and Skylar will finally realize that their first love deserves a sweet second chance.

Usually, I enjoy linked standalone romance series, especially in a small-town setting, but this one was just alright. I didn’t hate it, but maybe it just wasn’t a good fit for me. There was too much of the no communication thing, when everything would have been easily solved with a few words, and that just gets on my nerves. And…what about the loose thread of the mythical sea snake? It’s probably a series thread, but some sort of resolution with these characters would have been good, instead of just dropping the thread and ignoring it.

Jennifer Snow is an award-winning author. Sweet Home Alaska is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review:   Kagen the Damned, by Jonathan Maberry

Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Title:    Kagen the Damned
Author:    Jonathan Maberry
Genre:    Fantasy
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Sworn by Oath

Kagen Vale is the trusted and feared captain of the palace guard, charged with protection the royal children of the Silver Empire. But one night, Kagen is drugged and the entire imperial family is killed, leaving the empire in ruins.

Abandoned by the Gods

Haunted and broken, Kagen is abandoned by his gods and damned forever. He becomes a wanderer, trying to take down as many of this enemies as possible while plotting to assassinate the usurper–the deadly Witch-king of Hakkia. While all around him magic–long banished from the world—returns in strange and terrifying ways.

Fueled by Rage

To find the royal children and exact his vengeance, Kagen must venture into strange lands, battle bizarre and terrifying creatures, and gather allies for a suicide mission into the heart of the Witch-king’s empire.

Kings and gods will fear him.

This book took me a long time to read. Like, two entire weeks. The different cultures were so vivid and realistic, and I very much enjoyed that part of the story. The first third or so seemed to drag on a bit, although I liked Kagen enough to keep reading. I liked Tuke and his colorful language the most, though. Kagen spent a solid amount of time drinking himself into oblivion and feeling sorry for himself, so he kind of got on my nerves at times. I’d definitely keep reading this series though, just to find out how it all plays out.

Jonathan Maberry is a bestselling author. Kaen the Damned is his newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review:   Herrick’s End, by T. M. Blanchet

Image belongs to Tiny Fox Press.

TitleHerrick’s End  
Author:  T. M. Blanchet  
Genre:    Fantasy
Rating:  4 out of 5

You did nothing. You were nothing. And so, you shall remain here, until the end of your days. As nothing.

Ollie’s only friend disappeared a few days ago, and now, he’s frantic to find her. But he doesn’t have much to go on until a mysterious note arrives which reads: “Still looking for your friend? I know where she is.” Unfortunately for Ollie, the trail leads to the last place he’d ever expect.

Somewhere dark.

Somewhere deep.

The kind of place where magic spills like blood, vengeance is merciless, and escape seems all but impossible.

Worse still, it soon becomes clear that someone-or something-was expecting him.

Now, time is running out.

If Ollie has any hope of ever seeing home again, he’s going to have to summon every last scrap of courage, smarts, and tenacity he can find. And none of it will matter if he can’t get some help. Fast.

Because Ollie might not know much about the vast underworld that’s ensnared him, but he does know this: He’ll never make it out alone.

I enjoyed this read. I found it creative and unique, if a little dark. I liked Ollie a lot, and I was fully invested in everything he went through. I thought the setting was great, and I’d definitely be interested in reading more set in this world—especially with Ollie.

T. M. Blanchet is a former reporter, editor, and columnist. Herrick’s End is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Tiny Fox Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review:   It Could Be Anyone, by Jaime Lynn Hendricks

Image belongs to Penzler Publishers.

Title It Could Be Anyone  
AuthorJaime Lynn Hendricks  
Genre:    Thriller
Rating:  3.0

To anyone on their flight out of New York, they appear to be five best friends excited for a destination wedding in Miami. No one would guess that each of them has a reason to want the groom dead.

Trevor Vaughn, the groom in question, wooed his bride-to-be by first becoming close with her friends—which is to say that he learned all of the five’s darkest, most dangerous secrets and blackmailed them into convincing Fiona to say “I do.” The friends were forced to convince a doubting Fiona to go through with the wedding, no matter what, and now the charade is set to continue all the way to the altar.

Trevor has his own reasons for wanting to marry into Fiona’s family, and he’ll stop at nothing to make his plan a reality. But when he dies of an apparent allergic reaction at the wedding, surrounded by such close enemies, the possibility of murder isn’t far behind. And for the authorities investigating the case, anyone present could be a suspect…

To be honest, the only reason I finished reading this was because it was a quick read. None of this group of friends were likable people—they’d all done horrible, selfish things in the past—and present—and frankly, they made my skin crawl. Trevor is also a horrible person, so I didn’t feel too bad knowing he ended up dead. The writing was solid, but the blurb is a bit misleading, considering the “investigation” into Trevor’s murder was barely mentioned at all in the actual book.

Jaime Lynn Hendricks lives in New Jersey. It Could Be Anyone is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Penzler Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Part of Your World, by Abby Jimenez

Image belongs to Forever.

Title:    Part of Your World
Author:    Abby Jimenez
Genre:    Romance
Rating:  5 out of 5

After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable.

While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people.

Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?

I have to tell you:  this book made me laugh out loud many times. The dry wit, the easy banter, the sheer chutzpah of some of these characters was an absolute joy to read. I think I started laughing out loud about three minutes in, and it really never totally stopped. I binge-read the entire thing in one late-night sitting. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up immediately. Your abs will thank you.

Abby Jimenez is a bestselling author. Part of Your World is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Forever in exchange for an honest review.)