Audio Review: Sugar Rush (Cupcake Club, Book 1) by Donna Kauffman

sugar rushHero: Baxter Dunne is Chef Hot Cakes and Leilani’s former boss. When she left his restaurant Baxter realized he needed her in his life and not just for her cooking, but the woman herself. So he does what any man would do in order to woo a woman – he puts his television show on the road and themes it around bakeries just like hers and makes her his first stop.

Heroine: Leilani Trusdale quit New York City when her father became ill. Most of her city friends don’t understand, but Leilani wants to spend her time and talent on person’s who enjoy food and not their social status or figures. So she sets up shop in sleepy Sugarberry Island and is a hit with the residents. She can’t imagine moving back to NYC, he can’t imagine moving to a small town.

Review: Sugar Rush is a sweet romance in more ways than one! Each of the characters are likable. Baxter is a self-made chef and has worked in kitchens most of his life. He and Leilani get off on the wrong foot before they even start. She blames him for the stress and hard time she had professionally in his kitchen. He was trying to negate the gossip by not rising to it. In the end he’s got to win her heart by being vulnerable. My favorite aspect of the story besides the steamy kissing scenes in the kitchen, was Leilani and Charlotte’s friendship. I also enjoyed Alma – she reminded me of Betty White. There were some other characters like an assistant and a college student and a lesbian that kind of blurred in the narrating. I couldn’t tell if they were one and the same or different. In the end it doesn’t truly signify because as side characters they were supporting not staging the romance.

Narrator: Amanda Ronconi is a lovely narrator to listen to. She did an excellent job with Baxter’s and Charlotte’s accents. I’d listen to her again.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Sugar Rush (Cupcake Club), Sugar Rush (Audio book)

Review: Seducing the Playboy (Hot Nights, Book 2) by Amanda Usen

Seducing the PlayboyReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way.

Roman Gallagher has a visit from Jenna Cooper. The reader at this point is treated to a scene of instant combustion. I feel that this book should come with a warning – it’s going to make you hungry. And if you love to cook, you may want to get out some of your favorite recipes. I can see gaining weight with this book – picture reading this story in a bakery or sitting outside of a restaurant.

One thing that I absolutely loved about Jenna was her attitude. I could almost picture her sticking her tongue out. And Roman is a man who knows how to cook. And what I love about Roman’s character is that he doesn’t stand a chance against Jenna’s will.

Our author shows her readers that there are all different types of hunger and she definitely knows how to feed that need. She also does a great job of seducing and teasing her readers. There’s just enough to get a reader’s imagination flowing. And then there are the fantasies. The sad part is that you can get this book read in one day. I’m glad to see this is a series. Into The Fire is the first book of the series should you need to get caught up. Another sad part is that I can’t find anything about book three. We’ll just have to be patient.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Seducing the Playboy (A Hot Nights Series Book) (Entangled Brazen)

Review: Romance Abroad by Annie Seaton

romance abroadReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Please make sure to read the letter from the author. She reminds us that sometimes we forget that authors started out as readers just like us. She also reminds us how diverse other countries are – which is something I tend to forget. I also love to find out that I have a connection with the person writing the stories I have read. In this case, Annie loves the ocean.

Holiday Affair
ISBN: 9781622669066
Date: March 12, 2012
Pages: 133 pages

Melissa “Lissy” McIntyre is on a sailing adventure – I’d be jealous if I didn’t always get seasick. Right off the bat, Annie puts in some women’s fantasy about being hit upon by a sexy sailor – but then again it is just a fantasy. Dominic “Nick” Richards is a real ladies man. Right here is where Annie had me hooked.

Bad news is that I started to read it on my lunch hour and found I didn’t want to put it down – something I don’t think the boss would understand. Our author puts in a twist that will have you figuring out what’s going to happen to Lissy before she does. I wish I could see it in person but then that’s what’s so great about our imagination.

What a great book to start this bundle off with. The reader is kept guessing about Lissy and Nick almost to the very end. This is a great lead into the second affair. You will also find that all the Richards’ men are brothers. Got to love a series where family connects the stories.

Italian Affair
ISBN: 9781622661374
Date: June 10, 2013
Pages: 142 pages

Brianna Ballantyne has an inheritance with a strange stipulation. Tomas Richards is at the airport waiting for his flight to be called. The first impression I get about Tomas is he’s a real stuffed shirt. And Brianna seems to be a woman who’s a little flighty. And these two polar opposites are lucky enough to be sitting next to each other on a long flight.

This story shows that you don’t necessarily need to know each other a long time in order to fall in love. Sometimes you don’t realize that you’re in love until it’s too late. But our author adds in a couple of twists – you’ll just have to get the bundle, or book, in order to find out what happens when they are revealed. It’s another one that I had a hard time putting down once I got started.

Outback Affair
ISBN: 9781622663217
Date: October 14, 2013
Pages: 172 pages

Jessica Trent is looking to get a job at a magazine. And she’s not off to a good start. Alex Richards is trying to fight the rain so he can finish making his deliveries. The meeting of these two was very interesting and they both have things to hide. They also end up traveling together – I think we need a little traveling music. A movie that comes to mind while reading was “Crocodile Dundee”.

I can almost picture a younger Paul Hogan in the part of Alex – their personalities just seem so similar. Of the three books, this seems to be the funniest. So make sure to pay close attention to the car trip they take. Ending the series on a funny note is perfect. If you need something to make you smile, then make sure to read this one. A place mentioned in this story is Cockatoo Springs and Annie has me wanting to visit. This is one bundle that if I ever went to Australia, I would take this with me.

If you have never read any of Annie’s books before, why not start with this series. You can read all three of these books on the same day. Or maybe you only have a little time each day in which to read, then you could read the books one at a time. If you’ve never been to Australia, this just may give you the push you need to put a trip on your bucket list. It’s also a great series to read in the wintertime, you’ll be warm in no time.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Romance Abroad Bundle

Review: Sizzle by Katherine Garbera

sizzleReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Listed as a scorching hot sexy read, Sizzle has bakery owner Staci Rowland trying to show she is the best chef around, but when Cajun chef Remy Cruzel takes her eye, anything could happen.

Review: Staci bumps into Remy – literally and they don’t get off to a great start either even though they work together on TV show Premier Chef. Staci is the co-owner of Sweet Dreams, a cupcake bakery in San Diego and if she gets to win on Premier Chef, it means she gets a lot of money and the chance to get her own TV show, but Remy hides a secret from the rest of the contestants – will he win, or will the secret get out? You can tell Katherine Garbera has watched plenty of cooking programs in order to research her novel, and it shows in the setting and narrative. She knows about cooking and what it is like to be very good at it, and injects some good humor into a sizzler of a story. Though they are competing against each other, in the show they have to work together and try not to get in each others way.

Good bits:

  • Remy calls her “the cupcake girl,” she reminds him of the mouse Remy from the Disney movie Ratatouille…
  • She also calls him “southern boy,” which he hates.

Bad bits:

  • None I can come up with.

Final Thoughts: Remy and Staci can make a good couple but they have the ability to get on each others nerves if they get too close as they tend to tease and the conversations could get heated as a result – that’s why it’s called Sizzle – it’s not just a romance novel.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Sizzle (Harlequin Blaze)

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Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Ravenous by Eden Summers

ravenousBook Blurb

She’s a small town caterer, he’s a big city chef, but they don’t need a kitchen to make things sizzle…

Erin McDonald likes her simple life in her small town: no drama, no fuss, no uncertainty…until Jesse Hackett breezes back into town. Erin never quite got over how he left for the bright lights of the big city, and took her heart with him.

Jesse never regretted his decision to leave small town life behind and chase his big city dreams, but he’s always regretted leaving Erin behind. No woman has ever compared, and once he convinces Erin to let him touch her again, he’s never going to let her go.

Sparks fly and fires are rekindled, but the basic divide still remains: what really matters in life — location or love?

Add it to your Goodreads TBR

Buy: Ravenous

Excerpt

“What do you want?” She tried to appear nonchalant, even though her body already started to betray her. Her breasts tightened and her knees grew weak.

“What’s on offer?” His lips parted in a full smile.

Erin let out a sigh. She didn’t have time for this, and after eight years she still didn’t have the strength for it. Jesse was her downfall, her Achilles heel and the reason for every single relationship failure since he left town, taking her broken heart with him.

“You’re licking your lips as if you still want me.”

She opened her mouth to protest and closed it again. He was right. She had been licking her lips.

Bastard.

“And you’re dripping,” he added.

“Now that’s enough!” There may have been heat between her thighs but she sure as hell wasn’t “dripping”. Jesse had been the first to touch her, the first to teach her the ways of lovemaking and dominant desire, but he sure as shit wouldn’t be able to tell that her panties were damp.

“I meant your spoon,” he chuckled, indicating the piece of silver hanging from her hand, “it’s dripping on the floor.”

Pre-order sale

Buy: Ravenous

About Eden Summers

Eden Summers is a true blue Aussie, living in regional New South Wales with her two energetic young boys and husband. She has published five other titles both contemporary romance and erotic romance genres.

You can get in touch with Eden by clicking on the following links:

Eden Summers Website
Facebook Page
Twitter

Ravenous will also be available for review request via Netgalley from the 1st of July.

Review: Skinny Bitch in Love by Kim Barnouin

skinny bitch in loveReviewed by Patsy F.

The “skinny bitch” is a typical, young, independent, confident woman. She is capable, caring and compassionate. She holds her “dream job” at a very high end vegan restaurant as sous chef and in the first chapter, she is tricked and not only loses her estimable position but loses the respect and reputation she had worked so hard to attain.

She has determination and a best friend. She finds a way to start over, but a hot, sexy, rich businessman has plans for his own restaurant, only he is a carnivore. Their complicated relationship begins, but the differences in their tastes causes tension in their personal lives as well as their professions.

Review: This book is very relatable. Right from the very beginning, this book grabs your interest. It is written in a modern vocabulary that is easy to read and fun too! I highly recommend this book for the beach, or to tote around in your purse. I enjoyed it very much. The end is gratifying and proves that friendship, business and love do mix.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Skinny Bitch in Love

Review: The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 1) by Suzanne Collins

hunger gamesBrief Overview: Roman  Gladiators + Lord of the Flies = The Hunger Games. Panem is a dystopian society that runs on suppression,  fear, and death matches. 13 Districts rebelled against the Capitol; the 13th was destroyed; the other 12 aggressively oppressed and subdued and forced to pay tribute each year for their rebellion. The tribute required is their children from ages 12-18; 1 boy, 1 girl from each district.

My Top 10 Favorite Scenes from the Hunger Games:

  1. The Boy with the Bread: Peeta gives Katniss bread in a flashback memory. This is important because Katniss (approx age: 11.5) has already lost the innocence of youth and knows everything in the world has a price.  The bread is an unexpected gift that breaks through the pessimism, grief, and anger that has grown since her father’s demise, her mother’s withdrawal, and her desperation to provide for herself, her sister, and her catatonic mother. She doesn’t understand gifts though, and is very uncomfortable with feeling like she owes Peeta for the life saving bread.
  2. Katniss Volunteers: Circumstances make her hard, aloof, and cynical but that’s just Katniss’ outer shell, underneath is a 16 year old girl who loves her sister. Katniss would do anything to keep Primrose safe, even volunteering to take her sister’s place in what amounts to a death sentence, because while 24 tributes go into the arena, only 1 comes out alive.
  3. You’re Great!: They might not have spoken since they were younger, but that didn’t mean they weren’t conscious of the other  during that time. On the train ride to the Capitol after the Reaping, Peeta tells Haymitch, their mentor and previous winner of the Games, all the ways in which Katniss is great and flustered/angry Katniss whips right back with what she knows about Peeta. Somebody’s paying attention!
  4. Girl on Fire: Cinna, Katniss’ stylist for the games designs and creates works of art in his fashion statements for the coal mining District 12. His costumes incorporate fake flames that look and move like the real thing. His creative genius, coupled with Portia’s cooperation in making matching outfits for Peeta, give Katniss and Peeta their first edge in the games. They are on fire!
  5. Televised Confession: Peeta has been crushing on Katniss since the age of 5 and his confession shocks Panem’s jaded Capitol viewers. It comes as a complete surprise to Katniss and she hates it because love ties you down, makes you weak, and can get you killed. She doesn’t realize that Peeta’s confession is not only the truth, but their coup d’état against their competition, effectively gaining the crucial sponsors’ attention that they need.
  6. Tracker Jackers: Katniss is horribly surprised after a forest fire when Peeta and the Careers show up and chase her until she’s treed. She views it as a sign of betrayal and wonders again what Peeta’s televised confession meant, if it meant anything other than to confuse her and make her an easier kill. It is now when Rue, who has been shadowing Katinss for a while makes an appearance and shows her how to get away from the murderous group by dropping a highly poisonous genetically engineered wasp hive on the group. This sequence also provides Katiness with a bow and arrows from another tribute and a hazy hallucination sequence in which Peeta appears to have warned her to run away when the leader of the Careers wants her dead (real).
  7. Rue’s Funeral: One of the saddest moments is also one of the most touching where Rue dies after being caught in a net and speared by a boy Career. Katniss is distraught and instead of abandoning Rue, comforts her before she dies and sings her a lullaby. When Rue is gone, Katniss goes a step further and arranges Rue on the ground like a sleeping girl and places wildflowers around her, showing all of Panem that Rue wasn’t a tribute, but a little girl brutally struck down for entertainment. The Game Makers only pick up bodies once all other tributes are far enough away to secure the dead safely without fear of attack from the tributes. They can’t take Rue away until Katiness leaves. Her final defiant act is to grace Rue and the audience with the token of deepest, most sincere respect from her District, a three fingered kiss and salute.
  8. Rule Change, Rescue, and Cave:  For the first time in Hunger Game history a rule change has been issued that allows 2 winners if the winners are the boy and girl from the same district. There are 3 districts left that could claim this; Peeta and Katniss are one and Katniss immediately strikes out to find him, as she’s heard he’s wounded. She finds him camouflaged by the river and helps him clean his leg wound before moving them to a more secure location downstream in a cave.

    Here is one of my favorite quotes:

    “You have a…remarkable memory,” I say haltingly.

    “I remember everything about you,” says Peeta, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear. “You’re the one who wasn’t paying attention.”

    “I am now,” I say.

    “Well, I don’t have much competition here,” he says.

    I want to draw away, to close those shutters again, but I know I can’t. It’s as if I can hear Haymitch whispering in my ear, “Say it! Say it!”

    I swallow hard and get the words out. “You don’t have much competition anywhere.” And this time, it’s me who leans in.

    Katiness also knocks Peeta out in order to leave the cave to go and retrieve the medicine needed to heal him of blood poisoning. This is the first time she’s actively risked her life for his.

  9. Unexpected Savior: When Katniss rushes to secure Peeta’s medicine she knows she’s heading into a trap. All the remaining survivors are being led to a bloodbath, but Katniss hopes to make it out before anyone shows up, except Foxface does and escapes before she makes a move. Determined to do the same Katniss leaves her hiding place in the forest and is nearly killed by a girl Career and rescued by Thresh, the boy tribute from Rue’s district. It’s a one time deal to pay her back for being kind to Rue.
  10. Katniss Freaks Out: At the end of the games, most people like the double suicide bluff but it reads a little too Romeo and Juliet for me. What I like and what I feel is most revealing on Katniss’ emotions is when Katniss and Peeta are retrieved and then separated on arrival inside the hovercraft from the arena. Katniss freaks out and tries to get to Peeta only to be knocked out for her wild and feral behavior. Every time she tries to get up to find him they knock her out again until she is allowed to wake up in the hospital with all physical marks of her time in the arena wiped clean with a body buff.

What are your favorite moments from Hunger Games?

Buy: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set, The Hunger Games Trilogy (digital)

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Review: Hold Me If You Can by Stephanie Rowe

Hold Me If You CanReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Natalie Fleming was briefly murdered by a deedub. She also owns a boutique chocolate shop. But she has a challenge ahead – creating magical desserts overnight after having her shop looted. She goes into her walk-in freezer and meets her murderer. Boy, that’s one hell of a way to start your day.

Nigel Aquarian comes to Natalie’s rescue. He’s a man with his own set of problems. He’s doing a favor for Natalie’s sister. What makes Nigel unique is that he has some interesting powers. Some of those powers are tied to his art.

Nigel is seen interacting with some other warriors in his penthouse. I love how Nigel talked to them about being “men”. I can almost hear the theme from Two and a Half Men playing in the background. Stephanie also has us laughing as they interact and makeup is added to the mix.

A lot of Stephanie’s male characters are obnoxious. But the women are the ones that seem to keep them in line. It’s nice to see that the hero needs a woman in order to feel complete. This is what adds romance to the story. If you’re looking for a lot of sex between our main characters, you will not find it here.

Stephanie certainly gives us some interesting sounding demons. None that you would want to meet in a dark alley somewhere. But if you could have any type of power, like Nigel and his men, what would you like?

As you read this book you may become a little confused. The three books look like they can be standalones but if you want to understand what the warriors, and demons, are about I suggest that you read books one and two.

Natalie is in need of some help and she will get it from an unlikely source, Ella Smithweiser. Ella used to work for Nigel’s archenemy. Nigel’s art is also turning against him so Ella becomes important for both of them.

Then to add confusion to the mix, another character appears – a dream genie named Charles Morgan. Don’t get confused but sometimes he is referred to as “Smutty”. His jailor also has a connection to Nigel. Mari is the second in command to the archenemy.

Mari thinks she has a noble cause but you know what they say about good intentions. The more I read about Mari, the more I feel that she is just plain crazy. What’s good about this story is that you will see that she gets her just desserts (sorry about the spoiler).

Stephanie also puts a life lesson in her story line although it doesn’t show itself until the end. The story ends with us wondering if there will be a book 4. She leaves us hanging in the balance – who will be the characters to have their story told next?

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Hold Me If You Can

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