Tag Archive | Romance

My Antonia

My Ántonia by Willa Cather

Literary Fiction

My Antonia

Overall Rating: 4.5

Quick summary: When Jim Burton’s parents die he is sent from his home in Virginia to the Nebraska prairie to live with his grandparents. His nearest neighbor is Antonia, another child new to the difficulties of farm life. As he and Antonia grow up, they discover the simple joys and heartaches in America’s heartland.

 

This is a literary classic that is an American pastoral. Cather extolls the virtues of farming, hard work, and the pioneering spirit of immigrants. This novel is especially poignant now that we’ve gotten so far from those first Americans who tamed the prairies to grow corn and wheat. Some may find the descriptive passages a little boring, but if you think of them as analogies for Jim’s emotional state and his relationship with Antonia, it might make them more interesting.

 

While there are compelling arguments to make about Native Americans and patriarchy, this is a fine example of feminist writing. Cather takes a male narrator and chronicles the immigrant girls who become women as strong, flawed characters who defy simply stereotypes. Jim himself experiences a near rape, as he is mistaken for a woman, and is ashamed and embarrassed. And Jim himself acknowledges the double standard to which women are held. The female immigrants in this novel work hard at farming, going so far as to get jobs in town when doing so caused people to question their virtue. They make sacrifices few town women would make so they can see their younger siblings have a more comfortable life.

 

But more than that, what I love about this novel is that it gets at the dichotomies that make up the truth of life, the bitter sweetness of love. The closing scenes explain so eloquently the way we live in the present alongside the past. It has beautiful lessons that still speak to me today, which is the hallmark of any work of classic literature.

 

Is it worth buying? (Kindle FREE)

I think it goes without saying that if a book is free, and I’ve given it a 4.5 rating, you should “buy” it.

 

Something else you might enjoy:

If you’d like a more traditional literary romance, and by that I mean you want a marriage at the end of the novel, try Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. It too is about a boy and a girl who grow up together and learn some difficult lessons as they realize the constraints of society. It is also free as an ebook.

Book Review of Plight + Giveaway!

Title: Plight
Author: K.M. Golland
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: May 29, 2017


Blurb
Plight
[plahyt]
Noun: a difficult, or otherwise unfortunate
situation.
Verb: pledge or solemnly promise. Be engaged to be
married.
I promised
myself to a man. Well, technically, I promised myself to a boy. We were eight
years old. Neighbours. He gave me a Cheezel, pushed it onto my finger, and
asked me to marry him.
I ate the
Cheezel.
I also
said, “Yes” but that we’d have to wait until we were thirty.
It was my
thirtieth birthday last week and now he’s calling in that promise.
Seriously,
Elliot Parker is insane if he thinks
that an out of the blue private Facebook message stipulating the binding law of
an oral contractual agreement is going to seal our twenty-two-year bullshit
engagement.
Insane.
I wonder if
he really does look like his profile picture, though.

 

Purchase Links

$2.99 for a VERY limited time!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU 

B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS

Author Bio
“I’m an author. I am married. I am a mother of two adorable
little people. I’m a bookworm, craftworm, movieworm, and sportsworm. I’m also a
self confessed shoe-aholic, tea-aholic, car-aholic, and bridge-aholic.”
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, K.M. Golland is a
best selling hybrid author, and a ranty, married mother of two with a very
healthy high heel obsession.
 
Author Links

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Overall Rating: 3.5 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty summary: Danielle Cunningham and Elliot Parker were childhood friends. Best friends in fact. The kind of friends who promise to marry each other when they turn 30 with cheese snacks as a ring. Now Danielle thinks Elliot’s crazy because he’s holding her to that promise even though they haven’t spoken to each other in years.

I really enjoyed this book. I found Elliot to be delightful and his love for Danielle authentic. Danielle is great too, but I think her backstory needs to be expanded a little. The resolution of the novel is somewhat complicated, emotionally, and I got a little confused. It made an otherwise satisfying ending less so.

I read this pretty much in one go. I laughed a lot, giggling, walking around with a silly smile on my face, as I read this book. It made me feel so good! I love books where the guy knows his mind and himself enough to know when he’s found love. It melts my heart every time!

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $2.99)

If you are feeling a little bit blue, need a pick-me-up, or want a book that’s going to make you giggle, then yes, you should 100% buy this book.

Something else you might enjoy:

Try Creed by Kristen Ashley. It’s a lot darker. But it’s another story about childhood friends who are reunited. You can read my review of the book here.

 

Get to Know the Vampire Girl

Vampire Girl Series by Karpov Kinrade

Young Adult/Paranormal Romance

 

Vampire Girl

Vampire Girl 2: Midnight Star

Vampire Girl 3: Silver Flame

Vampire Girl 4: Moonlight Prince

 

These books are not standalones and must be read in order.

Vampire Girl

Overall Rating: 4.5 (XOXO)

Quick & Dirty summary: Arianna Spiro is just another girl when she walks to work on the night of her 18th birthday. But nothing in her life will ever be the same once she returns home to find her mother dead. Arianna will do everything in her power to save the people she loves the most, but when she finds that vampires are real, she’s not sure how much she can really do to save herself let alone anyone else.

These books are wonderfully written. From the very first page I was transformed into another place, following Arianna around on her birthday. Karpov Kinrade (KK), a married couple who have put their last names together, do a wonderful job of describing the characters and scenery enough to pain a vivid picture without slowing down the narrative. I love the dialogue and Arianna is an awesome heroine.

This is a love story, but what I love about so many young adult novels is the love they portray goes beyond the romantic. It’s about love of family, love of friends, and love of yourself. Yes, of course there is romance. I enjoyed reading about Arianna’s relationship (I won’t give it away since you aren’t really certain until further along in the story), but Arianna’s love for her friends and family play a major role in this novel.

In order for that to effectively happen, the secondary characters have to be strong and multidimensional and KK do that beautifully. This is the kind of book where you have more than one favorite character because there are so many good ones to choose from. And this is not a story of simple human beings (or vampires). Instead, each character makes choices based on a whole series of complex factors. While there is a “bad” guy, most of the characters have redeeming qualities. This adds a bit of mystery and suspense to the series, but also gives the books great depth.

I could not wait to read each book in this series! They are enthralling!

 

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $13.96 for all four books)

Now you guys know that I am not one to advocate buying a $14 ebook. I highly recommend checking to see if your library has this series since it’s one you don’t want to miss. And I also highly recommend buying it, if a $14 ebook is in your wheelhouse (it’s just not in mine). If you’re wondering how I got to read these books, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear that they are FREE on Kindle Unlimited! I’m finding it is paying off more and more to have KU.

Something else you might enjoy:

Try one of the first series I reviewed on this blog, the Witching Savannah Series by J.D. Horn. You can read my review of the series here, but it’s similar in that it’s PG rated and full of paranormal love.

Review of the Cad and the Co-Ed

The Rugby Series by Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway

Romantic Comedy/Contemporary Romance

 

The Cad and the Co-Ed (Book 3)

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can read my review of book 2 in the series, The Player and the Pixie, here on my blog. While this book is a standalone novel, scenes relevant to this story are included in the end of book 2.

cad-and-the-co-ed

Overall Rating: 4 (sXe)

 

Quick & Dirty summary: Bryan Leech used to live up to his famous rugby persona. He was wild and loved a good party. He’s not really that guy anymore though, and while it makes a few of his friends and family uncomfortable, he’s happy with who he is becoming. Eilish Cassidy might seem like a spoiled princess, but she’s fought hard to finish her degree, land an internship, and take care of her little boy. She’ll do anything to protect him and keep him with her, even if it means hiding him from the boy’s father. But as Eilish gets to know the “new” Bryan, she can’t help but feel guilty, because every little boy deserves to know his father.

The best thing about this novel, by far in my opinion, is that it doesn’t fall into many of the traps of unexpected pregnancies. I am the kind of person who rolls their eyes when an unexpected pregnancy appears in a book. I’m not a big fan of those plotlines because it seems a little too convenient. There’s a kind of manipulation that I hate. But, I’m happy to report that this novel didn’t make my eyes roll in quite the same way. Yes, there are some hurdles that have to be crossed when the premise of the novel is set up this way, but it didn’t drag on unnecessarily and it didn’t feel like baby momma drama. So if you’re like me, don’t let the basic premise of the novel scare you off—it’s really well done.

Another awesome thing about this book is it’s real depiction of the day-to-day struggle to stay sober. Getting to see Bryan on his journey is incredible and the story walks this fine line of explaining Bryan’s backstory while also holding him accountable for his actions. Bryan 100% won my heart in this story and I think he’s probably one of the most likable leading men in the entire Rugby series.

That being said, I love love love Sean in this book! He’s such a complex guy and that continues in this story. Even though Sean has his own book (book 2), he remains a consistent character full of facets and quirks that I enjoy.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $4.99)

Yes! It is a very well written novel that just makes your heart squishy. Also, if you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s FREE!

Something else you might enjoy:

If you want a twist of the unexpected pregnancy plot, try Reaper’s Legacy by Joanna Wylde. It’s the second book in her Reapers MC series, but you can read it as a standalone.

Don’t Underestimate a Cowboy’s Strength

The McGavin Brothers Series by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Contemporary Romance

 

A Cowboy’s Strength (Book 1)

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

mcgavin-brothers-book-1

Overall Rating: 4 (sXe)

 

Quick & Dirty summary: Zane McGavin hasn’t seen his childhood friend Mandy Fielding for almost a decade. While Zane isn’t quite sure what happened that made Mandy run away to New York, he knows that Montana is the only place he wants to call home. So Zane is surprised when he finds Mandy on the side of the road in need of some help. Their relationship becomes confusing as they move from old friends to lovers, despite living in two different states.

I love Vicki Lewis Thompson books, in part, because her writing is so smooth. The dialogue is great, the descriptions are vivid, and each character is unique and memorable. I’m not as familiar with Vicki’s contemporary romances, having grown up reading her Wild About You series. I am happy to say that this novel doesn’t disappoint. The plot was straightforward, heartfelt and relatively drama-free.

Zane is super hunky and sexy and if he was a real person I’d be all over him. He is a true gentleman and is my favorite character in the book. He doesn’t have the usual hang-ups of alpha men but that doesn’t make the sex scenes any less sexy. I had a much harder time liking Mandy. She is all over the place with her emotions and her responses and, honestly, I’m not sure she deserves Zane.

But probably one of the best features of the book is Mandy’s mom and Zane’s mom. As secondary characters they are very vivid. They both have their own personalities and back-stories and that’s part of what makes Vicki’s books come alive. She doesn’t write flat characters. I am really looking forward to seeing more of these two strong women in future books in the series.

My only regret is that the novel is on the shorter side. At 200 pages I read this super fast. But the pacing of the novel is great and I can’t wait until the next book in the series.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $0.99 SALE)

Yes! It’s on sale people! Less than a dollar is a steal for a well-written book like this one.

Something else you might enjoy:

If you like hunky men who take care of animals, then try Jill Shalvis’ Animal Attraction. It’s the second book in the Animal Magnetism series but it can stand-alone. I enjoyed reading about the hunky veterinarian.

Beard Mode Book Review

The Dixie Warden Rejects MC Series by Lani Lynn Vale

Contemporary Romance

Beard Mode (Book 1)

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

beard-mode-book-cover

Overall Rating: 3 (sXe)

 

Quick & Dirty summary: Aaron Sims is done with women. After his crazy ex-wife, Aaron isn’t exactly chomping at the bit to give another woman a chance at destroying him. But when he moves in across the hall from Imogen, he can’t help but feel the pull of the beautiful pixie. Imogen knows all about Aaron, or at least she used to. But now that Aaron is back, still sexy as ever but with new scars, Imogen isn’t sure if she’s the kind of woman Aaron wants.

I really wanted to like this book and in a bizarre way, I did. The chemistry between Aaron and Gen is sizzling. They are both fun characters because in many ways they are unexpected. Even though Aaron’s been hurt before, he doesn’t dither around like an idiot when it comes to being attracted to Gen. And Gen is a Marine Corps veteran! How unexpected is that?!

But I can’t really recommend it, or give it a good review, because the book is confusing! None of the characters are described in a way that makes me feel like I really know them. In fact, there are often times throughout the book when someone does something that makes me question the person’s character. That means there is zero character development since there is no baseline.

Also very confusing is the description of events. In one scene Gen is lying down, then suddenly she’s opening a door with no words to describe the in between. Of course I don’t want ALL the nitty gritty details (yes, I know she’s probably breathing), but knowing that she got up, out of bed, put on some clothes, drove to her apartment and THEN is opening her door would have been helpful. It’s also more of a problem in this story than in others because there is a lot of action. There are bombs exploding and guns being fired, so knowing where people are and what they’re doing is incredibly important following the action.

That being said, I really wanted to like this book. And the fact that I finished the book, despite the problems it has, is a testament to how much I enjoyed Aaron and Gen and the storyline in general. There is action, there is romance, and if there’s a few missing paragraphs or pages, oh well. In some ways I think that maybe my critique isn’t necessarily the author’s fault. I think, perhaps, it was over edited and many of the transitional sentences and paragraphs that would have held the story together more were cut in favor of saving a few pages. I’m not sure since I wasn’t a part of that process, but since the book is well written for the most part, I’m going to give the author the benefit of the doubt and blame the anonymous editing crew (sorry, I have to blame someone!). This explains why I gave it a three out of five instead of a two out of five rating.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $3.99)

Unfortunately I don’t think it’s worth buying. I hate to say this since I know the author worked long and hard on this book, but I got more out of reading the Amazon description than I did reading the book.

Something else you might enjoy:

Check out Hells Saints Motorcycle Club series by Paula Marinaro. I read the first two books in the series a while ago and liked them, the first book more than the second. There are three books in the series, so it’s worth a try if you like motorcycle club books.

Beard Mode Release Blitz

beard-mode-release-banner

Title: Beard Mode

Series: The Dixie Wardens Rejects MC Series #1

Author: Lani Lynn Vale

Genre: MC Romance

Release: February 23, 2017

Model: David Byers

Photographer: Michael Stokes  http://bit.ly/2fMA4aP

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33024611-beard-mode

beardmodeteaser

Synopsis:

Aaron ‘don’t ever call me Fatbaby’ Sims is lucky to be alive. Or at least that is what everyone keeps telling him. He doesn’t feel lucky, though.

He’s scarred, has more than a little bit of a bad attitude, and there isn’t a single day that goes by that he doesn’t wish his wife would’ve just finished off the job.

After being denied his old position at the fire department, he leaves, and doesn’t look back. He heads straight to Alabama and into the semi-welcoming arms of The Dixie Wardens MC. There he becomes a part of a brotherhood that forces him to get back in the land of the living.

Imogen is a smart girl. A girl who doesn’t always make the best decisions.

Her heart is in the right place when she walks into that prison, but it doesn’t take long for her to realize that her heart shouldn’t have had any say so in the matter. Especially when one wrong move lands her in the arms of a scarred man that looks frightening enough to scare any sane woman away.

Immediately enthralled by the angry man, she tries to get closer to him. But the harder she tries to get to know him, the further he pushes her away.

The only thing Aaron wanted to do after his now ex-wife was sent to jail was escape. Escape the awful memories. The pity-filled eyes. The curious glances.

He does a damn fine job at ensuring he draws as little as attention as possible, but then that annoying woman with her startling blue eyes starts hammering away at his resolve. Makes him feel when he doesn’t want to feel.

Imogen comes into his life and carves out a place for herself, obliterating his defenses one heated kiss at a time.

It doesn’t take long, and he realizes he’s in deep. Too deep to ever want to come out.

Imogen will know what it’s like to be loved by a reject.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2l35WYi

Amazon CA:  http://amzn.to/2lhZorh

Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2lhUjzt

Amazon AU:  http://amzn.to/2m7tqMK

B&N:  http://bit.ly/2hKn57t

Kobo:  http://bit.ly/2l2WMLH

iTunes:  http://apple.co/2m7rSlW

 

What Others Are Saying (blog graphics included in HTML):

Lani Lynn Vale has a way of taking your soul and twisting it and tearing it up, but then somehow, some way making sure that the book still makes you have a goofy freaking happy smile, and all in love with her by the end of it.” – MJ’s Book Blog

“It was sooo good and I am sooo excited that this was my first Lani Lynn Vale book…gasp….can you believe I have not read one of her books yet??” – iScream Books

“Don’t think about it, just go one click this book and you’ll enjoy it like, I did. One thing about this author is she keeps getting better every time. You will never be disappointed about it, I promise.” – Fabulous Ladies Book Blog

 

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Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/12155153952/playlist/66llyyXHRCNmyudMDt9EjV

 

Excerpt:

“New guy.”  Someone muttered behind me.

I turned only my head to find Stone, the president, staring at me with hard eyes.

“Yeah?” I asked him, dropping my bag on the floor and heading in his direction instead of out the door like I’d originally intended.

“You’re here because you have a special set of skills that we need.”  The leader of the band of misfits, Stone, drawled.

I nearly laughed.

“That sounds like a bad line out of a movie.” I muttered, wondering where he was going with this.

He tossed me a glare and then yelled.

“Truth!”  Stone yelled.  “Ghost! Get the fuck in here!”

Ghost and Truth walked in the door at the same time, both of them turning to the side to walk inside, and stared at Stone

“Ghost, hold Truth down so New Guy can give him the fuckin’ shot.” Stone grumbled.

Ghost tackled Truth and wrestled him to the desk, then sat on him while Stone leaned back and watched.

“No, motherfucker!” Truth yelled.  “I don’t want it!”

“It’s the fuckin’ flu shot, you dumb shit.  Not a fuckin’ tracking device. Take a fuckin’ chill pill.”  Stone grumbled, staring at the scuffle that was going down in front of him.

I picked up the syringe from the table, similar to the one I’d given everybody else’s flu shot with, and stabbed it in the meat of Truth’s arm.

Truth bellowed in rage, and I flipped the guard up on the syringe before tossing it into the trash can.

“Done?” I asked Stone.  “I have to get to work.”

Stone nodded.

“Yeah, thanks.” He nodded. “Have fun at the nut house.”

I grunted something unintelligible, causing him to laugh.

“Don’t sound so excited.” He laughed.

I flipped him off and walked out the door just as Ghost was letting Truth up

“Why you gotta be such a big motherfucker?”  Truth growled.  “If you’d been anyone else, I’d have gotten away.”

“Why do you think I called Ghost instead of anyone else?”  I heard Stone reply.

 

Author Bio:  Lani Lynn Vale

I’m a married mother of three. My kids are all under 5, so I can assure you that they are a handful. I’ve been with my paramedic husband now for ten years, and we’ve produced three offspring that are nothing like us. I live in the greatest state in the world, Texas.

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Blog: http://lanilynnvale.blogspot.com/

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