Review: Driven To Date by Susan Hatler

Driven to Date
(Better Date than Never #7)
by Susan Hatler

Career-driven attorney, Jill Parnell, has worked long and hard to become a partner at Corbett, Gray, & Shaw. When the coveted position is given to the boss’s nephew, she does what any intelligent employee would do—attends a colleague’s wedding and schmoozes a high-powered partner at another law firm.

Her potential new boss has only one condition for her, that she demonstrate a personal life that will support a thriving career. Pretending to have a boyfriend is outside Jill’s comfort zone, but she invites the best man to act the part and Ryan is all-too eager to play her significant other. Sparks fly between them, but she reminds herself she’s only driven to date to get back on the partner track.

When Jill discovers Ryan is the lawyer who stole her promotion, her charade threatens to implode. But breaking off their pretend relationship could cost her the job of her dreams. And the more she gets to know Ryan, the more she’s tempted to tame the bad boy, and make him her own.

Jill Parnell had worked her butt off in Gray, Corbett & Shaw Law firm for five years, and the day she thought she’d be promoted to Managing Attorney turned out to be false alarm. That position she had aspired for was given to one of the partners’ relative and that really hurt workaholic Jill.. Concerned friends told her to take it easy and have fun once in a while, but how could she, after her ill-fated career boost?

Ryan Shaw met Jill on a common friend’s wedding and they hit it off. Another promising job got Jill all excited that she was willing to hire a ten-minute boyfriend just to impress a possible new colleague. After she realized who Ryan was, she needed a plan to put into action, and she’d do everything to make it happen.

I’d like to call this story, It Started With A Kiss, because that’s how I saw Jill and Ryan’s partnership started. But after reading the entirety of this lawyer romance, Driven to Date is indeed the deserving title. I loved how Jill had pursued her plans and showed so much drive to achieve her goals, by changing the person she initially was. I liked that she was open to criticisms and listened to pieces of advice even if it tore her heart. Ryan Shaw was the ideal man, despite getting called a player or someone with a short attention span for ladies. He had proven that there was more to him than meets the eye, and he always got me with his buttercup charisma.

Susan Hatler, as always, make the readers swoon and feel in love with her stories and characters. I loved that this one has clean, slowly burning romance that got me giddy like a teen. Jill and Ryan may have driven me crazy with their complicated love affair, but I was more than happy to plead guilty for being crazy in love.

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Review: The Chocolate Comeback by Roxanne Snopek

The Chocolate Comeback
(Love at the Chocolate Shop #7)
by Roxanne Snopek

Fame, fortune and fashion: that’s aspiring model Deirdre Cash’s ideal life. But when her splashy New York career dries up, she swallows her pride and returns to Marietta, Montana, desperate for any work she can find.

Isaac Litton doesn’t want the intrusion of a home care aide for his brother, Mark. But when the young man takes a shine to DeeDee, Isaac decides to give her a chance. He can’t help but be impressed when DeeDee changes his brother’s life around, by rewarding his healthy habits and exercising with treats from the Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop. Gorgeous and opinionated, DeeDee stirs everything up in the Litton household, including an attraction that Isaac can’t deny.

As DeeDee and Isaac start to fall for each other, an unexpected opportunity arises that could launch DeeDee back into the modeling scene. It’s her chance to achieve everything she’s ever wanted. But taking it would mean letting down her friends at the chocolate shop, her family who believes in her, a boy who adores her, and a man who thinks she’s already perfect, just the way she is.

DeeDee Cash is back in Marietta, broke, jobless, and living with her twin sister Maddie. She was a model back on New York, but after a series of mishaps and uneventful gigs, she came back home tried to reassess her life. Thanks to her meddling twin, DeeDee found herself knocking on the door of the new guy in town, and taking care of his brother with Down Syndrome.

Isaac Litton was at his wits’ end with all the finance work he’d been doing, plus making sure that his younger brother’s needs were me. Mark Litton wasn’t an easy boy to deal with, but he loved him so much, he’d do everything in his power to give him all his special needs. But could he trust someone as careless and enticing and as gorgeous as hell as DeeDee Cash?

Just when I thought I have read everything about The Chocolate Shop series, just when I thought I’ve met all the beautiful people from Marietta Montana, here I am, silently crying for joy, for DeeDee Cash, Isaac and Mark Litton. My heat is overwhelmed. Never have I ever cried in a fashion show, never have I ever read a woman as aloof yet as passionate and dedicated as DeeDee, never have I ever loved a boy with Down Syndrome before, and never have I ever attended a fundraiser event as uplifting and emotional as the one I’ve just read.  But here I am now, embracing the characters one by one, flaws and disabilities and all.

If the water from Marietta Montana is indeed magical, the authors of Love at the Chocolate Shop are magical, too! I can’t help but to fall in love everytime I read a book about the characters of Marietta and Copper Mountain and the neighboring towns. The Chocolate Comeback is currently my favorite read and I got teary eyed reading about the other people participating in the fundraiser/fashion show.

I love Mark Litton to bits. He was so adorable and caring and trusting in his own special way. Although at first, DeeDee wasn’t that into him and his brother, I was glad this snooty model had come a long way to becoming the ideal woman she was destined to be. Isaac, on the other hand, was understandably remote and antisocial at the beginning, given his responsibility to his bro. It’s a pleasure to see him squirm once in a while and see a little of his romantic silly side. I highly approved of DeeDee and Isaac’s budding romance: slow-burning, tension-building, hackles-rising and all those stuffs.

Once again, Roxanne Snopek made my night. She’s my new fave Marietta author (I loved The Chocolate Cure!)  and I couldn’t wait to read all the other books she’d written and the other stories in The Love at the Chocolate Shop series!

Review: Always by London Saint James

 

Always
(Two Hearts, One Soul Duet: Book One)
by London Saint James

Winter Perri never truly understood love until she met Austin Carlyle—the man who would rock her world to its foundations and give her something to believe in. But the night before they were to be married, the fairytale shattered.

Thirteen years later Winter is pulled out of her seclusion only to have a painful past confront her, and when it does, she’s left questioning reality, because the impossible is looking back at her with the face of a destroying angel, and piercing eyes in too familiar shades of blue.

This has been quite a roller coaster! A love story about heartbreaks and second chances. Winter Perri and Austin Carlyle had it good when they started seeing each other, I thought there’s was quite romantic and sensational.. Until everything shattered to pieces on the eve of their wedding day, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to recover myself.

I really thought there’s nothing more that would make me cry the moment Winter Perri’s body had gone limp upon hearing the news about her beloved. My heart bled out to oblivion. When I continued with the story, I was expecting a lighter mood surrounding Winter. But lo and behold, Chandler and Cayden Cain’s involvement in this frozen fairytale got me shocked and gutted. I told myself, this better not be another new lovestory destined to end in doom. But as the pages went, my eyes continued to go misty until I got to the last page and my eyes were already dripping and my nose swollen and my mouth quivering. Gosh, I couldn’t stop my ugly crying!

This story had been long and winding, I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish it. But I did. And I’m glad I did even though I cried 90% of the time. I’m glad I read this because it reminded me about life, about the people we love, about how precious every second of time is. This has been really a powerful book, something that I would cherish forever and always.

This is my first London Saint James book, and even though she had me wailing like a harpy, I am looking forward to reading more of her books soon!

Review: Love Uncovered by Laura Barnard

Love Uncovered
(Babes of Brighton #2)
by Laura Barnard

Independent woman to her core, Brooke Archer has always been happy to hit it and quit it with the men in her life. But when her beloved Nan suffers from poor health, Brooke realises just how precious life is and decides it’s time to face her daddy issues and seek out her estranged father. Without so much as a name or photo, and a cagey Mum withholding vital information, it’s going to be no easy task.

Nicholas Parker is a relationship guy and always has been. Abandoned by his mum when he was seven he craves love and security. But finding a woman who can conquer his trust issues is no easy feat. Brooke is exactly the kind of woman he doesn’t need.

Pulled together by some invisible force, can Brooke and Nicholas overcome their differences to uncover true love?

Brooke Archer has always been the wild one in the group, but little did everyone know what pains she has to endure, starting with her alcoholic mom and two evil step(half)sisters and not knowing who her real father is. At some point, she longs for undivided attention from one of the men she’s dating, but sadly, an indecent toilet scene just leads her to false hopes. Now she’s decided to find out more about her own father’s identity and in doing so, she finds an ally in the form of heavily tatted hunk, Nicholas.

Women have warned Brook about Nicholas; they said he’s clingy and jealous and possessive. Qualities that may deem sweet to other gals, but also quite a turnoff to some. But Nicholas is more than just that, and when Brooke finally uncovers what lies beneath, she is in for a big surprise.

Love Uncovered is the next book in the Babes of Brighton series. I’m glad I was able to read the first book (Excess Baggage) and have kept up with the characters and their issues, personalities, concerns and activities. Although I wasn’t impressed that much with Brooke, I thought she was a bit too much on the wild side and also self-centered and cocky. Can’t say I like her much, but when she’s with Nicholas, I thought she’s okay. Despite the criticisms thrown at Nicholas’ attitude, I thought he was the perfect guy who could tame Brooke, but time and time again, she hurt Nicholas in more ways than one and I couldn’t stand her. I couldn’t help but cry for Nicholas. The truth about his mom though, wow that was really shocking! And Brooke’s daddy issues was way more complicated than I thought it would be.

Somehow, it all boiled down to lack of trust and communication that broke their connection, but in the end, I liked how everything worked out.

Can’t wait to read Alice’s story next!

Review: Mayhem’s Desire by Lindsay Cross

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Mayhem’s Desire

(Operation Mayhem #2)
by Lindsay Cross

coffeesynopsisdHis traumatic past has left him dark… and longing for love.

Hicks thinks good and evil comes in black and white. No blurred lines, no grey areas. After being subjected to a horrific experiment that’s left him damaged as a super soldier, Hicks seeks comfort from his torment in reliability. He’s got clear rules on morality and isn’t willing to break them.

Until her.

Whitney is a seductress. Secretly working for a Senator as a mistress, she puts on leather outfits and a mask of sensuality to bend men to her will— though the money she makes doing so isn’t to save her, but others. Whitney believes she’s past saving, and that love is a silly dream.

Then he enters her life.

Hicks is sickened by what he thinks Whitney is— and undeniably attracted to her. After Whitney’s life is threatened in a violent murder attempt, Hicks calls in his team. Whitney is the target of a government operation, and unless Hicks can discover who’s behind it, Whitney’s life is forfeit.

But the mission isn’t the only thing on Hicks’ mind.

Whitney and Hicks can’t keep their hands off each other… but they can’t stand each other, either. Whitney isn’t the innocent woman Hicks thought, and Hicks isn’t the strong hero Whitney’s looking for. But together, the heat of their romance and the passion of their love cannot be stopped.

Can Hicks rescue Whitney from a tragic end? Or will the lovers lose everything against incredible odds?

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Hicks’ tormented and abusive childhood made him the man that he was today. Ruthless, pensive, careful, determined, defiant and invincible. He’s a super soldier, enhanced and trained to fight for what is right and persecute those who have betrayed him and his brothers. But he wasn’t all that hard up. He also wanted to feel loved and fall in love. And just when he thought he could fall for their doctor’s sister, Whitney after rescuing her from an assassin, his heart got ripped out again when he learned what Whitney did for a living.

 

Whitney Averton had a heart of gold. She had always been caring and tending to other people’s needs. But she wasn’t the smart daughter that her parents aspired her to be. She may be working for a charitable cause, but they didn’t know the means she did to get the money. A job that involved a high profile senator and his eccentric needs.

Christopher Higginbotham (now that’s a mouthful of a name, isn’t it) aka Hicks is a man on a mission. But a little distraction along the way is welcome. But what if that distraction might just be the one to ruin him?

 

Incredible! I could not think of any other adjective right now, except INCREDIBLE! Mayhem’s Desire is another addition to Lindsay Cross’ Men of Mayhem series.and is incredibly good and I love it. The entire series just keeps getting better and better, badder and badder, deeper and deeper.

What made this book really good is the character development and the suspenseful storyline. There is growth and promise in every situation. The characters are ridiculously flawed but somehow, you can’t help but root for them. Lindsay Cross managed to keep the super soldier’s storyline going and in high momentum while each of them tackled their own story. Hicks and Whitney are the star of the story, but Reaper, Caroline and Doctor Averton are quite essential to the whole plot, thus making this series a highly anticipated read. Can’t wait to see what happens next to my favorite team of super enhanced men.

 

 

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4cocu (2)

Review: The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek

 

The Chocolate Cure
(Love at the Chocolate Shop #4)
by Roxanne Snopek

No more chocolate! No more meddling! No more men!

New Year’s resolutions are great. Announcing them in a crowded bar, with a chocolate martini in her hand? Not Maddie Cash’s finest moment. It’s time this new realtor got serious about her life and this time, she means it.

But when hospital volunteering lands her at the bedside of bruised and battered Mick Meyer, who has no knowledge of Maddie’s reputation – and no memory of the kiss he begged from her during that long, pain-filled night, her best-laid plans are put in jeopardy. It’s not just his sweet tooth that’s tempting her.

The hunky bush pilot with the concussion has an old family property to unload. Making this sale could be Maddie’s professional salvation. But when Mick turns on the charm, she’s in danger of forgetting all her best intentions… on chocolate… on meddling… and especially on men.

Sure had lots of fun meeting the once privileged spoiled girl Maddie Chase and the daredevil pilot Mick Meyer in this deliciously sweet and sexy story, The Chocolate Cure. Loved the friendly banter between two strangers. Maddie as a volunteer in a hospital was a hoot with Mick struggling to keep sane despite all the drugs inside his body. The promise of never eating chocolate again (OMG, how could Maddie make such NY resolution?) and staying away from men or meddling with other people’s decisions proved to be quite a difficult feat for our female protagonist. Not to mention that one heady kiss that Mick totally forgot about.. Le Sigh…

Maybe it’s the chocolates, or the gorgeous men in the story, or Maddie’s knack for Prada and branded items, or the warm and friendly people of Marietta – these factors definitely made my reading fun and memorable. The Chocolate Cure is absolutely the cure to all my insanity issues. This is my first book by Roxanne Snopek and I am already in love.. Love the butterfly feelings I get while reading this book. I think I am in love!

Review: Swept Off My Feet by Ines Bautista-Yao

Swept Off My Feet
by Ines Bautista-Yao

Why my life sucks
by Geri Lazaro

1. My dad left when I was a kid.
2. My mom is in love (insert eye roll).
3. With a guy who is like 10 years younger than her!
4. My friends think he’s hot. (Gross)
5. I love ballet but our dance studio has a leak and we have to dance in this smelly studio that doubles as an aikido dojo.
6. There’s this Dojo guy who thinks the studio belongs to him.
7. Friends think Dojo guy is cute. (Ew.) (Okay, objectively maybe but still, ew.)
8. I’m failing algebra.
9. Need to quit either basketball or ballet. Or both.
10. Dojo guy keeps showing up! (Fine, he does aikido in the same building but whatever.)
11. Dojo guy is asking me to dance with him. And maybe he is as cute as my friends say.
12. I don’t know what to do anymore!

I love love love this new book by Ines B. Yao.. Mostly because, there’s a ballerina in the story. Just so you know, when I was in 2nd grade, my mom enrolled me in ballet, together with my twin cousins EdieLyn and MarieLyn. For three years, we danced and glided like swans, in allegro while in strict arabesque position wearing white tutus and pointe shoes. We performed in school and church events, and I always loved the feeling ballet entailed.

That’s why I felt a connection with Geri Lazaro, the main female character in the story. Aside from being a ballerina, Geri also played basketball in her school. And then, we share the same distaste in Algebra too. And oh, she and her mom loved listening to 90s songs and Alanis Morisette! Wow! I mean, how cool is that? I’d love to meet Geri Lazaro for real!

And mister Dojo guy also known as Bas is such a nice guy. There’s something about him that makes him endearing and charming, not just because of his looks and ridiculously tall appearance and affiliation with aikido. Bas is the kind of guy you’d want to know more, hate to disappoint, and love to be with everytime. Yes, he’s that kind of guy.

While both had family issues to deal with, they got this special kind of bond that appealed to readers like me.

Swept Off My Feet reminds me of one of my favorite dance movies of all time, Step Up (the one with Channing Tatum). I loved that movie but I think I love this book even more. I love all the characters and I love how I easily connected with all of them.  I love how Ines Yao brings out my cheesy side and how she effortlessly makes me grin with her stories. I would definitely have a smile on my face when I go to sleep tonight.