Review: The Chocolate Touch by Melissa McClone

The Chocolate Touch
(Love at the Chocolate Shop #8)
by Melissa McClone

Chocolate expert Chantelle Cummings arrives in Marietta, Montana with two goals—sign copies of her new book and research a quaint local chocolate shop. When she meets a gorgeous guy passing out chocolate samples, her visit turns sweeter than she ever imagined. The man melts her heart, but her dream of working in France with her family makes her hesitant to pursue a romance.

Former Air Force captain York Parker has one month before embarking upon a consulting career. He never expected to be selling chocolates, but he’s happy to help his sister and her boss. He also likes spending time with sassy, pretty Chantelle. His new co-worker may have the chocolate touch, but he’d rather taste her decadent kisses… That is, until he learns the real reason she’s in town.

Will the truth harden his heart, or will love pave the way to a sweet future?

Fact: Whenever I feel stressed and worn out with my job, I always turn to stories by Melissa McClone , Dani Collins, Jane Porter and everyone else in Tule Publishing. I kid you not. I always find myself relaxed and grinning like a hopeless romantic whenever I meet folks like the Carrigans, The Sheenans, Parkers, the people from Bar V5 Dude Ranch, basically everyone from Copper Mountain. It’s like I belong to a family there in Marietta. So whenever there’s an opportunity to read these books, I grab that chance.

Thankfully, I found York Parker and Chantelle Cummings’ story in The Chocolate Touch. Last Christmas I already met Walt and his son Bryce who captivated York’s sister, Dakota’s heart. And now York is back to help out his sister during a busy season in Copper Mountain Chocolates.

Chantelle Cummings is a writer and a chocolate expert who’s in Marietta for a few weeks for a book signing and to do research on chocolate shops. Turns out she’s going to experience a lot more than tasting chocolates during her stay. Soon she fell in love with the place and with someone who introduced her to the sweetest chocolate kisses she’s ever tasted.

York Parker has no intentions of staying at Marietta after retiring from the Air Force. He wants to travel the world while doing his new job as a computer consultant. But when his sisters asks for his help at the chocolate shop, he couldn’t say no. Then he meets the woman with the most delicious smile he has ever seen.

I love York Parker. Can I have a piece of him? He’s everything Chantelle needs to balance her workaholic life. He’s that special someone that quenches her thirst for a family. But when reality sets in, they realize they belong to the opposite sides of the world, and neither one is willing to compromise.

As usual, Melissa McClone made me faint again with the men of Marietta. I laughed, cried, sighed, swooned, and daydreamed. My stress and wrinkles had gone away, replaced by a smile and a toothy grin, and inspired by my love for chocolates. ‘Tis was truly an exciting, sweet and lovely read!

NOTE: I received this ARC courtesy of Tule Publishing through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Blood and Thorne by Lorel Clayton

Blood and Thorne (Eva Thorne #3)
by Lorel Clayton

Eva Thorne thought facing a werewolf, betrayal, and the army of Death was bad. She learns there are all new kinds of evil—and more enemies, as well as allies, than she ever imagined. All of them have an agenda, and all of them want the one thing she needs to defeat the Dead God and save her world from annihilation. Can she claim the First Soul before they do?

The bad guys all want her dead. Fortunately, some want the First Soul more, and they need her to get it. They hope it will make them a god. She wants it for her own reasons. It summoned the God of Death, and it can send Him back to the Void before His armies ‘cleanse’ everything she’s ever known from existence. The last strongholds of humanity have fallen. Only the Three Kingdoms of Avian, Dwarf and Elf still stand. Eva is running out of time, because even that alliance is crumbling, and the Elf King, Fharen, is hatching a desperate plan of his own to win the war, one that sacrifices everyone Eva cares about.

Eva doesn’t want to be the femme fatale or Death’s bride, and she may be the worst pet detective ever, but surely, she can find a missing relic? The First Soul is evil, and like attracts like. Gods and monsters have sought it for centuries. She has one advantage – no one does evil quite like a Thorne.

Oh yes, no one really does evil as fierce as Eva Thorne.

Her soul was almost taken by the God of Death after being betrayed by her werewolf best friend. Eva Thorne and her evil twin sister was trapped in a prison with no-handle door and only one window facing the infinite sea. There were two ways to get out of it – climb up the tower castle and swim the treacherous rocky sea, or face the invisible – the Unmentionables.

Who were the Unmentionables? Well, there’s the ghostly woman with three heads, a large white bloody rabbit, with steel claws and ivory fangs. A mummified creature, a giant spider, a fairy, an elf sized dragon shifter, a vampire, an Avian and a demonic woman with blue skin, bony bat wings. And lastly, a normal looking man, , with hollow features and hollow eyes. Ugh, just describing them already gives me creeps!

Now Eva was tasked to find the relic that contained the First Soul, everyone wanted it, but only the blood relations of Eva Thorne would be able to get it. But this didn’t guarantee her freedom nor escape from death. Far from it. Because one way or another, she would end up dead, whether she heeded to the Unmentionable’s rules; worked together with her evil twin, or succumbed to her undead mother’s diabolic plans.

This had been an extremely engaging, high-octane, action-filled high fantasy masterpiece that the tandem of Lorel Clayton had created. The third book in the Eva Thorne series and it was definitely awesome. Loved that it wasn’t some kind of retelling. It was unique and exciting, fresh and really captivating, just like the first two books (Tangle of Thornes and A Thorne For a Crown). I’ve loved the first two stories and it’s not a surprise that I also love this latest adventure by Eva Thorne. A truly satisfying read!

 

Review: Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

Here and Gone
by Haylen Beck

Here and Gone is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities.. It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them… Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

This was devastatingly heart breaking and heart pounding. The kind of thriller and mystery and suspense that would grip your heart, make you sweat out of fear and tremble during sleepless nights, be shocked how something as trivial as missing kids could wreak havoc to your way of thinking. That was everything I felt while reading Here and Gone. I thought I wouldn’t wake up from a nightmare.

One moment I was here with my Kindle, sipping coffee and tipping my eyeglasses up on my nose and before I knew it, my mind had gone astray and my heart stopped for this woman who only wanted nothing more than finding her kids who were stolen from her after a car arrest.

The characters, distraught mother Audra Kinney who escaped New York with her children, Sean and Louise, had captivated my heart. They’d been tangled up in a web of conspiracy and sick people who would do unimaginable evil. When she was arrested for possible drug possession, her kids were taken away from her and were deemed missing the moment she was “jailed” by Officer Whiteside. And so began her long insufferable journey to finding Sean and Louise and proving to everybody that she was perfectly sane and harmless. Something that only Danny the Knife Boy believed.

The story had been a roller-coaster one, gripping, terrifying, eye-popping. I couldn’t stop until it was finished. And when I got hold of my sane self, I almost choked out of breath and never wished to experience those moments again. My eyes cried out for Audra and my heart bled for her kids. That’s how emotional and intense this story had been.

All hail Haylen Beck for a remarkable first novel! A definite heart-stopping one from beginning to end!

NOTE: I received this ARC courtesy of Crown Publishing through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review: Excess Baggage by Laura Barnard

Excess Baggage
by Laura Barnard

Stuck in a dead-end relationship, Erica Bennett finds herself daydreaming of her first holiday romance. She was fifteen, it was exciting, new and full of possibilities…and Jack Lawson was hot as hell. That kind of thing leaves a mark.

So when her friends suggest a girls holiday to Luna Island, it’s exactly what she needs to take her mind off things. What she doesn’t expect is to spot Jack – a much older, hotter version of him – across the hotel lobby.

Their attraction is still there and it isn’t long before sparks fly, but fifteen years is a long time. They aren’t the same people they were back then and besides, it’s only a week, right?

Is it a second chance at something real or will their excess baggage ruin their shot at love after they leave Luna Island?

Looking for a fun and crazy summer read? Probably something to peruse while vacationing with friends in the beach.. The story was all kinds of crazy and drama and romance, just right for a particularly hot and sunny day.

This is a second chance romance for Jack and Erica, who had met, had fun and had an affair when they were at the young age of fifteen. The perfect puppy love if you’d ask me. Now, fifteen years later, they saw each other again on a holiday in Luna Island, and tried to rekindled their past. But it seemed that they both had excess baggage that they couldn’t just leave behind.

The flow of the story was fine – quite fast and furious and fun. My main concern however, were the main characters. They were both already in their 30s when they met again, but somehow, their actions didn’t even change from when they got separated a lifetime ago. It felt like they just missed each other for a week, and their tryst began again. They behaved like teenagers, they acted like they were still virgins doing it for the first time, they conducted themselves like high-schoolers fidgeting and jumping to conclusions whenever a simple miscommunication arose. I didn’t really connect with Jack and Erica, but Brooke and Tom and Molly – well they were quite the raucous bunch but they proved to be intriguing as well.

This is my first book by Laura Barnard but will not be the last. I believe there’s promise in her stories and I would still love to dive into her other books soon.

Review: Mercy and Mayhem by Lindsay Cross

Mercy & Mayhem (Operation Mayhem #1)
by Lindsay Cross

He wanted nothing but revenge…until her.

Mack Grey wants one thing in his life: vengeance for the ex-CIA operative who betrayed his team, Jack Mankel. And he’s finally got the traitor within grasp, all he has to do is catch a hop across the Congo and capture his enemy.

He had no idea the depths to which Mankel’s evil could reach.

She never thought she could love again…until him.

All single-mother air force pilot Marley Mitchell has to do is fly a group of special operators across Africa for a HALO jump and then she can be back home with her baby girl. Then the unexpected happens. Her plane crashes and Marley has to rely on an insanely hot commander to get her out of the jungle alive.

Deep in the jungle, Mack gives her his heart and soul. He’s willing to lay down his life to protect hers.

But Marley has a secret.

A secret that could destroy not only their hope for happiness, but Mack’s entire team.

With Mankel closing in and guerilla soldiers on the prowl, their sensual attraction is put to the ultimate test in an action-packed thrill ride of passion so hot it threatens to burn them alive.

The latest book by Lindsay Cross just left me breathless!

I never met a woman pilot as feisty and stubborn and damn well passionate as Marley Mitchell.  She’s independent and determined and would do everything for her daughter Maddie.  When she met Mack Grey,  it was only a matter of time before she got thrown again in that wonderful bliss being in a relationship entailed.

Mack Grey was the colonel leading the team that’d bring down the notorious Jack Mankel, who  betrayed  his  team  and  his  country.  Too many lives had suffered and were at stake,  it was time to capture and punish the traitor once and for all.

But everything changed when Marley was thrown in the crossfire that would put bullet into Mack’s head.

This has been another fantastic story from Cross.  Action packed from start to finish.  Sizzling hot in every chapter too.  There’d been no dull moment when I read this book. Truly another absolutely amazing treat by the men in uniform.

Review: No Interest in Love by Cassie Mae

No Interest

No Interest in Love
(All About Love #2)
by Cassie Mae

Hollywood’s hottest young actor hits the road to chase his big break—and discovers a leading lady where he least expected.

When Jace Carver snags a minor part in his buddy’s zombie flick, he suddenly starts getting noticed all over the place. Even Hollywood megastar Carletta Ocean—known for her extensive “research” with her male co-stars—wants Jace for her new rom-com. The role could be a game-changer . . . if Jace nails the audition.

As Jace’s agent, Shaylene Kwak is all business, and isn’t about to let her favorite client blow this opportunity. Since their college years, Shay has been immune to Jace’s charm and rock-hard body. But long hours in close company have a way of wearing down even the best defenses, and when their platonic teasing turns into serious flirting, Jace and Shay are no longer able to resist what’s been right in front of them the entire time.

Shay knows Jace’s love-’em-and-leave-’em history with women. She’s not about to be just another notch in his belt. And it’s true, Jace has never wanted more than a one-night stand—until now. But at the end of the line, he’s got a choice: sleep with Carletta and seal the deal, or risk his career for a shot at true love with Shay.

 

I gotta admit, I didn’t like this book at first. I thought Jace was an a-hole actor wannabe who would do every girl he met. He thought Hollywood was a better place now that he was in it. And he would do his best to get the roles he wanted, not because he wanted an Oscar, but because he wanted to bed every star he was paired with. All he ever wanted was to get laid.

I thought, ugh, this guy’s disgusting. He even had the audacity to narrate his sexcapades and mishaps, as if they were his trophies. I wasn’t really feeling him. Except when he constantly expressed how he idolized “Barney Stinson” – who wouldn’t? I thought he was an airhead and a slut.

Until he blurted out this four words when he thought he was about to die – ” I love you Grandma!”

I love grandmas. I love elderlies. I grew up with my “abuela” grandmother until her last breath when I was in 3rd grade. She used to comb my hair and taught me Spanish words. When main character Jace Carver screamed his love for his grandma, I was moved. Suddenly I decided to read the story all over again, starting from the very first page.

And soon I saw Jace differently. (Kinda). I realized he was crazy kid, sarcastic, recalcitrant, dyslexic, attention seeker. He was just like any normal aspiring actors wanting to get big in Hollywood. And yes, still, all he wanted was to get laid.

Until he found out he could no longer deny his feelings for his agent. Until he realized he wanted to right his wrongs and be better in the eyes of Shay. Shaylene Kwak, a Texan-based Korean who usually muttered unintelligible Korean curses and had seen his ups and downs since their high school days. Shay whom she found so adorable and attractive despite her constant sarcasm. Shay who re-introduced Elmo to the world through her memes.

I thought the story was entertaining and hilarious because I found myself laughing at Jace’s & Shay’s expense. They ruled the world in their own ways. They threw lines effectively and their constant bickering and bantering was fun to read. I loved that theirs wasn’t a case of insta-love. In the end, I thought the whole book was adorably cute.. (But still, first impressions last, isn’t it? So I still think Jace was an a-hole.

I liked Cassie Mae’s writing. She had this ability to make me look at her characters in a different light. Jace and Shay became real persons, their series of unfortunate events proved that life is full of surprises, uncertainties and promises. Cassie Mae is an effective and competent author, she writes beautiful and realistic romantic stories that appeal to the masses and book enthusiasts. Can’t wait to get my hands on her other books!

Review: Love in Lingerie by Alessandra Torre

Love in Lingerie
by Alessandra Torre

I hired her to fix my company, to bring Marks Lingerie back to life. I didn’t expect her to become my friend. I didn’t expect to fall in love with her.

The first rule of business is to never touch your employees. I think there is another rule about not falling for your best friend—a rule against imagining the curves of her body, or the way her breathing would change if I pulled down her panties and unzipped my pants.

Now, I can’t wait any longer. I’m tossing out the rules.

Damn the company.
Damn our friendship.
Damn my fears.

This has been so tantalizingly sexy, deliciously funny, definitely hot and sexy.

Kate Martin is looking for a job after feeling so under-appreciated in the lingerie company she’d been working at. She met Trey Marks, dashingly handsome and rich and hot. She can think of so many things to do with the man, but she isn’t one to misbehave herself, especially after getting engaged to her long-time boyfriend, Craig.

Well, she isn’t going anywhere whether she likes it or not, because if there’s one rule that Trey Marks religiously implements and follows, that is not to get associated with his co-worker, no commitments, no touch, no feels. Even if Kate Martin happened to be the woman who rocks his world.

Trey Marks isn’t the kind of man I’d want to consider as a book boyfriend, what with all his crazy and naughty ideas and kinks, but Kate Martin sure is the one that has slayed him. Props to this feisty girl who had full control of herself even if she really wants to get a taste of her boss the moment she sees him. Took them years and years – that’s long enough to do the inevitable, that was quite painfully slow if you were to ask me.

But when the love was consumed, everything around them burned and exploded. This is quite a shocking and aggressive read. My first Alessandra Torre book and this won’t definitely be the last.