Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Asylum Interviews: Bronx (The Asylum Tales, #0.5)The Asylum Interviews: Bronx by Jocelynn Drake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great start to a new series.

Gage owns a tattoo parlor called Asylum. He tries to live his quiet life flying under the radar because he has many things to hide, however nothing is ever simple in the world Gage lives in.

He meets Bronx, a troll with a mysterious past that is an excellent tattoo artist, as he comes to Gage's rescue when a friend tries to distract him and gets into trouble.

As this short story unfolds, Gage and Bronx try to help Parker causing more trouble, the fix finds themselves in several predicaments.

A fun and compelling story and I am looking forward to meeting more characters that will surround the tattoo shop called Asylum.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Deep Autumn Heat: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance (Star Harbor, #1)Deep Autumn Heat: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance by Elisabeth Barrett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sebastian Greyson is a master chef and owner of the upscale restaurant, Helena. He was born in Star Harbor, Massachusetts and still likes to think of himself as a local, although he seems to be the only one that thinks that way as he has been gone for several years. He still comes back at least once a year to hook up with his brothers to honor their father who died twenty years ago on Labor Day weekend. Val is the oldest and became the man of the house when their father died, always the stable one, he still lives in Star Harbor. Cole is the next oldest and has served in Afghanistan, came home a little broken and now is the local sheriff after being a cop in Boston. Theo is Seb’s twin and an author living in San Francisco. While spending time with his brothers, Seb is also brainstorming a new menu for his restaurant and planning for a new cooking TV show.

Lexie Meyers is the owner of LM Kitchen which is a breakfast and lunch place in Star Habor, she will soon start a catering business and her first customer is her friend Emma who is getting married in a few weeks to another local boy, Jimmy. Lexie moved here a couple of years ago to start a new life. She needed to leave California and a bad relationship and has moved as far away as possible.

Lexie is working at her restaurant when Seb and his brothers come in for coffee, she knows who he is and thinks he is presumptuous and stuck-up. Seb on the other hand, enjoys her company and her special creation, coconut cake. He starts hanging out at LMK, disrupting the flow and bothering Lexie. He even goes so far as to challenge her to a cook off so he can spend more time with her.

While Lexie and Seb spend more time together their attraction grows and Seb keeps putting off several decisions and opts to stay for his friend's wedding in Star Harbor. Strange things happen to Lexie, enough that Cole, as local law enforcement, gets involved. They find out that Frank (Lexie’s ex-boyfriend) is no longer in California. Even though Lexie hopes she has moved on from her past, she takes out a restraining order on her ex; their past relationship had deteriorated so bad that in the end he tried to rape her. She does not believe he knows where she is at, but is always mindful of what could happen.

Deep Autumn Heat is a wonderful story that is compelling until the end. As the story unfolds we find out the fears that both Seb and Lexie need to overcome, Seb needs to think about where he wants his career to go and how far and Lexie needs to overcome the past, however when the past comes to meet her she needs help from the community, including Seb to get through it.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Can't Buy Me LoveCan't Buy Me Love by Molly O'Keefe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lyle Baker wants his estranged children home before he dies. And he has the money and power to bribe Tara Jean Sweet to help him in his scheme. So they publish an article in the paper along with a photo of the two of them together announcing their wedding plans.

Luc and Victoria are the children Lyle wants home, which is the last place they want to be. Even though they were from different mothers, Luc and Victoria are very close and spent several summers with their father on the ranch, however those were some of the worst times for each of them. Lyle was a brutal father that dealt out discipline with his hand and fist. At one point Luc’s mother stopped sending him to the ranch when Luc started talking about how to stop his father. Victoria also had the additional problem that her mother was the mistress and she was not treated well whenever Lyle’s wife Gloria was around. The only reason Luc and Victoria think about coming home is that Victoria wants her inheritance and she will do anything, including returning to the ranch, to make sure that a Bimbo Barbie does not get it.

Luc is a famous NHL Hockey player currently on hiatus before his last year of playing, he needs to successfully convince everyone that the head injury he recently received is not causing brain damage and will not bother him during games. Although Luc never wants to see his father again, he will go back for Victoria who is a recent widow after her husband conned several people with a ponzi scam. She has lost everything and has a young child to think about and lacking confidence in herself, believes she can’t do anything except live the way she is used to.

Tara Jean Sweet is helping Lyle with his wish to have his children home one last time before he dies. She does not expect to marry him and plays along with this fake engagement. As a reward, Tara will get a portion of his leather business to have some security in her life, something she never had. She grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and left home in her teens after her mother got mad at her when her mother’s boyfriend took advantage of her. Tara behaved badly in her younger years while trying to survive, things she is not proud of and does not want anyone to know about, she is hiding from a past and a man she hopes will never find her.

The story has unsympathetic characters and you have to dig deep to find positive qualities about them. Luc is angry at everything including a possible life without hockey and Tara is a past gold digger that only recently has lived the straight and narrow. These people are not perfect by any means and need some redemption to be likable; however throughout the course of the story, with the father dying, the reading of the will and Tara’s troubled past coming to find her, they begin to become human and we end up cheering for them to find happiness. Throughout the book we also get a glimpse of the secondary characters, Victoria and ranch foreman Eli, they too need some redemption as they are both very angry and unlovable but they have a whole story to go through to gain our love.

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