All Fired Up. Kate Meader. 2013. 416 pages. Forever. [ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] This story is as hot as the flames in the kitchen of Sarriette and the sexual chemistry between its two main characters, Shane and Cara, is definitely its fuel. All Fired Up is a great romance filled with just the right balance of lust, attitude, and humor and has so many references to delicious food that my mouth watered most of the time. I loved the writing overall. Meader has a way of building up just the right amount of tension and letting it crest a while before the reader everything they want. I knew while I was reading chapter 1 that I was in for a treat. In most books, the problem is front and center within the first page. Instead, I was left wondering what the awkwardness was between Cara and Shane for the entire chapter. It’s not often the book starts with the marriage, and that an immediate solution wasn’t granted made it all the more enticing to keep reading.
Unexpected Love. Casey Clipper. 2014. 213 pages. Amazon Digital Publishing. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of The Book Gurus.] Unexpected Love is the second installment in Clipper’s “Love Series.” As far as I can tell, the series revolves around a group of cousins in the Millen family. Close-knit to a fault, the family is filled with ex-military alpha males who protect the women in their families at all costs. This book in particular focuses on Ryan Millen, a playboy whose life is turned upside down when he unexpectedly becomes a father overnight. Financially strapped Lynn enters his life and the two find a seemingly mutually beneficial arrangement around the care of his son newborn son Brady. I think this is a great book for readers who enjoy romances filled with Alpha males and/or military-types. Every single man in this book is imposing and aggressive, bordering on overbearing. The women in the book seem to enjoy that so it works. But if that’s not your thing … Unexpected Love may not suit your fancy. Regardless of personality type, the guys in the book mean well and Clipper does a good job of pairing them with women who balance them out and in some cases go toe-to-toe with them….
Always Yours. Kari March. 2014. Amazon Digital Publishing. 281 pages. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of The Book Gurus.] I’m pretty excited to be taking part in a blog tour for Kari March’s latest release, Always Yours, her second release of 2014. Always Yours is a standalone sequel to March’s debut novel, Promise Me Always. I tend to prefer starting interrelated books with the first in the “series,” so I felt it was necessary to start with Promise Me Always. I was extremely impressed at her ability to ensure that Always Yours could stand on its own merits as it interwove the characters and events from the first book. Always Yours centers on Cam and Cara, two young adults who’ve had their fair share of heartache at the hands of their family and romantic partners. For Cara, when the going gets tough, the people in her life leave. Cam, on the other hand, cannot keep genuine women in his life. When they meet, neither is at a place in their life where they want to welcome any serious attachment. Too bad their bodies (and later hearts) don’t seem to understand that. From the start, the two have undeniable chemistry, which leads to heated exchanges, both verbally and physically.
The Opposite of Maybe. Maddie Dawson. 2014. Broadway Books. 400 pages. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of Edelweiss.] When I started reading The Opposite of Maybe, I wasn’t immediately drawn in. I wasn’t sure I’d relate to the characters, Rosie and Jonathan, because they seemed like such anomalies. They’re middle-aged, seemingly commitment-phobic, and generally not what you expect of people their age. Then I kept reading. Instead of what I expected, I was treated to a story about the messy reality of relationships, both familial and romantic, and how we make sense of our choices. I found myself constantly conflicted about Rosie. One minute, she seemed so headstrong and assured, but the next, she seemed weak and complacent. This balance made her real and made her endearing. I felt completely caught up in her life — the confusion about impending motherhood, the heartbreak of a failed relationship, and the joy of a new friendship. Rosie is the heart of this story, through which everyone else’s stories are highlighted.
An April Bride. Lenora Worth. 2014. 102 pages. Zondervan. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] This was an emotional, yet inspiring book. Stella and Marshall have a love straight from a fairy tale. Everyone knows they should end up together … except Marshall. When he returns from combat, he’s lost his memory of those close to him, including his fiance Stella. The book follows their struggle to bring back Marshall’s memory, but also begs the question of if they can come back from his injuries to have the love they knew before. For anyone who’s come to a crossroads in their relationship, this book will hit close to home. Stella has unconditional love for Marshall, but facing a future with someone who’s willing to marry her because he thinks he should isn’t enough for her.