15.12.17

Blog Tour: Sweet Life by Nina Lane (Review!!)



Sweet Life (A Sugar Rush Novel, #5) 
Nina Lane 
He knows if she's been bad or good. Amidst the sugarplums and mistletoe, fashion stylist Julia Bennett is every inch a scrooge. Known for her ice-queen ways, she's having a meltdown over a botched business deal and an upcoming milestone birthday. Add the pressure of forced holiday cheer, and she's ready to dive into the spiked eggnog and not come out until summer. Warren Stone, president and owner of the Sugar Rush Candy Company, is determined to make Julia slow down and enjoy the holidays. As her friend and confidante for thirteen years, he knows her better than anyone. But when decking the halls leads them to an explosive, sexy night, everything suddenly changes. And when Warren decides Julia is all he wants for Christmas, will she risk their longtime friendship for the gift of love?
Review: 

After devouring the first four books in this series, I couldn't wait to dive into Julia and Warren's story! It's been obvious since the first book that there's something between them, even though everyone (not even the two potential lovebirds) seem to see it! Luckily, Sweet Life gave Julia and Warren the perfect happily ever after with a dose of Christmas cheer! 

Honestly, I've been dying for Julia's POV ever since she first appeared in the Sweet Dreams. She's dynamite - ambitious, fearless,  and incredibly quick with her word. After Sweet Escape, however,  I could tell she hadn't always been this way. She may have even been a bit of a wildflower like Hannah (cue gasp). Therefore, I was so happy to get inside her heard here. No matter how icy the surface may seem, Julia has a lot of heart and sweetness deep down, especially when it comes to being pseudo mama bear to her nephews and niece. I especially enjoyed seeing the vulnerable side to her in Sweet Life. Previously, it seemed as if she didn't have any flaws, or holdbacks, but in Sweet Life, she deals with a couple of setbacks, mostly dealing with the failing of a business deal. It was refreshing to see that she was for one human but for for two that she wouldn't let the bad get her down. Sure, she'd wallow and eat some waffles, but nothing could keep her down for too long.  

Like Julia, it was fun to get inside Warren's head. In the previous books, he's always seemed strong and aloof - a protector as well as a tone setter. In Sweet Life, however, the softer side to Warren comes out, especially when it involves Julia, or Jules as he calls her. It was incredibly easy to see how much he cared for her and how far he'd go to prove that to her. Additionally, I enjoyed seeing the relationship with his children through his eyes. It brought a whole new layer of development to it. 

The romance in Sweet Life is as sweet and sexy as the previous books. I thought Nina did a great of developing it at a good pace. I will admit that at first I was slightly worried about a Warren and Julia pairing. I wondered if it could really work since Warren had been married to Julia's sister; however, I thought Nina did a decent job of handling that situation. She showed the doubts as well as hopes Warren and Julia had regarding the situation, making it more real in the long run. 

In all, Sweet Life is another great addition to the Sugar Rush series. It didn't top my favorite (sorry, Kate and Tyler's HEA hold that position!), but I enjoyed it nonetheless. My only questions now are: who's story is next AND how long do we have to wait?! 

3 Stars! 

Sweet Life is now out! 

Source: eARC provided by publicist for blog tour 






About the Author: 
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she's that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer. 

14.12.17

Mini-Reviews: The Sugar Rush Series (Books 1-4) by Nina Lane


As a growing fan of the romance genre, I felt that it was about time that I checked out Nina Lane's books. I decided the perfect place to start was with her Sugar Rush series! 

Now that I've devoured the first four, all I can say is: WHY DIDN'T I READ THIS SERIES SOONER?! Seriously, it's so good! If you love books featuring strong, independent heroines and charming, passionate heroes, you're going to love this series! As always, some I enjoyed more than others; however, each are solid 3.5 to 4 star reads. Find out more below! 

Also it's important to mention that while this is a series, each book stands alone. Nina does a wonderful job of summarizing past plot points in the start of each book, but it is fun to read them in order, as there are crossover characters in each. 

Sweet Dreams (Book, #1)
Synopsis/Cover Image from Author's Website: 
He may own a candy company, but this wealthy bachelor is no Willy Wonka.

A new standalone sexy contemporary romance by New York Timesbestselling author Nina Lane!

Sugar Rush Candy Company CEO Luke Stone is a devoted businessman who doesn't do relationships. He does short-term affairs with clearly defined rules. But when a sexy bohemian angel propositions him in a bar, Luke is tempted to want more.

Polly Lockhart is horrified when she wakes the morning after her twenty-third birthday to realize she made a fool of herself with a sinfully delicious man. She tells herself she doesn't have time for romance anyway, as she's fighting to keep her mother's beloved bakery afloat and finish her culinary studies. That all changes when her class tours the famed Sugar Rush headquarters, and Polly collides with her dream man again.

As she succumbs to their hot attraction, Polly soon realizes her bakery isn't the only thing that needs saving. Luke, driven and unyielding, will burn out unless someone convinces him to taste the sweetness of life. But can Polly remember this sugar rush is only temporary?
Review:

Two words to describe Nina Lane's Sweet Dreams? Sweet and sexy! I will admit it that it took me a while to get into this, because the story started off slow. By the halfway mark, however, I was one hundred percent hooked as well as a committed Polly-and-Luke shipper. 

Polly was a great lead. I loved how sweet and wholesome she was, but what I loved even more was how she wouldn't take handouts from anyone. She was determined to save her business on her own, and even when Luke did help her out, she always managed to make it an equal deal. When the book first begins, Luke is very serious and staunch - he doesn't take vacations, he works 24/7, and he is incredibly anti-realtionship. Everything changes, though, when he meets Polly. Suddenly, he wants to dedicate his weekends to her and not work and he wants to do cutesy-relationship things. Basically, he's a changed man and for the better, because while I did love moody and serious Luke, fun and loving Luke was even better! There romance developed at a great speed. The drama towards the end was a tad bit ridiculous, but in all, a great start to a series! 


3. 5 stars! 

Sweet Dreams is now out!

Source: eBook provided by publicist



Buy Links: 


Sweet Escape (Book, #2) 

Synopsis/Cover Image from Author's Website
When dessert goes wrong…

Hannah Lockhart travels the world and blogs about love. At least she used to before she promised to look after her sister’s bakery. Now, stuck in small town California for the next six months, Hannah is desperate to find romantic content for her blog or risk losing both readers and income.

Then a whipped cream disaster sends her into the arms of sexy, charming Evan Stone, heir to the Sugar Rush Candy Company.

Since childhood, Evan has been trying to overcome family concerns about his defective heart. Known as “The Heartbreaker,” he’s found an outlet with women. And when bad news strikes him, he seeks a diversion by offering to show Hannah the romance of the Bay Area.

Hannah jumps at the chance…as long as they keep things platonic. But soon Evan’s hot combination of charm, perfect kisses, and a serious sweet tooth melts her defenses.

As Hannah and Evan surrender to their delicious attraction, they are forced to confront the reality of her wanderlust and his heart condition. When love and hearts collide, can Hannah and Evan find their sweet ending?

Review:

After reading Sweet Dreams, I couldn't wait to dive into Hannah and Evan's story! I loved both of their characters in the first book. Plus, I couldn't wait for them to prove their siblings "wrong" - for Hannah that meant staying at the bakery for a few months rather than giving into her wanderlust and for Evan that meant being a successful temporary CEO. As it turns out, this book is EVEN BETTER than the first one! 

I loved the dynamic between Hannah and Even. It was the perfect distribution of adorable and sexy. Plus, the banter between them was fantastic - their chemistry just poured out. I also enjoyed reading about the trips they took in the book as well as the struggles they faced at work. More importantly, I liked that adventure hungry Hannah finally found a home in this! It warmed my heart to see her so happy and content. In all, Sweet Dreams is a fanatic follow-up! 


4 stars!


Sweet Escape is now out!


Source: eBook provided by publicist
Buy Links: 


Sweet Surrender (Book, #3) 

Synopsis/Cover Image from Author's Website
Super-efficient Kate Darling needs lessons in love. As executive assistant to the CEO of the Sugar Rush Candy Company, Kate knows everything about organization and nothing about relationships. Then she literally falls into the arms of Tyler Stone, youngest Sugar Rush heir and notorious bad boy.

After a colossal screw-up involving a pretty girl and a stolen speedboat, Tyler is facing the punishment of an actual job. His father has sentenced him to organize the company library, which is Tyler’s definition of cruel and unusual punishment. But if he can convince industrious, resourceful Kate to help him, he’ll earn his release in no time.

Kate is no fool. Tyler is an authority on sex, and she wants to learn. She’ll help him with the library—if he’ll teach her about the erotic side of romance.

Cataloging, alphabetizing, and metadata collide in a storm of lust, sweat, and dirty talk as Kate and Tyler get to work on both the library and each other. But when he starts falling for her, their hot affair will be one for the books.
Review: 

After devouring Hannah and Evan's love story, I didn't think this series could get much better. As it turns out, I was dead wrong, as Kate and Tyler's story is the BEST one yet! 

In Sweet Surrender, Kate, Luke's longtime assistant, decides she's sick of always being so straight laced. She wants love and romance - to be swept off her feet. To solve this issue, she enlists Tyler's relationship help, but in the process fall head over heels for him of course!

In the past few books, Tyler has always been labeled as the trouble maker, the black sheep of the family, and honestly, I was a little worried about a book being focused on him. Would I like him? Did he have redeeming qualities? Thankfully, Tyler was a fantastic lead -  a bad boy on the path of redemption. It was fun to see Tyler become passionate about his work in this book as well as see how Kate influenced him to be better. Additionally, I liked seeing his relationship with his brothers through his eyes - it gave a new layer of detail to their relationships. Kate was also a great character. I always love a good "make-over" storyline; however, what I appreciated the most here was that Kate stayed true to herself. Sure, she started dressing in younger-looking clothes and taking risks, but at the core, she was same old Kate - caring, loyal, and steadfast. Together, Kate and Tyler had some of the BEST chemistry I've seen so far in this series. I loved the banter, the shopping trips, etc. It was so much fun to see them fall in love - so much in fact that I didn't even mind the overly dramatic twist at the end. 

All in all, if you read ANY book in this series, make sure it's Sweet Surrender. 


4 stars! 

Sweet Surrender is now out! 


Buy Links: 


Sweet Time (Book #4) 

Synopsis/Cover Image from Author's Website
A rock-hard bodyguard gets a sassy, sweet treat.

Stuck in a boring insurance job, vivacious Mia Donovan has spent the last few years searching for her life's true path. She fills her time helping plan the wedding of her best friend to the CEO of the Sugar Rush Candy Company.

Mia has also been trying to attract the impossibly rigid Sugar Rush security chief Gavin Knight. But for well over a year, the unyielding Mr. Knight has ignored her, despite her short skirts, tight sweaters, and patently obvious flirting. And when he finally approaches her, it's only to assess the wedding plans for potential security risks.

A former soldier, Gavin has intercepted hostile anonymous letters threatening the high-profile wedding. Determined to keep everyone safe, he's forced to work with the maddeningly sexy Miss Donovan of the thousand-watt charm and irresistible body.

Irked by Gavin's many months of disregard, Mia takes her teasing flirtations to a whole new level. But her coquettish ways are no match for the edgy, lust-fueled dominant he conceals behind his impassive exterior. And when Gavin exerts his full control, Mia discovers he can protect everything except her heart.
Review: 

After witnessing glimpses of the will-they-or-won't-they debacle of Mia and Gavin in the previous three books, I was so excited to finally see them get their chance at a HEA in Sweet Time. In the previous books, Mia's always been a constant source of amusement. I love her ceaseless flirting, especially when it comes to Gavin. Additionally, I admire that she's always been a great friend to Polly. I mean, she is the reason why Polly and Luke ended up together, which honestly deems her worthy of a medal in my opinion. 

In Sweet Time, a new side of Mia is seen. She's not always the confident, fearless girl she presents herself as. She has insecurities,  especially when it comes to her friendship with Polly and her career outlook. I feel that any twenty-something will be able to relate to Mia - she's at that crossroads part of her life where all of her friends are getting married or in relationships or finding the career of their lives while she's just chilling in a dead-end job, single as ever. 

Then enters Gavin, finally ready to give it a go with Mia. Their resulting romance was sweet and full of chemistry. I also liked that more of Gavin was seen - he had a lot of layers to his character. More importantly, I loved that while Gavin helped Mia see her potential, he wasn't her "savior" - she saved herself when it came to finding happiness and purpose and I was wholeheartedly behind that! 

Last but not least, it was fun to see Polly's wedding in this. Nina even included a mystery within it, and while the mystery was easy to solve, I still enjoyed it. 

Overall, another great addition to the Sugar Rush series. 

3. 5 stars! 

Sweet Time is now out! 

Source: eBook provided by publicist

Add on Goodreads! 

Buy Links: 

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


Be sure to stop back tomorrow for my stop on the Sweet Life blog tour! 


13.12.17

Blog Tour: Murder on the Lake of Fire by Mikel J. Wilson (Review & Giveaway!!)

  
Murder on the Lake of Fire 
Mikel J. Wilson
(Mourning Dove Mysteries, #1)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 1st 2017
Genres: LGBTQ+, Mystery, Romance
At twenty-three and with a notorious case under his belt, Emory Rome has already garnered fame as a talented special agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. His career is leapfrogging over his colleagues, but the jumping stops when he’s assigned a case he fought to avoid – to investigate an eerie murder in the Smoky Mountain hometown he had abandoned. This mysterious case of a dead teen ice-skater once destined for the pros is just the beginning. In a small town bursting with envious friends and foes, Rome’s own secrets lie just below the surface. The rush to find the murderer before he strikes again pits Rome against artful private investigator, Jeff Woodard. The PI is handsome and smart, seducing Rome and forcing him to confront childhood demons, but Woodard has secrets of his own. He might just be the killer Rome is seeking.
Review: 

Going into Murder on the Lake of Fire, I had incredibly high hopes. Most reviews I had seen had been incredibly positive and the storyline sounded interesting (I can NEVER resist a mystery!). Thankfully, Murder on the Lake of Fire was an excellent read. Full of thrills as well as chills, Murder on the Lake of Fire presents a suspenseful whodunit with a side of romance. 

Emory Rome has experienced a successful start with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. With several big cases under his belt, he feels as if he can tackle anything the bureau throws his way. That confidence changes, however, when he's given a case back in his hometown. Faced with solving a murder as well as resolving issues from his past, Emory has a full plate, which makes Jeff Woodard's arrival on the scene all the more untimely. Hired as a PI for the victims's family, Jeff seems to get in Emory's way at every turn...Emory should hate him - he's getting in the way of investigation, that's for sure - however, there's something so infuriatingly addicting about him...something that might just case Emory to risk everything. 

My favorite part of Murder on The Lake of Fire was the mystery of course! From the first page, the reader is thrown into the mystery at full blast. It's one that's been seen before - a successful young teen is brutally murdered. Over the course of the book, several different angles are put into play: Is a family member behind it? Was it a scorned boyfriend? A competitor? The list goes on and on. Additionally, other related mysteries are thrown into play - a family fortunate is at stake, another murder occurs, the deceased teenager's family business is sabotaged, etc. Many times I thought I had the mystery completely figured out; however, Mikel always seemed to have a trick up his sleeve to completely throw me off my game. Even the last chapter had me on the edge of my seat, still not fully believing what was going on - the ultimate "what the heck moment?" for sure! 

I also really liked the characters! Emory was the ultimate good cop - always following the rules and guidelines - while Jeff was the ultimate bad cop - always throwing the rules to the wind. I loved the resulting dynamic between them, as not only did it bring out some hilarious banter but it also resulted in a sweet enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance. Out of the two, I think I liked Jeff the most. I loved his reckless ways, especially when they brought out the reckless in Emory as well. I also enjoyed that there was a lot of unknown to his character. When Jeff is first introduced into the story, he brings along his own mystery - he's been placed on the no-fly list for no real reason. 

Murder on the Lake of Fire consists of 40+ chapters; however, never once did I get bored. The plot was fast paced and dialogue as well as action heavy, which I enjoyed. I also appreciated that while most of the book was told in Emory's POV, the POVs of several other characters was involved. It brought a greater understanding to their characters and increased the suspense factor. 

There were two aspects that brought this down a notch in my eyes: I felt that the characters weren't incredibly well developed. There were a lot of blank spaces around Emory and Jeff, especially in regards to their respective backgrounds. However, this is the start of a series, so I'm sure there's more development to come! Second of all, I wish there was more romance! Don't get me wrong, I loved the romance that was included, but I would loved more time devoted  to it. So likewise I hope the sequel(s) involve more of that as well. 

If you love murder mysteries, Murder on the Lake of Fire should definitely be on your TBR! Mikel J. Wilson may be relatively new to the scene, but I can see so much promise in this series as well as his overall storytelling. 

Grade: B+ 

Source: eARC provided by publicist for blog tour 




Author Bio: 
 Mystery and science fiction author Mikel J. Wilson received widespread critical praise for his debut novel, Sedona: The Lost Vortex, a science fiction book based on the Northern Arizona town’s legends of energy vortexes and dimensional travel. Wilson now draws on his Southern roots for the Mourning Dove Mysteries, a series of novels featuring bizarre murders in the Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee. Murder on the Lake of Fire, the first novel in the Mourning Dove Mysteries series, will be available December 1, 2017. 


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