Kay ~ BayArea BookLover

I'm a romance reader at heart but do read several other genres.

Welcome to Paradise

Welcome to Paradise - Rosalind  James

This is different and refreshing for a contemporary romance. The characters are on a Survivor-type reality show in a 1885 setting. The contestants live like those times without running water or electricity while competing in events like chopping logs, plowing, canning cherries, etc. During this competition, a romance blossoms.

I think if you enjoy reality competitions and their everyday strategies and alliances, you will probably enjoy this. If you don't want to read about all this detail with romance taking a backseat sometimes, then this won't be for you. 

ARC Review: The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

The Sum of All Kisses - Julia Quinn

Hugh is a brilliant man and very stellar at mathematics. But all this intelligence did not prevent him from a permanent leg injury he got in a duel with his friend, Daniel Smythe-Smith (from A Night Like This). Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has it out for Hugh for ruining her life and messing with her cousin Daniel. Even though Daniel has forgiven Hugh, Lady Sarah has not. When matched together at a family wedding gathering, they are forced to spend time with each other despite their animosity.


I had real strong feelings for Hugh and I’m a sucker for tortured heroes. He is flawed with a permanent leg injury that causes constant pain. The reader gets a good sense of how less of a man he feels, especially during those moments when a bum leg prevented him from swooping Lady Sarah off her feet for romantic or safety reasons.


I enjoyed the banter between Hugh and Sarah. It was fun to read and watch them go from hate to like to love. The conflict at the end didn’t come across as very believable to me or maybe it seemed a bit forced or rushed. The steam factor is on the lighter side and the reader has to wait closer until the end for it.


If you have been following the Smyth-Smiths in other Quinn novels, you will find that their musicales are horrid. It has made plenty of humorous reactions in the past novels but we didn’t get to experience their musicales in A Sum of All Kisses until the Epilogue. I would have liked to have read more about this event since it is what makes up the legend of the Smyth-Smiths. But overall, this was another quite enjoyable read by Julia Quinn with nothing too heavy to give me any heartache.


* ARC provided by Avon via Edelweiss

Review: Harper's Bride by Alexis Harrington

Harper's Bride - Alexis Harrington

This is my 2nd Harrington book and I really enjoyed it. Usually, when I pick up a western romance, it's about a cattle drive, living on a ranch, cowboys, outlaws, or travelling on a wagon train through the American Frontier. With Harper's Bride, it was quite refreshing since the hero owns a trade store and the setting is in Dawson City, Canada during the Yukon Gold Rush. The author painted a good picture of how greedy people would give up everything to search for gold but to only come up empty handed.

There's also no surprise that Harrington does a great job of building relationships and character development instead of diving straight into the romance. This is a sweet build about two people thrown together in a marriage and learning to live and grow to love one another. I love how people aren't who they seem and I love it when the reader uncovers that in a story. Alexis Harrington is now on my list of must read authors for this genre and I look forward to reading more.

Review: A Taste of Heaven by Alexis Harrington

A Taste of Heaven - Alexis Harrington

I really enjoyed this one. We get a real good sense about living on a big ranch and the rough travels of a cattle drive. I did feel that some parts moved a bit slow but I liked how the relationships took time to develop. I look forward to reading more by this author.


3.5 Stars

Review: The Tenderfoot Bride by Cheryl St.John

The Tenderfoot Bride (Harlequin Historical) - Cheryl St.John

When Linnea arrives to Will Tucker's ranch as their new cook, Will is fuming mad. He expected an old widow and not a young, meek looking little mouse. Despite a rough meeting and even a dismissal, Will gives Linnea a chance to prove herself.

Will is one of those ranchers who come off really tough and mean. But as we get into the story, we see that he's actually a softy. He takes care of his men, he's loyal and he has a heart despite his rugged persona. 

Linnea is recently widowed and has had a rough upbringing. She is skittish and is very aware what harm men can cause. She's a hard worker, a really good cook and a woman who is so determined to prove herself.

I loved how this book gives us insight on everyday ranch living, the hardships of mother nature, and the bond that forms when working and living close to people you see everyday. This book didn't dive deeply into the characters' former pasts but we get a good sense of what happened to them. The steam factor is very low but the romance is very sweet and slow building. I love american historicals and I have read a couple of novels by St. John that I highly enjoyed. So, The Tenderfoot Bride was a nice quick read with nothing too heavy to make my heart hurt but just enough to satisfy.

A newcomer or novice, esp. a person unaccustomed to the hardships of pioneer life

Review: The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins

The Perfect Match - Kristan Higgins

After a trip to her family doctor, thirty-five year old Honor is told that her biological clock is ticking. With no serious relationship, she decides it’s time to propose to the love of her life, Brogan, who is her longtime best friend and sometimes sex buddy. Unfortunately, Brogan does not return her feelings and rejects her proposal. Weeks later, Brogan is shockingly engaged to her best friend. Feeling betrayed and heartbroken, in comes Tom Barlow, a very handsome British professor teaching at the local college. With an expiring visa and an unofficial step-son who he wants to stay in the states for, Honor agrees to a marriage of convenience.

I love Tom and Honor. Their first meeting started off a little disastrous but once they got comfortable, it was so fun to read. I had several laugh out loud moments of Tom’s British humor as well as the thoughts going on in Honor’s head. I also felt a connection between these two which wasn’t instant love but a nice slow build of their feelings for each other. I also really appreciated that they were open minded to their situation and very willing to compromise for the other.

Honor’s family all have fun personalities which had me cracking up or giggling. Especially Pru, Honor’s sister, who found funny or off-the-wall ways to spice up her marriage. I loved seeing Faith and Levi (from The Best Man ) and how much in love they still are. Honor’s parents and grandparents also have their little quirks that had me smiling. And then I have to mention Jack, Honor’s brother who is handsome and so amusing. I cannot wait to read the book about him. I have a feeling this man will sweep me off my feet! Lastly, I really appreciated the emphasis of family in this book and how much love they have for each other. What I really found touching was that all these people willingly accepted Tom and his step-son, Charlie, by including them in family gatherings and traditions. 

I truly enjoyed The Perfect Match and in Kristan Higgins fashion…it was funny, heartwarming, touching, sentimental, and delightful to read. The epilogue will also give readers a satisfying and warm ending. This author is an auto-buy for me as I can always rely on her to provide me with a fun but very moving escape from my real life. Too bad I have read all of them and now, I have to patiently wait for another to be released. I’m looking forward to revisiting the characters of Blue Heron or any other book by Kirstan Higgins. =)

* ARC provided by Harlequin via Netgalley

Not a Match Made for Me

A Match Made in High School - Kristin Walker

I like reading young adult novels but the heroine in this book was a little to winey for my tastes. Granted she's only 16 and probably fitting for kids this age but I like my YAs with a little more maturity and not so much ridiculousness

Sweet....wasn't that sweet!

Sweet  - Erin McCarthy

Jessica Sweet is a rich, preacher’s daughter who grew up under the rule of the bible. Away at college, she sheds that persona and lives a carefree and promiscuous life but at the same time, she builds walls and keeps her emotions and feelings locked away. Riley is a bad looking boy with tattoos which isn’t anything new for this New Adult category. Despite living in a sketchy neighborhood and with the odds against him, Riley’s a hard worker, takes care of his own and adores his family very much.

From the previous book, Jessica and Riley didn’t really get along and we often saw their dislike for each other through tension filled banter. While living in the same house, we slowly get to see these two get to know each other. I appreciate that the author didn’t jump right into the sex and we get to spend time with the characters and watch them fall in love. I also liked how Riley wasn’t a man whore and I appreciate how he valued his time with Jessica.

Overall, this book was okay but it didn’t move me. Sometimes, there were some crude remarks or cussing from Riley and his brothers which didn’t come off as shocking but more unnatural. Maybe these comments were to show how the guys are because of their background but it sounded stilted more than anything. I also wish that the author explored Riley’s family past a bit more. We learn how things went down with his mother in True but for those who didn’t read it, I’m not sure if they will emotionally connect to his family circumstance. We do see some emotion from Riley about his younger brother and social services but I didn’t feel that strong True Family connection that I felt in the first book. I’m pretty sure fans of New Adult novels will enjoy this but with a big abundance of New Adult saturation in the market these days, I can’t say that Sweet is refreshing or different. 

2.5 Stars

*ARC provided by InterMix via Netgalley

Take What You Want

Take What You Want - Jeanette Grey

This was such a fun surprise. A book about mistaken identities, owning up to life ambitions and being honest with yourself about who you want to be in life. Plus, it is very, very sexy and just what I needed for a quick read

I didn't learn "How to Love"

How to Love - Katie Cotugno

"Whatever. It doesn't matter. What matters is that I'm a maniac, and you make me that way." 

Yup, that quote basically sums it up.

This book transitions between "Before" and "After" the baby throughout the entire story. I'm not too fond of these types of flashbacks in books but the author pulls it off okay. But sometimes, I just wanted her to get straight to the point, stop teasing the reader and tell us what really happened. That's just me though. I'm sure other readers like to be provoked that way.

Reena and Sawyer are crazy for one another but also, they make each other crazy. Sawyer is a hot mess while Reena is a bit uptight. Sawyer makes horrible decisions while dragging Reena along with him. I just really disliked the Sawyer "before" while the Sawyer "after" never really proved himself to me to be worthy to be back in Reena's and the baby's life. It's hard to like a book if I don't connect or feel for the characters but the writing is done well and I also appreciated the sarcastic & witty lines.

Letters from Home

Letters From Home - Kristina McMorris

I really enjoyed this book. It's not a typical romance that I'm use to but I loved following three different women with different life ambitions during the WWII time period. However, the main focus is on Liz and Morgan and their letter exchanges which their connection really shined through such beautiful words. The war was hard to read at times especially at a turning point for Morgan which had me in tears (and I hardly ever cry when reading). I loved how Liz & her writing was there for him when he needed it the most. I do wish that there was more physical time between Liz & Morgan but that is just the romance reader in me who would have loved that. I highly enjoyed this and look forward to reading more by this author.

The Summer I Became a Nerd

The Summer I Became a Nerd - Leah Rae Miller

This is about a girl who hides her geekiness in order to be popular. When she starts hanging out with the boy who works at the comic store, she slowly exposes her true self.

This was a fun and quick read. There were lots of mentions of comic books, sci-fi and role playing which didn't feel overwhelming for someone like me who doesn't know much about that stuff. Overall, this was a quite enjoyable book & I look forward to reading more by this author


Losing It

Losing It  - Cora Carmack

This was a fun, light and simple book to pass the time. There wasn't anything too serious and I didn't feel any deep connection with the characters besides physical attraction.

2.5 Stars

This Song Will Save Your Life...Loved it!!

This Song Will Save Your Life - Leila Sales

Well, I started reading this last night before I went to bed...thinking that I'd just check out the first few chapters. The author's voice immediately sucked me in and it turned out that I stayed up past 2am to finish this book! 

This is a refreshing Young Adult novel about a girl who tries to change herself to fit in but at the end, she really just needs to be who she is. It is a book full of hurt, pain, bullying but also a very inspiring coming of age story.

I highly recommend this YA novel especially to those who enjoyed Adorkable by Sarra Manning.

Bound by Night...not as snarky as Demonica

Bound By Night - Larissa Ione

This world had me confused. I couldn’t wrap my head around some things because so much information was thrown at us. It was about the 30% mark where I started to feel comfortable in this new world and I was able to take everything in.


It’s hard with this paranormal romance genre to be refreshing but I think Larissa Ione does a good job by giving us a different take on vampires. I also really appreciated the sexiness in the story. It was very hot and Larissa Ione never fails to execute some steamy scenes that has the reader squirming and wanting more.


I have to say that I do miss the snarkiness that Ms. Ione displayed in the Demonica series. This book had some but it wasn’t quite as fun and entertaining as Demonica. However, I do think that this is a creative world and I will be reading the next book of this series.


*ARC provided by Pocket Books via Edelweiss.

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