Friday, January 30, 2015

Review: Once Upon a Rose (La Vie en Rose #2) by Laura Florand


17832871She stole his roses.

Fleeing the spotlight, burnt out rock star Layla—“Belle”—Dubois seeks refuge in the south of France. That old, half-forgotten heritage in a valley of roses seems like a good place to soothe a wounded heart. She certainly doesn’t expect the most dangerous threat to her heart to pounce on her as soon as she sets foot on the land.

He wants them back.

Matt didn’t mean to growl at her quite that loudly. But—his roses! She can’t have his roses. Even if she does have all those curls and green eyes and, and, and…what was he growling about again?

Or maybe he just wants her.

When an enemy invades his valley and threatens his home, heart, and livelihood, Matthieu Rosier really knows only one way to defend himself.

It might involve kissing.

Review:

You know that question where you have to name what books you would take with you if you were stuck on an island? I can never seem to answer that. I love a lot of books for different reasons but probably not enough to be stuck reading them over and over.

But now I think I have my answer. Anything and everything by Laura Florand. If I had her books I could travel to Paris and the valley's of France, meet world class chefs, savor the best chocolates, run through a field of roses, fall in love.

There is just no other author whose writing captivates the senses and sweeps me away as Laura Florand does.

Once Upon a Rose takes us away from the Amour et Chocolat series and our beloved bossy pastry chefs with their decadent chocolates and whisks us away to the fields in the South of France. While I adore chocolate, I wasn’t sure I would be as invested in the perfume industry – but of course I was.

The La Vie en Rose series has the authors trademark grumpy heroes but I think this series has more of a sense of family to it. Whereas the chefs from the other series are adrift and alone, Matt and the upcoming heroes of this book, are anchored in tradition and family. Even if they don’t realize it yet.

Matt. *sigh* I loved him so so much. We meet him when he’s and tipsy, relaxed and happy at his 30th birthday party. Layla’s car has broken down and she stumbles into the party looking for assistance. He sweeps Layla up in a whirlwind of energy – open and kind. But then the next day he’s embarrassed by his behavior and stumbles trying to apologize and reestablish a connection with her until he finds out she’s an enemy to all that he’s tried to protect.

Layla is another lost soul, at a crossroads with her singing career. The pressure to crank out music and have another hit record has left her feeling empty and unsure of her place in the industry. She inherits a house in the French valley – more specifically - smack dab in Matt’s valley.

Matt and Layla are so different from each other and just shouldn't work. There were a few times I wasn’t sure how Florand could write her way out if it. Matt’s connection to his land and family is so deep – yet Layla needs to wander. It’s in her blood. How they could ever stay together and work out was a mystery to me but it works.

I loved how Matt is all growly and grumpy but also sweet and awkward. He gets mad at Layla – views her as the enemy - yet fixes the pipes and electricity in her (his) house. He tries to show off his buff body – yet gets tangled in his t-shirt and blushes frequently. Oh those blushes….

And I loved how Layla needs that house to restore herself yet realizes Matt might need it more. While most of this author’s heroes are all alpha (in a good way) I felt like it was Layla who was the alpha here. She may not have known Matt long and his family is quite intimidating but she has no problem calling them out when they might do or say things that hurt him. Matt needs that kind of person in his life.

This is just a really sweet, loving exploration of self, duty and family.

OK, I’m rambling now so let me just say SA-WOON. I loved it all! I’m as completely captivated by this series as I was with the the Amour et Chocolat series.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blog tour: Review & Giveaway: Never Surrender to a Scoundrel (One Scandalous Season #3) by Lily Dalton


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I’m thrilled to be on the Never Surrender to a Scoundrel Blog Tour today. I really loved this book and I’m looking forward to reading more by this author!

Check out my review & enter the giveaway!

***


22046631A Reckless Desire

Lady Clarissa Bevington is in trouble. A reckless indiscretion has left her with two choices: ruin her family with the scandal of the Season, or marry Mr. Kincraig, the notorious scoundrel mistaken as her lover. Desperate and disgraced, Clarissa vows to love and cherish a veritable stranger, a man whose eyes smolder with danger—and undeniable desire

An Unexpected Arrangement

As an agent for the Crown, Lord Donovan Blackmer has spent the last two years guarding Clarissa's grandfather from an unknown assassin while disguised as the rakehell Kincraig. His mission may now be over, but his duty has just begun. Salvaging his beautiful, impetuous wife's virtue will cost him his fortune and his position as an officer—but it might save him from the ghosts that haunt his own past. When their marriage "in name only" leads to exquisite seduction, Donovan must risk the only thing he has left to lose . . . his heart.

Goodreads | Source: E-arc provided via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review

Amazon | BAM | B&N | IndieBound | GooglePlay | iTunes | Kobo

Review:

I’m not a huge fan of historical romance. I tend to like the unconventional stories with a lot of humor or ones that go against the uptight, societal grain. A request to review Never Surrender to a Scoundrel caught my eye mainly because the hero is posing as a rake but is really an agent for the crown. It sounded super sexy and intriguing. It was, but there was so much more to love about this story.


Lady Clarissa is a very different kind of heroine. She’s neither the typical virgin nor a feisty rebel. She’s  just a girl in love that finds herself in a very bad situation but has a strong sense of right, wrong and duty.

Lord Donovan finds himself accidentally coming to her rescue but at great risk to his future and all that he has spent years working for.

Things aren’t as the appear for either of them and what starts out as a misunderstanding - turned forced arrangement leads to friendship, respect and maybe even love.

Oh these two! Such a wonderful, complicated, unconventional, slow building romance. I was surprised at the path the author took for Clarissa and Donovan. I don’t think I’ve read anything like it before. I don’t want to say more because it would be too spoilery but I’ll just say that what they overcome shows a depth of character and loyalty that I adored reading about.

There’s a bit of mystery towards the end and while it ratcheted up the action, I thought the way it was resolved got a tad convoluted but not enough to take away from how much I loved it overall.

I definitely want to read more by this author in the future.

***
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 About Lily Dalton:

Lily Dalton grew up as an Army brat, moving from place to place. Her first stop           after relocating was always the local library, where she could hang out with familiar friends: Books! Lily has an English degree from Texas A & M University and after graduation worked as a legal assistant in the fields of accident reconstruction and litigation. She now lives in Houston, Texas, with her family. When she isn't at work on her next manuscript, she spends her time trying out new recipes, cheering on her favorite Texas football teams and collecting old dishes, vintage linens and other fine "junque" from thrift stores and flea markets. website | Facebook

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Mini’s: Mayhem by Jamie Shaw, The Science of Attraction by Verity Jacobs

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Goodreads

When college freshman Rowan Michaels meets gorgeous, up-and-coming rock star Adam Everest, she knows a player like him is the last thing she needs after her ex-boyfriend shattered her heart. But she can't stop thinking about the kiss they shared on his tour bus.

On the first day of school, Rowan is stunned when Adam saunters into her French class. He's soon failing miserably, and, on a whim, she offers to tutor him. But Adam doesn't recognize her as a makeup-free, glasses-clad college student—a far cry from the beautiful, mysterious "Peach" he met at his concert.
During a wild weekend on tour with the band, Rowan can't help falling for the sweet guy buried beneath Adam's rocker persona. Yet she knows she could never compete with the girls constantly throwing themselves at his feet. She'd just end up hurt … again.

Peach is all Adam thinks about, though, and when Rowan realizes this, she has a decision to make: stay just friends to protect her fragile heart … or reveal the truth about the night they met and admit she's fallen completely, hopelessly in love with him.

My thoughts: Fun – Cinderella-esque innocent girl meets man-whore rock star trope. This was lighter on the sex than most rock god stories out there right now and I enjoyed that. I need a little story with my sex. lol

Rowen is an innocent type but not in the naïve, cliché way. She knows what she wants and what she will or won’t accept from Adam in regards to a relationship.

Adam is – Adam. He’s not over the top perfect but you can see how he’s a good guy and why Rowen is drawn to him.

A few quibbles: The trophy gay best friend – to take on shopping trips! We know he's gay because - pink shoes! I thought we were past that guys. To be fair – that cliché gets dumped pretty quickly and the character is fleshed out but that intro made me cringe.

Rowen’s BFF Dee is a sexually confidant dynamo and I liked her a lot. However, every other girl in this book is either a skank or a whore because they want to sleep with the rock stars. So Dee and the guys can do whatever because Rowen sees more of their personalities but the other girls are whores? Double standard much?

Even with the minor issues this was one of the better rock star NA’s I’ve read.

***


22403269Goodreads

Kate Ramsey is at the top of her game.

She’s the hot new recruit at the most prestigious research institute in Germany, and she’s determined to live up to the hype — even if it means working day and night. Stress relief comes in the form of a no-nonsense affair with her neighbor, who also happens to be the director of the institute. Who says sex should be anything more than a contract between two people who have other things on their mind?

So when Tom Baker saunters into her life, Kate is understandably upset to see this well-oiled machine splutter and seize. Tom is young and smart, and far too pretty for his own good. Kate can’t help but be drawn to him, even if giving in to the attraction would mean risking everything she’s worked for.

My thoughts:
Fun, VERY sexy book. I think I was expecting a nerdy science geek for the hero and he wasn't so I was a teeny weeny bit disappointed. I like my awkward guys but Tom was smart, confidant and sweet in his pursuit of Kate. They did get geeky when hey talked science though so I take the geeky where I can get it!

There were a few complications with Kate's boss (& sometimes lover) but not in the typical annoying love triangle way. So LT haters fear not! That dynamic takes on whole other complication that has nothing to do with romance.

The sex was a bit too much for me and threatened to overtake the story at times but I would still recommend this one and look forward to reading the sequel – The Music of Temptation.