Review: Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton, Nina Bocci

Title: Roman Crazy
Author: Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 9/13/16
Length:   336 Pages

Overview

Avery Bardot steps off the plane in Rome, looking for a fresh start. She’s left behind a soon-to-be ex-husband in Boston and plans to spend the summer with her best friend Daisy, licking her wounds—and perhaps a gelato or two. But when her American-expat friend throws her a welcome party on her first night, Avery’s thrown for a loop when she sees a man she never thought she’d see again: Italian architect Marcello Bianchi.

Marcello was the man—the one who got away. And now her past is colliding with her present, a present where she should be mourning the loss of her marriage and—hey, that fettuccine is delicious! And so is Marcello…

Slipping easily into the good life of summertime in Rome, Avery spends her days exploring a city that makes art historians swoon, and her nights swooning over her unexpected what was old is new again romance. It’s heady, it’s fevered, it’s wanton, and it’s crazy. But could this really be her new life? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before returning to the land of twin-set cardigans and crustless sandwiches?

A celebration of great friendship, passionate romance, and wonderful food, Roman Crazy is a lighthearted story of second chances and living life to the fullest.

My Thoughts

You know when you just need a story that reminds you that no matter how bad things seem in life, there’s always something else that can pick you back up?  well that’s what this story is, and it’s so sweet and endearing that you have a renewed sense of love and life.

Avery, our leading lady has the life that a lot of women dream of – married to their college sweetheart, living the country club life, supporting her husband in his profession and making sure that his home life is perfect.  Well, perfect is always that to outsiders, and it’s unfortunately rarely the case on the inside which is what avery learns, when she walks in on her husband having sex with his admin.

That’s where the bulk of our story begins, although we get a sense of the flashback story as well.  Avery goes to Italy as the summary tells us, to spend some time with her best friend and figure out where she should go next in life, and that first night, at a dinner, her world is spun on it’s tail.  There, at the table of friends sits the one man who she’s loved the most and the one that she left behind all those years ago.  What are the odds right?

There’s so much chemistry from the first glance that you know that it’s just a matter of time before something happens, but what we get isn’t just an amazing physical bond (which it is, trust me as you read it is),but it’s a relationship that gives each a chance to grow even more, and to be individuals and live their lives as they should have all those years ago, until one is forced to make a choice that affects the other.

All Avery wants is to be herself, and to find out what makes her happy.  she went to college for art history, and yet had to put that aside to be a perfect wife.  She’s given a chance to live that life now in Rome and it’s perfect.  Top that with the love that was lost and seems to be found now, and well, it’s amazing.

There’s got to be a moment when the other shoe drops right?  It comes in the form of a few things.  Daniel, Avery’s husband makes a surprise appearance in Rome, while also making it a bit challenging to actually finalize the divorce.  Then there’s Simone, the woman that Marcello was with when Avery came back into his life, and boy does she like to stir the pot since she’s a woman scorned.  Then there are the facets of their lives that make it complicated – distance, language, family.

So as you can imagine, what’s perfect again may not be perfect for long and it’s a big question of who will sacrifice this time to make it work and who’s going to keep it from being sunshine and daisies.

I’m such a fan of Ms Clayton since we get stories that have these characters that just want to be happy – with crap getting thrown at them all the time.  There’s so much sweet romance that you have faith once again, and then enough chemistry and heat that if you doubted the perfection of love and romance, you can’t doubt the attraction and passion. All in all, a great stand alone book although i could see it as a series.  (The friends deserve romance too no?).  I hope you guys check it out – enjoy!

Review: The Redhead Plays her Hand (Redhead Series #3) by Alice Clayton

Title: The Redhead Plays her Hand
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 12/17/13
Length:   320 Pages
Series:  Redhead Series #3

Overview

IT’S GETTING HOT (AND HEAVY) IN HOLLYWOOD!

Grace Sheridan is flying high. With scorching passion from her gorgeous Brit superstar Jack Hamilton plus the lead role in a new television dramedy, she could just pinch herself. Then a demand from her show’s directors to drop fifteen pounds brings her back down to earth with a thump. Forced to subsist on air, cucumbers, and boot camp, Grace wonders if the body that brings the newly crowned “Sexiest Man Alive” to his knees is just too booty-licious for Hollywood. Jack, meanwhile, seems overly enamored of the celebrity lifestyle. Forbidden by his publicity-conscious manager to reveal his relationship with Grace, he’s hitting the industry party scene way too hard.

As Grace’s bod incites fiery debate about the message of “thin is in,” Jack’s jealous fans are downing the hate-erade, viciously slamming her curves. Grace longs for Jack’s support, but he’s showing up late and disheveled to her most important moments. With tempers between them flaring, Hollywood’s most talked-about redhead might have more to lose than a few stubborn pounds. She and Jack were clearly made for each other—but will the day ever come when they can walk the red carpet together, hand in hand?

My Thoughts

If we thought that the story here was getting good so far, seeing the complexities of two people who have a star on the rise, while also trying to make a relationship work, well that’s nothing compared to what we get to see in this third and final installment of the series.

While we know that Grace’s broadway show wasn’t picked up, we know that it’s becoming a TV series and she’s due to star in it.  What that means though is that there’s a completely different standard that she needs to live up to – that means that first things first, she’s being told that she needs to lose weight.  This of course brings one of the plot lines to a head.  the idea of what the right body shape is both in Hollywood and in America – and it’s opens up conversations both good and bad.  Totally relevant right now actually given that all we hear about these days is body positivity.  Anyhow, we see some less than good habits beginning for her while she’s trying to be smart about how she loses weight.

Then there’s Jack – the guy who’s got it all.  His movie was a huge success and now everyone wants a piece of him.  The fame we see is starting to get to his head a bit and he’s not able to cope with all the attention as well as we’d hope – especially with Grace around.  Enter of course Adam – a young actor who was in Jack’s place a few years ago but who’s star has faded since he parties too much and is a bad boy with ‘hard to work with’ reputation to go along with.  Being teamed up together for a new project shows how quickly things can go from good to bad.

The path of this story is one that takes our favorite characters in completely different directions.  They find that keeping their relationship a secret is too hard and the fact that there’s so much pulling each one of them in a direction of their own also presents a challenge.

We see heart break, we see new relationships form, and we see that life is not at all what we thought it was going to be even six months ago.  The good thing that we have here though is the way that Ms Clayton writes this.  We go from the amazing banter that we’ve always relied on between Grace and Jack to a mature relationship that’s forced to look at life through a different lens and wonder if there’s something good still there or if it’s all jokes.  On top of that though, there’s still so much amazingly strong chemistry that we have no choice but fan ourselves and feel the need for a shower.

I love how we get this story resolved – all with a surprise relationship, a baby and well – lots of folks playing different roles than we previously imagined.  I’m kind of bummed that we have no more of this story to glom onto, although i guess all things must come to an end.  I hope you guys check this one out though – enjoy!

Review: The Redhead Revealed (Redhead Series #2) by Alice Clayton

Title: The Redhead Revealed
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 11/5/13
Length:   32- Pages
Series:  Redhead Series #2

Overview

LONG-DISTANCE LOVE JUST GOT HOTTER!

Life is sweet. Grace Sheridan has just won her dream role in a new off-Broadway play, and the talented hunk flooding her phone with scintillating texts and scandalous photos is Jack Hamilton, the twenty-four-year-old “it” Brit whose Hollywood career is about to climax faster than . . . you know. So what if their steamy relationship is bicoastal and under wraps, or that L.A. fangirls are grabbing Jack’s ass?

Absence does make the heart grow fonder and the libido hotter, but their few weekend visits feel more more like fast food than the five-course dinner they crave. And then—the creator of Grace’s new show is the man who broke her heart back in college, and he seems to have written the play just to make amends with his leading lady.

As rumors spread that Jack and his lovely, leggy ex-girlfriend have gotten back together, Grace starts to wonder about her own feelings. Can lust alone keep our favorite, feisty duo together, or will Grace find herself back in safer, more familiar arms?

My Thoughts

This is such a sweet story and to see where we go in this second installment is a compelling and intriguing space.  We know that things are off to a great start with Grace and Jack, yet we know that their lives are about to take them on a path that’s so far from one another that it’s going to be incredibly hard.

Where we left off, Grace has just moved to New York to start working on an off Broadway show,  ironically being directed by a man from her past where there are unsettled bits and pieces – they never got their closure and we see that there’s something going on there now – even 20 years in the future.  There’s also the fact that Jack’s movie is about to come out and there’s so much press and attention being paid to him that you know there’s going to be jealousy and hurt feelings.

That’s exactly what happens.  While they talk to each other as much as they can, they can’t manage to see each other in person, and that’s putting strain on things.  Jack is being photographed more and more, and often there’s a woman named Marcia on his arm – a girl that he dated in the past and a woman that the press wants to link him to once again.  Holly, both of their agent is in the camp of ‘let them believe that Marcia is the girlfriend’ so that there’s more buzz generated to raise Jack’s star, and while it’s a valid point, it’s hard on both of them.

Then there’s Michael and Grace – there is something between them and we’re not yet sure what.  I think that it’s clear that Michael wants to be with Grace, and while Grace is so in love with Jack, there’s something growing there that’s clearly more than friendship.  The question really becomes who will make a move and what will be the implications to the Grace/Jack story.

Just when we think that things are going well, there’s an implosion, and their world come crashing down.  It’s perhaps too much for them to handle since Grace is in a different place in her life than Jack and perhaps wants to make sure that he’s not sacrificing for her.  We really don’t know if they’re going to be able to make it work, especially when there are so many other people in the mix.

Where we are left off at the end of this second book is a place where there are still so many questions.  Will Jack and Grace make it?  Will they ever be able to live in the same place since we know that Jack still considers London home, and what will all the people around them add to the mess?

Add to that some really steamy scenes – all written in the same fun and hot way that Ms Clayton always does it.  There’s so much sexual chemistry between these two to make the scenening hot, but there’s so much fun banter and humor in it that keeps it real and entertaining.  So…on that note, onto the next book.  Enjoy!

Review: The Unidentified Redhead (Redhead Series #1) by Alice Clayton

Title: The Unidentified Redhead
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 10/15/13
Length:   289 Pages
Series:  Redhead Series #1

Overview

Grace Sheridan is back. Ten years after discovering that looks and talent are a dime a dozen in Los Angeles, she’s wriggling into a pair of badass jeans and ready to show the film industry that there’s way more to her than just a head of gorgeous red curls. And Hollywood’s newest Brit super-hunk Jack Hamilton certainly sees a lot to like. Grace is trying to restrain herself from jumping a man who is nearly a decade her junior, but Jack is making it clear that he personally has zero problems with that idea.

While Grace and Jack are still swapping innuendo-loaded quips and text sex though, the paparazzi have caught up with them, headlining the “unidentified redhead” who’s been photographed trysting at a restaurant with the heartthrob of the year. Now Grace is in stuck in a double bind. She’s head over heels in lust with Jack, but there’s her own career to think of as well. A sizzling romance with the newest “it” boy may garner her industry attention . . . but is it the kind of attention she’s always dreamed of?

My Thoughts

so i clearly should have read this series before i read the Hudson Valley series but such is life right?  In the other series, we met Grace and saw what her life has become, and now we get to see how it all started.  which maybe isn’t such a bad order to do things.

In this first installment of the series, we see the beginning of the career for Grace Sheriden, the Unidentified Redhead herself.  She’s always known that she’s wanted to be an actress and when she tried her hand at it 10 years ago, she failed, and after some soul searching and life lessons, she’s come back to LA in the hopes of making it again.  She’s putting down roots in town, living with her best friend and new agent Holly and starting to get back into the auditioning circuit.  It’s at a party one night that Holly is hosting that her life changes forever.

and in walks Jack Hamilton – the new ‘IT’ actor in Hollywood with a new movie slated to come out shortly that’s going to be the move of the year.  He’s about to hit it really big, and yet we find that he and Grace gravitate towards one another – something that shocks her to the core.

Their banter is something that’s to entertaining to read – it keeps things light when you know that there’s such a high chance that it’ll get deep fast, and when you want to see things continue on a path that’s unlikely, the banter keeps on in line.  The chemistry that we see from the onset here with them is so strong – yet they take their time with really getting to know each other first.  Probably something that’s unlikely in Hollywood but who knows.

Alice Clayton gives us yet again another great start to a romance that’s going to go somewhere amazing.  She’s given us these characters who are both at the beginning of something great professionally and figuring out how to make it work and if it can work long term is always the question.  It gets more complicated as Jake starts to do even more press for the movie which takes over his time and we see Grace land her first major gig on broadway – therefore taking her across the country to NYC.

Throw in a guy who’s come back from college who seems to make everyone uncomfortable – Jake especially and we’re left at a point in the story of whether this new relationship can last even with the strong feelings between them.  Fame, other people and distance really make it hard and we’ll have to keep reading i guess to see how it breaks and or not and what will happen.  Enjoy!

Review: Buns (Hudson Valley #3) by Alice Clayton

Title: Buns
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 5/23/17
Length:   336 Pages
Series:  Hudson Valley #3

Overview

Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

My Thoughts

What am i going to do now that i’m finished with this series?  I absolutely love all that’s come along with Roxie and Natalie so far and Clara’s story is even better.  Can’t we get something more with Chad and Logan maybe? what about Missy?  there’s got to be more!!!!

Anyway there are so many reasons why this last book is one of my favorites.  Let’s start with the fact that Ms Clayton calls out in the beginning that she’s based it off of Mohonk Mountain House – a place that i’ve been to with my boyfriend recently and everything that she’s describing takes me back there exactly how i remember it.  So having that imagine in my head makes it real and then the characters are so charming that you know that you’re going to get a great story out of it all.

So we’ve met Clara briefly in the others stories, so we know that she’s this expert hotel rebranding professional and she’s been wood to Bailey Falls by her friends which means that the saga continues.  Clara’s clearly lived a different life than her friends – and while she’s really successful, we learn that her methods are all a coping mechanism of sorts based on her childhood of being sent from foster home to foster home.  She’s now got these thick walls up where she won’t let anyone in, even her friends and we see how that plays out in this story.

then there’s Archie – the son of the current owner of Bryant Mountain House and the one who will take over likely at the end of the year when his father retires.  We met him a few times in the previous book, where Natalie talked to him at some of the local meetings when she was building her advertising campaign, and while he’s been called out for being attractive, we always knew there was something a bit ‘off’ about him, standoffish and cold and we finally get to the bottom of it.  We learn that his wife, his only love passed away a few years back and of course that damages a person.

So when these two come together, you know that it’ll be sparks (and not the good kind) at first and then once they get to know each other a bit more, things change and they realize that there’s chemistry there and maybe they shouldn’t hide from it.  Granted there’s the added threat of the boss/employee thing here, along with the fact that Clara needs to do an amazing job in order to get a promotion – and well that makes fora great story.

It’s a sweet story – we get to see how both are terrified of the idea of a relationship yet how that same relationship has the ability to change them in a good way. there’s so much pain between them that once they let go, it’s so hot that they can’t manage to find enough secret locations to be together.

It’s sweet to see things come about.  how they think that they’re being so sly – but they’re caught by the interior designer, and the women who are motherly and all who run the place – we see that they are in on it too.  The other sweet aspect is that we see how being in Bailey Falls helps Clara open up and have a ‘family’ of sorts and we see that Archie gets to have the friendships that he seems to be lacking.  Leo and Oscar are so good for him that we see that maybe there’s something great growing.

It’s not until Clara’s company goes through some stuff and she and Archie have it out via sassing one another that we see things start to truly change – and where the story takes us is a place that seems like the perfect place it was always meant to be.  I love how the story closes and how i think that the series itself seems to close too.  Enjoy!

Review: Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley #2) by Alice Clayton

Title: Cream of the Crop
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 7/12/16
Length:   336 Pages
Series:  Hudson Valley #2

Overview

Manhattan’s It Girl, Natalie Grayson, has it all: she’s a hot exec at a leading advertising firm, known industry-wide for her challenging and edgy campaigns. She’s got a large circle of friends, a family that loves her dearly, and her dance card is always full with handsome eligible bachelors. What else could a modern gal-about-town wish for? The answer, of course, is…cheese.

Natalie’s favorite part of each week is spending Saturday morning at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, where she indulges her love of all things triple cream. Her favorite booth also indulges her love of all things handsome. Oscar Mendoza, owner of the Bailey Falls Creamery and purveyor of the finest artisanal cheeses the Hudson Valley has to offer, is tall, dark, mysterious, and a bit oblivious. Or so she thinks. But that doesn’t stop Natalie from fantasizing about the size of his, ahem, milk can.

Romance is churning, passion is burning, and something incredible is rising to the top. Could it be…love?

My Thoughts

I’m really enjoying this series – it’s sweet with just the right amount of sexy and the story is just so genuine that it’s exactly what i needed right now.  Not major angst – no fear of someone dying – just sweet love and the development of a relationship.

So we met Oscar briefly in the first book about Roxy and Leo – he’s the owner of the dairy farm next door and clearly there’s something in the milk that he’s got since he’s the second sexy man in the town that we get to meet.  Then there’s Natalie who we also met in the first story – best friend of Roxy and a girl that we learn is just as confident if not more than Roxy.

So Natalie’s back story is one that we kind of expect when reading about Manhattanites.  She’s from a wealthy family and had all the privilege that come with that – great apartment, great schools, amazing clothes etc.  She also has a job that she loves and is thriving at and it makes us see that she’s got the world eating out of the palm of her hand.  Granted the confidence that she has now is because she was teased and tormented growing up for being a bit larger than most girls, but it’s something that she owns now and uses to her best ability.  She’s able to get any man that she wants.  That is until Oscar.

Oscar is so mysterious that we really don’t know anything about him.  He’s a man of few words and that’s something that makes it even more intriguing.  What’s his back story, how did he come to Bailey Falls etc.

When these two are finally forced together through a campaign that Natalie’s taken on to help bring tourism to Bailey Falls, we see that they have so much chemistry that it’s on fire, and there’s no stopping them.  If you though Leo and Roxy had it bad, these two are giving them a run for their money.

The story here becomes quite sweet.  Because of Natalie’s past experience, she’s not willing to allow herself to get involved with a man past a night.  Sh’es the one who needs to be in control and when Oscar seems to be more than that, it makes her scared.  She’s also not willing to compromise who she is and what she does and that becomes a complication since she’s a city girl and he’s not. With Oscar too, we see that he’s got a past.  He’s got an ex-wife who seems like she wants to not be an ex, and we finally get out of him what his back story is and that becomes a problem down the line.

What we get when it all runs it’s course is a sweet romance.  The question becomes who will have to give up some of what they are and who they are in order to make it work, and can they?  we see that it’s too big of a question at one point and they go their separate ways but who will be the bigger person to make it stick?  I enjoy this, and i continue to enjoy what Ms Clayton brings to us so i can’t wait to get into Buns – the third installment.  Enjoy!

 

Review: Nuts (Husdson Valley #1) by Alice Clayton

Title: Nuts
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 10/20/15
Length:   286 Pages
Series:  Hudson Valley #1

Overview

Roxie Callahan is a private chef to some of Hollywood’s wealthiest, and nastiest, calorie-counting wives. After a dairy disaster implodes her carefully crafted career in one fell ploop, she finds herself back home in upstate New York, bailing out her hippie mother and running the family diner.

When gorgeous local farmer Leo Maxwell delivers her a lovely bunch of organic walnuts, Roxie wonders if a summer back home isn’t such a bad idea after all. Leo is heavily involved in the sustainable slow food movement, and he likes to take his time. In all things. Roxie is determined to head back to the west coast as soon as summer ends, but will the pull of lazy fireflies and her very own Almanzo Wilder be enough to keep her home for good?

Salty. Spicy. Sweet. Nuts. Go on, grab a handful.

MyThoughts

What we have here is a sweet story of a girl coming back home to help her mom, at a time that’s perfect since her own life is falling apart from one silly little mistake.  So when we go back to the small town where it all started, we know that it’s going to be an interesting story.

The path that our leading lady Roxie takes is the obvious one – she’s resenting the fact that her mom keeps asking for help, yet she does it anyway.  She’s back in the small town that she promised that she’d never go back to.  She’s finding herself crossing paths with all the people from high school that made her life less than lovely, and she’s itching to get home and figure out her next move.  So of course when a hot man walks into her life, things go upside down.

It’s a sweet story – one of great banter which is something that we get a lot of in books by Ms Clayton.  There’s chemistry that comes off the pages, yet it’s ‘REAL’ in the sense that it’s happening all at a speed that’s normal and not just right in books.  The way that Roxie and Leo (our hot leading man) start to build whatever it is that they build, it’s normal and real and that makes the reader so much more invested.

We see Roxie find her groove back home – making the diner her own, bringing things to the menu and the community that put her mark on things without taking too much from what her mother built and loves.  Roxie starts to grow into the town a bit, making friends that were shockers at the beginning since we know how hard it was for her in high school and that’s something that really makes the story stick.

There’s romance of course and a twist in that story that no one was expecting.  I think that it’s all a testament to how the story’s written – knowing that once the secret comes out, there were so many chances for our author to write in hints, but there was nothing.  not a bit so that it’s making things complicated in real time in a good way.

The two of these guys are so cute together – they want to make something work that’s destined to fail from the beginning.  They know that there’s nothing long term that’s possible about what they want to do, and yet they still decide that it’s ok.

The intro of Roxie’s friends in this story and the fact that we know there’s a hot dairy farmer means that we’re going to get a few more great segments to the story and i can’t wait to check them out.  Enjoy!

Review: Bitch Slap by J Kenner

Title: Bitch Slap
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year: Martini & Olives  5/31/17
Length:   158 Pages

Overview

The first time I met her I wanted to slap her.
The second time, I knew I had to have her.
As for the third time, a gentleman doesn’t tell.
So I guess it’s a good thing I’m no gentleman … right?

Let’s get this out of the way, right off the bat: I love women.

I love the way they look. The way they smell. The way they feel. Especially the way they feel. And I’ve pretty much made it my mission to give each and every woman who shares my bed the ride of her life.

Then I met her. Bitchy as hell and completely uninterested in me. And damned if I didn’t want her. Crave her. I told myself I only wanted to tame her. That it was all about the challenge.

I never expected to break through that ice queen exterior and find the softness underneath. Never expected how wild she’d be between the sheets or the way she’d cry my name with such sincere intensity when I totally rocked her world.

Most of all, I never expected to fall for her.

But I did.

And the question is, now that I know I want her, how the hell do I go about keeping her?

My Thoughts

So i’m a huge fan of all things tied to J Kenner since we have some of the best series by her so i was excited to get into this standalone.  It’s an interesting story – honestly, i think that it felt VERY VERY different from all that we’ve read by J Kenner, and i wondered at times if it was actually written by her.  It was only the tie back to Jamie and her boyfriend Hunter to help out with some security things, along with teasing back to Stark through needing help getting into a hotel that made them all blend together.

So what we have here is a story of a guy, Pierce, who’s had his heart broken in the past, was military as well, so we know that he’s got more walls than anyone.  He’s looking for ‘something’ but not sure what it is, and he knows that he only wants ‘one night’ with anyone so that he’s not able to grow bonds.

Then there’s Jez – the leading lady of this saga, the older sister of a hollywood starlet who’s on the bad end of a scandal, and the sister just wants to find a way to protect her sister and keep things from getting any worse.

Its through a wrong encounter that we see these two cross paths, thinking that each is someone else and it’s clearly all for the best as we see.

So, Pierce and Jez show us that they have interesting chemistry – both for the fact that they are strong willed and the fact that they’re looking for something without knowing that they are looking for it.  meaning they both clearly need a release as they’re high strung and they both need to find comfort in someone and trust in someone, so it’s nice that they are able to avoid admitting it here and just do it. for now.

With this book, it’s sweet-  and quite expected but i don’t know – there’s something about it that didn’t feel right with me.  We usually have good highs and lows when we get stories from Ms Kenner and that’s not really the case here.  there were maybe a few seconds of grief sure, but nothing that was uber climactic and i feel like it’s a miss on her part.  The ending though was nice since it wasn’t the expected ending for some of the characters – so that was played nicely.

so all in all, a decent novella, and i think that as a tied me over to something out from the bigger series about nikki and damien, i’ll take it.  enjoy!

Review: Behind the Curtain by Beth Kery

Title: Behind the Curtain
Author: Beth Kery
Publisher/Year: Penguin Publishing 5/2/17
Length:   400 Pages

Overview

Cultures clash and passion ignites in the novel that will leave you begging for more—from the bestselling author of The Affair and Looking Inside.
 
There’s something about this woman…

On a break between overseas jobs, journalist Asher Gaites returns to his hometown of Chicago—and allows his friends to persuade him to check out a hot new singer. At a downtown jazz club, he’s soon transfixed by the lyrical voice and sensuous body of a woman who performs behind a thin, shimmering veil…

…That could bring a man to his knees.

The veil gives Moroccan-American Laila Barek the anonymity she needs since she has never been able to reconcile her family’s values with her passion for music. But one man is inexplicably drawn to her. And when Asher confronts her on a subway platform after a gig, he’s shocked to recognize the woman who walked away from him nine years ago…

Laila has never been able to forget the touch, the feel, the taste of Asher. And despite the doubt and fear that wind their way into their lives, they must trust the heat of their desire to burn down the walls the world has placed between them…

My Thoughts

So – where to start on this one.  I’m a huge fan of Beth Kery -i read anything i can get my hands on by her, and so i was really excited to see this new stand alone story.  What we have is a sweet romantic saga that spans about 8 years sort of, with the story starting in the present, jumping to the past for it to make sense and then taking us back to the present to see how things play out.

The premise and idea of the story are sound – and knowing the writing style that we get from Ms Kery, that should help keep it moving, but i found that there were points throughout this book that i just skimmed through and pushed ahead since it wasn’t moving for me.

The main characters are lovable for sure – we have Asher who’s the main man, coming back from a job oversees looking to meet with his family before he’s off on another job.  He’s got a bit of a tough background since his family is very wealthy, quite established in their business, and expect Asher to fall in line and work for them.  He’s got a band of best friends who help keep the tone light, and i kind of got the sense at the beginning that the friends Jimmy and Rudy could have their own installments, but it doesn’t seem like that’s the point of this book.  Asher’s been backed into corners by his family and what they expect of him, even to the point where his cousin Eric goes out of his way to be the perfect specimen and rides Asher to no end.

Then we have Laila – our sweet and innocent leading lady – who at the time these 2 met, she was 19 and just starting to find herself in life, all while trying to be exactly what her family wants.  When Asher opens her eyes to what she could truly feel and experience in the realm of love, well we know that it’s going to be bad.

So the essence of this story is that we living present day with our characters, watching Asher struggle with what he wants to do with his life while his family hates all of his choices, and it’s on a return trip home to Chicago where he finds that the past has come back to his present. He goes to a music show with his friends where there’s a new sultry singer performing and she’s kept her identity a secret through the use of a veil or curtain during her shows – but asher sees through it.

And to the past we go – watching their romance unfold and watching how it was doomed from the beginning but the romance and emotions are all there.

So this is where i’m lost a bit.  What i’m used to seeing from Ms Kery is a story that’s fast moving and really intense and this one was more ‘sweet’ i guess.  not what i was expecting.  The writing is all there, the characters are all nice and emotional, but it’s not the same level of intensity that i’m used to and i felt a bit let down.

Regardless, when we’re brought back to the present with our characters, things do heat up a bit since they are ‘older and more mature’ and i think that there’s a slight change or turn that happens to make the conclusion come to us fast and hard.  There are scenes that are sexy and hot, and helped us finish it off on a higher note.

So with all that, still a fan of Beth Kery clearly, but this book may not make it to the top of my fan list.  sorry!!

Review: Hold Me (Stark Trilogy #4.1) by J Kenner

Title: Hold Me
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year: Evil Eye Conceps 5/23/17
Length:   120 Pages
Series:  Stark Trilogy #4.1

Overview

My life with Damien has never been fuller. Every day is a miracle, and every night I lose myself in the oasis of his arms.

But there are new challenges, too. Our families. Our careers. And new responsibilities that test us with unrelenting, unexpected trials.

I know we will survive—we have to. Because I cannot live without Damien by my side. But sometimes the darkness seems overwhelming, and I am terrified that the day will come when Damien cannot bring the light. And I will have to find the strength inside myself to find my way back into his arms.

My Thoughts

I’ll never get enough of Damien and Nikki, especially as we see their lives grown and change together so this novella is a great little snippet into how their lives have changed once again.  We left them after Nikki had a miscarriage while trying to grow her business in Dallas, and then how she and Damien struggled to understand what that meant for their relationship.  As things happened, they ended up not only adopting a little girl but finding themselves pregnant again and this time it stuck.

So we’re in the future, just as Nikki is about to go back to work and as all new moms struggle, we see that she has a tough time knowing that she’s going to miss those moments of her kids growing up, all those firsts, but also knowing that she wants to stand on her own and grow her company since that’s her passion.

The short novella we have here is a sweet one of seeing how a relationship changes, yet how those struggles are real, but can be managed through the never ending support of your partner.  Damien continues to amaze us in how patient and understanding he is, and how he’s supportive until the end.

It’s when problems arise in Nikki’s company that we see things change, and we can only wonder what those outcomes and decisions will be and how they will shape the lives of the Starks moving forward.

While it was perhaps a bit too short to truly give us the amazing bits that we have come to crave with this couple, it’s a nice little bit of reading to keep things moving with this story.  Enjoy!