Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Long Way Home by Kathleen O'Brien - Review

The Long Way Home
Montana Born Homecoming #4
Kathleen O'Brien
Published: October 1, 2014 
by Tule Publishing

At eighteen, Abby Foster had been the cutest little rich gal in Marietta, Montana. She could make boys do whatever she wanted—especially sweet, wild, penniless Joe Carlyle, who adored her. But a lot’s changed in the eight years since Abby broke Joe’s heart by marrying the rich guy her domineering father chose for her. Her father has died, and the “perfect” husband has bolted, taking all the money. More importantly, Abby’s grown up. She’s vowed to stop listening to other people and follow her own heart instead.

Right now, her heart tells her to return to Marietta. The wildfire she felt in Joe’s arms has haunted her, and, though she doesn’t expect forgiveness, she hopes maybe he, too, would enjoy a brief, no-strings affair. If they can share just the seventy-two hours of Homecoming weekend…well, maybe then they’ll both find it easier to forgive, forget, and move on.

But when she sees him, she realizes how naive that idea was. The years have changed Joe, too…and the passionate, powerful man he’s become isn’t someone she’ll ever forget. This time the heart she breaks may be her own.

My review:
The Long Way Home is a really sweet romance about a second chance with a first love. Abby and Joe were just teenagers, but they were in love. Abby was a seemingly rich girl who had everything. Joe was "from the wrong side of the tracks." Abby didn't care; she loved him anyway. She didn't want to marry the rich older man her father had picked out for her and even planned to call off the wedding the night before. Abby then finds out her father is dying and wants to leave her in the arms of someone that he thinks can take care of her financially, so Abby goes through with the wedding, breaking Joe's (and her) heart.

Eight years later, Abby's marriage is over, and she's returned to Marietta. She is on her way through for job interviews and wants to spend the weekend with Joe. It took Joe forever to get over Abby, and he knows that if he agrees to this weekend, he will fall for her again only to have to watch her leave again.

I really enjoyed this novella. It is a sweet little romance about two people reconnecting and a glimpse at what can happen when someone never really got over their first love. For such a short story, I think the author did a great job of giving us enough information to get to know Abby and Joe plus enough conflict and tension to make us wonder if they would get together for the weekend or not. Great little romance, and I would recommend it.

A copy was provided for an honest review.

About the author:
Since the day Harlequin bought her first novel, Kathleen has published more than 40 titles with them--everything from hot, sexy contemporaries to dark, brooding suspense. Read in more than 30 countries and 29 languages, she's a five-time finalist for the prestigious RWA RITA Award, a winner of the Maggie Award and the Holt Medallion, and a three-time finalist for Romantic Times' Reviewer's Choice.

Kathleen comes from a family of writers, poets, and journalists- though she may be the one shameless romantic in the bunch. A true Cancer, she values home and family above everything and wouldn't dream of ditching a single friend, memory, gift, or love letter.

Consequently, her office is a mess, full of books, colored cut glass, photo albums, Madame Alexander dolls, and a cockatiel who whistles the theme from "The X Files." She's addicted to Mozart and the Beatles, Downton Abbey and The Mentalist, Dorothy Dunnett and Rex Stout novels, and honeycrisp apples. 

Find out more at

Monday, September 29, 2014

Low Tide Bikini by Lyla Dune - Review

Low Tide Bikini
(A Pleasure Island Romance)
by Lyla Dune
Published: December 2013
by Composesum Publishing

This sexy, funny, beach romance has plenty of sizzle and giggle. It will make you laugh and sigh, with its zany characters, ostrich farm, talented musicians, snarky down-on-her-luck heroine, and a hunky British hero who's a gentleman on the streets and a freak in the sheets.

Sam Carlisle is the double bass player in the all girl jazz ensemble, Bikini Quartet. When she breaks down on the drawbridge, a panty-melting-muscle-man, who she later discovers is her new landlord, comes to her rescue.

Brock Knight is a retired rugby player from Wales. He's eager to get away from the paparazzi that hound him day and night. When he moves into his new beach house on Pleasure Island, North Carolina before Sam has a chance to relocate, he learns the proper way to shag.

Will he convince Sam to stay, or will she convince him she's gay?

Mature/Explicit content alert - Readers should be 18 years of age or older. 

My review:
Funny and sexy. Sam has just found out that the house in which she is a house-sitter has just been sold. She has no other place to go, this has been her home for 5 years, and she has no money. As soon as the news is sprung on her, the sexy new owner shows up. Brock tells her she can still stay on in the house to give her time to get a new place, but Sam is still understandably upset. She is physically attracted to Brock but knows it isn't a good idea to have any kind of a relationship with him, so she tries to convince him she is a lesbian.

You can't help but enjoy a romance novel which includes a drunk conversation with an ostrich, Naughty Naked Seniors, and misunderstandings over "shagging." I thought Low Tide Bikini had the perfect combination of quirkiness, humor, friendship, and sexiness. I really enjoyed Low Tide Bikini, and I would recommend it. If the rest of the series is as good as this one, Lyla Dune has become one of my new favorite contemporary romance authors.

I downloaded this during a free promotion on Amazon. I was not required to write a review.

About the author:
Lyla Dune  has taught and performed music for over twenty years. Like most band directors, she can play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on a wide variety of instruments, including tuba. Her primary instruments are clarinet, saxophone, flute, and piano.

Songwriting has been in Lyla’s blood since she was a young girl. She still enjoys writing songs. Songwriting led her to poetry, and she has published over a hundred poems. She has also published many short stories and flash fiction pieces in a multitude of genres.

Writing can be creative and cathartic, which is why Lyla fell in love with it, but she learned that writing from that dark place inside her heart made for a lot of sad days. Even though publishers kept begging for more of that sticky dark stuff. she changed directions and decided to fill her days writing happily ever afters. Now, she smiles and sings and enjoys each moment spent with her characters and hopes her readers will find as much joy between the pages of her books as she’s experienced penning the words.

Find out more at

Spotlight: Hot Rebel by Lynn Raye Harris - $50 Gift Card & Signed Books Giveaway

Title: Hot Rebel
Author: Lynn Raye Harris
Release Date: September 29, 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense 

A rebel on the run…

Victoria Royal is a traitor. Or so the U.S. government believes. Victoria was once a promising sniper in the Army, but now she’s gone rogue—worse, she’s just landed in the middle of a Hostile Operations Team mission in the desert and blasted it all to hell. 

Nick “Brandy” Brandon doesn’t expect to run into Victoria when he’s bugging out from a mission gone wrong. It’s been more than three years since she disappeared from the sniper course they were in together, and he’s finally stopped thinking about her killer curves and smart mouth.

But now she’s back—and she’s far more dangerous than Nick ever believed possible… Is she really a traitor? Or is there something more at stake? He has to decide fast—because time’s running out and too many lives hang in the balance…


Driven by some emotion she couldn’t name, Victoria turned and walked back over to Nick. He was frowning at her when she reached up and pulled his head down. She pressed her lips to his cheek, felt the roughness of his stubble and breathed the smell of him—sand, spice, and cool water—deep into her lungs.

“Thanks for saving me,” she said, her lips close to his ear.

She started to step away, but he caught her close and turned his head, his lips meeting hers. The contact was shocking—and delicious in a way she hadn’t anticipated. She’d been kissed before, but this… this was better than any of those kisses had been.

His mouth was soft and hard against hers, his hands firm on her hips as he held her against him. The kiss was hot and tame all at once. Simultaneously the most arousing and most chaste kiss she’d ever had. He didn’t force her mouth open, didn’t thrust his tongue between her lips—he just kissed her hard and thoroughly before setting her away from him and taking a step backward.

And, God, she wanted his tongue so badly now. Wanted to feel it sliding against her own, stroking her senses higher.

But the kiss was over and he was looking at her, his jaw firm and a hard look in his eyes.

“You’re welcome,” he said, and it took her a moment to remember that she’d thanked him for saving her.

“I… I have to go.” Her cheeks flamed as she said it because he knew she had to leave as well as she did. The car was running, and she’d left the door open. She took a step backward, and then another.

Then she turned and got inside the car, determined not to look at him again. But she failed because she looked up, her gaze clashing with his right as she closed the door. And she didn’t look away as they drove off. Nick didn’t move from the spot she’d left him standing in.

It was only when the car turned and he was out of sight that she remembered how to breathe.

About the author:
USA Today bestselling author Lynn Raye Harris burst onto the scene when she won a writing contest held by Harlequin. A former finalist for the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award and the National Readers Choice Award, Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome former military husband and two crazy cats. Lynn writes about hot military heroes, sizzling international billionaires, and the women who dare to tame them. Her books have been called "exceptional and emotional," "intense," and "sizzling." To date, Lynn's books have sold over 2 million copies worldwide.

Find out more at


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Toxic Staple by Anne Sarkisian - Review

Toxic Staple: How Gluten May Be Wrecking Your Health - And What You Can Do About It! 
by Anne Sarkisian
Published: September 2013 
by Max Health Press

Sick and tired of being Sick and Tired? Gluten may be the culprit. TOXIC STAPLE exposes how the devastating effects of gluten reach far beyond celiac disease. Over 300 symptoms and maladies are linked to this insidious protein, from allergies, arthritis, asthma, autoimmune disease, cancer, depression, fatigue, gut or memory issues, migraines, osteoporosis, reflux. . . to zits. 

Misdiagnosed / Undiagnosed Read Toxic Staple and you will - 
Learn to recognize how gluten could be affecting your health 
Discover the revolutionary health benefits of a gluten-free lifestyle
Find hope in the inspirational stories of real people - substantiated by nearly 600 scientific studies from around the world 
Get the scoop on cutting-edge and traditional tests 
Become empowered to change your health and life 

"Toxic Staple is a exceptional book that integrates the vast amount of research on the gluten-related epidemic! It is a must-read, a gift for health-care professionals or anyone looking to improve his or her health." -- Marie-Nathalie Beaudoin, PhD" 

My review:
This book is amazingly comprehensive and includes tons of medical data as well as personal stories. The author is not trying to say that every medical condition is caused by gluten every time; however, this book does point out how many medical conditions can have a connection to either celiac disease or a gluten intolerance.

As someone who diagnosed my then 9 year old son, I really understand the importance of this book. We had just switched him back to his old doctor (even though that meant a very long drive since we had moved) because his doctor could not figure out what was wrong with him. We were blessed that his old doctor was at least willing to consider it and did the test. Thankfully, the test did positively show celiac disease. If the test had come back that he didn't have it (as many people's tests do even though eating gluten-free makes them feel better), I would have just thought I was wrong, and he would probably still be a very sick little boy to this day.

Take your health into your own hands. Read this book if you even suspect you have a problem with gluten, if you have any chronic conditions, or if you just feel lousy all the time for no reason. No, gluten may not be the problem every time, but it very well could be. This book is a must read.

Copy was provided for an honest review.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Butter by Erin Jade Lange - Throwback Thursday Review

A "Throwback Thursday Review" is either a book I read way back when but didn't write a review for whatever reason (usually, probably forgot ... oops...) or it is a review on a book I got but then didn't get around to reading until now (again, usually, probably just forgot).

Today's review is Butter by Erin Jade Lange. This is another book that I read way back in September 2012 and can't figure out why I didn't write a review then because I did enjoy it. Like before, I probably just forgot.

Butter by Erin Jade Lange
Published: September 2012

A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans?

With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen's battle with himself.

My review:
An obese, teenaged boy called Butter makes a cry for help by creating a website claiming that he will eat himself to death and do it live online. It isn't really presented as a "cry for help," but that is what it boils down to. Butter doesn't really want to eat himself to death. However, when it seems like everyone at school is so excited about his claim and looking forward to the big event, Butter feels that there is nothing to do but go through with it. 

Butter is a great emotional story that explores one young boy's feelings about being obese, why he eats so much, other people's attitudes toward him, and his loneliness and desperation. I did think everything may have been tied up a little too easily and smoothly in the end, but overall, this was a book that I really enjoyed and would recommend.

Copy was provided for review.

About the author:
Erin writes facts by day and fiction by night. As a journalist, she is inspired by current events and real-world issues and uses her writing to explore how those issues impact teenagers.

She is an only child, so she spent a lot of time entertaining herself as a kid. This required her to rely heavily on her own imagination, which is probably why she became a writer.

Erin grew up in the cornfields of northern Illinois, along the Mississippi River in one of the few places it flows east to west. She now lives in the sunshine of Arizona and will forever be torn between her love of rivers and her love of the desert.

Find out more at


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