Showing posts with label 4 Heart Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 4 Heart Reviews. Show all posts

Review & GIVEAWAY: The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis

Book Review: The Summer Deal 
Publisher: Harper Collins  
Release Date: 6/2/2020 
ISBN: 1472269624
Genre: Women's Fiction/Contemporary Romance 
Rating: 4 Heart Review 

BLURB: Brynn Turner desperately wishes she had it together, but her personal life is like a ping-pong match that’s left her scared and hurt after so many attempts to get it right. In search of a place to lick her wounds and get a fresh start, she heads back home to Wildstone.


And then there’s Kinsey Davis, who after battling serious health issues her entire twenty-nine years of life, is tired of hoping for . . . well, anything. She's fierce, tough, and she’s keeping more than one bombshell of a secret from Brynn -- her long-time frenemy.


But then Brynn runs into Kinsey's best friend, Eli, renewing her childhood crush. The good news: he’s still easy-going and funny and sexy as hell.


The bad news: when he gets her to agree to a summer-time deal to trust him to do right by her, no matter what, she never dreams it’ll result in finding a piece of herself she didn’t even know was missing. She could have real connections, possibly love, and a future—if she can only learn to let go of the past.


As the long days of summer wind down, the three of them must discover if forgiveness is enough to grasp the unconditional love that’s right in front of them.

First, let's talk about that cover. It just screams summer read and I'm totally here for it. I'm also a BIG fan of animals on covers when they play a role within the story, as yellow lab puppy "Mini" does.

For me, this book straddled the line between women's fiction and romance and Shalvis does a great job at balancing the story elements of friendship and family with a real romance. Not every author can pack as much "other" into a romance and still achieve the character arcs for a hero and heroine to pull off a satisfactory HEA. If there was one area of the book I wanted to be more fully fleshed out, it would have been a little more of an arc for Eli. While I was satisfied with where he ends up in the story, I could have done with a little more emotional growth than we got. Maybe a few more challenges to his status quo?

One of the other relationships in the book is that of Brynn and Kinsey and it truly is done exceptionally well. There was real depth and development on the page between these two characters and you cheered and cringed as they muddled their way to a deep bond. 

Brynn's Moms and their relationship with not only her, but also Kinsey, Eli and Eli's brother Max, were a delight. My hope is that they continue to show up in any upcoming books in this series. Hell, I want them to come be my Moms for awhile! 

We do get insight into Brynn and Kinsey's past relationship through excerpts from their Summer Camp journals. These short flashes into their childhood worries and fears gives the reader a deeper understanding of how these women came to be who they are, and how intertwined their lives have always been. Also a fantastic reminder that you never know how your small actions can impact someone else's feelings and potentially, their life! 

This is my second review in a row to focus on books that explore family dynamics and while completely by accident, I've found myself finding comfort in that during these times. Shalvis makes a substantial statement about the powerful role family can play in someone's life, for good or bad. But much more importantly, Shalvis speaks to the power of unconditional love and support being the true marker of who makes up a family. 

Shalvis once again crafted a winner of a summer read. Do you think I can get away with reading them again in Winter? 😍


UPDATED: The Winner is Katelyn! 

Want to win your own copy of The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis? I want to hear how you are planning to find some joy in your Summer this year. We all need to find some joy, so let's share ideas with one another! Comment below for a chance to win and make sure to include your email so I can contact you if you win. 

Want an extra entry? I just joined Instagram as @Cheeky_Reads and would love some more friends! Check out my account there and if you like, give me a follow or like a post. Come back and comment with your Instagram account for an extra entry to win! 

Winner will be chosen on Monday June 8th and contacted via email. Open to US and Canada residents only. 


New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website,, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Connect with Jill


Facebook: @JillShalvis

Twitter: @JillShalvis






Book Review: Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras

Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras Cover

Book Review: Island Affair 

Publisher:  Zebra  
Release Date: 4/28/2020
ISBN: 1420150170
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 Heart Review

TW: Eating Disorders

Book Blurb:
Sought-after social media influencer Sara Vance, in recovery from an eating disorder, is coming into her own, with a potential career expansion on the horizon. Despite the good news, her successful siblings (and their perfect spouses) have a way of making her feel like the odd one out. So, when her unreliable boyfriend is a no-show for a Florida family vacation, Sara recruits Luis Navarro—a firefighter paramedic and dive captain willing to play the part of her smitten fiancé . . .

Luis’s big Cuban familia has been in Key West for generations, and his quiet strength feeds off the island’s laidback style. Though guarded after a deep betrayal, he’ll always help someone in need—especially a spunky beauty with a surprising knowledge of Spanish curse words. Soon, he and Sara have memorized their “how we met” story and are immersed in family dinners, bike tours, private snorkeling trips . . . sharing secrets, and slow, melting kisses. But when it’s time for Sara to return home, will their fake relationship fade like the stunning sunset . . . or blossom into something beautiful?

Cheeky Thoughts: 
This was such a fun book! Exactly what I needed at this time and I finished it in a day and then found myself looking at photos from my last trip to Key West! Priscilla really brought Key West and that community to life in this story and her love for it just comes out on the page. 

My favorite part of this story was how Priscilla deftly handled the inclusion of the eating disorder of the main character. It was woven into the story in such a believable and heart-felt way without this turning into a dark and heavy read. It's a perfect example of how you can write REAL characters who live with secrets and struggles just like we do in real life. Her characterizations felt well written and true to the characters she had created. 

For me, there were a few areas that made this a 4 Heart review instead of 5. 

The first issue I had was the initial meet cute of Sara and Luis. While I loved the premise and set-up, it felt a little too quick to be believable. As much as Sara was in a tough spot, it was hard for me to suspend my disbelief for how quickly she jumped right into Luis' truck (basically a total stranger) with him and offered to take him to stay with her family. I would have liked a little more time of Sara still being wary even after Luis agrees to help her. 

My other issue was the resolution of the relationship issues between Sara and her sister. While I LOVED Priscilla digging into this sister dynamic and showing family relationships that are strained, it felt to me that this particular issue needed much more than just one conversation for it to start being turned around. The animosity is sooo deep at the beginning of the story, that I would have liked to have seen multiple steps/touchpoints between the sisters as they get toward the end of the story events. 

All in all, I highly recommend this book and loved both of the families dynamics, the setting and most of all the great characters Priscilla created. Luis and Sara are a wonderful romance story surrounded by families you want to keep reading more and more of. I will be checking out Priscilla's backlist, but also cannot wait to hear when the next book in this series will release. Because this one is so good, of course there will be another book in this series! 

I you haven't read this yet, pick up a copy today and enjoy a fantastic summer romance! 

Book Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas

Chasing Cassandra Historical Romance by Lisa Kleypas
Book Review: Chasing Cassandra (Book 6 in the Ravenels Series) 
Publisher: Avon 
Release Date: 2/18/2020
ISBN: 978-0062371942
Genre: Historial Romance
Rating: 4 Heart Review
This book was self-purchased for review

Book Blurb:
Everything has a price . . .
Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.
Everything except her . . .
Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.
When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:
Never underestimate a Ravenel.
The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun . . .
Cheeky Review:
Can we please talk about the way Kleypas writes descriptive prose? I've thought about this over and over since reading and then listening to this audiobook (which I also highly recommend!). Enjoying food and delicacies is something the heroine Cassandra loves but is constantly told to abstain from. Throughout the story, Kleypas proves her mastery at not just characterization but of writing readers into her world to experience it as the characters do with her descriptions of food.  She describes the food in a way that directly reflects how Cassandra herself experiences it. Each meal or dessert is layered into the story in way that showcases not only how much the heroine savors the act of eating said food, but also its importance to her identity and her joy in life. 

From the moment Severin declares "I'll be your oyster," I was hooked. Throughout the story, Kleypas shows us Severin feeding Cassandra treats he knows she will love and without judgement or admonishment. This is feeding the soul. Food as metaphor. Food as love. The body positivity in this book was a joyful inclusion and I loved that it was a key part of showing that Severin did indeed have feelings, even if he wasn't consciously aware of them.  

I've seen some reviewers mention that there wasn't enough conflict in this story for their taste. While I would agree that it is light on conflict, I didn't find myself missing it at all. Maybe it's because I was greatly in need of an angst-free read at the time, or maybe I just wanted to enjoy seeing two people falling in love easily and without drama. I relished this story and its characters! 

This might very well be my favorite in the Kleypas Ravenels series, but I know Tom Severin was my absolute favorite hero of the bunch and that's saying a lot. I ADORE West Ravenel, but Severin still managed to get a leg up here. His forthright honesty, self-owning nature and unconscious love of those he surrounds himself with won me over big time. 

If you are looking for a beautifully written story with low angst and a general warm and cozy read, then I cannot recommend this book highly enough! 

Book Review: Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins

Book Review: Somebody to Love 
By: Kristan Higgins
Publisher: HQN - Contemporary Romance 
4 Heart Review 

Book Blurb:

After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon’s Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father’s wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she’s not thrilled…even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox.

Having to fend for herself for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist’s assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn’t the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn’t the only thing that needs a little TLC…

Right up front I have to say I'm a huge Kristan Higgins fan girl. Every single book I've read of hers has been an above average to a full-blown *squee* read. So to say I was excited to read this book is a huge understatement. 

The heroine Parker is a character I met in a previous Higgins' book The Next Best Thing, a book I ADORED. It wasn't that I hadn't liked her, but she hadn't really called out to me from that book as a heroine in the making. 

Enter Somebody to Love and James Cahill. Although this was not my favorite of Higgins' books, it is a wonderful read full of everything that makes Higgins an auto-buy for me, deep emotion that's carefully developed in characters you will laugh and cry with. The realness of emotion is what I feel Higgins does like few others and it keeps me coming back for more. 

While I finally got Parker right off, it took much more time for me to warm up to the hero James. Even as I continued to read he was the one thing I felt just a little off to making the full on connection with me. I wanted...more. More depth of emotion I think. It was almost there. Really, so close. Maybe I needed the emotion earlier or this might have been one time I needed some back-story earlier. 

All in all, another heart-tugging, funny-bone tickling story from Kristan Higgins. She has yet to disappoint me, and sometimes she knocks it completely out of the park. Once again, I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. 

Book Review & Giveaway: Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green

Book Review: Another Piece of My Heart 
By: Jane Green 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Women's Fiction 
4 Heart Review 

Book Blurb: 
From the New York Times bestselling author of JEMIMA J, and THE BEACH HOUSE, comes Jane Green’s most emotional and powerful novel yet: a story that explores the complications of a woman marrying into a ready-made family, and the true meaning of motherhood.

Andi has spent much of her adult life looking for the perfect man, and at thirty-seven, she's finally found him.  Ethan--divorced with two daughters, Emily and Sophia--is a devoted father and even better husband.  Always hoping one day she would be a mother, Andi embraces the girls like they were her own. But in Emily’s eyes, Andi is an obstacle to her father’s love, and Emily will do whatever it takes to break her down. When the dynamics between the two escalate, they threaten everything Andi believes about love, family, and motherhood—leaving both women standing at a crossroad in their lives…and in their hearts.

ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART is a novel that illuminates the nuances and truths about relationships and is Jane Green at her absolute best.

While this book is Women's Fiction and not a Romance, the story itself does contain a very interesting romance for me between Andi and her husband Ethan. Although already married, this book takes you through the ups and downs they experience over a span of years that to me is nothing less than a romance story. There are so many possible things I could say about this book that would be a spoiler, so while my review is short please don't think this book doesn't deserve your attention - it totally does! 

As a fan of Jane Green books, I was excited to read this but must say it was slightly different from what I've read of hers before. There is still all the depth of emotion and insight readers would expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the book's set-up in multiple Point of Views. 

You get to really see and understand how every bit of this book affects each of the characters. What's even more interesting to me as a reader is that Mrs. Green does not make these characters insanely likable, nor does she write them were they do everything perfectly. There are times you'll want to scream at the characters for being stupid or doing the wrong thing, but that's how life really is. 

Again, you won't fall in love with these characters, because they are so real and their shortcomings and issues are presented along with their strengths, but you will become engrossed in their story and want to see how it ends. 

A compelling and insightful look at the deep emotional bonds and turmoil that families face, you'll find yourself feeling like the author has tapped into the emotional vein of a specific family and shared it with you. 

About the Author
Jane Green is the author of twelve bestselling novels, dealing with real women, real life, and all the things in-between, with her trademark wisdom, wit and warmth. She contributes to various publications, both online and print, including Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, and assorted Anthologies.  Passionate about both food and the home, most weekends see her cooking up a storm in her home in Westport, Connecticut, where she lives by the beach with her husband and their many children.

Jane Green Links:

GIVEAWAY: Two Cheeky Reads readers will win a copy of Another Piece of My Heart! Leave a comment below letting me know if you like reading Women's Fiction in addition to romances, and if you've read and liked romances that feature an already married husband and wife. Make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win! 

Giveaway will end Saturday March 31st at Midnight and the winner announced on Monday, April 2nd. 

Book Review: Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas

Book Review: Paris, My Sweet: A Year in The City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)
By: Amy Thomas
Published By: Sourcebooks
Non-Fiction Memoir
4 Heart Review

Blurb From Goodreads: 
Part love letter to New York, part love letter to Paris, and total devotion to all things sweet. Paris, My Sweet is a personal and moveable feast that’s a treasure map for anyone who loves fresh cupcakes and fine chocolate, New York and Paris, and life in general. It’s about how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a sliver of cheesecake and about how the life you’re meant to live doesn't always taste like the one you envisioned. Organized into a baker’s dozen of delicacies (and the adventures they inspired) that will tempt readers’ appetites, Paris, My Sweet is something to savor.

Yes, I know. This isn't really a romance but it is a love letter to Paris and New York and after my first trip to Paris last Fall I've been fantasizing about going back. I LOVED Paris and tried to soak up every second of time while I was there. So when this book came to my attention I just had to read it and I thought I would share it with you even if it isn't my typical book to review. 

Amy Thomas writes in such a way that even though I spent an idyllic week in Paris, I could so easily see the nuances of the city and the People that were both amazing and that later made her feel lonely. She picked up and conveyed so well those small little things that can throw you off in Paris. For instance, it just felt so alien to me not to smile at everyone I met and walked past on the street. I love Amy's inclusion of instances of how Parisians reacted to her smiling since I had the same experience. 

But what really drew me to this book, and I think you will love, are the amazing descriptions of the perfect desserts to be had all over Paris and their sometimes up to par counterparts in New York. You can read Amy's love of fine pastry and the work that goes into each small bite on every page. 

I mean this is the ultimate guide to eating in Paris (and New York) and you can bet I'll be using this as my sweet tooth guide the next time the hubby and I make it to Paris. A few of the places she includes in the book are ones we actually managed to find when we went and it was fun to relive the experience we had there. Others, I wish we had found! 

If you've ever wanted to go to Paris, or if you've been before, I think you'll enjoy this book that includes not only so much detail on Sweets in Paris, but also a taste of life living in the city as a foreigner and the awe that is discovering this city over and over. 

Romance Book Review Round Up!

There are a lot of books that I read and somehow never manage to write a review for them at the time. This could be because I was busy, the book just didn't speak to me either way, or a handful of other reasons. Some of these books were really good and some not so much so just because these are shorter reviews doesn't automatically reflect how I felt about them.

So, I thought I would start doing occassional posts with short reviews of these books. Think of it like book review cliff notes. Most of these are not new books, but that's the beauty of finding a new book or author - who cares if it's a new release...It's new to you!

Coming Clean by Inez Kelley - 4 Heart Review
Coming clean never felt so good...
Grant and Vivi Michaelson share everything in their marriage: love, commitment--and their wildest sexual desires. But their relationship is tested when Vivi admits she wants a threesome with Grant's old friend Cade, proposing their annual trip to the lake as the perfect opportunity to fulfill her fantasy.

All three of them are aroused by the idea. Vivi and Cade have long felt a smoldering attraction to each other...and Grant and Cade have hidden an illicit desire for decades. Going through with the ménage will test their boundaries, reveal old secrets...and maybe tear them apart. After all, there might be room for Cade in bed, but is there room for a third in their marriage?

I had my doubts about this book because to be honest, I've never read a menage involving a married couple and the idea of it made me slightly uncomfortable with how I could enjoy this book. But wow. Inez Kelley can seriously write. This novella is insanely full of deep emotion and insight and so much of it just felt "right" for the characters. Which is really the difference between good and bad writing with any menege. These characters and their story just felt natural and because of how stellar this book is, Inez is on my auto-buy list.

The Scent of Jade by Dee DeTarsio - 2 Heart Review
Julie Fraser is the least adventurous person she knows…until she hops on a plane to surprise her husband who’s on a business trip in Costa Rica. Reeling from the discovery that her husband isn’t who she thought he was, she embarks on an unexpected rainforest adventure that leaves her not knowing where to turn, literally, or whom to trust. She knew she should have stayed home! Can a monkey, a Latin hunk, and a mysterious ‘love potion’ help Julie on her mission to find and forgive her husband?

Not a typical romance, this one kept me reading because I really wanted to figure out where it was going with it's plot, but in the end I wasn't happy with the outcome. I can't tell you the major reason I didn't enjoy the book without giving away a spoiler, but I can tell you that I was half way through the book and still wondering it is was really going to turn into a romance. The heroine had some good points in that I liked how she handled herself at first, but I felt like halfway through her actions and responses didn't fit with the character that has been introduced at first. I will give this story credit for being very creative and engaging since I never did put it down, but in the end, it really came down to not buying into the hero/heroine really belonging together.

Building Magic by Lilly Caine - 3 Heart Review
When architecture student and summertime welder Tina Moreland develops a reputation as a peeping Tom, it isn’t the first time she’s been teased for being different. Catching a glimpse of the man of her dreams is worth the aggravation. But when she witnesses him doing something stranger than stripping in his hightower office, it’s enough to make her forget that when working unharnessed on the fifth floor, the first step is a long way down.

Sent to Earth to find a power source strong enough to end the civil war at home, Devin Ken’Draga doesn’t have time to rescue a damsel in distress. But since she is literally falling at his feet, he can’t help but to save her. Bringing her home wasn’t part of the plan, but once they fall through the magical portal together, there is no going back. It is only when he spreads his wings in his true dragon form that Devin realizes something he hadn’t anticipated – the woman is a virgin, a temptation no dragon can resist. Together Devin and Tina create a sensual bond, gladly sacrificing virginity to find love and a solution to the bloody war.

I was plesantly surprised by this book and thought it was highly unique and I thoroughly enjoyed the heroine. If you are looking for more Dragon shifter romances I would suggest putting this one on your list. There were a few things about the writing that would occassionally pull me out of the story. Nothing big, or it wouldn't have still received 3 Hearts, but the occassional word choice here and there felt off to me. Again, this book suprised me with how creative the story was and I enjoyed the world-building very much.

Book Review: Wanna Get Lucky by Deborah Coonts

Book Review: Wanna Get Lucky by Deborah Coonts
Mystery/Contemporary Romance  
Published By: Forge Books
4 Heart Review 

A young woman plunges from a Las Vegas sightseeing helicopter, landing in the Pirate’s lagoon in front of the Treasure Island Hotel in the middle of the 8:30 Pirate Show.  Almost everyone writes her off as another Vegas victim.
But Lucky O’Toole smells a rat.  She’s head of Customer Relations at The Babylon, the newest, most opulent mega-casino and resort on the Strip, so she’s got a lot on her plate: the Adult Film industry’s annual awards banquet, a spouse-swapping convention, sex toy purveyors preying on the pocket-protector crowd attending ElectroniCon….  Still, Lucky can’t resist turning over a few stones. 

When a former flame is one of the snakes she uncovers, Lucky’s certain she’s no longer dealing with an anonymous Sin City suicide.  To top it all off, Lucky’s best friend Teddie—Las Vegas’ finest female impersonator—presses to take their relationship to the next level.  Leave it to Lucky to attract a man who looks better in a dress than she does.

Lucky must manage the Babylon’s onslaught of outrageous festivities, solve a murder, and struggle to keep her life and libido from spinning out of control… not to mention keep her balance in six inch heels.

Wanna Get Lucky is the first book in a new-to-me series that I wanted to catch up on before book #3 releases this February. After finishing this one, I'm itching to start on book #2.

I really enjoyed almost everything about this story. It takes off at a quick pace and doesn't slow down - which is fitting since that's exactly the way the main charcters life is like and I felt the story matched up to that perfectly.

One of my favorite new author blogs is called Wonk-O-Mance and this book is perfect for them!  Their blog focuses on Romances with wonky heroes and heroines - stories with characters and plots that just shouldn't work but totally do. Characters so over the top that instead of not believing in them, you heart them so hard.

That's exactly how I felt about this book. It's totally a wonky little mystery/romance and I heart  Wanna Get Lucky and it's heroine hard. Lucky is a force of nature bit with every action you can really envision her taking on all the crazy things that happen in her Vegas world. The crazy works.

Add in a cross-dressing hero who's also trying to make the move from best friend to lover and the crazy becomes amped up 10 more notches. But, and I was truly surprised at this one, it totally works. Yep - a cross-dressing hero worked for me. In this insane little story it all works and that is in large part to the author's ability to create characters of depth that I connected with instantly.

As I mentioned above this is also a fast-paced mystery that keeps you pushing forward as the pages fly by. That is yet another reason Wanna Get Lucky works. Everything about this book worked for me.

I did see the twist at the end coming but I think the reader was meant to - or at least the author meant to instill the hope in the reader that what is revealed is what they were hoping for all along. Sigh. I really loved that last twist and had hoped for it as I got further along in the story.

I'm off to read book #2 in this series - Lucky Stiff - this weekend so I'm ready for the newly released novella Lucky in Love and the 3rd full book in the series So Damn Lucky which releases on February 28th.

I'm so lucky to have found the Lucky O'Toole series! Yes, you can go ahead and groan. I did, but it was too good to pass up.

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

4 Heart Book Review: Enemy Lover By Karin Harlow

Book Review: Enemy Lover
By: Karen Harlow
Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Pocket Star
Rating: 4 Hearts

When you have no alternative, then you call in L.O.S.T.   Because with the Last Option Special Team, it’s do or die…

It’s Jax Cassidy’s first mission for L.O.S.T. – one that will give the former cop who went rogue a chance to prove herself.  Her assignment: gain the trust of assassin Marcus Cross…eliminate him…then take down Marcus’s mentor, Joseph Lazarus, a man with a bold eye on the White House.  But the woman who’s known by her team for being a femme fatale succumbs to passion, only to discover Cross’s deadly secret.  He’s a vampire, and Joseph Lazarus is his creator.

Left for dead by his platoon in the violent hills of Afghanistan, Special Ops sniper Marcus Cross was given a second chance at life.  His newly heightened skills make him the perfect killing machine, and as Lazarus’s right-hand man, he’s quickly rising to the top of his dark empire, purging enemies with speed and precision.  Only when dangerous beauty Jax Cassidy is sent to bring him in does he begin to question Lazarus’s motives and his own actions.  But when Jax’s life is threatened by the one thing that can destroy them both, Marcus must make a bitter choice – her death or his.
I was a little skeptical about this book after reading the cover.  The concept of Marcus being a vampire was unexpected, and I wasn’t sure how it would fit into the premise of the story.  On the other hand, I knew this book would be mixing my two favorite types of stories – urban fantasy and secret agent.  I was either going to love it or hate it.  Let’s just say I’m really glad I didn’t miss this one.

From the first chapter, I knew I was going to like Jax.  She is strong, resourceful, and a smart-ass.  However, she isn’t without her vulnerabilities – but that’s what makes her realistic.  The author, Karin Harlow, certainly didn’t pull punches with Jax.  She is a heroine who has had a tough life, and it’s about to get tougher from the moment she sets eyes on Marcus.

Marcus is all kinds of yummy.  He’s controlled, focused, and determined to be on the side of right.  This man has a tighter hold on his emotions than most women keep on their purses.  And yes, he is a vampire…not that he needs the heightened senses or special skill-set that comes with being an undead considering he would be a force to be reckoned with as a plain human.
Watching these two spar words and rough each other up – in more ways than one – was a lot of fun.  Especially since Karin didn’t make this just a book about two enemies falling for each other.  The plot is intricate and fast-paced.  There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing all the way to the end. 

The one thing I wish Karin would have paid more attention to is the vampire aspect.  I didn’t really get to connect with the world that Marcus lives in, because I didn’t really get to see it.  It’s there…but its background noise.  I would have liked a more in-depth look at the paranormal world and the rules that govern those who live in it.  I felt a little taken aback by how rationally everyone seemed to accept there being vampires.  It was so fast and easy for L.O.S.T. to figure out how to handle them – I’ve read a million vampire books, but if I ever ran across one in real life I’m still not sure if my best bet is wood, silver, perhaps a cross and some sunshine. 

I also felt a little sorry for Gage.  He appears to be a central character at first, getting some page time at the beginning, but sort of disappears through a lot of action.  He obviously has a thing for Jax, and if it weren’t for Marcus, I would say they’d make a great pair.  I guess all I can hope for is that Karin will write another L.O.S.T. book and Gage gets to find himself in his own sticky situation.  I’ve definitely got my fingers crossed.
If you like urban fantasy, suspense, and SEAL-like men, you’re going to love Enemy Lover.  It’s like a s’more…all your favorites in one place and hot!  

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl L.A.

4 Heart Book Review: One Night In Boston By Allie Boniface

Book Review: One Night in Boston
By: Allie Boniface
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 Hearts

Book Blurb:
Can anything really change in 24 hours? Can everything? Maggie Doyle is about to lose her home, her business, and her last grip on sanity unless she comes up with fifteen thousand dollars to pay off the bank. Her only option? Forget the pain of one life-altering night, find the stepbrother she hasn't spoken to in years and ask him for help. Everything in Jack Major's life ...moreCan anything really change in 24 hours? Can everything? Maggie Doyle is about to lose her home, her business, and her last grip on sanity unless she comes up with fifteen thousand dollars to pay off the bank. Her only option? Forget the pain of one life-altering night, find the stepbrother she hasn't spoken to in years and ask him for help. Everything in Jack Major's life is going according to plan. He's rich, powerful, and about to marry Boston's most successful attorney. There's just one problem: he can't seem to forget his first love, the one who left him in college after a whirlwind trip to Vegas with a secret she couldn't trust him to keep.

When Maggie and Jack meet up at a high-profile charity ball, past collides with present and the sparks fly. But is it too late for a first love to ignite again? And if Maggie reveals the reason she left Jack all those years ago, will he be able to forgive her?

A single night in Boston takes Maggie and Jack from the glittering lights of the ballroom to the windswept city streets and back through the years to relive old memories. Will morning light bring new hope for their future together? Or are some secrets too deep to ever truly overcome?
I was a little dubious about whether I would enjoy a story set over 24 hours as I’ve never read anything like it before but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

Maggie is a very confused and desperate person who has one last chance to contact her step brother to see if he is willing to help her so she doesn’t lose everything. She has had a complicated life that never seems to go right for her.

Jack lost the love of his life when Maggie left him but he picked up the pieces and carried on, burying the heartache and concentrating on his career. He has done well for himself and has convinced himself that he is happy. But when he begins to remember the past he has buried he starts to question his current situation.

Maggie attends the ball in a last ditch effort to try to find her step brother who she hasn’t spoken to for years. When she unexpectedly bumps in to Jack it brings the past and the memories that have been plaguing her to the surface.
The relationship between Maggie and Jack is a complicated one but made me hope that they would find a way to work through their past problems and have their happily ever after.

Maggie used to have a great relationship with her step brother, Dillon. But after one fateful night when they were younger their relationship became strained and eventually Maggie severed all contact.

The anger and pain that Maggie felt made her seem more real to me although I did question the depth and the reasons for this on occasion. I liked the strong friends that surrounded Maggie and provided her the support she so obviously needed. Eden and Neve were fantastic characters and seemed like true friends to Maggie.

I did struggle a bit with all the flashbacks from the different perspectives throughout the story but it did help develop an understanding of how and why the situation that the characters found themselves in at the present had been affected by the past.

Ms Boniface did a fantastic job of keeping this a fast paced story, with all the twists and turns to keep it interesting but still developed the characters so it felt like grew to know them.
I enjoyed this story and felt all the highs and lows right along with the characters. The twists kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next and I couldn’t put the book down. I was kept me guessing all the way through whether Maggie and Jack would get their HEA and also if there was a chance for Maggie to reconcile her relationship with Dillon.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a complicated, angst filled love story.
Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Vicky

Book Review: When Blood Calls by J.K. Beck

Book Review: When Blood Calls
By: J.K. Beck
Paranormal Romance
Published by Bantam Books
4 Heart Review

From the back cover
Sara Constantine is one of the country’s most tenacious prosecuting attorneys—and she’s just secured a well-earned promotion. At first she’s thrilled. Then she finds out her new job involves prosecuting vampires and werewolves. And nothing prepares Sara for the shock she receives when she meets the first defendant she’ll be trying to put away: Lucius Dragos, the sexy stranger with whom she recently shared an explosive night of ecstasy.

When Lucius Dragos kisses the beautiful woman sitting next to him at the bar, he’s only hoping to blend into the crowd and avoid the perceptive gaze of the man he’s following…and planning to kill. But what starts as a simple kiss to secure his cover ignites into a fierce hunger that leads to an all-consuming passion. Charged with murder, Luke knows Sara will do whatever it takes to see him locked away—unless he can convince her that he’s not the monster she thinks he is. And that might mean making the greatest sacrifice a vampire can make.

It's something I never thought I'd be able to say, but this book actually brings something new and fresh to vampire lore! J.K. Beck has created a new world with a very creative and compelling take on how vampires are created and what they do to stay "alive". I usually steer clear of vampire romances lately because they are like cookie-cutter imitations, but I was really excited to get into this one.

Likewise, I was equally interested in the entire world of creatures that the author has created and again felt that there's a new twist to all of them. This isn't just any old world-building. It's different and unique.

The heroine Sara appealed to me and I liked that she was neither a silly fool or overly rigid when faced with this brand new world. Her reactions felt honest to the character and I felt her back story really played well into the plot and conflict.

Lucius made for an hero that really rode that line of good and bad with a past that lets you in on why he lives his life in such extremes and makes you go back and forth in how you as a reader feels about him, his being a vampire, and if it's smart to be with him.

There were a few things about this story that threw me off slightly but it's hard to go into without plot telling a little. I will say that I felt the ending was a little predictable with what happens to Sara and wish this part of the book would have been drawn out more to really play with some twists before the inevitable happens. Other than that, I thought it was a really awesome debut book and a great start to the series!

If you think Vampires are getting tired, give this one a try and it might revitalize your feelings on them!

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Here's The Book Trailer For This Series:

Book Review: The Third Wish by K.F. Zuzulo

Romance Book Review: The Third Wish
By K. F. Zuzulo
Publisher: Sapphire Blue Publishing
Rating: 4 hearts

Book Blurb:
On a dig in the Jordan desert, archaeologist Bridget Devine unleashes cursed and captivating jinni Ashura-Goreem…and her own sensual awakening. The jinni must fulfill three wishes before he is free to settle a 3,000-year-old score, so his attraction to Bridget is a distraction he can’t afford. Bridget soon realizes that she is the captive—bound to Ash by desire and unwilling to let him go. But time is running out for the jinni. As an enemy from his ancient past returns, Ash must decide between freedom and love. The third wish will either release Ash or destroy him.

I really enjoyed this and even though it was a short story it didn’t feel like it was missing anything.
I was impressed with Bridget and how she responded to the events within the story and she came over a strong and intelligent woman who knew her own mind. Even with some of the bizarre events she approached them with a level head and trusted her instincts which made her a very likable character to me.

Ash had a mysterious air about him and on occasion I was unsure how he was going to react but he always kept the story interesting.

Bridget and Ash made a really appealing and enjoyable couple and the passion between them was believable and at times intense! I liked the fact that they didn’t instantly fall for each other but had time to get to know each other. The twist near the end of the story had me a little disappointed, but only briefly!

I haven’t read many books about the Jin but this has made me want to give them a try and I will definitely be on the look out for more books by this author!

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Vicky

Book Review: Cowgirls Don't Cry by Lorelei James

Book Review: Cowgirls Don't Cry
By: Lorelei James
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
4 Heart Review

Cowgirls Don’t Cry is the story of Jessie McKay and her deceased husband’s brother, Brandt. This may seem like an odd pairing, but as I learned while reading, the McKays are a modern day soap opera and this is not very surprising. Jessie is trying to find herself again about the death of her cheating husband, Luke, and Brandt is in love with his brother’s widow. He has been since her met her. Brandt and Jessie come together while they take of Luke’s illegitimate child, Landon, while his mother is in jail.

Cowgirls Don’t Cry by Lorelei James pleasantly surprised me. I expected a sweet romance with a lot of heat and that’s what I got.

As my introduction to this series, I think this book was a very good one. I have never read a western romance before, but let me tell you, Brandt has me wanting to move to Wyoming and become a cowgirl. Brandt is sweet and kind, but also gruff and strong and powerful- everything a woman can hope for in a man. Their romance is one that wasn’t typical because of the family drama surrounding them, but they persevere through it anyway. It was wonderful to see both Brandt and Jessie grow as characters and to help each other through their problems. I don’t want to give too much away, but there are plenty of family problems between the characters that make your heart break but also make you feel strongly for the two main characters.

There are quite a few sex scenes that are quite steamy. From a few of the reviews of her other books, it’s not quite as out there as her other sex scenes. It seems to be pretty vanilla, but they are good either way. One of my favorite thing about the sex scenes in this book was that they were real. None of them felt fake or unrealistic. It was refreshing. Plus, it was lovely to see the connection blossom and deepen between the two lovers.

I would recommend this book for anyone that loves a good romance with steamy sex and amazing characters. I give this a 4/5 Hearts.

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Meagan

Book Review: The Perfect Wife by Victoria Alexander

Book Review: The Perfect Wife
By: Victoria Alexander
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 4 Hearts

When the Earl of Wyldewood meets Sabrina Winfield, he thinks he’s found the ideal match.  Graceful and genteel, the elegant blonde will look simply exquisite displayed on his arm.  And a lady like Sabrina will undoubtedly occupy her time with proper matters, leaving him free to pursue his own pleasures…
But beneath Sabrina’s delicate beauty lies the most infuriatingly stubborn, wildly adventurous woman the earl has ever met.  She’s nothing like the perfect wife he had imagined.  And before long, all can think of is quieting her biting wit (with his kisses), putting an end to her outlandish schemes (with his own carefully planned seduction), and doing everything in his power to become the perfect husband.

This book was actually only the second one Victoria Alexander wrote, but you won’t be able to tell by reading it.  Aside from a few awkward scenes – the whole let’s go on a treasure hunt was a little random even with Sabrina’s reasoning – her story flow is top level. 
I was surprised at how well she was able to juggle several side stories and multiple characters.  Usually I feel like I don’t get to know the characters well enough when there is more than one love story happening at the same time, but I was able to get into each story and root for the characters.  And I loved how they all related to one another and interacted.  There isn’t anything I love more than a complicated cast.  Although, I will say that part of me wishes I had more time with the secondary characters.  I could easily see a trilogy here instead of one book.

Sabrina isn’t your typical Victorian-era heroine.  Instead of writing about a virginal maiden making her debut into society, Victoria tells the story of a grown woman who, according to society, is past her prime.  Don’t let her age fool you though; Sabrina acts more like a teenager than a woman closing in on 40. 
The mother/daughter relationship portrayed is also unusual for this genre, but greatly refreshing.  I love the banter between Sabrina and Belinda, even if at times they act more like sisters than mother/daughter.  Think Gilmore Girls in the early 1800’s. 

Nicholas is exactly the type of man to balance Sabrina’s wild side.  He is arrogant, stubborn, and prideful.  There is nothing more exciting in a book than two people who get on each other’s nerves so much they end up falling in love.  I do think Nicholas’ fall could have had a little more depth to it.  I wanted to really see him start to admire Sabrina, not just lust after her. 

If you’re seeking adventure and romance, and don’t mind overlooking a few minor flaws, look no further.  You’ll fall in love with these characters and enjoy every twist and turn this treasure-seeking tale has to offer.
Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl L.A.

AudioBook Review: Trust Me On This by Jennifer Cruise

Audio Lovin: AudioBook Review of Trust Me On This
By Jennifer Cruise
Narration by Angela Dawe
Brilliance Audio – Unabridged – 5 hours
Story – 3 Heart Review
Narration – 4 Heart Review

Dennie Banks is an investigative reporter chasing down the biggest story of her career. Alec Prentice is a government agent working undercover to catch an elusive grifter. When they meet by accident, it's a case of mistaken identities at first sight. What they don't mistake is the instant attraction they have for each other, an attraction they'll do everything in their power to resist – because Dennie thinks that Alec is running interference for her interview subject, and Alec suspects that Dennie is linked to his swindler. As the confusion grows, so do their feelings for each other, and what begins as a romantic comedy of errors may just end in the love affair of a lifetime.

Jennifer Cruise says at the beginning of this story that this is the only screwball comedy she's ever written and I think she should write more! It still has her signature voice and wit all over it, but it is slightly different than her other books. That's one of the reasons I gave this a 3 Heart Review for the story. The story works so well – really it does, but because of it being a comedy of errors, one of the “rules” of romances is not to let the conflict be something that if the couple just sat down to talk it would all be worked out. There is definitely an aspect of that to this story as it's a case of mistaken identity. I wanted Dennie and Alec to have that talk to discover this long before they did – but again this is part of writing this type of story and I'm just not used to it.

The narrator Angela Dawe has done other stories I've listened to and yet her voice really does change based on the tone of the story. From book to book she constantly seems to take on the characters and transform her voice.

She is great at hitting just the right inflection to make you feel the story is flowing in the same way it would be in your head if you were reading. She also does the male voices in a way that doesn't annoy or take time getting used to. Each of her characters is distinctive and she even changes the cadance of her speech to match the personality of the character. She's very good and I usually enjoy her performances. She brings the books and characters to life in a a way that doesn't make you feel like you could have imagined it any better.

I really enjoyed this audio book and hope that one day Jennifer will attempt to write another screwball comedy. If you don’t mind the whole “just have a conversation with each other” aspect to the story, then I think you’ll love this one.