Book Review: Love Songs, Detours, Et Cetera (Senior Year Sweethearts Book 1) by Starla Huchton

Love Songs, Detours, Et Cetera (Senior Year Sweethearts Book 1) by Starla Huchton

An Contemporary YA Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (04/14/19)

Summary:

On the first day of her senior year of high school in the small town of Highland, Iowa, Trina gets to school before any of the other students so she can volunteer and help the teachers. Trina bumps into the most popular and best looking boy on that first day. Is it her imagination or is he trying to follow her around school? Trina has one best friend in the entire school and everyone else either ignores her or makes fun of her and her mom. Why would Ethan give her the time of day?

Keywords:

Romance, Love, Friendship, High School, Sewing, Costumes, Musical, Alternative Lifestyle, Family, Best Friends, Senior Year, Volunteer

My Review:

Starla has a way with building amazing characters. I felt like I was Trina. She blends into the background and does her own thing but isn’t afraid to voice her opinion and stand up for herself. Trina drives an old car and has dreams of going places, specifically leaving her small town. Though I’ve never really been in a small town, I felt like I understood entirely the feeling of being unique and standing out in Highland, Iowa. I loved Trina’s interactions with her mom, with her best friend, and with Ethan. Trina’s voice was distinct and she knew what she liked, who she liked, and what she wanted.

The dialogue was clever and realistic and mesmerizing. I couldn’t get enough of it.

The romance was perfectly developed and I loved being inside Trina’s head with her nerves and her anxieties throughout it all. I especially loved Ethan’s reactions to Trina’s anxiety.

Ethan was also well developed as a character. He had a robust life outside of his interest in Trina. He had his own wants and dreams as well as his own faults and problems. I really enjoyed the complication of Emmaline, Ethan’s younger sister in the story as well.

The details of costume building and theater were super fun and I really liked how at this particular high school the theater nerd was the most popular kid in school.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 04/14/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Advertisements

Book Review: Playing Doctor: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 5) by Cathy Yardley

Playing Doctor: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 5) by Cathy Yardley

A Romantic Comedy published by RYW Publishing (01/27/19)

Summary:

Cressida has been agoraphobic for years, but she has her safe place in her house and she’s been taking baby steps venturing outside the house in a friend’s RV. The only problem is that the landlord wants to sell the house and unless Cressida and her sisters can come up with the money fast, they will have to move. Cressida will have to brave leaving the house in order to save it. She thinks she knows where she can find a hidden treasure that one of  her favorite authors left as a treat to his fans. Now all Cressida needs is someone to drive her and the RV across several states to find this treasure.

Noah has been a fan of Cressida and the treasure hunt for years. He spends his free time looking for the treasure. All that money could fund schooling for him to be a doctor and take some of the pressure off his hard-working immigrant mother. Nobody has gotten closer to finding the treasure than Cressida. Noah has always wanted to meet her but never took action until the son of the famous author threatens to report Noah’s mother to ICE. Noah will put everything aside to save his mother and will say anything and do anything to get Cressida to help him find the treasure. They plan to split it 50/50, but with both keeping secrets from the other, their tenuous trust might not last long enough to see the payout.

Keywords:

Treasure Hunt, Journey, Agoraphobia, Friendship, Romance, Sisters, Family, Trust, Road Trip, RV, Books, Clues, Book Shop, Risk, Fear

My Review:

Every time I read a book by Yardley, I seem to finish the book in one sitting and wish that I had more of her books to read. The Fandom Hearts series is especially a series I love to read because it’s set locally, the characters are full of personality, and the stories are larger than life.

I loved Cressida’s story in this book, as well as Noah’s story. They are both diverse characters. Cressida is agoraphobic and Noah is the son of an immigrant. I loved that I got to see the difficulties that mental illness and immigration play in this story. I think Yardley did justice to her characters and their backgrounds.

The treasure hunt aspect gave me Déjà vu. Was I reading about Ready, Player, One’s author Ernest Cline and his treasure hunt for the DeLorean? I laughed when Yardley mentioned this specific treasure hunt in the book.

The story was captivating, the characters were delightfully diverse and developed, and the writing style was flawless. I can’t wait for the next Fandom Hearts book if there is one!

This novel was published by RYW Publishing on 01/27/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: Ms. Behave (Fandom Hearts #4.5) by Cathy Yardley

Ms. Behave (Fandom Hearts #4.5) by Cathy Yardley

A Romantic Comedy published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (09/30/18)

Summary:

After years of being away, Simon is back in his hometown of Snoqualmie while working on the hit TV show Mystics. 12 years is a long time, but some things don’t change. Simon’s best friend, Mallory, never left Snoqualmie. They were friends in school and are friends still, but is there something more growing between them?

Keywords:

Actor, Snoqualmie, Issaquah, Bookstore, Fans, Romance, Family, Loyalty, Sex, TV Actor

My Review:

This was a fun quick read. As always, Yardley’s writing style and story pull you in and you can easily finish this short book in a day.

I loved both Simon and Mallory. Simon is quiet and keeps to himself, even though he is an actor on television. Mallory was never understood growing up and even now is sometimes thought of as an outsider. She is accepted for who she is among her small group of geeky bookstore friends, but not everyone can accept that she’s bisexual. Simon always thought she didn’t like him growing up because she was only into women, but after finding out the truth, he won’t know what to do. I wanted to sock him over the head for being so dense when he found out Mallory was bisexual, since he can only think of himself in the moment, but eventually his winning nature shines through.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on 09/30/18 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: A Sudden Gust of Gravity by Laurie Boris

A Sudden Gust of Gravity by Laurie Boris

A Romantic Suspense Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (11/07/15)

Summary:

Christina grew up practicing magic tricks with her father the magician, but now she is a mid-twenties waitress. She is a bit anxious to get on stage after what happened to her father. It is also nearly impossible to pick up a gig as a female magician. After an impromptu visit to a magic shop, the opportunity to work as the assistant to Reynaldo the Magnificent drops into her lap. Should she take the job? Will being a pretty prop to a some other magician even lead to her own career in magic?

Keywords:

Magic, Magician, Magic Shop, Assistant, Juggling, Act, Performance, Street Magician, Practice, Public Park, New Relationship, Struggles, Art, Male-Dominated Career, Sleight of Hand, Anxiety, Doctor, Talent, Ego, Showman

My Review:

This book packed a punch! I love a book that I emotionally react to, even if that emotion is frustration. I was frustrated with Christina for giving up on a dream. I was frustrated with Christina for then pursuing that dream, but getting sidetracked. I was frustrated with the magician. I was frustrated that Christina was not accepted as a female magician. I was frustrated that Christina had to be a pretty prop in order to be a magician’s assistant. I was frustrated with Reynaldo. I was so frustrated that I kept reading with a mad intensity, completely engaged in the very real characters and the developing story.

The characters were mesmerizing. Christina was so strong and such a great lead; however, her flaws pushed her into questionable decisions. Why would she stay with Reynaldo? Boris shows us the progression of a relationship from attraction to dissolution so realistically and so well. Reynaldo was such a unique character as well. We had glimpses into his mind now and then that were so fascinating. Why would he do the things he did to Christina? Devon, the Korean-American medical student was the crack in Reynaldo and Christina’s relationship, that kept pushing and pushing. Devon’s relationship to his nephew was such a relief to read after Reynaldo and Christina, like a breath of fresh air.

Though this book presents a love triangle, it is done so cleverly that you feel like you are reading some fresh new type of romance.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on 11/07/15 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Laurie Boris’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: What Happens at Con: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 4) by Cathy Yardley

What Happens at Con: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 4) by Cathy Yardley

A Romantic Comedy published by RYW Publishing (07/31/18)

Summary:

Ani is prepared to spend the next two years in her grad program dealing with a sexist adviser and a nearly insurmountable amount of work in addition to her own thesis. After one night of recklessness, one night of abandon, one night of worry-free sex with a stranger Ani still won’t set aside her goals for a fling, but maybe she can find the time for a relationship.

Abraham is starting to feel tired and alone without a partner. One night stands just aren’t cutting it anymore and when he meets Ani, he can’t get her out of his head.

He’ll have to fight to win her over. She’ll have to decide what’s worth her time and energy. Will either of them survive Ani’s thesis adviser from hell?

Keywords:

Convention, Fantasy, Coding, Gaming, Doctorate, Research, Lab, Bad Boss, Busy, Hardworking, Romance, Sex, Sexist

My Review:

I read this fast-paced romance in one sitting. As soon as I finished, I wanted to read more.

Yardley reels the reader in with her vibrant characters and their believable problems. I was riveted during the entire story.

I was pleased that Ani wasn’t your run-of-the-mill damsel, but none of Yardley’s characters are in any of the books I’ve read. Ani is such a great role model to read about. She’s a hard-working, nose-to-the grind woman who’s in STEM and going for her doctorate. She knows what she wants and she does what she has to do to get there. And yet society is still there pushing back at her for being a woman in STEM.

Abraham wasn’t a cut and dried male lead, either. Yardley gave him depth. There was much more to him than met the eye and I’m glad Ani didn’t immediately fall for his good looks. Scratch that, because she totally fell for his good looks! Even though she saw him as only his good looks to begin with (I see what you did there Yardley), she eventually saw past his surface level attractiveness to his personality.

This novel was published by RYW Publishing on July 31, 2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: A Case of Serendipity by K.J. Farnham

A Case of Serendipity by K.J. Farnham

A YA Teen Drama Novel published by K. J. Farnham Publishing LLC (03/20/2018)

Summary:

Ruth never signed up for Bucky’s Beans promotional tests and if they keep spamming her with their discounts, she’s going to go nuts! After failing to stop the messages herself, she resorts to a final plea on the company’s Facebook page. The company isn’t the one to respond to her, but a lawyer trying to sue Bucky’s Beans. At her wit’s end, Ruth signs up with the lawyer, Henry Mancuso. After adding him as a Facebook friend, Ruth and Henry keep bumping into each other offline. As they create the legal case against Bucky’s, their friendship grows. They both like each other, but can their relationship be more than professional?

Keywords:

Coffee, Lawyer, Suing, Biking, Running, Farmer’s Market, Spam, Promotion, Facebook, Romance, Friendship, Exes, Flirting, Quirky, Workaholic, Unsubscribe

My Review:

Another adorable and well written novel from Farnham. Every book I read from this author is better than the last. This book’s writing style was seamless. The romance was adorable and well-built. This book was a fun and lighthearted easy read.

I absolutely loved the quirky characters. I loved seeing Ruth from Henry’s perspective and from her own. She became more quirky through Henry’s eyes and I loved that about her (and the writing).

I enjoyed the lawyer talk, and thought the balance between the plot against Bucky’s Beans and the budding romance was done well. I did think some of the plot dragged a bit through the middle of the story.

This novel was published by K. J. Farnham Publishing LLC 03/20/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

K.J. Farnham’s Website

Book Review: Game of Hearts: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Series) by Cathy Yardley

Game of Hearts: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Series) by Cathy Yardley

A Romantic Comedy published by RYW Publishing (01/30/18)

Summary:

Kyla runs a mechanic shop with her brother Billy, one they inherited from their now retired parents. Billy is happy to let Kyla do the paperwork and work out in the shop as well as take over all operations when he needs to take a vacation. After he breaks his arm, though, all responsibilities fall to Kyla. She had other plans. She wanted to submit costumes for a contest that’s coming up in a few weeks. This is her dream, so she calls the only person she knows to help. Jericho Salomon hasn’t been in town for years, for good reason, but he can’t ignore his childhood best friend’s little sister.

Keywords:

Mechanic, Snoqualmie, Bookstore, Geeks, Convention, Contest, Family, Friendship, Romance, Sex, Auto-Repair, Motorcycle, Family Friend, Biker Gang, Business Owner

My Review:

I loved absolutely everything about this book. Breakout Novels don’t just happen. Not every published novel out there is a breakout novel. Breakout novels are 10/5 stars. They are books you can’t put down. They are books you read entirely in one sitting. They are books you remember and enthusiastically tell everyone about. Every single one of Cathy Yardley’s books has been a breakout novel. The plot is excellent. The characters are larger-than-life, but also endearing and realistic. The stakes are real.

I adored the relationship between Kyla and all her friends. I loved the fact that the previous books’ characters showed up in this book as well as all the other Fandom Hearts books.

I got really mad at Billy for assuming that Kyla was better suited for the business paperwork than he was and for assuming her hopes and dreams weren’t as important because they were artistic based.

I can’t wait to get the next Fandom Hearts book to read!

I received a free copy of this book. This is my honest opinion.

This novel was published by RYW Publishing on January 30, 2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: A Family Woman by T.B. Markinson

A Family Woman by T.B. Markinson

A Romantic Fiction Novel published by T. B. Markinson (12/13/17)

Summary:

Lizzie is back, and this time she has just a few short months until her pregnant wife gives birth to their twins. Lizzie has never had the greatest relationship with her family and would rather not see them, but Sarah has other plans. Lizzie will become a family woman.

Keywords:

 Romance,  Tension, Holding in Feelings, Chain, Parents, Soon-to-be-parents, twins, Lesbians, Sex, Family, Parenthood, Reconciliation, Secrets, Contemporary, Complicated Families, Pregnancy, Relationship

My Review:

The first half of the book – before the twins arrived – had quite a few sex scenes. They were very interesting to read because they were between two females, but there was quite a bit of it.

I loved how Lizzie and Sarah interacted with each other in their day-to-day lives. Lizzie’s devotion and love for Sarah, the mother of her unborn children, the love of her life, her partner in everything was amazing. I felt my heart patter every time Lizzie thought about Sarah before she spoke or went out of her way for Sarah. I want that deep, satisfying, unconditional level of love!

Lizzie’s relationships with her brother, her father, and her friends were so interesting to watch. The dynamics were fascinating. Especially as the subplots became more and more complex.

This book was humorous and fun, just like the first two in the series. I found the level of detail in the actual birth of the twins completely fascinating, as most movies and books gloss over birth.

This novel was published by T. B. Markinson 12/13/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.25

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

T.B. Markinson’s website

Book Review: Her Thin Blue Lifeline: Indigo Knights Book I by A.J. Downey

Her Thin Blue Lifeline: Indigo Knights Book I by A.J. Downey

A Romance Novel published by Second Circle Press (06/28/17)

Summary:

Chrissy Franco just won a major case, but not everyone is happy about her success. Someone posts her home address online and it only takes one nut job to take everything away from Chrissy. Tony McCormick is the police detective called to the scene and the one to find Chrissy barely alive. Chrissy won’t be able to feel safe again until the culprit is caught and Tony won’t rest until he finds the man terrorizing Chrissy.

Keywords:

MC, Bikers, Lawyer, Courtroom, Victim, Shooter, Apartment, Defense, Clients, Innocence, Romance, Blame, Guilt, Recovery, PT, Cop, Damsel in Distress, Strong Female Character

My Review:

I felt for Chrissy. She is the woman everyone relates to at night walking home alone. Or on a dark street alone. Her story is why some people lock their doors at night. She is the woman with the target on her back for no reason other than because she hit a man’s ego. I felt for her and her feelings of terror and PTSD. I wanted her to recover and to pick up the shattered pieces of her life in a happy ending.

This book is such a true reflection of what people and women go through in this world where we are never truly safe. When something so terrible happens, like it did to Chrissy, the person might never fully recover – physically and mentally. Chrissy is so brave to stay in that city and to work as hard as she did in her physical therapy. She did nothing to deserve what happened to her. The author gave so much life and power to Chrissy. She wasn’t your typical damsel in distress.

I liked seeing a different kind of motorcycle club than the Sacred Hearts series and can’t wait to see where AJ Downey goes next.

This novel was published by Second Circle Press on 06/28/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

A.J. Downey’s Blog

Goodreads

Facebook

Book Review: For the Love of Christmas by Starla Huchton

For the Love of Christmas by Starla Huchton

A Sweet Romance Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (10/30/17)

Summary:

Santa has polar flu and needs a replacement, but Mr. Klaus only has a daughter, Meri, and she hasn’t married yet. Meri loves reverse engineering toys. She loves Christmas. She loves her family. It is up to her to find the new Santa, but she only has a few weeks to find the right man to fit the job. Brett Dunning has not celebrated Christmas in 7 years, since his wife died giving birth to his daughter, Holly. If the magic of Christmas points to Brett, will Meri be able to convince him to give the holidays a chance again?

Keywords:

Christmas, Santa, Santa’s Daughter, Tradition, Family Business, Snow, Holidays, Single Parent, Romance, Love, Friendship, Magic, Holiday Spirit, Choir, Baking

My Review:

This story is a bit unbelievable with the whole’ Santa is real aspect,’ but once you get over that, it’s a wonderfully sweet romance. The characters were simple, yet fully developed and full of personality and quirks. This is a family friendly romance – sweet for the holidays.

Meri is the perfect daughter, friend, and wife. Is it the magic of Christmas and her family history that makes her smell so sweet, gives her super sympathy and loads of patience, and all around makes her perfect? Brett is more down to earth and realistic as a person. He loves his daughter, but can’t get over his love of his late wife easily.

Every scene with Holly in it was beautiful. I loved how Meri and Brett both interacted with her and how alive she felt as a young child. The doting love that both Brett and Meri gave to Holly was wonderful and endeared both Meri and Brett even more to me as a reader.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 10/30/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads