Monday, January 26, 2015

Rough Edges by Kimberly Krey

Divorced mother, Allie Emerson, never imagined she’d be raising two teenage girls on her own. Between parenting and paying the bills, she hasn’t even thought about meeting a man. That changes once she hears local carpenter, Braden Fox, is in need of a secretary. Back in high school, Allie had done all she could to deny the sparks burning between her and Braden; perhaps now they could explore the possibilities. Braden has heard all about what Terrance did to Allie and the girls, has been planning to stop by and see how she’s getting along, but Allie beats him to it by showing up at his shop in search of a job. Her single visit reignites the old flame Braden used to torch for her; trouble is, old feelings of resentment return as well. Allie did choose Terrance over him, after all. And as much as Braden wants Allie in his life, he’s not sure he can open his heart again. With this second chance at romance, will the bumps in their relationship be too much to get over, or will this carpenter learn to smooth out the past?
Great start to a fun new series!

I really enjoyed Ms. Krey’s Sweet Montana Bride series and was excited to hear she was coming out with a companion trilogy. We met Allie in the original series and I was looking forward to her book, which can totally stand on its own.

Allie is divorced and now the single mom to two teenage girls, each of which is handling the divorce in different ways. Things are tight and Allie decides she needs to get a part time job to help with expenses and when she hears that an old high school friend, Braden Fox, is looking for a secretary she works up the courage to go and apply for the job. I liked Allie quite a bit, I liked her in the previous books and thought she deserved better than what she got. She was an easy character to like and to root for. She’s been through a lot, but is a tough girl and I loved how she was trying so hard to be a good mom and put her daughters first. I enjoyed her relationship with Braden quite a bit, they had great chemistry. I really loved Braden; he was an all-around great guy. I liked how he respected Allie and always treated her well and that now that she was available he wasn’t going to let this chance pass him by. I also liked that he brought out the best in her and wasn’t afraid to call her on things.

Overall, a really fun read. I read it in one sitting, couldn’t put it down. I’m really looking forward to the next two books!
Content: Clean

Source: Gift, thank you!!

This has been nominated for a 2015 Swoony Award, you can vote for it here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My One and Only by Shannon Guymon

Meredith Jensen has seen her share of ups and downs. She’s found love twice already and lost it in spectacularly traumatic ways. Now? She just wants a peaceful life, free from love and drama. Meredith’s plans for the future center around planning other people’s weddings and her new online dating website. Just because she works to help other people find love doesn’t mean she wants any part of it though. Unfortunately for Meredith’s plans, Asher Murphy is determined to get her to give love another chance. But then again, so is Pule Matafeo. Meredith has never denied that she’s stubborn and feisty so it might take the combined forces of all their friends in Fircrest to get her heart back on track in time for Valentine’s Day.
Fun, sweet romance

Meredith is a new wedding planner and having a hard time finding clients. That’s when she gets the idea to start her own dating website that will hopefully lead to love-matches and potential clients. She goes into business with her close friend Asher and their friend Brogan. The problem is, now that they are in business together she realizes her feelings for Asher run much deeper than friendship. She has been burned pretty badly before and does not want to risk their friendship.

It was really fun seeing these two finally get their own love story. Meredith has appeared a few time throughout the series, my first impression was that I really liked her, but she does make some mistakes along the way and so for her to finally get her HEA was really a pleasure to see. I wasn’t sure about Asher, but he was great in this book. They really seem to balance each other out and are a good fit. They both have quite a few issues to work through and I liked that the story wasn’t just about them finding love, but also about finding self-acceptance and being able to forgive themselves and see that they are worth love.

As always, I love the setting of Fircrest and all the fun characters we have come to love that live there. This is book one in the Love & Weddings trilogy, but book ten in the overall Fircrest series. While it can stand on its own, I’d recommend reading the others as well. Not only are they also fun reads, but it will give you good background stories on the main characters in this one. And since book casting is so fun, I swiped this from KJ's Book Nook...

Overall, another great read from Ms. Guymon!

Content: Clean

Source: Gift, thank you!!!!

This has been nominated for a 2015 Swoony Award, you can vote for it here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Boardwalk Antique Shop by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson & Heather Moore

Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with a colorful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and renowned bed-and-breakfasts. The Boardwalk Antiques Shop is an exclusive shop where every antique has a story, and each story possesses the gift to match true love. The customer who buys an antique also buys its story and soon discovers that its story unites the past with the present, creating an unexpected romantic future… “Where Every Antique has a Story”

I love this new Tangerine Street series. The first book, The Fortune Café was really cute and I was looking forward to reading this book and I can’t wait to read more about some of the other shops along Tangerine Street. I wish it was a real place to visit.

Message in a Bottle This was a fun story. I know next to nothing about antiques, but I do love walking through antique shops and watching TV shows about them on occasion. I had an easy time picturing the Boardwalk Antique shop and would love to visit a shop where each item had a story. Jennifer inherited the shop from her aunt, an aunt she had grown estranged from over the years. It was sad that they had grown apart; if they had accepted each other they could have had a beautiful relationship. Anyway, I liked that Jennifer was really able to open her mind and take the time to figure out what she wanted out of life. The romance was sweet, a tiny love-triangle and I’m glad Jennifer made the right choice! I’m anti-pining away on unrequited love. Cute story and a great start to the anthology.

Solving for X For the most part I really liked this one. It was a cute story about two opposites finding each other. While I liked Abbie, she also drove me a little batty. For someone that is all about people being themselves she was really judgmental and immediately set about trying to change Holden. She acted like her way of living was the only real way to live. The thing is, her way of living would drive me nuts, but I have no problem with people that view life that way and live that way. She was endearing, fun, kind and a great person. However, for someone that was so guarded against people trying to change her she was pretty judgmental about everyone else. Part of being open-minded is truly accepting that people can be happy living life differently than you. She may not be happy in a corporate environment, but some people are. In this case Holden had maybe gotten in some bad habits and Abbie was able to help him loosen up, but that’s because he wanted to. That kind of change has to be natural for it to stick. I think if Abbie accepts Holden for who he is and doesn’t try and change him and vice versa, then they could have a great HEA. Maybe they’d be a good balance for each other. Overall, a cute story.

A Stitch in Time This was my favorite of the three. I love the relationship and tension between Henry and Cate. I think this would make a fun full-length novel, but it was a fun short story as well. Cate hurries home when she learns her favorite grandmother has passed away. The only thing she wants is an old sewing machine that her grandmother had promised her. Henry got there first though and bought it up as a gift for his mother. I thought they had a fun relationship and it was fun reading their story.

Overall, this was a fun anthology. Each story was fun and unique and I like how they are all brought together through the love of antiques. Cute!

Content: Clean

Source: Amazon Kindle

This has been nominated for a 2015 Swoony Award, you can vote for it here.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

In Tune With Love by Amy Matayo

April is willing to do anything for her sister’s wedding—until she comes face to face with a guy from her past.
April Quinn is thrilled to be her sister’s maid of honor, until the wedding coordinator quits and the responsibilities get dumped on her. It’s April’s worst nightmare—especially since her sister has more objections and opinions than a lawyer presenting a high-profile court case. When the wedding singer walks out at the last-minute, her sister hires a replacement. When April finds out who the replacement is, she’s ready to call it quits as well. Because there’s only one person in April’s past that she never wanted to see again, and her sister just handed him a front row seat to the wedding.
Jack Vaughn finally has the career he’s always wanted. After playing in bars and singing in weddings as a struggling musician for half a decade, he’s just released his second album and sales are skyrocketing. But while visiting his parent’s Nashville home the weekend before his first headline tour, he runs into an old friend. When she asks him for a last-minute favor, he can’t bring himself to say no. Even though saying yes means he has to come face to face with April Quinn—the girl who hasn’t spoken to him in years.
And rightly so, since he stole something from her that he’ll never be able to repay.

Flirty fun!

I love Ms. Matayo's books, they never disappoint. When I saw this one available on Netgalley I couldn't wait to download it and I devoured it in one sitting. She has a way of sucking you in right from the start, introduces fun characters that you want to spend some time with and get to know better.

This was a fun story. April and Jack used to work together, but have a falling out and are reunited three years later when the now famous Jack agrees to sing at the wedding for April's sister. April is obviously less than pleased with this arrangement and Jack is desperate to do anything to right the wrong he has been living with for all these years. Jack and April have great chemistry, I love the "ferenemy" vibe and how they go head-to-head. A fun story with a sweet romance. I think this would be a great full-length novel, I'd love to see what happens next! Everything wraps up well, but I loved Jack and April so I wouldn't have minded spending more time with them. Which is a good quality to have in a book.

Mark your calendars for March 31, you'll want to grab this gem right when it comes out!

Romance: Clean

Source: Received complimentary copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This has been nominated for a 2015 Swoony Award, you can vote for it here.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Professional Boundaries by Jennifer Peel

At thirty two, Kelli Bryant is ready to take on the world, and Chandler Media, as the new Marketing Director, but her plans are derailed when her promotion is given to none other than Ian Greyson, Kelli’s old college flame, her one true love and the one man she hoped to never see again. Between Kelli’s determination to remain on top and Ian’s strict new office policies, there’s no shortage of fireworks in the office. Their explosive relationship spills over into their personal lives as Kelli tries to keep Ian at arm’s length and Ian desperately tries to win her back (during off hours only, of course).

My Review: I’m a sucker for lost-love stories; it’s always fun to watch a couple get a second chance at love. Kellie and Ian dated in college, but things ended badly when Ian up and dumps her unexpectedly and disappears from her life. Thirteen years have passed and Kellie is up for a big promotion at work when Ian shows up out of nowhere and ends up with the promotion that she had been working for. I liked that they had the unresolved break-up to deal with as well as him stealing her job. Lots of fun tension to work through.

I liked Kellie; she has worked hard and is successful at what she does. I could relate to her in wanting to experience married life and have a family of her own. I truly enjoyed my time working, but also always wanted to be a homemaker. And honestly, it’s the best job in the world. It’s harder and more rewarding than anything I have ever done. Kellie is an upbeat person, knows how to read people and has a touch of sass.

To be honest, I had mixed feelings about Ian. I could never quite figure out his character, his logicc didn't make sense to me. I guess I liked the idea of him more than the actual character. I did think they had some fun interactions though and good chemistry.

Overall, this was a fun read. I loved that it was lighthearted and clean. I’ll be looking for more from Ms. Peel.

Content: Squeaky clean, mild kissing

Source: Received complimentary copy from author for honest review.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cover Reveal: Between Now and Forever

Book Description: A convict’s daughter should never fall for an FBI agent’s son, certainly not a teenager like Julianna Schultz who is furious over her mother’s incarceration and the injustice of it all. But that’s exactly what seventeen-year-old Julianna finds herself doing when Cody Rush, the cocky son of the FBI agent who put her mom behind bars, moves into her hometown of Gilbert, Arizona. Cody Rush—studious, principled, athletic, good looking and blond to boot—is everything Julianna hates, or so she thinks. Yet a series of ill-fated events one night brings them dangerously close, entangling the futures of two people who were never meant to be.

Excerpt: We listen to the monotone voice reel off instructions. Four pictures. A light will flash before each picture is taken. How I ended up in this position I’m not sure. “Quick,” I say, “what should we do?” A flash of light. Picture one down. Both of our mouths were hanging open, blank stares straight ahead. We burst into laughter and can’t stop. A second flash. Picture number two: both of us laughing. Our gazes meet and we pull ourselves together, his eyes never veering from mine. He leans toward me, coming halfway before pausing, his eyes seeking permission. I regard him with equal parts terror and anticipation, the intimacy of the situation whispering a thrill. He closes the distance between us and glides his nose through my hair. My heart rattles around as though this is the first boy I’ve ever been close to. “Now smile,” he whispers into my ear. My cheeks burn despite myself and I feel the corners of my lips tugging upward. A flash of light signals the third picture and I am totally seduced.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Top 20 Contemporary Swoony Romances

Looking for a fun contemporary romance? Well, look no further! Here are the top twenty contemporary romances from the Swoony Awards! I've read a lot of these and can tell you they are awesome!

Stay tuned for the top 20 in Historical Fiction, Regency and more!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Swoony Award Winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Swoony Awards! The Swoony Awards were created to recognize excellence in clean fiction. We wanted a reference for all those out there looking for a swoony romance without the steam. We also wanted to recognize and show our appreciation to all these great authors who write the kinds of books we love. We couldn't be more pleased with all the participation and great book nominations we received. I know I've found a lot of great books on this list and even found some new authors to try!

In the two months the awards have been up, we received almost 1700 voters and over 500 book nominations! The readers have spoken and chosen their favorite books of 2014! So, without further ado, here are the winners...

Best Novel of the Year
As You Are by Sarah M Eden
Best Contemporary Romance Novel
When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren
Best YA Contemporary Romance
Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
Best New Adult Contemporary Romance
Dreaming of Ivy by Shannon Guymon
Best Paranormal Romance
Spirit of the Knight by Debbie Peterson
Best YA Paranormal Romance
Discern by Andrea Pearson
Best Historical Fiction
Hope Springs by Sarah M Eden
Best Regency Romance
As You Are by Sarah M Eden
Best Western Romance
Tried and True by Mary Connealy
Best Medieval Romance
Lady at Arms by Tamara Leigh
Best High Fantasy Romance
Missing Lily by Annette K Larsen
Best Mystery/Suspense Romance
Silenced by Dani Pettrey
Best Science Fiction Romance
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Best Urban Fantasy Romance
Hunted by Katie Lee O'Guinn

Best Christmas Romance
A Cliché Christmas by Nicole Deese
Best Anthology
The Fortune Café by Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobson & Heather B Moore
Best Novella
A Cowboy Unmatched by Karen Witemeyer
Best Short Story
The Nativity Bride by Miralee Ferrell

Now, we wanted to share with you our personal favorites:
Kathy's Choice
Lady at Arms by Tamara Leigh
I have a soft spot for Medieval stories, but clean ones can be hard to find. When a good friend recommended Tamara Leigh's books I thought I'd give them a try. I chose Lady at Arms because I loved the story, the characters and the swoony romance. As I read I was quickly sucked into the story and the atmosphere of the book. I couldn't put it down. When I finished I had to go on a Leigh-Binge and read all of her medieval books. I loved this book for a lot of reasons, but one of the reasons I chose it as my top pick was because it introduced me to a new author to follow!  
Katie's Choice
Under a Georgia Moon by Cindy Roland Anderson
I chose Under a Georgia Moon as my favorite of 2014 because it has all the elements that I love. I love a meeting that is full of humor. I also love it when two people meet years later, after knowing each other when they were younger, and find that their views of one another have changed. In a way, that's similar to my relationship with my husband. It basically comes down to a clean romantic comedy that totally draws me in and has me smiling, sighing, and swooning throughout the whole book. I really didn't want it to end!
Kathy Jo's Choice
Dreaming of Ivy by Shannon Guymon
Picking KJ's Choice Award has been extremely hard for me because there were just SO many amazing books to choose from!! However, I had to go with the one that had the biggest impact on my life. Very few people know how extremely hard this past year has been for me. Reading was one of the things that helped me get through some of the toughest times. I was at a point where I had lost hope and was just feeling extremely low. And then I picked up a book that just spoke to me... that brightened my life... that gave me hope that things WOULD get better!! And that book is Dreaming of Ivy by Shannon Guymon.
Heidi's Choice
As You Are by Sarah M Eden
My favorite  book of 2014 looks to be the favorite of many others, and for good reason. As You Are, by Sarah M Eden, was a beautiful escape that had me never wanting the book to come to an end. Ms. Eden has a way of weaving such heartwarming tales that I always want to pick the book up and start right over again after I have finished. I fell in love with the characters in this particular story and adored being reintroduced to characters I already loved. I thoroughly enjoyed it and fell it deserved every swoony award it received.
We are looking forward to the 2015 Swoony Awards and hope that you will be joining us again this year! Please feel free to join our groups (Goodreads and Facebook) and follow us on Twitter (@swoonyawards)! Help us spread the word about good, clean, swoony romance books!

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!
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