Monday, 5 January 2015

Book Review -- Love Garage (Love Brothers, #1) by Liz Crowe


Love Garage (Love Brothers, #1)Love Garage by Liz Crowe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The story revolves around the Love famiy. Antony Love is the head of his family, taking care of his siblings. He is at his wit's end from trying to handle his little most brother's antics - enters Aiden Love, reckless, careless and irresponsible. As he crashes in on the haven that Antony provides for him, he makes a few promises to Antony. Little do they both know that all promises can stand no chance with the irresistible attraction that Aiden feels for the young widow of Antony's very dear friend. As all hell breaks loose, do they all manage to figure out a common ground amidst the tumultous emotions, is what the book takes us through.

I found this book to be a remarkable mix of everything... Crowe has managed to throw bits of all good stuff in - emotionally intense scenes, witty and racy retorts, conversations and repartees, romance and some mesmerising characters. Antony depicts the typical responsible big brother, while Aiden becomes his foil - an older brother's nightmare. I thoroughly enjoyed the dialogues that these two shared. I would have loved to read more about Antony's take on life and his idealogies, all of which make him behave the way he does - seemingly cold but smothering his near ones with rough affection.

This was a nice read and I definitely recommend this to lovers of all romance genres.

My rating for this book: 4 stars

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Blind Date Bride (Reality TV Bites, #1) by Arlene Hittle



SYNOPSIS
Nearly a decade ago, accountant Kari Parker shed 220 pounds of dead weight — her hulking, abusive college boyfriend. The last thing she wants in her life is another man — especially one as tall as a Windy City high rise. Yet when her best friend enters her in Romance TV’s “Get a Love Life” contest, another man is exactly what she gets. As much as she'd love to just say no, she can't turn down the prize money that will allow her to help her parents save the restaurant they've run all her life. Sparks fly between Kari and her bogus groom, and as she and Damien share close quarters, intimate meals and — gulp — his bed, Kari doesn’t stand a chance of resisting his considerable charms. Even worse? She might not want to. But building a real future out of their sham marriage will be tougher than baking a wedding cake from scratch … with no flour … in a broken oven.

PURCHASE BLIND DATE BRIDE

THE AUTHOR


Arlene’s website / Twitter / Facebook
Arlene Hittle is a Midwestern transplant who now makes her home in northern Arizona. She suffers from the well-documented Hittle family curse of being a Cubs fan but will root for the Diamondbacks until they run up against the Cubs. Longtime friends are amazed she writes books with sports in them, since she's about as coordinated as a newborn giraffe and used to say marching band required more exertion than golf.






Book Review -- Blind Date Bride by Arlene Hittle


Blind Date Bride (Reality TV Bites, #1)Blind Date Bride by Arlene Hittle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was provided with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Blind Date Bride is a deliciously amusing and enjoyable story. The tale revolves around Kari, who has had a nightmare for a relationship and is now revelling in post-breakup bliss. It's not just blissful for her, but she finds it repulsive to even think of being with another man. When her nerve-wracking best friend enters her name for a ridiculous reality show, that needs her to do everything she doesn't want to - be in a relationship, although a bogus one, share time and space with a man, and come out smiling at the end of it. As fate throws her in a situation that makes her yearn for money, including salvaging her parents' restaurant business, Kari is left with no choice but to take the challenge up. She gets more than she bargained for in the charmful Damien, and Kari finds it hard not to get drawn to him. Will Kari overcome her apprehensions and acknowledge her true feelings, is what the book takes us through.

The book flows at a brisk pace and is enjoyable. The reader sees the world through Kari's eyes, and her bewilderment and shock at first, upon learning of her best friend's annoying betrayal, and her feeble resistance towards Damien's overtures, are all endearing. While Damien comes across as the cool and charming wooer, most of his character is built upon mystery and intrigue. I would have loved to see a lot more depth in Damien's character and thoughts, making the reader empathise with Kari's attraction for him.

I recommend this book to lovers of romance tales.

My rating: 4 stars

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Love Brothers Series by Liz Crowe




Happy Release Day of Liz Crowe's newest series The Love Brothers: Love Garage, Coach Love, Love Brewing, and Family Love.  Read about the books and enter the Rafflecopter to win a $50 Amazon GC plus much much more.
Antony Love is the quintessential responsible oldest brother of a boisterous, Italian/Irish family, placed in charge at a young age by his parents who are busy running the family business. He manages his siblings with a fair but iron hand, until his life is shattered by personal tragedy leaving him the shell of the man he once was.

When outspoken matriarch Lindsay Halloran Love becomes ill, the youngest brother Aiden shows up at Antony's garage, having dropped out of school (again), needing work and a place to crash. Antony provides both, with three caveats: "Don't smoke in my truck, don't be late for work, and don't mess with my girlfriend."

But Aiden Love, budding novelist, gets one glimpse of Rosalee Norris, young widow of Antony's lifelong best friend and all bets are off.

Set in horse country near Lexington, Kentucky, The Love Brothers Series is a saga of family devotion that runs as wide and deep as the Ohio River--except on Sundays when brothers Antony, Kieran, Dominic and Aiden work out their frustrations on the basketball court, Love brother style.

The Love Brothers: A family saga with humor, heat and heart—not to mention beer, bourbon and basketball

Enjoy an excerpt from Love Garage:

Love Garage opened bright and early the next morning, a Saturday, a day Aiden had hoped to spend recovering.

“I get so many oil changes and random small jobs on Saturdays, it doesn’t make sense to be closed and let the jackasses with the Quickilube at Walmart get the business,” Antony insisted when Aiden groaned with dismay upon being awakened after two hours of drunken sleep. It didn’t help that the awakening occurred at the business end of a thrown pillow. “Get up, Romeo. You owe me rent money.”

He did, slowly, queasily hitting a shower, sore all over, his skin mottled from bug bites. But nothing topped the glorious agony of a bourbon hangover like the one that had him firmly in its evil grasp.

He slouched out the door, cursing Antony, cursing Tricia, cursing her ex-husband for throwing her in his path last night. But mostly cursing his own weak-ass uselessness. He rested his head against the cool comfort of the truck window until Antony hit a bump or two, which sent extra pain jolting down his spine.

“Sorry,” his brother muttered, glancing over at him.

“No, you’re not.”

“Got me there. And you’d better warn me if you’re about to toss your cookies. I won’t have that in my vehicle, got me?”

Aiden rubbed his neck and nodded, swallowing the urge to throw up all over the pristine interior on principal. “Why d’you hate me so much? You used to like me.” He stared over at his brother, heart thumping, ears humming, throat closing up with nausea. He despised waking up still drunk.

“I don’t hate you.” Antony turned onto the main road headed into town.

“Could’ve fooled me. You’re a real asshole anymore. Worse than Dom.”

Antony merely shrugged, not rising to that tried-and-true bait. So they spent the rest of the ride to the garage in silence. Once there, Antony sat gripping the wheel. Aiden waited, hoping he’d get something out of him—something he would assure him that the man he thought he remembered as the protective, funny, and loving guy he’d grown up with still existed inside the guy walking around wearing Antony’s skin.

Finally, he let go of the wheel, exhaled, and squared his shoulders as if prepping for battle. Aiden made a mental note to talk to Kieran about how badly Antony had descended into his life of non-stop mourning and jerk-hood.

“So, Rosalee, not putting out for you or what? You need to get laid maybe? Knock the edge off?”

The glare Aiden got for saying those particular words did make him worry Antony might punch his aching head through the passenger-side window.

He clenched his jaw in the way Aiden remembered from their childhood. “That is so far outside the realm of your business as to be in another galaxy. Get to work and don’t say her name to me again.”

And with that, Aiden was left with the fleeting thought that mentioning Rosalee directly was probably not a good idea. He surely didn’t need Antony to guess that her name was on his lips, or front and center of his mind.

He shook his head—a Bad Plan because it summoned the pounding agony back with a vengeance. Groaning, he climbed out and shuffled over to the door.

A new day began at Love Garage.

Buy THE LOVE GARAGE from Amazon.

The smoldering intensity of first love ~ the forbidden fantasy of temptation ~ the cold hard facts of real life.

When one man’s hopes are dashed apart in a split second after years spent chasing a dream, he returns home to Kentucky furious at the world and everyone around him.

Kieran Francesco is the middle son of the volatile, tight-knit Halloran-Love family. His role as peacemaker and the one true athlete is well established. He now faces life devoid of the sport he adores after a horrific, career-ending accident, which places him in a new and entirely uncomfortable position—that of the brother with no future.

Over the course of a few tumultuous months Kieran is plunged back into life at the center of the Love family, where he must cope with one self-destructive brother, one ill-timed reconnection to an old flame and a series of bad choices that land him in more trouble than he’d ever known existed.

COACH LOVE, book 2 of The Love Brothers, a family saga of sibling loyalty that runs as deep and wide as the Ohio River—at least until Sunday, when Antony, Kieran, Dominic and Aiden work out their frustrations at the weekly Love brother pick-up basketball game.

Enjoy an excerpt from Coach Love:

As he drove the twenty or so miles from his parents’ house into town Kieran’s head began to clear. The windows were down and the tunes cranked. The sun shone. Signs of summer--one of his favorite seasons--were all around him. Parks packed with families, all the basketball courts and swimming pools overflowing. The sight of a gaggle of boys on bikes riding alongside him for a while, singing along with whatever random, crappy rap song currently polluted the airwaves made him smile.

“Hey, it’s Kieran Love!” one of the punks shouted after a few blocks. “Can you come over and shoot a few with us?”

He waved and drove on, gratified but sad, the sound of their cheerful unhappiness at his refusal filling his ears, taking the stretch of four lane road at seventy miles an hour, pressing the gas pedal to the floor, the throaty, powerful roar of the car’s engine revving him from head to toe.

It would be all right because he and Melinda loved each other. They had from the moment they’d met. He passed some grandpa in a Toyota, as the deep green fields surrounded by picturesque white fences and dotted with horses filled both sides of his vision.

He’d been home and recuperating from radical knee surgery with the best prognosis he could hope for after such a nasty break--to walk normally, much less play the occasional pick up game. His depression had been deep, wide, and terrifying. He woke every day at his parents’ house, unwilling even to get out of bed, not that he could without help for the first few weeks.

Antony had tossed a laptop computer at him one day when he’d been sulking, unshaven, and eating an entire bag of potato chips, something he’d not done since the age of ten when his fate--bound for basketball fame and fortune--had been determined.

“Here, find a job, find a date, find something,” he’d said before yanking the empty chip bag away and smacking Kieran’s head hard enough to make his ears ring.

“Ow. Leave me alone, asshole. I’m grievously injured,” he’d said, not caring about the swear-free zone he inhabited.

“That’s three dollars young man,” his mother had called out from the kitchen.

“You live with this, jerk, and see how you feel about finding ‘a date.’“ He’d hooked his fingers around the words, heart in his throat at how badly he’d wanted to call Cara right then.

But by the next weekend he was caning and limping his way toward the door to some faux-fancy Italian restaurant in Lexington, rubbing his freshly shaved face and trying not to sweat through his dress shirt. The woman from the internet site sat at the bar, twirling an olive-laden swizzle stick in her martini glass, long, slim, bare legs crossed, feet encased in sky-high patent leather heels. He’d exhaled, beyond relived that he’d not been cat-fished by some troll, or worse, a dude.

He’d hesitated then, something in him telling him to turn around and leave, fast. But at that moment, she’d flashed him the whitest, most perfect smile he’d ever seen and he’d been hooked. He still didn’t know how. They’d gone out for three weeks before she let him kiss her. It’d been another three weeks before he got anywhere near her tits. It had been a solid four months before he scored but that encounter had been, in a word, epic.

Melinda liked to talk dirty, wear heels and a garter belt while he fucked her. Loved doing it with all the lights on and in semi-public places. She gave head like a pro at first, before he’d given her an engagement ring.

Her bitchiness had come across as extreme decisiveness, sort of hot in way, he’d admit, since he tended toward the spontaneous and unplanned--”wishy washy” as he now understood it thanks to Melinda’s re-categorization of his personality. Her tight grip on her emotions and her surroundings, the OCD way she ordered her life did grate on him at times but he figured she tolerated his innate sloppiness and willingness to wake on a Sunday without a plan in place for the rest of the day. When he realized he sat across from her at some overpriced, hipster restaurant near her office after going out with her for eight months, ready to present her with a ring he could barely afford, it had shocked him without seeming to even faze her.

“Well, of course I’ll marry you, but you’ve got to find a better job,” she’d drawled as she sipped her champagne.

“A new job?” He’d gotten the teaching gig at his old high school and couldn’t imagine any job he’d want or like better. She made six figures for Christ’s sake, at least he thought she did.

Elated, drunk with lust and achievement, he’d tried to get his long legs adjusted under the small table jammed between all the others and covered with small plates of “tapas” which, best he could tell were “appetizers” only twice the price and half the helpings.

“I’ll do anything you want, Melinda. You saved me, honest to God you did.”

She’d fluttered her inky black lashes and gazed at him with an expression that convinced him he’d made the drastic move for the right reasons. The following year had been a combination of frustration, anger and high school level blue balls. The double drama Antony and Aiden had foisted on the Love family during that time hadn’t helped but it had distracted him. He’d taught his classes, helped out with the basketball team pro bono without telling Melinda and had been happier than he’d ever been as a pro athlete.

The fact that she maintained her uber-bitch persona around his family killed him. But he was hooked.

Still.

Mostly.

Buy COACH LOVE from Amazon.
Every family has one—the black sheep, the problem child, the prodigal. But Dominic Sean Love could teach all of those guys a lesson or two. Stuck in the middle of a boisterous group of siblings, he’s given “acting out” a new meaning from the day he drew his first breath.

While he’s the one son who follows his strict father’s footsteps into the Love family business, he’s also the one who butts heads with him the hardest. Their epic clashes are the stuff of family legend. But they have made peace and work side by side to take Love Brewing to the next level of success.

Until Dominic does the one thing his father can never forgive.

Diana Brantley has been Dominic’s friend, girlfriend and ex-girlfriend so many times she’s lost count. When he shows up at the farm she’s slowly transforming into a wildly popular farm-to-table resource for restaurants all over the U.S. her first impulse is to shoot first and ask questions later. But she doesn’t. And their lives entwine once more, for good, bad and ugly.

Enjoy a pre-edited excerpt from Love Brewing:

Dominic would give anything be able to talk to Kieran. They’d gotten close in the last months since he’d required a rather alarming rescue from a jail down in Georgia and his brother had shown up, very few questions asked. But no, Kieran had his own issues and likely at that very moment was busy trying to convince his high school girlfriend to marry him, even as she stood dressed and ready to marry someone else.

He had to squeeze his eyes tight shut to banish images of Kent for the zillionth time.

“You need dry clothes,” Diana said, interrupting his pity party.

He shrugged and kept his gaze fixed on the view of rain. “Your garden looks like shit. When’s the last time you bothered to pull weeds?”

She snorted. He smiled. He used to love it when she’d do that. He’d honestly had no intention of showing up here today. The Brantley farm remained way off the beaten track, if the track around Lucasville could be considered “beaten” in any way. When he’d raced out of the stifling hot sanctuary and hotwired Kieran’s car he’d driven off without a single thought in his addled head other than “escape.”

But when he’d finally released his death grip on the steering wheel he’d looked through the windshield and found himself facing the old two-story farmhouse where he’d lost his virginity—not to Diana but to her sister Jen, an older version of the girl he’d been hanging around with since God was a boy. The whooshing sound that had deafened him for the last couple of days had receded ever so slightly at the sight of the place.

He’d not been anywhere near it in over six years, ever since he’d run out here to find Diana when Gina had bolted for New York. Her reaction to his surprise visit had been decidedly less hostile then. He groaned and ran a hand down his wet face.

No one to blame but yourself for this reception, numb nuts.

As if on cue, the dog whined and bumped his leg with its huge muzzle.

“Bossy bitch,” he said softly, giving her another scratch behind the ears. The animal gazed at him adoringly. Yeah, dogs always did love him. He glanced up and caught sight of Diana tugging on a shirt that looked way too big for her. The sight of it sent a thrill of something he didn’t want to acknowledge as jealousy down his spine.

You have less than no place being jealous of anything about her, he reminded himself. She stared at him as she buttoned up the light blue, obviously man-sized shirt. He had to restrain himself from blinking too fast at the onrushing memories that threatened to mow him down.

“Put on a few pounds eh Di?” he said, leaning back against the rough barn wall. The dog practically crawled up onto the hay bale and laid its head in his lap. Damn thing weighed over eighty pounds and smelled like rancid pond water, but he didn’t stop it.

“Fuck you,” she said, turning away and giving him a lovely view of the backs of her slim, tanned legs. “Come up to the house and get some dry clothes on, you dumbass.” She stood there, wearing that shirt that made his chest hurt, pondering where it had come from, her legs bare and beautiful. It made him want to weep. He set his jaw and turned away from her.

“I missed you and your ladylike ways,” he said, almost absently, as he turned back to study the rain that pounded the window. “Ow!” The towel pop flicked his neck, then his thigh. “Damn girl, you on your period or what?” He rubbed his leg and noted that he was, indeed, soaked through and could use a change of clothes. Too bad he hadn’t thought of that when he ran away from what remained of his former life.

“I can feel your crybaby BS from clear across this barn,” she said.

He turned fast, angry at her words. But her gaze comforted him. And suddenly, he realized why he’d found himself here, on what could be labeled as the worst day of his sorry-ass thirty years.

“How’d marriage work out for ya,” he said, shoving the dog off his lap and getting to his feet.

“How d’you think? I mean, I’m sure it was the talk of the town.” She kept staring at him, not moving. For a split second, Dom found himself headed toward her, needing to feel her skin, taste her lips. But he stood, keeping the four or so feet between them, the dogs milling around their ankles making worried noises. An errant drop of water fell from a lock of hair over his eyes. The moment felt fraught and he cursed himself for causing her pain, again. And again.

“Well, I guess the guy was lucky to escape with his balls intact,” he said, finally. “You’re still as ugly as homemade sin,” he lied. The corner of her lips lifted. He let himself exhale.

It was on now. And he knew she’d let him stay here as long as he needed.

COMING LATE SUMMER 2015!!












About the Author:
Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger and beer marketing expert, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe lives Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

Website:
Blog:
www.BrewingPassion.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lizcroweauthor
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/lizcrowefans
Twitter: www.twitter.com/beerwencha2
Beer Wench Blog: www.a2beerwench.com
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Liz-Crowe/e/B00573TC7M


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Bound By Honor by Cora Reilly





Synopsis

Born into one of the leading Mob families in Chicago, Aria Scuderi struggles to find her own path in a world where no choices are given. Aria was only fifteen when her parents betrothed her to Luca – The Vice – Vitiello, the oldest son of the head of the New York Cosa Nostra to ensure peace between the two families. Now with eighteen, the day Aria has been dreading for years is looming dangerously: her wedding to Luca. Aria is terrified of marrying a man she hardly knows, especially someone like Luca who got his nickname ‘the Vice’ for crushing a man’s throat with his bare hands. Luca might be one of the most sought after men in New York thanks to his good looks, wealth and predator-like charisma that radiates power, but the society girls throwing themselves at him don’t know what Aria does: that the bad boy aura isn’t just a game; blood and death lurk beneath Luca’s striking gray eyes and arrogant smile. In her world a handsome exterior often hides the monster within; a monster who can just as easily kill as kiss you. The only way to escape the marriage to Luca would be to run away and leave everything she’s ever known behind but Aria can’t bear the thought of never seeing her family again. Despite her fear, she decides to go through with the marriage; Aria has grown up among predators like Luca and knows that even most cold-hearted bastards have a heart and she has every intention of working her way into Luca’s.





Meet the Author

I'm an author of erotic romance and New Adult novels. I live in one of the ugliest cities of the world with too many pets and only one husband. I'm a lover of good food, wine and books and I'm addicted to Dexter, Californication and Big Bang Theory.


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Book Review -- Bound By Honor by Cora Reilly


Bound By Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles, #1)Bound By Honor by Cora Reilly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A digital copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

The story revolves round two characters from two very powerful Mafia families and takes us through the dark and terrifying prospect of being part of that world. The young, naive and innocent Aria, from one such family, is betrothed to the charismatic and ruthless Luca, from another one. Aria got engaged to Luca when she was just 15, and her bewilderment grows to horror as years go by and they reach the stage of getting married to each other. Although Luca has loads of girls falling for him every minute, Aria knows that none of them will be subjected to the truth as she would be - they look at him as a dashing and intriguing person, while she knows that there are many layers of evil hidden behind the good looks persona. To upkeep her family's honour, she goes ahead with the marriage, but does she manage to change Luca's ways, or does she end up becoming a hapless victim herself, is what the book takes us through.

The book gives us interesting insights into the habits of the worlds it talks about - the family, tradition, honour and promises side of the worlds, and not just the blood shed side. Luca's character came as a pleasant surprise, and the reader, like Aria, is stunned at looking the softer and vulnerable facet of his. The pace was brisk and engaging. I would have loved to see Aria's character and idealogies in more depth. But apart from that, this was an enjoyable read.

I recommend this to lovers of all romance varieties.

My rating: 4 stars

View all my reviews

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