Category Archives: sweet romance

Catch a Falling Star

catch a falling starCatch a Falling Star
by Kim Culbertson
Published by Scholastic
304 pages
Genre: young adult
3.5  / 5

 

Location, location, location.

It’s what sells real estate, and it might just be the key to love and romance.

Carter Moon has spent her whole life in Little, California, and if she has it her way, she will continue to do so. She adores her small town and has no intention of leaving, even with college beckoning.

When famous movie star Adam Jakes hits town for a movie production (what sounds like a really awful remake of A Christmas Carol), he’s in need of some image rehab. Who better than local girl Carter to be Adam’s new squeeze?

The fake romance goes according to plan until one – or perhaps both – of the parties starts to fall for the other one. Hijinks ensue.

Like any couple, real or phony, Carter and Adam have to get to know each other. Their initial skepticism begins to erode as they get closer, each of them discovering that there is more to the other than meets the eye. In fact, Adam sees what Carter can’t: she is bigger than Little.

Your senior year of high school is fraught with nerves under the best of circumstances. Will you get accepted by your college of choice? Will you be able to pay for it? What will you study? What will happen with your friends? But Carter’s questions center around one: how can I stay home? She has her reasons, yes, but her fear is foremost. She worries about her family; will they remain cohesive if she leaves? And, of course, she has immense fear of the unknown. Adam sees this, and he tries to encourage her to pursue her life apart from her family.

At the same time, Carter has to deal with her two closest friends, who have started dating. There might be some residual jealousy there, on the parts of at least two of the trifecta. If you maybe perhaps could potentially like your best friend, then do you want to see that person date someone else?

Yes, Carter has quite the To Do list in front of her. Fortunately, she’s an enjoyable character who makes us wish the best for her. Adam, too, is likable. He defies some movie star stereotypes while cementing others. He deserves, as much as Carter, to be happy.

A sweet, adorable story of teenagers trying to figure out who they are and what they want.

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Flirting with Forever

flirting with foreverFlirting with Forever
by Molly Cannon
Published by Forever
387 pages
Genre: romance, chick lit 
3 / 5

 

Most of us remember our first love. We can’t help it; it’s as if that person was branded on our brains and in our hearts. Maybe some of us even wish we could reconnect with our first love. Maybe we wish we had the chance for a do-over.

Wedding planner Irene Cornwell may not spend much time wishing she could have another chance with her first love, Theo Jacobsen, nor would she admit it if she did. She’s busy establishing herself in a town that branded her a Black Widow due to her having married a much older man, of whom she is now his widow. She is active in charities, and there is the new business as a wedding planner.

Who has time to ponder life’s what-ifs?

Irene has to confront those, though, when Theo comes back home. He’s been long gone, first in the Army and then as a sort of itinerant pilot and handyman. He’s back because his brother – a client of Irene’s – is getting married.

Theo and Irene each have a different spin on what brought their romance to an end, and they have a lot of bad feelings toward each other. They also have some smoldering, HOT feelings toward each other.

Before you get too excited, no, there is not much hot headboard rockin’ here. There is some, and while it is lovely, it is not wildly graphic, nor is it prolific.

The point is the romance and how Irene and Theo have grown and changed.

This book is, quite simply, a fun, cute romance novel. You can’t help but like Irene and Theo, and you definitely will root for them. If nothing is terribly surprising, so be it.

Fun, cute, sweet. Sometimes that’s just what you want to read.

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Blog Tour: Thrown by Love

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Book: Thrown By Love

Author: Pamela Aares

Series: Heart of the Game, #2

Tour Organized by: Indie Sage, LLC

Synopsis

A kiss in a dark alcove triggers the greatest challenge of their lives…

Ace pitcher Scotty Donovan has been traded from his longtime team—and hates it. But to his surprise, he now finds himself in the sweetest game of his life: winning the heart of smart, sexy physics professor Chloe McNalley.

Chloe loves teaching, but she’s never fit into academia. When she falls for Scotty, she discovers his arms and heart are where she belongs. They share a passion for the game, a fascination for the mysteries of the universe and an increasing love for one another.

Then Chloe inherits Scotty’s new team. As player and team owner, they shouldn’t be dating. They try to hide their passion, until a blackmailer threatens them personally and professionally. Exposure could be the end of everything–Scotty’s career, Chloe’s team ownership, and their new love—unless they find a way to transcend the taboo standing between them.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Smashwords | All Romance

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About the Author

Pamela-Aares-Author-2600w-300dpiPamela is an author of contemporary and historical romance novels. Her first book, Jane Austen and the Archangel (Angels Come to Earth, #1) was released in 2012. Midnight Becomes You, (Angels Come to Earth, #2) will release in 2014, along with three more books in the Heart of the Game series, all releasing in 2014.

Before becoming a romance author, Pamela Aares produced and wrote award-winning films and radio shows including Your Water, Your Life featuring actress Susan Sarandon and the NPR series New Voices. After producing The Powers of the Universe and The Earth’s Imagination, she knew without a doubt that romance lives at the heart of the universe and powers the greatest stories of all.

Pamela holds a Master’s Degree from Harvard and lives in the wine country of California with her husband and two curious cats. Her love of nature led to adventures scuba diving the coral reefs of Fiji, exploring the cliffs of Greece, sea kayaking the Rosario Straits and white water rafting the wild and scenic rivers of the west—and romance!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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My Review

They say, whoever “they” are, that love comes when you least expect it. In the case of Scotty and Chloe, that certainly is the case.

For one thing, Scotty is a baseball player, and given that Chloe’s father owns a baseball team, that’s complication enough. Factor in the father dying, Chloe taking over management of the team, and Scotty getting traded to the team, and you have a recipe for certain romantic chaos.

Yet in the midst of all of this, the two fall in love.

There is a sweetness to the story that pulls you in and keeps you hooked. There is also some hot headboard rockin’, and you faithful readers know how excited THAT makes me. As nice and kind as Chloe is, though, Scotty is the heart and soul of this book. He is not the stereotypical athlete; as far as I know, not many athletes are into physics and the cosmos.

Scotty also cares. He cares deeply. He’s one of those guys who takes you home to meet his family (in Nebraska … but of course) within weeks, not years. He loves Chloe, and he wishes he could shout it from the mountaintops.

Naturally, there are obstacles and roadblocks. There is the whole “I own you and I’m your boss” thing, and then there is a dastardly general manager, and, even more significantly for Scotty, there is Chloe’s inherent reluctance and fear. Again, Scotty comes to the rescue because he’s FREAKING AWESOME.

This is a breezy, delightful read, and you may – just may – find yourself leaking a tear or two. You assuredly will find yourself wishing that professional athletes like Scotty really do exist.

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Sugar Rush

Sugar Rush
by Rachel Astor
Published by Bliss
158 pages
Genre: romance; chick lit
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
3 / 5 cupcakes

I realize I court disdain when I say that this book is very sweet, but it is. It’s sweet. It’s also cute and adorable. Yet it will frustrate you because you will want recipes for all of the chocolate you read about – or at least a place where you can buy it.

Dulcie (yep – that’s her name) wants to be everything to everyone. She wants to be a good granddaughter to her grandmother, a good daughter to her deceased mother, a good boss to her employees, a good friend, a good citizen (she tries to help a homeless girl), a good student and a good business owner. In short, she wants to be what other people want her to be, as opposed to knowing what she wants to be for herself.

She is struggling, though. She’s trying to complete her Masters degree while operating Candy Land Confections, a chocolatier business that also is struggling. Her competition is How Sweet It Is, which is owned by a man with whom her grandmother is locked in a long standing feud.

But then one day, Dulcie meets Nick Sugarman (yep – that’s his name), the heir to How Sweet It Is. Nick isn’t all that interested in chocolates; he’d rather create cupcakes, for what it’s worth, but he feels some obligation to his father. Like Dulcie, he exists in a world in which no one asks him what he wants to do.

The two decide to compete in an annual chocolatier competition, one that How Sweet it Is would like to win but that Dulcie needs to win. She needs the financial boost that the winning check would bring, not to mention the new customers that would come.

Meanwhile, though, she and Nick like each other, even if her grandmother and his father disapprove.

This book … I don’t even know how to discuss it. It’s sweet (there I go again) and adorable, but there isn’t much substance to it. Dulcie is not a terrible person, but yet I didn’t like her all that much. I mostly wanted to shake her and beg her to tell me what she thinks she needs to be happy. I don’t think we ever really got a sense of that. Yes, she wants Candy Land Confections to be successful, but that’s more out of duty to her mother than her own desires. She wants romance, but when Nick comes offering it, she initially rebuffs him.

Then there is Nick, who is more likable than Dulcie, but still not a hot hero or anything. He allows his father to push his buttons, and he’s only in it because he doesn’t want someone else to take over the business. Neither one of these people appear to want what they are working so hard to keep, professionally that is.

In terms of hotness, well, you won’t get a whole lot. It’s a book about chocolate, so if you’re going for hot, the chocolate will melt. GET IT? Plus, it’s too sweet to be hot.

This isn’t to say that I did not enjoy the book; I did. Just not enough to fall in love with it. Now, I did fall in love with some of the candy described in there. Oh, that I liked quite a bit.

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The Reluctant Bachelorette

 The Reluctant Bachelorette
by Rachael Anderson
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
316 pages
Genre: romance, chick lit
Thanks to I am a Reader, Not a Writer for the preview
4 / 5 cupcakes

Have you ever wondered just how much ‘reality’ is in reality television?

That is one of the subjects broached, albeit tamely, in this sweet love story.

Taycee (I admit … that name gives me the shivers, and I kept wanting to call her Tracey) has lived in her small hometown forever, refusing to leave even after her parents’ deaths. Most of her friends moved on, including Jessa, her best friend who became a television producer. The person she misses the most, though, is Luke Carney, a man she has secretly loved since childhood.

But Shelter Springs is struggling, and Jessa has a plan to revive the town: have an online dating contest, in which Taycee is the prize. Since Taycee’s love for Shelter Springs knows no bounds, she agrees … reluctantly. Well, guess who returns home, just in time to get himself on the show? That’s right, Luke.

Yes, we all know where this is headed. And, yes, there is a strong chance that you will get sugar shock and need insulin relief.

But despite the sweetness of this book, there is an underlying melancholy, and that’s what attracted me to it. Taycee is darling, but she also suffers. Her parents are dead, her brother moved to the big city, and she can’t seem to get her bearings, even if she has remained in one place her whole life. She hates seeing Shelter Springs lose itself, so she allows herself to be a bachelorette in a contest, even if the idea fills her with self-loathing.

Then there is the lack of reality in this show. Taycee comes to especially despise the staging of her dates, frustrated with the voting public’s failure to see the truth behind the facade. It makes you wonder how much of what is purported to be ‘reality’ on television is fake. (I think we all know the answer to this, though, don’t we?)

Then there is Luke. Oh, how she has loved him and pined for him. Yet she believes he sees her as nothing more than his best friend’s little sister. Can she help him see that she is a grown woman with the desires of one?

Much seems perfect in Shelter Springs, sort of a Stars Hollow, Gilmore Girls kind of schtick. Fortunately, though, Taycee revives the sugar coma. The fact that Rachael Anderson crafted a multidimensional character such as Taycee makes this an enjoyable and, yes, sweet book to read.

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Sweet Laurel Falls

Sweet Laurel Falls
by RaeAnne Thayne
Published by Harlequin
384 pages
Genre: romance; chick list
Thanks to edelweiss for the preview
3.5 / 5 cupcakes

One thing is for certain: this book is very sweet. So sweet, in fact, that it might induce a diabetic coma.

Maura McKnight’s life at the moment is dark and sad. Her youngest daughter, Layla, passed away in a car accident, and her oldest daughter, Sage, is away at college. The girls have two different fathers; Layla’s is Maura’s ex-husband, and Sage’s is Maura’s first love, Jackson Lange. The two men have something in common other than Maura in that neither is around. Chris travels with his rock band, and Jackson bolted from their small Colorado hometown of Hope’s Crossing shortly after he graduated from high school.

Jackson left more than Maura behind. She was pregnant, but did not know it when he went away. She tried to get in touch with him, but he didn’t return her calls. Over the twenty ensuing years, Maura has gotten accustomed to life without Jackson, believing he will never return.

But he does show up … as a visiting speaker to one of Sage’s college classes. The two have a chat, and in the course of their conversation discover that they share some DNA. Neither is happy with Maura’s refusal to disclose Jackson’s parentage, but when Jackson returns to town, he manages to forget his ire when he comes face to face with Maura. Old attraction, it appears, does not die, it just lies in wait for a reunion.

The two must come to terms with their lingering love for each other, and Jackson has some fences to mend with his cranky old father. Sage is a soothing restorative, but she has secrets of her own and needs her parents to help her find solution and solace.

The romance between Maura and Jackson unfolds slowly, as they come to rediscover their feelings for each other. This is very much a G-rated romance, so no fear of any hot headboard rocking. Even the kissing scenes are chaste.

Fortunately, what saves this from complete sugar overload are Maura and Jackson. These are two flawed adults. She is too raw with hurt over Layla’s death, fear over possibly losing Sage to Jackson, and heartbroken over Jackson leaving in the first place. He, on the other hand, is angry with her for not disclosing that he is a father, and he’s also bitter over his father’s past manipulation. They have to get past those barriers before they can come together.

The setting is as much a character as the humans, and just as charming. You will find yourself wanting to visit this tiny ski village in hopes of dining at the cafes and visiting Maura’s bookstore. RaeAnne Thayne does an excellent job of showing us Hope’s Crossing and its effect on its residents.

Thayne tells the story slowly (sometimes too slowly) and gently, if not occasionally repetitively. I felt like I read the same scene more than once, and the “shocking news” that Sage delivers is not all that shocking. As a means to bring Jackson’s father closer to his family, it works, if not predictably so.

Sweet and gentle: that’s the best summary of this book I can give.

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