First Lines Friday – 6/5/20

first-lines-fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

 

First Lines…

Night in Northern Michigan was no joke.

Hope had never seen a dark so dark. It had heft and dimension, like she was driving right into an abyss. 

Any guesses???

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I just started reading this one yesterday and those first lines struck me because they’re true. There’s nothing like driving in Up North Michigan at night. Of course, cherry season time of year it would have to be pretty late since the sun doesn’t set until about 9:30 p.m. in those parts.

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Plus, I absolutely love the cover of this book. The colors, the subjects, the composition. It just pops out at me.

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Of course, I’ll be posting a review as soon as I get a chance. So far, so good.

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The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season by Molly Fader

In cherry season, anything is possible…

Everything Hope knows about the Orchard House is from the stories of her late mother. So when she arrives at the northern Michigan family estate late one night with a terrible secret and her ten-year-old daughter in tow, she’s not sure if she’ll be welcomed or turned away with a shotgun by the aunt she has never met.

Hope’s aunt, Peg, has lived in the Orchard House all her life, though the property has seen better days. She agrees to take Hope in if, in exchange, Hope helps with the cherry harvest—not exactly Hope’s specialty, but she’s out of options. As Hope works the orchard alongside her aunt, daughter and a kind man she finds increasingly difficult to ignore, a new life begins to blossom. But the mistakes of the past are never far behind, and soon the women will find themselves fighting harder than ever for their family roots and for each other.

 

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Hard as Steel (Hard Ink/Raven Riders)

24360906Hard as Steel
by Laura Kaye
Release Date:  September 22, 2015
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts
Book #4.5 in the Hard Ink series
Book #0.5 in the Raven Riders series
Number of Pages:  112
Paperback
Source:  MelCat
Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating:  XXX
Read 5/24/20

 

After identifying her employer’s dangerous enemies, Jessica Jakes takes refuge at the compound of the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. Fellow Hard Ink tattooist and Raven leader Ike Young promises to keep Jess safe for as long as it takes, which would be perfect if his close, personal, round-the-clock protection didn’t make it so hard to hide just how much she wants him—and always has.

Ike Young loved and lost a woman in trouble once before. The last thing he needs is alone time with the sexiest and feistiest woman he’s ever known, one he’s purposely kept at a distance for years. Now, Ike’s not sure he can keep his hands or his heart to himself—or that he even wants to anymore. And that means he has to do whatever it takes to hold on to Jess forever.

This is a short and sizzling hot read.  If you wondered what happened to Jessica and Ike, the other employees from Hard Ink Tattoo in the Hard Ink series, here ya go. I loved Jess from the very beginning and had actually thought she’d be involved in Jeremy’s story at first. I’m so glad things went another way than I had at first anticipated as the series progressed because Jeremy found his proper HEA, and now so has Jess.

Ike and Jess are absolute FIRE together. They both have humongous hearts and tough outer shells. Prickly is an understatement. Yet they cannot help but let that shell crack when they are together. They are amazingly sweet together.

This story also serves as a launching point for another series by this author, Raven Riders. Job well done on getting me hooked and anxious to read more. Exactly as a introductory novella should.

4.5 stars

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Wicked Edge (Realm Enforcers)

50160485._SY475_Wicked Edge
by Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher:  Lyrical Press
Book #2 Realm Enforcers series
Number of pages:  276
Kindle
Source: MCL
Paranormal Romance M/F
Rating: XXX
Read 5/15/20 to 5/17/20

 

Daire Dunne is more than ready to take a quick break from his duties as a Coven Nine Enforcer. When he spots a sexy blonde across a Titans of Fire party, it’s not long before she’s on the back of his Harley on the fast track to his apartment. Unfortunately, one overheated kiss in, the woman drugs Daire and steals valuable files that can’t fall into enemy hands. The second he comes to, the hunt is on…

Now that Cee Cee Kyllwood has the information to take down an enemy that destroyed her family, she can implement her perfect plan for revenge. Nothing will stop her, not even a shockingly sexy enforcer barging into her life. Not even the spectacular, fire-branding sex engulfing them. But if Daire ever figures out who her family really is, all bets are off…

Whoo-eee, CeeCee is quite the spitfire. Daire Dunne has met his match.  When, in the last book, he said his mate would be docile and sweet we all knew fate was laughing at him.  Daire would be bored with a strictly obedient mate.  He thrives on adventure and danger, just like CeeCee seems to. Not that either of them is reckless.  They (almost) always have a reason for the dangerous things they do. But what’s the harm in enjoying the job?

From the moment CeeCee and Daire meet face to face, the chemistry is evident.  It only builds in power from there.  They can’t help being drawn together and feeling bad when they have to do something they know will anger the other.  Truly meant to be.

I can’t blame CeeCee for the things she does along the way to reach her end goal.  I understand her motivations. Yet, because I love Daire, it’s hard for me to see her push him away again and again.  You can’t blame her for not trusting anyone, but I’m glad they finally come to an understanding.  I swear, that woman wreaks havoc on Daire’s life, and it’s kind of funny the level of destruction she leaves in her wake.

There is a lot of action in this story, keeping the pace at a breakneck speed through much of the book. The few times things slow enough for CeeCee and Daire to take stock and recuperate, everything else seems to melt away.  It’s lovely.

I’m having a lot of fun reading about these enforcers. All of the characters keep me on my toes. I always look forward to their interactions with Bear, too.  Can’t wait to see where that all leads.

4 stars

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TTT: Books That Give Off Summer Vibes

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. There is a new topic each week for bloggers to join in with their own top ten. If you’re looking for some new or different book blogs to read, hop on over to her site and check out some of the links.

Here in Michigan, the weather has finally warmed up. I was saying just the other day that we went from typical late-March weather to typical mid-July weather overnight in May. So this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is very timely for me; Books That Give Off Summer Vibes.

The angle I took on this one has more to do with the covers than the stories. That’s not saying the stories themselves aren’t summer-like, of course some are…they even have the word “summer” in the title. These are stories I enjoyed immensely, barring one that is still on my TBR list.

 

Return to Willow Lake (Lakeshore Chronicles book 9)
by Susan Wiggs

Not Quite Dating (Not Quite book 1)
by Catherine Bybee

The Cottages on Silver Beach (Haven Point book 8)
by RaeAnne Thayne

One Summer Weekend (Cedar Street book 1)
by Shannon Stacey

Hometown Heartbreaker (Copper Ridge book 3.5)
by Maisey Yates

Montana Cherries (The Wildes of Birch Bay book 1)
by Kim Law

Lost and Found Sisters (Wildstone book 1)
by Jill Shalvis

The Country Guesthouse (Sullivan’s Crossing book 5)
by Robyn Carr

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland
by Rebekah Crane

The Goodbye Café (The Hudson Sisters book 3)
by Mariah Stewart

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If You Must Know (Potomac Point) – ARC Review

49372065._SX318_SY475_If You Must Know
by Jamie Beck
Release Date:  June 1, 2020
Publisher:  Montlake Romance
Book #1 in the Potomac Point series
Number of Pages:  368
Kindle edition
Source:  NetGalley ARC
Contemporary Fiction
Rating:  PG-13
Read 5/29/20 to 5/30/20

 

Sisters Amanda Foster and Erin Turner have little in common except the childhood bedroom they once shared and the certainty each feels that her way of life is best. Amanda follows the rules—at the school where she works; in her community; and as a picture-perfect daughter, wife, and mother-to-be. Erin follows her heart—in love and otherwise—living a bohemian lifestyle on a shoestring budget and honoring her late father’s memory with a passion for music and her fledgling bath-products business.

The sisters are content leading separate but happy lives in their hometown of Potomac Point until everything is upended by lies that force them to confront unsettling truths about their family, themselves, and each other. For sisters as different as these two, building trust doesn’t come easily—especially with one secret still between them—but it may be the only way to save their family.

Man, this story is a gut-punch. The women in this family are put through the ringer. As much as they love each other, they don’t seem to be able to relate to each other. Words said in solidarity or support are often taken wrong and end up hurting instead of helping.

There is certainly plenty of foreshadowing for the reader; the catalyst to Erin and Amanda making amends and finding their way to being supportive sisters are obvious. This story isn’t about their woes, but how they handle those problems and learn to work together.

While I love Erin and feel very deeply for her and how she’s treated by her mom and sister, I still found myself identifying with Amanda even more.  Not her circumstances or even how she reacts to things, I am not a people pleaser like her, but the feelings in her that cause her to react the way she reacts. The middle child, introvert in me could clearly see Amanda in a way that almost hurt. Even when I was ticked at Amanda for being blind to the way her comments and her mom’s comments effected Erin, I still understood her. Jamie Beck really outdid herself in the development of the main characters in this book.

I can’t lay all the blame on Amanda. Erin does her part of keeping her family at arm’s length. She’s conditioned to believe anything she says or does will be met with derision, or even totally disregarded. But sometimes she reacts before giving her family a chance. And while Amanda may be blind to Erin’s hurts, Erin also doesn’t truly see how her actions have bothered Amanda throughout her life.

This story is a bit depressing, but there is a ray of hope that is woven throughout. The book ends on a good note, like a rainbow after a storm.

4.5 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

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Cowboy Wild (Tangled Up in Texas) – ARC Review

51202880._SY475_Cowboy Wild
by Michelle Beattie
Release Date: May 28, 2020
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Book #3 in the Tangled Up in Texas series
Number of pages:  219
Kindle
Source:  ARC from publisher
Contemporary Romance/Western M/F
Rating: R
Read 5/25/20 to 5/27/20

 

Kara Montgomery didn’t plan on being a runaway bride but even years of bowing to her parents’ expectations can’t bring her to marry a man she doesn’t love. Choosing to take her planned vacation doing things she’s always dreamed of, Kara heads to the closest rodeo.

Finding a woman in his stock trailer isn’t uncommon for tie-down roper Cam Granger. Finding one holding a wedding dress is. When Cam learns of Kara’s desire to experience life on a ranch, he does something he’s never done before; he takes a woman home.

Working with Cam feeds her soul in the way her career never did; Kara feels like she truly belongs.

Hot kisses and passionate lovemaking dispel the doubts crowding in Cam’s head, but, when their worlds collide, he wonders if a woman of her class and means could ever be happy with a cowboy. While Cam fears tying Kara down might not be a possibility after all, Kara is faced with a heart-wrenching ultimatum that is sure to leave her shattered.

Talk about a meet-cute. I absolutely adore how Kara and Cam meet. Especially the way Cam is very aware of how he could be coming across as a threat to Kara even though, technically, she’s doing something wrong. It made me fall in love with Cam on the spot.

Although Kara allowed herself to be manipulated into doing what others thought best for her instead of following her own dreams, she has a great backbone once she decides enough is enough. The girl has a lot of grit. Not that she doesn’t drop back into her old behavior here and there. And, at times, she goes a bit beyond what is needed when sticking up for herself. There’s a learning curve to it all, that’s for sure. But she has the stick-to-it-iveness needed to turn her life around.

Cam has his own family issues to deal with. This story, like all in the series so far, has its own ending. But the larger story of this family and these brothers that runs through this series still has a lot to work out. Cam has started to gain the respect he deserves from some of his brothers, but there’s still a long road to go with the family overall.  Cam found a way to deal with his grief over their mother dying that is different than the rest and it confuses them. By the end of this book, they’re at least starting to understand him much better.

Since Kara has no preconceived idea of who Cam is on the inside and he has no grand plan as to how Kara’s life goes, they are able to connect on a level they’ve never experienced before.  Of course, life happens and outside sources butt into this ideal situation. Yet setting the foundation of their relationship before family is brought into the mix helps them to wade through the issues that are thrown their way together. At least, for the most part.

It’s great to watch these two grow as individuals and learn to trust themselves as well as each other. I’m looking forward to the next installment of this series. Not only for the next brother in line to find his HEA, but to learn more about the patriarch of the family. There’s a whole underlying mystery to these stories that the author doesn’t overwhelm the reader with, but gives nuggets along the way to keep the reader on the hook.

4 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

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First Lines Friday – 5/29/20

first-lines-fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

 

First Lines…

List of totally overrated things:

  1. Love
  2. Girls
  3. Love (yeah, again)

Ashish Patel wasn’t sure why people ever fell in love. What was the point, really? So you could feel like a total chump when you went to her dorm room only to find she’d gone out with some other dude? So you could watch your mojo completely vanish as you became some soggy, washed-out version of your former (extremely dashing) self? Screw that.

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I read the first book in this series and really, really enjoyed it a lot. I actually go this one, book 2 in the series, through a Goodreads giveaway.

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Yet, I still haven’t read it. There’s a novella between the 1st book and this one that I got from the library, but had to return before I had a chance to actually read. So, this book just sits by my chair staring at me, begging to be read.

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I’ll get to it soon…I hope.

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There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

As I said, I haven’t read this one yet. Therefore, I don’t have a review to link to for this story. But here’s my review from the first story, When Dimple Met Rishi. Have you read this series? I’m thinking I don’t need to read book 1.5 in order to read this one, but I’m one of those that is loathe to skip any books in a series. Even the novellas.

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