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review 2020-06-05 08:10
Blog Tour w/Review - Kiss To Conquer

 

 

Blurb:
 
The past tore them apart.

After a terrible accident took everything from Callie Stewart, enrolling at Blairwood University is supposed to be a chance at a new beginning.

Living his best life, Hayden Watson, star wide receiver for the Blairwood Ravens, is heading straight for the NFL draft and nothing is going to stand in his way.

The present brings them together.

Their paths were never supposed to cross, but when they do, all those old demons and feelings come rushing back. Hayden thinks he knows all about Callie’s life before Blairwood and he’s not ready to let go of the past, much less forgive her for what she has done three years ago.

One thing’s for sure… it’s going to take more than a kiss to conquer their broken past.
 
Buy Links:
 
Kiss To Conquer is LIVE and FREE with Kindle Unlimited! ➜ https://books2read.com/u/3G20Vd
 
Book info:
 
Kiss To Conquer is a brand new enemies-to-lovers sports romance by Anna B. Doe.
 


Cover Designer: Najla Qamber Designs
Cover Photo: Lindee Robinson Photography
Add to your #TBR ➜ http://bit.ly/tbrBWU1

Vote for it now as June's most anticipated release: https://bit.ly/3dQmSNG
 
About the author:
 
Anna B. Doe is a young adult and new adult contemporary romance author. She writes real-life romance that is equal parts sweet and sexy. She’s a coffee and chocolate addict. Like her characters, she loves those two things dark, sweet and with little extra spice.
When she’s not working for a living or writing her newest book you can find her reading books or binge-watching TV shows. Originally from Croatia, she is always planning her next trip because wanderlust is in her blood.
She is currently working on various projects. Some more secret than others.

FIND ANNA ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
 
 
 
Excerpt from Kiss To Conquer
 
“Don’t test me, Callie,” he murmurs. If there wasn’t an edge to his voice, he would sound almost tender.

“Or what?” I whisper back. “What are you going to do, Hades?”
 
The nickname might be said in the sweetest of whispers, but it’s an insult and he knows it. We both do. Hayden was the boy I knew back in my past when everything was easy, although I didn’t realize it, and I sure as hell didn’t know how to appreciate it. Hades, on the other hand, is the person he became since leaving. Popular guy who is loved and adored by the masses because of his immense talent on the football field. He doesn’t have anything to do with the sweet boy I once knew.
 
I can see his jaw tense every time I call him by that name. The name that matches the player he’s become since the last time I saw him.
 
“You don’t want to know.”
 
“You think you can scare me with your empty threats?” I chuckle softly, but there is no humor in the sound. “You can be pissed all you want. I already said I’m sorry, and I won’t repeat it again. And I sure as hell won’t let you bully me into leaving school. I came here to stay, so you better learn how to deal with it.”
 
With his free hand, he reaches for my face, but I jerk my head back. Just enough so it’s out of his reach.
 
“The kitty has claws.” Something shines in his eyes. Admiration, maybe? I’m not sure, and I don’t have it in me to care.
 
“And she isn’t afraid to use them, so I would suggest you stay away from me.”
 
 
 
Kiss To Conquer (Blairwood University #1)Kiss To Conquer by Anna B. Doe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Callie has had to push herself to survive. To come here to school, to go forward with her plans, and get on with her life. After great tragedy she intends to be her best self.

Hayden remembers Callie from high school. He remembers wanting her from afar. He remebers her bully attitude. He does not know who she is now. Maybe its time?

Such a sweet and sexy story. I found myself entrenched into the story rather quickly. Not wanting to put down for anything. I loved the friendships that were built. The characters are endearing, charming, and the chemistry is sudden and hot! I loved this story and cannot wait for the next installment in this incredible series!


***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an hones review only.

View all my reviews
 
 
Giveaways:
 
Enter to win a signed copy of Kiss To Conquer on Goodreads (US and Canada only): https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/307591-kiss-to-conquer

Enter to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card, a signed copy of Kiss To Conquer and light swag: https://bit.ly/36KYN7P
 
 
 
 
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review 2020-06-04 16:58
Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson
Real Men Knit - Kwana Jackson

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Four boys from different makeups and ethnic backgrounds, brought together by their shared need of, first and foremost, a home, but probably more so the love that that the seemingly irreverent single Black woman had given them.

 

Instead of romance or women's fiction, I think this story falls under what I'm going to call community fiction; what a perfect time to read this. Jesse, along with his adoptive brothers, Lucas, Noah, and Damien came from different experiences and walks of life but found family in each other when their foster mother, Mama Joy, adopts them. As families are want to do, they love hard but also stretch, tear, and need mending. When Mama Joy suddenly passes away, the four brothers have to decide what to do with her shop, Strong Knits. Jesse is considered the wastrel of the group but he's the only one who doesn't want to sell, he wants to run the shop.

 

The tan knight and the used-to-be-man of her dreams, and there he was walking out his last night’s stand while she was cleaning his kitchen like a broke-down Cinderella.

 

Kerry grew-up around the Strong family as she found peace and comfort with Mama Joy at her knit shop. Jesse was always the brother that caught her eye the most but his womanizing and frittering ways kept her away. Kerry's recently obtained her degree in children's counseling and art therapy but not having a full time job yet, she still worked and helped out at Strong Knits. When Jesse announces he wants to try and keep Strong Knits going, she volunteers to help him out. Their relationship starts out rocky as both have strong protective instincts but their shared love of Mama Joy and Strong Knits connects them on a deep emotional level and heated glances have them wanting to connect in other ways.

 

She knew his strengths, but worse, she knew his weaknesses.

 

The natural flow of the writing welcomed me into this story and if you told me Strong Knits and all these characters where actually real places and people I'd believe you, there was a realness to this that will pull you in emotionally. There is a part of me that wishes we could have gotten a flashback or opening scene with Mama Joy and the boys. I missed “seeing” her with them but the author does a really good job of having the reader “feel” her through the brothers, which in turn I suppose also helps the reader feel Mama Joy's stark absence. I also would have liked more background on Jesse to help me get a feel for him too. I think it was around the mid-point when we learn some about what led to him entering the foster care system. Jesse just didn't feel as tangible to me as Kerry's character, she was more filled or flushed out. Kerry takes the lead in the story more than Jesse, even though I would still say the community is the overreaching star. Kerry struggling with what she wants to do, work with children and keep Strong Knits open but also make money, was a conflict I think a lot could relate to. There was also the clash of Kerry's feelings for the “bad boy” Jesse and not wanting to end up feeling stupid and hurt, which I know a lot can relate to.

 

Decisions must be made, and it was time for him to finally step up and take his place once and for all to be the type of Strong brother that Mama Joy always wanted him to be.

 

There was conflict, emotion, and turmoil swirling around and in Kerry and Jesse's relationship but, for the most part, it's in the underling of the story fabric; this story is subtle depth. Their falling in love, especially from Kerry's side, seemed to mostly be already in place from their childhood and I missed going through some of that emotional heft with them. I also felt like it wasn't until around the 70% mark that there was significant movement towards each other and the romance part of the story. However, because of the background these two had with each other and their chemistry and friendship, I really did believe in their relationship and that they would have a happily ever after.

 

Jesse felt his heart slam against the wall of his chest as everything in him and every part of him seemed to move forward at once to meet her.

 

What made this story special to me was the way the author integrated not just secondary characters but a whole community. The author didn't “tell” me how Jesse and Kerry felt about Strong Knits, she made me feel it through the after school program importance to a boy in the neighborhood, the Old Knitting Gang, and various other seemingly innocuous moments and characters that were woven throughout. I wouldn't call this a heavy or light story, just one made up of all those moments. There's talk of gentrification but also amazing lines like this when Kerry contemplates the man her friend Val seems to be thinking about taking home for the night: The way he’d gone in on those wings had her skeptical about his technique. It could be either very good for Val or an altogether disaster.

I'm still laughing about this line. The ending was very abrupt but as this is obviously going to be a series, I guess a down the line or epilogue could infringe on the series timeline. This writer's style, tone, and depth will have me looking up other books by her and I can't wait to snatch up Jesse's brother's books when they come out (there's a firefighter brother!). If current events have you down, this is the book you need to pick up to restore the love.

 

Noah stepped in, his smile bright as he admonished the crowd for their tears. Sounding every bit like a little Mama Joy, he told them, “Drink up, stitch well,” and then he looked at his brothers when he said, “Love hard and live in the moment, not in the past.”

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review 2020-06-04 06:25
Relentless Love Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 

Book:  Relentless Love

Author: Heather Greer

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Without passion, there is no love. Without love, is she even living?

Living with limits protects a heart from hurt. After unexpectedly losing her husband, it’s a lesson Katie Blake has learned well. From moving in with her elderly father to staying at home with her son, Sammy, Katie’s life has been arranged to avoid further pain.

After three years, life feels stagnant. It’s time to carefully venture into the world once again. Sammy needs friends his age, and Katie needs a project to focus on.

As Sammy adjusts to preschool, Katie finds her perfect job. Her position even allows her to befriend Anna, a young mother who needs encouragement. Events also bring Nathan Phillips, a childhood friend, back into her life. Each successful step forward encourages Katie to continue opening her heart. By the time her friendship with Nathan begins to deepen, Katie is ready to pursue the relationship.

Nathan’s encouragement gives Katie strength to make tough decisions regarding her father’s care as his dementia progresses. But when Sammy is injured while in Nathan’s care, Katie knows she’s made a mistake. It won’t happen again. Abandoning their relationship in favor of safety is only the beginning. Katie has felt God calling her to help change Anna’s situation, but the risk is too great. God will have to find another way to help.

It takes a strange message from her father for Katie to understand God’s relentless love and desire for her life to reflect His love. But will Katie take the risk or continue limiting love in favor of a life without hurt?



Click HERE to get your copy!


About the Author

 



Heather Greer is a pastor’s kid and pastor’s wife from southern Illinois. Though her nest is quickly approaching the empty stage, with three of her four children out on their own, she enjoys the times she gets to spend with all her children, husband, and grandson. Equal mix geek and romantic, you could as easily find Heather watching an episode of Doctor Who as the latest Hallmark movie. Of course, you may find her baking, reading, or crafting too!

Heather’s writing and teaching ministries revolve around a passion to see believers grow in their faith. Though God has used her most often with teens and adults, she has worked in ministries reaching all age groups through the years. It is Heather’s prayer for God to use what she writes in her books and on her blog to challenge and encourage readers in their faith walks.


More from Heather

 

Authors leave a bit of themselves on the pages of what they write. Whether it comes out in a name or character’s special interest or a faith lesson the author had to learn themselves before they could put in on paper, somewhere in what is written readers will find a hint of the author in the story. This glimpse into the author’s world add a feeling of authenticity to the story.

My family and friends will quickly recognize at least one of these windows into my world as they read Relentless Love. Though I didn’t intend it, my personal experiences with dementia and Alzheimer’s care are woven into the story. While the exact details are different, I was a full-time caregiver to my grandmother through the middle and late stages of her life with dementia. Dealing with the confusion, illogical thinking, obsessing, and paranoia that are portrayed in the story is part of everyday life for a caregiver.

In including Katie’s experience with her father’s deteriorating mental health, I pray others facing the same struggle find encouragement and strength. And because my time with my grandma was blessed with sweet memories, in spite of the struggles, I’d like to share a recipe she passed down to me in high school. I cannot make this cookie without thinking of the one who made it first and all the lessons she taught me about what it means to love God, our families, and others.


Lace Cookies  – from the kitchen of Sue Ellen Forby

Ingredients:

1 cup oats                                            3Tbs. flour

¼ tsp. salt                                            1 stick butter

1 cup sugar                                          1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. baking powder                         1 egg

Directions: Mix oats, salt, sugar, baking powder, and flour. Melt butter and pour over dry ingredients. Add vanilla and egg. Mix well. Refrigerate at least one hour, until set.

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into marble sized balls and place at least 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Edges of cookies will be golden brown. Remove from oven and carefully slide parchment from pan to let cookies cool completely before removing them from paper. These cookies puff during cooking but flatten out completely as they cool.
 
 

My Review

 

This is my 100th book review of 2020! I love being able to read and share wholesome books, thanks to God’s abundant blessings and the privilege of being a part of several wonderful review groups. This week also happens to be the celebration of Celebrate Lit’s 5-Year birthday! It is so wonderful to observe this milestone, and I am so delighted to be able to be a part of the team!

With these special moments, it seems fitting that the books I am reviewing this week are each part of a series. Heather Greer’s “Relentless Love” is the final book in her trilogy about fictional character Katie, a young woman facing the heartache of both past and present while also being a single mom to a toddler and living with her elderly father. Due to her previous devastating losses, Katie is cautious and wary. And lonely. Perhaps what drew me to empathize with her so much is the fact that we all deal with loneliness sometimes, and even more so these days with the coronavirus pandemic. When Nathan correlates Katie’s own loneliness with that of her father (for very similar reasons that I will not detail to avoid potential spoilers), I appreciated his insight. I also loved his response to Katie’s question: “How does a mother teach her son to become a man?” He tells her, “You teach him about the man his father was.” This advice , upon contemplation, actually has a double meaning: teaching little Sammy to emulate not only his dad’s actions, but also his Heavenly Father’s.

This story deals with some heavy themes, to a greater extent than I was expecting, but Greer achieves a laudable balance between them and lighter scenes. “Relentless Love” explores dementia and the crushing blow that it can strike to families. My grandpap had Alzheimer’s, and thus, having firsthand knowledge of how heartrending the condition and others like it can be, I again felt like I connected with the characters more than I may have otherwise. Nevertheless, I believe that this book series needs to be read because it does broach difficult subjects of the body and spirit. It lets us know that it is ok to cry, but that we also need to trust the Lord with every difficult circumstance because His love truly is relentless. He will pursue us to the ends of the earth when we are His, so that we in turn can share His unyielding love with others. When we do, even in the midst of our own storms and trials, we realize that the Lord blesses us through this.

Contemporary romance readers, and those who have been following this trilogy, will definitely not want to miss out on “Relentless Love”! For sensitive readers: In addition to having a part of the story  about dementia, infertility is also a topic that is discussed, although very cleanly and well within the bounds of propriety. For horse and ranch lovers, there is some of that as well!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.




Blog Stops

 

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 2

Andrea Christenson, June 3 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, June 4

Rebecca Tews, June 5

Batya’s Bits, June 6

My Devotional Thoughts, June 7 (Author Interview)

Writing from the Heart Land, June 7

For Him and My Family, June 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 9

By The Book, June 10 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 11

Quiet Quilter, June 12

Artistic Nobody, June 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Inklings and notions, June 14

deb’s Book Review, June 15

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Heather is giving away  the grand prize of $30 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2020-06-04 00:05
Book Review - Looks Can Be Deceiving by Quinn Ward
Looks Can Be Deceiving (The Lodge #2)Looks Can Be Deceiving by Quinn Ward
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I start this review by saying I haven't read the first book so there are some things that I didn't understand at first. This is also my first time reading about this particular genre of bdsm - the Daddy/boy dynamic.

We first meet the Daddy MC - William - a man who likes to be in control, who likes to take care of others, of being useful, of being needed. But he is also afraid of having ties, after a lifetime of regimented service in the military he wanted to not be bound by anyone or anything.

The second MC - Corey - the boy - is a single father who shares custody of his daughter with her mother and to say their relationship is contentious is putting it mildly. This is where I start having problems - the mother is made out to be an absolute nightmare, dropping in without warning, dropping her daughter off when she needs a break, always expecting Corey to pick up her slack. She's basically a flighty, irresponsible, selfish child raising a child.

The story was a good one - single father, working 2 jobs, burying a side of himself for fear of being discovered by the vindictive ex (although this really doesn't play out in the end). Enter William, friend of the owner of the kink bar Corey is a part time bartender at. William is given all sorts of responsibility over the bar and staff despite having no investment in the club beyond his friendship.

William notices a need in Corey and uses a new playroom opening to help Corey explore the little side of his personality. In the course of doing so they fall for each other.

All in all I found it an easy read but I did have problems with the way the mother/ex was portrayed and how Corey was so terrified of being discovered despite that never really being a thing beyond the mention that the ex's parents didn't approve of Corey.

If this sort of a trope and genre is your thing then go for your life, it was, in the end, a happy ending and a good story.

View all my reviews

 

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review 2020-06-03 18:45
Review: Fake Out
Fake Out - Eden Finley

Fake Boyfriend is one of my favorite fanfic tropes, so it was fun to see in a novel.  The story follows Maddox whose high school girlfriend refused to accept his repeated attempts at breaking up, so he finally lied and told her he was gay.  She then outed him to his entire town, which, I don't care how upset you are, that's just wrong, so I actually felt no sympathy for her because of the lie. Maddox moved to New York to attend college and then stayed, rarely visiting his small town home in Pennsylvania.  Years later he ran into the ex-sweetheart who was having a bachelorette party.  SHe boo-hoos about how it should have been them getting married and how much she misses him.  She then invited him to the wedding with his boyfriend...his non-existent boyfriend.  And much like she did in high school, she blabbed and told everyone he was coming home.  Everyone including Maddox's parents who make certain he can't politely back out of the wedding because they guilt him into bringing his boyfriend (that he didn't tell them about) home to meet them.  Now he's tasked with finding a fake boyfriend to take home for a weekend.

 

Enter his best friend, Stacy, who convinces her gay brother to do the job.  Maddox promises to get Damon, an endeavoring sports agent, a meeting with a high profile hockey player in return for the favor.  Of course Damon cannot turn the chance to gain his first (solo) client and agrees.  And shenanigans ensue. I don't want to spoil the good bits.

 

The characters were likable and flawed like normal humans.  They were not perfect and there were bad choices made and misunderstandings, but not to the point of angst where you wanted to strangle everyone.  It was a fun story where the plot didn't resolve itself immediately, but it didn't drag out overly long either.  There was comedy, drama, angst, sweetness, and sexytimes.  All of which were well written.

 

The narrators did a good job of capturing the voices and emotions of the characters.  This was the first in a series and I would be interested in checking out more.

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