Blog Tour: Just a Kiss by Kate Kisset

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for Just a Kiss. I’ll share my review with you and there’s a tour wide givaway.

JustaKisseBook-1Title:Just a Kiss
Author: Kate Kisset
Series: A Wine Country Romance Series #1
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
One Wine Country Villa
Six Santino Brothers
And lots of wine…

Reeling from the loss of her mother, Sarah Dupont catches her fiancé doing the nasty on top of her pastry table at their San Francisco Bakery.

Devastated, she calls her best friend, lifestyle reporter, Danica Vargas. Danica convinces Sarah to start fresh, and rent a room with her at an historic mansion in Sonoma Valley.

With two roommates who act like the sisters she never had and a feisty landlord to stand in as the grandmother she always wanted, Sarah’s opens a café on the Sonoma Plaza. Her life changes the moment the little bell on the door rings and the notoriously sexy actor Jamie Santino, swaggers in.

Jamie, one of the six Santino Brothers, of Napa Valley Winery fame, needs baking lessons for his new movie and Sarah is just the woman to teach him.
Wine flows, their love affair heats up and a tempestuous femme fatale enters the scene.

How can Sarah trust that Jamie isn’t acting when everything he says seems too good to be true?

My Review:
Sarah’s whole life has been falling apart at the seams thanks to a heartless ex-fiance who betrayed her in every way possible. Broke and alone, she moves to be with her friend Danica and sets about rebuilding her life.

Jamie Santino’s film career has been in the doldrums thanks to a disastrous ex who manipulated his feelings to further her own career. He now has the chance to turn things around, but he needs Sarah’s help. Sarah reluctantly agrees to allow him conduct some ‘research’ in her cafe and thus our story begins.

While I liked this book, I didn’t love it.

The writing is decent and the style consistent with other books of this genre. Certainly, Kate Kisset shows enormous promise as a writer. The pacing is good and the story flows without any need to skim. There is a decent amount of descriptive text without it being overbearing. I loved the addition of the girls wine club, the Santino winery, and all the wine-related references (not that I’m a lush or anything, you understand.)

However, this book is too short, and both plot and character development suffered as a result. It was hard to feel an emotional attachment to either Sarah or Jamie, and I didn’t feel a connection to them as a couple. At times, the dialogue was really witty, and at other times it was stiff, unnatural, or downright cringy.

This book has the potential to be better with stronger developmental editing. I’ve recently read a couple of other books with the same issues and it’s quite frustrating, especially when the author clearly has talent.

If you are looking for a light, quick, summer read then you’ll most likely enjoy this book.

Thanks to Inkslinger PR and the author for providing me with a review copy of this book in exhange for my honest review.

Excerpt:
Help me get a grip, I’m melting into her eyes… He took a beat to compose himself.
“What would you like me to do Sarah?” he asked.
She moved closer and parted her lips.
I’m going, going…
“I think I’d like you to kiss me now.”
Gone…
On tiptoe and cradling the back of his head, she guided him to her.
No one could surprise him in the love department except Sarah Dupont. He skimmed his hands over the outline of her soft curves and pulled her in tighter. She tasted like cabernet and cake, and he closed his eyes so he could savor her lips.
A low moan escaped her, and hit him in the gut. He didn’t know where to start with his hands and moved them over the sexy arch of her back and pressed her closer to him.
“The tree,” he said quickly, not wanting to be away from her mouth. “Does the tree hurt your back?”
“Don’t stop kissing me,” she said. The need in Sarah’s voice surprised him, making him strain against his jeans. He fought to slow down, to wait, to catch a breath before he lost it.
He swept his lips across her cheek. “Sarah.” When he reached her earlobe, he nipped. She felt luscious and pliable in his arms. He almost couldn’t handle listening to her quick breaths and the feeling of her heart pumping so fast against him.
“Sarah.” He nuzzled behind her ear, kissing and sucking her neck. “Don’t make me stop.”
She groaned between breaths.
He felt drunk, but he’d had only had a few glasses of wine. Touching, kissing and listening to her whimpers made him feel like he could tip over any minute and bury himself into her.

HeadshotKateKissetLGFile.About the Author:
Former San Francisco Radio Disc Jockey Kate Kisset has a passion for telling great stories. After playing thousands of Hot AC, Country, Rock and Oldies tunes, for her primarily female fan base, she changed her tune and became an author.

Just a Kiss is the first book in her wine country romance series, The Single Girls Wine Club.

She lives in Northern California and Santa Barbara with her family and rescue pup “editor” Luciana Parmigiana, where she hikes, reads, listens to music, and drinks wine.

Links:

There is a tour wide giveaway, which you can enter below:
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Review: The Other Side of Summer by Elyse Douglas

The Other Side of SummerTitle: The Other Side of Summer
Author: Elyse Douglas
Series: stamdalone
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Joanna Halloran, a best selling writer and astrologer, lives in a beach house overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. After a violent storm, she roams the beach, glances seaward and spots a man clinging to a piece of wreckage, being tossed helplessly. She dives in and pulls him safely. Robert Zachary Harrison is from a wealthy, political family. As he slowly recovers from a private plane crash, he and Joanna fall in love and spend passionate and secluded weeks together. But because of family duty, Robert departs, not knowing Joanna is pregnant.

Twenty five years later, Senator Robert Harrison is running for President of the United States. In the midst of a contentious presidential campaign, Joanna’s daughter, who has a passion to expose secrets, seeks revenge on her father she has never met.

She meets and falls in love with her father’s adopted son. As secrets emerge, Joanna and Robert meet again and confront the past and present. Robert confesses a secret that Joanna had never known. Now, on the world stage, they struggle to keep their families and careers from destruction.

My Review:
he Other Side of Summer is a decent read and it will appeal to those who enjoy contemporary women’s fiction.

I really enjoyed the writing style and it’s clear from the high-quality prose and very professional editing and formatting that the authors know what they are doing. The words flowed easily on the page and the descriptive text was beautiful. Pacing was good and it kept me engaged from start to finish.

I completely fell in love with Joanna’s beach house – please can I live there? I could vividly picture it in my minds eye and it truly was a little piece of heaven on Earth.

This story is told in three different parts. One the one hand I liked how it was structured, but it did hamper my ability to really connect with the characters on an emotional level. Apart from Joanna and Robert, we don’t see enough of the other characters to form a bond. I felt the book could have been a bit longer and allowed the reader more opportunity to get to know the characters and observe more character development.

My favorite part of the book was the first part. While Joanna and Robert fall for each other straight away, I felt it, believed in it, and was totally caught up in the whole tragic nature of their love. It’s clear from the book description that it’s not going to be a happy-ever-after type scenario so I knew heartache was just around the corner.

Robert was afraid of turning into his father but unfortunately that’s exactly what happened. I hated how he treated Maya and by the end of the book I was really quite disgusted with him.

Joanna lost some points too as the story progressed. Maya clearly needed her to stand up for her, to fight the wealthy, powerful Harrison family to acknowledge her, but Joanna did the complete opposite. As a woman and a mother Joanna’s treatment of her daughter appalled me.

Matt is a sweetheart and while I was rooting for him and Maya, it all happened way too fast. It would have been more believable if their romance had stretched out for a month or two before becoming serious and before it came out in the open.

Overall though, this was a decent read; largely due to the excellent writing and interesting storyline. With a little bit of fleshing out I think this could be a very accomplished piece of work.

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars.

I received an advance copy of this book via Lola’s Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review. Many thanks to the author for the opportunity to read and review their work.

Elyse DouglasAbout the Author:
Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse grew up near the sea, roaming the beaches, reading and writing stories and poetry, receiving a degree in English Literature. She has enjoyed careers as an English teacher, an actress and a speech-language pathologist. Douglas has been a musician, a graphic designer and an equity trader.

Elyse Douglas, have completed seven novels: The Summer Diary, Christmas for Juliet, Wanting Rita, Christmas Ever After, The Christmas Town, The Christmas Diary and The Other Side of Summer.

You can find and contact Elyse here:
Website
Blog
Facebook
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Review: Miss Match by Laurelin McGee

miss matchTitle: Miss Match
Author: Laurelin McGee
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Welcome to the sexy, crazy, wildly unpredictable world of modern matchmaking, where fixing up strangers is part of the job—but falling in love is an occupational hazard…

He’s The Perfect Catch.

Blake Donovan is tall, handsome, rich, and successful—so why would a guy like him need a matchmaker? Andrea Dawson has no idea, but a job is a job. After being blackballed from a career in marketing, Andrea agreed to use her unique profiling skills to play matchmaker out of pure desperation. But when she meets her highly eligible—and particular—first client face to face, she wonders what she’s gotten herself into…

Is She His Perfect Match?

Blake knows exactly the kind of woman he’s looking for—and it’s the total opposite of Andrea. Though smart and undeniably sexy, she is simply too headstrong for a man who’s used to being in charge. Still, Blake’s blood pressure rises whenever she’s near him. How can he explain the smoldering attraction that sizzles between them? And how can Andrea deny she’s feeling it, too? Maybe, just maybe, they’ve finally met their match…

My Review:
I freaking LOVED this book, read it in two sittings. Amazing.

This is an exceptionally well-written book that sucked me right in and held my attention the whole way through.

Andy is a thoroughly captivating MC – intelligent but goofy, snarky yet sensitive. I warmed to her instantly. Blake, on the other hand, was a total douche at the start. First off, I thought he was going to be a rehash of Christian Grey, but thankfully he wasn’t. Phew! As the story progressed, and as Andy started to break through his tough exterior, we got to understand the man behind the persona.

It really was a mutual journey of self-discovery and as they got to know each other they learned so much about themselves.

This book’s biggest asset is the witty dialog and the hysterically funny scenes between Blake and Andy. It wasn’t just laugh-out-loud funny, it was roar-out-loud funny. At least it was for me! I actually had to get up out of bed at 3 am because I was convulsing so badly with the effort involved in trying NOT to laugh. My husband was stirring in the bed beside me and I knew he’d kill me if I woke him up because I was basically crying with laughter at a book. That’s how funny this book is. Seriously. Cue lots of drama, shoe throwing, tantrums, foot stomping etc. Loved it.

There are plenty of steamy scenes in this book and enough romance to keep readers engaged.

I also loved Andy’s skill set – as an experienced HR practitioner with a background in recruitment I could relate to the role she performed and the skills she brought to the table. Made it that little bit more interesting for me.

The plot doesn’t hold any major surprises, or twists and turns; it’s fairly predictable. The beauty is in the sublime execution of the story.

Overall this is a fantastic read. Strong character development, steady pacing, funny dialog and excellent writing. If you love a good Rom-Com then this is the book for you.

I received an ARC of this book via InkSlinger PR and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Know Your Heart by Tracey Alvarez

Know Your HeartTitle: Know Your Heart
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Series: Far North #2
Rating: 5 Stars
Genres: Contemporary Adult Romance

Links:

Blurb:
He is the one she couldn’t remember. She is the one he couldn’t forget…

After being unexpectedly kicked off a movie set, her part given to a younger actress, Savannah Payne flees to her holiday house in Bounty Bay. There, in her little hideaway managed for her by her older cousin, she’ll be able to lick her wounds privately, and prepare for an audition of a lifetime in L.A. Only her cousin has rented the place out to an old friend for the next month. A friend whose knowledge of the law means she has no easy way to evict her stop-the-heart sexy tenant. He tempts her, challenges her, and sees to the heart of who she is with knowing ice-blue eyes.

Glen Cooper has woken up and smelled the decaying roses. Working in his father’s law firm is murder on his creative heart. A month in New Zealand’s sub-tropical Far North without the distraction of family and work is what he needs to finally complete writing the book he’s worked on for years. He hadn’t anticipated the woman who’d haunted his university days arriving on his doorstep, demanding her house back. But the distraction of her close by must stop. With a literary agent’s deadline approaching, he has to ignore his growing attraction to Savannah or his dream may never become a reality.

Something about Glen stirs Savannah’s blood and the slippery memories of a quiet young man she glimpsed in the background of her tumultuous teenage years begin to return. But how can they make the sacrifice love requires when she has one foot out the door—ready to walk away from him a second time?

My Review:
Know Your Heart is another amazing read from Tracey Alvarez and I’m happy to bring you my review today as it’s the official publication date. Happy Release Day Tracey 🙂

This book really appealed to my creative side as both leads are involved in the arts.

Savannah Payne is an accomplished actress who is going through a bit of a rough patch. Having lost a coveted part in favour of a younger model, she decides to lick her wounds at her newly-acquired holiday home in Bounty Bay. It’s only when she arrives that she remembers her cousin Nate has already rented the place to one of his old college buddies.

Glen Cooper was pushed into the family law practice though it’s not what his heart craves. At this point he is fed up with his life. A literary agent has expressed interest in a work of fiction he’s been penning for a few years so he takes time out of the rat race to focus on completing the book, in the hopes of pursuing his dream as a full-time writer. Now, I can totally empathise because I recently made a similar decision myself, so I was intrigued to read this story.

Glen is an obnoxious ass at the start and I really didn’t like his attitude towards his landlady. I was totally Team Sav. But as the story unfolds we learn there is history between the two, although Sav doesn’t actually remember. I quickly got on board the Team Glav train, and by the midway point I was rooting for them as a couple.

The addition of Glen’s teenage nephew Tom added depth to the story and how both mains related to him was heart-warming. Tom is dealing with self-confidence issues in part due to a fragile relationship with his father and the consequence of his parents recent separation. I enjoyed his character enormously.

We also catch glimpses of Lauren, Nate and Drew who featured in the first Far North series and I love when series do this. It’s always great to catch up with other familiar characters.

As is typical of Tracey’s writing style, both main characters are complex, with their fair share of flaws, though they experience personal growth as the story develops. Beautifully crafted. Fantastic dialog between them as well, with plenty of humour, and a healthy dose of romantic moments.

There is absolutely nothing I can fault in this book. I loved all of it – the writing, world building, characterisation, plot and pacing.

In summary: Another captivating read from the very talented Tracey Alvarez.

This review will feature on my blog on release day. http://myyanabookobsession.com

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Hide your Heart (Far North #1) by Tracey Alvarez

Hide Your Heart TA

Title: Hide Your Heart
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Series: Far North
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genres: Contemporary Adult Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Love will bring them together. Distrust will tear them apart…

Alexandra Lauren Knight has reinvented herself in the safety of her rural New Zealand hometown to become Lauren Taylor. She’s cut all ties with her past as a former model whose ex-husband turned out to be ruthless in both the boardroom and the bedroom. While Alexandra allowed other’s expectations to propel her into the spotlight, Lauren prefers the safety of anonymity; restoring classic cars with her brother, and snuggling with her four-year-old son.

Nate Fraser, a burned-out photojournalist, plans to fix up the property next door to Lauren and sell it as a celebrity retreat. Always on the move, Nate is only comfortable with short-term assignments and even shorter-term relationships. But it’s not just his buyer’s tight deadline or that the restoration is far beyond his expertise which turns a short-term project into an ordeal. Nate’s plan of travelling the globe is in jeopardy—created by the intensity of his growing feelings for Lauren and her little boy.

As the sparks of passion ignite between them it reawakens Nate’s long forgotten dream of having a home and family. Lauren must find a way to trust Nate not only with her secrets, but with her heart—before her safe haven is exposed and she can no longer hide in the shadows.

My Review:

This is book one in Tracey’s new Far North series and as a massive fan of her Due South series I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this book.

Hide Your Heart tells the story of Lauren and Nate. Lauren is an ex-model hiding from a troubled, dark past. She will do everything to protect her young son Drew, including ignoring her growing attraction to hot newcomer Nate.

Nate is a photojournalist who has purchased the nearby house as an investment. Taking time out from his busy career, he plans on fixing up the house and selling it to a developer who intends to use it as a celebrity retreat.

Lauren, naturally, isn’t happy about his plans as she is desperately trying to shield herself and her son from that world. As their paths intertwine, she finds it harder and harder to deny her feelings for him. The attraction is mutual and Nate is also trying to avoid giving into his heart. Nate’s plan for the future is to travel the world taking photos and he has never entertained notions of tying himself down. Until Lauren.

As the story progresses both Lauren and Nate are on a journey of self-discovery. Learning to trust in themselves and each other is a challenge they embark on together.

This book is written in Tracey’s usual enthralling style and the words flow beautifully on the page. The setting is again a small rural community but it’s evocative and visual and I found myself wishing I lived there. Sigh  🙂 The characters are complex and well written and I was definitely rooting for Lauren the whole way through. Her son Drew is an adorable character and so desperately in need of a father-figure. I was hoping that Nate wouldn’t let him down.

The only slight issue I had with this book was I felt the pacing was a little slow in the first third. However, thereafter I was drawn in and it galloped along at a great pace.

If you are a fan of Tracey Alvarez’ Due South series, or you like well-written contemporary adult romance, then I highly recommend this book.