Review: Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid

Beauty and the Mustache
Series: Knitting in the City, #5; Winston Brothers, #0.5
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: December 1, 2014
Publisher: Caped Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Humor

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

There are three things you need to know about Ashley Winston: 1) She has six brothers and they all have beards, 2) She is a reader, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Former beauty queen, Ashley Winston’s preferred coping strategy is escapism. She escaped her Tennessee small town, loathsome father, and six brothers eight years ago. Now she escapes life daily via her Amazon kindle one-click addiction. However, when a family tragedy forces her to return home, Ashley can’t escape the notice of Drew Runous— local Game Warden, bear wrestler, philosopher, and everyone’s favorite guy. Drew’s irksome philosophizing in particular makes Ashley want to run for the skyscrapers, especially since he can’t seem to keep his exasperating opinions— or his soulful poetry, steadfast support, and delightful hands— to himself. Pretty soon the girl who wanted nothing more than the escape of the big city finds she’s lost her heart in small town Tennessee.

This is a full-length novel, can be read as a standalone, and is the fourth book in the ‘Knitting in the City’ series.


Beauty and the Mustache is pretty much the reason I began reading the Knitting in the City series. I’ve wanted to read this book since I started the Winston Brothers series earlier this year. Since it was a part of another series, I felt like I wanted to read the books in that series in order as well.

So far, Beauty and the Mustache is my favorite book in the Knitting in the City series. There are several reasons for that:

  1. It crosses Knitting in the City and Winston Brothers characters. I love how quirky everyone is, and how well they combined into one story.
  2. I got to hear about those devilish Winston boys growing up straight from one of their own. I loved how Ashley got to experience them as if for the first time.
  3. Mama Winston.
  4. The knitting girls.
  5. Stoic Drew. That guy was the glue that held the Winston family together when they needed it most. He would have done anything for them — especially Ashley.
  6. I finally got to know Ashley and Drew’s story. I knew how in love they were and how perfect for each other they seemed, but I didn’t know how they ended up together. I loved every moment of their journey together!

I’m so happy I got to know Ashley first through her friends’ eyes and now on her own. She was a special character, and her story was so much fun to read.

Review: Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

Killman Creek
Series: Stillhouse Lake, #2
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.


Killman Creek was one of my most anticipated releases of the winter. The end of Stillhouse Lake promised the mystery and suspense would go on. I couldn’t wait to find out what was next for Gwen, her children, Sam and Melvin.

Tension ran high in Killman Creek. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, and slightly uncomfortable the entire time waiting for something horrible to happen. I feared for all of the characters. My fears didn’t stop me from reading this gem of a thriller, though. I couldn’t put Killman Creek down. It was just as fast paced as Stillhouse Lake, but the stakes were higher. Rachel Caine kept the twists and turns coming right up until the very end.

One of my favorite things about Killman Creek was how the relationships between the characters were constantly changing. No one was ever one hundred percent sure about anyone. The relationships really helped drive the story, especially the slightly awkward relationship between Sam and Gwen.

Killman Creek was the perfect follow-up, and a stand out thriller all on its own. I absolutely loved it. If you loved Stillhouse Lake, this book will exceed your expectations. Be ready for some surprises!

Mini Reviews: The Law of Moses and The Song of David by Amy Harmon

The Law of Moses
Series: The Law of Moses, #1
Author: Amy Harmon
Publication Date: November 27, 2014
Publisher: Amy Harmon
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Paranormal

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.


The only way to describe Amy Harmon’s writing is the word beautiful. Everything about it is beautiful. The way she puts words together is so dang gorgeous. The stories she crafts with those words are just as beautiful. I’m always amazed at how brilliant and touching her words and stories are.

That’s exactly how I felt when reading The Law of Moses. I was constantly amazed. The book wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I could see some of the plot coming, but there were also moments when I was shocked.

Moses was definitely “a law unto himself”. I wasn’t always happy with him, but he amazed me. Same with Georgia. She was a fire that couldn’t be put out. She had spunk and grit. Their love for each other was raw and unconditional. Their story wasn’t easy, but it was magical.

I loved every moment of reading this book. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it.



The Song of David
Series: The Law of Moses, #2
Author: Amy Harmon
Publication Date: June 13, 2015
Publisher: Amy Harmon
Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Rating:★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

She said I was like a song. Her favorite song. A song isn’t something you can see. It’s something you feel, something you move to, something that disappears after the last note is played.

I won my first fight when I was eleven years old, and I’ve been throwing punches ever since. Fighting is the purest, truest, most elemental thing there is. Some people describe heaven as a sea of unending white. Where choirs sing and loved ones await. But for me, heaven was something else. It sounded like the bell at the beginning of a round, it tasted like adrenaline, it burned like sweat in my eyes and fire in my belly. It looked like the blur of screaming crowds and an opponent who wanted my blood.

For me, heaven was the octagon.

Until I met Millie, and heaven became something different. I became something different. I knew I loved her when I watched her stand perfectly still in the middle of a crowded room, people swarming, buzzing, slipping around her, her straight dancer’s posture unyielding, her chin high, her hands loose at her sides. No one seemed to see her at all, except for the few who squeezed past her, tossing exasperated looks at her unsmiling face. When they realized she wasn’t normal, they hurried away. Why was it that no one saw her, yet she was the first thing I saw?

If heaven was the octagon, then she was my angel at the center of it all, the girl with the power to take me down and lift me up again. The girl I wanted to fight for, the girl I wanted to claim. The girl who taught me that sometimes the biggest heroes go unsung and the most important battles are the ones we don’t think we can win.


Once again, Amy Harmon has surprised me. The Song of David wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It’s narrated partly by Moses with David telling some of his own story from afar. At first, I wasn’t so sure about this set up. Once I got into the story, I found I really loved it. In fact, I loved the entire story. The way David tells about falling in love with Millie and everything they went through was so special.

I loved the way Moses added to the story. He brought a completely different aspect to it. His was a connection to David by friendship. Their relationship was tight and special. His emotions made the story even more special.

Everything about this book was just so good…until the end. At the end, I felt like I had missed something big. I needed one more piece of information that I didn’t get. That’s okay, though. I still loved The Song of David. Anyone who has read The Law of Moses will love getting to know David better.

Review: Lovers Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Lovers Like Us
Series: Like Us, #2
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene lives by his All Postsactions, and his actions say he’s the best at whatever he does. As a 24/7 bodyguard and the new boyfriend to Maximoff Hale, protecting the headstrong, alpha billionaire has never been more complicated. And one rule can’t be bent:

Keep your relationship secret from the public.

Farrow is confident he’s the best man for the job. But a twist in Maximoff’s fast-paced life sticks them with the rest of Security Force Omega and their clients.

On the road.
In a sleeper tour bus.
For four rocky months.

Sexual frustrations, check. Road trip drama, check. Awkward bonding, check.

But Farrow couldn’t have accounted for a high-risk threat (identity: unknown) that targets Maximoff before the ignition even turns. And it hits Farrow — someone has it out for the guy he loves.

Every day, Maximoff & Farrow’s feelings grow stronger, and together, they’ll either sink or swim.

The Like Us series is a true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people that protect them. You must read Damaged Like Us, Book 1, before reading Lovers Like Us.


After the big bombshell in Damaged Like Us, I was wondering where Lovers Like Us would go. I knew we would get lots of Moffy and Farrow time, but I wasn’t sure how their relationship was going to change things between the Hale – Colbalt – Meadows clan. I also wasn’t sure how they were going to be able to keep their relationship a secret from the media. Lovers Like Us answered all of the questions I had. It also made me an even bigger fan of Moffy and Farrow’s relationship.

Moffy has always seemed mature for his age, but he truly grew up in this book. I felt like he gained a deeper understanding of his siblings’ and cousins’ feelings. He also grew to understand Farrow better. I liked how he handled all the situations thrown his way.

Farrow was strong and steady. He was good at being himself. I liked that he didn’t back down from a fight or give into anything that would compromise his beliefs.

My favorite thing about Lovers Like Us was that it showed a real progression in Moffy and Farrow’s relationship. I got to see some ups and some downs, and how their relationship only grew stronger because of them. I was sad when the book ended because I loved where things were for them, and didn’t want to wait to find out what comes next.

I can’t end this review without talking about some of the other family members. I want books for all of them, but I desperately need books for both Jane and Charlie. Jane because I love her and she deserves more than she’s got so far. Charlie because I kind of hate him right now, and I need to understand him better. I also need him to meet his match.

Lovers Like Us took the Like Us series exactly where I wanted it to go. I enjoyed reading this book so much. If you’re a fan of Hale, Meadows, and Cobalts, you’ll love it!

 

Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.


Genuine Fraud was an interesting tale. E. Lockhart continued to give the reader the unexpected with it. Genuine Fraud began in the present and each chapter went back in time. The effect was that I felt like I was reading the story backward. The story continued that way all the way until almost the end. It made for a great guessing game. Each chapter divulged just enough to make me keep reading.

I have to admit that I got a bit bored in the middle of the book. I think it’s because I was frustrated. I just wanted to know what the deal was with Jule and Imogen! Once I got to that part, the story flew again for me. I loved the ending, and thought it was very clever.

Overall, Genuine Fraud was a fun read. It was a darker read, but light at the same time. It had great foreshadowing and a cool set up. It was the perfect book to read on my vacation.

Review: Bountiful by Sarina Bowen

Bountiful
Series: True North, #4
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: October 20, 2017
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Note: I received an ARC from Nina Bocci PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.


Oh my goodness! If you’re a fan of Sarina Bowen, you’re in for a treat. Bountiful is amazing! It has everything I have loved from past True North novels. There’s Sarina Bowen’s outstanding writing, the beautiful Vermont setting, the Shipleys and their farm, and the Mountain Goat bar just to name a few. Most importantly, there’s Zara.

I’ve been waiting for Zara’s story since I met her in Bittersweet. I finally get the tough bartender’s story, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect one! Sarina Bowen gave us something so cool. Not only was Bountiful True North novel, but it was a crossover with her Brooklyn Bruisers series!

If you’re like me, you might not have remembered Dave Beringer all that much from the Brooklyn Bruisers books. You’re going to love him!!! He’s got that hot hockey player thing going for him, plus a whole lot more. Sarina Bowen couldn’t have come up with a better match for a woman like Zara who is determined to make it on her own.

The whole book was just so sweet. I loved the accidental pregnancy and the way it shaped Zara and Dave’s lives. Their moments with their daughter, Nicole, made me so happy. I couldn’t get enough of Bountiful. I’m sorry I’m finished with it because I really want more of it! Guess I’ll just be sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for the next True North or Brooklyn Bruisers novel. Can I get a Benito book? Or one about Bess and Castro?

Review: Always You by Denise Grover Swank

Always You
Series: Bachelor Brotherhood, #3
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Publication Date: November 28, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Matt Osborne had always planned to get married and have a family. But at thirty-four, he’s no closer to his goal, so he’s decided to embrace his role as the remaining member of the Bachelor Brotherhood. He’s only loved one woman-his college sweetheart-but she never shared his dream of a family, preferring to focus on her career and maybe get married someday. With neither budged on their decisions, they agreed it was best to part ways. Now nearly twelve years later, Matt is stunned when Anna shows up at his nephew’s soccer practice-with her five-year-old son in tow.

Single mother Anna Field has returned home to care for her widowed and ill father. She never thought she’d run into Matt during the six months she’s there, but now he’s the coach of her son’s soccer team. She’d move Toby to a different team, but his new best friend happens to be Matt’s nephew, Ethan. As Anna and Matt spend more time together, the realize that their attraction-and love-are still there, just waiting for a spark to reignite. And once it’s lit, Matt has no plans to let her go again.


Always You was just too cute! Matt and Anna were college sweethearts. When graduation time came, Matt was ready to settle down with Anna. Anna, unfortunately, had a job opportunity in London. Both were devastated by their break up. Flash forward twelve years, and Matt’s a single “dad” and soccer coach to his nephew. When Anna’s son ends up being Matt’s nephew’s new best friend and on their soccer team, Matt and Anna has to deal with seeing each other again after all those years.

Matt Osborne was the star of this book. He was such a stand up guy, and an all around great human being. I appreciated the lengths he would go to in order to make life easier for his nephew. I also appreciated the way he dealt with Anna’s son. I think I enjoyed his character so much because his parenting skills reminded me of my husband’s.

Anna was a great character, too. She was a single mom who had been through some rough times, but made the best out of everything. I loved how she loved her son. She and Matt had a lot in common when it came to parenting. They also brightened up each other’s days.

My favorite part of this book had to be the Chuck E. Cheese scene. Chuck E. Cheese is out of my parenting nightmares. I just can’t handle it. Always You didn’t make me want to go there (The characters didn’t even want to go there), but it did bring me to laugh my head off. Just that scene would have made reading this book worth it if I hadn’t liked it.

The one thing I would have changed about Always You if I wrote it was how quickly Matt and Anna were back together. It seemed very rushed to me. I would have liked more time for them to figure out where they stood as a couple together and on their own.

Always You was a great ending to the Bachelor Brotherhood series. This second chance romance had sparks flying everywhere.