Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Living Love (The Ivyhurst Series, Book #1) by Ava Bleu

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Living Love (The IvyHurst Series, Book #1) by Ava Bleu
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Kim and Christopher Jenkins are getting on each other’s nerves. They love their daughter and their hometown of Ivyhurst but their family vision is a little off track. Kim wants a home like the ones she sees on cable DIY shows. Chris wants to work more than be at home with his family. And despite the fact that they both hold down jobs, they can’t seem to make ends meet. 
Now their hometown of Ivyhurst is showing signs of stress, too. Which begs the question, what does a loving marriage look like when the realities of life set in? 

Living Love is the prequel and introduction to the Ivyhurst Series of novellas which takes readers into the love, happiness, and angst of the erstwhile Ivyhurst residents. 

The Ivyhurst Series 
The novellas in The Ivyhurst Series are standalone, sweet romances as much about the love of the community as love between the couples. While each story is complete, they are much more enjoyable—and make more sense—when read in order. 
The author is a stellar writer, grabbing the reader immediately with her delicate and thoughtful prose. The novella comes off like a sampler rather than a short story, although it’s well written. It works for the author’s goal of creating a series—but it left this reader wanting for more. 

Kim and Chris married young, after Kim unexpectedly gets pregnant while in college.Even all these years later, with a now teen aged daughter, the pair are just as in love as they once were. The couple is financially strapped, and it appears their financial woes are taking a toll on their relationship—but compromise appears to be their saving grace.

However, it seems Chris is doing most of the compromising in the finance area. Kim wants a house, and she wants an extravagant house to boot. They can’t afford it, but it doesn’t stop Kim from signing them for house tours, regularly—much to her husband’s chagrin.

It causes strife in their relationship and speaks to Kim’s selfishness. The author does a good job of putting these characteristics to the forefront in a short time. She does a great job of introducing the characters to the reader, but leaves you dangling once you get to the meat of the story. 

I’m definitely intrigued to read more, and I want to know what becomes of the couple—so, in that regard, mission achieved by the author. I just wanted more, needed more, to appreciate the writing, and the story for what it’s worth.

Hopefully, the next book is longer or rolls right into book three, if it’s a serial.

Otherwise well done.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Two Nights in Paris (A Brooks Family Novel, #5 by Delaney Diamond: Black Men in Paris Speaking French? Yes, please.

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Two Nights In Paris A Brooks Family Novel, #5) by Delaney Diamond
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wo nights. One undeniable attraction. 

To prove to his mother that he can be responsible, Stephan Brooks takes a job at her firm and promises to be a better son. But one glimpse of Roselle Parker, her up-and-coming protégé, and all his good intentions disappear. All he has to do is conduct himself in a professional manner, but a trip to Paris with Roselle proves too big of a temptation. 

Roselle knows Stephan Brooks is nothing but trouble. She’s heard the stories, and her brief contact with him confirms they’re all true. But two nights in Paris and her inhibitions crumble beneath his seductive touch. They plan to leave what happened in Paris, in Paris. But the best-laid plans often go awry. 

I haven’t read all the Brook’s Family books, yet. However, this will probably be my favorite. I discovered an emotional side to Delaney, that I feel like I haven’t gotten previously. I’m just an emotion chasing whore, so this is no fault of the author—but this book had an emotional depth that kept me engaged and yearning for what came next.

Roselle is a fashion designer at SJ Fashions, and her role there is one of her greatest joys. She started off under the wing of the matriarch of the Brooks family, and she’s now in charge of two of the lines the family manages. Things are going well. Her aunt is at a nursing home being cared for, and with weekly visits—all is well on the home front.

Stephan is an international playboy—playing with women, love, and life. He’s not tied down to anything, and he’s constantly in trouble. Sylvie has had enough of Stephan, after bailing him out of jail for the last time, she threatens to cut him off, if he doesn’t fix his act. That means no inheritance, nothing, until she feels he’s ready to have it, if ever. 

Agreeing to her terms, Stephan goes to work for his mother. It’s there that he meets Roselle, and though he wants to resist her—he can’t, and it’s on a two-day trip to Paris that his life changes.

Let me tell ya'll, the trip to Paris is by far the best part of the book, but I am bias. There’s something about Paris that I’m drawn to. I hope to get there one day. Anyway, I digress. Stephan and Roselle together in sweet Paris was so dreamy. A black man speaking French does a thing to me. I need to experience this live and in color. I deserve. 

The book as I mentioned is very substantial in the emotion department and I enjoyed that. The romance between Stephan and Roselle are what makes romance books my absolute favorite genre. Readers will enjoy the emotional depth of the book, along with the humor, and the romance found on every single page. The detail and the banter is tres magnifique. 

The family dynamic is strong and the characters are multidimensional. A solid story with a solid romance, a new fave

Monday, July 29, 2019

Extra, Extra (A Romance Novella) Chris Stevens

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Extra Extra
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Lamont Carter is a workaholic journalist who rarely has time for anything other than the next breaking story.

Chantelle Ingram is a dancer, a dreamer, and a recent divorcee fresh out of a bad marriage. When Chantelle moves into Lamont's building, they literally run into each other and the sparks begin to fly. But will their busy lives, internal issues and a jealous ex stop the presses altogether?

Extra, Extra is a low-key romance, with very little bells and whistles. It stayed low drama until the very end where the climax rose and fell just as quickly as it started. 

Lamont is the owner of the 302 Tribune, a black-culture-focused newspaper in the throes of its beginning but is quickly gaining traction and celebrity. The paper has a small but reliable staff, with an elder gentleman acting as the editor, and acting father to our MC, Lamont. 

In the very building that houses the Tribune, is where the love-interest, Chantelle is now working. Newly hired as the property manager, Chantelle meets Lamont when her father crashes into him mistakenly while moving in. The chance encounter brings the two together in an organic, low-pressure way.

What works for the book is at its length low angst is best. Too much drama and emotion would have required more time. Even though the book is short, the romance doesn’t feel like instant-love, though the romance comes on fast. 

There’s enough back story on both characters to get the reader invested enough to care about the story they’re reading. 

It’s a cutesy, but not overly cute, simple contemporary romance that will whet the appetite of romance readers, while staying low key, and not doing too much. It is a quick read that’s a perfect filler, for a slow day, at just $0.99.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Keeping Promises (Book, #1 of the Promises Series) by C. E. Benson Release Day Review!

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Keeping Promises (Book, #1 of the Promises Series) by C.E. Benson
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I loved Jason. And he loved me back. That should have been enough. But some promises are just too hard to keep.

 3 out of 5 stars
I think I’ve said this a thousand times but I love a good emotional read. I’m all about the angst and drama in my romance novels—and this book has it by the droves.

Keeping Promises is a heavy-handed introduction to a romance series that will rattle your emotional cages and take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. What it does so well with writing and portraying an emotionally deep story, it lacked in the plot.

Kamry has been in love with Jason since she could remember. She doesn’t remember a time when they weren’t together. The backstory that explains the way they fell in love is a romance ripped from dreams.
Jason is a dream until he isn’t. Emotions and lack of consideration tear the two apart until they meet again five years later. Emotions are still as high—and the love between the two is just as strong. The only difference is Kamry—who is not the same emotionally dependent teen she once was. And Jason’s smiles and perfectly timed words won’t be enough to convince her anymore.

What I really enjoyed about this story is how the author played on the emotions of the characters and the reader at the same time. She digs deep into the hearts of the characters and shows the dependency and the love the characters share, from such a young age.

The book reads well overall, and the writing is great. However, I would have liked to spend more time with future Kamry and Jason, the people they are now. I wanted to see how they’ve changed, and what becomes of their relationship, now that they’re both adults, as friends and as lovers. I wanted to feel the conflict, but the resolution is swift and complete—leaving this reader wanton. 

I am interested to see where the author takes the story as a series. Hopefully, we’ll get a cameo from Kam and Jason in future books. The second book focuses on the best friends that play a brief but seemingly significant role in Jason and Kam’s story. There’s more to Jason and Kamry’s story and I would like to see it.