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Bradford Reviews!

Review, Better Late Than Never

Sealed with a Kiss (Emerald Lake Billionaires Book 1) - Leeanna Morgan

This story starts off kind of similar to "Sleepless in Seattle" in that the daughter mails a letter to Rachel's Bride's Maids Club to ask that they help find a wife for her daddy. She doesn't leave a last name or any other way to get in touch with her, but Rachel figures it out when Bella comes into the classroom she's subbing for. After that, we depart from the light hearted RomCom.

 

We get glimpses that there is something much more serious going on in John's life. There is a reason he's so protective of his daughter, and even though it takes Rachel a while to catch on, she only wants Bella to be happy. I love that she doesn't just cave to everything that John tells her to do. She tries to be helpful, even if it's a little outside of his comfort zone.

 

These two fight the attraction for as long as they can in an effort to protect themselves, each other, and Bella. After a blow up, where John says lots of mean things and fires Rachel, we have a PG-13 make up closed door scene. And it's all downhill from there. Which is what usually happens in romance novels. However, I appreciate that the split up after sex isn't because of something stupid like they didn't talk. Rachel asks John straight up what it meant, how he feels, and he just can't man up to his own feelings. That feels like a natural situation to me.

 

Anyway, we eventually get our HEA, although it kind of felt rushed to me for some reason.

 

I give SEALed with a Kiss a 4, with a PG-13 rating.

 

1-5 scale and what it means:

1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad

2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing

3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive

3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love

4: Solid mind candy / worth reading

4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read

5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

 

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:

Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"

PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door

PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.

 R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot

Another Clean getaway to Echo Ridge

Silver Screen Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology (Echo Ridge Romance Book 3) - Lucy McConnell, Heather Tullis, Rachelle J. Christensen, Cami Checketts, Janette Rallison

Silver Screen Kisses is another anthology set in Echo Ridge, New York. This go around, the gals decided to do a romantic comedy movie theme. Each story is loosely based on one of their favorites, but don't worry, there are plenty of surprises.

 

You’ve Got Email by Heather Tullis

Brett is such a sweetie! I don’t know if I’ve ever watched the movie You’ve Got Mail, but I enjoyed this story between two people who have developed a relationship online. They’ve been attracted to each other in real life too, but always stayed apart out of shyness, or something. Anyway, I really liked how Brett handled the situation when the time came to meet and everything fell apart. Wise man!

 

The Princess Bride of Riodan by Rachelle J Christensen

Another swoon worthy story. Elise is so cute and quirky with her non-stop talking. She’s honest to a fault and in the end that’s what saves her heart. Wes is the island god who steals her heart without even trying. I loved the characters and how they fit into the classic royal falls in love with commoner, feels betrayed by something, but all is right in the end trope. I loved that Christensen had them go watch Roman Holiday. That movie does not end well for the romantic of heart! It makes the bumbles and worries all the more pertinent to Elise’s situation.

 

My Best Man’s Wedding by Cami Checketts

Ah, finally we get Jessica and Gentry’s story. They’ve been around since the beginning of the Echo Ridge collections, and I was even happier to see they were meant for each other. Jessica’s best friend is getting married after a 2 week engagement and she’s determined to save him from it. For herself. Gentry sees his chance to get as close as possible to the woman who stole his heart, and hopefully convince her they belong together. I love Jessica’s confusion as the story progresses. Being a “change is hard” kind of person myself, I understand how someone can hold onto an idea for years with no basis in it being real or right. The end and the scramble to right everything is my absolute favorite part of the story.

 

While You Were Skiing by Lucy McConnell

Okay, While You Were Sleeping is one of my favorite Rom Coms. I loved the way McConnell twisted this one around a bit. Mia is sweet and loving, Ryder every bit as swoon worthy as she thinks. I loved how she referred to him as her Black Dimond man and all that implied. Both have good hearts and they just needed a chance to get together. Two rambunctious boys are just the ticket they need. Favorite part? Leaning. :) Whoo!

 

Getting lost in Echo Ridge was a great way to spend my weekend! I give the entire collection a 4.5 and clean rating.

 

1-5 scale and what it means:

1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad

2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing

3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive

3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love

4: Solid mind candy / worth reading

4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read

5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

 

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:

Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"

PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door

PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.

R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot

 

Good, clean, and a bit frustrating all together

Wedding Bands (River's Sigh B & B, # 1) - Bishop Ev

I'll write a better review soon, just wanted to say yay for another clean romance! There were some things that were frustrating about this read, but I like this author and even purchased the next book in the series. 

Good Suspense

SEALed With Love - Heather Tullis

I enjoyed book 2 in the DiCarlo Brides series even more than book one. We already know the sisters, so Tullis was able to put more into Sage and Joel's story, as well as the suspense elements. I also liked the way we got glimpses of what might be coming in book 3 with Lana and Blake's story, as well as seeing Cami and Vince continuing their journey.

 

Sage is a very lovable character. She's strong while being feminine and kind to everyone around her. I have to imagine it could be paralyzing knowing that your stalker has followed you thousands of miles, but she manages to keep going to work, to keep living her life the best she can. I love that as scared as she gets, her main concern is protecting her family.

 

Joel is all guy. He's so into the protect but don't fall in love mode of thought that he doesn't even realize how important Sage is to him. I actually like that he's an honorable man that has to be dragged (almost) into the relationship. However, once he catches on, he's going to do everything he can to make Sage happy as well as keep her safe. I loved the conversation between him and Harrison where Joel still thinks Sage will move on without him after the stalker is caught. To me, this was one of those moments where you could see true love. He wanted to be with Sage always, but he was willing to let her walk away if that would make her happy. Silly man! How can a woman resist a hero?

 

This is a clean (I guess technically PG on my scale) read with closed door scenes, and I give it a solid 4.

 

1-5 scale and what it means:

1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad

2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing

3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive

3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love

4: Solid mind candy / worth reading

4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read

5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

 

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:

Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"

PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door

PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.

R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot

Really Short, I mean like a 30 minute read

The Disenchanted One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance - Daniel Banner, Lucy McConnell, Jeanette Evans Lewis, Cami Checketts

It's no secret that I'm a Cami Checketts fan. This story was just as well written and cute as the others, but I felt a little cheated that it was so short. Maybe I missed something somewhere? Maybe this is a sequel to another story where we see more of Marissa and Byron's bumpy road to happily ever after?

 

It felt a little fast--she's angry at him and hurt that he'll never be a keeper, then they are locked in a kiss, then she's mad, then he's there again and it's over. That's probably just because the book is so short. Seriously, everything happens in one day. But, as I said, it's trademark good writing from Checketts with emotions that make sense and have a real life reasoning behind them. It's just on rocket boosters. :)

 

I give it a 4, and is a clean read. 

 

 

1-5 scale and what it means:

1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad

2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing

3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive

3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love

4: Solid mind candy / worth reading

4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read

5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

 

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:

Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"

PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door

PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.

 R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot

Super short, but sweet read

Pastels and Jingle Bells - Christine S. Feldman

I was sad when this story ended. Part of me wishes the author had stretched it out to a full length novel, but then again, maybe I liked it because it was so short. Who knows!

 

Anyway, I really enjoyed the idea of a woman who was teased/bullied in school running into that guy later in life. Her plan to tell him off was entertaining, but what I really liked was the theme that came through loud and clear without being beat over the head with it. People change, and you never know what they are going through unless you give them a chance. Trish finds that her tormenter's life wasn't all roses when he was young. Plus, he had liked her but didn't know what to do with those emotions. Trish thought she'd never get the chance to stand up to Ian Rafferty after disappeared rather abruptly from her life.

 

I love the irony of the fact Ian's daughter is being bullied and Trish steps in to help. Everything about this story was cute and fun. And clean to boot!

 

This gets a 4 Clean rating.

 

1-5 scale and what it means:

1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad

2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing

3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive

3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love

4: Solid mind candy / worth reading

4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read

5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

 

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:

Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"

PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door

PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.

 R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot

 

Could have been a cute story?

Aloha, Baby! ~ a prequel novella (The Escape Series Book 0) - Ann Omasta

I'm not going to rate this one because of certain things. One, I know how much time, effort, and self an author puts into a book (at least I hope everyone spends as much time as I do). Second, this is written in present tense which is one of my pet peeves. It just doesn't work for me.

 

Okay, the story itself has potential. However, I never felt connected to the characters and I felt like this was someone's outline draft for a book. It was all telling, no show. I wanted to like the characters and I wanted to feel something. Even though I finished it, I was left feeling disappointed and like I had wasted my time. 

 

There was a sex scene I skipped. If I were to rate, I'd give a 3 on my scale with a PG-13 to R movie rating for the one scene. 

 

1-5 scale and what it means:

1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad

2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing

3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive

3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love

4: Solid mind candy / worth reading

4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read

5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

 

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:

Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"

PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door

PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.

 R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot, on screen sex with details

Fast paced with lots of laughs

New Year's Resolution: One To Keep (River's Sigh B & B) - Bishop Ev

Ha! I love a romance that's filled with humor. We start off with Sophie and Jesse in the same bar sitting alone and toasting themselves for deciding to be single forever. They've both had too much too drink, and even though neither of them are casual one night stand kind of people they try. And they both chicken out. I really liked that. 

 

They spend the next few days getting to know each other, riding quite the roller coaster of attraction and irritation with each other. There's a lot of baggage for them to work through, but I felt the story line flowed smoothly and believably. 

 

You'll find Sophie refreshingly honest, even when she's confused about her own emotions. Jesse is alternately sweet and frustratingly "man" when he's trying to figure out his own deal. 

 

The only character that confused me in this story was Stella. She started off nice and then had a night of total witchery if you know what I mean. It was the classic "I like him so I'm going to sabotage you" routine and it was so obvious I don't think Sophie should have fallen for it. 

 

Anyway, I'd give this a movie rating between PG-13. They don't, but there's foreplay that's more than PG. The story itself gets a solid 4 from me. 

 

1-5 scale and what it means:

1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad

2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing

3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive

3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love

4: Solid mind candy / worth reading

4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read

5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

 

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:

Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"

PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door

PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door. 

R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot

Want a little magic with your romance?

Batter Up - Robyn Neeley

This was a fun read with a little magical baking thrown in. The fantasy element gave a nice little twist and made for some good laughs. 

 

Emma's been hosting Batter Up night for a couple years now, continuing her grandmother's tradition of nudging bachelors toward their true love with a little magic cake batter. Too bad the magic only gives the names of men's sweethearts and not women. Emma's cousin Abby keeps trying though, and she pulls a "J" out of the batter for Emma.

 

Jason is a journalists who's spent too much time on the down and dirty crime beat of Miami. A detour to Buttermilk Falls to expose a con-artist in a bakeshop sounds like a great diversion. Little does he know how this trip will change his life and his heart.

 

I really enjoyed the chemistry and the snarkiness between these two as they fought it out and gave in to their attraction. 

 

Rating--PG-13. All sex is closed door, but there is quite a bit of talk about it. 

Good story, PG-13

Unexpected Gifts - Elena Aitken

This story had lots of great moments. Andi's pain is believable, and yet it has been long enough that she's ready to move on and experience love again. Even if she didn't know it. I loved how Colin wanted to help her enjoy Christmas again as well. However, like one of the last books I read, I wish he had decked the ex when he had the chance.

 

Note for cautious readers:

Although they never did the deed, clothes came off at one point. I only had to skip half a page to get pack to the story though. 

 

1-5 scale and what it means:

1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad

2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing

3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive

3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love

4: Solid mind candy / worth reading

4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read

5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

60% Clean

Too Darn Hot - Pamela Burford

I enjoyed this story and the chemistry between the characters. However, for those looking for clean reads, this isn't it. :( After the first 65% there was a lot to skip to get back to the story if you know what I mean. It's too bad really because it was a good story.

Free Book Pile Up

I got a ton of free books the first week of January as a result of entering a Christmas contest. Although it's exciting on the surface, I'm a bit nervous about some of them. Since they are all new to me authors, I'm not sure how clean these romances will be. Some of the covers are a bit over the top.

 

But, they were free so I'm going to give them a try. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish some of them to review. ;)

 

List:

To Darn Hot

The Paramedic's Rescue

The M.L. Buchman Starter Kit (5 story set)

Pastels and Jingle Bells

Melting Into You

Winter Wedding in Pajaro Bay

Waffles and Weddings

Aloha, Baby!

The Disenchanted One

One to Keep

Love on the Rocks

Returning to Valentine's

Saving Lord Whitton's Daughter

Cupid's Coffeeshop (4 book set)

Blue Eyes

Batter Up

Diamond Rings are Deadly Things

Unexpected Gifts

The Healer (3 book set)

Summer at Sea

Some Like it Hot (boxed set)

Book 2 in my series is coming in September!

Dawn of the Mages - Charity Bradford

You'll see that I didn't rate this book, however, I love it dearly. This is book two in the MAGIC WAKES series. It begins to answer many of the questions left unanswered at the end of the first book and leads us to the next stage in Talia's evolution. 

 

It was perhaps the hardest book I've written yet, and you can expect it to move a tiny bit slower than book one. We delve deeper into Talia's world, as well as get to know another one in her universe. I should warn you though, this one ends on a cliffhanger!

Another Sweet, CLEAN romance

Home For Christmas (A Copper Mountain Christmas) - Melissa McClone

I know, I know! I promise to get away from romance and back into some meatier scifi as soon as my brain is functioning a little better. :)

 

In the meantime, I wanted to take the time to mention another clean romance. It's so hard to find stories that I don't have to skip pages or stop completely because of stuff I don't want to read. This story was sweet, believable and clean. 

Late Review is Better Than No Review?

I AM SLEEPLESS: Sim 299 (Book 1) - Johan Twiss

So sorry this review was so long in coming. I actually read this book in only a few days. Since it's been a month, my review will be a little generalized because of the passage of time. However, the most important thing I thought while reading this was this:

 

This is reminiscent of "Ender's Game" while being completely unique!

Yeah, I'll try to explain that thought. The theme of Sleepless is very similar to Ender's Game. Humanity has spread to several planets, and the current civilization has been shaped by a previous war. The military has spent a long time trying to ensure victory in case of another attack by the Splicers. Part of that process means testing children to find the limits of their intelligence and abilities. Aidan is the one the leaders have set their hopes on.

 

Here's where Twiss makes his story uniquely his own. Primes.

Primes are not human. They are genetically engineered to have special abilities like speed, strength, the ability to change their density, engineering (mechs), and puzzler mode. (You'll just have to read to get a full grasp on what I'm talking about here.

 

Twiss does a great job teaching you about his world without huge info dumps. He throws the reader in and lets you figure it out with little hints here and there. When things get complicated, he let's it be something new the cadets are learning about themselves so the reader doesn't get lost. 

 

I LOVED the twist with the SIMS. And the secret behind Aidan's birth. :) I won't give away any spoilers here! However, I'll say this was a fun, fast, energetic and at times edge of your seat ride. I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes in book two of the series. 

Great Idea That Didn't Take Off

Exodus - Andreas Christensen

This book has so much potential that it hurts to write a negative review, however there were several things that made it hard to get lost in the story.

 

1. Too many characters to know who was important.

2. I never connected to or felt like I knew any of those characters so I had a "Who cares?" attitude up until the end.

3. The story was 2/3 background and people thinking and only 1/3 dialogue. It was like reading a history book instead of a story.

4. A lot of telling without much showing.

 

Here's what was good about the book.

 

1. The idea of why the world had to suddenly figure out how to get a ship of people off planet to ensure the continued existence of the human race.

2. There was enough back story that I understood how the government had changed over the years to reach what it was in the book.

3. I loved that there was an underground rebellion that wanted to restore the Constitution to its original glory.

4. Things didn't happen overnight. It took years to choose who would go, how they would go, and where they would go. They actually made plans in the hope they would figure out the propulsions in time as well as the cryogenics.

 

All in all, this book could be amazing, but it felt like reading someone's notes on the book they wanted to write. Does that make sense?