Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Book Obsessed Chicks Release Day Bliss: The Vixen (Wicked Wallflowers #2) by Christi Caldwell

USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell pits a fiercely independent beauty against a devilish investigator.

Set apart by her ethereal beauty and fearless demeanor, Ophelia Killoran has always been a mystery to those around her—and a woman they underestimated. No one would guess that she spends her nights protecting the street urchins of St. Giles. Ophelia knows what horrors these children face. As a young girl, she faced those horrors herself, and she would have died…if not for the orphan boy who saved her life.

A notorious investigator, Connor Steele never expected to encounter Ophelia Killoran on his latest case. It has been years since he sacrificed himself for her. Now, she hires orphans from the street to work in her brother's gaming hell. But where does she find the children…and what are her intentions?

Ophelia and Connor are at odds. After all, Connor now serves the nobility, and that is a class of people Ophelia knows firsthand not to trust. But if they can set aside their misgivings and work together, they may discover that their purposes—and their hearts—are perfectly aligned.

Amy's Review:
Goodness! My facial muscles got a real workout with this book! I think I pulled a muscle in my jaw from gasping in surprise so many times. And the back and forth motion of smiling, sobbing, and clenching my teeth in anger surely tightened something up. The Vixen, #2 in Christi Caldwell’s Wicked Wallflowers series will definitely shake up your emotions. If you’ve read Ms. Caldwell before, you know she has the uncanny ability to make the reader feel everything the characters are feeling. And this one has all the feels. What a beautiful story of dark secrets, betrayal, pain, perseverance, survival, and the healing power of love. This story is absolutely bewitching!
Connor and Ophelia’s story shook me to my core. I think seeing them first as children and knowing what they’d experienced made me even more absorbed in their story. Connor hadn’t been born on the streets, but that’s where he’d ended up after the murder of his parents. He’d lived on his own, dodging Mac Diggory. Ophelia had saved him from Diggory on more than one occasion. In return, he’d risked his life for hers. Thanks to the Earl of Mar, he’d been saved himself that day and escaped a life of misery on the streets. But he’d never forgotten where he came from and was determined to make the streets safer. Ophelia had only known the streets of St. Giles. She knew the dangers that lurked there. That’s why she put herself at risk to save children there. She’d hated Connor for escaping and at the same time cheered for the freedom he’d found. Though they’d not been enemies, neither had they been friends. When they meet years later, that hadn’t changed. There was still distrust there. But their desire to aid the children of St. Giles was one thing they had in common. And that need to keep the children safe was how they came to learn so much about each other and themselves. They both learned that their own view of the world wasn’t an accurate view. Everything isn’t black and white. There are shades of gray. Regardless of your station in life, there are good and bad people. And even people who fall somewhere in between. That was an especially hard lesson for Ophelia. She’d only known darkness. She trusted no one, especially not the nobility and especially not men. She knew first- hand the treachery lords were capable of. 
Connor had lived in both worlds. As Ophelia made her much unwanted entrance into society, he knew what it was to be new, to have to ignore the looks and insults. They had a kindred connection there, both moving among society yet haunted by the past. I think I fell in love with them during their first waltz. The way they mouthed messages across the room charmed me. They both hated ton events but each other’s presence lessened the tension of enduring them. A friendship formed and it didn’t take long before that friendship became more. But there were so many obstacles between them. The closer they grew, the greater the distance between them and their families seemed to grow. And there were still secrets between them. I have to admit, I was so blown away by the twists, turns, and revelations toward the end that I truly didn’t think they’d make it. 
This story left me reeling. Like Connor and Ophelia, I misjudged a lot of characters. There were characters I admired at the beginning of the story and despised at the end. Likewise, characters I thought were not to be trusted at first, I respected by the end. And I wasn’t prepared at all for the depth of emotion in this story. Be prepared to cry. A lot. It may be a cry of joy, a cry of empathy, or a cry of terror at the impossible cruelty of people, but you will cry. 
One of my favorite things about this book, other than Ophelia and Connor’s love story, was the Killoran family. I learned so much more about them in this book. I can’t wait for Gertrude’s story. She’s made of sterner stuff than people give her credit for. I worry for Stephen. There’s so much distrust and anger in him. And Broderick. No matter how angry he made me, I guarantee you’ll forgive him for all at the end of this story. I am in awe of how much he cares for his “family” and, though they may not realize it, the choices he makes are to secure a better future for them all. I don’t care whose story is next, I just want it now. These characters have captivated me and I can’t get enough of this heartbreaking, emotional, inspiring series.
 A Book Obsessed Chicks Review Team Selection

Friday, August 3, 2018

#BOC Book Love: Cooper's Charm by Lori Foster

One summer, two sisters and a chance to start over…

Before the burglary that shattered her confidence, Phoenix Rose had a fiancĂ©, a successful store and a busy, happy existence. After months spent adrift, she takes a job at the lakeside resort of Cooper’s Charm. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, friendly colleagues and a charismatic, widowed boss, Phoenix is slowly inching her way back into the world.

Visiting Cooper’s Charm to check up on her little sister, Ridley Rose impulsively agrees to fill in as housekeeper. Still reeling from an ego-bruising divorce, she finds satisfaction in a job well done—and in the attention of the resort’s handsome scuba instructor.

For Phoenix and Ridley, Cooper’s Charm is supposed to be merely temporary. But this detour may lead to the place they most need to be, where the future is as satisfying as it is surprising…

Lori Foster is a New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than 100 titles. She’s known for her fun, very sexy contemporary romance novels revolving around alpha males and meet (and fall in love with) strong, independent women. Lori’s been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. Even more fun, Lori’s been a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle, a clue in the USA Today Quick-cross puzzle, and the sensual and sexy Too Much Temptation was Amazon’s 2002 top-selling title in Romance.
Lori has a super-active Facebook page where she regularly gives away reader goodies like books (of course), T-shirts, ARCs (advance reviewers’ copies), tote bags and lots of fun swag. LIKE her Facebook page so you never miss out!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

To Review or Not to Review?: The Book Obsessed Chicks Question

Years ago when review blogs started to appear, those bloggers worked very hard to make sure that they were doing reviews up to industry standards. Proper grammar, format and fair rating was a must for reviewers and publishers as well as authors took notice. Nowadays everyone thinks they can be a reviewer, but can they really?
As a reviewer since 2008, I try as hard as I can to not only write a fair review, but also rate that book according to what was written. Scrolling through reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, I find a stark difference in the written word of the review and the starring. Some reviewers do not understand that if they give a glowing review, they really need to star that review accordingly. If a book is praised highly but starred low, this not a good thing. Starring is what really counts when it comes to the charts, and some don’t realize that they can make or break an author’s release with their choices.
Now I am not saying that a reviewer has to review everything a five, but if you loved it, then do so. On the other end of the spectrum, say that you simply didn’t enjoy the story, or you had to DNF a book for personal reasons, starring that book a two or below is really doing a disservice to the author. I lead a review team and one of the rules I have is that if you really felt that the book was below a three star, you need to tell me why, but move on instead of reviewing that book, because honestly, reviews are relative and just because I loved or hated a particular book, doesn’t mean that everyone feels the same way.
Reviews don’t have to be miles long, they can be just a few meaningful sentences is all that is needed. Now this is my personal view, but I really dislike reviews with gifs. Come on, write a good review, leave the gifs to the kids. If you want to become a respected reviewer, write a good review that comes from the heart. I especially turn my nose up at these reviews with gifs and snarky remarks that are meant to cause a stir for all the wrong reasons. These reviewers are, in my opinion, are trolls and shouldn’t even be called reviewers. Most of these trolls don’t use real names or a real photo on their accounts and I do believe that if you are going to troll an author about a book or on the other end, praise a book, you need to put YOUR name and face to that review. Being honest goes much farther and it gets you respected by all in the industry.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

BOOK OBSESSED CHICKS EARLY BUZZ REVIEW: London's Wicked Affair (Midnight Secrets #1) by Anabelle Bryant

Anabelle Bryant, author of 12 amazing romance novels, has the latest distinction of now having her first Regency Romance in print. A much deserved step on the upwards climb for this indomitable woman. I say, it’s about time! Having read every single one of her previous novels, which are all available in eBook form, I can safely say that Ms. Bryant is one of today’s most innovative voices in the romance realm.

In Anabelle Bryant’s new release, London’s Wicked Affair, the first in the Midnight Secrets series, hero Lundon Beckford, the Duke of Scarsdale by default, when his older brother, who passed away in a tragic accident, is in London to settle some of his brother’s business. After a scandal surrounding the previous Duke’s death, where Lundon was ultimately been blamed for robbing his deceased brother of his title, Lundon shuns life in town, preferring to ensconce himself away in the country. Lundon presents himself at the home of his best friend, Matthew Strathmore, the Earl of Whittingham, for a quiet place to rest his head until his business is concluded. Matthew was with Lundon the day of his brother’s tragic demise, and for his help, Matthew received a gunshot wound to his knee that changes his life forever.

At his meeting with Matthew, Lundon is asked to help pawn his lively sister off in marriage to a gentleman of the ton. Amelia, Matthew’s vivacious sister, want a marriage with love like her parents share. Unfortunately for her, Matthew and her parents do not have the time or the inclination to wait for Amelia to find true love, for Amelia and Matthew’s father is stricken with an illness which leads to his declining health. Their mother formulates a list with the virtues required in a husband and hands them off to Lundon.’

When Amelia finds out her brother’s plans, she, in turn, develops a wish list of adventures to be had before she must acquiesce to her family’s wishes. This is where the situation get a tad sticky. For as much as Lundon wants to be done with town and escape, Amelia intrigues him beyond the pale. Her personality and ardor for life begin to change Lundon little by little, until he is firmly under the lady’s spell. But Lundon believes he isn’t husband material and denial can outweigh those new-found feelings. Behind her back, an ambitious Matthew makes a deal with a so-called devil for his sister’s hand in marriage to satisfy in own ambitions. Amelia has other plans, and if she must eventually marry, she is first going to experience life on her own terms, but will Lundon’s quest to remain aloof be ruined by Amelia’s plans? Only time and reading Lundon’s Wicked Affair by Anabelle Bryant answer this all important question.

Knowing Ms. Anabelle Bryant’s talent and writing like I do, I expected something special. As usual, Anabelle comes through with flying colors, but there is something even more enchanting about Amelia and Lundon’s story that resonates with this reader. Anabelle Bryant has created a new circle of friends and family that this reader is waiting to delve into. Not only do I care about the hero and heroine deeply, but I feel a camaraderie with every single character surrounding the two, even the dastardly wrong brother, Matthew. Reading London’s Wicked Affair will have you placing Ms Anabelle Bryant on your auto-buy list, and make you go back and find out where this talented lady started. Bravo Anabelle Bryant!


Friday, July 6, 2018

Book Obsessed Chicks Presents Amish Romance Must Reads

As many of my friends and followers know, I am a very big fan of Amish Romance novels. These books are dear to me because they make the reader feel good. I don't usually read them for any particular message, but THE AMISH TEACHER'S GIFT by Rachel J. Good, struck me with one deeply.

Ada Rupp is a special needs teacher in an Amish school. She loves what she does, even though the poor young woman is stretched thin. Aside from teaching these students who truly need her skills and her patience, she is the head of household for her seven siblings after he parents pass away.

Josiah Yoder is a widower with a young deaf son. He's having a rough time keeping it together, especially when his son,Nathan, doesn't understand that his mother isn't ever coming home. With some trepidation, Josiah sends his son to Ada's school and the results are life altering, for not only Nathan, but for Josiah as well.

THE AMISH TEACHER'S GIFT  by Rachel J Good is a fabulous read. It shows us that there is truly a place for each and every one of us, even if we don't fit into a mold. I highly recommend this read, even if you have never picked up an Amish Rom. Give this well-written book a try.

Amy Clipston is one of my favorite Amish Romance authors. This talented lady consistently releases well written and intriguing stories and she is well worth a try to anyone and everyone.

ROOM ON THE PORCH SWING is a prime example of Amy Clipston's talent.  In this heartwarming tale, Laura Riehl  has not only lost her mother, but her best friend, Savilla, passes away, leaving Laura bereft and adrift. She feels so alone, even though she is in a relationship with Rudy.

When Laura offers to help Allen, Savilla's widower, take care of the baby, left motherless, her life begins to change. But are the changes for the better? Laura begins to see things in a much different light while taking care of the little one. She starts to become a part of Allen's household and feelings for the widower spark as well. Time heals all wounds, but will time be on Laura and Allen's side? Read ROOM ON THE PORCH SWING by Amy Clipston to find out.

A HOME FOR HANNAH by Amy Lillard is a poignant Second Chance Romance which takes widow, Hannah McLean and he teenage son, back to her old order Amish community she left fifteen years before.

Aaron Zook was Hannah's first love, but circumstances led her to another life, in another place, with another man. Now Hannah has come home and Aaron is still in Potontoc with three children he cares for alone and land he tirelessly works in order to keep it all together.

While Hannah lived a much different life before her return, her feelings for Aaron are still there and now with him at arms length, she can't deny there is something there. Aaron was heartbroken when Hannah left, but he has his family to think about. Will Hannah and Aaron be able to build something solid and new out of the feelings they still have? Try A HOME FOR HANNAH by Amy Lillard, to find out!

Phoebe Yoder had a desire to learn all about and care for Alpacas. They are a wonder to her and consume all of her thoughts in her free-time. Instead of thinking about her own home and a marriage and family, Phoebe thinks of her alpacas. But tragedy strikes her family when her baby sister is kidnapped making Phoebe make an oath to God to marry Micah, who isn't even remotely her first choice and who couldn't possibly make her happy.
When Benjamin Miller meets Phoebe Yoder, he starts to imagine what life would be like with Phoebe permanently in it. He even thinks that starting an alpaca farm would be just prefect for him and Phoebe. But Phoebe has made her oath and making her see that she needs to be happy is quite a task. Is Benjamin up to that task? Only time and reading this book will tell.

THE PROMISE by Susan Lantz Simpson is a lovely story with humor, intrigue and faith, as well and romance. I truly enjoyed this book and will most definitely be reading more by this talented author. 

THE WEDDING QUILT BRIDE by Marta Perry is a second chance romance that brings widow Rebecca Mast back to to hometown after the death of her husband. Rebecca returns to family with her shy son Lige at her side and a dream to make a life beyond what she endured before.
With the help of local carpenter, Daniel King, Rebecca's dream of owning a quilt shop become a reality, what she didn't have in mind, was her feelings for Daniel and the realization that Lige was blossoming with Daniel's guidance and friendship. 
Rebecca and Daniel have secrets and emotional woes to overcome before they can even grasp moving on, but time in each other's company eases the way for good things .
THE WEDDING QUILT BRIDE by Marta Perry is a wonderful tale of redemption and love. It is a solid and very well written story and I highly recommend this memorable tale.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Her Duke of Secrets (Brethren of the Lords Book 2) by Christi Caldwell

Having lived alone in her cottage, since her father was murdered for his dealings with the Brethren, Elsie Allenby is approached some five years later by the very people who had a hand in her anguish to help their ailing leader. Reluctantly, Elsie agrees, for ultimately, healing was why she existed, even though she had nearly been shunned by all those around her. 

William Helling, Duke of Aubrey and Sovereign of the Brethren , the secret organization entrusted with protecting the Crown, is a shadow of his former self. When tragedy strikes leaving his body in constant pain and his wife murdered, William hides himself away drowning his sorrows and agony in drinking and whoring. 

When his brother, Edward arrives with yet another in a long line of healers, William is skeptical as well as hesitant, even more-so when he finds that his latest would-be savior is a woman. Elsie blames William and all the Brethren for abandoning her father in his time of need, but her hatred slowly dissipates the more time spent in William's company. 

William admittedly has never met a woman like Elsie Allenby, she is a conundrum. She succeeds in more ways than any doctor and  with each hurdle overcome, the more William desires the unconventional Miss Allenby. William, however, has already let too many people down in his life and he refuses to allow anyone else to pay for his choices, including the woman he has come to love. 

Author Christi Caldwell has published more than 40 books in 5 odd years and this indomitable woman continues to impress me with each title she releases. Her Duke of Secrets is an expertly written tale of forgiveness and healing. Ms. Caldwell's dialogue will make you tear up and her characters will make you fall in love. She has an innate sense in making a reader fall for the irredeemable and this reader is hers forever. Whether this will be your first Christi Caldwell book or your 40th, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

AMY'S GUEST REVIEW * The Last Rodeo (Wrangler's Creek, #6) by Delores Fossen *

                Like most fans of the Wrangler’s Creek series, I’ve been more than anxious for Lucian’s story. There’s just something about the Granger family that appeals to my heart. They’re a family I can’t help but love and laugh at while being thankful they aren’t mine. I can’t help but break out in a grin before I open a Delores Fossen book, knowing I’m in for a heck of a fun time. She has such a talent for peppering a moving love story with humor and heart. And The Last Rodeo is about as perfectly hilarious and heartwarming as a book can get.

                Lucian Granger was the big brother and boss of Granger Enterprises. He’d taken over the ranch and company at the age of 18. His father, before running out on his family, had nearly run the ranch into the ground. But Lucian had made the company the success it was now. His no nonsense approach to business may have gotten him the name Lucifer from the people of Wrangler’s Creek, but if that’s what it took to succeed, so be it. Because anything other than success was a sign of weakness.
                Karlee O’Malley was Lucian’s assistant and girl Friday. She handled everything, thinking of what Lucian needed even before he did. She’d worked for Lucian for 10 years but she’d been hung up on him since she was a kid. He’d only seen her as his assistant but he’d been much more to her. She’d managed to corral her attraction for years but now she knew it was time to move on. Being around Lucian day in and day out wasn’t helping her get over her feelings. It was time to venture out with her own business.
                But both Lucian’s and Karlee’s plans get put on hold when Lucian’s demanding ways get the town in an uproar. And Jerry, Lucian’s father, shows up wanting to step back in as CEO of Granger Enterprises. With the town holding a small percentage of shares in the company, Lucian needs all the support he can get to keep his father from destroying the company Lucian devoted his life to. And mom Regina has the perfect plan to change Lucian’s image with the townsfolk of Wrangler’s Creek. Get engaged to Karlee. Then everyone would no longer see him as Lucifer, but as a soon to be family man. Short of locking up his dad and throwing away the key, Lucian and Karlee don’t have any other ideas. They could play the lovebirds for a few months and call off the engagement when things returned to normal. But everyone knows there’s nothing normal about the things that happen in Wrangler’s Creek.
                To make it all look real and to avoid Jerry, Lucian and Karlee take up residence in the guest house. But that guesthouse was small. And with most of the space piling up with wedding gifts, they couldn’t help but constantly bump into one another. And living in such close proximity with all that bumping was starting to give Lucian “bad ideas”. Karlee had always fantasized what it would be like to be with Lucian. Even one of his usual one month long relationships. This engagement was all a lie but living in that guesthouse with him felt real. She was starting to have second thoughts about pulling this ruse off. Lucian was having second thoughts too. He knew the engagement wasn’t real but the kick he got when he kissed Karlee was very real. And now he couldn’t seem to temper down the thoughts he was having. Thoughts he shouldn’t be having about the girl who’d been his employee and, more importantly, his friend for years.
                As if the tension between the two of them wasn’t enough, they both get the rug pulled out from under them when everyone from their past starts showing up. Soon there’s enough old baggage at Granger Ranch to fill the lost and found at LAX.  Lucian was the fixer. The one everyone relied on. But he wasn’t sure he could fix the mess his family was finding themselves in. And his confusing feelings for Karlee only added another level of complication. Could he work it all out before he lost the business, the ranch, and the woman he was starting to realize he needed more than anything else?
                Though everyone but Lucian saw it, he and Karlee were the perfect match. Karlee was so good at working her magic to smooth things over when Lucian’s personality ticked people off. I don’t think he would have been the success he was without Karlee by his side. Once his mother mentioned how Karlee “lights up” when he was around, he started to notice her. He’d always found her attractive but didn’t want to ruin their relationship so he’d just ignored the attraction. Holding on to the pain of their childhoods also got in the way of moving forward. They both needed to realize that who they were had nothing to do with the mistakes of their parents. Once they experienced closure in that regard, I think they were better able to focus on the future they wanted.
                The secondary characters in this series add so much to the story. I loved getting to visit again with all the Granger siblings and cousins. Even Vita showed up, which always makes my day. Candy, the Hoo Poo heiress, was hysterical and so outrageous I couldn’t help but like her. Regina is my idol! I was in tears when she masked off the entire house dividing it based on Granger shares. Meeting Jerry and Glenda really helped me understand Karlee and the Grangers better. Glenda and Jerry had both made choices that had cost them their families. As much as I hated them for the heartache they’d left in their wake, I kind of felt sorry for them because they realized what a mistake their actions had been. The townsfolk really had me chuckling. Delores Fossen uses such perfectly hilarious imagery to paint her characters. Who knew you could describe people so well with fruit analogies? And I had to google to see if Hairy Corn Salad was real. It is!
                Ms. Fossen has such a unique voice in her writing and it really shines through in this series. No one can turn a phrase quite like her. The witty banter and embarrassingly hilarious situations are laugh out loud funny and are paired perfectly with a great romantic slow burn. Nothing about this story was predictable. I was just as anxious as the rest of the family wondering what could possibly happen next. Just because a book is labeled romantic comedy doesn’t mean it lacks seriousness. The Last Rodeo may have you laughing but it will still pull at your heart strings with the romantic tension and heartache. Now that Lucian has found his match, I hope this isn’t the end of this series. I will always be ready for a return visit to Wrangler’s Creek.
 A Book Obsessed Chicks Review Team Selection.