Ice Cream Castles Review

Ice Cream Castles
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Ice Cream Castles is a short novel by Clarke Collins. Naomi is a woman in her late 40s who has given up on looking for love. Her boyfriend Ray had proposed to her, but then his wife showed up at her front door and ruined that relationship. Now, she focuses on running her frozen yogurt place Scoopy’s. When a rude customer comes in one day, she hopes that she never sees him again. But soon, Eli walks back into her life, and they start to talk to each other more. Soon, they find that they will be able to help each other in more ways than they could have originally dreamed of.

Usually I don’t go for age gap romances, and I didn’t think that this novel would be a romance at all when I first started it. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised twice whilst reading. Not only is this age gap romance sweet, it is also so well-written that I couldn’t put it down.

Naomi is such a sad yet realistic character. She has had so many tragic things occur to her that she had just given up on having a happy life. She had resigned herself to simply going to work and coming home to an empty house, and she was trying to make herself okay with it. Then, Eli comes into her life. He has a fresh view of the world at only 30 years old, and he makes her see that things might not be over for her yet. She may have been able to get herself out of her rut without Eli’s help, but Eli definitely forced her to see the bright side of things more often. Naomi forced Eli to see people as people more often and to not overlook people simply because of where they work. Originally, I hated the character because he was so rude to Naomi, but I eventually warmed up to him.

Clarke Collins does an excellent job of discussing the intricacies of an interracial relationship in this romance novel. Their relationship is going to be more difficult because of the age difference, and people may judge them more because Eli is white and Naomi is black. They also come from almost completely different walks of life. But this book discusses how they overcome these adversities and get closer to each other rather than driving one another away.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an interracial adult romance novel.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books

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The Strongest Vow Review

The Strongest Vow: In the way of love, we never win or lose completely; a throbbing share always remains.
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The Strongest Vow is an interfaith love story by Hasan Ahmed Ashrafi. Harris was focusing on going to college, but his father had different plans. When he found out that one of his friends was going through hard times and needed someone to tutor his teenaged high-school daughter, Harris’ father volunteered his son. Harris didn’t want to do it at first, and the daughter Hareem wasn’t excited about it either. She hates all boys, specifically Non-Muslim ones, and she is determined to fail everything until her parents choose another tutor for her. The more time the two spend with one another, the more that like each other. Soon, they are considering dating each other. But Muslims aren’t allowed to date non-Muslims, so Hareem would be going against her beliefs by dating Harris. Even though Harris is completely dedicated to her, the strength of their relationship may not be strong enough to cross the religious barrier.

I enjoyed this novel. I rarely get the chance to read interfaith love stories, so I was excited to be able to try this one out. I actually had no idea that non-Muslims were not able to date Muslims, but it was interesting how this was addressed in this short romance story. Crossing religious barriers when dating can be almost as difficult as crossing racial barriers, and Hareem and Harris are trying to do both.

Harris and Hareem were sort of close, but I think that their relationship might fail if they were truly allowed to be together from the start. Every time that one of them has the smallest disagreement with the other, they don’t talk. At one point in the book, Harris doesn’t talk to Hareem for seven months. Seven months? And they still think that they are “perfect” for one another. It simply doesn’t add up. But since they are both only teens, I could see them possibly working in the future.

My main issue with this book was the grammar. This book really needs to be edited by a professional. It would be far easier to read if it was. The book is filled with grammatical errors and broken sentences. If this book was edited by a professional, I would say that it is a great read. Since the grammar errors are so prevalent, I would say wait until this book has been properly tweaked.

After it has been tweaked, I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a new YA interfaith romance novel.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 books

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The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner Review (Twilight 3.5)

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Twilight, #3.5)Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes, and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood…life before she became a vampire.

All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don’t draw attention to yourself, and above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn’t know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.

Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they only know as her. As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?

I was not expecting to like this book more than the normal Twilight series, but I did. I definitely did. Bree and Diego were “raised” by Riley. They weren’t taught how to be proper vampires. They were obsessed with bloodlust, thought that they couldn’t go out in the sun, and had their limbs ripped off as part of his sick games. The future looked bleak, but it was the only thing that they had ever known. They had barely any memory of their human lives, and those who remembered something didn’t remember anything good.

Bree and Diego found solace in each other in the midst of their living hell, and I truly loved both characters. They both had truly unique backstories, even if they were dulled by the venom haze, and they had to become strong in order to survive Riley’s “training.” I didn’t know whether or not this was going to be a story that focused on romance, but it didn’t focus on it. Instead, it used it as a way to show how close the two were growing together. But to me, they seemed to be more like friends than a couple. But their romance was definitely healthier than Bella and Edward’s in the main series.

The characters in this story were just full of life. In the Twilight trilogy they were painted to be the villains, but here, they seemed to be the victims. They never wanted to be changed, Riley just preyed on their situations to trick them into coming with him. They weren’t gifted with powers like many of the “special” Twilight characters, they were simply normal vampires who were “evil” because they decided to drink from humans.

By the end of the story, which wasn’t even that short, I wanted the two to succeed. I wanted them to live happy lives and get to be married and immortal. But of course, as we knew from Eclipse, this could never happen. The “heroes” had to win, and the “villains” had to lose.

Overall, this definitely opened my eyes to how the Twilight universe truly worked. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for these characters, not everyone in this universe had the chance to live “happily ever after” with their “true love.” There had to be some sadness for Bella and Edward to succeed, and this novella showed who paid the price for their happiness.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has already read Eclipse in the Twilight series, or who has already read the entire series. To be honest, I might even recommend it to those who haven’t even touched the Twilight series. It is good enough that I would definitely read it on its own.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 stars

Highland Butterflies Review

Highland ButterfliesLucy is grieving and decides to go to the Scottish Highlands and deal with her pain. She doesn’t have a plan, but she meets a woman named Hannah. Suddenly, her problems seem to disappear.

This is a very short story literally about two women meeting in the Scottish Highlands. I have read a few highlander romances, and I’ve only a liked a couple of them. This one, I definitely liked.

There really isn’t much to spoil, but I just want to learn more about these two! They just seem to fit in so well together in such a short time, and I want to actually have the time to learn their stories. I want to know about their pasts, and how they ended up meeting each other.

I would recommend this short story to anyone looking for a short and sweet lesbian romance to read.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Flip the Beat Blog Tour Plus Review

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Roxanne D. Howard will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR

Molly Ivers thought she found Prince Charming, but without a devilishly sexy accent, and six months ago she gave into their undeniable attraction. But the swarm of ever-present groupies was so not part of the fairy tale. As much as it hurt her heart, she shut out rocker Evan Castle.Mbr>

Now, on the verge of finishing her graduate degree and moving to Paris—she even hires a French life coach—Molly begins to realize Evan, who hasn’t given up on her, might be the man of her dreams after all.

My Review

Even though this was mostly a smutty romance without a ton of plot, I still got to know Molly and Evan enough to see their chemistry. Unlike some other romance stories where the characters instantly fall in love and stay together forever, this couple stayed away from each other for 6 months. Molly tried to date other guys in that time, but she had such bad experiences that she fell for Evan even harder the second time around.

There wasn’t that much character development as the story was fairly short, but it was interesting to see how Evan and Molly had changed in the six-month period.

The setting was also fairly unique, as Molly is a successful woman who wants to move to France and Evan is a mysterious guitarist in a small band. It seemed rather strange that Evan’s band was small, but he had a lot of groupies that caused them to separate at the start of the novel. Do the lead singers in small bands really have that many groupies while still playing at small bars and restaurants?

Also, I thought that this entire issue could have been worked out if they just had a real discussion about the groupies before separating. They seemed to be good at talking to each other after the six months were up, but these communication issues could still be “present” in the relationship since the story showed only a small part of it.

The only weak thing that I had really noticed besides the lack of communication was the “damsel in distress” scene. Almost all short romance novels have at least one, and I never really get mad at them for having it. However, most of them have a little bit of a unique quirk to the “villain” that shows up as a little bit of hero action for the main male character. This “villain” just seemed rather unimportant to the story, and it made the “hero” scene just seem random and a bit cheesy.

Other than this, I had no issues with the book. The plot flowed well, steamy scenes were steamy, and it was just a nice quick afternoon read for me. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a new adult romance short story.

I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Read an Excerpt:

“Thanks, guys.” Evan’s smooth voice came over the mic while the guitar music died. “We’re gonna take a quick break, but we’ll be back in ten, so stick around.” He hopped off the low stage to scattered applause and whistles. Molly schooled the smirk on her face as he sidled past the flirting girls and made his way toward their table.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the Wonder Twins, TWT, Inc.”

He slid into the empty space beside Molly in the booth. She exchanged an amused look with Nell. He’d christened them with the moniker upon moving in. They were never Nell and Molly, but Fischer and Ivers, TWT. Their eye color, skin, and facial features couldn’t be more different, but they were both the same height, petite-figured, and had wide, generous mouths and lots of hair.

“So, where’s the right-wing Republican boyfriend tonight?” he asked.

He stretched his arm over the back of Molly’s seat in a casual way. His forefinger grazed the edge of her earlobe, and a pleasant shiver ran through her.

“I thought you two were attached at the hip.”

Molly went silent and looked at her drink. Great, here it came.

“They broke up,” Nell chipped in.

Molly gave her a look of mock gratitude from across the table as Evan turned to her in surprise. His sexy hazel eyes searched hers. She waited for one of his classic Evan Castle comments, but the solemnity in his expression told her he wouldn’t give any.

He whistled low. “Sorry, Ivers, that sucks. You guys were together for a while.”

She hid her cringe as she took another sip of her drink. “Yeah…” Gulp, gulp, uncomfortable silence.

The drummer in Evan’s band called over to him, and Evan told him he’d be right there. He rapped his knuckles on the table and flashed them both a flirty smile.

“Well, Ivers,” he said as he slid out of the booth. “You’ll have a lot of attention to deal with, now that you’re back in the jungle with the rest of us primates. Do me a favor, eh, and don’t forget to put a bag over your head when you go out from now on, or you’ll have every guy in the room at your feet and beating down your door. Then I’ll never be able to talk to you.” He gave her a cheeky wink and walked off.

Molly turned crimson. Nell mouthed, Wow! as she put her palm over heart, and her jaw dropped open. They watched him walk off.

“What a compliment and a half! I did wonder why you two never got together. He always looks at you like he’s about to walk you against a wall and have at you.”

“What? No, he looks at all the girls like that. He’s just sweet and being a total flirt.” Molly waved it off, but her heartbeat accelerated as she remembered when he had, indeed, taken her against a wall their third time the night they’d spent together.

About the Author:

Roxanne D. Howard writes sizzling erotic romance with Boroughs Publishing Group and The Wild Rose Press. She is a U.S. Army veteran, and a Columbia College alumni. She loves to read poetry, classical literature, and Stephen King. Also, she is an avid Star Wars fan, musical theater nut, and marine biology geek. Roxanne resides in the western U.S., and when she’s not writing, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, children, and furry companions. Roxanne loves to hear from her readers, and encourages you to contact her via her website and social media.

Check out the Official Book Trailer on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faxzY55-rqk

Follow Roxanne’s book releases over the next six months. Be sure to add the books to your TBR pile!

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Switch Review

SwitchGreg is starting to worry about his friend Kyle, who seems to have made a habit of sleeping with a different man every night. He doesn’t want him to get hurt, and he doesn’t want Kyle to hurt himself by drinking too much and getting into trouble. Usually when things get like this, Greg tries to help Kyle get back on his feet. Now, Kyle is rejecting his help and seems to be hiding something. If this secret got out, it could change both of their lives forever. If Kyle continues to be secretive, their relationship could be permanently damaged.

For a short novella, this had a lot of different story elements. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the secret was definitely interesting to find out.

There was even a bit of character development in this 30-page novel, as the two boys learn things about each other that they had never known before.

My only true complaint was that the novel was so short! This was truly an interesting storyline that I would have liked to see expanded upon, but instead, it is limited by the number of pages. I would have liked to learn more about Greg and Kyle’s relationship before these events, and how it changed after they occurred.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a short read that will draw them in and tell a fun tale.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Scales Review

Scales (a mermaid tale) by [Creeden, Pauline]

When I randomly found this book on my phone, I thought I was going to be in for a unique story with mermaids. Instead, I realized that this was the same book as “Caught in the Current” from the Sirens and Scales box set, except it was from Verona’s POV. This, however, was not bad.

Verona is a bottom feeder. She has been chosen to do the “Reckoning”. This means that she will have to venture to the surface to gather information for the clan and be viewed as a valuable member of the society. They beat her at the start, and she is not even sure if she will be able to survive the night, much less the journey to the surface. This is when a merman named Bailey comes to save her, albeit reluctantly, and nurses her back to health. Now she must decide whether to go up to the surface and complete the Reckoning or to continue to hide out under the sea.

I much preferred this book to the book in the Sirens and Scales box set. That one was in Bailey’s POV, and I just didn’t like him as a character. At some points, I just wanted him to go away and stop offering his “help”. Now, I could see that Verona was not as naive as I originally thought her to be. I liked her more, and I saw that she was not going to constantly put up with Bailey’s verbal abuse.

This prequel to Salt actually made me want to read the novel, just to find out more of what happens to Verona. Now that I know that Bailey will not be as included in that book, I am more inclined to read it. I wish that this story had been included in the Sirens and Scales box set, but I can understand that some people wanted a new book. Either way, I am glad that I was able to find this gem on my phone.

I received this book for free from Instafreebie in exchange for my honest review.

Overall Rating: 4/5

His: The Cellar Sequel Review (Spoilers)

His [The Cellar sequel] by natashapreston

Let me give a bit of a backstory about this before I hop into the review. When I finished reading the Cellar and heard that there was a sequel to it from Goodreads, I thought that I would have to wait until it was published next year. However, I found out that the sequel was already finished on Wattpad, so I decided to go on there and give it a shot. It’s the same author, so I was expecting a story that was on the same level as the Cellar. Now, let’s go into the review! Warning to those who are actually interested in reading this, it will have spoilers.

Clover has been evaluated in a psychiatric facility and they have decided that he has a personality disorder. Therefore, they are transferring him to another psychiatric hospital with higher security. However, while being transported, his van gets into a crash and he is able to escape police custody. He is determined to make it back to the cellar and reunite his family.

Summer and Becca have been healing for the past few weeks, but then they get the news that Clover has escaped. They decide that it is time for Clover to get a taste of his own medicine. They plan to go to the cellar every night, hiding knives around. Then they plan to lure him into the Cellar and trap him down there.

Alright, so let me start off with the writing of this story. This story was filled with grammar errors, and it felt like a rushed fanfiction rather than a story. In fact, I felt like the sequel had been written entirely by a different person as a fanfiction of the published version, not a sequel written by the same woman. I honestly have no idea how the publisher edited the original story to make it seem well-written, but this was almost painful to read.

Next, there were a lot of issues with the story. Why would Summer and Becca go back to the Cellar rather than trying to run away and let the police do their jobs? Of course, Clover is going to return to the Cellar, he is a madman who wants to be reunited with his “family”. Also, not only did Summer and Becca return to the Cellar multiple times, but the police did not have a stakeout or anything in the Cellar. They basically allowed Clover to walk back to his old house and nearly kill the girls.

Also, there was the case of Chantelle. In my opinion, she was literally one of the dumbest characters I have ever read. She was a prostitute who Clover threatened with a knife when they first met, but then she thinks that he is simply a normal man after they talk for a bit. She even sees him kill someone, but she gets into her head that he is the only one to actually care about her. They haven’t even been together for a week, but she is already falling in love with him. She only gets shocked when she returns to the cellar and Summer and Becca start their screaming match.

Lastly, I felt so bad for Lewis in this book. He literally had been looking for Summer for months, ruining himself and wishing that she would be alive. Nevertheless, when she returns, they basically have some half-hearted sex and then she is secretly planning with Becca to return to the Cellar. He says that their idea is horrible., but Summer refuses to believe him. When she is shot and in the hospital after their confrontation with Clover, he breaks up with her. He says that she pushed him away for Clover, her kidnapper, which is exactly what she did. Eventually, he proposes to her at the end, but I wish he had just stayed away from her. He literally threw his life away to find her, but then she just chose to ignore that and almost get herself killed again.

All in all, this was a mess. If I could go back and un-read it, I definitely would. I have no more respect for Summer, I was surprised that Becca finally grew a backbone but grew it in such a stupid way, and Chantelle was a mess. Clover was just Clover, the crazy villain. Everyone who cared about Summer and Becca were just left in the dust for their revenge mission. I don’t even know how this could possibly be fixed up when it is published because the entire plot is a mess.

Overall Rating: 1/5

Mother’s Misfortune Review (Perrault Chronicles 1.4)

Mother’s Misfortune

This short story is about Rilla’s stepmother and stepsisters, and what happens to them after Rilla is gone. I won’t spoil this short story, but I definitely enjoyed the stepmother being less of a one-dimensional character like she is in the fairytale and actually being given an interesting backstory. The mother and daughters go on a journey over land and sea, and we get to see more of their true colors shine through.

My only complaint about this story was that it was a little on the short side. Even though it is a novelette, I found myself being so drawn into the story that I wanted to see more of the stepsisters and their mother’s storyline. I always feel that fairytale retellings forgot them, but this one didn’t and I enjoyed every minute of the backstory.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

The Tiger Temple ARC Review

The Tiger Temple: A Hiram Kane Adventure (The Hiram Kane Adventure Series Book 1) by [Moore, Steven]

I received an advance copy of this book.

Kane is attending an annual Hindu religious event at the Temple of Origin, near the Mount Agung volcano. As he is enjoying time with his friends, gunshots break out in the temple. One of the most notorious gangsters of the area has been betrayed by someone in the area, and a 6-year old girl named Ayu has been taken hostage. Now, Kane must find out who doublecrossed the gangster and rescue little Ayu, before it is too late.

This action thriller novel kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. Sometimes when reading this type of book, or short story, I find myself losing focus and eventually giving up halfway through. Nevertheless, I read this book in almost all one sitting, and I wanted to read more books in the Hiram Kane series right after. This was a perfect book to pass the time on a dull winter afternoon, and I cannot wait for the next installment of the series.

Overall Rating: 5/5