Category: Contemporary Romance

American’s Next Reality Star

Posted May 15, 2017 by karenbaron in Contemporary Romance, Review, Romance, Series / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

American’s Next Reality StarAmerica's Next Reality Star by Laura Heffernan
Series: Reality Star #1
Series Rating: five-stars
Published by Lyrical Shine on March 7th 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 254
Format: Kindle
five-stars

SEEKING THE SMART ONE
Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.
Luckily The Fishbowl is all about puzzles and games, the kind of thing Jen would love even if she wasn’t desperate. The cast checks all the boxes: cheerful, quirky Birdie speaks in hashtags; vicious Ariana knows just how to pout for the cameras; and corn-fed “J-dawg” plays the cartoon villain of the house. Then there’s Justin, the green-eyed law student who always seems a breath away from kissing her. Is their attraction real, or a trick to get him closer to the $250,000 grand prize? Romance or showmance, suddenly Jen has a lot more to lose than a summer . . .

Reality TV in a book? What a great concept…

I felt like a binged watch an entire season of The Fishbowl. I have to say first the concept of the fish bowl house with all glass wall and such is totally amazing. The description that Jen gave of the kitchen sounded so cool. I am not sure what I thought of the couch tree though.

I could totally get on board with Jen. I loved her naiveté with men, her acknowledging her inner nerd and that she tries to be a good person. Jen is the all-American girl next door. I would so be calling in and voting for her, even with all the bad press on the outside of the Fishbowl.

Justin is a law student from Florida. He is nice, athletic, smart and a little competitive. He is also so polite and such a gentlemen. Jen and Justin make a cute couple. They really need to get over the trust issues that they each seem to have.

Then there is Ariana, wow, what do I say about her? Scheming, lying, cheating, jerk, well those are some options. I am sure there are more of the same but you should just read it yourself so you can dislike her too.

The concept of the book was great, I loved the story. It kind of gave you this look into the hidden side of reality television. I can’t imagine putting myself or my family through all that drama. However, everyone has their own thing. Oh and that ending was so great. Right out of the fairy tales. I love happy endings.

My rating is 5 stars. I loved this book. Thank you, Ms. Heffernan, for bringing reality tv to books. It is much more fun to read about it than I thought it would be. I personally don’t watch reality tv anymore but this book is awesome. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series, Sweet Reality.

**Where to find America’s Next Reality Star**

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This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

five-stars

About Laura Heffernan

Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off: AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR, the first book in the REALITY STAR series, is coming from Kensington’s Lyrical Press in March 2017. When not watching total strangers participate in arranged marriages, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

 Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, and reality TV. Follow her @LH_Writes or visit www.lauraheffernan.com for more information.


Protect Me by Margaret Watson

Posted May 10, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review, Romance, Series, Womens Fiction / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Protect Me by Margaret WatsonProtect Me by Margaret Watson
Series: The Donovan Family #6
Series Rating: five-stars
Published by Margaret Watson on October 31, 2015
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 258
Format: ebook
five-stars

Police officer Mia Donovan is studying for the detective's exam when her captain offers her an assignment – be Finn O'Rourke's personal bodyguard for the next three weeks. He's in town to film a movie, he has a stalker, and the threats are escalating.

Mia isn't interested – she's focused on the looming exam. But her captain convinces her that successfully protecting Finn will look very good on her record when promotion decisions are made. So, reluctantly, she takes the assignment.

Finn isn't the arrogant, egotistical actor Mia expected. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to the 'most hated man in America', Finn's nickname since he cheated on his girlfriend, a beloved pop star.

But his stalker is lurking and the threat is escalating. Although Mia's feelings for Finn are growing, her job is to protect Finn, not fall in love with him.

"Margaret Watson, a star in the world of contemporary romance, grabs you on the opening page and keeps you reading to the happily ever after." -- New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips

My take on this book:              This is my first romance book away from Nora Roberts and Janet Evanovich and I have to say that Ms. Watson is an excellent writer. Without having to read the first five books in this series you immediately are brought up to date with the Donovan clan.

The main character of this book is Mia Donovan, the youngest of the Donovan kids. Mia is assigned to the protective duty to Finn O’Rourke, she doesn’t really want to do this, but her captain changes her mind. She wants to prove that she can do any assignment that was given to her. What I liked about Mia Donovan is that even she is independent. She grew up with big brothers yet she can still take care of herself. She doesn’t want a man to do something that she knows that she can do herself. I also liked how she kept it professional with Finn, throughout the assignment which was living in the same place as him for three weeks and pretending to be a couple. I, even more, liked how she tried her hardest to not let Finn back in once her job was done. I could tell that she was heartbroken when he didn’t follow her out of the hotel room. What I didn’t like was how she didn’t try to fight for him, before he left. She could have tried to make their relationship work despite what they sort of agreed on in the beginning. I also didn’t like how the police chief asked around all the precincts if they had a woman officer that he knew his godson couldn’t resist being with.  This was especially terrible after everything that had happened with Finn’s ex-girlfriend.

And then there is, of course, Finn O’Rourke, an actor who didn’t tell his story first in Hollywood about what really happened between his ex-girlfriend and himself. Now he is in Chicago shooting an indie movie to re-establish the image that he wants Hollywood to see him as. What I like about Finn is that he is able to not only keep up with Mia and her personality but is also able to keep her on her toes with his. Another thing that I like about him is that he is truly a gentleman around Mia. He only really shows Mia his true personality, the one that he only lets certain people see. What I don’t like about him is how he thought he needed Hollywood and his image more than he needed to be loved while also having a real relationship in the real world. I really hated how his pride kept him from realizing how much he really messed up with leaving Mia and how long it took him to realize that he actually loved Mia and missed her. He also knew that if he came back that she didn’t want to see him.

Protect Me by Margaret Watson, I am glad that I read this book. I am giving this book five stars as I loved every minute of reading it. The book also kept me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who the stalker person is. I also love with how, even though, it’s part of a series you don’t have to read the other books to know what had happened in those and with what is going to happen in this one. I am glad to have been asked to read and review this book. I am also recommending this book to any of my adult readers of my blog that like contemporary romance that is also wrapped up into a cop book.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

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**Where to find this book**

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five-stars

About Margaret Watson

Biography is from her Amazon page:

I’ve made up stories in my head for as long as I can remember – I put myself to sleep at night when I was young by rewriting the plots and endings of books I’d read. I assumed this was normal and everyone else did it, too, until I began getting weird looks when I talked about it. Finally, when I was twelve, I figured it out and decided I’d be a writer when I grew up.

I got sidetracked by my love of animals and the need for a ‘real’ job, so I became a veterinarian instead. Twenty-five years ago, when I realized I was making up stories about my clients and their pets, I decided to try putting them down on paper.

The result? After writing thirty books for Harlequin and selling millions of copies of them, I’m now writing The Donovan Family series, romantic suspense novels about a family of Chicago cops.

I consider myself the luckiest person in the world to be involved in two careers that I love. But more important than either career is my family – my husband and my three daughters. We live in a Chicago suburb with a menagerie of pets.


The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich

Posted August 15, 2016 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Comedy, Contemporary Romance, Crime, Fiction, Mystery, Review, Romance, Series, Womens Fiction / 0 Comments

The Pursuit by Janet EvanovichThe Pursuit by Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg
Series: Fox and O’Hare #5
Series Rating: five-stars
Published by Bantam on June 21st 2016
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
five-stars

Janet Evanovich, author of the blockbuster Stephanie Plum novels, and Lee Goldberg, writer for the Monk television show, team up once again for the fifth book in their rollicking, New York Times bestselling Fox and O’Hare series!
Nicolas Fox, international con man, thief, and one of the top ten fugitives on the FBI’s most-wanted list, has been kidnapped from a beachfront retreat in Hawaii. What the kidnapper doesn’t know is that Nick Fox has been secretly working for the FBI. It isn’t long before Nick’s covert partner, Special Agent Kate O’Hare, is in hot pursuit of the crook who stole her con man.   The trail leads to Belgium, France, and Italy, and pits Nick and Kate against their deadliest adversary yet: Dragan Kovic, an ex–Serbian military officer. He’s plotting a crime that will net him billions . . . and cost thousands of American lives.   Nick and Kate have to mount the most daring, risky, and audacious con they’ve ever attempted to save a major U.S. city from a catastrophe of epic proportions. Luckily they have the help of an eccentric out-of-work actor, a bandit who does his best work in the sewers, and Kate’s dad, Jake. The pressure’s on for Nick and Kate to make this work—even if they have to lay their lives on the line.
From the Hardcover edition.

My take on this book:              Wow!! The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg was just amazing. As anyone who has read The Scam will know how that ended so horribly for poor Nick and Kate. Well don’t be afraid my fellow readers of the Fox and O’Hare series, Kate O’Hare is going to get her con man back to her safe and sound. Even if it means not letting her boss know what she is doing and comes across as a rogue FBI agent.

Kate does get Nick back, but her boss wants her to catch Dragan and figure out why he needs smallpox. It all started with a bank heist for diamonds that Nick was needed to get them into the vault. After that, they had to focus on Dragan and figure out his plan to be able to stop him from creating a national disaster.

They were able to do that, however, a little something happened with Nick and Kate throughout the story. I do feel bad for Kate and Cosmo somewhat since the boss did something completely out of character to poor Kate. This especially bad since she already has to be Nick’s covert partner in doing stuff that is totally illegal.

The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg was such a great book that I’m giving it a five stars rating. I can’t wait to see what else happens with Nick and Kate. I will also recommend this book to anyone that reads Janet or even Lee books or to those who haven’t read any of their books. This series is so awesome that I am happy that Janet and Lee started it.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

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five-stars

About Janet Evanovich

Janet’s Bio (quoted from her website)

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in LaLa Land. La la Land is like an out-of-body experience –while your mouth is eating lunch your mind is conversing with Captain Kirk. Sometimes I’d pretend to sing opera. My mother would send me to the grocery store down the street, and off I’d go, caterwauling at the top of my lungs. Before the opera thing I went through a horse stage where I galloped everywhere and made holes in my Aunt Lena’s lawn with my hooves. Aunt Lena was a good egg. She understood that the realities of daily existence were lost in the shadows of my looney imagination.After graduation from South River High School, I spent four years in the Douglass College art department, honing my ability to wear torn Levis, learning to transfer cerebral excitement to primed canvas. Painting beat the heck out of digging holes in lawns, but it never felt exactly right. It was frustrating at best, excruciating at worst. My audience was too small. Communication was too obscure. I developed a rash from pigment.

Somewhere down the line I started writing stories. The first story was about the pornographic adventures of a fairy who lived in a second rate fairy forest in Pennsylvania. The second story was about …well never mind, you get the picture.

I sent my weird stories out to editors and agents and collected rejection letters in a big cardboard box. When the box was full I burned the whole damn thing, crammed myself into pantyhose and went to work for a temp agency.

Four months into my less than stellar secretarial career, I got a call from an editor offering to buy my last mailed (and heretofore forgotten) manuscript. It was a romance written for the now defunct Second Chance at Love line, and I was paid a staggering $2,000.

With my head reeling from all this money, I plunged into writing romance novels full time, saying good-by, good riddance to pantyhose and office politics. I wrote series romance for the next five years, mostly for Bantam Loveswept. It was a rewarding experience, but after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery genre.

I spent two years retooling –drinking beer with law enforcement types, learning to shoot, practicing cussing. At the end of those years I created Stephanie Plum. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives.

It turns out I’m a really boring workaholic with no hobbies or special interests. My favorite exercise is shopping and my drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles.

I read comic books and I only watch happy movies. I motivate myself to write by spending my money before I make it. And when I grow up I want to be just like Grandma Mazur.

About Lee Goldberg

New York Times Bestselling author Lee Goldberg is a two-time Edgar Award and two-time Shamus Award nominee whose many TV writing and/or producing credits include “Martial Law,” “SeaQuest,” “Diagnosis Murder,””Hunter,” “Spenser: For Hire,” “Nero Wolfe,” “Missing.” “Monk” and “The Glades.” He’s also the author of the Fox & O’Hare series with Janet Evanovich (The Heist, The Chase, The Job), “The Walk,” “Watch Me Die,” “King City,” the “Dead Man” series, as well as the “Diagnosis Murder” and “Monk” series of original mystery novels.


Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Posted July 19, 2016 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Animals, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Drama, Fiction, Horses, Review, Romance, Tear Jerker, Teen, Womens Fiction, Young Adult / 0 Comments

Dear John by Nicholas SparksDear John by Nicholas Sparks
on October 30, 2006
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 276
Format: Paperback
five-stars

An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart.
But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else.
Dear John, the letter read... and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life.

My take on this book:              Wow. To be expected of a Nicholas Sparks’ book Dear John was a tearjerker throughout some parts of the book. I think I should only reading one Nicholas Sparks book a year. Two times this year that this man has made me cry and I don’t know if I like that. Besides the crying bits Dear John by Nicholas Sparks is a great book.

John Tyree and Savannah Curtis met one summer and in a week the two fell in love. We follow John through this whole thing with Savannah and hoping that things will work out in the end. This book is a little hard to get into but once you do you don’t want to put it down. Like I did today,  when I was supposed to be cleaning up from breakfast I instead was trying to finish my book to see what will happen for John and Savannah.

Savannah and John have the type of romance that everyone wishes for and could only hope to experience something like that at one point of their lives.

This book is an excellent book and one that I hope I will never forget. Despite the rocky start I am giving this book a five star review. Even though I am done reading the book and I am sitting down writing this review I am still thinking about Savannah and John’s romance and wondering how their lives would be different if they took a different route then they did in the book. Their story is honest and I totally see how it could be a real life story. It’s books like this one that makes me happy that I’ve read them and able to share my views of the book with other people. I will also recommend this book to anyone that asks me about it!

Anyways until the next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

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five-stars

About Nicholas Sparks

As a child, Nicholas Sparks lived in Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Grand Island, Nebraska, finally settling in Fair Oaks, California at the age of eight. His father was a professor, his mother a homemaker, then optometrist’s assistant. He lived in Fair Oaks through high school, graduated valedictorian in 1984, and received a full track scholarship to the University of Notre Dame.

After breaking the Notre Dame school record as part of a relay team in 1985 as a freshman (a record which still stands), he was injured and spent the summer recovering. During that summer, he wrote his first novel, though it was never published. He majored in Business Finance and graduated with high honors in 1988.

He and his wife Catherine, who met on spring break in 1988, were married in July, 1989. While living in Sacramento, he wrote his second novel that same year, though again, it wasn’t published. He worked a variety of jobs over the next three years, including real estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products by phone, and started his own small manufacturing business which struggled from the beginning. In 1990, he collaborated on a book with Billy Mills, the Olympic Gold Medalist and it was published by Feather Publishing before later being picked up by Random House. (It was recently re-issued by Hay House Books.) Though it received scant publicity, sales topped 50,000 copies in the first year of release.

He began selling pharmaceuticals and moved from Sacramento, California to North Carolina in 1992. In 1994, at the age of 28, he wrote The Notebook over a period of six months. In October, 1995, rights to The Notebook were sold to Warner Books. It was published in October, 1996, and he followed that with Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember (1999), The Rescue (2000), A Bend in the Road (2001), and Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), The Wedding (2003), Three Weeks with my Brother (2004), True Believer (2005) and At First Sight (2005) all with Warner Books. All were domestic and international best sellers and were translated into more than 35 languages. The movie version of Message in a Bottle was released in 1999, A Walk to Remember was released in 2002, and The Notebook was released in 2004. The average domestic box office gross per film was $56 million — with another $100 million in DVD sales — making the novels by Nicholas Sparks one of the most successful franchises in Hollywood.

The film rights to Nights in Rodanthe, True Believer and At First Sight have been sold, and Nicholas Sparks has written the screenplay for The Guardian, though he has not offered it for sale at this point.

He now has five children: Miles, Ryan, Landon, Lexie, and Savannah. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and children.


This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Posted July 7, 2016 by karenbaron in Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Music, New Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Review, Romance, Teen, Womens Fiction, Young Adult / 0 Comments

This Lullaby by Sarah DessenThis Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Published by Speak on March 8, 2004
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 345
Format: Paperback
five-stars

There is an alternate cover edition for this ISBN13 here.
When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

My take on this book:              This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen was such a great book. It was published back in 2004 before we had the “New Adult Fiction” book category and I think that is exactly where this book fits. Remy grows a lot in this book in my opinion while trying to figure out with why Dexter is different than the normal boys she goes after.

We follow Remy throughout most of her summer vacation as she navigates her life, her mother’s new marriage, and trying to figure out what is up with her and Dexter. The book starts off in June and then we go to July and then August. Remy tries to keep her life all nice and orderly while trying to help her mom out with some things when her mom is focused on writing her current novel.

Remy is a character that not a whole lot of people will like but at the same time she has these layers about her personality that she built from the concept of how she saw her mom living her romantic life. She just built a shield around herself hoping that it will keep herself from feeling heartache while actually not putting herself out there but wanting to find love even if she doesn’t think that she believes in love.

Remy’s friends are also very different and I think that they also reflect her personality as well. One of her best friends Jess, the motherly one, reminds me of the way that Remy is with her mom. Remy’s mom needs help with planning a wedding or even just getting a divorce going first. Another one of her best friends Lissa, the romantic one, is the one that tries to see the happiness and romantic part of everything. Her last best friend Chloe (the anti commitment one), is much like the person that Remy is when we first met her. Remy doesn’t care how many guys she goes out with as long as they are gone and out of her life by her cut off point.

Remy and Dexter though are very opposite of each other and in every sense of the word their relationship is like “opposites attract” and it’s really cool to see their relationship unfold in this book.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen is an awesome book and one that I would totally recommend for other people to read. I am also pleased to say that I am giving this book a five stars rating since it was so awesome and kept me hooked for the entire time I was reading it.

Anyways until the next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

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five-stars

About Sarah Dessen

Hi. I’m Sarah. Writing a bio is always a little weird, if only because it seems completely self-absorbed. I have a standard one that I send out, which lists where I got my degree, the names of my books, all the same boring basic facts. But for this website, I’m supposed to do something more, give a sense of who I really am. So here goes.

The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn’t tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry’s A Summer to Die or Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it’s the best thing to which any writer can aspire. I’ve also been lucky enough to teach writing and see my students find their own voice. Teaching was great for me, because I got to show people how writing can really change the way you see not only yourself but the world. I’ve found in my own life that if my writing isn’t going well, not much else will. It is the one constant, the key to everything else.

Now that I’m writing full time, I have my good days and bad days. But I’d rather be doing this, even on the worst days, than anything else. As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, my daughter, and two very spoiled dogs. I like to work in my garden—although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive—-and, in my weaker moments, shop. What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that’s a good thing. It’s always more fun to make stuff up anyway.