WHERE THERE’S SMOKE #cowboy #romance

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE (A Cowboy Way Novella) by Becky McGraw 



Austin loves firefighting and decides that he will put in an application for the open position for fire chief in town. He has the experience and he has the skills. There is only one person in his way: Sunny.

Sunny wanted the job as chief because she needs the money to support her son. She was the only one who wanted it before Austin came along. Now she is trying to fight her attraction to the man that she sees as her nemesis and the person standing between her and her goal to get what she wants.


I am all for women in leadership roles. I try to give extra support when they are struggling to be successful in a male dominated environment. That being said, Sunny was a terrible supervisor. She was overcompensating to try to prove herself and that is what led to the constant turnover. And yet, I still have mixed feelings with the way that Austin came in and undermined her from the beginning.

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I am married to a firefighter and can only imagine how difficult it might be for a woman. But it was hard for me to see her passion for the job when she kept saying that she needed the additional income. I think that when money is only factor in wanting a job, there will be something missing.

The chemistry between Sunny and Austin was there and like the saying goes, there is a thin line between love and hate. I was conflicted in rooting for their romance because of how Austin handled the job situation.

TOW Final Word: Buy, Borrow, Pass?
BORROW. I think the story is average, but that is not to say it lacked the entertainment factor. Since everything worked out to my satisfaction, I gave 3 hearts. I recommend it if you like cowboy or firefighter romances.

Book details
Series: The Cowboy Way
Heat Level: 🔥 🔥 🔥
Print Length: 144 pages
Publication Date: November 13, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

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Sweet Seduction #review #romance

Sweet Seduction by Maya Banks


Julie is a massage therapist who has been crushing on Nathan for a while. Since it does not seem like he is ever going to make a move, Julie gives him a blow job at the end of a massage. Then she tells him that he needs to find a new massage therapist. Smarting from the perceived rejection from Nathan, Julie decides to act out a fantasy in order to boost her self-confidence. She schedules an appointment with anonymous sex with two guys at her friend’s sex club.

Meanwhile, Nathan is trying to figure out how to convince Julie that (1) he feels the same about her and (2) he wants to be in a relationship.

The story was okay. There was nothing spectacular, but it was not awful either. I skipped over the sex scenes because I do not understand the need for multiple partners at one time. I know authors try to make it romantic, but it seems animalistic to me. Sex for sex’s sake is not romantic to me.

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I started to get annoyed that Nathan was taking so long to tell Julie how he felt. If he has said something earlier, she would not have been compelled to schedule the threesome. And then once he knew about her “fantasy”, he thought he would get brownie points if he helped it come to fruition.

“He was all too willing to give her exactly what she wanted.”

What kind of twisted logic was that?

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Julie was confused about what she really wanted. Her way of telling a guy she liked was by giving him a BJ. I think that was too over the top. Thankfully she has some good friends that were there to talk some sense into her.

I picked this book because I read another book by the same author. I was not expecting the BDSM aspect or threesome sex scenes. For that, I deducted a star. Give someone a heads up in the blurb!

TOW Final Word: Buy, Borrow, Pass?
BUY if you like explicit M/M/F sex scenes with light BDSM thrown in because you will probably like this book. If you want things a little more subdued or with less twisted logic, then PASS on this book.

Book details
Book length: 306 pages
Series: Sweet Series
Heat Level: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥

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The Nightingale #bookclubpick #NYTbestseller

The Nightingale

In France in 1939, in the village called Carriveau, Vianne’s husband is going off to war. While he is gone, the Nazis invade France and a German soldier lives in her home.
In the intervening time period, Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is searching for purpose and love in life that has been absent up until this point. Determined to do what she can, she joins the French resistance to oppose the Nazi occupation and risk her life time and time again.
The story tells the narratives of two sisters whose personalities are opposites and describes how each person deals with the challenges in front of them because of the Nazi occupation.

I do not usually read historical novels about the effects of war. That being said, I give the author a lot of credit for the book was well written. The story was true to the time period. The story is very similar to the real story of war heroine Andree de Jongh.

The author does not gloss over any of the atrocities that were happening at the time. It demonstrated the insidious way that the Nazis manipulated people to carry out their nefarious agenda.

From the beginning, Isabelle recognized the threat and wanted to do all she could to fight the Nazis.

Vianne did not want to rock the boat. While she finally acted in a way that helped someone other than her immediate family, she seemed to me to be selfish most of the novel. There was a lot of denial based on a naive assumption of what an occupying military force would do. There was a deliberate lack of perception for fear of what she might find.

The difference in upbringing was evident. Vianne always looked for someone to take care of her. On the other hand, Isabelle knew she had to take of herself. She did not have the luxury of depending on others because she had been disappointed time and time again.

In my opinion, the most character development happens in Vianne. Isabelle has her own evolution, but I think it is more drastic in Vianne.

The author did a fantastic job writing this and I think you will enjoy. When reading, I encourage you to think about who you are and what sacrifices you can live with and what you think will break you. Be honest with yourself and confront what you truly fear. This is the type of book that I would suggest that you read with a friend so that you can discuss. Considering what is happening in the world around us, a lot of what was in the story could have been taken from the headlines today.

Trigger warnings: torture, rape

TOW Final Word: Buy, Borrow, Pass?
BUY especially if you like historical fiction set in WWII. Even though I do not read or recommend a lot of books from this genre, I rate this book highly because it spurred a lot of thought.

Book details
Series: N/A
Heat Level: 🔥
Print Length: 449 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (February 3, 2015)
Publication Date: February 3, 2015

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Geek Love #gamerromance #review

Geek love

Joel and Sam are gamers attending a science fiction/gamer convention. Once Sam reveals to Joel that she is a woman, it seems that they make the perfect couple. However, another woman will do whatever it takes to claim Joel as her own.

The story was okay. Sweet even.

My biggest complaint: explaining the geek sci-fi terms. It was as if the author wanted to write a book for geeks and then decided everyone should be able to understand the jargon.

I know and watched enough Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Firefly to get all the references without the explanation. I am not even a hard-core geek. Doctor Who is my heart, but I digress. I could understand if she was making obscure references but this is like Sci-Fi 101.

My other reason for discontent is that the villain should have went to jail. Really! The stunt that the villain pulled should not have been brushed aside as if nothing had happened.

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I think this story could have been a lot stronger if the author had developed the characters a little more. This is a novella, so there was not time to flush the character profiles. If possibly the author turns this into a full-length novel, I think she would have more time to make the story stronger and better.

Side note: For once, could an author have a story with a woman gamer heroine who everyone KNOWS is a woman at the beginning? I feel like the female gamer with male sounding name is so overdone these days. It is uninspired. Unoriginal. Boring.

TOW Final Word: Buy, Borrow, Pass?
BORROW. It is okay if you have some time to kill. But don’t expect too much from this book.

Book details
Book Length: 104 pages
Series: No but there is a follow up book Code Monkey
Heat Level: 🔥 🔥


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Try It Tuesday: Revitalizing Supreme+ Global Anti-Aging Cell Power Creme @EsteeLauder

I have recently added to products to my nightly beauty regimen. I received the recommendation to use these products from my local Estee Lauder sales associate  (located at Belk in Greenwood SC). Props to them for knowing their products!

Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme+ Global Anti-Aging Cell Power Creme

This is for all skin types
Apply AM and PM
Ideally to be used after your repair serum

Estee Lauder Advance Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II

Apply nightly after you cleanse your face
Apply moisturizer afterwards

Since I started using these together, I thought I would give my thoughts on both in one post.

I should have taken before and after pictures so that you could have seen the difference. I did not expect by skin to look as improved as it did. It was a gradual improvement.

One day I was taking a selfie and thought that my skin looked radiant. I thought it was the lighting. Later, I took another selfie in different circumstances and I thought my skin still looked good. I tried to think about what I was doing differently and I realized…it’s these new creams and serums that I am using on my face!

I am not exactly sure what each product is doing to my face, but the effects are wonderful. My skin looks like it has a glow and look smoother.

I was using a different serum but it was too harsh for my skin. This has repaired some of that damage and evened out my skin tone.

TOW Final word: Buy or Pass
Buy. These are two great products and they are gentle on my sensitive skin.

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