Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson

Juliet Arabella's family's chocolate shop has resided across the street from the Mezzanotts for generations and the families have been bitter rivals. Until one night at a masquerade ball, she meets sexy Leo. Little does she know the passionate, spontaneous kiss she shared was with none other than a Mezzanott! Except now a spark has lit and the two can't seem to stay away, even when they should. Now both are competing in Italy for a prestigous chocolate competition. Their choice is to find a way to end the family feud or end the relationship.

I read Wilson's other book based loosely off Pride & Prejudice and was pretty impressed. This one mirrors Romeo & Juliet (with a happier ending). I'm not normally a big fan of these rewrites or lit-based books, but Wilson has a lovely writing style and humor that make these pleasurable reads. As with the first book, there were a couple of unrealistic plot points, but other than that, this was a great read. Perfect setting, involved characters, decent conflict. Recommended!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: A Highlander's Obsession, by Vonnie Davis

Paisley Munro has found meaning in her life by working as a veterinary assistant. Her gift of being able to communicate with animals has felt more like a curse. While traveling to Scotland for a relative’s funeral, Paisley fears that she really has lost her mind.  Creighton Matheson is the clan leader of shape-shifting bears who have been roaming the land freely for centuries. Now Paisley may inherit his home, putting his kind in grave danger. His mistrust only deepens when he realizes she can read his mind. Yet the attraction and pull between them cannot be denied and they must choose what's in their hearts to let go of what's in their heads.

Where to begin? Where. To. Begin… From start to finish, conflict to resolution, this was sheer brilliance. There's the paranormal edge with shape-shifting bears (bears, not wolves--so refreshing) and a heroine who can speak to animals, plus a family castle with ghosts. Then there's the contemporary end with quirky humor and real problems. This wasn't a typical book to lump into one category. The hero and heroine were both relatable and the chemistry was electric. Solid, nail-biting conflict. Scottish Highlands, hot guy in a kilt. Oh yeah. The setting was detailed and put the reader right there. Most impressive was the way the lingo and dialog were delivered. Davis did her research and never pulled me out of the story for a minute. Highly recommended!

Review: An American Girl in Italy, by Aubrie Dionne

Any woman would kill for the chance to tour Italy’s most famous cities for the summer, but for Carly Davis, it's a hindrance. She's had to turn down gigs and private lessons to tour the couple of weeks with the Symphony. But one attraction has caught her eye…and heart. Tour guide and vineyard owner, Michelangelo, is dark and delicious. They may have gotten off on the wrong foot, but he's helping her to land a big gig and is quickly working his way under her skin. But with her promising career back in Boston, can Carly really afford to lose her heart in Italy?

At times, this book read like a new adult, and other times it read like a women's fiction. Nothing wrong with either, but I never felt the romance category vibe. Periodically, the heroine Carly came off as abrasive, but motivations were explained well and never made me dislike her or want to stop reading. There was a lot to like about this book. What stands out was the setting and details the author weaved in, making me feel like I was right there, enjoying the experience. Hello? Hot Italian guy? Vineyard owner? Sign me up! Dionne writes with an elegance not often found nowadays and focuses on the sweet versus the heat. This book was a nice change of pace and recommended. Love the cover too! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: 'Til Death by Sharon Sala

Twenty years before, Lincoln Fox was wrongfully railroaded and convicted in the murder of his father. Now, he returns to Rebel Ridge, Kentucky, deep in the Appalachian Mountains, to uncover what really happened and bring the real culprit to justice. A task he knows could put him in danger and anger the close knit community. Plans take a crazy turn when he finds Meg Walker's wrecked car at the side of a snow-covered road. Meg was his high school sweetheart and first love. She always believed in his innocence, but a lot of time has passed since they crossed paths. In a twisted game of revenge and lies, secrets are unveiled and now Linc's mission is putting them both at risk. Someone/s wants the truth to stay buried, at any cost.

Sala is one of my go-to authors. I know I can pick up any of her books and be happy. It's refreshing to read a romance that's not as invested in the heat as it is in the heart. Thrilling suspense and three dimensional characters, packed with detailed setting and an array of secondary characters only add to the books intensity and charm. This was no exception. This is a Rebel Ridge novel (I believe book two) and not to be missed. Most impressive about this book was the uncovering of lies and lengths people will go to in order to escape their past or bury their secrets. The ending was excellent in its realism. Recommended!

Product Review: Arbonne Products

I don't normally review products here on my blog, just books, but I was given a free sample of these and tried them out.

Arbonne is a line of skincare products that are all natural. No Fragrances, No Parabens, No Artificial Colors, No Phtalates, No Mineral Oil or Petroleum, & No SD40 Alchohols. Don't know what those are? They're in most of your skincare products and can increase your risk of cancer. These products are pH correct, contain no animal product/by product and are not tested on animals. They also come with a money back guarantee.

I was given a sample pack of RE9 products including: restorative day cream, toner, corrective eye cream, facial cleanser, renewal serum, day creme, and night repair cream.

DAY CREAM: Was light and smelled light. It didn't leave a greasy feel. Helped with dry skin.
TONER: Was not harsh like most and didn't have a strong scent.
EYE CREAM: Felt like a lotion, and made my skin feel tighter. Did not notice a drastic change in puffiness or wrinkle reduction.
FACIAL CLEANSER: Was most impressive. It lathered well, didn't leave a residue, smelled light and didn't dry my skin.
RENEWAL SERUM: Did not notice any drastic change to skin tone or wrinkle reduction.
RESTORATIVE DAY CREME: Did not notice a drastic change to appearance in wrinkle reduction.
NIGHT REPAIR CREAM: Did not notice a drastic change in wrinkle reduction.

*NOTE* That I only had enough sample product to test for 5 days.

*IMPRESSIONS* I'm most impressed with the facial cleanser ($40), toner ($35) and day cream ($50-which also has an SPF 20) I like that these are all natural, free of chemicals, somewhat reasonably priced (they need minimal amount applied and last a long time), and that they're not tested on animals.

If interested in buying the products, here's the rep I recommend:

If interested in these products, here's a Youtube video tutorial: