blog, Book Review

Review – Raising the Stakes

Raising the Stakes banner
This is my stop during the blog tour for Raising the Stakes by Karen Rock. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 1 till 7 April, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

Raising the Stakes CoverRaising the Stakes
by Karen Rock
Genre: Adult
Age category: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 1 April, 2015

Hiding from the world…

Tucking herself away in the Adirondack woods was supposed to keep Vivienne Harris safe. From dark memories of the Bronx, from danger, from entanglements. But when an orphaned bear cub raids her pantry and conservation officer Liam Walsh appears with news of poachers nearby, her private, peaceful world is turned upside down!

Suddenly two forces are drawing her out—Button, the cub who needs her help, and Liam, the man who’s dead set against her rehabilitating the bear. If she can just win Liam’s support, Vivie knows she can give Button a good life. And maybe find the courage to embrace a future with Liam…

My Review:

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but look at that cover. Isn’t that sweet, little bear cub enticing you to grab that book and start reading?

Raising the Stakes by Karen Rock is an animal / romance lovers dream. Vivienne Harris left the large city for the safety of the Adirondack Mountains. When a cub breaks into her house in the middle of the night, Vivie’s life is about to take a ‘wild’ turn.

Liam Walsh, a wildlife officer, answers the call about the stray bear cub. With the cub’s mother killed by poachers, Liam believes the little guy should be put down.  But Vivie won’t hear of it. Can the stubborn Liam talk Vivie into doing what’s right in his eyes, or will Vivie’s kind heart win in the end?

I loved all the animals in this book, from Vivie’s old dog and curious cat, to Buttons the bear, and Liam’s dog – Extra Pickles. (I still can’t get over that name!)

The love story between Vivienne and Liam starts and stops…then starts again, only to have them pulled back apart by their different opinions about Buttons care and Liam’s desire to take a new post in Yellowstone.

Karen did a good job of revealing the character’s back story in bits and pieces throughout the story, so as a reader, I was intrigued up until the end. I won’t say what happened to the little orphan cub, you’ll have to read the book and find out yourself. Let’s just say my eyes were a little damp at many points throughout the book, and especially when I was finished reading.

The reviewer was given an ARC for an honest review.

You can find Raising the Stakes on Goodreads

You can buy Raising the Stakes here:
Barnes & Noble

karen in gardenAbout the Author:
Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary romance author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time writer. Currently she writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and her first novel for the line, WISH ME TOMORROW, has won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2014 Golden Quill Contest and a finalist in the Published Maggie Awards. The first novel in her co-authored YA series, CAMP BOYFRIEND, has been a finalist in the Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards.

You can find and contact Karen here:
Quarterly Newsletter
Amazon Author Page

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Raising the Stakes. These are the prizes you can win:
– a 100$ Amazon gift card (INT)
– a set of signed paperbacks of Wish Me Tomorrow, His Hometown Girl, Someone Like You and A League of Her Own (US only)
Raising the Stakes Grand Prize

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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blog, Book Review

Review – Falling for Leigh by Jennifer Snow


Write from the Heart Review

Falling for Leigh

by Jennifer Snow

All Logan Walters wants to do is finish his book. Is that too much to ask? He finds a nice bed and breakfast in the quiet town of Brookhollow to do just that. But he can’t think straight with the noisy children running up and down the hall and that incessant pounding coming from next door. Not being able to take the distraction, he marches over to ask the offender to cease her hammering.  After a brief conversation with the beautiful woman next door, he saves her from falling off her rickety ladder, then leaves with a broken wrist for his trouble.

Leigh Norris loves kids. So much so that she operates her own daycare. Having tried and failed to have children of her own, she gives love to the children she cares for. When the grumpy author from the B & B next door breaks his wrist while saving her from a fall, she offers to help Logan by typing the rest of his book.

These two have a rocky start. Logan is resentful that he needs help and Leigh has her own tender feelings with an ex-husband and his very pregnant wife. While Logan and Leigh work together, they start becoming more in sync. They both have the same goals…a family, but in order to achieve them, their lives would take them in different directions.

Logan’s needs to gain custody of his daughter or move out to California to live closer to her.  Leigh wants nothing more than to adopt a baby and raise him or her in Brookhollow.  

What I liked best about this story is that Logan and Leigh had to work for their relationship. It was complicated and sometimes messy with life’s problems. They had to make some tough decisions and the happily ever after did not come without some tears.

The infertility story line was especially touching. I really felt for Leigh and her struggle to come to terms with the fact she would not be able to carry a pregnancy to full term. Logan started as a self-absorbed writer but ended up as a swoon worthy hero.

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a strong romance with lots of heart!

blog, Book Review

Review – A League of Her Own by Karen Rock

iphone pics 094

Write from the Heart Review

A League of Her Own

by Karen Rock

I first became introduced to Karen Rock through her book, His Hometown Girl. So, when I saw she had a new book out, I quickly downloaded it onto my Kindle.

I have a long love story with sports. Not that I have any natural athletic ability (I trip over my own feet). In high school, I worked as an usher for my hometown pro-baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers. Sport heroes are some of my favorite to read about in romance, and Garret Wolf does not disappoint!

Garret Wolf is a minor league pitcher who gets a second chance with the Falcons. Heather Gadway is a former college softball pitching star and daughter of the Falcon’s owner. When Heather’s father becomes ill and threatens to sell the team, Heather makes a deal…she will step in as manager for the rest of the season and try to turn the team around.

Garret and Heather butt heads right off the bat (I love baseball puns!) but eventually come to an uneasy alliance. They both want the team to succeed, each for their own reasons.

I loved the fact that Heather stepped into a minor league manager position. It took a lot of guts to stand in a locker room full of male professional athletes and attempt to gain their support….kinda like wrangling kittens. Heather didn’t let her own insecurities or rocky history with her parents become an excuse to quit.

Any book with such a sweet love story and a strong female lead will get a strong recommendation from me.

I rate A League of Her Own  5 hearts



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I love chocolate. No, I really love chocolate. At work, there’s a drawer filled with those cute Dove bite size chocolate candies. Every afternoon, like clockwork, I come downstairs and grab one. It’s a guilt free way to make it through the rest of the work day.

This past summer, I entered my first story in the Harlequin Heartwarming Write from the Heart contest. This was the first time I had sent my work out to be critiqued by an industry professional, and I was nervous. While I was waiting to hear back if my story made it to the second round of the contest, I opened up a Dove chocolate and saw the message in the picture above – Believe in yourself.

Being plagued by self-doubt, this little chocolate inspiration really hit home. I tacked it to the wall of my work desk as a daily reminder. Believing in yourself costs nothing, but the payout can be huge.

Weeks later, I found out I had made it to the second round in the Write from the Heart contest. I ended up not winning, but I did get some valuable feedback from the Harlequin Heartwarming editors. That, in itself, was priceless.

That little piece of foil is still pinned to my desk. Along with various other fun items.

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What are the little things you do to help feed the seed of belief in yourself?

In honor of my love of chocolate, I’m sharing a recipe for yummy Turtle Brownies.

  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 can (12oz) of Carnation milk
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 pkg. Kraft caramels
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 pkg. (12oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a bowl, combine cake mix, 1/2 cup Carnation milk, and 3/4 cup melted butter. Spread 1/2 mixture in a 9×13 inch greased pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Unwrap caramels and place in microwave safe bowl. Melt in microwave for 60 seconds. Add 1/3 cup of Carnation and mix well. Pour over baked dough, then sprinkle pecans evenly over melted caramels. Sprinkle chocolate chips over pecans. Spread remaining dough over the top and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes longer.