Early Review: Gimme Some Sugar by Molly Harper

, by Kt Clapsadl

Gimme Some Sugar by Molly Harper
Southern Eclectic #3

A young widow returns to Lake Sackett, Georgia to face the ghosts of her past—and decide if she’s ready to take another chance on love—in the third sparkling Southern Eclectic novel that “goes down as easy as honey on a deep-fried Twinkie” (Library Journal, on Sweet Tea and Sympathy).

Lucy Brewer would never have guessed that her best friend, Duffy McCready (of McCready’s Bait Shop & Funeral Home) has been in love with her since they were kids. Fear of rejection and his own romantic complications prevented Duffy from confessing his true feelings in high school, so he stood by and watched her wed Wayne Bowman right after high school. Wayne had always been a cheapskate, so it comes as no surprise when he suffers a fatal accident while fixing his own truck.

Even as her family and friends invade Lucy’s life and insist that the new widow is too fragile to do much beyond weeping, Lucy is ashamed to admit that life without Wayne is easier, less complicated. After all, no one knew what a relentless, soul-grinding trudge marriage to Wayne had been. Only Duffy can tell she’s hiding something.

In need of a fresh start, Lucy asks Duffy to put his cabinet-building skills to use, transforming the town's meat shop into a bake shop. As the bakery takes shape, Lucy and Duffy discover the spark that pulled them together so many years ago. Could this finally be the second chance he’s always hoped for?

Once again Molly Harper “writes characters you can’t help but fall in love with” (RT Book Reviews) in this charming and entertaining love story.

I really enjoy Molly Harper’s books. She’s my go to author when I need a bit of humor and sunshine in my life and GIMME SOME SUGAR more than delivered. I always enjoy a good friends to lovers story, and mixed in with a bit of second chances, this book was a winner. The slow sweet burn between Lucy and Duffy sucked me right in. Lucy is starting over, and isn’t taking any nonsense from anyone despite many trying to dish it out. And Duffy is finally finding his own and re-prioritizing his life, and Lucy is it. But there’s no insta-love here, which really works for the characters and their situation, which I really appreciated. Add that to the typical hi-jinks of this town and its hilarious inhabitants, and you have one heck of a sweet read.

If you are looking for a read full of wit, humor, romance, and a great plot-line, look no further than GIMME SOME SUGAR. I’m a huge fan of the series, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     A Midlife Wife
     Rolopolobookblog

Previous Books:
     1. Sweet Tea and Sympathy
     1.5. Peachy Flippin' Keen
     2. Ain't She a Peach

Review: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven

, by Kt Clapsadl

Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven
Fallen Empire #1

A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.
To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.

PHOENIX UNBOUND was such a rich and enjoyable story! It had such a great premise and incredible characters that I was hooked from the first page. Sometimes full fantasy worlds can take me a bit to get into due to all of the necessary world-building set up that can sometimes slow the early pacing. However, this was not the case in this book. There was no sacrifices made anywhere in this book, the pacing was executed flawlessly without sacrificing anything. The world, the plot, the characters, the conflict, all wrapped together perfectly making for one heck of an enjoyable read. I felt like I was experiencing things right alongside the characters.

Onto the romance: that it centered around my all time favorite trope of enemies to lovers, only sweetened the read for me. Azarion and Gilene start out as utter enemies in the truest of sense. Gilene couldn't possibly hate him as her captor any more than she does. And yet, slowly throughout the book she starts to see him in a new light. I know some would say Stockholm, but it didn't really have that vibe throughout. Yes he kidnapped her, and yes he's using her for his own gain, but it just worked for me. The progression of the romance is slow, but believable considering the circumstance, and I loved every minute of it.

After finishing this book, all I can say is that I'm so glad this is to be a series, because I can't wait to read more in this incredible world! PHOENIX UNBOUND is an incredibly enjoyable read that you won't want to miss!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Between Dreams and Reality
     All Things Urban Fantasy
     Gizmo's Reviews


Review: The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

Magic is not allowed, under any circumstances — even if it could save someone’s life. Instead, there are herbal remedies and traditional techniques that have been painstakingly recorded in lieu of using the mystical arts. Fee knows this, so she keeps her magic a secret.

Except her best friend, Xavi, is deathly ill. He’s also the crown prince. Saving him is important, not only for her, but for the entire kingdom.

Fee’s desperation to save her friend means she can barely contain the magic inside her. And after the tiniest of slips, Fee is thrust into a dark and secretive world that is as alluring as it is dangerous.

If she gives in, it could mean she can save Xavi. But it also means that those who wish to snuff out magic might just snuff her out in the process.

I really wanted to love THE ANTIDOTE, but I had really a hard time staying interested while reading. The premise in the blurb fascinated me and there was a lot of potential, but the actual execution just failed to keep my attention. There were an incredible amount of twists and turns throughout, but I always felt like something was missing, some vital bits of information withheld that would have assuaged some of my confusion and better hooked me into the story. This just made the twists and turns feel a bit forced and over the top as if they were thrown in there to keep interest rather than any true reveal or substance.

Unfortunately, in the end the entire book was a large disconnect for me. I continued reading as the characters and the potential kept me hoping for a pay off in the end. But alas, even after finishing, I'm still left scratching my head at a few things as while the descriptions of things were extensive and almost flowery, they weren't ever actually made clear. Granted I'm not a huge fan of lyrical prose, instead preferring strong character driven plots, and a structured action-packed plot. So all in all, THE ANTIDOTE wasn't my cup of tea, but may be the perfect read for more whimsical and lyrical driven readers.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     Between Dreams and Reality
     Gizmo's Reviews
     Mel to the Any

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