Gabbi Reviews: Smitty’s Sheriff by Cardeno C.


Title: Hope, Book 3: Smitty’s Sheriff
Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Pages: 79
Characters: Richard Davis, Todd Smitty
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Todd is too flakey. Richard is too stubborn. Together, they’re perfect. A May-December couple get a second chance at love.

Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.

It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.

When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?

Review:

Smitty’s Sheriff is the third book in the Home series and it’s one of my favorites. I’m a sucker for May/December romances and Cardeno C is the master at telling a great story with compelling characters that you can’t help but fall in love with.

There is a wealth of miscommunication between these two men. In their past, they don’t discuss their wants and needs, instead they assume what the other man wants. It’s because of this that Richard breaks it off with Todd with the thought that he is doing the younger man a favor. I really liked how they were brought into each other’s lives again and I enjoyed watching both men truly learn how to communicate with one another as their story progresses.

Both heroes are not perfect *far from it*, BUT they seem to be perfect for each other. Richard likes order and to be in control. Todd is a little flighty and needs to be guided through day to day life. Together, Richard’s dominance is just what Todd needs. In some ways, they have D/s relationship without the BDSM aspect to it and I admit, I liked it.

The Hope stories is a feel-good series filled with plenty warm fuzzy feelings and romance. Each and every book in this series has been a keeper and I cannot wait to see what the author has in store for us next!

The Hope series in book order are:

McFarland’s Farm
Jessie’s Diner
Smitty’s Sheriff

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Gabbi Reviews: Rough Edges by Cardeno C.


Title: Rough Edges
Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Pages: 46
Characters: Kyle Potter, Brent Haralson
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Kyle has an unwelcome crush on his nemesis Brent. Brent has a welcome crush on his friend Kyle. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.

Born on the wrong side of the tracks to the wrong family, Kyle Potter has spent his life clawing his way toward a better future. When he gets the perfect job at the perfect firm in perfect Los Angeles, Kyle is sure there are only blue skies ahead. And then he meets perfect Brent Haralson.

Born with a silver spoon to a well-established family, Brent Haralson has never been interested in leveraging his connections. Friends, success, and dates come easily to Brent and rejection isn’t something he has to deal with in life. And then he meets perfect Kyle Potter.

Kyle despises his unwelcome crush on his lazy, arrogant nemesis. Brent welcomes his feelings for his stubborn, brilliant friend. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.

Review:

Any time I read a story written by Cardeno C., I know that I’m in for a delicious treat. There is something special about her stories that keeps this reader highly satisfied and coming back to them time and time again.

To say that Kyle hates Brent is almost an understatement. Almost from the first day they meet and anytime they are around each other, Kyle does NOTHING to hide his emense dislike for him. Between the snarky comments, body language and down and out rudeness toward Brent, I truly wondered two things.

The first thing I wondered was if Kyle would ever soften up to Brent. Sure, Brent was born into money and though Kyle thinks he is a waste of human life because he does not work, Brent is kind-hearted and extremely likeable. Even though Brent allows Kyle’s snarky comments roll off of his shoulders, Brent is no push-over. He can be sarcastic and very witty and most of the time was able to keep Kyle in his place. Through half of the story, Kyle hates Brent and honestly searches for reasons to almost be mean to him.

The second thing I wondered was if I was ever really going to like Kyle. While reading this story, I liked and admired Brent and honestly didn’t care for Kyle’s stubbornness when it came to deliberately hating Brent…no matter how nice Brent was or how much Brent set out to help him. His insistence to find fault with Brent’s whole life began to grate my nerves badly and at one point in the story, I truly began to hope that Brent would tell Kyle to kiss his ass and find someone else to obviously like and admire.

I shouldn’t have worried because this is a Cardeno C. story. Trust me when I say that this author knows how to write relationships and romance. Even when you wonder if the chips will be down and there is no hope for this couple, Cardeno C. is always able to somehow turn things around and make these characters not only likeable but made for each other.

The thing is…even though Kyle could be a jackass there was an interesting backstory as to why he felt the way he did and why he was a stubborn and sometimes too serious for his own good. I liked how Brent was able to see through Kyle’s hard outer shell and into the softness Kyle had deep inside. Kyle and Brent both are complex and interesting characters and I ended up loving them both.

If you are looking for a well-written story and you enjoy a good sarcastic hero with more bark than bite, then Rough Edges is definitely the story for you! I wish the story had been longer. Just when it was getting so good, boom, it was over. Ugh! But the happy ending still left a smile on my face and I know I’ll revisit these characters soon when I’m in the mood for a quick and very satisfying read.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Rough Edges by Cardeno C.

Gabbi Reviews: Not a Game by Cardeno C.


Title: Not a Game
Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Pages: 115
Characters: Oliver Barnaby, Jaime Snow
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

An accidental meeting and a misunderstanding lead to a life-altering connection.

A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second’s hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.

A life that looks perfect on paper, but feels empty in reality. Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn’t lacking in friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there’s an emptiness in Jaime’s heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.

An accidental meeting, a misunderstanding, and falling in love. When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little misunderstanding.

Review:

Whenever I need a pick-me-up I’ll reach for a book written by Cardeno C.. As a reader, one of the things I appreciate about her stories is her gift at writing real-to-me characters that live with me long after I finish reading their story.

I loved this book because both of the heroes are likeable men. Not only are they truly ‘nice’ guys, I adored the way they learn to communicate, become friends and eventually fall in love. Their story was a memorable and lovely thing to read. I also enjoyed how different Oliver is compared to most romantic heroes. He doesn’t have a perfect body, is terribly shy at times and has low self-esteem about his body. To me, Oliver is a fresh take on your everyday hero. I LOVED the fact that Jamie was attracted to Oliver and he appreciated him for who he really is and honestly didn’t want to change him. I also liked how through Jamie’s eyes, Oliver is able to see himself for the attractive man he is, despite society’s narrow standards.

I could understand why both men were made for each other. I loved the way these two men really connected on a emotional level and share a friendship and a respect for each other that really resonated with me as a reader. As with all of this author’s stories, Not a Game, is written with a lot of heart and romance and I loved every minute I spent reading about these two incredible men. Now, I can’t wait until Jack’s story!!

If you are looking for a feel-good, sexy and thoughtful read, then Not a Game is definitely the book for you!

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Not a Game by Cardeno C.

Gabbi Reviews: McFarland’s Farm by Cardeno C.


Title: A Hope Story: McFarland’s Farm
Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Pages: 56
Characters: Jared McFarland, Lucas Reika
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Wealthy, attractive Lucas Reika treats life like a party, moving from bar to bar and man to man. Thumbing his nose at his restaurateur father’s demand that he earn his keep, Lucas instead seduces a valued employee in the kitchen of their flagship restaurant, earning himself an ultimatum: lose access to his father’s money or stay in the middle of nowhere with a man he has secretly lusted over from afar.

Quiet, hard-working Jared McFarland loves his farm on the outskirts of Hope, Arizona, but he aches to have someone to come home to at the end of the day. Jared agrees to take in his longtime crush as a favor. But when Lucas invades his heart in addition to his space, Jared has to decide how much of himself he’s willing to risk and figure out if he can offer Lucas enough to keep him after his father’s punishment is over.

Review:

McFarland’s Farm is a feel-good, sexy story by Cardeno C. One thing I’ve learned after reading many of this author’s books is to make sure I give myself plenty of time to read before I start it. Why? Because I know anytime I read anything written by Cardeno C., I won’t be able to put it down until I finish reading the entire book from beginning to end without stopping.

One of the things I really liked about this book was the sweet way the romance developed between Lucas and Jared. Lucas is a little bit of a spoiled brat and Jared is a hard-working man who lives a simple life. I honestly didn’t know how these two seemingly different men would be able to find a common ground and build something special together. But, as the story continued and as things are about both Lucas and Jared are revealed, it was easy to see how much they truly did belong together and how much they really came to care, love and respect each other.

As with all of Ms. C’s books, McFarland’s Farm is a very fast paced book. It is so easy to get caught up into Jared and Lucas’ lives and really enjoyed watching them fall in love. The selfish person in me wishes the book had been longer. I would love to see how these two men really work at keeping their relationship a strong one. McFarland’s Farm is a great start to the Hope series and I know fans of Cardeno C. and fans of the book Jesse’s Diner will totally fall in love with these two men just like I did.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Buy HERE

Gabbi Reviews: Strong Enough by Cardeno C.


Title: Strong Enough
Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Pages: 247
Characters: Emilio Sanchez, Spencer Derdinger
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, May/December Romance
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

When a casual hookup turns into the potential for love, staid Spencer realizes he wants to build a life with vibrant Emilio.

When twenty-two-year-old Emilio Sanchez sees handsome Spencer Derdinger walking by his construction site, Emilio makes it his goal to seduce the shy professor. Getting Spencer into bed isn’t difficult, but Emilio soon learns that earning the trust of a man deeply hurt will take time and patience. With a prize like brilliant, sweet Spencer on the line, Emilio decides he is strong enough to face the challenge.

Spencer is surprised when he’s approached by the gorgeous construction worker he’s admired from the safety of his office window. Acting spontaneously for the first time in his thirty-eight years, Spencer takes Emilio home. When the casual hookup turns into the potential for love, Spencer realizes that if he wants to build a life with Emilio, he’ll need to be strong enough to slay his personal demons and learn to trust again.

Review:

When I am in the mood for a feel-good, romantic story I will reach for just about anything written by Cardeno C. There is something very special about her well-written, sexy characters that really resonate with me as a reader. Each and every character Ms. C creates will live in your heart and mind long after you’ve finished the book.

It’s no secret that the May/December sub-genre is one of my favorite themes to read, and I’m thrilled to say Strong Enough is one of my all time favorites within this genre. I truly loved the way Emilio and Spencer connected on both an emotional and physical level and I also believed they honestly liked one another too.

At first glance, they may seem like polar opposites. Spencer is a gorgeous, uptight professor and Emilio is a sexy younger man who works in his family’s construction business. I LOVED that even though Spencer is older, it was often Emilio who was the patient one. Emilio knew when he met Spencer he wanted him in his life, and let me tell you when Emilio sets his mind to something he wants…he gets it.

Between the sexy banter and the honest conversations these two men shared together, I found myself really rallying behind this couple. I loved how they communicated, both in and out of the bedroom, and I believed Emilio and Spencer really belonged together.

Strong Enough is a sweet and sexy read that will leave you with a smile on your face. Strong Enough is a very easy book to recommend and I know once you read this gem of a story you’ll want to read more books written by this amazing author.

Strong Enough is the first book in the Family collection series and I can’t wait to see what Ms. C has in store for us next!

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Buy HERE

Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C.


Title: Wake Me Up Inside
Author: Cardeno C.
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Pages: 282
Characters: Zev Hassick, Jonah Marvel
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Paranormal Romance
Kisses: 5



Blurb:

A powerful Alpha wolf shifter and a strong-willed human overcome traditions ingrained over generations and uncover long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny as true mates.

Regarded as the strongest wolf shifter in generations, Alpha Zev Hassick is surprised and confused by his attraction to his best friend. His very human, very male best friend. A male shifter has to mate with a female shifter to keep his humanity, so shifters can’t be gay. Yet, everything inside Zev tells him Jonah is his true mate.

Maintaining a relationship with the man he has loved since childhood isn’t easy for Jonah Marvel, but he won’t let distance or Zev’s odd family get in their way. When unexplained ailments begin to plague Jonah, he needs to save his own life and sanity in order to have a future with Zev.

Zev and Jonah know they’re destined for each other, but they must overcome traditions ingrained over generations and long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny.

Review:

Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C. is a beautifully told story that lived with me long after I finished reading it. I was quickly wrapped up into these amazing characters lives and loved every moment I spent reading this story.

I loved this book because of the intense relationship between the two main heroes. Both Zev and Jonah are compelling, likeable heroes that I couldn’t help falling in love with. They are both good men. They have to actively work HARD at making this relationship work and last. I truly enjoyed watching these two go from best friends to lovers and see how they make their relationship stand the test of time. Because they are so well-written they both make mistakes, but because of their love and adoration for one another they are able to become an even stronger more amazing couple in the end.

I also experienced an vast array of emotions as I read this story. Between laughing at some of the playfulness they shared together and even tearing up at some of the things they go through, Wake Me Up Inside has a great balance of romance, sweetness and angst. This book is definitely a keeper for me and I can’t wait to read the next Mates book just to see what Cardeno C has in store for us next!!

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi