Monday, September 30, 2013

Yuletide Baby Surprise

In Yuletide Baby Surprise by Catherine Mann, Princess Mariama Mandara, who is also a research scientist, unexpectedly gets up close and personal with Dr. Rowan Boothe.  She has been determined to avoid him since their last meeting 5 months ago in London.  They both have very differing points of view about science and medicine, and Princess Mari has been openly critical of some of Rowan's work.

When Princess Mari sneaks into a room at her hotel pretending to be room service in order to escape the press, she not only discovers she's snuck into Rowan's hotel room, but there is also an abandoned baby in the service cart!  Both Rowan and Mari are horrified that the sweet baby girl has been abandoned, and besides being determined to find the baby's mother, Rowan sees this as an opportunity to get closer to Mari.  "He didn't know what it was about Mariama Mandara that turned him inside out, but he'd given up analyzing the why of it long ago.  His attraction to Mari was a simple fact of life now."

While using the resources of the Alpha Brotherhood to find baby Issa's family, Rowan plans to also romance Mari.  Mari is used to being safely away in her lab, away from most people.  Between that and as a Princess, she has managed to socially isolate herself very well. Mari is not actually very confident in herself or her social skills outside of work.  So she is shocked when Rowan convinces her it would be best for Issa for them to care for her together while they search for family.  She is even more dismayed when she finds herself not only sharing a hotel suite with Rowan and Issa, but she is starting to feel an attraction to Rowan she's never acknowledged before.  "Intellectually, she'd understood he was an attractive - albeit irritating - man.  But until this moment, she hadn't comprehended the full impact of his appeal."

As Mari and Rowan spend more time together, they both begin to see each other in a new light.  Mari finds herself  not only "finding layers to him she didn't know existed", she is finding it harder and harder not to fantasize about sharing a bed with him.  Rowan starts to see Mari as more than just a research scientist who sees things in black and white, an untouchable princess.  He starts to see underneath her layers, and the more he sees, the more he likes.  Being together caring for Issa, using the resources available to them to find her family, brings them closer than they imagined they could be.  The dialogue between them is open and honest, but Rowan is still holding parts of himself back, and Mari is not happy about that.  She knows he is holding parts of himself and his heart back, and this is not something she can be happy with in a relationship.

If Issa's family is found, can Rowan and Mari find another way to stay together...for real this time?  Or has Rowan's past and his guilt over it scarred him too deeply?  Or has Princess Mari finally found something worth fighting for?

Catherine Mann is a must read author for me and Yuletide Baby Surprise did not disappoint me!  She had me laughing in the first few pages...a great way to start a new book!

There are two strong interwoven story lines in Yuletide Baby Issa and the romance of Mari and Rowan.  Both Mari and Rowan are strong characters who have actually known each other for years, but it's just this past week they've really gotten to know each other!  I loved the interaction between them.  Despite Mari being a princess and Rowan a billionaire doctor, they were both really relatable people.  Mari is strong, independent, and very smart...but she finds out even more about herself and what she's been missing in Yuletide Baby Surprise.  This further strengthens her character because she can admit to herself what's missing and what she can do about it.  Rowan is a bit of a mystery to Mari, but slowly she gains his confidence and he finds himself telling her things he's told no one.  

Catherine gives us a great romance with Yuletide Baby Surprise!  The story flows very smoothly, the secondary characters link in very well, and the romance is fast paced.  I loved this because I was never bored!  You will certainly laugh between the seriousness and steamy scenes in Yuletide Baby Surprise.  It was a lot of fun watching Mari and Rowan circle each other before coming together.

I'd recommend this to any romance reader!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hostage to Love

In Hostage to Love by Maya Blake, Belle is a teacher in a mission group in Africa. When she and some others are kidnapped, Belle is not sure how or if she’s going to get out alive. The rebel leader knows Belle’s try identity and has decided that Belle will be his.Read More

Two Times as Hot

Two Times as Hot by Cat Johnson opens with sisters Emma and Becca in Oklahoma as Becca prepares for a job interview. Becca is trying to move on with her life, and big sister Emma is there to help her! A night at the rodeo and possibly some cowboy fun is just what they need! Unfortunately Emma’s cowboy left her hot and bothered…and Becca got the job and the man!Read More

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dangerous Desire

In Dangerous Desire by Annie Seaton, Gracie's sister Regan has been uncharacteristically out of touch and Gracie is worried.  After 3 weeks with no word, small town kindergarten teacher Gracie steps out of her element when she starts searching for Regan.  Gracie narrows down where she thinks Regan might be, and as she does, she enters a world of danger and deception.  Gracie is full of plans to find Regan...she is the only family Gracie has left.  When Gracie sneaks onto a boat she thinks is empty to spy on the yatch her sister might be on, she does not expect to run into anyone!

Jake is shocked when the gorgeous woman sneaks onto his boat...and even more shocked by both his reaction to her and her plans to find her sister.  A former police officer, Jake now works for insurance companies.  Soon he could find his latest job becomes more than he expects, especially when Gracie's plans could cause interference.  The people Gracie thinks Regan is with are a little scary, shady, and their actions questionable.  There is much more going on that Gracie can imagine, and she's going to have to be very careful...  Gracie is not even 100% sure she should trust Jake, but she has to trust someone, and Jake is determined to protect Gracie. 

Jake and Gracie establish some sort of relationship, oh, and parts of it are hot!  As they both seek to find answers, at the same time getting to know each other, danger is lurking closer.  Jake and Gracie are really going to need to put their trust in each other to make any of their situation work and find Regan.  Can they?  Will Gracie get some answers?  And then what?....

Dangerous Desire was a fast paced, suspenseful romance!  Annie will keep you guessing until the end not only about the romance, but about the mystery!

Gracie is a courageous, but somewhat naive woman who I really wanted to shake at times!  I felt like she jumped into things without thinking, with no thought to consequences.  She has a heart of gold though and loves her sister, and apparently will do anything to find her!  After her last 'relationship', Gracie strives to be independent...but she will still need someone on her side.  Jake is a natural protector whose past I would have liked a bit more information about.  In the here and now in Dangerous Desire though, Gracie is lucky to have found him and not someone else!  Jake finds Gracie's actions frustrating at times, but does not force her to hold back, instead he finds ways to be there for her.  Both Jake and Gracie are strong characters who really deserve happiness.  I was intrigued with how their fledgling romance would play out and Annie did not disappoint!

With smooth writing that will entrance you, I'd recommend this to any romantic suspense reader!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Falling for the Backup

Jordan is struggling to maintain his hockey career after an injury that left him out long enough to lose his spot as starting goalie. He is good enough to not just be a back up goalie, but that's the position he's been in for too long. Now he's looking to find another team who will use him as their starting goal. Even though he loves playing for his team, he knows to be happy and fulfilled he's going to have to move on. Just where and to who he's having trouble finding. His girlfriend left him when he was injured, and even though he's moved on from that hurt, he's not ready to start a relationship with anyone right now while his career is so unknown.

Aynslee would love to have a happily ever after, she just hasn't found the right guy yet! When she has to cut short her duty as bridesmaid to a neice's wedding, she is happy to leave those reminders there and head home, even if it is only with the bridesmaid dress on her back! She sure wasn't expecting to have the hottest guy ever sitting next to her on the plane home, let alone spill coffee all over her only piece of clothing! But spilled coffee brings conversation and sparks that might otherwise have not been acknowledged. Aynslee and Jordan both feel the heat between them, but neither makes a move on it and they separate at the airport much to Aynslee's distress! Aynslee is sure he felt something between them too and can't understand why he just left! Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways though, and a couple of chance encounters later Jordan and Aynslee are finally able to light the fire between them.

They fit so well together and like each other so much! But Jordan doesn't know where his career is heading, or where he'll be living next. He feels a lot for Aynslee, but he can't ask her to give up her job and friends to follow him on his career path...or can he? Would Aynslee even be willing to consider it?

Falling for the Backup is a fast paced, quickly read sexy romance. I liked both of the characters, Aynslee is so fun and honest. Jordan isn't really ready to open himself up to another romance, but once he meets Aynslee he finds it impossible not to! I did find them to be a bit immature for people close to 30 years old. Neither of them talked about where their relationship was going...both of them knew that Jordan would in all likely hood have to move, but they didn't talk much about that either and what that would mean to them. They both made a lot of assumptions that I think most people that age would be way past. That was the only thing I didn't really like, the lack of maturity (or what I felt was anyway) towards relationships.

Toni gives us a hot novella with Falling for the Backup...with all the chemistry these two have how can they not find a way to stay together?

The Good Wife

The Good Wife by Jane Porter begins where The Good Daughter left off and takes us back into the life of the Brennan’s. It is the story of the youngest daughter, Sarah, but The Good Wife is also so much more than just Sarah’s story.

Sarah lives on the opposite side of the country from her family with her professional baseball player husband Boone and their two kids. She’s back home, having just lost her mother. All of the Brennan siblings have things going on in their lives, some good, some bad, but Sarah is really struggling.Read More

4 1/2 starts/5

Uncommon Passion

In Uncommon Passion by Anne Calhoun, Rachel has left all she has known, including her father, when she left a religious compound that kept it’s people quite isolated from the modern world. Rachel loves her father, but had a yearning for more than the life she would have in the compound. She asked too many questions, had a desire to know so much … this is not a trait the compound wants it’s women to have. Rachel wants to experience life outside of the compound, she wants to be independent and do what she wants to do.Read More

Tin Angel

"...she realized that was one of old age's cruelest tricks.  While on the outside she had grayed and withered, inside she still felt twenty-five."

What would you do if you had a second chance at life and love?

In Tin Angel by Raine English, Alice has spent most of her adult life isolated and mourning the loss of her fiancee during the World War.  She has never moved on from this loss, never allowing herself to love again or to be really happy again.

At Christmas time, a Christmas Alice believes will likely be her last, she feels regret for the way she's lived, and the chances she's missed.  She wishes she could have that love, she wishes so much to have done things differently.

When in a miraculous turn of events the Tin Angel given to her by her deceased fiance comes to life and grants her her wish, Alice only has 10 days to find true love or her time on earth will be over.  Alice turns herself into Ally, Alice's niece. 

When Jack, the tenant above Alice, first sees Ally, he is filled with suspicion about who she is and what her motives are.  And most of all, just where did Alice suddenly go?  Jack, jaded by bad experiences with relationships, decides he will find out exactly what is going on.  Soon Ally and Jack are spending a lot of time together...what starts out for Jack as keeping an eye on Ally and finding out about Alice, soon turns into spending time with a woman he is very attracted to.  She has so many of the characteristics he values in a woman...kind of old fashioned like Alice.

Even when she was Alice, Ally noticed Jack and all the good things about him.  Now she is finding more and more to like about him as they spend time together.  Ally is experiencing things she's never felt or done before, and she can't believe what she missed out on!  But even with their growing feelings towards each other, Jack feels like Ally is not being totally honest with him.  And between grifters, and ex girlfriend, and Alice's 10 days quickly running out...will Ally have her true love and get her redo, or is it just too late?

I really enjoyed reading Alice/Ally's story!!  Raine takes the reader to a place we probably all at one point wish for...a chance to do something differently - whether big or small.  Tin Angel was at times funny, sad, loving and sexy.  Raine gives us a perfect blend of this in Tin Angel.  I really felt for Alice, I really wanted her to find true love before it was all too late for her.

The length of Tin Angel fit very well with the story line.  The characters and their relationships developed quickly, there was never a dull moment!  Raine makes the whole story even better by adding a little mystery/suspense to it...which further helps the character development of Ally and Jack as they both have to deal with the unexpected.

Tin Angel by Raine English is a sweet, feel good romance that I will recommend to any romance reader who likes a little paranormal in the mix! :)  I will definitely be reading more of Raine's books.

4/5 stars

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sweet Treason

In Sweet Treason by Gail Ranstrom, the year is 1779, the American Revolutionary War is going on, and Emily is at the family estate in Oak Hills, England, struggling to keep it going and find the money to do so.  If she can make it a few more months she will inherit free and clear, and she will resort to almost anything to make sure she doesn't lose the estate.

When an American 'spy' (Ryan) shows up in her home and Emily doesn't out him to the soldiers who come knocking, Ryan convinces her that if she says anything now, she will be implicated as a co conspirator.  Even with a heat and attraction to him that is fully unexpected, Emily is glad to see the back of him.  She has her own secrets to protect, she does not want to risk being assocaited with a traitor!

Forced to go to London by the trustee of the family estate, who Emily does not trust one bit but she is determined to figure out his ulterior motive, Emily starts running into Ryan more and more.  Coincidence or something more?  Emily does not want to trust the spy, but the desire they feel for each other can't be denied.  Emily knows Ryan won't be staying around, but she can no longer resist him or how he makes her feel.    She takes big chances to be with him.  Not only could her heart be broken when he leaves, but the secrets they both harbor could end up harming them.  With the war going on, clandesine meetings, unexpected and frightening happenings, Ryan and Emily are going to have to trust someone.  Can they trust each other?  Are they really that different?  And what could possibly become of them?

I have to admit I don't read a lot of historical romance books, but I am so glad I read Sweet Treason!  I loved it!!!  Emily was such a strong woman, especially for the era Sweet Treason took place in.  She was not going to sit quietly for anything or anyone and I loved that about her.  She is so busy taking care of everyone else though, who will take care of Emily?  I really enjoyed the relationship between her and Ryan, and seeing it evolve.  Ryan played tough, but when it came to Emily he definitely has a soft spot!  He is standing up for what he believes in...and they might not be as different as they think.

Gail's descriptives are so well written that I could feel the cool air and smell the salt water...see the busy streets, and be at the parties.  All of the characters were well written and came together nicely to pull you into the story.  I loved it too because even though it was hundreds of years ago, feelings are the same no matter what century and those are what makes you relate to the characters, especially Emily

I am so glad I read Sweet Treason and recommend it to any romance reader, especially if you like historical romance, intrigue, and heat!

Marry Me, Cowboy

Not only do I love the stories of The Cooper Mountain Rodeo novellas, but I absolutely am loving the covers!

In Marry Me, Cowboy by Lilian Darcy, Tegan makes the rodeo circuits barrel racing.  Originally from Australia and her visa about to expire, Tegan is all set to marry her fellow rodeo rider Chet so that she can stay in the country.  There is no romance involved, it is pure practicality.  So when Chet suddenly calls off the wedding (at the wedding!), Tegan is not heart broken, but disappointed...she's not ready to go back to Australia yet.  She'd like nothing more to blame Chet's good friend Jamie for that fiasco!

As far as Tegan can tell, her and Jamie are complete opposites with nothing in common.  They only seem to antagonize each other.  Tegan is flashy, likes to talk, and not at all the kind of woman Jamie wants to be with.  When he finds himself offering spur of the moment to marry Tegan so she can stay in the country, neither of them really take his offer seriously.  Both of them choose to ignore the little sparks the other can set off.  But when Chet comes clean with his secret, Tegan sees a whole new side of she just might like.  They've known each other for almost two years, but just now, while in Marieta,  they are suddenly spending more and more time together.  Both of them have pasts, hurts and issues they struggle with, things they want to do.   They just might have way more in common than either of them thinks, and maybe being together will be more than either of them thought possible!

Marry Me, Cowboy is another fun romance in The Cooper Mountain Rodeo series.  I loved being back in Marieta.  Tegan and Jamie are both people you can relate to, and the way they come together shows that sometimes facing the past is the only way to move forward.  I liked the way they were able to get past their perceived differences and finally talk to each other!  They are a bit younger than what I usually like to read about, but they are strong enough characters that I really enjoyed them!  Marry Me, Cowboy is a great example of how many times there is way more to a person than you first think, and if you go a bit deeper you might like what you find!  Lilian managed to draw me in quickly to Tegan and Jamie's story and keep me there, not only for them but for the secondary characters also - more people that I wouldn't mind finding out more about, really letting your imagination take you where you want them to go!  

If you haven't read Tempt Me, Cowboy (the first book in the series), Marry Me, Cowboy can certainly be read as a stand alone novella.  I highly recommend reading them both though!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Country Roads

In Country Roads by Nancy Herkness, Julia, a famous artist, has fled the home she shares with her uncle to finally strike out on her own.  Between miscommunication, over protectiveness and their different ideas regarding Julia's career, it's time for her to be independent. Julia is heading to Sanctuary, WV in a beater truck she bought with her paintings in tow.  When she gets a flat and is rescued by Paul, her life as she knows it is about to change.

Paul tries to, but just can't drive by the woman on the side of the road.  Little does he know when he does how much she will change his life too.

Julia is just looking to get an outside opinion on her paintings - which are so different from all her other work - and hopefully sell them.  She's half terrified and half excited.  Up until now she's been under the protective umbrella of her uncle, but circumstances have forced Julia to take a stand and start managing her own career.  Paul takes Julia where she was going - to the gallery in Sanctuary - and despite the owner's enthusiasm over Julia's new paintings, Julia is still filled with doubt.  Deciding to stay in Sanctuary a little longer, Julia slowly builds her confidence.  No one in Sanctuary knows about the medical condition she had that contributed to her family's over protectiveness, and Julia is finally free to do what she wants, what makes her happy without anyone trying to wrap her up in cotton and keep her safe.  She paints what she wants to paint and gets to know Paul a lot better.  Soon they are more together than not, and the relationship is much more than client/lawyer or even friends.  Even knowing she will be leaving, Julia allows herself to lose herself in Paul...and before she knows it she's lost her heart.

Julia truly finds her muse in Sanctuary...between both Paul and Darkside, her whisper horse she discovers; both help her feel whole.  Julia has her secret though, and Paul has some of his own.  Julia wants to move on though and comes clean with Paul.  Paul is less willing to let his go though.  When Julia helps him see who he really is and wants to be, he pushes away...has he pushed Julia too far?  Will they both be brave enough to discover that secrets are most powerful when hidden away?  Will they find the freedom to be with each other, finding a way to make a relationship work in different worlds?  Paul might need to revisit who he really is and what makes him happy if he is going to have any chance with Julia. 

Country Roads is a great romantic read!  Nancy delves into not only the relationship between lovers, but the family relationships hidden in the background too.  With this, Nancy gives us some great characters in Country Roads...realistic people you can easily picture walking down your street.  The relationship between Paul and Julia, as quick as it evolves, is dynamic...pulling them and the reader in all directions!  Julia is a lot stronger than the people she's previously surrounded herself with give her credit for.  She's strong, smart, and quite capable of being independent!  She's willing to take chances and put herself out there...despite her fear of rejection.  I really loved watching Julia become more and more confident, less worried about what others' think, but at the same time still thoughtful of others. Paul has always been someone everyone goes to and looks up to...he never wants to let anyone down and puts others' needs before his own, even if it's making him unhappy.  Inside of serious Paul, I can see the carefree, fun loving guy that Julia can too.  Hopefully he can find a way to do what he wants to do, what makes him happy. 

I haven't read the first book in this series, but Country Roads can definitely stand alone!  Fast paced and never bored, I loved Nancy's writing!  Her descriptives of Darkside in particular were so vivid I could picture him easily in my mind, and feel his breath as he reached for a carrot!   Country Roads was a real page turner, a really sweet romance between two people not looking for love...who might find it anyway, and it will be up to them what they do with it.

I highly recommend this romance!

4/5 stars :)

For Love or Vengenace

 For Love or Vengeance by Caridad Pineiro, FBI Special Agent Helene is actually the goddess Nemesis.  She is on earth with one mission - to exact justice.  Helene is happy to do this - especially if it means she can escape the abuse of her father Zeus, god of Olympus.  Failure is not an option for Helene - if she fails, her time on earth as a goddess will come to an end.

When Helene is reassigned to a different office and city of the FBI, her reputation precedes her.  For Helene, things are black and white and serving justice is the only option.  She is seen as cold and calculating, with no hesitation to take down a perpetrator.  She is also gorgeous and smart, and despite her immortality, she hides a lot of hurt on the inside.  Helene is partnered with Miguel, who is also a reassigned FBI agent.  Miguel has had his share of struggles, and he is definitely all mortal!  As soon as he sees Helene he is fascinated and drawn to her...but once they are partnered he convinces himself he can maintain a strictly professional relationship with her.  That will prove to be a very difficult thing to do when they're together for hours at a time for days on end as they hunt for a serial killer...hoping to catch him before anyone else is killed. 

Helene is just as attracted to Miguel...even though she does not have intimate relationships with humans!  What starts out as a release for her soon could turn into much more if she's not careful.  She's starting to feel things she's never felt as a goddess before, things she doesn't think she should be feeling for someone who she can't be with.  As awed by Helene as he is, Miguel does notice some oddities about Helene, her social skills are lacking and her drive for 'justice' is almost frightening.  He is wary of working with Helene, especially when it starts looking like she's more out for vengeance than justice.  But the passion between them cannot be denied...nor should it!  With both of them fighting their growing feelings and seeing life through such different eyes, can they stay focused on the case and catch a killer before it's too late?  Can they accept the differences between them?

Will Miguel and Helene be able to have any kind of relationship?  How does one tell a lover that you really are a goddess?  Most importantly, will justice be served or will Helene's time as a goddess on earth end?

For Love or Vengeance takes us on quite a romantic journey!  I really liked the interactions between Miguel and Helene...they were so different but worked so well together.  It was really fun to watch Helene try to become more thoughtful of others...more 'human' like. There is something about Miguel that really makes her want to be that way.  The way they struggled with the inevitable and then finally came together was so realistic of a lot of couples!  I was really intrigued to keep reading, wondering where Caridad would go with a seemingly impossible relationship.  Because Helene had such a black and white out look on life, she really does help Miguel put a lot of things in perspective too.  Despite their differences, they bring out a lot of good in each other and really make the other think about things. I really enjoyed both of these characters!

There were a few secondary characters I'd love to read more about who added just the right amount of flavor to For Love or Vengeance and had you wondering what was up with them!  I'm hoping to see more of them in the future books of this series (which I will definitely be reading!)

I loved everything about For Love or Vengeance!  I really enjoy a bit of paranormal in romance, and Caridad gives us a perfect blend of both!  I really liked the mix of mythology in the modern world.  I haven't done much reading about gods and goddesses, so this was a wonderful new adventure for me!  This is the first book I've read by Caridad, and it definitely won't be the last!  I highly recommend it to anyone who loves romance, paranormal and suspense all woven together in a riveting book!

5/5 stars

Monday, September 16, 2013

For The Love of Magic

In For The Love of Magic by Janet Chapman, we get Rana and Titus Oceanus’s magical story. We have met Rana and Titus in previous Spellbound Falls books, but For The Love of Magic gives us a close up look at a couple who have been married for 40 years.Read More

3.5 stars

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Memory of You

The Memory of You by Laurie Kellogg tells us the story of 'Mac'.  Mac was in the Vietnam War and ended up being taken prisoner.  He is a POW for years, one day waking up with absolutely no memory of himself or his past.  He doesn't know who he is or where he came from.  He remembers things like math and everything to do with his Engineering degree, but the personal stuff?  Nothing.

When Mac is finally back in the USA and in the hospital, he is identified as Lieutenant Matthew 'Matt' Foster.  He was also married to Abby.  He remembers her name, but nothing else.  When his dog tags were found in rubble, he was presumed and declared dead.  But now Mac is back.  He is relieved to have an identity, even if it's one he can't remember, and he doesn't even look like his old photo.  He does know that the man he is now can be nothing like the boy he was.

Not remembering Abby, Mac still feels the need to find her and check on her.  He's convinced by now she'll have moved on with her life, and he has no intention of disrupting it.  That changes though, when he realized that Abby has a child.  His child.  Without telling Abby who he is, because she doesn't recognize him, Mac manages to integrate himself into her life and the child's life, slowly getting to know them.  Abby must be very trusting and have a heart of gold, because soon Mac is doing work for her and living in her guest room.  Mac has decided he wants to see if there's any chance they are still compatable and can fall in love before he tells her who he is, if he even will - he still doesn't remember much.  To complicate matters, Abby has recently become engaged to Rob, a dentist.

Engaged or not though, Abby finds herself drawn to Mac and reacting to him physically in a way that she never does with Rob.  She also sees, and sometimes envies, the bond that Mac has made so quickly with her son - something Rob has not managed to do.  But Abby is determined to have stability and compatability - something she's sure she'll get with Rob despite the lack of sparks.  She's not too sure anything she has with Mac can last, when she really doesn't know him and he can't remember anything.  When the sparks start though, fire is sure to follow!  Will Abby take the chance on a man she hardly knows?  Or will she stick with what she knows, even with the lack of excitement?

I loved The Memory of You by Laurie Kellogg.  I was really intrigued with the plot, wondering when and if Mac would admit to who he really was, wondering if he's ever remember anything.  Some things you should be able to forget, such as being a POW...but there's always the hope he'll remember his love and time with Abby.  Laurie kept me engrossed in The Memory of You with her smoothly flowing writing, the emotional journey of Mac and Abby, and the hope that Mac and Abby can have their happily ever after.  I really liked Abby despite the fact that she opened her home to a virtual stranger.  Otherwise I found her to be a strong, independent woman who has managed to move on with her life after the death of her husband in war.  Even though she was engaged to Rob, I loved that she stood up to him when she needed to, and did what she thought was best, not what anyone else thought she should do.  I loved Mac!  I can only imagine the horror that he went through.  Even though in The Memory of You it's a fictional account, everyone knows things like this happen in war and it's awful.  He's trying his hardest to move on from that and even though I felt he shouldn't keep such a big secret from Abby, I think he's going to be ok.

This is the first book I've read by Laurie Kellogg, but it definitely won't be the last!  I loved her style of writing and I loved this story.  Highly recommend for all romance readers!

5/5 stars

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tempt Me Cowboy

In Tempt Me Cowboy by Megan Crane, Chelsea Crawford Collier, history teacher,  is happy and comfortable with her life in Marietta, Montana.  Yes, she's still living with her mother and the whole town knows she caught her boyfriend cheating on her, but she's happy and Marietta is where she wants to be. Her family is one of the founding families of Marietta, but slowly their wealth has withered. Chelsea would like nothing better than to turn the old train station into a museum, and has been actively fundraising to purchase the building.
She is shocked and upset when the train station is suddenly sold, and the new owner has aspirations of turning it into a micro brewery!  

As soon as Jasper saw Marietta, he knew it was the place for him.  He's made a fortune in the oil business and is now ready to retire, to enjoy a quieter life.  When he first sees Chelsea waiting determinedly to talk him out of his plans, he is thrown for a loop!  She is dressed too old and unflattering for her age, but she is as hot and fiery as her red hair!  Chelsea is convinced Jasper has no plans to stay and make Marietta his home, and she is horrified by the idea of a micro brewery in 'her' train station!  Jasper is used to women chasing him, not him having to chase a woman.  But the attraction between them is too intense to ignore and Jasper sets out to pursue Chelsea.

Chelsea is used to being a good girl, doing what everyone expects of her (especially her mother!).  When Jasper convinces Chelsea to let her hair down (literally!) and take a chance with him, Chelsea decides maybe she can have a quick fling with him after all...maybe it's time to make herself happy.  She has no intention of getting her heart involved and hurt again, and she's still convinced a man like Jasper will never settle down in Marietta.  But Jasper has finally found a place that feels like home, especially if he can convince Chelsea to give a relationship with him a real try.

Does Chelsea have the courage to give her heart to Jasper?  Can she trust what she feels to take the chance?  Will Jasper be able to convince Chelsea he has every intention of sticking around - with her?

Tempt Me Cowboy by Megan Crane is a fantastic novella introducing us to the Copper Mountain Rodeo Series.  I loved Jasper and Chelsea!  Jasper brings out the best in Chelsea, encourages her to break out of the mold she's stuck herself in, and have fun!  He genuinely cares about her and wants to be with her...maybe because she's completely opposite from the women he usually sees?  There's nothing like a hot, motorcycle riding man pursuing his woman!  Chelsea was a lot of fun!  Even in this short novella her character really grew, I watched her become more confident as she finally did things for herself, not because it was expected of her!  I really hope she can take a chance on Jasper.

Megan gives us a fun, hot romance with Tempt Me Cowboy.  It was really fun to be introduced to Marietta, Montana.   Through Megan's descriptive's I could really see Copper Mountain in my mind, feel the wind on my face, and hear Jasper's drawl!  Jasper and Chelsea are both strong characters, and I'm really hoping we'll catch glimpses of them in future books in this series!  Tempt Me Cowboy was a quick read, and the length was perfect for Jasper and Chelsea's story with smoothly written script, love, and laughter!

5/5 stars

Flirting With Danger

In Flirting With Danger by Claire Baxter, Jasmine does everything she can to downplay her feminine side.  Jasmine is a fire fighter, so she works with a lot of men and is just 'one of the guys' - which is how she likes it.  Jasmine hasn't been in a relationship for a while.  Since finding out her ex was cheating on her, she's not too confident in men.

As a bridesmaid at her friend's wedding though, Jasmine dresses up really fact she's gorgeous!  When Jasmine looks in the mirror though, she sees her mother and the last thing she wants is to be compared to her mother.  Another reason she usually hides behind her tomboy image and unattractive clothing.

Some of the guys she works with who attend the wedding are shocked when they see her in all her finery.  Especially Aaron...the last person Jasmine wants to be attracted to.  He's one of the guys, she works with him, and she's heard a lot about his revolving bedroom door!  She definitely does not want to be another notch in his bed post.  She definitely does not want to admit to herself or to Aaron that she is attracted to him... that he brings her feminine parts to life!  But he is not an option - he's not interested in a one woman relationship, plus she has to work with him.

Aaron is stunned by Jasmine!  He is just as shocked by his attraction to her, she is not his usual 'type', and he definitely isn't looking to settle down.  All the same, Aaron wants to explore these feelings with Jasmine, even if she thinks she doesn't want to.  When Jasmine is injured and Aaron feels responsible, Aaron sees it as the perfect opportunity to spend more time with her.  The more time they spend together, the harder it's getting for Jasmine to resist her desires, and the more Jasmine sees that Aaron is not the shallow womanizer that she has always thought he was.  There is much more to Aaron than what's on the surface, and Jasmine is liking what she sees more and more.

Can Jasmine risk her heart on Aaron?  Is there any chance for them?

Both Jasmine and Aaron have issues from their pasts that they have to get past, both very different, but both just as important to them.  They are a fun couple to get to know, as a reader I could imagine them as real people struggling to come together.  I loved seeing Jasmine start to embrace who she was too.

There was just enough interaction with the secondary characters in Flirting With Danger so that they didn't take over the story with their stories.  I loved that Jasmine has such good friends and a family who wants to be there for her, if only she'd let them!

Flirting With Danger by Claire Baxter is a sweet, fun romantic read.  I had a lot of enjoyment watching Jasmine and Aaron come out of their shells and get to know each other outside of work.  The banter between them was hilarious at times!  It was really great to watch their relationship evolve as they started to trust not only each other more, but their feelings towards each other.  Will it be enough though to make a relationship work?  As I read further into Flirting With Danger, I found myself really hoping that they could make it as a couple.

Claire writes a romance that will draw you in and make you really feel for Jasmine and Aaron.  I loved how they got to know each other so well outside of the bedroom, and grew from there.  I'd recommend Flirting With Danger to any romance reader looking to lose yourself in a fun, fast paced romance that won't leave you bored!

4/5 stars

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nowhere Safe

In Nowhere Safe by Nancy Bush,  September "Nine" is back on the job after an injury sustained in the line of duty.  With her partner still on leave, and the department short staffed, September is immediately back in the thick of things.
When her former stepbrother is attacked and left bound to a flagpole with a sign around his neck, the crime is uncannily similar to another case September worked on.  But on that case, the victim died.  September and her colleagues at first can find no link between the two victims until slowly the pieces start to fall into place.  They think they've unravelled the why...but by who?  And how are the victims being chosen?
At the same time the next victim is being stalked women are going it all somehow connected?  In a race against time, September and her colleagues must investigate all possibilities, even when things are becoming more and more personal.  Can they catch a killer before the killer strikes again?
While September is hard at work desperately trying to solve the crimes, she is also moving forward with her relationship with Jake.  She is nervous about it ... Jake comes with a past she's not always too sure he's over.  When Jake's past collides with their future though, they both might find out what's real and what's important.
Nancy Bush gives us another great read with Nowhere Safe.  I would highly recommend reading the other books in this series so that you have a better understanding of the characters and the past and present events.  Some of September's background is easier to understand if you read the other books.
I thought Nowhere Safe was a fantastic, fast moving, captivating suspense.   Nancy manages to write an intricately woven plot, and I loved the subplots that added character and depth to Nowhere Safe.  September is a strong, independent woman.  She is confident in her job, but less so in her personal life.   Jake seems like a good guy, he obviously loves September and wants nothing more than to be with her.  He's having a little trouble letting go of guilt around his previous relationship though, and I think he's going to have to get over this!  I loved how he and September were so honest with each other.
The romance of Jake and September did take a bit of a backseat to the mystery September has to unravel so if you're expecting pure romance and all that comes with it you might be disappointed.  I did love Nowhere Safe, I found myself quickly immersed in the story wondering what would happen next!

5/5 stars :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Protected

In The Protected by Shiloh Walker, Vaughnne is a psychic FBI agent, part of a little known specialized group of FBI agents. She has been off on medical leave, recovering from her last case which was very traumatic for her. Now Vaughnne is back and her boss Jones has her heading back to the last place she wants to go - back to Orlando, Florida, to 'babysit' a boy who may or may not have people after him and who may or may not have special gifts. Read More

In Secrets and Sins: Malachim by Naima Simone, Malachim is in danger of losing not only his law practice, but his license, after a decades old secret is revealed.  When Danielle Warren applies for one of the jobs he's had difficulty filling because of his troubles, Malachim senses she is not who she seems to be...he senses secrets and a past he can relate to.

Danielle fled an abusive husband, changing her name, changing who she is.   A job at Malachim's law firm as a para legal is just what she wants and needs to start moving forward again.   From the moment she sees Malachim though, she feels things she has no business feeling..."The zooming-too-fast-down-a-hill sensation in her belly labeled him a danger - a danger to be avoided at all costs."  Danielle doesn't want to trust Malachim, but she will have to trust someone.

When danger lurks and people Danielle care about start being hurt, Danielle feels like the nightmare is starting all over again.  Her ex-husband is out of prison and after her, all Danielle can think to do is run and disappear again.  But she is tired of running and letting her ex win...and some things and some people just might be worth fighting for.  Can Danielle trust in Malachim and their feelings towards each other?  Or is it too late as her past creeps closer and closer?

Danielle and Malachim have pasts that can do them and those around them damage.  Malachim has come clean about his, and right or wrong he is now suffering the consequences.  He also has to deal with the cold, angry man he's called father his whole life who has had nothing but contempt towards Malachim.  Malachim can't ignore his feelings for Danielle though, and right or wrong, he wants to be with her and protect her.  I found Malachim really easy to like and feel for.  While I felt for Danielle - she has had a horrible life experience so far and never felt loved...I could not understand why she continued to keep her secret when they were so obviously affecting those around her.  She needs to dig deep and find the strength to fight before it's too late...she can't run forever.

Both Malachim and Danielle were great characters that worked well together.  They were similar enough and yet at the same time worlds apart.   I think they are two people struggling to find their way in the world, and I found myself really hoping they'd find it together.

Naimi gives us a fast paced, dangerous and thrilling journey of personal growth and romance in Secrets and Sins.  I got through Secrets and Sins really fast because I could not put it down!  Naimi really made me feel a variety of emotions for the general plot and for the characters, really bringing Secrets and Sins to life.  Naimi's descriptions, while graphic at times, were so realistic.

I did not read the first book in this series, but Naimi gave enough background so that I knew what was going on.

4/5 stars

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Hero

Welcome back to Thunder Point! The Hero is book 3 in this series, and it's a winner!

In The Hero by Robyn Carr we not only meet new people, we continue with the people we've already met. Spencer has just moved to Thunder Point with his son Austin. Who is also Cooper's son that he never knew about. Spencer and Cooper have a remarkably good relationship, both of them loving Austin. But Spencer is lonely. His wife was sick for a few years before she died, and slowly the woman he married no longer was. As much as he loves her and misses her, Spencer is lonely. 

Devon and her daugher Mercy arrive unexpectedly and somewhat mysteriously in Thunder Point, alone with shattered illusions and dreams...and afraid. She finds shelter and help from Rawley, a Vietnam Vet who is used to being on his own. Slowly Devon finds herself again and starts to feel secure. The last thing she wants or is looking for is a relationship...but that's exactly what she finds in Spencer. They take it slow, both of them need a friend too, but there is no denying the attraction between them. But Spencer has lost more than his wife lately, and soon is feeling overwhelmed. Not just by his relationship with Devon, but by everything. Is he as ready to move on with Devon as he thought? At the risk of hurting and losing Devon, Spencer needs some time. When Devon's past catches up with her and Mercy though, Spencer just might realize what he stands to lose now. Can they heal each other and move on, or is it too late?

I loved The Hero! Once again Robyn gives us realistic characters that are easy to relate to. People you'd want to hang out with! A place you'd love to live! She manages to write about feelings and situations that bring the characters to life like they're sitting right next to you. I loved all of the characters in The Hero, but I think Rawley is one of my favorites. He is way more than most people give him credit for, in his silent way, and Devon and Mercy really manage to get into his heart. When the going gets tough you know he is someone you can count on. All of the characters in The Hero, actually the whole series, are refreshingly mature, dealing with adult situations in a realistic and honest manner. I love this!

I highly recommend The Hero and this series, you won't be disappointed. Robyn writes a romance that will have you staying up way too late!

5/5 stars

The Newcomer

The Newcomer by Robyn Carr is book 2 of the Thunder Point Novels, and I love it there!

In The Newcomer by Robyn Carr, we are taken back to Thunder Point and the great mix of people who live there. Although there are many characters in The Newcomer, the plot focuses on two relationships. 

Sarah and Cooper, who we met in The Wanderer, continue their relationship, and it is still not a for sure thing! Cooper was never one to settle down, but now it looks like he's doing just that between his beach bar and relationship with Sarah. Sarah is still relationship shy after her divorce. She not only has herself to think about, but her high school age brother Landon who she is raising. Just when things seem to be settling down and they start enjoying a true relationship together, both of them have to deal with unexpected surprises. These surprises have the power to test their growing relationship and their trust in each other. Can their relationship survive what the past has brought and the future might bring? 

The Newcomer also brings us deeper into the relationship of Mac and Gina, and all the complexities of that! Mac and Gina have been circling each other for years. Their daughters are best friends, and Mac and Gina are good friends. But Gina has always felt way more than friendship for Mac, and at the end of book one (The Wanderer) she is ready to throw in the towel on that idea, because Mac was just not getting it! By the time we see them again in The Newcomer, they are in a comfortable and happy relationship. They both have pasts that have made moving forward difficult. Gina was a single, teenage mother at a time when few were, and Mac's wife left him and their 3 children, never looking back. The stronger their relationship becomes, the more obstacles are getting thrown up at them, potentially coming between them and taking them away from each other. With unexpected events and people from the past showing up, will Mac and Gina ever get their happily ever after?

I loved this visit back to Thunder Point! Robyn brings her characters to life and writes about real life events that any romance reader can relate to, whether it be teenage pregnancy, divorce, depression, complicated relationships, and of course love! I loved all the characters in The Newcomer, I got a real small town feel when I read The Newcomer and started really looking forward to what would come next for who. Robyn describes Thunder Point so great, I could feel myself out there on a paddle board and smell the ocean mist.

Robyn will manage to surprise you with what happens next, and I love the maturity of all of the characters and how they handle what comes there way. It is so nice to read about characters who are a bit more mature without a lot of relationship drama, who are open and honest with each other. 

I highly recommend this series!

5/5 stars

High Passion

In High Passion by Vivian Arend Alisha is a highly skilled Search and Rescue worker working for Lifeline out of Banff, Alberta. She is from a life of privilege and expectations, but has struck out on her own to do what she wants to do – what makes her happy. Alisha’s colleagues and friends have no clue about her background, and that’s how she likes it. She wants to be judged on who she is and how she does her job free from the shadow of her family.Read More