Friday, September 26, 2014

Close To Her Heart

In Close To Her Heart (Carrigans of Circle C #3) by C.J. Carmichael, Dani has always been the responsible one.   After being the caretaker for her sisters after her mother died, and not being close to her father, she moved from Marietta, Montana to Seattle.  She is happy with her life there.  Working in the psychology department of the University of Washington keeps her busy, she has a couple of close friends, and a lover.  Unfortunately her lover Adrian is also her department head...and that is part of his excuse to keep their relationship a secret.  

When Dani ends up pregnant, she expects a lot more from Adrian than what she gets.  She is still hopeful though and wants way more from him than he is willing to give...even if part of her is hurt by his reaction.  For numerous reasons, Dani chooses to tell very few about her pregnancy.  Her two best friends and her niece, but no one else in her family.  As Dani's pregnancy progresses, she finds help and support from her friend Eliot.  As the distance between Dani and Adrian increases, she finds herself inexplicably attracted to Eliot.  At this time in her life though, Dani does not feel the attraction can be real...or lasting.  Eliot has always been secretly attracted to Dani, and he pregnancy is no deterrent.  Caring and supportive, Eliot can't stand to see how Dani is being treated by the father of her child.

Brave but scared, Dani will not ask for help, but that won't stop Eliot, who wants to take a chance with Dani and her baby.  As Dani's life as she knows it is about to change, will she take the chance on who has been in front of her the whole time?

Close To Her Heart has a dynamic plot, filled with conflict, hope, and relationships.  Dani was a bit hard to understand at times.  She is supposed to be so smart, but she lets herself be treated very poorly and I just could not figure out why.  We never really found out what was so great about Adrian that she wanted to be with him so badly.  She wants to be very independent and do everything on her own, but sometimes asking for help is a character strength...and I hoped that Dani could get there.  I felt sorry for her actually, putting up with Adrian and being kept a secret.  Dani goes through much more than this in Close To Her Heart though, and she does the best she can to cope with what comes her way.  In many ways Dani is a brave heroine, I just could not understand some of her actions.  Eliot is a caring, good friend who wants more with Dani.  Even if she's not ready for more, he is there for her.  He is patient and could be a strong shoulder for her to lean on if she let herself.  

I would consider Adrian more of a secondary character in Close To Her Heart, even with his involvement with Dani we don't see a lot of him or know a lot about him to make him remotely likable.  Another good friend is a strong secondary character, and she has issues of her own!  Dani's family is really on the periphery even though she's supposed to be close to her sisters.  C.J. brings them in more towards the end of Close To Her Heart, and I liked how this was done.

Close To Her Heart is emotional, with a lot going on, and C. J. writes an really good story even if I wasn't enthralled with Dani.  The plot line is very intriguing, waiting to see how things would work as Dani struggles to cope with everything going on.  Intense at times with good flow and easy to read, I'd recommend Close To Her Heart to women's fiction readers who like a touch of romance.

4/5 stars

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Please Me, Cowboy

In Please Me, Cowboy by Megan Crane, Gracelyn has worked hard to be far from the dead end prairie town she grew up in. Now living in the big city and working for billionaire Jonah Flint's company, she's where she thinks she wants to be. Suddenly though, a work assignment with her boss threatens to bring her back much closer than she ever planned to be to any small town in Montana.

Jonah needs a fake girlfriend. He is heading to visit his twin Jasper in Marietta, Montana and a girlfriend is just what he needs to help him with his cause. He's not just going to see Jasper, he's going to convince him he's making a huge mistake by settling in Marietta and marrying a school teacher. They both worked hard to prove themselves and be successful, and Jonah isn't about to let Jasper throw it all away. For Jonah it's all about the money - there is no room for emotion.

Gracelyn has managed to ignore her attraction to Jonah...but being in such close proximity to each other soon proves the attraction is mutual, and the chemistry is hot. It might only be a two week 'assignment', but could it turn into more? Being in Marietta brings both of their fears simmering to the surface, and they both have very different ways of dealing with things. As Gracelyn starts to seep through the cracks in Jonah's heart can he let her all the way in? Or will the realities, challenges, and feelings stirred up drive them farther apart than ever?

Please Me, Cowboy has two very strong main characters who in most ways seem very different, but underneath all the money and walls they're not. Gracelyn and Jonah both had childhoods that were not easy and have left scars. They have both worked hard to get where they are today. Jonah is very bitter, edgy, single minded and purposeful. That's who he's trained himself to be. Jonah was difficult to warm up to and he is very different from his brother Jasper. Gracelyn has also worked hard to be where she is. She also remembers where she came from and how people made her feel. Her actions on this assignment though all in the name of work also made her difficult to connect to. She knows in her heart and her mind it's not right, but she keeps it up anyway. I couldn't wait to see how Megan played this whole plot out and she didn't disappoint me. Megan magnetically drew me into their lives even if I didn't necessarily like them to begin with. Megan's descriptions of the characters are great and the dialogue flows. There is strong character development and growth that moves along well with the plot.

Jasper is a strong secondary character and I really liked the interactions between him and Jonah, and seeing such big differences in characters who were raised the exact same way. It was really interesting and the conflict and turmoil between them was easy to feel. The whole plot revolves around Jonah thinking he can control Jasper's life, and even the growth of their relationship in Please Me, Cowboy is powerful.

I loved being back in small town Marietta, especially since I have read Jasper's story (Tempt Me, Cowboy). Please Me, Cowboy can easily be read as a stand alone though. I do really hope to see Gracelyn and Jonah in future books to catch up with how they are doing.

Please Me, Cowboy is a fast paced, well written romance that will entertain you and intrigue you. I'd recommend Please Me, Cowboy to any romance reader looking for a quick read with some strong characters.

4/5 stars

Sing Me Back Home

In Sing Me Back Home by Eve Gaddy, Jack is a physician in Montana who is raising his teenager daughter alone after the death of his wife.  He's had no serious relationships since her death, nor is he actively seeking one.

Maya Parrish is Jack's former high school sweet heart who broke his teenage heart way back then.  Once a model, now running her own business, divorced, and also with a teenage daughter, when she inherits her great aunt's house in Marietta, she decides it will be the perfect place for her and her daughter.  She hasn't been looking for another relationship either, but when she runs into Jack after all these years, the attraction between them is immediate and strong.  Neither Jack or Maya have spent years pining for the other, but now that they have met up again, it is impossible to leave old feelings behind, even as the new ones are even more powerful.

Things move fairly quickly between them, sometimes it's like the years never passed.  Maya knows she wants to be with Jack, she loves him.  But is Jack ready to risk his heart again?

Sing Me Back Home is a second chance romance with characters that are believable.  I loved the maturity of Maya and Jack, their dialogue, and their passion.  I also liked the little twist Eve gives us with the hero being the reluctant one.  Jack is dealing with a lot of guilt and mixed emotions as he and Maya's relationship becomes more serious, and this made him real.  I also liked that the two of them hadn't spent years pining for each other, but had moved on and lived their lives.  This makes the sparks when they come together again unexpected and hot!

I really liked both of their daughter's characters also, and how they were woven into the plot so well.

It was another great visit to Marietta, Montana in the first novella in a new series (Montana Born Homecoming).  Sing Me Back Home is the perfect length for the story being told, and the flow is smooth.

I'd recommend Sing Me Back Home to any romance reader looking for a fast, emotional read.

4/5 stars

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Every Time I Think Of You

In Every Time I Think Of You by Tracey Garvis-Graves, Daisy has two very important people in her life. Her grandmother who raised her and her son Elliott. Daisy had always planned to move on, but circumstances kept her in her home town, a single mother living with her grandmother. She is happy though, so when tragedy strikes with her grandmother’s murder, Daisy’s life is thrown into turmoil. She also worries that the murder wasn’t as random as it appears, and she will do anything to keep her son safe. Read More

5/5 stars

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Billionaire's Suite Dreams

In The Billionaire's Suite Dreams (Sutton Capital Series #4) by Lori Ryan, P.J. is a famous singer whose life is suddenly turned upside down. Someone has stolen her journal, is making parts of it public, and is threatening her and those she loves.  Needing some down time between concerts,  when P.J.'s friend of many years Gabe offers her a sanctuary, she can't refuse.

Gabe is a billionaire hotel owner who wants to give P.J. so much more than friendship.  When he finds out she is in at risk, he needs to keep her safe.  The more time they spend together, the more obvious the attraction they have for each other is.  It is impossible to ignore, and for two people who have been friends for so long, a bit difficult to give in to.  P.J. is still keeping parts of her life secret from Gabe though, and is terrified how he will react when the whole truth comes out.  Love is a powerful force though if P.J. can believe in it and take the chance. 

At the same time, mystery and intrigue surround P.J., giving her a whole new perspective on life as the past collides with the present.

The Billionaire's Suite Dreams is a fast paced, easy to read romance with strong, believable characters.  P.J. has a big heart and cares a lot for others.  She's been hurt and had her fair share of struggles, but has worked hard to get where she is today.  Gabe is protective, all alpha man!  I can totally see him in my mind thanks to Lori's great writing and descriptions of him!  I felt that since they had known each other for years, the sudden romance and chemistry that heated up between them was realistic.

There are a lot of great secondary characters on the side lines of The Billionaire's Suite Dreams who fit well with the plot, and I like how Lori brings them in to complement the main characters.  Most of them are from previous Sutton books, but since they are in the periphery, there is no confusion or feelings of missing anything if you haven't read the other Sutton Capital books.  The Billionaire's Suite Dreams can easily be read as a stand alone.

Lori's writing style makes reading her books entertaining and it's easy to fall into the world of P.J. and Gabe.  I liked the mystery in The Billionaire's Suite Dreams, it was well balanced with the romance.

I enjoyed reading this, and ended it with a really good feeling.  I'd recommend The Billionaire's Suite Dreams to any romance reader.

4/5 stars

Mine To Have (Mine #5) by Cynthia Eden

In Mine to Have (Mine #5) by Cynthia Eden, Saxon is done with the FBI and undercover work.  Finishing up his last job before he starts his life fresh, away from the darkness, he saves Elizabeth from a sure death at the hands of a hired killer.  Huge and scary, Saxon terrifies her.  He is also the only person standing between her and a murderer - which makes the attraction she feels for him a little bit scary.

Elizabeth has no idea who would want her dead or why, and soon she finds herself on the run with Saxon.  Because someone won't stop until she's no longer alive.  Danger follows them, and Saxon can trust only one other person - his brother Victor.  Suddenly it's not only Elizabeth who is in's all of them.  Elizabeth and Saxon are brought very close together very quickly, and the chemistry between them sizzles.  She is the light in his dark world...but will they survive to have a future together, away from the darkness and danger?

Mine to Have is a fast paced, edge of your seat thrilling romantic suspense filled with all the actions that make up a great romantic suspense.  I love the characters. Cynthia's writing and descriptions bring them to life.  Cynthia made me really feel for them too, especially Saxon who is so ready to move out of the darkness.  She really pulled me into his world, and my heart went out to him.  Elizabeth is smart and brave, and I loved her mature character...even when she didn't always listen to Saxon.  She has a mind and will of her own, and she was very believable!  I like how Cynthia brings them together, the chemistry and how they just seem to be meant to be together.

The mysterious suspense is full of the unexpected and Cynthia managed to surprise me numerous times.  It is great when an author can do this, fill the pages with unpredictability, surprising and pulling you in deeper.  With heart pounding action, it was easy to become immersed in Saxon and Elizabeth's story..

The secondary characters all add a little to the story.  Some we see from other Mine books, but Mine to Have can be read as a stand alone with no difficulties.  Victor is a prominent secondary character and I do hope to get his story!

Mine to Have has great flow, is clearly written and a great book to escape into if you are looking for a lot of heat and excitement!  I'd recommend Mine to Have to any romantic suspense reader!

4/5 stars

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kiss Me, Cowboy

In Kiss Me,  Cowboy (Montana Born Rodeo #3) by Melissa McClone, Charlie has worked hard to fit in as a wrangler at the Bar V5 Dude Ranch.  She loves her job...but she also loves Zack.

Zack is former military now working as a wrangler alongside Charlie.  He's got ghosts of his own that haunt him and has no desire to be in a relationship with anyone.  No matter how much he's attracted to Charlie.  He has his 'family' on the ranch and will do anything to protect that family he's made for himself, even if it means not getting involved romantically with anyone he works with.

The one kiss Charlie gives Zack on a night he desperately needed comforting only makes her want him more.  A year has passed and she can't stop thinking about him or dreaming of being with him.  She thinks Zack is oblivious to her, but he's not.  He just knows he's not perfect, and he thinks she deserves better.  Charlie wants him anyway...

But Charlie can't go on with this, being around Zack and loving him, with him denying them a chance.  With changes at the Bar V5 happening, Charlie is going to have to make some decisions about what she wants and how long she'll wait.  Zack might have waited to long, and Charlie might be ready to move on.

Kiss Me, Cowboy is a real up and down emotional romance!  Charlie is independent, and underneath the wrangler is a cowgirl dying to get loose and be herself.  I admired Charlie for what she's done and her inner strength.  Her infatuation with Zack that lasted a whole year seems like a long time to secretly covet someone once you're all grown up...and I was glad when she finally admitted to her feelings, despite the risks to her heart she was taking.  Zack exudes strength and cowboy hotness...but he's hiding a tortured soul.  He was a bit hot and cold at times with Charlie though, which only confused her more.  I saw a lot of growth in both of these characters through out Kiss Me, Cowboy, especially in Zack.  I would love a follow up with these two!

I love the ranch setting and Melissa did a fantastic job of taking me there with her descriptive writing.  The secondary characters round out the story well without overwhelming and taking away from Charlie and Zack.

Kiss Me, Cowboy is well paced with believable characters whose world you can easily fall into.  Kiss Me, Cowboy can easily be read as a stand alone, but the previous Montana Born Rodeo books are just as enjoyable.  I'd recommend Kiss Me, Cowboy to any romance reader looking for a quick, sweet romance with a western flare!

4/5 stars

Brushing Off The Boss

In Brushing Off The Boss (Half Moon Bay #2) by Annie Seaton, Sienna is an artist who is finally so close to her dream of having her own art exhibition in a gallery she owns.  Out for a night to celebrate her birthday and excited about her future, Jack, a man she met once before through friends is suddenly there too.  He's just as hot now as he was then and Sienna decides she might not mind getting to know him better.

Her plans of seduction are soon on hold though and her dreams in danger of shattering when she finds out that Jack is the absentee owner of the gallery she's hoping to buy...and that he has no intention of selling.

Jack is finally doing what he wants to do, and the art gallery is a big part of that.  He is much more than he appears to be, although he does nothing to negate all the assumptions Sienna is making about him.  Worried about her art and her future, Sienna makes a deal with Jack that has the two of them becoming very close and sharing way more than either of them anticipated!  As they grow closer and get to know each other better, both of them will have issues to deal with and Sienna will need to decide if she can truly trust Jack...or will she Brush him off?

Brushing Off The Boss is a fast paced romance that was easy to find myself immersed in.  Although there were parts of both the hero and heroine that I didn't particularly care for, their flaws made them more realistic.  The struggles they go through make them believable.  The chemistry between them is obvious and I felt that they complemented each other well, even if they had a hard time seeing it.  They were a fun couple to get to know.  Sienna was much more open than Jack was, and I was interested to see what she'd do and think when he finally told her everything.

I loved the small town setting of Brushing Off The Boss, and especially the art gallery.  Annie's descriptions of all of this are excellent!

The unexpected turns in the plot that Annie weaves in really added to Brushing Off The Boss, and I liked how she did this in such a smooth, well written way.  

Brushing Off The Boss is the second book in the Half Moon Bay series but can definitely be read as a stand alone.  Entertaining and emotional, I'd recommend Brushing Off The Boss to any romance reader looking for a great escape!

4/5 stars

Release date September 15, 2015 - purchase from Amazon

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Barefoot In Lace

In Barefoot In Lace (The Barefoot Bay Brides Trilogy #2) by Roxanne St. Claire, you will go from Mimosa Key to France and back on a captivating journey of love, acceptance and family.

Gussie is a destination wedding planner in Barefoot Bay along with her two friends.  She is strong and independent, but has her own heart ache and sorrows.  She has, in own unique way, moved on and is happy with her life right now.  A chance encounter in a convenience store with famous photographer T.J. "Tom" DeMille will soon have her going places she's never dreamed of...physically and emotionally.

Tom finds himself in Mimosa Key, guardian to his niece Alex after his sister's sudden death.  A niece he doesn't really know, and he is struggling.  That chance meeting with Gussie soon not only has him taking wedding photos, but has Gussie helping him with his niece.  The attraction they feel for each other is definitely mutual, but Tom has never been a settler.  His motto is "Alone Always".  Even now with his niece it's difficult for him to even imagine living in one place.  Not at all what Gussie is looking for, but sometimes the heart just knows what is right.

When his work unexpectedly takes the three of them on an adventure, the attraction between Gussie and Tom only intensifies.  Tom has lost so much he's scared to love again, even if Gussie is cracking the walls surrounding his heart.  Gussie wasn't looking for love or family, but it found her - if only Tom could take the chance.  

Barefoot In Lace is a powerful, enchanting story!  I loved Gussie, she is so good for Tom, even if he can't fully recognize it.  She's very open with him, and this is so refreshing in a love story.  Tom is more closed about unresolved issues in his life, but Gussie is patient and doesn't push him.  And she doesn't pull away from him when she knows he's keeping things deep inside.  He is very open about who he is and his life style, and doesn't have the need to apologize for it.  I love mature characters who don't feel the need to play games with each other in a relationship.  They have great chemistry that shines through and kept me hoping that Tom would take the risk of love again.  I really like how Roxanne takes this relationship and makes it realistic with the ups and downs and uncertainty.

There are a lot of secondary characters who only add more to Barefoot In Lace, and Alex is a strong secondary character with struggles of her own that will pull you in and make you want to reach out to her.

Roxanne's descriptions are amazing and vivid, so that I could feel the sand between my toes and be on the streets of France.

Barefoot In Lace is filled with emotions, and Roxanne expertly drew me in with her well paced writing.  Barefoot In Lace took me on the best journey with characters and feelings I won't be able to forget.

I'd highly recommend Barefoot In Lace to any romance reader it can be read as a stand alone, but I recommend Barefoot In White also).  You will lose a little piece of your heart to Gussie, Tom and Alex!

5/5 stars!

Purchase from Amazon

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Her Last Whisper

In Her Last Whisper (Dr. Charlotte Stone #3) by Karen Robards, Dr. Charlotte Stone "Charlie" is a psychologist who studies serial killers. That's not all she does though...she also sees dead people. Not just any dead person, but the ghosts of people who have died a violent death. There is one particular ghost who has attached himself to Charlie. Michael was on death row when he was killed in prison. Now he's a ghost who can't leave Charlie alone, and who Charlie does not necessarily want to see disappear into "Spookville". They have somehow built a relationship, and Charlie is doing what she can to help Michael stay earth bound...despite the risks and danger.

Charlie has her own history with serial killers, and has worked with the FBI on serial killer cases. Despite the toll it is taking on her physically and emotionally, Charlie can't say no when she's approached again to help. This time there might be a serial killer in Las Vegas. Last time Charlie helped she almost besides the ghosts she can hear voices no one else, not even Michael can. Now she heads to Vegas, Michael right beside her, with the FBI to try to solve another case. As she gets deeper into the case, the danger also increases...not only from a serial killer, but from the possibility of losing Michael forever.

I really enjoyed this third Dr. Charlotte Stone book! I would recommend reading the first two before this one so that you have a clear idea of the plot line. 

I fell for Michael from the start, hoping against hope he could somehow find his way to stay earth bound in this paranormal thrilling series. I love that with each book the mystery of Michael continues, but at the same time, little pieces are revealed that give an even clearer picture of his character. There are still many unanswered questions I hope will eventually be answered. Charlie is dedicated, independent, and her feelings for Michael are very much real and earthly. The feelings she has are relate-able, putting aside the paranormal aspect. I love the relationship between Charlie and times entertaining, romantic, and suspenseful. Karen writes well, and really gives a strong sense of connection between the characters. There is also a living man, Tony, who is vying for Charlie's attention, and he has no idea about Michael.

Her Last Whisper is creepy at times, and Karen manages to make the hairs on my arms stand up! It is a fast paced, well written book that held my interest throughout. Karen manages to expertly weave the serial killer mystery and the relationship between Charlie and Michael together, and kept me on the edge of my seat. With lots of twists and unexpected turns, I liked how Karen ended Her Last Whisper. I was satisfied, but there are new questions and enough unresolved issues that I am really looking forward to Charlie's next book. I'd recommend Her Last Whisper to any paranormal romantic suspense lover. 

4/5 stars