Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wolf Haven

In Wolf Haven (Jackson Hole #9) by Lindsay McKenna, Skylar "Sky" is a former ER and Navy RN. While she was in Afghanistan, a mission went tragically wrong and the results were horrific. Suffering from severe PTSD and now back in civilian life, Sky finds she can no longer do the job she once did. It is a struggle for her to move on from what happened, and a struggle to get through each day. Unable to find and keep a job, unable to continue living with her parents, Sky has no idea what comes next. When she gets a job at Elk Horn Ranch, Sky starts to feel just a little bit lighter and have some hope for the future.

Former SEAL Gray also works at Elk Horn Ranch, helping guests and working the wild life haven side of the ranch. As soon as Gray first sees Sky, he feels an instant connection to her. Gray knows all about PTSD, and as he gets to know Sky better both personally and professionally, the connection and the attraction between them grows. Both of them want more ... but neither will push it. Gray patiently is there for Sky, making her realize she doesn't have to do it all alone, it's ok to lean on someone. With Gray by her side and a sense of peace at Elk Horn Ranch, Sky slowly begins to heal and feel like her former self again.

Both of them have issues in their lives they are dealing with, but together life seems brighter. Together can they get through the rough patches of life and the sudden danger in Jackson Hole, finding a future with each other?

In Wolf Haven, Lindsay took me on an emotionally charged journey. Lindsay writes with great flow and seamless transition from scene to scene, blending it all together perfectly. Sky has a lot on her plate, from her PTSD, her new relationship with Gray, and her family dynamics. She is a courageous, strong heroine, even if she does still feel scared and anxious. I didn't feel like her character had to grow, because she is not a weak character. Sky needed to heal and the healing she needed to experience and the way Lindsay brought it to life was powerful and very believable. I really liked Gray, what he stood for and how he was with Sky. He has his own past he's dealing with, and being with Sky helps him cope with that when he never thought he'd be able to. I really liked the maturity of both of these characters, and how they desire each other so strongly but don't rush into anything. They also don't put a huge emphasis on the fact that they work together, they just make things work.

Wolf Haven is about so much more than a relationship between two people. Lindsay explores PTSD indepthly, and she does not sugar coat anything. There is a strong sense of realism in Lindsay's writing, and the raw emotions of the characters will at times make you want to cry for them. Lindsay obviously knows what she's writing about...she shows us what war does, that when a soldier leaves war it's not left on the battlefield, but part of that comes home. She also gives the reader a strong understanding of PTSD, how and who it affects...it is not a solitary disorder.

I liked the animals in Wolf Haven, and the sense of peace and love that animals bring to people, how therapeutic they can be. There are quite a few secondary characters in Wolf Haven, and they all have their roles and work well with the plot line. Lindsay's descriptions of the people and the place really bring it to life, and I could particularly picture Iris very well! Wolf Haven is part of Lindsay's Jackson Hole series, but can definitely be read as a stand alone.

Well paced with a great writing style that is easy to fall into, Lindsay gives us strong, memorable characters and situations in Wolf Haven. I'd recommend Wolf Have to any romance reader looking for a romance with strong military and western tones that will make you care and feel for and with the characters.

I was given a free copy of Wolf Haven for an honest review. Lindsay has a website with all her news and a newsletter you can sign up for at http://www.lindsaymckenna.com/

5/5 stars

Purchase from Amazon

Playing To Win

In Playing To Win (Summer Beach Vets #2) by H. Y. Hanna, Ellie has uprooted herself from America to accept a dream job in Australia. A perfectionist and career driven, Ellie does not tolerate mistakes. Nor does she ever just relax and have fun. When an encounter with a playful dog who will eat anything, his owner, and then the vet, Ellie's life is about to change.

Dan, the vet, is fun and easy going. He's also quite charmed by Ellie...even if he does find her a bit uptight. Both of them are attracted, but Ellie is all about her career with no time for anything else. Soon though she is spending more and more time with Dan, as well as the dog and his owner, a young boy named Will. Dan shows Ellie a funner, more laid back side to life. That no one is perfect, and mistakes are a normal part of life. Ellie's not sure what her future holds, and she has a hard time letting go of her perfectionist ways...can she open her heart to Dan or will her career still be the most important thing in her life?

Playing To Win is a fast paced, entertaining story that will make you laugh while you hope Ellie would just relax a little! I found Ellie hard to connect with, but the story is written so well that H. Y. Hanna still drew me in and made me want to know how things would end up. I really liked Dan...his life was by no means perfect, but he was realistic, enjoying life, and hoping to have Ellie in his life.

I love the setting and the ocean in Playing To Win, H.Y.. Hanna's descriptiveness was well written, making Summer Beach a place I'd love to visit.

There are two main secondary characters, young Will and his dog Milo who managed to pull at my heart! There are some other secondary characters more on the periphery who I believe were part of the first Summer Beach Vets book. Having read only this book in the series, Playing To Win can easily be read as a stand alone.

Witty with enough of a serious side to be real, I'd recommend Playing To Win to any romance reader looking for a quick escape!

3.5/5 stars

Monday, November 17, 2014

No Christmas Like The Present

In No Christmas Like The Present by Sierra Donovan, Lindsay never slows down enough to enjoy Christmas – there is always so much to do! When Fred, a mysterious man, arrives on her door step one day to help her find happiness in the Christmas season again, Lindsay doesn’t know if she’s crazy or he is. Read More

4/5 stars

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cold Light of Day

In Cold Light of Day (Cold Justice #3) by Toni Anderson, Scarlett leads a quiet life as a physicist.  She's had enough turmoil and doesn't usually like to draw attention to herself.  She's never believed in her father's guilt for a crime that has put him in prison for years.  Now he's dying and she's determined to prove his innocence.  Unfortunately Scarlett would never make a good spy or undercover agent, and her actions soon put her on the radar of some very dangerous people.

Former SEAL, now FBI agent Matt meets Scarlett at a political party, and the attraction he feels towards her is immediate.  He can't take his eyes off her.  For Scarlett though, attraction can't get in the way of her mission...and she's pretending to be someone she's not.   Matt is a firm believer in the organization he works for and for justice.  When the truth about Scarlett comes out and her actions are discovered, he, along with the rest of the FBI are convinced she is up to something criminal.  Both of them are seeking the truth, but seeing it through a different lens.

Soon the FBI, the Russians, and Scarlett are at the center of a potential political minefield.  In a race against time, Scarlett is used to no one believing her or in her father's innocence...but it's starting to look more and more like she just might be right.  At the same time that danger is circling, Matt and Scarlett are in this together...and soon they can't stop the chemistry boiling between them.  Will the truth come out before time runs out?  Or will someone get away with murder?

Toni really drew me in with this fast paced, dangerous plot.  She weaves a complex, believable story with strong characters.  I really liked both Matt and Scarlett.  Scarlett is brilliant, but not as worldly wise as Matt.  She is scared, but pursues the truth anyway.  Matt is a great hero and I loved how Toni explored the conflicts he faced once Scarlett became more than a job for him.  I really like how the relationship vs the job was handled in a mature way.  

Toni gives a mix of everything good in Cold Light Of Day.  There are a lot of secondary characters that are all integral to the plot, and I liked the glimpses of characters from previous Cold Justice books.  Toni blends them in well to Cold Light of Day, so that this can definitely be read as a stand alone (although I recommend the whole series because it's so good!).  Within the main plot there are a few secondary plots that make Cold Light of Day even more intriguing.

I liked that Toni gave me enough information to know who the characters were, but she still managed to keep me guessing right to the end.  The political aspect of Cold Light of Day kept things very interesting!

Cold Light of Day has all the elements of a great romantic suspense...danger, romance, action, and intrigue.  I'd recommend Cold Light of Day to any romantic suspense reader looking for a thrilling adventure!

5/5 stars

Christmas At Seashell Cottage

In Christmas At Seashell Cottage (Jewell Cove 1.5) by Donna Alward, Charlie is a local Doctor in Jewell Cove.  She loves where she lives, what she does and dreams of finding the right man to settle down with one day.  She feels lonely at times and has a hard time getting to know people in a small town where everyone knows each other.  Part of the problem is that she keeps herself somewhat distant, thinking that is the right thing for her to do as the Doctor of many of these people.  She is also dealing with feeling like a disappointment to her parents, even though she's doing what she wants to do...to do good for people.  Volunteering to help set up the town's nativity sets off a chain of events that have the potential to change things for Charlie.

Dave is a former SEAL who is in Jewell Cove temporarily, to be close to his young daughter and decide what he wants to do next.  The last thing he expects is to meet up with someone like Charlie.  Someone who makes him feel more than he expects to.  When the two of them find an abandoned baby in the nativy's manger, Dave finds himself helping Charlie, then spending more and more time with her.  As attracted as they are to each other, they are both looking for much different things.  Can Charlie settle for a fling when she wants so much more?  The magic of Christmas in small town Jewell Cove might bring both of them more than either of them dreamed of if they can take the chance.

Christmas At Seashell Cottage is a fast paced, heart warming Christmas novella.  Donna drew me into Charlie and Dave's lives quickly, and they were both easy to like.  They are both mature and dealing with other issues in their lives besides a relationship, and this made them believable.  I like how Donna brought them together, the conflicts they faced, and the feelings they had.  Donna manages to pack a lot of emotion in a realistic way into Christmas At Seashell Cottage.

I really enjoyed the small town setting of Jewell Cove, especially around Christmas.  With her descriptive writing Donna took me right there.

Christmas At Seashell Cottage can definitely be read as a stand alone and I'd recommend it to romance readers looking for a sweet Christmas romance.

4/5 stars

Friday, November 7, 2014

Dangerous Surrender

In Dangerous Surrender (The Serafina: Sin City #4) by Katie Reus, when Taylor’s boss and the father figure in her life is murdered right before her eyes, she barely escapes with just a bullet grazing her. She runs to to Vegas, to Vadim, the one friend who she completely trusts to help her. But Vadim isn’t there…not knowing what else to do or where else to go, Taylor breaks into his house anyway, for temporary refuge. Read More

5/5 stars