Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Love Me Sweet (Bell Harbor #3) by Tracy Brogan

Book Blurb:
Delaney Masterson isn’t looking for fame.

Yes, she has famous parents and a reality TV show, but she’s not the wild-child celebrity the paparazzi have painted her to be. Until…The Scandal. When an old boyfriend releases a private video, Delaney’s name becomes every comedian’s favorite punch line. To escape the media, she sneaks away to Bell Harbor, Michigan—during the worst winter in fifty years.

Adventure show cameraman Grant Connelly has stayed away from Bell Harbor—mostly by choice—but when a family obligation converges with a spontaneous career decision, it’s time to return home.

When bad weather, missing money, honky-tonk musicians, and Elvis impersonators throw Grant and Delaney together on an unexpected road trip, emotions get all shook up. They know only fools fall in love, but they can’t help falling. Still, Delaney has a secret that could tear them apart forever.

Can they weather the storm? Or will this romantic ride end at the Heartbreak Hotel?

My Review:

Love Me Sweet by Tracy Brogan is a highly entertaining, enchanting romance that was well paced and held my interest through out.

Delaney and Grant are fun main characters and things heat up pretty quickly between them.  The situation is unique, but the romance and feelings are believable.  I liked how Tracy managed to make things realistic between Grant and Delaney even though their circumstances are not ones that most people would find themselves in!  I liked these two together, and how the attraction happens whether or not they want it!  Delaney's big secret gets harder and harder for her to reveal as times goes by, and I almost dreaded what would happen when Grant found out!  I was interested to see where Delaney would go, what she would do, and if Grant would be a part of it.

I loved all the quirky characters in Love Me Sweet, they really added a lot of dimension and kept things very interesting!

My favorite part...the shower scene!!

I love how Tracy writes and infuses humor naturally in her books, and Love Me Sweet is no exception.  I'd recommend Love Me Sweet to any romance reader looking for a lot of laughter and hope!

4/5 stars

Cold Fear (Cold Justice #4) by Toni Anderson

Book Blurb:

A relentless FBI profiler hunts a vicious killer.

When old evidence turns up on a fresh corpse, ASAC Lincoln Frazer is determined it won’t delay the execution of a convicted serial killer. But when more young women are brutally slain, it becomes clear—this new killer is intimately familiar with the old murders.

A dedicated emergency physician hides a dark secret.

Former Army Captain Dr. Isadora Campbell helped her mother hide a terrible crime. After her mother’s death, Izzy resigned her commission and returned to the Outer Banks to raise her rebellious teenage sister. But it doesn’t take long for Izzy to suspect that someone knows exactly what she did, all those years ago.

If they work together, maybe no one else will die.

With pressure mounting to reopen the old case, Frazer will use any means possible to catch the killer. Thrust together during the investigation, he and Izzy find themselves reluctantly attracted to one another, and begin an affair. Meanwhile, the killer is much closer than they think. Izzy’s confession of her secret drives Frazer away as he struggles with her deception. By the time he realizes he’s fallen in love with the stubborn woman, the killer has her. Now the race is on to save Izzy, and any chance of a future they might have together.

My Review:

Cold Fear by Toni Anderson starts out chilling due to weather and circumstance, and she immediately threw me into the Outer Banks.  I could feel the wind, the ocean and the sand dunes under my feet...and soon I could feel the terror of a killer on the loose.

The main characters in Cold Fear are very strong and compelling.  I loved how Toni personalized Frazer and made him so believable as a character.  Especially once you got behind his tough exterior to the secrets inside.  Izzy has her own secrets and guilt from the past that are coming back to haunt her and could hurt others.  Frazer and Izzy together are a great combination, as they fight their attraction and race against time to find a killer.  Throughout Cold Fear they slowly break through the walls each other has up, but will it be enough? Simultaneously can a killer be caught in time before he reaches his final target?   I liked how Toni wrote from Frazer and Izzy's POV's, it really felt like I was in their minds and I understood them.

Izzy and Frazer have a strong attraction that builds through the plot, and is relevantly woven in with the thrilling mystery that Cold Fear is all about.  I liked the different relationships explored, such as Izzy and her sister Kit, this really personalized the characters.   

Exploring past impacting present in an eerie, goose bump way kept me entranced in Cold Fear.   Realistic situations mixed with fear and the unknown made Cold Fear a book I couldn't put down!  I also liked how Toni kept me guessing through out with lots of unexpected twists...I could not figure it out, and she totally surprised me with the conclusion!

For a shocking read with romance subtly intertwined through out I'd recommend Cold Fear to any romantic suspense reader.

5/5 stars!

Purchase from Amazon.com

Monday, May 25, 2015

Just One Taste (Pine Mountain #4.5) by Kimberly Kincaid

Book Blurb:

A little home improvement can go a long way…

Jesse Oliver was a medic in Afghanistan, but back home in Pine Mountain he’s happy to switch gears as the Double Shot bar’s new sous chef. When his apartment floods and his old Army buddy offers the family’s dilapidated lake house as temporary quarters, Jesse thinks a little remodeling on the creaky duplex sounds like a fair return favor. That’s before he sets eyes on the gorgeous woman moving into the other side of the cabin—and discovers she’s his buddy’s kid sister, a.k.a totally off limits.

Kat McMarrin has fought hard for her space, and she’s not too interested in sharing it. Of course, her job as a physical therapist means she won’t see much of Jesse, even if he’s a few thin floorboards away—unless she seeks him out. And with his sculpted body and slow-burn gaze, she might be tempted. Maybe the fixer-upper projects she has planned for the cabin will keep her mind off him. Or maybe her instincts to strip the place down will get out of hand…

My Review:

I loved being back in Pine Mountain in this stand alone novella about finding love unexpectedly.

I really liked the hero and the heroine.  They find themselves thrown together under unusual circumstances, and the attraction and chemistry between them is palpable.  Kat moved around a lot growing up sincer her father was in the military.  Her home and space mean everything to her...and she's not used to sharing it!  Jesse is former military who has found what he needs in Pine Creek when he returns to civilian life.  Unexpectedly they find each other and not only is the chemistry hot but they develop a great connection.  Jesse really struggles...not only is Kat his friend's sister, but he has never felt good enough for anyone...let alone someone like Kat.  Kimberly wrote both characters remarkably, but I really felt a lot for Jesse in particular.  I felt that I got to know him well in this novella.   She really made me care and want Jesse to realize he deserves all good things!  I really hoped he'd take the chance with Kat.

I really liked that Just One Taste didn't have any angst and it wasn't overly dramatic.  It's about two people finding their future, and holding each other up.

Gabe (Kat's brother) is a secondary character who we don't see a lot of, but is a strong factor anyway in Just One Taste, and I really liked his character too.  The maturity all of the characters show really stands out!

Although part of Kimberly's Pine Mountain series, Just One Taste can definitely be read as a stand alone.  I'd recommend Just One Taste to any romance reader looking for an emotional, strong novella.

4/5 stars

Purchase from Amazon.com

Finally His Bride (Montana Born Brides #4) by Maisey Yates

Book Blurb:

Wedding fever has hit the little town of Marietta… 

As the whole town goes crazy over the celebrity wedding event of the century, Melanie Richards decides she's tired of blending in. It's time go after what she wants. Her to do list: 
Get a sexy dress 
A little liquid courage 
Lose that pesky virginity 

Luke Shuller can’t believe his eyes when he walks into Grey’s and sees his best friend trying to pick up some drunk cowboy. Melanie wants to start hooking up? She can practice on him. At least he’ll keep her safe. And as a bonus, their pretend relationship will help him deal with a family crisis. 

But when pretend gets real, Melanie can’t tell where the charade ends and reality begins. When the dust settles, will she get thrown back into the friend zone, or will she finally get the man of her dreams?

My Review:

Finally His Bride (Montana Born Brides #4) by Maisey Yates is a strong friends to lovers love story.  Melanie has struggled to overcome and move on from her past, and she has one big hurdle (in her mind) to overcome.  Strong and independent she wants to do things her way...until her best friend Luke steps in and offers her something she's always wanted.  This not only changes Melanie's feelings and confuses her, it changes the dynamics of their relationship whether they like it or not.  Melanie has always wanted more, but Luke isn't sure he can give her everything she deserves.  

Luke is protective and controlling.  We've seen glimpses of him in previous Montana Born Brides Books, and I enjoyed delving into the many layers of Luke in Finally His Bride.  There is a lot of inner conflict and relationship conflict for Melanie and Luke, and in the span of this novella, they both demonstrate a lot of growth, opening their eyes to their own needs and what drives them.  I think Maisey did a great job with these characters, she really brought them to life, made me care for them, and made me want to keep reading!

I enjoyed the continuation of the subplot of the issue between Luke and Beckett...I really hope this is resolved in an upcoming book!  However, if you are reading Finally His Bride as a stand alone, there is no confusion.  Maisey brings enough background in so that you get a good feel for the characters.

Well paced and smoothly written, I'd recommend Finally His Bride to romance readers who enjoy a friends to lovers story.

4/5 stars

Purchase from Amazon.com

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bound to the Sheikh by Carol Marinelli

Book Blurb:

Sheikh Ashim Al Raquar, Crown Prince of Alzaquan, knows he must return to his country and leave his playboy reputation far behind him. It will be a wild journey home, though—he intends to party on his yacht right to the edge of the desert. And then he meets Emily, a corporate flight attendant who’s in the south of France hoping to find herself after years of taking care of her husband.

A sensual, charismatic lover with a reputed dark edge to his bedroom skills is the very last thing Emily needs.

Or is it the first?

My Review:

Bound To The Sheik by Carol Marinelli is a fast paced romance about two people from two very different lives.

It's time for Sheik Ashim to return to his country and his duties.  The past ten years haven't been all carefree, he's done a lot of good in that time too.  Duty calls however, and he is taking one last slow journey home, one last fling perhaps...  Emily is struggling to move on from a sad past, and a weekend in the Mediterranean with no cares might be just what she needs to refresh herself.  When Ashim and Emily meet the sparks fly and they spend the next couple of days entwined together...neither expecting anything more.  Unexpected feelings and unsaid words will make saying good bye difficult but does it have to be over?  Can they find a way to overcome the obstacles facing them?

I really enjoyed this novella.  As short and fast as it was, I felt that Emily was well developed, and her feelings were well explored.  I felt like I knew her, liked her, and felt for her.  I really wanted her to be able to have fun, feel desirable, and move on!  Ashim might just be the man to do that.  I liked him too.  Despite his playboy reputation, he has a good heart and a strong sense of duty...even if it differs a bit from his fathers.  I was interested to know if these two different people stood a chance, and Carol kept me intrigued.

I loved the Mediterranean setting, it in itself is so romantic!

I'd recommend Bound To The Sheik to any romance reader looking to get lost in a hot story for a few hours.

4/5 stars

Purchase from Amazon.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blog Tour and Interview! Behind the Mask (The Associates #4) by Carolyn Crane

About the Book

Title: Behind The Mask (Associates, #4)
Author: Carolyn Crane
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Category: Romantic Suspense

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble: Coming Soon!

Book Summary:

When her estranged sister is won in a card game by a brutal drug cartel, Zelda knows what she has to do: take her place. Save her. Focus on infiltrating the shadowy group--and try not to think about why she left the spying game years ago. She’s slept with dangerous criminals before; she can do it again.
Hugo Martinez is one of South America’s most lethal and wanted men, a legendary mercenary living on a windswept mountain. Even at the height of the war he wasn’t in the habit of taking women captive, but the American whore has seen his face. And he and the orphan boy need a cook. He shouldn’t want this woman, but there’s something so unusual about her…
Meanwhile, Zelda finds herself falling for her captor…but is he the killer she’s been hunting all these years?
 My Review:

In Behind The Mask, Carolyn Crane takes us to South America with a unique plot.  

Behind The Mask is a fast moving, captivating book with powerful characters.  Despite the past that haunts her and riddles her with guilt, I felt that Zelda was a strong character and remarkably fearless.  It was interesting how she was able to push emotion out of the equation when her work required her to do things a lot of people would not be able to do.  She is able to separate clearly, and her mind set around this is pretty fascinating, because I felt like hidden inside is actually a very passionate woman.  Zelda's character is very dynamic!  When she is captured by Hugo, she used it as an opportunity to further her cause...at first anyway, because the attraction between them is as unexpected as it is undeniable.  Will she use it or embrace it though?  I was very interested to watch the relationship between Zelda and Hugo unfold.

Hugo is a great hero!!  A legend, known as the dangerous and lethal Kabakas, he now lives quietly and unknown with a boy he's taken in in small town Beuna Vista.  He doesn't know relationships or love...but when he 'captures' Zelda, she brings out more in him than he thought he had inside to give to anyone.  But when danger threatens his town, the mask he'd put away for good might have to make another appearance to save good.   He can't hide what's behind the mask to Zelda though, for she sees the heart hidden underneath his many layers.  For two people who don't trust and with so much at stake, will they be able to trust each other?  The connection they have is intense and the chemistry steaming, but will they take the chance?

I really liked what Hugo and Zelda brought out in each other, and I felt that these characters were very deep, with so many issues impacting their lives.  I liked reading from both Hugo and Zelda's POV's, I felt that this helped me understand and feel the characters well.

The suspense part of the plot is woven in relevantly with the romance, they are all significant parts of the plot.  This part of the book was somewhat vague and mystifying at times, in a way that kept me intrigued and wanting to know more.

Behind The Mask is part of Carolyn Crane's Associates series, and I feel that while it can be read as a stand alone the reader will have a better understanding of The Associates if the whole series is read.  The secondary characters are mostly new to Behind The Mask, and they are not always pleasant people to be around which made Behind The Mask more thrilling!

Behind The Mask is well written and easy to follow, and I'd recommend it to romantic suspense readers looking for a unique plot line and steamy main characters!

Author Interview!

Thanks for being here, Carolyn!!

Hey, Sue!! Thank you so much for having me. It’s so good to be here!

What made you decide to write about the Associates?

I like a lot of variety—lots of different sorts of stories and characters. So I was attracted to romantic suspense because I felt like it was a hugely flexible genre that could accommodate that. And, as a lover of all things James Bond and Anne Stuart, going for tales of hot, tortured, dirty-talking spies was just natural!

The Associates series takes us to some unique places, and there is always a tone of danger and darkness...what kind of research do you do for your books?

I actually do quite a bit of research, because of the way every book has a different ‘thing’ that the mystery turns on.  For example, AGAINST THE DARK (currently FREE!) has a safecracking heroine and a spy who’s into logistics, so I had to research the hell out of those things. Off the Edge features a secret agent linguistics expert (I read books and got a consultant for that. ) And so on.

I love books that take me to faraway or otherwise unique settings, so I tend to take my own spies to new places. My upcoming book, BEHIND THE MASK, takes place in South America, near Ecuador. And thank goodness for Google street view, because I’ve never been to South America but through the magic of Google, I can go.

As far as the danger and darkness, I just love that gritty feel, you know? It’s just how I imagine things.

How do you get into the minds of your characters?  Do you find this difficult?  (I would guess it varies on the character!)

You are exactly right, it varies with the character. The heroines tend to be easier than the heroes. Sometimes I’ll catch myself slipping into a too-female mindset with my heroes and I have to pull back. Some heroes are easier than others, too.

In behind the Mask, my hero is a real alpha-caveman, and I had to constantly work to look at the world through his eyes. I’d think, okay, I’m powerful and socially awkward with really strong emotions I don’t know how to express…what would I do here? What would I say?

 It felt a little like putting new furniture in my mind.   Sometimes I would have to literally close my eyes and just work myself into the Hugo mindset. I think anybody can work themselves into another mindset if they just try.

What was your favorite part of Behind The Mask to write?  Why?

There’s this part where the hero, Hugo, has taken the heroine captive to make her be his cook, etc, so it’s this total caveman thing to do, but he’s also intent on being kind to her and caring for her.

So there’s this scene early on where she’s injured from the fight (he saved her from some really bad killers) and he makes her let him stitch up the wound. He holds her still and cares for her; he sort of dominates her with this caring force, but it’s also kind of hot. I liked the complexity of that. The mix of hard and tender, and the heroines mix of outrage and gratitude.

Tell us about what's next!

Book #5 will probably be about Dax, the leader. Just because he’s the side character who I felt most excited about within this book and that’s how I pick who is next. Also, as Annika Martin, I’ll be doing another book in the Criminals and Captives series, which I co-write with Skye Warren, and also as Annika, another in the “Taken Hostage by Kinky Bank Robbers” series. (book #4!) So, I have my work cut out for me.

About the Author

I am a RITA-winning author of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of love and adventure (and erotic & dark romance as NYT bestselling author Annika Martin). My books have been published by Random House and Samhain, and I also go the indie route. I work a straight job as a marketing writer, I love to read in bed and run, I’m passionate about helping animals, and I make my home in Minnesota with my husband and two cats.

Giveaway Information

(1) $75.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice & open internationally)
(32)  Digital Copies of either Against the Dark, Off the Edge or Into the Shadows (winner’s choice & open internationally)

Rafflecopter Code:

Forget Me Not by Erika Marks

Book Blurb:

When aspiring-writer Mallory Reynolds packed up for New York City, she ditched more than her quiet hometown of Magnolia Bay—she left her high-school sweetheart, Josh Loveless, behind. But when the big city didn’t deliver big contracts on her novels, she turned to writing erotica under the pen name Farrah Ivory to spare her family any embarrassment. Soon, her scandalously-sexy series, The Lost Diaries of Scarlet, is a break-out hit. Just as Mallory begins to enjoy her sweet success, her publisher leaks her true identity and a media firestorm ensues. Exposed, she decides there’s nowhere to hide—except for home.

For Josh Loveless, getting over Mallory Reynolds hasn’t been easy, but he’s done his best to move on. For starters, he’s turned his love of the outdoors and rock-climbing into his own business. And just as things are starting to settle for him, he learns Mallory’s coming home to ride out her scandal, and suddenly his world is turned upside down again…

Can Mallory convince her friends and family that she’s still the same good-hearted girl they knew? And more importantly, can Josh trust the woman she’s become, and give her a second chance to rewrite their love story with a happy ending?

My Review:

In Forget Me Not by Erika Marks neither Mallory or Josh has ever really forgotten or gotten over each other.   When they both wanted different things in life it forced them apart, and there is still a big space in each of their hearts for each other.

I thought the characters were really interesting in Forget Me Not.  Mallory is back in Magnolia Bay...but for how long?  She was a bit of a contradiction for me, she seemed to think she could just walk right back into Josh's life (even as a friend), and seemed hurt that it wasn't going to be that easy.  She's a very successful author, but is hiding and at times seemed embarrassed by her work.  I liked Josh.  He's doing what he always wanted to do, even if it has been a struggle at times for him.  Seeing Mallory back in Magnolia Bay brings all the feelings, hurt and love, right out into the open again, and he doesn't always deal with it well.  I felt like his reactions and emotions were believable.   I could feel a connection between Mallory and Josh, but had to wonder if it was too late for them and if too much damage had been done...I couldn't wait to see where they took this second chance reunion.

I saw a lot of growth in both of these characters in the short span of this novella, both together and individually.  Erika did a fantastic job of writing their story as a novella without making me feel like I was missing anything.

I really enjoyed being back in Magnolia Bay, and I loved all the secondary characters that help give this place it's great character.  Erika does a great job of bringing in enough family dynamics to give the characters an interesting background.   I especially liked Mallory's aunt, her character is strong and someone I'd love to be around!  Forget Me Not is part of a series but can definitely be read as a stand alone.

I'd recommend Forget Me Not to any romance reader who is looking for a quick second chance romance read!

4/5 stars

Purchase from Amazon.com

Monday, May 18, 2015

Life After Perfect by Nancy Naigle

Book Blurb:

Katherine Barclift had it all: the perfect job, the perfect car, and what she thought was the perfect marriage. But when her entire world collapses in one stomach-churning instant, she hits the road and keeps driving until that so-called “perfect life” is just a dot in her rearview mirror.

A chance encounter leads her to make a pit stop in Boot Creek, a drowsy little North Carolina town where she can call herself Katy, soak up the peace and quiet…and drink in the bluer-than-blue eyes of Derek Hansen, a local doctor still wrestling with his own painful past. Both Katy and Derek are wary about giving romance another shot, but they can’t deny the intense attraction between them. And if being in Boot Creek has taught them anything, it’s to take life as it comes and never pass up a chance at true love…no matter how wounded your heart may be.

My Review:

Life After Perfect by Nancy Naigle made me want to move to small town Boot Creek and eat blackberries!

Boot Creek is where Katy ends up after the life she thought was perfect suddenly wasn't and she needed space.  Boot Creek is where Derek has come back to after suffering his own devastating loss.  Neither were looking for anything, but in Boot Creek they find each other.

Katy is independent, strong and stands up for herself.  She is a very capable woman who is determined to move on from perfect.  I felt that there was a strong sense of realism in how she dealt with her situation.  I also got the strong feeling that she grew so much, opened her eyes to life around her, and gained a lot of perspective as Life After Perfect progressed.  Derek has been stuck in his own past, struggling to find meaning and move on.  A chance meeting with Katy sets off sparks neither expected, and in small town Boot Creek it's easy to see a lot of each other.  I felt like they had a connection that grew steadily and the romance between them rapidly picked up speed through Life After Perfect.  It did feel like the romance was rather quick after what Katy had been through, but I liked both of these characters - even if  I felt like Katy still expected a bit of perfect, and she was keeping a big something about herself from Derek.

I wasn't sure how this story would end...would Katy go back to 'perfect' or move on to what and who she really wanted?

Nancy drew me in quickly and kept me engrossed in Katy and Derek's story.  The pace is perfect and I was never bored.  I really enjoyed the secondary character who each had something to add to Life After Perfect.

I'd recommend Life After Perfect to romance readers who especially like small towns and second chance romances!

4/5 stars

Purchase from Amazon.com

Bride by Mistake (Montana Born Brides Book 3) by Nicole Helm

Book Blurb:

Wedding fever has hit the little town of Marietta…

And Kaitlin Shuller’s groom of her dreams is marrying someone else… her sister.

Worst day ever. Her heart is broken, and all her carefully laid plans destroyed. Enter Beckett Larson, her older brother’s best friend and a very good bad decision.

Beckett has spent his life trying to outrun his bad reputation, but everyone already thinks the worst of him, so when Kaitlin offers herself to him — virginity and all— he just can’t say no.

But one night together has permanent consequences, and this time Beckett knows he can’t outrun his bad boy reputation. He’s determined to make Kaitlin his bride…even if he has to seduce her down the aisle.

My Review:

Nicole Helm packs a lot of emotion into Bride By Mistake.  In the span of this fast paced novella, I was very entranced by Kaitlin and Beckett's story.  

Kaitlin and Beckett have always had an underlying, unacknowledged attraction to one another.  Kaitlin was fixated on someone else, someone she thought she loved and who would make her life stable and perfect...only she had never addressed these feelings and the other person was completely unaware.  She feels like her heart is broken, and she has trouble trusting herself and her feelings now.  Beckett is the town's bad boy, and no matter what he does, some people will always think of him as that.  He's grown a lot from the boy he was though, and Kaitlin seems to be the only person who sees it.  When an unexpected hot night gives them something so much more, Beckett and Kaitlin will have to find a way to move forward - together or apart...although if Beckett has his say they will be together.

Kaitlin is so obviously a very young, inexperienced character.  Sometimes I felt so frustrated with her, and yet at other times she did exactly the right thing (in my opinion!), and not the way I've seen a lot of female heroine's handle a similar situation.  So as young and immature as she is at times, she grows very quickly and admirably in Bride By Mistake.  I really felt a lot for Beckett.  His character really tugged at my heart and I just really felt for him and liked him.  I liked that he is determined to do what he feels is right...but not just because of that, but because he loves Kaitlin.  He sticks even when everyone expects the worst of him.  The way he was treated at times I wouldn't have blamed him if he gave up and left, but he is so much stronger and braver than that!  He did charge in and insert himself in Kaitlin's life, and I could see why he did that even if it was a bit much at times.  Together they not only push each others buttons but really need to work on communicating and not assuming things.  I found myself really hoping things would work out for them.  They have great chemistry together!

I enjoyed the sub plot about Beckett and Luke (Kaitlin's brother) and I really hope to see this carried forward in the next Montana Born Brides book.

I liked the pace and length of this novella.  Kaitlin and Beckett already know each other, so their relationship development was believable.

Another thing I like about the Montana Born Brides series is that they can all be read as stand alones, but you still see characters from the other books in each of them.

I feel that Bride By Mistake is a well written, enchanting novella that I'd recommend to any romance reader!

4/5 stars

Purchase from Amazon.com