Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Heat Exchange (Boston Fire #1) by Shannon Stacey

Book Blurb:

Lydia Kincaid's shipping back to Boston, but she's not happy about it. She left to get away from the firefighting community—her father was a firefighter, her brother's a firefighter and, more important, her ex is a firefighter. But family is number one, and her father needs her help running the pub he bought when he retired. Soon, Lydia finds it hard to resist the familiar comfort and routine, and even harder to resist her brother's handsome friend Aidan.

Aidan Hunt is a firefighter because of the Kincaid family. He's had the hots for Lydia for years, but if ever a woman was off-limits to him, it's her. Aside from being his mentor's daughter, she's his best friend's sister. The ex-wife of a fellow firefighter. But his plan to play it cool until she leaves town again fails, and soon he and Lydia have crossed a line they can't uncross.

As Aidan and Lydia's flirtation turns into something more serious, Lydia knows she should be planning her escape. Being a firefighter's wife was the hardest thing she's ever done, and she doesn't know if she has the strength to do it again. Aidan can't imagine walking away from Boston Fire—even for Lydia. The job and the brotherhood are his life; but if he wants Lydia in it, he'll have to decide who's first in his heart.

My Review:

Complex relationships, family dynamics, and forbidden love weave through Heat Exchange by Shannon Stacey.

Shannon introduces us to strong characters and an intriguing new series in Heat Exchange.

The heroine, Lydia, is back in her home town reluctantly, after moving away two years ago to distance herself from everything expected of her...but not necessarily what she wants. I found Lydia to be strong, and she is obviously loyal to come back to the place she doesn't want to be to help her sister out. Lydia has sworn off relationships with firefighters. She is intimately aware of what the brotherhood involves, and who they put first. And she feels it will never be her...

Aiden is her younger brothers best friend,and when Lydia sees him again, sparks light up inside of her...even if he is definitely not a man to become involved with. Aiden feels the exact same way about Lydia...and soon their feelings and the flames between them are impossible to resist. But a forbidden affair is all it can be...

I liked Aiden. I really felt for him, and felt good for what he's done with his life, the positive directions he's taken. Lydia was a bit harder to like. She is harsh and at times hurtful. Even if it's a sense of self preservation kicking in, this isn't a personality trait that I like in anyone, and I find it difficult to like fictional characters who act this way. Her whole family is like this though...there is angst and hurt mixed in with the love and caring. They are an interesting group to get to know, and not necessarily one I'd want to spend a lot of time with. The push and pull between the characters felt real though, and the feelings were palpable.

When Lydia and Aiden were together, I liked how they were with each other. It felt right, but the secretiveness didn't - even for them, and I was really nervous how things would play out for them.

Nothing for any of the characters in Heat Exchange is easy, and the journey for all of them, including the secondary characters is bumpy, and you just don't know where they're going to end up! I liked this, just like in real life you just never know what will happen. Shannon writes in some powerful secondary plots along with the secondary characters, and they were just as intriguing as the main plot and characters. They are all relevant and help make up the main plot, smoothly written in.

I liked that Shannon has written Heat Exchange so well that I am able to feel strongly about certain characters. Whether or not I liked them, she made me feel!

I look forward to the next book in this series.

I'd recommend Heat Exchange to any romance reader who likes forbidden romances.

4/5 stars

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Review: The Rebel (The Millionaire Malones #3) by Victoria Purman

Book Blurb:

Two people, who regret their missed chance, just might get another…

Sexy Australian pro surfer Cooper Malone lives his dreams on beaches all over the world. While surfing is his passion, he can’t quite suppress the longing for a permanent home with the one woman he let slip away.

World traveler Maggie MacLean first laid eyes on Cooper in a crowded bar on the island resort of Bali six years ago. The sparks and sizzle nearly scorched her bikini, but she never had a chance to explore that intense attraction. Later, when Maggie’s pregnant by a man who wants nothing to do with their child, she puts her passport away and heads home to California to be the best mom she can be.

But when a possible career ending injury sidelines Cooper from his beloved waves, he moves in with the one friend he’s been able to count on. Maggie and Cooper have ignored the burn of attraction for six years. Maggie’s not willing to risk their friendship or her son’s heartbreak when Cooper inevitably leaves to compete, but what if this time Cooper stays and Maggie allows their second chance at love to flame?

My Review:

The Rebel by Victoria Purman is a well paced, heart filling friends to lovers romance.

Cooper and Maggie have been friends for almost six years, neither of them ever acting on the hidden feelings they have for each other. Maggie is a single mother living in California, and Cooper is a professional surfer from Australia. The times they have together are full of friendship and comfort. For different reasons, they both are unwilling to risk anything more than friendship. When circumstances change, will they have the courage, love and strength to open their hearts to more?

I enjoyed feeling like I was part of Cooper and Maggie's journey. I really liked these two characters. Victoria gave me a clear picture of what their relationship was like. Their connection, the dialogue between them, and the obvious care they have for one another was realistic and believable. I really felt for both of these characters, and could ache for what they were going through past and present. Their situations were well explained, and I felt like I understood where they came from.

I liked the water theme (surfing) and what it means, how it makes Cooper feel, and how Maggie understands this.

I really liked Maggie's son Evan and he plays an important role in The Rebel. Maggie's mother is a less visible secondary characters, but her place in The Rebel is valuable and necessary. The Rebel is book #2 of The Millionaire Malones, but it can easily be read as a stand alone.

An easy to read story filled with heart and hope, I'd recommend The Rebel to any romance reader.

4/5 stars

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Review: Fire Me Up (The Deacon's of Bourbon Street #2) by Rachael Johns

Book Blurb:
Can a scorching affair with a bohemian beauty tame a motorcycle man with a dark side? Rachael Johns takes the wheel in the sexy series co-written with Megan Crane, Jackie Ashenden, and Maisey Yates.

Travis “Cash” Sinclair values only two things from his days with the Deacons of Bourbon Street: his prized Harley Davidson and the man who gave it to him. But now Priest Lombard is gone, and Cash has inherited the Deacons’ clubhouse—not to mentions its unexpected tenant. She’s exactly the type of woman he tries to avoid: all incense and art, with a sharp tongue that promises trouble. So why does Cash want to push aside those flowing skirts and lose himself between her legs?

Billie Taylor fled a bad marriage to start a new life among the grit and glamour of the French Quarter. She refuses to let another man distract her from her dreams, especially an outlaw biker with nothing to offer except hot sex and an eviction notice. Cash is dangerous, with an untamed streak he tries desperately to conceal. He drives Billie wild, sending her too close to the edge for her own good. And she won’t fall under his spell—or into his bed—without a fight.

My Review:

The second book in the Deacons of Bourbon Street, Fire Me Up by Rachael Johns delves even deeper into the darker side of New Orleans, a reviving motorcycle club, and the questionable death of Priest - the Deacons leader. This is all the reason Travis is back in New Orleans - the last place he wants to be. The place he meets Billie - exactly the opposite of what a motorcycle man should want...

Billie and Travis are very interesting characters, a very unexpected hero and heroine! Most of the time they were like oil and water, but that doesn't stop the heat between them. Travis is by no means a sweet, sensitive man. He is rough, he is brash, he makes no apologies for who and what he is, and he is over the top alpha! Because of his attitude and the way he talked to and treated Billie, it was really hard to like him for a while. He just walks in and takes charge, threatening everything Billie has worked so hard for. My thoughts are that this is the tough motorcycle man persona though, and as the plot thickened, I felt like I got to understand Travis better and my heart ached a bit for what he went through. I might not have come to love him, but he was a great main character in this story. Billie is a touching heroine who I felt I could relate to much easier. I really felt for her, and I really admired her. Billie brings a bit of softness to this series! I liked how she stood up to Travis, even though he was intimidating, and at the same time was wildly attracted to him. There is a lot of character growth for Billie and Travis, and it is believable and very touching!

As the relationship between these two expands, the plot flowing through this series about the motorcycle club and Priest's death becomes more intense and mysterious. I liked this carry over of the plot and it is done in such a way that there are no cliffhangers in either of the first two books, but a ongoing thread between the books. There are also some other ongoing sub plots that I can't wait to see if they are resolved, and what each will mean for the characters of this series. I love how this is done, and that three different authors are writing this series which so far is written very smoothly.

The secondary characters in Fire Me Up all have their own part in the plot and add a lot of dimension. Once again I loved the New Orleans setting.

The characters are all edgy and raw, but at the same time powerful, intense, and real.

Fire Me Up is the second book in this series, and I would recommend reading the first book to get a good understanding of what is happening. I'd recommend Fire Me Up and this series to any romance reader who likes book with an edge and a bit of mystery.

4/5 stars

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: Pursued by the Devil (International Bad Boys) by Carole Mortimer

Book Blurb:

Mikhail Lysenko, a tall, dark, and deadly corporate shark, is buying up ailing companies during the financial crisis worldwide, cherry-picking the best parts, and disposing of the dead wood.

Lindsay Carlisle is a sexy, long-legged, ruthless lawyer whose client is determined to hold out against a Lysenko take-over.

And when Mikhail’s laser business focus hones in on Lindsay and becomes personal, very personal, she doesn't know whether his interest is genuine or a means of undermining her client's case. Regardless, there's no way she’s going to be added to the list of women who’ve jumped into the sexy millionaire’s bed. Trying to resist Mikhail and keep work her priority is more than enough to deal with, but then someone begins anonymously sending Lindsay roses… black roses. As a love token? Or something more sinister? She may have to run into Mikail’s arms and allow him to save her from her secret admirer...

My Review:

Pursued By The Devil by Carole Mortimer is a fast paced, steamy hot read.

Mikail is rich, strong willed, and very alpha. He's used to getting what he wants, and he wants Lindsay. At first I found him a little too forceful, not accepting Lindsay's rejection of him. However, it is very clear that Lindsay wants Mikhail as much as he wants her. She is conflicted between personal and professional though, and it is a struggle for her to accept the intense feelings that flow between her and Mikhail.

Lindsay is a strong heroine who tries to deny her inner wants, but she can only resist for so long. Things heat up to scorching between Lindsay and Mikhail very, very quickly. At the same time someone unknown is causing Lindsay unease. This makes Mikhail even more protective and determined to keep Lindsay safe...with him.

Pursued By The Devil is a whirlwind of passion, heat, and a touch of mystery. Carole sucked me in and in a short time made me care for these characters. I really liked how she worked in Mikhail's background, and the secrets he hides. I liked how Mikhail's character grew from hard work and determination. Carole managed to make a man who could have been easy to dislike very likable and real with the reveal of his inner self and feelings. While the speed of their relationship was a bit surreal, the characters themselves felt real and this held them up well through the pace of Pursued By the Devil.

Easy to read and escape into, I'd recommend Pursued By The Devil to any romance reader who likes things hot.

3.5/5 stars

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Review: The Last Time I Saw Her (Dr. Charlotte Stone #4) by Karen Robards

Book Blurb:

In the sizzling new novel from New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards, Dr. Charlie Stone must prove the innocence of a dangerously sexy condemned man, or lose her one chance at true love.

In this world, Dr. Charlotte “Charlie” Stone skillfully probes the twisted minds of incarcerated serial killers to better understand what makes them tick, and to help nab those who remain at large. But in the next world, Charlotte’s ghostly lover—convicted killer Michael Garland—is facing death yet again. It seem the only way Charlie can snatch Michael from the jaws of oblivion is by proving his innocence. And this dead man’s dead ringer may just be the key.

A mysterious stranger has turned up in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and Charlie is shocked to realize he could be Michael Garland’s identical twin. But she suspects the resemblance is only skin deep—and that behind the handsome face may lurk the perverse mind of a killer. While using all her keen profiling gifts, Charlie risks her life to discover the shocking secret that will clear Michael’s name.

Then a breakout at Wallens Ridge State Prison forces Charlie to contend with a sudden swarm of psychopaths bent on spilling blood. No one has a better chance of tracking down the deadly fugitives than Charlie—unless the rampaging killers manage to find her first and make this case her last. But Michael will move heaven and hell—and even make a devil’s bargain—for the chance to save Charlie’s life, and feel her touch once more . . . if only for the final time.

My Review:

Expect the unexpected in The Last Time I Saw Her (Dr. Charlotte Stone #4) by Karen Robards!  I was immersed in this chilling, thrilling read Karen took me on.  I loved the romance, the suspense, and the paranormal that Karen weaved together, making it all feel real as I read.

The Last Time I Saw Her is a unique, fascinating read and Karen gives us a glimpse into the twisted minds of serial killers, the psychologist who studies them, and the ghost who haunts her in the best way possible.

I was really looking forward to this final book in the series.  I've been intrigued with the relationship between Charlotte and Michael from the start.  It is a relationship out of this realm, and can't possibly have a future.  But Charlotte and Michael grow very attached to each other despite all that, and when Michael disappears into what Charlotte assumes is Spooksville, she is devastated.  She is what is keeping Michael's spirit sane though, and he'll do anything to come back temporarily to help her when she's in extreme danger.  Charlotte will do whatever she can to prove Michael's innocence too...even if he is dead.

I really liked where Karen took me in The Last Time I Saw Her.  At times I was scared and worried, other times I felt a glimmer of happiness and hope.  It's a difficult road to navigate for Charlotte and Michael given their circumstances, and I think Karen took them each to where they needed to be in the best way possible.  I love how the characters worked through things and the obvious feelings they have for one another (even if one of them is ghost).  The tension of good vs. evil, and the anticipation of what could possibly happen had me on edge through out!  I have grown very attached to Charlotte and Michael in this series, and I felt like I was taking this journey right along with them.  Charlotte and Michael are strong characters with dynamic personalities who are a very appealing heroine and hero!

I was surprised at the conclusion, and that's all I'll spoilers!  I loved it!

The Last Time I Saw Her is not a stand alone book, the whole series builds up nicely to this finale.  Very well written, easy to follow and well paced, The Last Time I Saw Her is a five star read for me that I'd recommend to any romantic suspense/paranormal reader!

5/5 sensational stars!!!

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review Tour for Men Under Fire by Jacki Delecki

Men Under Fire
by Jacki Delecki
Series: Grayce Walters, #3
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: May 25, 2015

Hollie Thomas, the feisty, tattooed office assistant to Grayce Walters, has come a long way from living on the streets. Along with finding a job she loves, she’s found friends and safety. When her new life unravels, she faces dangers that dwarf her troubled past. Fighting to survive, she discovers that sometimes what you need the most might be found in the one person you failed to see coming.

Returning home from the war and struggling to find his way, Sergeant Nick Welby, and his bomb-sniffing golden lab, use their skill set in the last place he’d ever imagined—Seattle’s Waterfront. To protect the one woman who matters, Nick and his trusty canine partner will risk everything to rescue her and Seattle from disaster.

Embroiled in Grayce Walters’ most perilous case—a terrorist plot with the threat of deadly explosives—can Nick and Hollie work together to save themselves and each other before it’s too late?

Sergeant Nick Welby is only looking for help for his traumatized bomb sniffing service dog when he walks into the office of Dr. Grayce Walter.  He ends up finding so much more...

Hollie is the office assistant in Gracyce's office.  She's finally found her place in life after a long, hard struggle.  Her place in life as she envisions it does not include a man who exudes alpha male like Nick does.  In Hollie's mind they care complete opposites.  Their pasts are very different, and they define them.  But both of these very likable main characters are working hard to leave the past where it belongs and move on to the future.  I found this to be a very powerful trait in these two main characters  The hot attraction between them is unmistakable, and Nick can't let the chance past.  She makes him feel what he never thought he'd feel...and he's bringing parts of Hollie to life she never expected!  It is a very slow, trust building, heart warming relationship.  Neither of them want to rush, and I really enjoyed their journey.

As their relationship builds and they become more a part of each other lives, they are also suddenly entrenched in a search for two missing Marine women.  This search evolves into something far more dangerous than either of them expected, and just as things start looking up for them as a couple, it could just as suddenly be over.

I loved Hollie and Nick as main characters.  They work really well together, and they understand each other.  I liked their maturity and that neither was rushing into anything.  With her writing, Jacki gave me a clear picture of these two...both their backgrounds and their presents.  I was very intrigued and had to keep turning the pages.  When unexpected danger is thrown into their path, it's Nick his sweet dog who step up...can they pull of a very heroic act?  This part of the plot was surprising for me, and unexpected twist to the romance.  I really enjoyed it, I just felt like it added so much more depth to the book.

There are a lot of fantastic secondary characters.  Dr. Grayce almost seemed magical, and I found myself feeling just as soothed as Nick and his dog after their sessions with her.  Oh, and the dog, that sweet, sweet dog.  I love all animals, but service dogs really have a big spot in my heart.  She was an excellent and very relevant addition to the cast of characters in Men Under Fire.

Jacki made me believe in happy endings even if it's a rough journey to embark on at times, and I found myself really hoping that Nick and Hollie would get theirs.

Well paced and easy to stay in the pages of Men Under Fire, I'd recommend this book to any romance reader who likes some suspense woven in!

Thank you so much to Jacki and the publisher for an ARC of Men Under Fire for my honest review.

Jacki Delecki is a Best-Selling, Romantic Suspense writer. Delecki’s Grayce Walters Series, which chronicles the adventures of a Seattle animal acupuncturist, was an editor’s selection by USA Today. Delecki’s Romantic Regency The Code Breaker Series hit number one on Amazon. Both acclaimed series are available for purchase at

To learn more about Jacki and her books and to be the first to hear about giveaways join her newsletter found on her website. Follow her on FB—Jacki Delecki; Twitter @jackidelecki.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: A Little Harmless Rumor by Melissa Schroeder

Book Blurb:

Rumors are swirling about the fall of Sean Kaheaku, but he’s ignoring them. Six months earlier, he had his entire world turned upside down and he still doesn’t know what to do about it. He retreated to his home in Hawaii to recover and reassess what he wants to do now that he’s been burned as a security agent. 

Now lovers, Randy and Jamie arrive in Honolulu to find the lover they once knew is now even more secretive and belligerent. He refuses their help, but they are both too stubborn to leave—especially since they sense something dangerous is stalking Sean. 

As the three lovers spend more time together, old feelings float to the surface and the twosome becomes a threesome. Nights are even hotter than the Hawaiian sun, and all three lovers find the connection exciting and overwhelming. But, the trouble is still out there and arrives intent on destroying Sean and everything he loves—including Randy and Jaime. 

Warning: This book contains three spies who like to play games in and out of the bedroom, hot m/m loving, more m/m/f loving, dangerous games, lies, a few misdemeanors, and love scenes so hot, even most Addicts will be shocked. There is also a group of Alpha males with badges who will have their own series, a heroine who knows how to handle her two men, and two men who know exactly what she likes. As usual, ice and towels should be handy to help you through the book. 

My Review:

A Little Harmless Rumor is a fast paced, steamy hot, suspenseful read.

Randy and Jamie are seeking the missing person in the relationship they want...and when they finally find him, not only are there sparks galore, but there is danger surrounding him too.  Sean doesn't want to put Jamie and Randy in danger any more than he wants to hurt either of them.  The distance and secrets he's keeping from them are not only for their protection, but his too.  He's not sure he can risk his heart while he's also risking his life.  Jamie and Randy are not deterred though, they both love Sean, want Sean, and will do what it takes to keep him.  But can the three of them have a safe future together?

The threesome relationship works well with this plot, and the explicit scenes between them are necessary to move this part of the plot forward.  Their relationship and the danger that Sean faces, the work he does, are woven together well to give a plot with a lot of depth and feeling.  I liked the suspenseful, mysterious part of the plot because Melissa kept me guessing about what was going on and what would happen.

I really felt like I got to know all of these characters, especially Sean and Jamie.  Their stories are both heart breaking and hopeful.

Of course I loved the setting of A Little Harmless Rumor, and could easily feel like I was there.

A hot, suspenseful romance with a twist, I'd recommend A Little Harmless Rumor to any romantic suspense reader looking for a book with a lot packed into it.

4/5 stars

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Review: The Billionaire's Temptation (Amalfi Night Billionaires Book 1) by Katherine Garbera

Book Blurb:

Rocco De Luca lives and loves in the fast lane. A past Formula 1 champ, he has been jetting around the world arranging celebrity charity races and partying with the world’s elite. Coming home to Isola del Fiori and filling in for his older brother for a few weeks sounds…well, boring. Until he meets Steffi Harlan. 

Steffi Harlan is sophisticated, elegant, and way too smart to fall for a tanned chest and a bad-boy smile, or so she thinks, until she’s put in charge of keeping the jet-set playboy out of trouble while he’s gone. Sure, no problem. Except Steffi isn’t immune to Rocco’s charms. 

They burn up the nights they spend together, and the last thing Steffi wants is to crash out and end up with a broken heart… Can they both survive love in the fast lane? 

My Review:

The Billionaire's Temptation is a spicy, fast paced, great introduction to the Amalfi Night Billionaires Book series.  Katherine does a great job with this plot, showing that assumptions can be hurtful...and wrong!  There is a lot going on under the surface of people, especially someone like Rocco.

Steffi is very happy in her job, her place in life right now.  She has no desire to get involved with anyone like Rocco...even if he does make her think thoughts she shouldn't be thinking about him.  Rocco is just as enchanted by Steffi and even though they believe in different things, their wants might be more in tune with each others than even they'd have though.  Even though they must work together, Rocco thinks Steffi is worth pursuing, and that he does.  The push and pull, insecurities in both of them, and those assumptions make their journey a very bumpy one.  When they finally give in and things sizzle when they are together, Steffi is still convinced there is no future and that Rocco will never settle down.  Will Rocco believe Steffi is worth the risk of proving her wrong?  Or will both of them get their hearts broken?

I liked the setting and general plot of The Billionaire's Temptation.  I liked the background's and inner thoughts I was privy to as a reader, and Katherine did a great job of bringing Steffi and Rocco to life.

The secondary characters also spiked my curiosity, but in no way did they distract from the book. They just added so much more depth and reality!

I am really looking forward to the continuation of this series, and am happy that they will be released fairly close together!

I'd recommend The Billionaire's Temptation to any romance ready who likes some spice and sauciness in their books!

4/5 stars

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Review: Stirred with Love by Marcie Steele

Book Blurb:

Sometimes the best friends can be found where you least expect them … 

Still grieving after the loss of her beloved husband, Lily Mortimer is determined to do something with the time she has left. 

After the end of her fairytale marriage, thirty-something Kate is trying hard to mend her broken heart. 

Chloe, a young woman with the world at her feet, is struggling to know what to do with her life. 

When Lily embarks on a new venture in the picturesque town of Somerley, the three women come together to open The Coffee Stop, the most charming cafĂ© for miles around. 

But opening a coffee shop is never as simple as it seems, especially when you add neighbouring competition, local heart throbs and heartbreak to the mix. 

When tragedy strikes, can the three women pull together to make the new business fly, or will Lily’s last chance disappear down the drain along with yesterday’s coffee grinds? 

As comforting as a cappuccino and a better pick-me-up than a grande Americano, Stirred with Love will captivate readers of Milly Johnson, Carole Matthews and Jenny Colgan.

My Review:

It starts with a coffee shop, and Stirred With Love evolves into a great story about three different women who are all at different points in their lives, all at a turning point in their lives.

I liked how Marcie brought Kate, Lily and Chloe together in a realistic way.   I enjoyed getting to know them and watching them move forward.  They each have struggles to overcome, and they find unexpected friendship and support in Stirred With Love.

These characters all had a little something I could relate to, and they were all believable.  I loved the different age groups of these women and how it didn't really seem to matter most of the time.  Sometimes the age differences between these new friends was very noticeable, but most of the time these three women were just women being friends.  

Marcie moves the plot forward at a smooth pace and I was drawn into the lives of Kate, Lily, and Chloe.  I liked the central theme of the plot about Lily reopening The Coffee Shop, and how this pulls the characters together.  Each of the women have a strong presence in Stirred With Love, and I felt like I got to know each of them well.  With sub plots involving them and secondary characters, Stirred With Love is a multi dimensional, character driven read.

With heart, humor, hope, love and tears, Marcie weaves a tale that really made me feel and I'd recommend it to any women's fiction reader.

4/5 stars

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Between Now and Forever (Callaways #4) by Barbara Freethy

Book Blurb:

Nicole met Ryan when he was a handsome, cocky teenager with a desire to fly high above the clouds. Ryan encouraged Nicole to dream big and promised her a lifetime of happiness, but several years into their lives together, they were faced with obstacles bigger than either had ever imagined. Their love faltered. They lost their way and considered what had once been unthinkable—the end of their forever.

But now fate throws them a curve, an event that forces them back together, that strips their emotions bare and is both terrifying and strangely unifying. For the first time in a long while they have to face each other, and not only talk but also listen, because their lives depend on it—not only their lives, but also the life of their six-year-old son.

Secrets and lies frame a perilous journey to the truth that takes Nicole and Ryan to Angel's Bay, a place where miracles sometimes happen. But in order to get that miracle, Nicole and Ryan must work together and learn how to trust and love each other again. Only then will they be able to save their family and find their way to happily ever after.

My Review:

Between Now and Forever by Barbara Freethy was an intense and emotional read.

I was happy to find out more about Nicole and Ryan, who we have seen glimpses of in previous books in this series. I liked that they are a mature couple, dealing with some very realistic issues, confusion, and feelings. A horrible event pulls them back together, and as they fight for their son, they begin to realize what they had might not be lost after all. But is it too late? Will they get a second chance at not only love with each other but as a family?

I saw a lot of character development in Between Now and Forever. Both Nicole and Ryan developed more insight into one another, and it is obvious from the start that they still love one another very much. I was very interested to see how they would work through their issues, or even if they could. As they are dealing with this, they are also going through every parents worst nightmare. It is a lot to cope with, and Nicole and Ryan seemed to come together very well. I liked how this was done, how they handled situations and there was a real lack of blame for either of them. There was more of a feeling of sorrow mixed with uncertainty, but at the same time hope.

I loved the setting of this book, because I've read Barbara's Angel's Bay books (completely different stories, but same setting!). I loved the bit of history that made the place unique.

It was great to see more of the Calloway's in Between Now and Forever...there are little hints of what's to come, but Barbara left me satisfied with this story and ready for more! There are some strong secondary characters who blend in well and are very relevant as the plot unfolds.

Very well written and easy to fall into, with believable and likable characters, I'd recommend Between Now and Forever to any romance reader.

4/5 stars

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review! The Color of Water in July by Nora Carroll

Book Blurb:

It’s been a long seventeen years since Jess last saw her grandmother or visited the family cottage set on an idyllic lake in Northern Michigan. For all that time, she’s been haunted by loss—of her innocence and her ability to trust and, most of all, of a profound summer romance that might have been something more. So when her grandmother leaves the house to her, Jess summons her courage and returns to a place full of memories—and secrets.
There, she stumbles upon old letters and photographs of a time not so much forgotten as buried. As she begins to unravel the hidden histories of her mother and her grandmother, she makes a startling discovery about a tragic death that prompted her family’s slow undoing. With every uneven and painful step into the past, Jess comes closer to a truth that could alter her own path—and open a door to a different future.
My Review:
I liked the way Nora Carroll wrote The Color of Water in July.  Alternating POV's between teenage Jess, present day Jess and her Grandmother really presented an intriguing story, and I felt like I got to know both of these characters well.
There is not a great deal of dialogue between characters in the book, but this works very well in The Color of Water in July.  With Nora's descriptive writing I could feel Jess's melancholy, her sadness, her everything.  How Jess was dealing with her present is bringing back so much from the past, and I really felt part of what Jess was going through.  I could relate to her just wanting to shove everything in a box and move on.  The secrets Jess uncovers from the past surprised me, and I liked how Nora wove this into the story in a very realistic way, especially for that era.
I was a little worried about Jess, the relationship she is in, and where she was headed.  I liked what Jess (and I) found out, I liked watching her slowly come alive again, and I liked the hope for the future I felt blossoming.
The secondary characters, including Jess's boyfriend are more in the periphery of the plot, each with their own role in Jess's story.  This also worked well, they weren't distracting, but interesting.
I love the setting and Nora's descriptions of the lake, the lake house and the history of this place in The Color of Water in July.  I could very easily picture sitting out on the porch on a hot summer night, or heading to the beach and the blue water.
The Color of Water in July was a really enjoyable read for me, I liked that Nora was able to evoke a lot of feelings for the characters, and I felt good and hopeful at the end of it.  I'd recommend The Color of Water in July to any women's fiction reader.
4/5 stars
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