Thursday, September 29, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Christmas in Eternity Springs by Emily March

Welcome Back to Eternity Springs in Emily March's Christmas in Eternity Springs!

Book Blurb:

Can Miss Christmas find her spirit again?

After a devastating betrayal, Claire Branham packs up the pieces of her life, along with a twenty-million-dollar secret, and moves to Eternity Springs. She opens a specialty shop—Forever Christmas—and, with the help of a surprise romance with the town’s sexy new handyman, Claire’s heart begins to heal. Until her past comes knocking…

Jax Lancaster never questioned the need to abandon his career as a Navy submariner in order to care for his young son in the wake of his ex-wife’s death. Desperate to help with this loss, Jax straps on a tool belt to give Nicholas the one thing he wants: A life in Eternity Springs. What Jax never expected to find a second chance at love with a fascinating woman for whom Christmas has become a business. But when the truth about Claire threatens their newfound happiness, can Jax prove to her that in Eternity Springs, the spirit of Christmas is real. . .and will last a lifetime?


Dallas, Texas
The fragrance of Christmas swept into the house along with the tree that the garden center’s deliverymen carried inside. As they placed the twelve- foot- tall blue spruce into the stand she’d positioned in front of the living room picture window, Claire Branham allowed herself to reflect on the once- upon- a- time memories triggered by the scent.
Days of Christmas Past. Such happy times— laughter and excitement and family traditions. A home filled with love. All lost, wiped away by the reality of illness and death and broken hearts.
As she watched the workers secure the tree to the stand, she reflected upon what a momentous occasion this was for her. She hadn’t put up a Christmas tree in a very long time. For Claire, Black Friday didn’t represent the beginning of the holiday shopping season. It signified the day the doctor’s office called and changed the lives of everyone she loved.
Fifteen Christmases had passed since that first life-altering year. Some years, she’d gone through the motions of participation, even though her heart wasn’t in it. Other years, she did her best to ignore it entirely. Mostly, she’d muddled through, grumpy and unhappy and counting the days until the season was over for another year.
“That should do it,” said the deliveryman, stepping back from the tree. He handed Claire a little green bottle of preservative. “Mix this with water according to the directions. Add water as needed. Doesn’t hurt to check it every day, but it needs to be watered at least every other day.”
“Thank you.”
“You picked a pretty one, Ms. Branham. You have a perfect spot for a tree in this home. Now . . .” He flipped a page on his clipboard. “Are we decorating the tree, too, or just doing the outdoor lighting and decorations?”
“You’re hanging the outdoor lights and helping with the high things inside the house. I’m saving the tree to decorate until my fiancĂ© gets home from a business trip tomorrow.”
Claire showed him the outdoor decorations in her garage, then went back inside to begin draping garland on the staircase. Anticipation made her feel like a child on Christmas morning. It had been years since she’d decorated a tree, and she couldn’t wait to do it again. This year, Claire wasn’t spending her holiday season with her Grinch on. She was going all Elf. Because for the first time in forever, the thought of the holiday season made Claire happy.
It started on Black Friday. Rather than launching her usual month- long depression, Black Friday this year got Claire off to a joyful holiday start. After she and Landon ran the Turkey Trot 10K on Thanksgiving morning, she’d sent him off to the airport with a kiss and a turkey sandwich so he could make his early afternoon flight to the West Coast where he had meetings scheduled with movie executives. Friday morning, rather than lie in bed with her covers over her head as in years past, Claire had bounded out of bed early, joined the shopping hoards, and had a ball doing it.
It set the tone for her days as she anticipated Landon’s return. Claire was happy and excited and joyful. With Landon’s help, she had climbed her way out of the valley of loss and loneliness and found her happiness. Now, she was finding her Christmas spirit again.

Copyright © 2016 by Emily March and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

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My Review:

In Christmas in Eternity Springs by Emily March, for years the Christmas season has been painful for Claire.  Just as things were starting to turn around for her and the season was looking better, life threw her another curve ball and threatened to take away her Christmas spirit again.   Determined to move on and start over, Claire moves to Eternity Springs to open up a Christmas shop of all things and quickly becomes a part of the community.  She is not looking for love or a relationship, but the new man in town and his son are pulling on her heart strings.  

Jax has always been career Navy.  But life can change fast, and he's now out of the Navy, raising his son after the death of his ex-wife.  Traumatized by her death, Jax's son Nicholas has only ever felt happy again during time spent in Eternity Springs.  Expecting it to be temporary, Jax and Nicholas move to Eternity Springs.  Meeting the owner of Forever Christmas might change everything though.  Soon Jax and Claire are finding so much more than either of them expected as they get to know each other and become closer.  Jax, Nicholas and Claire are finding a happiness that they never thought they would again...but can it last or will the ghosts of the past threaten the hope of the future?

I really enjoyed this visit to Eternity Springs.  Emily March brings her characters to life with their real problems, thoughts, issues and struggles.  Jax and Claire both have pain in their pasts and are both struggling to move on.  Claire has a lot of inner strength, and she is a very determined heroine!  I really liked her, who she was, and that even with her insecurities she was moving forward.  Jax brings his own struggles to Christmas in Eternity Springs, and it has not been an easy path to get there for him.  I liked seeing where he was before Eternity Springs.  Emily shaped his character very well, and his experiences and character growth he showed almost from the beginning really make him a true hero!!  I liked how Jax and Claire were brought together, along with Nicholas and the way their relationship moved forward.  Watching as the trust grew and hearts opened up was very fulfilling!  There is no angst, but there is tension and some realistic drama as Jax and Claire move forward only to have the past pause everything.

With vivid descriptions and strong secondary characters Emily March made Eternity Springs a believable place for me, a place I would love to go to!  Nicholas, Jax's son, is a strong secondary character and I loved watching him grow and start to thrive.  I particularly love Celeste who is also a strong secondary character seen in all of the Eternity Springs books.  I really hope that one day we will find out her story!

With some unexpected surprises and strong characters, Christmas in Eternity Springs captivated me and made me feel that hint of magic, happiness, hope and healing.  Part of Emily March's Eternity Springs series, Christmas in Eternity Springs can be read as a stand alone, but I highly recommend the other books in this series also!  Any romance reader will enjoy reading Christmas in Eternity Springs.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Review: Family Illusions (A Hidden Dangers Novel, #1) by Bess George

Book Blurb:

Charlie Gomez’s life has never been easy. To shield her from her family’s dark past, her mother raised her as an illegal immigrant. She’s spent her life scraping by, never believing anything better was possible. Her mother’s death brings an unexpected windfall - she finally has the opportunity to search for the truth. Now she has a job, a place, and a purpose. The only negative in her new life is her antagonistic sexy new boss.

Jaxon Roberts is no stranger to hardship, but luck and the kindness of his adoptive father turned his life around and gave him something worth fighting for. Beautiful, headstrong Charlie Gomez could be his star employee, or the ruin of a business he’s dedicated to protecting. Reluctantly forced into working alongside her, the last thing he wants is to fall in love.

Once the lid to the past has been pried open danger comes tumbling out. When Charlie disappears, Jaxon is faced with a choice...walk away and preserve the world he knows, or fight for a future with the one woman who can truly teach him what family is all about?

My Review:

Family Illusions by Bess George was an intriguing read that took me right into the pages of an unexpected plot.  Charlie has no idea what she's set in motion with what she does with some papers she finds that her mother has hidden.  Then the death of her mother sends Charlie to places she never dreamed she'd end up, living a life she didn't think she'd ever have, finding people she never knew existed and a part of her that was always missing.  When Jaxon appears in Charlie's orbit, there is a lot of tension between them, but circumstances keep them together. Unanticipated feelings simmer beneath the surface, and just as they bubble up and the future looks hopeful, the secrets and danger surrounding Charlie come bursting out...There is still a battle to fight and difficult decisions to make, for both of them.

The plot of Family Illusions and the evil lurking beneath the pages pulled me in and at the same time horrified me.  Horrified because it could happen, and Bess George writes this plot in a realistic way.  I could feel the evil in some characters and the hopelessness in others.  I liked how she drew the mystery, tension, and what could happen next out, as we watched Charlie live her life at the same time.  

Charlie grew on me as her character developed in Family Illusions.  She came across as a bit naive at times and didn't always think about possible consequences to actions.  I did like how determined she was and could feel what she felt at times.  She is certainly not perfect, and she is a heroine that brings out all kinds of emotions!  I liked watching the evolution of her and Jaxon's relationship and learning more about him.

Family Illusions is not a cliffhanger, but the plot is not quite done and I'm interested to see where Bess takes us next!

Romantic suspense readers will enjoy Family Illusions.

4/5 stars

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review: Tango & Lace by Misty Dietz

Book Blurb:

World renowned geoarcheologist Jackson Whiteside has come home to Colorado to care for his grandmother and teach at CSU…not to rekindle the passionate, but doomed love affair with gramma’s high-spirited neighbor whose memory has haunted him half-way across the globe. But the moment he sees his feisty, melodramatic ex, his cortisol levels spike. And he damn well knows he’s about to unearth more layers of their relationship…whether his neurotransmitters like it or not.

If there’s one thing dancer and dispatch operator Mya Castillo can do well, it’s Tango. But dancing with her feet is one thing...dancing with her heart is another. Especially when she has no choice but to accept her ex— the world’s most unintentionally sexy professor—as her stand-in partner for the biggest performance of her life.

Jack’s two-year scientific immersion has kept a tight lid on his dangerous right-brained proclivities, but his irritatingly illogical gut is telling him the attack on Mya’s dance partner jeopardizes more than just her dance studio. It bodes evil toward the woman he still loves beyond reason, so this is one dance he won’t sit out.

My Review:

Tango and Lace by Misty Dietz was a riveting, fast paced novella that I really got into and enjoyed!  Jackson has 'finally' come home to help care for his grandmother Rosie and help fix up her house.  But home also means seeing his former lover Mya...a hot blooded woman with whom things ended poorly.  Mya is part of his grandmother's life, so there is no way they can avoid each other.  When they meet again, all kinds of sparks fly, but Mya is determined not to fall for him again.  Circumstances push them together with a little help from Rosie, but can either of them risk their heart for the other again for someone they're never truly gotten over?  Suddenly there is more than their hearts at risk though, and as danger stalks Mya, they find the walls they've build to protect themselves for each other crumbling.  Will they be able to take the chance?  Or is it too late for second chances?

I loved this novella!  In particular I loved Mya!!!  She is feisty, passionate, and holds nothing back!  She literally holds nothing back!  I loved the Spanish phrases that fly out of her mouth, her hot temper. her passion for family, her caring for others, even her life plan is one of passion for her...and eventually her passion for Jackson.  She is a powerful, strong main character who will stick with me.  She is a heroine I can clearly see in my mind.  Make no mistake, Jackson is just as lovable and a very strong hero.  He's also passionate, but for him it doesn't flow out of him as easily!  The care these two so obviously have and fight against for each other is palpable throughout Tango and Lace.  The suspense of danger directed towards Mya adds a lot of edge to Tango and Lace, and Misty had me totally fooled about who it was and what would happen!

The secondary characters are just as powerful and relevant to the plot.  As usual, Rosie shows up, and she is a constant in this series.  I love her.  She is definitely not your typical grandmother and if mine was still alive I'd love it if she was like Rosie!  All of the secondary characters stand strong and show up from other books in this series, but for me it is Rosie who shines.

Despite some conflict and tension, and an unexpected danger thrown into their lives, they all handle it so well and felt like a family I'd love to be a part of ((both families!).

Tango & Lace is part of the Hard Men of the Rockies novella series, but this one is a definite stand alone. I would highly recommend it to any romance reader who liked strong family connections and second chances!

5/5 stars

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Review: Blackmail and Lace (A Hard Men of the Rockies Novella, #5) by Tracy A. Ward

Book Blurb:

Grayson Montgomery is on a mission and bad boy Adam Holder is on the top of her bucket list. When the successful defense attorney mistakes her for an old flame, Grayson doesn’t hesitate to use a misleading video to bring him to his knees and blackmails him into a trip he would never make. Duty-bound to a deathbed oath, Grayson doesn’t count on the intense attraction between them or how much she’s falling for the sexy bachelor.

Adam Holder loves women, but he loves success even more. He would never jeopardize his career, until a case of mistaken identity makes him look guilty of a crime he’d never commit. Not willing to take a chance with his future, Adam submits to the blackmail of a beautiful woman while plotting his revenge…but when their sparks of passion ignite, Adam forgets his thoughts of retaliation and risks it all to win Grayson’s heart.

My Review:

Blackmail and Lace by Tracy A. Ward was an entertaining, touching, and sexy read that took me on an emotion filled journey.  From heart ache to hope and new beginnings, I went along with Grayson as she embarks on promises to her sister that eventually become promises to herself.  Adam Holder is on her list and suddenly right on her path...doing what she can to use him to fulfill a promise, it soon becomes apparent to them that there is much more to life than just doing what is expected of you.  As the attraction between them quickly flares to life, can the past make way for the future?

I loved this fast paced read.  The attraction is quick, the action is hot, and the emotions are intense.  Everything is written so well and in such a way that it makes all that immediateness believable.  Adam and Grayson felt right together, but their pasts collide in unexpected ways and it was uncertain if that could be overcome.  There is some conflict and tension in their struggle, but the feelings remain strong which gave me hope.

The majority of the plot is over a short period of time, but I never felt that it was rushed and I felt like the story that needed to be told was told.  I saw a lot of growth in Grayson in Blackmail and Lace.  I felt that she deserved to live her life how she wanted to live it and hoped she would take that leap.

I enjoyed Blackmail and Lace and felt really good with how Tracy concluded it.  I'd recommend Blackmail and Lace to any romance reader.

4/5 stars

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Review: Red Lace (The Hard Men of the Rockies) by Kym Roberts

Book Blurb:

He knocked on death’s door, but she refused to let him walk in…

Ty Beckinsale was a dead man…until an angel in red lace saved him and disappeared into the night. Tortured with memories but unable to pursue leads to determine her identity until after he recovers, Ty seeks the assistance of the experts at Achilles HeAl, a private physical rehab facility for the rich and famous. Or in his case, the infamous—an ex-Secret Service Agent hell-bent on avoiding the media. His road to recovery, however, leads him straight to the woman he can’t forget—a woman he vows to protect from a past he can’t leave behind.
Fear consumes her, drives her to build walls no one can penetrate…

Secrets and lies have driven Faith Artino to turn her business into a compound. She’s secure, safe and satisfied with life. Until Ty Beckinsale walks in and knocks down all her barriers with a chemistry she can’t deny. But her fear of betrayal stops her from seizing the moment and from taking what she wants more than anything else—a passion so strong, it can’t be destroyed.

A life-time sentence of loneliness awaits, unless Faith opens her door to the one man who’s stolen her heart.

My Review:

Kym Roberts throws us right into the action from the start of Red Lace when Ty is injured, fighting not only for his life, but for the people he was supposed to protect.  In the cold darkness of a snowy night, and unexpected angel in red lace saves him...then disappears.  Is it coincidence or fate when they find themselves meeting up under much different circumstances?  Heat simmers below the surface as their mutual attraction grows.  There are unknowns, doubts, and trust issues in their path though, and they might just be too much to overcome, even if they both know what and who they really want.

This was the first book I read in The Hard Men of the Rockies series, and as much as Ty was, I was in a bit of a daze at the beginning about what was going on.  However with a good pace and great writing, Kym had me drawn into Red Lace quickly and I enjoyed the journey I went on with Ty and Faith!  They both have some issues that have brought them to where they are today, and I liked feeling like I was getting into their heads through dual POV's.  The heat between them simmers.  They are very attracted to one another, but the relationship is slow to build which worked well with the plot.  This really highlighted the growth these characters did in the span of this novella.

Rosie, Ty's grandmother is a strong secondary character and I absolutely adore her and she works her way into everything!

The length of Red Lace was just right for the story being told.  I liked that it started fast and just kept going!  Hopeful, sweet and sexy, any romance reader will enjoy Red Lace.

4/5 stars

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Review: Her Darkest Nightmare (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1) by Brenda Novak

Book Blurb:

Evelyn Talbot knows that a psychopath can look perfectly normal. She was only sixteen when her own boyfriend Jasper imprisoned and tortured her—and left her for dead. Now an eminent psychiatrist who specializes in the criminal mind, Evelyn is the force behind Hanover House, a maximum-security facility located in a small Alaskan town. Her job puts her at odds with Sergeant Amarok, who is convinced that Hanover is a threat to his community…even as his attraction to beautiful Evelyn threatens to tear his world apart. 
Then, just as the bitter Alaskan winter cuts both town and prison off from the outside world, the mutilated body of a local woman turns up. For Amarok, this is the final proof he needs: Hanover has to go. Evelyn, though, has reason to fear that the crime is a personal message to her—the first sign that the killer who haunts her dreams has found her again. . .and that the life she has so carefully rebuilt will never be the same…

My Review:

In Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak, the remote Alaska setting is perfect for this intense and frightening read!  Evelyn Talbot has a very interesting career.  With a past that drives her, she studies psychopaths.  The most dangerous offenders in a maximum security prison called Hanover House in Alaska.  Her career is her life, and a brief relationship with Sergeant Amarok earlier was over before it really started.  Their career's collided, their beliefs separate them.  But as winter storms approach, so does danger...and murder.  Amarok is convinced the recent murders are tied to Hanover House, but Evelyn thinks they are a lot more personal and directed at her.  Soon the two of them are spending a lot of time together, and through conflict, tension, fear, insecurity and hope, they become closer...but can a killer be stopped before Evelyn's world falls apart again?

Her Darkest Nightmare is a riveting, scary, suspenseful read with a touch of romance and relationship angst.  I liked the mix of the two in Her Darkest Nightmare, how the relationship and the suspense tie together, how they are both so uncertain.  In many ways Evelyn has overcome her past, but in other ways it still holds her back from her future, especially any personal relationships.  Despite her attraction to Amarok, she resists.  Amarok is so obviously interested in Evelyn, even if he wishes she'd never come to his town.  That way he'd never know what he couldn't have.  The push and pull between Evelyn and Amarok is believable in their situation, although some parts of Evelyn's resistance are a bit too angsty in my opinion for a character of her maturity and experience.  

There are a lot of twists and turns in this well researched plot, and Brenda Novak kept me guessing.  The pace was great and I was easily absorbed in this world.  I'd recommend Her Darkest Nightmare to readers who like thrilling romantic suspense.

4/5 stars

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Review: Deadly Affair (Southern California Violent Crimes Taskforce #4.5) by Misty Evans and Amy Manemann

Book Blurb:

Deadly Affair, an SCVC Taskforce novella

Cooper Harris, head of the SCVC Taskforce and nicknamed The Beast, isn’t afraid of anything…except that the woman who rocks his world may be about to dump him. Celina is acting distant and secretive while an engagement ring burns a hole in Cooper’s pocket. Whisking her away for a romantic weekend at a Northern California vineyard, he hopes to reignite the spark between them and get up the nerve to finally ask her to marry him.

Feisty crime scene photographer Celina Davenport hates keeping secrets. The baby growing inside her is cause for celebration, but Cooper has a son from a previous marriage and claims he doesn’t want more children because of his dangerous job. Celina understands what makes The Beast tick, and she also knows he’ll be a great dad to their child. She only needs the perfect moment to break the news.

Before either can come clean, Cooper and Celina stumble upon human bones and realize the beautiful vineyard hides a dark and haunting past filled with love, betrayal and murder. Can they unravel the mystery buried in the Northern California hills and bring a killer to justice? Or will the secrets they’re keeping from each other put them in deeper danger than they could ever imagine?

My Review:

In Deadly Affair by Misty Evans and Amy Manemann, DEA Special Agent Cooper's life's work is to bring down cartel members.  Celine met Cooper when she worked on a task force with him.  Now an FBI forensic photographer, Celine and Cooper are very involved with each other.  Ready to move to the next step, Cooper takes Celina away for a romantic weekend at a B & B on a vineyard.  They are both in for surprises this weekend, but the weekend takes a dramatic turn from romance to work related with the discovery of human remains.  Cooper and Celina might not be local, but they are still determined to find answers for a long dead person.  As they try to do this, will they find the answers they are looking for personally also?

I enjoyed this fast paced romantic suspense by Misty Evans and Any Manemann.  It fascinates me how authors can co-write a book so seamlessly that you never know where one finishes and the other starts.  I liked how they worked the mystery of the bones and long ago murder, but managed to easily bring the plot back to Celina and Cooper and their relationship.  Because as we see, real life doesn't wait.

I liked Cooper and Celina, and I could feel the connection between them as much as I could feel that hint of insecurity people in relationships sometimes have.  I liked that we saw the personal and professional sides of them in Deadly Affair, and the plot blended this well and relevantly.  They felt like real people who cared not only about each other but about doing their jobs.  I was very interested to see if they'd get to what they'd each planned for the weekend, their reactions, and how it would work out.  The mystery/suspense part of the plot is actually quite sad, bringing forward a hidden history and a story few would have known if Celina and Cooper hadn't spotted the bones.  I had a vague inkling about the mystery, but it played out in a way I didn't really expect at all, and Misty and Amy really made me feel for this person and those who knew this person.

The secondary characters and setting are perfect.  They are an important part of the plot, so I won't delve deeply into them, but I liked the characters used in Deadly Affair!

Misty Evans and Amy Manemann held my interest in this fast paced, intriguing, and emotional novella.  I would recommend Deadly Affair to any romantic suspense reader.  Part of the Southern California Violent Crimes Taskforce series, it can be read alone, but the whole series is worth reading!

4/5 stars

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