Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I ran today! And signed up for a 10k

Time to get back into it. My friends have run the local Pub Run the last few years and it sounded like so much fun, I signed up as well. So when another friend, Becky, decided that she needed to get out of the house, I agreed to do a quick trot through town. It was a brisk night and our dogs weren't loving running with each other but it was good to get out of the house. I've been doing to much ass-sitting lately.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

Image linked from Goodreads
I don't know why I haven't gotten more into Milan's books. Actually, in looking back at book blurbs, there is never one that has made me interested enough to search her out. But the Smart Bitches Trash Books reviewers love her and when the "Duchess War" came up as free a few months ago, I read and enjoyed it. And then this book was available on NetGalley and I quite enjoyed it as well.
Violet Waterfield is the Countess of Cambry. Her mother raised both Violet and her sister under a strict set of rules. In fact, her rules were made into a book that was followed by society. Violet has always been appreciative of those rules (!) since they helped her navigate a world that she didn't really fit into. Because Violet is smart, super-smart and she daren't show it off. Instead, she feeds her ideas to the public through her childhood friend, Sebastian Malheur.
Sebastian is tired of the deception though. He has been a rake in the past, but he needs to clean up his image. So he tells Violet that he can't do it anymore. And that's when everything starts to fall apart. But  can their lives be sorted out into something even better?
<whisper>This is a romance novel, you can probably guess</whisper>
The characters are wonderfully drawn and the story moves along quickly.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Her Sexiest Mistake by Jill Shalvis

Image linked from Goodreads
When I saw this book on NetGalley, I was instantly excited. New Jill Shalvis! Except that it's not. It's a re-release from 2005. And it's not as good as her more recent works.
Mia Appleby is trying to be the perfect woman. She's trying to overcome her past where her mother and sister concentrated so hard on finding a man that they couldn't get ahead in life. But when the book opens, Mia is running away after waking up in the bed of teacher Kevin McKnight.
Through the course of the book, we see Mia juggle stress from work, stress from Kevin's pursuit, and stress from the goth-y niece who shows up on her doorstep one day. But we don't really see her grow. And there's not really a sens of Kevin being anything but perfect. Unlike her later books, I really didn't care about these characters and couldn't wait for the book to be over. To be honest, if it weren't for being an ARC, this book would have been a DNF for me.
Will I stop reading Shalvis books? Dear God no. But will I recommend this one? Probably not.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann

Image linked from Goodreads
When the book opens, Ian  Dunn is in charge of a highly specialized, off the book team hosts are in currently trying to retrieve Nazi art from some typical bad dudes. Ian is in a hotel room and needs to get out and we get to see you little bit about how his team functions.
When chapter 1 begins Ian is now in jail. Two lawyers are trying to get them out one is Phoebe Kruger and the other is Martell Griffin. For a while I couldn't figure out how these were connected to Brickmann's earlier series though Martell tugged at my memory. Finally, he mentions his friend Ric and the light bulb went off, "Forces of Nature," the book that introduces characters who eventually open the Florida branch of Troubleshooters, Inc.
Neither Ian nor the reader knows why they are there. Even Phoebe isn't really sure. She's just filling in for Ian's regular lawyer at a law firm she joined last week (or some other really short period of time.) but Martell wants to offer Ian a deal, a commuted sentence in exchange for help saving two children.
Of course, there's more to the story and more to the reason Ian is in jail but it's a fun ride.
I actually read this book a few weeks ago but totally forgot to review it. I still have good feels about it though. The more I think about it the more layers I remember, this being a typical Brockman where the more you read the more you discover about each of the characters. It's amazing that even within a larger ensemble cast on Brockman is able to bring each character alive and give them each a rich and complex back story.

I wish that Shelly had been a woman. We already know that Brockmann excels at writing a rich and realistic m/m romance so it wasn't really a shock (at least for long-team Brockmann readers) that he was actually "Sheldon". We've seen that in many of her other books. I can tell you it's because I finished "Lean In" really close to when I read this book and I was super-excited that we might see a dynamic with a strong, working mother and stay-at-home dad (Brockmann also excels at strong women who are work/home equals with their guys but I can't think of a story where the woman is the bread-winner and the dad stays home). I haven't seen this much in secondary characters and Brocmann is the author I most associate with taking on romances that other authors tend to ignore.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Love on Main Street - Anthology

Image linked from Goodreads
All of the short stories are set in Snow Creek which I assume is set somewhere in Colorado since there’s a ski town nearby (it's California, found it in a later story). I think it’s meant to be during one Christmas since the first story mentions an enchanted Yule Log that is supposed to bring magic “this year.”

I read an ARC from NetGalley that seemed as if it were not quite prepped yet, the Table of Contents was not consistent was the thing that threw me off first.

Queen of Hearts by Juliet Blackwell
Serafina has moved to a small town to get away from a job and a cheating ex (typical romance heroine.) She describes herself as overeating lately but we really don’t know much more about her than that. Her hopes of taking over her aunt’s magic business are dashed when the charming cowboy who offers to help take in her bags is actually her landlord, the one who wants her out of the building.

Of course, this is a short story but everything happens at warp speed which is a little disconcerting. Even with the touch of magic, it’s just Too Fast for Me. An okay read, but no more than two stars/C.

The Holiday Show by L. G. C. Smith
Whoa! Liked that the kids weren’t plot moppets (not entirely) but I assumed that they were at least twelve based on conversations they had and the way their parents referred to them. (They're six and, unfortunately, became more plot-moppet-y as the story went on.)
Two girls want to get their parents together for Christmas. Christie, the mom, hates Christmas and is gluten-intolerant. Dad, Dan, is a baker who loves Christmas. The little girls decide to fight and that leads to the college kids who were in charge of the Christmas show leaving and Dan and Christie having to take over the Christmas show.
Major cheesiness when Dan decides to up the ante and invites Christy’s somewhat-estranged famous Hollywood father to do an added scene during the school play. Would have been DNF if it hadn’t been a short story. Two (begrudging) stars/D+.

Let it Snow by Cecilia Gray
Jessica Mendez has tried to save her parents’ bookstore. To the point of closing herself into it after their deaths so that developers couldn't come in and tear it down. But she rushes outside to save the puppy of the Snow Creek Paramedic who she's been dreaming about for the past year.
Snow Creek seems to be a town of around 200-400 people but can afford a paramedic? And an ambulance? And what seems to be a whole ambulance crew since Daniel is supposed to turn it over to the next shift? At least these two sort of knew each other and it wasn't insta-love. Points to the author for actually having Jessica follow her dreams even if Daniel was stupid enough to (initially) let her go.
Up to three stars/B- for this story.

Second Chances by Adrienne Bell
Paul McAlester is a legend in Snow Creek. A famous hockey player, he’s just returned to town for the first time in ten years. Ten years ago when Eileen Hodge kissed him and then ran. But this year, Paul is recuperating from an injury and Eileen hopes that she might have a chance to make up for an old mistake.
Cute story, actually would give it three stars/B for this one.

A Christmas Yarn by Rachael Herron
Clara has lost a lot of weight. A LOT of weight through diet and exercise. She's just getting used to going on dates and getting hit on when she meets Lincoln. He's dressed like a bad biker dude but is bringing his great aunt to Clara's store to buy her as much yarn as the aunt wants.
I was really intrigued by these characters and wished that this story had been drawn out more. They were much more interesting than stories that were two and three times as long.
Three and a half stars/B+

Miss Bonny's Buried Treasure by Ruby Laska
Caroline Bonny is under a family curse (in this day and age? Maybe if the story had been longer and pulled it out more), doomed to be a spinster. She has a cosmetology store (again, suspension of disbelief, even in a ski town) that is all cruelty free, etc.
Lance Carter is in town for a (gay!) wedding and ends up on Caroline's sofa. He meets her when he accidentally breaks a bottle of very expensive... I don't remember what it is now but he's in his skivvies and she was assuming that he was another in the train of women her brother brings to their shared home.
There is some attempt at humor in the story and I appreciated that though it falls a little flat and seems unnecessary.
Three stars/B-

One Silent Night by Lisa Hughey
Another story that could have benefited by being longer. Ally Carpenter is separated from her husband Nick but wants to pretend to still be married so her dying mother doesn't start stressing out too much.
The ending is predictable but a little too saccharine for me but I do love a marriage-on-the-brink storyline, especially for a short story.
B/Three stars

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cider Brook by Carla Neggers

Samantha (Sam) Bennett comes from a long line of explorers. In fact, her grandfather was well-
Image linked from Goodreads
known for his travels. Sam was cleaning out his Boston apartment when she discovers a picture of the Cider Brook mill among his records, along with a handwritten manuscript,The Adventures of Captain Farraday and Lady Elizabeth.
She decides to return to Knights Bridge. The last time she was there, it ended up getting her fired from her job. And Justin Sloan was one of the reasons she got fired.
This visit? He saves her from a fiery death. Sam had taken shelter in the mill during a huge thunderstorm and barely avoids being hit by lightning.
The two do a cautious, fun-to-read dance around each other. Justin's family and friends get involved, including Olivia and Duncan from the first book in this series.
A fun read. One where the majority of the story is Sam and Justin falling in love, not just falling into bed. A nice change from most of the insta-lust books that seem to be around lately.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Christmas to Remember--Anthology

Image linked from Goodreads
Dream a Little Dream by Jill Shalvis
Ian O'Mallery had been hoping for a long-term relationship with Melissa Mann but she broke it off the day after he suggested they move in together. Now, the rugged firefighter is in a panic because the call that has just come in is for her apartment building, the one where she's trapped inside.
It's been six months but Melissa still thinks of Ian just as much as he thinks of her. But can she move beyond her past to hook up with a man who so clearly returns her love? And how can she show him that she really means it this time. Maybe by becoming his own, special, Christmas elf.
Every Year by Kristin Ashley
Part of the Chaos series, this story shows Tabby and Shy in their first Christmas as a real couple, spending time with her family, and getting to watch Shy and his brother start to reconnect with the Christmas spirit.
I haven't read any Kristin Ashley books but it was easy enough to connect with the characters in this light story.
"Silent Night" by Hope Ramsay
Maryanne is down on her luck. Like, no money, no gas, just had a baby down on her luck. About to find her long-lost cousin to ask if she can take Maryanne and said baby in down on her luck. But she thinks she's found the farm and decides to walk, with the practically newborn and hang out until her cousin comes home.
But her cousin doesn't live at that house. Nobody does. In fact, the owner, Daniel Jessup, is in town to try and get it on the market. He doesn't like Christmas and isn't excited to learn that there's a strange woman with a newborn in his stall.
Vaguely inspirational, which is okay, but strange coming just after a short story about a biker club. Least favorite of the four.
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Molly Cannon
Lincoln Jones' mother has sent him a Christmas gift in the form of professional organizer, Dinah Mason. He falls for her, but then makes a stupid mistake. Can he win her back in time to celebrate the holiday together?
An okay story, but one I didn't really remember three days later.
"A Family for Christmas" by Marilyn Pappano
Jared Connors is from a family of wealthy doctors. No, not just doctors, surgeons and the like. They're not excited when he becomes a pediatrician and moves to a small town in Oklahoma. One where he meets the antithesis of his dream woman, Ilena Gomez, war widow. But somehow, he falls for her.
Not as polished as the first two stories. Not horrible, but not as good.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

Iona Sheehan has just arrived in Ireland. She knows that she's special, that her family has powers.
Image linked from Goodreads
She is to be the third, the witch that will help to put away and ancient Big Bad for good.
The Big Bad is delighted that she is there. He sees her as the weak chain in the chain that could take him down. Of course, Iona is tested.
At the same time, she falls into lust with her new boss, the owner of a local stables, Boyle McGrath and has to juggle her burgeoning powers with the feelings that she has starting for this rough man.
Perhaps it's not fair to judge Nora Robers against herself, but this is just not one of her most stellar books. It doesn't have as much depth as some of her other books and just seems to skim along. The bad dude isn't as well developed and neither are her characters. Of course, she is introducing six people and all of their backgrounds and that can be hard to do but I feel like we learned about them all on a superficial level and didn't really get to know our hero and heroine or their relationship.
So far, not as good as the Sisters Island trilogy but I am always willing to keep an open mind.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Love Game by Elise Sax

Image linked from Goodreads
I thoroughly enjoyed the first and second books in this series (four and five milers respectively), so when I got confirmation from NetGalley that I could review this book, I did a little shimmy in my seat. Literally. What? Books make me happy.
Unfortunately, the shimmy was a bit premature.
This book, like the other two, is a cross between chick-lit and a cozy. Gladie Burger is still living with her grandmother, learning how to be a matchmaker. She's still stumbling across dead bodies and mysteries with a few tweaks. One such being that there's a new matchmaker on the scenes, one who is stealing her grandmother's clients and also blocking her energy. Another is the new man on the police force, Remington Cumberbatch. A hottie UFC fighter who is incredibly attracted to Gladie. In the other two books, I enjoyed the frenetic pacing that kept the books moving. "Love Game," however, has the dial turned up to 11. Make that 15. The action really starts with Gladie's friend Lucy crashing into Ruth's tea shop (if you've read the other two books, you already know these characters) while taking Gladie to Uncle Harry's. But they can't stop so they just head on their way where Gladie learns that Harry has been "matched" by the spurious matchmaker (and Lucy's hella jealous)and Lucy's car goes over a cliff with Gladie's keys inside. And that's just the beginning. I'm going to hide the rest as spoilers, but believe me, there is WAY to much packed into 186 pages of novel. If there had been some time and care taken in expanding on some of these, it would have been a much more enjoyable book. Instead, it felt like we just hippity-hopped from plot point to plot point with no threads woven in between. Will I read the next book? I honestly don't know. The first two were so darn wonderful but this one...
There's a new cupcake shop with some suspicious characters, Bridget's number accidentally being published as a sex line (which she takes as a chance to teach some of the callers why what they're doing is wrong), the point at which Gladie and something like 10 other people are locked into two panic rooms, a bear in a car (literally. Now, I live in a place where this happens at least once every other year, so I can appreciate the scenario. But it's given about four paragraphs until the fight), a UFC fight where Spencer (one of Gladie's erstwhile love interests and the chief of police) fights his newest colleague. Two other quibbles. You can't split something between three people fifty-fifty (p. 124) and what the killers did when they pretended to be trapped in the other room wasn't gaslighting (p. 173) like Bridget says. Gaslighting involves a long con where you make someone believe they're crazy. Yes, I understand that a particular character might misuse the term but Bridget hasn't been set up to be that character and Sax equates it to smoke and mirrors. Big deal? Maybe not. But as a mystery writer, Sax should know the concept since it's pretty ubiquitous in the genre or at least her editor should have caught it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How to Lose a Bride in One Night by Sophie Jordan

Image taken from Goodreads
Definitely my favorite in this series.

 We don't learn very much about Annalise except that she broke her leg and now limps and was in service until her ultra-wealthy father swooped in and picked her up out of obscurity. The story opens with her marrying marrying a duke, the dream of every girl, right? Except that, on their honeymoon cruise, he tries to kill her and then dumps her overboard. Annalise is found by Owen Crawford who is the Earl of Crawford, although he doesn't tend to bandy that about. He finds a gypsy encampment that is willing to take them in. Okay, there is some case for suspension of disbelief
Annalise's foot breaks in such a way that when the gypsy heals her, she no longer limps. Oh, and that extra weight? It drops off during her week-long coma and she is no longer very hungry so she just keeps it off. Um, why did we need all that? She had to be the Ugly Duckling and the Beggar Princess?
It's a fast book and it relies a little bit on the reader having read the previous books. While not absolutely necessary, it does help to know a little bit more about the characters.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Searching for Someday by Jennifer Probst

Image linked from Goodreads
It was really interesting that I kept sort of noticing things as I was reading that really annoyed me, but my overall feeling about this book was one of good will. I enjoyed it quite a bit and devoured it almost in one sitting (darn planes kept landing).
Kate Seymour is a matchmaker with some mystical powers, namely, she can sense a spark between two people who were meant to be together. Okay, yes, hokey
and even more hokey, she loses the power when she denies her own feelings.But it seemed to work.

Slade is a divorce lawyer who doesn't believe in love. He becomes a client of Kate's so that he can debunk the myth of them doing any good in the world (because he's overprotective-ly trying to save his sister from heartbreak.)
This is all very cliched and should have driven me nuts. The sex scenes were a bit more graphic than I like but you can always skim those. I was impressed that the characters were so good about protection, none of this magic hoo-ha or "I know you're a virgin so you must be pure" crap.
The worst part of this review is that I can not tell you why I enjoyed the book so much, especially since, as I noted, so many things irritated me (I didn't put them all in. Why point them <i>all</i>  out if they're  personal rather than storyline peeves? It must have been the writing. And I can't wait for the next books in the series.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis

Image linked from Goodreads
Okay, I know this is an ARC from NetGalley and we're not supposed to ding books since it's not the final copy, but there were three, three, spelling/grammar errors in the first thirty pages. Very distracting. Luckily, I got into the flow of the story and there either weren't any more or I missed them.
Kate is a stereotypical romance heroine. She's smart, so when she gets nervous she gets verbal diarrhea (in the form of scientific facts) or clumsy (as in literally trips over her own feet.)
Griffin has just come back from the war. Not by choice. An IED caused some major damage and he's no longer active. He's back in Sunshine, Idaho for his sister's wedding (Kate's BFF.) Nobody thingks that he'll be good for Kate, including Grif, but somehow, the attraction is just to strong to deny.

One favorite quote from page 151--
Some men brought flowers.
Griffin had brought her mace.
She loved that about him.

Loved the unexpected ending to the storyline about someone watching her. Also loved that Griffin (why spell it "Grif?" It looks like a dog bark and took me out of the story every time) got to work through a lot of his issues but that Kate grew a little as well. The epilogue was unneeded and a little annoying.
It's implied that they're getting their HEA, does it explicitly have to be stated that they're getting married?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap--Anthology

Image from Goodreads
Where There's Smoke by Donna Kauffman

Clara Parker is not at a good point in her life right now. She's just been dumped (while on speaker phone, in the local grocery store.) Her job as a dating advice columnist is, quite obviously, not going to be an option. Her boss's suggestion that she do a baking column isn't going well either (she set her kitchen on fire.) Luckily, her old buddy, Will Mason, was nearby. He's a hunky (like, in a calendar, causing riots in a bookstore type hunky) firefighter. He and Clara never quite hooked up, though both wanted to. Maybe now is their second chance...

An interesting story, best of the group in my opinion.

The Gingerbread Man by Kate Angell

Abby is one of Clara's closest friends. She lived withher grandmother who has passed away. Lately, she's been amusing herself with an online business making erotic gingerbread cookies. During the local fundraiser, a stranger comes in, buys a box of her cookies, and then disappears. Well, at least until Abby finds his car off the road and takes him to her house. Lander Reynolds is grateful to Abby Denton for saving his life. And as they spend more time trapped in a snowstorm, they start to get to know each other, in a romantical type way.

An okay story. I liked Abby and Lander and this reminded me of Christmas shorts from the nineties but it was a little... slow.

Sugar And Spice by Kimberly Kincaid

Lily Callahan is a caterer who wants to expand her business. And winning the local bake-off is an easy way to do it. But she's up against Pete Mancuso (the guy who dumped Clara in the first story) who is a pastry chef who has dreams of his own. The sparks that fly between them in a partnership round make the ratings go through the roof. It's an attraction that the sponsors want to exploit and one that the two of them can't deny.

A bit to syrupy for me but an okay story.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Take Me Home for Christmas by Brenda Novak

As always, Brenda Novak writes a fiercely compelling book with hard-to-deal-with themes.
I've been wondering about Sophia's story. She was the golden girl of high school, the bitch who treated everyone with disdain, including Ted Dixon. But in past books, she's been working her way back into the group of friends Novak has been centering her books around.
And that's what I didn't love in this book. She's obviously been abused and is trying to make amends but everyone seems to still blame her for not only what she did oh so many years ago but also for the pyramid scheme her husband set up.

Now, it seems that her husband, Bill, a real jerk who has defrauded most of the town with a Ponzi scheme, had died and Sophia's left holding the bag. She has no working skills and a daughter to care for.
The only person semi willing to help is Ted, a guy she unceremoniously dumped in high school. He, and his mother both still hold a grudge. Besides, he's dating another girl in their group of friends. But that doesn't mean that he is completely heartless. He gives Sophia a job as his housekeeper (did I mention that he's come up in the world?).
A familiar romance trope with a uniquely Novak-spin. The characters are fully-developed and evoke a feeling of camaraderie in the reader. It can be heartbreaking but definitely worth the read.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins

The Perfect Match (Blue Heron #2)Wow. I have to say, I was predisposed not to like this book when it opened with a family friend/gynecologist telling Hope that, at 35, her eggs are dying and she has to have kids now!!!!! Um, okay. This sends Hope into a spiral and she decides that the guy that she’s been having a friends-with-benefits-relationship with for almost 20 years is going to her one and only. Really? She’s known for a looooong time that he’s not interested in being in a real relationship but now she’s going to leap into the marriage question?
Granted, she’s pushed into asking by a frenemy who really wants said guy for herself but… okay

It’s a testament to Kristan Higgins writing skills that I not only kept reading the book but really, really enjoyed it. And that as I write this review, I keep thinking of more and more things about the book that bothered me but I still have warm fuzzies and will re-read this book before the gods of NetGalley push its expiration date.

Hope is kind of in a rut. And we’ve all experienced this, where we think life is going okay and suddenly it’s x number of years later and we haven’t at all accomplished what we thought we were going to.

I also liked her hero, Tom. He desperately needs to stay in the country in order to remain physically close to the boy who was almost his stepson. However, he finds out that the university where he’s teaching can’t afford to renew his greencard
another peeve here-even though there’s a last minute change and suddenly there’s no need for Hope and Tom to marry… unless it’s truly love…-why hinge the whole book on a premise that’s gone at the end?
He’s got issues (ahem, the drinking) but he’s aware of and working on many of them. And he really loves his stepson.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sometimes a Rogue by Mary Jo Putney

Image from Goodreads
Oh. I liked this book. I've been waiting to read Sarah's story since her twin got married in Loving a Lost Lord. And Sarah starts out the book as a heroine.
She's walking with her sister, Mariah, a duchess about to give birth. They hear some men planning to kidnap Mariah and Sarah bravely takes her place. She's a spinster with nothing to lose while Mariah is living a very happy life.
It's a good thing that Rob Carmichael is just arriving on the estate. He's a Bow Street Runner (though noble born) and is still recovering from his some-time bedmate falling in love with, and marrying, a man that Rob doesn't particularly like (another good book, No Longer a Gentleman.) He thought they were in a committed relationship but the same wasn't true for the woman with whom he was involved.
But now he gets his HEA. If only they can escape the men who have kidnapped Sarah.
I loved that Sarah could ride horses so well but really disliked that Putney kept calling her a "tomboy who ran wild." It's great for the first description of Sarah as a girl, but after about the third time... eh. It was also interesting to me that Adam's aunt came back into the picture, though it was plain she was the villain but I am very happy that they killed her off.
I also enjoyed Rob's grandmother. She is cruel to him at first but then realizes that she is backing the wrong team by continuing to believe the lies of his dead half-brother and quickly starts to help Rob start cleaning up the mess left by the last two earls.
A major relief was that Rob's first love didn't turn out to be alive. The bastard daughter was an interesting spoke but I was so afraid that her mother was going come back and I just didn't see how Sarah could compete or how Rob could turn her away without being a complete jerk, even if she had "changed."

I loved the character development of the major characters and the minor characters were also fun. The villain was... maybe an unnecessary wrinkle but it was minor in an otherwise highly enjoyable book.

Friday, September 6, 2013

So Tough to Tame by Victoria Dahl

Image from Goodreads
Dahl has been one of my favorite contemporary writers for quite some time and I've even <gasp> bought a few of her books new in the past few years (much preferring library and used books).  But this latest series has been nothing but infuriating. I had high hopes for this book but it didn't start off well.
Walker Pearce is a real cowboy. Even down to the part where he's sleeping with his boss's wife. Well, he's sort of trying not to, but he's actually just been fired so now he can start sexxxing her up. But the thrill is gone so... maybe he won't now. What the what? This is the hero we're supposed to be impressed with? Maybe the heroine will be somebody better.
Charlotte, Charlie, Allington has had something go wrong her in her life. Something that caused her to come home to Jackson Hole where she was once part of a promising clique of girls. A clique that now delights in looking down on her. And doesn't she feel sorry for herself? Yes, yes she does. Because we get to hear about it through her POV. Nope, not really loving her either.
And unfortunately, the description of Jackson is off as well. I'm sure if you didn't live close by, you would enjoy the description. But actually knowing the town... Meh.
So Charlie is rebuilding a life, Walker is helping her while she helps him. Just not a book that I connected with.
But I love Dahl and I can't wait for her next series. Hoping it's better than this one.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Butterfly Cove by Christina Skye

Just gotta start of with... WHAT THE HELL? Major plot point ends NOT tied up? (Okay, technically it sort of, kind of is resolved, but not really and not well) Bad Christina Skye! Bad Christina Skye's editor! That was just ridiculous. I spent thirty minutes reviewing to see if I had missed a paragraph somewhere. Nope. We're just left hanging. Maybe to be resolved in the next book in the series... But we're sure as hell not told that. At least in the ARC.
What happened to Olivia's father's money? And hers? And what was in the envelope his lover left him? And why include the fact that he had an... interesting... sex life?
Rafe Russo was the town bad boy and Olivia Sullivan was the good girl. A familiar story. They're both returning home with varying degrees of success. They meet up when a newly unemployed Olivia swerves to avoid a bus full of children and ends up in an accident herself. She's still pissed at him for leaving without a word and he's not sure that he wants to stay.
It's a testament to Christina Skye that SO MANY things pissed me off about this book (major cliches included) but I still hesitate at giving it less than three stars. The majority of the book had well-drawn characters who were slowly finding their way back into the normal world (and having protected sex while doing it.<oops, bad pun. But I'm keeping it>) there were characters from earlier books (we get to see Jilly and Walker again) but not so many that your head spins and their story is only a little intrusive.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis

"Seeing Red" is one of a trio of color-themed titles about firefighters. The H/H are Joe (formerly fat high school friend, now fightingly fit arson inspector) and Summer ("Red" apparently flighty world-traveler who is never home for long.
Their friendship seemed unbreakable in high school. Joe used to sneak over to Summer's house when his dad was drunk and they were fairly inseparable at any point. Until the fire. Summer was with her crush in the basement of her family warehouse while Joe was trying to figure out a way to let them know he was there, without revealing his breaking heart. Fire erupted and Summer's father died and everything changed.
Now Joe is battling a fire at the same warehouse. One that brings Summer home for a short stay. One that is extended when a fire at her family's main shop occurs.
Joe is gobsmacked. He doesn't want to go through the same pain of losing Summer. For her part, Summer is realizing just what an m-a-n Joe grew up to be. She's interested in a quick fling but has no interest in long-term plans.
A good book. Not one that measures up well against current Shalvis books but okay. And the characters show good common sense when using protection during sex. While Summer's issues are fully explored, Joe's aren't which was a disappointment but didn't destroy the book for me.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait by Grace Burrowes

Image from Goodreads
Lady Genevieve Windham is the last in married hold of the Duke of Windham, the man who has worked so hard to marry off his children in the previous seven books of the series. She's resigned herself to being alone and taking care of her parents because she will never marry. Unlike her sisters who all had the *exact same reason* for not wanting to marry, Jenny is an artist and knows that if she marries, she'll be forced to stop.
She comes into contact with Mr. Elijah Harrison who is trying to get accepted into the Royal Academy of Arts when he's hired to do the portraits of her nieces. Well, meets him *again* (she saw him... ALL of him... when she was an art student and he was a model). And now he wants her help with painting the children. She agrees, but only if he'll pose for her again and give critiques.
There is an obsession in this book (as with the others in this series) about family and having children that just rubs me a little bit. Also, Burrowes reliance on a Big Misunderstanding but it's overall a pretty fun read and perfect for the holiday season.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yip/Tuck by Sparkle Abbey

Image from Goodreads
When I read the first book, Desperate Housedogs, I loved it so much that I immediately gobbled up the second. I had to skip book three because I couldn't get ahold of it before my NetGalley ARC for Yip/Tuck had been on my ereading bookshelf for what felt like too long.
I do feel like I'm missing parts of the story having not read the third and I'm worried about spoilers when it finally comes so I would recommend reading the series in order but it's not an absolute deal-breaker.
Melinda's at it again. This time, the body of plastic surgeon Dr. O'Doggle has been dumped in front of her shop door. The man ha been dating Melinda's enemy, lingerie model Tova. But he also had a secret life. One that earned him a lot of enemies. It's not up to Melinda to solve the crime, but she sticks her nose in anyway. And the results are a fun, fun read.

Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery

Image from Godreads
I don't know why but Gideon's (one of the heroes from Fool's Gold #12, Two of a Kind) twin brother captured my imagination even from the one throw away conversation he had with Mayor Marsha. I couldn't wait to read this book.
It turns out Gabriel is also in the army, a doctor. He knows he's been slipping a bit lately, even going so far as to accidentally injure himself badly enough not to be able to work on a patient. Of course, Gabriel has his demons (what good hero doesn't?). His father was career military and very harsh to an artistic dreamer. Coming back to the States to visit Gideon and his new family seemed like a good idea even though Gabriel will also have to face Christmas with his parents (who have visited Blackberry Island!) as well.
But then he meets an umbrella-wielding Noelle. She was just trying to feed Felicia's puppy (Felicia is Gideon's fiancee) and didn't realize Gabriel was in the house. The two fall into a nice patter and Gabriel decides to help fill the void left by Felicia's college students (she has a Christmas store and they're more interested in skiing than in working) thinking that will be an excellent way to avoid family complications.
Usually Susan Mallery books are a firm three-stars for me but I really enjoyed this one and bumped it up to for stars. Why not five? The HEA was a little rushed and the ending was a wee bit twee, though Eddie and Gladys saved it from being over the top sweet.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Naked Once More by Elizabeth Peters

Image from Goodreads
I know I'm in a minority but, for me, there is only one Elizabeth Peters mystery series and it's not Amelia Peabody.
Jacqueline Kirby is the woman I want to be when I grow up. Former librarian turned world famous romance writer who has a quick quip for every situation. A little brash yet able to charm. Maybe without so many dead bodies though...
I read the Kirby books about ten years ago and enjoyed them immensely. When I saw this book on NetGalley, I immediately hit 'request' to see if they were as good as I remembered.
Oh, they are. Or, at least this one is. Yes, it's a bit dated (word processors anyone?) but most of it holds up amazingly well.
Jacqueline jumps at the chance to finish the last two books in a trilogy. The author wrote one fabulously received book and then, one rainy night, vanished. Seven years later, she's now officially been declared dead and authors are vying to be the one chosen to finish out the series. Some are in deadly earnest, though that doesn't throw Jacqueline off her stride. She tries to finish the next book but is distracted by what happened to the original author. Okay, and a little distracted by the increasingly dangerous "accidents" that seem to be occurring to her.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Declan's Cross by Carl Neggers

STOP! Do NOT read this book if you haven't read the other two in this series. You will not understand most of what is happening. You might still get some enjoyment but really, not as much has having the more extensive background of earlier books in the series.
Julianne is one such character we met in Saint's Gate and Heron's Cove. She dated Colin's brother Andy for awhile before he inevitably broke her heart. When offered a chance to study marine life in Ireland, Julianne jumps at the offer, even though she just met Lindsey. One problem, Lindsey isn't there to pick her up. Well, Julianne is a big girl who can get herself up to the cottage where she's staying. But Lindsey never shows up. At least, not alive.
Declan's Cross (Sharpe & Donovan, #3)Luckily, Emma and Colin are in Ireland and on their way down. Not to check up on Julianne, at least not ostensibly, but it is quite the coincidence that she ended up in the same small village where a spectacular art theft (a running theme in the books) took place decades earlier. 
Like the other Sharpe and Donovan (and really, any of Neggers' books) series, this book is a tangled series of intersecting stories. I sometimes have to put these books down and just think for a little bit and read something less complicated. But don't put it down for too long or you'll have to start back at the beginning.
I probably would really rate this at a two and a half but bonus points for the grand descriptions of Ireland. There are too many rehashings in this books, not just from the other two books but from this story as well (Andy's love her/don't love her, Father Finn's past) and also some story leaps (Lindsey's father might be connected to the art theft?) that just strech a little too much.
Will I stop reading this series? Probably not. I loved the first book too much and hope that I can find that level of enjoyment again.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Three Little Words by Susan Mallery

Image from Goodreads
The world of Fool's Gold continues to wreak romance on all of it's inhabitants. Even temporary residents like Isabel Beebe. Yes, she had a crush on her sister's ex-fiance and wrote to him for years. But that was a long time ago and she's over him. Even if he is in town now. And uber-hot. With a mother who just wants him to be married.
Nope. Isabel just wants to keep her parents wedding dress shop afloat so that they can sell out and she can go back to New York and open up her own shop.
I love childhood-crush-to-adult love stories. This one was pretty good but like most of the Fool's Gold series, suffered from an overabundance of old and prospective characters. Also, we got to see the romance between the feisty Consuelo Ly and Ford's brother Kent. It was a good story but I wish that they had gotten their own book. It would have been great to hear more about Kent's ex, Consuelo's fear of her own past, and the way their relationship grew.
A steady addition to the series and if you religiously read this series, I'd definitely recommend this book.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

At the Duke's Wedding-multiple authors

At the Duke's Wedding (A romance anthology)The first three stories were... okay. The last did not interest me at all. I rounded up from the two and a half stars that I would have given it if Goodreads did halves. I saw this listed on the Kobo site and was intrigued by the blurb. I had a little extra time and money and went for it.
I've read novellas around one event before and have enjoyed them. This one wasn't as well done.
The first story is "That Rogue Jack" by Maya Rodale. Henrietta Black is resigned to being a spinster companion for an irascible old lady. But right now she needs to get the Duke's ancestral ring from Jack, Lord Willoughby but he's not only a rake. He's something of a wastrel.
It was a hate-to-love story that felt rushed. I realize that this is a novella but it was still awfully fast.
"P.S. I Love You" by Miranda Neville came next. I like Neville but this one was... not her best. It's a Cyrano story where the man behind the letters takes a lot of liberties with the supposed woman he loves. Luckily, she figures it out pretty fast so that part held up but... meh.
"When I Met my Duchess" by Caroline Linden rounded out the trio that I was able to read. The Duke from the title figures out that he wants to marry his intended's vivacious sister. But he sort of blackmails her into it. Blergh.
I was already falling out of this book when I hit "How Angela Got Her Rogue Back" by Katharine Ashe. It's  a time-travel story. Don't love those to begin with and this one just stretched my suspension of disbelief too far. This was a DNF.

You know, looking back, this really was just a two star book. Novellas tend to be underdeveloped just because of their length but these were especially not good.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Some Like it Hot by Susan Andersen

Image from Goodreads
Four-fifths of this book was pretty good. The end... was a little muddled. But let's start at the beginning.
Harper Summerville is a wanderer. Has been her whole life. And she's ended up in Razor Bay working at Jenny Salazar's hotel as the activities coordinator. She's also volunteering at Cedar Village, a home for at-risk boys.
Max Bradshaw has a special connection with Cedar Village. It helped him out when he was a young, rebellious teen and now the deputy sheriff wants to give back. And now getting to see Harper every day is a real plus. Ever since he saw her, there's been an electric connection between them and it's becoming more than just physical.
It was a a good story and kept me involved. Until the end. Large portions of it just felt dated, like it was written in the nineties. And
WTF was the deal with Harper thinking that if she stopped wandering, she would die? That part just came out of left field and didn't really factor into the overall story. And then the back and forth with where they'd live... eh. The two things together really felt like Andersen needed to stretch out the book another twenty pages to meet a quota.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Two of a Kind by Susan Mallery

Image from Goodreads
Felicia Swift is an uber-genius whose super-smarts have always made her something of a freak. She's never had a real relationship with a man and the first man she was ever... with... got roughed up by two of her best friends the night after they were... together.
That man, Gidieon Boylan, is also in Fool's Gold. He knew that he had demons
which were not really dealt with
and he wanted to just live his quiet life with his radio station and little human contact.
It was a fun story about two people finding each other. If you've been following and enjoying this series, you'll enjoy this book as well.

So, why no five miler? Yeah... Felicia didn't really appear to be that much of a freak. We didn't really see her super-smarts a ton except that she seemed to relate to people
especially Gideon's grieving, unexpected son. And WTF was up with that anyway? Why throw a random kid in the mix?
. And, like all of the FG books, Mallery tries desperately to keep us updated with all of the previous eleven books. It's nice, in a way, but after so many books and so much time, it takes me out of the book every time she mentions a character and I have to stop and think about whether I can remember who he/she is, who they're married to, and what their story was. Add in all of the characters with upcoming books and Felicia/Gideon's story ends up almost being a novella.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis

Jill Shalvis is a must-read author for me. I LOVE her books. The humor, the writing, it all works for me. Usually.
Image from Goodreads
Luke Hanover is a cop who needs to get away for awhile. His renters have moved out so he's in Lucky Harbor to get away from the press of a case-gonewrong in San Francisco.
Ali Winters is not having a good week. Her boyfriend broke up with her in a text and canceled their rental agreement the same day. And now, there's a stranger in the kitchen and she's wearing nothing but her undies.
What's going to keep these two together? How about $50,000 missing from the ex's office? And Ali was the last one known to be in the office. Luke decides to stick around and help out.
Somehow, the story just didn't work for me as well as her other stories in this series. Honestly, it was her writing that even bumped it up to three stars. I was so disappointed by the "I-don't-have-a-condom-it's-okay-I'm-on-the-pill" conversation. He's flattered that she "trusts him" which I guess is maybe an acknowledgement of being clean but it's not a real conversation.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hotshot by Julie Garwood

Picture from Goodreads
When he was fourteen, Finn McBain was a troublemaker. At least until the day he looked next door and saw six-year-old Peyton Lockhart falling into her parents pool. It was a during a party an no one else noticed. Finn saved her life and she's remembered him ever since. Through his high school years while he was winning three Olympic gold medals and all through his training days at the FBI. On the other hand, Peyton has finished school. And discovered that she didn't want to do anything with her Journalism major or English Lit minor; instsead, she wanted to cook. Much to the dismay of her mother (who is amazingly like Mrs. Bennet, just thinking that her daughters have to be married.) When she gets accepted to a prestigious cooking program and then gets a job for a magazine right after, the world is a bright place. Unfortunately, her boss is a lech and, because his wife is the owner's daughter, the heir-apparent to taking over the magazine. He ends up scaring her right out of town. Before she leaves though, Peyton gets the evidence to take him down and he's not happy. He sends one of his thugs after her and Finn notices the damage to he vehicle. When he first sees Peyton at his brother's wedding, Finn only notices that she's a beautiful woman. Peyton captures his lust immediately and his concern rather belatedly. But he is somewhat reassured that she'll be safe because her Uncle Len has given her and her two sisters the chance to own his seaside resort if they can turn it around in the next year. I love Garwood's writing. Since I started reading romances nearly two decades ago, I've read every one of her books. So why did this book not get a five? And why did I almost give it a three? Twice. Not once, but twice, a character had the "it's okay not to use condoms, I'm on birth control pills" conversation. While I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for a number of things in Romancelandia, teaching that STDs aren't a concern isn't one of them. Also, the thing that annoys me about Garwood is that her heroines are so... dang... young. I think Peyton is being set up to be this strong woman who takes her destiny in her own hands but I'm not really getting that vibe. It's more like, she does one strong thing and then lets Finn and everyone else take over. And, for god's sake
she's a virgin? Really? Who still has a hymen in this day and age? And her magical virgin hoo-ha makes Finn, an inveterate bachelor, fall headfirst into love? Seriously reconsidering my three-and-a-half star rating...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Perfect Fling by Carly Phillips

Picture from Goodreads
I've been curious about Erin Marsden since we read about her in earlier Serendipity novels. She's the good girl, the lawyer who never stepped out of line. Until the night she had a one-night-stand with Cole Sanders, the mysterious man who is rumored to be all manner of things from a drug dealer to a mob hitman, none of them wholesome. And then she comes up pregnant. Am I pissed about this trope? Normally I might be but Phillips takes a tack I haven't read before (I'm sure it's been done, it's just new to me) and has the birth control fail. Because it's not 100% effective. Subtle PSA Ms. Phillips. I liked it.
And Cole finds out about the baby when Erin is shot. I love that he doens't question whether the child is his. He's in it 100% as soon as he hear's the word "pregnant."
Cole's father was (and is) emotionally abusive and he's not sure he knows how to be a good father, but he knows he doesn't want to do to his kid what his father did to him. It's pulling him apart because he wants to be the perfect man for Cara but he knows deep down that it just isn't in him.
While this wasn't my favorite Carly Phillips, it was still enjoyable. I can't wait for the next one.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Home to Whiskey Creek by Brenda Novak

Image from Goodreads
Oh Brenda Novak, you just keep ripping out my heart with these fantastic characters with major, major flaws and just making me fall in love with them.
We know Noah Rackham from earlier Whiskey Creek novels. He's a handsome biker (mountain, not motor) whose best friend, Baxter, is completely in love with. Unforunately for Baxter (who, dear God in heaven, please let us read his story soon, he needs a good man), Noah is straight, a huge player in fact,... and about to meet his own match.
The story opens when he hears a voice coming from the same mine where his fraternal twin died in high school. It's Adelaide Davies who has been beaten, threatened, and tossed down a mine (I accidentally typed "well" twice. Which would have been a great story, but not this one). From the blurb on the back, you can probably figure out the secret that Addy is keeping but it might be considered a spoiler by some, so I'll hide it.
In high school, Addy was raped by five boys on the baseball team, including Noah's brother who died when Addy finally was able to fight back. Now she's involved with his brother? Whose parents don't want to believe anything bad about their beloved, long-dead son? Um, issues!
Suffice it to say, it's a secret that is long reaching and big enough to divide the town.
She didn't want to come back to this place, the place where her life changed overnight, but her grandmother is sick and Addy needs to be with her, even if it means stirring up sleeping dogs. But not if it means coming into contact with Noah, the boy who she obsessed over for years. But she can't seem to stay away...
Good condom use in this story. Love Novak for that and deserves a bump up to four-and-a-half stars.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Little Night Mischief by Emily Greenwood

Image from Goodreads
When I saw the preview for this book on NetGalley, I thought, "This looks cute." When I got the approval to read, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a great first book by a new author. There are definite fits and starts that are part of any first books but a solid start to a series I will continue to read.
Random thought: total props to creating what is a new (at least to me) description for boobs on page 361, "her delirium-inducing bosom." What a great use of a hyphen!
Felicity Wilcox is upset (to say the least) when her uncle loses her family home in a card game. She meets the new owner when he almost runs her down. He doesn't and light flirtation ensues.
James Collington doesn't realize that the girl he assumed  was a governess is actually part of the family he is kicking out. Actually, he doesn't even know he's displacing them as her uncle lied through his teeth saying no one lived there.
What's a girl to do? Pretend to be a ghost? Okay then.
There were other misunderstandings, maybe few too many, but the conclusion was satisfying. Three and a half stars.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Everything's Coming Up Rosie by Kasey MIchaels

(So... the bare bones of this review was up on Goodreads for almost a year but I had to update after I woke up last night and couldn't go back to sleep. I pulled up an old book thinking it would lull me back into slumber. Two hours later, I was shutting down  my Nook with a happy sigh. Oops. Thank goodness I don't work today.)
So... much.. fun. This book has been in my TBR pile for so long I almost forgot it was there but I am so glad I pulled it out. (And on re-read, it's still fantastic).
Everything's Coming Up RosieArchitect Douglas Llewellyn has been named Philadelphia's most eligible bachelor four times. At first, he thought it was fun. But now, at forty, he's starting to see his partner settling down and he's realizing that a different woman every night is starting to wear him down. 
He's off to watch his cousin's young daughter get married. The same cousin who tries to set him up with every desperate woman she knows. Also, the same cousin who's been stepping out on her husband with boys half her age. He's not looking forward to it.
But when he gets to the party, he's attacked by a woman he's never met, someone who's calling him darling. He's game and plays along. It turns out that Rosie Kilgannon is trying to escape her own setup. They decide to band together and escape Bettie's (the cousin) machinations. 
Rosie, at thirty-two, is older than the average age of the women Douglas dates by almost a decade. However, there's something about her that he just can't escape. For her part, Rosie's a love'em-and-leave 'em sort of gal but something about Doug makes her start thinking about settling down. It's a horrifying thought. But the sex is spectacular and she really needs his help to figure out why the groom (the man marrying a dear friend of hers) seems so... hinky.
The main characters are relateable, the secondary characters are adorable but not intrusive.
Loved. It.
(Why only four stars for such a glowing review? There was not only no outright mention of using condoms, when Doug and Rosie are having sex not near them, she offers up the old chestnut, "I'm on the pill." Like that protects you from STDs. Really Kasey Michaels?)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

When Honey Got Married--Anthology

When Honey Got MarriedI requested this book from NetGalley and got okayed, but when I went to download the book the next day, it had been archived. I was so intrigued by the premise that I ordered the book from Kobo. And I did NOT regret it. What a fun book, definitely a four-miler.
Grace Felt the Heat by Kimberly Lang
Gracie Lee Duggins got out of Bellefleur as fast as she could on the day she turned eighteen. But now she's back to coordinate Honey Moreau's wedding. Honey was the high school golden girl, and in a refreshing turn, she wasn't a giant bitch. But that's not the now-christened Grace's problem. No, it's the fact that she has to work with well-known chef Beau Vaughn, the man who (as a boy) humiliated Grace and became the reason she was teased for the last three years of high school. And  now he doesn't even recognize her.
But then he figures it out and tracks her down and hotness ensues.
Short, not really enough time to develop a great love story but Lang does a great job with what she has.
Eve Met Her Match by Anna Cleary
Eve Fortescue has been invited to the Moreau-Delacroix wedding even though her family doesn't really get along with the Delacroix's and even though she's hopelessly in love with the groom. However, his cousin Rainer is there to make sure that the delectable Eve is happy to walk out with the better man.
Nina Tempted the Lord by Kelly Hunter
This is sort of a random story in with all the others. One where Honey's sister is the protagonist. A girl who literally ran away to join the circus when she was seventeen. But she's been doing her job now for many years and doesn't need the new finance director, Alex Carradice, telling her what to do. But she will accept his help when she has to go back for the sister-who-she-adore's wedding and will have to face her disapproving parents.
Alex has loved Nina for two years but how can he ask her to leave a life she loves?
Fun story.
Pippa Bared All by Ally Blake
Pippa Montgomery has been traveling around the country writing for her syndicated blog. She used to date the groom and even lived with his family for awhile. Which got awkward when she realized that his brother, Griff, created more of a fire than her boyfriend did. And for his part, Griff knew that Pippa cold be his forever-love but she was dating his brother and wasn't that weird?
But they're both here now and the magic is still there...
Honey Lived Happily Ever After by Ally Blake
Honey has been nervous about this wedding. She's loved Brent since preschool but she knows that he hasn't always been so constant. She's not sure if she's being married for her family connections, her political poise and not just because he loves her.
A great look at the start of "After" in her own HEA.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Run

Gorgeous day

Wonderful ceremony

Good friends

Happy dog

Memorial Day with the Sage Leapers

There is a running group in town that I normally don't really run with. They are fast! I do it for cross-training. And my health. Sort of. But I went out with them today to go out to a Memorial Day Service at the local cemetery. It was a beautiful day and my darling, baby, golden girl getting out and getting all sorts of attention.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Marrying the Marquess by Suzanna Medeiros

The premise described in the NetGally caption intrigued me. Louisa Evans is in danger pf losing the roof over her (and her sister and brother's) head and has to turn to the man whose family ruined her father for help. The Marquess of Overleaf knows that he is going to die soon but doesn't want his cousin to inherit, so he comes up with a scheme to marry some girl then have another man father the child so that his illness isn't passed on.
A great first book in the series with some rather convoluted complications like the Marquess' grandmother threatening to announce his marriage (he had already come up with a plan, why add the extra urgency?). The writing was good and the book brought in some enticing characters for follow-up. I had some frustration with how darn FAST the plot moved which made the romance less believable but, overall, I enjoyed the book and look forward to the rest of the series.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Call of the Wilder by Kris Fletcher

JPG from Goodreads
This was a really interesting take on romance. Rather than following the hero and heroine into love, we start with a proposal and then follow the first-person heroine as she tries to figure out whether marriage, especially to this man, is something that she can do.
Gemini Wilder has an unconventional family, to say the least. Her rock star mother is involved, and has been for a number of decades, with her bandmates, twin brothers. None of her aunts are married either. They're flashy dressers with out-sized attitudes. But the family is all brought together in Vegas when one of her aunts passes away. This includes Gemini's Elvis-impersonating ex-husband to whom she still feels a pull.
This was a surprise enjoyment for me,one of a trio of books I requested from NetGalley on a whim and was happily surprised to enjoy after a string of three and even two star books. Not sure who I'd recommend this book to. Maybe readers who enjoy exploring characters who are coming into their own.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Matchpoint by Elisa Sax

I squeed out loud when I got the okay to download this book from NetGalley. I love, love, loved the first book in the series and the second did not disappoint.
Gladys (Gladie) is still in Cannes, California working with her Grandmother Zelda as a matchmaker. This time, she's trying to help the receptionist at Bliss Dental find her true love. However, when Gladie goes in for a late night filling, what she finds is a very dead dentist.
Add to this already crazy story a group of alien worshippers who have invaded the town and a group of wine who have chased the local sheriff right into Gladie's bed to hide out, and you've got a fun and enchanting read.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Five miler

Three dogs, two people, and tons of mountain bluebirds. It's spring!

Can you see the birds in the trees?

Look at them all behaving so well!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

True Love by Jude Deveraux

Oh, Jude Deveraux. I don't know why I still read your stories. They are so... twee. Alix is just TSTL and Jared... why the hell is he keeping all these secrets from her? He knows that she is the One For Him but still won't let her know all of the information she should be privvy to. These are the things that piss me off most in reading romance novels. Add to that the insistence that Jared has that he's too old for Alix (why spell it like that anyway?)
Well, part of the reason I still pick up your books is nostalgia because you, Ms. Deveraux, were one of my favorite authors  when I started reading romance and I can't get enough of the Montomery/Taggert family. We get to see Jilly again! She's one of my favorite characters that never got a story. So happy to see her HEA.
But the main reason is because even though I have all of these frustrations with the story, you absolutely pull me in to these people's lives. You even address Jared's secret keeping and how Alix deals with it! When she forgave him, I immediately did as well. What other author can make you do that?
Overall, this book is a wonderful addition to the Deveraux canon and I can guarantee that if you loved "Sweet Liar," "High Tide," or any of Deveraux's contemporary novels, you will LOVE this book as well.
Solid three and a half stars here.