Monday, October 5, 2015

Cover Love

I was very surprised to love this cover as much as I do.  As a blonde, I cannot wear yellow without looking either jaundiced or like a banana, so I'm quite in awe that Farah can have full, curly blonde hair and wear yellow.

But isn't it glorious? 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Review: It Happened One Wedding by Julie James


After a humiliating end to her engagement, investment banker Sidney Sinclair is done with commitment-phobic men. But when her sister winds up engaged after a whirlwind courtship, she’s thrown in to close contact with exactly the kind of sexy playboy she wants to avoid—the gorgeous best man. She’s stuck with him, for better or worse, until her sister walks down the aisle, but that doesn’t mean she has to give in to his smooth advances, no matter how tempting they are…


Special Agent Vaughn Roberts always gets his man on the job and his woman in bed. So Sidney’s refusal to fall for his charms only makes him more determined to win over the cool and confident redhead. Only what starts out as a battle of wills ends up as a serious play for her heart. Because the one woman who refuses to be caught may be the only one Vaughn can’t live without…
of sexy playboy she wants to avoid—the gorgeous best man. She’s stuck with him, for better or worse, until her sister walks down the aisle, but that doesn’t mean she has to give in to his smooth advances, no matter how tempting they are . . .

One cannot go wrong with a Julie James book.  There is SO much to love!!  

Sidney and Vaughn to not fall easy into their love affair; they actually don't like each other.  Yet they're stuck until her sister and his brother get married.  They spar back and forth, a Julie James character trait, and you just know they are falling in love with each insult or quip that's thrown. 

Another aspect of Ms. James's books I enjoy are the secondary characters.  You never know who is going to return! 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Review: Barefoot in the Sand by Roxanne St. Claire

When all you hold dear is taken away . . .

When a hurricane roars through Lacey Armstrong's home on the coast of Barefoot Bay, she decides all that remains in the rubble is opportunity. A new hotel is just what Mimosa Key needs, and Lacey and her teenage daughter are due for a fresh start. And nothing, especially not a hot, younger architect, is going to distract Lacey from finally making her dreams a reality.

A second chance is the only thing you have left.

Love has already cost Clay Walker everything. And if he's going to have any chance of picking up the pieces of his life, he needs the job as Lacey Armstrong's architect. What's not in the plans is falling for the headstrong beauty. Her vision of the future is more appealing than anything he could have ever drafted for himself. Will Clay's designs on Lacey's heart be more than she can handle, or will she trust him to build something that will last forever?

Lacey Armstrong moves forward after a hurricane destroys her home, and she gets more than she bargained for when she's on the hunt for an architect to design her dream B&B.  

I really liked Ms. St. Claire's first foray into contemporary romance, though at times I felt frustrated by Lacey's behavior.  I was also distracted by Clay Walker, the country singer --

who kept intruding into my mind's picture of Clay Walker, the character, but that's a minor quibble, I suppose.  

I loved Lacey's core group of girlfriends.  I'm glad each one has a set purpose and reason for being in her life.  

Barefoot in the Sand is a great summer read (or end of summer read)! 


Friday, September 4, 2015

Review: Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

Twenty years ago Maximus Batten witnessed the brutal murders of his parents. Now the autocratic Duke of Wakefield, he spends his days ruling Parliament. But by night, disguised as the Ghost of St. Giles, he prowls the grim alleys of St. Giles, ever on the hunt for the murderer. One night he finds a fiery woman who meets him toe-to-toe-and won't back down . . .

Artemis Greaves toils as a lady's companion, but hiding beneath the plain brown serge of her dress is the heart of a huntress. When the Ghost of St. Giles rescues her from footpads, she recognizes a kindred spirit-and is intrigued. She's even more intrigued when she realizes who exactly the notorious Ghost is by day . . .

Artemis makes a bold move: she demands that Maximus use his influence to free her imprisoned brother-or she will expose him as the Ghost. But blackmailing a powerful duke isn't without risks. Now that she has the tiger by the tail, can she withstand his ire-or the temptation of his embrace?

Artemis Greaves and Maximus Batten, the Duke of Wakefield, have tempted me since the previous book in the Maiden Lane series, Lord of Darkness.  I am so glad Duke of Midnight lived up to my expectations. 

Artemis is not a typical lady of quality.  She has a sharp mind and is a strong woman, but she's seen as lesser or lower by her companion, Lady Penelope Chadwicke.  She and Maximus match wits perfectly as she tries to blackmail him, and soon discover they are perfect for each other. 

As the story continued, the intrigue and the romance continued to build.  Some of Maximus's decisions weren't stellar, but of course he and Artemis are together at the end of the book. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review: The Governess Club: Bonnie by Ellie MacDonald

Miss Bonnie Hodges, governess to the Darrow family, is desperately trying to hold it together. Tragedy has struck, and she is the sole person left to be strong for the two little boys in her care. When the new guardian arrives, she hopes that things will get better. She wasn't expecting her new employer to be the most frustrating, overbearing, and ... handsome man she's ever seen.

Sir Stephen Montgomery is utterly distracted. He should be trying to figure out how his two best friends were killed in a suspicious accident and why the new young viscount seems destined to be the next victim. But he can't concentrate on anything but his growing infatuation with the beautiful, mysterious, and utterly captivating governess.

Together they're doing their best to save the two boys, but will Stephen's feelings for Bonnie get in the way of their search for a killer?

The Governess Club:  Bonnie is the second novella in The Governess Club series by Ms. MacDonald.  Though Claire and Jacob from The Governess Club:  Claire do make a short appearance, it's not necessary to have read any other novellas in the series. 

Bonnie has delayed her arrival to join her friends, fellow governesses, when tragedy strikes the family who employs her.  She feels guilt about leaving her young charges, so she decides to stay and see what will happen with their guardian arrives.  Bonnie and Sir Stephen Montgomery don't see eye-to-eye immediately, but the undercurrent of attraction between them is quite obvious. 

I liked that Stephen is trying to solve a mystery, and that Bonnie's story is similar in tone -- and outcome! -- but not in content to Claire's.  I am anxious to read the remaining novellas featuring Louisa and Sara, respectively. 

(A very special thank you to Avon Impulse, HarperCollins, and Edelweiss for providing me with an ARC of The Governess Club: Bonnie.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Back To You by Lauren Dane

Former model Kelly Hurley has finally put the ashes of the past behind her. After a passionate but turbulent marriage to rock star Vaughan Hurley that ended in heartbreak and divorce, Kelly rebuilt her life in Portland, where she settled so their two young daughters could be close to their father. Just not so close Kelly couldn’t truly make her own way without interference from the man who shattered her heart. Now Kelly’s finally ready to move on, and she’s planning to marry another man.

But not if Vaughan has anything to say about it.

Vaughan knows he was a fool all those years ago. A young, selfish—and prideful—fool. Even as he buried himself in the fast, decadent rock star lifestyle, he could never drown out the memory of Kelly’s beauty and love. Or the sweet, searing heat whenever they touched. For years, he’s had to deal with the pain of seeing her only because of their daughters, but it was never enough. Now Vaughan must prove that he’s the only man Kelly needs, before he loses her for good. And there’s only one way to do it….

I have read the two previous Hurley Boys books, as well as the Brown Siblings and Delicious series, all of which gravitate in the same general world.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, Back To You didn't measure up.  

I cannot put my finger on exactly why I didn't like this book.  It's a combination of Vaughan, Kelly, and comments made about Kelly (typically by Sharon Hurley) in the two Hurley Boys books.  Based on those comments, Kelly had a lot to overcome, and Sharon's opinion is something Kelly struggled with during her marriage to Vaughan.  But while Back To You is a second-chance romance, I also didn't believe in Vaughan and Kelly's reconnection.  She's engaged to another man, for Pete's sake, when Vaughan decides to tell her he still loves her.  They've been divorced for eight years.  [I've never been divorced -- or divorced with children -- and I would imagine some romantic feelings may exist between divorced co-parents; however, it seemed like Vaughan was exchanging one thing (a life touring with the band) for another (a life with his wife and kids).  I didn't get the sense that his new thing would fulfill or sustain him completely for the rest of his life.] 

Disliking a book makes it hard to write an honest review, and I feel doubly bad since I enjoyed The Best Kind of Trouble and Broken Open so very much.

(A special thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Back To You.)

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