Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Review: Then He Kissed Me by Laura Trentham

Can two hearts come together in one divided town?
As a boy, Nash Hawthorne spent countless afternoons on the Louisiana side of Cottonbloom with Tally Fournette, wading in the river, peeling oranges and catching frogs. When illness stole his mother, Nash yearned to take Tally and run away—for good. Instead, he crossed the state line to live with his aunt. It was a short distance as the crow flies, but it swept him into a whole new world…

After Nash left, Tally managed to struggle through her own losses without him. But now that she’s crossed paths with him again—at Cottonbloom College, where the grown-up, gorgeous Nash teaches history—she is reminded of their cherished youthful connection…and an attraction that has only gotten stronger with age. Between Tally’s possessive ex and Nash’s snobbish aunt, no one thinks they belong together. In a town torn apart by old resentments and rivalries, can they find their way back to the life they once shared—and turn their long-lost dreams into a real and lasting love?

Then He Kissed Me features two childhood best friends, Tally Fournette and Nash Hawthorne, separated by the river when Nash's mother dies.  Nash is drawn to Tally once again, and Tally agrees to be his friend, even though she doesn't feel deserving.  Theirs is a slow-building romance -- Nash has to convince Tally of his intentions -- but it was one I greatly enjoyed.  This book didn't disappoint!  

(A very special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Then He Kissed Me.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Review: Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt


Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.


Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King's dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she's targeted by kidnappers.


Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they're confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier's hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.

Captain Trevillion is one of those minor characters in Ms. Hoyt's Maiden Lane series that just pops up every now and then, and he is exactly what you need.  He has been injured -- and retired -- from service in the King's Dragoons, a position which gave him intimate knowledge of St. Giles.  When Lady Phoebe's brother, Maximus, hires Captain Trevillion as a guard for Phoebe, it seems a fitting employment.

But while Captain Trevillion must guard Phoebe's life, especially now that she is losing her sight, he finds himself quite attracted to her, which ups the stakes concerning his protection.

I really enjoyed the pairing of Phoebe and Trevillion, much more than I thought I would.  Perhaps it's because Phoebe is disabled and the normally gruff captain keeps his patience with her more than anyone.  Perhaps it's that Phoebe is vulnerable but she's also fearless and strong.  Whatever the reason, I thoroughly enjoyed Dearest Rogue

Friday, July 1, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: Missed Connections by Tamara Mataya

Missed Connection: I saw you standing there, and I was struck by your eyes. Gorgeous, but not as gorgeous as your smile.

What should have been a sizzling NYC summer has been hijacked by demanding bosses. To cope, I spend my nights cruising Missed Connections, dreaming of finding an uber-romantic entry all about me. Of course, the moment I finally find that Missed Connection, real life comes crashing down in a night of unbridled passion with totally off-limits Jack.Best. Hookup. Ever.Gorgeous and wealthy, hot as sin, Jack can give me everything I need-except an emotional connection. That I get from my Missed Connection, the romantic stranger who never fails to make me swoon. But there's only so much of me to go around. Torn between the bad boy I can't keep and the sensitive stranger who bares his soul online, my heart and body are caught in two very different relationships...or are they?

A new-to-me author with an intriguing cover.  I took a chance on this book, and I didn't like it as much as I thought I would.  While the dialogue seemed appropriate for Sarah's age, her behavior  -- and the fact that she stayed in a job where she was seemingly gaslit (I really wanted to find out what would happen there, but since she quit, a resolution was unnecessary) -- and Jack's deception really took me out of the story.  

(A very special thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Missed Connections.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: Along Came a Rogue by Anna Harrington

Major Nathaniel Grey is free to bed whomever he wants, whenever he chooses, and that's exactly how he likes it. His only loyalties are to country and the two friends he served with-brothers he'd do anything for. So when one of them is gravely injured and asking for his little sister, Grey will move heaven and earth to bring her home. He's greeted not by the gangly girl he remembers, but a stunningly beautiful woman holding a loaded musket. And he's utterly captivated by her . . .

Once upon a time, Emily would have loved nothing more than a stolen hour with her brother's best friend, the dashing officer who captured her heart and soul. But things are different now-and so is she. Gone is the eager young woman who believed in love. In her place is a widow weighed down with secrets who desperately needs to disappear before they're revealed. But Grey's sinfully sexy smile offers protection unlike anything she's ever known, tempting her to risk everything . . . even her heart.

Best friend's little sister is one of my favorite contemporary romance tropes, so I was surprised to see it in an historical romance.  But I loved it!

When one of his best friends, Thomas, is injured and near death, Grey agrees to bring Thomas's sister, Emily, home.  Grey doesn't find the girl he remembers, however; he finds a young widow with secrets.

I enjoyed everything about Along Came a Rogue:  the sexual tension between Emily and Grey, the mystery surrounding Thomas's injury, even the secrets Emily is keeping from her family.  Once I started, I could not put the book down!

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Grand Central Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Along Came a Rogue.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review: Once a Rake by Eileen Dreyer

All he wants is her help . . .
Colonel Ian Ferguson may be a rake, but he's no traitor. Accused of trying to kill the Duke of Wellington, the disgraced Scotsman is now a fugitive-from the law, the army, and the cunning assassin who hunts him. Wounded and miles from his allies, Ian finds himself at the mercy of an impoverished country wife. The spirited woman is achingly beautiful . . . and hiding some dangerous secrets of her own.

All she needs is his heart . . .
She was a child nobody wanted. Now for Lady Sarah Clarke, holding on to her vanished husband's crumbling estate is her final chance to earn respectability. She knows that hiding the devastatingly handsome Ferguson will jeopardize her home. Common sense demands that she turn him in. But a single, delirious kiss shatters her resolve . . . and awakens a passion that neither of them can escape.

Another book from my Goodreads "Currently Reading" stash.  I received an ARC of Once a Rake but couldn't get into it to finish in a timely manner.  I've also checked this book out a couple of times from my public library. 

Reading the three previous books aren't necessary to understand the grand scheme of the entire series:   Revolutionaries who seek to place Princess Charlotte on the British throne -- the Duke of Wellington the main block in such a move -- and Drake's Rakes must foil it.

Colonel Ian Ferguson is a member of Drake's Rakes, as well as a newly found heir to a marquess, and has been named a wanted man for attempting to kill the Duke of Wellington.  Ian is injured during his escape and finds himself on Lady Sarah Clarke's property.  Sarah is the illegitimate daughter of a duke who was sent to "Last Chance Academy" (where she became friends with Ian's sisters), then given to marriage.  Sarah's husband used the last of her dowry to purchase an army commission, so Sarah manages the household of her mother-in-law, her mother-in-law's companion, and her sister-in-law while doing most of the hard labor as well.

The majority of the action takes place at the Clarke farm, since Ian is convalescing there, with the final third at the Duke of Dorset's estate.  Sarah manages to involve two of her friends from "Last Chance Academy" -- Lizzie and Pippin -- and we see several members of Drake's Rakes who have been secondary characters in previous books.  Chuffy Wilde is my favorite!   The assassination/revolution plot is somewhat squashed, though one of the traitors escapes.  Otherwise, the book focused on Sarah denying her attraction for Ian before finally giving in.      

Monday, June 20, 2016

Review: Win Me Over by Nicole Michaels

Callie Daniels is a singular sensation. She owns and operates her own bakery, contributes to a popular lifestyle blog, and is the dance team coach at a local high school. She lives by her own design and is much too busy to consider dating. Mr. Right will have to fit into her life when the time is right...

Football coach Bennett Clark always plays by the rules. He knows that his new colleague Callie is off limits but she's so beautiful-and irritating!-that Bennett can't get her off his mind. She wants him to participate in a charity dance contest, and won't take no for an answer. Soon, what begins as a festive athletic endeavor turns into a heated flirtation on and off the dance floor. Could it be that the free-spirited Callie has finally found a way through Coach Clark's line of defense?

Win Me Over picks up almost directly where Start Me Up ends, except through the point of view of Callie Daniels.  Callie is a driven, competitive person.  She is a bakery owner, helps her friends Anne and Lindsey with their lifestyle blog, and has recently been hired as the new dance team coach for the high school.   She is approached by the principal to enter a local dance competition with the head coach as her partner.  She reluctantly agrees when she believes the coach will be an older good ol' boy.  She wasn't expecting Bennett Clark.

Bennett Clark is a former professional quarterback whose career ended due to a car accident.  He's content being a science teacher and coach and kind of keeps the life he once had a secret.  Callie certainly has no idea who he used to be.  She just thinks Coach Clark is cute -- and stubborn -- but she likes trading jabs with him on the dance floor as they prepare for the competition.  

Their back-and-forth teasing (and sexual tension) can only lead to them falling in love, although it took a little bit of coaxing on both their parts.  Win Me Over also introduces Lindsey and Derek, who we meet in the final book of the series, Draw Me Close
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