Monday, March 5, 2018

Review: Need You Now by Emma Douglas

Welcome to the small island town of Cloud Bay, where it's never the wrong time to find a love that's oh-so-right. . .

Caleb White knows what he wants out of life--and being a star tennis player is not it. After speaking to the press about his plans to retire, Caleb decides that a trip to quaint, beautiful Cloud Bay for its legendary music festival is exactly what he needs. There will be time to figure out what to do with his life without a racket in his hand soon enough. Until then, Caleb is content to be stuck on an island with CloudFest's gorgeous director Faith Harper. . .

The daughter of a famous rock star, Faith knows all about fame, fortune, and hot flings that aren't meant to last longer than a few good songs. Gorgeous, built Caleb is a temptation she can't resist, but she's not prepared for the way he makes her feel. . .and the dreams that they both share. What begins as a carefree distraction deepens into something real. But is Caleb ready to put his celebrity behind him and give life in the slow lane with Faith a chance?

Need You Now is an interesting take on the "rock star romance" subject. Faith Harper is the daughter of a famous, and now deceased, rock star, who lives in Cloud Bay to keep her father's company and music festival alive.  Caleb is in Cloud Bay simply to have a good time at the festival and escape his own fame. 

I fell quite easily into life in Cloud Bay with Faith, her mother, half-sister, and various employees of her father's company. The setup for the series about the half-siblings is very nice. While Faith bristles at the attention of being Gray Harper's daughter, she handles it with grace.  Caleb definitely pulls her out of her shell and encourages a more free version of Faith. 

(A very special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Need You Now.)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Review: Maybe I Do by Nicole McLaughlin

She doesn’t believe in fairy tales. He’s married to his job. Maybe whiskey is the secret ingredient that will bring them together—and give true love a shot?
Wedding photographer Charlotte Linley loves her work—even though she hates weddings. Sure, she still holds a grudge after being left at the altar by her high-school sweetheart. But today Charlotte is just happy to have complete control over her career, which is flourishing. Especially since she joined forces with one of the three gorgeous owners of The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s hottest wedding venue.

Dean Troyer, bitter after the end of his own marriage, knows that Charlotte is the real deal—beautiful, talented, and successful. He may flirt with her every time she comes to The Stag but Dean is determined to keep his professional distance. . .particularly now that she’s helping him with his own sister’s wedding. The only problem? The more time Dean spends with Charlotte, the deeper their connection grows. Is this a rom-com cliché or could it be that these two jaded souls in the wedding business have finally found their real-life happily ever after?

It's really easy for me to gravitate to romances featuring weddings. I really loved all the minor details about the set-up of this series too:  the secondary characters, The Stag.  And while I thought Charlotte and Dean were cute together, their romance didn't really knock me flat, if you know what I mean.  

Charlotte has been hanging around The Stag for a few years, taking pictures of wedding receptions, so she knows Dean in a polite, professional way. Despite trying to maintain her professionalism, she is also highly attracted to him. Dean feels the same way about Charlotte. When Dean asks for Charlotte's help in planning his sister's wedding, it's a no-brainer that she'll say yes.  

Some of the conflicts Charlotte and Dean experience -- exes, for example -- seem manufactured and a little contrived. I think readers are missing out a bit in the newness of Charlotte and Dean, the beginning of their relationship, their initial attractions. Maybe that would add the spark of chemistry that's needed for the final third of the book. 

Still, I enjoyed Maybe I Do, and I plan to read the second in the series. Maybe This Time.  

(A very special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Maybe I Do.)

Eagerly Anticipating: March 2018


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

When the Stars Come Out by Laura Trentham

Cottonbloom. A beautiful, faraway place where a woman can escape her past—and find reason to stay forever in Laura Trentham's When the Stars Come Out. . .

Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .

Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car—and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he can’t help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love?


“I’m not a damn car.” Anger heated her voice.

“I know that.”

“Do you?” She stopped and he turned to face her. “You haven’t spared a thought about how much you pay me or what I wear or why fall is my favorite season for two years.”

“I know and that’s my bad. I should have been paying more attention to you.”

She made a scoffing sound. That’s exactly what she didn’t need. Everything depended on her staying under the radar. “You want to fix me like I’m some broken-down car. Or fix my problems or whatever. But that’s not how people work. Maybe I’m unfixable.”

Half his face was in shadows from the setting sun. Even in the best of times it was difficult to get a read on his mood, but the roughness in his voice was more pronounced than usual. “I don’t want to fix you. I want to help you. I want you to trust me.”

Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: Unraveled by Lauren Dane

The sharpest ache comes from wanting what you think you can't have
Maybe Dolan has lived independent, free-spirited and unattached since leaving home at sixteen. Whiskey Sharp, Seattle's sexy vintage-styled barbershop and whiskey bar, gave her a job and a reason to put down roots. Cutting hair by day, losing herself drumming in a punk rock band by night, she's got it good.
But a longtime crush that turns into a hot, edgy night with brooding and bearded Alexsei Petrov makes it a hell of a lot better.
Maybe's blunt attitude and carnal smile hooked Alexsei from the start. Protecting people is part of his nature and Maybe is meant to be his even if she doesn't know it. Yet. He can't help himself from wanting to protect and care for her.
But Maybe's fiery independent spirit means pushing back when Alexsei goes too far. Still, he's not afraid to do a little pushing of his own to get what he wants her in his life, and his bed, for good. Maybe's more intoxicating than all the liquor on his shelf and he's not afraid to ride the blade's edge to bind her to him.

Lauren Dane is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors.  I know what to expect every time I read one of her books. Unraveled gave me something new, and I wasn't that certain about it. 

Maybe and Alexsei are very reflective of Ms. Dane's typical heroine and hero. The first half of the book flowed well, with Maybe revealing more and more of herself to her neighbors, The Orlovs, Alexsei's aunt and uncle.  Maybe and Alexsei have intense chemistry, so there was no doubt they would get together -- and stay together for a while -- despite the road block of Alexsei's ex-girlfriend. 

The story behind Maybe's nickname is a cute one; it came way later that I thought it should have.  Granted, Alexsei has only every known her as Maybe, and there needs to be a legitimate reason to share that with the reader. 

Maybe and her sister, Rachel, have not had an easy life, although Maybe accepted who her parents were long before Rachel does. That they still have a relationship with their parents -- Maybe trying for Rachel's sake -- is really confusing.  Rachel will be the heroine of book 2, Jagged (March 2018), so maybe more of her trauma will be revealed.  Based upon how their parents repeatedly act and things Maybe says happened previously, I kept wondering why both women didn't end communication with them once and for all.

Since I am interested in learning more about Rachel, I will probably read Jagged

(A very special thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Unraveled.)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: When the Scoundrel Sins by Anna Harrington

Annabelle Green needs a husband-and quickly. To inherit the only home she's ever known, she must be married by her twenty-fifth birthday. But finding a suitor has been next to impossible after a reckless rogue named Quinton Carlisle seduced her into a scandalous midnight tryst. Her reputation in ruins, Belle now needs a rather large favor. And she knows just who to turn to . . .

Quinn can hardly believe that the shy bookish girl he teased as a child has grown into such a brazen beauty. The very idea of marrying Belle to right the wrongs of his past is downright shocking . . . and deliciously tempting. Too bad marriage, convenient or otherwise, is the last thing Quinn wants. He'll help Belle find a husband and be on his way. But if he can't control his attraction to the bride-to-be, this marriage could go up in flames-of wicked desire.

I did not find Quinton Carlisle very like a scoundrel as the title suggests.  He doesn't want to get married, yes.  He kissed Annabelle when they were younger, and placed her in a delicate situation, yes.  But he isn't so bad or frowned upon in proper society.  Especially since Lady Ainsley invites Quinn and his brother Robert to help her select a husband for Annabelle.  

While I liked Quinn and Annabelle's pairing, there wasn't much substance to this book.  You know Annabelle and Quinn are right for each other; you know they will end up married, no matter how many objections either person makes.  So reading this was a question of "when will they?" rather than "if".  

I am curious about Robert's bad luck, as he is suffering from a broken heart in When the Scoundrel Sins while his marriage was a foregone conclusion in the first book of the series.  

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Hachette Book Group, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of When the Scoundrel Sins.)
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