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?





EXCERPT


“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



A MOST INDECENT PROPOSAL
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.)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Scot Beds His Wife

 


They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards—dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster.

Gavin St. James, Earl of Thorne, is a notorious Highlander and an unrelenting Lothario who uses his slightly menacing charm to get what he wants—including too many women married to other men. But now, Gavin wants to put his shady past behind him...more or less. When a fiery lass who is the heiress to the land he wishes to possess drops into his lap, he sees a perfectly delicious opportunity...

A marriage most convenient

Samantha Masters has come back to Scotland, in a pair of trousers, and with a whole world of dangerous secrets from her time spent in the Wild West trailing behind her. Her only hope of protection is to marry—and to do so quickly. Gavin is only too willing to provide that service for someone he finds so disturbingly irresistible. But even as danger approaches, what begins as a scandalous proposition slowly turns into an all-consuming passion. And Gavin discovers that he will do whatever is necessary to keep the woman he has claimed as his own…


 


Chapter Two
Union Pacific Railway, Wyoming Territory, Fall, 1880
Samantha Masters squeezed the trigger, planting a bullet between her husband’s beautiful brown eyes.
She whispered his name. Bennett. Then screamed it.
But it was the woman in his grasp she reached for as he fell to the ground.
Though they’d known each other all of twenty minutes, she clung to Alison Ross as though the younger woman were the most precious soul in the entire world, and they sank to their knees as their strength gave out.
 Alison’s hold was just as tight around her, and their sobs burst against each other’s in a symphony of terror, shock, and abject relief.
 What in the hell just happened? 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Review: Her Fake Engagement by Gigi Garrett



No artists, no smokers, no men with beards… Manhattan real estate broker Lottie Langerman feels confident that if she follows her long list of dating rules, she’ll meet The One and her life will unfold exactly as planned. Everything changes when her best friend decides to throw a fake bachelorette party—just to see what all the fuss is about—and Lottie reluctantly agrees to play the role of bride-to-be for a night.
Faking an engagement turns out to be more fun—and trouble—than Lottie could have imagined. Not only does her dream man think she’s taken, but Lottie keeps running into bearded Brooklyn jewelry designer Tyler, who breaks every single one of her rules...yet manages to get under her skin like no one else. Soon, Lottie finds herself at a crossroads where she must decide: Play it safe—or ditch the rules and follow her heart?



The cover for Her Fake Engagement is so flirty and fun, it originally drew me in.  The story itself is fast-paced enough (and kind of predictable enough) to keep you engaged.  

Lottie Langerman has rules about whom she dates.  She has a couple of good friends -- one of whom is married with a baby -- who balance out her OCD moments.  When Elsa May suggests a fake bachelorette party, with Lottie as the bachelorette, things get a little too crazy for the rule-making Lottie.  

This story wasn't deep, and the argument between Lottie and Elsa May seemed a little contrived, but this novella was a good way to step away from the real world for a couple of hours.  Despite Lottie's rules, we know she's going to end up with Tyler, and I was 100% okay with that.  

[A very special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Her Fake Engagement.]

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

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?



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