Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: Merry Christmas, Baby by Jill Shalvis


Wild child Chloe Thompson can't believe how much things have changed. She still can't get enough of her sexy husband Sawyer, but he seems to prefer working to impending fatherhood. So tonight, a very pregnant Chloe is escaping her troubles at the town Christmas party.

Sheriff Sawyer Thompson hopes surprising Chloe at the party will give him a chance to set things right. But as the snow begins to fall and the wind rages, he wonders whether he can make it back in time. While mother nature conspires to keep Sawyer and Chloe apart, an unexpected arrival will require them to kiss and make up . . . and ring in the happiest holiday Lucky Harbor has ever seen.

The first three Lucky Harbor books (Simply Irresistible, The Sweetest Thing, and Head Over Heels) are my favorites of the entire series.   I was really excited to revisit Chloe and Sawyer just as their lives were about to change due to impending parenthood. 

I have 2 complaints: (1) it was too short.  Merry Christmas, Baby is a novella, yes, and I knew that when I started, but I still didn't want the book to be finished.  I wanted to spend more time with these core couples!  (2) I wanted to know the baby's name.  Not because it's really important; I just nosy that way!

Minor, minor quibbles in truth.  If you loved Lucky Harbor, Merry Christmas, Baby is a great addition to the series. 

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Grand Central Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Merry Christmas, Baby.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: Sugar's Twice as Sweet by Marina Adair

He's trouble she doesn't need . . .
Thanks to a cheating fiancé, Josephina Harrington's perfect life just crashed and burned. Moving in with her overbearing parents is definitely not an option. No, she needs to prove she can make it on her own. And she will-by turning her great-aunt's old plantation house into a destination getaway. She's just not expecting her contractor to be so hands-on-and so totally irresistible.

. . . but everything she wants
Bad-boy golf champion Brett McGraw figured his hometown of Sugar, Georgia was the perfect place to lay low and get his life back up to par. The leggy blonde with a pint-sized pup is the kind of sweet 'n sassy trouble he never saw coming. She doesn't know a nut from a bolt and before long, he's renovating her house . . . as she steals his heart. Can he convince Josephina that his womanizing ways are in the past and he's ready for forever?

I'm a big fan of sports romances, so I was interested in a headstrong golfer sent home to cool off and hide out following an Internet scandal.  That Brett and Josephina knew each other as kids was a neat connection too.  Unfortunately, Sugar's Twice as Sweet started strong, but the story seemed to go on and on. 

Exactly how many bad things can happen to Joie in her quest to make her great-aunt's home a B&B?  (Hint:  a LOT!)  The elderly ladies had a weak excuse to make Joie's life in Sugar, Georgia miserable, and the fact that Brett's grandmother was one of those causing havoc put him squarely in the middle between family and a possible romance.  Not very sweet, Granny!

Sugar on Top (April 2015) features Glory and Cal, both introduced here.  I may decide to pay another visit to Sugar, Georgia to see if life there is any sweeter for a homegrown couple. 

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Grand Central Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Sugar's Twice as Sweet.)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Last Cowboy in Texas by Katie Lane


December 16, 2014


Country music princess Starlet Brubaker has a sweet tooth for moon pies and cowboys: both are yummy-and you can never have just one. Now Beckett Cates may not be a cowboy, but he certainly has the heart, soul-and body-to whet her appetite. He's a sexy ex-Marine with a touch hotter than the scorching Texas sun and arms strong enough to catch her when she lands into trouble.

Playing bodyguard to America's sweetheart isn't easy for Beckett. But falling for her sure is. Unfortunately, Starlet has a reputation for keeping a guy or two wrapped around her finger and Beckett refuses to be anybody's backup. So now it's up to Starlet to prove that she's put her cowboy-crazy days behind her. Otherwise, she'll be singing solo instead of living in harmony with the man who's loved her even before her fame and fortune.

Buy Links:

About the Author:

Katie Lane is the USA Today bestselling author of the Deep in the Heart of Texas and Hunk for the Holiday series. Katie lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and when she isn't writing, enjoys reading, going to the gym, golfing, traveling, or just snuggling next to her high school sweetheart and cairn terrier Roo.

Learn more about Katie Lane at:
Twitter, @ktlane3


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: Broken Open by Lauren Dane

Beyond passion. And beyond their control…

Five years ago, Tuesday Eastwood's life collapsed and left her devastated. After an empty, nomadic existence, she's finally pieced her life back together in the small Oregon town of Hood River. Now Tuesday has everything sorted out. Just so long as men are kept for sex, and only sex….

Then she met him.

Musician and rancher Ezra Hurley isn't the man of Tuesday's dreams. He's a verboten fantasy—a man tortured by past addictions whose dark charisma and long, lean body promise delicious carnality. But this craving goes far beyond chemistry. It's primal. It's insatiable. And it won't be satisfied until they're both consumed, body and soul….

I knew Tuesday and Ezra would have off-the-charts chemistry, simply because that had been the case when they circled each other in The Best Kind of Trouble.  And I didn't disagree they would find their happy ending together, given they had both overcome serious heartaches in their respective pasts.  The main issue I had with Broken Open was the amount of outside interference that seems to propel the narrative.  Yes, Tuesday and Ezra get to know each other and ultimately fall in love, but Tuesday's former in-laws and her parents and his parents and his brothers and her best friend and the racist at the feed store are all involved in their path of romance.  It started to become too much, and I wondered where Tuesday and Ezra -- and their feelings -- were in all the external conflicts. 

I am looking forward to Back to You, the final book in the series.  Fingers crossed Kelly and Vaughn find a way to be together again.     

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: Talk Dirty to Me by Dakota Cassidy

Notorious mean girl Dixie Davis is back in town and it's payback time. Literally. Dixie is flat broke and her best—make that only—friend, Landon, is throwing her a lifeline from the Great Beyond. Dixie stands to inherit his business… if she meets a few conditions:

She's got to live in Landon's mansion.
With her gorgeous ex-fiancé, Caine Donovan.
Who could also inherit the business.
Which is a phone sex empire.

Wait, what?

Landon's will lays it out: whoever gets the most new clients becomes the owner of Call Girls. Dixie has always been in it to win it, especially when it comes to Caine, who's made it clear he's not going down easy. (Oh, mercy.) Can Dixie really talk dirty and prove that she's cleaned up her act? Game on!

Dixie is a mean girl, and all of Plum Orchard, Georgia knows it.  When she slinks back into town following a disastrous business deal, she's greeted with a proposition from her deceased friend, Landon, who has also tossed Dixie's ex-fiance' into the mix -- and back into Dixie's life.

It took me a long time to connect with Dixie and Caine, even though I knew they were going to get over their past/problems/pile of crap and get a HEA.  Something about the two of them, either separately or together, turned me off.  Yet I kept reading. 

The secondary characters get the standing O from me: Em, Landon (who's there in spirit), Sanjeev.  I am going to purchase Em's book, Something to Talk About, but I'm not certain if I will continue with the series beyond that.    

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

Review: Talk This Way by Dakota Cassidy

If life is like a box of chocolates, Cat Butler has tasted them all—and decided on none. It's no wonder she can't keep a job, even though her mother's health depends on it. Just when she finds herself up a creek without a paddle—again—a benevolent friend throws her a lifeline. In the form of a job at, of all places, a phone sex hotline. Not exactly what she had in mind, but if it pays the bills for her mom's expensive nursing home, what's the harm?

Successful entrepreneur Flynn McGrady knows a thing or two about responsibility. So when his mother has a stroke, he knows the right thing to do is relocate to Atlanta to be near her while she recovers. He's got a plan for everything—except for feisty Cat, who finally gets his mama to talk again. Talk dirty, that is, and he's not pleased. Cat is gorgeous and sassy to boot...…too bad she's not the type to settle down.

Cat and Flynn may have bigger fish to fry, but the sparks between them are hotter than hell. And when they finally give in to temptation, the results are explosive. Can a girl who follows her heart and a guy who follows his head find their way to forever?

After starting Talk Dirty to Me, I felt confused about who Landon is and what he means to the town of Plum Orchard, Georgia.  I was pleased to have found the novella, Talk This Way, introducing the series, which gives a bit about Landon's background, though the story isn't specifically about him. 

Cat and Flynn's relationship is primarily about misunderstandings.  Their conflict -- and attraction -- builds through various misunderstandings, especially concerning Flynn's mother's behavior, which is a direct result of something Cat does.  It's a cute premise, and one that serves the second purpose of introducing the reader to the origin behind the Call Girls.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Review: The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane

She has complete control …and he's determined to take it away

A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton's world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly—especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley….

And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for.
Even after years of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more…even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there's a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved—and the only compromise is between the sheets!

The Best Kind of Trouble was exactly what I needed to get me back into a romance-reading groove.  I've loved most of Ms. Dane's stories featuring the Brown siblings or the ladies of Delicious, and the Hurley Boys are a great addition to this world.

The Best Kind of Trouble is at its most basic a reconnection love story.  Both Natalie and Paddy were crazy when they were younger.  Crazy when they knew each other.  But things have changed.  If the two of them can get over their respective hang-ups and emotional baggage, they will set the other on fire.  (They do.  Read it and see.)

"Plus, asshole, I'm unforgettable."

As with all Ms. Dane's stories in this vein, we're given the whole-damn-family too:  the Hurleys, Natalie's nutty clan, and Tuesday, Natalie's best friend.  These extended players really give life to the book -- and its main characters.    

(A very special thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of The Best Kind of Trouble.)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: The Scoundrel's Seduction by Jennifer Haymore


Undercover agent Sam Hawkins has devoted his life to protecting king and country. So when he receives orders to assassinate a ruthless traitor, he doesn't question his mission. But Sam didn't know his deed had a witness—the beautiful and mysterious betrayer's wife. Now he has no choice but to take her as his prisoner—one he can neither trust . . . nor resist.

Élise, Lady Dunthorpe, will do anything to escape her powerful captor—including seducing him senseless. She didn't know of her miserable husband's crimes, but she has secrets of her own, secrets that threaten everything she holds dear. With his piercing dark eyes and gentle touch, Sam inflames Élise's deepest desires, but how could she ever trust a man who won't let her go? Caught between the crown he's sworn to serve and the woman he's come to love, Sam will risk his heart—and his very life—to keep her safe.

The Scoundrel's Seduction is the final book of the House of Trent series.  In it, we the reader should find out the resolution of the mysterious disappearance of the Dowager Duchess of Trent, who has been missing since the first book, The Duchess Hunt.  The theme here, in addition to the suspense of finding the Dowager Duchess, is that Hawkins men take unconventional women for their wives.

Sam Hawkins is an undercover agent. He has infiltrated Dunthorpe House in the hopes of catching Lord Dunthorpe is an assassination plot. What he finds, however, is Elise, Lady Dunthorpe, whom he must take with him since she has seen his face.  He believes that Elise knows facts about Dunthorpe's business, and that she may be involved too.  As he learns to know her, he determines Elise had no idea what Dunthorpe and his secret cronies may have been doing. 

I felt the storyline moved very slowly, probably because I wanted Sam and his brothers to find their mother quickly after the dead ends of the past books.  I liked Sam and Elise individually and I liked them together, but there seemed to be a vital piece of their connection missing. Almost as if "Oh, you're convenient and close to my age.  Sure!  I could totally love you!"  

Maybe because I was disappointed with Sam and Elise that I felt doubly disappointed with the Dowager Duchess's reasons for disappearing.  Wait -- I can understand her reasoning for the initial disappearance, just not her reasoning for staying away.  

The Scoundrel's Seduction is certainly not my favorite from Ms. Haymore, but I do imagine I'll read more of her historical romances.  I was glad everything worked out in the end for the unconventional House of Trent.

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Hachette Book Group, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of The Scoundrel's Seduction.  I also bought a copy of this book.)   

Monday, December 1, 2014

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