This book has an intriguing blurb and the first chapters really hooked me (even though there is some language) so I contin*More like 3.5 stars for me*
This book has an intriguing blurb and the first chapters really hooked me (even though there is some language) so I continued with it. Our heroine, Jane Sullivan, is a widow with a young daughter. She's a budding writer at a writing conference where there are several cover models there. One cover model in particular has all the ladies gushing over him, but all Jane can do is roll her eyes. Lucas Oliver is the epitome of a player and she wants to stay far away from the likes of him. Circumstances keep putting them together, however, and the sparks are flying. But no matter what Lucas makes her feel, Jane feels there is only one love of your life per person and she won't be given a second chance.
Not that Lucas stops trying to change her mind. He's drawn to Jane and her daughter and really wants her to see who he is behind his outward appearance. It was fun in the beginning to see them both try to work through their scars of the past, but there was a lot of sexual innuendo in the first half of the book that moved on to sexual situations (not detailed, fade to black) for the last half. For me, it started to become more about the lust than falling in love, which took a little of the lustre off the book. I felt like the author is good at her craft, but for my taste I wish she would have continued with the back and forth of the first half where the writing and romance shone and less of the sex and a few relationship cliches in the last half. This might not be the case for everyone, obviously, and there were a lot of things about the book to like....more
I've been reading her cozy mysteries with Sadie from the very beginning and I was really sad to see it end. The last book in the series, though, WeddiI've been reading her cozy mysteries with Sadie from the very beginning and I was really sad to see it end. The last book in the series, though, Wedding Cake, really was exceptional. I was so happy to see all of my favorite characters come back and help Sadie solve the biggest mystery of all.
Sadie is getting ready for her long-awaited wedding to Pete Cunningham, but the day before she gets a strange text. An old enemy has come back and she will do anything to turn Sadie's life upside down. Her attacks escalate and while Sadie tries to fight back, her enemy is always one step ahead of her. I loved how feisty Sadie still is, and yet she's not as rash as she once was. She's grown over all these books and investigations. I love how her family rallies around her and even when things go from bad to worse and then to horrible, there is still the unbreakable connection that we've come to love about them all. (I love Sadie's kids. They are such great characters. And we get to see Pete's as well.) Sadie and Pete are two of my favorite characters ever in a book. Their romance is a subtle thread through all of the chaos and yes, I know they are older, but they still make me smile. Every time.
The book ramps up the attacks, the mystery, and the questions of how will Sadie ever get out of this one, and will she even get married at all, with every page. I honestly read it late into the night just because it's one of those that you can't put down until you see how it ends. And while I was sad to see it end, I know this will go on my keeper shelf to read on rainy days. The entire series is well-written, well-plotted, and one I highly recommend. (And they all include yummy recipes that I've never tried, but that look so, so good. One of these days I will go through and try them all I think! I heard there's a Sadie recipe book for it and that will be one I buy just to have them all within easy reach.)
This book was such a great read, I started carrying my Kindle with me everywhere I went "just in case" I had a free second to get in another page or tThis book was such a great read, I started carrying my Kindle with me everywhere I went "just in case" I had a free second to get in another page or two. And when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. It was so good!
There were so many things to like about this book. Lia Carswell is a famous New York artist whose work commands six figure price tags. But when her ex-husband embezzles her money and she feels like she's losing her soul, she retreats to Utah to help her sister who is a single mother trying to go to school, work, and take care of her little girl.
I loved the characterization of Lia. She was so easy to relate to, and her inner demons were ones that made you wonder how you would deal with them if that happened to you. One of the standout things about this novel, though, was the descriptions. The art, the way art made Lia feel, the way her pictures came about, it was so breathtaking. I could completely see it in my head because of the amazing descriptions of the author. She just had a way of making a certain turn of phrase easily create the scene in my head, and yet it didn't come across prose-y or literary. It was just so well-done.
Of course, Ms. Jacobson is known for her witty and fun guy/girl relationships and this book does not disappoint. Lia is now working in a diner to help make ends meet and she has a "regular" customer named Aidan who flirts with her shamelessly. They have a little bet going as to who can make the other one laugh first with the winner buying the orange juice. Lia is totally drawn to him because he's funny and smart, and well, hot, but since he has some of the same characteristics as her ex, she keeps herself fairly aloof. Then there's Lia's neighbor Griff, a guitar-playing, sort of shy guy who might have some potential. He's adorable with her niece Chloe and definitely easy to be with. Some of the funniest scenes were in the diner with all the regulars (including the banter with Aidan) and Lia, but I enjoyed the interactions Lia had with Griff as well---casual and fun. I know I had my druthers in who I wanted to see her with and the author really works the "love triangle" so the reader can experience it all with Lia.
Another thing I enjoyed was Lia's niece. The relationship that Lia has with Chloe is sweet and realistic and Chloe is adorable. Lia's reasons for starting to paint again are completely understandable when you see the relationship these two have and makes you love Lia even more for her sacrifices and the type of sister and aunt she is. Her character was really well-rounded and absolutely made the book. It was more than just a romance, it was a glimpse into Lia's life and choices and growth as a person.
This was the first book I bought in 2015 and it was a good choice. My only complaint was that it ended! I wanted more. Just one more page. An epilogue. Anything! I really do hope we see these characters again in a future book maybe. Perhaps her sister's story? I think that would be awesome....more
I've liked Rachael's books in the past, but I loved this one. I had to stand at my stove to stir my dinner so it wouldn't burn, with my Kindle in my hI've liked Rachael's books in the past, but I loved this one. I had to stand at my stove to stir my dinner so it wouldn't burn, with my Kindle in my hand because I absolutely COULD NOT put it down and needed to see how it ended. It was that good. I would even say it's Ms. Anderson's best work to date.
Our heroine is Emma Makie, a woman who has just taken temporary custody of her two young nieces after their mother passes away. Her old Aunt Maude left her a house that was in need of a lot of work, but since Emma has no money and no job, she moves there. I loved all of Emma's little quirks---like naming her car Sunshine and wanting to take care of her own problems and not take charity. Of course that last trait gets her into trouble when her handsome neighbor tries to step in and help her.
Kevin Grantham is a successful pediatric dentist who likes everything just so. He doesn't like messy and is rolling his eyes at the woman next door who seems to love everything messy. She attempts to do everything on her own from fixing a broken lawn mower or turning the sprinklers on, but every time Kevin tries to help her, he's met with fierce resistance. He can't figure out why---yet something inside him wants to get to know her better.
I loved the interactions between these two. Their dialogue was realistic and funny, their "moments" sweet and sigh-worthy to sassy. Their romance was paced so perfectly, it was a great build and I ended the book with a huge smile on my face. The obstacles were perfect, the resolution was perfect, this book was perfect.
This one is about a pageant queen named Reese Taylor who survives a traumatic shooting and is put in the Witness Protection Program. (Sort of. It's noThis one is about a pageant queen named Reese Taylor who survives a traumatic shooting and is put in the Witness Protection Program. (Sort of. It's not like any Witness Protection I've heard of, but she's on a ranch in Montana with a bunch of ranch hands.) And the owner of the ranch, Blake Emerson, catches Reese's eye immediately.
They are battling their attraction to each other with some fairly steamy kisses, the push/pull of should we/shouldn't we, which was quite enjoyable, actually, when you throw in the ranch hands trying to catch her eye as well, but then the danger finds her and they have to figure out how to keep her safe.
This book had some great tension. I also enjoyed the setting and description of Montana and the ranch. The "southern/western twangs" got a teensy bit overpowering for me at times, but overall I thought the characterization was well-done. I even liked the secondary characters of the ranch hands and their antics. I have to say it was a nice afternoon read and I found out that it's the first in a Sweet Montana Bride series. So, there's more! ...more
I wasn't sure if I would like this book because while it's billed as a medieval historical romance, it also has elements of fantasy in it, and well, tI wasn't sure if I would like this book because while it's billed as a medieval historical romance, it also has elements of fantasy in it, and well, the fantasy genre isn't really my thing. But man, this story sucked me in from the first page, and there's not that much fantasy in it at all, beyond a religious belief system and different names for people and places. (Which I chalked up to the medieval time period, actually.) I really enjoyed this book and read it every chance I got.
We are first introduced to our heroine, Brielle, when she is chosen from a crowd of invaders who are taking over the village and choosing new wives. This could be a horrifying scene, (and sort of is, but it isn't, you just have to read it!) but the commander in charge, the Earl of Irvaine, is pretty humane about everything. He's mysterious and brooding, yet definitely honorable. Which is good, since the King has made a deal with Brielle's treacherous cousin and so Brielle is about to become the Earl of Irvaine's new wife. Of course, the new couple is immediately thrust into a world of chaos as the new Earl is trying to claim his newly awarded properties, figure out a relationship with his new wife, and he learns the hard way who he can and cannot trust.
I have to say this book was really great with the romance. It was a nice build between the two of them, with her being more of a warrior to be by her husband's side. The new Earl of Irvaine wasn't born to nobility, but has worked his way up as a warrior for the king and the Earl is really an awesome hero. Our heroine is no shrinking violet, either, and holds her own in a world of men and dangerous situations all around her.
I loved the pacing of the book between the swordfights, political intrigue with the king and robber barons, and of course, the romance. Very well done. There was a couple loose threads with some secondary characters, but I'm assuming there are going to be more books in the series that will tie those up. The ending was definitely satisfying, though, no cliffhangers here. I thought the setting was believable, the characters memorable, and I would definitely like to read more of this series!...more
This is a continuation of the Saint Squad series, but they're adding a new member. Damian Schmitt is the new guy trying to figure out where he fits onThis is a continuation of the Saint Squad series, but they're adding a new member. Damian Schmitt is the new guy trying to figure out where he fits on the squad exactly, but when his squad deploys without him, he's unsure if he even fits at all. Paige Vickers is Vanessa Johnson's new administrative assistant and she's hiding secrets of her own about why she left nursing and is deathly afraid of guns. When the squad goes missing, it comes down to Damian and Paige going undercover to find them before they're captured or killed.
I thought the story had a solid plot and it was nice to see some of the characters from the other books. I've always liked the team's interaction and the Saint Squad books are my favorites of hers. The one thing that bothered me a bit, though, was that this book had four stories going on simultaneously in really short chapters (what's going on with the squad, Damian and Paige, the bad guys, and Vanessa) so sometimes it seemed really choppy. I would just be getting into the flow when it would suddenly change to another part of the story, so it took a while to get back the flow again, if that makes sense. Also, there were three chapters that started out with Paige bubbling over something. Bubbling with nervousness, bubbling with energy, etc. Sort of funny, in a way. But I think it's a good addition to the Saint Squad series and the new characters were fun to read about. The tension is high through pretty much the whole book and the ending was definitely sigh-worthy.
This book is about two people who have been widowed, yet are left with different scars and feelings about marriage and relationships in general.
CassieThis book is about two people who have been widowed, yet are left with different scars and feelings about marriage and relationships in general.
Cassie was in a restrictive marriage to a man who presented himself as the perfect fiancee, but after they were married, he pretty much told her who she was and what she wanted. Now that he's gone, Cassie is trying to find herself again and figure out why she didn't see what her husband really was before she married him. She's distanced herself from everyone she loves and is trying to find her way back, even though she's not sure she really can. I loved how realistic Cassie seemed while she struggled and sorted through her feelings as she tried to rebuild her life.
Noah was in a great marriage, but lost his wife, leaving him a single father with two sweet little girls. He's not looking to date since he's not sure he could love anyone like he loved his wife. But he has well-meaning neighbors and friends who want him to be happy and play matchmaker for him. And they know Cassie would possibly fit the bill if he can give her a chance. Noah is the hero you love to read about and the scenes between him and his girls were adorable. I loved how unsure he was of himself at times, and yet he was confident, too. Just the right mix of swoon and swagger.
I loved the growth I saw in both characters as they try to overcome their fears and hangups and slowly come to trust and love again. Their romance was just the right pace, slow and sweet. I laughed at the "upgrade" dates and sighed at the ice cream date. If you want a sweet romance that will leave you with a smile on your face, this is the book for you.
I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when I picked up this book, but I loved it! It's discussing what we can learn from the "bad guys" of the Bible liI wasn't exactly sure what to expect when I picked up this book, but I loved it! It's discussing what we can learn from the "bad guys" of the Bible like Satan, Cain, and Nimrod, and goes on to talk about bullies like Goliath and Sanballat to name just a few. There were so many insights that can be applied to life in our day, things I'd never really thought about, that it kept me turning pages!
I also loved that Gaunt has a warm, conversational tone that really made this book stand out. It wasn't preachy or condescending at all, it felt like he was this really smart, cool guy sharing stuff he'd been thinking about lately. I definitely want my teenagers to read this, not only because they could learn something about how to deal with all the stuff they are bombarded with every day in our society, but also because I think some of the way the subject matter is presented will make them laugh. It's an awesome twist to look at the bad guys for a change and what makes them tick and how to overcome whatever they dish out. It's no wonder Mr. Gaunt is a sought after youth speaker! His personality shines through even on a printed page.
I would definitely recommend this one for teens and adults....more
This one caught my eye because it's unlike any historical romance I've ever heard of. It's about a surgeon's daughter, Abby, who is buying corpses froThis one caught my eye because it's unlike any historical romance I've ever heard of. It's about a surgeon's daughter, Abby, who is buying corpses from "resurrectionists" (people who dig up the recently deceased) to use for medical purposes. Her father's medical college is suffering at the shortage of bodies to dissect so she arranges to buy some under the table. Only she gets in trouble with a gang who steals her entire purse and the last gift her mother gives her. And then to add insult to injury, they steal the cadaver back.
She decides to follow after them and steal her money back since that purse contained the funds the college needed to keep going for the next few months. And she gets caught by the gang, but not before the handsome and seemingly cultured de facto leader decides to put her under his protection.
And that's where the story got good. You see, our hero, Max, is really a member of the nobility disguising himself in the resurrectionist gang to find his half-sister Madeline. Of course, Abby presents a big problem to Max if he doesn't want to compromise his cover. There are so many great twists and turns as they try to find out what happened to Madeline and figure out what to do about the growing attraction between them. Again, there are several sex scenes in this one as well, but thankfully they are brief and easy to skip. The best part, of course, was the happy ending (I'm a sucker for those) and while some don't like neat and tidy endings, I do and really enjoyed this one....more
I think this one has become a new Bellon family favorite. It shows the true meaning of Christmas and makes me tear up every time I read it! It's the I think this one has become a new Bellon family favorite. It shows the true meaning of Christmas and makes me tear up every time I read it! It's the story of Sam who is having a hard time providing a Christmas for his family, but he doesn't want "charity" from his neighbors. He sits up with a shotgun across his lap to make sure nothing gets dropped by, but somehow gifts and a Christmas dinner are left anyway. Sam doesn't let his family touch any of it and instead calls the sheriff. Surprisingly, the sheriff comes out and talks to Sam, pointing out that there's no footprints in the snow. How would any of his neighbors hide that? Sam finally accepts the gifts and thinks about the scripture given of doing our alms in secret. He then turns his life around to start doing his own "alms in secret" and longs for a time when he can pay it forward at Christmas to someone else's family. That opportunity comes and boy, I didn't expect the ending. A sweet story that will definitely put some Christmas spirit into your home.
This new historical romance by Michele Holmes caught my eye right away. Our heroine, Grace Thatcher, is on a husband-finding tour to satisfy her gamblThis new historical romance by Michele Holmes caught my eye right away. Our heroine, Grace Thatcher, is on a husband-finding tour to satisfy her gambler father, but she's doing everything she can to make sure no gentleman will offer for her. For example, she puts on breeches and rides on a fox hunt and gets thrown from a horse and pays a doctor to say she can't bear children. Her master plan is to buy some time until her inheritance from her deceased grandfather, a duke, comes through, and she can take her brother and sister far away from their father and live quietly in a cottage by themselves.
Grace's plans go awry when she's in a carriage accident on a dark and stormy night and becomes desperately ill. She finds refuge in the house of Lord Sutherland, but because of a big misunderstanding, he thinks she's trying to trap him into marriage. Grace becomes embroiled in a love triangle that had me turning pages to see how it all turned out. (Those are the best kind of love triangles, when it could go either way!) I loved our hero's transformation, the reveal of the family secrets, but most of all I loved Grace. She was a wonderful heroine who rose above her circumstances and did the best she could to help those around her, even when it probably wasn't the best idea.
I'm anxiously looking forward to more of the Hearthfire romances from this author. Well worth the read!...more
This book starts out in the introduction with the author and her daughter driving down the road and her daughter says, "Mom, you believe in Jesus andThis book starts out in the introduction with the author and her daughter driving down the road and her daughter says, "Mom, you believe in Jesus and I believe in Santa Claus." That makes the author think back to all the traditions and everything they'd been doing to get ready for Santa's visit and how they may have missed the most important reason for the season.
The thing I liked best about this book is that Ms. Freeman's idea (that she tells how to do in the book in order to have a Christ-centered Christmas) is easily adaptable to my family. Anyone can do this and it's simple and sweet and meaningful. She goes through and explains how she makes her family Christmas truly special by using the figurines in a Nativity scene. Each chapter has the author's perspective and thoughts, an activity, story, and scripture in the book that could be read and pondered before you put the figurine in its place as you build the nativity. I loved how easy it was and how relatable the stories were. I can definitely envision myself doing this and making it a Bellon family tradition. This is a short and sweet book that touched me and I know you'll want to have it, too!...more