But the five star rating is for Home for the Holidays by Sarah Mayberry.
I’m continually impressed by Sarah Mayberry’s level of character development and the realistic, honest drama that’s conveyed in her stories. And she wowed me once again with this sweet, emotive story of a hot, responsible widower with two kids trying to forge a tentative, yet hopeful friendship (and then inevitable relationship) with his sexy new neighbor.
After losing his wife 2 years ago, Joe Lawson never expected to find love and happiness again, especially with an independent younger woman who’s a bold spitfire like tomboy biker and mechanic Hannah Napier, but life is full of surprises and Hannah might be exactly what Joe and his family needs. I loved everything about this story. Joe makes such a swoon-worthy, wonderful hero, Hannah is a strong, yet vulnerable heroine, Joe’s troubled, grief-stricken 13-year-old son Ben and adorable, spirited 10-year-old daughter Ruby add depth to the story, the relationship progression between Joe and Hannah is realistically paced, and the romance is steamy, yet tender.
Home for the Holidays is a heartwarming contemporary romance that packs a real emotional wallop and had me shedding a few tears more than once. I highly recommend this engaging, touching quick read romance that’s a perfect story for the holiday season. 5 stars!
This is a total train wreck (or horrific motorcycle accident), but it’s also wildly, chocolate coated crack addictive! I...more5 stars – Contemporary Romance
This is a total train wreck (or horrific motorcycle accident), but it’s also wildly, chocolate coated crack addictive! It has a somewhat Kristen Ashley vibe but ramped up about 500% in the crazy department. Seriously, the characters in this story make the people on Jerry Springer seem tame and normal.
It’s no holds barred rough, raw, crude, brutal, and violent with crazy characters, cheating galore, a hero who gives new meaning and an A+ distinction to uber A+lpha and A+sshat, and a heroine who makes ridiculously, repeatedly stupid choices. I wanted to smack them both silly several times. (view spoiler)[Deuce’s random whore banging and the way he treated Eva when she was pregnant was appallingly, unforgivably awful. And Eva’s pathological love, forgiveness, and codependency for Frankie was creepy and disturbing, not to mention the twisted, sexual mess she got herself into with Chase. (hide spoiler)] These people should be on posters for STD screening.
Yet despite all the vulgarity and wacky chaos, I was absolutely absorbed from beginning to end and exhaustively entertained. And even though the H/h drove me batty with all their insane drama, I was still captivated and rooting for their HEA. Perhaps I shouldn’t have enjoyed this so much, but surprisingly, shamelessly, I did.
Kristen Ashley has without a doubt earned the best/most of everything for 2012 (addictive stories, unforgettable...more5 stars – Contemporary Erotic Romance
Kristen Ashley has without a doubt earned the best/most of everything for 2012 (addictive stories, unforgettable heroes, and moving epilogues) and is easily one of my all-time favorite authors. Her books completely beguile me every single time and this was certainly no exception. Never mind that I had boxes to unpack or a gazillion other things to do because Creed simply demanded my full attention...and boy howdy, he got it! I simply couldn’t put it down!
This actually started off a little bit rocky and I wasn’t quite sure what to think. But then around the 28% mark, everything started falling into place and I ended up loving it! Creed and Sylvie are both broken and battered with horribly tragic pasts, but they find healing and forgiveness through their resilient, enduring, and unconquerable love for each other. They’re memorable, unique characters, and I adored them together.
I loved Knight and Creed, and it’s hard to decide which I liked better. Both have compelling, strong, albeit very distinctive, heroes, and although related, they’re still very different books; so it’s probably best not to compare the two. Having said that, this definitely left me more emotionally satisfied than Knight, probably because there’s a definitive, more traditional, hard-won HEA.
Bottom line, Kristen Ashley is an author goddess and she’s once again made me a very happy romance reader! Big 5 stars!
The epilogue...of course. KA is the queen of heartwarming, mushy, gushy, and can’t-get-enough-of-it epilogues, and Creed left me smiling and wiping away tears.
Creed naming his kids (view spoiler)[with another woman the same names that he and Sylvie had planned on (hide spoiler)] made my heart break. Talk about a hot poker to the chest! His reasoning was awful, twisted, beautiful, and tragic, and although things eventually worked out, it was still hard to take.
After waiting so long for the flashback scene to reveal the moment that Sylvie (view spoiler)[finally lost her virginity to Creed (hide spoiler)], I was very disappointed that it faded to black.
I think it’s a bit misleading that this series falls in the Unfinished Hero series that’s described as erotic romances with anti-heroes because Creed is without a doubt an honorable man and a full-fledged hero, and it’s really not all that erotic.
This is a pretty good debut, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style and the witty banter between the H/h and the...more3 stars – Historical/Regency Romance
This is a pretty good debut, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style and the witty banter between the H/h and the siblings. It features some of my favorite plot devices...heroine crushing on older brother’s best friend, childhood friends/sweethearts maturing over amusing, flirtatious correspondence, seemingly unrequited love, and quirky family relationships.
Unfortunately, the deception, intrigue, mystery, and suspense part of the storyline didn’t work as well and that combined with the fact that Benedict and Evie share nothing more than a few kisses dragged down my rating. The HEA felt rushed and just wasn’t as sweet or satisfying enough for me without a single love scene between the H/h. (view spoiler)[Evie’s pregnancy in the epilogue would have been more meaningful if their romantic and sexual union had been shared with the reader. (hide spoiler)] That’s this avid romance reader’s modest opinion, anyhow.
This is my favorite in the fun, ridiculously zany, wild ride Rock Chick series so far. V...more4 ½-5 stars – Chick lit/Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
This is my favorite in the fun, ridiculously zany, wild ride Rock Chick series so far. Vance is another yummy, KAmazing alpha hero, and he and Jules were smokin’ hot together!
I liked Jules and found her far less irritating than previous Rock Chicks, Indy, Jet, and Roxie, but she definitely had numerous aggravating moments. Her inner Rottweiler, constant threats about breaking up with Vance, and routinely bragging about being such a kickass “The Law” mamma jamma were really annoying. As far as I’m concerned, Vance has the patience of a saint.
The love triangle went a bit too far for my taste, so I’m knocking off half a star for that and some Jules irritation. Otherwise, it’s a highly entertaining read with some emotional moments that made me tear up a few times. 4 ½-5 stars!
Although his hair isn’t quite long enough, this is definitely my Vance Ouray Crowe.
I really enjoyed this, and it’s definitely an improvement over the last couple of books in the series. Nolan and Eve w...more4 ½ stars – Contemporary Romance
I really enjoyed this, and it’s definitely an improvement over the last couple of books in the series. Nolan and Eve were a lot of fun together and their romance was engaging and steamy. I loved the snappy dialogue and funny banter between all the characters. Nolan and Eve’s Oktoberfest outing was fantastic...one of the best date scenes that I’ve read.
Nolan was such a sweet, goofy, playful, easygoing, charming, fun-loving, and all around nice guy and an almost too good to be true hero. He was also extremely patient, insightful, and understanding when it came to Eve and there were countless times I thought it was amazing that he not only put up with and accepted her grumpy, snippy demeanor but actually found it adorable and endearing. Eve was insecure, crabby, sarcastic, surly, and often times outright bitchy, but I found her internal contemplation, constant worrying, and cranky-pants personality genuine and pretty damn funny at times.
Other than being dissatisfied with the abrupt ending and lack of an epilogue, Jacked Up was a highly enjoyable read. This is when I wish there were half star ratings on GR because this isn’t a 5 star read but it’s better than a 4...so solid 4 ½ stars.
This quote pretty much sums up opposites attract Nolan and Eve.
He was a glass half full kind of person and she was…what? The glass is going to break before you can even pour kind of person. Yikes.
I’d never read anything by this author previously, but the premise and racy cover had me very intrigued indeed....more4 ½ stars – Historical/Regency Romance
I’d never read anything by this author previously, but the premise and racy cover had me very intrigued indeed. I mean a Regency Mr. and Mrs. Smith?! I couldn’t wait!
I’m happy to report that this lived up to my expectations. It’s an entertaining, sexy, adventurous spy romp with a dynamic H/H and an energetic mix of fun, action, drama, snappy dialogue, witty banter, and emotional, steamy romance.
Lord and Lady Smythe might be married, but years of secrets, lies, and emotional disappointments have estranged their relationship and left their union little more than a pretense. This suits their purposes fine since unbeknownst to each other, they’ve been masquerading for years as top spies for the crown. But when they find out each other’s identity and are forced to work together? Sparks and bullets fly and the Smythe’s discover that falling for one’s spouse might be the most dangerous mission of all.
Always listen to your instincts. I had a hunch about the killer in book one, If You Hear Her, and thought Puck confirme...more4-4 ½ stars – Romantic Suspense
Always listen to your instincts. I had a hunch about the killer in book one, If You Hear Her, and thought Puck confirmed it for me with his whimpering/growling around a certain character. Then so much happened in the second book, If You See Her, that I became confused and second-guessed myself, but my original deduction was right.
The romance between Law and Nia felt a bit rushed and wasn’t quite as convincing as the other couples of the trilogy (Lena and Ezra and Hope and Remy), but they were definitely smokin’ hot together. With steamy sex scenes and creepy suspense, If You Know Her is a satisfying ending to the series.(less)
Books like this lovely, heartwarming gem make me grateful for Goodreads, which has enabled me to make such great...more5+ stars – Historical/Regency Romance
Books like this lovely, heartwarming gem make me grateful for Goodreads, which has enabled me to make such great friends who share my passion for romance and happily ever afters and to discover so many wonderful new-to-me authors.
Nearly a Lady is such a delightful, beautiful, emotional, sweet story that’s all the more powerful because of its quiet, honest simplicity and endearing characters who steal your heart. The genuine friendship and tender, gradual romance between generous, guarded, tortured war veteran hero Gideon and quirky, iron-willed, compassionate country maiden Winnefred is one of the most engaging and touching I’ve read in a while.
Winnefred, who’d much prefer strolling in the countryside with her beloved pet goat Claire than promenading in crowded ballrooms of the ton, is a plucky, funny, utterly lovable, and unforgettable heroine. And she and her reluctant protector and hero, Gideon, are absolutely enchanting together and perfect for each other in every way. Their relationship reminded me a little of Beatrix and Christopher from Lisa Kleypas’s Love in the Afternoon...both feature a spirited, eccentric, nature-and-animal-loving heroine and PTSD-suffering war veteran hero...but Nearly a Lady has a charming splendor all its own.
The secondary romance between Winnefred’s best friend Lilly and Gideon’s brother Lucien was yummy icing on the already delicious cake, and even though I was somewhat surprised and a tad disappointed that it was wrapped up in this, it was still a nice addition to the story.
This is a truly remarkable reminder of how sometimes the simplest stories can be the most affecting and of why I love romance and HEAs so much. 5 sweetly satisfied stars!
Gideon’s appraisal of Winnefred’s unique charms:
He didn’t want another man seeing—really seeing—Winnefred.
Whether she was in a complicated ball gown or a simple dress, he was the only man who truly saw her. He knew that beneath the fragile silk was the steel spine of a woman who’d confronted a thief in her stable and beaten him to the ground. He knew that behind the soft smile was the unconquerable will that had kept two women alive on five pounds a year. Well-rehearsed manners hid a brash tongue, and the excuse of a headache would keep quiet the fact she was graceless as a lumbering army. Only he knew the simple, wild beauty of her. It was a treasure he wanted to hoard. She was a secret he wanted to keep all to himself.
He was being unreasonable and he knew it. But even as he berated himself for being a dog in the manger, he scowled as Winnefred laughed at something Gratley said. And he wasn’t sure if it was better or worse when Gratley laughed at something Winnefred said in return. He only knew he didn’t like it.
“Do you want to be?” “In love with you?” He straightened, took a chance, and reached for her hand. The flame grew a little brighter when she didn’t pull away. “Yes. It terrifies me. The idea of children terrifies me. The thought that something might happen to you, that I might let something happen to you, absolutely terrifies me, and always will.” He gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “I wouldn’t be rid of that fear for any price. Because to lose it would be to lose you, and the possibility of our children. I . . . I want it—you and children and every moment of fear and happiness that comes with being in love. I want it. All of it.”