I’ve groused in a few reviews that I’m sometimes not happy with stories that make me wait until the last quarter of the book for the hero and heroine...moreI’ve groused in a few reviews that I’m sometimes not happy with stories that make me wait until the last quarter of the book for the hero and heroine to hit the sheets. I’m all for sexual tension in a story, but sometimes don’t you wish all that passion, all that lust, all that tension would just belt you big time and the characters feed off it the rest of the way? Well, get ready for this latest book from HelenKay Dimon. Big-time belt right off the bat.
Chemistry doesn’t have a thing on Lincoln and Thea. You meet them when he pushes her up against the wall in his office, something Thea’s been wanting and waiting for since she became his assistant. Sexual harassment? Ha! Doesn’t mean a thing because Thea is as hungry for Linc as he is for her. Linc does try to do the right thing, but as determined as Thea is after so many months of wanting this man, he doesn’t stand a chance. That first scene is fierce and frenzied between them, and that sets the pace for the rest of the book, despite what happens to them – the very next day.
There’s been a breach in the company’s information, a mole in their midst, and everything points to Thea. Without asking for an explanation, with a heavy heart, Linc has his beautiful betrayer escorted from the building. He has doubts, he knows Thea and her ethics, but how can he refute the evidence? It’s completely damning. In the aftermath of all the drama, Linc is no good at work, his friends, or for himself. Deciding he has to talk with Thea, find out what she has to say, he discovers she’s left the city with no trail to follow.
Thea’s life only goes into a further spin after her termination, and now Linc is on her doorstep after putting one over on a visiting friend. Having to nearly force himself over the threshold to see her, Linc suddenly realizes what he’s lost and will do anything to get her back. But Thea is hiding something and she’s not sure her secret is what they need between them right now. But I love these scenes that have them vacillating from anger to hunger at the drop of a hat. The emotion is high amid sassy banter and intense loving. And there’s a lot of forgiveness going on along with it all.
I’m so totally hooked on HelenKay Dimon’s books. I have fun, I laugh, and I run the emotional gamut in nearly every scene. Her characters are always charming and real, and I have such a good time with them. Every time. I won’t be missing any of her books in the future.
So far I’ve really enjoyed all of M. Leighton’s books that I’ve read over the past year. I especially enjoyed Trick, the hero of the first book in thi...moreSo far I’ve really enjoyed all of M. Leighton’s books that I’ve read over the past year. I especially enjoyed Trick, the hero of the first book in this series, The Wild Ones. So I was all set to dive right into whatever this new book had store in for me, but early on I had some hesitation about it all. Was I already comparing it to TWO and finding it lacking? Already comparing Jake to Trick and finding him lacking? Maybe. But pushing my doubt to the back of my mind and allowing the story to take me where it will is what makes the difference between a good author and a great author.
Laney is having a big relationship problem. Caught her fiance cheating – with her best friend. So she’s come home to spend time with her parents while she completes the job of surveying the Theopolis family holdings since the death of the patriarch. With her dream of getting married and having a family down the drain, Laney is more than willing to follow Jake Theopolis over to the wild side, especially when her preacher father begins to stick his nose into every nook and cranny of her life.
Living for the adrenaline rush whenever he can get it, firefighter Jake is making sure his greedy relatives don’t get hold of his father’s peach orchard, despite the fact that neither he nor his sister will stick around once everything is settled. Jake has learned he can’t love and he’s definitely not lovable by anyone outside his family. Running into sexy, good-two-shoes Laney Holt makes him want to break down that good-girl reputation something fierce. So without a backward glance or an apology for it, he goes for the big prize.
What they both get is what they never expected. The more Laney lets herself fall into Jake and the more adventure she experiences with him, the more confused she gets about what she now wants in life. Nothing is the same now that she’s on the outs with her parents over their treatment of Jake and she’s been with him constantly. Jake, on the other hand, knows what they have is only temporary and he makes sure Laney knows that too. But is it really? He can’t get her out of his head, can’t get enough of her no matter what. I love the way Laney looks at life through Jake and isn’t afraid to try whatever it is he throws her way. And though he’s a bad boy through and through, Jake is also a gentleman, even if he won’t admit it. He’s the better man in those scenes with Laney’s father.
There’s one of those other kind of bad boys, one who schemes and manipulates to get his way no matter who he hurts. I really wanted to kill that jerk. Other secondary characters at least take the chance to become better people when they realize how wrong they are. I’m glad we get to catch up with Trick and Cami. Being my favorite bad boy and after really getting to know Jake, it was possible Trick might end up toppled from his pedestal, but not quite.
So what is it that caused my hesitation early on? The beginning is just a bit too slow for me. The little bit of history between Jake and Laney that we’re given right off the bat I don’t feel is needed, and that’s what slowed me down. Also, it takes time to warm up to both characters because of that slowness, but once their layers begin to peel away, I couldn’t stop reading. Ms. Leighton is so very good at pulling the reader into her characters’ lives, whether it’s upfront and in your face or a nice, steady climb up that small molehill-mountain that makes all the difference in how they’re viewed by the end. Nicely done!
I’m definitely a Catherine Anderson fan, so I was really amazed the first couple of chapters of this book fell flat for me. Guess I shouldn’t say that...moreI’m definitely a Catherine Anderson fan, so I was really amazed the first couple of chapters of this book fell flat for me. Guess I shouldn’t say that about angels, but they’re a bit too dry for me and I felt myself losing interest in the story. But I kept reading, and am I ever so glad I did. Ms. Anderson eventually brought me to tears, a complete turnaround from the beginning.
Gabe Valance is a gunslinger, moving from place to place to avoid over-confident youngsters trying to make a name for themselves in bringing him down. In Random, Colorado that happens on Christmas morning when Gabe is cut down, the last thing he sees a beautiful angel’s face in a candlelit window above where he lies as he takes his last breath. But the next thing he knows he’s facing God’s angels who give him options to save his soul for the hereafter. Not really believing this is happening, Gabe chooses Nan Hoffman, a local seamstress who needs help in finding herself again. He might as well have some fun over the next month with a beauty like her, especially considering all the restrictions the angels throw at him.
Having run from the collusion of her father and fiance, Nan and her sister traveled from the East Coast to Random, where opportunity gave them just what they needed to start over, keeping their secrets and living low to avoid detection. Just as she’s beginning to feel safe and she lets her guard down a bit, a man bursts into her life, demanding she marry him or he’ll spill all of her secrets to the sheriff. Not like being blackmailed one bit by this gunslinger, Nan really has no choice. She marries Gabe, all the while planning how she and Laney can run again if and when the time comes.
I absolutely love Gabe. Though his calling is not what he’d ever dreamed in his life, he deals with it as optimistically as possible. He lives life the same way, smiling and laughing as often as possible. That hasn’t kept him from sinning, though, through the years, so now’s his chance to do some good. While he starts out doing whatever necessary to get Nan to comply with his dictates, as he gets to know this strong, independent woman, he hates he’s had to lie to her, blackmail her, among other things to get what he wants as fast as he can. Nan learns to laugh once she begins to trust Gabe, a man of his word so far – something she’s never experienced. Gabe receives so many firsts of his life with Nan, including his first Thanksgiving, all things he never had as a child of a prostitute.
When they decide to make their marriage real, it’s Gabe who puts a stop to it all – he can’t go forward with lies between them. Ranting at the angels who have now abandoned him, Gabe makes the momentous decision to tell Nan all and hope she believes him. There’s only a few days left before history repeats itself, leaving Nan on her own once again. He wants those days to be perfect for them both. And these days just before Christmas are perfect, especially after he breaks a few rules which relieves his guilt that plagued him as a bystander in his own life. As D-day approaches, despite anything done to change fate, Nan is faced with losing Gabe just as he told her it would happen. But, of course, there are plenty of twists because you know our hero can’t die. I enjoyed all these scenes at the end, which is where I ended up misty eyed with all the emotion between these characters who now know exactly what it is to love wholeheartedly and unconditionally.
So I’m very, very glad I hung in there with this book, despite the shaky start for me. Ms. Anderson writes a wonderful western with characters who are honorable and take life’s lessons to heart.
This is a book I picked up, not intending to review it. But when I began reading the first few pages, just to get a feel for Cheryl Bolen’s writing be...moreThis is a book I picked up, not intending to review it. But when I began reading the first few pages, just to get a feel for Cheryl Bolen’s writing because I’ve not read her before, I couldn’t stop. Mystery, historical and present day; murder; and a romance that seems unlikely but grows nonetheless. The only reason this book does not get a higher grade is the way a few too many things go unanswered by the end. But if you’re into history and mysteries, it may work for you.
Antoinia is a doctoral student researching secret Catholic families in England after the abolishment of Catholicism. Finding Siddley’s curator murdered in his office, Antonia is the primary suspect. It’s Frederick Percy, earl of Siddley Hall, who believes in her innocence and agrees to work with her to prove it. And also help her find the Percy monstrance, an historical artifact that has been lost for centuries. There’s immediate attraction between them, but they keep their distance, Frederick not wanting to yet marry – despite his fiance all but picked out for him – and Antonia an American who’s out of his league. If they find the monstrance, it should exonerate Antonia and they’ll go their separate ways.
Thus begins the journey to a number of castles over the English countryside as they try to rebuild Antonia’s notes that were lost when her computer was stolen. Keeping her from the murderer is also foremost in Frederick’s mind, once kidnapping attempts and other equally frightening events begin to happen to Antonia. Amid all the hypothesizing and hunting, the attraction between them grows more and more, leading to a few kisses along the way.
Now comes the point where questions begin to rise for the reader. Who’s the murderer? You think you know, then you don’t. Once that is revealed, there’s too many things left unsaid. Frederick and Antonia stay a step ahead of the killer until the end, discover the whereabouts of the monstrance, but once the culprit is taken into custody, there’s nothing more about the artifact, what happens to it, whether Frederick keeps it or not, and a whole host of other things. Then there’s the relationship between these two. I expected them to finally express their feelings for one another and move on in love. Nothing even close happens. There’s not even enough information given for the reader to create their own epilogue after the last word is read. Very frustrating. In fact, all of this had me furiously typing in the author’s web site address to find out if there’s another book featuring Frederick and Antonia. There’s not. :(
So with all of that, it’s just too much for a higher grade. Ms. Bolen does keep the suspense high, along with the historical aspects of the story, which I enjoyed quite a bit, even though the romance takes a backseat to it. It’s interesting and the author does a terrific job of interweaving that history without becoming boring. I also like the modern-day earl getting involved where most nobility wouldn’t. If you’re in the mood for an all-consuming romance, don’t read this book at that time. Wait until you’re in an historical mood and you’ll have one grand time.
Every now and again a short story is just what you need to get through a slight reading slump when other books aren’t working for you. That’s happened...moreEvery now and again a short story is just what you need to get through a slight reading slump when other books aren’t working for you. That’s happened for me with this story from Lilian Darcy. This is a light, quick read that’s full of romance, along with tragedy to show these characters how fragile life really is and to hold on with both hands to grab what happiness and love you can.
We start with Kate and Harrison in 1996 when they first begin running into each other in Marietta, Montana. Harrison is the local sheriff, on the job for only about a year. Kate is a high school teacher who helps her brother, along with his wife and five kids, on the family ranch, but it’s time she moved on with a place of her own in town. When Harrison pulls Kate over for the third time, there’s an awareness between them that’s not happened before and can’t be quenched by his calmness that usually affects Kate. This latest run-in gets them both thinking of the other more and more, and when Kate takes a look at the property Harrison is selling due to his divorce, there’s definitely some sparks that can’t be denied.
When they finally have that first date, which is full of fun, good food, and conversation, they’re both so turned on they can hardly wait to get to Harrison’s place. Sexual tension is high, as is the frustration for both them and the reader when the unexpected happens. After resolving their individual issues and taking their time to get together, it’s a simple misunderstanding that nearly costs them everything. At first, though, I was a bit miffed at Kate for doing such assuming, but I can understand why she’d jump to such conclusions, especially because she has no idea about Harrison’s about-face in his plans.
But then it’s prom night in Marietta, and tragedy strikes, with Kate in the middle of it and Harrison once again that calming influence, despite carrying out one of the most difficult aspects of his job. I really enjoyed Kate and Harrison and their respective vulnerabilities, but then going after what they want no matter what. Though this is a spin-off of the Copper Mountain series where there’s another MacCreadie story, along with a number of other great reads, you don’t have to have read them to begin with this first book in the River Bend series. This is a good start to the series to get to know the characters and to get a feel for the town. Montana has some surprises in store for romance readers!
Lorraine Heath has done it again. Of course, there was never any doubt in my mind. In this new series, she’s taken on the children of those we’ve come...moreLorraine Heath has done it again. Of course, there was never any doubt in my mind. In this new series, she’s taken on the children of those we’ve come to love in her Scoundrels of St. James series, and as usual her characters immediately throw angst and emotion your way, levying up secrets that cause doubt, all the while paving the way for that love of a lifetime to show them they’re much stronger than they ever realized.
Grace knows it’s time for her to marry, and she’s got scads of suitors to choose from. Why, then, is she hesitating making a choice? She wants an all-consuming love like her parents have, someone who wants her for herself and not that very generous dowry waiting in the wings. But how can she tell who’s true and who’s not? It’s time she found out.
Knowing it might be like spitting in the wind, Grace goes to her friend and first crush, the Duke of Lovingdon. He’s left polite society behind these last two years since the death of his beloved wife and daughter. Now the perfect debauched rake, his drinking and whoring are legendary. It’s the only way, you see, to keep the grief at bay, to make sure no one else can burrow into his heart where there is no room for another to love.
To Grace, who better to ask than this new Lovingdon – perhaps she can also quietly make him see reason to be once again the man who cares about his family and living the life he was meant to. But Lovingdon refuses her request – at first. He has no idea how persistent Grace is in this particular matter, because this is something she simply needs to know, having very good reason in fact – something even Lovingdon doesn’t know about her.
I love a tortured hero, and Lovingdon becomes much more tortured as his feelings for Grace grow through the story. He wants her, he nearly has her a time or two, but he makes himself walk away because he knows he just can’t have her after the love he’s already known. He has not one thing to offer her, and that deep of a love can’t happen again for a man, can it? Grace is about to help him figure that out.
As usual, Lorraine Heath gives readers a fascinating couple who have a history, a wonderful rapport, and a love that is slowly eased out of them to bloom at full impact when it’s least convenient. We also get a glimpse of the original characters who began the entire series and it’s nice to catch up with them. I’m glad Ms. Heath has decided to go this way with a new generation of those sexy and sensuous scoundrels we love to read about.
I discovered Jessica Scott when I read her I’ll Be Home for Christmas during the past holiday season, and I fell in love with her military heroes. Sin...moreI discovered Jessica Scott when I read her I’ll Be Home for Christmas during the past holiday season, and I fell in love with her military heroes. Since I can’t get to the earlier books in the series just yet, I’m determined at least to keep up with the series as it moves on from here. Meeting Trent and Laura in that previous book, I’ve been curious what’s behind Trent’s distance from his wife and what’s going to happen to them. While there aren’t too many surprises in store, what we get is much better – a look inside at how our service members give everything they’ve got and how that affects everything in their lives from that point on. Poignant scenes between husband and wife, father and children, and soldiers and their superiors.
Trent has had guilt running through him no matter what he does and which way he turns. He’s been deploying due to his need to be with his men since his team lost members. However, he’s been less than honest with his wife about those deployments. Now he’s facing court martial and divorce. One he knows how it came about, the other he’s still trying to figure out what went wrong. Even now that he’s home, he hasn’t been able to walk through his front door. He’s forgotten how to be a husband and he never really learned how to be a father, being gone most of his kids’ lives. Biting the bullet, Trent enters counseling and finally goes home to face the biggest challenge of his life.
Once she learns the truth behind Trent’s deployments, Laura has had enough. She and the children aren’t enough for the man to come home to, she’s raising the kids on her own, so she takes steps to continue to do so – literally. But Trent refuses to sign the divorce papers, and when she’s approached to help him fight the court martial, she takes the bargaining chip for what it is to cut the last ties of a life neither of them seems to want anymore.
The emotion that runs through this series is so heartfelt. You can’t help but feel for the characters as the story goes along, wanting so much for their pain and loneliness to stop and their long-lost happiness to return. Because life isn’t easy, especially the life of a military family, Trent has to work extra hard on two fronts to make even the smallest headway in the amends he owes his family. There are wonderful scenes each time he opens up to Laura, letting her in to his turmoil, something he’s not been able to do in the past. I love the scenes between Trent and his children, even the ones that don’t go well. He has a lot of learning to do and those kids put him through his paces.
As Trent and Laura deal with the fallout of their life, everyday life also intervenes, pushing and pulling them both every which way, making them go from a delicate new-found hope that things just might work between them to the doubt that’s lived with them for so long. It’s a roller coaster for them and the reader. There’s added betrayal of the military that Trent has given so much to, another emotional hurdle he must get through and Laura must understand for them to come out on the other side.
Though I discovered this series late, I’m enjoying the characters and stories a lot. It’s that emotional upheaval that Ms. Scott does so well and that I crave when I read. I’m now definitely hooked and will keep reading each new book. Since I’m late in reading and reviewing this one, I have the last two waiting in the wings – a situation a reader usually doesn’t have, because we’re usually clamoring for more before the author can get more written. Therefore, I’m going to savor every last word.
I’m a huge sucker for a sexy cowboy, so you can imagine my delight at all the new fun coming out of Tule Publishing Group with their western-themed se...moreI’m a huge sucker for a sexy cowboy, so you can imagine my delight at all the new fun coming out of Tule Publishing Group with their western-themed series taking place in Montana. This is just the beginning for this new publishing company, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the future. But in the meantime, I’m in cowboy heaven.
Rainey Brown is a hairsylist in South Carolina. Her boyfriend of four years is a minor league baseball player. He comes home every so often, they go at each other like crazy, and then he hurries off to the next round of games hither and yon across the country. While Rainey sits at home and pines for a life with him. Now, most of the time when presented with heroine similar to Rainey, one who keeps putting up with a guy’s crap, I’m like most of you and I’d be labeling her stupid as a post. But Rainey is a scrapper and she knows when to say when and make her jerk sit up and make a decision about life. And he doesn’t know it yet. That’s the best part.
So Raney heads out for Missoula, Montana, where Jerk is currently working. Before she can get there, though, her car breaks down and she’s rescued by a dream of a cowboy, Beck Harnett. Now Beck, he’s a double whammy for me. On top of all that cowboy business, he’s a chef. Owns a restaurant and all. That’s an unrealized dream of mine, to be a chef, so instead I love food and I indulge often, especially the fancy and the delicious, all of which Beck serves up for Rainey once they meet. Ms. Boykin does a terrific job of giving the reader emotion through senses other than the sexual.
It’s going to take only five days for Rainey’s car to be repaired – and that’s pushing it when Beck asks the mechanic for the favor of stretching it out – so he has to up his game to make her see she belongs with him. And he does one hell of a terrific job, seducing her at every turn through every one of her senses. He comes this close to his goal, and then everything goes to hell and he’s watching Rainey drive away toward a man who doesn’t deserve her.
What also makes this book are the secondary characters, from Rainey’s roommate in South Carolina to the aforementioned mechanic to her new boss at the local salon where Rainey takes on part-time work to pay for her car. They’re all a hoot and a lot of fun. And the Jerk? Well, you need to read the story to see his well-deserved comeuppance!
I have one more Christmas book I unfortunately didn’t get my review written for during the holiday season, but I wanted to let all of you know about i...moreI have one more Christmas book I unfortunately didn’t get my review written for during the holiday season, but I wanted to let all of you know about it, because it’s a darned good book about some really sexy cowboys. I’ve been in a cowboy mood lately, and these novellas certainly hit the spot. So even though it’s holiday-themed, it’s never too late to find some fun and lovin’ in the arms of a cowboy.
The Christmas Cabin by Emma Cane
I really like this story. It’s part of Emma Cane’s Valentine Valley series, of which I’ve read one other book and enjoyed it also. Every Christmas Sandy and Doug retell the story of how they met and became a family.
Sandy and Nate, her five-year-old son, are trying to find that perfect Christmas tree. Once it’s been cut down and Sandy’s dragging it back to their car, she gets a bit turned around. Fearing they’re totally lost and fearing being out in the cold and falling snow too long, rescue comes just in time in the form of a cowboy on horseback. He points them in the direction of a cabin that will give them shelter. On the way they meet up with Doug, who’s also looking for a place to weather the storm, and he also got the same directions from that lone cowboy.
Inhabiting the same space while the world outside gets covered in snow gives Doug and Sandy the time to get to know one another, from her illness to his dad’s cancer and other personal issues, as well as Doug and Nate beginning a bond that will grow stronger over the years. This is one of those fun, light, and simple stories that doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles to make it work. It strips down life and the Christmas season to their simplest forms, enjoying both the way it’s meant to be, with little fuss and muss.
A very nice start to the anthology.
Can’t Wait by Jennifer Ryan
Summer’s crush on her brother’s best friend, Caleb, has grown into a mature love that the man knows is his for the taking, he just refuses to accept it. No matter how or when she tries to get close enough to let him know how she feels, he backs away. So much so he’s decided to leave the ranch – the temptation is just too much.
And Caleb will never cross that line and move in on his best friend’s little sister. Jack saved his live while they served together – more than once – and he just can’t ruin that friendship by letting his control slip. He also has other issues related to his time at war, so as much as he wants Summer, he’ll have to do without for so many reasons.
Though Summer does her best to convince Caleb to take a chance on them, she’s careful not cause friction between the two friends. Caleb is a gentleman cowboy through and through, as well as romantic and alpha once all bets are off and a life with Summer is in the cards. These are wonderful characters to spend some time with, and I’m glad we do get time with as a couple once their issues are faced and being worked on.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Katie Lane
This is my favorite novella of the book. Katie Lane is one of those authors who can make you laugh out loud with her characters’ antics, and I enjoy that so much because there’s only a few who can do it and do it right.
Alana is finally tired of the surfers on her Hawaiian beaches, wanting more from a relationship. So she gets into internet dating and finds Clint McCormick – an intellectual nerd who’s responsible – just the kind of man she needs to make a life with. At the urging of her best friend, unsponantaneous Alana is in New Mexico to surprise Clint for the holidays. But first she has to survive this blizzard that has decided to hit the area just as she’s making her way to Clint’s ranch. Not having packed for a blizzard, Alana is pulling socks on her hands and anything else she can to keep warm.
And this is where I laughed my butt off in this story. The scenes are written perfectly, you can just see Alana traipsing through the snow with these articles of clothing attached to her where they shouldn’t be, talking to a stray calf she’s named Bambi – she’s from Hawaii, remember! Even funnier is when Clint comes across her, singing her heart out as she tries to find shelter. I love it!
Amid all of this is a huge misunderstanding, which Clint doesn’t rectify right away, thus throwing everything into turmoil, toppling the wonderful time they’ve had in an isolated cabin on the ranch. The twists keep coming at the end, making this one fun and fast read.
I’ve had amazing luck the last few months with anthologies, which comes as a great surprise, because most of the time when I read an anthology, there’s usually one or two of the stories I don’t care for. But these cowboys will win you over and give you a good time, even if it is Christmas in their world.
I’ve been chomping at the bit to get to this book by Shiloh Walker. I resisted only because I had decided to read a number of Christmas book to review...moreI’ve been chomping at the bit to get to this book by Shiloh Walker. I resisted only because I had decided to read a number of Christmas book to review for the holiday season. This is one of the very first books I opened once that was done. And though it’s now a few months old, doesn’t matter, because Ms. Walker never, ever disappoints. She’s done it again with another romantic suspense that never lets up and keeps you guessing for a while.
We begin with the hero and heroine having called it quits, both now miserable without each other. It was Elliot who ended things when Shay refused to let him in, trust him, no matter what argument he used. Immersing himself in the bookstore he and his sister own is the only thing keeping him sane and that’s just barely. The next thing Elliot knows Shay is in the store and things begin to go crazy. The bottom line – Shay isn’t acting herself all of a sudden.
And the why of that is a doozy. While visiting the bookstore with Lana, Elliot’s sister, Shay discovers one of her books written under a pseudonym has an autograph – one she didn’t place there. Upon further investigation, she realizes her identity is being taken over by some unknown person – a Facebook page, a Twitter account and the like, all of which Shay avoids because she’s greedy when it comes to her privacy. She can’t let those in her past find out where she’s at.
Little by little Shay uncovers every way imaginable in this day and age this person has been taking over, pretending to be a famous author who now is spreading lies to get to Shay. Realizing she’s going to need help, Shay finally turns to Elliot, taking to heart his accusation she never let him into her life. But Elliot nearly blows it, because he’s one of those being affected by the lies of the fake Shay.
This puts them on the road of investigation, which leads to everything unimaginable in the everyday life of the everyday person, even murder. And a reawakening of their love. As Shay lets go and really begins to trust Elliot, sharing her past, her fears, and her heart, they grow closer than ever before. Having lost everything once, Shay is determined to not let that happen again. Now having Elliot’s love, she’s going to be part of taking this imposter down – her way. This might have been a bit on the foolish side at times, but I can understand Shay’s reasoning and her fear, which is what drives her through most of the story. But with Elliot at her side now, she’s in a better place than she’s been in a very long time.
Shiloh Walker is one of those authors whose books I could read day after day and never get bored, never wish for something else. What I also love about her is she’s still getting better and better with every book. The emotion of her characters sweeps you into their lives before you know it and then you can’t let go. You have to read until you drop or you turn the last page.
Did Penny jump fourteen stories after her world crashed in on her? Everyone in her life believes so, but you and Penny take the journey together from...moreDid Penny jump fourteen stories after her world crashed in on her? Everyone in her life believes so, but you and Penny take the journey together from her recovery to her returning memories later in the story to discover exactly what did happen that night. During the trip she comes to new realizations about her life, garners new friends, and comes to a better understanding of the one person who has always supported her, even though Penny never saw it quite like that.
Penny is a dancer, which has always been her dream. When she finally lands a position with a new company, and their work is being recognized, Penny is in her element. Then she’s given more responsibility and ends up in a romantic relationship with the founder of the group. Life is good for a while, and then the final curtain comes down on her love life, betrayal the last thing she expected. Now she’s in the hospital after her fall, lucky in a way, but knowing she’ll probably never dance again, and finding two friends who give her unconditional friendship she’s never had before.
The book interweaves Penny’s two lives to give the reader her entire story, building toward that moment when she remembers the sequence that led to her fall. I enjoyed the look into her early life with her mother being nearly as immersed in dance as Penny herself. We find out early on that Penny’s body type is not for the usual dancer. She has to work harder keeping her weight down, dodge eating disorder rumors, but the movement of dance and all its elements come easy to her and enthralls when she’s on stage, and for a bit she’s right where she belongs.
During her recuperation she moves in with her mother, where memories remind her of all she’s lost. Her habits are hard to break, even at the urging of her mom and new friends. Penny meets Angela while in the hospital. Admiration abounds for Angela as she gets to know the woman better and watches her deal with her medical issues with optimism. Marty Kandelbaum actually saved Penny’s life when she landed on his car that fateful night. Despite the tragedies he’s suffered in life, he’s always happy and ready to help. These are exactly the kind of people Penny needs now, giving her an idea of what she missed during her years of dedication. I really like these two secondary characters. Upon meeting Penny and each other, they forge a friendship quickly that would usually take years to foster to such a level.
Penny’s mother is also a great secondary character. This relationship is difficult for Penny, however, because she doesn’t understand how her mom has let herself go, she’s overweight and doing nothing about it. So the mother-daughter relationship doesn’t have smooth sailing in the beginning, Penny even being a bit snippy at times. It’s not until much later after Mom does begin to embrace life differently that they come to better terms. I love the motherly support she gives to her daughter, no matter what. She never waivers.
It’s a long, difficult, and very emotional road for Penny, but she realizes she’s been given a fresh start. She goes back to the beginning with an early dance teacher while trying to keep a local newspaper critic at bay. When tragedy strikes again, Penny’s best work pours out of her as she gives a special performance, amid a lot of unexpected revelations, as well as her returning memories. Did Penny jump? You need to take the journey with her to find out. It’s one heck of a terrific ride for a debut book. Kathryn Craft has written what she knows, and the time to take this trip is worth it.
I enjoyed the majority of this second book in Alexis Morgan’s Snowberry Creek series. A small town where her characters are making their homes after f...moreI enjoyed the majority of this second book in Alexis Morgan’s Snowberry Creek series. A small town where her characters are making their homes after finding love. A place where everything is possible, even when they think it’s not. Though this particular story is much slower in pace than the first, you’re right in the middle of everything these folks are going through.
There’s just one thing that doesn’t work for me.
As much as I like Leif and Zoe, their relationship is even slower than the main pace of the book. I never feel connected to them, never feel invested in what is going on between them. That’s mostly because it takes a while before there’s much interaction between them. Leif was injured in an ambush in Afghanistan in which fellow soldier Spencer was killed, so he’s now in therapy and trying to get on with life without his friend. Zoe is a physician’s assistant and is overseeing Leif’s therapy. The first good part of the book is spent in that therapy room with the physical therapist or with Leif’s new friend Mitch, a celebrated hometown quarterback, or both Leif and Zoe are talking things out with their respective friends. There’s really not much going on between them.
They initially meet at an outdoor BBQ at Callie’s, who is the heroine of the first book. Though they spend a bit of time together, there’s not a lot of attraction right off, and because they don’t spend that much time in each other’s company, that spark never flies off the page for me. By the time they get together, it’s too late for sparks. Even then, though, they go their own way afterward, Zoe worried about the professional relationship and Leif is going through a double whammy – why is he the one who survived that ambush and what’s going to happen with his military career due to his recuperation?
Now, all that being said, Leif and Zoe are great characters. They each have their own PSTD to deal with and you do feel their anguish when nightmares and flashbacks rear their ugly heads. You admire their grit and determination to get through it all and live life on their terms the best they can. I enjoy the friendships they have with others, the easy camaraderie and fun. The secondary characters are quite enjoyable. I really like Chief Logan. He tells it like it is and lets no one get away with a thing, including Leif and Mitch. And Mooch? Well, you have to read the series to find out about him and how he comes to be in Snowberry Creek. You can’t help but love Mooch. And I actually really like the side story about Austin, who we met in the first book. I didn’t expect to see him again and it turns out to be a nice twist with Leif getting totally involved with Callie’s cousin.
This is difficult for me, because Alexis Morgan has always been a favorite of mine. You can’t quite believe that a favorite’s book might not work for you, but it’s bound to happen because the old “you can’t please everyone all the time” definitely holds true. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a bad book by any means. What I consider a slow pace without sparks could be the exact opposite for you. So if you’re reading this series, stick with it and get to know Leif and Zoe. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, which is going to give us twists and turns like crazy when Leif’s and Nick’s (from A Time for Home) buddy shows up out of the blue.
I love a man in uniform. Doesn’t matter what branch of our armed services, a hero like Kiptyn Llowell keeps me reading well into the night. Add an int...moreI love a man in uniform. Doesn’t matter what branch of our armed services, a hero like Kiptyn Llowell keeps me reading well into the night. Add an intelligent and witty heroine like DeAnne Lovejoy, it’s early morning hours before I’m forced to turn the light out. And then they’re rolling through my head, and I’m left wondering what in the heck is going to happen next, I can’t wait to get back to all the goings-on in their world.
DeAnne works as an officer with the U.S. Department of State in China, helping out American citizens when needed. On an outing DeAnne is approached by a U.S. Marine who needs immediate aid. Willing to do whatever necessary, it’s really too late to do much good but go with the flow, and then all hell breaks loose and they end up on the run, finally staging their deaths in a ball of fire.
Having volunteered for a solitary mission to continue proving he’s good at his job, Kip knows something is wrong when suddenly he’s being chased through China, accused of being a spy. Trying to get DeAnne back to safety isn’t going well, especially when she’s sure her boss will pull some strings to get Kip out of the country. That plan is shot down very quickly, and DeAnne quits her job before the boss can even finish his explanation for refusing her request.
This is one of those electric moments between people meeting for the first time, but they have no time to sit back and take stock. It’s the adrenaline, the action, the trust that brings these two closer together as their adventure gets more dangerous. Though DeAnne’s specialty is diffusing situations with words, she holds her own when needed in her now blown-up world.
Enter the STORM Corps, an elite team that’s been assigned the mission Kip thought he’d been given. This is when Kip begins to rethink what he wants in his life. Very slowly you can see him change course – a sexy, beautiful woman; the hope of a new job that will give him the satisfaction and adrenaline rush he’s come to expect; a new beginning with a family he hasn’t seen in years? But before any of that can happen, they have to get through their mission, and when it begins to go downhill, things become intense and suspenseful. I love the scenes in the submarine, especially when the crew is playing with a Japanese sub when they need to be setting up for a tricky rescue.
On the side we get a look at STORM’s Bobby Lee and Darcy and their current relationship, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I’m hoping they’re in a future book, because the way it’s left for them at the end here? Good lord, it’s going to be anxious city waiting to find out what eventually happens. There are a couple of other loose ends left dangling also. I’m sure some readers won’t like that, but I don’t mind it if it keeps me glued to the page just like everything in this story.
I’m happy with the action, the suspense, the interactions of the characters, and the fast and sensual love and romance between Kip and DeAnna. And that cover. There can’t be a romance reader out there who wouldn’t pick this book up just for a better, longer look! But definitely open it and start reading. An action-packed ride from beginning to end.