I really enjoyed St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay series, and was sad to see it come to an end. Thankfully, we are getting more and more Barefoot books, and the first novella in the Billionaires series was a great way to kick it off!
Zeke was the nerdy guy in high school that everyone made fun of. He was shy, smart, and more than a little awkward. But he has made up for it in spades. He works out, gained some confidence, and has built his own empire. Seeing his high school crush Mandy has Zeke thinking about the family he wants to start, and how he wants her to be a part of it.
Mandy has fallen more than she ever thought possible. From the star cheerleader and prom queen, Mandy is now up to her eyeballs in debt and working as a maid in order to get by. Seeing Zeke again makes Mandy think back on her horrible marriage, and what she wouldn’t give to find the kind of love that Zeke has to offer. But Mandy’s marriage was horrific, and moving on might not be in the cards for her.
I was a little worried that the billionaires trope would be played out, but I liked the way Zeke and his group of friends made a joke of it, and how they all treated their fortunes differently. I loved that Zeke was still 100% humble. It made him that much more adorable. I love the geek hero theme, and although Zeke isn’t as geeky as he supposedly was in high school, I thought the way his insecurities about that time played out in his relationship with Mandy was perfect.
I liked Mandy. I wasn’t too sure what kind of secrets would be revealed about her marriage, and I was a little surprised the direction that St. Claire took it, especially since it wasn’t really explained in detail. I did like the little twist we got at the end, it was the perfect balance between drama and fun. I did wonder how much Mandy’s view of herself was skewed though. Although one of her high school nemesis’ was constantly talking down at her, Mandy seemed to have a very unfavorable view of who she was in high school. I felt bad that she obviously didn’t remember the good times.
I’m anxious to read more about the Billionaires in this series, and think the introduction of them was fun and different than other billionaire books I’ve read in the past. I love the idea of following them as they try and work toward building their Minor League team and stadium.
All in all I thought this was a cute and sweet first novella in the tie-in series to Barefoot Bay. I really liked both Zeke and Mandy and thought they had such a wonderful chemistry together. I thought their romance was a little rushed, but still sweet and almost innocent at times. :) I’m anxious to read about Frankie and Elliott in the next book. I give Secrets on the Sand a B...more
I love my sports romance books, but I have to admit that I’ve never really been a fan of the older female, younger male books.
Chase is in the middle of his rookie year with the Detroit Rockets, and all his focus needs to be on baseball. But after meeting Maddie, there is something about the woman and her daughter that Chase can’t get out of his mind. The only obstacle to a potential relationship is Maddie’s reluctance to date a man significantly younger than her.
Maddie isn’t looking for love, especially since she can’t seem to find someone worth her time. Meeting Chase has changed all that though. He is attentive to her daughter, he genuinely cares about her needs and feelings, and he is everything she’s wanted in a man. Too bad he is almost 12 years younger than her. Maddie isn’t sure that she is ready to date someone that much younger than her, especially since Chase works in such a high-profile job.
I have to admit that the way Maddie and Chase met was a little off putting for me throughout the entire book. At the start of the book, Maddie is at her sister’s house for family dinner, and Chase attends as Maddie’s niece’s date. It was more than a little awkward to read, even after Chase admits that they were never really dating. I’m sure this little weird meetup won’t bother all readers, but for me it just made reading their romance a bit uncomfortable.
That being said, once I was able to kind of forget about the way they met, I was able to enjoy their romance. I loved the way that Chase took as much time getting to know Maddie’s daughter, Bree, as he did Maddie. The times when they played catch together, and just spent time with one another were so sweet and made me fall for Chase harder than I expected. I thought he was a fabulous hero. He was so determined to win Maddie over, even though she pushed back at every turn.
As much as I adored Chase, Maddie didn’t work for me as well. I thought she over analysed everything in regards to their age difference. She was so in her head about what other people would think, that I felt as if she didn’t always give their relationship and romance the chance it deserved. Plus, given the way she refused to let Chase help when her life seemed to come crumbling down around her seemed a lot more immature than her age suggested.
Other than the internal conflict with Maddie and the age difference, the external conflict of Maddie’s life taking a drastic turn for the worse, and who was behind it all really annoyed me. I could see why it all worked out the way it did, but I always struggle with that kind of conflict used in romance books.
All in all there were aspects I really enjoyed about this book, and others I didn’t. Chase was a wonderful and fabulous hero, and the baseball portions were extremely well done. I struggled with Maddie’s view of their romance and the way she handled their issues, but enjoyed the few romantic moments they had. I give The Changeup a B-...more
I am a sucker for accidental-pregnancy stories, so when I saw this book on NetGalley, I decided to take a chance—despite the lackluster response I had to the first book in the series.
Darcy is a Vegas waitress and can’t wait to start a life outside of Sin City. Spending the night around town with Jeff was not what she had planned doing her last night in town, but something about letting loose with him was freeing. But she snuck out after the amazing sex, and was determined to let that night live in her mind forever. Until she realized she was pregnant.
Jeff was expecting Darcy to show up again, but he wasn’t expecting to fall head over heels for her. He knew her getting pregnant was a real possibility, so when Darcy finally tracks him down, Jeff is ready to take on a family. But Darcy is proving to be more independent than Jeff expected, and he’s going to have to pull out all the stops to get her to stick around.
I really wanted to love this book. It had a great premise and a good storyline, but there was something about Kelly’s writing that just didn’t work for me. I thought both Jeff and Darcy were flat characters, and I really didn’t connect with either of them. I felt as if Jeff was very wishy-washy about what he wanted from Darcy and life in general. On the other hand, Darcy was almost too determined to be on her own that she was ready to give up a chance at happily ever after. Both characters got to a point where I didn’t really particularly care what they did.
While I struggled connecting to the characters, I did like the general progression of their romance. I thought the way that they calmly and rationally talked about having a child together was great, as I usually like my heroes and heroines to be actual adults once they realize they created a life together. :) I think I would have connected with the book even more had they been so reasonable about aspects of their personal lives as well.
All in all, I really didn’t connect with this book. I think that Kelly’s writing style just isn’t for me. I couldn’t connect with the hero or heroine, and found myself being bored throughout the entire story. I give Waking Up Pregnant a C-...more
I’ve found the Bluebonnet novels extremely enjoyable, but the one novella I read really didn’t work for me. I was a little hesitant going into this book, since the novella left such a bad taste in my mouth, however I’m so glad I decided to stick it out with Clare. I really enjoyed this book.
Brenna has been working as the office manager to the survival school ever since they opened. She gets along great with everyone except for Grant. Grant loves to antagonize her, tell her what to do, and generally drive her crazy. But Brenna gives as good and she gets, and driving Grant equally crazy is her forte. So agreeing to be his fake girlfriend is a little hasty, even for her. But Brenna finds she has a bit of a soft spot for Grant, especially when he’s under scrutiny from anyone other than her.
Grant is shocked when the wild and crazy Brenna announces to his family that they are dating. Sure, it’ll get his mother off his back, but Brenna drives him up the wall, despite her sexy body and big heart. But as their fake relationship progresses, Grant realizes that despite Brenna’s chaotic ways, he wants to make things between them real. But Brenna’s past finds ways to creep into the present and throw a wrench in their every plan.
I have to say, there is something about frenemy books that absolutely make me giddy. I love the push and pull, the high levels of sexual tension, and the fine line between having fun with each other, and at one another’s expense. I think that Clare does a wonderful job of walking that fine line, and making sure that Grant, Brenna, and the reader all know that their jokes and pranks and words are all in good fun.
Another thing I absolutely adore about this series is that Clare doesn’t hold back with the smut. Although this book isn’t nearly as erotic as the last in the series, Grant and Brenna don’t waste any time getting physical. Although their relationship is fake to start off with, the sex is very, VERY real. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again: I love the way that Clare is able to keep the romance moving forward in a positive direction, all while making sure that the sex scenes are off the charts.
The one area that disappointed me a little was the big argument that broke Grant and Brenna’s relationship toward the end. Maybe I just didn’t relate to the things that Brenna had to go through as a child, and therefore found it a little silly as such a large conflict motivator. I’m sure that other readers will really enjoy the twist that is added in, but for some reason I just didn’t think it would have had such a huge emotional impact on Brenna this far into the future. But maybe that’s just me…
The introduction of the next hero and heroine was awesome though. I was wondering who we would get to see next in Bluebonnet, and I have to say that I am super excited to figure out why Rome is so secretive, and what kind of sexy exploits the virgin Elise can get into. I like staying with the survival group, especially since I’ve enjoyed their stories more than the other Bluebonnet characters, but I hope we aren’t running out of characters. One of the things I think Clare does well is bringing in fresh and exciting secondary characters, so I hope that we get to see more people in and around the camp.
All in all I thought this book was super fun and sexy. Although Brenna and Grant didn’t have a “kink” like the last book, they were still finding lots of reasons for naked time, and who doesn’t love that? I thought their romance was so fun, especially as they played tricks on each other and worked through their frenemy status. I give The Expert’s Guide to Driving a Man Wild a B-...more
Lou: Olivia is a newcomer to the series after she was introduced in the last book, Down London Road. I liked Olivia from the previous book but I fell in love with her midway reading Before Jamaica Lane. Olivia may be inexperienced when it comes to relationships and sex but she was a fun heroine and I loved her banter with the gang, and with Nate. I’m a huge sucker for the friends in love trope, and Olivia’s crush on Nate was cute and shy at first but she soon shreds her inhibitions and becomes a sexpot when it comes to smexy times with Nate. I know some readers mock the virgin type heroine (the mocking annoys me just as much as those who turn their nose up at sexually experiences heroines) but I loved Olivia’s character, and though she was very inexperienced, I felt her character grew throughout the book from her experiences with Nate, and I loved that whilst she had some insecurities about her weight, she didn’t dwell on it throughout the book. Olivia’s loss of her mother still affected her in the present day and I loved how close she was to her father, Mick, and how inside of her, she was a little unsure of him moving on with another woman.
MinnChica: I was so excited to read more about Olivia. I really enjoyed getting to meet her very briefly in the last book, and was anxious to read more about her. I absolutely love friends to lovers books, especially when one of the characters is super shy. I thought Olivia was absolutely adorable. I loved her humor and insecurities and the way she dealt with it all. I thought she was a fabulous heroine to add to the list of already strong heroines within this series. I thought her friendship with Nate was so fun, so sexy, and strong before they even added the sexual aspects.
Has: I totally agree! I was also looking forward to reading Olivia’s book, and Young really solidified her character for me. I do like the quiet librarian characters who slowly open up and Olivia had a lovely charm, humour and was very relatable. I think Young has a great grasp of characters who are distinguished and well fleshed out but with real flaws and hangups. I find her characters very realistic. I also agree the friends to lovers trope was very well done and I like the slow burn as well as build-up between Olivia and Nate. I loved the deep core of easy friendship, and the banter between them was fun as well as sexy and again highlighted how real they became on the page.
Thoughts on the hero
Lou: Ahh. Nate, Nate. Nate. I really enjoyed Nate’s wicked sense of humour and he was quite rawr in the bedroom. His friendship with Olivia was strong and their banter was fun. Nate could also be distant at times which was down to a tragic loss when he was a teenager. If there is one criticism I have of this book, it’s Nate distance. I don’t feel as if I got to know him as well as the other heroes in the series. Samantha Young does 1st POV fantastically with her heroines so we know exactly what’s going on inside their heads but she also does a wonderful job of building up the hero’s development. With Nate, I just felt as if something was missing. But don’t get me wrong, he was still a great character and I loved that he wasn’t a super tall, and buff looking studd.
MinnChica: Like Olivia, I adored Nate. I thought he was so sexy, such a wonderful hero. I loved the way he was there for Olivia as a best friend, especially in the beginning before they explored more. He was so attentive to her needs emotionally, and I loved that about it. He was absolutely smitten with her, and it was obvious and so fun. I do have to agree with Lou though, it did seem as if we didn’t get the chance to know Nate as well as the other heroes in this story. I’m sure it had a lot to do with his emotional distance from Olivia, especially as his platonic feelings morphed into so much more. However, I felt like he was really kidding himself every time he told Olivia they couldn’t have more than “just sex.” It was painfully obvious how much he loved and adored her, even before they started getting naked together.
Has: I loved Nate; he was sexy, funny and best of all a geek. I loved Nate’s chemistry with Olivia and the fact they started off as friends which only had a subtle undercurrent of tension between them which really added to their romance. I also liked that even though Nate was a ladies’ man, he never came across as unlikeable or arrogant.
I do agree about Nate’s distance. I also felt there was something missing and I think it was the lack of his POV because he was so closed off and we got Olivia’s thoughts and feelings which were coloured by her own insecurities and fears. Although Young does a fantastic job in creating his character, I think out of the other heroes she has written in this series, Nate was more of an enigma and I wished we had his POV because I don’t think he was cemented as well as other heroes.
Lou: I found myself smiling a lot of the time reading this book and I don’t think I have one particular scene. What I loved the most about this book was the friendship and banter the gang have with one another. They truly are the best of friends and I loved the teasing, especially Joss, who’s running commentary on turning into a softie was funny and especially sweet. I loved seeing glimpses of her and Brandon and how their relationship is still evolving and changing, and it’s for the better.
MinnChica: Oh man, the one thing I hate doing in a book I love as much as this one is picking just one scene that I love more than others. I think for me it would have to be all the little moments that stood out to me the most. The times that they would sit and watch movies together after having sex, the times they would just spend time together continuing to get to know one another. It just made their relationship that much stronger. I loved their friendship as much as their sexual chemistry.
Has: The book was full of scenes and moments which were cute, funny or sexy and it is hard to choose because I really enjoyed the whole book as a whole. But if I had to choose, I think the scenes when Nate and Olivia interact especially with their review nights, their banter, chemistry just illustrated how fun Young made the friends to lovers trope into a real delight. She captured that friendship and made it into a deeper connection.
Dislike about the book
Lou: I don’t really have a dislike about the book. Again, my only criticism would be that I felt I didn’t get to know Nate as much as the other heroes.
MinnChica: There wasn’t much I didn’t enjoy about this book. Again, I would have to agree with Lou that I would have liked to get to know Nate a bit better. Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of the way Olivia handled her school crush, especially after she and Nate had their falling out. Other than that, I thought this was an amazing book!
Has: I am with Lou, although it was pretty much a little niggle for me. I just wished we got to know him more because he was such an intriguing character and I do think Olivia’s crush kind of took attention away from him in some respects.
Any other misc. thoughts along with grade
Lou: Before Jamaica Lane was another fantastic installment with a sexy and heated romance between two best friends who don’t know how it’s going to turn out at the end. The lines did blur and I felt Nate knew the lines blurred, along with Olivia, but they were both in denial. I did enjoy how when Nate hurt her, Olivia didn’t automatically give in and she made sure that Nate really loved her and she wasn’t going to settle for second best with the ghost of his past. The romance was quite steamy, and Nate also got very domineering which made for very smexy times. All in all, I am hooked on this series and I can’t wait for Hannah and Marco’s story.
I give Before Jamaica Lane a B+
MinnChica: All in all I think Before Jamaica Lane has become my favorite in the series so far. I loved the friends to lovers plot with Olivia and Nate, especially given the closeness of their friendship. I also loved the way they broke up and got back together. Usually I hate those few moments, but in this book I thought those scenes were some of the strongest. Nate groveled like a champ, and I loved him for it. I am so excited to read more from Young, she has proven to be an incredible storyteller! I give Before Jamaica Lane an A
Has: I think Samantha Young is just fantastic with the way she has set this series up, especially with the casts of characters who are appealing and share a wonderful dynamic. I also love that she has made them memorable with flaws that add to their characters rather than detract them and Before Jamaica Lane really cemented this series as one of my favourite contemporary romances right now. Both Olivia and Nate are brilliant leads, and their chemistry is not only endearing but also very sexy which is a great combination!
I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect with this anthology, but I have to admit that I absolutely LOVED the fact that all the stories took place in the same town, and that the characters overlapped. It was such a neat little thing that you don’t normally see in anthologies. That being said, I am going to rate each story on its own.
Heart of the Storm by Shannon Stacey
Brody left Tucker’s Point in the middle of the night, leaving behind his family and fiance. Coming back isn’t what he wants to do, but spending time with his newborn nephew is an opportunity he can’t pass up. But the worst winter storm of the year has him trapped with his family, old neighbors, and of course the woman he left behind: Delaney. Just seeing her brings back all the love he once felt for her, and leaving Tucker’s Point without her is no longer an option.
I adored this story. I’m a huge sucker for second chance love stories, and this one was just too damned cute. I thought poor Delaney was such a strong character, and I loved that she wasn’t so willing to accept Brody with open arms right away. She was very worried, and rightfully so, to just jump back into a relationship, but the history between them was almost too much to overcome.
Although Delaney was hesitant to start back up again, I do wish that they wouldn’t have jumped back into such a serious romantic entanglement so quickly. But I could also see why being stuck in such close confinements would force them to make a rash decision so quickly. I wish that we would get the chance to see more of them after the storm, to see if they could weather through the rest of life together. I give Heart of the Storm a B
Seeing Red by Jennifer Greene
Whitney is back in Tucker’s Point for one quick thing: to search her grandparents home for a mysterious box. Getting stuck in the storm is an unfortunate event, but one she is somewhat prepared for. Luckily for her, her grandparent’s house is in Red’s disaster zone, so getting checked on by her high school crush is enough to keep her toasty warm.
I’ve read Greene in the past, but this story was enough to convince me I need to read more and more from her. I loved the opportunity that Whitney and Red had to reconnect, especially since they both were secretly crushing on one another in high school. I thought their romance was sweet and cute, and absolutely heartwarming. Add in the sub-plot with the missing little girl and her rescue, and this was such a sweet and adorable contribution to the anthology.
After reading this, I’m definitely going to go back and check Greene’s backlist of stories. I thought both Whitney and Red were too cute together, and I really enjoyed their sweet and sexy romance. I give Seeing Red a B+
Land’s End by Barbara Dunlop
When Tessa broke off her engagement with Colton it was because she wasn’t happy with the way she felt herself changing. But six months later, she still misses him like crazy. When he shows up at her family estate, hoping to turn it into a swanky resort, Tessa can’t deny the attraction is still there. But getting engaged to Colton again is both exciting and horrifying at the same time.
I enjoyed this second chance love story, but was a little frustrated with the heroine. Tessa can’t seem to communicate with Colton, and instead runs from her life. She doesn’t know how to tell him that she doesn’t want to be this perfect ideal woman, so instead she pretends and then runs when it gets too hard. Because of it, I was concerned that Colton never got to know the real woman.
I did enjoy their romance though. I think Dunlop did a good job of showcasing Tessa in all her crazy ways, so that Colton got a chance to get to see who Tessa really was. I loved that they kept collecting people from the storm, and were acting as caretakers for anyone who needed shelter.
I thought this was a super cute and sweet story, and I felt like Tessa and Colton’s relationship was totally believable. While I’m not sure that their relationship will always be easy, it was fun to see them try and get to the bottom of who they each were, and what they wanted. I’d love the chance to see more of these characters in the future. I give Land’s End a B
All in all I thought this was a wonderful little anthology with a great premise. I loved the fact that they all tied in together, and that the characters made guest appearances in one another’s stories. I hope to see more anthologies like this, that tie in together, in the future. What a fun idea! I give Snow Day a B+...more
I loved the stories from Clare and Frederick. Another sexy Games novel that was super fun. And getting to see Noah & Grace's HEA was amazing!! TheI loved the stories from Clare and Frederick. Another sexy Games novel that was super fun. And getting to see Noah & Grace's HEA was amazing!! The third story was way too religious, and very Sound of Music-ish. Didn't like it very much. ...more
I had never read any of Cahill’s work before, so I was kinda excited to read about a party planner and sexy security officer. Unfortunately, while this book was SUPER hot, there wasn’t much else to keep me excited about reading.
Cassandra loves her job as a party planner, and she is damn good at it. She thinks of everything, plans for everything, and is 100% devoted to work. But at one party she keeps running into the sexy Lucas, and their attraction is off the charts. Cassandra is determined to stay away from him, but she can’t seem to keep her hands to herself.
Lucas loves his job, but something about Cassandra keeps pulling his mind from security and onto her. The attraction is undeniable, but after just a day in her company, Lucas wants so much more than just a roll between the sheets. But Cassandra is completely focused on her business, so Lucas will have to go above and beyond to show her just how great they can be together.
I really wanted to love this book, but I have to say, there just wasn’t enough plot for me. I would say that about 90% of this book is all sex, and while those sex scenes are pretty darn hot, I needed more actual story. I felt like this novella moved extremely quickly from the insta-lust phase to the I-love-you phase. For me there wasn’t anything substantial to enjoy about the characters and their situation.
I did enjoy the set up of Cassandra’s business. I think the party-planning theme is super fun, and I loved that Cahill took us from a super sexy adult party with naked people to a cute and innocent princess party. The different parties gave the novella time to change gears and do a little lighthearted moment between all the naked time.
However, I have to admit that the little kid party was one of the only scenes in which Lucas and Cassandra were not naked together, and it just wasn’t enough. I have a very difficult time believing in a character’s happily ever after if they have only spent a few hours together talking about something other than sex. It just doesn’t work from me in the romance department, and I struggle with not only my enjoyment level, but also the believability.
All in all I thought this was a very sexy book, but unfortunately it just didn’t work for me. If readers are looking for a extra hot, short story, than this should be one they check out. However, if you are like me and need a little more plot to go with your erotica, this might be a book you want to skip. I give 7 Minutes in Heaven a C-....more
I am always on the lookout for new shifter m/m books. Calmes has long been a go-to for me, so when I saw this blurb, I knew I had to get it.
Quade has been Roman’s bodyguard for most of the young man’s life. Only recently have his feelings morphed from friend and protector to lustful and so much more. But Quade doesn’t think he is good enough for Roman, especially since he has been keeping his jackal side completely hidden. But Roman refuses to allow Quade to pull away when Quade is the only one who sees past Roman’s scars to the man beneath.
When Quade’s sister comes back into his life, Quade is thrown front and center back into the life he left behind as a young man. Never did he think that his jackal pack would take him back, but they desperately need his help, and Quade refuses to turn his back on them. With Roman by his side, Quade will do everything in his power to save his sister and their pack, and also prove his love and loyalty to Roman.
There were so many different facets going on in this book. The age difference between Roman and Quade, the animosity between Quade and his father, the ongoing pack problems that Quade has to pick up after, and the past relationship that Quade finds himself having to deal with. For how many different plot threads there were, it all seemed to fly by in this book. There were some I really liked, and some I didn’t think added that much to the overall storyline.
I loved the shifter aspect of the book, especially as Quade has to go back to the home that kicked him out and essentially save the people who never stood up for him. I thought the whole plot surrounding that was so well done. In regards to the romance, I liked how Quade continued to worry about not only their age difference, but also their emotional differences. However, I thought the whole storyline surrounding Quade’s ex-boyfriend was a little silly and didn’t add anything too important to the book for me.
While this story is told in first person from Quade’s POV, I felt as if Roman was the strong character. Although he was younger, he was (IMO) leaps and bounds further along on the emotional maturity scale than Quade. He was perceptive, kind, and had the kind of faith in himself and his beliefs that seemed to outshine Quade. I liked Quade’s character, especially as we got to see the depth to which he really has loved Roman over the years. However, his character didn’t seem to resonate with me as much as Roman. I wish we would have had the chance to be in Roman’s head once in awhile.
The romance between these two was so great though. Roman really was the driving force behind their relationship, and because of the number of years they had been best friends, was able to almost steer Quade into making the decisions that would be best for them as a couple. Roman never accept the word ‘no’ and was willing to do and say just about anything to keep Quade at his side.
One of my favorite aspects of this book were all the fabulous secondary characters. Don’t get me wrong, I adored Roman and Quade. But all the other people who came into the book were just as fabulous. Between Quade’s sister, niece, and mother, the female characters were represented by strong and funny women. Roman’s head of security is a man wrapped up in mystery, and I hope that Calmes continues on with this world, because I think he has an amazing story to tell!
All in all I thought this was another wonderful PNR from Calmes. I sincerely hope that she continues to write within this world, and that we get the chance to see more from Quade, Roman, and all the fabulous secondary characters that were introduced. I give Old Loyalty, New Love a B+...more
I’ve read Ford in the past, and I really enjoyed her stories. The chance to read another small town romance, a favorite trope of mine, and I was all over it. However, this book started really slow for me, and unfortunately never really picked up.
Kara left her hometown with a horrible reputation, a broken heart, and a mother who was off her rocker. Coming back years later, Kara worried more about getting her business started and her good reputation back. The never ending feelings she’s had for Wade is something she isn’t ready to deal with, no matter how much they push to the forefront. But the town of Bella Warren is all about holding a grudge, and Kara is going to have her work cut out for her to rebuild her image.
Wade thought he was over Kara long ago, but seeing her in his home once again brings home back all those feelings. The last thing he wants is to have Kara walk out of their lives again, especially after the hurt that his sister, Whitney, and he went through the first time. But the feelings for Kara are all-consuming and Wade isn’t willing to deny what he knows could be the future he’s always dreamed of.
I can’t pinpoint an exact reason why this book started so slow for me, but I had a difficult time getting into the story. I’m not sure if it’s Kara’s hesitancy toward returning home, or the extended narrative in the beginning before any action happens, but either way, it was difficult for me to get really engaged. That being said, I thought the setup of this story was super cute and had the potential to be so amazing and incredible.
The romance between Wade and Kara was one of those ‘one step forward, two step back’ kind of things. Wade was constantly worried about Kara leaving again (which she proved to do time and again), while Kara was worried about what other people would say and think. She was so desperate to turn her image around that she was willing to put her whole life and feelings on hold for the approval of people who she couldn’t even stand. It was a little immature and uncalled for, especially after the strength she showed in coming back to her hometown in the first place.
I really enjoyed the friendship between Kara and Whitney and Tasha. The strong bond and female friendship was a big theme throughout the book, and I enjoyed getting to see Kara and Whitney rebuild their friendship, while adding Tasha into their circle. I love getting to see strong female friendships, and think Ford really knocked that aspect out of the park for me.
The town of Bella Warren was a big bone of contention for me. I’m not a big fan of small town romance books where the town plays such a negative role in the books. I tend to find more enjoyment in the books where the town is such a positive and driving influence toward good, not the bad. I found the other people in Bella Warren to be stuck in that high school mentality, and I did not like it. I hope that in future books, Ford shows the town and it’s people in a much better light.
I also thought the sub-plot with Kara mother to be sad and depressing. While I completely understood why Ford went in the direction she did, I was hoping for some kind of happy resolution between Kara and her mom, or at least some kind of closure. Instead, I ended up feeling sad for both of them, as neither one really got what they wanted out of their relationship.
All in all I thought the first book in the Chester Farms series was good. It wasn’t a book that kept me turning the page faster than I could read the words, but it was a cute story overall. I do like the Chester family, and would be interested to see how Whitney and Tate Chester get their happily ever after. I give Never Stopped Loving You a C....more
I love the Carina Press holiday anthologies, and this year I couldn’t wait to see what Angela James had in store for us. The contemporary romance lover in me was super excited to see so many contemp stories this year, and getting the chance to read more of a new favorite, Alison Packard, was an extra special treat. Two of the stories in this anthology I absolutely adored, and unfortunately the third was a little lost on me.
A Christmas for Carrie by Alison Packard
Carrie has never enjoyed Christmas, especially since her father died and mother left home. But ever since running into Nick at the coffee shop, Carrie has pledged to give Christmas a chance. With Nick showing her the Holiday spirit, it’s hard not to fall in love with both the season, and the man who was once her study partner.
This is a short story that takes place in Packard’s series on stand alone titles that are all loosely connected. I loved her previous baseball book, so getting a glimpse at another sports-like hero, Nick the agent, was a fun little treat.
I liked the fact that Carrie was the one to look down on Christmas, and how Nick did anything and everything he could think of to bring her around to the joy of the season. I loved their romance and how it was quick to build on the friendship they had in high school. I thought Packard did a wonderful job of building the romance up slowly, and how they really did work on becoming friends again, before worrying and stressing about moving their relationship forward.
All in all this story was by far my favorite in the anthology, and I can’t wait for Packard’s next full length book. I *think* we got a little sneak peak at the hero, and I’m so excited to read more about him, as well as Nick and Carrie. I give A Christmas for Carrie an A
Christmas Curveball by Shari Mikels
Mikels is a debut author, and her story about Rachel falling in love with her brother’s best friend was so cute! I loved the fact that although Rachel knew she had been in love with Kevin most of her life, she was also aware of how difficult his lifestyle was. It wasn’t until she came knocking on his door during the holidays that Kevin realized how much he wanted Rachel in his life.
I, personally, adore the older brother’s best friend trope. I loved the way that Rachel was able to tease Kevin about their past, and use their deep friendship to help him out of the funk that his life without baseball had become. I thought the scene where she revealed that she had spied on him and her brother was too perfect!
Another aspect I loved about this story was how Kevin was so determined to win Rachel, in spite of all the hesitancies she showed. Rachel was so worried about not being enough, about Kevin’s womanizing past, that she was more than a little gun-shy. Watching Kevin woo her in all the ways he could think of was so wonderful, and really endeared the story that much more!
All in all I thought this was a fabulous debut from Mikels, and I am absolutely looking forward to more. I thought the romance was super sweet and I loved both Rachel and Kevin. I give Christmas Curveball a B+
Kissing Her Scrooge by Kinley Cade
Hannah does her very best to make Christmas better than last year, despite how many people she drives batty. But the one man who catches her eye is Griff, the local Scrooge. The two are an unlikely pair, but the tension between them continues to drive them together. Possibly forever.
I really did not connect with this story at all. I thought Hannah was selfish and wishy-washy and the kind of heroine that I wasn’t at all interested in becoming invested in. Add in her meddlesome and immature sisters and I didn’t really have any interest in reading this story after only a few paragraphs, but I stuck with it.
I thought Griff was a good hero, but I really struggled with understanding why he was with Hannah. I never felt their attraction, and I couldn’t understand why he dealt with her obsessive desire to make Christmas perfect.
All in all I really didn’t like this story. I struggled with the heroine, the romance, and the overall plot didn’t hook me as much as other Christmas stories I’ve read in the past. I give Kissing Her Scrooge a D
Overall I thought this was another strong and wonderful Carina Press Holiday anthology. I adored Packard and Mikels’ contributions and thought they were both fabulous Christmas novellas. Another fabulous read for contemporary romance fans looking for additional Christmas stories to read this year! I give For My Own a B
I was so excited to read a book about a ballerina and an MMA fighter, because they seem like such an unlikely pair. I have to admit, the romance between these two was so different than I expected, but also so wonderful.
Logan had the most amazing life. It wasn’t until she went on reality TV with her fiance, and he dropped her that everything came crashing down around her. Her crushed her ankle, career, reputation, and heart. She needs quick cash, and her job as a ring girl pays more than anything else she could find. It wasn’t until she finds herself in the arms of Keane that her world gets turned upside down once again.
Keane is struggling with all the horrors of coming back stateside, as well as the death of one of his best friends. MMA fighting is his way of releasing stress and tension. Logan is a complication that Keane doesn’t need, but he can’t seem to stay away from her. Her job is dependant on his fighting, and Logan will do just about anything to make sure he fights. But Keane isn’t ready to let go of his hurt and anger, and because Logan is making him feel again, Keane isn’t ready to accept what is right before him.
I’ve read a few MMA books in the past, but I have to say that this was probably the most violent of all the books I’ve read when it comes to the fighting scenes. There were a few moments when I was a little turned off from the story, because fighting is something that holds ZERO interest for me. While Keane wasn’t violent outside of the ring, or toward anyone who wasn’t an opponent, there were still a few uncomfortable moments for me.
I loved the way Logan refused to let Keane continue to be miserable. After she realized the extent of the issues he had after coming home, she was determined to help him get the help he needed. There was one scene in particular, when Keane wakes up from a dead sleep and rolls Logan off the bed and pins her to the floor that really stood out for me. There was so much depth to Keane’s pain, and Logan’s acceptance that she really needed professional help for him. It was tender and heartbreaking all at the same time.
The romance between Keane and Logan had a kind of one step forward, one step back feel. Every time it seemed like Logan was making headway past all of Keane’s shields, something else would set them back a few steps. Romances like this typically drive me batty, however I found a lot of honesty between these two. It wasn’t as if they were pushing each other away for silly reasons, or communication issues. Instead, there were some real big issues that both Keane and Logan had to accept before they could finally be together. I liked that Mannon showed that, and made both us as readers, and the characters, wait for their HEA.
One aspect that I really struggled with was Logan’s ex-boyfriend and the entire situation surrounding him. While I get that the contention between him and Logan was one of her driving factors, it still felt a little ridiculous. However, the majority of the other secondary characters were all super enjoyable. Logan’s fellow ring girl, Keane’s military buddy, and the cranky old coach, Sal, were all so well done and such fun to read. I hope that Mannon takes the time to give them all stories of their own. :)
All in all I really enjoyed this debut book from Mannon. Despite a few brutal fight scenes, and some heavy issues, it was a fabulous read. Both the characters were compassionate and loveably flawed. The romance was rough at times, but also so honest in its complications. I’m absolutely looking forward to more from Mannon in the future. I give Knock Out a B+...more
When Sorenson asked for a review I was pretty excited to read her contribution. I’ve enjoyed her suspense books in the past and was looking forward to seeing what she could do with a short story. It wasn’t until I finished reading both stories that I found out the Brockmann story was re-released from an older Silhouette book. There were probably about twenty times I thought about quitting mid-way through her contribution, but stuck with it. Had I known it was a previously released title, I have to say I probably would have put that story to rest and skipped directly to Sorenson’s story.
Scenes of Passion was a second chance love story about Maggie and her childhood buddy Matt. Matt had always had a crush on Maggie, but between his on again off again relationship with her best friend, it never went anywhere. Now that Matt is back and needs Maggie’s help, they are free to explore the attraction between them.
I really felt like this book was older than it’s original 2003 release date. It felt almost “retro” in it’s contemporary category. I’m not a huge fan of category books from the 90s and early 2000s, so my problems with this novella were plentiful. Maggie let everyone and their mother (hell, her own mother) walk all over her. She was a doormat and although she loathed it about herself, she never got the gumption to make a change. She was content just floating through life hating everything. It was so annoying. Then, once she got the stomach to stand up for herself, it seemed like she constantly second guessed herself. I needed more from her.
Matt was a little better, but I had a hard time with their romance because of Maggie’s obnoxious ways. Why he continued to put up with her, especially after she flipped out on him, was something I couldn’t understand.
I really didn’t enjoy the first story at all, but was glad that the Sorenson novella made up for it. In Scenes of Peril, Paige is stranded at her cabin home during a horrible storm when she takes in a reckless driver. Colin can’t remember anything that happened the day he was rescued by Paige, but after just a few short days together, the attraction is more than either can stand. But a stalker has been waiting to make the move on Colin, and won’t let Paige get in her way.
I thought Sorenson did a great job with throwing a little bit of the classic suspense she is known for, while balancing the romance. I thought Paige and Colin had a very QUICK but sweet courtship. I always struggle with characters who get their HEA after just a day or two, but these two worked for me. Probably because they were committed to each other, but also to taking it slow. I needed that for their characters, and was so glad to see the way it all worked out for them.
I liked the twist of Colin having memory loss because of the car accident, because I think it added a lot to not only the suspense subplot, but also because it gave them the chance to really focus on nothing but each other and getting better. Along with the storm, it added another layer to the little cocoon they had going on in Paige’s cabin.
All in all I really liked one story, and really disliked the other. Brockmann fans might enjoy this previously released novella, however fans of Sorenson may want to just give this one a skip. If I had to rate Scenes of Passion as a solo book, I would give it a D-. However, Sorenson gave us a wonderfully short story about two people caught up in the pain of their pasts that want to move forward and find something and someone special. I adored their romance and would give Scenes of Peril a B+. Overall, I give the Passion and Peril duology a C....more
I adore Barth’s writing, but add in my hometown of Minneapolis, and there was no way I could turn down this request!
Becca loves working with the small Lyndale Park Players’ theater group as their producer. But losing their director to a last minute drug rehab is stressing her out more than usual. Having to work with her high school friend Jack, who disappeared after graduation, isn’t any easier. But having Jack as director is great for the theater group, and Becca’s hormones.
Jack always had a thing for Becca, but missed out on his chance with her when their mutual best friend Ty made the first move. Jack never wanted to return to Minnesota, but now he’s back and spending time with Becca is showing him just how much he missed his friend, and maybe even the city. But when Ty shows back up out of the blue, things between Jack and Becca are strained once again, and maybe this time for good.
I loved the way that the city of Minneapolis played as secondary character to the story. I have such a love for the metropolitan I grew up in, so getting to see all the little aspects of Minnesota pop up, the midwestern phrases that I miss hearing, was such a fun and special treat for me. Non midwesterns might not get some of the little tidbits, but will absolutely still enjoy the book.
Poor Jack hated everything about growing up in the twin cities, and because of it he vowed never to come back. I have to say, I love the way he processed coming home. There were just as many moments that he loved as he hated, and Barth did a wonderful job of showing Jack’s character getting the chance to look back on his hometown through the eyes of a grown up, a successful one at that. I did think Jack was a little childish in the way he handled meeting Becca for the first time, especially since he never got any kind of resolution on his lingering feelings for Becca.
I adored Becca. I loved that her character was so willing to put her hopes and dreams on hold, but still carve out a life for herself that she could be happy in. She reminds me so much of many midwestern women I know, and I loved her all the more because of it. I was so excited to see that she was going to get the chance to finally live out her dreams, especially after she went through so much to put her life on hold for her ill grandmother.
The romance between Jack and Becca was great, even though Jack was pretty surly at times. I loved the way Becca was able to reflect on their previous friendship to find ways to break through Jack’s walls, to both strengthen their friendship and their romance. It was sweet and sexy and so fun to read! The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of was the way that Jack allowed Ty to come in and ruin everything he had built for himself, especially since Jack was so unwilling to get the whole story.
All in all I thought Barth wrote a fabulous Christmas themed romance. I loved the story about the Christmas play, and watching Jack go all Scrooge over it! :) Both the hero and heroine were wonderful characters, and the romance was so fun. I give Tinsel My Heart a B+...more
MinnChica: Ever since I picked up the first Sin Brothers book, I’ve been obsessed with this series. It reminds me so much of the Ava Gray Skin series, and in some ways has become even more of a favorite for me. In the second installment, we get the chance to see Matt, the oldest brother get his shot at love, from a woman he least expects to fall for. The set up for this book was so great, and I loved the angst between Matt and Laney, especially when the whole ugly truth is revealed.
E: *beams* So very glad a fellow Bookpusher enjoys this series. I have been anticipating this story since I finished the first installment. I am very glad to say the fulfillment of my anticipation was worth the wait. This was an intense story that provided more information about what shaped Matt and his brothers. It also provided some neat technology, fighting, angst, suspense, and smoking romance. Like MinnChica, I think this story went up a notch when the ugly truth came out and it wasn’t exactly what I expected.
MinnChica: I adored Matt. The pressure he put on himself as the oldest brother was beyond anything I could imagine, but it made him into such a strong and incredible hero. I loved the way he treated Laney, he was so kind and caring toward her, so devoted to making sure she was okay. Even after the ugly truth is revealed and their relationship dynamic changed, Matt was still so gaga over her that he was 100% devoted to making sure she was taken care of.
E: Oh yes, that was one of the many touches which kept Matt out of alphahole territory. He was so hurt and mad but never once did he retaliate or take his frustrations out on Laney. I also enjoyed how the bond between the brothers was so evident. They helped from a distance as much as possible and had no problems showing up unexpectedly if they felt Matt needed help or a neutral opinion. One of the other things that touched me about the Dean family is the love and protective nature included Josie, heroine of Forgotten Sins the first book, and her hopes for the happiness of the Dean brothers.
MinnChica: Absolutely! The bond between the brothers is one of my favorite aspects of this series. It’s so evident that these three would walk through fire for one another, and they will almost have to in order to find out the truth about their fourth and missing brother, Jory. Another thing I loved about this book was Laney herself. Like Matt, there were so many things to love about the heroine as well. She had an absolute heart of gold, and was so desperate to help anyone and everyone she could. It was amazing and so sweet. I have to admit that Zanetti took me by surprise when she revealed Laney’s secret. Looking back it’s so obvious, but the way Laney conducted herself just shocked me when everything came spilling out!
E: Laney’s secret and the circumstances behind it were certainly very interesting. It meant the brothers’ quest for a life of their own became slightly more complicated. I also enjoyed how Laney’s childhood and her secret shaped the woman she was when Matt met her. The woman who did her best to rescue and care for those around her without them knowing yet who also kept to herself as protection. I will admit in the early stages of the book I thought her reaction to blood was quite amusing then towards the end seeing her overcome that reaction and the reasons for it really cemented her as a strong character.
MinnChica: All in all I really loved this book. The bond between brothers is so strong, and I love the continuing relationship between the brothers and their lady loves in each book. The romance between Matt and Laney was so well done, I absolutely adored their journey to their HEA, and was so sad when the book ended! I can’t wait to find out more about Jory, and see where he has been all this time, how the brothers are going to disable their kill chips, and what exactly they have in store for the people who made them. This series has quickly become a favorite, and fans of RS definitely need to pick up this series! I give Sweet Revenge an A-
E: This was a very enjoyable read. Like MinnChica I enjoyed the bond between the brothers and their ladies. The mystery surrounding Jory’s “death” continue to grow as does evidence of the long game played by the Commander. It was a lovely relief to read a romance that did not require the hero or heroine to grovel. Seeing Matt and Laney work things out while dealing with their respective pasts was impressive. I am worried about the ticking timebombs embedded in the Dean brothers’ spines and the increased complexity revealed about deactivating the kill chips. The glimpse of the next romance really has me excited because a lot more is at stake from the very beginning. I think it will be one of those sitting on the edge of my seat reads. I also give Sweet Revenge an A-...more
Dear lord this book had so much going on, so many feels!! But it was SO GOOD!
Lucky has no memories from before he washed up on shore in South Africa, and keeping a low profile is what he intends to do. But when a man walks into the bar where Lucky bartends and claims he was an ex-Navy Seal everyone thought was dead, Lucky’s life blows up in ways he never thought possible. Now, under suspicion of being turned, Lucky has to head back to the States and undergo therapy, and lie detector tests, and more.
Rex was once Lucky’s partner, but after four years of believing his partner dead, he had moved on. Now that Lucky’s back, Rex’s relationship with Sawyer is being threatened and neither man is willing to say goodbye. But Lucky’s return isn’t the only thing threatening Rex and Sawyer’s relationship. The terrorists who captured Rex’s Seal Team in the first place are back, and looking for revenge.
I can’t stress enough just how much was going on in this book. Not only did we get TWO romances, but there was also the speculation around Lucky’s allegiance, the mystery around the terrorist organization that held the Seal Team, and the big conclusion that shocked even me!
Let me start with the two romances because they were so totally different, and both were so amazing! Rex and Sawyer had been dating awhile, but were still stuck in that unknown phase. Are they serious, can they be together outside of a war zone, do they have a future? And answering those questions all while having the unknown factor of Josh (Lucky) hanging over their heads was so well done. I loved these two together, and was so glad that they got their HEA.
Lucky and Dash were another story. Poor Lucky is struggling with his memories, but the attraction to Dash is too much to overcome. I loved that these two had way more obstacles than the normal couple, and yet at the end of the day, none of it mattered. Despite the fact that they barely knew each other, they knew enough to know that all the other BS, the drama, the angst, wouldn’t be enough to tear them apart. For that, I loved these two more than I ever thought possible!
The mystery surrounding Lucky and retrieving his memories was left a little unsettled for me. I wanted him to get his memories back, and was a little bummed that never happened. However, the way it all tied up at the end was amazing and shocking and awesome and everything I can’t even put into words. Jakes did a fabulous job of knocking me out of my socks, and I loved it! I never saw it coming, and although I felt like I got hit with the broadside of a barn, it was awesome!
All in all the sixth book in the Men of Honor series is probably my favorite Jakes book to date. I loved the fact that there was so much going on, so much action and backstory and threads to unravel. Although there were times when I struggled to keep up with all the characters, all the backstory, it was 100% worth it. I loved both romances, I loved the mystery that surprised me, and I can’t wait to go back and do a Jakes re-read! I give Bound to Break a B+...more
I love Christmas stories, so getting the chance to read three new-to-me authors, and two old favorites doing a theme I absolutely love was great fun. While I didn’t like all the stories, there were some goodies in this anthology.
Dream a Little Dream by Jill Shalvis
I absolutely adored Ian and Melissa. I thought the set up was so fun, with Melissa having recently broke off the “benefits” portion of their friendship, and Ian’s struggle to win her back completely. I especially loved getting to be in Ian’s POV when he had to fight through the fire at Melissa’s apartment complex to save her, before he could work on winning her back. It was so emotional, and then all the rebuilding they did after the fire was heart wrenching as well. This was by far my favorite story in the anthology, as Shalvis delivered both an emotional punch to the gut, as well as a fun and lighthearted Christmas read. I would absolutely re-read this novella again and again. I give Dream a Little Dream an A
Every Year by Kristen Ashley
I really like the Chaos books, however, I think I’ve overdosed on Ashley. With the last two or three books, I’ve struggled with the lack of diversity in her dialogue. Not every single person speaks the same way, with the same slang and same syntax. However in her books, they do. The first 20 books of hers I read didn’t bother me, however, it’s become more and more noticeable. It happened again in this book, and while I absolutely loved and adored getting the chance to spend Christmas morning with Tack, Tyra, Tabby, Shy, Rush, and the rest of the Allen clan, the ongoing dialogue problems hindered my enjoyment. It was like a fun little glimpse into the lengths that Tack and Tyra are willing to go to make their family happy. It was fun and sweet and very light reading compared to Ashley’s other books. I give Every Year a B
Silent Night by Hope Ramsay
This might have been my least favorite story in the anthology. I wasn’t a big fan of the whole homeless mom and baby in the barn thing, and thought it was a little too cheesy, even for me. While I liked the backstory of both Daniel and Maryanne, I thought their actual romance was a little too perfect. As it sometimes happens in short stories and novellas, there isn’t a ton of conflict and as such the romance seems to be so quick to jump from “Hi, my name is…” to “I love you, let’s get married.” This story had that feel, and it left me a little cold in regard to the romance and relationship development. I give Silent Night a C-
Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas by Molly Cannon
I thought Cannon’s story was super cute, and super fun to read. Lincoln has a busy and often messy life. When his mother gets him a personal organizer for Christmas, Lincoln is left with Dinah literally cleaning up in his wake. He’s reluctant to have someone poking around at Christmas, but despite his reservations, they develop a friendship and then some. There was not a whole lot of angst or drama in this novella, and I liked the no mess, no fuss relationship. Despite Dinah’s concerns that Lincoln was a bit of a Scrooge, I liked the way this story and their romance wrapped up. I give Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas a B
A Family for Christmas by Marilyn Pappano
Ilena misses her dead husband like crazy, but the Christmas spirit and her newborn son are enough to keep her going. She didn’t expect to fall in love again, especially with the town doctor, who wasn’t even sure he wanted to stay in town past the end of his contract date. This was also a cute story about a second chance at love. I adored Ilena, thought she was so sweet and caring and adorable, especially as she struggled with raising a newborn and mourning her husband. I wasn’t as excited about Jared. I think he was just coasting through life, not really making any decision for himself. He was a bit indecisive and standoffish, and I had a harder time connecting with him and their romance because of it. That being said, I still think Ilena and Jared had good chemistry, and their HEA was super sweet. I give A Family for Christmas a B
All in all this was a good anthology was some really strong stories in it. Only one story didn’t work for me, and I consider that a huge success. This anthology should be on the TBR pile for anyone looking for fun Christmas stories!...more
The hero was a bit of an alphahole, and even I found him difficult to like at times. Excited to see where this series goes though. Interesting world bThe hero was a bit of an alphahole, and even I found him difficult to like at times. Excited to see where this series goes though. Interesting world building!!...more
I read one of Kaye’s more erotic novels in the past and really enjoyed it. I was anxious to see what she could do with a romantic suspense setting, and I am so glad that I picked this book up!
Nick has had a rough time ever since he parted ways with the military. He didn’t get to leave on the best of terms, and his life has not gone the way he wanted since his CO turned on the team, got half of them killed and the others to take the fall. When Becca walks into his tattoo parlor asking for his help, he tells his former commanders daughter to stick it.
But Becca really did need Nick’s help, and it only takes a day of following her and his killer instincts to figure it out. But what started as a missing brother and a tossed apartment soon turns into attempted kidnapping, a conspiracy involving organized crime and corrupt cops, and way more than Nick and Becca first thought. As they fight to find Becca’s brother, their feelings for each other will reach a boiling point, at about the same time as their case.
Let me start by saying if you are looking for a book that wraps up the suspense plot in a pretty bow by the end of the book, you might want to wait for the series to be over. While Nick and Becca accomplish a portion of their mission, many – MANY – more questions are asked than answered and we are left hanging and desperately wanting more.
There was so much at play here, so many characters, and yet I loved it all and never once felt lost. The dynamic between Nick and Becca is super strained, especially given Becca’s relationship to the man who ruined Nick’s life. Watching them try to navigate the waters of a romantic relationship was so amazing! I hated that Nick kept secrets from Becca for so long, and yet totally understood why he did. But their romance was so well done. From the sexual tension and Nick’s internal struggles with who Becca was in the beginning of the book, to the tender care he started to show her as he realized just how different she was from her father… it was all so sweet. I loved the stress that secret brought to their relationship, and especially loved the way they dealt with it in the end.
Another fascinating aspect was the interplay between Nick and his former special ops team. Nick had cut ties with them, feeling like a failure, and having them come back together to attempt to clear their names was explosive. I really enjoyed the way their dynamics played out not only within the group, but also with Becca. That aspect of the book was probably one of my favorites, and the guys didn’t even band together until about halfway through!
I both loved and hated the suspense plot. Loved it because it was so intricate and convoluted, it kept Becca and Nick and the team on their toes, but it also kept me guessing. I love when plots can do that. I love being constantly surprised by the twists and turns, and Kaye definitely twisted and turned! However, I am one of those people that hate having loose ends. I hated having more questions asked than answered. Don’t get me wrong, I am DYING to know how it all ends, what exactly went down, and how far the cover up goes. But I HATE not knowing it all now. :)
All in all I thought Kaye did an amazing job with this book. The romance was so well done, especially given the level of conflict between Nick and Becca. The dynamics between all the secondary characters was so complicated, and I am anxious to see how it continues to play out. Plus, given the numerous unanswered questions, I am desperate for more in this series! I give Hard as it Gets a B+...more
MinnChica: Oh, this story killed me in the best possible way!! I’m not always a big fan of amnesia stories, but I thought Gail put such an amazing touch on the characters, their situation, and the overall book. I can’t even count the number of times I burst into tears, both happy and sad. With this one story, Gail has cemented a place in my contemporary authors to buy list!
E: I started getting worried about this story when I saw numerous accounts of reviewers read this with a box of tissues. I attempted to start reading this story on my morning commute and quickly decided that since I was without my box of tissues I needed to wait until I was home and away from the public eye. I was very glad I made that decision because this story gripped my heart and really never let go.
MinnChica: There was so much awesomeness in this story, I can’t even tell you. The emotions that Lucy had to go through, knowing that her husband remembered almost everything in his old life except for their marriage was so heartwrenching. Yet, the strength she showed by still trying to support him in any and every possible way was so amazing. When we got to the end and realized that Sully had started to gain some of his memories back killed me. I was a big old puddle of tears by that point, and I loved every second of it. I just wish Gail would have had more time to explore them re-building their marriage. I give Starting from Scratch an A
E: Gail did a great job with this story by emphasizing that it isn’t only the the military member who has to adjust to their new normal but also the family members. I thought the way Gail had Sully receive his epiphany about the connection with Lucy was extremely touching. I just wish there was more shown about the journey of Lucy learning to trust Sully as they worked to build a new relationship together. As a result while this story packed a punch I found myself slightly let-down by the conclusion. I give Starting from Scratch a B+
Hero’s Homecoming by Rebecca Crowley
MinnChica: After having to follow Gail’s amazing story, Crowley had a lot to live up to. While I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first story in the anthology, it was still a beautiful telling of a soldier dealing with the fallout of wartime injuries. I just wish that Crowley would have given us a little more in the end, especially pertaining to Chris’ injuries and prognosis.
E: I enjoyed the change of pace with this particular story. While it didn’t pack the same heartwrenching punch as the first story I loved how Crowley focused on Chris’ emotional growth. He really needed to start seeing beyond himself and how his attempts at self-sufficiency were actually causing more harm than good. At the same time I could also see how difficult it was for a man accustomed to being the strong one to suddenly transition into needing help from those who had depended on his strength. Unlike MinnChica I felt that this was a complete self-contained story and I did not find myself wanting the rest of the story spelled out.
MinnChica: I wanted to give poor Beth a huge hug from almost start to finish. The pain that she went through, realizing why Chris cut ties with her was hard for me to read. Especially when he continued to push her away for reasons she was clearly okay to deal with in their relationship. I did enjoy watching Chris realize the extent of the pain he was causing Beth, and how he tried to deal with not only showing her he cared, but also dealing with his injuries to the best of his abilities. I really did want more though, while we absolutely got our HEA at the end, I wanted that extra special, rainbows-on-top HEA of knowing that Chris would recover completely and they could ride off into the sunset. I give Hero’s Homecoming a B.
E: I thought it was great when Beth didn’t let Chris get away with his actions towards her nor did she attempt to baby him. She expected that he would tell her what assistance he needed instead of just presuming. To me that attitude probably helped Chris sense what he could have. Crowley did a fabulous job of making Chris understand exactly what he symbolized and how much his small town cared about who they considered one of their own. Seeing that car extended to Beth was very touching. I think that scene was one of my favorites because it all came together, his hopes, fears, and the possibilities. I give Hero’s Homecoming an A-...more
I have been a long time fangirl of Carly Phillips, and when I heard she was going to be doing her next series as self-published books, I couldn’t wait to see what she came up with. This book was a little more sexy than her other books, and who doesn’t love that?
Ian Dare loves his mother and sisters more than anything. But his father and his second family? Ian could do without. The last person he ever expects to find himself lusting after is the best friend of his half-brother and rival, Alex. But something about Riley is captivating to Ian, and he can’t seem to stay away.
Riley has not had an easy life, but her best friend Alex has always been there for her. But the moment she feels herself falling for his half-brother Ian, Riley knows trouble is coming. The two brothers can’t stand each other, and Riley and Ian’s relationship makes everything worse. The only thing that seems to be able to bring these two together is a dark memory from Riley’s past that she would rather forget than deal with.
I loved the set up of this book. The animosity between Ian and his father, as well as his half-siblings was so well done. I can’t imagine finding out your father, that you look up to and adore, has been living this whole double life for years. The ages of all his children span over many, many years, and the only reason his father came clean is because of an illness from one of his daughters. Oh man, the feels associated with this whole situation are off the charts, and Phillips nailed it.
The romance was both awesome, and a little much for me. It seemed like both Ian and Riley fell in love VERY quickly, which surprised me given the way Ian felt toward Riley and her association with Alex in the beginning. It felt as if he went from mild curiosity to lust to hatred to full on “I love you” in the span of two weeks. Their relationship moved a little quick for me on the emotions front, but by-oh-boy were the sex scenes smokin’! Phillips took a new direction in this book. I was a little hesitant because so many mainstream authors are doing the BDSM thing, but I found that Phillips toned-down version worked for me. Phillips didn’t go too over the top, and I felt like there was a good mix of kinky and sweet.
I can’t wait to find out where Phillips takes the family dynamics in this series. It seemed as if Ian and Alex were able to find some common ground, especially when it came to Riley. I hope that we get to see a lot more play out between not only these two, but also the other brothers and sisters. I love watching these messed up family dynamics at work! :)
The secondary plot with Riley and her past worked well for me. I thought Phillips did a wonderful job of bringing out Riley’s pain and anguish with her past, and resolving it in a way that worked for everyone. I would love to see Phillips write a romantic suspense book some day, because I think she did a great job incorporating some aspects of RS I love into this story!
All in all I enjoyed Phillips first self published novel. I felt as if the book moved much quicker than her other novels, but it was a good, fast read. I really loved the interplay between the half siblings, and can’t wait to see more of that in future books. The romance between Riley and Ian had a few troublesome spots for me, but overall I really liked them both. I give Dare to Love a B....more
E: I was flipping through the collections in my ereader a few weeks ago and saw Leah Braemel’s name. Looking inside there was a book that I remembered reading, enjoying and wishing she had written more in that particular setting. I also found myself thinking for the severalth time that I really wanted to read more of her writing in general. In happy coincidence shortly afterwards I became aware that she had a new story coming out that was a contemporary western. With my recent musings in mind, I decided to go ahead and request it. While I didn’t get what I expected based on the single title I had read before, I did get an emotionally complex, good second chance at love story with some interesting twists.
MinnChica: I’ve read and really enjoyed Braemel’s books in the past, plus any chance I get to read about kinky cowboys is a plus! I always enjoy second chance love stories, and although I thought that Ben and Allie were quick to jump back into a sexual relationship, I loved the way their second chance played out. They both had some emotional hits to take, and although Ben’s grandfather did a good job of screwing them both up, they also came out stronger than ever.
E: Ben’s grandfather was a serious piece of work. In fact several of the responsible adults during the time of Ben and Allie’s first romance were serious pieces of work. It seemed as if they were willing to do and say anything to ruin any chance at happiness for Ben and Allie and for several years it worked. Like MinnChica I thought given the way their relationship ended, it would have taken a bit longer for them to get back together physically but I was glad to see their emotional trust took longer to develop. I really enjoyed the convoluted trail Allie had to follow as she tried to determine the status of the ranch land and who controlled what. Braemel was able to keep me guessing on the exact details for most of the story which added to my enjoyment.
MinnChica: Yes, I thought the absolute strongest aspect of this book was (in addition to the sex scene, obviously :) ) the little mystery surrounding the ranch lands and family secrets. Watching Allie help to unravel all the secrets that had kept Ben from truly knowing his family was both wonderful and fun. I like the fact that Allie got to be the one to break all the bad news to Ben, because I think it really helped them work on their emotional trust, to gain back some understanding and respect for the people they had grown up into. I really liked Ben, but after he and his brother Jake made a decision at the end, I found myself loving the guy even more. Ben came across as the kind of stand up, loving and attentive hero that every woman loves!
E: Oh yes, Allie having to break the news made her involvement in their life and Ben’s reactions to her all the more intense. I also loved how her boss never let Allie get away with avoiding her situation. I thought she had a hidden soft spot but also knew that Allie’s insider information would help clear up the tangle story quicker. Initially I had some issues with Jake both in how he treated Allie, understandable as the story developed, but also towards Ben and the ranch. Seeing Ben take Jake’s side and start treating him as a co-owner not just a quasi-hand really meant that Ben was growing emotionally. The decision that Ben and Jake made really cemented their status as hero material. I have to say by the end of the story I was really cheering for Jake and I hope that he gets his story is next **not so subtle hint**.
MinnChica: The whole relationship between Ben and Jake was wonderful. With Ben treating Jake like a hired hand, and Jake avoiding Ben because of family secrets, their whole time together was wonderful! I have to admit, one area I was disappointed in this book was with Ben’s best friend Logan. It was obvious from the get-go that Logan did not have it as easy as Ben did growing up. Despite the fact that they were best friends, being a punching bag for his dad couldn’t have been fun. And yeah, as a kid he made a huge mistake, and kept it a secret. But the way that Ben completely turned his back on his best friend felt a little too rash of a decision for me. Especially since Ben seemed unwilling to see anything from Logan’s point of view. While I didn’t really like Logan’s character to begin with (he came across as a self-centered asshat), but at the end of the day I also felt that Ben was a little quick to jump on the idea that Logan did anything maliciously. I think he was a kid stuck between a rock and a hard place, and made the best of an already shitty situation.
E: See on the other hand I didn’t have any serious issues with Logan to begin with but as the story progressed my doubts and questions about him grew. I understood that at the time he was caught between a rock and a hard place but he had a very long time to make amends. I got the feeling that Ben was a better friend than Logan ever was regardless of his mistake. I was glad to see what Ben decided to do given Logan’s actions even though it meant the end of a long-time friendship. I felt that if the friendship had continued Ben’s relationship with Allie never would have come to fruition. I enjoyed watching the secrets unravel as much pain as they caused at the time because of how Ben, Jake, and Allie were able to work through their anguish and build on the connection they used to have.
I enjoyed Slow Ride Home and I am glad I reminded myself that I need to read more of her writing. The romantic and familial relationships with their ups and downs provided satisfying reading. The addition of the complex web of lies, omissions, and half-truths added to my enjoyment as I tried to solve the puzzle. I look forward to seeing this series continue and also exploring Braemel’s backlist. I give Slow Ride Home a B
MinnChica: All in all I really enjoyed Braemel’s Slow Ride Home. I thought the secrets that were revealed about the Grady family were wonderful as they slowly came out. I thought the relationship between Ben and Allie, while quick to develop, was wonder, super sweet, and incredibly sexy. I hope that Braemel continues to write more within this world, especially about Jake. I give Slow Ride Home a B-...more
When I picked up the first Readhead book, there was so much for me to love. The celebrity aspect, the age difference, the sex… But in the second installment of the series, I found myself getting a tad bit annoyed with some of the things I really enjoyed in the first round.
Grace is off in New York, working on her play. She is loving the city, the work, and the new and old friends she’s made. The one thing she misses most (besides bestie, Holly) is her boyfriend, sexy movie star Jack. Keeping their relationship under wraps is fairly easy when they live on opposite coasts, but a whole slew of new problems arise. Between surprising photos in the gossip rags, a rekindled friendship that was never fully explored, and one drunk night of self-doubt, will Grace and Jack be able to keep their relationship from imploding?
While I thought I was completely invested in the characters after the first book in this series, I think my love for them has somewhat dwindled. Although Grace continually brings up and dwells on the age difference between them, I never really felt how it created so much conflict in their relationship. Hell, 99% of the time Jack was more mature than Grace was, and she acted more his age than her own. Given their age difference seemed to be the key factor in this book, I struggled with a lot of the drama and angst because it never felt real to me.
While I thought the sex was extremely hot in the first book, I found myself annoyed with all the euphemisms and immaturity that Grace and Jack displayed. Sure, their sexy times were frequent and graphic, but after reading the word “boobies” for the four thousandth time, I needed Clayton to really find a thesaurus.
It seems like everytime Grace and Jack take a step forward in their relationship, Grace finds a way to take three steps back. She intentionally finds ways to destroy the good things in her life, and I wanted to smack her silly because of it. I understand why her past leads to a lot of insecurities about herself, however she never really seemed to grow and learn from her fears in this book, at least not until the very, very end. Being almost a decade older than Jack, I kinda expected a little more from her.
I have to say, after reading the blurb for the next book in the series, I don’t know that I’ll be able to continue with the Grace and Jack saga. Now that they have finally gotten to what seems like a good place for them, I don’t know that I can handle Jack having his own mini breakdown. I’m looking forward to their HEA, but am not too sure I’m going to enjoy the way Clayton takes us there.
All in all I am disappointed with the second book in the Redhead Series. For one, It felt way more chick-lit than romance. I wasn’t all that impressed with the way that Grace handled her relationship, until the very end when she sucked it up and put it all on the line. She felt extremely immature and scared to me, and I struggled with connecting with her because of it. While Jack remained the strong and sexy hero, there were times I wanted him to quit acting like a doormat and do whatever he needed to get Grace to see how she was imploding. I give The Redhead Revealed a C-...more
MinnChica: Poor Adam, keeping secrets and being all broody about it. For the majority of the book, I had a love/hate relationship with Adam. He was this total enigma about what his true desires were, what his real motivations were behind the auction. He was hot and cold, devoted than distant. I found Adam’s big secret to be an easy clue, and could understand a lot of the motivations behind his actions, but from Mia’s point of view, he was mostly a dick. :) As much as I enjoyed Adam though, I did want more from him. More honesty toward Mia, more opening up about his real motivations before he broke her heart, and more sexy times!
Marlene: I found Adam to be less than lovable for most of the book. While we’re supposed to empathize with him because of the way he raised himself out of his terrible childhood, he was an asshat to Mia throughout the book. He goes into the auction having all the cards, knowing all her secrets. She’s in the dark about him, and he keeps all his secrets. He never intends to stick to the agreement he signs. Whether it’s legal or not, whether it’s a good idea or not, he goes into the whole thing with the intent to break his word. He says he always gets what he wants, and he does. He may believe he has Mia’s best interests at heart, but what gives him the right to take over her life? Adam’s need to control Mia’s life reminded me way too much of Christian Grey.
Has: I also have torn feelings about Adam and I agree that he was a bit of a control freak, although I never felt he ventured into the alphahole territory. But I liked that Mia did stand up to him even though he was pretty dominant and secretive about his motives. I also guessed his secret and the twist early on in the story, which made the premise of the story go in a different tangent that I did not expect. But I could understand why he remained silent because I think he was clueless on how to deal with Mia who brought up so many feelings. Especially about control and lack of it – I think this is going to produce an interesting dynamic between the two of them in the future. I also wished we learned more about him because we only get some of his insights and this is via Mia’s perspective.
Thoughts on the Heroine
MinnChica: Like Adam, I had a real love/hate relationship with Mia as well. Her character came across as very fickle. One moment she was completely dedicated to her cause in the Virgin Manifesto, and then next she was hesitant. More times than I can count I wanted her to grow a backbone and stick up for herself more, demand more from Adam. Especially once it was clear they both had some intense feelings involved. I wanted her to fight for what she truly desired, not just to keeping their “arrangement.”
Marlene: At the beginning of the book, Mia seems very driven. It’s not just that she has clearly defined goals, but she has a clearly laid-out plan for making her dreams a reality, in spite of the large number of roadblocks that life has put in her way. She is totally determined, to the point of creating her “Virgin Manifesto”. While it’s natural that she would have a few second thoughts about selling her virginity, or even selling sex for money, she starts out the book in control of as much of her life as is possible. Her mother’s cancer being obviously something she can’t control. But during the book she becomes a stereotypical lovesick girl and cedes all control of her life to the object of her affection, Adam. She decides that the dreams she had weren’t her dreams after all, but doesn’t seem to find new ones. The story becomes all about being rescued from her poverty by the handsome billionaire.
Has: The first half of the book I felt her character was more focused and definitely with you both that in the second half she loses that force that made her interesting in the beginning. But I disagree that she loses herself totally with Adam. I think it was easy for her to be swept away with his lifestyle and I think towards the end she realises that he was being a controlling jerk and she did stand up to him. I also think she’s afraid of being made vulnerable and that was something she couldn’t control. Both characters have issues with control which is why I think its interesting aspect about their characters. I also have the sense that her ambitions in the beginning wasn’t something she was truly desired which was why she was so reluctant to drive forward with her goals. I think deep down she knows this and I have a feeling this will be something she realises in the future although I could be wrong!
But I have to say I really liked the geeky element to Mia’s character and this was one of the strongest factors in this book. I really enjoyed the references and her insights into gaming and geek culture and it felt refreshing to other characters in similar books with this premise.
MinnChica: Hmmm, this is a tough one. I think for me I would have to go with their day on Adam’s yacht. It was a day spent with the two of them growing closer, opening up to each other, and just enjoying one another’s company on a beautiful day. It went to show just how much they had in common as friends, how much they enjoyed each others company, without the complications of a sex.
Marlene: It is hard to find a scene that doesn’t get messed up with either a fight or the complications of Adam’s big lie. The day on Adam’s yacht is the one that lasts the longest before things go to hell in the proverbial handcart.
Has: I won’t go into spoilers but I liked the scene in the end when the big conflict and aftermath happened. When Mia realises the truth of her feelings and accepted them especially in context with Adam I felt the romance really stepped up a gear for me.
Dislike about book
MinnChica: While I really liked the set up of the book, I was kinda disappointed that the sexy times were put off for so long. Every time Adam blew Mia off I was disappointed as much as Mia, because I wanted them to get it on! :) And as individuals, I had some issues with both Mia and Adam. I wanted more from their characters, and thought that at times they were both extremely fickle. I get frustrated when characters are so indecisive, especially when they aren’t like that in other aspects of their lives.
Marlene: I also liked the setup of the story, but the characters turned out not to be strong enough to carry it for me. One of the things that didn’t work for me was that the story is told from Mia’s first person perspective, so we live it from inside her head, and her head is a pretty messed up place most of the time. Also, she’s fairly naive about Adam’s motivations, so we don’t get to know what’s going on in his head. I wish we did. He seems to be a more complex character than Mia. I’d love to have known what he was thinking.
Has: I agree about the only perspective being Mia as the weak element in this book. I think if we had some Adam POV’s it would have balanced the story more and not made it so frustrating which I think kind of dragged on a little. But I kind of liked the long wait because it did help with the tension and strengthened the emotional factors in the romance. However I wished Adam opened more about himself and told his secret sooner.
Any other misc. thoughts along with grade
MinnChica: All in all I thought At Any Price was a cute read. I really loved getting to read about a geeky heroine, and have to admit that all of Mia’s game time playing made me want to renew my World of Warcraft account!! I wish we could see more geeky heroines in romance! While I had some problems with the book, it was a wonderfully written and fun read, and think NA fans will absolutely enjoy this one. Although there was a HEA at the end of this book, apparently the next will also feature Mia and Adam as well. I give At Any Price a C
Marlene: Quite a few of Girl Geek’s thoughts about gaming reminded me of Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian and her Tropes vs. Women series about the portrayals of women in video games. Anytime that Mia did a shout-out about how much fun it is to play video games and how whacked the characterization of females in games and female gamers is, I wanted to stand up and cheer. I also started a new co-op game of Diablo III because she reminded me just how much fun a good hack-and-slash can be with the right party. (I am a girl geek and I’m proud!)
But about the story…The set up was fantastic, but the execution dragged on. The dynamic between Adam and Mia reminded me way too much of Christian Grey and Ana Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey. We have the dominant, successful-at-a-very-early-age and rich man from a very messed up childhood, hiding a ton of secrets from a younger, inexperienced and impoverished woman who he wants to control. And their story doesn’t end with one book. Even though At Any Price comes to a resolution, it may only be a Happy For Now, as Mia and Adam are still the central characters in book 2. I give At Any Price a C-
Has: I enjoyed At Any Price more and I did like the romance but I agree that it did drag with the premise which stagnated the plot in the middle. However while there were flaws, I was sucked into the story even though the plot went into a different direction than I expected. The romance also promises to produce an interesting dynamic and I am definitely interested in picking up the next book. I am a sucker for a geeky heroine or hero! I give At Any Price a C+...more
I really enjoyed the first book in the Poconos Pack series, so I was super excited to read more about the wolves in the mountains. While I really enjoyed this book, I forgot how short these stories really are, and I felt like there was so much more that could have been told.
Steve isn’t a fan of the cold, but he’s looking forward to visiting his best friend Ben. Laying eyes on one of Ben’s friends, Graciela, is an added bonus. Finding out they are all werewolves and Chela is his mate is almost more than Steve can handle.
Chela is determined to make Steve hers, but coaxing him to accept the fact that she’s a werewolf isn’t easy. Hopefully with some hilarious dog jokes, and lots of naked time, Chela will be able to show Steve how normal life as a werewolf is, so that she can finally claim her mate.
There was so much that was missing for me in this book. I don’t know if it was just the really short page count or what, but I really felt like there was so much missing in the execution of this novella. There was the potential to be so much more, especially given how freaked Steve was when he witnessed his lover, best friend, and other childhood friends naked in a clearing all changing into wolves. However, it felt so rushed in that a few funny dog pictures and some naked time was enough to bring Steve around completely to the wolfy way of life. I guess it just felt a little ridiculous how quickly things moved for them, but I guess that’s what you get when there are only so many pages in the story.
I sincerely hope that this is fixed for the final copy, however the beginning of chapter two was completely out of line in context with the rest of the story. They had just met at the end of chapter one, and suddenly they are all cuddly and sexy and in “their” cabin and it just didn’t add up. I went back and re-read chapters one and two three times before I finally figured out that, timeline wise, shit wasn’t adding up. It completely threw me out of the flow of the story, and confused me horribly. **Update – I was told this was a mate dream. However, there was no distinguishing this being an ACTUAL dream, which is still pretty confusing to me. :(
One of the things that I enjoyed though was the fact that we got to see all of the Poconos shifters we’ve come to know and love. I adored getting to see more of Ben and Dave, Rick and Belle. I think it’s wonderful that Bell does such a great job of keeping up with her previous characters. I’m excited to see how things work out with Charlie becoming part of the pack as well, since I adore her character.
All in all I was a little disappointed with this book. Not only was it over way too quickly, but it also felt so incredibly rushed in both the romance and plot department. I would have liked to see things pulled out, dragged on, explored further instead of the magic mates fixing everything within mere pages. However, getting the chance to see some of my old favorites is always a treat. I give Mr. Red Riding Hoode a C-...more
I adore all things Shannon Stacey, and her holiday novellas have become a favorite of mine at the end of each year.
Rachel is working at her dream job, she loves the day to day responsibilities, she loves the work, and she has been crushing on her boss big time for as long as she has worked for him. But crossing that line in the sand is something that she only dreams of doing, until they are snowed in at one of Adrian’s romantic resorts, and their time together leads from one thing to another.
Adrian has built his business from the ground up. Risking it all for a quick tumble with his executive assistant isn’t worth it, especially because he couldn’t do his job without Rachel. But being snowed in together is playing havoc with their libidos, and their work weekend takes an unexpected journey between the sheets. But being back at work the following week brings more mixed emotions than Rachel or Adrian know how to deal with, and might be enough to kill their fragile relationship.
This was a very short novella, only about 40 pages or so, and while I felt like Stacey told a wonderful story, I also wish we would have gotten the chance to see more. I, for one, like reading novellas. I love having a quick and easy read that I know will leave me with a huge smile on my face by the end. Stacey accomplished this to perfect. Of course, the only downside is that when I find myself falling hard for the characters in certain novellas, 40 pages just isn’t enough. :)
One aspect I thought was handled really well in this story was the complications of going back to work together. Both Rachel and Adrian were unsure how to act Monday morning, and they both got their signals crossed, their feelings hurt, and the miscommunication skyrocketed. But, I was able to feel their discomfort with not knowing how to act around one another. Adrian was worried about crossing some line at work with being the boss. He didn’t want to pressure Rachel, make her feel uncomfortable, especially since he valued her position so highly. On the other hand, Rachel was confused that Adrian wanted to be business as usual when he dove straight into work. She was worried about speaking up and ruining her position. It was a tightrope, and they both fell spectacularly.
I thoroughly enjoyed both Adrian and Rachel. They came across as such vivid characters in my mind. I’m not too sure why I was able to so easily relate to them both (maybe it was all the years I worked as an executive admin??), but either way I connected with them both so early in the story. I wanted – desperately – for them to get their HEA, for them to put aside their work concerns and be honest about their budding relationship. I loved the way they were able to so easily admit their feelings and move past their communication issues, address them, and find a way to balance their work and person lives.
I thought the epilogue was such a special treat. Many times, in novellas, we don’t get a chance to glimpse anything in the far future. I love that Stacey gave us a chance to see just how wonderful things are for Rachel and Adrian, on both a professional and personal scale, a year into the future. It was an extra special treat, and I so enjoyed it.
All in all I thought Stacey created another fabulous holiday short. While I was jonesing for more from these characters, I love the fact that they were able to fall so epically and build back up in such a short amount of time. The quick love was easy for me to believe in because of their work schedule, so I had no complaints about the romance. I give Snowbound with the CEO a B+...more