This is one of those times that randomly buying a book you see on the shelves at some store just doesn't work out. I snagged this one because the cove...moreThis is one of those times that randomly buying a book you see on the shelves at some store just doesn't work out. I snagged this one because the cover caught my attention and I had been wanting to read a cowboy romance. Sadly, this book fell short on just about every level.
Series Note: No known series connections.
Summary: Lacey Bradford is a former trophy wife who is on the run from some of her husbands enemies. Not knowing where to go, Lacey decides to look up former classmate Chase Caldwell. Chase had always seemed to adore her in high school so surely he'd want to help her out now, in her time of need.
Unfortunately, when Lacey finds Chase, he's less than receptive. Chase harbors some anger over what Lacey's ex did to his family, and for Lacey marrying someone else when he was desperately in love with her. But Lacey's persistence wears Chase down and he gives in to the love for her he's never gotten over. But will Lacey finally give his a chance for forever?
Review: Right from the start this book didn't particularly work for me. Why? Because you start off reading about Lacey - a woman who at 18 married and older man because he was rich and could take care of her and who spent years being his trophy wife - who is now divorced and is driving across the country, searching out an old classmate who she hopes will help her in her time of need. And why did she search out Chase Caldwell? Because in high school he'd worshiped the ground she walked on and followed her around like a lost puppy so surely now, when she desperately needs help, he would be there for her.
What about that scenario is appealing? It's hopelessly shallow and doesn't make me think very much of Lacey. It just was not a good way to start off a book. When you begin by disliking a main character it makes it hard to get into the story.
Getting past that, there still wasn't much about this book that I enjoyed. At times it's rather campy and shallow. The author had a tendency to overuse similes and metaphors. And the overall storyline and romance just came off very flat for me.
I think the worst aspect, in my opinion, was the characterization of the hero, Chase Caldwell. I bought this book because I was wanting to read a cowboy romance and I thought this would fit the bill. But it doesn't really get there. Chase is a very odd character. He's supposed to be a cowboy, but he comes off as awkward, bumbling and rather beta. Which is just not what I want in a cowboy hero. I want a cowboy hero who is strong, dominant, rough and tumble and all that. Not some guy who was described as a geeky fumbling teenager and who as an adult was rather passive and wishy washy.
Not only that, his obsessive devotion to Lacey was creepy. Instead of seeming romantic, how he pined for her and said he's always be waiting for her, it came off as just...creepy. Like stalkerish obsessive. I just wasn't digging it. Maybe if I liked Lacey more it would have seemed romantic, but mostly I just thought Lacey was a twit who I wished would get stomped on by the horses she was so afraid of.
As for the storyline...hmmm. To me it came off as rather drab, directionless and not very engaging. I got to about 2/3rds through the book and started to skim read now and then because I was bored. There was just nothing about the storyline, the characters, the setting, etc, that sucked me in and had me wanting to keep reading. I kept putting the book down to do other stuff. Which is saying a lot since I'm sitting here with a broken foot with very little I can do but read and watch TV.
So...yeah, kinda wish I hadn't spent the money on this one. I just did not particularly care for it. For those of you who like the super light romance reads, you may like this one, but for those of you who like books that are a bit deeper then this probably won't appeal to you. And if you're looking for a good cowboy romance, then I definitely don't think you'll like this one. (less)
I thought maybe this book would end up being my favorite of the series because of the interesting romantic pairing, but the book didn't quite make it...moreI thought maybe this book would end up being my favorite of the series because of the interesting romantic pairing, but the book didn't quite make it to favorite status. Not that I didn't like the book because I did, but it just didn't hit the exact not I was expecting or wanting.
Series Note: Fourth book in the “Bride Quartet” series by Nora Roberts about 4 best friends who run a wedding planning business. I'd recommend reading the series in order because the characters and situation are so intertwined.
Summary: Parker Brown, of those Connecticut Browns, is the calm, cool, obsessively organized leader of Vows wedding planning business. Her and her 3 friends may be equal partners in the business, but it's Parker who takes the lead, always ready and available for a panicky, neurotic bride who needs help. So it's to some consternation that Parker finds herself attracted to bad boy mechanic Malcolm Kavanaugh.
Mal is nothing like her usual type, but Parker can't deny her attraction and curiosity about the man. And his surprising forwardness in his pursuit of her is intriguing. After some debate, Parker relents and the two fall headlong into an affair that takes both by surprise because it's so much more than an affair. But Mal will have to learn to open up to Parker if he hopes to win her heart.
Review: I've been intrigued by the potential of this book since I first realized what direction Nora Roberts was heading for Parker's romance. Opposites attract romances are always interesting. And that's definitely what you have here with Parker – the anally organized, calm, cool rich girl – and Mal – the bad boy, motorcycle driving mechanic. I couldn't wait to see what happened between these two.
Did it live up to my expectations. Mostly, but not entirely. Opposites attract romances don't always work because sometimes the characters are just too different for a relationship to seem at all realistic. That didn't happen here. Even those Parker and Mal are very different, they fit together well. Mal may have a bit of a bad boy reputation, but at heart he's a really good guy. I really liked Mal a lot. Parker's pretty cool too...maybe a bit too....I don't know...prim? Anal? Over-dedicated? Not sure how to describe it, but I still liked her. And when Mal comes into the picture he gets her to loosen up a bit. Plus, Mal blends in rather well in their little group of friends.
They have some good chemistry together and some sexy scenes to go along with it. I was expecting the relationship to be a little more edgy because of the who good girl/bad boy thing. There was just something a little too calm about how the relationship progressed. I wanted just a smidge more edgy spark. And maybe something a little less predictable for the romantic conflict because there's really no deviation from the predictable path...which is that Parker falls for Mal, wants him forever, but Mal's got some issues related to his less than stellar childhood and has to work his way through them before he can commit to Parker. So I wouldn't have minded something a little less obvious. But even so, it was a nice sweet romance that makes you sigh and feel the happy fluffy bunny feelings.
And of course, as with any Nora Roberts series, you have active involvement of the past characters. I love that they all play big roles and you get to keep getting to know them and learning more about them. You also get to see them planning their wedding and being the crazy brides that they are always having to deal with as part of their job. It's fun to read.
By far, my favorite part of the book was the last chapter. One of the things I'd worried about a little while reading this book was that it was the last book in the series. One of the things you've gotten in this series is the continuation of romances from book to book. In book 1, Mac and Carter get engaged, in the books that follow you get to read about wedding preparations, Parker finding Mac the perfect dress, and then in the last book their wedding. And you get something similar with the other 2 couples. One of the main themes being Parker finding each of her friends the perfect wedding dress. So as you are reading this book, you're realizing you're not going to get any of that for Parker because there is no next book. It was disappointing. But I should have had some faith in Nora Roberts because the last chapter of the book (an epilogue, really) is so absolutely perfect. I adored it and thought it couldn't have been more fitting. Does it give you everything like you got with the other characters? No, there's just not enough room for that, but it did give me the one thing I wanted (which I won't say so I don't ruin the lovely surprise of it). Reading that last chapter leaves you with a nice happy feeling and a sense of coming full circle. I loved it.
So what did I think of the series as a whole? It's a good series. Very true blue contemporary romance. Something hardcore romance fans would probably love. And like just about anything Nora writes these days, the attention to detail, in this case with the wedding planning business, is exception. It was a fun, sweet, romantic series to read. I don't think I'd list it as a favorite among her series, but I enjoyed it.(less)
Review: There seem to be a lot of good reviews and ratings of this but I was rather disappointed in the book. It bored me for the most p...moreRating: 2.5 / 5
Review: There seem to be a lot of good reviews and ratings of this but I was rather disappointed in the book. It bored me for the most part. I was expecting a lot more from it.
Series Note: Second book in Adair's “Cutter Cay” series about the Cutter brothers and their marine salvage business. I don't think you have to read the first book in order to read this one.
Summary: Princess Gabriella “Bria” Visconti is livid that her brother invested their country's much needed funds into a salvage dive being run by Nick Cutter. If her brother, the king of her island country, can't make a bank loan payment by the end of the month, the country will revert back to Italy. So she goes to Nick Cutter to beg for a refund of the money.
What Bria doesn't know when she boards Nick's ship, the Scorpion, is that Nick is helping out a counterterrorism group who is trying to stop the sale of blood diamonds. And Bria has landed smack dab in the middle of a dangerous situation.
For Nick, who always keeps his emotions buttoned up, having Bria around tests everything in him. He doesn't know whether to trust the beautiful princess. But that doesn't stop him from wanting her, and wanting to keep her safe. And as the danger escalates, Nick must decide whether to let Bria in or keep her at arm's length away.
Review: This book didn't really give me anything I wanted out of it, except for a fairly decent romance. I was just disappointed all the way around.
I guess a large part of that is because I love romantic suspense books. They are my favorite romance sub-genre out there. And this book was supposed to be a romantic suspense, but it doesn't exactly come across as one for the first two-thirds of the book.
I was bored for a majority of this book. There's so much that is supposed to be going on with the storyline...with the plot to catch the people selling blood diamonds, an attack on Bria her first night on the ship, the issues with Bria's brother and other threats on Bria and Nick's lives. There's just a wealth of plot aspects to add tension and action to the story. And yet for the first two-thirds of the book, all you really get is constant interaction between Bria and Nick. Them sitting on the deck, them looking at stars, them working out, them in the hot tub, them sightseeing, them arguing, them screwing. Maybe in a traditional contemporary romance that would be fine. But when I'm reading a romantic suspense, I want plot development, not an almost sole focus on the H/h. It just made the first two-thirds of the book very boring for me.
My disappointment also lies in the lack of attention to the salvage diving aspect of this series. For me, that's a fascinating story point. I just think salvage diving is very interesting. And in this book, it's not given much attention at all. Bria looks at some finds the divers brought up, and they do one sightseeing dive, but other than that, there's not much else about the topic. I was disappointed in that. I wanted to read more about the dives, finding the treasure and all that.
And honestly, I could do without the tie-in to Adair's “T-Flac” series. For me, it's just a totally unnecessary addition to the series. The connection is just not needed to make the series work. And because of the nature of T-Flac, as a counterterrorism group, it means a terrorism aspect is added to the series. That's another thing I could do without. Terrorism is such a popular romantic suspense topic these days that I get a little tired of it and want to read something different. I thought that's what this series would give me when it's focused on three brothers who run a dive salvage operation. But in both books so far, Adair has added in a terrorism aspect and tie in to T-Flac. It's another thing that's just not working for me in these books.
But I will still read the next book. I'm interested enough in the characters to want to find out what happens to them. (less)
I hadn't planned on reading this book after being so disappointed with Phillips's last series. So I thought I'd pass on this one. But I...moreRating 4.5 / 5
I hadn't planned on reading this book after being so disappointed with Phillips's last series. So I thought I'd pass on this one. But I picked it up at Wal-Mart, read the back and thought it sounded interesting so I decided to give it a chance. It was a good decision. I liked this book quite a bit.
Series Note: First book in Phillips's new series “Serendipity” about a small New York town of the same name.
Summary: Faith Harrington is returning to her hometown with her tail between her legs. Her father is an admitted Ponzi schemer now in jail, her ex-husband a cheating bastard, and her mom in total denial. So she's returned home to try to restart her life and to for once be her true self, not what everyone else wants her to be. Fate throws a monkey wrench in her plans when she realizes town bad boy Ethan Barron is also back, and he's bought her former family mansion.
For Ethan, it should be a proud moment, the bad boy coming home to roost with wealth and a great job. But he's still living with the guilt of inadvertently causing his parents' deaths and abandoning his two younger brothers. He hopes by returning home he can repair his relationship with them. He didn't count on Faith.
As soon as the two meet again, the chemistry of a long ago tryst reels its head and the two can't stay away from each other. Neither wanted a relationship, but that seems to be exactly what they got. But nothing is ever simple. Ethan's family issues come to a head and Faith must continue to deal with the fallout of her father's crimes, both of which threaten their relationship.
Review: I've been reading Carly Phillips's books since not long after I started reading romance novels. And I've enjoyed most of what I've read of hers...except for her last series. Phillips's books have always been light, but the “Bachelor Blogs” series dipped into silly slapstick comedy that I just didn't enjoy. It made me wary of reading her next book. And I almost decided not to read it at all, but I gave it a chance. Glad I did, this book was really good.
It's pretty much standard contemporary romance in that it's all about the characters, the romance, and the generic drama in their lives. The storyline is not complicated; it's pretty simple but it's a story that works and Phillips tells it well.
I enjoyed both the hero and heroine a lot. Faith is the rich girl whose life is turned upside down by betrayal. She's loses almost everything and has to start over. I found her very likable. Instead of having a pity party for herself, she picks up and tries to move on as best she can. And she handles the surprises in Ethan's life very well. And poor Ethan. The guy made some terrible mistakes as a teenager and still hasn't forgiving himself. But he's a very caring guy. I loved how Phillips wrote his character. You start off expecting a bad buy Alpha, but then you see he's a genuinely nice guy who handles an unexpected revelation in his life amazingly well.
Both characters were great to read about, and they had wonderful chemistry together. They seemed to fit very well together. The progression of their relationship came across very natural. Nothing felt forced or manufactured. And there's some moderately steamy sex to go along. Always a plus ;)
As for storyline...like I said, it's not a complicated story, but I enjoyed it. Phillips really kept me reading wanting to know how things would go with Ethan and Faith, what would happen with Ethan's “family issues,” how Faith would continue to deal with what her father did, etc. I just wanted to keep reading to see who it would all work out. And once I was done, I wanted to move onto the next book...which I'm disappointed to learn won't be out for over a year (winter 2012).
So for those of you who read Phillips last series and were disappointed in it, didn't like the sort of slapstick feel, this book is a great improvement. It's much more typical of what Phillips usually writes and I'm glad I decided to read it.(less)
I have to admit, I was disappointed in this book, and this series overall. I've read so many Sharon Sala books that I've loved, but this series fell s...moreI have to admit, I was disappointed in this book, and this series overall. I've read so many Sharon Sala books that I've loved, but this series fell short of delivering what I expect from her.
Series Note: Third and last book in Sala's “The Searchers” trilogy about 3 sisters who find out they aren't really sisters and come from terrible backgrounds so they travel to find answers to who they are. It's not particularly necessary to read the books in order.
Summary: Holly Slade is the last of her 3 sisters to leave home to find out answers to who she really is after learning from her father's will that she's not really Holly Slade, but instead Harriet Mackey, who was taken in by Andrew Slade after her mother feared her father was a terrible serial killer named The Hunter. She's hesitant to search from answers, fearing what she would find. And she's also hesitant to leave her home, and the man she secretly love, Bud Tate.
But she eventually does leave, traveling to St. Louis, Missouri to find out if her past is as terrible as she suspects. Holly's search for answers leads her to some grim truths, but they become a little easier to handle when Bud joins her in St Louis and the two finally admit their feelings for each other. Unfortunately, after years of not killing, The Hunter is on the hunt again, and Holly's life and her future happiness with Bud are in serious jeopardy.
Review: Sharon Sala's books almost always tend to engage me. They're so well written, emotionally satisfying, and just overall great books to read. But this book (and the series) didn't make the cut for me. When I finished each one, I didn't really feel satisfied.
The romance in this book felt flat. Holly and Bud have secretly loved each other for years. Bud is about 14 years older than Holly and was waiting for her to be old enough, and Holly never thought Bud would have those feelings for her. Lots of potential for some angsty romance, but after a bit of fumbling around for the first chunk of pages, these two admit their feelings and then there is absolutely no romantic conflict between them for the rest of the book. That's not really what I'm looking for in a romance book. Generally the whole point of a romance book is the sometimes long-winding road the H/H take to get to the HEA, with all its twist and turns and broken hearts. But not in this book. Before you're even halfway through the book the two are settled into an HEA relationship. It took some of the oomph out of the story and definitely caused a lack of romantic tension. That didn't work for me.
Then there's the suspense plot...I didn't mind it. It had a lot of potential to be a really great suspense plot, and there were some good scenes and nice tension at times. But it was also a bit oversimplified. I guess maybe because I'm a huge romantic suspense fan I'm a bit overcritical and prefer an in-depth suspense plot. This was a simple plot with everything moving along quickly with few problem and twists and turns. I didn't mind reading it, liked it to a point, but it didn't entirely hook me.
One of the most disappointing aspects of this series, for me, was a underplayed connection between the sisters. They are supposed to be super close, best friends along with being sisters. Yet as you read these three stories, it feels like they are simply sisters. They go off on their journeys and hardly keep in touch, only calling each other when something bad happens to one of them. It just came off really weird and made the connection between the three books rather weak. I wanted a deeper development when it came to the relationship between these three characters.
I also felt the wrap-up, on the series whole, was a bit weak. Not that it left any plot lines unanswered. You do find out the whole story for each sister, but you're left wondering somewhat about where things will go from there with them. I mentioned in my review for book 1 that you don't get any answers as to where Maria and Bodie plan to settle, what they'll do with their lives. That's still not explicitly answered. And it seems like the other two sisters will remain in their home area. But where are they all going to live? What are they going to do? I wanted something more solid to let me know what these characters plans were.
I wouldn't say this was a bad series or that any of the books were particularly bad...I think some readers would love them. But there were just some things missing for me that took away from each book and the series as a whole.(less)
Not my favorite of the Fool's Gold books. I liked it and some parts were great, but on the whole it was not at good as other books in the series.
Serie...moreNot my favorite of the Fool's Gold books. I liked it and some parts were great, but on the whole it was not at good as other books in the series.
Series Note: Sixth book in the Fool's Gold series about a small, quaint California town and the people who live there. I think you could probably read this one on its own, but there is a definite benefit to reading the books in order.
Summary: Nevada Hendrix is the last of her triplet sisters not attached to a man and preparing to marry. She is, however, looking forward to a new job that will challenge and engage her. Until she finds out her boss will be Tucker Janack, the man she was hopelessly in love and who broke her heart years ago. Nevada takes the job anyway, determined to forget about the past.
This time around, though, Tucker is finally seeing her as the woman she as and neither are able to forget what happened all those years ago. They manage to hold the passion at bay for a short while but eventually give in. Nevada begins to wonder if they could have a future, but Tucker is still lost in his belief that love is evil. Then a woman from Tucker's past shows up to make things even more complicated. Tucker will have to reevaluate his stance on love or risk losing Nevada forever.
Review: Parts of this book I really enjoyed and other parts came off a bit flat. I wanted to love it, but there was just something holding me back from thoroughly digging into the story.
Oddly enough, it was the romance that didn't entirely hit the right note. I want to say the chemistry between Nevada and Tucker wasn't entirely there, but I'm not sure that's exactly it. Or maybe it's that their romance seemed somewhat undeveloped...but I don't think that's quite it either. So maybe it's that their romance came off a bit unoriginal and trite...guy gets drunk, sleeps with girl then goes back to his girlfriend, they don't see each other for years then as soon as they do they can't stay away from each other but the guy still has love/commitment issues and breaks the girl's heart all over again. It's a very basic storyline that's been done more than a few times. I wanted something a little different, more special.
There were other parts of the book that I enjoyed, though. The whole thing with Cat...especially Cat trying to win Nevada over, and the thing about the giant vagina...was hilarious. I was literally laughing out loud at various points of the book because of Cat's antics. It was freakin' hilarious
And I liked that the triple's mom got her happily ever after. That was sweet. The scene where Nevada walks in on her mom and Max was another one that had me cracking up. And of course, you get some scenes with Nevada's sisters to keep you up to date on past characters. Plus, author Susan Mallery brings 3 other female characters into focus, I assume, for her next Fool's Gold trilogy. I think Charlie's story should be interesting. She's definitely not your typical female character.
There were a couple other things that disappointed me, though. One was that Jo (the female owner of the local female-centered pub) had a side romance in this book. I was really intrigued by her character and had been looking forward to reading her book. So to read this book, where she gets a handful of scenes, falls in love, gets her heart broke, then gets her HEA, was disappointing. I wanted more for her character. She also had a past that would have been a really good building point for her book. So yeah, I wish Mallery would have given her her own book.
I was also disappointed that Mallery neglected to give updates on some things from the other two books in this Fool's Gold trilogy. Was Finn's (hero book 1) brother still involved with Amelia? What about the little girl from from book 2 who was being treated by Simon (hero book 2) for her serious burns? I wanted to know how she was doing! A short paragraph could have been fit in so easily but wasn't. That disappointed me.
So...this book runs the gamut...it had parts I loved, parts that were average, and parts I was disappointed in. I kinda expected more from Mallery for this book. The others I've read just seemed more engaging on the whole. But I didn't dislike this book, just wanted more from it. I'll still be looking forward to reading the next Fool's Gold trilogy.(less)
I've enjoyed this series up to this point, but I think this book is probably my favorite of the series so far. I loved just about everything about thi...moreI've enjoyed this series up to this point, but I think this book is probably my favorite of the series so far. I loved just about everything about this installment of the “Fool's Gold” series. It had me hooked in right from the start and I read it in less than a day. Didn't want to put it down.
Series Note: Fifth full length book in the “Fool's Gold” series about a small California town where women outnumber men. I wouldn't say it's necessary to read the previous books before this one, but I think you'd benefit more if you did.
Summary: Montana Hendrix has always considered herself to be the screw up among her triplet sisters. She's failed in her relationships, had a hard time finding a career, and doesn't think she's anywhere near as pretty or fun as her sisters. But she's comfortable in her life now that she's been working helping to train service dogs. Then the mayor of Fool's Gold comes to her and asks for Montana's help in getting a world renowned plastic surgeon and burn specialist, Simon Bradley, who is on temporary assignment at the local hospital to stay permanently.
The two get off to a terrible start after an unfortunate incident involving a dog, but when one of Simon's young burn patients wants a dog to visit her, Simon goes to see Montana. This time, he's intrigued by the woman. He's helpless to stop the affair that begins. But Simon has deep scars, physical and emotional, that keep him from letting things grow between him and Montana. He may want her, and relish the love she gives him, but he can't stay. Until push comes to shove and he's forced to reevaluate his life.
Review: There was so much about this book that I liked. It taped into so man things that I enjoy reading about in books. And it also tugged at the heartstrings and brought tears to my eyes more than once.
First you've got a brooding, scared, emotionally broken hero. Poor Simon has been through hell in his life. He's a burn survivor and child abuse victim who turns to healing others as a way to do good in the world because he feels he's inferior. It just breaks your heart what the guy has been through. It would be easy at times to get annoyed with him during the story because he is so cut off emotionally and so up and down about his relationship with Montana, but because of his past you can also thoroughly understand it and sympathize with the position he finds himself in. He was one of those characters that makes you want to give him a hug and help make it all better.
Montana was a pretty cool character as well. She feels like she's the underachiever among her triplet sisters. Plus she's had some relationships that really battered her emotionally. Yet she's still bright and fun. I can't say she was a fantastic character. But I liked her.
And these two together just worked. They each give something to the other that they need. Simon helps Montana feel beautiful and successful, and Montana helps Simon see that he doesn't need to isolate his life as being only a brilliant doctor. There's also some great chemistry between them. I enjoyed reading about them and thought they were perfect together.
Then there's the animal part of the book. As an animal lover, I love reading books that have animals playing a role in them. In this case, Montana helps train service dogs...ones that visit hospitals, nursing homes, and she's even helped develop a program where children having difficulty reading read to dogs because it is less intimidating. I loved reading all the scenes involving the dogs. They were fantastic. Some of them heartbreaking, some of the heartwarming.
And of course, you get to revisit the town of Fool's Gold, which I love (though not as much as Robyn Carr's Virgin River...best fictional town ever). I love small town stories where people still care and have values. You also get to catch up with past characters and see how they are doing. That's always a favorite of mine among series books.
Oh, and there's also a sub-story about Montana's mom, and her mysterious past with Montana's boss. You learn a little bit but still more to come on that story, I'm guessing. We'll probably get more on that in future books. I can't say I love stories involving romance between older folks, but it's a kinda interesting one.
I'm really looking forward to reading the final book in this 2nd “Fool's Gold” trilogy. I've enjoyed the first two, and the original trilogy, quite a bit and can't wait to see how Nevada's storyline goes.(less)