Friday, July 29, 2016

Review: Barefoot at Moonrise (Barefoot Bay Timeless #2)

Blurb:
As a firefighter, Captain Ken Cavanaugh knows his way around dangerous situations—but he'd rather run into a burning building than help plan his 25th high school reunion in Barefoot Bay. Unfortunately, it's his best chance of finally putting things right with Beth Endicott two and a half decades after they ended so badly. But the instant they see each other again, the years blow away like ashes in the heat of their combustible chemistry. For one single night, they let their incendiary passion consume them...but in the morning, they're still left with the smoldering wreckage of a relationship that ended in tragedy.
Raised under the thumb of a rich and controlling man, Beth has spent her adult years craving freedom. Now that she's finally managed to carve out an independent life, is she ready to risk her heart on the first man she ever loved—a man who blames her family for his father's death? With so much painful history between them, Beth can't see a way to have a future with Ken. But one stunning surprise will turn everything they ever believed upside down and send them straight into each other's arms.
Ken is willing to put everything on the line for the family he’s always wanted, but Beth knows the past that ruined them could flare into heartache again. It will take all her newfound courage to prove she would walk through fire for this second chance with the love of her life.
Themes:  Contemporary, second chance romance
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 Wow the heat of this story is unbelievable. This second story in the trilogy of sexy silver foxes finding love in Barefoot Bay was beyond amazing and filled with angst, fun, sweetness and passion.  If you enjoy reading a story about a man who is finally finding love with the woman that he let slip through his fingers or a woman that is finding the true love that she thoughr she’d lost long ago, then this is the story for you.  Roxanne St. Claire is the kind of author that can take you from an intense gun battle between secret agents to the sweet and serene love story of a small beach community without a single hitch.  One of the greatest skills of this author is that she always makes you feel like you have really gotten to know the characters and seen your friends fall in love.  I am loving this trilogy within the great Barefoot Bay series and am beyond glad that Rocki decided to leave behind the norm and just write books that she herself would want to read… because lets be honest that’s what we want to read too! I cannot wait to read the final in the trilogy and see Lawson bite the dust when his heart gets taken over.
Ken Cavanaugh has made a lot of mistakes in his life, but none he regrets more than breaking up with the girl that could have been the love of his life after a tragedy came between them as teenagers.  Beth Endicott was the girl he planned to spend the rest of this life with, but when Ken’s father was killed, he blamed her father and in the heat of youthful passion broke her heart.  But now they are both older and wiser and he know he owes her an apology and there’s no better time or place than the high school reunion that has brought them both to the Casa Blanca resort in Barefoot Bay.  When Ken finally corners Beth to apologize the passion that pulled them together as kids, flairs hot and heavy and soon they are losing themselves in each other’s arms.  Beth is determined that being with Ken will be a onetime thing, but when circumstances require that they rely on one another, Beth isn’t sure that she’ll be able to protect her heart again.  Ken needs to show Beth that he is a changed man and can actually be the man she needs, even if she doesn’t think she needs any man.  Can a love that was severed twenty years earlier be replanted in two hearts that have both been bruised or will their fears keep them from the greatest love they’ve ever had?
Captain Ken Cavanaugh is the kind of man that I hope to have by my side when I am in my middle years.  Sexy, sensual, strong and brave, Ken walks into deadly dangerous situations ever day without a thought, but when it comes to matters of the heart he has made enough mistakes that he’s not sure he’s ready to try again, until he sees Beth.  I loved his determination to keep her safe and happy without encroaching on her all-important independence.  His willingness to deal with her quirks and still offer his love whole-heartedly makes him the perfect mate in my eyes.  However, no man is ever perfect; Ken has never fully forgiven or accepted his father’s death or the circumstances to lead to it, leaving a heavy weight on his heart and soul.  Even when he is willing to look past the issues between them in order to have the woman he loves, you can see that he isn’t really even ready to try to forgive.  I swore more than once that I wanted to beat him senseless for his callousness about Beth’s dad, but luckily, he finally learns that the only path to love is with an unburdened heart.  I will also say that I loved his playful side and can see him even now doing a naked cannonball into the pool with a huge grin on his face. :D
Ken’s heroine on the other hand irritated me more than a little. I more than understand a woman standing up for her independence especially with a controlling family that is good at manipulating, but there has to be a line.  Cutting off your nose to spite your face has never been a way of life for me.  Beth obviously desires Ken more than just about anything, but even when he offers to let their romance bloom slowly and follow nature’s course, she cuts him off at the knees.  Her unwillingness to compromise, until circumstances force her to, was hair-pullingly irritating.  Interestingly enough, once she has to think about someone else every minute of her life she begins to see that perhaps she doesn’t need to do everything herself.  Once she softened and started to fall in love with Ken, allowing him to be the man she needed, I began to like her more.  Especially when she called Ken on his crap more than once.  I will say that I liked the fact that she was a strong woman and I enjoyed seeing her fall in love and get her HEA with Ken AND with her family.
Barefoot at Moonrise is a story of redemption, love and the miracles that can sometimes come around more than once, but should always be treasured. Ken has decided it is time to give the girl whose heart he broke so long ago that long awaited apology, but he never imagined it would lead to the best night (and future) of his life.  Beth has always known that Ken held a special piece of her heart, but she is determined to never depend on a man again, until Ken begins to break down the fortress walls around her heart.  Ken and Beth are obviously two people that have lived life and understand that tragedies that can come along, so when a miracle happens there is no way they can deny the need to live that joy together.  I enjoyed learning more about Ken and Beth and getting to watch as they re-found their love together and found a way to an HEA.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Barefoot at Midnight, coming out soon, and cannot wait to see more of these silver foxes and the women that have captured their hearts in future Barefoot Bay stories.  Rocki has struck gold again and I promise that the next release she puts out will be on my shelves and ready to read ASAP.  Keep up the great work Roxanne.

*eARC provided by author for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Review: Some Like It Scot (Scandalous Highlanders #4)

Blurb:
Can a clash of wills …
When a mad lass in trousers shoots at him, Munro “Bear” MacLawry isn’t sure what impresses him more—the girl’s sure aim or her irresistibly tempting curves. Catriona MacColl has fled to the Highlands with her half-sister to escape an unwanted wedding and wants no part of him, or any man. But he can’t abandon the flame-haired, sharp-tongued wildcat now that he’s discovered her—not when she fits so perfectly in his arms.
Lead to a love for all time?
Munro has more than earned his nickname: he’s a well-muscled, well-favored mountain of a man with an engaging bad-boy grin and a string of well-satisfied lasses behind him. Bringing Catriona food, blankets, candles, everything she needs to survive a winter in an abandoned abbey, Munro is an unexpected gift in her reckless bid for freedom—and an unexpected complication. Clan MacDonald has plans for her, and they don’t include her falling for a MacLawry. But this man makes her feel like a woman—and he may be her one chance to live a life about which she’s only dared dream.
Themes:  Scottish, Historical
Rating: 4.5  stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
The final sibling has fallen under love’s spell. For those that have been following this series from the beginning, these siblings have a bad habit of finding love in all the wrong places.  Each of the other four siblings have found their mates and their lives now revolve around their mates and their children.  Munro, aka Bear to his friend and family, has watched all of his siblings find love and he’s not interested in being saddled with one woman for the rest of his life, so there’s no way he will let his oldest brother rope him into a marriage just to form an alliance for this clan.  When he stumbles across a wild and sexy woman living off the land around his clan home, his interest is peaked and there is no way he can resist getting to know her.  Catriona has her reasons for hiding from the world and living off the land, not the least of which is her younger sister who she is helping run from an unwanted arranged marriage.  When Bear forces his way into her life she is determined to keep him out, but the more time they spend together the more the big handsome highlander steals her heart.  But there is no way the two of them can keep the world at bay forever and their love for one another, no matter how strong, will be tested beyond measure.  I absolutely loved seeing Bear fall in love with the Cat, who beyond any woman he’d ever met was the PERFECT match for him.  She really does wear the pants in this relationship! :D  Bear is the kind of guy that I would love to find for myself: gentle, loving, sweet, but also strong, brave and sexy.  He is the quintessential highland male in my opinion and there is no denying that he gives his all to his woman once he recognizes her.  Cat is gun shy for good reason, but as she comes up against the brick wall that is Munro she proves she can more than hold her own.  She is brave, capable, and strong in her own right and when they are faced with adversity instead of running a second time, Cat takes a stand, right beside her man, and demands her due as an independent and strong woman.  The passion between Cat and Bear is subtle, only in that Cat just doesn’t really understand her attraction, but once Bear brings out the woman in her, her inventiveness and sensuality bring the heat to the forefront and show that sometimes even the most unlikely of matches can be made in heaven.  I loved reading this story, laughing, crying, and falling in love right along with both of these lovers, though I wish we could have had an epilogue where we got a glimpse of Cat and Bear a few years down the line.  Looking forward to the next series by Suzanne and enjoying more of her writing as time goes on.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review: Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane #10.5)

Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane #10.5)

by Elizabeth Hoyt

Blurb:
Hippolyta Royle is running for her life. Pursued by hounds on a cold rainy night, the heiress flags down a passing carriage and throws herself at the mercy of the coach's occupant. Whoever this handsome traveler may be, he is her only hope to escape a terrible fate. But should he agree to escort her to safety, he's in for much more than he bargained for.
At first Matthew Mortimer doesn't believe Hippolyta's story, that she's a fabulously wealthy heiress who's been kidnapped. He assumes she's a beggar, an actress, or worse. But once his new travel companion washes the mud from her surprisingly lovely face, and they share a breathtaking kiss, there is no turning back.
Themes:  Historical, Novella
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
For readers that have been following this series you will recognize the heroine Hippolyta Royle as the sweet, young and wealthy heiress that burst onto the scene in London and turned quite a few heads.  Her father is a wealthy self-made man and he is offering quite the dowry for her marriage; but Hippolyta and her father are keeping secrets and a blackmailer is out to profit from them.  She is running for her life after escaping her kidnapper when she finds herself in the path of Matthew’s carriage, literally, and is desperate for his help to finish her escape. Matthew only sees a dirty and scheming woman when he sees Hippolyta, but against his better judgment he takes on the task of escorting her to the next town. Once Hippolyta is all cleaned up, Matt sees the beauty underneath the dirt and is immediately drawn to the sensual but sweet young woman, even though he doesn’t believe the story of her identity. As they travel to London together the pull between them becomes more and more apparent, but Matt has no intention of falling for the lady, heiress or not, until circumstances dictate that they are stuck with one another, forever.  I loved seeing Hippolyta’s spunk and sass even as she dealt with some pretty serious garbage.  Matt was an ass to her again and again, but she never let it bring her down and looked on her journey as an adventure once she was no longer in immediate danger.  It’s obvious the lady has more backbone than many of the men of her world and I LOVED the way she bestest the blackmailer.  Matt, once he accepted his attraction was not going away, becomes more of a gentleman and the type of guy that I can see myself falling for.  While the story is short, the love between them is apparent in every word and seeing them come together was sweet and thrilling.  Once Upon a Moonlit Night was a great story to hold us over until the next release and a great way to wrap up the previous story.  Simple HEAs are always welcome after the intensity and craziness of stories like the previous one in the series, Duke of Sin, and I am looking forward even more to the next release after reading Matt and Hippolyta’s love story.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Always for You: Jack (Sergeant Joe's Boys #1)

Always for You: Jack (Sergeant Joe's Boys #1)

by Alexis Morgan 

Blurb:
No one understands family loyalty like Jack McShane. He’d do anything to honor his foster father’s last wishes, even if it means putting his own plans on hold to manage Joe’s construction business. An ex–Special Forces operative, Jack thrives on the thrill of globe-hopping rescues. But now he’s needed closer to home. His foster mother has her hands full with a troubled teen, and when Jack meets the hired tutor, he discovers a woman who stirs his protective instincts—and his deepest desires.
Caitlyn Curtis knows that good looks can hide a hot temper. After an abusive marriage crushed her dreams of a happy ending, she swore off men—until one intoxicating dance in Jack’s strong arms breaks down every emotional barrier. Tough but tender, he leaves Caitlyn yearning for more of his gentle seduction. Despite the violence he’s seen, Jack is a good man. And even though passion can be dangerous, the promise of Jack’s kiss tempts her to believe that love is a risk worth taking.
Themes: contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 I have always been interested to read when an author I am comfortable with branches out into an all new experiment.  Alexis Morgan is a favorite paranormal romance author of mine, but more and more her contemporary romances have been capturing my attention and my heart.  I was surprised when I read this story, mainly because it reminded me a lot of a series I’ve read by a best-selling author, but Morgan places her own twist on everything and makes the story unique.  Joe and his wife Marlene rescued three young boys that were trapped in the CPS system and turned them into wonderful and brave men that have served our country in the most dangerous way, but now that Joe is gone Jack is taking his place as the head of the family.  Jack returns home to help his mother and find his own future now that he has been injured, but he didn’t realize that a young boy would be coming into his life to change it forever—or that his arrival would also herald the arrival of the woman he is made to love.  Jack is determined to give Ricky a chance to know that there is such a thing as caring and goodness in the world and one way he can do that is to help him get back on track in his education.  Enter Caitlyn Curtis, tutor extraordinaire, who comes along to help Ricky.  The moment she and Jack are in one another’s company sparks fly and you can see the connection forming between them quickly, but Caitlyn’s past has made her wary of men—especially gorgeous alpha men.   I loved seeing Jack prove to Caitlyn that he was the man for her and seeing him working through his own issues as Ricky’s life entwines more with Jack and Caitlyn’s.  Jack is the type of hero I love to read about, simply a man that deals with things that are thrown at him the best way he can.  Caitlyn was an interesting characters as well, obviously not used to attraction anymore, having shut down that part of her life, she is surprised when Jack affects her so strongly, but if you look closely it easy to find the sensual sweet woman buried under layer of fear and history.  I liked Caitlyn a lot, even when I almost gave up on her, but luckily it all turns out well in the end.  I can see another generation of rescues coming with Jack and Caitlyn and am sure that Sgt. Joe would be thrilled that his family expanded, even if he wasn’t alive to share in the joy.  I cannot wait for Tino’s story next and wonder what type of woman will be his perfect match. This will be a very fun trilogy. 

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Review: Awakened (Eternal Guardians #8)

Blurb:
DAMON – For twenty-five years he’s served as a plaything for the gods. With no memory of his past, he has no way of knowing if this is his ultimate fate, but he senses there has to be more to life.

Damon’s hope for more comes in the form of the Sirens’ newest recruit. Elysia is unlike any trainee he’s ever met. Not only can she remember where she came from—an ability the Sirens block—but she has an instant connection to Damon, one he’s never felt and doesn’t understand. Soon Damon is willing to do anything to have Elysia. Even risk the wrath of the gods to break her out of Olympus so he can keep her for himself.

But Damon’s past isn’t a mystery to everyone. Evil forces are at work beneath the surface, and before long, Damon realizes that the connection he shares with Elysia isn’t a random coincidence. His fate—and the darkness it brings—was cemented long ago. And when it is finally revealed, no one will be safe.
Themes:  paranormal, Greek mythology, magick
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
I have been looking forward to the continuation of this series, but I didn’t realize until I’d begun reading it that it was actually a huge jump in time from the previous stories in the series.  The series has jumped ahead 20 years until the children of the original Guardians are now the main characters.  Elysia is the daughter of the Queen and her Argonaut and she has grown into a lovely but stubborn young woman.  Fans of this series will be pleased to see how happy the men and women we fell in love with in the previous stories in the series have been in their twenty years of peace, making babies and living life to the fullest.  This story is one that was seriously heartbreaking and reminded me that no matter how well intentioned a person might be in the way they live their lives, more often than not, we are all pawns in the machinations of those with more power than us. I loved reading this story and cannot wait for the next full length novel to be released.  If you haven’t read the previous stories in the series, you will be missing out on a lot of the subtext in this story, but overall you’ll get the info you need to appreciate the greatness of this series and the awesomeness of the characters and their creator as well. 
Elysia is running from the future her parents have planned for her when she finds herself pulled into an age old feud that could cost her life, unless she is able to prove that she is more than just a pampered princess.  Dropped alone on the island of Pandora, Elysia must prove her ability to survive in the most inhospitable place in all the realms, and if she survives her hell will have just begun as she begins life as a trainee in the Order of Sirens.  Ill equipped but determined to survive, Elysia works her way through her assigned tasks until she suddenly finds herself faced with a sensually and deadly man—an injured man—that she is immediately drawn to and works to save.  Damon is a trainer in the Siren program and a salve that has no memory of his original or previous life, but when he claps eyes on Elysia he knows she is someone that he has to get to know better.  Constantly pulled apart and then coming together again puts immense pressure on their emotions but soon there is no denying that they are meant to be together.  But escaping Olympus will only cause more problems and sooner or later the chess game that is going on with their lives will have to come to an end.  The question is will they survive the game and if they live through it, will their relationship survive the trauma that the truth causes?
Elysia was a great character and I found myself more and more interested in the way she was able to overcome challenges. In the beginning she seems like a spoiled princess, no pun intended, and she is running away from being forced into an arranged marriage.  But the more you get to know Elysia the more you can see she is a very determined and intelligent woman, one of those ladies that have a true backbone under all the beauty of royalty, which isn’t hard to believe knowing who her father is.  I also loved how once she gave her heart and soul to her man; nothing could bring her to believe that he would ever betray her.  She gives her all to her relationship and even if it means losing her life to keep her love safe she is willing to sacrifice.  Damon is an enigma, wrapped in a puzzle, when we first meet him.  He seems so nonchalant about his life as a slave to the gods, but the more you get to know him you understand that his hatred for them runs deep, but his intelligence keeps him from rebelling until just the right moment.  Even though he doesn’t realize it, Damon is a missing piece of the Argonaut family and once he is brought back into the fold his life changes forever.  But the forces that draw on him, using him for their revenge, places not only his life, his soul, and his love in danger but always pose a threat to the entire universe.  I loved seeing Damon overcome adversity, and his determination to keep Elysia alive no matter the personal cost.  Elysia bring out the light in his soul and she really is the only person that could truly destroy the man he has become. 
Awakened is the story of two people truly coming into their own and finding their place in the world, individually as well as together.  Their love was a powerful force, strong enough to overcome years of forced amnesia and the loss of an identity that means everything to them.  I loved seeing Elysia come into her own, both as a woman and as a warrior, and finding her true place in the world thanks to Damon.  Her destiny to become queen someday is cemented and there is no denying she will be just as great as her mother before her, after all a woman that has found, lost and rescued her soulmate from the hands of a god will make an unstoppable ruler for her people. Damon has some serious issues to overcome, there is no denying that, but once he finds his way with Elysia’s help, Damon becomes the truly great man he was always destined to be and I immensely enjoyed watching him find his way. The passion between these two explodes from the second they come within viewing range of one another and the heat is enough to burn to world to ash.  I never imagined where this story was going and to me that’s the sign of a truly great author, because though I might have had inklings of some things, the surprises and twists never ended.  I am looking forward to whatever comes next and can’t wait to see more of the children of my favorite Argonauts come into their own. I have read very few series able to successfully make this jump to the next generation, but I can say without any doubt that Elisabeth has done it and done it well. 

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: Barefoot at Sunset (Barefoot Bay Timeless #1)

Blurb:
When widower Mark Solomon arrives in Barefoot Bay for his 30th high school reunion, he’s not quite prepared for the onslaught of memories or the attention from interested single women who’ve gathered for the annual event on the beach. He’s ready to ditch the whole thing and resume his life as an adventure-seeking world traveler until he discovers a woman sobbing on his doorstep…and has an idea.
By her own admission, advertising copywriter Emma DeWitt is jaded, jilted, and jobless, but she goes over the edge when she learns that the resort villa that was supposed to be the site of her romantic honeymoon is occupied by a single man. But when the sexy silver fox who's staying in the villa surprises her with an irresistible offer to pose as his fake fiancée, Emma sees a way to have her week in paradise and begin healing her broken heart.



Themes:  contemporary, silver fox
Rating: 4.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 Ok, for those of you that think love ends when you hit the age of 40 (or whatever number), Roxanne St. Claire’s new trilogy within the Barefoot Bay series is here to prove you wrong.  These next three novels are all about men some might consider past their prime, but that have finally gotten to a place in their lives where the right woman can make their lives fully complete.  Mark Solomon has returned to his small hometown of Mimosa Key for his high school reunion, even though he dreads the experience. He has so many memories of the home he left long ago, primarily revolving around the love of his life, whom he lost to cancer many years before.  He has had his one chance at a soul mate so even though he is not a monk, he knows no other woman will ever compare to his Julia; or at least he knows that until Emma Dewitt bursts into his life.  Emma’s life has seriously gone downhill in the past month, but she is determined to have a vacation where she can rethink her life goals and hopefully find her true place in the world.  She never imagined she would find herself drawn into Mark’s world as his fake fiancĂ©, and she certainly never imagined the attraction between them could be so intense. The moment they are alone together the passionate chemistry between them becomes something that is impossible to deny, but neither of them are willing to risk their hearts. Soon though their attraction and friendship leads to an even more fiery desire and giving in to that heat is the only way to stay sane.  But can two people so obviously looking for different things in life find a way to come together and share their hearts?  Or is that soul deep connection truly only once in a lifetime?
True to her previous novels, Rocki is the type of author that rips out your heart with pain and sorrow before giving you the HEA that makes a truly great love story.  Mark has lived his life freely for a long time now, but he has never forgotten the woman that captured him, heart and soul, when he was just a teenager.  I loved how devoted he was to her memory, but I am glad he was finally able to release his pain and finally appreciate the true happiness that his memories could provide him with. He is a sexy, alpha, but sweet gentleman reminiscent of a time gone by when men actually cared about their women and devoted themselves to their love.  Even though he is much older than I, even I could appreciate how sexy he was and wouldn’t have minded having him fall in love with me.  Seeing him get a second chance at love, truly proving that the space in our hearts is unlimited and immeasurable was beyond perfect.  Emma has not been having much luck in the romance department lately—or to be honest in the life department. Finding herself on Mark’s doorstep changes her life forever though and he is just what she needs to prove to herself that she is a woman to be reckoned with.  I enjoyed seeing her come out of her shell professionally and once Mark convinced her to trust herself she was able to find her place professionally.  These two have it all going for them: passion, friendship, and the understanding of two people that are ready for the next stage in their lives to begin.  Having the chance to begin that next phase of life with their perfect mate is just the ticket.  I recommend this book to anyone who thinks romance novels are just for the young and highly recommend you come prepared with a whole box of tissues.  I LOVED this book and cannot wait for the next one in the trilogy, Barefoot at Moonrise.  Keep the magic coming Rocki!

*ebook provided by author for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Review: Rock with You (Risking It All 0.5)

Rock with You (Risking It All 0.5)

by Rachel Lacey

Blurb:
SWEET AS SUGAR. SEXY AS SIN . . .
Carly Taylor is pretty sure she's dreaming. It's not possible that Sam Weiss - rock star god and sexy hotness personified - is actually in her bakery. This sort of thing never happens in the too-small town of Haven. Or to her. And being stranded in a secluded mountain cabin with the deliciously decadent Sam during an ice storm? This is definitely not Carly's real life . . .
Now there's just the two of them, a roaring fire, lots of food and drink, and a sizzling attraction - one that just might make Carly do the unexpected. For one night, she'll live the fantasy. For one night, nothing else matters. . . not her struggling business, not her lonely life, not Sam's bad-boy reputation. But sometimes one night can turn one crazy, beautiful dream into something real.
Themes:  novella, contemporary
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 If you’re looking for a sensual short story about two people from very disparate backgrounds finding one another despite the odds, Rock with You is the perfect way to spend a cold evening. I have only read one other story by this author, but the more I read the more interested I have become in her writing.  This story was a short read but full of passion, sweetness and the unexpected love that can develop in intense situations and last a lifetime.  Carly is the sweetest lady but is the most unprepared for life heroine I have read about in a long time.  I loved seeing her blossom under praise for her baking, but it's obvious she is in over her head with both her business and when she suddenly finds herself faced with the man of her dreams I was surprised to see her throw caution to the wind.  I expected much more reticence on her part, but she jumped right in and brought her passionate man to heel.  Sam is in a slump for sure, but the subtle sexiness that Carly exudes has definitely got his juices and hormones flowing.  When trapped with her during a snowstorm, he refuses to pass up the chance to make her his.  He never imagined just how deep their emotions would become in so quick a time.  I was thrilled to see Carly and Sam find a way to make their winter fling into a lasting romance and I hope they make it a long time in the future.  Maybe we even get to see them again in the coming stories in the series.  I, for one, am looking forward to more along the lines of this one.  Keep the goodness coming, Rachel, and I’ll keep the glowing reviews coming.


*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Review: Love Thy Enemy (Red Stone Security #13)

Love Thy Enemy (Red Stone Security #13)

by Katie Reus 

Blurb:
She refuses to trust him.
Red Stone Security employee Dominique Castle knows all too well that there are people in this world she just can't trust. After losing both her parents, Dominique keeps her distance from anyone tied to her past—especially the man she's hated for years. And Viktor Ivanov isn't going to change her mind about who he really is—no matter how determined the infuriatingly sexy Russian is.
He's determined to win her over.
She may hate him and not trust him, but Viktor is determined to crack through Dominique's icy exterior one way or another—even if it means taking the game into his own hands. With a past like Viktor's, he's made more than a few enemies along the way—enemies who'll stop at nothing to take him down. When Viktor realizes Dominique's life is in danger because of him, he’ll stop at nothing to protect her—whether she likes it or not. Now it's up to Dominique to trust the one man who's linked to the agony of her past. Can she find a way to love the enemy she always loathed?
Themes: contemporary, novella
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
Longtime fans of the Red Stone Security series will find themselves drawn in by this new look into some of the less obvious members of the red stone family.  Dominique is a woman that has dealt with the harsh realities of life by making sure that she keeps the darker side of society away from her everyday life.  She works hard every day to prove herself to her friends and family and to make sure that she keeps herself on the right side of the law.  Viktor on the other hand lives in the shadows and hasn’t seen a shade of gray that he hasn’t had to delve into.  He’s a genuinely good man, but his past and his family have made him have to fight for his position and his ability to keep the darkest of his sides from ever surfacing.  When he meets Dominique he knows he wants her, but when he learns the truth about her past he simply wants to show her that he is nothing like his father and his heart is good in the center.  Dominique finds herself falling for the honorable, though sometimes scary man that seems ready to offer her the world, but the danger that surrounds him warns her away more than the goodness he exudes could ever pull him in.  I enjoyed watching Dominique and Viktor find a way for their love to overcome the enemies out to destroy Viktor and certainly seeing her come to understand that sometimes what needs to be done is not always the most savory of options.  Viktor too learns that sometimes risking all is worth the light and goodness that can be found in the end.  I am looking forward to whoever finds their love next, though I continue to wish for a longer and more detailed story in this series because I think they could be really great with more time to develop.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Review: Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane #10)

Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane #10)

by Elizabeth Hoyt 

Blurb:
A MAN OF SIN
Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.
A WOMAN OF HONOR
Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery's household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.
A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY THEM BOTH
Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can't resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .
Themes: historical              
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 Wow! That was an interesting way for a man to find himself turned from villain to—well...not hero, but definitely into a human man. Anyone that has read the recent installments of this series well knows the dastardly deeds that Valentine Napier, Duke of Montgomery, is capable of and there is certainly no denying that the man leads a lifestyle that even in the much freer society we currently live in would be considered disreputable.  This series has evolved through many different paths and taking us down the road of reforming (sort of) this villain into a man worthy of the love of a good woman was going to be a challenge, but Elizabeth certainly meets and possibly even exceeds my  expectations. I loved seeing Bridget sparring with Val as she tried to get around him to meet her goal, but as she starts to see the true man behind the mask of indulgence and insolence and fall in love I fear for her sanity.  Val was the kind of man that always has an endgame in sight, always 12 steps ahead of his opponents, until he finds the strangely compelling Bridget sneaking through his room.  She throws his world upside down and there is no way for him to deny that he wants her.  But the more she denies the connection and possibilities between them the more he wants her.  The question becomes will he be willing to give up on his lifelong goals in order to keep the woman he has inexplicably fallen in love with from being sacrificed for his goals. 
I loved this story, mainly because it really is a story of a man that has gone far off the path of righteousness in order to protect those  in need, while still maintaining a nonchalant and over-the-top way of life, one that is expected from his family name.  Valentine is one of those characters that you love to hate until you just have to love him.  He knows what he wants and though he is willing to work for it, his ways are often not-so-mainstream.  Seeing him interacting with, and seducing, the timid and understated Bridget and knowing that he might not ever be worthy to hold such a treasure leads him to make some very questionable choices.  Bridget on the other hand knows what she is doing is wrong, even as she falls into his arms and into his bed, but resisting him is unbearable to both heart and body.  Seeing them falling in love as they both worked to keep their chess game from imploding was more that fun, it was the game of a lifetime.  I cannot wait to see whose story will be next, though I have my suspicions and if I’m right it could be very interesting.  All in all another Hoyt masterpiece in a series I can see evolving and lasting for a long time more.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.