Wednesday, March 8, 2017

SEALed with a Kiss by Leeanna Morgan

From Goodreads:
Three billionaires, an emerald lake, and a lifetime's worth of happy endings.

John Fletcher is used to living his life on the edge. He’s an ex-Navy SEAL and the owner of one of the most successful security companies in the world. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. When his daughter asks for the one thing he can’t give her, it breaks his heart.

Rachel McReedy isn’t impressed with John Fletcher’s money, fast cars or jet-setting lifestyle. What she cares about is Bella, his eight-year-old daughter. She might not have had the type of life Bella has, but she knows what it’s like to be left on her own. Rachel is determined to show John the error of his ways, but she isn’t prepared for what she’s about to find.

The day John meets Rachel, life as he knew it comes to an abrupt end. She stirs something deep inside of him, creates havoc in his orderly world, and makes him question what’s really important. He knows Rachel holds the key to his daughter’s happiness, but will she willingly hold the key to his heart?

My Take:
This story starts off kind of similar to "Sleepless in Seattle" in that the daughter mails a letter to Rachel's Bride's Maids Club to ask that they help find a wife for her daddy. She doesn't leave a last name or any other way to get in touch with her, but Rachel figures it out when Bella comes into the classroom she's subbing for. After that, we depart from the light hearted RomCom.

We get glimpses that there is something much more serious going on in John's life. There is a reason he's so protective of his daughter, and even though it takes Rachel a while to catch on, she only wants Bella to be happy. I love that she doesn't just cave to everything that John tells her to do. She tries to be helpful, even if it's a little outside of his comfort zone.

These two fight the attraction for as long as they can in an effort to protect themselves, each other, and Bella. After a blow up, where John says lots of mean things and fires Rachel, we have a PG-13 make up closed door scene. And it's all downhill from there. Which is what usually happens in romance novels. However, I appreciate that the split up after sex isn't because of something stupid like they didn't talk. Rachel asks John straight up what it meant, how he feels, and he just can't man up to his own feelings. That feels like a natural situation to me.

Anyway, we eventually get our HEA, although it kind of felt rushed to me for some reason.

I give SEALed with a Kiss a 4, with a PG-13 rating.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
 R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Reclusive Billionaire by Lucy McConnell

From Goodreads:
Lucas Scott, a world-renowned microbiologist, is desperate to find a cure for the butterfly flu before it spreads. Hounded by the media, he escapes to his houseboat in Santa Barbara where he meets a vivacious veterinarian with a penchant for taking in strays. While he searches for the key to unlocking the butterfly flu, Becca somehow unlocks his analytical heart.

Becca Lee isn't impressed with her new neighbor. His clothes are constantly wrinkled and he's grumpier than a cat with digestive problems. However, Luke isn't easy to brush off. He's always around, has a magnificent mind, and is full of surprises. But, what she can't figure out is why her instincts tell her to trust this rouge billionaire. It doesn't take long to realize he is the only one alive who can save the world and Becca has to make a choice--open her heart or watch Luke sail off into the sunset.

My Take:
This story went by fast. I don't know if it was shortish, or if I just flew through it. Anyway, I really like Becca and her love of animals. She seems to get along with them better than people at times, but everyone loves her. Luke takes a bit to get to know. He's hurting and hiding, but Becca is just what he needs. It's sweet that Big Red sort of breaks down Luke's defenses enough for him to let Becca in too. And Becca? Smart, loyal, forgiving and willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I loved that she's the one to help Luke's brilliant mind latch onto the one thing he was missing.

I will say that I didn't buy the end of the world because of some weird flu that was spreading. It's possible, but I didn't feel the peril of it breathing down my neck in the story. Other than that, cute romance with a little more pain and healing behind the heart.

I give this a clean 4.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Silver Screen Kisses (An Echo Ridge Anthology)

Silver Screen Kisses is a collection of stories inspired by movies from everyone’s favorite list. Written by award-winning and bestselling authors, these contemporary romances take the reader back to Echo Ridge in the spring, when the promise of new love is budding just like the tulips around the Emerald Inn Bed & Breakfast.

My comments will be in italics after each story synopsis.

My Fair Lacey by Janette Rallison 
Lacey Johnson has dreamed of opening a restaurant for years. All she needs is one little loan to make it happen. But with the way Lacey talks and dresses, she looks more like someone who would hold up a bank than someone who’d ever get a loan from one. When Garrett Halifax, her roommate’s Harvard-educated brother, volunteers to change her image and teach her to speak correctly, she jumps at the chance. But she quickly finds she’s in over her head. Pretending to fit in with the town’s elite is harder than she thought, and despite her best efforts, she’s falling for Garrett. Could someone who is handsome, rich, and educated ever consider her as more than just a project? A contemporary twist on My Fair Lady, this is a story that is sure to please Echo Ridge fans.


This fun take on My Fair Lady was a lot of fun with the modern take on the classic story. I’ll admit, listening to Lacey talk at the beginning was painful! So job well done for Rallison. I also appreciated that even though Garrett was strict and worked Lacey hard while she was practicing her grammar, he was always nice to her. You get these little glimpses of how he might feel even though he’s trying to stay professional. There were many great things to enjoy in this story, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises.  

You’ve Got Email by Heather Tullis 
Maria never expected to fall in love with a man she’d never met, but she can’t wait to get to her laptop every night to chat with Bobwhite67. She would be happy to focus on getting to know him better, but her two jobs and two sons keep her ridiculously busy. Then there’s her ex-husband’s bookie, who’s impatiently waiting for the last couple payments on his debt.

Bret can’t help but notice how hard the beautiful Maria works and the similarities she has with the Zoomama he’s been talking with online. Though he really wants to make things easier for her, Bret accidentally gets her in hot water with both of her bosses. Can he get Maria to give him a chance in the real world and not just online?


Brett is such a sweetie! I don’t know if I’ve ever watched the movie You’ve Got Mail, but I enjoyed this story between two people who have developed a relationship online. They’ve been attracted to each other in real life too, but always stayed apart out of shyness, or something. Anyway, I really liked how Brett handled the situation when the time came to meet and everything fell apart. Wise man!

The Princess Bride of Riodan by Rachelle J. Christensen 
When a mysterious man offers to help Elise redecorate the old Bed & Breakfast, she gladly hands him a wallpaper steamer. After she discovers his true identity, she doesn’t know whether to curtsy or run and hide. Unfortunately, hiding isn’t an option because her heart is already tangled up with the handsome prince. At the same time, Elise’s old crush from high school wants a relationship and she’s forced to decide whether to chase after a fairy tale ending or stay grounded in reality.


Another swoon worthy story. Elise is so cute and quirky with her non-stop talking. She’s honest to a fault and in the end that’s what saves her heart. Wes is the island god who steals her heart without even trying. I loved the characters and how they fit into the classic royal falls in love with commoner, feels betrayed by something, but all is right in the end trope. I loved that Christensen had them go watch Roman Holiday. That movie does not end well for the romantic of heart! It makes the bumbles and worries all the more pertinent to Elise’s situation.

My Best Man’s Wedding by Cami Checketts 
Jessica Mason made a vow to marry her best guy friend, Josh, when they turned thirty. When Josh calls with the news that he's coming home to Echo Ridge for his wedding, Jessica is determined to break up the happy couple and take her rightful place as his bride. Gentry Trine, a coworker, agrees to pretend to be her fiancé to stir up feelings of jealousy. However, Jessica didn't realize fake fiancés could kiss like champions, and make a girl smile nonstop. Can she figure out which is the right man for her before she loses them both?


Ah, finally we get Jessica and Gentry’s story. They’ve been around since the beginning of the Echo Ridge collections, and I was even happier to see they were meant for each other. Jessica’s best friend is getting married after a 2 week engagement and she’s determined to save him from it. For herself. Gentry sees his chance to get as close as possible to the woman who stole his heart, and hopefully convince her they belong together. I love Jessica’s confusion as the story progresses. Being a “change is hard” kind of person myself, I understand how someone can hold onto an idea for years with no basis in it being real or right. The end and the scramble to right everything is my absolute favorite part of the story.  

While You Were Skiing by Lucy McConnell 
Mia Davis’s new job in guest relations at Ruby Mountain Ski Resort gets complicated when the gorgeous Ryder Montgomery falls off the ski lift, tells everyone they are engaged, and then loses consciousness. Worried about a head injury, Mia plays along, making him lunch, kissing in the front entryway and planning a future together; a future Mia wants with all of her heart. Things become all the more complicated when Ryder’s estranged family gets involved. Caught up in the fantasy and romance, Mia has to tell the truth or risk losing a part of herself and the man she loves forever.


Okay, While You Were Sleeping is one of my favorite Rom Coms. I loved the way McConnell twisted this one around a bit. Mia is sweet and loving, Ryder every bit as swoon worthy as she thinks. I loved how she referred to him as her Black Dimond man and all that implied. Both have good hearts and they just needed a chance to get together. Two rambunctious boys are just the ticket they need. Favorite part? Leaning. :) Whoo!  

Getting lost in Echo Ridge was a great way to spend my weekend! I give the entire collection a 4.5 and clean rating.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hooked (River's Sigh B&B #2) by Ev Bishop

From Goodreads:

Knocked around by life—and then knocked up by a man she won’t speak of—Sam Kendall gives her baby for adoption.

Envisioning herself a lone cowboy, she avoids any relationships that might risk her heart or cause pain. There’s wonderful fun to be had if you don’t fall prey to the ludicrous notion of true love!

Lately, however, Sam is niggled by doubts. She’s not as content as she was. Plus her daughter Aisha has tracked her down—seventeen-years-old and pregnant. Despite misgivings, Sam checks into River’s Sigh Bed-and-Breakfast to meet her.

Then widower Charles Bailey, Aisha’s adoptive father, shows up, and Sam can’t control her outrage. What was her sacrifice for? She could’ve raised the kid to follow her stupid footsteps all on her own. And topping it off? Charlie’s a neurotic, stodgy jerk—even if he is ridiculously hot.

The longer Sam stays at River’s Sigh, exploring the wild outdoors—and her own inner desires—the more her terror grows. Maybe Charlie isn’t so terrible after all. Maybe his approach to life is actually refreshing. Maybe all this family stuff is something she could get hooked on.

Yet they’re opposites in every way, and worse: he’s her biological child’s adoptive dad. A romance between them would be too weird, wouldn’t it? Every part of Sam screams play it safe, run.

But what if, in spurning Charlie and Aisha, she’s turning her back on everything she never knew she wanted?

My Take:

It was great to be back at the River’s Sigh B&B for this story. Jo’s sister Sam gets the spotlight this go around. We finally get to see her well polished facade stripped away, and the pain and hurt beneath is so raw. I totally understood why she had run away and lived the life she had until that point. She’d been hurt, but did the best she could to make something good out of it. That made the situation all that more difficult. Had her sacrifice been for nothing?

Charles clings to his dead wife’s memory like a shield. He needs the protection against his attraction for Sam because even his worry she will steal his daughter isn’t enough for him to keep his distance. 

Sam has such inner strength even when you think she’s broken beyond repair. I grew to love and respect her, cheering when she finally decides to fight for what she really wants. A family.

I liked this one even more than the first book, so 4.5 with a PG rating. (I actually think both of Bishop's books were rated clean, but am marking PG just in case I forgot something)

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.

R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot

Monday, February 27, 2017

Wedding Bands (River's Sigh B&B #1) by Ev Bishop

From Goodreads:

Ditched by her high school sweetheart, Callum Archer, on the night they’re supposed to elope, Jo Kendall casts out on her own, brokenhearted.

Over the years, Jo reels in a life she loves, centered on the outdoors, fishing (favoring a lucky wedding band lure), and her fine dining restaurant—a life that crashes away when her husband and business partner cheats her, leaving her bankrupt and alone.

Then her uncle dies, bequeathing Jo and her sister, Samantha, his rural property. Jo returns to Greenridge, determined to build a new business and permanent home—without the help of a man. Unfortunately Samantha wants her inheritance in cold, hard cash and hires a lawyer to get it for her, a lawyer who turns out to be none other than Jo’s long-lost love, Callum.

Jo’s fledgling plans—and her heart—are at risk once more.

If Jo can fight her insecurities, she might end up with a wedding band that doesn’t come with a sharp hook. But should she risk everything she’s worked for, yet again? Before she can decide, she needs to know: can a lost love truly be reclaimed?

My Take:

Oh, this one is hard. I enjoy Bishop’s writing style and grew to love Jo and Callum dearly. However, this story was also frustrating in that real life stupid way when people just don’t communicate. I wanted to smack them both so many times. I think they would have figured it out sooner though without Sam (Jo’s sister) casting doubt or the slimy snake Dave. Ug, he was almost TOO MUCH! Do people really act like that?

We also get Aisha’s story threaded through (more about her in book 2). Every time she popped up I wondered if...ah, but now I’m moving into spoiler territory. ;) Wouldn’t want to do that now would we.

In the end, I appreciated another clean read from Bishop. It’s actually been over a month since I read, but I think it fell in the PG realm, and I give it a 4.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.

R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot

Saturday, February 11, 2017

SEALed With Love by Heather Tullis

From Goodreads:
It isn't Sage Parker's fault that she mistakes former Navy SEAL Joel Watts as the stalker who had been sending her disturbing letters--he shows up every time she turns around. Too bad her father doesn’t tell her he sent Joel to protect her. When the stalker tracks Sage from LA to her new job in Colorado, she's glad to have Joel on her side. She didn’t plan to falling in love with him though—now if he would see her as more than just a client.

Joel takes his job as head of resort security seriously, but Sage is his number one priority, and the one woman he can’t get out of his mind. He isn't sure if he believes in her precognition, or some of her other hokey beliefs, but he soon finds he can't live without her. He just has to catch the stalker before he or Sage end up dead.

My Take:
I enjoyed book 2 in the DiCarlo Brides series even more than book one. We already know the sisters, so Tullis was able to put more into Sage and Joel's story, as well as the suspense elements. I also liked the way we got glimpses of what might be coming in book 3 with Lana and Blake's story, as well as seeing Cami and Vince continuing their journey.

Sage is a very lovable character. She's strong while being feminine and kind to everyone around her. I have to imagine it could be paralyzing knowing that your stalker has followed you thousands of miles, but she manages to keep going to work, to keep living her life the best she can. I love that as scared as she gets, her main concern is protecting her family.

Joel is all guy. He's so into the protect but don't fall in love mode of thought that he doesn't even realize how important Sage is to him. I actually like that he's an honorable man that has to be dragged (almost) into the relationship. However, once he catches on, he's going to do everything he can to make Sage happy as well as keep her safe. I loved the conversation between him and Harrison where Joel still thinks Sage will move on without him after the stalker is caught. To me, this was one of those moments where you could see true love. He wanted to be with Sage always, but he was willing to let her walk away if that would make her happy. Silly man! How can a woman resist a hero?

This is a clean (I guess technically PG on my scale) read with closed door scenes, and I give it a solid 4.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Unexpected Gifts by Elena Aitken

From Goodreads:
Christmas represents everything Andi Williams is supposed to have, and doesn't. Running away to a remote mountain lodge in the Canadian Rockies, sounds like the perfect way to escape, until a mix-up finds her sharing a villa with sexy, rough around the edges, Colin Hartford.

Colin's determination to enjoy the holiday he’s missed for the last five years, sweeps Andi into a season of joy that she’s not sure she’s ready for. Can Andi open herself up to everything the holidays have to offer... including love?

My Take:
Good story, PG-13 This story had lots of nice moments. Andi's pain is believable, and yet it has been long enough that she's ready to move on and experience love again. Even if she didn't know it. I loved how Colin wanted to help her enjoy Christmas again as well. However, like one of the last books I read, I wish he had decked the ex when he had the chance. There isn't much else to say. :)

Note for cautious readers:
Although they never did the deed, clothes came off at one point. I only had to skip half a page to get pack to the story though.

I give this one a 3.5 (mostly because I had to skim to remember the story for this review) with a PG to PG-13 rating.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.

 R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot