Friday, December 30, 2016

Adam by Chris Keniston

From Goodreads
Welcome to Farraday Country, set in cattle-ranching west Texas, with all the friends, family and fun that fans have come to expect from USA TODAY Bestselling author Chris Keniston.

On a barren road in the pre-dawn hours, Adam Farraday, the oldest of seven siblings, happens upon a disabled sports car and an angel in white searching for a disappearing dog. What is it about this secretive redheaded beauty that intrigues him as no woman has before?

After learning her fiancé's true nature minutes before her wedding, Meg O'Brien drives as fast and as far away from her world as she can. Stranded with no money, and nowhere to go, the city girl must learn to fit in to small town life and all its quirky trappings. Too bad falling in love with her handsome rescuer is not an option.

My Take:
First of all, I LOVE the idea of a modern cowboy take on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers! That movie has always been one of my favorites. I'm planning to read all of them, because I enjoyed this one so much. And just in case you're curious, child number seven is actually a sister--Grace.

Okay, Adam is everything a country veterinarian should be. Tall, broad shouldered, compassionate, tough and gentle all at the same time. Meg is his ray of sunshine. Well, she's kind of everyone's bit of happiness. The whole town can tell she's in trouble and they instinctively want to protect her even though she's fully capable of dealing with her own troubles.

I don't want to give any spoilers, but seriously you have to read to the end to see her take care of her lying, thieving fiancee. Seriously, I was cheering "you go girl!"

The romance is sweet and steamy while staying clean. Yay! The town and Farraday family are filled with great characters that you can't wait to learn more about. And that mystery dog from the beginning? Looks like he's going to make another appearance in the beginning of the next book--Brooks.

All in all, I love Keniston's easy to read style. I give this one a 4.5 only because it did take a few days to read. *Christmas might have played a part in that*

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

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Resilient One by Cami Checketts

From Goodreads:

Alyssa Armsworth, a world-renowned photographer, has no intentions of honoring the Billionaire Bride Pact she made at girl's camp to avoid getting whipped cream smeared on her face while she slept. Marriage is the last thing on her to-do list and when her father forces his wealthy friends on her, she runs to Maui.

Her plan to jog on the beach, take some great pictures, and avoid men works--until Beckham Taylor arrives. Spending days on the ocean with the handsome ex-NHL star is ideal, but Alyssa's guilt for past transgressions begins to consume her. She doesn't think Beckham could ever forgive what she's done to him and his family. Before she can confess, her misdeeds are thrust onto the front cover of the tabloids. Now, Alyssa must face her past or lose her future.


My Take:
Here's another great story from Cami Checketts. I think I'm reading these billionaire bride pacts all out of order, but it doesn't really  matter. :) This story might be my favorite one so far. The blurb doesn't really do justice to the depth of the story. It's about so much more than falling in love.

Alyssa has some pretty heavy baggage, making it more than understandable why she doesn't trust men. Especially rich men. With her no count father and his even worse friends, who can blame her. Beck seems way too good to be true. But then again, she's got secrets of her own. Years earlier, she took a photo of him at his parent's funeral and sold it to a magazine that twisted the story into something ugly. She know's he would never understand why.

I really enjoyed the fact that Alyssa has real concerns based on her past experiences. Beck really is a great guy, and he's determined to show Alyssa she's safe with him. This makes it all the more heartbreaking when he doesn't believe her innocence when it comes to the magazine article. Luckily, Alyssa has her grandma Ellie to back her up.

I give The Resilient one a 4.5 for the sweet moments and the sad. It's a story that moves smoothly and  carries you with it every moment of the way.

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




Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Academic Bride by Lucy McConnell

From Goodreads:
Early on, Pamela Jones realized she had an unusual talent for putting two people together. Over the years, she's turned it into a successful matchmaking service for the ultra wealthy: Billionaire Marriage Brokers. While she specializes in "business" marriages -- paring people off because of their skills, education, or training -- she can spot a potential love match a mile away. When Pamela has a "good feeling" about a bride and groom - a business marriage can become so much more.

Janel Fendrick is a go-getter. Her dream of excavating a Mayan temple is within reach -- until the funding is pulled and she's left scrambling for an alternative. Pamela Jones comes along with a proposal...and a groom! Janel hesitates, until she realizes that one year of marriage is a small price to pay to have all her dreams come true. What she doesn't realize, is that she's about to get more than she ever dreamed of.


My Take:
I read this one so long ago that I needed to reread before reviewing it. It was worth it. This is a sweet romance where the two characters find that they really were perfectly matched. Janel and Nick are cute. They start out flirting through texts and emails--after they get married! They are both trying to live their lives according to the "contract" but find that not only are they attracted to each other, but they genuinely make each other better.

My only beef is I wish there was more of them "dating". A lot of their relationship seems to develop off screen as it were. But even with that, I love the moment they both reveal their true feelings. Both characters are dedicated to making their dreams come true, but willing to bend and compromise so that both can be happy. It's the way marriage should be.

I give The Academic Bride by Lucy McConnell 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

Friday, November 18, 2016

3 New Releases!

I'm thrilled to announce three fabulous clean romance books being released this week, just in time for the holidays. Also, please enter to win $75 prize money and a gift basket from Suite 716 through the Rafflecopter below.
Happy reading!


When Everly Watson goes on a Hawaiian holiday, she never expects to fall head-over-heels for movie star Christian Ross. But her life is fraught with betrayal and deceit. Will Everly find the courage to love again? Or will her complicated past lead to her undoing?
Buy Love on the Rebound here.

Hyde Metcalf, wide receiver for the Denver Storm, needs a fabulous personal trainer to help him recover from pneumonia. He is more than intrigued by the beautiful Lily Udy, who seems to idolize him … until the media and his competition get involved.

Buy Pass Interference here.

When billionaire, Nathan Sterling, decides to spend a relaxing week before Christmas in Park City, he never imagined he'd meet a hot ex-Olympian skier and he really never imagined ... she'd be getting married in three days.
Buy The Christmas Groom here. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 14, 2016

Cozumel Escape by Cami Checketts

From Goodreads:
Brooks Hoffman, billionaire, loves women, expensive toys and fighting—in that order. A week romancing a beautiful woman on his private island is a great way to pass the time. When Sydnee Lee Swenson isn’t impressed with his money, or charmed by his…well, charm, Brooks takes it as a personal challenge to change her mind.

Sydnee Lee moved to Cozumel to volunteer at the local orphanage. She’s fallen in love with the children and doesn’t need a good-looking, over-confident, guy complicating things. Sending Brooks on his way, with just the right amount of sass, was the only option. But when Brooks puts his own life on the line for her and some of the orphaned children, she may have to take another look at the guy behind the muscles and money.

This book also contains a sneak peek at The Angler, the Baker, and the Billionaire by Author Amberlee Day and The Reclusive Billionaire by Lucy McConnell.

My Take:
We first met Brooks in Caribbean Rescue. He was the best friend/soldier guy that came to help Zack keep his girl Maddie safe. I liked him, he was tough and funny. The perfect combination. He is definitely confident in his lady killer abilities. So much so that I didn't like him as much at the beginning of this story. I loved that Sydnee kind of put him in his place by not swooning at his feet.
Brooks grew on me as the story moved along.

Sydnee was the one I really liked from the beginning. She knows who she is, what she wants, and is willing to fight without thinking about it. When Brooks is doing everything he can to not get emotionally attached, Sydnee gives her heart completely. She adores the children at the orphanage and once she gets to know Brooks, she is able to get past his flirty confidence to see his pain.

This story pulled me in two directions. There were times I wanted more. I really love suspense and I sort of wished the suspense subplot was bigger. That Checketts had dug in deeper. However, I also understand that this is more of the lighter, sweet love story, not the darker suspense that a closer look at human trafficking would have taken.

In the end I enjoyed the progression of their romance and the happy ending. I give Cozumel Escape 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

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

First Love Second Choice by Lindzee Armstrong

From Goodreads:

When wedding planner Keslee gets asked on a date by her long-lost high school crush, Bryce, everything should be perfect. But Bryce mistakes Keslee for her deceased twin sister, Jadyn. And Keslee doesn’t correct him. Talk about awkward. To make matters worse, she learns they’ll be seeing a lot more of each other because Bryce is the marketing director at the venue where Keslee’s new client has chosen to get married. Keslee knows the charade can’t last much longer, and fears she’ll lose Bryce forever when she tells him the truth.

My Take:

Okay, first things first. I might have picked this one up because the guy on the front is dressed like the 11th Doctor Who. My inner nerd couldn't resist! So, when I learned that Keslee is just as geeky in ways as me, even referencing Doctor Who, I was hooked.

I will admit that I almost put the book down and quit reading. I didn't get why in the world she would pretend to be her dead twin sister in the first place. Okay, supposedly she didn't want to be the one to crush him by telling him she was dead (2 years already), but then she accepts a date with him as the dead sister? So, I almost quit, but I didn't. Keslee corrects it the next time they meet and things start moving in the right direction.

There's a heart breaking moment after their first kiss and Bryce really has to work hard to convince Keslee that he really sees her after that.

All in all, a quick, easy, fun read. I give First Love Second Choice 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

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Trouble with Flying by Rachel Morgan

From Goodreads
Sarah doesn’t talk to strangers. Aiden won’t shut up. When they find themselves next to each other on a plane, unexpected sparks begin to fly …

Sarah doesn’t talk to strangers. It’s awkward, stressful, and there’s the uncontrollable blushing to worry about. When she boards a plane to fly home after an overseas holiday, she plans to stick her nose in a book and ignore everyone around her.

Aiden’s terrified of flying, and it’s his first time on a plane. If he can distract himself by talking non-stop for the entire flight, he will. Too bad for Sarah he’s sitting right next to her.

Against all Sarah’s expectations, she ends up enjoying Aiden’s company. They laugh, argue, concoct stories about other passengers, and accidentally hold hands during the turbulence. When the time comes to say goodbye, Sarah can’t help the crazy thought that she shouldn’t let Aiden go.

Then he kisses her.

And then he’s gone.

With her world turning upside down in more ways than one, Sarah has to make a decision: stick with the safe, predictable life that’s been mapped out for her, or find the courage to go after what she truly wants.

My Take:
Oh, this was fun for me. I guess I've been in the mood for something different because here is another book set in another country. Sarah is from South Africa and Aiden is from England. I loved the little things that were so NOT American. It was refreshing for me. I should mention that my husband spent two years in South Africa and so there were things that I recognized from his stories. It made me a bit nostalgic for our younger days.

I really connected with Sarah and her problem. She is a people pleaser, a co-dependent personality who avoids conflict and confrontation at all costs but she doesn't realize it. She thinks she's shy. I'm the same, but manifest it in different ways than Sarah does. Every time I saw her interact with her boyfriend Matt, I want to slap her and say "wake up and look at what's going on!" You see it's easier for me to see the problem in other people. When her friends do basically just that I cheered. And I totally understood why Sarah ran from her friends hurt and angry. Learning you're a doormat is hard to accept.

Aiden is good for Sarah from the beginning. He sees her. For the first time in a long time she can be herself. Actually learn who she is and what she wants. He pushes her to be better. It takes a long time for Sarah to come to grips with who she is and what she wants out of life. I love that she has to make changes on all levels to show her growth--starting with her parents, then Matt, and finally she has room to let Aiden in.

I give The Trouble with Flying a 4.5 for tackling the subject with such realism.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Christmas Down Under by Marion Lennox

From Goodreads:
Sarah’s committed to her stellar modelling career in New York, but there’s an obligation she needs to fulfil. Harold was a Grandpa to her when she needed him most. Now all Harold wants is one last Christmas in his beloved Waratah Bay Homestead. Sarah’s not that so hot on baking and Christmas seems a bit… challenging… but she’s prepared to fly half way round the world to give it a try.

The only problem is, Harold no longer owns Waratah Bay Homestead. Farming tycoon Max Ramsey owns it now and he doesn’t like company, he doesn’t like Christmas and most of all, he doesn’t like Sarah.

When the two clash, enough sparks ensue to light a Christmas tree. How many enemies does it take to cook one Christmas turkey?

Previously titled Christmas at Waratah Bay

My Take:
I'm getting in the Christmas mood! I picked this one up for free from BookBub. It was a sweet and touching story that pulled on many different emotions. Sarah is a wonderful character. She's full of love for Harold, light and goodness for everyone else. She's a hard worker and not afraid to take on things she has no clue about--turkey and Christmas dinner being a good example. I enjoyed the fact that she didn't feel the need to correct Max's wrong idea about her in the beginning. She wasn't there for Max, didn't care what he thought of her, all that mattered was Harold and giving him one last Christmas.

Even when Sarah started liking Max, Harold was her focus. She simply found room in her heart to include Max and his family in her goal to provide a Christmas to remember.

Max's change of heart happened slowly as well. At least as slow as possible for a few days time in the book. I liked this. He didn't immediately fall in love and change who he'd been for years and years. He struggled with letting people in, even though he wanted to let Sarah in. It took Sarah's strongly independent spirit to finally break through his walls. She was strong enough on her own. She didn't need him to fix everything for him. In the end though, they both realize that everything could be wonderfully better and more fulfilling if they were together.

I enjoyed being in a different setting for Christmas--no snow and a day at the beach. It was a refreshing change. This read was also clean. I give Christmas Down Under 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

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Rum & Raindrops by Jean Oram

From Goodreads:
One nature guide. One accidental forest fire. And one steamy investigator hot on her tail.

Jen Kulak's good at running from her problems, so when she finds her best friend and boyfriend in bed together she burns rubber, never looking back. When Jen finds the quirky town of Blueberry Springs, she finally feels as though she's found a place she can call home, settle in, and get to know herself. With help from her boss, she rediscovers her love of nature and begins giving wilderness tours, which would be perfect if it weren’t for the fact that she may have accidentally just burned down the forest she depends upon for her fledgling business. And it would figure that Rob Raine, the man of her dreams, also happens to be the fire investigator hot on the case.

Can Jen find the strength to fight the accusations that could cost her everything? Or will she run again, ignoring the sparks that fly between her and Rob, and torching her chances at a happily ever after?

My Take:
I really like Jean Oram's style. Her books are easy to read, easy to get lost in someone else's world and troubles. This one was no different. I immediately liked Jen and Rob.

Jen is a bit of a mess. She doesn't trust anyone, and yet she's still this likable person. You can feel the hope she still has that she will one day find something better than what her history tells her is life. She struggles to stay in Blueberry Springs when everything starts to fall apart. It feels like home, but she feels responsible for the fire. She's certain she didn't start it, but she figures everyone else thinks she did.

Rob is just an all around good guy. He makes you smile in spite of yourself. He's serious about his job though and he knows getting involved with Jen would make things even worse. His heart doesn't quite listen though. The two of them investigate the fire and things just get worse and worse.

The ending to this one was realistic and worth the wait.

I give Rum & Raindrops 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

Friday, September 9, 2016

Louisiana Longshot by Jana Deleon

From Goodreads:
It was a hell of a longshot...

CIA Assassin Fortune Redding is about to undertake her most difficult mission ever--in Sinful, Louisiana.

With a leak at the CIA and a price on her head by one of the world's largest arms dealers, Fortune has to go off grid, but she never expected to be this far out of her element. Posing as a former beauty queen turned librarian in a small, bayou town seems worse than death to Fortune, but she's determined to fly below the radar until her boss finds the leak and puts the arms dealer out of play.

Unfortunately, she hasn't even unpacked a suitcase before her newly-inherited dog digs up a human bone in her backyard. Thrust into the middle of a bayou murder mystery, Fortune teams up with a couple of seemingly-sweet old ladies whose looks completely belie their hold on the little town. To top things off, the handsome local deputy is asking her too many questions. If she's not careful, this investigation may blow her cover and get her killed.

Armed with her considerable skills and a group of old ladies referred to by locals as The Geritol Mafia, Fortune has no choice but to solve the murder before it's too late.

My Take:
First off, I've read this one two or three times. That's how much I love it. It's a fast paced hilarious ride! Seriously, not a ton of romance in this first book in the series, but there is some simmering potential. I'm hoping it has a chance to blossom in the next books.

So you may be wondering why I'm posting this on my clean romance blog. Well, sometimes I need a light hearted read full of suspense and the utterly ridiculous. This book was just too fun not to share!

What I really love is the Geritol Mafia. These gals are funnier than any crazy group of women I've ever seen. It doesn't take long before you realize Fortune fits in with them better than anywhere else she ever has. These ladies introduce Fortune to Sinful by telling her to bring her running shoes to church. Then there are the alligators, the secrets, and menthol. You'll just have to read!

Fortune is a hoot. No matter how hard she tries, she just can't lay low. I mean, the whole reason she has to go into hiding is because the guy she was investigating ticked her off and she killed him with her stiletto. My favorite scene is when she sneaks into the deputy's yard and leaves a few pieces of weave behind. Or maybe it's the one where Ida Bell and Fortune get pulled over by Deputy LeBlanc and Fortune is only wearing a garbage bag.

Are you curious yet?

I give Louisiana Longshot a solid 5 because I have read it multiple times, and will read it again. I'm waiting for my reading pile to shrink so I can buy the next few books in the series.

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

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Protective One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance by Cami Checketts

From Amazon:

Betrayed by an FBI agent while in protective custody, MacKenzie Gunthrie escapes a crime lord and is left hiding from the authorities and her enemies. She finds solace in the peaceful mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado. With help from a longtime girl's camp friend and a new identity, she's starting to feel safe. The only problem is the overconfident and much too good-looking Isaac Turnbow. Protecting identity has become second nature, but Isaac poses a threat to her heart.

Isaac Turnbow has an undeniable need to convince MacKenzie he’s someone she can trust and kiss, but when well-armed men arrive to disturb their budding relationship, he must prove to her and himself that he can protect her.

This fast-paced, clean Billionaire Bride Pact Romance is a fun and touching read you won’t be able to put down.

My Take:

Here's another clean romance from Cami. She's back to what I think she does best. Suspense! I loved how MacKenzie is skittish throughout the book. There's none of this everything is okay feeling going on--she has anxiety throughout even though she has moments of feeling safe with Isaac. Even Isaac gives her moments of fear. Especially when he's giving Brad exactly what he needs!

Brad is a character we first met in THE INDEPENDENT ONE, another of the billionaire bride pacts. He is a real piece of work and I'm glad he finally gets some of what he deserves by the end. I highly suggest you read that book to appreciate all the Brad scenes in this one.

Back to Mac and Isaac...

Isaac is dreamy in that, cowboy artist, will always watch out for you, kind of way. The fact he's insecure about his abilities. He knows Mac is keeping something secret, but he also knows he needs to slowly gain her trust.

There is great romantic tension and the suspense is just as great. The writing is clean and the fear Mac feels is realistic. I loved the story and read it in one sitting.

The Protective One gets a 4.5!

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

Monday, August 29, 2016

She Sins At Midnight by Whitney Dineen

From Goodreads:

Lila Montgomery, thirty-two-year-old Hollywood assistant extraordinaire, has a secret. On the outside, she’s a hard-working dedicated employee, a good friend, and a loving daughter. But above all else, she’s been raised to be a lady, which of course is why she’s determined to conceal her secret life. If her straight-laced friends and family back home ever discover that she is really the smashing new author of a steamy romance novel, their disapproval would shame her forever! That’s why Lila has chosen to publish her sexy narrative under the nom de plume, Jasmine Sheath.

With her fifteenth high school class reunion on the horizon, Lila finds herself at a crossroads. More than anything she wants to go home and see her childhood friends but is embarrassed that she hasn’t accomplished the things she feels she should have by this time in her life; mainly marriage and children.

After another brutal run-in with Melinda Forrester, Oscar nominated actress and client of her boss, Josh Furber, Lila decides that fleeing Hollywood for a month is the best thing for her. Lila packs her bags for her childhood home of Bentley Hills, sure that her friends and family will be the touchstone of normalcy that she so desperately needs. What she doesn't expect is that Melinda will follow her and a tabloid media circus will ensue!

Not only does Lila discover that her home is nothing like she remembers, but she meets and falls in love with the very man that inspired the hero in her novel.

She Sins at Midnight is full of laugh out loud hi-jinks that will make you never look at Hollywood the same way again!

Author, Whitney Dineen, swears that this novel is based purely on fiction and that any characters bearing any resemblance to any celebrities you know are completely and totally fictitious; even though she spent eighteen years in La La Land, with a celebrity client base for her real job…

My Take:

This was a really fun book! Lila gets herself into all kinds of predicaments that had me laughing out loud. It was also surprisingly clean. Okay, I'd give it a PG-13 rating because Melinda has no qualms about walking around naked. And, Lila writes erotica, but we never see that. There is a fade to black scene, but nothing that I'd be embarrassed for my teen daughters to see.

I kept laughing at how Lila was embarrassed for everyone to know she wrote a book, and yet everyone is reading it. It's also funny how even Melinda reads it and thinks the Countess is the heroine of the story.

Seriously, this was just a fun read. I give this a 4.5.

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

Friday, August 26, 2016

Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue by Katie Ruggle

Most of the romances I review fall into the clean category. That's my goal, to share great clean romance because I know they are hard to find. This series doesn't fall into that category. I wanted you to know that up front. However, I loved these books so much I had to share them with you. I also appreciated that although Ruggle has sex scenes, they are not the purpose of the story. They don't happen just because it needed to be thrown in. And there is usually just one that is easy to skip (which is what I do so I can't comment on the quality of those scenes).

So, here are the three books in the series that are currently available.

Book 1--Hold Your Breath
 I loved this book for the suspense and the growing romance. But seriously, the suspense and the mystery is what sucked me in, held me by the throat, and convinced me to click buy on book 2 in the series. Ruggle writes clean compelling stories. There is a mystery slowly unfolding over the course of the series, but there is a secondary threat/suspense line for each individual book as well.

In book one we meet Lou and Callum of the rescue dive team. Lou is a hoot! She says what she wants and has a tendency to find trouble. I mean, come on, she's practicing dive and rescue techniques when she kicks a headless body in the frozen lake! She's fairly new to the Colorado town, having finally left home and the controlling parents and ex-fiance. She'd determined to stand on her own two feet and make her own choices. She'll learn that letting the dive team become her new family, who has her back, is invaluable.

Callum is the quiet brooding type, but even he can't resist Lou's crazy energy. He's drawn to her and wants to make sure she stays safe at all costs. They just have to survive the line up of bad guys lurking in the shadows. (Having read the next two books, I'm going to stop there because I don't want to let any spoilers slip!)

Book 2--Fan the Flames
We still don't know who killed Willard Gray (the headless guy from book 1), but the killer is doing all he can to frame firefighter Ian Walsh. Ian might be a firefighter, but some people can't forget or forgive the fact he grew up as part of the local motorcycle gang. To top it off, the "family" can't forgive him for moving toward the lawful side of things. Poor Ian doesn't seem to fit anywhere.

Neither does Rory. She runs her own gun shop and tries to keep all sides happy. In order to survive she has to sell to the motorcycle gang as well as the more trustworthy locals.

I have to admit I really loved all the gun talk. Who knew! Rory wants to be tough, but she needs Ian as much as Lou needed Callum. Rory's fears have her trying to keep him at arms length, but she's really been his since her 12th birthday when he bought her a pink cupcake. I love her social awkwardness and the way Ian keeps storming through her walls.

This book has guns, bombs, more fires from our serial arsonist, a few clues, but no real progress on Gray's killer. We do however take care of the people after Rory, and she learns to let a few more people into her solitary life.

Book 3--Gone Too Deep
Holy cow! I'm still reeling from the reveal at the end of this one! Okay, let me try to go back to the beginning...

Okay, Ellie and George. Ellie is Baxter's estranged daughter. For those who haven't read the first two books, Baxter was a war buddy of Willard Gray, the headless guy from book 1 (Hold Your Breath). Everyone is trying to find him in the hopes he can shed some light on the murder. He however has a lot of mental issues, the least of which is his inability to trust anyone. And the truth is, what he knows is reason enough to not trust anyone! Ellie comes to Colorado in an effort to find him and get him the help he needs. She doesn't really believe that bad guys are after him.

George agrees to lead Ellie to a cabin through miles of snow covered wilderness. The great thing about George is he is as anti-social as Rory, but worse because he only communicates in grunts. It's a product of being alone for so long. He's impressed with Ellie. She keeps going without complaining even though she's blistered and tired. He finds he likes taking care of her and entertains thoughts of "keeping her". Although that might sound creepy, coming from George it's really sweet.

The Anderson brothers are following the two through the wilderness in the hopes of being led to Baxter. They are trouble with a capital T, but the scarier part is they were put on the trail by the killer from book 1. At the end, we learn his identity.

I'll be honest, I was crushed! I've been secretly chanting "don't let it be ??" for a book and a half and now that I know I'm so sad! I read the teaser for book 4 and can't wait until it's available. There is a good reason given, but it's still sad that someone who seems so good could be the bad guy. I'm looking forward to seeing how the whole thing wraps up!

I give this series a 5 because I actually shelled out money for books 2, 3, and plan to buy the final book in the series. 

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
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson

From Goodreads:

Luke Carney has no idea what possessed him to move back to Shelter Springs, Colorado, to set up his veterinarian practice. His parents have long since left, the small farming community is on the brink of extinction, and only one close friend from his childhood remains--Taycee Emerson, his best friend’s little sister, who isn’t so little anymore.

Then there’s the matter of Shelter’s Bachelorette, an online reality dating show created to raise some much needed funds for the town.

Unwittingly cast as the bachelorette, Taycee wants out, especially when she discovers that Luke, her childhood crush, is back in town and will be one of the bachelors. To make matters worse, it's up to the viewers--not her--to decide which bachelors stay or go. And they all seem to like Luke.

Unwilling to let him break her heart again, Taycee launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. But she’d forgotten that Luke's an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she's up to, it means revenge.

My Take:
This was one fun ride! I thought I might get bored watching Taycee date all these different guys when I knew she really liked Luke, but I didn't. Anderson does a great job making all the scenes exciting and balancing them between the reality show and the real romance. Taycee tries so hard to deny how much she has always (and still does) prefer Luke. And Luke struggles to understand why he feels so different about Taycee this go around.

I found myself laughing a lot in this book. The shenanigans Taycee gets herself into are hilarious! And I have to say, with friends like Jessa, who needs enemies! There were times I thought Jessa was over the top and completely unfeeling toward the pressure she was placing on Taycee. In the end she redeems herself...a little bit.

The writing and editing are great, nothing pulls you out of the story and I felt the emotions and situations made sense. That's one of the greatest compliments I can give to a story!

I give The Reluctant Bachelorette a 4.5.

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
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Kisses Between the Lines: An Echo Ridge Anthology

Welcome to Echo Ridge, New York, where romance finds its way into the lives of the people who walk the streets of the close-knit community. In these five novellas, listeners will experience the power a book has to change a life, make dreams come true, and bring two hearts together.

My thoughts are in italics after each summary.

The Kiss Thief by Rachelle J. Christensen - -The old Echo Ridge library is in desperate need of a renovation. Librarian Britta Kleins heart refuses to be swayed by musician Milo Geissler and his irresistible dimpled smile. But when he helps her find a key classic book, Britta wonders if there is more to life than books and order.

There were parts of this story that I loved simply because my dad is German. Sadly, he didn't have the accent because he's full-blooded German born and raised in America. :) Anyway, Britta is so determined to never get involved with a German boy because of the way she was teased growing up that she almost misses out on the love of her life. I loved how being around Milo brought out the little bits of her childhood that she did love until finally she was willing to take a risk. I also loved the music metaphors throughout. Lovely!

I give this one a 4.

The Lion, the Witch & the Library by Lucy McConnell - - Jennifer Solomons birthday wish is to have the one person shes been too shy to go after: Kirke Staples, her best friend. Friend, as in don't fall in love with the man. But its too late. In her efforts to win Kirkes heart, Jennifer is forced to decide what type of woman she wants to be.

Jennifer was a lot of fun from the very beginning. The story starts with her realizing she wants more from her best friend. Unfortunately, he's been actively trying to get the attentions of Bay Barrington (an actress who comes to visit and causes a TON of trouble!). Kirke is a bit frustrating to me. He's attracted to Jennifer, but he keeps thinking that since he put so much time and effort into meeting Bay that he needs to follow through with that. Stupid clueless men! There's some great drama as both of them go back and forth trying to figure out what they really want.

I give this one a 4.

The Last of the Gentlemen by Cami Checketts - - Working nights and struggling through life, Emma Turner doesnt leave much time for romance. But when her sons good-looking lacrosse coach takes an interest in her children, Emma has to fight off desire and banish her daydreams. If only she could tell that to her heart.

Chayton finally gets his chance at love! I really liked him as a character in the Christmas stories. He might not have been right for Chelsea, but he was just such a good guy you couldn't help hoping he found love soon. And Emma is such a sweet and deserving recipient of his attentions. I love how he does everything he can to make Emma and her girls smile simply because he likes to see them smile. He truly is like a knight in shining armor riding in to save the day.

I give this one a 4. 

Much Ado about a Kiss by Heather Tullis - - The one thing Fay doesn't need right now is a guy in her life, especially her brother's irritating best friend from high school, whose kiss made her heart flutter. Why does he have to upset her just-fine world? Not this time. Not if she can help it. But can she?

Oh! This story made me so sad for Fay. She's been stressing over a kiss for years not knowing what was really behind it. I love Fay and her artistic approach to life and the cafe. Austin remembers the kiss quite differently than Fay. They both have to come to a new understanding of what happened then in order to move forward with their feelings now. 

I give this one a 4.

Pride & Persuasion by Connie E. Sokol - - Lindy Marchant is roped into the Echo Ridge library fundraiser to become an assistant for Armand D. Beaumont, a bestselling detective writer. While Armand inadvertently assists Lindy with the shop, she uncovers his painful truth and an inconvenient growing attraction.

After getting a glimpse of Armand from The Kiss Thief, it's nice to see what was going on with him and Lindy. We've got two strong personalities butting heads and they don't even know why! There are some fun surprises along the way and both find their futures are more hopeful with each other in their lives. 

I give this one a 4.

I really enjoyed the collection as a whole. It was clean, sweet, and all the stories were well written. I give the entire thing 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

Friday, August 12, 2016

Spring in Snow Valley

I've wanted to move to Snow Valley since the first story collection came out. This newest installment was like going home for a nice visit. There are new characters to love, glimpses of past characters, and some nice surprises. Let's break it down, story by story.
From Goodreads and My Take:
Spring is in the air and so is romance in the small town of Snow Valley, Montana.

Operation—Kiss the Girl, Cindy Roland Anderson

Ivy Baker is doomed to marry a man she only pretends to be in love with to save the family ranch. Since she isn’t marrying for love, Ivy secretly creates a kissing wish list composed of scenes from the romance books she loves to read. She hopes to experience at least one kiss from her list before she becomes officially engaged and seals her fate. When she travels to Snow Valley to help her aunt recover from knee surgery, Ivy finds herself falling for Kellen Thomas, an irresistible cowboy she should avoid. By chance Kellen finds Ivy’s list, and decides to make it his mission to help her fulfill her bucket list, turning her world upside down and making Ivy want to choose her heart over duty. 

Ivy is the quintessential martyr. She's the only girl in a family of cowboys, and although her brothers love and care for her, her father has made her feel like her only purpose is to marry a jerk to get the water rights back. I'll admit I didn't like her dad at all even though he had already died by the time this story started. I found myself frustrated with Ivy for not telling her brothers what was going on, and with the brothers for being so clueless. Having said all of that, I can see something like this happening. Guys are clueless. Especially when it comes to their own sisters. The real star of the story for me was Kellen. I've wanted his story ever since Caytie and Jace got together. Kellen is such a good guy, working through his own issues after being wounded in Afghanistan. When he stumbles upon Ivy's "places to be kissed" bucket list he makes it his goal to check as many off as possible for her. This story made me smile and of course, the rat Corbin gets his in the end.

Love Coming Late, Jeanette Lewis

Cynthia Eddington never thought she'd return to Snow Valley after a string of bad luck forced the sale of her beloved farm there. But here she is, about to start a new life with her children, Jackson and Anoria. Cynthia plans to focus on her career and her family; she's not looking for romance and she's definitely not looking for sexy cowboy, Colby Schroder.

This was one of the first pleasant surprises. Although I love stories of new love, it was refreshing to have an older couple getting a second chance at love. Cynthia is a widow with two almost grown kids. Colby is a little younger, divorced and the father of an adorable little girl. First, I liked the fact their ages didn't match perfectly. Life rarely fits into the neat packages that often become the template for romance novels. So, yay! I love that the issues keeping these two apart are also real, valid concerns in situations like this. Cynthia's daughter likes Colby, and even though the distance between their ages is greater than the distance between him and Cynthia, it creates quite the puddle of quicksand. The scene that made me love this story more than anything is the dance scene when Cynthia lets go. I can so relate to that scene! 

Running from the Cowboy, Cami Checketts

Missy Horman escaped an abusive marriage and returns to Snow Valley to help her father deal with her emotionally disturbed mother. Volunteering to teach a youth Sunday school class seems like a good way to get out of her comfort zone—until she ends up kissing Porter Wilson in front of a bunch of teenagers. Embarrassed, and secretly thrilled, by the kiss, she writes Porter off as a playboy. But, Missy wasn't the only one affected and Porter's new mission in life is to prove that there's more to him than flirting and world-tilting kisses. He wants to show her that a true cowboy knows how to treat a lady and, if Missy can't keep her wits about her, she might just let him.

Squee! The Wilson boys are back! Last we saw Luke falling for Annie while Missy was left to recover from an abusive marriage. I liked that Missy stepped out of Annie's way because she recognized their love and wasn't going to be one of "those" women. Now Luke's brother Porter is noticing Missy. The very first chapter is a hoot and the excitement just keeps going full steam ahead! Porter pulls out all the stops to convince Missy that her "no more cowboys" rule should fly right out the window. LOVED IT! 4.5

The Bet, Taylor Hart

When Destiny Morningstar gets blackmailed into spending her spring break in Snow Valley, the last thing she’s looking for is a date, especially not with Adam and Chase Moon—two attractive and athletic brothers. But soon she finds herself tangled up in a dating spree that includes a flag football game, swinging around the barn dance, and hiking to Snow Valley's romantic hot springs with the town's most eligible bachelors. At every turn she's within kissing distance of one of the delectable Moon men. When she discovers she’s been part of some bet fueled by sibling rivalry and overactive egos she has to make a decision—forgive them both or miss out on the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

Where to start?? Boy, brothers especially, are so crazy! Adam and Chase have both set their sights on Destiny. Both tried to call "dibs" but when neither is willing to back down they decide that the first one to kiss her wins. It's a fun and confusing ride for Destiny to be sure, but when Adam doesn't kiss her simply because it means more to him than the bet, things go downhill fast. Can Adam convince her it always meant more to him than winning? LOVED IT! 4.5

Sealed with a Kiss, Kimberley Montpetit

Jessica Mason and Pastor James are struggling to make their long-distance relationship work between Snow Valley and New Orleans where Jessica dances with the local ballet company. When April Murphy, a war widow with a child, shows up in Snow Valley, James reluctantly begins to wonder if he and Jessica are really meant to be. April would make the perfect pastor’s wife and he’d have an instant family and the stability he craves. But he can’t get the spitfire Jessica out of his mind and when she returns to Snow Valley to accept an inheritance, her male ballet partner in tow, the love triangle takes on a new edge. Can Jessica and James figure out how to create a family while living in two different states—or do they allow their hearts to move on and forget the passion they once shared?

This is Jessica and Pastor Jame's continuing story. It's been almost two years since they met and they've been doing the long distance relationship thing. Jessica is doing much better, but she's still a bit broken inside. It's like she just can't decide what it is she really wants. To be honest, this was my least favorite story. It's still good, but I thought Jessica was a jerk a lot of the time. Even though she talks about others deserving better, she doesn't really act like she cares about anyone's feelings but her own. It's probably just that I don't understand physically torturing yourself for a dream that isn't making you happy. 

Romancing a Husband, Lucy McConnell

Natalie Lawson is at a crossroads.

This was the other really great surprise of the collection for me. How many times do you get to see a married couple struggle to find love again? The pain of this story was so real. So crippling to all involved. And yet you have some wise friends giving advice that in the end gives Natalie and Eli the strength and courage to step back and try again. Natalie has to learn to stop tip-toeing around the problem and understand it's not her job to make Eli happy. Eli has to learn that just because he's out of work doesn't mean he's unworthy of Natalie's love and affection. I love stories that are true to life, but come with a happy ending! 4.5

I give Spring in Snow Valley a solid 4, with some individual stories a 4.5.

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Until Summer Ends by Elana Johnson

From Goodreads

Sophie Newton is determined to prove herself to her father, who insists she could never run a successful business. She opens a beachside taco stand called The Sandy Tortilla and plans to make her own way, one burrito at a time. When she loses her summer help, Sophie rushes to find somebody to help take orders. She finds that somebody in Montgomery Winters, a struggling actor from LA.

Mont takes the job; the money’s useful, though he finds that his curvy boss is what really keeps him around. As Sophie and Mont work, they discover an intense attraction between them. But when Mont’s agent calls him about a career-making audition, he decides he must pursue the opportunity, even though he can’t get Sophie out of his head.

Now, Sophie must choose between chasing after the man she’s falling in love with and the business she’s fought so hard to build.

My Take:
First off, I've always loved Johnson's easy to read writing style. She draws you in and lets your imagination create the pictures. There isn't any author intrusion to throw you out, and I appreciate that.

I could totally relate to Sophie and her little OCD neurosis. Seriously, there were so many things she did that I've done myself. Falling in love with someone you know won't be staying around is amazingly hard on someone who needs to feel like they are in control of their future. All those emotions and challenges are there, and Sophie works through them one by one. Working through the process with her was therapeutic.

Mont is also complex and fascinating. He's a giver. He's determined to make it big so he can help pay for his father's medical bills. Sure, he's doing what he loves, but when it comes down to the big chance or staying with Sophie, he has real reasons for the hard choice. I like that. It isn't some silly little thing that's pulling him away from what he wants.

In the end they both have to take chances and make a few changes.

I give Until Summer Ends a 4.5!

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

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Caribbean Rescue by Cami Checketts

Welcome back! Caribbean Rescue is now available.

Here are the links:
Find Caribbean Rescue - Amazon * Goodreads
*Enter below to win a $50 gift card and a copy of The Independent One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance

I was lucky enough to get a chance to read this book before it's release. Here's a blurb reminder, with my review below.

Blurb:
Superstar runner Zack Tyndale was the easy favorite to win gold in the Olympic Games, but a stupid decision shatters his dreams the night before the big race. Unable to face his shame, he escapes to the Caribbean and a life of blissful solitude ... until Madeline Panetto crash lands on his pristine private beach, trying to outrun a gang of pirates with nothing but a fancy evening gown and a flash drive hidden in her bra. Zack finds himself sucked into Maddy's world of mutiny and murder.

Madeline might find refuge from the pirates, but Zach is battling pirates of his own. When sparks fly between them, they're forced to look to their hearts for the answers and that could be more frightening than facing a mutinous crew.

Can these two find refuge from the pirates and with each other?

My Take:
It's no secret that Checketts is one of my favorite clean romantic suspense writers. She has a easy to read (and get lost in) writing style. Her characters are well rounded with hidden depths that are slowly revealed as the story progresses. I also love that Checketts lets the attraction and trust develop naturally even if it must be fast for the story.

Maddie is a good girl, caught up in a big mess because of her father. Zack steps up to help even though he'd rather stay hidden away on his private island. He turns out to be a soft hearted, kind man, willing to risk himself to try and help this strange and clumsy woman.

There was a great balance of suspense with the romance. I even liked how at the end Maddie has to face Bello without Zack. Most romantic suspense has the guy running in to save the day, but life isn't always like that. This was a nice change for me!

I give Caribbean Rescue a 4.5!

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 1, 2016

Five Magic Spindles A collection of Sleeping Beauty stories

From Goodreads
Awaken the Magic!

Emma, a good-hearted midwife, rushes to warn a neighbor about the hired gunman headed to his ranch but can't prevent the catastrophe in store for his daughter.

Palli, the prophesied daughter of a king, is fated to rescue her people from the destruction called forth by a vengeful priest. 

Roselee, a ghost with a faulty memory, flits through the halls of an insane asylum in search of the mortal boy who can help her save the day.

Arabella, a living spirit trapped in her own comatose body, helplessly watches from the realm of dreams as her usurping cousin plots to destroy her once and for all.

Tanza, a tomb raider on a distant planet, struggles to make a living and doesn’t need a long-lost prince to complicate her difficult life.

One way or another, these beauties have no intention of sleeping away their problems.

My Take:

First, I was asked to read and review Spindle Cursed specifically. I hope to eventually get the time to read the other shorts in this anthology. However, for now, here's the review of Spindle Cursed.

Spindle Cursed (Arabella's story)
I loved the unique look at Sleeping Beauty from this angle. How can a Prince feel true love for someone he's never met? This story answers that question in a simple and yet ingenious way. The writing is clean, beautifully descriptive, and satisfying in every way. Gritty villains, a wonderfully developed fantasy world, dragons, spells, magic, humor, and sweet romance.

I give Spindle Cursed a solid 4.5. Great writing, great twist on a classic with wonderful imagery.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Caribbean Rescue by Cami Checketts

There's a new destination billionaire book coming out next week from one of my favorite clean suspense authors--Cami Checketts. It will be available August 2nd. Here's the run down...

Just in time for the Summer Olympics, bestselling sweet romance author, Cami Checketts, brings you a new Destination Billionaire Romance.
Superstar runner Zack Tyndale was the easy favorite to win gold in the Olympic Games, but a stupid decision shatters his dreams the night before the big race. Unable to face his shame, he escapes to the Caribbean and a life of blissful solitude ... until Madeline Panetto crash lands on his pristine private beach, trying to outrun a gang of pirates with nothing but a fancy evening gown and a flash drive hidden in her bra. Zack finds himself sucked into Maddy's world of mutiny and murder.
Madeline might find refuge from the pirates, but Zach is battling pirates of his own. When sparks fly between them, they're forced to look to their hearts for the answers and that could be more frightening than facing a mutinous crew.
Can these two find refuge from the pirates and with each other?

Find Caribbean Rescue - Amazon * Goodreads
*Enter below to win a $50 gift card and a copy of The Independent One: A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance

Excerpt of Caribbean Rescue:

A few steps from the French doors he heard the high whine of a motor. Zack whipped around and searched the ocean beyond. There were no lights, but the motor sound was unmistakable. What kind of an idiot would be out on the water with no lights on and in what sounded like a small boat?

Zack raced past his pool and gardens, and took the steps to the beach two at a time. He could just make out a small boat, hurtling through the water. He didn’t even have time to be angry someone was invading his sanctuary as he saw the angle they were coming at. “No, not that way!” he yelled, though they couldn’t possibly hear him.

Zack sprinted through the sand and onto his dock. He kept one eye on the boat as he ran the length of the dock, waving his arms and yelling, “Turn! Turn!” Large boulders and a former shipwreck resided just under the water, exactly where that boat was heading. Any other angle into the harbor was deep and safe to take even in his yacht, but this idiot was coming straight for the shallow waters of the dock instead. Why weren’t they slowing even though they were within a hundred feet of the dock?

“Stop!” he screamed. “Turn!”

The sickening crunch was louder than the howling wind and rain. The rear of the boat flung into the air, and the lone passenger flew forward then disappeared into the water. Zack dove off the dock, surfacing quickly, and using strong strokes to cross the distance. Water from the uneven waves splashed into his face, making it hard to see. The person bobbed up out of the water and started swimming his direction. That was a relief. From the hair streaming around her, he assumed it was a woman.

They came within a few feet of each other and Zack slowed and treaded water. “Are you okay?”

“I-I think so.”

“Can you make it to the dock?” His lights reflecting from the beach showed a mop of dark hair and a beautiful face.

In answer, she started slowly swimming that direction, but she hadn’t gone four strokes before she swayed and rolled over onto her back. That’s when Zack noticed the cut on her head. The water turned the blood a watery pink. She’d definitely hit her head on one of the rocks or maybe the old shipwreck. 

“You’re not okay.” 

“I can make it.” She started to kick. A wave rolled over her face and she jerked up, coughing and spluttering, but bravely kept trying to stay afloat, beating at the water with her arms and legs.

She was tough and not a complainer. Nice.

“I’ve got you.” Zack looped his arm under her armpit and over her chest and tugged her back to the dock. She had a small build, but her clothes must’ve been waterlogged because she seemed to weigh a ton. Zack was in shape, but he tired quickly. Finally, they made it to the dock and the woman clung to the edge. Zack grabbed hold and heaved himself out of the water then helped lift her up. She collapsed onto her back and released a loud breath. “Oh, thank you, I thought it was time to reacquaint myself with Saint Peter.”

“Saint Peter?” She’d hit her head hard or she was crazy. He looked over her fancy, waterlogged dress and the diamonds sparkling at her throat. She’d been out in the ocean like that, without a lifejacket?
Crazy it might be, or with quite a good story to tell.

“You know—the angel at the pearly gates.”

 Zack let out a surprised laugh. “Glad you put that off for a little while.”

“Me too.” She sat up and touched the small gash in her head. Blood trickled between her fingertips.

“Ouch.”

“I bet.” Zack pushed his way to his feet and offered her a hand. The wind whipped his wet t-shirt around him. He was glad he shaved his head and didn’t have hair whipping in his face like she did.

“Let’s get you up to the house and cleaned up.”

She placed her hand in his, but wavered as he helped her up. Zack wrapped his other arm around her waist and lifted her onto her feet. She swayed. 

“Can you walk?”

Her eyes filled with stubborn pride. “Of course I can walk.”

She pulled away from him, took one step, teetered off the dock, and splashed back into the water. 

“Oh, boy.” Zack shook his head. He hadn’t smelled alcohol on her breath, but that had to be the explanation. Fancy dress, alone on a boat in the ocean at night. He’d have to help her tonight then load her onto his yacht tomorrow and get her to Belize. If she had any money it was probably sunk with her little boat. He’d get her to where she needed to go and be done with this mess. Oddly enough, he didn’t mind the excitement. It was a good contrast to his normally sedate lifestyle.

She came up to the surface sputtering and flailing. Zack knelt down, put his hands under her armpits, and hefted her back onto the dock. He stood slowly, supporting both of them then swung her off her feet and into his arms. Despite himself, he noticed how nicely she fit against him. It had been a long while since he’d been around an attractive, unrelated woman. “Shall we try this again?”

“Good plan.” Her voice rumbled against his chest and he kind of liked it. “I must’ve thumped my head harder than I thought.”

“Or something,” he muttered.

Her head whipped up. Brown eyes full of fire. “I’m not drunk, if that’s what you’re thinking, I’m…”

She quickly looked down again, not meeting his gaze.

“You’re…” he encouraged. He’d like to hear her story and he did believe her that she wasn’t drunk. Her speech was too lucid and her breath smelled too clean. 

“I can’t. I don’t know who to trust.” She grabbed onto his arm. “Oh, holy monkey balls!”

Zack jerked in surprise and almost dropped her as she squirmed in his arms. “What are you doing now? You want to fall in the water again?” They’d reached the end of the dock, but she could still fall in the shallow water. 

“I’ve got to find something. Please. Can you help me look in the water? Back where my boat is?” Her eyes were wide and frantic. 

“Right now?” Zack gestured to the waves building as the storm increased in intensity. “No! You’re hurt. It’s dark. And there’s a storm.” His four-year-old niece had more common sense than this woman, and Chalise hadn’t spoken a word in two years. 

The woman deflated and burrowed herself into his arms. Zack liked this quite a bit better than her struggling. He tightened his hold on her. Hmm, her shape was really… shapely. 

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Tenderness and Terror Boxed Set by Cami Checketts

From Goodreads:
Tenderness and Terror Boxed Set by #1 Bestselling Inspirational Romance Author, Cami Checketts

Protect This
With five female college students on the missing persons' list, and the perpetrator still at large, Natasha is nervous about dating anyone. But, it's hard to say no to Tony, the hot graduate assistant she's been drooling over all semester. Too bad she's not sure who to trust and all the men around her feel more like suspects than heroes. When Natasha gets into trouble and the man that should have been the safest...turns out to be her worst nightmare, Natasha has no choice but to fight for her life and the man she almost gave up.

Blog This
Will protecting children throughout the world cost Natasha her own family? Devastated by the loss of her brother, Natasha Senecot works to expose the dangers of Matthew Chrysler’s violent video games, succeeding in bankrupting and humiliating him.

Chrysler retaliates and sends a hit man after her. Natasha is forced to fake her own death to protect her children, but after witnessing another tragedy, Natasha won’t hide any longer.

In a race against time, can Natasha expose Matthew Chrysler before his assassin murders her family and shatters her world?
Redeem This
Some men are beyond redemption. Alex is one of them.

After Alex Chakhota was blackmailed and manipulated into becoming a hit man to protect his sister, serving time as the FBI's assassin doesn't do much to ease his conscience. His next assignment brings him face to face with Brittany, a beautiful woman that believes he's more than the killer he's been made into. The road to redemption is long for someone with a blackened soul, and with lives hanging in the balance, Alex has a short deadline.

Detective Scott Bentley's days of law enforcement are behind him. When he's asked to host agents at his secluded ranch for an FBI sting operation, Scott cannot refuse. Ivy McMahon shows up with the team, and Scott gets more than he signed up for. Not only can she hack into the any computer system, she's found a way into Scott's heart. The trouble is that she's in protective custody and when the job ends, she'll disappear. Is redemption possible for those whose lives are scarred by the past? Is redemption possible for those who lives are scarred by the past? With danger crowding close, not even love may have a chance to redeem before it's too late.

My Take:
For this review, I'm going to start with the middle full length novel in the set and then talk about the novellas on the front and end. Sorry, it's going to be a bit disjointed since I don't want too many spoilers for you, but one of them I can't help but let slip. Sorry!

Okay, I have to come clean. I read BLOG THIS when it originally came out a long time ago. It was the first book by Checketts that I didn't absolutely love. It was well written and satisfying in many ways, but I couldn't get past the fact I didn't agree with who Natasha ended up with in the end. Hold on to your seats, I'll try to do this without too many spoilers and still make a modicum of sense.

The suspense side of Blog This is amazing! Super job by Checketts. Loved that! We've got fiery red-head Natasha who isn't going to back down from a fight for anything, even after getting shot. The romance part is what fell flat for me the first time I read it. She's got three men falling for her--her cheating ex, a hot cop, and the assassin. By the end of the story I really liked two of these guys. And I have to stop there.

Fast forward to last week when I picked up the boxed set. This set contains a very short prequel (Protect This) where we get to see how Natasha and her ex-husband Tony meet. I have to say that although it was super short--almost too short--I liked Tony much better and it helped me accept the ending in Blog This much better.

Redeem This is the story I really needed. Like I said, I really felt for Scott (the cop) and Alex (the assassin). The sequel finally tells the next part of their story. It's also shorter, almost too short, but was very fulfilling for me. I love the idea of the bad guys having redeeming qualities, and I wanted to see Scott find happiness as well. Plus, Scott's a cowboy. I love cowboys. ;)

The only reason I say the stories were too short is because I love Checketts' easy writing style. She's great with the sexual tension while keeping it clean, and you can't beat her suspense!

I give the collection a 4.5 simply because I wanted the novellas stretched out into novels. :)

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

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Priceless by Tamara Hart Heiner

From Goodreads:
It’s been two years since Jaci and her friends were kidnapped by The Hand and ultimately escaped. Jaci has done her best to re-assimilate into high school society, to put that terrifying experience behind her. As a runner on the cross-country team and the almost-girlfriend of a popular football star, it seems as if her future is finally falling into place.

When a series of weird, innocuous notes begin to show up at her house and in her locker, Jaci assumes her brother is playing jokes on her. But as the notes grow more sinister, she begins to question their origin.

By the time she suspects that her previous kidnappers are involved, too much is at stake to tackle this problem on her own.

Somehow Jaci must avoid capture without involving her family or endangering her friends.

My Take:
First off, this is the third book in a series, however, I have not read the first two. You don't have to have read them to enjoy this book, but after reading it you might want to go back and catch the first two--Perilous and Altercation.

Okay, let's talk about Jaci. I love how real she is. Sure, it's been two years since the events of the first two books--a months long ordeal where she was kidnapped, escaped, lived on the run, caught, and almost sold into the sex slave trade. One friend died, another moved away, and all she has left is Amanda. Jaci is withdrawn from society even though she's on the track team. It's too hard for her to trust anyone, even the police, thanks to her experience. At the beginning of the story she is trying to change. She wants to live again. Unfortunately for her, that decision comes at the same time as the arrival of mysterious and ominous notes, and text messages.

The one thing that bothered me was the fact she never tells Amanda. Granted, Amanda did not make confiding in her easy. Okay, I sort of understand at first, but as soon as Jaci thinks the notes might have some connection to the earlier kidnapping, she should have talked to Amanda. Both were at risk, but it's like she never considered Amanda might be in trouble.

Other than that, I loved how the author kept me wondering who was behind the stalking. I made several guesses, but I didn't see it coming together the way it did.

The romance angle is definitely complicated. And I really liked that. Jaci has finally relented and allowed herself to hang out with Joey, the star football player at school. He seems like such a nice guy! He's always trying to help his miscreant brother out of trouble, he's attentive and doesn't try anything. A perfect gentleman.

She's also hit on by Amanda's jerk of a boyfriend Gavin. Good thing she's taken self-defense classes for the last year! However, this puts an added strain between her and Amanda (Jaci doesn't tell her it happened) and contributes to the number of secrets piling up between them, making it so much harder to come clean.

Joel is sweet, but Jaci keep thinking about someone else. Two years earlier she met a boy named Ricky. He was her first kiss. However he moved away. He wrote her several times, but she never replied. After a year he stopped writing, but never forgot her. Now he's back, and staying at her house for a week with his family. Just the sight of him brings back so many memories!

I think Heiner kept a great balance between the characters age and the maturity they both gained from their experience. It was totally believable.

And you have no idea how hard it was to write this review without giving away spoilers!

I give Priceless a 4.5, rounded up to 5 because now I think I'll read the first two books in the series. 

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


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Whiskey and Gumdrops by Jean Oram

From Goodreads:
Mandy Mattson has always believed that what you want isn't what you need. But never in her life has she been more wrong.

As a small town waitress, Mandy has never felt as though she deserves the love of her best friend Frankie. But when she sees an ex-lover marry her rival she realizes her life is adding up to a big fat nothing and realizes she needs to make a change. With every path in her new life leading back to Frankie, will she finally be able to reconcile that the one thing she's always wanted is the very thing she needs?

My Take:
Okay, I have mixed feelings about this one. First, I was so glad to finally find a clean romance that still had some steam to it. So, right there is enough for me to write a positive review. I liked the characters more as the story went on, especially Frankie.

The downside is Mandy sort of drove me nuts. She is so adamantly against Frankie as more than her best friend that it's infuriating. Maybe this is because I married my best friend, and I couldn't relate to her fear of losing that friendship if the romance fizzled. She also can't accept help to save her life. There were also a few typos, but not enough for me to be completely thrown out of the story.

The good thing is that Mandy learned. She finally grew up and learned that it's okay to accept help and that maybe friendship is the best foundation for the best kind of love. In the end, I liked Oram's style enough that I picked up some short stories and book 2 in the Blueberry Springs series. I've always liked moving into a town and hanging out for a while. ;)

I give Whiskey and Gumdrops a solid 4. Thank you for a clean read!

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
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