Author: Brenda Jackson

Guest Review: Possessed by Passion by Brenda Jackson

Posted May 12, 2016 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Possessed by Passion by Brenda JacksonReviewer: Judith
Possessed by Passion by Brenda Jackson
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: March 1st 2016

Pages: 224
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four-stars

They're discovering the healing powers of passion

Burned-by-love architect Hunter McKay came home to Phoenix to open her own firm, not rekindle her fleeting high school romance with playboy Tyson Steele. But when she runs into the sexy surgeon at a nightclub—and he unleashes that legendary Steele charm—Hunter fears she's headed straight for heartbreak once again.

Tyson hasn't forgotten the one who got away. A weeklong fling should be just enough to get the sultry beauty out of his system for good, even if he has to let Hunter set the ground rules. But the rules are suddenly changing for the no-strings bachelor. Can Tyson convince this sensual woman that he's the real deal—that they deserve a second chance together?

Brenda Jackson is one of the few authors I believe has the talent and skill to make this family saga a continuing success.  I think it is largely because within the framework of a very erotic love story there is the reality of family and caring connection that keeps these people grounded even when they live in ways that seem at odds with the morals and standards that guide their families of origin.  A plus for me is also the fact that her characters are real people who are driven by real dreams and goals, whose evident success has been won often in difficult circumstances.  That they are people of color has not been a help but they know their own worth and are not afraid to go for what they want.

Such is the attitude of the intrepid Dr. Tyson Steele who, like so many of the men in this family, is a player romantically.  Steady and stalwart professionally and connected and loving to his siblings and family members, he still likes to play and keep his options open.  In truth, he has yet to be fully bitten by the love bug, except when he came close while a high school lothario and was enamored with Hunter McKay.  Those days are long gone, but she’s back.  And in typical, no-strings bachelor fashion, Tyson is going to use a sexy fling to get himself free of any lingering feelings that might pose a future complication to his free and easy bachelor ways.

This is another fun love story from a wonderful author, one of my favorites, actually.  She creates a heroine who is real, not a stick woman who lives on lettuce leaves and coffee.  Hunter is a curvy woman who is proud of the body she loves, enjoys her life and displays inner as well as outer beauty.  She has the capacity to rope in Tyson Steele, but she isn’t convinced that she wants to.  She really isn’t in the market for hurt.  But Ms Jackson loves the happy ending, and although their love story is not free and easy, twisting and turning and surprising the reader,  these two characters are good people and their relationship is fun to watch grow and develop into a real love story.  I also think that Tyson is the kind of man many women would love to know just because he is not only good looking and successful, but in most ways he knows how to treat a woman with respect and dignity.

Another aspect of Ms Jackson’s stories that I have always appreciated is that her characters grow even more as the story progresses.  I have come to really dislike romance fiction with main characters who are childish and immature and tend to remain that way.  Such is not the case in Ms Jackson’s novels and that is not the case here.  Hunter and Tyson not only take a long look at one another but they are honest enough to take a long look at themselves.  It is watching their character grow and expand as they interact with one another that makes this another fascinating love story with many levels of interest and ways for the reader to connect to the story.

If you haven’t read a Brenda Jackson novel before, here’s a good place to start.  If you are one of her fans, you will like this novel just as well as you have liked others in her extensive writing resume.  It’s another winner, IMHO.  I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at http://www.drjsbookplace.blogspot.com.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Breaking Bailey’s Rules by Brenda Jackson

Posted April 6, 2016 by Judith in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Breaking Bailey’s Rules by Brenda JacksonReviewer: Judith
Breaking Bailey's Rules by Brenda Jackson
Series: Westmoreland series #30
Also in this series: Bane
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: November 3rd 2015
Format: eARC

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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Rule number one for Bailey Westmoreland: Never fall for a man who would take her away from her tight-knit family's Colorado home. So why is she following rancher Walker Rafferty all the way to Alaska? Bailey tells herself she owes the sexy loner an apology, and once she gets there, it's only right to stay and help him when he's injured…isn't it? Before long, Bailey realizes home might be where you make it—if Walker is ready to take all she has to offer.

Any lover of romance who has also come to appreciate interracial stories knows about and appreciates Brenda Jackson.  Her Westmoreland Family series has gone on now for years, and while some reviewers have panned her stories as formulaic and predictable, I still like to read her work.  Ms Jackson is a writer who is unashamedly open about her interest in human relationships and family dynamics.  She has covered the full spectrum of emotion as well as the situations people either cause or in which they find themselves victims.  She is also not subtle about her heroes being alpha males, many of whom are unwilling to settle down to one woman.  Money, opportunity, careers, and a long list of other variable make these men challenges in and of themselves.

However, in this story, the challenge is a young woman who is comfortable in her skin, who wants to be appreciated for who she is, who enjoys her independent ways along with the full involvement in a family that is energetic to say the least.  Her one requirement for anyone looking to become involved with her romantically, long-term partner or permanent significant other, is that she will never leave Colorado.  It is her home in more ways than just geographical.  She is connected to the land, the environment, the mountains’ majestic presence, the sense of “home” she shares with her Westmoreland family.  She believes there is someone who will be the passionate partner she is seeking and who will want to keep her happy in the land she loves above all other.

Now there pops up another possible branch of the Westmoreland clan, and the connection is not a happy one or acceptable in many ways.  To acknowledge this family is to accept that there was hurt and infidelity in the past, and that is so not OK.  Walker Rafferty is a close family friend and one that is sent to investigate the possible connections between previously unknown relatives and it is meeting Bailey that throws a wrench into his life.  His efforts to interest her in some kind of romantic liason are rebuffed—that’s probably too mild a descriptive—and in good conscience Bailey realizes that she has some fences to mend after Walker returns to Alaska, a very long way from Colorado.

As always, Ms Jackson draws her characters with a deft and sure skill, giving readers a full imagination of what these characters look like, how they think, what they yearn for, and how they go about finding ways to reach their personal relational goals.  Bailey is a woman that can be lovely and kind, but she has the ability to be as uncomfortable as a thorn bush.  The slow progress that Bailey and Walker make toward some sort of connection is the core of this story, and while it is certainly a movement toward “happily ever after,” it is not a comfortable story.  I always find a Brenda Jackson a good read.  It is balanced between the need to keep a story line clean and moving forward and the erotic content.  It is not just about their sex life but rather how all the elements of their humanity gradually merge to make it possible for these two to connect on a deeper, more lasting level.

It’s a good book, a fun read in many ways, and a nice way to spend an evening.  Just the kind of experience a lover of good romance enjoys.

I give this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Bane by Brenda Jackson

Posted February 25, 2016 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Bane by Brenda JacksonReviewer: Judith
Bane by Brenda Jackson
Series: Westmoreland series #31
Also in this series: Breaking Bailey's Rules
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: December 1st 2015

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five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

After five years, navy SEAL Brisbane Westmoreland is back home on his ranch and ready to reclaim the woman he left behind. But when he tracks her to Dallas, he's in for a shock.

Crystal Newsome isn't ready to forgive Bane for saying he loved her then vanishing from her life. Only now the beautiful chemist needs his protection. As their own irresistible chemistry takes over once again, can Bane keep Crystal safe and convince her they can have the second chance they both deserve?

It appears that with this 31st book in the Westmoreland Family Saga, Brenda Jackson is finally leaving this clan behind.  Yet she is bringing that era to a close with a bang.  Those who have read previous books in this long, 13 year series, have met most of the characters in her books many times over.  She is always careful to give sufficient context so that readers can keep track of these various people.  Lovers of this series and of Jackson books in general have been waiting for this book for quite some time.  And it is not a disappointment.  There is love and laughter, dismay and disappointment, deep love and anger, history and yet a future that is in doubt, especially when Chrystal’s own personal safety is on the line.

I doubt that there is a woman alive who would wait patiently for a spouse from whom only one contact was received in five years.  Yet Bane comes home ready to resume his life with Crystal and finds a wife that has no open arms of love spread for him.  Instead he finds anger and upset and becomes quickly aware that he is going to have to work hard to once again find himself accepted in the regard and love of a woman he has loved all his life.  His reasons for seeming to abandon Crystal and her present need for Bane’s protection are all strands in a story that is complicated and convincingly realistic.  The threads of the story weave in and out and form a story that will hook the reader’s imagination from the first.  Bane and Crystal have never lost that chemical magic that sustained their early love.  Finding a new foundation upon which to rebuild is challenging and very much a part of how this all plays out for these two.

Brenda Jackson is, quite simply, one of my favorite authors.  I have read her books for years and whenever I see a new one I am on it like white on rice.  This book was no exception and whether one has read all the books in this series or just a few, the energy level, the consistent skill and evident expertise have never wavered no had Ms Jackson ever disappointed her fans.  She uses the best kind of language, full of descriptive words and  a much appreciated balance between dialogue and monologue.  Her characters are people of deep family loyalty and in spite of how they choose to live their lives, each has a clear inner core of morality and integrity.  This is a fine piece of writing and a credit to its creator.  It is well worth the time and effort to read and enjoy.

I give it a rating of 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Guest Review: A Brother’s Honor by Brenda Jackson

Posted July 16, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: A Brother’s Honor by Brenda JacksonReviewer: Judith
A Brother's Honor (The Grangers, #1) by Brenda Jackson
Series: The Grangers #1
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: May 28th 2013

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 392
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Granger brothers left behind their family's Virginia estate and the bad memories it holds 151 years ago. But their dying grandfather's request brings them home: to a failing business, a legacy of secrets and a deathbed promise to make things right.

As the eldest brother, attorney Jace Granger is determined to take responsibility for Granger Aeronautics, his family's failing business. But the years of mismanagement seem impossible to untangle. As CEO, he hires a consultant to turn the company around. Smart, sexy Shana Bradford is the right person for the job and the right woman to turn Jace's world upside down.

But the passion between them is jeopardized when old secrets begin to emerge. A woman from Jace's past suddenly reappears. And an explosive discovery changes everything Jace thinks he knows about his mother and his father, who was convicted of her murder.

Jace Granger tried to leave his family history behind once before. But this time he needs to face the past or risk losing his future.

Three brothers. One legacy. A lifetime of secrets.

But the passion between them is jeopardized when old secrets begin to emerge. A woman from Jace’s past suddenly reappears. And an explosive discovery changes everything Jace thinks he knows about his mother-and his father, who was convicted of her murder.

Jace Granger tried to leave his family history behind once before. But this time he needs to face the past…or risk losing his future.

Brenda Jackson is known for her lengthy and popular family-related series and it seems that no matter how many she writes, most of us really like them.  As a woman of color and deep faith, Brenda has not backed down from expressing the views of contemporary society through the voices of her characters nor has she ever been reluctant to write honestly about the sexual and love relationships between partners.  Here she is introducing a new series of novels about brothers who have been forced to return to their roots to fulfill their promise to their dying grandfather and to save their family business.

It’s often difficult to “go home.”  There is an old truism that declares that we can never go home . . . certainly not in the sense that we can re-create a past that may or may not have been desirable.  In the case of the Grainger brothers, there is not much that is positive about their return to Grainger-land.  There is a whole load of old pain, disappointment, and business problems that gather like a miasma over their father’s business.  Adding a woman into the mix doesn’t seem very smart.  Yet this particular woman possesses the talents and business acumen to identify the problems that are bringing their family business down.  But it is the very process of finding what is wrong business-wise that also makes Jace’s personal life incredibly complicated as well.

This is a very emotional novel and in the way that is very much Brenda Jackson’s way, it is erotic and sensual.  There are so many positive and negative feelings sweeping over the pages of this novel.  It is the kind of story that is filled with tension and crisis, both in the context of the story as well as the attraction between Jace and Shana.  The sexual energy is really hot and it is a romance that feels like it just can’t sustain itself–as one old love song states:  ” . . . it’s too hot not to cool down.”

I, for one, really like Brenda Jackson’s work.  I have read her blog and a lot of what she has to say about her life and her feelings about what she writes.  I appreciate her honesty and her relentless pursuit of putting the stories of people of color before the public.  And above all else, I think she’s good at it.  This novel will be a very entertaining read for her fans and for those who are just discovering her work.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Harlequin MIRA. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Zane by Brenda Jackson

Posted July 8, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Zane by Brenda JacksonReviewer: Judith
Zane (The Westmorelands, #25) by Brenda Jackson
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin Desire
Publication Date: July 1st 2013

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 192
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four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Brenda Jackson—The first of a new trilogy starring three Westmorelands who are impossible to resist: Zane, Canyon and Stern.

No woman walks away from Zane Westmoreland. But when Channing Hastings does just that, it leaves the rancher reeling—and then she returns to town engaged! Zane will do whatever it takes to show her that there is no man for her but him.

Brenda Jackson is one of those authors whose characters are alive and well in her head, and in the case of the Westmoreland family, they continue to come to life and please her readers enormously.  I have long ago stopped trying to keep them all straight, am mildly familiar with family members who pop up in stories, but don’t much worry about whose kids they are or how they are all connected.   Suffice it to say that I have enjoyed all the episodes in this family’s life experience and will probably continue to do so.

Zane is a man who loves women but that’s where it stops.  He has never really loved a woman and has been the kind of man who brings a relationship to an end before it gets too involved.  However, there is one woman who piques his interest, whose involvement in his life went on for far longer than is usual, but whose honesty about what she wanted for her future caused her to simply pick up and walk away, broken heart and all.

Now Channing has returned and the fact that she is engaged to another man brings out the worst in Zane and he pulls some stunts that are pretty low, even for him.  However, I will say that the author has crafted a character in Zane that is a mixture of free-for-all love and honorable man, even though the honorable part seems to get smothered pretty routinely.  He is professionally successful and seems prepared to live alone for the rest of his life, but Channing’s new love interest throws him off his romantic and emotional stride.  Thankfully, Zane has some family members who are willing to help him see himself honestly and it’s perhaps the best part of this story to watch the changes that Zane knows he must make if he expects to win back a woman of quality and substance like Channing.

I  make not bones about the fact that there has seldom been a Brenda Jackson story that I haven’t liked.  Perhaps that makes me easily pleased, and there is no hiding the fact that there are some of her books that are fairly predictable.  Every author seems to have some sort of formula, and in many of her stories the hero is a man of affluence who has either been hurt or who just refuses to make a commitment.  But even so, it is still fun to read how these stalwart and determined bachelors fall victim to women who are not only beautiful externally, but are women who bring an inner beauty to the relationship, the kind of authenticity that demands and authentic response from the man in their lives.  So it is in this novel and that’s what makes it for me.

I’ve read Harlequin stories for decades and no one will argue that their short novels of the past were pretty predictable.  Yet Ms Jackson’s writing is honest in expressing the realities of human relationship, the pain and sizzle, the flaws and joys, and most of all, she never backs away from the heat that two very sexual beings can generate.  I very much appreciate that she has showcased the lives and loves of people of color and brought their experiences into the mainstream of romantic fiction.  I know that her determination to do so has inspired other writers to craft interracial romance fiction and we, the reading public, are richer for their efforts.

This is a very nice read–not too long but very hot, and one that romance fiction readers will enjoy.  I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Harlequin Desire. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

four-stars


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