Genre: Contemporary Romance

Guest Review: Say No More by Liliana Hart

Posted October 18, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Say No More by Liliana HartReviewer: Tracy
Say No More by Liliana Hart
Series: Gravediggers Series #3
Also in this series: Gone to Dust
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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four-stars

Sometimes the dead do rise...

Dante Malcolm is a man of refined tastes. He was once a part of Britain's Elite Intelligence Force, but there was a reason he'd never been able to capture Simon Locke, the notorious thief who always seemed to be one step ahead. That's because Dante and Simon were one and the same, until Dante's double life eventually caught up with him and now he belongs to the Gravediggers.

Liv Rothschild is a Detective Inspector with Interpol and is the one responsible for catching MI-6's most notorious agent in his final heist--except the heist killed him. But something has never felt right about his death, and it's haunted her for months. It was too easy, and Dante Malcolm was too smart to go down that way.

Dante might belong to the Gravediggers in body, but his heart and soul will always belong to the next job. The rest of the team doesn't know about his alter ego because he made sure the information went missing from his file. So when the job he's always waited for seems like a possibility, he sneaks out of the country like a thief in the night, only to run into the only woman who's ever been able to match him in wit--and passion--for the job. Except they're standing on opposite sides of the law--and only one of them can walk away with the prize.

Dante was born as Lord Dante Malcolm but when he was recruited into MI6 he was thrilled.  When he had the chance to become an international thief he took that position as well.  He did this with a clear conscience as he would only take things that had already been stolen from someone else.  He’d just take something else for himself while he was doing the job.  Strange, I know. He was then recruited into the Gravediggers and for all intents and purposes he was dead.

Dante hasn’t been thrilled in his time with the Gravediggers.  He is loyal to the other members and would die for them but their boss, Eve Winters, constantly has him doing side jobs that the other members don’t know about.  This story has him going after Russian nuclear missile launch codes in Dubai.  When he gets there he doesn’t expect to run into the woman he was in a relationship with at the time of his death.

Liv works for Interpol, or she did until recently.  She was working with Dante trying to catch the international thief, Simon Locke, and she had no idea that Dante was Simon.  When he died she was devastated by not only his death but the betrayal she felt at finding out that he’d lied to her about Simon Locke.  Liv is in Dubai looking for 10 girls who are in the middle of a sex trafficking ring.  She quit her job at Interpol when they wouldn’t give her authorization to go after the girls.  The last thing she expects is to see her dead ex-boyfriend breaking into the vault that she’s trying to break into.

To say that Liv is mad at Dante’s deception is a bit of an understatement.  To say that when Dante’s fellow Gravediggers are enraged and feeling betrayed when they find out the truth about Dante and his side work for Eve is putting it mildly.  Everyone was pissed at Dante but when the heads cooled they knew they had to work together to get not only the launch codes into the right hands, but also save the 10 little girls.

Another good book in the Gravediggers series.  I liked both Dante and Liv in this story even though Dante was a bit of an ass at times.  He was still charming and good-hearted and I couldn’t help but like him.

Liv had personal reasons for getting into the fight against sex-trafficking.  Her twin sister had been kidnapped when they were six and had never been found.  Liv had lived her life trying to find Elizabeth with no luck.  She wanted to save as many little girls as she possibly could.  She was a good person and frankly at times I thought she was a bit too good for Dante when he was acting the ass, but they ended up fitting nicely.  The romance in this book definitely took a back seat to the launch codes and sex trafficking issues but that was as it should be. This was who Liv and Dante were and how they lived their lives so it was nice to see the relationship grown within the job.

Rating: 3.75/4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Jingle Bell Bride by Scarlet Wilson

Posted October 11, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: The Jingle Bell Bride by Scarlet WilsonReviewer: Tracy
The Jingle Bell Bride by Scarlet Wilson
Series: Christmas Brides #2
Published by Tule Publishing
Publication Date: October 3rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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three-half-stars

New York wedding planner Jessica Christie always goes above and beyond for her clients. So, stopping in Alaska to pick up the famed Jingle Bell flower for her famous client's bouquet doesn't seem too outrageous–until she ends up stranded there.

Matt Holden has spent the last five years since his fiancée died, living in a virtual bubble in Alaska. His research work as a botanist and assistant at the local reindeer farm keep him busy during the holidays.

But when Jessica Christie bursts into his life, all bets are off. Her stay is definitely temporary, but the feelings she ignites aren't. Could Ms. Oh-So-Wrong actually be Mrs. Right?

Jessica is a New York wedding planner and does a lot of celebrity weddings.  She has an amazing attention to detail and likes what she does.  She doesn’t absolutely love it though, and her true dream is to open a bookstore, maybe multiple bookstores, that are focused on literacy for both children and adults.  She’s never told anyone about her dream and she’s not sure it will ever come true.

Jessica is currently working for an incredibly demanding pop star, Renee, and will head over to England right before Christmas to make sure that the wedding goes off without a hitch.  Six days before the wedding Jessica is set to leave for the UK when Renee calls and says that she’s heard that there is a flower called the Jingle Bell Flower and she wants it in her wedding bouquet. (Insert whining and foot stomping.) Jessica doesn’t have a problem with that news until Renee tells her that the flower is only available in Alaska and that Jessica must go personally get it.  What????

Being the great wedding planner she is, Jessica heads to Corona Creek, Alaska to get the flower.  Unfortunately for her she flies in right before a snow storm hits and she has no way of flying back out.  The botanist who is to give her the flower reluctantly lets her stay at his house until she can leave.

Matt has been in Alaska for three years…hiding.  He was engaged and his fiancé died.  The place he was living in Montana had too many memories so he took a job in Alaska and has been hiding from his previous life and feelings ever since.  When Jessica arrives he has no plans to break the ice around his heart but she ends up getting to him in ways he didn’t think possible.  He soon finds himself in love but how can he make it work when he’s in Alaska and she’s from New York?

The Jingle Bell Bride was a cute story.  Jessica was a great character and I liked her devotion to her clients.  She was a strong woman for the most part and that played well with Matt and his equally strong personality.

Matt could have easily been dismissed as meek in the story because of his emotionally charged state of mind due to the death of his fiancé.  Despite that he didn’t let the past dictate his future and when he found himself in love with Jessica he went for it.  I loved that!  Good for him.  He did do something a bit sneaky that I didn’t agree with and of course Jessica hated. It was done from a place of love, however, and I hated that Jessica blew it out of proportion.  Despite that the two got their HEA and I had a smile on my face by the end of the book.

Oh, and this book is clean.  When I say clean I mean that they only kissed and that’s it.  They didn’t ever even kiss in a bedroom.  No clothing came off but fit the story and timeline so it was all good.

This is a cute, sweet romance that was a fun holiday read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Can’t Walk Away by Sandy James

Posted October 10, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Can’t Walk Away by Sandy JamesReviewer: Tracy
Can't Walk Away by Sandy James
Series: Nashville Dreams #1
Published by Forever Yours
Publication Date: October 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

In Nashville the stars shine a little brighter, songs sound a little sweeter, and love lasts a lifetime.

Young, rich, and better looking than a man has a right to be, successful songwriter Brad "Hitman" Maxwell was once Nashville's biggest celebrity. Then a heartbreaking loss and a shocking betrayal caused his light to go out. Now, instead of pouring his soul into song, he pours beers at Words & Music. His bar is the perfect escape--a place to forget his past--until the night she takes the stage...

Savannah Wolf used to dream of becoming Nashville's hottest star. Now, as a young single mom, she dreams of a steady income and being home to tuck her daughter into bed. So when Brad Maxwell offers her the gig of a lifetime--playing as the headliner at Words & Music--Savannah discovers the best of both worlds. And she refuses to ruin this opportunity by falling for her sexy boss. Except that Brad suddenly starts writing music again... music inspired by her.

Brad Maxwell owns and runs a bar/restaurant with his friends.  He used to be one of Nashville’s greatest songwriters but after the death of his wife he gave that all up.  The music stopped showing up in his head and he was fine with that.

On Indie night at his place, Words & Music, he hears the most beautiful music from a woman named Savannah Wolf.  She’s actually a waitress at Words & Music but they’d never had much interaction.  Immediately a song starts flowing in his head and he knows it’s for Savannah.  Brad knows that Savannah is a star and starts to push her toward that stardom.  Unfortunately that’s not what Savannah wants at all and it causes issues.

Brad falls for Savannah at first sight but it takes longer for Savannah to get to the “love” part of their relationship.  She’s a single mother who had been burned by her previous agent – who was also her daughter’s father.  She’s slow to trust and Brad moves a little too quickly.  When things start getting out of hand with the whole business Savannah takes matters into her own hands and that decision makes her want to walk away from everything.

This was a cute book.  I really liked James’s writing and her books always put a smile on my face.  In this book Savannah was amazing.  She was smart and level-headed and knew exactly what she wanted and what she didn’t want.  She put her family and her daughter first and wasn’t willing to budge on that.  I had to admire the woman for standing up for herself on many different occasions in the book.

Brad was a little bit of a different story.  He fell in love with Savannah at first sight and was all in.  He moved way too fast for my liking and I actually found it a bit creepy.  Sure there was an age difference between them, but that wasn’t it.  I think it was just because he moved so fast without knowing this girl from Adam – just because she was beautiful and had a gorgeous voice.  I found that weird. Because of my feelings toward Brad and his over abundance of immediate feelings for Savannah I had a hard time with the romance portion of the book.  It was nice, but I couldn’t get fully invested.  The musical part of the book and the portion of the story where Savannah’s past came back to haunt her were very good and that’s what raised the rating on this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Maybe This Christmas by Jennifer Snow

Posted October 6, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Maybe This Christmas by Jennifer SnowReviewer: Tracy
Maybe This Christmas by Jennifer Snow
Series: Colorado Ice #3
Also in this series: Maybe This Summer
Published by Forever
Publication Date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
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three-half-stars

All wrapped up . . .

One more game. That's all that stands between NHL star Asher Westmore and a major career milestone. But then his brother bashes him against the hockey boards, sidelining him for months. Over Christmas holidays, no less. If staying off the ice doesn't drive him crazy, staying with his family will. The only bright spot amidst the mistletoe and twinkle lights: His best friend, Emma, is a physical therapist. And working out with her improves his body and his spirit.

One last time. Emma Callaway was in trouble the minute she and Asher added benefits to their friendship. How is she supposed to resist a funny, caring guy who makes her toes curl? Her heart was safe while he lived in a different state. Now that he's back home recuperating, though, it's only a matter of time before she blurts out her feelings. Emma's only hope is that with a little holiday magic, she'll get the best Christmas gift of all.

Asher Westmore is completely focused on hockey.  He plays professionally for the Devils and though he injured his ACL he keeps playing.  His brother Ben, who also plays professionally for a rival team, received an award for playing 1000 games.  Asher is at game 999 and he’s not about to sit out because of an injury. He wants the same award his brother received.  He’s very competitive with Ben. Instead he plays through the pain and self-medicates.  During his 999th game he’s hit and goes down.  He is taken into surgery for the ACL and is told that recovery is 8-10 weeks.  He’s bound and determined to play his next game which is 6 weeks away.  He can only do that if he gets help from his best friend, Emma.

Emma was once as focused on her career as a snowboarder as Asher is on hockey.  Unfortunately a stupid mistake on her part and a severe injury changed all of that.  She is now a physical therapist and is focused on getting her doctorate.  Emma loves Asher than more than a friend and when they started making it friends with benefits, she was thrilled.  Asher, however, keeps pushing her to get back onto the snowboarding circuit and she just isn’t going there again.  Emma wants to be with Asher forever but Asher has no intention of taking his focus off of hockey for one minute – even for a woman that he thinks he might be falling in love with.

This was a cute story that I enjoyed reading.  I liked Emma a lot and admired her determination to go as far as she could in her chosen field of physical therapy.  Asher…I never truly liked him until the end of the book.

Emma and Asher had been best friends for years but had been sleeping together for the last couple of years.  Even though they were sleeping together I found it very strange that these supposed “best friends” couldn’t talk to each other.  Emma hadn’t told Asher about her acceptance into the doctorate program in Florida (they lived in Colorado) and Asher kept his mouth shut about his feelings on Emma giving up snowboarding for good.  He never voiced to her his thoughts that he wouldn’t settle down until after his hockey career was done, which wasn’t slowing down at all (except for his injury of course). I guess I felt if they had been such good friends they could have talked to each other.  There was a decided lack of communication between them and that started to grate on my nerves.

Asher was just so bull-headed that he annoyed me for much of the book.  He was very self-centered and it was hard to like him.  When he finally started pulling his head out of his ass he was a much better person.

I have to say that they were cute together when they were just being together and not worrying about other things in life.  It was easy and comfortable but still exciting and sexy.  I liked the way Snow made their time together special in a lot of ways.

Overall it was enjoyable and a sweet Christmas story.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis

Posted October 4, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Tracy
Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #4
Also in this series: Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay #1), The Trouble with Mistletoe, The Trouble with Mistletoe, One Snowy Night, Accidentally on Purpose, Chasing Christmas Eve (Heartbreaker Bay, #4)
Published by Avon
Publication Date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Meet cute...

Run for the hills—temporarily. That's Colbie Albright's plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie's so over it that she's under it. She's also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she's pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won't be a stranger for long.

Make merry...

Spence's commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn't have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot chemistry—he's got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself... just because she's gorgeous and a great listener just because she gets Spence immediately doesn't mean he won't be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

and hope for a miracle.

Now the clock's ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime.

Colbie Albright is a YA fantasy writer who is stressed to the max. She’s in charge of her very dependent family as well as getting texts and emails constantly from her assistant, publisher and agent.  All of this has left her with writers block and she just wants to get away and get back to the place where she can just enjoy life and not stress.  She feels sure that when this happens the words will once again flow from her.

She heads to the airport to blindly choose a destination and she ends up in San Francisco.  Her cab driver tells her about the fountain that grants love wishes and that’s where she is when Spencer is walking a dog who decides to dump Colbie into the fountain.

Spencer feels so bad about what has happened and insists on taking care of her.  He’s not sure why he feels this overwhelming need to assist her and keep her close but he just goes with the flow.  His employee, Elle, isn’t so sure about Colbie and wants to run a background check but Spence trusts Colbie and holds her off.  The longer Spencer is with Colbie the more he likes her and soon finds that he can’t do without her in his life.  Colbie starts to fall for Spence as well but she has her whole life in New York and can’t even imagine moving from there.  The two have to figure it out or give each other up for good.

This was a very sweet story.  I loved Spence and Colbie together.  It was such a natural thing for the two of them to get together and I truly enjoyed reading their love story.

Spencer is such a great character and I’ve liked him in past books.  He is a pretty simple but genius guy that has always put work first.  He never planned on getting married because he knows, especially after a past relationship failed, that he can’t put the woman in his life first.  Except, he manages to do that with Colbie and seeing Spence grow and the realization that he could put a woman first was wonderful.

Colbie at times seemed like a flighty woman but she truly wasn’t.  She was pretty organized and had taken care of her family for a very long time.  Because of this she had put herself into a situation where they depended on her fully.  She finally realized that she’d been enabling them and stood up for what she wanted – them to take care of themselves.  It worked and I loved seeing the load that lifted off of Colbie.

In the end, it was a great HEA and I was happy to see Colbie and Spence together and in love.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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