Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Guest Review: Sworn to Protect by Diana Gardin

Posted June 22, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Sworn to Protect by Diana GardinReviewer: Tracy
Sworn to Protect by Diana Gardin
Series: Rescue Ops #1
Published by Forever Yours
Publication Date: June 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

To keep her safe, he'll have to uncover all her secrets...

Rayne Alexander. A face I never thought I'd see again, and one I never could forget. Nine years ago, she left town-and me--without a backward glance. But now she's back, with a haunted look in her eyes and a feisty attitude that didn't exist when we were teenagers. Seeing this grown-up--and sexy--Rayne is something I wasn't prepared for... and it's bringing up feelings I'd thought I'd buried years ago.

Although I want to demand answers from Rayne, working on black ops at Night Eagle Security has taught me that it's sometimes better to keep my mouth shut. So when I catch her hiding a photo of a little boy, I'm curious. When I see her jump as her phone rings, I'm concerned. But the second I notice a car following her home, I know she's hiding something. Something dangerous. And while I may not know why she left or why she's back, if there's someone out there Rayne is afraid of, I'll make damn sure that threat is eliminated.

Rayne was working late at her job in Phoenix, AZ one night when she came across some info on her boss’s desk that she shouldn’t have. The kind of information that could ruin him and put him in prison. He doesn’t catch up with her as she runs from the building but she knows that she needs to get the hell out of Dodge.  She takes her eight-year-old son, Decker, and runs back to her hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina.  When she had first moved to Phoenix she had changed her name so she figures going back to her old name will hide her sufficiently. Not the case.

Rayne moves into her sister’s house as her sister is out of town and gets a job at Night Eagle Security.  She never planned on seeing her high school boyfriend, Jeremy Teague, ever again but the minute he walks into NES – cuz he works there – all of the old feelings start to come back.  Rayne had gotten pregnant by Jeremy when she was a teen and then was cast aside by Jeremy, his grandparents who raised him and then her own parents.  She knows she shouldn’t have any feelings toward Jeremy except disdain but that’s not what happens.  When Jeremy finds out that Decker is his (because he never knew she was pregnant) he’s so excited and wants nothing more than to be with Rayne and Decker and make them a family.

Rayne’s old boss, however, wants her captured and brought to him so that he can take care of her the way he wants.  Jeremy will do anything to keep Rayne and Decker safe but will he be able to in the end?

Sworn to Protect is a good little second chance at love romance/suspense story.  It had a lot of ins and outs and things going on.

Rayne is back in her hometown.  She loved Jeremy when she was younger but his grandparents told her that he wanted nothing to do with the baby when in fact they never told him she was pregnant.  Then her parents took to a clinic to get the baby aborted and she ran.  She’d been living the last 9 years thinking that Jeremy betrayed their love but that wasn’t the case at all.  Once Rayne and Jeremy are together again things fall into place and all is good.  Except for her old boss that’s threatening her.  I was a little confused about the boss, quite frankly.  He was at first after her because of the things she knew about him but then it turned to the fact that he didn’t want her dead he wanted to keep her and tame her sexually – ew.  It was more than a little creepy, to say the least and kind of a weird, expected twist.  Then Jeremy’s grandfather got involved and it was a bit too much.

Of course NES gets involved as that’s what they do but it all seemed a little too easy.  IDK, there was just some aspect of the story that was missing that made this a good book, but not great.  The elements were there but there was something in the execution that was lacking, imho.  The characters were good, the story was a decent one but I definitely didn’t end the book thinking, “Wow, that was really good!”

So in the end a decent read but it wasn’t something that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

Guest Review: Live Out Loud by Marie Meyer

Posted May 12, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Live Out Loud by Marie MeyerReviewer: Tracy
Live Out Loud by Marie Meyer
Published by Forever Yours
Publication Date: April 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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four-stars

I thought I'd live in silence forever . . . and then I met him.

I'll never be able to hear, but music has always been a source of comfort for me. Rather than listen to the rhythm, I can actually feel the beat pulsing through me. It's pure bliss. So the moment I saw Thorin playing his guitar, I was mesmerized. I'd never seen anything more beautiful . . . or intimate. I couldn't tell where his body ended and the song began. He's everything I need in my life . . . I'm falling fast, hard, and deep.

I want him more than anything. But while I live in silence, Thor lives in secrets. He's holding something back-something that's keeping this intensity, this longing from being real. And the silence may be too loud to bear . . .

Harper King is deaf but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying music.  Her friend takes her out one night to see a band that she’s crushing on and Harper ends up connecting with the guitarist of the band, Thor.  Thor is enamored of Harper as she is with him.  They end up going out and despite the difficulties in communicating they manage just fine.

Harper is in school and doing her pharmacy clinical rotation at a children’s hospital and doing really well.  She lives with a friend and far away from her parents.  She loves her parents but they try to coddle her because of her deafness.  Despite their coddling, they never learned sign language which she hates.  She believes that if they loved her enough they would have made every effort to learn to communicate with her in her language.  When Thor states his desire to learn sign language, Harper is beyond thrilled.  She tells him that she’ll teach him ASL if he’ll teach her how to play the guitar.

Thor has had a hard life.  His father, who used to be a good dad became an abuser.  His favorite punching bag is Thor’s mother but Thor finally got his mother away from his dad.  He fears, however, that he’ll become just like his dad and this has kept him from any long-term relationships. Despite his fears he can’t seem to keep himself away from Harper.  He wants it all but his fears may tear them apart.

Live Out Loud was a sweet romance.  The relationship between Thor and Harper was so lovely and one that I really enjoyed reading.

Thor’s issues with his dad are many – completely justifiable.  He wants to take care of his mother and keep her far away from his father.  It’s obvious to the reader that Thor’s fear of becoming his father is ridiculous as he’s such a kind and generous person, but he has to get that through his head before he can completely commit to Harper.  I loved that he finally managed to realize the truth and got his HEA with Harper.

While I really liked this book I have to say that it did lag at times.  I understood Thor’s problem but I had a hard time with how he kept things from Harper.  It made the book a bit frustrating at times, I must say.  Overall, however, the book was really good and one I definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde

Posted February 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori WildeReviewer: Holly
Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde
Series: Wedding Veil Wishes #2
Also in this series: Addicted to Love
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: December 14th 2008
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

Legend claims this antigue Irish wedding veil can grant your heart's deepest desire. But be careful what you wish for...
Wedding videographer Tish Gallagher is at the end of her rope. Her business is about to go bust. She's just spent her last buck on nonreturnable (but oh so fabulous) shoes. And her most sustainable relationship is with a pint of Haagen Dazs. So she makes a wish on the lucky wedding veil to get out of debt...and sees the man she never stopped loving, her ex-husband, secret service agent Shane Tremont. Sure, their chemistry was off-the-charts sizzling hot, but their clashes were legendary, and no amount of longing will change that.
When her dream job of recording the first daughter's wedding appears out of the blue, Tish knows it's her only shot to get out of the red. Just one teensy glitch: Shane is the groom. From the moment they see each other, she knows nothing's changed--the same old black magic is still between them, as irresistible and potent as ever. But he's promised to another and Tish has been burned before. Will she always be...ONCE SMITTEN, TWICE SHY?

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I still have very fond memories of this series. I stopped reading Wilde some time back, but I often think back fondly on these books.

This review was originally published February 02, 2008

This is the second book in Lori Wilde’s Wedding Veil Wishes series. I didn’t read the first book, and don’t feel I missed anything by having skipped it. I think at some point I’ll pick it up, just because I like to read all the books in a series, but I never felt like I missed something while reading this book.

Shane has no idea what he was thinking to propose to the President’s daughter. But she’d caught him in a weak moment, staring at him like he was ten feet tall and bullet proof after he’d put his life on the line for hers. And now she’s concocted some scheme involving his ex-wife – the ex he still cares about more than he should.

Elysee knows Shane needs to make peace with the past if their marriage is going to work, so she hires Tish thinking they’ll be able to heal old wounds if they spend enough time together. But even she couldn’t have predicted just how much history there was between Tish and Shane, and just what they’d need to move past old hurts. And now she’s wondering if she made a grave mistake, because not only has she seen the looks the former couple pass between them, but she’s been getting some looks of her own, from her #1 bodyguard, Cal Ackerman.

I must confess, normally a story where one of the main protagonists is engaged to someone else would immediately turn me off. But in this case, it didn’t bother me a bit. I think the author did a fabulous job of writing an unconventional story that really worked.

This story is a somewhat predictable piece of fluff, but it was engaging and I really enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed it until close the the end, that is.

You see, Wilde did a fabulous job of keeping the focus on the main trio of characters. Elysee, Tish and Shane were shown in equal light, each with their own demons to battle and insecurities to overcome. I empathized with all three, understanding perfectly their personal issues. Shane, the wounded hero who just needed to be needed. Tish, the independent free spirit who needed someone to lean on. Elysee, the hopeless romantic who wanted nothing more than a knight in shining armor to sweep her away.

But then, more than 3/4 of the way through the book, a new element was introduced…that of a terrorist group who wanted to assassinate a woman who was trying to escape India. The thing is, there was nothing leading up to the sudden twist in the story. For almost the entire book, the focus remained on the three main characters and then BAM, all of a sudden Tish is being attacked and Shane needs to save her and Elysee is involved in an international rescue plot and there’s a murderer out to get them all. But..uh..I must have missed a memo, because that seriously came out of nowhere.

Despite that, however, I liked the book. I loved Tish and Shane together and I’m hopeful that Elysee will get a story of her own someday. Basically, buy this book for the romance, but don’t be surprised if it goes in a strange direction unexpectedly.

Even though I had a major issue with the latter half of the book, I’m still giving this:

4.5 out of 5

Because I really, really liked the rest of it.

The series:

There Goes the Bride
Once Smitten Twice Shy
Addicted to Love
All of Me

You can buy it here in paperback or here or here.

four-half-stars

Guest Review: Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted November 30, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth HoytReviewer: Tracy
Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane #11
Also in this series: Wicked Intentions, Wicked Intentions, Lord of Darkness, Darling Beast, Dearest Rogue, Sweetest Scoundrel, Duke of Sin, Once Upon a Moonlit Night
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: November 29th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
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four-stars

IN THE ARMS OF DANGER

Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king's secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley—and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.

IN THE HEAT OF DESIRE

Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she's the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation.

ONE KISS WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER

When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be—before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?

Alf is a woman who has always had to take care of herself.  She’s been living on the streets of St. Giles her whole life and it was easier to pass herself off as a boy than it was to be a girl.  She’s an information collector by day and by night she’s the notorious Ghost of St. Giles.  Though she loves what she does but now that she’s 21 years old she’s also started to think about being a woman and having a family.  She knows it will never be possible for her but that doesn’t stop her from longing for it all.

The Duke of Kyle is enthralled with the Ghost of St. Giles.  She helped him when he was attacked and then proceeded to kiss him.  He finds himself highly intrigued.  He hires Alf to get information about why he was attacked not knowing that she’s the Ghost.  When Alf is hurt he has her stay in his house – not knowing he’s a she.  Alf gets close with his sons and when he finds out that Alf is a woman he can’t seem to keep his mind off of her.  When she learns to dress and act like a proper woman for a job Hugh can’t keep his eyes off of her either.  The chemistry between Hugh and Alf is off the charts but neither one knows how they can make a relationship work. Hugh had been greatly hurt by his wife and didn’t trust his own judgement.  Alf living as a street urchin makes her think that she could never be with a duke.

I have to start by saying I’ve loved Alf since she first came on the page.  Even when I thought she was just a small boy my heart went out to her.  I was extremely happy when I saw that she was getting her own book and it was definitely one worth ready.

Hugh was the perfect guy for Alf.  He had been working for the King (his father) and had been living a life of danger before his wife died and he came home to take care of his children.  Part of his attraction to Alf was her love of intrigue but also her fearlessness.  She wasn’t afraid to take care of those in need and he loved that about her.  He was a good man and loved her whether she was in men’s clothing and being a street urchin or in a dress being a woman.  He could accept all parts of her and that is what makes a good romance, imho.

I have to say that I also really loved the addition of Hugh’s children, Peter and Kit.  Kit was pissed off at his father as he hadn’t been around (Hugh’s wife took many lovers and Hugh left the country).  Hugh was trying to make up for that and show his kids the love he had for them.  It was a very touching part of the story and I was happy that Hoyt included them/it.

Overall I really liked the book and can’t wait for the next one.  I read the excerpt for the next book and I can tell you I’m on pins and needles already.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Review: Sting by Sandra Brown

Posted August 26, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Sting by Sandra BrownReviewer: Casee
Sting by Sandra Brown
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: August 16th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 416
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three-half-stars

When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn't belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.

As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother's ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive.

Miles away from civilization and surrounded by swampland, the two play each other against their common enemies. Jordie's only chance of survival is to outwit Shaw, but it soon becomes clear to Shaw that Jordie isn't entirely trustworthy, either. Was she in on her brother's scam, or is she an innocent pawn in a deadly vendetta? And just how valuable is her life to Shaw, her remorseless and manipulative captor? Burning for answers-and for each other-this unlikely pair ultimately make a desperate move that could be their last.

I haven’t read a Sandra Brown novel in quite sometime. This part of the blurb caught my eye: “But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.”. I knew I had to read it. Usually I cruise right through Brown’s novels, but this one was slow going until about halfway through the book. That’s when it really got good and I could actually sit down and finish it.

Jordie Bennett thought her life was forfeit when she sees Shaw Kinnard bearing down on her in a seedy bar parking lot. Instead, he abducts her and takes her to a place that is impossible to escape. Shaw wants information on her brother, Josh. Josh is in protective custody after turning himself in for helping Billy Panella, a “dangerous criminal”, swindle people out of a total of thirty million dollars. Josh has promised to help the FBI find the thirty million and put Panella away. If they can find him.

Shaw wants more than the two hundred thousand that he was promised to kill Jordie. He wants the full thirty million not to kill her. To get that, he needs her help. To get her help he needs her to tell the truth, which he knows she’s not doing. Jordie is determined not to tell Shaw everything she knows because she needs a bargaining chip if she’s going to come out of this situation alive. Yet as the time slogs by, Jordie is less certain that Shaw is going to keep her alive. Even with their unwanted attraction (so cliché) to each other, Jordie knows that he’s going to kill her.

View Spoiler »

After the slow start, this was a good romantic suspense/thriller. It went at a fast, easy reading pace. I don’t know if I’ll read the next Sandra Brown novel, but I’m glad I read this one.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

three-half-stars