Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Guest Review: The Way You Look Tonight by Bella Andre

Posted September 21, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Way You Look Tonight by Bella AndreReviewer: Tracy
The Way You Look Tonight: The Sullivans by Bella Andre
Series: The Sullivans #9
Also in this series: The Look of Love (The Sullivans #1), Always on My Mind: The Sullivans
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: January 1st 2014
Format: eARC
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

As a very successful private investigator who has caught most of the cheaters in Seattle with their pants down, Rafe Sullivan believes true, lasting love only happens once in a blue moon. Needing to get away from the city to clear his head, he finds the lake house where he spent the best summers of his life is now a wreck...but the sweet girl next door is all grown up and prettier than anything he's ever seen.

While Brooke Jansen is happy making and selling chocolate truffles in her small Pacific Northwest lake town, she secretly longs to experience something wild. So when her favorite “Wild Sullivan” moves in again next door after more than a decade away, and sparks fly between them, she can't stop wondering if being bad is really as good as it always seemed...and just how long it will be before she can find out?

But when their summer fling quickly spirals into deeper emotions than either of them were expecting, can they survive the heat between them? Or will Rafe make the biggest mistake of his life and end up losing the best thing that's ever happened to him?

 

Tracy’s review of The Way You Look Tonight (The Sullivans #9) by Bella Andre

While Brooke Jansen is happy with her quiet, small-town life, she secretly longs to experience something wild. So when her favorite “Wild Sullivan” moves back after more than a decade away, she can’t stop wondering if being bad is really as good as it always seemed…and just how long it will be before she can find out.

It’s not long before a summer fling spirals into something much deeper. Can Rafe put his faith in love for once, or will he end up losing the best thing that’s ever happened to him?

Rafe was once a cop who eventually started his own PI firm and it has been a good move for him. Unfortunately a huge part of his business is catching cheaters. It makes him a bit crazy and he’s starting to not enjoy his job at all. It makes him cynical about the world in general and that’s having a negative effect on his whole life. His sister Mia wants him to buy a lake home so that he can get away from it all but he’s not sure that’s what he needs. He changes his mind when Mia finds the perfect home – the house that his parents had to give up when he was a teen. The Sullivan’s used to spend every summer there and Rafe loved it almost more than anyone else. He buys the house and within a day he’s back at the lake. The house is a mess and practically torn apart inside but he’s determined to make it right.

Next door to Rafe lives Brooke Jansen. She had spent summers at her grandparents’ house on the lake and had been great friends with the Sullivan’s until they stopped showing up. When her grandparents died they willed the home to Brooke and she has been living in it full time making chocolate truffles and doing a great business.

Rafe and Brooke see each other again and have an instant connection. It’s not long before they are finding every available surface to have sex on and becoming emotionally attached. Rafe, however, isn’t ready to give up his cynical ways and when he makes a huge error in judgment he finds that he may lose the Brooke and everything they’ve built in one fell swoop.

This book had all the charm and goodness that I’ve come to expect in a Sullivan’s novel. I really liked Rafe and Brooke a lot and it was wonderful getting to know the characters in this side of the Sullivan’s family better.

That being said I did have a couple of issues with the book – the biggest one being the central conflict. I could see where it all could go wrong but how the characters reacted really seemed a bit overblown. I guess I could see things from both points of view and if one of the characters hadn’t gone off half-cocked (can you tell I’m trying not to give anything away?) then the pair could have sat and talked and all would have been well. I think this is kind of an on-going theme in Andre’s books, though, with the conflict happening and then the characters spending time away from each other and then realizing their mistakes, etc., so I wasn’t too surprised.

The other issue I had was the speed with which the characters fell in love. I could totally see the lust and growing emotions happening and I loved that, but the “I love you” (for both of them) came so quickly I was almost surprised when it happened. One week just isn’t long enough to fall in love with a person imho, although I’m sure there are couples out there that would naysay that.

So, while I really liked so many different parts of the story and overall had a smile on my face when it ended, I did have a couple of issues with it. This certainly won’t stop me from reading the next book in the series. 🙂

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

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

three-half-stars


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Review: Always On My Mind by Bella Andre

Posted April 16, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Always On My Mind by Bella AndreReviewer: Tracy
Always on My Mind: The Sullivans by Bella Andre
Series: The Sullivans #8
Also in this series: The Look of Love (The Sullivans #1), The Way You Look Tonight: The Sullivans
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: April 29th 2014
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In ALWAYS ON MY MIND, after a tragic loss three years ago, Grayson Tyler left his life in New York City behind and started over in the rolling hills of the California coast. He's convinced himself that all he'll ever need again is the blue sky, a thousand acres of pasture, and the crashing waves of the ocean. Until one day, Lori Sullivan barges into his life and promptly blows his emotionless and solitary world to shreds, driving him crazy as only a woman nicknamed “Naughty” can. But will Lori be able to convince him that it's safe to love her...and that forever isn't actually out of reach?

Lori is a dancer – it’s what she does and what she loves…except her no good boyfriend has made her doubt not only herself but her reason for dancing. After leaving a show in Chicago she flies home and instead of alerting her family or even heading home she rents a car and just drives. The car rental attendant had told her that Pescadero was beautiful so there she heads. During a stop at a Pescadero deli/general store she sees an ad on their bulletin board that says that Grayson Tyler is looking for a ranch hand. Lori believes she can do anything she puts her mind to so she heads out to see Grayson.

Grayson’s quiet day is interrupted when Lori comes barreling down his driveway and promptly crashes into a fence. When a gorgeous woman in spiked heels pops out of the car he’s momentarily speechless. When she says she’s his new ranch hand he’s baffled, and definitely not happy. He tries everything he can think of to get rid of her but he soon sees that she’s just as stubborn as he is.

Lori was expecting Grayson to be an old farmer but he’s the exact opposite. He’s not only young but incredibly handsome and built. She’s decided she’s off men so she tries not to look but sometimes it’s hard. She knows Grayson doesn’t want her around but she’s determined to make herself useful. She annoys him with her mistakes and her constant talk but she can’t help it, she’s friendly and social. He’s gruff and mean and pushes her away at every turn. But Lori can be just as mulish and after living with 7 siblings she knows how to give as much as she gets. Fate steps in, of course, and their soon realizing that even though they’re exact opposites they can’t live without the other in their life.

Such a good end to the stories of the 8 Sullivan siblings (I know there are more books in the series but this was the end of this particular family’s stories). I really liked Lori a lot. I thought it odd that she would ever want to be a farmhand but I guess that is almost the furthest away from dancing as she could possibly get. Though she made mistakes I loved her affinity for the land and the animals. They seemed to take to her just as much as she took to them.

Grayson was a bit of a butthead at first. Wow, he could be MEAN as mean could be but he always felt bad about it afterward. Doesn’t make it right but when we got all of the background on him we could see that it was all a defense mechanism and a desperate attempt to keep Lori out of his heart. I loved that even at the end he continued to be gruff (not mean) but Lori embraced it and actually enjoyed it.

The story was sweet, fun and sexy and I loved finally reading about Lori and what she’d been going through while all of her siblings had been finding love. Both Lori and Grayson found themselves in this story and it was definitely satisfying.  It was worth the wait and I can’t wait to see what comes next in the Sullivan series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Bella Andre

(Kindle version available now, MMPB version out on 4/29/14)

four-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
Add It: Goodreads
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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: The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

Posted June 28, 2013 by Ames in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review:  The Newcomer by Robyn CarrReviewer: Ames
The Newcomer (Thunder Point, #2) by Robyn Carr
Series: Thunder Point #2
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: June 25th 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 360
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

With humor and insight, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr looks at letting go of the past-and knowing when you've found something worth building your future on 

Single dad and Thunder Point's deputy sheriff "Mac" McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he's found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they're feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can't get enough of one another. 

And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac's long-lost-and not missed-ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. They're wondering if their new feelings for each other can withstand the pressure...but they are not going down without a fight. 

Step into the world of Thunder Point, a little town on the Oregon coast where newcomers are welcomed, hearts are broken and mended, and the dramas of everyday life keep the locals laughing, crying and falling in love.

The Newcomer (Thunder Point #2) picks up right where The Wanderer leaves off so there are going to be spoilers for The Wanderer.

The blurb lead me to believe that this book would focus on Mac and Gina but I’m pleased that that wasn’t the case. The Newcomer focuses equally on all the wonderful characters we were introduced to in The Wanderer.

First, Mac and Gina. They are both single parents, Gina has Ashley and Mac has Eve and two younger children. His wife ran out on him 10 years ago and he’s very concerned about why she’s showing up now, wanting to reconnect. Gina’s reeling over Ashley’s reaction to a breakup with her boyfriend, who has gone off to college. At first I was worried that Ashley’s drama was going to overshadow the plot, but have no fear, it doesn’t. For myself, I’m over teen girl drama. That being said, I like the way Ashley’s story is progressing and I can’t wait for more from her. But for Gina and Mac, who have been friends forever, I like how their relationship is developing.

Cooper and Sarah are in love, but Sarah is still a bit doubtful of Cooper. First, she’s got some distressing news about her Coast Guard posting. She may be forced to leave Thunder Point and head across the country. This affects her teenage brother Landon, who she has been raising since he was five. Landon is going into his senior year and he’s going to be the star quarterback. If she has to leave, she’ll be uprooting him at a very important point in his life and she doesn’t want to do that. She also doesn’t want to leave Cooper, but she doesn’t open up to him about the possible move. And Cooper isn’t free from the vagaries of fate. An old relationship rears its head and has quite the surprise in store for him. As that develops, Sarah also has to deal with a possible situation there where Cooper may not be willing to leave Thunder Point either.

That’s the nitty gritty with the main characters. But branching out from them, there’s a very rich cast of characters to Thunder Point that I hated to leave when that book finished. Aside from my concern with Ashley’s story taking over the book, I really enjoyed revisiting these characters. I would recommend reading The Wanderer just to get the whole background on each character. Like Cooper’s settling down wouldn’t seem like a big deal if you didn’t get exactly how nomadic he was previously. And why Sarah still has a wee bit of doubt over him (because of her past relationships).

Overall, I highly recommend The Newcomer. Thunder Point is definitely a setting I can’t wait to revisit.

4.25 out of 5.

The Series

Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Harlequin MIRA.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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Guest Review (+ a Giveaway!): The Look of Love by Bella Andre

Posted June 6, 2013 by Tracy in Giveaways, Reviews | 19 Comments

Guest Review (+ a Giveaway!): The Look of Love by Bella AndreReviewer: Tracy
The Look of Love (The Sullivans #1) by Bella Andre
Series: The Sullivans #1
Also in this series: Always on My Mind: The Sullivans, The Way You Look Tonight: The Sullivans
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Format: eARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Chloe Peterson is having a bad night. A really bad night. The large bruise on her cheek can attest to that. And when her car skids off the side of a wet country road straight into a ditch, she’s convinced even the gorgeous guy who rescues her in the middle of the rain storm must be too good to be true. Or is he?

As a successful photographer who frequently travels around the world, Chase Sullivan has his pick of beautiful women, and whenever he’s home in San Francisco, one of his seven siblings is usually up for causing a little fun trouble. Chase thinks his life is great just as it is—until the night he finds Chloe and her totaled car on the side of the road in Napa Valley. Not only has he never met anyone so lovely, both inside and out, but he quickly realizes she has much bigger problems than her damaged car. Soon, he is willing to move mountains to love—and protect—her, but will she let him?

Chloe vows never to make the mistake of trusting a man again. Only, with every loving look Chase gives her—and every sinfully sweet caress—as the attraction between them sparks and sizzles, she can’t help but wonder if she’s met the only exception. And although Chase didn’t realize his life was going to change forever in an instant, amazingly, he isn’t the least bit interested in fighting that change. Instead, he’s gearing up for a different fight altogether…for Chloe’s heart.

Chase Sullivan is on his way to his brother’s vineyard, after having left a family party, when he sees a car in a ditch on the side of the road. He also sees a woman standing in the rain. He stops and though he offers to help she turns him down. He understands that she’s wary of a stranger but eventually his kindness calms the woman’s nerves and she gets in the car. She tells him that her name is Chloe and asks him to take her to a motel and he promptly ignores her request completely. He takes her to his brothers vineyard’s guest house where he’s staying and tells her that she can stay there while he heads to his brothers.

Chloe and Chase are greeted by a naked woman in the master bedroom who was supposed to be Chase’s hook up for the night. Chase is already ridiculously into Chloe after only knowing her for about a half hour and sends Ellen on her way. Not long after that Chase checks on Chloe and finds herself getting herself off with the bathtub jets and his name on her lips. This doesn’t help Chase’s lustful thoughts at all.

Chase is actually at the vineyard shooting a magazine spread as he’s a photographer and eventually Chloe helps out and they both get to know each other better. Unfortunately Chloe has a hard time trusting men as her ex-husband did a number on her – before and after the divorce. Chloe has trust issues and though she’s mightily attracted to Chase she knows she can’t trust herself around him or trust him. After only a few days though Chloe is not only in bed with Chases but listening to him proclaim his undying love for her. She knows she needs to keep her emotions in check but that’s so hard when Chase is so wonderful.

This is the start of the Sullivan series – a series about the 8 children of the Sullivan family. I can’t say that this was a completely auspicious start. The book, for the most part was centered on Chase’s insta-love for Chloe and her lack of trust in men. That didn’t stop them from spending ¾ of the book having sex. The problem for Chloe was that she wasn’t sure that she was willing to have it go further than a fling and Chase knew he wanted forever from the start. I have to say I had a real problem with that insta-love. I get wanting to know someone better and possibly liking them enough to want to date but LOVE? It was a bit much to swallow.

Chloe I understood a little better (although I will never understand why she got into a strangers car!). She’s had a rough life, although we only knew her ex was controlling and not much else about her. She had trust issues which were completely understandable and I felt that Chase didn’t giver her quite enough space with those issues to be quite honest. They did seem to work things out in the bedroom – or on the patio, or…wherever they happened to be. Most of the book was taken up with sex scenes and though it was sexy at first it got to be a bit old after a while.

The scenes when Chase and Chloe weren’t having sex were fun. They had dinner, danced, had a picnic…just fun normal things and it showed that they were very compatible.  I also had an issue with the setting.  While the setting was wonderful it didn’t show either of them in their real lives and that, I think, shows a great deal about a person.  Can they live with each other when real life comes buzzing in?  IDK.

Though I didn’t love book 1 in this series I’m curious enough about Chase’s vineyard owner brother, Marcus, to read the next book in the series and see what’s up.

Rating: 3 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place.

Giveaway: Leave a comment on this post, along with your email address, to enter to win 1 print copy of The Look of Love. (U.S. residents only)

three-stars


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