Publisher: Harlequin

Guest Review: Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas

Posted September 24, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Tracy
Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas
Series: Ransom Canyon #8
Also in this series: Sunrise Crossing, A Christmas Affair (Ransom Canyon #6.5), Mistletoe Miracles (Ransom Canyon #7)
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Westerns
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ransom Canyon welcomes you back for a Christmas that has everything you’re looking for: romance, family and a whole lot of Texas.

Cooper Holloway would take nature over people any day—especially visiting relatives. That’s why he’s headed for a rustic cabin in remote Winter Valley, where he’ll care for a herd of wild mustangs. But Cooper’s plans are quickly thwarted by the arrival of two unexpected guests: one, a stranger in desperate need of his help, and the other, a very attractive young veterinarian.

Elliott is busy trying to keep Maverick Ranch running smoothly with Cooper gone, which is no easy task with family visiting. And when a long-lost love suddenly reappears in his life, Elliott knows he’ll have more than just books to balance this season.

With a big, chaotic family Christmas around the corner and love blooming in surprising ways, the Holloway men will have to make big choices about the future—just in time for the holidays.

Christmas in Winter Valley is a group of smaller romances all set in one book/story based around the Griffin family and their place, Maverick Ranch.

First there’s the story of Cooper Griffin and Hayley.  Cooper is hurt while out checking on wild mustangs but Hayley, the vet that was out there to help him, saves his life.

Then there’s Tye and Dani who can’t seem to keep their hands off each other.  Tye is an ex-rodeo star and is now a ranch hand at MV (Maverick Ranch). He falls fast and hard for the Griffin family cook, Dani, but here grown sons don’t like that too much.

Elliot Griffin was hurt 10 years ago by Jessica who he was engaged to.  He had to leave school when his dad died and each of them think it’s the other’s fault that they didn’t stay together after that.  Jessica shows up at MV to do the taxes and sparks fly between the two.

Creed (a ranch hand) and Dallas (cousin-in-law to the Griffins), end up as a couple, I think, but it’s hard to say as not much, if any, time was spent on their relationship.  Could be they just ended up FB’s. lol

While all of these people are falling in love with each other, all between December 10th and December 24th (yes, very fast), there are friendships growing and intertwining all of these characters.  Men and women alike are finding out who they truly are and how they see life and love.  It was well done, but I never felt that I was too invested in any of the relationships.  I’m not sure if that was because there was so much going on, or what.  Despite that I liked the book overall.

That said, I have to say that my favorite part of the book was a 9-year-old boy named Tatum.  Tatum was shipped off to his grandma’s house when his dad and then his mom died.  When his grandma died the evil neighbor lady told the sheriff that this small boy carried death wherever he went, was half-wild and they should take him to the pound.  WTAF? I wanted to crawl through the book and thrash that woman!  Tatum ended up running away before social services could get him and was found by Cooper Griffin right before the boy would have frozen to death.  I won’t tell you the amazing cuteness that comes out of Tatum’s mouth on the regular, but let me just say that he’s the sweetest thing in the world!  The relationship between Cooper and Tatum is heart-warming and I loved it. Jodi Thomas wrote his character wonderfully well and I actually found myself wishing he was more on-page than he was.  Yes, it’s a romance novel, but Tatum made the book for me!

Overall a nice Christmas story about love and family.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Ransom Canyon

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: A Healer for the Highlander by Terri Brisbin

Posted September 20, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Healer for the Highlander by Terri BrisbinReviewer: Tracy
A Healer for the Highlander by Terri Brisbin
Series: A Highland Feuding #5
Also in this series: The Highlander's Runaway Bride, Claiming His Highland Bride
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 288
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

She can save his son

But can she resist the Highland warrior?

In this A Highland Feuding story, famed healer Anna MacKenzie is moved by Davidh of Clan Cameron’s request to help his ailing young son. She wants to help—and the commander has unknowingly provided the introduction to the clan she’s been looking for. But Anna has a secret, one that could jeopardize the fast-growing, heated passion between them…

Anna and her mother live in a small house above a waterfall – her mother is sometimes called the witch of Caig Falls. Anna is learning everything her mother knows so that she too could be a healer one day. She falls in love with Malcolm Cameron, the chieftain’s son and hopes to marry him one day. When her mother discovers that Anna’s pregnant she moves them to live with her mother’s family, far away from Malcolm.

Now it’s 13 years later and Anna has returned to Caig Falls. She has become the healer her mother hoped she would be, but she is sad because she learned not long after a bearing a son that the father, Malcolm, had died. Now Anna wants her son, Iain, to take his rightful place as the chieftain of clan Cameron.

Davidh Cameron was Malcolm‘s best friend. Thirteen years ago he knew something was up with Malcolm, but he never learned about Anna. When he searches out the healer of Caig Falls to heal his son, he never expects a beautiful young woman to be the healer. Malcolm’s son Colm, named after Malcolm, is terribly ill and Davidh would like Anna to treat him. The longer Davidh and Anna spend together the more she starts to fall for him. He eventually finds out about Iain’s existence and recognizes immediately that he is a Cameron, but he still doesn’t know that he is Malcolm‘s son.  Anna is not sure how she can take care of her son, take care of Colm, fall in love with Davidh, and still get her son to take his rightful place when the current chieftain seems to be such a good guy.

This book wasn’t great, let me just say that. I didn’t really like Anna all that much. I didn’t like that she kept her plans from Davidh even after he married her. I was almost disgusted when both of their sons get kidnapped, because nothing keeps a couple together like a good kidnapping, right? The whole thing kind of just left a bad taste in my mouth. Anna pissed me off on a regular basis and that’s never a good thing. Davidh seemed to be a good guy which was a plus.

I’ve read a few of Brisbane‘s books and really enjoyed them. This one just did not work for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

A Highland Feuding

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Highlander and the Governess by Michelle Willingham

Posted September 10, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Highlander and the Governess by Michelle WillinghamReviewer: Tracy
The Highlander and the Governess by Michelle Willingham
Series: Untamed Highlanders #1
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A ruined lady turned governess

Can she tame the Highlander?

Part of Untamed Highlanders. When Frances Goodson is summoned to Scotland to give etiquette lessons, she’s not expecting to tutor a handsome laird! The scandal of her past means going home is not an option, so she must help wild, scarred Lachlan MacKinloch win a wealthy London heiress. She’s determined to fulfill her task and not get distracted by the passion she sees in the powerful laird’s eyes…

Frances Goodson arrives in Scotland and is impressed by the grandeur of the castle where she’s been hired to be a governess.  She’s been told nothing about her charges, but she can’t wait to get started.

When she finally is admitted to the home, she finds out that the Laird’s mother had hired a governess behind her son’s back because she thought he needed help with his manners and etiquette.  He’s to hopefully get engaged to a London lady soon, and the mother wants nothing to get in the way of that happening.

The Laird, Lachlan McKinloch, wants nothing to do with the governess or her etiquette lessons.  He orders her out of the house at once.  She talks him into letting her stay one day but then he insists she must leave.  One day turns to two and then soon she’s there for a month.

Frances is running from a scandal and poverty.  She was from a good family but they turned their backs on her when scandal hit.  Frances will do anything to stay away from London, even stay in Scotland and work for no wages.

Frances is able to get the Laird to work on etiquette like the proper fork to use, dancing, and the biggie: the need to always have a chaperone. Of course they don’t always, and next thing you know the two are falling in love.  Unfortunately the London hopeful has 20,000 pounds as a dowry so Lachlan can’t marry Frances as he needs the money the marriage will bring to save his people, who are starving.  His father wasn’t good with money before he died and made the arrangements with his best friend for their kids to marry.

I really liked this book up until the point where Frances and Lachlan return to London, then it just turned into a disaster.  I knew that Lachlan didn’t want to marry the other girl, but he knew that he was going to, no matter what.  That didn’t stop him from sleeping with Frances right after he asked the other woman to marry him! My God, Lachlan, have some honor!  Frances wasn’t much better but letting him when her brain was saying “no, this isn’t right.” Smart brain.  It all works out in the end but not before some serious issues that I really didn’t think made up for Lachlan’s behavior.

Overall it was a decent story, but not one I loved. You’ll probably have to read it for yourself and see what you think about Lachlan’s actions as well as some of the secondary characters.  If you do, please let me know your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton

Posted August 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Heart of a Killer by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Holly
The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton
Series: The Killer #1
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 407
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

No one said coming home would be easy. But for Dante Renaldi, it's murder.

Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder—corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before—on the worst night of his life.

The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part of the connection to a string of fresh homicides and a horrible assault that Anna only survived thanks to him.

More than anything, Anna wants to trust Dante. But as the bodies and the coincidences stack up, Anna will have to decide, and fast: Is the man she owes her life to the very same one who wants her dead?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

Narrator: She was not, in fact, coming out of her romantic suspense funk. It’s still going, some 8 years later…

This review was originally posted on Nov 15, 2011.

It looks like I might be coming out of my romantic suspense funk. I really enjoyed this. It’s a gripping tale filled with twists and turns. I suspected the killer early on but enjoyed watching the rest figure it out.

The main – and secondary – characters were well written. Anna was annoying at times, but then so was Dante. They have a lot of baggage between the two of them. It was hard watching them struggle to get over their past feelings and focus on the present. Especially Anna. She really clung to her hurt and anger over Dante leaving so abruptly.

Aside from that, I found both characters to be well balanced and likable. The trauma they suffered when Anna was attacked followed them through their lives. Burton did a bang up job of showing us how each of them was still dealing with what happened that night. I felt really connected to them, and understood where each of them was at.

The romance was very well done. Anna and Dante had a lot of chemistry, but physical attraction isn’t everything. Their emotional connection was strong despite the long separation. Between the two – the physical and emotional – I was fully invested in them finding their HEA.

I figured out pretty early on who the villain was, but I enjoyed watching the others clue in. I’m really looking forward to the next installment.

Burton balanced the suspense and romance perfectly. Fans of her more erotic romance titles might be disappointed – there isn’t a lot of sex here. Personally I think that worked in the context of the story and didn’t take away from the romance at all.

Overall a well written, chilling suspense flavored with the perfect amount of romance.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Diamond Bay by Linda Howard

Posted August 4, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 8 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

This is an oldie, but goody. Kell Sabin is smokin’ hot and Rachel is a strong, capable heroine. This book has everything. Romance, suspense, hot sex. If y’all haven’t read this book, what are you waiting for? It’s a gem that you don’t want to miss out on!

Sunday Spotlight: Diamond Bay by Linda HowardDiamond Bay by Linda Howard
Series: Rescues #2
Also in this series: Heartbreaker, Midnight Rainbow (Rescues #1)
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: November 24, 1997
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 247
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Series Rating: four-stars

Rachel Jones wasn't looking for trouble, much less a man, but in Kell Sabin she found both. On a hot summer's night Kell is washed up - barely alive - on a Florida beach and into Rachel's life. Her instincts tell her to help him, and their love blossoms as he recovers from his injuries. But by falling in love with Kell, Rachel has put her own life in danger from the forces that want him dead. Once fate has brought them together, can they learn to live apart?


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Excerpt

“Have we been sleeping together?”

Her breasts had tightened painfully, begging for that touch to be transferred to them, for him to claim them as he had before.His question destroyed what little concentration she had left.”This… there’s only this one bed. I don’t have a couch, only the love seats – ”

“So we’ve been in the same bed for four days,” he interrupted, stopping a flow of words that she had felt edging toward incoherency. His eyes were glittering again, but this time with a different fire, and she couldn’t look away. “You’ve been taking care of me.”

She drew a deep, shuddering breath. “Yes.”

“All alone?”

“Yes.”

“You’ve been feeding me.”

“Yes.”

“Bathing me.”

“Yes. Your fever – I had to sponge you with cool water to keep it down.”

“You did everything that had to be done, took care of me like a baby.”She didn’t know what to say, what to do. His hand was still on her, his palm warm and hard against the softness of her flesh.

“You touched me,” he said. “All over.”

She swallowed. “It was necessary.”

“I remember your hands on me. I liked it, but when I woke up this morning I thought it was a dream.”

“You did dream,” she said.

“Have I seen you naked?”

“No!”

“Then how do I know what your breasts look like? How they feel in my hands? It wasn’t all a dream, Rachel. Was it?”

A hot, wild blush colored her face, giving him an answer even before she spoke. Her voice was stifled, and she looked away from him, her embarrassment at last freeing her from his gaze.

“Twice, when you woke up, you… uh…grabbed me.”

“Helped myself to the goodies?”

“Something like that.”

“And I saw you?”

She made a helpless gesture toward her neck. “My nightgown drooped when I bent over you. The neckline was hanging open….”

“Was I rough?”

“No,” she whispered.

“Did you like it?”

Rescues

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: August 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Linda Howard

Linda Howard is the award-winning author of many New York Times bestsellers, including Up Close and Dangerous, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, and Dying to Please. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.


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