Publisher: Signet

Throwback Thursday Review: Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson

Posted October 18, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Summer Breeze by Catherine AndersonReviewer: Holly
Summer Breeze (Keegan-Paxton #3) by Catherine Anderson
Series: Keegan-Paxton #3
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 421
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five-stars

The year is 1889, and Rachel Hollister hasn't set foot outside her house in five years. Ever since a savage attack left her family dead, she's cordoned herself off from the outside world, afraid to let anyone into her home—or into her heart. But now trouble has appeared on her doorstep—and suddenly she has no choice but to let a handsome rancher invade her well-guarded existence ...

Confirmed bachelor Joseph Paxton grudgingly offers to take up temporary residence at the Hollister ranch—even though it's obvious Rachel doesn't want his protection. But once he catches a glimpse of his beautiful young ward and her remarkable spirit, he'll do anything to break through the dark spell that's walled off her heart. It may take a miracle, but he's determined to make her see the refuge he's offering in his embrace—and the splendor that exists beyond her front door. Otherwise he'll just have to build a safe haven big enough for the both of them ...

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

While looking through old posts I came across this one for Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson. I remember the warm, sweet feeling I was left with after I finished this book. I’m not sure it would work as well for me if I read it now, but it will always hold a special place in my heart.

This review was originally published August 7, 2006

What an amazing love story.

We all fear something. Whether we have a true phobia – such as my fear of ‘S’ words (don’t ask) – or just something that makes us break out in goosebumps, we all know what it’s like to be afraid of something.

Rachel Hollister’s fear is that of being in an open space. Her family was brutally murdered right in front of her while they were out for a picnic. As a result, she hasn’t stepped outside her home in five years.

Her faithful friend, the elderly Darby, has done everything in his power to make her a sanctuary inside her home. He barricaded all the windows and doors and converted her kitchen into as comfortable a place as possible for her.

Though Rachel knows her fears are irrational, they’re there all the same, and she can’t overcome them. She refuses to leave her small kitchen for any reason, and can’t even open a door or window to allow sunlight in. For five long years she lived in absolute silence, with no natural light.

To keep herself occupied, she read books and crocheted. She spoke with Darby through the door of her home and that was the only company she had.

Until Darby is shot in the back and manages to ride to the neighboring Paxton ranch in search of help. Joseph Paxton finds him and promises to look after Rachel. Darby is convinced his being shot has something to do with the murder of Rachel’s family and fears for her safety.

As Joseph breaks into Rachel’s home, he expects to find a crazy young woman, and instead encounters a lovely creature he’s immediately taken with. He comes to realize that Rachel isn’t crazy at all, only frightened.

Watching this story unfold has been a wonderful experience for me. Seeing Joseph do everything in his power to make Rachel’s world one filled with sunlight and birdsong really touched me.

Since Rachel’s fear is based on open spaces, Joseph hits upon the idea of installing metal doors with bars on them so she can enjoy the sunlight and still feel enclosed. Then one of the town’s populace hits upon the idea of building her a stone-walled courtyard with an iron-work ceiling so it’s completely enclosed, therefore allowing Rachel to be outside. They called it:

“Sunshine for Rachel.”

Watching Rachel emerge from her self-imposed prison and into the sunshine for the first time in five years made my heart swell and my eyes sting with tears. Joseph’s reaction to Rachel in the sunshine touched me more deeply than any other tender moment in a romance novel. I could feel their emotions as she turned her face to the sun for the first time in so many years.

She was halfway across the courtyard before it struck her that she was outside. Oh, God, outside. She staggered to a stop, frozen in her tracks. Her heart pounded violently. But nothing else happened. She could still breathe. She just felt a little dizzy and disoriented. “Joseph?”
“You’re fine, sweetheart. You’ve got walls all around you. Look at them. Name me anything that can go through that rock.”
She let her head fall back to put her face up to the sun. The gentle warmth on her skin was beyond wonderful. She held her arms wide and turned again, filling her lungs with fresh, cool morning air.

Joseph asks Rachel to marry him and the following scene is so touching. Rachel refuses him, saying she can’t have a family living the way she does.

“What would I do? Push them out the wood safe to see them off to school?” She gestured with her free hand the encompass the kitchen. “A family can’t live in one room.”
“I’ll make it work,” he whispered. “I swear to you, darlin’. I can make it work. No hallways to frighten you, just a big room like this with water closets all around, only they’ll be bedrooms, with you in the big room, living as you do now, never needing to go outside unless it’s to sit in your courtyard or work in your flower beds.”

The murder of her family was left unsolved all those years ago, and Joseph and his lawman brother David set out to find the missing pieces of the puzzle, hoping to keep Rachel safe and finally give her closure.

The story was sweet and amazing and one of the most touching I’ve read in a long time. It’s not very often that you read a murder-mystery that’s sweet and compelling as well.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the book. Something Joseph said to Rachel that touched my heart.

When I first met you, I thought I was opening up the world for you, but I was so wrong. You were the one who opened up all of my windows so I could see the beauty beyond the glass.

5 out of 5

Keegan-Paxton

five-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Evermore by Lynn Viehl

Posted May 31, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 8 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Evermore by Lynn ViehlReviewer: Casee
Evermore by Lynn Viehl
Series: Darkyn #5
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: January 2, 2008
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 283
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four-half-stars

The NEW YORK TIMES AND USA Today bestselling Darkyn series continues...

Jayr is proud to be the only female ever permitted to serve as seneschal to a Darkyn lord. But in her centuries of service to Master Byrne, she has fallen in love with him. Now, Byrne plans to step down and hand over the Jardin to another Kyn lord-a move that threatens not only Jayr's position, but her very life...

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on January 7, 2008.

Isn’t this like the most awesome Darkyn cover ever? I just love it.

Jayr has served as Byrne’s seneschal for 600 years. Though successfully hiding her feelings from him for all those centuries, she soon finds herself fighting to keep them hidden. Knowing that any relationship beyond Lord and seneschal is forbidden, Jayr works hard to keep the status quo.

What Jayr doesn’t know is that Byrne has asked to be released from service as lord of his jardin (think like mayor of a city). Fighting his own feelings for Jayr, Byrne knows that he must get away from her before he kills her. All Darkyn have an ability that comes w/ being Darkyn. Jayr can move quickly. Yep, Jayr is a speedy girl. So speedy in fact, that she catches on fire. Byrne’s ability isn’t as nice. He’s a Beserker. Though it helped in battle way back in the day, Byrne works hard to keep his Beserker side in check. His biggest fear is that he’ll turn and kill Jayr.

I really loved how Viehl brought the past and present together in this book. Though it takes place in modern Florida, the Darkyn follow traditions from the past that has shaped them as a species.

Jayr was a worthy heroine. I think she is my favorite Darkyn heroine to date. Having been turned at 17, her body looks like that of a young boy. Obviously 600 years ago, girls weren’t going through puberty at 12 years old. Though she’s been accepting of her appearance and even grateful for it, she finds herself wishing for more femine attributes. With the help of Alex Keller, she decides to try to go through puberty. While that may sound strange, it really is fascinating when you think about it. Can you imagine going through puberty when you’re over 600 years old? I mean, really.

There were cringe inducing moments as well. There were things that Jayr did for Byrne that had me thinking “Ugh”. Things such as taking off his boots, brushing his hair, helping him dress. This is perfectly acceptable for a seneschal to do, but in modern times it just seemed like too much. I loved Alex’s take on Byrne’s unwillingness to do anything for himself. She thought everything that I thought. Viehl makes up for everything, however, at the end of the book. The end was so fitting, that I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I absolutely loved it.

What I love about this series is that Viehl makes it clear that once a h/h get their HEA, it doesn’t mean that it’s done. Alex and Michael (book 1 – If Angels Burn) continue to have obstacles thrown in their way, even though they are committed and in love. Alex brings something to the Darkyn that is much needed and I think that Viehl is brilliant in how she incorporates this modern element.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Darkyn

four-half-stars


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Review: Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy

Posted April 25, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Midnight Target by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #8
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Revenge, Midnight Captive, Midnight Target
Publisher: NAL, Signet
Publication Date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Score and Midnight Revenge...

Four years ago, Cate’s entire life changed when she discovered she was the daughter of a supersoldier. But Jim Morgan’s overprotectiveness has pushed her away. These days, she’s working as a freelance photographer and living the dangerous life Jim never wanted for her.

When Cate snaps a photo linking a corrupt South American politician with the leader of a notorious drug cartel, her mercenary father leads a team to rescue her—only to get shot and critically wounded in the process.

As Morgan’s operatives rally together on a revenge mission, they’re faced with new alliances and old heartaches. Cate is forced to work with David “Ash” Ashton, the man who broke her heart two years ago, while Liam Macgregor and Sullivan Port resurface after years apart to finally try to deal with everything they’d left unsaid.

Soon it’s all-out war between the cartel and the mercenaries—with two couples caught in the middle of the blood feud. Love and redemption are within their reach...but first they have to make it home alive.

Midnight Target brings the Killer Instincts series to a close. I have to say, I haven’t enjoyed a series as much as this one in quite sometime. It’s sad to see it come to a close.

Cate Morgan has only known her father for five years, but they are alike in every way that counts. They both crave the adrenaline that they know a dangerous job can bring. Morgan wants his daughter to live the normal life that he never had. He wants her to go to college, marry a normal man, live in the suburbs. Cate wants adventure, danger, and love. She’s rebelled against everything that her father wants for her.

Cate is in Guantana where the civil unrest is at an all time high. The military is barely keeping the peace and the drug cartels almost have full control of the country. Cate is there with a colleague taking pictures and she snaps a photo of the most dangerous man in the world. Which might not be a big deal if he wasn’t supposed to be dead. When men come after her, she has no choice but to call her father and his men in for extraction.

When her father is critically wounded while trying to rescue her, Cate is devastated. She’s also furious. She desperately wants to be a part of the operation to strike back at those responsible. Her stepmother, Noelle, is fine with it, but David “Ash” Ashton is far from fine with putting Cate in the line of fire.

I loved Ash. He was spectacular. I completely disliked Cate. She was a spoiled brat. I really liked her in Midnight Action. I thought I would like her in this book, but she was only twenty one. I don’t think she had enough time to grow up.

My favorite part of this book was Liam and Sully. They have been dancing around each other since Midnight Action. Liam was devastated when Sully disappeared. Their love story was told over many of the books, and the conclusion was perfect. Their story is why I loved this book. Elle Kennedy really pushed the envelope with their relationship and I applaud her for that.

Cate and Ash rating: 3 out of 5.

Liam and Sully rating: 4.25 out of 5.


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Review: Midnight Captive by Elle Kennedy

Posted March 28, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Midnight Captive by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Midnight Captive by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #6
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Revenge, Midnight Target, Midnight Target
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: June 2nd 2015
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

“For those who enjoy their romantic suspense on the dark and steamy side,”* here’s the blisteringly sexy new novel in the Killer Instincts series by the author of Midnight Action and Midnight Pursuits...
Former CIA agent Bailey Jones has spent months trying to forget her night of passion with mercenary Sean Reilly. An elite and methodical assassin, she has no room in her life for a reckless, rule-breaking Irishman, and she’s vowed to steer clear of the tempting bad boy who lured her into his bed under false pretenses.
When Sean is implicated in the robbery of a Dublin bank, Bailey knows something isn’t right. So what if she can’t trust him? There’s no way Sean would end up on the wrong side of the law. In fact, he’s stuck in the middle of a dark and dirty conspiracy that could put his twin brother’s life at risk with one wrong move. And Bailey’s life too when she agrees to help.
As the stakes are raised and Bailey finds herself torn between two brothers, the fine line between danger and desire is crossed…and it’ll take more than a killer instinct to survive.
*New York Times bestselling author Christina Reece

There is always a character in a series that pisses you right off. Bailey Jones was it for me. What a raging bitch. I have no idea what Sean saw in her. There were almost no redeeming qualities in her. She lied to herself, she lied to Sean, she lied to everyone. She constantly hurt Sean. It was unbearable.

Bailey was visiting her friend and fellow assassin, Paige, when she saw the news about a bank in Dublin being robbed. Even with a mask on his face, she immediately recognized Sean Reilly. She immediately springs into action and leaves London for Dublin, determined to help me. A year ago, she had an unforgettable night with Sean, but Sean thinks that Bailey thinks it was his twin brother, Oliver, she was with. She’s happy to let him think that because Sean is dangerous to her. She doesn’t question why she’s racing to his rescue. She tells herself it’s for Oliver. Because when Sean is in trouble, Oliver is not far behind.

While in the bank, Sean is wondering how he and Oliver let themselves get in this bloody mess. They got out of Dublin years ago and are in the information business now. Him and Ollie are happy with their lives and want nothing to do with their father’s legacy. Unfortunately his former boss, Rabbit, has other ideas. Which include kidnapping Ollie to make Sean get a thumb drive from the bank.

While he’s formulating a plan to get out, who drops in other than Bailey, the woman he’s been after for five long years. It doesn’t surprise him. She’s been in love with Oliver for five years. She would come running the moment that he’s in trouble. He still feels guilty for taking her from Oliver. Not guilty enough to regret the night that changed his life. Bailey on the other hand just wants to get Sean out of there and has no thought to where Ollie is. She just wants Sean safe.

They work together to get Oliver free and to take care of business for Rabbit. Back to their relationship; it’s fucked. Sean is fiercely, obsessively protective of Bailey. Her safety is his number one concern. He knows she can take care of herself, but he doesn’t want to put her in a position where she has to do that. That maddens her. It also reminds her of her former boss, who took over her life and job. So I did understand Bailey in that way, but Sean wasn’t trying to take over her life. She was still a bitch.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

three-half-stars


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Review: Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy

Posted March 27, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Midnight Revenge by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #7
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Captive, Midnight Target, Midnight Target
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 363
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From the USA Today bestselling author of Midnight Captive, the latest Killer Instincts novel is “off-the-charts-hot”* romantic suspense that takes readers into the heart of an enigmatic mercenary...
Out of all the stone-cold mercenaries in Jim Morgan's black ops organization, Derek “D” Pratt is the most intimidating. He is tight-lipped and covered in tattoos, and even the other guys on his team are afraid to ask him about his past. D’s been off the grid for years, but after his teammate Sullivan is mistakenly captured in his place, D is forced to come out of hiding and face his demons.
When D lands in Mexico, he’s ready to risk everything to save his friend. To complicate matters, Sofia Amaro, a feisty doctor whom D had a one-night stand with months ago, has tracked him down. And in an instant she’s unintentionally caught up in his life-threatening rescue mission.
Now D must extract not one but two people from the most violent world he's ever encountered. And one of them is carrying his child...

Of all the books in the series, this was the one I wanted the most. Well, after Trevor and Isabel.

Derek Pratt has been the most elusive of Jim Morgan’s mercenaries. He’s been a total dick since Midnight Rescue. It’s always been somewhat strange that he’s even on the team. He’s almost an anti-hero. He’s even fucked (there’s no other word for it), Noelle, the Queen of Assassins. Which is strange. I had no idea how Kennedy would write a heroine that could put up with him. He doesn’t make apologies for who he is. He’s there for the rush and the adrenaline. He tells himself that he doesn’t care about his teammates, but that’s a lie.

When his teammate, Sullivan Port, is mistaken for him and taken in his place, D knows he has to make it right. He accepts that his past has finally caught up with him. He doesn’t accept that someone close to him has been caught in the crossfire. He heads to Mexico after he gets a lead to Sully after six months of silence. What happens next is something even D never expected.

Sofia Amaro spent one night with D and she ended up pregnant. She doesn’t want to tell him over the phone, so she chases him down to Mexico. That’s something that I have a problem with. I don’t understand heroines that put themselves in danger. She’s pregnant so she should be thinking of someone other than herself. She knows what D does for a living, but she went after him anyway. It doesn’t really matter that she went with an escort, she still put herself in danger.

Sofia continued to make bad decision after bad decision. She fell in love with D for reasons I couldn’t understand. He was a total dick to her. She obviously saw something in him that I didn’t. Not that he wasn’t amazing, because he was. This couple just didn’t click for me. I don’t know why. I really wanted them to, but they didn’t.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


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