Tag: Pocket Books

Review: Second Chance Season by Liora Blake

Posted July 10, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Second Chance Season by Liora BlakeReviewer: Rowena
Second Chance Season by Liora Blake
Series: Grand Valley #2
Also in this series: First Step Forward, First Step Forward
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Return to Liora Blake’s Grand Valley series with Second Chance Season, in which an avowed country boy with a family duty meets an ambitious city girl with even bigger goals and who shows him just what he’s been missing.

Garrett Strickland is unapologetically country, fiercely loyal, and perfectly happy with his job at the Hotchkiss Co-op. Garrett is all about living in the present and not dwelling in the past—even if he was once on his way to a lofty agricultural sciences degree that would guarantee the brightest of futures, only to end up back home when his old man died, leaving behind a debt-ridden family farm that was impossible to keep afloat. After that, it was easy to see why dreaming big wasn’t worth the heartache. And until he crosses paths with a city girl who’s hell-bent on kick-starting her own future, he’s sure that good enough is just that.

Cara Cavanaugh is ready for more from life, even if that means changing everything; including dumping her boyfriend of ten years, turning down a lucrative job at a major newspaper, and leaving behind the upscale suburbs of Chicago where she grew up. Now, she just has to pray that temporarily relocating to the middle of nowhere in Colorado will be the first step in building a career as a freelance journalist—all she has to do is prove she’s got what it takes to make a name for herself. Unfortunately, her tony country day school is as close to “country” as she’s ever been. But when a goodhearted guy who looks like he just stumbled out of a country music video offers to help, she ends up falling hard…and discovering that the perfect story is a love story. And it’s theirs.

Second Chance Season, book two in the Grand Valley series, is a charming, feel-good romance, perfect for fans of Jennifer Probst and Kristan Higgins.

Second Chance Season is the second book in Liora Blake’s Grand Valley series and it follows the cutie patootie that works at the Co-Op, Garrett Strickland. In First Step Forward, we learn that Garrett was going to college to earn a degree and learn all he can before he took over his family’s farm. He had plans for his future and he was hoping to learn all he can to make his family business a profitable one but all of his plans went to crap when his father died and he ended up losing the farm because he couldn’t come out of the mountain of debt his father was in to save it.

Garrett’s world was rocked after his father died. He not only lost his father but he also lost his childhood home and his plans he made for his future. He never went back to college, he got a job at the town Co-Op and has been working there ever since. He doesn’t live the most glamorous life but he’s okay with his lot in life. He’s okay with living alone in a trailer. He’s okay with not knowing what the future holds and all of that stays true until he meets Cara Cavanaugh.

Cara Cavanaugh is making some changes in her life. She dumped her boyfriend and moves from Chicago to Hotchkiss, Colorado to write her first freelance writing article on the AG scene in Hotchkiss. She’s not sure how to go about interviewing the locals for her story but when she meets Garrett Strickland, hometown boy, things take a turn for the better. He knows everything and everyone around town and decides to help her any way that he can. He starts by introducing her around and getting her in the door with the local farmers, setting her up to interview people and he takes her out with him to help his neighbors on their farms so that she can see how everything works and he’s a real knight in shining armor even though things have to be weird for him since she’s staying in the only home he’d ever known growing up. The home that he lost after his father died.

Second Chance Season is a slow simmering romance that really worked for me. I adored getting to know Garrett and seeing him come into his own after his world was rocked upside down. I loved seeing him come to grips with the past, making peace with it and then finally making plans for his future. It was a long time coming and I really liked that Cara was able to help Garrett just as much as Garrett was able to help Cara when she got into town. It wasn’t a one-way thing and their attraction that blossomed into that love was a journey that I loved being a part of.

This book was rich with charming characters that I couldn’t get enough of and I’m super excited to continue the series with Braden’s book. Both Garrett and Cara were characters that really came alive with each passing page. They were normal and they were fun to get to know and even when they were both being boneheads, I adored them. Liora Blake did a great job of weaving a compelling romance with characters that readers will connect with and I’m happy with the story she wrote here. It was fun and it was sweet and I’m definitely in for more.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Gone to Dust by Liliana Hart

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

Guest Review: Gone to Dust by Liliana HartReviewer: Tracy
Gone to Dust by Liliana Hart
Series: Gravediggers Series #2
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families.

Sometimes the dead do rise....

Miller Darling is one of the most popular romance novelists of her time. Not bad for a woman who doesn’t believe in romance. She’s as logical as they come, and she doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters. What she does believe in is family, so when her brother disappears, she doesn’t think twice about packing her bag and her laptop and heading out to find him.

Elias Cole lived and breathed the life of a Navy SEAL. Now he’s “dead” and his hero’s honor tarnished. The only thing keeping him sane are the men who are like him—The Gravediggers—and the woman who makes his head spin. He’s never met anyone like Miller Darling. Her smart mouth and quick wit keep him on his toes, and damned if he doesn’t find that appealing.

When Miller receives a package from the brother who abandoned her asking for help, it’s clear she’s in over her head with the mess he’s gotten himself into. She needs a professional, and Elias is just the man for the job. Only her brother is a former SEAL—the man who left his team to die—and Elias is more interested in vengeance than saving his life.

Miller is an author who writes romance novels but doesn’t believe in love.  She was raised by her brother after their parents died in a plane crash.  Their parents had been searching for King Solomon’s treasure and unfortunately her brother took up the search after they died.  Miller was pretty much left on her own a huge amount of time.  Her friend Tess was always there and that was enough for her.

Miller opens the mail one day and finds a finger. She knows it’s her brothers finger by the ring that was on it as it used to belong to their father. She freaks out and heads to Tess and her husband, Deacon.  He examines the finger and the men who make up The Gravediggers get involved to help Miller find her brother who is in South America.

The Gravediggers are an elite group of terrorist fighters from all walks of life and nationalities.  Their boss doesn’t want them to get involved with Miller’s problems but one of them, Elias, agrees to take vacation to help Miller.  Miller and Elias had gone on a date at one point and had gotten hot and heavy until he just suddenly walked away.

Miller was pissed at him and doesn’t want to have to be close to him in any way but agrees to his help.  Miller and Elias face many dangers in South America – kidnapping, the dangers of nature and drug lords. These dangers force Miller and Elias to talk and figure out their issues.  Elias is focused on getting revenge on Eve, the lady who screwed up his life in order to get him into the Gravediggers.  Dating Miller would take that focus away and he walked away before he couldn’t.  Once he was with Miller he realized that his feelings for her were such that he couldn’t walk away even if he wanted to.

The story was a good one and was exciting.  There were a few lag points in the book but not too many.  Elias and Miller were great together and I loved that they played off of each other so very well.  The end of the book was pretty abrupt and I didn’t care for that at all.  I was left with too many questions!  Maybe the author intended for those to be answered in the next book but I found it incredibly frustrating.

Overall it was a good story.  I didn’t read the first book and didn’t feel I needed to in order to understand this one.

Rating: 3.75/4 out of 5  

four-stars


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Guest Review: At Close Range by Laura Griffin

Posted January 25, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 8 Comments

Guest Review: At Close Range by Laura GriffinReviewer: Jen
At Close Range by Laura Griffin
Series: Tracers Series #11
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin “delivers the goods” (Publishers Weekly) again with the eleventh title in the gritty, heart-pounding Tracers series.

When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.

As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on Dani, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights.

Tracers book 11! This time we’re largely back on the police side of investigations, following detective Dani Harper as she investigates a double homicide. She gets forensic help from various experts at the Delphi Center, including Scott Black. Scott is her brother’s friend, a former SEAL, and a guy she’s had a low key crush on for years. Scott too has some pants-feelings for her, but he’s mostly stayed away because of his friend, he’s not good enough, you know the drill. The homicide case quickly gets much more complicated than anyone expected, and both Dani and Scott end up right in the middle of it all. They have to navigate their attraction while trying to put a stop to the killings.

This was the kind of book where I mostly enjoyed it while I was reading it, but after I put it down some things started bothering me. It was fairly fast paced and exciting. The first two murders turn out to be just the tip of the iceberg, and I liked that Griffin kept things interesting and exciting throughout. There’s no “figuring out” for the reader to do, but you do come along for the ride as Dani, Scott, and the rest of the police uncover details. I definitely got hooked and wanted to know how it all would be resolved. It was great to catch up with some past characters, and we get to meet another Delphi Center employee, Brooke, who I assume is going to be a future heroine. I am very intrigued by her so far!

There were quite a few weak points in the book for me, though. Like I said, while I was reading the book I was into the plot, but after I was done I couldn’t help thinking that some of the details were kind of ridiculous or unresolved. The villains have a really complicated plan that didn’t entirely make sense to me – it seemed far fetched.

I also wasn’t entirely feeling the romance. Scott is a really private, stoic guy. He seems to have PTSD or some other mental/emotional issues as a result of his combat experiences, but that’s just kind of glossed over. He and Dani have a lot of sex but do very, very little talking. Dani admits she really hasn’t spent much time with Scott after he came back from combat, so who is she really in love with? The kid/teen version of Scott she knew in the past, or the adult with piles of baggage and severe communication issues? Scott jerks her around a lot, acting like she’s just a fling and and saying some cruel things to her. He knows he’s hurting her but he selfishly continues doing it because he wants to, and I didn’t love that about him. Then the ending was also rushed, and Scott suddenly flips and is Mr. Commitment. It wasn’t entirely unsatisfying, but I would have preferred more build up. Plus, just like the hero in Beyond Limits (book 8), Scott steamrolls Dani and tries to take over her investigation. There was even a near-repeat of the moment I hated from book 8, where Scott grossly violates investigation protocol in a way that could get Dani in serious trouble, and instead of holding him accountable she caves and sleeps with him. I wanted Dani to stand up for herself a bit more, and I wanted Scott to acknowledge he was being a dick, but that didn’t happen.

Despite the problems, I still had a good time reading the book! The characters were interesting, the investigation details fascinating, and the plot fast paced. I think other Tracers fans will enjoy it too.

Grade: 3.75 out of 4

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

 

four-stars


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Guest Review: First Step Forward by Liora Blake

Posted January 17, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: First Step Forward by Liora BlakeReviewer: Tracy
First Step Forward by Liora Blake
Series: Grand Valley #1
Also in this series: First Step Forward, Second Chance Season
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: November 29th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

Pro-football player Cooper Lowry is off the field and into some trouble—in the form of a very alluring, very free-spirited apple orchard owner named Whitney Reed—in the first installment in Liora Blake’s all new Grand Valley series.

After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers.

Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope.

Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage.

Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.

Cooper Lowry is a professional football player who is a “veteran” on the team.  He’s been in the NFL for 8 years and while his body is in top shape he’s definitely not as young as he used to be.  At one game he gets tackled and ends up with a concussion.  He is in the drugstore attempting to buy a large bag of Epsom salt but is having difficulty moving his body because his head hurts so badly.  He is assisted by a hippie looking woman who is in old man flannel pajamas and socks – who’s absolutely beautiful.  He pays for both his and her items, as a thank you, and goes on his way.  The next day he runs into her and is even more enthralled with her.

Whitney Reed is a woman on a mission.  She’s driven to Denver to attempt to get a loan that will save her orchard.  She’s in arears and needs to get the money to save her farm before she has nothing left.  She runs into the man who she helped the night before and finds him even more gorgeous in the daylight than he was in the drugstore.  They talk and she offers him a jar of the apple butter she made and goes on her way.  She doesn’t expect him to show up not long afterward at her home. He’s trying to take it easy with his concussion but all she wants to do is jump him.

The pair are hot for each other from the time they meet.  The longer they spend together the closer they get but Whitney is worried about her orchard and Cooper is worried about his career when he gets hurt yet again.  While Cooper is thinking of a future with Whitney he finds that she’s not being completely honest with him and it eventually causes them each to doubt what they have.

This book.  It was so good!  I almost everything about it.  Was it perfect? No, but there was so much love, laughter, romance, and reality to truly be a great book.

Cooper and Whitney had such a fabulous chemistry between them right from the beginning that it grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.  I loved reading about them and their experiences; they were so damned cute together!  Cooper was a fabulous blend of cocky, stubborn, loving man to Whitney’s hippie, organic, tree hugging relaxed self.  Of course she was a bit stressed because of the whole orchard foreclosure issue but other than that she was pretty relaxed.  Despite the differences between the two got along really well and had a great spending time together.

The humor, the love and the wonderful writing by Liora Blake made this a five star read for me.  I recommend that you don’t miss this one.

Rating: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Retro Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.

Posted January 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 44 Comments

Retro Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.Reviewer: Rowena
A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
Series: Westmorelands #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Publication Date: July 1st 2003
Genres: Romance
Pages: 438
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as "The Wolf"; his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will . . . until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web . . . a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.

***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.

This week, we’re going back to the author that started my love of romance novels, Judith McNaught. I remember this review and all of the fighting commenting we did in the comments. What a lively bunch we are…ha! Oh man, the memories…***

This review was originally posted on May 29, 2007.

Okay so this weekend, while I was in the midst of reading all these books while waiting to read my book book, I did a reread of this book, A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.

Now in our little circle of friends, this is the book that brings out the claws. I kid you not, we have gotten into some serious fight emails (in ALL CAPS y’all) about this book and the heroine. While some of us think that Jenny was a stupid beeyatch who deserved all the crap that she got, we still think she was redeemable in the end, there are others who think otherwise. They’re the ones that think Jenny should have died a slow death where she was tortured, hanging over a fire pit, being slow roasted.

LOL.

And as I was reading this book, this past weekend I found myself being just as absorbed in this story as I was the many other times I’ve read this book.

I found myself falling deeper and deeper under the Royce Westmoreland spell and I thought this book was fantastically written. The emotions Judith McNaught envoked in the readers toward the characters, pulled them deep into the story and made them apart of it, made them hate the bad guys (and the good guys) and made them hungry with the thirst of justice (for poor Thor and William) and I’ve got to say that Judith McNaught sure knows what she’s doing when she writes these books.

She’s a master at weaving a world that sparks such interesting topics and discussions. I mean, I’ve never fought with anyone like I did with Izzy and Holly over the whole Jenny thing and I admit to poking fun at them, deliberately provoking them into getting all huffy and puffy about Jenny and her actions.

It’s really fun, to read this book and roll my eyes and get that nervous twitch in my stomach when I knew Jenny was going to do something stupid, like sew the soldiers clothes shut or carve Royce’s face with his own knife, then you know, THE scene where she did what she did to Thor? And then when she hesitated over Royce’s lance when he approached her for her ribbon?

sigh

These are the things that made me so angry at Jenny but I didn’t wish Royce ended up with anyone else. I mean, she was stupid but she was very repentant at the end. Yeah, Royce was nearly dead before she got her wits around her to go and put a stop to the slaughtering of her husband, but she DID do it and she truly showed that she did in fact love him with all that she was…

Royce’s speech when he brought Jenny back to his home and introduced him to the servants, sigh I just love it…so much so that I’m going to type it out for you.

Behold your new mistress, my wife. And know that when she bids you, I have bidden you; what service you render her, you are rendering me, what loyalty you give or withhold from her, you give or withhold from me.

swoon

Man but this was a good book, a fantastic book and even though Jenny was a stupid ass, I still loved this book and I will continue to read it over and over again because it’s just that great.

Go on, bring on the vicious words for Jenny, I know you’re just dying to say them…LOL.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from Pocket Books. You can purchase it here.

four-half-stars


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