Category : Contemporary Romance

1230 posts

Christmas with the LairdTitle:  Christmas with the Laird
Series: Christmas Around the World
Author:  Scarlet Wilson
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  October 28, 2014
Source:  NetGalley

Story Blurb:

It’s official – for Juliette Connolly Christmas is a bust and she’s definitely not in the Christmas spirit. She’s been dumped by her boyfriend and replaced by a younger model. Then a clause in her contract means she and a mysterious colleague have to work over Christmas. But there’s much more to Andrew Campbell than meets the eye. Especially when it turns out he’s the Scottish Laird of the haunted house they’re filming in.

And it seems like there’s magic in the air in the remote snow-filled setting. The local village contains a cast of Christmas characters and even though the boiler in the drafty house is broken the temperature is definitely rising.

Maybe Andrew and Juliette are about to be sprinkled with a little Christmas fairy dust?

*I received an e-ARC of Christmas with the Laird from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*

Read on for my thoughts on Christmas with the Laird.  No true spoilers, promise.

Christmas finds even the lost – often before they dream it’s possible they can be found.

A Yorkshire ChristmasTitle:  A Yorkshire Christmas
Series:  Christmas Around the World
Author:  Kate Hewitt
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published:  October 28, 2014
Source:  NetGalley

Story Blurb:

Wealthy New York City girl Claire Lindell isn’t looking for a Christmas miracle or happiness when she abruptly decides to hole up for the holiday at her godmother’s cottage in a little Yorkshire village, and lick her wounds from a near disastrous romantic decision.

After her car skids into a snow bank, Claire may have accidentally found her perfect Christmas and the family and love she’s craved when she offers Noah Bradford of Ayesgill Farm help to push the back end of one of his sheep out of the icy mud, even if she’s going to ruin a brand new pair of Prada boots during the rescue.

What’s a little leather when love’s on the line?

*I received an e-ARC of A Yorkshire Christmas from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange
for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*

Read on for my thoughts on A Yorkshire Christmas.  No true spoilers, promise.

Christmas stories, I can read Christmas stories all year long – and often do.  Why?  Because it’s hard to find one that you really don’t like.

Christmas at Waratah BayTitle:  Christmas at Waratah Bay
Series:  Christmas Around The World
Author:  Marion Lennox
Genre:  Contemporary Romace
Published:  October 21, 2014
Source:  NetGalley

Story Blurb:

Sarah’s committed to her stellar modelling career in New York, but there’s an obligation she needs to fulfil. Harold was a Grandpa to her when she needed him most. Now all Harold wants is one last Christmas in his beloved Waratah Bay Homestead. Sarah’s not that so hot on baking and Christmas seems a bit… challenging… but she’s prepared to fly half way round the world to give it a try.

The only problem is, Harold no longer owns Waratah Bay Homestead. Farming tycoon Max Ramsey owns it now and he doesn’t like company, he doesn’t like Christmas and most of all, he doesn’t like Sarah.

When the two clash, enough sparks ensue to light a Christmas tree. How many enemies does it take to cook one Christmas turkey?

*I received an e-ARC of Christmas at Waratah Bay from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange
for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*

Read on for my thoughts on Christmas at Waratah Bay.  No true spoilers, promise.

Can two people who live, almost daily, with the results of the actions of crazed killers find the way to keep their own romantic relationship growing strong?  Let’s find out.

BridgedTitle:  Bridged
Series: a Callahan and McLane mystery
Author:  Kendra Elliot
Genre:  Romance, Mystery
Published:  February 10, 2015
Source:  NetGalley

Cover Blurb:

After a congressman’s tortured body is found dangling from a Portland bridge, the FBI joins the Oregon State Police to investigate the case—and FBI Special Agent Ava McLane, still recovering from a bullet wound, hunts the twisted killer alongside the man who captured her heart, police detective Mason Callahan.

But once a third body appears and all evidence points to a serial killer, the public furiously clamors for answers—and the couple’s relationship grows fractured under the pressure. Ava and Mason search in the past for clues that predict the future. And when Ava’s mentally ill twin spins out of control, the FBI agent who battles monsters every day wonders if she shares her sister’s self-destructive streak…

In the latest thrilling romantic suspense novel from award-winning author Kendra Elliot, the past and the present violently collide…and the fallout can be deadly.

*I received an e-ARC of Bridged from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange
for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*

I have not read the previous novel Vanished.   In Bridged, the relationship between Mason and Ava has already been established.  I was a bit concerned as I started this novel, but it soon became apparent that I could fall into this story without having to read the previous one.

Read on for my thoughts on Bridged.  No true spoilers, promise.

I fell in love with Rohan, let’s call it “puppy love”.

Echo Lake CNTitle:  Echo Lake
Series: Swift River Valley
Author:  Carla Neggers
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  January 27, 2015
Source:  NetGalley

In snowy Swift River Valley, unexpected romance is just around the corner…

Heather Sloan has landed her dream job—the renovation of Vic Scarlatti’s stately 1912 country home overlooking the icy waters of Echo Lake in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. It’s the perfect project for the family business, but for once, Heather is in charge.

Diplomatic Security Service agent Brody Hancock left Knights Bridge at eighteen, a few steps ahead of arrest and the wrath of Heather’s older brothers. Though Brody had never planned to return, Vic, a retired diplomat and friend, needs his help.

Staying at Vic’s guest house makes it impossible to avoid running into a Sloan at every turn—especially Heather. Seeing her again has affected Brody more than he wants to admit. But Heather is wary of Brody’s sudden interest in her, and she suspects there’s more to his homecoming than he’s letting on….

Set against the scenic backdrop of a New England winter, Echo Lake is a captivating tale of family, friends and the possibility of new love…

It’s hard not to fall in love with Rohan right at the first page.  Really.  Who can resist a frisky Golden Retriever puppy leading humans on a merry chase through the snow?

*I received an e-ARC of Echo Lake from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange
for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*

Read on for my thoughts on Echo Lake.  No true spoilers, promise.

Loving Cara KPAnyone looking for a love story?  Just a love story without any magic or fangs or space warps – a love story.  If so, I offer you the first novel in Krisen Proby’s series Love Under the Big Sky.

Title:  Loving Cara
Series:  Love Under the Big Sky #1
Author:  Kristen Porby
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  January 21, 2014
Source:  own

Josh King is an expert at running his family’s multi-million dollar ranch in Montana. (And all that outside manual labor has done wonders for sculpting his six-foot-three body, too.) But as sure footed as he is when it comes to the ranch, Josh doesn’t know anything about how to deal with an adolescent boy—so when his twelve-year-old nephew, Seth, is dropped off on his doorstep, looking scared and acting surly as hell, Josh knows he needs help in straightening him out.

Cara Donovan loves her quiet life as a teacher in her sleepy hometown, so she jumps at the chance to make a little money over the summer as a tutor. But when she learns she’ll be teaching Josh King’s nephew, Cara’s sweet summer job gets a little bit hotter. Cara tries to focus all her attention on tutoring Seth, but Josh proves to be a delicious distraction, while Josh’s memories of the shy girl he once teased in high school are nothing like the beautiful woman he’s facing now. Can he persuade her that there’s more between them than a summer fling?

Catch your interest?  Then read on for my thoughts on Loving Cara.  No true spoilers, promise.  🙂

Seducing Lauren KPA sexy, contemporary love story

Title:  Seducing Lauren
Series:  Love Under The Big Sky (book 2)
Author:  Kristen Proby
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  August 19, 2014
Source:  owned paperback

Book Blurb:

Now that his best friend, Josh, has happily settled down with his true love on a Montana ranch, small-town lawyer Ty Sullivan starts thinking that maybe single life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And when Lauren Cunningham’s no-good ex-husband comes after her for an unexpected trust fund, Ty steps in to protect her. But soon he can’t help but think of her as more than a client. Lauren’s in no mood to jump into another relationship, so how can Ty convince her that her mistake wasn’t getting married, but marrying the wrong guy?

How can you not just fall in love with a hot, sexy man who will always protect the women in his life – no matter what they face?  I certainly cannot.

Read on to see my thoughts on Tyler and Lauren story.  No true spoilers, promise.

In Serena's  Web KHThis is one of Kay Hooper’s earlier Loveswept novels.

Title: In Serena’s Web
Series: Hagen Series #1
Author: Kay Hooper
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published: 1987 Original Loveswept #189 (reissue March, 2010)
Source: own

At twenty-six, Serena Jameson is a handful—brilliant, manipulative, and passionate, at least when it comes to righting the wrongs of the world. Her father, a renowned computer magnate, is worried about Serena’s impetuous nature—as well as a far more tangible threat—and entrusts a colleague, handsome Brian Ashford, to ferry her on a trip across the country. But as usual, Serena has ideas of her own.

A novice in affairs of the heart, Serena asks Brian to give her a crash course in seduction so that she can tame the notorious womanizer Joshua Long. But what starts as a simple lesson in love becomes a complex erotic dance, as both men find themselves caught in the snares of Serena’s undeniable wiles. Is Serena trying to attract her declared target or her teacher? Who is really ensnaring whom? And can she finish weaving her web before the mysterious cabal eager to kill Serena’s father manages to succeed—over her dead body?

For the times (1987) this novel was written for, In Serena’s Web was a light-hearted, fast-paced romance for the Loveswept line which featured mostly this formula for their romance novels.

This is the original cover. In Serena's web original Yeah, I know.  🙂

One thing I am grateful to the Loveswept line is the fact that they sent so many new, wanting to be published, struggling writers out into the reading world who went on to write, for the most part, vastly different styles of novels.  And far, far more in depth characters and world-building.  The writer Kay Hooper who wrote this novel is the same person who now writes the Bishop paranormal crime fighting novels.  The two styles of writing and novels could not be further apart.

I put this post up for mostly memory sake.  At one time Loveswept and similar publishing houses of the time period, were mostly what I read.  At that time, they were good stories.  Now.  A trip down memory lane to a so-so story that I would not pick up to read today.

Guess I’ve  moved on to other novel styles as well.

Oh Serena?  Well she was a manipulative, spoiled brat who got two men hot for her and then picked one for a happily ever after.  Yeah, pure formula.

UntouchedI received a copy of Untouched from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review of the novel. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Untouched

Author:  Lauren Hawkeye

Series:  Florence, Arizona (book 1)

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  e-book

Pub. Date:  December 9, 2014

“Alexa Kendrick has no recollection of the car accident that left her scarred and sent her life careening wildly off course. When the half-sister she thought she’d never meet shows up at her door with an invitation to a new life, Alexa finds herself in Florence, Arizona, a town notorious for being populated with more prison inmates than actual citizens…a town that has done its best to hide its own dark secret.

After Ellie is called out of town, she leaves her sister with the keys to her flower shop and Alexa finds herself swapping lives with her sibling: running Ellie’s business, living in the house left to them both by their absentee father…and forging a smoldering relationship with sexy-as-sin penitentiary officer, Nate Fury—a man with his own demons.

But arranging flowers by day and tangling with the only man who has ever seen her real self by night isn’t enough to silence the mysterious panic that fuels Alexa’s dark dreams. When Nate brings home a book written by an inmate, one describing an unspeakable crime, the shackles binding Alexa’s own lost memories begin to shatter. And as the devastating truth comes to light, she realizes that Nate holds the key to unlocking her past, as well as her heart.”

 

The Review of Untouched

Alexa is ready to take her life back.  It’s been a year since the accident, and while her body had healed her memory was no closer to returning.  Sitting on a hillside ledge, looking down at the beauty and color of the landscape of Arizona below her, she wished for her paintbrushes.  A good sign since she hadn’t taken up her brushes since that night.  The night she lost so much of herself.

The need to express herself through her art was strong again.  The cell call to her agent Jia finalized her decision.  It was time, past time to move forward – to whatever life held.

Two days before her momentous decision was made, a stranger asked for her in the chain restaurant where she put in time, or hid from her mother.  Eleanor Kendrick or Ellie.  Her half-sister.  Unknown half-sister.  While the resemblance was hard to deny, even more questions popped into Alexa’s head.  Ellie explained that she had found Alexa’s birth certificate, among other things in a box in their deceased grandmother’s apartment.  It took awhile to track Alexa down but now that she had – well, Ellie just wanted her to know that she existed and that Florence, Arizona wasn’t too far away for a visit.  Ellie walked out of the diner as quickly as she had appeared.  But she left Alexa with a lot to think about.

Alexa’s mother, Tracy had her own reasons for leaving Florence years ago.  Secrets best left uncovered, best left alone.  While she doesn’t want Alexa to go there, she doesn’t stop her or tell her what she should have been told long ago.

Within an hour of arriving in Florence, Alexa found herself holding the keys to her sister’s flower shop, no clue how to make the most simplest of flower arrangements, a place to stay above the shop and the feeling of having survived a tornado.  The whirlwind that was Ellie and her husband drove off to tend to a family situation – leaving Alexa speechless.

Taking refuge in a diner across the street, Alexa sits trying to figure out what to do next.  Trouble is she’s stuck until Ellie returns.  While pondering her options she picks up a pen, pulls a paper napkin towards her and starts to sketch various people in the diner.  As she draws some of the excitement, the color filled enjoyment of drawing once more fills her.

Seated across the diner from Alexa is a man, probably a prison guard by the look of his uniform. He looks like the world is on his shoulder, as he glances up and nods in her direction Alexa is surprised by the sudden awareness, attraction even between them.  His sadness is worn like a second skin, and Alexa begins to sketch him.  Nate Fury.

Two people broken by circumstances beyond their control.  Together can they become strong, whole again?  With a mystery to solve and secrets to uncover only time will tell.

And from here, you will have to read the book.  I’ve given you enough to whet your curiosity to find out what happens next.  You won’t be disappointed.

My Opinion of Untouched

I’m not usually a big fan of the instantly fall in love within hours type of love story.  I suppose it could happen.  I’d believe lust at first sight more.  But for these two wounded souls it works.  It surprisingly does work.  Because as the story goes on they will need to hold onto each other.

The story is interspaced with Alexa’s color, seeing items, people, scenery through her color filled, color described eyes.  It gave a subtle touch of someone coming out of the darkness into the richness of the world and life once again, as though everything had been shaded and muted, now it bloomed.

While there were a few times I wanted to shake these characters into making different decisions, the story line was right for them.

Overall, I really enjoyed Untouched and am looking forward to the next novel in the series.

Sizzle and Burn JAK

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Jove; Reprint edition (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0515145815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515145816
  • Source: Library

Raine Tallentyre hears voices. No, she’s not crazy just psychic. (although some people think that the two go hand in hand ..they don’t)

Raine has the paranormal ability (certainly not the gift) of hearing the whisperings of the evil mind that hides behind the mask most killers wear. Although she tries her best to keep them at bay, at the lightest touch of something that evil has handled, Raine hears their mind whispers – it certainly is enough to drive some people crazy, or at least believe that they are.

Aunt Vella had heard voices, too. Unfortunately, the voices she heard sent her down a spiraling fall into a private facility, and suddenly into death. Raine has returned to Shelbeyville in Washington state to sell her aunt’s home, which will not be an easy feat as Vella was considered a crazy lady at the very least.

Although Raine has used her abilities to help Detective Bradley Mitchell solve several cold cases, she always kept her special skills far in the background. Until she pushed the romance envelope… that backfired on her. Seems Detective Mitchell was just fine with using her “gift” to bring himself some glory… hearing voices kind of creeped him out. So much for romance.

At this moment in time, Raine’s past, present and her future are going to collide as she discovers a serial killer’s victim trapped in her aunt’s basement – and a connection to the Arcane Society heads into town in the form of J&J investigator Zack Jones.

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