Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review: Mountain Witness (Tennessee SWAT #2) by Lena Diaz

Book Blurb:

A woman in hiding and a man on a mission in the Smoky Mountains 

Detective Chris Downing doesn't know much about his neighbor. In the rural town of Destiny, Tennessee, Julie Webb lives a life of seclusion, rarely even offering a smile or wave. Only when Chris hears her frantic screams one night does he gain a glimpse into the life of a woman in hiding, and in saving her life, he is forced to kill her attacker. But Julie's troubles are only beginning to unravel. When Chris learns the identity of Julie's attacker, questions of trust are raised and suspicions run high. Together they will uncover the motives of a killer and the undeniable attraction between them.

My Review:

In Mountain Witness by Lena Diaz, Julie has moved to the town of Destiny to escape from someone who was supposed to love her.  She intends to keep her distance from everyone - including her sexy neighbour Chris.  But when her past catches up with her, Chris, who happens to be a Detective is the one who comes to her more than one way.  Having had to take a life to save Julie, Chris is determined to get some answers.  Answers Julie doesn't have.  Chris isn't sure if he believes she's not holding back something, but as he helps her he finds himself not only trusting her more and more, but attracted to her as well.  Soon the two of them not only find unexpected answers to the past and the present, but a mutual attraction that might or might not have a chance to grow if they can escape a killer.

Mountain Witness is a fast paced, intricately plotted romantic suspense.  Lena Diaz kept the suspense high and the mystery intense.  Most of the plot was believable, some of it had me wondering if people would actually do that, and together this made Mountain Witness an exciting and intriguing read.

Julie was a difficult heroine to connect to for some reason.  In some ways she was the typical heroine in distress and frustrated me, but in other ways I felt for her and understood why she was acting how she was.  Finding herself in the situation she was in was terrifying for her and I could feel her fear, her distrust, and her heart break.  I really liked Chris!  He is a total alpha hero!  I liked how he was with Julie and that he wasn't convinced he needed to act alone, without his team.  It was a difficult situation to meet someone in, and I think as fast paced as it was it was written well and believable.   I liked the connection between Chris and Julie, even with the ups and downs and fear of trust, they kept on.

I loved the way Julie's family is drawn into this and how it all played out.  Although I would have liked more of that family story, it was a great sub plot in the book!

Fast paced and easy to fall into, I'd recommend Mountain Witness to any romantic suspense reader!

4/5 stars

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Review: The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek

Book Blurb:

No more chocolate! No more meddling! No more men!

New Year’s resolutions are great. Announcing them in a crowded bar, with a chocolate martini in her hand? Not Maddie Cash’s finest moment. It’s time this new realtor got serious about her life and this time, she means it.

But when hospital volunteering lands her at the bedside of bruised and battered Mick Meyer, who has no knowledge of Maddie’s reputation – and no memory of the kiss he begged from her during that long, pain-filled night, her best-laid plans are put in jeopardy. It’s not just his sweet tooth that’s tempting her.

The hunky bush pilot with the concussion has an old family property to unload. Making this sale could be Maddie’s professional salvation. But when Mick turns on the charm, she’s in danger of forgetting all her best intentions… on chocolate… on meddling… and especially on men.

 My Review:

I loved being taken back to Marietta, Montana in The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek!  Maddie is still struggling into adulthood and independence, but she is determined to get there.  A bar, some drinks and a public declaration of her New Years resolutions brings her both embarrassment and motivation.  When her volunteer work at the hospital brings her to Mick, a bush pilot, despite his injuries, and attraction and connection is felt from the very start.  Unable to return to his work in the near future, Maddie sees more and more of Mick...  As she pushes him towards recovery, she is not only worried about her heart, but her job as a realtor.  Mick might be the answer to both, but he's not staying, is he?

I enjoyed the honest characters Roxanne Snopek gives us in The Chocolate Cure.  There are no hidden agendas, everything is out in the open.  Whether due to small town life or because that's how Mick and Maddie are, it made me really like their characters.  Maddie is a bit immature at times, but she loyal, honest, determined, and has a heart of gold which really shines through.  Mick is anxious to get back to flying and work, but this won't happen for a while.  As the attraction between them intensified I liked watching the bond between them grow.  Maybe Maddie can make it all work out this time, her life and her job...but will Mick still be around?  I couldn't wait to see how things ended up for them, because they both seemed set in where they are in life right now.

The Chocolate Cure is part of a series, but can be read as a stand alone.  I really liked how characters from previous books are drawn into the plot at various times, but it is done in a way that if you haven't read the other books you won't feel like you're missing anything.

The Chocolate Cure is well paced with a great flow to it that kept me interested.   I'd recommend The Chocolate Cure to any romance reader!

4/5 stars

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: Midnight Obsession (Midnight #4) by Melinda Leigh

Book Blurb:

In Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh’s edgy new thriller, Louisa Hancock thought she was safe…but there’s a new killer in town.

When a mysterious package lands on Louisa Hancock’s doorstep, the Philadelphia museum curator can hardly anticipate the nightmare that’s about to envelop her. The package is addressed to her father—an expert in Viking culture—and inside is a ninth-century sword, a chilling thank-you note, and photos of two dead bodies in a tableau evoking a Nordic funeral. The gruesome images match a recent crime scene. But before the police can investigate the killer’s connection to Louisa’s father, Ward Hancock vanishes.

Sports bar owner Conor Sullivan wants nothing more than to spend his life with Louisa. Devoted and protective, he refuses to leave her side after her father’s disappearance. When a troubled young boxer he’s been coaching is suspected of the murders, Conor is pulled in even deeper. Desperate, Louisa and Conor take it upon themselves to find her father, but soon another ritualistic slaying makes it clear there’s a Viking-obsessed serial killer on the loose. And he has a new target: Louisa.

My Review:

In Midnight Obsession by Melinda Leigh, Louisa survived a horrific event at the hands of a madman and is still struggling to move forward with her life.  An obsessed killer soon pulls her into another nightmare when her father disappears after inexplicably receiving a frightening package.  That is not all that's going on though...a young man her boyfriend Conor has been working with becomes a suspect in murder.  From gang ties to Vikings, a swirling mix of suspense kept me wondering what the outcome could possibly be as Louisa and Conor work in their own way to find her father before it's too late.

Midnight Obsession has strong characters, and I loved the different POV's Melinda Leigh gives us throughout.  Seeing things through a killer's eyes and 'hearing' his irrational thoughts put a very interesting and frightening perspective on the plot!

I really enjoyed the main characters, Louisa and Conor.  Their relationship is well established, and the make a good fit together.  I liked how they were angst, no secrets, and all love and caring.  They did what worked for them.  This part of Midnight Obsession is not about romance, but about a well established relationship that will still have trials to go through.  The big question was where their relationship would go from here.  Having Louisa and Conor's perspectives provided great insight into their characters!

The main part of the plot, the suspenseful part, was as creepy as it was catchy!  As things unravelled I thought I had a vague idea who might be the culprit, but Melinda Leigh kept me guessing right to the end.

Two police officers are strong secondary characters, and their involvement and side stories provided a lot of depth.

I liked how all the characters were connected and how the plot was drawn together with sub plots.  It all worked well, and like real life nothing always goes as planned, but some things do.

Midnight Secrets is part of a series, but can be read as a stand alone in my opinion as I read it.  Readers who like suspense and strong relationships will enjoy Midnight Obsession!

4/5 stars

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Review: Port of Paradise by Lisa Marie Rice

Book Blurb:

Hope Winston will do anything for a friend—even if it means travelling across the world to help run an English language school in Italy. When her good deed puts her life in danger, Hope is in need of protection, but she doesn’t want protection from a cop. She has good reason to distrust them--so how is it that she's ended up sleeping with one?

Head of the elite anti-mafia squad, Capitano Franco Rivera finds the gorgeous American delectable but dangerous. He feels compelled to protect her, even though she can't seem to stop stirring up trouble.

Hope needs a keeper and Franco is just the man to keep her…in his bed. 

Note: Port of Paradise was previously released by another publisher. This edition has been lightly edited and updated.

My Review:

When Hope heads to Italy for a few months to take her injured friend's place at an English language school in Italy, she soon finds herself in an unexpected, potentially dangerous and inexplicable situation.  Strange things are happening in the home of her friend she is staying in, scary things that are bad enough to have Hope reaching out for help from the last source of help she wants...the police.  Past circumstances have not inspired faith in police, but with her friend's urging and the situation she is in, Hope has no other option.

Franco Rivera is not at all what Hope expects from an Italian policeman.  He looks dangerous, but she doesn't feel she is in danger from him.  As Franco looks into the mysterious events surrounding Hope and the home she is in, things become more dangerous and heated in the suspenseful plot of Port of Paradise.  At the same time, the attraction between Hope and Franco is getting harder to ignore, and soon Hope finds herself in the arms of the last person she expected to be with.  In all aspects the plot is getting hotter...but can Franco keep Hope safe as he and his team work to solve the mystery?  And can Hope trust enough to put the past behind her and trust in the present?

Port of Paradise was a read that was easy for me to get into.  Lisa Marie Rice kept me there with a suspenseful plot I couldn't quite figure out right until the end, and two main characters who might or might not have a happily ever after together.  Lisa Marie Rice wove together very well a tale of suspense with different angles that all will make sense in the end, and a romance that might be fast for some, but is still filled with uncertainty and insecurity.  I liked the unknown and surprised of the suspense, and I liked the hero and heroine.  I really liked Franco...he is a strong hero who was immediately and intensely attracted to the heroine.  Through it all I could feel his interest, his patience, and his need to keep Hope safe.  Hope was not as strong a heroine as Franco was a hero, but together they just seemed to fit well and be what the other needed.  I found myself really hopeful for them.

I love the setting of Italy for Port of just really worked from the English language school to the well described scenery.

I'd recommend Port of Paradise to any romantic suspense reader who likes things hot!

4/5 stars

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Review: Montana Secret Santa (Love at the Chocolate Shop #3) by Debra Salone

Book Blurb:

Ad exec Krista Martin, while feeling more Grinch than elf, still jumps at the chance to co-chair Marietta’s Secret Santa Society. Why not? Especially since brilliant, attractive, and innovative tech wunderkind Jonah Andrews has agreed to help. He’s well connected and Krista’s hoping for some advice on rebooting her career.

Jonah knows Krista has a not-so-hidden agenda, but sparring with her over cocoa at their Secret Santa meetings is the most fun he’s had since returning to his old hometown. Krista may come across as all business, but Jonah’s positive he’s glimpsed a little girl inside her who wants to believe in Santa… and in love.

My Review:

Montana Secret Santa by Debra Salone was a very enjoyable read that really brought small town Marietta, Montana to life!

Krista has found a home in Marietta, starting her own business with her friend and being away from the drama of her family.  Jonah is brilliant and rich.  A Montana born boy who has moved on, he is only back for a brief time.  Neither of them has the time or energy for a relationship, and neither of them actually wants one.   From their first meeting an attraction is palpable, and soon they find themselves immersed in working for Marietta's Secret Santa Society.  As they spend more time together, the season of giving, happiness, and hope starts to become so much more...but it can't possibly be a forever thing, or can it?

Montana Secret Santa is the story of Krista and Jonah.  It is about them, with strong secondary characters and plots that enhance the main plot instead of distracting from it.  Krista and Jonah may come from different worlds from each other and the reader, but I found them to be relatable, realistic and believable.  For me they were like the people I might meet in a cafe or just down the street.  I liked them, and I liked that real life feeling of the unexpected and the challenges they faced.  I felt like I got to know them.  As the story progresses, they both experience a lot of growth.  I liked that they were mature characters, and there is a distinct lack of angst which resonates with their maturity.

Debra Salone writes an emotional, touching story in Montana Secret Santa, and I liked that all parts of their present day life pull together and bring these characters to life.  Montana Secret Santa was a story that gave me not only a holiday feeling, but a variety of other emotions from hope, sadness, courage, caring and love.

I'd recommend Montana Secret Santa to any romance reader!

4/5 stars

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: Barefoot at Midnight (Barefoot Bay Timeless #3) by Roxanne St. Claire

Book Blurb:
Lawson Monroe is a chef without a restaurant...until his friend and mentor makes a deathbed promise to leave Law the only dive bar on Mimosa Key. Law has big plans for the Toasted Pelican until he walks directly into the luscious body and gorgeous face of Libby Chesterfield and her outrageous claim that the bar and restaurant should come to her.

When Libby learned that the man who once owned the crappiest watering hole on the island was actually her biological father, she decided the least he owed her was his unclaimed business. The old man wasn't there for her when she and her brother were growing up in Barefoot Bay, but his legacy can help her build a new future when she transforms the property into Balance, a yoga studio. The only obstacle? Her father apparently named former bad boy and current sexy silver fox Law Monroe his heir.

Law never thought he'd want anything more than the chance to make a living cooking his food for the people of Barefoot Bay...but Libby arouses an irresistible hunger in him. Battling an attraction that sizzles hotter than one of Law's cast-iron skillets and uncovering long-buried secrets with more twists than one of Libby's yoga poses, they'll have to find a way to both get what they want...especially if what they really want is each other.

My Review:

Barefoot at Midnight was an intense, emotional read.  I felt drawn to Lawson from the start...who he was, where he'd come from, and what he'd overcome.  He is open and honest, and I just really liked him.  Roxanne St. Claire really brought him to life for me, and I truly hoped things would work out for him.  Libby was a difficult character to like!  With her mixed up past, her dramatic mother, and her never ending assumptions I didn't feel as connected to her as I did to Lawson.  Despite all that, there are definite sparks between Lawson and Libby.  A connection neither expected or were looking for is palpable, no matter how much either of them try to deny it.  There are a lot of unresolved issues, and as they each work through these, there are a lot of bumps in the road and surprises in store.  The growth of their relationship is slow, steady and rocky, and a future between them is uncertain.

I liked that there is so much going on in Barefoot at Midnight.  With mature characters and life experience, the plot is rich with emotion, relationships, unknowns, and hope.  The plot is multi focal, but well blended into a well paced, easy to follow story.  There are some very unique and interesting secondary characters in a setting that is always a treat to return to!

The third book in Roxanne St. Claire's Timeless series, Barefoot at Midnight is a stand alone book that contemporary romance readers will enjoy.

4/5 stars

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Review: Irresistibly Yours by Lark Brennan

Book Blurb:
In Lark Brennan s follow-up to the dazzling debut "Dangerously Yours," she delves more deeply into the Durand family its powers, its enemies, and the battles that wage both within and without.

Adrien Durand, one of the most powerful telepaths in the world, was born for a life of action and intrigue. But when his father dies suddenly, he s forced to return to Paris to take over his family s business empire, standing guard over the ancient source of their abilities at a time of great peril. When a beautiful American empath crosses his path, he first suspects she's a spy. But a dazzling energy flows between them, forming a psychic link he s powerless to break.

Tate Fulbright was born with a telepathic gift that she both treasures and loathes. She has coped so far by losing herself in work, but on a business trip to Paris she meets the impossibly sexy Adrien Durand, and her carefully constructed facade begins to crumble. Tate hoped only to see the city sights and never expected to be drawn into Adrien s glamorous and high-risk world. But when Adrien s enemies target her, she must set aside her pride and accept his protection.

Adrien Durand prides himself on his self-control, but as his enemies draw near and his psychic connection to Tate grows, he soon finds himself in danger of losing his grip on the links that keep his mind and his family together. Do Adrien and Tate have a chance for a future together, or will a dangerous fate destroy them both?

My Review:

In Irresistibly Yours by Lark Brennan, there is much more to Tate than initially meets the eye.  Working hard at a job she doesn't love, a business trip to Paris ends up being much more than ever anticipated.  In Paris is Adrien, whom Tate meets when she goes into his shop.  As soon as Adrien meets Tate he knows there is so much more to her than she shows anyone...but he doesn't know if she can be trusted.  As a Sentier and Protector, Adrien is careful who he trusts -especially when an empath and healer like Tate suddenly crosses his path.  His family is so much more than a business empire.  It is also an empire of enormous psychic talent and strength.  Using their powers for good, evil is chasing them.  Adrien is drawn to Tate almost against his will, and almost as quickly as they meet, Adrien's enemies soon become Tate's, because they will stop at nothing to get what they want from Adrien's family. 

I really enjoyed Irresistibly Yours by Lark Brennan!  From start to finish Lark kept me mesmerized between the pages as I got to know Tate, Adrien and his family.  This is the kind of paranormal romantic suspense I love to read because the characters are so real and Lark wrote their situations in a believable way.  I liked the different psychic elements we see in Irresistibly Yours, and how the characters work with their abilities individually and together.

Tate and Adrien meet in the most unusual way, but the connection between them is evident from the start.  Neither of them feel they are at a place in their lives where they want or need a relationship, but neither of them can stop themselves.  Watching them get to know each other and navigate that path was wonderful!  It is not a simple thing for either of them and there is a lot standing in their way.  I was interested to see if they could get past the obstacles or if in the end it would prove too much.  Although the plot is over a short period of time, nothing felt rushed, it just felt real like it was meant to be. Tate and Adrien both have sorrow in their past and I really hoped for happiness in the future for them.

The suspenseful part of the plot was very intriguing and kept me guessing.  There is a lot of unexpectedness, and the twists and turns kept everything interesting.  I felt like I was right there with Tate and Adrien much of the time.

There are a lot of secondary characters in Irresistibly Yours, and each of them has a significant contribution to the plot.  I enjoyed getting to know them as much as I enjoyed getting to know Tate and Adrien.

The setting of Paris is so romantic and at the same time adds to the thrill of the suspense.  I loved the descriptions Lark wrote...even the little things like describing the people at the coffee shop they were passing made it so easy to picture the place.

Irresistibly Yours is a well paced book that I would recommend to any paranormal romantic suspense reader.

4/5 stars

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