Genre: Contemporary

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Hot Winter Nights – Jill Shalvis 4 stars

September 25, 2018 Boookluvr Reads 1

Hot Winter Nights – Jill Shalvis 4 starsHot Winter Nights: Heartbreaker Bay by Jill Shalvis
Published by Headline on September 25, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads

Hot Winter Nights is the sixth in New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis's Heartbreaker Bay series, featuring her trademark gift for humour, warmth and romance. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts and Marie Force.

Who needs mistletoe?

Most people wouldn't think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn't most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she's been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that-but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once...

Whiskey and pain meds for almost-healed bullet wounds don't mix. Lucas needs to remember that next time he's shot on the job, which may be sooner rather than later if Molly's brother, Joe, finds out about them. Lucas can't believe he's drawing a blank on his (supposedly) passionate tryst with Molly, who's the hottest, smartest, strongest woman he's ever known. Strong enough to kick his butt if she discovers he's been assigned to babysit her on her first case. And hot enough to melt his cold heart this Christmas.

Want more warm, funny romance? Check out the other Heartbreaker Bay novels starting with Sweet Little Lies, visit stunning Wildstone, gorgeous Cedar Ridge, spellbinding Lucky Harbor or experience some Animal Magnetism in Sunshine, Idaho in Jill's other unforgettable series.

The Heartbreaker Bay series is one of my favorite contemporary series.  Yes, part of that is because Jill Shalvis always delivers an HEA that makes me sigh happily at the end but perhaps even more than that is the role that friendship plays in every book.  Heartbreaker Bay goes one step beyond just friendship and straight into a chosen family.  While that doesn’t always make life easier for the characters, it is tremendously satisfying as a reader.

In prior installments of Heartbreaker Bay, we got glimpses of Molly and Lucas that had me hopeful they would get their own book so I was excited when I saw that Hot Winter Nights was centered on them.  While we had learned a lot about Molly’s history About That Kiss, I didn’t remember reading much about Lucas so I wasn’t sure what hurdles they would have to climb to find their HEA.

I loved the ways that Molly found to torment Lucas after he discovered they spent the night together the first time.  She is merciless in letting him believe more happened that night than her taking care of them and when his primary focus is how Joe and Archer will react I was right there with her in continuing that torment.  God save the women from Heartbreaker Bay from alpha men no matter how hot they are.

It was satisfying watching Lucas realize how amazing Molly was in her own right and to see him fight against Joe and Archer  keeping her wrapped in bubble wrap.  About the only thing that could have been more satisfying would have been seeing Lucas in that elf costume ;-).

But perhaps my following thing from this entire story is what Lucas’s mom said to Molly about love:

“I used to think that love was all about red roses and expensive dinners. But the truth is, love is letting your mate steal a piece of bread off your plate. It’s being awoken by snoring and refraining from shoving him out of bed. It’s talking in code and trying to embarrass one another in public. It’s going on adventures and making fun of each other. It’s stupid fights and memorable make-ups.” She squeezed Molly’s hand. “Love isn’t pretty and romantic. You know that, right? Love is just stumbling through life with your best friend.”

I couldn’t agree more!

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A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas – Maisey Yates 4 stars

September 23, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Harlequin 1

A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas – Maisey Yates 4 starsA Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas by Maisey Yates
Published by HQN Books on October 1, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Western, Holiday, Contemporary
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads
four-stars

It’s Christmas in Gold Valley, and this wounded widower is about to get another shot at love…

Grant Dodge didn’t expect to find a woman sleeping in an abandoned cabin on his family ranch. Or to find her so intriguing. Unlike every other woman in town, McKenna Tate doesn’t know Grant’s a widower. There’s no pity in the looks she gives him. McKenna wants him, and Grant has forgotten what it’s like to feel like a man. A no-strings fling for Christmas might be the kind of holiday cheer Grant needs…

With only a suitcase to her name, McKenna came to Gold Valley to confront her birth father. She didn’t plan to work at the Dodge ranch or fall for the gorgeous cowboy who keeps his heart roped off. But there’s no denying the way their broken pieces fit together. Hope brought her to Gold Valley—but will it be the gift that could finally heal Grant, and McKenna’s own wounded heart?

Also includes a bonus Gold Valley novella, Snowed in with the Cowboy!

Have you ever read a book that you enjoyed and wondered how either you would review it or discuss it with someone else?  A Tall,Dark Cowboy Christmas was like that for me.  There are a few reasons for that which I will explore with you.

First, the fun reason.  Readers of the Gold Valley series have likely been anticipating Grant’s book.  We’ve gotten so many glimpses of him and know his painful background so of course we think we know all there is to know about Grant.  For those of you that haven’t read any of the books in the series yet, Grant married his highschool sweetheart knowing she had a terminal illness, and due to some unwanted media attention he can’t ever escape the imagine of the saintly widower.  Even in the moments where he is able to forget the pain of losing his wife, the well meaning members of the town bring it back up. So like I said, we’ve heard and seen so much of Grant in the other books that we assume we know all there is to know about him.  Well let me tell you, there was a huge reveal in this book and it’s a doozy that I never saw coming.  Here’s the bummer, I can’t tell you about it here even though I REALLY want to.  While I’m not always anti-spoilers when it comes to reviews, I feel like in this case it’s something each reader should come across as the story unfolds.  What I will tell you, is Grant is an even more amazing man than his backstory would lead you to believe.  When you read this book, I’d love to discuss it with you so feel free to pop on over to Twitter and chat with me about it.  (I’m @NE_rom)reader for those of you that don’t already know).

Now for the not so fun reason this review is hard to write.  You see McKenna’s backstory had some elements that mirrored events in my own life.  While that wasn’t readily apparent from the blurb, looking back I realize I should have seen it coming as the story progressed.  You see, McKenna is searching for the paternal side of her family.  They have no idea she exists, so she’s understandably nervous about how they will react whens he approaches them.  I happened to be reading the scene where this reunion took place one morning before getting out of bed to get ready for work and to say that it would rip my heart out unexpectedly would be an understatement.  When Hank turns McKenna away, I was devastated.  I’ve lived that moment, although without someone trying to hand me a check to soften the blow.  I thought I had worked through all of that, but when I read that scene it seemed to pick a scab I didn’t think was still there and I’ll have to figure out what to do with that wound now that it’s feeling raw again.  While it was painful to experience along with McKenna, i think the fact it had such an emotional impact on me as a reader speaks to how well the author described both the event and the associated feelings that McKenna was experiencing.  Luckily for McKenna, thank you romance, she found her HEA so all is well that ends well in Gold Valley.  If only real life followed the same pattern.

If you’re a fan of cowboy romance or holiday romances make sure to pick up A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas.  You won’t be disappointed.

four-stars

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Under Control – Shannon Stacey 4 stars

August 29, 2018 Boookluvr Reads 1

Under Control – Shannon Stacey 4 starsUnder Control by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press on September 1, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 318
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

“Stacey’s gift for writing easily relatable characters will hook readers and leave them eagerly waiting for the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly

From New York Times bestselling author SHANNON STACEY

Meet the tough, dedicated men of BOSTON FIRE—and the women who turn their lives upside down

When faced with the opportunity to change shifts while staying in the same house, veteran firefighter Derek Gilman jumps at the chance. His new schedule means not working Saturdays, which means more time to spend with his two kids. His divorce may have been amicable, but being a firefighter and a single dad is a lot to juggle. And when fate brings a gorgeous, wealthy woman into his life, he’s pretty sure he can’t handle more than he already is.

Olivia McGovern loves plans. She planned to start her own business and planned its growth. It’s earning her seven figures now, but her personal life simply doesn’t exist. Getting trapped in a broken elevator figures in exactly nowhere, and freaking out in front of a sexy firefighter definitely isn’t on the agenda. Especially not one with two kids and an ex.

What would have been a random incident with an attractive stranger becomes something more when a charity event brings them back together. They’re from different sides of the tracks, literally—with friends, family and careers to consider. But as Derek and Olivia are discovering, chemistry doesn’t allow for plans, and love doesn’t bother with logistics.

Don’t miss the entire Boston Fire series by Shannon Stacey! Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Fully Ignited and Hot Response are available now!

Some characters grab you as soon as you dive into a book.  You find yourself immediately invested in their lives, feel their emotions as powerfully as your own and while you don’t want their story to end you can’t help but turn page after page. to find out how their story will turn out.  Derek and Olivia who Under Control is focused on were like that for me.

Derek and Olivia had chemistry from the moment they saw each other and it only intensified as the book went on.  From something as innocent as how Derek rubbed Olivia’s ankle in the elevator when they were trapped, to the first time they were intimate it was hot as hell.  There was an intensity to every interaction between them combined with an emotional connection that took each of those moments beyond just the physical (which was hot as hell on it’s own).

Both Derek and Olivia’s situations were something I think most readers could relate to.  Olivia finds security in her routine and plans is so caught up in doing everything exactly as it’s scheduled forgets that the best things in life can’t be planned.  Derek is so convinced that he and his kids don’t fit in Olivia’s world that he sees problems where they aren’t any which in the end becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  In the end my heart ached for each of them because I knew without a doubt they loved each other if they could just take that final step and get out of their own way.

I adored the role that Derek’s ex-wife Amber played in this story.  Without giving any spoilers because it’s a scene you should be able to experience yourself, I cracked up at a certain scene here Amber showed up at Derek’s house.  I’m not sure who I was more mortified for!  Beyond that entertaining scene, I loved that not only did Derek and Amber have an awesome relationship, but Amber was the one to call Derek out on his BS in a way that nobody else would have been able to.  Props to Shannon Stacey on giving us a former couple that we could actually see being friends.

Bottom line, if you like sexy firefighters and a delightfully sexy story, Under Control should be on your TBR pile.

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Untamed Cowboy – Maisey Yates 4 stars

June 19, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Harlequin, NetGalley, Read in 2018 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Untamed Cowboy – Maisey Yates 4 starsUntamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Published by HQN Books on July 1st 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Western, Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

In Gold Valley, Oregon, love might be hiding in plain sight…

Some things are too perfect to mess with. Bennett Dodge’s relationship with Kaylee Capshaw is one of them. They work together at their veterinary clinic and have been best friends for years. When Bennett’s world is rocked by the appearance of a son he didn’t know he had, he needs Kaylee more than ever. And he doesn’t want anything else to change. But then Kaylee kisses him, and nothing will ever be the same…

Kaylee’s done her best to keep her feelings for the man she’s loved since high school hidden away, but one unguarded moment changes everything, and now there’s no more denying the chemistry that burns between them. But the explosion of desire changes all the rules, and what’s left could destroy their bond—or bring them to a love that’s deeper than she ever imagined…

Also includes a bonus Gold Valley novella, Mail Order Cowboy!

I don’t mind admitting that I was excited when I found out that the second book in the Gold Valley series would be Bennett’s and Kaylee’s.  After the glimpses we have gotten to see in previous books, I had no doubt these two would end up together and I was glad we didn’t have to wait until later in the series to have it happen.

In Untamed Cowboy, we find out that Bennett wasn’t always the buttoned up man that we knew him as.  You see, Bennett got his girlfriend pregnant at age 16 and after she told him she lost their baby and moved away, Bennett was determined to never let his emotions get away from him again.  He was going to make responsible logical decisions and ensure that he never put any pressure or stress on his family after everything that they had already been through.  That’s why Bennett prides himself on having a plan for every aspect of his life, even if those plans mean he is settling for a life that can never truly make him happy.  Bennett was prepared to marry Olivia even though he didn’t love her because he didn’t want love or passion in his life.

When a social worker shows up at Bennett’s house with a 15-year-old son named Dallas that Bennett didn’t know he had, all of Bennett’s plans for an uncomplicated life start to unravel at the seams.  Understandably, Bennett is devastated to find out that his high school girlfriend lied to him about losing the baby.  On top of that he discovers that his son’s life has not been at all the life he should have had.  How can he make up for all the time he’s lost and how does a man who has prided himself on guarding his heart convince his son to trust him and let him in when he doesn’t let other people in himself?

The one constant in Bennett’s life has always been Kaylee Capshaw.  From the moment he saw her at school looking shy and lonely, Bennett and Kaylee have been best friends.  With all the chaos in his life, right now more than ever Bennett needs Kaylee to be the source of stability in his life she has always been.

Kaylee Capshaw has been in love with Bennett for as long as she can remember.  She’s stuffed her feelings down through the years knowing that Bennett didn’t feel the same.  After years of having a front row seat to Bennett’s relationships, she’s determined once again to move on and find a relationship for herself, so why can’t anyone else light her up the way Bennett does?

When Bennett tell’s Kaylee that he’s planning to find someone to hook up with, Kaylee can’t take it anymore.  She will be damned if she can sit back and watch him move on with someone else again without ever having a chance to touch Bennett Dodge herself.  Bennett isn’t prepared for Kaylee to suggest that they scratch each other’s itch, but once he agrees he has to face that his feelings for Kaylee have never been as clear-cut as he has convinced himself they were.  With all of his plans obliterated, can Bennet reach for the happiness that is his for the taking?

I related to so strongly to Bennett, Kaylee and Dallas in this story due to my own background.  I saw so much of myself in Kaylee in Dallas.  The inability to trust when your parents, the people you are supposed to be able to count on are the very people who have hurt you the most.  The need to test and push people around you to see if they will abandon you like everyone else.  The knowledge that you aren’t worthy of love and respect even when someone wants to give it to you.  With Bennett you can understand why he feels like he has to be perfect and never be a burden to anyone.  He watched his family go through so much, and he never wanted to feel like he added to it.

It was delightful to see Bennett, Kaylee and Dallas begin to heal the wounds from their past become the family they all deserved.  I hope we will get to see more glimpses of them in future installments of Gold Valley.

 

four-stars

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Knocked Up – Stacey Lynn 3 stars

June 12, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Uncategorized 1

Knocked Up – Stacey Lynn 3 starsKnocked Up by Stacey Lynn
Series: Crazy Love #2
Published by Random House Publishing Group on June 12, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 250
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars
three-flames

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in a baby carriage. Just not necessarily in that order. . . .   Braxton: I should probably be dead or in jail right now. Instead, thanks to some tough love, I worked my ass off and now I own a string of tattoo parlors throughout the Pacific Northwest. And yet the one thing I’ve always wanted—a family—still seems out of reach. When my best friend gets married, I’m just hoping to blow off some steam with the super-hot maid of honor. But after Cara Thompson tracks me down to tell me she’s pregnant, she’s more surprised than I am when I tell her I’m all in.   Cara: For the first time in my life, I’m living for myself—not for my parents and their ridiculous expectations. I gave up on my MBA, dropped out of the Ivy League, and moved to Portland to pursue my dream of becoming an artist. And what’s the first thing I do? Get knocked up. For a tatted-up sex god, Braxton Henley seems way too eager to “be there for me.” Is this guy serious? Maybe. He sure is patient. Because he won’t back down until I admit what I know in my heart: that our one night stand might’ve led me to the one.   Advance praise for Knocked Up“Stacey Lynn always knows how to perfectly balance sexy and sweet, and has a modern writing style that makes all of her stories feel fresh and fun.”New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne

“A broody alpha hero with heart . . . I fell madly in love with Braxton from the very first page. Prepare to pull and all-nighter with Knocked Up.USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy  “Braxton is your ultimate tattooed father-to-be—sweet and ever so sexy.”—Stina Lindenblatt, author of the Pushing Limits series

The steamy standalone novels in Stacey Lynn’s Crazy Love series can be read together or separately: FAKE WIFE | KNOCKED UP   And don’t miss her passionate Fireside series: HIS TO LOVE | HIS TO PROTECT | HIS TO CHERISH | HIS TO SEDUCE   This standalone ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

I love a good unplanned pregnancy story.  I don’t know if that’s due to my own life experience, or if I just enjoy the premise of two people being thrown together by a pregnancy that they don’t expect.  It’s safe to say this would only be true in the world of Romance where I am guaranteed a HEA.

Knocked Up was mostly an enjoyable read.  I enjoyed the premise of the characters spending a night together after their best friend’s wedding.  I found the heroines reaction of sneaking away the morning after to be realistic and adored that it was the hero whose feelings were hurt when she left.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t happy that he was hurting but it was nice to have the hero acknowledge his feelings out of the gate.  While on the surface Braxton and Cara come from different worlds, they have way more in common than the people around them may realize.  Both of them have experienced less than stellar parenting, although for very different reasons, and both have experienced heartbreaking loss.  The chemistry between Braxton and Cara is palpable, I only wish we had gotten to read about the first night they spent together as it was happening rather than it being in the past by the time we meet them.

There were some elements of the story that I found clunky. When Braxton and Cara go to see her midwife together for the first time, the doctor wants to hear the heartbeat.  The story references the use of an internal ultrasound want for this even which struck me as very odd.  As a mother of five that didn’t sound right, regardless of how early in my pregnancy I was they were always able to check the heartbeat externally.  The internal wand would have made sense if the midwife was doing an ultrasound, but that wasn’t the case here.  Also. Braxton’s reaction to the procedure made me roll my eyes.  He refers to the wand as a dildo cam and makes a comment about not knowing whether to be terrified or turned on.  It just felt immature which was contradictory to everything else we see from him.

Also, Lucy is a rescue pup featured in this story.  For most of the book she is a Bullmastiff, but towards the end she is a pit bull.  Keeping in mind this was an arc, the author may correct this in the final copy.

All in all, I enjoyed  Knocked up and would recommend it to readers that enjoy an unplanned pregnancy.

three-stars

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The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang 4 stars

June 6, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Penguin, Read in 2018 1

The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang 4 starsThe Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Published by Penguin on June 5, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Multicultural & Interracial
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads
four-stars
two-half-flames

"This is such a fun read and it's also quite original and sexy and sensitive."--Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author

"Hoang's writing bursts from the page."--Buzzfeed

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he's making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

I really enjoyed this debut novel by Helen Hoang.   Stella was a delightful heroine who has just as much of a solid understanding of her strengths as she does of her shortcomings.  She is an accomplished professional who has mastered balancing her needs with the expectations of society as a whole.   Her confidence and willingness to communicate in a direct fashion to those around her, even when it related to her insecurities had me cheering for her from the first page.

Michael was a sweetheart of a man who seemed perfect for Stella from their very first meeting.  His patience and communication made him the perfect fit to guide Stella through her practice sessions.  While I didn’t ever find myself really buying into Michael’s dread of being compared to his father since we only ever experienced the concern through his memories, it didn’t detract from the overall story.  I really enjoyed seeing Michael with his family as I felt it set the stage for what a caring individual he was.

You know who I wanted to throat punch throughout the book?  Well yes Phillip her creepy co-worker, but not just him.  I absolutely wanted to throttle Stella’s mom.  Seriously, her approach to her daughter’s love life drove me crazy.  I don’t care whether or not Stella is autistic, pressuring your daughter to date because you want grandchildren is obnoxious.  I struggled to reconcile a woman who raised such a wonderful woman with the same woman who would also treat their daughter that way.

I am not in a position to weigh in on whether or not this book represented autism well due to my limited experience, but I will say one thing nagged at me.  Having Stella end up with a man whose cousin happened to be autistic as well seemed to smooth some situations over that would have required more work between the characters had that not been the case.  I felt like we missed seeing some elements of all of the characters involved by not having this negotiation take place on page.  Certainly Stella and Michael were both strong enough characters to pull this off based on the other serious topics that tackled.

All in all, The Kiss Quotient was a very enjoyable read that I am glad I had the opportunity to review.

four-stars

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The Start of Something Good – Jennifer Probst 4 stars

June 5, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2018, Uncategorized 1

The Start of Something Good – Jennifer Probst 4 starsThe Start of Something Good by Jennifer Probst
Published by Amazon Publishing on 2018-06
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 301
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
three-flames

An enriching story of family ties, broken hearts, and second chances from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

When Ethan Bishop returns to the Hudson Valley, his body and spirit are a little worse for wear. As a former Special Forces paratrooper, he saw his fair share of conflict, and he came home with wounds, inside and out. At his sisters' B & B and farm, he can keep all his pain at a safe distance. But quiet time isn't easy when a fiery woman explodes into his life...

It's business--not pleasure--that brings Manhattan PR agent Mia Thrush reluctantly to the farm. Tightly wound and quick tempered, Mia clashes immediately with the brooding Ethan. Everything about him is irritating--from his lean muscles and piercing blue eyes to his scent of sweat and musk.

But as the summer unfolds and temperatures rise, Ethan and Mia discover how much they have in common: their guarded histories, an uncontrollable desire, and a passion for the future that could heal two broken hearts. But will their pasts threaten their fragile chance at a brand-new future?

I’ve really enjoyed some of Jennifer Probst’s series, specifically Marriage to a Billionaire, Searching For and The Billionaire Builders , so I was excited to see she had a new series in the works.

The Start of Something Good is the first book in Probst’s new Stay series, and fans of her work won’t be disappointed.    The story has all the elements that fans of Probst will enjoy.  Close knit family, emotional writing and characters who tug at your heart-strings and great sexual chemistry.

There were lots of elements that made The Start of Something Good an enjoyable read for me.

  • My family loves Disney movies so I loved seeing this incorporated into Ethan’s family
  • Chloe added a wonderful element as a young woman going through her own struggles.  I enjoyed that both Mia and Ethan bonded with Chloe and helped mentor her even though it wasn’t their responsibility.  The interactions that included her added a depth to their relationship that would have been missing without her.
  • I adored Ethan’s sisters and am already looking forward to their stories.  The epilogue tells me Ophelia has quite a history with Kyle.  I wonder how Ethan will deal with the conflict between his childhood friend and his sister.
  • Hei-Hei the chicken, behold his majesty

If you enjoy contemporary romances centered around families and small town settings than The Start of Something Good is for you.

four-stars

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Bayou Born – Hailey Edwards 4 stars

May 30, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2017, Uncategorized 1

Bayou Born – Hailey Edwards 4 starsBayou Born by Hailey Edwards
Series: Foundling #1
on October 17th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
two-flames

"Edwards [creates] amazing fantasy worlds that the reader becomes completely engrossed in." GoodreadsHer beginning may be our end . . .

Deep in the humid Mississippi bayou, a half-wild child is dragged from the murky waters. She has no memories, no family and is covered in mysterious markings. Adopted by the policeman who rescued her, Luce Boudreau follows him onto the force, determined to prove herself in the eyes of those who are still suspicious.However, there's more of a battle ahead than Luce could possibly imagine. She may be an orphan without a past, but no one - including Luce herself - could ever be prepared for the truth of her dark, powerful destiny . .

"Well-plotted fantasy continues to engage the reader with its intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance." RT Book Reviews

"The world building is fresh ... The characters are well-drawn and easy to root for. And the romance really hits the spot." Red Hot Books

I love all things PNR and UF, and I often have trouble identifying the line between the two genres when a series contains romantic elements, especially when the UF story results in a HEA.  While it’s too early in the Foundling series to know whether I will get that HEA, I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed.

Bayou Born is an exciting new entry into the UF genre.  I haven’t been as excited about a UF series since I was first introduced to the Mercy Thompson series.  Bayou Born presents reader with a world and magical characters unlike anything else I have ever read.  There are no shifters or vampires here, not that there is anything wrong with either of those.   You would pry my shifter books out of my cold dead hands, but it was nice to read something so unique.  I won’t give any spoilers here, as the discovery of exactly what Luce and the men from White House Security are is an integral part of the story.  My only complaint is that we find out so late in book 1 that I felt like I just had a grasp on the world we were being presented with when the book ended which resulted in months of pining for book 2.

 

Stay tuned for my review of Bone Driven.

four-stars

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A Rancher’s Heart – Vivian Arend – 4 stars

May 21, 2018 Read in 2018, Sent, Steph 1

I received this book for free from the Author . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Rancher’s Heart – Vivian Arend – 4 starsA Rancher's Heart by Vivian Arend
Published by Arend Publishing Inc. on November 16, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General, Western, Humorous
Pages: 344
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
three-half-flames

This cowboy has given up on love, but the new nanny might just make him change his mind. The first in a brand-new series from New York Times bestselling author Vivian Arend.  

Caleb Stone is wearing too many hats and it’s making him crankier than usual. He’s a cowboy, a father, and the head of his large family—and has been since tragedy claimed his parents over ten years ago. The ranch is struggling, but it's the title of single dad that’s got him tangled up in knots. He needs a full-time, live-in nanny at the Silver Stone homestead in Heart Falls, Alberta, to help with his two little girls, but the woman about to arrive on his doorstep? Tantalizing, tempting, and trouble with capital T’s.

Tamara Coleman doesn’t regret the choices that led to losing her job, but she definitely needs a fresh start. When a friend recommends her for a nanny position in a new town, she swears this time it’ll be different. No more acting on impulse—except sexy, gruff Caleb is exactly the kind of man who pushes all her buttons. And what’s more, it’s so much fun to push his in return. Sparks fly between Tamara and her gorgeous boss, but she can’t risk her position, and he doesn’t dare risk his heart.

With two people fighting their true natures, something’s going to give. Luckily, there’s more than one way to capture a rancher’s heart.

I blame school for how long this took me to read but I am happy that I read this one and was able to jump right in to book two immediately.  We first met Tamara in the Coleman series but this is where we really get to see who she is while also seeing a new family and area.

There is a lot of heart in this one with two girls who need someone to be their advocate while making sure that both of them have their own voice.  Tamara is the right person for the job as she recognizes the behavior and makes sure to gently work on a healthier dynamic.  She also recognizes how badly she wants Caleb while at the same time not wanting to ruin this second chance.  I quite enjoyed her heart and how badly she tried to make up for the girls’ mom (I can’t even with that woman).

Caleb was wonderfully surly but charming… he was so badly burned by his ex and while he tries to avoid what he wants from Tamara…  well we all know how that turns out.  I liked him but didn’t always like his actions even though I understood them.  He really wants to do the best he can for his entire family but he at times goes about it in the worst way.  He is very attentive once he lets his need for Tamara to the surface.  I quite enjoyed how much they wanted one another but also how much they worked together to make sure that the girls were always taken care of.  This is something that I found endearing as they had been thru so much in such a short time.

This is a bit short but I did quite enjoy the introduction to this family and I think you will too.  Go grab this!!

four-stars

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Hurts to Love You – Alisha Rai – 3.5 stars

March 26, 2018 Avon, Edelweiss, Read in 2018, Steph 1

I received this book for free from Edelweiss . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hurts to Love You – Alisha Rai – 3.5 starsHurts to Love You by Alisha Rai
Published by HarperCollins on March 27th 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Multicultural & Interracial, Contemporary Women
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon
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three-half-stars
four-flames

Being bad never felt so good, in the third novel in Alisha Rai’s sexy Forbidden Hearts series!

Well-behaved women don’t lust after men who love to misbehave.

Heiress Evangeline Chandler knows how to keep a secret . . . like her life-long crush on the tattooed hottie who just happens to be her big brother’s friend. She’s a Chandler, after all, and Chandlers don’t hook up with the help. Then again, they also don’t disobey their fathers and quit their respectable jobs, so good-girl rules may no longer apply.

Gabriel Hunter hides the pain of his past behind a smile, but he can’t hide his sudden attraction to his friend’s sheltered little sister. Eve is far too sweet to accept anything less than forever and there’s no chance of a future between the son of a housekeeper and the town’s resident princess.

When a wedding party forces Eve and Gabe into tight quarters, keeping their hands off each other will be as hard as keeping their clothes on. The need that draws them together is stronger than the forces that should shove them apart . . . but their sparks may not survive the explosion when long-buried secrets are finally unearthed.

I had such high hopes for this one but it just didn’t completely make me happy.  I liked it but compared to Jackson’s story…  yeah… just not as good as I’d hoped.  I loved seeing the wrap-up but I wanted something bigger from the main pair, Eve and Gabe.  Still was a good read but Jackson just has my heart.

Eve is finally making some strides to stand on her own two feet by quitting the job she hated and starting to avoid her abusive father.  She also is head-over-heels obsessed with Gabe.  She knows he’s not in to her but she can’t help but try to be around him any way she can.  I felt for her as we go thru this book because what she was subjected to as a child was horrible and the damage that was done to her psyche because of her father made me feel for her.  She makes some moves to get Gabe to notice her and boy does it work.  They do take their time getting there but there is no mistaking what she means to him and what he means to her when it finally comes to a head.  I liked how she finally found her voice but also appreciated how much she understood the undercurrents and implications of the major secret that has been under everyone’s noses for decades.  Her open acceptance of the secret made me smile as Gabe needed someone to be there for him.

Gabe is convinced that he’s a love them a few times and leave them kind of guy.  He’s also convinced he’s too old for Eve but man oh man does he want her.  He’s also hiding a huge secret that finally comes to light on the build-up to Livvy and Nico’s wedding.  He also finally lets himself have Eve but isn’t completely honest with her on what he wants from her.  There is a lot of angst with these two but the final bits of the family secrets overshadow the relationship that is being built between he and Eve.  I did adore them together but would have liked more time with them.  He’s so good at making sure people around him are taken care of but seeing him finally get some major answers made me happy.  I appreciated how much he saw of Eve and what he did to help her find her voice.  Having someone silently stand by and provide support without judgement or taking over is what most of us need when fighting the demons of our past.

The story arc wraps up nicely with some twists that I didn’t completely expect but that weren’t completely surprising.  I know that might not make sense but some of what comes out was hinted at previously you just have to have not been distracted by the wonderfulness that is Jackson…  LOL  I am sad to see this series end but hopefully she’ll give us a way to see *HINT* Jackson again in some other story that conveniently needs a chef… *HINT HINT HINT HINT*

three-half-stars

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