Monday, April 29, 2013

Gone With The Wolf by Kristin Miller

This book was a good example of the type of paranormal romance I love in which the hero chases the heroine. When Drake Wilder & Emelia Hudson first meet at the opening of the story, neither of them are aware of whom the other person actually is. Emelia has no idea that he is the much hated CEO who is threatening her bar’s ownership. He has no idea that she is the person who has been bombarding his company with emails. They have a nice interlude with both of them feeling the chemistry.  Drake soon realizes that Emelia is his chosen mate. Their involvement is difficult for both of them for a few reasons. He’s a werewolf and she’s human. She’s also extremely committed to saving & keeping her bar – something that Drake has a little difficulty understand. He has trouble understanding what value it could possibly have for her since it’s not profitable. There is also the problem of Drake’s evil brother stalking Emelia. Drake’s father left a will saying that whichever brother found and mated his true mate first would get and rule the pack while the other brother got the wealth from the father’s side. Drake’s brother wants the power of ruling the pack at all costs, so he is a force trying to keep Drake & Emelia apart. Drake definitely grew on me after rescuing Emelia so many times and showing her his true self. This was a very sexy, action-packed story & I would be interested to read other books by this author and in this series.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Rogue's Rescue by Donna Lea Simpson

This is the first book by this author that I’ve read, but based on this book I plan on reading others. Lovell Melcher, Viscount Ingram overhears some gossip about a woman at a ball. The woman in question, Ariadne Lambert, is your average plain spinster at first glance. She is not a woman he would normally trouble himself with. However, when he realizes that the bit of information being bandied about will put her directly in the path of a bounder who preys on wealthy women, he feels compelled to step in. For her part, Ariadne is very put out that her scheme to catch a deceiver of women is constantly interrupted by the Viscount with the dark good looks. When they both discover that neither of them is quite what the other thought, attraction grows. I loved this novella because I enjoy stories with smart heroines, and I loved that Lovell was a smart enough man to appreciate Ariadne. I enjoyed the story and the romance. The chemistry between the two was very good. I would have loved a full length novel with the two characters. I also enjoyed the twist at the end.

Plus One by Brighton Walsh

Olivia has a ton of weddings to attend over a fairly short period of time, but she is single so she faces the possibility of having to go dateless. Her best friend Ian saves the day by offering to be her date to the weddings. What Olivia doesn’t know is that Ian has been harboring a crush on her for years. I usually go for these stories – stories with a friend who has had a crush on the other friend for years. I enjoyed the gradual seduction of Olivia. This story was very sexy, very sensual. Ian was a yummy hero – great guy, smart, loyal friend, and super sexy. I was cheering him on to get the girl all the way. The ending was very satisfying.

Billion Dollar Cowboy by Carolyn Brown

After Colton Nelson won the Texas Lottery, he stayed the same but the local women changed in a big way. The women in town went so far as to slip something in his drink to try and trap him and snag him. In spite of winning so much money and going from ranch hand to ranch owner, Colton remained the same nice, small-town guy he always was. Part of what keeps him centered is the support of his friends and family who work with him on his ranch. It’s those same friends & family who hatch a scheme to get him a girlfriend who is just as stable as he is to keep the gold diggers away. The woman they decide would be perfect for him is Laura Baker. Laura is working off a debt at the ranch. Her cousin Andy Joe took care of Laura’s sister’s gambling debts under a few conditions. Laura could not contact her sister while working at the ranch. Laura is a nice person but she has been an enabler for her sister. Laura has no initial designs on Colton. After watching her mother’s bad relationship experiences, she is in no rush to get into a relationship with a man herself. Andy and everybody else propose that she and Colton pretend to be a couple for a little to protect Colton from all the craziness from the local females. Though reluctant, they agree to go along with the charade, even when it becomes a fake engagement. I enjoyed this romance for many reasons. I enjoyed the supporting characters like Colton’s grandmother Maudie, and teenager Roxie. I liked how Laura filled a big sister role for Roxie. I liked that the story was at times funny, sweet, & sexy. The romance itself between Laura and Colton was interesting to watch develop. They were such a good fit together. I look forward to reading other books by this author.

Chasing Mrs. Right by Katee Robert

Although this is book 2 in this series, this is the first book I’ve read by this author. After reading it, I was extremely interested in reading Book 1 but was able to enjoy it as a stand-alone book. The book opens with Ian home from the military and at a “welcome home” party thrown by his family. Ian doesn’t really want to be there because he’s having a little trouble adjusting and getting back into the swing of life as a civilian. When it all gets to be too much, he runs out for some fresh air and bumps into Roxanne. Unbeknownst to him, Roxanne is his sister’s best friend. Roxanne is also unaware of who Ian is because she’s never seen what her friend Elle’s brother looks like. They both go back to the club to another level and hang out. They are both attracted & find that they click. Ian also finds himself soothed by Roxanne’s presence. After getting physical right away, they begin to become emotionally intimate as well. This is something that is difficult for them both in different ways, but especially Roxanne. Roxanne has major trust/commitment issues due to some bad past relationships and from observing her mother’s experiences. This book was very sexy & I look forward to reading more books from this author.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rules of Entanglement by Gina L. Maxwell

DA Vanessa MacGregor goes to Hawaii to help plan her best friend’s wedding while the bride-to-be & her future groom can’t be there themselves. She’ll be working with the friend’s MMA fighter brother who lives there. Vanessa and Jax get off on the wrong foot when they first meet at the start of the book. I admit that at first, I disliked Jax for the same reasons Vanessa did. She’s very organized and focused and he arrives late and has a super lackadaisical attitude while trying to be cute. Predictably, their two personalities clash at first. Vanessa finds Jax sexy but annoying. Jax finds Vanessa a little too uptight but hot and he likes that she is feisty and responds differently to him than most women. As a way to spend more time with her, Jax concocts a scheme in which he gets Vanessa to believe that the two of them have to pretend to be the engaged couple while working with the wedding planner and staying in the same hotel room. While I didn’t care for Jax at first, he grew on me over the course of the story and I saw his sexiness, and liked his attitude toward Vanessa and the respect and care he shows her. In a sense I, as the reader, was seduced by him along with Vanessa. I really enjoyed this story and watching their relationship grow over the few days they are together. This was a very sexy, very erotic story. The only that left me hanging was the unresolved issue of Vanessa’s sister at the end.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Darkness Avenged by Alexandra Ivy

For me, this book was in large part sexy paranormal romance but tiny part buddy movie. After the recent events of the last book, the vampire Santiago and legendary vampire clan chief Nefri are left with some sexual frustration and a longing for each other. The reason I compared this romance to a buddy movie is because Santiago & Nefri are both sent by respective groups with the same general mission – to get information out of the rogue vampire and ultimate evil henchman Gaius. While their overall mission may be the same, their style is a little different so it was fun to watch the sparks fly. Santiago is a fiery, passionate former brawler. Nefri is powerful but for years has tried to have her personal desires on lockdown in a quest for peace. I enjoyed the back and forth between the two and the sizzle factor. While Santiago is a sexy, strong alpha male, he treated Nefri with respect and was very seductive. I liked that they worked together even though it wasn’t easy at times. I enjoyed seeing another glimpse into the Levet/Yannah relationship. I would like to see them get together and things work out for them. I also really enjoyed the secondary romance between Roke and Sally. I can’t wait for their book. After reading the last book, I wasn’t expecting Sally to become more of a major character and get more of a backstory but I became interested in her character while reading this book. I liked how the author had things develop between Roke & Sally. It looks like Roke will be another sexy hero in this series.

Kneading To Die by Liz Mugavero

A sure sign that I like a mystery is that I can’t stop reading it. That’s how I felt about this cozy mystery. The main character, Stan, seemed very believable and real to me. She also seemed like a very strong female character, as evidenced by the way she stood up to her mother and current boyfriend. I enjoyed the small town feel and meeting the town regulars. The mystery itself kept me interested and kept me guessing. I wasn’t able to guess correctly who the murderer was ahead of time. I enjoyed the romantic interest and hope that continues in future books in the series. I hope no “romantic triangles” develop in the series because I find that distracting but I like the way the author has things moving in this first book in the series. I’m an animal lover, so I enjoyed the animal interactions, especially Scruffy – he was such a cutie. I very much look forward to the next book in this series.

One Texas Night by Jodi Thomas

This book is a compilation of four short stories. Having never read anything by this author I was pleasantly surprised. Of the four stories, my two favorite were “Amarillo by Morning” and “The Outlaw”. In “Amarillo by Morning”, rancher Hank Harris is invited to dinner along with a few other eligible bachelors. Aggie’s married sister Dolly is looking for potential husbands for Aggie. Aggie is very beautiful not eager to accept any of the men who are attracted to her based solely on her looks. Hank had no greater expectations going to Dolly’s other than getting a good meal. Just when it looks like Aggie will be a no-show and Hank steps outside, she strikes up a conversation with him from the safety and hiding spot near a window. She vents her frustration at being a “traveling sideshow” being passed from sister to sister with them trying to pawn her off on some man. She is not excited about the idea of marriage and everything it entails for a woman. She tells Hank how she used to help her father in his gunsmith workshop. Hank then asks her if she’d marry someone if it was a true partnership.
“Just two partners sharing the same house. Both bring in what they can as far as money goes. Both respecting the other’s privacy.”
She asks him what would happen if the man went back on her word. He says that she should make him give her his guns as a promise. When she later is introduced to the other men and hears all their insincere promises and profuse flattery, Hank just gives her his guns and asks her to meet him by the train station if she wants to choose him. This love story was so sweet and sexy at the same time. I loved that Aggie was not just beautiful but was a gunsmith as well. And Hank was so caring and such a sweetie.

In “The Outlaw”, the heroine, Cozette, is in a desperate situation. She’s unmarried and pregnant. This circumstance causes her to make up a fictitious fiancĂ© to avoid the wrath of her austere father. The opening of the story has her father on his deathbed, and Cozette waiting on her wedding day for a groom that she knows will never show up. She’s in even more of a bad spot because her father changed his will so that Cozette’s future husband, whoever he may be, will inherit the family ranch. Added to this mix is a dastardly uncle. Luckily for her, fate throws an outlaw into her path. However, Michael is not your typical bandit. He is actually an educated, gentle man who is just trying to make sure nothing happens to his bumbling uncles whom he loves. Cozette makes Michael a proposition – be her instant groom and she busts his uncles out of jail and send then on their way with the wedding gifts when her uncle is gone and the ranch can safely be hers. I loved this romance. Again – very sweet & very sexy. Michael is super caring toward Cozette and helps her a lot with the everyday workings of the ranch. I also liked Michael’s uncles & their bodyguard duty. They made me think of the three criminals from the film “We’re No Angels”.

I really enjoyed this book and will look for other books by this author.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Highland Werewolf Wedding by Terry Spear

Years ago, Elaine Hawthorn & Cearnach MacNeill briefly encountered each other during a very turbulent time in Elaine’s life. Years later, whether by luck or fate, they are thrown together again. Elaine traveled from her home base of Florida to Scotland in search of family treasure. At the same time, Cearnach is on his way to a friend’s wedding, to many people’s displeasure – including his own, out of a show of support. Their paths collide on a rain swept road and their lives are forever changed. For me, rather than a treasure hunt, this story was about Elaine and her personal journey to find answers about her family. One of the things I like about this series is that the heroines are all so different. They all have a lot of inner strength, even if it comes as a surprise to them. However, because of their varied personalities the paths they take to discover their strength are very different. I enjoyed this romance a lot. I found Elaine & Cearnach both very likable and the romance was very sexy and sweet at the same time. I liked that their romance wasn’t drowned out by all of the family members and family issues. I would love to read more stories in this series in this setting. Maybe a story for Calla or Guthrie?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hair Raising by Kevin J. Anderson

This installment of this zombie P.I. series starts with Dan doing some investigating for Rusty, a “full-time” werewolf. One of the major storylines in this book involves fighting between the “full-time” werewolves & the “monthlies”. The full-time werewolves are werewolves that are furry all the time. Monthlies are only furry during a full moon. As with the other books in this series, there are a few other storylines going at the same time. One of Dan’s other clients in this book is the local coroner, Archibald Victor. Victor hires him to look into his consumer complaints against a spare body part establishment. Looking into Victor’s complaints puts him in the path of zombie big time thug/businessman Tony Cralo, owner of Tony Cralo's Spare Parts Emporium. I always enjoy these books because they usually make me laugh, but there is usually one storyline that pulls at the heartstrings. For me, in this book, that would be the story of zombie Steve Halstead. Steve & Dan both became zombies and crawled out of their graves at the same time. Steve comes to Dan because of his son. Steve’s wife refuses to let him see his son claiming that seeing his father as a zombie will terrify him, yet she is demanding child support. Steve wants to be able to see his son. He also says that he left a good life insurance policy that should have provided for his son when he died. This is the other thing I love about this series – the characters & that you care about them. Even though a lot of things in these books are humorous, the “monsters” in these books are portrayed just like regular people. There are good and bad paranormal characters, not all of them are physically perfect. Many of them are totally average and might have a humdrum job – the only thing separating them from a regular human is fur, or scales, or they came back from death. I loved seeing the returning characters & I liked seeing the new characters like Adriana the zombie and Antoine Stickler, vampire tattoo artist. I would love to see a love match for Jerry the zombie – maybe Adriana or the patchwork princess? The ending was very satisfying. Loved the mysteries and can’t wait for the next installment in the series!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Cinderella Makeover by Hope Tarr

The backdrop of this book is a reality TV show called Project Cinderella in which geeky contestants are made over by a “fairy godmother”. Before meeting up again through the TV show boy genius CEO Greg Knickerbocker & fashion guru Francesca St. James first meet when Francesca goes to get a photograph for a magazine feature on Greg. Things do not go well. Greg views Francesca as attractive but pushy and intrusive. Francesca feels Greg is arrogant and a jerk. Fast forward a bit and Francesca has a job as a “fairy godmother” on a reality show, coaching contestants to turn from geek to chic. Greg entered the contest because even though he has tons of money, he is lonely and looking for that special someone. After reading Greg’s first interaction with Francesca, I was very surprised that he would go on a show like that, especially for the reasons he has. It suggests a vulnerability and romantic side that was not apparent at first. Francesca reveals hidden depths as well after learning of her relationship with her daughter. I truly enjoyed reading about how Greg and Francesca’s opinion of each other changes the more they get to know each other and watching their relationship grow. I thought this romance was sweet, sexy & I liked the characters. This is the first book I’ve read by this author but I will try others.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Honey Pie by Donna Kauffman

This is book 4 in this author’s “Cupcake Club” series but it is the first that I have read by this author. Even though this book is part of a series, I was able to enjoy it in spite of not having read the previous books.

At the opening of this book, Honey D’Amourvell is in a tough spot and things don’t get easier for her. She made the trek in her beat up old Bug from Oregon to Georgia because her beloved aunt died and left Honey her business property. Honey took this inheritance as a sign that she should make some changes in her life. Like her aunt Bea, Honey gets visions when she touches a person. Honey’s visions have always been more intense. The overload from her visions freaked her out when she was younger as well as others so she resigned herself to live as a virtual hermit, creating her art made of wood & clay and selling her artwork online. It has been lonely and difficult leading such a solitary existence but she feels it’s necessary to avoid the turmoil that comes from coming into contact with others and being subjected to her visions. With this unexpected inheritance, however, Honey dreams of having a physical shop to sell her artwork out of, teach classes, and hopefully connect with people as much as she’s able to. She expects her aunt’s business property to be vacant, open her shop and live above the business. When she actually gets to Sugarberry, much to her surprise, she finds that the building is leased to a cupcakery. She finds out that due to some planning and unforeseen things happening in her aunt’s life, the building is leased to the cupcakery for about 3 years. During that time, she can’t use the property or collect rent on it. So she’s in a strange town, no place for her business, nowhere to live, and her car in need of serious repair. Luckily her car problems lead her to the car shop owned by the very hot Dylan Ross. Dylan, while a nice guy, has insulated himself from the rest of the community. His family has an extremely bad reputation.

For me, this story was all about making connections and the path to recognizing a soul-mate. When Honey and Dylan first meet, it’s not love at first sight and they don’t jump into bed right away either. However, they both do feel drawn to each other for different inexplicable reasons. They realize that they both isolate themselves from others. As Honey puts it, they are both “cave dwellers” – Dylan by nature, and Honey out of what she believes is necessity. I loved the slow buildup of the romance. For me, the slowness allowed me to get to know the characters and care about their relationship more. It also made it extra hot when the sparks would fly out at unexpected moments and highlighted the chemistry between them. I liked the discussions Dylan & Honey have in the book. The things that Dylan said to Honey made me melt. Great romance and look forward to reading earlier books in this series and other books by this author.