Monday, July 29, 2013

Save the Date by Susan Hatler

We find out at the opening of this book that Kristen (main character) has made a very good career as a marriage and family counselor. She has her own practice and enjoys her work. There’s just one big problem. She recently found out that her boyfriend is a liar and a cheat. Not only that, but she discovers that she was actually the woman he was cheating on his wife with. Not only is Kristen emotionally wounded by this revelation, but it turns out to be crippling her professionally. She feels that since a large part of her job was evaluating people, she shouldn’t have been so blindsided by her ex. She also doesn’t feel capable to counsel others. I found Kristen to be a very sympathetic character and I was able to see her point of view. Her friends all try to be supportive but I don’t think they really get why the situation with her ex had such an impact on her ability to do her job. Ethan is one of Kristen’s friends. He’s had a secret crush on her and now that she’s single, he tries to nudge her in his direction. Ethan was such a sweetie. I loved this romance! I believe this is Book 4 in this “Better Date than Never” series but it is the first book I’ve read by this author. I definitely plan on hunting down the other books in this series.

Werewolves Be Damned by Stacey Kennedy

Nexi Jones is looking for revenge. Werewolves killed her human parents. It’s at that point she learns of the existence of the Otherworld and that, besides werewolves, there are many other supernatural things that go bump in the night. She also learns that her birth mother was a powerful witch who was murdered by an evil vampire. Her birth father – Drake – is something called a guardian. Nexi is part witch and part guardian. Nexi wants to train so that she will have the skills to hunt down and defeat the werewolf who killed her parents. Kyden – a super duper guardian – makes it his responsibility to train her. He also just happens to be majorly attracted to her as well. I liked the romance that develops between Nexi and Kyden. I also really enjoyed the world- building.  With all the great supernatural supporting characters in this book, werewolves, witches, vampires, etc., I forward to reading more books that take place in this world. The final battle scene was very intense and I liked how the heroine came to rescue the hero.

Love, Technically by Lynne Silver

Michelle Kolson is from a small town in Iowa. She moves away and snags a call center job in a big city as part of her plan to broaden her horizons. At the start of the story, she’s the new girl on the job and meets the cute but geeky Sark. He helps her out and they seem to have some chemistry. Unbeknownst to her, Sark is actually the nickname of company CEO Noah Frellish. I liked that Noah doesn’t start out deliberately trying to deceive Michelle. At first he just assumes, since his face is on billboards and the company is so popular, that she would know who he is. Later, when he realizes she still doesn’t know, he leaves her a note but she finds it too vague and misunderstands. He does love the fact that she seemed to like him before knowing he’s a big shot. He’s found that a lot of women flock to him for his wealth and notoriety. I thought the relationship that develops between Noah and Michelle was sweet and sexy. I also really liked that Michelle constantly took steps to continue her education and try new experiences – even after winning a smart, wealthy hottie. This is the first thing I’ve read by this author, but I would like to read more in the future.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Stone Guardian by Danielle Monsch


This is Book 1 in this author's "Entwined Realms" series. The heroine in this story is a human while the hero is a gargoyle. Part of me couldn't help but picture the gargoyles from the old cartoon while reading this. The gargoyle on the cover of this book, however, is much more attractive. In addition to the paranormal romance, there were also strong fantasy/action elements. I'm not usually a big fan of stories with a lot of fantasy/action, but I enjoyed this story and it kept me interested throughout. The gargoyle hero, Terak, was watching Larissa because of some hazy prophecy. I liked how their relationship slowly evolved. Terak was a strong alpha leader but was very sweet to Larissa and always treated her with respect. I liked that the heroine was practical and was able to realize that some stuff she could handle on her own, but that she needed help from others in some circumstances. This story also had me interested in the secondary characters like the mysterious mercenary Merc, Larissa's best bud Olivia, and others. I loved what a strong female character Fallon was. She seemed like a super cool ninja warrior right out of an anime. And what about Reign's obsession with Fallon? Is it blood lust or just regular lust? I look forward to next book in this series to see what happens with some of these characters.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

He's The One by Linda Lael Miller, Jill Shalvis, Lucy Monroe, Kate Angell, and Cat Johnson

I enjoyed all of the stories in this anthology but my favorites were the ones by Linda Lael Miller, Lucy Monroe, and Kate Angell.

In “Batteries Not Required” by Linda Lael Miller, Gayle Hayes is heading back to her hometown to handle a business transaction for her mom. Going back stirs up both good and bad memories – largely because of her then boyfriend Tristan. Naturally, the first person she meets is Tristan. I enjoyed the sexual tension and romantic longing in this story. I liked that Gayle stuck up for herself, even while feeling like an outsider. I was very happy with how things worked out. The story’s title refers to an ongoing funny plot point in which she tells Tristan that she does have a current boyfriend and his name is Bob. Of course most women know B.O.B. stands for battery operated boyfriend.

I am usually a fan of Lucy Monroe and she doesn’t disappoint with this story, “Seducing Tabby”. Tabby Payton is not really being insecure when she assumes that sexy Calder Maxwell is approaching her only in order to pump her for info about her sister. The probability is high because it has happened so many times before - until now. Calder is described as a Cary Grant, classic Hollywood leading man type – total hottie. I loved the wooing Calder does – very romantic. He’s a very determined, “you’re the only one for me and I think you’re awesome” kind of hero, which is fabulous.

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” by Kate Angell felt a little bit like a Cinderella story but it was also a fabulous story of reunited lovers. Violet Cates works hard at her aunt’s diner – something she’s done since high school. She tries to put money aside for her dream of one day having her own restaurant, but her sister is a big drain on her money. Her sister is pretty much a parasite – stealing what money Violet doesn’t already gives her, using her place to crash and let her kids run wild. At the opening of the story she meets her long ago true love, Brad. She and Brad used to both work for her at the diner. It was young love and everything was great until Brad left town to pursue his dreams. Once Violet and Brad are reunited it’s as nothing had changed and they were still those two kids in love. I found this story very sweet and sexy at the same time. I like that it was finally Violet standing up to her sister, with Brad’s support.
Overall, fun, sexy, sweet summer reading.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones by Kaitlyn Dunnett

This is the first book I've read by this author but it is Book 7 in the "Liss MacCrimmon Scottish" series. I was still able to very much enjoy this series without having read the previous books. However, I am now eager to hunt down copies of the older ones. This was such a great example of a cozy mystery. The setting is the small Maine town of Moosetookalook. At the opening of this story, Liss (female sleuth) is involved in putting together a community fundraiser for Halloween. There is a haunted house to put together - Yay! "Haunted houses" are always fun in these types of mysteries. In addition to the strange goings-on at the old Chadwick mansion (haunted house), there is the legendary gangster's lost loot that some characters are fascinated by and try to find. If that wasn't enough, there a couple of missing parolees, hidden rooms, and a mysterious stranger living in town. I liked that the author gave a believable reason for Liss to be playing detective. I appreciated the humor thrown in the mystery as well as the suspenseful situations. The situation with 12yr. old Boxer kept me interested as well - totally pulled at my heartstrings. The characters really helped make for a great story in addition to the mystery. I loved this book, can't wait for the next one, plan on hunting down the previous ones.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fancy Free by Shelley Munro

This was an interesting read for me - very different than I had expected. There are lots of surprises and juxtapositions. The story is set in the present day but at times it had the feel of being set some bygone era. The hero is suggested to be a lothario but is no empty-headed pretty face, rather an educated man working in product research. The story has the trappings of an erotic romance but the mystery and humor elements were very strong and I very much enjoyed them. At the opening of the story Alice Beasley goes to the reading of her aunt's will and is shocked to find that she's inherited her aunt's condom company. She also has to stay around for six months or she only gets a smaller chunk of change. Alice is not greedy, but she has some school debts hanging over her head and she craves financial security because of how things were in her younger years. Her uptight, controlling boyfriend is not a happy camper. He rather coldly informs Alice that his stodgy employers will look down at him for having a fiance associated with a condom company. I like that Alice didn't back down and she stayed and followed her own path, leaving the dour fiance to book it out of town. This also clears the way for James (manager of aforementioned condom company) to flirt shamelessly with Alice and entice her. Through work, they work closely together and become romantically & sexually involved. The only obstacles to them being completely together are in their own minds. Alice thinks she might just be another notch on his bedpost and that their sexual relationship is only work motivated. He thinks her constant preoccupation with money and the state of the company indicates a greedy and grasping nature like his mother and sister. Besides the romance there is the mystery of corporate sabotage and leaks. Alice also finds that she is being stalked by a very creepy couple disguised as a clown and a dog. This story was able to keep my interest throughout. I would look forward to another story in this setting perhaps involving Luke.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fangs For Nothing by Erin McCarthy & Kathy Love

This was a very fun light summer read. There are two main romances in this book: Johnny & Lizette, and Drake & Josie. Johnny, Drake, and Lizette are all vampires and Josie is a human. I preferred Drake & Josie’s story just because Johnny wasn’t really my type. To his credit, what you see is what you get with Johnny. I also appreciated the fact that he was aware of his personality flaws like his irresponsibility and impulsiveness. That he realizes those things about himself and that by the end of the book he desires to work on himself a bit show his gradual slide toward maturity. It’s also fair to say that Lizette could probably use somebody like him in her life to help balance her out since she’s been so serious, so focused, for so long. Drake & Josie’s story was a little more interesting to me because I liked Drake more, but also because I felt like they were working as a team to try and unravel a mystery. I thought the interactions between the two of them through the story were sweet, sexy, and funny. I enjoyed reading the bits in which the couples found out details about the previous evening from other characters along the way. I was able to get funny visuals in my mind. Overall, a funny vampire mystery romp & great for some summer light reading.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

One Night Heir by Lucy Monroe

This is book 1 in the "By His Royal Decree" series.

Maksim Yurkovich is Crown Prince of Volyarus. From an early age, duty to the throne and his people was drilled into him. He also grew up witnessing his parents' dysfunctional relationship. At the opening of this story, you see Maks enjoying a romantic relationship with Gillian Harris. He is all set and eager to propose until a wrench is thrown into his plans. He was able to catch a look at a recent physical Gillian had. In the results, it mentioned something in her medical past that led Maks to believe the odds of her being able to get pregnant and give birth were extremely low. Even though Maks claims to not believe in love, to say that he was disappointed by the findings would be a gross understatement. However, duty to his royal office is intrinsic to who he is. Providing heirs to the throne is something he feels obligated to do. Gillian is devastated when Maks breaks up with her. The irony is that the reason he did so was because he believed she couldn't conceive, but he finds out that she recently found out that she was pregnant with Maks's child. He, of course, goes to her and demands they marry right away. She is still hurting over the breakup and doesn't want to marry if he doesn't love her. She tells him that if he loved her, he never would have let her go so easily. She lectures him about the importance of love, what it is, and how it's worth fighting for. He, very astutely, counters by saying that by Gillian's own definition she must not have really loved him since she let him go so easily and didn't fight for him. I enjoyed the verbal dueling (never got really nasty) and the battle of wills between this hero & heroine. You could see both points of view and how the dysfunctional relationships both sets of parents had on their decisions and insecurities. I also loved watching Maks try to woo Gillian and make her feel about him as she once did. Very sexy.
The next book in this series is Prince of Secrets also by Lucy Monroe.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Murder on the Rocks by Allyson K. Abbott

This is Book 1 in the “A Mack’s Bar Mystery”. The female main character – Mack – was easy to sympathize with and like right away. She has a condition called synesthesia. Apparently, this is it’s a condition that affects the senses so that they don’t respond normally. The person will taste or see sounds, hear or fell smells, etc. It was a little difficult to understand at first but I found it very interesting. The most useful aspects of her condition came into play with Mack being able to tell when something has been changed in a room or an object moved. Since she’s able to tell if something’s “off” when somebody’s speaking, she’s also a human lie detector. I also liked that there was a double mystery to solve – the death of Mack’s father months before, and the more recent murder of Ginny. Technically there was a third mystery as well – the sabotage of Mack’s bar. All the mysteries kept me interested up until the very end. I enjoyed Mack’s regular bar patrons as secondary characters and suspects. I loved the relationship and potential love interest between Mack and Duncan Albright. So many times in mysteries with a female sleuth and male cop love interest, the cop will come off as very condescending. That was not the case in this mystery. Albright was a great guy and listened to Mack and took her and her abilities seriously. I hope their relationship continues and is able to progress. The ending and solution to the mystery was satisfying and believable. I found this book highly entertaining and look forward to the next book in the series.