Until There Was You (Coming Home, #2)

Until There Was You (Coming Home, #2) - Jessica Scott Title: Until There Was You

Series: Coming Home bk 2

Author: Jessica Scott


He plays by the rules, she’s not afraid to break them. Now these two strong-willed army captains will prove that opposites attract . . .

A by-the-book captain with a West Point background, Captain Evan Loehr refuses to mix business with pleasure—except for an unguarded instance years ago when he succumbed to the deep sensuality of redheaded beauty Claire Montoya. From that moment on, though, Evan has been at odds with her, through two deployments to Iraq and back again. But when he is asked to train a team prepping for combat alongside Claire, battle-worn Evan is in for the fight of his life.

Strong, gutsy, and loyal, Captain Claire Montoya has worked hard to earn the rank on her chest. In Evan, Claire sees a rigid officer who puts the rules before everything else—including his people. When the mission forces them together, Claire soon discovers that there is more to Evan than meets the eye. He’s more than the rank on his chest; he’s a man with dark secrets and deep longings. For all their differences, Evan and Claire share two crucial passions: their country and each other.

I'm a sucker for great military story so when I was given the opportunity to read Until There Was You I knew that I was going to like it because Jessica has actually lived and still lives the life she writes about.

One of the things I liked loved about this story was how real it felt when it came to the military and how the people in the Army associate with each other. From how Evan and Claire can be together to how Claire shouldn't have a friendship with her best friend simply because she was an officer and he was enlisted. Also the language they use. I have to admit I've read a lot of military romances and I've never heard half of the terms that are used outside the military shows my family loves to watch.

The story takes place over a couple of weeks while they are on a training mission, to prepare a unit for deployment. Because of the way Claire and Evan view orders they but heads a lot. All while trying to ignore the sexual tension between them.

I'm a sucker for damaged heroes and Evan is carrying around some massive trauma from when he was a teen, so much so that he struggles with letting anyone in. Until Claire railroads past his defenses.

It took me awhile to warm up to Claire, but once I did I really liked her, and understood why she wouldn't turn her back on her friend and also why she had a problem letting people in.

One of the problems between Evan and Claire is how Claire is dealing with her best friend who is an enlisted man. I loved this story line and wanted more of Reza. I was really bummed when there was no real resolution to his story until I found out he is getting his own book.

I do have to admit that this was a romance unlike any romance I've read and I liked that about it. Neither Evan or Claire are hearts and flowers people. They are soldiers who have spent plenty of time in war zones and know what really matters in life. When Claire, for reasons you find out in the book finally makes her decision it is simple and very much in tune with who they are as people.

This is one book I can honestly say had me wanting more as soon as I finished it.

Grade B+
Review by: Heather
Lexie - Kimberly Dean Title: Lexie

Series: Triple X bk 1

Author: Kimberly Dean

Genre: Contemporary

Lexie Underhill works her tail off in hopes of winning her adoptive father’s approval. It’s never enough. The stinging proof? He’s brought in a reorganization expert. As if the prospect of losing her job in the family business isn’t enough, Cameron Rowe’s sexy, intimidating presence makes her palms sweat.

When Lexie’s face appears on a scandalous freeway billboard, her protestations of innocence go unheard. With orders to save the family name—or else—she marches into the bar the billboard was advertising and comes face-to-face with an identical twin sister. Roxie is wild and free, everything Lexie isn’t. Before the night is out, she welcomes the chance to explore her own sensuality.

As she dances wantonly on the bar, suddenly Cam is there, kissing her as if he has the right. The sizzle between them breaks out in four-alarm desire, but Lexie has recalibrated her life plan. And the equation doesn’t factor in Cam—until she’s sure where his loyalties lie. With her…or her father’s company.

Warning: Not all business relationships are formal and stodgy. Suits and ties (actually, all clothing) are optional

This is the first book of Kimberly's I've read and I have to say that as soon as I was finished I immediately went to her website and looked up her books.

I have to admit that this story hit close to home for me as I'm an adoptive mom but I would never ever do what Lexie's parents did in how they treated her.

The sparks between Cam and Lexie are hot enough to light your kindle on fire and keep you tuned in to the story to see how it pans out.

As Lexie and Roxie search to discover why they were separated and Lexie deals with her family she discovers that the one person she never thought she could lean on was the one person she could. Cam.

Cam is an enigma for most of the story as he keeps everything very close. The only thing we can see for sure is that he wants Lexie and he will do anything for Lexie.

Roxie is a serious trip. While she looks just like Lexie, she is nothing like her, and the sparks fly when she meets Lexie's family. I can't wait to see what happens in her book.

As soon as the story was done I wanted more of it as it leaves off with a major cliffhanger.

Grade B+
Review by: Heather
Wicked as They Come - Delilah S. Dawson Title: Wicked as they come

Author: Delilah Dawson

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Have you ever heard of a Bludman? They’re rather like you and me—only more fabulous, immortal, and mostly indestructible. (They’re also very good kissers.)Delilah S. Dawson’s darkly tempting debut drops her unsuspecting heroine into a strange faraway land for a romantic adventure that’s part paranormal, part steampunk . . . and completely irresistible.When Tish Everett forces open the ruby locket she finds at an estate sale, she has no idea that a deliciously rakish Bludman has cast a spell just for her. She wakes up in a surreal world, where Criminy Stain, the dashing proprietor of a magical traveling circus, curiously awaits. At Criminy’s electric touch, Tish glimpses a tantalizing future, but she also foresees her ultimate doom. Before she can decide whether to risk her fate with the charming daredevil, the locket disappears, and with it, her only chance to return home. Tish and Criminy battle roaring sea monsters and thundering bludmares, vengeful ghosts and crooked Coppers in a treacherous race to recover the necklace from the evil Blud-hating Magistrate. But if they succeed, will Tish forsake her fanged suitor and return to her normal life, or will she take a chance on an unpredictable but dangerous destiny with the Bludman she’s coming to love?
The beginning starts a little slow for me but only because Ms. Dawson spends a lot of time introducing the world and its inhabitants to us and Tish. Not that I objected but it’s not until the halfway mark that the action picks up and Tish’s adventure really starts.

There are three main characters in here. Tish Everett, Criminy Stain, and Jonah Goodwill. Tish Everett is a likable heroine whose actions and emotions are realistic for what she is going through. Called a Stranger, she is the rare human that travels to Sang through her dreams. Burdened with some heavy baggage and emotional scars, she finds herself somewhat overwhelmed by all that has happened. She has been dropped into an alternative world with a man who speaks to her at a level that scares her to death, she has no idea if she can go home, and she’s on the low end of the evolutionary food chain. Even the bunnies are more dangerous than her.

“Did you dream that?” he asked
“The rabbit? Sure, I suppose I did. He’s a cutie. Probably represents my kindness. Or innocence. Something like that.”
The rabbit sniffed my foot, nose twitching, eyes bright. I smiled. And then it bit me, sinking fangs into my bare ankle.

She is understandably upset. She adapts easier to the world and its inhabitants better than the romance. At times I found her fear of love and unwillingness to be honest with herself trying. She equivocates love with captivity and fights to avoid anything like that with a passion. While it’s understandable after what she went through, it’s still irritating at times. Even with her stubbornness, her intelligence, humor, and genuine joy of life is appealing.

Criminy Stain has to be the most delightful hero I have run across in a while. Born a bludman, he is like a vampire where he drinks blood but follows none of the other stereotypes. Though he is stronger, has a longer then average longevity, and can heal faster then humans, he is still alive. He can walk in the sun, and garlic, stakes, ect…don’t work on him. An alpha-beta mix, he is an naughty rogue who’s strong will, playful personality, and kind heart hides a romantic streak a mile wide. How can you not love a man who wishes for his own true love? And then waits forever for her to come, because his belief in her is that strong? When he finds Tish he instantly knows she has to be handled carefully. He delights her, confounds her, intrigues her and charms her. He knows he must keep her own her toes if his wish is to come true. I love he never demands but rather nudges her; wanting her explore and be everything she can without changing a single piece of her. Even if she chooses to leave him, he is willing to let her go because of that love. He’s not perfect but you can’t help but fall in love with him yourself.

Jonah Goodwill is a human and a Stranger like Tess. Having lived in Sang for 20 years, he has grown to hate it . As we divulge deeper into the story, his motives for hating it are given life.

The chemistry between Tish and Criminy is a sweet and romantic with a healthy dose of ribald humor. I love watching their romance unfold, never knowing what would happen. Ms. Dawson doesn’t make it easy for them but then as Criminy says, “Nothing easy is worth having.” There is a small love triangle that is a little bothersome but it is used more as a learning experience for Tish than anything else. There are some smexy love scenes that give you just enough then fade out and you are required to use your imagination. Thankfully, I have LOTS of imagination.

Grade B
Review by: Helen
When Temptation Burns - J.K. Beck Title: When Temptation Burns

Series: The Shadow Keepers bk 6

Author: J.K Beck

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Half human, half daemon, Ryan Doyle is a driving force for justice. As an agent for the Preternatural Enforcement Coalition, he’s investigating murders linked to a Los Angeles fringe group bent on exposing the shadow world to humanity. He is a master of self-control, keeping his deepest hungers hidden beneath a veneer of cool professionalism. Until he crosses paths with sinfully sweet Andy Tarrent, a gutsy reporter who makes him crave all the pleasures he’s denied himself for centuries.

Tracking a band of conspiracy theorists eager to spill blood, Andy has uncovered the story of her career. Brooding, mysterious Ryan is an enigma—but their dance of seduction is hotter than any fantasy. As they race to stop mass murder on the streets, Andy knows that Ryan is holding back, keeping secrets. But getting close to Ryan means opening the door to a world that will challenge her deepest beliefs—including what it means to truly surrender to love.

This book felt more like a Paranormal Thriller than a Paranormal Romance. Though Andy and Doyle do provide strong romantic elements, they share the narrative perspective with many of the major players in the plot. Both heroes and villains get to tell their side of the story, and Beck doesn’t flinch from weaving emotionally and morally complex themes into the plot.

It was just that depth that allowed the plot to completely steal the show in this book. The romance was enjoyable, the action scenes were often too over the top for me, but the cat and mouse game of law enforcement trying to contain angry, powerful groups intent on their own vendettas was both thrilling and nuanced. Though this was my first of The Shadow Keepers series, I had no difficulty catching up and buying into the plot. Beck does a wonderful job giving both sides of the conflict human elements, and explores how violence, revenge, fear, forgiveness, and love all impact communities, whether mortal or paranormal.

While I appreciated the minimum of unnecessary drama, I would have welcomed a few interesting flaws or details in the main characters. Though Beck’s plot was morally nuanced, the main characters themselves rarely push boundaries. Doyle and Andy are more heroic, plucky, and clear-eyed than the lesser characters around them, which meant they were rather more predictable and less interesting than the twisty, difficult plot in which they starred.

Grade B
Review by: Helen
Beyond Shame - Kit Rocha Title: Beyond Shame

Series: Beyond bk 1

Author: Kit Rocha

Genre: Dystopia Erotic

All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond–beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain, and beyond her stiflingly restrictive existence as a councilman’s daughter. But only ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms decades earlier. The sectors surrounding Eden house the corrupt, the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. Jas clawed his way up from nothing to stand at the right hand of Sector Four’s ruthless leader, and he’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life. But no fight ever prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet. Her innocence is undeniable, but so is their intense sexual attraction, and soon they’re crossing every boundary Noelle barely knew she had. But if she wants to belong to Jas, first she’ll have to open herself to the gang, to a dangerous world of sex, lust and violence. A world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.

I'm a really picky erotic reader. So when I saw this book in Netgalley the blurb intrigued me enough to get it. What I never expected was for it to suck me and for it to keep me up till 3am reading. Through out the book there is one main them, that of self-discovery.

When I started reading this book I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd never read anything by either of the people who make up Kit Rocha.

From the first page I was hooked. The world building in this story is unlike I have read before and that is saying a lot considering how many books I read and have read. The attention to detail was so fine that I really believed this new world existed.

Noelle and Jasper are very intriguing characters.

Noelle comes from the city Eden, where there are no emotions, and everything is supposed to be pure and clean. After arriving in the sectors however she finds the place she has always longed for. A place where she can be herself.

Jasper comes from a very different world. At the age of ten he was sold to a farmer and then as an adult he was traded to Dallas and then became his most trusted man.

From the moment these two meet the sparks are so strong anyone who seems them together knows there is something going on between them, and boy howdy is there. The sexual tension and the sex is so hot I thought my kindle was going to catch on fire.

This relationship isn't all roses however as they have some major obstacles to go through, and no I'm not going to tell you what they are just know that their there. In my opinion they make the story that much richer.

There is also a great cast of secondary characters who add to the richness of this story., and I can't wait to find out more about these characters, what makes them tick and why they are now in the Sectors and no longer in the City.

Beyond Shame is one of those books that I am so very glad I took a chance on and read because it gave me a story and cast of characters I KNOW I will re-visit often. Heck I told someone they needed to read it, when they read the blurb they didn't think they would like I told them to trust me, and a day later they admitted I was right.

So trust me when I say you won't want to miss this book. BTW I will never look at a tattoo parlor the same again :)

Grade A+
Review by: Heather
Playing to Win - Jaci Burton Title: Playing to Win

Series: Play by Play

Author: Jaci Burton

Genre: Contemporary

Someone’s going to have to let down their guard…

Football star Cole Riley is notorious for doing as he pleases—on the field and off. He parties hard and fights harder, but if he doesn’t clean up his act, his career is over—so Cole reluctantly agrees to work with image makeover consultant Savannah Brooks. He’s not used to being told what to do, especially by some (admittedly hot) Southern belle. As for Savannah, she’s not convinced she can transform this cocky (and aggressively sexy) force of nature. But she’s determined to give it her best shot.

When the sparks start to fly, Savannah lays down the ground rules: no personal complications. If she can turn off the tingle she feels every time Cole gives her a hot stare with his gorgeous baby blues, he can turn off his desire as well. But for two people determined to have it all, a hands-off policy can only last so long before one of them yields.

I have loved the last two books in this series so I knew I was going to like this book. I didn't think I was going to love it, and I did.

From the moment Colin showed up on the page I had a feeling there was more to his attitude and behavior than met the eye. And the more we got to see of him I was right. He's a man who has been burned badly in his career, from being traded from team to team. Now he doesn't let anyone close.

Savannah was one of those characters I wasn't sure I was going to like. But the more I got to know her the more I liked her and how she was able to see the real Cole.

I do have to admit that I wasn't sure how they would work, but the more we saw of them together the more they worked together and they seemed like they'd been together for a long time. I also loved that we got to see another branch of the Riley Family and catch up with the others.

Of all the Play by Play books I have to say this is one of my favorites. If you like football books then you won't want to miss this, as it has it all. A great player, a team that has some great players which only makes the hero better, and heroine who doesn't understand how she impacts the hero.

Grade A-/B+
Review by: Heather
Anything He Wants - Sara Fawkes Title: Anything He Wants

Series: Dominated by the Billionaire part 1

Author: Sara Fawkes

Genre: Erotica

First published as a five-part e serial novel, Anything He Wants inflamed imaginations everywhere and became a national bestseller. Now available for the first time ever as a complete book, this edition contains never-before-released scenes and special bonus material. Don’t miss this erotic tale of a powerful billionaire who always gets what he wants and the young woman who’s about to enter his exclusive realm--a world of glittering opulence and all-consuming passion, where she’ll explore the darkest reaches of her own desire.

Lucy Delacourt's temp position isn't quite her dream job but it pays the bills. The highlight of her day is riding the elevator in the mornings with a handsome stranger. Tall, dark, and sexy as hell, Lucy knows he's way out of her league, but a girl can look, right?

Everything changes the day the stranger seduces her. Completely out of character, she yields without a fight, but she has no idea her wanton acts with a man whose name she doesn't know will change her life forever. Because the sexy stranger is none other than Jeremiah Hamilton, billionaire CEO of Hamilton Industries, and one taste isn't nearly enough to satisfy his need. As the billionaire pulls Lucy deeper into his world of high stakes business deals and ruthless takeovers, he demands nothing less than her complete surrender. But even as enemies seek deadly revenge against him, she’ll discover that her greatest threat is falling for her fiercely guarded boss…and yielding to her own darkest needs.

I normally don't post spoilers in my reviews, however to truly understand my thoughts and feelings on this review I can't be vague, I have to give specifics.

When I received this book as an arc to review I honestly had no clue what to expect. I hadn't read another serial book, even though this was compiled into one book, so that it read as one book.

When the book started I have to admit it felt a little far fetched to me, I mean really the opening chapter has them having sex as strangers in the elevator on the way to work. And then it happened again at the end of the day. No names exchanged, at least none that I remember.

From this beginning I didn't have very high hopes for the book. By the time they got to France however I was feeling a little better about the book, there seemed to be a solid plot going on with the introduction of Jeremiah's brother and their relationship, and the intrigue with who is trying to kill Jeremiah.

While the potential was there for this to something really good to push the story line along it became something that it should never have become.

I have a couple of real hard lines that absolutely cannot be crossed in my books, and one of those rules is that you do not and I mean DO NOT take 2 good guys who are best friends and former special forces teammates and have one betray the other one and sacrifice their love to save your own. (Yes this is the story from the rant). To me you have just pissed on a very sacred relationship. You have them work together to save them both.

In the last chapter the author does this to to Jeremiah and Ethan. She does some other things to Jeremiah while he is a Ranger that make him out to be a bad guy. If she knew anything about this kind of brotherhood, then she would know that the scenario she painted of the way that Jeremiah left the Rangers and the why of he had to leave. The way this was written completely takes away why he became a Ranger in the first place. Then she shits on that relationship yet again by having Ethan betray.

At this point I was completely done with the story, but as there was a little bit left I kept reading. And became completely pissed off by the ending as well. I barely tolerated the ending of Fifty Shades when Ana left Gideon, however that ending made sense. This one just pissed me off. I want a HEA at the end of my book, or the potential for one and with the way this book ended I honestly didn't see that happening.

There was so much potential in this book, and I have to say I kept waiting for the potential to be realized and it never was.

I can honestly say that for the first time ever in all the years I have been reviewing books I have never been so pissed off with a book. I understand that the author is writing part two of this book right now, and I have to say that IF and that is a big IF, the author corrects everything that went wrong in this book, I MIGHT read that just to see if she fixes all of her missteps with this book.

When it comes to this book, I say save your money. There are better books out there, and I hope that the author fixes her missteps from this book in the next book.

Grade F
The Marriage Bargain - Jennifer Probst Title: The Marriage Bargain

Series: Marriage to a Billionaire bk 1

Author: Jennifer Probst

Genre: Contemporary

A marriage in name only...

To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend's older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?

Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans…

My two loves in reading are Historical and Contemporary Romance. One of my FAVORITE plot lines in historical romance is the “marriage of convenience”. So when I saw this book was a Contemporary Romance with a “marriage of convenience” plot I jumped right on it. I think this is hard to pull of in the year of 2012 – Probst did an ok job with this plot line. I did have moments of eye rolling – i.e., Alexa – “I need $150,000 to pay off my parents house, so I’m going to marry my best friends brother, but not tell him why I need the money”. Nick – “I’m going to marry Alexa, even though I’ve sworn off marriage, but if I don’t marry someone I won’t get my father’s company.”

This is what I liked in the book – the sexual tension between the characters, and Alexa. She was a strong female character, but not bitchy strong. What I didn’t really like was Nick – I had some issues with Nick. I guess I don’t do well with commitment phobes and guys who put their careers first. Also some misunderstanding happen between them that could have been prevented if Nick would of just asked one question.

Overall this is a good summer read – kind of brainless and forgettable, but good sex scenes and chemistry between the couple. I just wish my favorite plot line was handled differently. :-( Not sure what all of the hype is on Amazon about this book? It’s a best seller and looks like it has some high star reviews. It’s not badly priced – so IMO it was worth the $3 bucks.

Grade: B-
Review by: Janon
Son of the Morning - Linda Howard Title:Son of the Morning

Author: Linda Howard

Genre: Contemporary

A scholar specializing in ancient manuscripts, Grace St. John never imagined that a cache of old documents she discovered was the missing link to a lost Celtic treasure. But as soon as she deciphers the legend of the Knights of the Templar -- long fabled to hold the key to unlimited power -- Grace becomes the target of a ruthless killer bent on abusing the coveted force. Determined to stop him, Grace needs the help of a warrior bound by duty to uphold the Templar's secret for all eternity. But to find him -- and to save herself -- she must go back in time . . . to fourteenth-century Scotland . . . and to Black Niall, a fierce man of dark fury and raw, unbridled desire. . . .

This is probably my 4th Linda Howard book that I’ve read in the past few months. I’m not a big Romantic Suspense fan but I do love my Linda Howard. This started out with a bang and I mean literally. In fact I was like – “wow that was pretty harsh, not sure if I’m going to like this book.”. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but Grace St. John the heroine goes through some pretty bad events through this book. Grace is one tough, smart cookie – a well written heroine.

This book really captured my attention and for awhile I thought it was going to become my favorite Linda Howard book. I loved how Grave out smarted the bad guys at the beginning and middle of the book. Howard can write some pretty smart and intriguing stuff that I would never think of. This book is also a time travel – so if you love the time travel twist I think you will enjoy this book.

I have 1 problem with this book. The last 25% of it. I just don’t like how the heroine and hero interacted at the end. I was hoping for more action with them defeating the bad guys. But they did that in about 1 page and the rest was them either fighting, talking or apart.

Overall this will not be a book that I will forget soon and I recommend it to all Romantic Suspense fans. Remember is was written in 1997 – so no cell phones, no high technology no FaceBook, LOL. :-).

Grade: A-
Review by: Janon
Hajar's Hidden Legacy - Maisey Yates Title: Hajar's Hidden Legacy

Author: Maisey Yates

Genre: Category romance (contemporary)

Synopsis: Beauty...

Princess Katharine has always been destined for a political marriage. Her heart heavy, she prepares to meet her future husband—the man whisperers in his royal kingdom call the Beast of Hajar...

...and the Scarred Sheikh

Concealing his disfigurement from public scrutiny, Sheikh Zahir rules his country from within the castle walls, allowing no one in. Until duty demands he carry on the Hajar family dynasty, and allow his new bride to cross the threshold.

Zahir expects Katharine to flee at first sight. Yet her unflinching gaze fires Zahir's blood, their attraction burning hotter than the scorching desert sands...

Review: I loved this book! It's right up there with Maisey's "Girl On A Diamond Pedestal".

Zahir has spent the past five years dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), following the deaths of his mother, father and older brother in an explosion during a public ceremony in Hajar.

Katherine was supposed to marry Zahir's older brother, Malik, so she's spent the past five years enjoying a sense of freedom and independence. That all changes however, when her father becomes ill and a family member threatens to destabilise Austrich if there isn't a male regent to manage the kingdom's affairs until her teenaged brother comes of age.

Katherine braves Zahir's fierce demeanor and reclusive habits to convince him to honor the marriage contract - if Malik died, Zahir would marry her instead, in order to save her brother's future and her country.

The sparks, oh how they fly, when Zahir discovers Katherine actually moved into the palace rather than return home as he ordered. The princess obviously convinces the 'beast sheikh" (as Maisey nicknamed him) to honor the deal but the real prize is this mutually scarred couple finding their own HEA.

Trust me, you'll cheer each of them on at different points in the book and wish you had more to read at the end.

Review by: Sasha
The Nurse He Shouldn't Notice - Susan Carlisle Title: The Nurse He Shouldn't Notice

Author: Susan Carlisle

Genre: Contemporary HQN Medical Romance

Dr. Court Armstrong is running from the past, a flight that takes him straight to the doorstep of a Ghanaian hospital and Nurse Maggie Everett. Working with firebrand Maggie is a challenge Court relishes every second of, but he's in her world now—and he'll have to keep his distance if he wants his heart to survive intact….

Ever since I discovered the PILES of HQN category romances at my little library when I was 13 I have loved them. So when I was asked to read this book I of course said yes.

I love heroes who are running from something and end up finding themselves in the place they ran to. This is what happens with Court. From the moment he arrives in Africa, he begins to feel things he doesn't want to.

Maggie is a woman who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it. And what she wants is funding for the medical clinic she runs in Africa. So when the man who turned down the funding they are in desperate need of shows up she decides to show him why he needs to fund the clinic.

What I really enjoyed about this story was how both of them changed over the course of the story, and we got to see them come together to save the life of a child they have come to love.

If you like quick reads that take you away to a new location and damaged heroes then you won't want to miss this book.

Grade B+
Review by: Heather

After the Kiss: The Stiletto Series - Lauren Layne Title: After the Kiss

Series: Sex, Love, and Stiletto's Book #1

Author: Lauren Layne

Genre: Romance

Blurb: In the first book of a delightful new series from Lauren Layne, the star columnist of Stiletto magazine will do anything for a story. Anything . . . except fall in love.
Julie Greene loves flings. Loves steamy first dates, sizzling first kisses, and every now and then, that first sexy romp between the sheets. Comfy pants, sleepy Sundays, movie nights on the couch? Shudder. But when Julie gets assigned the hardest story of her career—a first-person account of that magical shift between dating and “I do”—she’ll need a man brave enough to give a total commitment-phobe a chance at more.
Normally, Mitchell Forbes would be exactly that man. A devastatingly hot workaholic who tends to stay in relationships for far too long, he should be the perfect subject for Julie’s “research.” But what Julie doesn’t know is that Mitchell is looking to cut loose for once in his life. And the leggy journalist notorious for avoiding love is exactly the type of no-strings fling he’s looking for. In other words, Mitchell is the polar opposite of what Julie needs right now. And, at the same time, he’s exactly what she wants.

Thoughts: This book wasn't quite what I was expecting. For some reason I had the impression that the characters knew of each other prior to the article assignment, though I'm not sure why I thought that. Which is not the case. But I also had the book pegged as sort of book version of the movie "How to Lose A Guy In Ten Days". Which it is for the most part.

There are elusive wisps of déjà vu as you read it. But even though it has a tone to it that is reminiscent of the movie, the author does a wonderful job making this book stand out all by itself. The characters can be a bit hard to warm up to at first, but once you get past their first meet and greet, it all starts flowing more smoothly - and you start becoming more invested in the characters.

And even though the book is a build up for a series about the girls (known as Dating, Love, and Sex in their writing circle), the focus stays where it belongs - on Julie and Mitchell. The other characters are included of course, especially when Julie needs to vent or gain some perspective, but they don't push their way into Julie's story - which I think is good. You get an impression of who they are, and learn enough that you want to read their own books, but not enough that it detracts from this story and it's plotline. Which seems to be the trend these days.

Overall, if you're looking for a light, romantic comedy - you can't go wrong with this one!

Rate: B+
Review by: Sarah

Surrender to Sultry - Macy Beckett Title: Surrender to Sultry

Series: Sultry Springs book 3

Author: Macy Beckett

Genre: Contemporary

Leah McMahon is back in Sultry Springs, Texas to help her dad recover from surgery. But there's a new sheriff in town and he's none other than Colton Bea, the wild-as-weeds boy who stole her heart a decade earlier. Colt's a changed man now and the feelings between these high school sweethearts are stronger than ever. But Leah's got a secret so devastating that he may never forgive her. Can she find a way to earn absolution and build a future with the sultry man she's loved half her life?

In the past Colt was the good old boy, the flirt and the ‘go to’ guy for a fun time. After a one night-stand gone wrong ran him down with her Ford Taurus, he now sees his behavior as reckless, arrogant and stupid and for the last couple of years has lived life quietly.

Leah McMahon has been gone from Sultry Springs, TX for 10 years and as far as the town knows she broke her daddy’s heart when she left and never came back… until now. She’s back to take care of her dad after open-heart surgery. From the interactions between Leah and her dad Pastor Mac we learn why she left. I agree it’s a WHOPPER of a reason and poor Colt is in for a shocker. I hesitate to say too much in my review because I don’t want to give anything away but as always Macy Beckett and her story telling drew me in and made me laugh and cry. She took my breath away and made me feel the longing, sorrow and regret that both Leah and Colt felt over their decisions. I will say that I got my HEA and in my opinion that's what makes reading romance books worth while!

The supporting cast in this series has always been exceptional… it was great to catch glimpses of June and Luke from book 1 (they are having a baby!! YAY) I loved that we were able to be at the Welcome Home party for Bobbi and Trey, the leading characters from book 2. Throw in Colt’s sister and niece and Leah’s best-friend, Rachel, who is NOT Colton’s biggest fan and Colt’s granddaddy Judge Bea and watch the sparks fly! This is the 3rd and final book in the series… I was sad to see this come to an end. I feel like I had made life-long friends with the Sultry Springs residents and I know that I will follow Macy Beckett for a long time to come!

Review by: Jeananna

High Passion - Vivian Arend Title: High Passion

Series: Adrenaline Search and Rescue bk 2

Author: Vivian Arend

Genre: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense

LIFELINE: an elite search-and-rescue squad based out of Banff, Alberta. Specializing in high-risk rescue missions, this team goes wherever the job takes them…

Alisha Bailey left a life of privilege for the dangerous but thrilling world of search and rescue. Denying the lure of attraction to her teammate is another sacrifice she’s made to prove to everyone—including her family— that she’s more than a pretty face or a business commodity. Since their training days, Devon Leblanc has used the competitive fire between them to hide his fascination with the petite beauty. When a natural disaster forces their rivalry aside, heated passion finally flares between them. Sexual pleasure slowly gives way to a new appreciation for each other’s skills—on the field and in the bedroom. But when unexplained accidents begin happening to the Lifeline team, their new found unity may be their only hope for survival…

Thoughts: Vivian Arend is one of the best authors writing today who with the press of few letters can take the most mundane words and turn them into something extraordinary.

In High Passion we get the story of teammates Alisha and Devon. Their love affair is off the charts HOT. There places where I had to fan myself it was so hot. When they make that transition from teammates and friends to lovers we get to see there is more to devil may care Devon than we thought. I do have to admit his back story is probably one of my favorites that I've read in recent books. The more I got to know him, the more I loved him.

We also get more of the SAR team and I have to admit this group is one of my favorites to read about. Not only is the relationship between Alisha and Devon off the charts, but what is happening in the team is great as well, and sets up so well for the next book. There was one small thing that bugged me but it wasn't enough to detract from the story. I can't wait to see what happens next with this team.

Grade A
Review by:Heather

Heaven and Hellsbane - Paige Cuccaro Title: Heaven and Hellsbane
Series: Hellsbane Novel Book #2
Author: Paige Cuccaro
Genre: Romance/Sci-Fi Fantasy
Blurb: Someone’s killing angels and turning the half human, half angel illorum warriors against their angelic supporters. If the supernatural baddy behind the attacks isn’t stopped soon, Heaven itself could fall victim. The Council of Seven has called in the best they’ve got to find the killers, and no one’s more surprised than Emma Jane Hellsbane when it’s her phone that rings.
But when her own angelic mentor—and off-limits hottie—Eli is targeted, Emma takes it personally. With Emma hot on the trail of the growing army of assassins, though, hackles start to raise around her. Everyone wants to know if she’s in it to protect all angels or just one in particular. The Council has their suspicions…and so does Emma’s boyfriend.
Now Emma isn’t just fighting off demons, rogue nephilim, and Fallen angels, but she’s defending her honor as well. The problem is even Emma Jane isn’t sure of her motives. One thing she does know: if she doesn’t figure out the killers’ identities soon, she may not live long enough to know what, or who, she really wants.
It’s all in a day’s work as Heaven’s ultimate bounty hunter.
Thoughts: I'll start of by saying that I jumped into this series without reading the first one in the series. While it is quickly made apparent that there was a prior novel, I didn't really feel lost in the context of the pages. The author does an amazing job of keeping you up to date with what is happening, recapping things for those who didn't read book one, and still capturing everything needed for the continuation of the story. Sure, we have a new world to try to sort out with nephilims, magisters, seraphims, gibborims, etc., but that is to be expected when your reading about a whole new world that the author has created and is trying to make us a part of - especially in a sci-fi/fantasy series. And while it is a little bit confusing at first, it is quickly ironed out by the author.
I thought it was a very interesting read - while it sounds like any standard sci-fi/fantasy book that is common in this genre right now, it really steps outside the norm. The author has really managed to separate it from the rest of the pack and make this novel really fresh and intriguing. I really got caught up in the world, as well as the characters, and it made me want to go back and start reading from book one in the series. I don't want to give too much away, but my favorite part was where a decision is finally reached on whether Eli will "fall" or not because of his love for Emma Jane - which apparently has been a long time coming! The crucial scene on this topic was simply breathtaking!
Only complaint - it's another one of those books in a series that is meant to leave the reader guessing for the next installment, so a lot of things are left up in the air.
Definitely a series I will continue to follow!
Rate: B+
Review by: Sarah

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Hearts in Darkness - Keri Arthur Title: Hearts in Darkness

Series: Nikki and Michael Bk 2

Author: Keri Arthur

Genre: Paranormal Romance


Private Investigator Nikki James has a lot to contend with. Her lover, Michael Kelly, walked out without so much as a goodbye, and what seemed like a simple case of stopping a runaway teen brought her face-to-face with another clutch of deadly vampires. But if that seemed bad, it is about to get a lot worse, because when Michael returns, it is not for her, but for the case.

Wealthy men are starting to vanish from a resort in Jackson Hole—which is exactly where Nikki’s runaway teen seems to be as well. Something nefarious is going on at the luxury spa, but what? The last thing Michael needs is a confrontation with Nikki—especially when his control over his bloodlust is still so tenuous. But posing as a newlywed couple at the swanky resort may be the best way for both of them to solve their respective cases. This time, Nikki is determined to make Michael see that life apart is worse than death. Yet before she can make him see the light, a specter from Michael’s past rises that could destroy any hope she has of a future with him. Because this time the threat isn’t physical. It’s a matter of the heart.

This book was a page turner for sure, I didn't want to put it down. Even though this is the 2nd book in the series I didn't feel completely lost about the relationship dynamic between Nikki and Michael. And it seems like their lives are linked forever no matter how much Michael wants to keep Nikki out of his. They share a life source so if he dies, she dies also...but if she dies, he doesn't. I don't think that is fair but it makes since due to him being a vampire.

After no communication for 6 months, it seems they are brought together to work on a case of missing people who just mysteriously disappear from this fancy resort. Plus Nikki feels the kid she was hired to protect might be there as well. So as they are trying to get to the bottom of the disappearances, someone from Michael's past shows up which kind of puts a small wrench into his relationship with Nikki. I am anxious to see what happens next in the 3rd book. A+

Review by: Helen