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Monday, March 28, 2016

3/5 Review: The Sweetheart Deal by Polly Dugan




Leo has long joked that, in the event of his death, he wants his best friend Garrett, a lifelong bachelor, to marry his wife, Audrey. One drunken night, he goes so far as to make Garrett promise to do so. Then, twelve years later, Leo, a veteran firefighter, dies in a skiing accident.

As Audrey navigates her new role as widow and single parent, Garrett quits his job in Boston and buys a one-way ticket out west. Before long, Audrey's feelings for Garrett become more than platonic, and Garrett finds himself falling for Audrey, her boys, and their life together in Portland. When Audrey finds out about the drunken pact from years ago, though, the harmless promise that brought Garrett into her world becomes the obstacle to his remaining in it.




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I honestly didn't know what to rate this book. It was so beautifully rendered in places and had so much truth in parts that I feel like it deserved four or five stars. But in the end I felt Dugan kept us at a distance from the characters and I wasn't emotionally invested in any of them. They were each so miserable in their own way that it gave me no chance to learn to like them. Dugan’s depiction of grief was pretty powerful, especially from Audrey’s perspective and the heartbreaking scene with Audrey unable to even get dressed shows me what this book could have been and what the characters could have meant to me. But in the end, I didn't care if these characters lived or died, were miserable or happy. This book was like looking at a piece of black and white abstract art. I thought it was beautiful and can understand why people like it, perhaps even love it, but I wouldn't want it hanging in my house. I just couldn't make friends with this book. That being said, I would be willing to give Dugan another try in a heartbeat. So for me the book was just okay.






4/5 Review: Who Knows the Dark (Vigilante Book 2) by Tere Michaels




A wanted man after the destruction of the Iron Butterfly Casino, Nox Boyet must flee the island of Manhattan—the only home he's ever known. Together with Cade, Sam, and the rest of their ragtag group, Nox must find a place to hide from the District Police and the violent group of unknown drug dealers on his tail.

The solution—the Creel family farm in South Carolina.

But home isn’t quite sweet for Cade, the prodigal son. As Cade struggles with his own secrets, shadows of the past threaten not only Nox’s life, but his relationship with his son, Sam.

Nox knows there will never be peace unless he finds the answers to all his questions—and the answers lie back on the island. Cade and the others must choose their paths—find safety or follow the Vigilante into the darkness of the city? The city where Nox will come face-to-face with the past.

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This book starts right where book 1 ends.  Nox, Sam and Cade are forced to leave New York and they head towards Cade’s family home.  There they find an ally in Cade’s brother who it turns out has some hacking skills.  Jenny goes along for the ride and also works towards clearing their names.  So much happens in this book that you keep reading to keep the momentum of the story going.  On Cade’s farm they find out a lot of information, but they also have a ton of questions that need answers.  Nox decides that he is going back to New York so that he can take care of the problem and clear Sam’s and Cade’s names.  After he leaves he ends up getting caught and Cade has to try and save him.  Jenny and LJ go with Cade and they have to go through so much to even try and get back on the island.  This book also ends on a cliff hanger, so I need the next book desperately so I can see everything that Cade does to get back to Nox, and what Nox does to get back to Cade.  I totally recommend this book and the series.





4/5 Review: Who Knows the Storm (Vigilante Book 1) by Tere Michaels




In a dystopian near future, New York City has become the epicenter of decadence—gambling, the flesh trade, a playground for the wealthy. And underneath? Crime, fueled by “Dead Bolt,” a destructive designer drug. This New City is where Nox Boyet leads a double life. At night, he is the Vigilante, struggling to keep the streets safe for citizens abandoned by the corrupt government and police. During the day, he works in construction and does his best to raise his adopted teenaged son, Sam. 

A mysterious letter addressed to Sam brings Nox in direct contact with “model” Cade Creel, a high-end prostitute working at the Iron Butterfly Casino. Suspicion gives way to an intense attraction as dark figures from Nox’s past and the mysterious peddlers of Dead Bolt begin to descend—and put all their lives in danger. When things spin out of control, Cade is the only person Nox can trust to help him save Sam.
 


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This book is a little different.  It is almost a post-apocalyptic book.  New York is basically wiped out during an extreme storm.  The water level rises so high that most of Manhatten is evacuated.  Some people of course don’t leave, the ones who have nowhere to go.  Nox Boyet is the 16 year old who has no were to go and no one to go to.  He tries to go to his mother at the asylum and when he gets there he realizes that she is giving birth to his sibling.  He delivers the baby and realizes that he has another body to take care of other than himself.  He doesn’t know what he is going to do, but he does know that he will protect the baby with his life.  That is a promise that he has to keep almost as soon as he makes it.  While at the hospital he runs into a woman who calls herself Jenny.  She is there to take care of his mother and him.  She decides to not kill him and the baby but he doesn’t trust her since she already tried to kill him once.  When he gets away from Jenny he goes back to his house with the baby and sets up the house as best he can to protect himself and the baby, who he names Sam.  Fast forward 17 years and Nox is doing regular patrols to make sure that drug dealers stay out his area and that their little neighborhood stays safe.  Sam works as a messenger so that he can get out of the house and have some interaction with others.  Things become very dangerous when Cade Creel is asked to deliver a note to Nox’s son.  After that things begin to happen that force Nox to change many things in his life and to accept help.  This book uses flashbacks to explain the history of its characters but it is well done.  This book ends on a cliffhanger.  I recommend this book!





Thursday, March 10, 2016

5/5 Review: A Girl's Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber




When Nichole discovers that her husband, Jake, has been unfaithful, the illusion of her perfect life is indelibly shattered. While juggling her young son, a new job, and volunteer work, Nichole meets Rocco, who is the opposite of Jake in nearly every way. Though blunt-spoken and rough around the edges, Rocco proves to be a dedicated father and thoughtful friend. But just as their relationship begins to blossom, Jake wagers everything on winning Nichole back—including their son Owen’s happiness. Somehow, Nichole must find the courage to defy her fears and follow her heart, with far-reaching consequences for them all.

Leanne has quietly ignored her husband’s cheating for decades, but is jolted into action by the echo of Nichole’s all-too-familiar crisis. While volunteering as a teacher of English as a second language, Leanne meets Nikolai, a charming, talented baker from Ukraine. Resolved to avoid the heartache and complications of romantic entanglements, Leanne nonetheless finds it difficult to resist Nikolai’s effusive overtures—until an unexpected tragedy tests the very fabric of her commitments.


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“A Girl's Guide to Moving On” is a heartwarming and at times heartbreaking novel by Debbie Macomber. While this is a standalone novel, and it can indeed be read as such, it is a sequel to “Last One Home”, and fans of that book will definitely want to read this so they can continue the story Cassie, Stephen, and Amiee. Nichole is Cassie’s sister who is devastated after her learning of her husband's infidelity, she is determined to not be like her mother-in-law Leanne and suffer for years, instead she builds a new life for herself. Leanne after seeing how Nichole left decided that after 35 years of dealing with a cheating husband decides that she as had enough and decides to leave also.

 This is a great character driven drama as readers observe what happens when you go through a divorce, which has left both couples emotionally traumatized as each grieves the death of their marriage and much more; and what is occurring in the present. Filled with wonderful friends 7 family, a strong support cast and plenty of angst while keeping the romance as a secondary subplot, fans will appreciate the courage of these woman..

Ms. Macomber gives her characters a real sense of strength in a very believable manner. When one person is down, there is another one there to life them back up again. They persevere in good times and in bad which makes me feel like I can be a stronger person. I love a book that I can relate to and can help me find strength in myself while enjoying a good story. I hope there third book in this non- series to find out what happens next the last sister.





5/5 Review: The Word Game by Steena Holmes




For overprotective parent Alyson Ward, any time her daughter, Lyla, is out of sight is reason to panic. So it’s a big step for her when she lets Lyla attend a sleepover at her cousin’s house. Comforted by the knowledge that her sister, Tricia, is the chaperone, Alyson does the one thing she never thought possible: she lets go and trusts that her daughter will be safe.
But Alyson’s sense of peace is short lived. When Lyla comes home the next morning, she reveals something that could tear apart not only their family but also the entire community. Now, Alyson and Tricia must confront their painful shared past as they come together to help a little girl who they fear might be harboring terrible secrets similar to their own. Will the sisters be strong enough to face their demons in order to protect the child, even if it means telling their most private truths?


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This story is told from the points of view of four different women. You have Alyson-she is a helicopter mom, than you have Tricia,Aly's sister who is more laid back in her parenting style, you also have Tricia and Aly's mom Ida who believes family problems stay in the family, last but not least there is Tricia's best friend Myah-who is soon to be divorced and a single mom again. All of these women have a story to share.

What would you do if you suspected that a child was being abused? What about, if you had been abused as a child and people may think its your paranoia?
All these questions I had while reading this book. And while I can't say that I have any answers, I have to admit that this has definitely got me thinking.
I would recommend this book to everyone. When an author can handle a difficult subject matter with such sensitivity, they are a very gifted writer. This novel touched my heart and could be the beginning for so many survivors.

The dynamics of this family are quite complicated. Their relationships are strained and there is obviously some painful issues in their past that they have not dealt with completely. Things that will affect how they each deal differently with what is happening right now. Like most of Holmes's previous books, this novel's real gift to the reader is the development of character. While the horizon of the story is relatively clear from the start, the plot is enhanced one hundred fold by the intricacies of the people about whom the story is written. Perhaps what I find most engaging about Holmes's work, and likewise this book, is that there is always at least one character with whom I can easily identify - making the reading of the text much more interesting.




4/5 Review: Sinful by Joan Johnston



WHILE HE SEEKS A HAVEN,
SHE SEARCHES FOR A PLACE TO CALL HOME

After a tragic accident leaves Delta sergeant Connor Flynn a widower, he faces the toughest fight of his life: battling his in-laws for custody of his two young children. To win he’ll need a make-believe bride to take care of the kids while he runs his Wyoming ranch. Who better than a woman he already knows and likes—his late wife’s best friend?

Ruthlessly forced from her home by her powerful father, King Grayhawk, Eve needs somewhere to go . . . and so does the herd of wild mustangs she’s rescued. Connor’s offer sounds like the answer to a prayer. But Eve has a guilty secret she’s guarded for years: She’s always been in love with Connor.

Now forced to live under the same roof as her heart’s desire, Eve must hide the love that has never died, while Connor vows to resist his growing need for a woman who was forbidden fruit during his marriage. Can two lonely people set adrift by fate and haunted by guilt find redemption in the healing embrace of love?


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Sinful is the 9th book in Joan Johnston's Bitter Creek Series. It reads well on it's own. I say this because it is the only one that I have read and I enjoyed it and never felt I was missing something.

Connor is returning from serving in the army and is in for the fight of his life. His wife has been killed in a car accident and her parent's are suing for custody of thier children. Eve, was Connor's wife's best friend and she agreed that she would do whatever was necessary to ensure the children stayed with thier father. Well - Connor and Eve have a past, their families have been at odds for years. When the only solution is to get married, how can they make it work. They marry for practical reasons, and have to find a way to make it work and attempt to reunite their families.

Ms. Johnston's characters are strong - I sort of hated Connor's wife even though she is dead - I think she used him and how was Eve able to justify staying friends when she married Connor, in spite of the feeling she knew that Eve held for Connor. Her plot lines are strong and the story definitly takes you to another place, that would be Bitter Creek!

If you are in the market for a new series (I am going to have to go back and read the other books), or in the market for a lovely bittersweet second chance romance, Sinful is definetly worth the time. 




4/5 Review: Champagne Kisses by Lynda Aicher




The Christmas Eve wedding Evan Cleary pulled together in four weeks is crashing down around him and taking his fledgling event planning business with it. With an empty altar and over a hundred guests arriving soon, he turns to the resistant, gorgeous brother of the runaway groom for help.

When Richard Patterson’s flamboyant brother storms out hours before he’s scheduled to marry his equally dramatic partner, Richard is left dealing with the fallout. The last thing he wants is more drama, yet he can’t deny his attraction to the effeminate event planner trying to salvage the wedding.

Evan thinks his crush on Richard is a lost cause, but one steaming kiss later, he learns different. What starts as a night of hot sex turns into a connection neither expected. But Evan knows their relationship is hopeless unless the ultra-conservative Richard can embrace every part of him—both in private and in public.

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Evan is an even planner that has had to deal with a month of drama filled wedding planning.  The situation isn’t helped when he is hiding his attraction to the groom’s brother, Richard.  Richard comes across as being a man who is very uptight.  He holds himself in a very disciplined manner and doesn’t allow himself to enjoy and just be.  The day of the wedding the grooms decide that they are not going to get married.  Evan performs a miracle and turns the wedding reception into a holiday party.  After an incident where Richard proves himself to be a class A Jerk, Evan feels as if his dream was ripped away.  Evan was very leery in accepting Richard’s apology.  He decided to give him a chance but only for one night and keep his heart out of it.  When morning comes he realizes that keeping his heart of the equation was something that he couldn’t control.  What Evan doesn’t realize is that Richard has decided to keep Evan.  Evan needs to decide if he is going to trust what Richard is feeling as true.  The background of each character is presented in flashbacks so you can get a better picture of what makes them who they are.  I enjoyed the story, but would love to read more about Evan and Richard and their journey of being together.




4/5 Review: Dukes are Forever by Anna Harrington




ALL'S FAIR IN LOVEBattlefields and barrooms hold much more interest for Edward Westover, Duke of Strathmore, than a little girl's fondness for dolls and lace. When he takes possession of his enemy's estate, everything that villain held dear-including his daughter-belongs to Edward. Hire a governess, arrange a dowry, give a few reassurances, and be off on his way-that's Edward's plan. But he's in for the shock of his life. For his new ward is a beautiful, impetuous, and utterly irresistible woman . . .

. . . AND WAR
Kate Benton is stunned. Who is this arrogant, infuriating man who's invited himself into her home and taken over her life? Her vow: to do everything in her power to convince him to leave her-and Brambly House-alone. Yet as chilly days melt into sultry nights, Kate sees glimpses of kindness underneath Edward's cool fa├žade . . . and a passionate nature that takes her breath away. There's so much she doesn't know about this man. But does she dare trust this devilish duke with her heart?

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Cinderella stories always end with “and they lived happily ever after.” Anna Harrington’s Dukes are Forever is just that, a Cinderella story like no other. This is the first historical romance that I have read that had a main female character not have an actual title. This story reminds me that we all will find true love, especially when we least expect it and who it is we all in love with. Edward and Kate’s story is not only romantic, but it shows a glimpse of how women back then had to fight for their independence. There is this question that is left unanswered when it comes to Kate and her future when it comes to her helping others. (Don’t want to give it away). Anna Harrington is a writer I want to begin following, I look forward to reading more into this series and see how certain characters progress. 





5/5 Review: His All Night by Elle Wright





In relationships, Calisa Harper has clear rules: no expectations, no commitments, no one gets hurt. She doesn't need a diamond ring to bring her happiness. She just needs Jared. Fine, fit, and ferocious in bed, Jared is Calisa's ideal combination of friend and lover. But the no-strings status they've shared for years is about to get very tangled.

Jared Williams is the kind of man most women long for: sexy, successful, and ready to settle down. He knows convincing the commitment-phobic Calisa that forever is nothing to fear won't be easy-especially when his ex turns up with a daughter she never told him about. In a heartbeat, Jared and Calisa's passion goes from fiery to fragile. He wants to hold on to the love they share but is terrified that their next night together could be their last . . .


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Elle Wright made me laugh, cry, and feel all the emotions in between with this one single book. His All Night is like a true, honest story about a boy and a girl who start out as friends with added benefits then somewhere down the road that line got blurred on both sides. Adding the back history of Calisa with her past and Jared’s current situation you have a recipe for complications. Two scenes that hit me the hardest in both a good way and a sad way. Wright brings real life situations to life through this romance story. It makes you wonder how many people actually go through what Cali and Jared did. It leaves a bit of wonder about the next book and what could possibly happen to these two. His All Night is one book that can bring you absolute joy while reading. 




5/5 Review: Love & Loyalty (Faith, Love, and Devotion Book 2) by Tere Michaels




Seattle Homicide Detective Jim Shea never takes work home with him—until now. A judge banged his gavel, declared a defendant not guilty, and laid waste to a family. The emotional fallout of the trial leaves Jim vulnerable and duty-bound to the victim’s dying father.

It’s that man’s story that screenwriter Griffin Drake and his best friend, actress Daisy Baylor, see as their ticket out of action blockbusters and into more serious fare. But to get the juicy details, Griffin needs to win over the stoic and protective Detective Shea. Their attraction is immediate, and Daisy encourages Griffin to use it to their advantage: secure the man, secure the story. Neither man has had much luck when it comes to love, and when their one night together evolves into a long weekend of rapidly intensifying feelings, both Griffin’s fierce loyalty to Daisy and his very career is put to the test.

Because the more Griffin is drawn into a new life with Jim, the more his Hollywood life falls apart. Secrets and broken trust threaten Griffin’s relationships, and he’ll have to choose between telling the truth or writing a Hollywood ending.




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Jim is a detective that we met in Faith, Love & Devotion 1.  His story began with a very high profile case.  He and his partner did everything that they were supposed, collected the evidence correctly and testified.  All so that the guilty party could be declared ‘Not Guilty’ and the victim’s family destroyed.  Jim feels that it is his responsibility to take care of the victim’s father, since his wife passed away the day the verdict was issued.  The man had no one else.  So when he gets a message that someone is coming to interview the husband he makes sure that he is there.  That is how he meets Griffin.  Griffin is a screenwriter who wants to make something important, something other than the usual violent fluff movies that have no real plot.  Griffin gets his permission to complete the script, but has trouble actually putting ink to paper.  When he gets in touch with Jim and leaves LA he realizes that he is actually working.  He was able to work on the script in the time he spent with Jim.  He also got to know Jim and realizes that he wants to spend more time with him, even if it means jumping on a plane.  As Jim and Griffin get closer he finds out that his friend Daisy has betrayed him to her husband.  She supposedly was going to leave him but that didn’t work out.  Griffin does what he has to, to keep his word to Jim’s friend.  I loved that Griffin gave up everything to make sure that he remains honorable.  He was able to come through in the end and ended up with more than he thought he deserved.  I am loving this series!





5/5 Review: Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb




Sometimes brotherhood can be another word for conspiracy. . . .
Dennis Mira just had two unpleasant surprises. First he learned that his cousin Edward was secretly meeting with a real estate agent about their late grandfather’s magnificent West Village brownstone, despite the promise they both made to keep it in the family. Then, when he went to the house to confront Edward about it, he got a blunt object to the back of the head.

Luckily Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, the NYPSD’s top profiler and a good friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When the two arrive on the scene, he explains that the last thing he saw was Edward in a chair, bruised and bloody. When he came to, his cousin was gone. With the mess cleaned up and the security disks removed, there’s nothing left behind but a few traces for forensics to analyze.

As a former lawyer, judge, and senator, Edward Mira mingled with the elite and crossed paths with criminals, making enemies on a regular basis. Like so many politicians, he also made some very close friends behind closed—and locked—doors. But a badge and a billionaire husband can get you into places others can’t go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate . . . and a new case that no one saw coming.



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I've read all in death books and short stories in this series and this is probably in the top five most emotionally intense of the books.It's also packs a serious emotional punch. If you haven't read any of the previous books, this is not the book to start the series with, since you have to know the characters and the back story to get the full emotional impact here. As with all lengthy series, there are some books that hit me on deep levels and set themselves apart from the others. "Brotherhood in Death" is definitely one of those. Without giving away anything--while saying enough that those who have already read it will understand--the scene where she tells Mr. Mira what was done to her actually brought tears to my eyes. I almost think this book title should have been "Family in Death".  I loved, loved, loved this book.

Robb pens gripping emotional upheaval and significant character growth for Eve. Whether it is Eve’s reaction to viewing the recordings, the uneasiness of knowing what the killers is doing is wrong but also understanding the pain that they are feeling, Robb puts Eve’s emotions and her pain out in the open. Even with Roarke and her marriage providing a rock on which to balance, she still struggles to weather the storm, literally and figuratively. And Robb provides Roarke with a few moments of realizing that there are somethings he cant shield Dallas from.

I love how Roberts has developed the relationship with Eve and her husband, Roarke and hope that in the next few books they have a baby and she will not find the need to end the series. A pregnant Eve and expectant Roarke would give this series an added zing. And likely push the heroine to pursue Captain status, a desk job she isn't quite yet ready for.


From the very beginning, I was fully caught up in the heart-wrenching account of the Brotherhoods crimes. The sense of understanding, that Dallas has for the victims, makes for a story that covers the range of human emotions. The touches of humor are great, too, they add some nice contrast and lighten things a bit when emotions are running high. I've never read a book more deserving of being published. It has rare depth. This story will remind her readers that life and love are precious and not to be taken for granted. It has had an impact on me, and for that I'm grateful. Brotherhood in Death is written with so much sensitivity and raw emotion that it made me want to cry. It is a spellbinder. What terrific writing. Robb does have an exceptional gift! This Book is definitely a 10.





Tuesday, March 1, 2016

5/5 Review: Duty & Devotion (Faith, Love, and Devotion Book 3) by Tere Michaels




A year after deciding to share their lives, Matt and Evan are working on their happily ever after—which isn’t as easy as it looks. As life settles down into a routine, Matt finds happiness in his role as the ideal househusband of Queens, New York, but he worries about Evan’s continued workaholic—and emotionally avoidant—ways. Trying to juggle his evolving relationship with Evan and his children, Matt turns to his friend, former Seattle Homicide Detective Jim Shea.

The continued friendship between Matt and Jim is a thorn in Evan’s side. Jealous and uncomfortable with imagining their brief affair, Evan struggles to come to terms with what being in a committed relationship with a man means, and the implications about his love for his deceased wife, the impact on his children, and how other people will view him. His turmoil threatens his relationship with Matt, who worries that Evan will once again chose a life without him. But now, the stakes are much higher. 


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I really enjoyed visiting Matt and Evan again.  I was able to see their lives after the 1st happy ever after, which makes it easier to connect to them.  Matt is happy where his life is right now.  He became the caregiver of Evan’s children, he runs the day to day of the house.  While he is happy taking care of the children, loves it in fact, he sometimes feels that he is just a replacement for Evan’s late wife, Sherri.  He goes to see his friend, Liz who is also a shrink, and gets ideas in his head that kind of puts his issues in a much more dominant position in his head.  He tries to make sure that he is able to appease Evan when his moods become somber, but at some point he gets so frustrated that he begins to make sure that Evan knows what he is feeling.  He makes Evan aware of the thoughts that are going on in his head.  He knows that it will add to Evan’s stress but Evan needs to realize how he is affecting Matt.  Evan accepted that he loved Matt in book 1, but it wasn’t a complete acceptance.  Evan thinks that he has accepted the way he feels about Matt because Matt lives with them, but little by little he realizes that what he is doing to Matt is not fair to him and it’s not fair to them as a couple.  Evan begins to take steps to fix himself and his thoughts after a particularly ugly dinner with Matt’s friend Jim and his partner Griffin.  Evan realizes how unfair he is being to his family, because he is essentially hiding them from the world.  When he decides to fight for Matt and to make sure that he is doing what he needs to, to keep his family together, he keeps surprising Matt.  Matt is enjoying the new Evan but when he slips back into his old ways it becomes too hard to deal with so he makes sure that Evan is aware of that and that he can’t keep on being hidden.  I love that this story was Evan’s reality check.  Like he is told by his partner (cop) Lighting doesn’t strike twice, but he got lucky.  I am really getting into this series and can’t wait for the next one.  I will love to see what else happens to these group of friends.  







5/5 Review: Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy




Crazy how eight years can disappear in an instant. One look at Katie Watts, and I'm a fifteen-year-old again--the one who risked everything to save a terrified girl from her twisted kidnapper. She's grown-up now--beautiful, quiet, composed--and telling her story to the world. A story that involves me in more ways than you can imagine. She used to call me her guardian angel. Sure, I risked my life, but she was worth dying for.

I need to make contact with her. Just to ensure that she's safe.

Somehow we reconnect. We become friends . . . but I want more. I want to make her mine. And she wants me too. Does she know who I am? Has she figured me out? Not yet. But she will. In the meantime, I need to make sure that whatever hold that animal had on her is gone.

So, yeah, I'm stealing these moments with her. Savoring them. Knowing, dreading, that she'll soon find out who I really am. And everything will fall apart. All because of that twisted, perverted monster sitting on death row. Her kidnapper. A convicted serial killer.

My father.


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Katie Watts has a very traumatic childhood. She was kidnapped and abused both mentally and sexually. Eight years later she is trying her best to lead as normal of a life as she can. She secludes herself from the outside world. She doesn’t speak to anyone she doesn’t know. She doesn’t go out and have fun with friends. She no longer has any anyway. That all changes when she meets Ethan, something about him brings out the person she wishes she could be. She starts to enjoy life. Ethan may know her past and who she is, but little does she know who the man is that is slowly stealing her heart.  
When I first saw what this book was about I was hesitant on how I would feel reading a book with such a sensitive subject matter. Monica Murphy did a really good job explaining what happened to Katie without going into details that would make people extremely uneasy. It didn’t take me long to be sucked into the story and have to know what happened to poor Katie. A child being kidnapped, held prisoner, and abused both physically and mentally at such a young age. The story bounces back and forth between Katie and Ethan both resent and past selves.
Fast forward to after she is rescued by the son of the man who took her. She has this connection with him from that the moment he saved her. They have a connection that never seems to go completely away for either of them. I loved watching a relationship grow when they meet again as adults. She's never been able to trust anyone especially a man. She finds it hard to function in normal situations. But she feels safe with him and can let herself go and not be that scared of life little girl anymore. I wanted to see the relationship keep growing but he was keeping who he really was from her. Little did she know that the man she was spending all this time with was actually that boy that saved her those years ago. It made me crazy that he wouldn’t tell her, but how could he without chasing her away?  Ethan keeps this secret from her because he has this urge to be close to her that he can't fight. He wants to make sure she is safe.
She finally finds out who he really is right at the end of the book. I can't wait for the second part of this story to come out so I can find out what happens! I'm hooked on the drama and love story of Ethan and Katie.






4/5: All They Ever Wanted by Tracy Solheim




All he ever fought for...
Aspiring congressman Miles McAlister has dreamed of representing his hometown of Chances Inlet, North Carolina, since he was a boy. So when he’s asked to help run his mother’s bed and breakfast he moves home and rolls out his campaign at the same time. But political stardom isn’t a given, especially when he’s expected to compromise the very ideals he’s trying to uphold. Making matters worse is the inn’s stubborn, and distractingly beautiful cook. He’s loved and lost before, so falling for Lori Hunt is not part of his plan.
 
All she ever feared...

Lori just wants to do her job and be left alone until she can safely move on. The last thing she needs is to get involved with her boss’s son. Miles proves to be too sexy to ignore, however.  Their heated fling elicits feelings deeper than either anticipated. But everything about Lori is a lie. She’s harboring a secret that’ll destroy Miles’s career, and when the truth gets out it’s going to shock Chances Inlet to its core, forcing Miles to make the hardest decision of his life.


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Lori is working in a B & B trying to keep a low profile and just do her job. Her stay in Chances Inlet is only temporary. She can't tell anyone who she really is.  So when she meets Miles she knows she needs to keep her distance and not let herself give in to the thoughts she has in her head about what she really wants.
Miles is campaigning for a spot to represent his hometown in congress. He's busy trying to help his mother run her B & B while she is recovering from an accident. So between the B & B and his campaign he doesn’t have time for anything or anyone else. At first he thinks Lori is hiding something and tries to figure out what it is. The more he talks to her the more he can't resist her and wants her. Before they really know what is going on they find themselves in the middle of a fling. A fling that turns out to be so much more than either of them ever expected.
I had a hard time getting into this book. I felt like I had to force myself to read it. Lori's character kept thinking to herself about how she shouldn’t get to know anyone and shouldn’t do this or that. It was a little repetitive in my opinion.  Aside from that I liked her character. I also liked the character of Miles, but not at first. I didn't really like him until about halfway through the book. Once they started having a relationship of sorts that’s when the book started getting good for me. In the beginning he kept accusing her of being a part of the theft that was happening in the Inn. But as the reader you knew she wasn’t behind it. So after he started believing her is when he started to be more likable.  
The book doesn't have very detailed sex scenes. So If you like sex scenes for days this book might not be for you. I didn’t mind the lack of details when it came to the sex scenes. Sometimes for me it's nice to read a book that doesn’t have four or more pages of just sex. I like a story line. I was expecting the reason for Lori's hidden identity to be a little more shocking. Turns out her father was part of the money scam that affected Mile's family. She didn't do anything wrong, but she had went to her father to try and get him to fess up. When she did that he took off and made her an accessory to the crime. So she goes into hiding to avoid prison time. I am glad that I stuck to the book and finished it.




4/5 Review: Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber




Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.


At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.


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This story was so amusing and entertainng, I did not want to put the book down. I honestly do not know how I would handle the situation that Ashley and Dashiell are put through. Winter time is always magical time of year and Debbie Macomber really brings that feeling with this story line. Having these two strangers, happen to have much in common and begin to fall for each other it is unreal. Makes you wonder if someone has actually gone through this kind of story. It is amazing to see that this book was turned into a Hallmark original movie, and I missed seeing it this year. I do plan on looking for it again during the next holiday season. It would be unreal to see how they captured the magic and romance. 






4/5 Review: Good Earl Gone Bad by Manda Collins



TEMPTING FATE
Marriage? To a gambler? You must be joking! Yet Lady Hermione Upperton has never backed down from a challenge. When her spendthrift father offers her at the gaming tables, she is given a difficult choice-wed the Earl of Mainwaring, an infamous gamester with no respect for her skills with the reins, or face charges for the murder of a member of the infamous Lords of Anarchy. Either way she'll have to clear her name. Can she count on her husband's help the way she has begun to count on his kisses?
RISKING ROMANCE
All Jasper Fawley, the Earl of Mainwaring, wanted was a night of cards. But by the end of the evening he's walked away with a fortune-and a bride who's suspected of murder. Jasper knows Hermione is passionate about her unorthodox membership in the Lords of Anarchy, but he's certain she would never kill to keep it. Can he protect his headstrong wife from prosecution and a ruthless killer without endangering both their hearts in the process?


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I have always been a fan of historical romance novels. Manda Collins did not disappoint me at all with this book. This story had so much going on that it thrilled me to keep reading. There is romance, adventure, and mystery. What more could someone ask for? The characters all had their own personality that jumped off the page. Your able to feel for the characters and wish you were one of the side characters mentioned in the book. It made you want to be there in the moment. The way Collins wrote her heroin it makes you wonder what it would have been like in her shoes, during that time period.