Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rocky Mountain Romance by Vivian Arend


Title: Rocky Mountain Romance
Author: Vivian Arend
My Rating: B+


Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Six Pack Ranch #7
Main Characters: Steve and Melody
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic


Story Overview:
Second chances are the sweetest—and the hottest.

It took a spectacularly embarrassing break-up to knock Steve Moonshine Coleman off his lazy butt. In the ten months since that night, he’s changed his ways, and now that Melody’s back in town, it’s time for this sweet-talking cowboy to convince her to get back in the saddle with him.

A return to her veterinary position in Rocky Mountain House was always in the cards for Melody Langley. Getting back together with Steve? Never part of the plan. He had lots of potential but zero ambition, and there’s no way she’ll accept anything less than a man who can keep up with her, in and out of bed.

But the new-and-improved cowboy is impossible to resist, so Melody issues a challenge. Three months to prove he’s reformed. Three months of Steve orchestrating one sexual indulgence after another—wicked distractions from the old boys’ club Melody faces at work and Steve’s growing responsibilities.

He’s got one shot to prove with more than words what’s in his heart and soul.

Warning: Fifty percent less angst, twice as much filthy-talking, dirty-daring cowboy. Get ready for a whole lot of make-your-knees-weak wooing from a man intent on proving he’s got what it takes, and the woman ready to push him way past his limits.

My Review:
This may be #7 in the series, but it's the first book I've read from it. While that certainly works because the book is great as a stand-alone, I have to admit I think I've fallen in love with the Coleman clan and will probably go back and read some of the others because I enjoyed the characters and the glimpses into their stories were intriguing. 

But this book was about Melody and Steve. They broke up (i.e. Melody dumped him with a pitcher of beer over his head) ten months ago. Since then, Steve has come to the realization of what a jerk he was...not just with her, but in life. He's made a total life transformation in his life in the past 10 months and now that she's back he wants to show her that he deserves her this go around. 

Melody's aspect of the story was much less romance-centric. While she's a bit leery of Steve's plan and ability to go through with being a good guy, she's concentrating on her new life as a big animal vet. Something that some of the area ranchers are taking issue with. Normally I'm all about the romance aspect of the story line, but in this book, I was all about this side of her life and how it was all going to work out for her. She's a tough gal working in a male dominated world, but I loved her attitude about it all. It's frustrating at times, but she's so professional. The only people that truly see her lose her cool are Steve and her girlfriends...even though she's dealing with some truly horrid, bigoted jerks. She's awesome!

I did enjoy watching the romance develop too. And although it is very hot and heavy, I really liked the way that the author emphasized the other aspects of their relationship besides the sex that created intimacy between them. They are both dealing with a lot...a lot of work, a lost of stress, a lot of expectations...but at the end of the day they come together and support each other...sometimes with a meal, sometimes with a massage, and yes, sometimes with sex. But this book was about the WHOLE relationship, not just the smexy times and I loved that. THAT maturity is the difference between where Melody and Steve were a year ago vs. where they are in the book. It was fun to see the difference. 

Overall I enjoyed the book and definitely LOVED the veterinarian aspect as well as the romance. It was a good, entertaining, and smexy romance. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Heat of the Moment by Robin Kaye


Title: Heat of the Moment
Author: Robin Kaye
My Rating: A-


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: #1
Main Characters: Cameron and Erin
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: InterMix
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:

Cameron O’Leary, a 4th generation firefighter turned arson investigator, thinks he’s the luckiest man in the world—after a year of sickness in the family, everyone’s finally on the mend, and his life can go back to its even keel. But even though Cameron has moved to Boston to be there for his family, some sort of live-in nurse is still necessary, given the demands of his job.

Erin Crosby is financing her master’s thesis in social work by acting as a home health care nurse. Working for Cameron seems like the perfect gig—low key, plenty of time to work on her thesis, and the patient is lovely. She might never have lived with a man before—she’s never found anyone she cared about that much, had barely even considered it—but Cameron is easy to live with, and an easy friendship blooms between them.

But it gets harder and harder for Cameron to keep his hands off of his charming employee—and for Erin to remember that she hasn’t really moved into Cameron’s life.


My Review:

This is a novella, but it's a story that isn't short on emotional punch. I really liked this one and it appears to be setting up a great new series. And this book is interesting just because it's a modern twist on the old governess/nanny trope that used to be so popular in historical novels. 

Cam's daughter just came home after a 2 year battle with brain cancer. She's recovering, but still weak and he wants someone with medical experience to watch over her for the next month until her normal nanny can come back to her job. Erin is in between jobs and has the experience Cam and his daughter needs so she hires on. Immediately there is great sexual chemistry between these two that flamed off the page. I love how the author wrote the two of them. Their connection is fast, but it never seemed rushed or too much to me. But it's not just heat. The book is fun. The characters are engaging and witty. I constantly found myself smiling through the scenes in this one. 

Overall, I really liked it and can't wait for me. I definitely recommend this one as a fun, hot, sexy read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Loving Him Off the Field by Jeanette Murray


Title: Loving Him Off the Field
Author: Jeanette Murray
My Rating: A


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Santa Fe Bobcats #2
Main Characters: Aileen and Killian
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: Intermix
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense…

Aileen is a sports reporter trying to make a name for herself without relying on her looks, And what better way to do that than to break a scandal about one of the fastest rising stars on the Santa Fe Bobcats? Killian seems too good to be true, so she knows he must be hiding something…

It’s hard enough breaking into the NFL—even more so when you’re a single dad. Killian isn’t proud that he’s keeping his son a secret, but his ex has a reputation that could tarnish his squeaky clean image for good. So when Aileen starts sniffing around, Killian decides to distract her by any means necessary.

But Aileen is more than capable of giving as good as she gets…

My Review:
I loved the first book in this series and enjoyed this one just as much.

Killian is a pro NFL kicker with a secret. As a result, he doesn't let anyone into his life...not his teammates, not the fans, and sure not the media. He has a son who's he's sacrificed everyone in his world for...to protect him. But that's the big mystery throughout so much of this book...why is it so important that NO ONE find out about this child? I couldn't see what could make that secret such a huge deal...until the author revealed the exact circumstances and then it all made sense. That part of the story line is perfectly played and written with the perfect levels of suspense to it.

On the flip side of all this is Aileen. She's a reporter who works for a sports themed blog. She does fluff pieces without stooping to paparazzi levels. She hates that aspect of the media and refuses to twist her own personal ideals for the sake of her job...although that is causing issues with her boss and the stability of her job. But Killian is so reclusive and closed-mouth that he's a hot commodity. One that Aileen has managed to ingratiate herself with. He's agreed to do an unheard of 30-day-all-access interview with Aileen...mainly because he's become intrigued with her unusual approach and the chemistry between them.

I loved Aileen and Killian together. They are so fun especially when he's grumpy and annoyed with her. But he can't seem to help but be drawn to her because she is just that honest and real with him and what she wants from him. I loved how unbending Aileen is with her personal rules for invasion of privacy no matter how difficult that makes her job as a journalist. She won't compromise her ideals for the sake of a juicy story. I admired and respected that about her...just like the other ball players in the story responded to that also. 

The secret with Charlie, Killian's son, is such a huge one. I kept debating what the issue could be with Charlie to make his existence such a hard-kept secret, but I had no guesses and the tiny things I could come up with were no where close to what it truly was. I love it when an author can surprise me like that.  

Killian has a huge character development arc in this story and it is so fun to watch him grow and learn to trust again...from his ability to trust his new-found friendships and camaraderie within his team to trusting Aileen as a journalist. I enjoyed watching their relationship grow and just the overall story on this one. It's just flat-out a fun-to-read story. I definitely recommend it and can't wait for more from this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Foundation of Trust by A.M. Arthur


Title: Foundation of Trust
Author: A.M. Arthur
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m) 
Series: Cost of Repairs #5
Main Characters: David and Owen
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: Samhain
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Not everyone gets a second chance with their first love.
Cost of Repairs, Book 5
David Weller thought he had it all—a loving partner who gave him a ring, a steady job he didn’t hate, and so much hope for the future. But in the wake of a devastating diagnosis, everything he thought was solid and real lay in pieces at his feet.
Four years later, he’s still sifting through the rubble of his life. His catering partnership occupies his days, while his nights are filled with dangerous sexual hookups and very bad decisions. Then the last person he ever expected to see again walks back into his life.
Owen Hart’s single biggest regret is the way he was forced to leave David behind—no explanations, no chance to make it right. Until now. Finally free of eight years of lies, Owen’s back for the only man he’s ever loved.
An incendiary encounter in a club proves that time hasn’t weakened their physical connection, but David’s wounds run deeper than Owen’s deception. And if David can’t first forgive, Owen doesn’t have a second chance in hell.
Warning: This book contains an Australian transplant with a head full of secrets, a party planner with enough baggage to sink a battleship, and a surly teenager who just wants them both to get over themselves.
My Review:
I can't imagine how devastating it would be to be abandoned by your partner and his son after four years without a word as to why. That's where David's been for the last four years since Owen left with his son Michael only two days after a devastating medical diagnosis for David. He always assumed he was abandoned because of the diagnosis, but he was wrong. But regardless of why he was abandoned, he was...and that left him horribly scarred mentally. He hasn't dealt with it well. Now he has no desire for anything resembling a relationship and instead has a very masochistic attitude toward sex. It has to hurt for him to get any feeling out of it at all. Yeah, David's more than a bit messed up because of what Owen did. 

So when Owen comes back, things are certainly not smooth. But it's hard to hate Owen because he had no choice in the matter. But four years of devastating hurt is so difficult to overcome. This is an easy book to see and feel from both sides...and my heart hurt for both guys...and Michael who got caught up in the middle and lost a dad in all of this too. 

It's definitely an emotion-filled book and I do love those. And it's not just the emotions from the break-up. As the guys get to know each other, they both find that the other has done unspeakable things. How do you get past that? 

There were moments when I wasn't sure if love was going to be enough for these two. So much pain and hurt between them, but that did make it a great read for me. I love that kind of angst when the heart is pulled toward the other person, but the head says 'hell no!' 

It was definitely a good book. I've eyed this series for a while now. I think I need to go back and read some of the first four books from it. BTW, this is number 5 in the series, but it absolutely stands-alone easily. Not once was I ever confused or wishing that I read one of the other books before this one. It's a strong story all on its own.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Change of Heart by Jude Deveraux

Title: Change of Heart
Author: Jude Deveraux
My Rating: C+


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Eidelon/Montgomery/Taggert
Main Characters: Eli and Chelsea
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: Pocket Books
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy


Story Overview:
Two childhood playmates grow into more than just friends in #1 New York Times bestselling author Jude Deveraux's full-length romantic novel based on her short story of the same name.

In the hugely popular, New York Times bestseller A Holiday of Love, Jude Deveraux wrote a novella about two kids playing matchmakers; Eli and Chelsea, best friends who were determined to find true love for Eli's bighearted mother. But what happens when these ambitious children grow up? What exactly made Eli's mother, Miranda, fall in love with Frank all those years ago? And how does that affect their future together?

Eli and Chelsea lost touch with each other over the years, until Eli bought a house in his father's hometown of Edilean, Virginia, and invited Chelsea for a visit. She had her own life, and was certain that a childhood friendship couldn't be anything more, but she went nonetheless and found herself quite unprepared for the changes she saw in Eli. And neither of them were prepared to run into a mystery, with a family that needed to be rescued. Now, just like when they were children, they must join together to straighten out a very big problem. The question is what happens after the mystery is solved; they are very different people so can they stay together?

Combining love and passion with sweet, unexpected twists, and shedding new light on Miranda and Frank's relationship, Change of Heart is an unforgettable addition to Deveraux's classic bestselling novels.


My Review:
In theory this was a brilliant idea. 20 years ago, Jude Deveraux wrote a novella for an anthology that featured then 12 yo's Eli and Chelsea, best friends out to fix all the world's wrongs through Eli's brilliance and Chelsea's looks. That novella is the first part of this book and it's a fun story. After I read that first section (about 35-40% of this full length book) I was excited to see where Chelsea and Eli were as adults 20 years later. Unfortunately their adult portion of the story did not live up to expectations. 

Chelsea doesn't want to see Eli again. She only does so to stop her parents from nagging her. Adult Chelsea has spent the last 20 years becoming all the things she hated as a 12 yo. She's shallow to the extreme and honestly isn't very likable as a character. And she knows that about herself. She doesn't want to answer to Eli about why she left without a single word to him ever again. She betrayed their friendship to become a party girl/model with hot boyfriends. 

Eli is still brilliant and works for the government for chump change on things that matter and then designs video games on the side so he makes real money. He's spent the last 20 years in the gym so is now everything that Chelsea sees as her ideal guy...muscular, attractive, and extremely sexy. 

And honestly those are the high points. 20 years later these two have NOTHING in common. Eli sees that Chelsea has mis-managed her life up to now which has just left her unhappy so he hatches a plan to "fix" her. Ugh. He's bossy and manipulative and I just truly didn't like how he saw her. Honestly if the two met today, they wouldn't even like one another. It's not a good match and that's why the book just didn't work for me. There was a lot of dialogue in the book too that just didn't work. I could see that it was supposed to be fast, witty repartee, but it came across wrong...and a lot of times it simply didn't make sense. 

Once upon a time, Jude Deveraux was an auto-buy author for me. This book just left me feeling sad about that. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

Garrett by Sawyer Bennett

The first in this series, Alex, came out last week and I absolutely adored it. 
Ever since I read it, I've been dying for Garrett
And then I saw his cover. 
Oh. My. Gawd.
I don't usually go for back shots, but this one may have converted me.
Garrett by Sawyer Bennett
releasing February 17, 2015

Story Overview:
USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett hits the ice with the story of a playboy athlete whose winning ways lead him to a beautiful woman with a lot to lose.
 
Carolina Cold Fury star Garrett Samuelson never wants to miss out on a single minute of fun. Whether he’s playing hockey, hanging out with friends, or walking the red carpet with a new date on his arm, he lives every day to the fullest. When he meets Olivia Case, he sees someone who’s exactly his type—confident, sexy, smart . . . his next fling. But the more he pursues her, the more Garrett shares a side of himself that other women don’t normally get to see.
 
Olivia has been keeping a secret. While Garrett lives for the next thrill, Olivia’s not sure she’ll live to see the next day. She’s undergoing treatment for some serious medical issues, and she doesn’t have time for a relationship with no guarantees—especially one with a hot-as-sin womanizer who won’t take no for an answer. But as she gets to know the real Garrett, Olivia can’t help falling for him . . . hard. To reveal the truth would mean risking everything—but you can’t score without taking the tough shots.

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It's so fun to see so many people get excited about this meme.
(But honestly, we're looking at gorgeous men and talking about books...how can that be a bad thing?)
If you want to play along, we have a plethora of Top Off Tuesday buttons for you to choose from:
created by Deb at HEA Romances with Kick
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created by Missie at The Unread Reader

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created by Diana at Book of Secrets


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