Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Can't Hurry Love by Molly O'Keefe



Title: Can't Hurry Love
Author: Molly O'Keefe
My Rating: A


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: #2
Main Characters: Victoria and Eli
Release Date: July 2012
ISBN: 978-0345525611
Publisher: Bantam
Links to Purchase:
Amazon  
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
From award-winning author Molly O’Keefe comes a wonderfully written contemporary romance about second chances at life and at love.

Victoria Baker, the penniless widow of a disgraced financier, is ready to stand up, be counted, and make a new life for herself and her beloved son in Texas. She’s taking over Crooked Creek ranch, her birthright, and turning it into something special. All that stands in her way is Eli Turnbull, a rugged, too-handsome cowboy who wants the land just as badly.

If Victoria wants a fight, Eli will give her one. He’s devoted his life to Crooked Creek, and he’s not about to let some pampered city girl—even one as brave and beautiful as Victoria—turn it into some silly spa. But Victoria’s and Eli’s burning anger and frustration only fuel heat of another kind: uncontrollable passion. And soon they each realize that the person standing in their way is the one they can never do without.

My Review:

When I read book #1 in this series, I hated Victoria's character, but was determined that I would still give this book a chance. Thank goodness that I did because I adore both her and Eli's characters in this book. These are two people who are so caught up in their own misery and bitterness that they have a hard time seeing anything else. That's what makes this book so good though because you see both their transformations as their relationship develops and they both get there in very different ways.

For Victoria, she's had a really hard last few years. Her husband masterminded a ponzi scheme and then killed himself in their home when it all came out. While she was still reeling from all that, her 7 yo son, who suffers from asthma and allergies, almost died. She lost her home, her friends, all her money, and all the things that had made up her identity since she got married. She is determined that running this ranch is going to pull herself out of that misery. 

Standing in her way is Eli. He wants nothing more than the ranch to fail. If he can't have it, then no one else deserves it. Certainly not the spoiled little princess, Victoria. It's no secret that they get off to a really awful, vicious start as they attack and retaliate through the first few chapters of this book. Finally, their conflict hits a climax and it opens Eli's eyes to the person he's become. Like I said, there is a really nice character arc through this book. At the beginning neither one is a very good person and certainly not anyone that you would want to know. But watching their struggles and discoveries is a wonderful journey. 

I LIKED this book...a lot and I absolutely fell in love with both these characters. They are so wounded and scarred. For me, they both just simply touched my heart. I wanted to weep for both of them at different times throughout the book. Just a really incredible book!

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

Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis

Title:  Forever and a Day
Author: Jill Shalvis
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Lucky Harbor #6

Main Characters: Grace and Josh

Release Date: July 2012
ISBN: 9781455503698

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 
Links to Purchase:

Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
LOVE CAN HAPPEN IN A HEARTBEAT Grace never thought she'd be starting her life over from scratch. Losing everything has landed her in Lucky Harbor, working as a dog walker for overwhelmed ER doctor Josh Scott. But the day his nanny fails to show up, Grace goes from caring for Josh's lovable mutt to caring for his rambunctious son. Soon Grace is playing house with the sexy single dad . . . 

With so many people depending on him, Josh has no time for anything outside of his clinic and family-until Grace arrives in town. Now this brainy blonde is turning his life inside out and giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "good bedside manner." Josh and Grace don't know if what they have can last. But in a town like Lucky Harbor, a lifetime of love starts with just one day . . .

My Review:

*sigh* Another fabulous book from Jill Shalvis. Dr. Josh = YUMMY! If anyone needs love in his life, it's this overworked, overwhelmed sexy man. And Josh's life is extremely overwhelming. He has a private practice which he's running alone, works several shifts in the ER, volunteers when he can at another medical facility, as well as acting as single father to his young son, and surrogate father to his paralyzed 21 yo wildchild sister. He's overwhelmed, exhausted and certainly doesn't have room for romance in his life.

But Grace falls into his life when he calls a wrong number. He's looking for a dogwalker. She needs money desperately so she's willing to deal with satan's spawn puppy. Slowly she slides bit by bit into his life. He starts to rely on her as she gets sucked further and further into the details of his family's life. 

I liked the slow build up of this relationship. They are acquaintances and out of necessity, she becomes more and more to all the family....but most especially to Josh. Neither one of them want it. He's too busy. She doesn't have any desire to be a doctor's girlfriend...she knows she'll never come first in that contest. But they have undeniable chemistry. He's drawn to her and while they try to deny their attraction, some things will not be denied. 


But this isn't just a romance between Grace and Josh. This is about his family...Anna, his 21 yo sister who's floundering under survivor's guilt and trying to find her own place in the world. His son, Toby, who wants nothing more than a mother to fill the hole in his life. This little 5 yo deserves so much more than he's getting from Josh and Josh's guilt over that is heartbreaking. They have some beautiful, heart-wrenching scenes between these two that I just loved!


I make no secret that I love Jill Shalvis' books....this one is absolutely one of her very best!

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

That Thing Called Love by Susan Andersen



Title:  That Thing Called Love
Author: Susan Andersen
My Rating: B+


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: -
Main Characters: T.J. and Anna
Release Date:  July 2012
ISBN9780373776917
Publisher: Harlequin

Links to Purchase:

Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
He's the last man on earth she should want...
For a guy she's fantasized about throttling, Jake Bradshaw sure is easy on the eyes. In fact, he seriously tempts inn manager Jenny Salazar to put her hands to better use. Except this is the guy who left Razor Bay-and his young son, Austin, whom Jenny adores like her own-to become a globe-trotting photojournalist. He can't just waltz back and claim Austin now.
Jake was little more than a kid himself when he became a dad. Sure, he'd dreamed of escaping the resort town, but he'd also truly believed that Austin was better off with his grandparents. Now he wants-no, needs-to make up for his mistake. He intends to stay in Razor Bay only until he can convince Austin to return with him to New York. Trouble is, with sexy, protective, utterly irresistible Jenny in his life, and his bed, he may never want to leave....

My Review:
Flat out, this was a good book. On the surface, Jake is "that guy"...you know, the one that no girl wants to meet. He abandoned his son 13 years ago without a single look back. Since then, he's been globetrotting the world becoming a world famous photographer for a National Geographic-like magazine.

In reality, Jake was only 18 when he left Austin in the care of Austin's grandparents after Austin's mom and Jake's wife died from complications from Austin's birth. He was scared and overwhelmed and since then has decided that Austin is better off without him. That all changes when Austin's grandparents die within a few months of each other. By the time the news gets to Jake, Austin has been living and adjusted to life with his pseudo-sister (they aren't really related, but Jenny came to live with the grandparents shortly after Austin was born and she was 16 at the time), Jenny. Confused yet? Don't be...it's much simpler to understand than I make it sound....LOL!

Jenny convinces Jake to give Austin some time to get to know him before whisking him off to a new life in NYC and in the meantime, they all start to get to know each other better. That was the best thing about this book...watching these three characters develop their relationships...so good! And I LOVE that Jake is a photographer...it added some fabulously fun details to how they see each other.

I love how Jenny is tough on Jake and finally tells him to suck-it-up. I was standing up applauding her because I was to that point in the book too. Probably my only complaint in this book....he held onto that for too long, but that's also where the conflict in the book comes from so it's kind of hard to change that and still have the book. ;o) Also, I loved the glimpses of Jake and his half-brother, Max, together. Another relationship mended in this book and it was so fun to watch them together learning how to interact as adults. I'm hoping there will be another book someday featuring Max. He needs an HEA too!

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

Top Off Tuesday: Midnight Secrets by Ella Grace

One of my all-time favorite authors (Christy Reece) has a new pseudonym, new series, and new GORGEOUS cover. So I had to share it with you. 
*sigh* 
He's very nice isn't he? 
The book sounds so good too!

Midnight Secrets by Ella Grace
releasing March 26, 2013


Story Overview:

AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, THE HEAT BEGINS

On a hot southern night, with a storm on the horizon, a family is shattered. Three beautiful daughters—Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina Wilde—go on with their lives, each significantly changed, as they bear the memory of the murder-suicide that killed their parents. For years, they have stayed away from Midnight, Alabama. Until Midnight calls them home.

Savannah is the first one back, when a grueling case in Nashville leads the young prosecutor to seek shelter in the quiet of the once grand Wilde mansion. But when she finds letters casting doubt on her family’s dark, shameful past, she realizes that peace in Midnight is a shallow fa├žade and sinister secrets lurk beneath the surface. Zach Tanner, once the town’s bad boy, is now the new police chief and still has a wild hold over her. Zach can feel it, too, but he hurt Savannah once. As teenagers, they broke every rule together. Now it’s his job to keep her safe, even though he isn’t sure who her enemies are, or which ones might be his own. All he knows is that they have only each other to face dangers they can’t see coming.




Join us (Felicia from The Geeky Book Blogger and Amanda from On a Book Bender and Me) as we celebrate those gorgeous hunky covers!! Thanks to Diana from Book of Secrets for creating this fabulous button.




Felicia is hosting the linky for this meme on her blog, so come play along....

*post a cover of a hot guy 
who just happens to be topless

*then go add your link to Felicia's blog.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Shifting Gears by Shawn Maravel

Title:  Shifting Gears
Author: Shawn Kirsten Maravel
My Rating: B-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Riders #2
Main Characters: Wesley and Olivia
Release Date: June 2012
ISBN978-1475189254
Publisher: - 
Links to Purchase:

Sexual Intensity: mild


Story Overview:
Wesley Pierce, a Virginia State Trooper, is in search of the perfect log cabin to settle down in. After losing his brother and doing his best to care for the family he left behind he decides, a year after Nathan’s death, that he’s finally ready to move forward.

Olivia Michaels, a realtor in search of her own dream home and a way out of her parents’ attic, takes on a client who can help get her that much closer to affording her freedom. Little does she know that it isn’t the perfect home that she finds but through Wesley Pierce she manages to find herself. And maybe, if she’s capable of taking the leap, she might even manage to find love. 

***

This novel, not unlike its predecessor in the Rider series, The Wanderer, is not a story about life altering suspense and mystery or a love that seemed impossible from the very start. Instead, this story is of love in its purest form. In life it isn’t mystery and excitement that drive our hearts but trepidation and the moment in which we all decide to jump unguarded into the arms of another.

My Review:
B- 
This book, simply put, is a nice sweet romantic little read. It meanders along at a fairly sedate pace through the first 75% of the book before the action and romance picks up for a great ending.

I liked both Olivia and Wesley's characters and I loved the fact that both of them are searching for the perfect log cabin. I share that love with them so it made reading about the various houses a lot of fun. Olivia is Wesley's realtor and along the way they become friends too. 

Wesley is a cop. Recently his brother, also a cop, was shot and killed in the line of duty. Olivia has a phobia about cops and I like the way Shawn Maravel wrote this book to show the sacrifices they make on a daily basis. We tend to look at them as the guys giving us speeding tickets without paying attention to the risk that puts them at daily.

Wesley is pretty hot. He drives a Harley and a big black truck....two of my personal weaknesses when it comes to guys. He also is amazing with his adorable two year old niece and his brother's widow. He's definitely stepped up to take care of them and there were several "melt my heart" type of scenes. I also LOVED the fact that he respected Olivia's relationship with her ex Jerry and didn't want to intrude on that. The fact that he'd rather have her as a friend than nothing at all....yep, LOVE!

Overall this was just a nice book to read. One of those that leaves you with a smile on your face.

I received a free copy of this book from the author.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Savage Awakening by J.D. Tyler

Title:  Savage Awakening
Author: J.D. Tyler
My Rating: A-

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Alpha Pack #2
Main Characters: Aric and Rowan
Release Date: April 2012
ISBN: 978-0451236449
Publisher: Signet 
Links to Purchase:

Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
A group of former Navy SEALS, the Alpha Pack is a top-secret team of wolf shifters with Psy powers combating the greatest dangers in the world. But sometime those dangers are more intimate than they bargained for...
 
After a mission goes wrong, Aric Savage is taken prisoner. Half-dead and despairing, he makes a stunning discovery: his Pack mate Micah Chase, who was reported dead, is a fellow captive. When the Alpha team goes into full-rescue mode, accompanying them is an absolute stunner with sable hair--and a spine of solid steel.

LAPD officer and Psy Dreamwalker Rowan Chase has one priority: her brother Micah's recovery. Still, she can't help but be drawn to Aric, the ruggedly handsome wolf shifter who pleasures her as no man ever has--however fleeting their affair is destined to be. But when Aric's life is endangered, Rowan must ask herself what she's willing to sacrifice in the name of love, for the man fated to be her Bondmate.

My Review:
Last week, I determined that I was going to read one of the many, many books that I've bought and are languishing in my huge TBR pile. (I've pretty much spent all my reading time the last couple of months on review books.) This was the one that I chose....and it was the PERFECT choice. I haven't read any of the other books in this series. This is #2 and there is the first book and a novella that come before this, but I decided I wasn't going to let that put me off (although I swear I have book #1 somewhere around here!)

This book was so good!!! Sexy shifter soldiers...yeah, you know I'm right there and this is a fantastic group of them!! The book starts with Aric being tortured and right then I was hooked because you know this is going to be a good angsty hero and I do love those! Aric was captured when a mission went wrong and now he's being tortured at the hands of his step-sister. While in captivity though, he discovers that one of the Alpha pack, Micah, isn't dead....although he's really close. 

The heroine in this book is super-tough LA cop, Rowan. She's been given a tip about her presumed dead brother Micah and ends up at the Alpha pack compound to investigate. Before this, she had no idea about shifters or other paranormal creatures or that her brother was one. She just knows that she's been told that he's dead and it's something that mentally she can't accept. She "knows" he's still alive.

I loved everything about this book. The whole Alpha team is amazing....from their leader Nick to the super-sexy sorcerer Kalen (he's the hero in book #3 and I cannot wait!!!) I like that J.D. puts a new twist on Bondmates. In this world, if the shifters don't claim their mate, then they die. Serious stuff here and it makes it so incredibly sexy. Micah is going to have an incredible story too after being in captivity for 6 months. He's horribly scarred both inside and out and he's going to have a long road to recovery. 

Overall, I'm sold on this series. Now I need to go grab books #1 and #1.5 and catch up on what I've missed before this one! I highly recommend this series if this book is any indication about how good the whole series is. BTW, if you don't know....J.D. Tyler is the pseudonym for Jo Davis, the author of the incredible Firefighters of Station 5 series.