Book Review: A Covert Affair by Susan Mann

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

The second book in the Librarian and the Spy Escapade, A COVERT AFFAIR by Susan Mann is just as much fun as the first! Quinn and James are wonderful together once again on their new adventure through India.

I really feel these books fill an interesting niche. They are action spy thrillers with romance, adventure and interesting, intelligent plots, but they are not as violent or strictly action driven as most in this genre. I like to call these books “cozy spy thrillers” and just what I am looking for to curl up with for an afternoon adventure.

Quinn Ellington has moved to D.C. and is now a reference librarian at the CIA. She will be training at The Farm to become an agent like her boyfriend, James Bond Anderson. Their relationship is progressing and it is because they are close and Quinn has a passionate love of books and knowledge that they are both sent on a mission as husband and wife to the Punjab district in India. To save a kidnapped ambassador’s life, they have to find and return a stolen Sikh library of historic and religious books.

Ms. Mann had me completely engrossed in the descriptions of India and especially the Punjab district. Her information on the Sikh culture and history displayed extensive research and it was well paced throughout the story without feeling like an info dump. The Indian characters were believable and empathetic.

Quinn is an empowered female heroine, who uses her intelligence as well as her physical prowess. James is her perfect hunky, spy hero who is also learning to not be overly protective and let Quinn investigate avenues on her own. Their banter is fun and entertaining. The sexual relationship is hot, but not overly explicit. This book can be read as a standalone, but Quinn and James’s relationship changes and grows in each book.

This is a series to follow!

Thanks very much to Kensington Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Must Love More Kilts by Angela Quarles

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I LOVE this time-travel historical romance series! The new book MUST LOVE MORE KILTS (Must Love Series, #4) by Angela Quarles did not disappoint. This book focuses on the sister of the heroine from book three and the Highland warrior that she hand-fasts with the first night the sisters appear in the past. Their adventure can be read as a standalone, but there is overlap and I would recommend you at least read book three in the series first.

Fiona Campbell has always loved her family’s Scottish history, myths and legends. She believes her own self-worth is in keeping her ancestors extraordinary deeds and history alive. When Fiona and her sister end up back in 1689 Scotland it is a dream come true. She can become the Fiona of family legend and save their ancestor’s life and finally prove her own worth to her family.

Duncan MacCowan is a strong Highland warrior and faithful friend to the new laird, even though the laird’s sister broke his heart and proved deceitful in his past. When Fiona drops into his life, he opens his heart once again, but she disappears on the night of their hand-fasting. He cannot believe he has opened up to two unfaithful women and will never believe his heart over his head again. Now as this story begins, recovering from a serious battlefield wound, Duncan is surprised to find Fiona returned and caring for him.

Fiona is focused only on the past and believes she has one only one purpose in her life which is to fulfill the legend which say she will save her ancestor from a MacCowan warrior with a specific scar, but the warrior she loves has that scar. She must remain at Duncan’s side wherever he goes. Duncan believes he will never love again, but the attraction between these two just keeps building. Fiona and Duncan both must overcome their personal fears and work together to discover where their destinies lead them in their present versus family legend from the future and if they can tempt Fate for love.

This series just keeps giving me everything I want. The description of the Highlands and its people in 1689 and how two modern women deal with their time-travel. The author’s explanation of the time-travel and parallel histories is interesting and lets me suspend my belief for the story. Fiona and Duncan are wounded and slow to communicate their feelings and yet extremely strong and fearless in other ways and fast to defend their family and friends. The sexual tension builds and there are a few steamy sex scenes that add to the romance perfectly.

I highly recommend this new book and the entire series! I hope there are many more to come.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Hold ‘Em: A Gambling Hearts Romance by Jacquie Biggar

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

HOLD ‘EM: A GAMBLING HEARTS ROMANCE by Jacquie Biggar is a contemporary romance that has a cast of characters that are heartwarming, caring, funny and just all around wonderful! The hero and heroine find they have an instant attraction and even though they are opposites, they both have caring hearts and strong family attachments.

Matthew “Matt” Shaughnessy is a high-stakes poker player winning his way up to the World Series of Poker. Just when he thinks he may have lost a huge stakes game, his opponent cannot cover his makers. What Matt needs is a fiancée to make his dying grandmother happy so a deal is struck.  Gardner offers in payment his daughter’s heirloom wedding ring and one week of Cassandra playing his fiancée on his family’s Texas ranch.

Cassandra Gardner knows her father has a gambling problem, but she never imagined it would lead to her playing the part of a finance on a ranch with a stranger, when she is supposed to be getting married in two weeks in Las Vegas to someone else. She is a city girl through and through and knows nothing about ranching or the great outdoors. She also has very strong feelings against lying to Matt’s grandmother, family and friends who accept her on sight.

Matt has one week to convince his grandmother he is settling down and found the love of his life, which if he keeps enjoying Cassandra’s looks and spirit may be true in reality, but can he keep her on the ranch? Cassandra cannot believe the intense feelings that started as annoyance and now are so much more for this cowboy, but she has a fiancée waiting in Vegas.

Ms. Biggar has written an easy to read, heartwarming, sexy and funny, opposites attract hero and heroine that could walk right off the page and into your heart. There is sexual tension throughout, but Cassandra never breaks her promise to her real fiancée and there is no sex in the story. Matt’s grandmother, brother and sister and his care of them all and the ranch at a young age shows the depth of his character, while they are all interesting characters on their own.

Right now this book is a standalone, but the story definitely is set up for Matt’s brother and sister to have their own stories in the future. I really hope they get them because this is a family that I want to check back in with in the future.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: One Wrong Turn by Deanna Lynn Sletten

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Sometimes an author can take the simplest plot and it will pack an emotional punch that resonates with the reader to their core. You follow normal, flawed people and you cry, get mad, become disappointed, have empathy, have sympathy, laugh and feel joy. That was the journey I took with Deanna Lynn Sletten’s novel ONE WRONG TURN.

Jess Connors is renovating her grandparent’s old home into a B&B as she raises her two daughters, Madison “Maddie”, age twelve and Jilly, age seven. She has become a friend to many in the community over the last two years, but all it took was one wrong turn of her steering wheel as she was rushing to pick up her daughters after school to change all of their lives. Now Jess lies in the hospital in a coma.

Clay Connors has been estranged from his wife and daughters for two years until he receives the call notifying him of his wife’s accident. Clay is a talented studio and live musician, but he also let his alcohol addiction destroy his family and his own personal belief in himself. After this third try at rehab and AA, Clay knew it was his last chance to prove himself to Jess. He was afraid to join them at the B&B and lose them forever, so he kept convincing himself to put it off for another day. Now he has to earn the trust of his oldest daughter once again, reintroduce himself to his youngest and remain sober under this stress while reuniting his family and waiting for Jess to wake from her coma, if she does.

The author writes Clay and Jess’ meeting, courtship and family life up to their separation in flashbacks told by Clay interspersed throughout the story. Clay’s alcohol addiction is written with truth and empathy. All his fears and failings are exposed, along with his daily battle to remain sober. The interactions between Clay and Maddie are extremely emotional because she was so close to her father and yet she was too young to understand what addiction is and so she has a severe lack of trust and a huge feeling of abandonment in regards to her father. The author offsets the difficulties with her father, with the care and understanding she shows her younger sister. Jilly is lovable, happy child who is trying to deal with all that is happening.

This book has the story of a couple that has always loved each other, but addiction divides them. For me though, the main characters that I empathized with and cheered to a happy ending were Clay and his daughter, Maddie. The dialogue is realistic as well as the emotions. All of the secondary characters were perfectly placed to add to the story, but never took the main focus off of Clay, his sobriety and/or his daughters as they dealt with their family in crisis.

This book is an emotional roller coaster that is beautifully written. The strength, love, perseverance and forgiveness of the characters will stay with me long after I finish this review. I am looking forward to reading more of Ms. Sletten’s books in the future.

Book Review: Gone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

GONE IN THE NIGHT (Honor Bound #3) by Anna J. Stewart is the 5 STAR conclusion to the Honor Bound trilogy. This entire romantic suspense trilogy is a roller coaster ride that is packed with strong, but emotionally vulnerable heroes to swoon over and heroines that are wounded and yet at the top of their professions and know how to kick butt. Book three is the conclusion to the overall story-line arc that tied this trilogy together. I believe these books should be read in order.

Allie Hollister is a psychologist who is one of three friends who are all still haunted by the unsolved death of their childhood best friend, Chloe. The past seems to have invaded her present with the kidnapping of one of Allie’s patients, Holly Kellan, who is almost a twin to her friend who was killed 20 years earlier. As the friends work the abduction of Holly, it seems to mirror their cold case and the two cases start to converge.

Max Kellan was a firefighter who has moved to Sacramento to help with his niece, Holly as his brother goes through a contentious divorce. When the police, FBI and Allie appear on his brother’s doorstep, Max knows something is terribly wrong, but he also realizes he is not getting the whole truth from the law or Allie.

Max and Allie search for Holly and try to piece everything together from both the current kidnapping and the cold case with all the friends from the previous two books. Allie cannot believe the timing as she finally is starting to be attracted to Max. Max, for all his anger and mistrust of mental health doctors is only calm and focused with Allie around. These two come together in a slow burn that intensifies throughout the book, but will it last?

Allie projects a calm even cold analytical exterior that hides her fear and yet she can physically fight like a SEAL. Max is a ball of anger since what happened to make him leave firefighting. Yet the two of them find a way to get through to each other and the banter is light, fun and sexy, even in their stressful situation. I loved these two together, the friendship of all the women carried throughout all three books and the fast paced plots.

I highly recommend this trilogy! I will be looking for more Anna J. Stewart romantic suspense books in the future.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: A Drop of Paradise by Alex L. Michaels

RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

A DROP OF PARADISE by Alex L. Michaels is a contemporary romance that has a fun premise and is set in paradise, but also has a few problems that some may not be able to ignore.

Jessica Slade is a librarian turned successful romance writer. After ten books, she is having trouble finishing her current book and believes that maybe taking herself out of her comfort zone will help. A Drop of Paradise was supposed to give her quiet and island beauty, but it turns out to be a crowded resort.

Mike Stone looks like a romance cover model brought to life. He moved to the island and stayed as captain on his own ship that transports tourists around the other islands for day trips. When he sees Jessica, he knows he has to have her.

On a group day trip that Jessica gets coerced into taking, she and Mike end up stranded on a deserted island and the battle begins between these two. Mike likes to rile Jessica and Jessica thinks Mike is nothing, but a muscle bound, overbearing jerk. Can these two see beyond the surface and turn anger and lust into love?

The first portion of this book has a lot of fun banter and quips between Mike and Jessica. Think Taming of the Shrew or War of the Roses. It was fun and entertaining, but for me lasted a little too long before transitioning into the next portion of the book even when you find out why Jessica was holding out for so long. No sex in this part of the book. Then it suddenly turns into an erotica romance that is all about explicit sex scenes with no emotional investment or discussion.

Throughout this book there are quite a few grammar, word usage and spelling errors. Even with these problems, it was a fun read. I feel it would be an even better read if it was proofread and/or edited again and transitioned more smoothly between the battling and sex portions of the book. The H/h and the secondary characters saved this from receiving a lower rating.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.