Book Review: Second Chance Cowboy by Joanne Rock

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

SECOND CHANCE COWBOY (Road to Romance Book, #2) by Joanne Rock is a second chance contemporary romance that demonstrates this author’s seamless ability to immediately allow you to become emotionally invested in her characters and immerse you in the beauty and uniqueness of her settings. Even though this is the second book in this series, it is easily read as a standalone.

Larissa Martine left Cheyenne, Wyoming eight years ago for the bright lights of Broadway and a career in dance. It was a promise she made to her dying mother. But as she leaves, she also devastates the boy she loves in a text message.

After a possible career ending injury and on her way to an audition in Los Vegas, Larissa is detouring to her hometown to honor a pact between girlfriends, to make peace with past wrongs and hopefully clear the future to turn bad luck to good.

Matt Briggs thought he had it all. He purchased Split Fork Ranch next to his family spread and was ready to move ahead with the girl he loved. That was not how it worked out. Now Larissa is back and he does not want to hear about her regrets, but he does want her stay for his sister’s wedding next week. The intense attraction is still there and maybe if they have one more night together it will give them both the peace with the past they seek, or they could repeat past mistakes all over again.

Larissa and Matt are both trying to live up to what they perceive that others wanted for them. The love and attraction has always been an easy part of their relationship, but the emotional communication between the two is difficult and lacking. Even though eight years has passed, they almost repeat their past and the author leads them towards their HEA is a realistic and believable way. The sex scenes are steamy and also emotional. The secondary characters where as well fleshed out and entertaining as the H/h. This is a quick read packed with emotion and what I expect when I read a book by this author.

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

Book Review: Prossers Bay Boxed Set (Books 1-4) by Cheryl Phipps

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

I really enjoy getting to know characters and towns over a book series.  PROSSERS BAY BOXED SET (Books 1-4) by Cheryl Phipps consists of one short story and three contemporary romances set in the small town of Prossers Bay, New Zealand. The romances revolve around a group of three girlfriends with the short story being an introduction to the series’ main characters. These romances are all entertaining in their own right and are fast and easy reads.

Book 1 is the short story ‘Doc’s Town’ and is an introduction to Doc Morris, the town doctor. All the characters watch out for Doc now that he is a widower and his only son is away working on his own career. The main female characters of the three romances in books 2-4 are introduced as well as someone who wants more than friendship with Doc and that is basically all this short story involves.

Book 2 ‘Finding Liam’ is Abby and Max’s story. Abby owns her own cleaning service. Megan and Stephanie work for her and are also her best friends who have helped her through her several miscarriages and depression. As Abby and Max try to find their way back to a physical and loving relationship that has dissolved during Abby’s depression, Abby finds a child left alone in one of the beach homes she is cleaning. Liam’s story will break your heart and have you reading until the end to make sure this little boy finds his happily ever after as well as Abby and Max. (I have to say this was my favorite of the three full length romances.)

Book 3 ‘Seducing Megan’ takes us into struggling, single mom, Megan’s life with twin girls, Mia and Cody. John Lambert owns and runs the upscale resort just outside of town and he wants Megan to work for him. He makes Megan an offer that she just cannot refuse monetarily, but what he does not know is that Megan has been burned before by a rich man and no matter how attracted she may be to John, she refuses to make the same mistake again. Megan is sassy and talented, but John knows she is a mom first and he has never considered being a dad.

Book 4 ‘Saving Stephanie’ has Doc’s son, Jamie, and Stephanie’s old boyfriend returning to Prossers Bay to care for his dad after a minor heart attack. The flame is still there, but so are the problems that separated them. Both have dreams they want to fulfill and unless a compromise can be found they will both be going their separate ways once again.

The three contemporary romances are all entertaining and all are different types of stories that are not repetitive. They can easily be read as standalone books, but when read in order or in this box set, they build on each other and make you feel as if you are a part of the Prossers Bay community. This is a good box set for an enjoyable and easy summer read.

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

Book Review: Jack & Gill by Cheryl Phipps

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

JACK & GILL (Sycamore Springs #1) by Cheryl Phipps

Jack and Gill live side by side at the bottom of the hill. Best friends forever, but one has always wanted more. A contemporary story that is well written in the first person with alternating points of view between Jack and Gill. Ms. Phipps gives a you a fun, fast and easy to read HEA.

Gill has always lived in her parent’s home next door to Jack. They went to school together, although Jack was a grade ahead and since the first grade Gill has secretly loved Jack. She is a successful business owner of her own landscaping firm now, but during high school and college she never felt she fit in. At 28, she doesn’t see Jack ever loving her as more than a friend, so she starts seriously dating Adam.

Jack looks out for Gill, like a little sister. Life and relationships are easy for him as the star high school quarterback and later a career as a successful developer in Sycamore Springs. He moved back home after a short, bad marriage and now lives for his little girl, Katie. Together Jack and Gill provide Katie with a loving home environment and Jack doesn’t want that to change, but Gill has announced her engagement to Adam and Jack needs to decide what he really feels about his best friend.

I finished this story in one sitting. I felt Gill’s frustration and pain at hiding her feelings for so long. There were times I wanted to slap Jack upside his clueless head. The characters felt very real to me and the story flowed from their points of view. Just one warning, if you are a traditional romance reader and don’t want your H/h having sex with someone else in the story, this is not the book for you.

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

Book Review: To Catch A Spirit by Carrie Pulkinen

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

TO CATCH A SPIRIT by Carrie Pulkinen is a paranormal contemporary romance that pairs two unique characters in an emotionally charged romance and ghost story.

Allison Gray is a psychic who works to help heal people, cleanse antiques of trapped spiritual essence and is afraid of ghosts after a failed ghost-busting assignment. While attending a party with her best friend, Tina, Allison is immediately struck with emotions of loneliness and despair emanating from their host. She wants nothing to do with the new playboy billionaire in town. Instead, she goes to console a crying woman sitting on the stairs only to have her disappear right before her eyes.

Logan Mitchell is the playboy billionaire throwing the charity party. Logan has moved to Detroit to start out on his own and away from his controlling father. Underneath the shell, Logan is hiding being an empath who has no control over his gift, which has led to attacks of OCD symptoms and other problems. When he sees Allison, he knows she is different and he can’t stay away even with a frightening recurring dream, which is the reason he doesn’t do more than one night stands. Before he gets the chance to introduce himself, she runs out the door.

I loved Allison and Logan. Their relationship was immediate, but it was believable because of their gifts. The author wrote about OCD, fears and suicide with great empathy. The H/h were sympathetic and not just caricatures. The sex scenes were hot and steamy, but never overdone. Both of their best friends were also realistic and fully fleshed out. There were a few times that the story slowed down and was a little repetitive, but overall it was well written. The plotline is predictable, but with the handling of the H/h’s gifts, it is still very entertaining and well worth reading.

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

Book Review: Dare to Rock by Carly Phillips

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

DARE TO ROCK (Dare To Love, #5) by Carly Phillips is the seventh book in this series of contemporary romances. Each book can be easily read as a standalone. The characters and books are tied together by one father with two families which are made public by the illness of one of the daughters.

Avery Dare is the youngest in the first family and was most affected by her father’s scandal and desertion. She has become successful blogging online, which allows her to be in control of her surroundings and avoid stressful interactions and anxiety attacks. She receives an invitation to a concert from her famous high school ex-boyfriend, Grey Kingston.

Grey Kingston took off after high school to find fame and fortune as a rock star not caring about leaving behind his family or Avery. Now he is back home to stay, has quit the band and touring to set things right with his family and reclaim Avery, who is the only woman he has ever really loved.

Avery and Grey were perfect for each other. The personal issues that needed resolved by both were handled so well and with a lot of heart. Their sexual relationship was hot and steamy and not gratuitous. External plot problems of a crazy groupie and a sleazy manager were intertwined through the story and added just the right amount of suspense. This was a very satisfying installment in this series.

Book Review: A Country Love Song by Sinclair Jayne

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

A COUNTRY LOVE SONG (Smoky Mountain Knights, #1) by Sinclair Jayne is a sweet, second chance contemporary love story. This is the first in a proposed series featuring the Knight sisters from Sweet Tea, Tennessee.

Sutter Knight has finally returned to her hometown after ten years of working hard in Nashville to break into the country music scene. Sutter feels the need to return to her roots and recharge after performing on an awards show and breaking into the top ten on the country music chart. What she discovers is that her beloved theater, where her love of music was born, is about to be demolished for a boutique hotel and the whole youth music program is in jeopardy. The second shock is discovering that the boy she shared her music with and let her go is the architect in charge of the project.

Dawson Yates went north to college after high school to prove to himself and Sweat Tea that he wasn’t like all the Yates men before him. He came back to his hometown, established his business, put locals to work, and looks after his younger brother, mother and aunt. What Dawson doesn’t expect is for the whirlwind of Sutter Knight to be back in town and ready to fight for the theater. Dawson is willing to work with Sutter and the investors to alter their project, but he is not willing to open his heart only to lose Sutter all over again.

This is a fast paced romance that will keep you turning the pages. The interactions between Sutter and Dawson were so perfect and so aggravating at the same time. These two had their love story interrupted and were set on separate paths after high school, but forgiveness, love and understanding are woven throughout this romance ten years later to right a wrong, or maybe not, from the past. This romance is full of emotions and feelings with no sex involved.

A solid and enjoyable all around sweet contemporary romance. I am looking forward to more of these sisters’ stories.

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