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.

Book Review: The Librarian and the Spy by Susan Mann

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I have just read an absolutely charming and entertaining start to a new series called The Librarian and the Spy (Librarian and the Spy Escapade #1) by Susan Mann. Not only did I love all of the characters, I learned many things I never knew about reference librarians and their jobs. This book had me laughing out loud and turning the pages as fast as possible as the mystery and suspense took off.

Quinn Ellington is a reference librarian who loves her job solving questions for her library patrons, but she also longs to travel and experience adventures like her favorite spy thriller heroes introduced to her by her grandfather. She hates all the stereotypes of librarians because she grew up as a military brat with a Marine father who taught her to shot and three older brothers that she has always completed with.

On an ordinary day at work, insurance agent James Lockwood comes up to the desk and asks Quinn for her help researching some pieces from a private collection. Quinn can’t believe her luck because not only is James gorgeous, but he has a British accent to die for. As Quinn becomes more involved in helping James, she realizes that all this research is not simply for insurance purposes and James has not been completely truthful with her. He is not British and he is not an insurance agent.

As Quinn and James work together to solve an important puzzle to stop an international arms dealer from acquiring nuclear material, Quinn’s intelligence and abilities become a major asset. She is very capable of thinking on her feet and James becomes even more impressed.

Their cover and flirting as a married couple leads to real feelings that they try to control until the end of their mission. This story has a lot of witty banter, flirting and a steady buildup of their chemistry to a relationship. No sex until the end and it is behind closed doors when it does happen. Even when the plot has been resolved, there is a great twist at the end of the book.

I really enjoyed this book and I was very happy to see that it is a proposed series and not a standalone. I was impressed by the fact that this is Ms. Mann’s first book. A fast paced plot, interesting facts, and entertaining characters make this worth the read. I am looking forward to James and Quinn’s next outing!

Thanks very much to Kensington Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I am looking forward to many more books in this series.

Book Review: Brothers In Blue: Matt by Jeanne St. James

RATING:  5 out of 5 Stars

What a great addition and emotionally charged finale to the Bryson brother trilogy of books!

BROTHERS IN BLUE: MATT (Brothers In Blue #3) by Jeanne St. James has the youngest Bryson finally returning home after several deployments overseas to a job and extended family that he is finding very difficult to deal with due to PTSD.

Matt Bryson believes his mind is broken. He is not ready to accept help except what is forced on him by his brother to keep his job as a police office in their small town. He has buried his emotions and is barely making it day to day.

Dr. Carly Stephens is Amanda’s obstetrician at the local hospital. She is tall, calm and extremely professional working hard to help her elderly parents and save money to adopt a baby of her own one day that she cannot have herself. When Matt ends up being the brother to rush Amanda to the hospital to deliver, he is attracted to Carly’s calm and leadership. Carly is attracted to the hot police office.

They start out as landlord and tenant, but soon agree to a sexual, no commitment relationship. They are just too different and want different things out of life. Matt with his OCD and PTSD believes he will never be able to love and he never wants children. Carly is too busy earning and saving money for her future home and adoption and just wants the hot sex. But can they truly keep to this arrangement? Hot, steamy sex is great, but soon emotions become entangled and they will have to find a way to compromise or break.

Matt had me all tied up in knots emotionally. There are many forms and degrees of PTSD and I feel Ms. St. James handled Matt’s character responses in a realistic way. I especially agree with the way that Matt had to handle a lot of his decisions on his own and in his own time. Carly was an equally strong character because even though she is a doctor, she knows she can’t heal Matt, she can only love and help him. The plot was a delicate back and forth written with empathy and compassion.

It was great reading about all the characters from the previous two books, also. I am going to miss these brothers, the loves they found and the entire extended family. This is an excellent contemporary romance series with plenty of hot and steamy sex scenes. They can all be read as standalones, but is much more fun to read them all in order and get three HEAs.

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

Book Review: Stark Resolution by C.D. Bradley

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

STARK RESOLUTION by C.D. Bradley gave me the resolution I was looking for from this trilogy, but the path taken was not in any way what I was expecting. It is an emotional powerhouse written in a way that lets you have a window into the depths of a wounded warrior’s mind.

This book starts with both, Kira and Stark, waking up in Walter Reed Medical Facility. Both are facing difficult recoveries in differing ways. (Sorry, can’t give you more without spoiling a major plot twist and major scenes.)

When they come together again, the pieces of the overall suspense portion of this trilogy become transparent. Kira, Stark and all of their friends we have been introduced to along the way in books 1 and 2 work to stop what could be a potentially devastating biological weapon.

This trilogy is not at all what I was expecting and yet it turned into one of my all-time favorites with strong characters that I will always remember. I thought the cliffhangers at the end of books 1 and 2 were the most devastating emotional twists this author could throw at me until I got into the meat of this third book in the trilogy. C.D. Bradley takes some specific problems that our veterans’ face and writes from the heart of the veteran’s viewpoint with powerful emotional realism.

When I started this trilogy, I thought I was just getting a well written erotic military series that I would read and enjoy the sex scenes and try to figure out the suspense subplot on the side. This trilogy is so much MORE!

I cannot recommend this trilogy enough. C.D. Bradley’s writing is captivating, intense and emotional from page one.

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