Book Review: Hidden In Laguna by Cheryl Phipps

hidden in laguna

RATING: 3 out 0f 5 Stars

LAGUNA BEACH: HIDDEN IN LAGUNA by Cheryl Phipps is an extremely short novella that is easily read in one sitting. It is part of the Laguna Kindle World.

Tania Patterson has settled in Laguna Beach to build a career as a wedding planner after an injury that destroyed her future as a professional ballerina. The injury was not an accident. She was betrayed and feels she will never be able to fully trust another man again. She has built a wall around her emotions, but she starts to feel again when she listens to Braden play the piano.

Braden Dorn is an extremely talented piano player, who gave up his career and shattered when he could no longer take his step-father’s abuse and exploitation. He is a serial dater and never believes he will find a woman to tell his secrets and love like his two older brothers. Something is different when Tania is around and he isn’t sure how to handle these new feelings.

This novella is only 98 pages long and is packed with Tania and Braden’s romance, both characters back stories, some emotional growth on both their parts, sex scenes and the emotional reconciliation between all of the brothers. I just feel it was way too short for all the subplot threads. Braden is more fully formed in my opinion than Tania, but the lack of a substantial emotional feeling for either left the story two dimensional for me.  I felt the sex scenes were well written, but overall, I was not emotionally invested in their romance.

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

 

Book Review: Claiming Dane by Pauline Allan

claiming dane

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

CLAIMING DANE (A Hot Southern Nights Novel) by Pauline Allen is a well written romance that takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. The hot Dom from Gilded Lily gets his story told as he fights for forgiveness and redemption in the arms of a big, powerful ex-Marine and his cute little daughter. The story can be read as a standalone even with the ties to Gilded Lily.

Tony Moretti is ready to stop running from his demons and face his family at his brother’s annual memorial. He gave up his destructive lifestyle, but he hasn’t found anything to fill up the emptiness inside his soul that he tries to fill with meaningless sex. When he stops at a hotel on his way home, he isn’t prepared for the gorgeous and shy owner. Something about this man, his love for his daughter and his family of friends pulls at Tony to stay, but his demons may be more than Dane can handle.

Dane McNeil has been to war, lost friends and come back to find his small daughter in a drug house, hungry and dirty. He will do anything to protect her now. He has built up his own security company and has rebuilt a historic hotel that he runs with the help of his best friends. When a dark, handsome doctor shows up and needs a room, he knows he will probably regret it, but he puts his heart on the line for a chance for more than a night of meaningless sex.

When Tony’s secret past becomes known, Dane feels as though he can no longer trust him and wants him to leave, but Tony has already left because he is afraid his darkness will destroy the first person he has ever loved.

This is a well written romance with a plot that pulls you into the story and developed characters that are realistic and make you want to keep reading. There is explicit M/M sex that is never gratuitous and is handled openly by the secondary characters. Dane’s daughter, Caroline is too cute and precious. She is a wonderful addition to the story. An enjoyable M/M romance read.

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

Book Review: Christmas Surprise on MacLean Mountain by Randi Alexander

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Not only is this the most emotional Christmas novella I have read this year, it is one of my favorite contemporary romance novellas of this year! CHRISTMAS SURPRISE ON MacLEAN MOUNTAIN by Randi Alexander is a lot of emotion packed into a very few pages.

Doctor Booker MacLean gets a call three days before Christmas from his estranged wife for a meeting. He hardens his heart for what he expects to come, but he is completely unprepared for he finds.

Sybil MacLean knows she made a horrible mistake in not trusting her husband over rumors and leaving seven months ago. She wants him back, but she wants his forgiveness and love, not just acceptance due to her secret.

This is a powerful story of a man raised to be logical and unemotional in his decisions. His pride could be the end of the happiness and love her truly wants. It is also a story of forgiveness and understanding of differences. Ms. Alexander’s usual stories are hot and steamy. This novella has no sex and yet is not really sweet because it is so emotionally charged with real feelings and emotions that make the H/h come to life. This HEA had me in tears, in a good way. A beautiful Christmas story good for the whole year!

Written for The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

AN AMISH FAMILY CHRISTMAS (The Charmed Amish Life #4) by Shelley Shepard Gray is the last book in The Charmed Amish series, but it can be read as a standalone. When you get to the last chapter wrap-up though, you are going to want to go back and read them all. Ms. Gray’s writing about an Amish family is entertaining and heartwarming, but she also portrays her characters with all the good and bad characteristics of all humans.

Levi Kinsinger has returned to Charm still trying to deal with the death of his father and wanting to find and fit into his place in his family’s business and home. He decides to live on his own because he can’t face the memories in his family home and meets the young widow across the street when she locks herself and her young daughter accidently out of their home. Friendship grows and Levi begins to have feelings for this mother and daughter, but there are secrets to be learned that may change those feelings.

Julia Kemp has been living a lie and running from her past. Having had an abusive fiancé and being pregnant out of wedlock sent her on the run to start over away from her life and family. It has been very difficult, but she has survived and raised her daughter on her own pretending to be a widow in the Amish community in Charm. Levi has made her want to reveal her secret and hope for a better life. Her past is starting to catch up with her and it is time to decide if she will run again or fight for her future.

Levi and Julia are fully developed characters and not just Amish caricatures. That is what I love about all of Ms. Gray’s characters. The plot is realistic and emotional. This is a fast read that will leave you with your HEA and a Kinsinger home full of family and love on Christmas day.

Book Review: A Frost Family Christmas Anthology (Frost Family & Friends, #1-3)

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

If you want to read one sweet contemporary holiday romance or have time for all three in this anthology, plus the added bonus short story, this is a wonderful collection. A FROST FAMILY CHRISTMAS ANTHOLOGY (Frost Family & Friends, #1-3) contains the romance stories of all three Frost siblings, set in small town Vermont around Christmas with a connecting mystery that is solved in book #3. They can be read as standalone books, but I hope you take the time to enjoy them all as I did.

Book #1 – What Child Is This by C.J. Carmichael

Garrett Frost has taken over the full-time operation of the family maple syrup farm from his father. As a widower with a small son he relies on his mother and he hasn’t really moved on since his wife’s death two years ago. His new PR manger, Lily Parker has moved from New York City and is doing a great job, but she doesn’t let anyone get too close. When Lily finds an abandoned baby in the Nativity scene at the farm, it brings her emotional past to a head. Both Garrett and Lily have a lot of past emotions to deal with before they can find a way to move forward together.

Book #2 – Home for Christmas by Roxy Boroughs

Jimmy Frost left town to prove his worth and rarely returns, because he has a secret that has always made him feel different. When he comes home this Christmas, it is for his job. As he stops on the town square, he runs into his high school love. April Rochester is back in town on her grandfather’s farm. She wants to start a school for autistic children, like her son. When Jimmy suddenly appears in town again all of the old feelings do, too. But will he stay or will he be gone again after his visit?

Book #3 – The Holly & The Ivy by Brenda M. Collins

Jocelyn ‘Joey’ Frost has made her dream of being a police office a reality in her hometown. She is up for an upcoming promotion so she is always working to prove herself. There have been a series of petty vandalisms all aimed at the mayor and he wants it solved. As she works that case, her best friend works the case of baby Holly found in the manger. When an ice storm hits, Joey pulls her returning high school flame out of a ditch. Noel ‘Fletch’ Fletcher is an Army brat who became a military policeman and served in Afghanistan. He is visiting his aunt and has come back to claim the only girl he has ever loved.

BONUS STORY – The Gift by C.J. Carmichael

Kindergarten teacher, Amy Frost finds a battered and neglected little child at her door on Christmas Eve. Has her one Christmas wish come true? And how can she explain this to her deputy boyfriend, Gray Cassidy?

These are all fast, easy to read stories with a lot of heart and small town charm that will entertain you on a cold winter night.

Book Review: Silver Bells: A Holiday Romance by Jacquie Biggar

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

SILVER BELLS: A Holiday Romance by Jacquie Biggar is a holiday novella that was sweet and easily read in one sitting curled up on the couch while the weather outside is frightful.

Joel Campbell, award winning mystery writer, has moved from Scotland to Vancover Island. He wants to be closer to his grandmother and hopes the change will get him over his writers’ block. Hating his fame, he has walled off his heart, become gruff and hates anyone interrupting him and yet, he is lonely.

Christy Taylor is an artist who has started her own shop attached to her rented home. Her life cannot be more hectic. She is attempting to grow her clientele, while caring for her small daughter, Jill, who has been diagnosed with Type 1, Juvenile diabetes. Christy is a great mother, but her divorce and her ex’s attitude toward their daughter has made her distrustful of any help from any man.

These two need to open up their hearts and learn to trust again before it is too late.

This novella is an enjoyable and quick read. I loved the characters in this short read, but being short, I felt some of the character development was lost. Jill was adorable and her disease was handled extremely well. I also feel this novella was not really a Christmas or holiday story, just a winter setting.  That said, still a good heartfelt novella for a cold winter day.