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: Angelina’s Secret by Diane Merrill Wigginton

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I love when I am asked to read a beloved genre book by a new to me author and can recommend it highly to others!

ANGELINA’S SECRET (Jeweled Dagger Series) by Diane Merrill Wigginton has everything I am looking for in a great historical romance read. A heroine who is true to her times, but independent and courageous set against a strong hero who is protective, but also values the heroine’s unique character and a plot and subplot that have adventure and intrigue twisting throughout the romance that keep you turning the pages.

Lady Angelina Stewart was born into a wealthy English aristocratic family that allowed her independence and to be as well educated as her beloved older brother, Jonathan in a time when most young ladies only cared about beauty and titles. Besides her education, two other things set Angelina apart. She has a bit of the sight, or a feeling when things are about to change in her life and she never wants to be wed. She is determined to never be owned by a man.

Captain Jude Deveraux is sailing the open seas as a French privateer for his king after receiving an award and title for bravery during battle. The Captain is also the Duke of Bayonne. He and his best friend Honore’ steal and plunder from unsuspecting ships and live for the adventure. A trap is set for the unsuspecting ship belonging to Angelina’s father. The trip is a birthday gift for Angelina from her father with her uncle to trade for their company. When the feisty Angelina stands up to the Captain pirate sparks begins to fly. A wager is made for the return of Angelina’s family ship and crew with safe passage if the cards favor Angelina.

Win or lose, Jude does not plan on letting the entrancing Angelina out of his life.

These two are meant to be together! Ms. Wigginton has written a hero and heroine that will be remembered long after the book is done. The secondary characters are also well developed and interesting. Set in the 18th century, my only slight problem with historical references was the white wedding gown. (Although possible, the white wedding gown didn’t become popular until the 19th century when Victoria wore one.)

This is a well written and entertaining historical romance, full of action, adventure and great characters. This is definitely a book and author to read and follow!

Book Review: For Love & Bourbon by Katie Jennings

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

FOR LOVE & BOURBON by Katie Jennings is an overall enjoyable romantic suspense read.

Lucky Fox Whiskey was started when Grandpa Joe came from Ireland after a family feud to strike out on his own with his own ideas on how Irish whiskey and bourbon should be made. The family legacy has passed from Joe to his son, Ty Brannon and his twins Ava and Adam Brannon.

Ava Brannon is proud of her grandfather’s accomplishments and works to uphold all the family traditions in the distillery. World renowned, Ava has learned the fine art of mixing, aging and tasting at her grandfather’s side. Lucky Fox supports the entire small community built around it on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, but being a small community Ava has not had an interest in any personal attachment.

On her last tour of the day, a handsome stranger stands out from the rest and Ava is caught off guard by her interest. Special Agent Cooper Lawson is with the FBI and about to turn Ava and her family’s world upside down.

As you read this book, you are completely taken by the author’s description of the making and tasting of bourbons and whiskeys. It is so intense, you can practically taste it on your tongue. The twists and turns of the suspense in this story keep you turning the pages and involved in the investigation. The family secrets and ties to their Irish born kin was a big surprise twist.

The main romance in this story between Ava and Cooper was well paced, but just a little off. I was reading it and hoping that everything came out right for them, but I was not completely sold on the two of them ending up with a HEA. The secondary romance between Ava’s brother Adam and his crush didn’t work for me at all. These characters all have interesting backstories though and are interesting in the story.

This standalone romantic suspense is well worth the read.

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

Book Review: Say You’re Sorry by Melinda Leigh

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I am so excited that Melinda Leigh is writing a spin-off of her wonderful Scarlet Falls trilogy. SAY YOU”RE SORRY (Morgan Dane #1) takes me back to one of my favorite fictional cities.

Morgan Dane returns home to Scarlet Falls with her three young daughters after the death of her military husband in the Middle East. Living with her grandfather and a teenager rescued in a previous Scarlet Falls book, two years has passed and Morgan decides to return to work as an ADA. She wants to start moving forward at least professionally with her life.

Lance Kruger was an SFPD officer, but is currently training to be a private investigator while recovering from a gunshot wound. His mentor, Lincoln Sharp started his own P.I. agency after retiring from the SFPD. Lincoln is more than just the ex-detective who worked Lance’s missing father’s case, he has been a father figure and an enormous help with Lance’s mother.

When Morgan’s sometimes babysitter, Tessa is found raped and violently murdered, the blame falls on her boyfriend, Nick. Nick is Morgan’s young neighbor who plays chess with her grandfather and reads to her girls. Even though the evidence is strong, Morgan just cannot believe Nick is guilty. Morgan turns down her ADA job and decides to not only defend Nick against false charges, but to find the real killer with the help of Lance and Lincoln.

This book takes off and keeps a fast pace throughout. With multiple suspects there are many unexpected twists and turns in the plot. As you turn the pages to find justice for Tessa, many other small town secrets become unearthed. You also follow the story through both Morgan’s and Lance’s points-of-views, with some internal insights from the killer and Nick’s time in lock-up. I loved the multiple views because they pull you into the head and intense emotions of each character in every situation.

I was happy to learn from the author that there are at least four more proposed books for this series and Morgan will continue being the main character. This book has the beginnings of a new romance for Morgan with Lance and I am looking forward to its progression. I love a series that not only gives me great thrills and/or mysteries, but I get to follow a couple that I want to succeed in love.

I am looking forward to the next book and a return to all of these great characters!

Thank you very much to Montlake Romance, Melinda Leigh and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Breaking The Honor Code by Stanalei Fletcher

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

BREAKING THE HONOR CODE (Northstar Security #4) by Stanalei Fletcher is another entertaining addition to her romantic suspense series. This series gives you stories that are well written and always deliver an action packed page turner.

Allison Richards has been dubbed “the cyborg queen” of the Northstar computer labs. All work and no personal interactions. When she leaves to takes a vacation and go home to Idaho to babysit her nephew, the hacker that has been plaguing Northstar strikes again.

Sloan Cartland is Northstar’s profiler. Viewed as a rich playboy, he doesn’t try to fight that misconception. When the hacker strikes Northstar again and more damage is done to the company’s reputation and cases, his boss sends Sloan to retrieve Allison and bring her back.

Trapped by a blizzard, Allison and Sloan begin to see each other beyond their work personas and sparks begin to fly. But when communications are restored, Sloan is ordered to get Allison to L.A. The evidence is pointing to Allison as the hacker. Sloan now questions all of his feelings for Allison and their attraction, while Allison has to use all of her skills to save herself, her nephew and her reputation.

I really enjoy this series and all of the characters. The books are easy to read with fast paced action and romance. This book has the beginnings of a romance which was sweetly written without any sex scenes. The themes of trust and honor are woven throughout all the characters and storyline. An enjoyable read that can standalone, but the whole series is well worth the read!

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