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: Only the Lucky by Linda Castillo

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

ONLY THE LUCKY (Kate Burkholder, #8.5) by Linda Castillo is a novella that lets you return to Painters Mill for a short period of time between full length novels and reconnect with the characters you love in this series.

It is Friday the 13th in Painters Mill and even though Chief of Police Kate Burkholder does not believe in superstitions the problems just keep on coming. Kate learns of a huge outdoor ‘rager’ on an abandoned farm, the town is having a complete power outage until morning and the department receives a 911 call about an unresponsive Amish teen found by her boyfriend in the barn at the party.

This novella is only 56 pages long. It is an entertaining story that assumes you are already familiar with the main series characters. The crime was easily solved, but still a good read. I will always pick up a novella or book by this author in this series to check out how my favorite characters are doing.

Book Review: Exodus ’95 by Kfir Luzzatto

RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

EXODUS ’95 by Kfir Luzzatto is a fast paced adventure thriller with a unique character twist and intriguing treasure hunt for Moses’ staff.

Claire Williams is a graphic designer that has always had to work hard to survive. When she befriends a dying, elderly man named Jack, she learns he is an ex-KGB agent who claims to have hidden the staff belonging to Moses’ from the Bible. He wants to give her the information on where and how to locate it with the hope that she can sell it to get money for a better life, but Jack has his own ulterior motives for giving Claire this information.

Dan Ze’evi is an Israeli engineer who is paired with Claire due to information he has on the location of the staff that he doesn’t realize he has in his memory. The two are bribed and blackmailed on their journey by a Russian oligarch who wants the power of the staff. They are also being chased by an Egyptian oligarch, who wants the staff destroyed, not recovered. Dan and Claire are running all over the world as it seems everyone wants the staff for their own reasons. Twist and turns I was not expecting kept popping up and made it a fun adventure that had me continually turning the pages.

The book is an easy read and I am sure you will enjoy the world-wide adventure if you can suspend realistic belief at times, which I don’t mind doing. I gave it the 3.5 star rating and would have liked to have given it more, but I felt the characters, except for Dan Ze’evi were two dimensional and stereotypical. The unique character twist belongs to Claire, but I can’t say more without it being a spoiler. Even with this twist, I just could never warm to her character. I also felt the romance was forced and unbelievable. The plot is full of potential, unique and is a fun adventure read.

Thank you to PINE TEN  and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for and honest review.

 

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.