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: Strike Zone by Beth Rhodes

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Once again, Beth Rhodes and her Hawk Elite Security series had me reading well into the wee hours to finish her latest fast-paced romantic suspense addition! STRIKE ZONE (Hawk Elite Security #3) hit all the right buttons for me; a great hero and heroine, action, adventure, a plot with surprises and a romance that was intense with not one sex scene.

Emily Rogers is one of the best sharpshooters in the agency and is on an assignment in Brussels. Because she is so busy up until her best friend’s wedding, her best friend and fiancé come to Brussels to visit and finalize wedding plans. Tragedy strikes in the form of a terrorist bombing at their hotel and Emily vows revenge.

One year later, Emily is on the verge of getting her revenge. Ahmed Hassan is in Qatar and she has received the ‘kill order’. Just as Emily takes the shot, a child jumps into Hassan’s arms and is killed rather than her target. This emotionally destroys Emily and she walks away from her job and profession.

Two years pass and John Vega has been sent by Hawkins to find and recruit Emily as a sharpshooter for Hawk Security. John knows Emily’s history because he was there in Qatar after the failed mission and he saw her devastation in her eyes from across a room before she left to go back to the states. He has never forgotten her and he is determined to get her to join the Hawk Security family and get to know her and work with her personally.

The chemistry between these two is so hot! John comes from a large Catholic family and does not believe in sleeping with someone before a serious commitment. Emily respects his beliefs, but is not ready to let down her walls and allow someone in. The back and forth dance of emotions is realistic and intense. Real romance with no sex scenes as they work out their differences. The plot has everything. Fast-paced action from the beginning that never lets up. Adventures in the U.S. and Middle East. Traitors, revenge and a plot twist that makes this more than a formula revenge story.

This is a great addition to the series and I will be looking for many more to come!

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: 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!