Book Review: Tinderbox by Rachel Grant

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Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Rachel Grant’s Evidence series is a must read for me; smart, intelligent and smokin’ hot romance. When I found out she is starting a new series, I did a happy dance and then was so excited to find out I would be getting an early copy. TINDERBOX (Flashpoint Series, #1) by Rachel Grant is everything I expect in a Romantic suspense and more!

Dr. Morgan Adler is an archeologist working under contract to the Djibouti government in the Horn of Africa. As she works to clear the way for a new railroad, she and her team uncover a fossil skeleton that could be the find of a lifetime. The problem is that a warlord wants it also, and Morgan. She makes a run from her site to the American military base, Camp Citron, for help.

Based on a tip, Master Sergeant Pax Blanchard, a Green Beret based out of Camp Citron is ordered to intercept Morgan and stop her from getting to the base. They find a bomb under her car about to blow and Pax saves her life as she fights to save some fossils in her car. This is the first of many combustible situations between Pax and Morgan.

Morgan is a kick-butt heroine with a body like a centerfold, a foul mouth, and a PhD. She has a huge chip on her shoulder growing up with a General for a father, who she feels, he thinks she has never be good enough. Pax is completely focused on his military career after being burned young in a short-lived marriage to another General’s daughter. He wants nothing to do with any relationship and especially not with this General’s daughter. They are too hot for each other and there is no keeping their sexual tension from catching fire.

The plot takes off like a shot right from the first chapter and never lets up. Ms. Grant always teaches me new and interesting information in her books without slowing the pace. This new book has a warlord who wants to be a king, sex slave trade, corrupt and loyal politicians, and the U.S. and China working behind the scenes for control of this tinderbox of a country.

The twists and turns of the plot had me continually surprised and I just could not put this book down. The romance is hot, hot, hot. I highly recommend this book!

Book Review: The Beast Within (Mended Souls #2) by Jacquie Biggar

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I have been looking forward to reading and reviewing this second book in the Mended Souls series. THE BEAST WITHIN by Jacquie Biggar did not disappoint! These books are a great blend of contemporary romance with added suspense and the paranormal element of guardian angels that have ties to the main characters.

Julie Crenshaw has made the move to Vancouver from Chicago with her two boys to help move on after the deadly accident a year ago that killed her husband and unborn daughter. It has been a difficult adjustment for them all, but at times she feels Mike is there to help her get through her toughest days, and he is watching over them.

One morning as she is out jogging, she stumbles across a severed foot inside of a sneaker. She reports her find and meets Detective Connor O’ Rourke, who is working similar cases attributed to The ABC Killer. Julie cannot get the detective off her mind and is surprised that she is finally attracted sexually to a man besides her deceased husband, but that cannot interfere with her job as a reporter for the local news to look into the murders.

Detective Connor O’Rourke is struck by the strength and not just the beauty of Julie to survive her past trauma. He is also worried about her safety since her find on the beach and her continued investigation into the killings. Julie takes his advice and sends her boys to visit their grandparents in Chicago. The sexual tension comes to a head and both Julie and Connor have to decide if they can have more than just a sexual relationship and build a future together. What neither of them realize is that they both know the killer and he already has plans for Julie.

Interwoven between the main romance plot, guardian angels Lucas and Mike are still both working to watch over those they loved before they died. They also are still working towards the forgiveness necessary to move on instead of the hate, blame and suffering after the accident that killed them both.

I loved this book as much as the first in this series. Ms. Biggar’s characters come to life emotionally in scenes that move you in every way. The second chance at love, the letting go of previous love lost, forgiveness and understanding. Both plotlines intertwine into a moving read that has me anxiously awaiting the next book!

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

Book Review: Everything I’ve Dreamed Of by Norah Bennett

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I have just finished reading a beautifully written, plotted and emotionally charged contemporary romance that has given me a book hangover that I do not want to end! EVERYTHING I’VE DREAMED OF (Love In Lake Crossing, Book 2) by Norah Bennet is a romance that introduces two broken individuals that this author brings to life and shares their journey of realistic emotional growth and healing.

Kate Willowbrook has grown up experiencing physical and sexual abuse, hunger and fear. She runs away after witnessing a rape and murder in her high school and ends up on the streets. Kate is eventually taken in by an elderly, feisty woman in Texas and given love and stability for the first time and taught how to take care of herself. With the death of her mentor and the end of a bad relationship, it is time to find a place to call home.

Kate settles down when she finds her dream of an old bookstore for sale in Lakes Crossing, NJ. She turns it into a bookstore for children called “Dreamscapes” with her apartment above and her cockatoo, Shakespeare. After a year of living here and making only casual acquaintances, Noah Reed walks in to find books for his niece’s birthday and Kate can’t believe her reaction to him.

Noah Bennett grew up in Lakes Crossing, but lives and works in New York City. His wife was killed in a car accident while he was in London on business and he has never forgiven himself. He throws himself into work and occasionally dates, but is not interested in a relationship until he meets Kate. Kate makes him laugh again and every encounter makes him want her more and the more he wants her the more protective he becomes. This causes problems with Kate from her past and somehow they have to learn to balance both of their needs against their fears to have a chance at love.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Kate and Noah both have to learn to open up and share their past lives, learn to overcome their fears and learn to balance the needs of each other to make this relationship work. What makes this romance so special is that the H/h actually talk to each other and work through their problems. They do have an instant attraction, but after that the pacing of the romance is realistic. This book is part of a series, but can easily be read a standalone. Well written sex scenes and a few external problems make this book a wonderful contemporary romance read. I’ll be looking for more from this author.

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

Book Review: Ethan’s Heart by Vickie King

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RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

It has been quite a while since I have read a historical cowboy romance. I am very glad that I tried this first in a series by a new to me author, ETHAN’S HEART (The Blackwood Brothers, #1) by Vickie King. The Blackwood family, a runaway with a sick baby and secrets, posses, outlaws, and Missouri in 1855 all come together for a great read.

Ethan Blackwood is a widower with two little girls. His beloved wife, Elizabeth was killed during a bank robbery. Grief has turned into a powerful need for revenge instead of justice for this sheriff, but first he has to find someone to take care of his little girls so he can go on the hunt for her killers.

Annabelle “Annie” Holt is on the run from St. Louis with little baby Lily. She has to abandon the wagon train due to Lily’s health and is helped by the town’s doctor, Andrew Blackwood. Annie needs to stay in town for Lily, but she has no money and considers accepting the job as the laundress for the salon girls. Andrew believes he has the perfect solution for Annie. She needs a home and security and his brother, Ethan needs a new wife to care for his home and girls.

Ethan and Annie marry and when Ethan makes it clear it is not for love, Annie has some rules of her own. It isn’t until he comes in with his star on his vest that Annie realizes she has married the town’s sheriff. It is now more important than ever to keep her secrets.

I loved Annie! She was so strong and loving even with all that had happened to her and what could happen if the truth of her past became known. The love and care she showed for everyone was wonderful to read. Ethan was a good and honest man who was being eaten alive by his need for revenge and how Ms. King dealt with his change of heart was very well done. I really enjoyed reading this story, even though at times it was predictable, because the familiar and HEA is what I am looking for in a good romance genre book.

Thank you to Salt Run Publishing LLC and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the brothers’ stories!

Book Review: When It Hits You by Nicki Elson

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RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

WHEN IT HITS YOU by Nicki Elson is listed as Book 1 in the ‘It’ Series, but it was a previously released book with a different title. It is more of a Chick Lit book with a small amount of romance in the last 40 pages of the story, than Contemporary romances like books two and three in this series.

Lyssa Bates is a 26 year old financial analyst who has chosen her vibrator over her boyfriend when given that final ultimatum, the vibrator or me. She has decided her vibrator has everything she needs for now. As her love life takes a new turn, so does her work life. She is assigned to work on a major corporate account with the hottie, Hayden from estates.

Hayden King is a rising star in the investment company and this new opportunity is very important to him. He is also a man who believes in dating several woman and not committing to one, until if ever he meets the ‘one’. At first, Lyssa finds him conceited and overbearing, but as they work together for long hours, she begins to realize there is a difference between what you see and how Hayden really is.

I enjoyed Lyssa and Hayden and the banter that went on between the two, but to be honest I went into this thinking I was getting a Contemporary romance. The story ended that way, but was pure Chick Lit in the majority of the story. The dialogue was crisp and entertaining. It was interesting to learn why Lyssa and Hayden each behaved the way they did, also. Good story, but not what I was looking for in this series.

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

Book Review: Liz: The Montana McKennas by Jan Scarbrough

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

LIZ: THE MONTANA McKENNAS (The Montana Ranchers #7) by Jan Scarbrough is a wonderful read to wrap up the blended McKenna family series of romances. I enjoyed reading James’ children and stepchildren’s romances and was very happy Ms. Scarbrough has also written a HEA for his widow.

Liz McKenna has watched her children and stepchildren fall in love and start to live their own lives after the death of her beloved husband James eighteen months ago. She has taken up hobbies, moved into a smaller cabin, and run the dude ranch for the season, but she still has a deep feeling of unhappiness.

Liz’s daughter-in-law, Stephanie’s ebook “Under Montana Skies” is semi-autobiographical about everyone’s lives on the ranch since James death and has become a best seller. Her agent wants the best screenwriter/producer in Hollywood to turn it into a movie or cable TV series. The girls conspire to get Charles Kingston to read the book and visit the ranch.

Charles “Chaz” Kingston has become fed up with the Hollywood lifestyle. His ex-wife is trying to get their daughter on her reality TV show and his younger brother has committed suicide after his divorce and declining career. He wants a change and the offer of two weeks in Montana on a closed for the season dude ranch sounds perfect. What is he is not expecting is the beautiful and down to earth widow who runs the ranch.

I loved Liz and Chaz! A mature romance always has so much extra baggage, both mentally and externally, that can complicate the story and Ms. Scarbrough added just the right amount of both. As in the other books in this series, it is short and yet not short on romance. I truly enjoy all of these books for a quick, but heartfelt romance read. The sex is behind closed doors, but the affection is not. Another wonderful addition to the series.

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