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 Set in the 18th century, my only slight problem with historical references was the white wedding gown.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: 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.

Book Review: Brothers In Blue: Matt by Jeanne St. James

RATING:  5 out of 5 Stars

What a great addition and emotionally charged finale to the Bryson brother trilogy of books!

BROTHERS IN BLUE: MATT (Brothers In Blue #3) by Jeanne St. James has the youngest Bryson finally returning home after several deployments overseas to a job and extended family that he is finding very difficult to deal with due to PTSD.

Matt Bryson believes his mind is broken. He is not ready to accept help except what is forced on him by his brother to keep his job as a police office in their small town. He has buried his emotions and is barely making it day to day.

Dr. Carly Stephens is Amanda’s obstetrician at the local hospital. She is tall, calm and extremely professional working hard to help her elderly parents and save money to adopt a baby of her own one day that she cannot have herself. When Matt ends up being the brother to rush Amanda to the hospital to deliver, he is attracted to Carly’s calm and leadership. Carly is attracted to the hot police office.

They start out as landlord and tenant, but soon agree to a sexual, no commitment relationship. They are just too different and want different things out of life. Matt with his OCD and PTSD believes he will never be able to love and he never wants children. Carly is too busy earning and saving money for her future home and adoption and just wants the hot sex. But can they truly keep to this arrangement? Hot, steamy sex is great, but soon emotions become entangled and they will have to find a way to compromise or break.

Matt had me all tied up in knots emotionally. There are many forms and degrees of PTSD and I feel Ms. St. James handled Matt’s character responses in a realistic way. I especially agree with the way that Matt had to handle a lot of his decisions on his own and in his own time. Carly was an equally strong character because even though she is a doctor, she knows she can’t heal Matt, she can only love and help him. The plot was a delicate back and forth written with empathy and compassion.

It was great reading about all the characters from the previous two books, also. I am going to miss these brothers, the loves they found and the entire extended family. This is an excellent contemporary romance series with plenty of hot and steamy sex scenes. They can all be read as standalones, but is much more fun to read them all in order and get three HEAs.

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

Book Review: The Mortal Falls by Anna Durand

RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

THE MORTAL FALLS (Undercover Elementals, Book One) by Anna Durand is the first in her new fantasy romance series. This story is full of mythical supernatural characters in a parallel realm to ours, a steamy romance and murder.

Lindsey Porter finds a dead body in the woods. From there things get a little crazy for her. An almost naked man runs from the scene and disappears. When the sheriff shows up, the body is gone, but a blood pool remains. He hauls Lindsey in as a suspect and we learn she has a past with this sheriff who has followed her from Texas.

Nevan is an immortal sylph and the almost naked man who keeps popping from thin air into Lindsey’s life. He was turned into a Guardian when trapped into a bargain a century ago by his king, Skeiron. Linsey has to trust this magic wielding man to help her solve the murder she is charged with and both need to learn to trust each other with their pasts. The fate of the mortal and elemental realms depend on these lovers.

The dialogue between Lindsey and Nevan in the first part of the book is somewhat juvenile. I didn’t care that Lindsey was a 32 year old virgin, I felt she should have been more mature in her language and attitude, virgin or not. That said, the relationship between these two takes off when they have sex. The sex scenes are hot and steamy and what I expect in an Anna Durand book.

The beginning of the story has a lot of world-building and character backstory, which I feel bogged down the first part of the book. The interesting characters and their interactions kept me reading on. It was a good fantasy read and a steamy romance read.

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

Book Review: Stark Resolution by C.D. Bradley

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

STARK RESOLUTION by C.D. Bradley gave me the resolution I was looking for from this trilogy, but the path taken was not in any way what I was expecting. It is an emotional powerhouse written in a way that lets you have a window into the depths of a wounded warrior’s mind.

This book starts with both, Kira and Stark, waking up in Walter Reed Medical Facility. Both are facing difficult recoveries in differing ways. (Sorry, can’t give you more without spoiling a major plot twist and major scenes.)

When they come together again, the pieces of the overall suspense portion of this trilogy become transparent. Kira, Stark and all of their friends we have been introduced to along the way in books 1 and 2 work to stop what could be a potentially devastating biological weapon.

This trilogy is not at all what I was expecting and yet it turned into one of my all-time favorites with strong characters that I will always remember. I thought the cliffhangers at the end of books 1 and 2 were the most devastating emotional twists this author could throw at me until I got into the meat of this third book in the trilogy. C.D. Bradley takes some specific problems that our veterans’ face and writes from the heart of the veteran’s viewpoint with powerful emotional realism.

When I started this trilogy, I thought I was just getting a well written erotic military series that I would read and enjoy the sex scenes and try to figure out the suspense subplot on the side. This trilogy is so much MORE!

I cannot recommend this trilogy enough. C.D. Bradley’s writing is captivating, intense and emotional from page one.

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