Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sultry With a Twist

Sultry with a Twist (Sultry Springs, #1)Sultry with a Twist by Macy Beckett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

May June July Augustine (June) is ready to live her dream. She has saved for eight years to purchase her own specialty bar and she just handed over the check to her business partner, Esteban. There is just one thing standing in her way, she found out there is a bench warrant out for her and she needs to go back to Sultry County, Texas to clear it up.

Growing up, June lived with her grandma Pru after her parents died in a car accident, her best friend Luke Gallagher moved in with Pru when he was twelve and his mother left him. June and Luke were inseparable while growing up and although Luke always felt they were best buds, June fell in love when they were teens. Right before graduation June and Luke spent a night together by the pond, Luke immediately felt horrible and was afraid they damaged their friendship, then to top it off the sheriff found them and took them back home to Pru. Pru was upset and there was a huge fight which prompted both Luke and June to leave the day after graduation. June never returned, always afraid of what Pru would say and thinking Luke never wanted to see her again while Luke returned five years ago. He spent some time in the army and after a brief marriage he came home and started a construction business.

When June goes before the Judge in Sultry County to take care of the warrant, he tells her that he will dismiss the charges if she does community service for one month. Much to her dismay the Judge releases her to her Pru and they start to mend their relationship. June has the choice to help at the church or a non-profit home project company, turns out that Luke founded the non-profit Helping Hands and his friend Trey runs it.

At first June selects the non-profit work however after several mishaps Luke asks her to work at the church. June is a walking disaster and several things happen that end up pushing Luke and June closer together. Yet Luke is not sure he is worthy of accepting anything from June, Pru knowingly tells June that she needs to teach him how to love.

I loved this book; a second chance romance that was wonderful. It was funny with laugh out loud moments; Luke and Trey have a hysterical relationship as best friends. I also cried in several places as Luke pushes June away several times unable to believe he is worthy since the harm his mother caused when she left was damaging. The chemistry between Luke and June was wonderful and believable and I loved their connection. They grew up as best friends and you could sense the way they felt about each other. The dialog was great between all characters; I just loved Pru and Trey. This was Macy’s debut book and it was a very enjoyable story.

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Loving Lady Marcia

Loving Lady Marcia (House of Brady, #1)Loving Lady Marcia by Kieran Kramer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lady Marcia Sherwood is the daughter of a Marquess and at fifteen she is in love with Mr. Finn Lattimore. Along with Finn’s brother Duncan (Lord Chadwick) the three embark on a journey to Dublin to meet up with Marcia’s parents. After arriving they spent two weeks in Dublin and on the night of her sixteenth birthday, Finn and Marcia share an evening together and she goes to sleep believing she is in love.

The very next day Finn is shipped off to American and when Marcia receives a letter from Finn she believes that Lord Chadwick sent him on purpose to keep them apart. She is devastated and vows to never fall in love again. Five years later Marcia is the headmistress of an all girls school and although loves her job she still has feelings for Finn.

While in London shopping for some new items for the school she meets Lord Chadwick again and still believing the worst of him gives him the cold shoulder. As she is visiting her parent’s home, she gets the news that Lady Ennis the benefactor of the school is firing her and Marcia is now without a job. Her parents are ecstatic as now they can plan for a Season and find her a husband.

Duncan has been cleaning up problems that Finn has caused all his life, including raising his son that Duncan has grown to love. Duncan has always been attracted to Marcia and was just starting to court her when Finn comes back and Duncan finds out just what else he will have to fix that Finn damaged years ago. Duncan must convince Marcia of the type of man Finn is as well as letting her know how he feels for her.

This was a fun book and the fact that it uses all the characters from the television show The Brady Bunch is even better. You can see the characteristics of all the family members we grew up with including the housekeeper Alice. Marcia and Duncan were delightful and the chemistry was convincing. There are laugh out loud moments as well as tender ones dealing with Duncan's adopted son. There are several tense moments when Finn again causes trouble and they wonder if he will forever be a pain in their lives. Very enjoyable read and I can't wait for Greg's story.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Offside (The Barker Triplets, #1)Offside by Juliana Stone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Billie-Jo Barker has come home after an injury cut short her hockey career in Sweden, all she ever wanted to do was play hockey so she is not sure what she wants to do with her life. Unfortunately she comes home to an angry sister, a father that is slowly losing his battle with Alzheimer's and Logan a man she has loved all her life who still thinks of her as a kid.

While getting her skates sharpened, Billie-Jo hears about a Friday night hockey league and decides this might help with her feelings about her career. However sighing up for the team does not go over well with the town, it seems most on the team do not want a girl to play no matter how many medals she has to prove how good she is. Logan is the only one that thinks it will be fun to have an ex-pro on the team and champions her cause. Not only is she stirring up trouble in this small town, she also has to deal with her sister Bobbi-Jo who has been angry for years, feeling like she was left behind when her two sisters took off for greener pastures and she has had to deal with their father.

Logan and Billie-Jo are also dealing with issues, he has a past with the other triplet, Betty-Jo and spent a steamy night with her back in high school and as Billie-Jo and Logan get closer he is not sure how to say anything to her. And Billie-Jo is not sure how to tell Logan she has loved him forever. They become close as they battle the town's bullies who are making Billie-Jo's life a nightmare trying to get her to quit the team.

Offside is a wonderfully fun story that turns a town upside down when some want to challenge the status quo. I loved the characters, Logan and Billie-Jo had great chemistry and I truly enjoyed the secondary characters. The other two sisters both have stories coming up and there is bound to be more angst and romance as the sparks fly between them and they try to repair their damaged relationship while finding their own true loves.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Boomerang Bride

Boomerang BrideBoomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Marc Olsen is back in Hobin, Wisconsin for his annual Thanksgiving visit with his sisters and mother. He left Hobin as soon as he did not need to be responsible for his siblings. His father died early and his mother needed help with his sisters therefore Marc grew up well before his time. He is a successful architect in New York and helps his family with money if needed. As he arrives on Main Street, he notices a young woman dressed in a wedding gown staring at an empty building holding a cake, something you may see in New York, but definitely not here in Hobin.

Matilda Geoffrey has traveled half way around the world to surprise her fiancé. Thinking it would be funny to show up in her wedding gown, she drives to his address where she finds an empty storefront and not much else. As she ponders what to do, a man walks up to help her find her way to the church not realizing the wedding is a month away. As they consider the possibilities of the missing groom, Matilda convinces Marc and the townspeople that she has it all figured out and drives away. In reality, she has lost everything and does not have enough money to make it home, so she needs a plan.

Marc drives to his sister’s house and immediately realizes that something is very wrong, the house is a mess and nothing looks ready for a Thanksgiving party that Lori usually throws each year. She confesses that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is scheduled for surgery in the morning. Marc is the only person besides her son, Kyle she has told and she makes Marc swear not to tell anyone, and then she asks him the one thing he does not want to do, help her after surgery until she is well enough to take care of herself.

Marc and Matilda meet again after she spends the night in her car, realizing they could both benefit from helping each other they make a business arrangement. Matilda needs to make some money to get back to Australia and Marc needs help with is sister and her son.

I loved this story, a stranded bride from Australia, a man who does not want commitment even from his family get together to solve several needs in their small community. Matilda finds she loves the feel of belonging, something she has never had and feels the close knit community welcome her with open arms. Marc wants to leave town as soon as possible, however still feels the responsibly and guilt of trying to help his family. The chemistry between Marc and Matilda is wonderful and their relationship believable as they struggle to find what each wants out of life, at first very different yet in reality they both want the same thing, love to include family and friends. There are several laugh out loud moments as Matilda’s Australian humor comes out as well as several tears shed at the touching moments that come when family and friends cope with many issues. The secondary characters are just as fun and the romance between Lori and the small town cop, Brian just added to the main story.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Until There Was You

Until There Was You (Coming Home, #2)Until There Was You by Jessica Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this look into life of career military men and women.

Captain Claire Montoya was in Colorado Springs to help get her friend and fellow Captain, Sarah Anders’ team ready for combat. Claire is nervous because the team, a logistics company, was not prepared and with only five weeks to train, she was not sure they were going to be ready. It is late 2008; the tail end of the surge and Iraq is still a very dangerous place to send inexperienced soldiers. Sarah is in charge of this mission because she had not deployed recently and it was her turn, while Claire had recently returned from Iraq. Claire, one for pushing the envelope was angry because the training schedule was full of events that they should not be wasting time on and not convoy training which is what they needed, to deploy successfully.

Captain Evan Loehr was also in Colorado to help get the troops ready, the fact that he and Claire have worked together several times in the last three years does not mean they liked each other. The first time they met they shared one kiss that still haunts them both, however neither would confess to that statement. Evan is a play it by the rules kind of Captain, and that grinds on Claire who wants to do what is right and that might go against some rules.

Working with Sarah is Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli one of the first persons Claire met when she joined the army years ago and he has been a friend ever since. Claire is very protective of Reza and refuses to turn him into his commander about his drinking problem. As they all work toward getting the troops ready for deployment, Claire and Evan spend time together and realize that they want the same thing, a fully trained team to send to Iraq.

An unexpected event turns a regular training exercise into chaos, Evan and Claire realized that one of the Lieutenants, Mallory Engle disobeyed the brigade commander, and Claire knows that several people may lose their careers over this. Still feeling like she needs to protect those around her, she takes some of the blame realizing the consequences may be severe. Claire prepares to face her commander back at Fort Hood; he is angry and has never seen an officer go to such lengths to protect a noncommissioned officer. A letter of reprimand and the choice of a new career direction help Claire realize that what she really wants is a future with Evan.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the characters were believable and I enjoyed gaining new insights about the army (even though my son is in the army) and the people that serve our country. I liked both Claire and Evan, they had an interesting history and although it was usually antagonistic, they grew to love each other as they worked to save a company from deploying before they were ready and save a friend who needed help.

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Hearts of Darkness

Hearts of Darkness (Deadglass, #1)Hearts of Darkness by Kira Brady
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Seattle Kayla Friday arrives in is a dark and dreary place, it looked like a war torn third world county, a far cry from the city she recently left. Most electrical devices do not work, people drive old diesel cars and street lights are mostly gas lanterns. This is the Seattle that has stolen everything from Kayla, her mother died violently years before, her father from heartbreak a year later and now her sister Desi has died. Kayla is on her way to the morgue to identify her sister as she notices strange things around her and finds trouble when a man named Hart approaches her and others try to kill him.

Souls are supposed to pass through Gates of death peacefully and move on to the other side; however those that refused or are forbidden swarmed around and caused problems. Kayla can see the Aether which are the waves that surrounded all matter. The Aether does not like the ghosts that do not pass through the gates; these beings are the cause of modern day problems for a city like Seattle.

In the recent weeks before her death Desi had become remote and non-communicative and although she was studying at the university, she was dating a mysterious man that Kayla did not know, named Norgard. Desi became very interested in Babylonian history and mythology and Kayla believed she was caught up in something violent and evil that got her killed.

Hart is a wolf shifter from the Kivati pack, but was run out of the pack because he was “moon marked” and not welcomed. It is said that Hart is not able to control the beast within and therefore he is not to be trusted during a full moon. He believes Kayla has information about a necklace he needs that gets him one step closer to freedom from Norgard. The necklace is believed to open the Gates of death and bring evil into the world and many want it for power.

Norgard is a powerful Drekar, dragons that feed on human souls, and although they are not the only ones that want the necklace Hart was making sure Norgard gets it first. The Kivati also want the necklace, they are a legendary species of shifters that have been around for years, Raven, Cougar, Coyote, Thunderbird and Wolf. They once protected the land and humankind and although they still do officially, they are too caught up in a war with the Drekar to help.

Hart tells Kayla that he will help if she gives him the necklace when they find it. With clues her sister left, they find the necklace at her mother’s grave and Kayla gives the necklace to Hart for safe keeping not knowing he will give it to Norgard, she feels betrayed and soon finds herself in trouble as Norgard believes she can fulfill a destiny and is kidnapped. When others find out Hart is free and what his last mission was to gain it they are angry and asks him to try to save her, and even though he believes he has no redeeming qualities, he does have a conscience and begins to think that although it may be a suicide mission he can rescue Kayla from Norgard.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the world building and characters take you to an alternate Seattle that looks nothing like you would imagine. The ending is surprising and the fact that neither the Drekar nor the Kivati seem to be the good guys and we really do not know who to trust makes the story even more fun to read. Humans are unaware of “the others” that surround them every day until the fight to free a valued leader and find the necklace to keep the Gates closed bring it all to a head. Hart and Kayla learn to trust each other to help with the fight and become much more than they ever thought to each other. A riveting and engaging read that grabs you until the end.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rev It Up

Rev It Up (Black Knights, Inc., #3)Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jacob Sommers aka Jake “The Snake” has been friends with Frank Knight for several years, he was with him when they dreamed up the special ops group called The Black Knights. However Jake was deployed when Frank started the business and for several reasons Jake has not been back to see the results. Four years ago Jake was in love with Michelle (Shell), Frank’s sister, but when his inner demons surfaced he pushed her away and into the arms of his good friend Preacher.

Preacher and Jake were deployed together when they were overtaken by rebels, Preacher died in Jake’s arms and his last words were to take care of Shell and her unborn child. Jake came back for Preacher’s funeral however still kept his distance from Shell. Again she felt abandoned by Jake as he was soon off on another mission before she had time to think. She finally sent him a letter telling him that all his friends missed him and asked him to come back home.

Jake had already decided he was coming home when he received the letter from Shell, he realized that not only was ready to come home but he was also ready to fight for Shell. All he needed was to convince her that he was no longer that same person that pushed her away. Jake will have to do some strong talking to persuade Shell he has changed as she has her son Franklin to think about.

In the meantime a Las Vegas mobster named Johnny Vitigloni has put a price on the Black Knight’s heads in retribution for killing his brother in a previous raid near their compound. Johnny knows that the Black Knights are well protected so he decides to go after family members and Shell is on the top of the list.

I thoroughly enjoyed this thrilling book that keeps you turning the pages until the end as you need to see what happens. The story is gripping and full of angst as Jake and Shell try to come to terms with the feelings they have today and four years ago. They both have pasts that have prevented them from truly opening up and just as they start talking, another piece of the past comes up that may keep them apart as Jake’s trust is damaged. As they try to work through their problems, the threats against Shell and the Black Knights escalate and they lean on each other and their friends to keep them safe.

Received from NetGalley

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