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A Last Chance Christmas by Vicki Lewis Thompson – Review

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Reviewed by Zara B.

Rating: ★★★★★

Continuing her Sons of Chance series, Vicki Lewis Thompson offers you a fabulous little romance with your holiday spirit!

Ben Radcliffe had one goal in mind when he delivered a custom saddle to the Last Chance, get paid and possibly some referrals. But when Jack Chance invites him to stay for a few days to see his saddle revealed, he can’t pass up the chance. Just like he can’t pass up the chance to engage in a little flirtation with academic Molly Gallagher—a Chance cousin.

Molly is at the ranch working on a genealogy project for the Chance/Gallagher family. More comfortable with her computer and old journals, she’s surprised at the attraction between her and Ben. And even more surprised when she acts on it!

Ms. Thompson has a winner here. While not intricate or all that ‘busy’ plot wise, I enjoy the book immensely. More so than even her last set of Sons of Chance books. I felt Molly was mousy but interesting. She wasn’t really a pushover but not exactly brash. Almost clueless about her appeal. It was fun to watch her and Ben interact. Ben was a hunk. He was modest and very sweet. All of his interactions with others showed a vulnerability and possibly a yearning to be part of something he’d never had before…family. The book did set up a future book, and I found I’m eager to read the next installment!

About the book…

A Christmas kiss from a cowboy…

Ben Radcliffe reckons it’ll be a cold day in hell before he considers a serious relationship or family of his own—with good reason. When he delivers a "secret" present to the Last Chance Ranch, however, Ben catches a glimpse of what family could be. And suddenly this lone cowboy finds himself under the mistletoe…planting one heck of a kiss on a stunning woman!

Genealogist and academic Molly Gallagher is all about family. And even if Ben’s secrets make him as skittish as a wild mustang, there’s nothing Molly loves more than an enigma. Especially a ridiculously sexy one! But the magic of Christmas—and the Last Chance Ranch—might not be enough to wrangle a cowboy who can’t trust himself…

Order your copy of A Last Chance Christmas now!

A Question of Honor by Kate Walker – Review

“…an intensely emotional, all-impacting love story of forbidden love and honor-bound promises!”

Reviewed by Larissa M.

Rating: ★★★★☆

True to form, in her latest release, A Question of Honor, Kate Walker gives us an intensely emotional, all-impacting love story of forbidden love and honor-bound promises!

Ms. Walker places crown prince of Mazarkhad, Karim al Khalifa, in the tenable position of retrieving the betrothed of another man…the ‘run away’ Princess Clementina Saveneski. She is predestined to marry and become Queen, essentially uniting two kingdoms. Only fate often has other plans. And once Karim and Clementina are forced to spend time together, it becomes a matter of extreme willpower on Karim’s part to keep his hands off the enticing beauty. But he is honor-bound to deliver her into the arms of the man her father arranged for her to marry at age 13 and, though he fights it, he knows that’s what he must do. Even if the pull between the two is like a living thing and unlike anything he’s ever felt before—or likely will again!—and hard to ignore, he must. It is a question of his honor!

Forbidden love stories are a favorite of mine. Especially those stories—the ones that have couples who aren’t supposed to be together but defy the expectations or restrictions put on them—that leave you with hope that love does defy all odds and is to be placed above familial duties and all other complications. Though, ultimately, it was Ms. Walker’s skill as an author that had me in awe yet again. She gave Karim’s character a true heroes demeanor. She filled his backstory so that it only added to the heart wrenching way he denied himself the pleasure of the woman he desperately needed. And she gave him a heroine worthy of him. One who is strong enough to defy those familial expectations with him. This is a must-read. But be prepared! You surely won’t want to put it down once you start!

Get your copy of A Question of Honor now!

A Little Bit of Love by Alena Stuart, Mary Alice Pritchard, Rachel E. Moniz and Kate Hofman – Review

“…while a couple [stories] were okay the rest were absolute duds for me.”

Reviewed by Zara B.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Sometimes being in an anthology isn’t always a good thing. I’m always up for reading a new author (or four) and in this case was a bit excited because the blurbs made the quick reads sound cute. Unfortunately, the down side for these authors are that while a couple were okay the rest were absolute duds for me. The duds had poor writing and absolutely no character/plot development, while the okay authors could have been great if they’d had more chance to develop the story or hadn’t been combined with the other stories. Mixed feelings on this one for sure…so while I rated the book an overall three stars, I would have given the duds much lower by themselves and the okay books much higher. Another thing to note for other readers is that while ‘other’ worldly elements are implied, not all the stories contain them. Cupid Made Her Do It…no sign of cupid. But My Purrfectly Dependable Valentine has a ‘pack’. So be aware they aren’t all in the same sub-genre.

But here’s a brief review of each title:

Cupid Made Her Do It by Alena Stuart

While Cupid really didn’t  come into play much, not really, this is a wonderful story of two people who finally move from the friendship stage into something more. The freak accident only spurs Tessa to share her feelings sooner rather than later. And Gabe is already there and waiting for her to catch up. The tale is mostly well-written, sweet, sexy and you can see these two having a happily ever after. I enjoyed this story most of all the rest. It was a tease that the rest would be this good, really. Fortunately, it was first. Otherwise I might not have finished the others. I just kept hoping they would live up to this one. They didn’t. I’d have certainly given this story by itself a 4 star review! And will eagerly read another by this author.

My Purrfectly Dependable Valentine by Mary Alice Pritchard

While the first story of this anthology was good, this one was not. While it was well-written, it seemed contrived and the heroine certainly had her reasons not to give in to the hero just wanting her for the ‘mating’ ritual. Honestly, separately these two were good characters. Given more of a chance to be flushed out, this story had real potential. Rushed into a short it was hard to feel the connection would last. The hero, Gray, was the Alpha leader hero and everyone’s ideal friend. The jock with a heart, so to speak. While the heroine, Denise, was a more of a beta, everyone’s doormat and all-but servant with a heart. She had skills but no assertiveness that would be needed to lead a pack beside the Alpha. I just didn’t see it. Sure the premise was there, but definitely not enough time to turn the heroine into who the hero really needed. Hence the reason I believe the story was contrived and the situation not feasible. I would have given this one individually a 2 star review, possibly 1 star as it is a pet peeve of mine with the author uses the wrong name (Denise/Delores) within the story. Not sure I’d read more by this author.

The Great North Woods Cupid by Rachel E. Moniz

Another cute tale implying Cupid was involved, but alas he wasn’t really there or mentioned in the story. This tale is more of a romantic encounter. When Kayla Bedford, a true workaholic that has had several bad experiences with men swears them off and goes on vacation by herself, it’s inevitable she finds a hunky man who loves her independence. She briefly meets Evan, a Boston cop on holiday with his friends. Evan is fun and they connect on a physical level, but Evan has his own bad breakup to contend with and misunderstandings and the fact that Evan avoided ending with his ex in an acceptable way could be the death of this relationship before it begins. Well-written as a short story, this addition to the anthology was worth the read. Another 4 star rating here…and I will certainly read more by this author.

Be My Valentine by Kate Hofman

If there was a story I almost quit reading on, it was this one. Sadly, I found Valerie a push-over and almost a TSTL heroine. The hero was foreign and pushy, and I did not get the attraction between these two at all. The writing wasn’t written cohesively and the plot was non-existent. The situation of Valerie being the ‘fill-in’ blind date was a little contrived when the hero/date had to visit the intended original date. They should have met at a restaurant or something. Brining in the friend and meeting at her house before the date made it all akward for me. And put the hero in a ‘oh well’ guess I’ll have to take the runner-up on a date. I just didn’t enjoy the story at all. Add in the foreign feel and this story wasn’t even a 2 star review for me. I will not be finding more books by this author.

Order your copy of A Little Bit of Love now!

Against The Cage by Sidney Halston – Review

 “…wanted to love…but just couldn’t!”

Review by Cara M.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Sidney Halston’s Against the Cage promised to be a sweet, sexy read with a funny bit here and there. Unfortunately, though I wanted to love this one, I just couldn’t! There was too many things wrong with the book itself to get into the story fully.

First, you have a sexy cop who cage fights as a hobby. Then you have a nerdy little sister to the sexy cop’s best friend, who happens to also be a doctor. The sister has issues with guilt over something that happened with her father, which her brother has saddled her with for over ten years, that causes her to let the selfish brother get away with way too much. Which might be plausible, but the dialogue and the interactions just don’t jive. I couldn’t get past the run-on dialogue that spews like non-sense from the heroine’s mouth. The ever so many issues that felt forced on her, or the way her and the hero seem to handle themselves when together. All in all, it was not that easy to read or believable (even if you try to suspend belief).

But…and there is one here. There were parts I liked. Mainly the hero and the way he might not have always realized how he felt about the heroine as they were teens, but his subconscious did. How the heroine mistook his need to protect her and keep her from the darker sides of life as his being mean. It worked for them in a strange way. Though as an adult who had been through med school, volunteered her services in foreign country as a non-profit doctor, and lived through some crazy situations early in life, I felt like she should have been WAY more mature in handling of the current feelings/situations than what she showed.

I’m sorry to have to give Ms. Halston a poor rating. It’s rare to actually have a book I have to force myself to finish. But unless this title is seriously edited before publication in May I don’t think it’s worth a readers time to get marred in the drama, almost juvenile plot that didn’t feel like it returned a believable HEA. It certainly didn’t live up to the fantastic blurb.

Order your copy of Against the Cage now! Available May 2014!

All of You by Christina Lee – Review

“… left me eager to read the next story in this series…”

Review by Alex C.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

All of You, the first book in Christina Lee’s New Adult Series Between Breaths, can be summed up in the same nature as the ultimate word game of five fingers (check it out in this book and Before You Break and you’ll understand) confusing, sweet, powerful, sexy, captivating. All words that describe the relationship that develops between Avery Michaels and Bennett Reynolds.

I believe you’ll love this book for Bennett alone. He’s sweet and sexy. But you might also give Avery a chance to redeem herself from being a total user if you hold out until the end. Because she’s confusing. The catch here is that Avery had a horrible childhood. Crazy, man-dependent mother who allowed one of her lovers to do unspeakable things to her daughter and then didn’t believe Avery when she tried to tell her mom what happened.

So…Avery certainly has some issues with men in general, with becoming dependent on any man, and with finding herself in the midst of the sexual needs she feels at her age. The problem with Avery (as far as I’m concerned) comes from her attitude about those she’s slept with. While there are some guys with the same attitude that I’ve adored in other books because they changed once they found the right woman and felt guilty for their past behavior, I will say I didn’t care for this same situation with the Avery.

I think it boils down to Bennett. The hot, ‘virgin’ (this term should be applied loosely cause while he’s never stuck it in…he’s done enough that he knows what he’s doing!) who Avery seems to see as a conquest. And yet, she expects him to do all the chasing…even if they are only friends. Of course, they aren’t ‘only’ anything. Their chemistry is front and center—powerful—, his need to take care of everyone around he cares about (including Avery) is just one of the endearing qualities about him, but Avery doesn’t always appreciate that until she thinks she’s lost him.

I enjoyed the book. Not as much as I did the second in the series, Before You Break (see my review), but still it was captivating enough that I read it all the way to the end just to see if Bennett got tired of Avery’s shit. She doesn’t deserve him. But by the end I had hope that she might come around and see that he’s worth fighting for and not give in to the silly notions that she’s always had…and she did. Ultimately, she realized her stupidity…and being the most awesome man every Bennett immediately forgives her. Which was sad in a way because I wanted her to really grovel and realize what a jerk she’d been to him through most of the book.

But overall All of You was a nice read. One that left me eager to read the next story in this series, Book #3 Whisper to Me, Rachel’s story. I just hope if you read this one first, you’ll give the second book a chance. It’s so AWESOME you can’t miss it.

Order your copy of All of You now!

A SEAL’s Seduction by Tawny Weber – Review

Review by Zara B.

Rating: ★★★★☆

A SEAL’s Seduction by Tawny Weber is a fun, refreshing read that keeps you guessing whether or not these two fiery characters will live happily ever after! With strong reasons for both to avoid the entanglement, can these two overcome their insecurities and doubts to make a go of it?

Navy SEAL Blake Landon didn’t have the best childhood. But he found a home in the Navy as a SEAL. Good at his job, he caught the eye of Admiral Pierce early on. But when a fellow SEAL and a close friend dies in battle, he questions a lot of what he believes in—including whether or not he’d ever be able to have a family of his own. His answer—not while he’s a SEAL and he’ll always be one.

Scientist and near-genius, Alexia Lane has followed her dream job home. She’s not only doing something she loves, but it will enable her to help abused women. But it has put her in the center of attention—both her father’s and a mad man!

At the start of the story, Blake is looking for a distraction and Alexia is in limbo on whether to start a relationship with a colleague. When the two meet up on the beach, the chemistry is there for both of them. When chance allows them to meet once again, they give in to their needs and spend an incredible couple of days together. What they don’t do is talk much about anything other than sex. So when Alexia finds out Blake is military—the one thing she told him she never wanted—she ends their relationship. But eight months later, both are still in limbo…only Alexia has been kidnapped! And who would the Admiral turn to get her back but Blake?

Blake is a strong hero. He’s sexy, determined and knows his stuff. He goes from thinking maybe they’d have a chance and trying to convince Alexia they should at least give it a go to agreeing with her fears. All around, his a fabulous character. Well-developed and sure of himself…mostly. Alexia is an equally strong heroine. She’s a bit stubborn and full of defiance where her parents are concerned, but overall she’s likeable and easy to see where her insecurities come from.In the end, the two make you believe there will be a future for them. That they can work out all their issues and follow through with the promises they make.

Overall, Ms. Weber’s done a good job bringing this story to life. I’d definitely recommend this title to a friend!