Hot and Sweet Love in Denai Touch

I have to admit, when I first started it, I really didn’t have high expectations. The first fight scene in the book was terrible. Not only does Cate think, “Crap!” then, “Double crap!” and finally, “Shit!”, but it’s over things that probably shouldn’t faze a law enforcement officer. I mean, she just caught a coven doing illegal magic and she goes out and tells them to put their hands up and she really thought they wouldn’t fight back? Really? Even if these criminals usually do drop everything and surrender, she should at least be on her guard for the one or two crazies (or a whole coven of them).

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Shadowing Ivy by Janelle Taylor

For police officer Ivy Sedgwick, nothing could be more perfect. She’s about to marry the love of her life, Declan, and say goodbye to her father once and for all when she finally receives her inheritance from him on her wedding day. Whether she decides to accept it or not, however, remained to be seen.

But her plans for domestic bliss go awry when her fiancee bolts out the door of the church on her wedding day at the sight of of a strange man… a detective named Griffin Fargo who is investigating the murder of a woman in New York. Not only is Declan his half-brother, but he is also his prime suspect. Now, he must protect Ivy from Declan while fighting his conflicted feelings for her and wondering if he can trust her enough to open his heart to her.

This was a very good romance. Ivy is a strong female character but she doesn’t come off as bitchy and Griffin is very lovable and attractive. The chemistry between them is very strong and even though it was obvious that they were going to get together, this story was full of many twists and turns. The mystery surrounding the murder and Declan himself is full of genuine suspense that made me keep reading even though I knew I should stop, and it’s full of surprises. My one real complaint is with a bit of far-fetched action, like when one of the characters is repeatedly smashed in the head with a brick and then gets consciousness back a few hours later with enough ability to function to continue on his merry way. Perhaps I’m wrong, but from what I know of being knocked unconscious, that probably wouldn’t ever happen. But I believe this story will appeal to most romantic suspense lovers all the same.

Surrendering to Her Will

Alice Wilde doesn’t have time for relationships. She barely has time to go back to her small town to take care of her thrill-seeking aunt when she ends up in the hospital after one of her crazy stunts. Her life as a New York City journalist is simply too demanding and she has no intention of slowing down. But Will Stirling, a handsome restaurant owner who is quick to fall in love, is going to do everything he can to have a relationship with Alice, no matter the cost. 

This book definitely had potential. I was willing to try it because I liked the title quite a bit, especially mixed with the charming cover. Maybe it is just because the title sounds like a dominatrix story when it was clearly not, or maybe because I got a good deal on the book, but I was definitely intrigued. However, it was disappointing.

 

First of all, there were laugh cues. One of the characters would do or say something mildly amusing and then everyone would laugh, which just takes all of the humor out of whatever just happened. Second of all, the characters often fell flat. You have the work-oriented heroine, the lovesick love interest, the eccentric aunt, and the conniving ex-girlfriend. And what’s up with Joe’s character swap half-way through the book? Can that be explained without so much telling and a little more showing?

Despite many of the disappointments, I did like the story okay. Will was very sweet and did everything a love interest was supposed to, and I like the twist at the end, which is different than most work-oriented heroine stories I read.  My biggest problem with the book was the writing style. While Potter’s writing will undoubtedly improve over time, I don’t think I would recommend Surrendering To Her Will to many people.

Deadly Reckoning

Pregnant artist Kayla Davies hopes to escape memories of a brutal attack on her life only to find that the trouble has followed her to a small town in Oregon. She turns to Sheriff Gabe McGregor for protection. But neither of them want to act on their mutual attraction, scared of the consequences. But another attempt on Kayla’s life changes everything. 

This has to be one of the worst romances I’ve read in a long time. The premise is good, because I do enjoy damsel in distress stories, but I prefer it if the damsel isn’t stupid. And I’d rather not have the entire love story unfold in the course of three days. Yes, it is hard to keep up the suspense over a long period of time because eventually the killer is just lazy. But three days? Really? And after Kayla found out she was a target for murder she still went into an empty house in the middle of nowhere, alone. Throughout the entire book I got the impression that either the author or the editor was lazy. Maybe both. But this isn’t a book I can recommend to to anyone with a clear conscience.

Morning Comes Softly

Sometimes the best things happen with some impulsive but necessary decisions, like when Mary Warner decides to give up her life as a lonely librarian in Louisiana when she answers a personals ad from a Montana rancher looking for a wife to help him raise three orphaned children. Even though she knows his interest is less in her and more in her ability as a homemaker, Mary can’t help but hope that she’ll find love.

I haven’t read many of Debbie Macomber’s books, but I know I definitely enjoyed this one. Ugly Duckling stories are definitely one of my favorites, as well as arranged-marriage-gone-right stories. However, not my favorite romance ever, because Travis was often a jerk, at least in the beginning. Granted, he had just lost his brother and sister-in-law and he had become the father of three. But the way he took out his frustrations on Mary– from mentally criticizing her looks to arguing with her made him a little too unlikable to me, even though he shaped up to be a gentlemen further on in the story.

I never had a problem with the secondary love story in this book, though. Logan is definitely a Prince Charming, but a little bit sexier. I wish they were the main couple instead of Mary and Travis, even though I eventually grew to like the chemistry between them.

All in all, I would probably give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Passion to Protect

As he threaded his way through the trees, Jake’s prothesis caught a branch buried in leaf litter. Cursing the hurry that had made him lose his focus on his footing, he recovered from his stumble, then gritted his teeth and hurried toward the security light just outside the stable. Beneath it, he spotted the woman it still hurt to look at, even a dozen years after she had dashed his naive school-boy fantasies and kicked him to the curb. (pg 15)

After escaping an abusive marriage with her two children, Liane Mason returns to her home in Wolf River Lodge, only to find her first love Jake Whitaker staying at the lodge. Not wanting to see her high school swetheart any more than she has to, Liane avoids him at all costs. But when her ex-husband escapes from prison with a band of criminals, Jake is the only one she can turn to as they come looking for her.

This is definitely not the worst Harlequin Suspense novel I’ve read. I actually liked Jake’s character a good deal, and I wish there was more development in his back story. But unfortunately all of the characters are very two-dimensional, which is a problem in a lot of Harlequin Suspense books. In fact, my favorite character had to have been Sheriff Wallace, a man dealing with the death of his wife and a corrupt move he made years ago. Unfortunately, Liane’s character left some things to be desired. Between her playing martyr and breaking Jake’s heart for a second time, and her need to be saved by him a lot, it was hard to admire her for her strengths, and she didn’t have any personality, likable or otherwise, that wasn’t shaped by her exes. However, Thompson is successful in writing a story where love, despite all odds, can triumph.

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Enchanted By Nora Roberts

 As a long time Nora Roberts fan, I definitely have preferences over some of her stories. For instance I think she can be a little melodramatic in the supernatural ones, but I really like her stories about Ireland, especially the Born in Ireland trilogy. The Donovan Legacy series has a little bit of both.

Lovely, guileless Rowan Murray felt drawn to brooding Liam Donovan with a power she’d never imagined possible. And his breathtaking kisses convinced her he felt the same. But she soon realized her darkly enigmatic neighbor was as elusive as the mysterious wolf she’d seen lurking about her cabin. Liam was tormented by indecision. He understood he had no right to love Rowan, knowing what lay ahead. But the allure of her beguiling innocence overpowered his will until he could resist no longer. And he knew, if he was ever to make Rowan his, he had no chance but to reveal his incredible secret. (Courtesy of Goodreads)

Okay, first of all, this isn’t my least favorite Roberts book for sure. It’s still sweet and entertaining. I liked the interaction between Liam and Rowan, and like just about all of her books, I really enjoyed the story (after the prologue which was a little melodramatic with the supernatural introduction).  However, there were a few things that made me cringe. For instance, Rowan and Liam are cousins. Not first cousins, but cousins close enough to be able to trace the lineage. This bugged me a little because even though it’s not exactly incestuous, it’s still kind of gross. They did it because Rowan turns out to be a witch, too, but I don’t understand why the Donovan family is the only family with supernatural powers. Why couldn’t Rowan’s great grandmother just have been best buds with Liam’s great grandparents because they were both witches. It would take the creep factor out of the book completely. (Disclaimer: this is the last book in the Donovan series and I haven’t read the others, so it might have already been established that the Donovans are the only witch known witch family still alive.)

That being said, I really liked Rowan’s character. I thought she was pretty strong, and I liked how she didn’t let Liam control her at all. I also thought it was interesting how the guy she was supposed to fall in love with (the one her parents like) was actually a good guy too, and they just weren’t meant to be together. I have to admit, I like that because a lot of the time romances have the exes of the heroine be incredibly evil, which is unrealistic, even though it can make for a good story. I definitely prefer the more three-dimensional characters, however.  All in all, a pretty good read if you can look past the distant cousins factor.

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Lovers at Heart by Melissa Foster

LoversAtHeart.jpg  Treat Braden wasn’t affected by anyone or anything until Max Armstrong, the cool, efficient event planner he had first met and quickly offended. Now, six months later, she still wasn’t out of his mind, and he would do anything to get into his good graces. But Max won’t have anything to do with him. Wary of men as it is after being severely hurt by her last serious boyfriend, the slight from Treat might keep her from ever getting close to him, no matter how much they both want it.

This is the first Melissa Foster book I’ve read, even though she’s been highly recommended to me by many readers, and she has not disappointed. I thought it was a really cute love story. I liked how Max was a strong character but at the same time she was innocent and someone Treat needed to protect. The twist with her ex-boyfriend was unexpected, but I definitely liked that, because it showed that even the villains in the story were not two-dimensional. And even though this wasn’t a PG story, it didn’t rely on sex scenes to make it worth reading, like a lot of romances (even those not listed in erotica) do. It’s definitely a love story worth reading about, and I can’t wait to read the next story in The Bradens series.

You can find it free here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/364740