Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winning Streak by Katie Kenyhercz

Title:  Winning Streak
Series:  Las Vegas Sinners #3
Author:  Katie Kenyhercz
Published:  November 24/14 by Crimson Romance
Length:  197pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

As the new head of public relations for the Las Vegas Sinners hockey team, Saralynn Reese wants to leave behind the frivolity of her popular girl image. Unfortunately, her first big assignment is to clean up the media messes of the team’s assistant general manager, Madden Vaughn. He’s flirty, impulsive, and self-centered; he also happens to be drop-dead gorgeous. Could there be more to Madden under the Ralph Lauren surface?

Having struggled with a gambling addiction since his early twenties, Madden’s finally moved past it and into a secure, corporate job working for his sister, the one person who means the world to him. When rumors fly and the team and his family both doubt his word, an unlikely ally pulls him out of his funk with a manicured hand: Saralynn.

He’s tired of chasing the same type of unattainable girl, and this up-and-coming publicity dynamo fits that mold perfectly. But she also challenges him and believes in him like no one else. Can they help each other keep their feet on solid ground…or will these twin hearts find themselves skating on thin ice?

My Review:

This novel is simultaneously funny and emotionally hard hitting. I loved the day by day progression of the story. It really lets you get a sense of the pace of the relationship and a look at what happens in the daily lives of the characters. For me, it added that extra layer of realism to the story. This author’s realistic yet vividly picturesque descriptions allow you to visit the rink alongside the characters, and picture Vegas in its many different facades. The poignant and hard hitting story will draw you in like no other. Add in a few hot but tasteful bedroom scenes and voila! An exciting, emotional, spicy romance that you’re not going to want to put down.

Kenyhercz develops her entire cast in this novel. Readers really get to know everyone. Not only does this give the story context in the wider world but it gives you a sense of where everyone belongs. I really enjoyed getting to know the main characters here. His vulnerability and her need to be someone else were quite poignant, especially when shown in such close context. I will admit that I scared my dog out of a dead sleep while exclaiming ‘SaraLynn you bloody idiot!’ at one point in time. I’ve never seen someone make so many mistakes while trying to do what’s best for her. But she was absolutely priceless and completely hilarious while doing it. The interpersonal relationships in this novel are very well done. Although readers can understand both sides of the conflicts, you’ll fall on one side or the other making this story very personal. Kenyhercz not only made me laugh (repeatedly) at her characters’ antics but she also made me cry. My heart broke for them.

I can’t wait for more from the Las Vegas Sinners. I not only enjoyed this novel but am also loving the series as a whole.

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Snowflakes on the Sea by Linda Lael Miller

Title:  Snowflakes on the Sea
Author:  Linda Lael Miller
Published:  October 28/14 by Harlequin HQN (first published 1984)
Length:  368pgs
Format: ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating: ★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Christmas 2014:

Nathan and Mallory McKendrick remember the troubles and triumphs they faced in the early days of their marriage. But their love story is far from over! It's a story they tell each other often…especially at Christmas.

Winter 1984:

International singing sensation Nathan McKendrick had it all—the looks, the talent, the charisma. It's not surprising that half the world was infatuated with him! No one more so than his wife, Mallory. The success of their marriage had always defied the odds—and the rumors. Then, suddenly, the bond between them was damaged, and Nathan and Mallory had to choose—fight for the love they still shared or let circumstances destroy it.

In the end, there was only one choice. They had to save their marriage.

And now, every year that goes by, every Christmas they spend together, reminds them that their love is everlasting…

My Review:

With this novel Miller doesn’t look at the beginnings of a romance, but rather at a love that has stood the test of time. She puts pen to paper with her usual, impeccably well written style and tells a great story. That said, I almost felt as if Miller was trivializing certain aspects of this romance that I felt would have been important with emphasizing others that I found of little import. Perhaps it is our differing views on events such as these that made it hard for me to completely immerse myself in this story. I also found a lack of the excitement that I expect from one of Miller’s stories. I did enjoy the novel, but I didn’t find myself turning pages, dying to know what happened next.

The characters in this novel were quite well developed. I enjoyed the fact that we got to know the characters over a larger period of time. Their pasts and their present are both well developed for readers. The characters themselves are also quite unique. Their interactions with one another speak volumes as to their relationship and what they think and feel.

As a whole this was an enjoyable novel. It was a great look at romance that lasts.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Cowboy, It's Cold Outside by Katherine Garbera

Title:  Cowboy, It's Cold Outside
Series:  Montana Born Christmas #4
Author:  Katherine Garbera
Published:  November 7/14 by Tule Publishing
Length:   102pgs
Format:  ecopy
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Photo journalist Trey Scott comes back to Marietta for Christmas, only to find no one home... except for the enchanting Lucy DeMarco. Although Lucy isn’t crazy about the holidays, Trey does his best to restore her enthusiasm, starting with nestling her snug in his bed. But if he’s only in town until New Year’s...

My Review:

Garbera takes her audience to Montana for a unique & special Christmas. This charming story made me laugh more than once and definitely piqued my interest. Her down home writing style gives you a feel for this quiet country town while her descriptions transport you to the picturesque scenes. I will warn you that if you haven’t read the other Montana Born Christmas novellas there may be some points that seem glossed over because of the missing context, but I found this story to be charming in and of itself.

I enjoyed getting to know a variety of characters, each with their own set of worries, yet still there for their family. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Garbera doesn’t just develop her characters, but invites you into their lives. Her main characters were also quite well developed. I appreciated the vast difference in their pasts yet the common goal they were working towards, even if they didn’t always see that themselves.

As a whole, this was a quick, enjoyable novella. It’s the perfect match for a cup of hot cocoa on a snowy day.

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A Place Within Her by D.P. McHenry

Title:  A Place Within Her
Author:  D.P. McHenry
Published:  August 20/14 by Throw Me A Kiss Publishing
Length:  189pgs
Format:  ecopy
Genre:  romantic suspense
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Love and Danger on a Caribbean Island

After a series of tragedies leaves her reeling, Thea Garrett escapes to the Caribbean to restart her life. Her photography business is booming, she is surrounded by the beauty of the islands, dances to reggae music on the beach and falls into bed with Nevisian Police Chief Peter Moses. But Thea witnesses the attempted kidnapping of British billionaire tycoon Jasper Collins. A bond forms between his daughter Tori and Thea, and Jas is smitten with his daughter’s new friend. Thea’s affair with Peter, her growing relationship with Jasper Collins, and her friendship with Tori put Thea in the abductors’ sights.

Can she protect Tori? And can Thea survive?  Can she find happiness in A Place Within Her?

My Review:

McHenry’s takes off with her original and intriguing storyline. I did find her story to be quite predictable at times. I could easily guess where it was going, but it was well written while doing so. Her descriptions paint a world that is scenic but subdued. There is a muted feel to the entire story for me.

Each author has their own writing style, a way that they write, and wield their words. McHenry has a very well written and easy feel to her writing, but there is just something about it that makes me feel a bit removed from the story. I felt like there was almost an air of unapproachability to the characters because of it. That said, the stories themselves were quite well developed. I found that I really got to know them.

Overall, this was an enjoyable, well written romance.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Cowgirl's Christmas by CJ Carmichael

Title:  A Cowgirl's Christmas
Series:  Carrigans of the Circle C #5
Author:  CJ Carmichael
Published:  October 28/14 by Tule Publishing
Length:  130pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  contemporary western romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

For years Callan Carrigan has been her father’s right hand man, so when her dad’s will names city slicker Court McAllister the new owner of The Circle C Ranch, Callan feels betrayed on every level.

Then she and her sisters find their mother’s diaries, hidden from them by their father since their mother’s accidental death 18 years ago, and the shocking revelations explain a lot. Reeling, Callan seeks refuge in the local saloon, where it seems no one can reach her, until Court offers her a challenge.

If she agrees to be foreman at the Circle C for one year, he’ll deed the ranch back to her and her sisters. The deal seems too sweet at first—until Callan realizes Court has his eyes on something she protects even more than her family’s land—her heart.

My Review:

Carmichael had me in tears well before the end of the 1st chapter. She also made me laugh more than a time or two. I was emotionally engaged and intellectually stimulated throughout this short but sweet story. I love the way Carmichael takes a read, down to earth look at ranch life. It isn’t a rodeo. It’s the hard work and rewards that are at the forefront. Her vivid & picturesque descriptions take you to Montana while her captivating storyline keeps you there. Readers receive shock upon shock alongside the characters, really keeping them on their toes.

Getting to know these characters definitely added to my enjoyment of the novel. The main characters were fantastic individuals separately and explosive together. Carmichael makes sure that we get to know them in a very real way. We find out some little tidbits about them, and some big, explosive events that have shaped who they are. The supporting cast was brilliant as well. Assuming that you’ve read previous Carrigans of Circle C novels you’ve met the sisters and their significant others before, but even if you haven’t, Carmichael lets us get to know them in a way that this can just as easily be read as a standalone as part of the series.

I definitely found myself thoroughly enjoying this novel through and through.

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The Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne Thayne

Title:  The Christmas Ranch
Series:  The Cowboys of Cold Creek #13
Author:  RaeAnne Thayne
Published:  November 18/14 by Harlequin
Length:  224pgs
Format:   ecopy
Genre:  contemporary western romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Hope Nichols has never felt as if she belonged anywhere, except her hometown of Pine Gulch. So, when she hears that her family's property, Christmas Ranch, is set to be shut down forever, a determined Hope heads home. She refuses to let the Grinch steal her holiday—this will be the most memorable ranch Christmas ever! And, thanks to hunky former navy SEAL Rafe Santiago and his adorable nephew, she might just pull off that miracle.

Rafe is undeniably drawn to Hope and her passion for rebuilding her family home. But he knows more about Hope's tragic past than even she herself could imagine. And though she doesn't know it, she owes him her life. And all he wants in return is for her to spend it with him.

My Review:

This is an enchanting Christmas story full of the essential family-ness of the season, and oh so much more. Thayne brings her characters’ pasts and present together in a big way to create an intimate yet shocking story for those who enjoy romance with a little bit more. Her seamless writing allows you to flow through this story and enjoy it.

This is definitely a very character driven story. The main characters are such phenomenal individuals, so well developed and approachable, that you can’t help but love them. At the same time, it is their thoughts and decisions that propel this story into the realm of loveable. I also love the way that children and their wellbeing play a prominent role in this story. This isn’t just about 2 adults falling in love. Their families and friends are taken into account throughout.

As a whole this was a very enjoyable Christmas read. It was definitely unlike any other I’ve read.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Book of Genevieve by Mark Boyd

Title:  The Book of Genevieve
Series:  A Dragon's Tale #2
Author:  Mark Boyd
Published:  June 13/14
Length:  508pgs
Format: ecopy
Genre:  fantasy
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

In the course of one days time, Princess Genevieve Cheval discovers that her ears are starting to point, that she is really the daughter of an Elven Princess that died giving birth to her and that she has inherited the only weapon that can kill the evil beast overtaking the forbidden forest…which also happens to be the step-brother she never knew she had.

Drawn into the forbidden forest by a mysterious dream, Genevieve is led to Queen Bellaserena of the Pegasaurs by two young elven brothers. She discovers the Queen is with foal and due at any moment. Delivering the young one, Genevieve saves the life of the Queen and her son with the weapon she’d inherited from her dead mother. Bellaserena informs Genevieve that the young Princess is destined to a power and a life greater than she’d ever imagined. Now, not only seeking her elven family of origin, she finds out that she is an integral part of the Prophecy as told in the ancient Dragon Book of Lore. Embroiled in battle to save the forest and her elven kinsmen from the bloodvine, she soon discovers there is an ancient evil set to destroy her and the man she loves, King Leto Sargovia. Aware that this is a battle to the death, she is ready to commit to any action that will allow the Prophecy to manifest.

My Review:

You can definitely see a transformation in Boyd’s writing style from the first novel in the series to this one. As his story continues to grow, so does the writing. Readers can still expect the same brilliant descriptions that bring his world to life in a vivid manner, but the storytelling has become even more captivating. I found myself completely lost in this fantasy world with no desire to escape.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way that Boyd’s characters continue to grow throughout the story. They don’t remain static, but continue to grow and morph throughout this epic tale. This is definitely one of those stories where there is a character for everyone to relate to. You can’t help but be drawn to some and cringe away from others. The line between good and evil has been drawn and these characters fall firmly on one side or another, adding to the action and adventure of the story itself. It is simply amazing.

This is a great addition to Boyd’s series. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

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And now, enter to win 1 of 3 ecopies of The Book of Genevieve by Mark Boyd.
Entries are open internationally, where applicable by law.
Entries close at 11:59pm EST Dec 4/14
Winners will be notified Dec 5/14
Winners will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.


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