Review: Healing Her Heart (Stanton Family, Book 3) by Audra North

Healing Her HeartReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Greg Stanton is a cardiac surgeon – which I found interesting because recently I had to take my father to his cardiologist’s office. Carrie Jankowski works for an assisted living facility. This is a story that makes the doctor seem more human and shows that they go through the same types of things us “normal” people do. Greg is also one smooth talker – will Carrie stand a chance? You’ll just have to read in order to find the answer to that question.

I loved the idea of having some of the scenes taking place where Carrie works. I’d love to think that there are some characters like in the movie “Cocoon” – think Don Ameche. And that thought was answered when you meet Robert. I have to apologize to our author but I just fell in love with his character the minute I “met” him. I’d love to know if his character was based on an actual person.

Something that I thought was a great idea was having doctors working in a facility as part of their rotation – I think this would be a great help in how doctors treat the elderly or a disabled patient. This is also a case of love can be found anywhere. For those single readers – this may give you some hope to keep your eyes open to all possibilities. Having an open-ended ending was great. This leaves it up to the reader to decide where the couple can go from here. If you like this book, you may want to check out Audra’s other two titles from this series that are out now. They are titled Falling for the CEO and One Night in Santiago.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Healing Her Heart (A Stanton Family Novella) (Entangled Edge)

Review: The Dog Year by Ann Garvin

dog yearReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Dr. Lucy Peterman is a woman who’s not very happy right now. Her life seems to be on the downturn. Lucy lets the reader see a true account of what her life is like since some personal issues happened. People tend to have a preconceived notion that a doctor’s life is so glamorous. But they are human and tragedy can even happen to them. It also reminds us that not everyone is perfect and that’s ok.

This book shows the reader that not everyone deals with tragedy the same. Sometimes people just need a little push, or intervention, to help put them back on track. Some people notice subtle changes in personality, maybe how the person looks, or even on how they behave.

Mark Troutman knew her way back when. There’s a scene where they’re catching up and she’s Miss Personality. And this is one thing that I like about this book – Lucy’s not perfect and that’s what makes her seem human. And then a dog and Sara came into her life. They all seem to be good for each other – they all have significance in Lucy’s life. Will Mark be able to have a place in there too? You’ll just have to read and find out for yourself.

This book would be a great book club read. Our author also graciously put discussion questions at the back. I can also picture sitting in a beach chair down at the beach staring out to sea and then getting hooked into Ann’s book. I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I did.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Dog Year

Review: Urbino, Unexpectedly by Maria Chiara Marsciani

urbino unexpectedlyReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Twenty-two year old Clara is a student in Milan and wants a future as a lawyer, but is that all she wants in life? Even though the backdrop of everything that is beautiful about Italy, its alps, romantic hamlets, Rome and Milan, she soon discovers she hates everything about Italy due to her parents expecting too much of her. For her, meeting Leonardo is the best thing that has happened to her even though her parents do not approve of her wanting to marry him later on.

Review: Though Clara is from an upper class background she feels she doesn’t fit in wherever she goes. Her father is someone who is also influential and to be feared, while her mother tries to organise her life from the start. For her, her grandma is the only one who she can talk to, that is until she meets Leonardo who shows her she can enjoy herself without being trapped in her parents’ morals, and lifestyle. You would think that Leonardo being a doctor would make her parents approve, but for her parents, no one she chooses to be with is ever good enough for their high standards. In order to be her own person, Clara knows she has to break away from the parents she soon realises are stifling her creativity and general life, and it will be a big problem for her to do this as her parents have been controlling her for so long.

Good Bits:

  • Leonardo – he sounds very attractive in this book
  • Readers get to appreciate Clara’s cramped life and can come to the conclusion that having money and connections isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Bad Bits:

  • It can be dull at times

Summary: As everything crumbles around her parents’ lives and their control is lessened due to Leonardo’s influence, the story changes from being one of depression and doom to being a more positive outlook on her life, but the depression element has to be ground in so that the changes can show later in the story. There is a lot of romance in this story, and it is one not to be missed.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Urbino, Unexpectedly: a story of love and self-discovery

Review: The Hero (Thunder Point, Book 3) by Robyn Carr

The HeroReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Devon McAllister is carrying her three-year-old daughter and then is lucky enough to catch a ride to Thunder Point. I hope if you’re reading this book that you’ve also read the other two in the series. You will continue getting to know about the town and some of its inhabitants. It will also leave you wanting to pack your bags and moving there.

In this story, we finally get to know the character named Rawley Goode. Rawley is a very caring soul and I wish there were more people like him in this world. Robyn makes me wonder if she has fashioned him after someone she knows.

Spencer Lawson is the new Athletic Director at the high school. He and his ten-year-old son, Austin, are staying at Cooper’s old place for now. He also has something in common with Devon.

While reading this book, in the beginning I kept thinking of Devon as a man – I have a nephew of the same name. The difference is that he spells his name with an “I” and she spells her name with an “O”. So now that I have that figured out, I don’t have that problem any more.

Robyn has put an interesting twist in this book – Devon has two men to choose from and both men have children. Scott is a doctor and Spencer is a coach – what an interesting dilemma. What a great reason to keep reading in order to find out who wins her heart.

This isn’t just Devon’s story. We get to see what’s happening with the other characters that we’ve come to love in the first two books. This book will have you smiling – our author knows exactly how to please her readers. She also creates a town where everyone cares about everyone else.

In my opinion this is a series that would be a good fit for the Hallmark Channel. Yes, there’s some violence but that is part of where Devon came from so it needs to be there. It also makes me wonder as to the type of research Robyn needed to do in order for the storyline to at least appear accurate. She also knows when to add something that will have the reader on the edge of their seats and holding our breaths until we know that everything is all right.

A great author knows how to create believable characters. It makes me wonder if she questioned any males to find out how they would behave during certain situations – this would include both civilians and men in the military. Or does she just instinctively know how to get these characters right? You will be happy to know that the next book in the series, titled The Chance, is due out in March 2014.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Hero (Thunder Point)

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Review: Breaking the Rules by Melinda Dozier

Breaking the Rules by Melinda DozierReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: After an accident keeps Hope Robinson in a cast hobbling around at work, she has time to think about what she has done in her life, and whether she has made the right decisions in the past. She is the sort of woman who keeps to the rules and plays it safe in work matters as she is a middle school principal in Harbor Bay, Florida.

Her reason for being this way is that a previous love affair didn’t go the way she had hoped, and it left her feeling bad about what she had done. She vowed she would never let her heart rule her head, and never let her passions for men come before her work, at least that was before she met Dr. Colin Calaway, a widower and father who wants to be her lover, friend and confidante, but she has to think long and hard on what she is doing, and whether her job is worth the risk.

Review: The story starts where the two of them meet as Colin’s son has been sent for detention for fighting again, and she wonders how it is that someone who is a professional can have such a difficult child, especially when he is such a nice guy. Colin on the other hand wonders why it is that other guys in his profession get all the hot patients as Dr Patel is Hope’s doctor, and wishes she were his.

Though there is a definite chemistry between them, she finds it hard to accept that a principle should never have relations with a parent, but as their son’s misbehaviour is what brought them together, maybe it was fate that decided their life for them.

Good bits:

  • Colin and Hope meet straight away – but under difficult circumstances.
  • They are opposites, but after they get talking, he feels that she is a hotter woman than she first appears.
  • The fact that Hope has fractured or broken her leg ten times – she’s a bit reckless, or clumsy!

Bad bits:

  • The story is good, but only if you are impressed with doctor and patient romances.

Summary: Breaking the Rules isn’t short on comedy, or fun moments, but as the title suggests, Hope breaks the rules as a school principle, and it is up to her to make their loving relationship work even though it does have its ups and downs.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Breaking the Rules

Review: Barefoot in the Sun by Roxanne St. Claire

barefoot in the sunReviewed by Patsy F.

This book begins in an unusual way. The “life secret” of the main character is revealed in the prologue and you get a good sense of the history of the characters. Then Chapter 1 starts with 9 years later. So immediately I was intrigued and excited to be reading a romance mystery.

The story begins when Zoe Tamarin confesses to her true love (Oliver, a hot, strong, prestigious doctor) that she had a nightmare childhood. She tells him that the woman that she calls, Aunt Pasha, is really the woman that saved her from a tragic life and abducted her. They were always on the run because Pasha was afraid they would be caught and she would be sent to prison. Little did Zoe know Aunt Pasha had another secret.

As Zoe grew into a beautiful young woman, her love for Aunt Pasha grew too. Pasha had given Zoe a wonderful loving life but a life on the run nonetheless. Zoe had developed three strong sisterhoods during the years. These friends were just as much family to Zoe as aunt Pasha and although the friends had no idea that Pasha had changed Zoe’s real name and been on the lamb, they loved her as much as Zoe did.

Though they were only together for four months, Dr. Oliver Bradbury was the only true love Zoe ever knew (her soulmate). She had left Oliver nine years ago in the beginning of the story. Oliver was about to tell a secret of his own to Zoe that his ex was pregnant with his child. He had met Zoe months after he separated from his ex. But then when she left he knew Zoe would never return, so he married his ex and raised their son just to do the right thing.

Finally now that Zoe is grown and after years of running, Zoe and Pasha decide to go to meet Zoe’s friend on an island in Florida. The friend has opened a beautiful resort and is about to give birth to her second child. When she goes into labor, there is a handsome, respected, well qualified doctor at the resort with his son.

The real mystery of the book is Pasha’s secret. The end of the story is what you would expect after a story such as this, but leaves you with a feeling of…love conquers all…no matter what.

This is a very good read, the only negative would be some of the chapters were a little too wordy in the scene description.

I would like to read more of this author’s Barefoot Bay series. I rate this book at 4 stars!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Barefoot in the Sun (Barefoot Bay)

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Review: Three Sisters (Blackberry Island, Book 2) by Susan Mallery

three sistersThis book is not an anthology, but there are three stories intertwined in it. Three Sisters is the nickname for three Victorian houses on a cul-de-sac and with a name like that, it is easy to see that the three women who own it will become as “sisters” in their friendships to one another.

Romantic relationships are at the heart of the novel, but it is not your traditional romance novel. It’s more women’s fiction with romantic elements. I found two of the three stories very depressing for much of their page time and should come with a warning label for some readers. The issues in the novel are not lighthearted ones and could be tough to read emotionally for some women.

One woman deals (or not) with grief over the death of her infant son and it is destroying her marriage. (Her husband isn’t handling it any better and gets drunk to avoid his grief.)

Another woman is struggling in her marriage because she needs order and perfection to counter her childhood abusive relationship with her mother. Her needs, which are silent and never spoken, affect her household and all her children see her as the bad guy. (How could her husband who indicates knowing this tragic past, say/think the things he did and not be more sympathetic or handle his own concerns/needs better/sooner?)

The last woman faces the challenges of new beginnings after her fiancé dumps her at the altar and runs off with his secretary to get hitched in Vegas. I by far, enjoyed her story the most. I liked her, her new fella, and the daughter.

Each of the married women’s struggles is handled with respect, but the story is at times very much a downer. It’s not until over halfway through the book that things start to look up for the two married women on the street, but getting there was painful for me. Their husbands also had to come around and I wasn’t convinced by one of them for a while because it seemed like all the blame was on the wife. Not fair.

The book will tug at your heartstrings, but you have to ask yourself do you want them to be tugged so hard? It ends happy. I give 2 Stars for the married couples’ stories and 4 Stars for the single gal’s story…

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Three Sisters (Blackberry Island)

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Review: Fortune’s Hero (Soldiers of Fortune, Book 1) by Jenna Bennett

Fortune's HeroReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Quinn Conlan is attached to a very creepy machine. You can see right away that he is a soldier. Automatically, I thought of Han Solo of “Star Wars” fame. Elsa Brandeis works for the enemy but is she as bad-ass as Quinn thinks she is? Elsa does not remind me of any “Star Wars” character but she is an interesting choice for Quinn.

I grew up in the age of the original “Star Trek” series and the first “Star Wars” series. Just a few paragraphs in, and I was reliving the shows/movies that I loved growing up. Then I had to think that this would fit in perfectly and I could see this as a movie. I would pay to watch this or at the very least see it on the Sci Fi Channel.

This book was listed on Amazon as romantic suspense. I get the suspense part – especially at the end – but I don’t think romance was a major part of Jenna’s story. I found it more of a science fiction action adventure. The action, not the romance, is what held my attention throughout as each chapter went by – and that is not a bad thing.

Jenna shows her readers that sometimes we may not like one another but that if something needs to be accomplished it is going to take team work. When it comes to survival, egos and attitudes have no place in this type of situation – it’s a waste of energy.

For those of you looking for the romance, you will get your sex fix – just relax and enjoy the adventure. Jenna gives you the sex but at just the right time. A good author will not rush it but puts it in just the right spot. She also reminds you how people change when confined for any length of time.

I have two words for the ending – What? No!! I was not expecting it but what a great way to have the reader wanting to read book 2. The next title in this series is titled Fortune’s Honor. But if you go to Jenna’s web site, http://jennabennett.com/Home_Page.html, she doesn’t give you any hints as to what she has in store next for readers. I can’t even tell you when it will be coming out. In the meantime, you can’t go wrong in adding this book to your shelf.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Fortune’s Hero (Soldiers of Fortune)