Review: The Legend of Lady MacLaoch by Becky Banks

The Legend of Lady MacLaochReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This story was written in the first person.

The action starts right from chapter one. Rowan is a fighter pilot whose luck has run out. Then it jumps to the present. Cole, Nicole Ransome Baker, is our narrator. She’s home from college to attend a family member’s funeral. She then starts to think about the family’s heritage.

How many of you have ever wondered about your ancestors? Have you looked at your family tree? Have you ever wanted to trace your roots back as far as they could go? Have you ever traveled to find out the answers?

Cole has arrived in Glentree Scotland to get some answers. There she meets some very interesting characters. Becky paints quite the picture – makes me want to travel to Scotland to see what I would find. But in a way the author is a travel agent – their story telling takes us to places that we may never visit except in our mind.

Cole’s on a walk to find Castle Laoch and whom should she come upon but Rowan. And it’s certainly a memorable meeting. They are both a force to be reckoned with. Becky has me hooked into the story and wondering what will happen between Rowan and Cole. I couldn’t put the book down – I kept saying “one more page” and then “one more chapter”.

Rowan seems to be a man with issues – can Cole help with those? There’s one scene where Rowan asks Cole to accompany him to the gardens. I could almost picture a different era and him all decked out in his kilt. There’s also a clan gala – I somehow missed my invitation in the mail.

In my area of the country, we have the Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival (http://www.glasgowlands.org/info.html). This is their 19th year and it will be held in Florence, Massachusetts. If you are in my neck of the woods on Saturday, July 21 you may want to check out the festival. I just may make it there myself this year.

I would love to see this book made into a movie so that I could see the book play out before my eyes. Rowan is the perfect hero – he’s a strong man that protects the woman character. I also love that Becky hasn’t filled the book with lots of sex.

There is sex in the book but it’s done at a point in time where our couple realizes what they mean to each other. I think if she had more than she did, it would have ruined the story for me. We also get to see how crazy some people will become when they think a family curse is involved.

If you love this book as much as I did, you will want to keep your eyes open for Becky’s newest book, “Forced”, it will be coming out this summer. She also spices up her story with a little mystery and intrigue which just makes it that much harder to put the book down.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Legend of Lady MacLaoch

Review: Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Redwood Bend is book 18 of the “Virgin River” series.

Katie Malone is seen leaving her Vermont home with a set of 5-year-old twins, Andy and Mitch. She’s packing them up and moving to California. She’ll be moving closer to her brother Conner. You will find Conner’s story in Book 17 of the “Virgin River” series (Hidden Summit). Her husband passed away fighting in Afghanistan.

Katie has decided to take the boys on a little vacation down to Florida before traveling to Virgin River. When she’s just outside the town, her car ends up with a flat. She then hears a rumble and what comes up behind her but four guys on motorcycles. One of the guys, Dylan, really revs her engines. I think if it weren’t raining at the time, Dylan would know that she was drooling. This is one time when you wish you had a picture.

Dylan Childress has come to Virgin River, with his four friends, to enjoy some time together. They certainly don’t expect to see a damsel in distress as they’re on the road to Virgin River. Dylan needs some down time. He, and his partner, own and operate a charter air service.

Katie, and the boys, are starting to settle in. She gets to meet Conner’s financee, Leslie. They seem to hit it off right away. Also, Katie has her own place to stay – a nice little cottage that is surrounded by nature. She’s seen sitting out on her porch, enjoying the scenery, when Dylan pulls up on his motorcycle – don’t you just love a man on a motorcycle! It was a very interesting visit.

Fate seems to be pushing the two of them together because they seem to keep meeting. At one point Dylan ask Katie and her boys out – does he realize what he’s getting himself into? And once you read the scene, you will have it admit it was pretty funny.

Dylan has been trying to go a little further in the relationship but Katie’s not ready. Of course he acts just like a little kid who doesn’t get his own way. We all have to make decisions but Katie is questioning hers. The jury’s still out for Conner but of course he’s playing big brother.

Dylan’s business is feeling the pressure of the current economy. While he’s trying to find ways to bolster his business, his family members start coming out of the woodwork. They’re hoping to ride on his coattails.

Because of Dylan’s business problems, he’s had to leave. While Dylan is gone, Katie’s in Jack’s bar and meets Tom Cavanaugh. You’ll definitely want to see who shows up. And Dylan doesn’t seem to be happy about Katie knowing Tom – can we say territorial?

While Dylan was gone, Katie gets a surprise and when he returns she finally shares that surprise with him. It’s left him with some serious thinking to do. Conner goes from being big brother to father and they both act like they’re back in high school. Over time, they finally put their differences aside and try to get along.

One thing I love so far about Robyn’s “Virgin River” series is that the characters from the book before don’t overtake the current book – they just blend right in. You don’t have to read each book in order to understand the series. It’s like reading about family.
You get to love the characters and the town and you just can’t wait until the next book comes out. But if you’re a fan, like I am, at some point you’ll go back and catch up on the books you missed. Robyn’s next book “Sunrise Point” (Tom’s story) will be out in April.

Verdict: This is a book that you’ll not want to put down until you finish it. You are going to want to go out and get this book or at least put it at the top of your TBR list. Robyn does not disappoint her fans. And since the next book comes out in a couple of months you have some time to read so that you’ll be ready to read about Tom.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Redwood Bend (Virgin River)

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Review: The Night is Mine by M. L. Buchman

The Night is MineReviewed by Susan S.

Impressive! M. L. Buchman delivers an action-packed novel that’ll leave adrenaline junkies smoking a well-satisfied cigar. The Night Is Mine contains military covert operations, chopper crashes, secret agents, murder plots, daring rescues, humor, and still…pulls off a touching love story. Where’s book two?

Summary: The Night Stalkers Series, Book One

Captain Emily Beale is a highly trained soldier, the heroine of this story, the daughter to the Director of the FBI, a killer chef, the Black Hawk pilot for the Black Adders, and the first and only female pilot to fly for SOAR (The Army’s Special Operations Aviation Regiment a.k.a. The Night Stalkers). As is evidenced by the aforementioned-she’s one badass female. Oh, and did I mention she’s beautiful? Some gals have all the luck! Or do they?

This gal’s life is about to turn on a dime. The captain harbors feelings for Major Mark “The Viper” Henderson and vice versa. But since the Army prohibits relationships between different ranked soldiers-they’ll have to lock and triple-bolt their passion. Then there’s the reassignment order plunging Emily neck deep into a black-in-black ops mission. Suddenly, the Army’s fraternization policy becomes a moot point. Because if they die protecting the Commander-in-Chief, sex post-mortem just isn’t as appealing.

Review: I’m hoping one day The Night Is Mine adapts to the big screen. But even if it doesn’t, in my mind- it played like a movie. Guess I can always reread the novel when I feel the hankering to watch it again.

With military romantic suspense novels I always think, oh boy-here comes the heavy unintelligible military jargon. I needn’t have worried though. None of that in this novel. Only descriptions of military choppers and a great story infused with megadoses of action.

Recommendations: For readers who stow Silhouette Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Intrigues inside their minivans. Also recommended for anyone who craves the forbidden love tropes. And if you’re a booklover who’s partial to All-American Heroes, hot Army pilots, secret agents, and political intrigue-then this is your kind of read.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Night Is Mine

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Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., Copyright 2012, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 402. ISBN# 978-1-4022-5810-7.

Review: Only Mine (Fool’s Gold, Book 4) by Susan Mallery

Only Mine is Dakota’s story, the first story of the Hendrix triplets in the Fool’s Gold series.

Heroine: Dakota Hendrix can’t have kids and she wants one so she’s in the process of adopting. Meanwhile there isn’t a guy on her radar (could be because of the man shortage) and she’s doing a favor for the mayor by being the contact person between the town and the new reality TV show being filmed there.

Hero: Finn Anderson is the opposite. He doesn’t want kids after raising his twin brothers for so long. He’s a pilot with a business in Alaska. He’s in town to force his stupid twin brothers back to college and off the dumb reality show they’re trying out for, but of course, as they’re twins they are automatically voted on and once they are they’re not leaving. He’s an overprotective brother, but a solid good guy.

The Twins:

Sasha: In a word – metrosexual. It doesn’t take more than his name to peg him as a character. He wants to be famous and he’s willing to do what it takes to get there including pretending a wild romance with Lani who is also interested in the same thing.

Stephen: He wants out of small town Alaska and the best thing for that is to follow Sasha onto this dating reality show. In the process he’s matched with an older woman (as un-cougar as they get) and he really digs her (can we say hot?).

Review: I wasn’t really into the main romance. It could be because it reads friends-to-lovers, a trope I’ve never been behind. And Dakota getting pregnant was too predictable. I was hoping a miracle pregnancy wouldn’t enter the picture, because it made the story highly unrealistic. It took care of the angst and depth to Dakota’s character in one too neat package.

I also thought it was unrealistic that Finn who didn’t want kids after raising his brothers after their parents’ deaths would jumped back into raising kids again so soon even if he loved Dakota. He’s never had a chance to be a carefree adult and I felt he really deserved it.

As far as the side romance goes, it really upstaged the main romance in my opinion. I loved their first date. The two of them had a lot of depth and were cute. They could easily have had their own stand alone.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Only Mine

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Review: Virgin by Cheryl Brooks

If you’ve heard of the Cat Star Chronicles before then you know that Zetithians, a feline big cat like alien species, are known for their males’ remarkable sexual prowess. We’ve even gone over some the *ahem* anatomy of these hunky men in The Sexual Prowess of Alien Romance Heroes. Seriously, you should check that out… hot. :D

So what happens when a male of the species is a virgin? He has no experience with the sexual prowess of the other males. How he was allowed to remain a virgin is a mystery! Dax talks about turning down some persistent women with a certain underhanded trick (that eventually lands him in some hot water with a couple of whores…), but I can’t really see him escaping the demand on him by others in his species to procreate.

The Zetithians were wiped out because of their sexual skill you see, and only now that they’ve found the man responsible and got justice are they able to rebuild in relative peace.

Ava is a half-breed. She’s part fish (Aquerei) and part human. She’s had two boyfriends and her current one, Lars, she wants to ditch something fierce, so she can return to her old boyfriend. A problem for Dax because Ava is the first woman he’s been attracted to and stirred by her scent, but he agrees to take her to where the old boyfriend is and does it scandalously cheap. (He charges everyone by what they can afford, not by how much they have on hand… very noble.)

Meanwhile there’s a subplot where a bunch of Aquerei are looking for Ava, not that she’s aware, in order to prevent a reordering of the Aquerei’s home world, which Ava is a key player (again something unknown to her.) I wonder how that works out?

I love Dax’s fumbling ineptitude in pursuing Ava. If you like virgin heroes, you will too!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Virgin

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Review: Up Close and Dangerous by Linda Howard

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By: Marcia, guest reviewer

Bailey Wingate is living what many would believe to be a charmed life in Seattle, but she has problems. Not that she is complaining. She knows that she is fortunate. Having grown up impoverished, she became the personal assistant to James Wingate, a wealthy businessman and father of two extremely self absorbed, spoiled, greedy, adult children. After James’ wife died, he realized that his own will had not been updated since his children where very young. He also realized that turning over large estate to these two irresponsible people was not advisable. While in the process of setting up trust funds for his children, James found out he was terminally ill. He then approached his assistant, Bailey.

Bailey is now the widow of James in full control of all of his assets and his children’s trust funds. She did not inherit any of the estate, but is paid a very handsome salary. She also has use of several homes. Seth and Tazmin Wingate are unaware of all the particulars of the father’s arrangement with Bailey. All they know is that she controls their money.

Cameron Justice is part owner of J&L Executive Air Limo along with his best friend, Bret. Their largest client is the Wingate Group. He is a former Air Force pilot, calm and steady when under fire. Due to a series of unfortunate events, he is awakened early in the morning and asked to fly Bailey to Colorado where she is scheduled to meet her brother and sister-in-law and go on a white water rafting vacation. Early morning call not withstanding, Cam is not happy about having to fly Bailey anywhere. He thinks that she is a cold, haughty snob. Bailey thinks the same of Cam and they get off on the wrong foot when, while loading her luggage onboard, he appears to be critical of all the supplies she has brought with her.

As they are approaching snow-capped mountains in Idaho, the plane’s engines shut down. Only Cam’s flying ability keeps them from slamming into the rocky peaks. He is able to bring the plane down to the tree line hoping to cushion their fall. The wing is torn off and tree limbs come into one side of the plane. Both Bailey and Cam are knocked out. When Bailey regains consciousness, she discovers that Cam’s injuries are worse then hers. The temperature is below freezing and she must take care of Cam and build them shelter until Cam recovers. Not surprisingly, all the clothing and supplies she packed come in handy. They have to put their differences aside to survive and having to sleep together in order to conserve heat doesn’t hurt the road to love.

Linda Howard has researched her subject thoroughly. The detailed airplane crash and survival scenes add realism and drama to a humorous and sensual romance combining into a great summer read.

Rating: 3 ½ Stars

Buy: Up Close and Dangerous

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Review: Time and Again by Nora Roberts

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Time and Again is a novel that is really two stories in one. The first is Time Was with Caleb Hornblower and Liberty Stone. The second is Times Change with Caleb’s younger brother and Libby’s younger sister.

Time Was

Caleb Hornblower was born in February 2nd, 2222. That makes 2 is favorite number. He’s a pilot and loves the freedom of space and the speed of flying. On a routine run back to earth from the Mars colonies he runs into a meteor shower and has to do some quick maneuvering. Just when he thinks he’s safe he sees the scariest thing that a man in space could see… yawning blackness. An uncharted black hole is before him and there’s no way he can survive. He wasn’t a pilot for nothing and with instruments blaring and bells whistling, Caleb banks the ship and goes into freefall.

Liberty Stone is outside her family’s cabin enjoying the thunderstorm. Wild lightning is streaking across the sky when suddenly a plane rockets across the angry purple clouds. At least she thinks its a plane. Racing back inside, Libby is determined to find the crash and the poor souls who were flying in this weather. She meets Caleb Hornblower, a man who looks as if he’s had one too many rounds in a bar fight. She gets him home and cleans him up.

Things get interesting when Caleb wakes. He thinks he’s still in the 23rd century. Libby knows something is weird with Caleb but she writes it off due to the crash. He had trouble remember his name, the date is obviously another thing he’s trying to puzzle back into place.

Times Change

Jacob Hornblower is mad as hell. His brother disappeared from a routine run and nearly six months afterwards his ship turns up… empty. The memory banks and ridiculous report left inside said he stayed in the early 21st century because of a woman. Well he was going to meet Liberty Stone himself and then he was going to punch his brother in the jaw and haul his butt home.

Two years later and Jacob has fine tuned all the equations, built a ship meant to do what his brother had done accidentally and was hurtling toward the sun with the shields down. The temperature’s rising outside, and his instrument panel is blinking like crazy but its pure satisfaction that fills him as the computer calmly tells him the time every few seconds. His theories were right and it was only a matter of time before he and his brother returned.

What Jacob didn’t factor in was Sunbeam Stone. While her sister and brother-in-law were somewhere where Libby could research her next paper, Sunny was determined to figure out her life. She was good at a lot of things, but just because she was good at it, didn’t mean it was the right thing for her to do. A little vacation at the family cabin and she’d get her head on straight and figure out her life. She wasn’t expecting to find a stranger in her bedroom. He wore crisp new clothes and brand new shoes that were obviously not hiking boots. A swift kick from her and he landed flat on his back. He was angry to see her but she was just as angry when she realized he was Caleb’s younger brother. Where did he get off not coming to their wedding?

Rating: ★★★½☆

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Review: Everyone Loves a Hero by Marie Force

by Susan S., guest reviewer

A beautifully written love story! Marie Force has found a new fan in me.

Summary: Former Naval Officer and First Officer Cole Langston, hero, has just been catapulted into national hero status. After a pilot suffers a mid-flight heart attack, Cole lands the commercial plane in blizzard conditions. Now, he’s been dubbed, “Captain Incredible.” Hot guy/former officer/pilot/hero has more attention lately of the female kind. And more phone numbers than a yellow page directory. He’s a single, healthy male, who just hasn’t met…“the one.” He’s met all the others though!

Olivia Robison, heroine, is a clerk at Reagan National Airport. She’s working at the NewsStop to pay her way through school. Robison’s never had any luck with the male kind. She’s single too, and has never met… “the one” either.

After defending her against an ill-mannered customer, Cole finds himself on the receiving end of a fist. On the plus side, he did get her name…Olivia.

Olivia and Cole begin dating, but soon realize it’ll take more than attraction to make things work. There are just too many barriers between them. The women who throw themselves at him at every turn, her insecurity, appearances and calls from his former exes. And if that’s not enough, she lives in Washington, he in Chicago.

Ms. Robison suspects he’s not being entirely forthcoming. Will his lack of full-disclosure be the final barrier to end it all? More importantly, when all’s said and done, will their newfound love crash and burn? Or, take flight into happily-ever-after?

Thought Bubble: The other day I was listening to a song titled, “You Can.” It’s sung by David Archuleta; which I feel conveys the essence of not only this novel, but the hero and heroine’s feelings for each other.

Review: I began reading Everyone Loves a Hero and glanced at the clock, once, only to realize…two hours had elapsed. So, I’m dubbing this the, “Where did the time go novel?” I enjoyed many things, but what I enjoyed the most were the phone calls. Remember, theirs is a long-distance relationship. Cole brings her to life. Olivia fills a gap in his. Although this novel touches on real-life issues, such as agoraphobia, grief, and cancer, the romance is always front-and-center. With lots of I missed you intimacies and some fun traveling. He is a pilot, after all!

This novel made me laugh (Olivia driving his car when he’s sick), made me cry (when they broke up), and it made me smile (what happens right before the epilogue was simply, perfect). Would you believe me if I said, “I even enjoyed the acknowledgements?” I did! Marie explains how she thought up the novel.

Review-O-Meter Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Everyone Loves a Hero

Romance, Copyright 2010, February 2011, Trade Paperback, Print Pages 379, Sourcebooks Casablanca. ISBN# 978-1-4022-4574-9.

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