Review: Come Home to Me (Whiskey Creek, Book 6) by Brenda Novak

come home to meReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Aaron Amos and Presley Christensen are in a bookstore. They are reconnecting after she left the area for a couple of years. This is a will they or won’t they kind of story as well as one about second chances.

Presley is starting a new business as well as providing for her son. Riley Stinson is going to do a little work for her and Aaron doesn’t seem to be happy about that – this will make you sit up with interest. Brenda has created quite the conflict so you have no choice but to pick sides and see who “wins” and hope the “loser” shows up in another book.

I don’t read the blurb ahead of time because I don’t want to go in with any expectations – I was one of those bad readers that would read the ending first. If I didn’t like the ending, I wouldn’t buy the book. So in order to get the best experience possible, I go in with no expectations. And my review is more honest.

I find that with this book I have to think a lot more – I question, “What would I do?” Also, what would a woman go through to get something she desperately wants? Sometimes an author can put into perspective what we only hear about but never experience. The reader gets to see how awkward things can feel when you see an old flame. As well as see the effect secrets can have on a relationship.

This is one book that will be hard to put down. You will find that you will not know the outcome almost until the very end. So you will want to get comfortable. I found it a book that was hard to take to appointments – once started; I didn’t want to stop reading. It’s not like you can tell the doctor “I’ll be with you as soon as I finish this chapter!”

It’s interesting to watch and read how this author develops her story. It makes you wonder what the process was. Where did the idea come from? There’s just something about her writing style that I love – everything just seems so believable. She is one of those authors that I love to read anything that comes out. You won’t be disappointed if you add this book, or even the series, to your library.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Come Home to Me (Whiskey Creek)

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Review: Secrets of Seduction (Legendary Lovers, Book 3) by Nicole Jordan

secrets of seductionHero: The Earl of Hawkhurst loved and lost his first wife and child in a fire that also left him scarred. He buried his grief by working for the government in an elite group known as Guardians of the Sword. Hawk has returned to England to fulfill the honor-pact required by the group’s charter in order to lead Guardians. To do this he must wed his mentor’s niece… a woman he’s never met.

Heroine: Skye believes in her cousin’s idea about legendary lovers. In fact, she’s knows just which fairy tale hers is going to be… Beauty and the Beast. When she finds out the man she’s loved since childhood is back in England, but looking for a bride elsewhere, she brazenly enters his life under the threatening clouds of a convenient storm. If he’s going to be beastly about it, well… she’d prepared with a clever rouse to get his help solving a mystery of her uncle’s lost love.

Review: Secrets of Seduction is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I loved it. Skye is a brilliant heroine – not only clever and determined to win the heart of a man she’s loved from afar, but patient enough to see his pain and understand him. You’ll be rooting for her before she’s through uttering her greetings to the hero for the first time. Hawk is very funny – first knowing she’s a virgin, then convincing himself otherwise. Skye’s aunt is very talkative about these things and has prepared Skye for what to expect. It leads to a very sexy scene with some sponges. A classic feel good romance, you’ll love to read!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Secrets of Seduction (Legendary Lovers)

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Review: The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend by Annabelle Costa

time-travelers-boyfriend-by-annabelle-costaSummary: Claudia loves her boyfriend Adam and would love to marry him. Unfortunately, he’s not ready for the next step. He’s leery of commitment because he had been deeply hurt by a girl he met just after the accident that left him paralyzed. When Adam invents a time machine and asks Claudia to use it to save him from the accident, she’s not sure what to think. But then Claudia sees this as the perfect way to separate Adam from the emotional wounds of his past. If he never meets that girl then he’ll be emotionally ready for marriage in the present when she gets back… of course it’s not that simple and things go awry.

Review: This is a cute, fluffy romance that is quick to get into and quick to read. I loved Claudia’s and Adam’s interaction after her first foray into the past. Oh my! Not quite what either one were expecting. I liked how Claudia accidentally-but-eventually-purposefully influenced her younger self toward the career path she finds so rewarding. I like how young-Claudia and time-travel-Claudia butted heads about things. I love young-Adam and Adam-at-the-end-of-the-book. It’s hard to say what made this work for me without giving too much away. I hope though, if you’re in the mood for something lighthearted you’ll consider reading this book!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend

Review: Lingerie and Felons by Ros Baxter

9780857991393Summary: Lola is always wearing the wrong underwear at the worse times… like upon arrest. Wait! Let’s back up a minute!

Lola’s parents repeatedly told her she could make a difference growing-up. Lola wants that. She wants to have purpose and be a force of change… The trouble for Lola is that she’s not sure what force of change she wants to be. As she tries to help she slips into and out of tricky legal situations such as the aforementioned arrest.

Along the way Lola meets a handsome Australian broker and a sexy lawyer with Superman tendencies. Her heart is torn and the choice should be easy, but there isn’t a pair of undies to tell a girl what to do and who to be with… Lola will have to figure that out on her own.

Review: I really enjoyed Wayne. When he’s first introduced he’s clearly the opposite of the heroine. They butt heads on a lot of issues. I loved that he switched Lola’s nickname on the first date and started to call her Rocket. That was really cute.

Wayne gets Lola on a level that she’s terrified of because on the surface Wayne is all wrong. She’s hardcore save the planet, hippy, libertarian, democrat and he’s a “heartless” and “soulless” suit, except he isn’t. Wayne is greatly amused by Lola and her passion for making a difference. It changes him throughout the novel. I really felt for him and wanted him to find someone special who loved him and wanted to be with him.

The greatness that is Wayne aside, I do not like Lola, and since the story is from her point of view (POV) that puts me in a predicament. I liked her fine in the beginning of the story, but actions she takes reveals that Lola is narrow-minded and shallow about what is right and what is wrong, and she argues instead of debates. Wayne gets in a really good point about money when she’s on her high horse and it makes her very uncomfortable.

Then there is Lola’s emotional immaturity. She ends her and Wayne’s relationship when it gets to be “too real” and hides her emotions in another relationship because the man is a safe choice. He’s rebound all the way and she uses this other man, who is equally great (but not great for her), to hide. This is perfectly acceptable in the beginning of the novel when she’s younger and a grad student. Everybody needs some time to figure out what they want and who they want.

But, as the years go by, she should have a better grip on what she wants/needs and not face a panic attack every time she and Wayne cross paths. Lola pushes Wayne away at all of their encounters, tells him lies when she’s scared she might fall back into a relationship with him, and misdirects him (regarding her daughter, Eve). She feels that wanting Wayne means being untrue to herself and punishes him for it. I’m honestly surprised he wanted her after all the years apart and all her crazy. And she hurts another in her endeavor to protect herself from what loving Wayne might mean.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Lingerie For Felons

Review: Tapestry by Karen Ranney

tapestryHero: Alex, the Earl of Cardiff, never planned to be the earl. He had a father and older brother and so went off to war to make his mark. When he returns, he is severely wounded and hides his ravage face and body and heart in the castle of Heddon Hall. His servants are terrified of him. His stepmother despises him. He can’t tell if his estate manager is swindling him because he can’t read due to the loss of one eye and the headaches that come from trying to focus the other. When an uppity little maid arrives, bold as you please, on his doorstep, he’s intrigued despite his attempts to distance himself from her.

Heroine: Lady Laura Blake has had enough of being rebuffed. If Alex won’t return her letters and tell her what is going on she will figure it out on her own. She shows up at his estate in disguise, wearing her maid’s clothes and using her maid’s name. Once inside his household, she’s put to work in the kitchen. Being a scullery maid was not quite what she had in mind! Soon she’s elevated to be his personal secretary and that suits her so much better. Now she can spend her days with Alex… and nights.

Review: The first half of the novel is the best part of the story. If you want a happy ending that’s truly happy end at book one/part one. I enjoyed the setup with the heroine breaking into the hero’s lair as a servant (though how she managed it is a mystery because she’s a family friend, you’d think she’d be recognized by someone – Alex!!) I like Laura’s bumbling in the kitchen, her determination to reach Alex and break down his walls. I loved his elation at recapturing humanity and love.

However, after they come together the story goes downhill as they are separated, when the hero returns to his wartime duties for one last assignment. Laura doesn’t want him to go, but for his masculine and national pride, Alex must. Their separation leads to misfortune as Alex is captured and assumed dead. Laura experiences a miscarriage because of the news and also faces the doubly incapacitating grief of losing Alex and the babe. When Alex gets out of prison, he allows his evil stepmother’s cruel words to sway him from finding the truth of what is going on with Laura which causes a big misunderstanding. My friends, you know me, and you know I love angst, but holy moly this is too much. I also like more time together with the main characters and less time apart.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Tapestry

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Review: When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries

When the Rogue ReturnsHero: Victor Cale just recently learned of his wife’s whereabouts after she abandoned him and said their marriage was a mistake. She left him to face the consequences of the crime she and her family colluded to and executed so effortlessly under his nose. He plans to confront her and seek justice for all the injuries they and she inflicted on him through their perjury. His broken heart is at the top of that list.

Heroine: Isa Cale, hiding under an assumed name, Sofe Franke, is angry and frightened when her husband shows up in Edinburgh ten years after he deserted her. Why is he there? Why now? What does he want? Does he know of their child? Does he want to trick her or force her into illegal activities again? Well, he’s about to find out that Isa is not the timid little mouse he married. She’s got teeth and she’s willing to do what it takes to protect her daughter.

Review: It’s clear from the beginning that the hero and heroine are laboring under a big misunderstanding. A decade spent apart and a series of lies has torn their fledging marriage into two and two hearts are grieving for the loss of a love they both thought was true. Their double-speak when they first meet again is quite entertaining. Victor’s reaction to Isa’s feelings, about the pet name he gave her, is particularly heart-wrenching. He did not realize he’d been so misunderstood! He’s quick to come up with an alternative. Both are unique to the heroine and I love that. What great about this novel is that Sabrina Jeffries knits both hearts, both characters, slowly back together. Trust is a big issue for them both and it’s a delight to see them work through the fabrications and make amends for back judgments in the past. It’s also nice to know that even while they trust, they did both still have doubts and had to fight to overcome them time and again. It made for a realistic read. I also enjoyed that the story took place outside of the usual London setting. Not a book to be missed!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men)

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Review: An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons, Book 3) by Julia Quinn

offer from a gentlemanHeroine: Sophie Beckett might be the daughter of an earl, but she’s not legitimate. She’s lived as an unpaid maid to her stepmother and stepsisters since her father passed away. One evening, she dared to sneak into Lady Bridgerton′s masquerade ball and found “Prince Charming.” As charming as he may be, Sophie know not even a second son would never marry her… or would he?

Hero: Benedict Bridgerton’s society nickname ‘Second’ relegated him to a nonentity from a young age. It’s a state of being he’s determined to break even if society would rather keep him there. At a family ball he spies a gorgeous creature dressed in silver, but before the evening’s end she vanished. Years later, his mother gets a new housemaid who stirs him. But he’s still determined to find his silver beauty and wed her… even if his heart might be leaning elsewhere.

Review: Fancy a sweet Cinderella romance? Then you’ll want to pick this book up! We start at the ball almost immediately and boy is it an adorable sequence with a splash of sexy. Their story is part magic and part harsh reality. In the magic of the ball all seems possible. In the light of day, he’s a nobleman and she’s a maid. How could it ever work? In reality, it couldn’t, but lucky for Benedict he’s falling for the same woman twice. Sensual, charming, and full of life.

Fav Quote: “I can live with you hating me,” he said to the closed door. “I just can’t live without you” — Benedict to Sophie

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons)

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Review: Take Me Home for Christmas (Whiskey Creek, Book 5) by Brenda Novak

Take Me Home for ChristmasReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Sophie DeBussi seems to have a sorry existence with no means of escape. Ted Dixon knows Sophie personally from high school and what he describes is someone that very well may have been someone you went to school with. Their lives reconnect during a time in Sophie’s life when she can really use a friend.

Our author reminds us that tragedy can strike at any time of year – even the holidays. It’s also a time when Sophie finds out who her real friends are. It’s a tough read because you just can’t imagine the pain that Brenda has created. But that’s what makes a great author – we come to care for the characters as if they’re part of the family or a really close friend.

This was my first book in the series so I’m behind in knowing who all the couples are. Sophie’s story can be read as a stand-alone but if you want to know all the couples better, you’ll want to go back and read books one through four. It also had me wanting to know more about the people of Whiskey Creek.

This is not a book that I could read without stopping every once in a while (but that’s not a bad thing). I guess my glasses are slightly rose-colored – it’s just you can’t believe people will act that way. But sad to say, that’s not the case. Brenda had me making comparisons to the family of Bernie Madoff – were they her inspiration for this story? It certainly gives you another perspective.

What I loved about this story is that it didn’t start at Christmas time. So, technically you could read it at any time of year. But the “moral of the story” definitely has the holiday spirit involved. It has a great lesson to it and it shows that miracles do happen – amidst tragedy love can blossom. The ending will also have you smiling. It has me looking forward to March when book six, titled Come Home To Me, will be coming out. This also gives me time to catch up on the series in the meantime. So, if you’re getting your holiday reads together and you want something that’s slightly different from most make sure to pick up a copy of Brenda’s book.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Take Me Home for Christmas (Whiskey Creek)

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