Review: In Your Dreams (Blue Heron, Book 4) by Kristan Higgins

in your dreamsReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Emmaline Neal is a police officer in Manningsport New York.  She has an extracurricular activity that most women don’t do.  Jack Holland puts on a brave face but he has some personal demons he has to deal with.  Right from the start this author will have you laughing and if you’re having a bad day, or even a bad week, this is a great pick-me-up.

As the story begins there are circumstances that will have you feeling sorry for these two.  Even though Em has a job most of us wouldn’t have, this author has made her a woman that you can identify with.  There’s a couples bonding scene that had me wishing I were an actual spectator.  And then the scene ends with me laughing – sorry I just couldn’t help myself.

Our author shows her readers how some of the “beautiful” people can be so self-absorbed.  She also shows how cruel people can be toward those that are “different”.  This would be a perfect book to read while you sit by a fire – jealous – having a mulled wine or cider along with your favorite throw or animal.  One thing I loved about this story is that the author didn’t create one picture perfect character.  It made them more believable and some more relatable.  There are even some readers who may also be able to identify with a few of them.  Jack is what might be called brooding and not everyone will like his character but that just adds to his persona.

This is a series that each book could probably be read on their own but it’s my hope that you are reading them in order.  It’s a town you will fall in love with and wish you could visit while on vacation.  If you do find that place and take reading material with you, make sure to take this series along for the ride.  It will be interesting to see if we get another look into the lives of the residents of Manningsport – I certainly look forward to finding out.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: In Your Dreams (The Blue Heron Series)

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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Review: Real (Real, Book 1) by Katy Evans

real katy evansReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This book is told in the first person – Brooke is the one telling us her story until we get to the Epilogue. Then it’s Remy who talks to us. But it leaves me wondering if book two — Mine — will start with Remy telling the story.

If you love to listen to music as you read, you will be happy to know that there is a playlist at the beginning of this book. It starts off with Brooke Dumas and her best friend at an underground fighting match. Melanie goes to look – as she puts it – at the “eye candy”. Brooke’s not impressed until she gets a look at Remington Tate. From this point on, Kate grabs your attention and doesn’t let go until the last word.

If you’ve never seen a boxing, or MMA, match you may want to watch one on TV so you know something about Remy’s profession. I’m going to date myself here – I used to watch Mohammed Ali. I loved his banter, his poems, and his interactions with Howard Cosell.

It’s hot right from the beginning. One example is when Brooke and Remy have near sex. I had the chance to read the paperback version and I’m surprised the pages didn’t catch on fire – it was that hot (and is very graphic). You get so involved in what’s going on that you don’t realize how many pages you’ve actually read. It’s also one of those books that you will not want to put down.

Katy has picked a very good title for this book. She deals with the real subject of the disorder known as bipolar. The only thing I want to say on that subject is that don’t take it as how “real” people should deal with the disorder – please make sure to seek professional help. Our author also shows her readers that when love is there, friends and loved ones can support and love them for whom they are.

My favorite scene has to be where Melanie and Brooke are having a discussion about a certain someone. You can almost hear their conversation. Melanie will crack you up – you just won’t be able to help yourself. So you know which scene to look for (and no cheating) – one word, gum. This is a must read series that you can get either in paperback or e-book.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Real

Review: Malachim (Secrets and Sins Series, Book 2) by Naima Simone

MalachimReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This book is told in the first person.

Elena has an abusive husband. Our author shows how a woman can feel as if she’s helpless and can’t get out of a toxic relationship. This is totally different from Gabriel’s story. I recommend that you read this series in order. This is a series about four friends and this is why you should read them in order.

Naima grabs the readers attention right away by showing how cruel some men can be to their wives. But we need to remember that we don’t have to take that kind of abuse anymore. This is a story of empowerment and it is also inspirational. I know Danielle is a fictional character but she shows the reader that you can be strong and overcome adversity – love is a great incentive to make that happen.

Malachim Jerrod is a Boston lawyer and he’s a friend of Gabriel’s. Danielle Warren seems to come out of nowhere in his hour of need. She’s a woman who seems a little skittish. Naima also reminds her readers that sometimes what you do in the past will come back to haunt you.

Just like with book one, my only disappointment is that I didn’t want to put it down when it was time to go to bed or to work. This is already a fast read so you don’t need to speed-read. But you’ll be happy to know that Raphael’s story is next. The bad news is that we have to wait until April 2014 before it comes out. If you’re not good about waiting, the author puts a teaser at the end of this book.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Secrets and Sins: Malachim (A Secrets and Sins Novel) (Entangled Ignite)

Review: Run the Risk (Love Undercover, Book 1) by Lori Foster

Run-the-RiskReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Pepper Yates is trying to ignore her hunky neighbor. He won’t let that stand in his way. You can feel the heat the minute they come into contact with one another. Logan Riske is a man on a mission. But along with the reader, he can’t figure out what’s up with Pepper. It seems that the female characters have something to hide in this series.

It’s very interesting that these two seem to have an agenda that involves the other but I don’t think they realize that the agenda has changed. I’m waiting to see if they realize it and that helps to turn the page. Personally, I don’t like her brother Rowdy. He seems to have a double standard. He has no restrictions but Pepper has too many to count. I also find it interesting that his story, Getting Rowdy, is due out in September – let’s see if I change my mind after reading his tale.

I read this book after reading Bare It All and if I could have a do-over, I would read this one first because this is where the reader is first introduced to Reece and Alice. You don’t have to read this one first but it would make better reading to follow the characters from the beginning. I loved this book just as much as book two but as soon as I finish this series I plan on reading this series in order. This is definitely a series that you want to have in your library.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Run the Risk (Love Undercover)

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Review: Gabriel (Secrets and Sins Series, Book 1) by Naima Simone

gabrielReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Gabriel Devlin is listening to Christmas music in his car. And then his life changed in an instant. Naima lets us know that this is a reoccurring dream. Leah Bannon is a good friend of Gabe’s and her day job is that of a private investigator. Then a mystery that hits home comes into the office. And somehow Gabriel and his friends are involved – let the intrigue begin.

This book held my interest right from the beginning. Once finished, I found that I needed to know if the mystery in this book is going to be carried through the rest of the series. If you read carefully, you will get a hint about the four men in this series – this means that if you read too fast you may miss it. The only part I hated was having to put the book down either to go to bed or go to work.

I applaud our author in the amount of research that must have been involved in order for the villain in this piece to be so evil. Plus, the story revolves around issues that are current today. If you are a person who is very sensitive about certain subjects, this story may not be for you. But if you really enjoy a great suspense, that has some great romance, and which shows that anyone can overcome atrocities then this story is for you. And you’ll be happy to know that book two is just as good. Malachim comes out September 23.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Secrets and Sins: Gabriel (A Secrets and Sins Novel) (Entangled Suspense)

Review: Bare It All (Love Undercover, Book 2) by Lori Foster

bare it allReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Alice Appleton is the stuff of wet dreams for Reese Bareden. Even though they are our main characters, we have two other stories going on as well. Lori makes all these stories flow seamlessly together. The reader won’t get confused as to what character we’re reading about but I did, however, wish I had read book one first. I think you will understand more about the characters if you read Run the Risk first.

As you read this book, if you haven’t read book one, Logan and Pepper’s story, you will want to change that. Plus, Lori has me wanting to know more about how they ended up as a couple. I know that I want to get it read because I want to get ready for book three, Getting Rowdy, which will be out in September. Rowdy is a character that seems to be full of himself – he feels that he’s God’s gift to women.

Lori’s great about giving her readers the type of alpha male that has a tough exterior but when it comes to their women their just “an old softie” and very protective at the same time. In all the books I’ve read of hers, there isn’t one male character that I haven’t loved. The men may “beat their chests” but they still end up finding love with the right woman.

If you’re an animal person, you will be happy to see that there is a dog in this piece. Cash just seems to steal any scene he’s in. But then I get a little melancholy thinking of my own little baby. I used to love curling up with her as I read my books. This is a great book to cuddle up with something or someone as you fall in love with Alice and Reese.

Lori also surprises me as I get toward the end of the story, and all the suspense seems to be wrapping up – I start laughing. And I find that all I can say is “way to go Alice”. You will notice that this is a long book but the pages go by so quickly – I couldn’t believe how fast the end came.

As I was doing some research on Lori, she has connected this series with some characters from her “Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor” series. If you have not read any of that series, go to http://lorifoster.com/connected-books/, and you will be able to find what books are related.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Bare It All

Review: Sweet Madness (Veiled Seduction, Book 3) by Heather Snow

sweet madnessReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

The year is 1817 and then it jumps to 1820.

Gabriel Devereaux is watching Lady Penelope Bridgeman dance with her husband. He seems to be envious of what she and her husband have. Then Heather jumps ahead when we see that something may have happened to Gabe.

Heather covers a subject that you rarely see in a fiction book – especially a romance. As I read Gabe’s story, I start to compare what our soldiers of today must be going through. But we don’t seem to think that our soldiers in the past must have gone through the same thing. It must have taken a lot of research in order to be historically accurate.

We also get to see how people of that time period treated people that were different – it’s not something that they would be able to get away with today. And that is a blessing. It also makes me wonder what Lady Penelope would think of the medical help the soldiers receive today.

There’s a carriage scene that I just loved. It appeared to be a bit of role reversal. Penelope seemed to be the one with the strong compassionate personality and Gabe seemed to be the vulnerable one.

Heather gives you a sex fix if that is what you look for in your historical romances, but it’s not the main focus of the story. And then she gives us the perfect ending – she never disappoints her readers. You will also want to make sure to read the “Author’s Note”. I’m looking forward to seeing if there is a book four

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Sweet Madness

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