Review: Catch of The Day by Carla Caruso

Catch of The Day by Carla CarusoReviewed by Fleur, of A Daily Romance

Glamorous but flawed Winnie Cherry is exiled to small town Australia for work, following an imbroglio involving a senior staff member. Upon immediately entering the local area, our heroine has an accidental run-in with worldly local hunk Alex Bass. As superficial as this sounds, readers may fall in love with Alex before he even opens his mouth.

Excerpt:

Woah. The sunnies were up and she sucked in her breath. He was actually quite dreamy-looking, if you liked rugged seafaring types. Up close, he had ocean-green eyes, an aqualine nose and just the right amount of sexy stubble. His fair hair looked artfully tousled, a style that would take Sydney pretty-boys hours to perfect with texturising sea-salt spray, but was no doubt au naturel. His biceps, straining beneath the polo fabric, looked like they could bench press the Big Lobster any day.

Winnie’s tumultuous beginnings with Alex, sets the stage for many more contretemps and some fiery dialogue. Not only is the sexual tension between the two protagonists enthralling, but the insight into small town living is really interesting and makes for a great story. The side characters are real characters, in some cases a bit odd if not dysfunctional. The story is also littered with quirky details, like reference to slogans on the coffee mugs in the office, “wake up smarter, sleep with a mortgage broker.”

While providing a contrast between town and country life, Catch of the Day explores issues that women in their late 20s and early 30s often ask themselves, is life in the fast lane all it’s cracked up to be? Are my relationships meaningful? What do I really want out of life?

This book is hilarious and if you liked reading Bridget Jones’s Diary then you will probably love this book.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Catch of The Day: Destiny Romance

Review: Matched to a Billionaire by Kat Cantrell

matched to a billionaireHero: Leo Reynolds is your typical venture capitalist married to his work. He can’t seem to keep a girlfriend… not that he tries too hard to keep one. His ideal match would be a woman who can stay in the background, never nag him about not paying enough attention to her, and can host stellar parties to help him woo clients. He’d be willing to pay a matchmaking service to hook him up with such a female.

Heroine: The matchmaker pairs him with Daniella White. She’s willing to marry for security and finances to pay for her mother’s medical care. Learning from her mother’s poor taste in men, Daniella believes it will be easy to be a convenient wife and let all expectation of a passionate romance go.

Review: Daniella doesn’t want to mess this up. She wants to be the perfect wife and tries to mind-read Leo as to what that is. She tries very hard to please him and succeeds… and fails… because she’s not a background kind of girl. Leo very much notices Daniella and he doesn’t like it. Leo is a passionate man disguised as an ice cold billionaire. His obsessive personality is not the flaw he thinks it is… he just needs to learn balance. I do love how it comes into play at the end when he draws and draws and draws for Daniella. That was incredibly sweet.
Final thoughts: A salty sweet romance – a perfect weekend snack.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Matched to a Billionaire (Happily Ever After, Inc.)

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Review: Kick Start (Dangerous Ground, Book 5) by Josh Lanyon

kick startReviewed by Sharon S.

Will is finally braced to bring Taylor home to meet the folks. Unfortunately, not every member of the Brandt clan loves Taylor the way Will does. Then again, not everyone loves the Brandts. In fact, someone has a score to settle — and too bad for any former DS agents who get in the way when the bullets start to fly.

Let me just say Josh Lanyon writes great thrillers that combine fast action, emotionally engaging characters and passionate romances. I adore his Adrien English mystery series, but I haven’t had the chance to read his Dangerous Ground series about two Diplomatic Security Agents who seem to find trouble where ever they go. Their friendship is strong, but one of them, Taylor McAllister, is secretly in love with the other. Unrequited love anyone? Yes, please!

Kick Start is book #5 in the series so if you like to read in order to avoid spoiling you don’t want to start here like I did. This is definitely a transition book. The first four books close out the main story arc and a new one is beginning for the two guys. And it starts with meeting the parents!

(If you don’t want relationship spoilers for the series now is the time to stop reading and pick up book #1 Dangerous Ground…shoo!)

Will and Taylor’s new business adventure isn’t going well and the guys are still adjusting to living together when Will needs to go home and see his brother. It is time for Will to come out to his family and introduce them to the man he is going to spend the rest of his life with. Who takes the news well and who doesn’t? Not going to tell, you have to read to find out. And it wouldn’t be an action story without bad guys trying to hurt the people Will and Taylor love. There are touching moments between all the characters and lots of humor with Cousin Denis.

This is a novella, but it read way too fast for me. It was over before I knew it! I did have a hard time picturing the guys and keeping their names straight at first because I wasn’t familiar with them, and it is written with the assumption you’ve read the first 4. But I soon picked it up and was able to picture them in my head. I loved the characters Will and Taylor and can’t wait to start this one at the beginning of the series.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Kick Start (Dangerous Ground 5)

Review: The Iron Queen (Daughters of Zeus, Book 3) by Kaitlin Bevis

iron queenSummary: Kidnapped by her father, Persephone is not looking forward to be reunited with dear old daddy. The guy has several screws loose and wants one thing – to live forever in the peak of his power. And if not his, then to steal another’s powers and realms. Persephone is the key to do this as she’s a link between the mortal realm and the Underworld. If he can get her to swear loyalty to him, Zeus will get everything he wants by consuming her powers.

Hades and Demeter can’t let this happen. The remaining gods and goddesses must choose sides. Stick with Zeus or rebel? Hades strongly suggests they choose his side because with or without them he will tear the world apart to bring Persephone back home to him… the one place she truly belongs.

Review: The tension in this book is high right from the beginning. Persephone is captured by her evil father Zeus and held in his sky castle. She is completely isolated from the others. The angst (always one of my favorite parts of any romance) was strongly present. Be prepared for your heartstrings to be tugged. You will swoon over Hades. I did.

My least favorite part of this story was the jump into Aphrodite’s head (cue a clear setup for future books). It wasn’t needed in a story that previously focused only on Hades and Persephone. I would have preferred more from Hades and Persephone and if another character was needed then, Zeus, as he’s the bad guy.

I love the fact that Zeus is not the traditional good guy. It’s a great twist which I have appreciated throughout the whole series. Overall great story. Great series. Great romance. Who doesn’t love Persephone and Hades? I would totally read more about these two in a heartbeat.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Iron Queen (Daughters of Zeus)

Review: Daughter of the Earth and Sky (Daughters of Zeus, Book 2) by Kaitlin Bevis

daughter of earth and skySummary: You have to be careful as a goddess. You are held by your word – quite literally. So promises are made sparingly and avoided at all opportunities. Persephone was tricked by someone she thought a friend and now she can’t tell anyone about the betrayal.

Hades places Persephone in the care of the betrayer not knowing what was going on and thinking all the stress his dear wife shows has to do with her father, Zeus, and her new sister Aphrodite… and perhaps this human boy, Persephone is drawn too.

If Persephone can’t tell soon or beat the betrayer at his own game, there might not be anything left fighting for… surely, she’s not in an insurmountable situation? Think! There’s got to be a way before the silence wedges itself permanently between her and Hades.

Review: This novel got dark and quick. Persephone is tortured by Thanatos and his reapers by night, by day she escapes to school – but is escape or torture of another kind? This was definitely a novel that if the hero and heroine would communicate, things could be fixed and quickly. However, Persephone is bound by the rules of being a goddess and she promised not to tell Thanatos secret – too late realizing that he’d trapped her.

Zeus is a horribly creepy father figure and there are overtones of incest because of him at a part in the novel. Yuck. Luckily, Persephone is a lot stronger than anyone gives her credit, including herself. When Hades finally sees what is happening he is as fierce and as dark and as wonderful as you can imagine. His retribution is swift and merciless. Nobody messes with his wife. Nobody. Oh and there’s another epic cliffhanger. Ahh!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Daughter of the Earth and Sky (Daughters of Zeus)

Review: Persephone (Daughters of Zeus, Book 1) by Kaitlin Bevis

persephoneSummary: Persephone lives a normal life with the exception of a few abnormal things here and there. She can always explain it away – even the creepy feeling of being watched. But she can’t ignore the weirdness when a winter storm springs out of nowhere on a trip to see a rock concert with her best friend.

She tells her mom (smart!) who reveals to Persephone that she’s a goddess and says the winter storm is not a good sign. Because the storm is Boreas (the winter god) and he wants to kidnap her. Boreas almost succeeds too until Hades steps in and rescues her… oh and makes her his bride. Persephone just wants things to go back to normal… but is normal possible anymore? Was it ever? Perhaps this is all a strange dream!

Review: While there were some shaky areas of the novel, my take away from it was a world I wanted to continue reading and a couple for whom I would be rooting. The strong points include the romantic leads, the underworld and its rules, the evil villain, and the plot twists. Yikes! I didn’t see that ending coming at all. Hades is a good ruler trying to do his best to understand the souls in his care and provide a good afterlife for most of them. He’s not a particularly dark underworld king (which I would have liked – he’s the Beast in a Beauty and the Beast fairytale… he’s got to be beastly, right?)

I didn’t particularly like Persephone’s friend, Melissa, and I felt most of the side characters in the Underworld were a little shapeless (Cassandra, Helen, and Charon). Cassandra slightly less so, but she’s so bubbly and exuberant it felt like it wasn’t her true nature (forced, if you catch my drift). Thanatos was a great minor character for reasons I won’t go into, you’ll have to trust me.. Solid start to a new series and I look forward to the sequel.

Also, look at this cover! Yum! Love!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Persephone (Daughters of Zeus)

Review: It Had to Be You (Lucky Harbor, Book 7) by Jill Shalvis

it had to be youHeroine: Have you ever been broken up with by a text message? Well, Ali Winters sure has. When trying to give him a piece of her mind, she finds out her boyfriend, Teddy, has been cheating. When had they gone from being together to being roommates? Now he’s claiming she stole money from his office during a fundraising event and the whole town believes him. To top it all off, she’s about to be kicked out of her house, because the cheating louse of a boyfriend didn’t tell her the lease was up until it was too late.

Hero: Detective Lieutenant Luke Hanover returns to his hometown after a particularly nasty case with a three-ring media circus. He’s going to use the downtime to fix up his house and discovers Ali Winters naked inside. What’s going on and why is this female in his home? She’s an interloper! When she tells him what is going on, he finds himself doing the one thing he was certain he wasn’t going to do – investigate. But he can’t not help!

Review: Luke is a great alpha hero – he’s a gogetter, tough, strong, kind, and tender. He plays the role without being an overbearing blockhead in the process. Ali is also tough. For a gal that was dumped, homeless, losing a job, and about to be arrested for something she didn’t do, she kept herself pretty together. She didn’t give up even when she was feeling really down. And when it gets to be too much, Luke is there to pick her up. For two people who see the end coming before they start, they find they can’t help themselves. Then they find they are both willing to do what it takes to make it stick. Hot!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: It Had to Be You (Lucky Harbor)

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Review: To Buy a Bride by Roberta Leigh

to buy a bride roberta leighHero: Luke was once the stable boy on Philippa’s family estate, where his mother also worked. Now he’s grown into a powerful and wealthy businessman and he’s got his eye out for a bargain. He also has a secret which has nothing to do with bargains and everything to do with the heart.

Heroine: If Philippa doesn’t marry Luke, her twin brother will be ruined financially and thrown into jail for borrowing funds from the family’s struggling business. Luke can supply them the funds needed to stay afloat and keep the illegalities under wraps… for a price… control of the company and her hand in marriage.

Review: This is one of those stories where the persons involved could have saved themselves a lot of heartache and grief by talking it out. And if the siblings had been willing to sell the family estate, they would have been fine too… so naturally they don’t because the house is a symbol of happiness and family to them both, but especially to Philippa.

With a little time and space to absorb the consequences of the decision to not sell/marry, Philippa would have been better adjusted. She comes off a little bratty (and high-strung) because she wants the house, the money, and not have to give anything in return. Luke could have worked his charm on her a bit more, but then his ex-girlfriends shows up and he gets the brilliant idea to use Rose to make Philippa jealous. It works. She is jealous and is surprised by her emotions.

Overall, not my cup of tea.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: To Buy a Bride

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