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: The Love Wars by L. Allison Heller

love warsReviewed by Karin

LRP gave me a copy of the book to review. I’m only sorry it took me so long to get to it. I thought it was very well done. The author herself is also a divorce lawyer, so she undoubtedly knows the ins and outs of divorces, the courts, the defenses and offenses, which she presents articulately.

Molly Grant is on track to get her 5 year bonus which will enable her to pay off her student loans and her parents’ home and other loans.

Then she meets Fern Walker whose wealthy ex-husband has painted her as unfit. He has alienated the children’s affections from her and essentially kept the children from her. Complicating matters is that Fern had postpartum depression after the birth of her second child — which certainly wasn’t made easier by the kind of man her ex-husband is. He’s set himself up with a woman (not married) who calls herself ‘mommy’ — which she emphatically is not.

No one will take Fern’s case. Molly decides she will, because of something that happened with another potential client earlier in her career. But to do this, she has to do it outside of office hours, not within the corporation for which she works.

All’s well that ends well, and you know it will.

Molly is a great protagonist: gutsy, smart, does her homework, learns what she has to learn to defend Fern.

Meantime the ex- is showing his true colors, and Fern has the support of her court ordered therapist and neutral advocate. It’s a good thing!

And Molly finds an ally at the office, as well as true love.

What could be better!

Well, what will happen when the firm finds out? And what decision will Molly make?

Have you read it?

I give it 5 out of 5 star. I would definitely read another book by this author.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Love Wars

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Review: Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins

somebody to loveReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Parker Harrington Welles is a children’s author and seems to hear some of her characters talking to her – and she talks back. Her stories have religious connotations with a lesson to them. She’s at her son Nicky’s preschool answering questions from his classmates. She’s at a crossroads in her life and is looking at options.

Her mother, Althea, wants to see her married. She tries to set her up with any man she can think of. Her father, Harry, comes to the house and drops a bomb. Parker is not a happy camper to say the least.

She’s on her way to a place called Gideon’s Cove, Maine. Once there, she gets the shock of her life. She gets a call from a cousin, Lavinia, and you can just about hear the Maine accent. I’m a big fan of Maine but if you’ve never been, this story may give you the incentive to give this state a try. If you’re a fan of a stress free vacation with gorgeous views and beautiful wildlife, Maine is the state for you.

Parker has given her father’s lawyer, James, a nickname. You have to wonder why she continues to use it instead of his real one. She has come to the realization that she needs to make the most of her situation – she takes lemons and learns to make lemonade. I don’t know that I could be the same way. I admire her resilience.

Kristan has quite the sense of humor. Parker gets into some serious trouble and instead of it being a serious moment, Kristan has you laughing. She has made me a fan. I loved this book and the idea of taking what could have been a personal tragedy and finding love amongst all that. You are also never too old to grow up and find something better around the corner. It also shows that our families are not perfect but you have to love them anyway.

If you loved this latest book by Kristan, and you haven’t read the book yet, you may want to check out Ethan (Nicky’s father) and Lucy’s story titled The Next Best Thing. You may want to also check out some of her other books. I also look forward to see what she has in store for her next story.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Somebody to Love

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Review: Don’t Mess with Texas by Christie Craig

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Main characters are Nikki Hunt, artist and art gallery owner. Dallas O’Connor, private investigator and owner of Don’t Mess with Texas Private Investigations.

We first see Nikki going to meet her ex-husband Jack. Jack happens to be a lawyer – a very stuffy lawyer. They meet for dinner at a very fancy restaurant. We see how Nikki just wants to piss him off. Jack leaves and it appears that he’s left Nikki to pay the bill. We see how much luck Nikki has! Then she finds something in the trunk of her car and gets sick in the process.

Dallas owns his own business and has two partners, Tyler and Austin. Dallas has a brother, Tony, that works for the police department. You’ll see that Dallas likes to fight for the underdogs of the world.

This is where our suspense begins. You will love how Nikki and Dallas meet – it is unusual to say the least. You will see that Christie loves to add humor into her story – even at times that you think the moment should be somber. You’ll also love Dallas’ dog. He gives us a lot to laugh about – seeing what he’s going to do next will make you want to turn the page.

I noticed that there is an “ex’s” theme going on in this story. Dallas and Nikki each have an ex and Tony is close to having an ex. But you find that you will keep your fingers crossed that Tony and his wife LeAnn will get back together.

You have to feel sorry for Nikki. Her luck is just about nonexistent. She’s broke, she’s being framed for murder, and she finds out that a good friend has been badly injured. What else can happen to her? She needs something good to come along – something to change her luck.

Christie does a great job of depicting Dallas’ brother, Tony, as a police officer. He would fit right in on a series like “Law and Order” (think a hunky Lenny Briscoe). Tony acts like the tough cop but he has a soft and sensitive side – especially where his wife is concerned.

Christie puts a different spin on the suspense. You usually expect to find the suspense dark but this book is more like reading a comedy. If you like her humor, you will definitely love the beginning of chapter 14. At the end of one of her funny moments comes Dallas’ and Nikki’s first kiss. They share a really hot kiss, but then in true romance novel fashion, Nikki puts a stop to it.

I’m impressed how Christie has made Dallas a nurturer – he takes care of people. First it’s a kid being wrongfully accused and now Nikki. But Nikki has her doubts and those doubts keep getting in her way – “once burned, twice shy”. Nothing in this story seems forced it all flows from one chapter to the next. You will not want to put it down.

If you’re looking for a book with a lot of sex, you won’t find it here. There is just the right amount but I think the book would have been fine even without it – using just hints and innuendo. This is a definite must read and watch out for book 2 – Tyler’s story “Blame it on Texas”.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Don’t Mess with Texas

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Review: How to Woo a Reluctant Lady by Sabrina Jeffries

Series Background: The grandmother wants to see her grandkids wed before the year is out. If one fails to do so their inheritances go up in smoke.

Series Plot Arc: The Sharpe children have been branded by scandal. It is widely believed that their mother shot their father and then herself in a tragic episode the whole ton delights in gossiping about… but this is not the case. Each book reveals more about the murder mystery plot.

Summary: Minerva plans to outwit her grandmother by placing an ad in a magazine for a husband and picking the worst of the lot in hopes of getting her grandmother to rescind the ultimatum. When family friend and rogue, Giles Masters applies for her hand, she believes he’s the one to fix her dilemma. Just because he’s a friend of the family, doesn’t mean Gran or her brothers want her to be married to him.

Review: When I was reading A Hellion in Her Bed I knew I wanted to read the romance of the independent lady novelist Minerva Sharpe. I loved the idea of a novelist writing a villain spy into her books based on the hero, who is in fact a spy, but not at all evil. What a delicious romp! And it really was. 😀

I liked the relationship between Giles and the brothers, especially once they learn of his interest in their Minerva. How hypocritical they were!

One thing I didn’t really get was all Giles’ “angst” over the mishap between his brother and his brother’s second wife. It seemed so unnecessary and convoluted to his whole “love is for fools and suckers” mentality.

Favorite Scene: The first time they had sex was good and pretty funny too because Minerva asks “is that all?” when talking about breaking her hymen. I also liked when they swam together at the pond, and the hanky panky at the first hotel.

Hellions of Halstead Hall:

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: How to Woo a Reluctant Lady

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Review: Driftwood Cottage (Chesapeake Shores, Book 5) by Sherryl Woods

by Karin, guest reviewer from Savvy Thinker

Driftwood Cottage hooked me into the story in the first few pages.  I really enjoy the characters that Sherryl Woods creates.  On the other hand there were issues I had from the beginning.

Story: Heather Donahue is a single mom to a young son. Her son’s father, Connor O’Brien, is a divorce attorney in Baltimore who has made no secret that he intends never to marry. Heather knew this from the start, and it wasn’t a problem until their son was born.

Even though they love each other, Heather leaves him for a new life without him. She chooses to live in Chesapeake Shores, where his large family lives and embraces her fully. She opens a quilt store, which affords many interesting encounters in the story.

The negatives: One huge negative to me is that she leaves her baby son for weeks with O’Brien’s family while she tries to figure out her next step (to move near them and open a store.)

I find it highly unlikely that a mother with a heart for her child would do this and risk being charged with abandonment and so lose custody — or that there wouldn’t be repercussions with her child exhibiting issues of abandonment.

There was no mention of the number of weeks or if she ever saw her child during this time.

For all the mention of how much the two of them loved their son, there was an awful lot of handing him off to others.

And I have to say all the conversations about Connor not wanting to marry got very tedious, even if they were explored up one side and down the other.

The pluses: I really enjoyed seeing how Connor’s family was always conspiring to change his mind about marrying her.

Of course, the course of true love never runs smoothly, but you know it will end well.

I loved the interaction with friends and family and the quilt store.

I love the idea that other peripheral characters may well have a book of their own. It is a testament to Woods’ writing skills that we care so much about them and want to see more of them.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ because of my negatives.

Have you read it?

Buy: Driftwood Cottage (Chesapeake Shores)

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Review: My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

Heroine: Harper James is a divorce attorney and good at her job. She knows odds are stacked against couples and can see the discrepancies that the people in the relationship avoid until it’s too late. She’s living proof not all relationships built on love can last. When her younger stepsister, Willa, calls out of the blue during Harper’s botched proposal to longtime boyfriend Dennis to announce she’s marrying Harper’s ex-husband’s half brother, Harper senses blood in the water. The relationship can only be doomed and she’s determined to get Willa to see the error of her ways before it’s too late.

Hero: Successful architect Nick Lowery loves his half brother and wants to see the marriage work between Willa and Chris. He thinks Harper is too cynical. It’s her greatest fault. He blames her for their failed marriage and in equal parts hates and loves her. He’s not sure he can ever forgive her, but when a snafu with the airlines downs all the planes at all of the Midwest small town airports, he offers to drive her to a big city to catch a plane. Will time spent together help them untangle the twisted heap of their failed marriage and rekindle their passion for each other? You bet!

Other Guy: Dennis is a thirty year old firefighter who plays too much video games, calls Harper dude all the time, and is still basically a boy in many respects. He lives in an over the garage apartment, drives a crappy junker, and wears his long hair in a rattail. Sex might be good, and he might give Harper the control she craves, but a relationship with Dennis means always taking care of him. They break up at Willa’s destination wedding and the path seems clear that Harper will end up with Nick, but wait – there’s more!

Review: This sweet, snarky, chaste second chance at love is a keeper. The heroine’s issues with abandonment are a large part of the novel and are gently dealt with to reach a hug-the-book-happy-ending. You’ll root for Harper (who does well in getting Nick to finally admit he also had a hand in their failed marriage), wish you could spend time in the hero’s head (though Nick’s feelings are pretty upfront), sigh at the hot sexual tension between the two, and laugh at all the antics of Coco the dog. Definitely one of my favorites for 2011!

Favorite Scene: I like a bunch of tiny moments – when Nick and Harper first kiss after all their years estranged, Nick’s reaction when Harper walks out of the airport, Nick’s groveling to get her to stay, and Harper’s repeated crapolas as things begin to pile up rapidly at the end.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: My One and Only

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Review: The Liberation of Alice Love by Abby McDonald

The Story: Alice Love is a contract lawyer working at the Grayson Wells Agency. The first sign of things falling apart in her life is an unordered French vibrator arriving at her office with her name on it. Not long after its arrival does Alice find out that her credit has tanked, the money in her bank account set aside for a flat is stolen, her checking out is overdrawn. Someone has stolen her identity and left her one hell of a mess to clean up! Who would do such a thing? Well that’s what Alice is determined to find out.

Review: One of the things I liked best about this book was that it didn’t make you wait until the end to find out who stole Alice’s identity. I had two guesses. One was right. The other notsomuch, but I feel it was potentially valid. I won’t say anything about either guess. You do have to wait until Alice catches up with her identity thief for a confrontation, but that’s the point.

Along the way Alice learns more about herself while trying to figure out about the person who stole her money. Alice gains confidence to go behind her boss’ back to start agenting at the company. Eventually she learns to stick up to Vivienne. Hurrah girl power!

Alice and her stepsister, Flora, become closer throughout the novel which is something I really liked. When Alice’s roadblocks that kept the relationship from growing come down even the sister learns a thing or two!

I also liked how Alice handled herself and the situation with a guy friend. No details from me on it. Just note that I thought it was interesting and the logic sound.

Before the final page, Alice is transformed from an ordinary, mousy, stuck in a rut woman to a vibrant, sassy, lady with a lot of spice.

The romantic element: Nathan, the charming finance investigator. He travels globally in pursuit of the thieves and promises Flora’s husband Stefan to help Alice out. They flirt and its fun. He joins the team to prove that the person who stole Alice’s money is a professional con artist and that Alice isn’t to blame (a tactic that the banks and loan agencies are using to try to get their money out of her and not their insurance). He shows up frequently and HEA isn’t far behind the actual ending of the novel… at least that’s how I feel about it. 😉

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Liberation of Alice Love

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