Review: Only with You (Best Mistake, Book 1) by Lauren Layne

Layne_Only With You_MM[1]Hero: CEO Grayson Wyatt is a reserved man (read socially awkward). He wasn’t always so reserved, once he loved somebody and was engaged. It didn’t last and what the lady had to say in parting was not kind. So when this ex-fiance’s doppelganger appeared in a Vegas elevator is it any wonder he was rude? Not to mention the woman dressed like a hooker.

Heroine: Waitress Sophie Dalton was dressed to kill for a slutty bachelorette party downstairs in the hotel. When a hot stranger snubs her in the elevator she is mortified. Nobody has held up a mirror like that to her and she didn’t like what she saw. So she makes an effort to change it. Even if her family thinks she inadequate to the task.

Review: They don’t expect to meet again but since both hero and heroine were in  Vegas on a trip, is it any wonder to the reader that they find each other again in Seattle? Grayson is kind of dating her sister. Her family wrangles a job to Grayson as his secretary. It’s a match made in heaven for readers who love enmity at first sight. Lauren Layne does an excellent job skirting around the issue of being with a sibling’s date. Grayson and Brynn have no chemistry and they only try to make it work because both feel it’s the right match compared to getting together with someone they’re more interested in – ie Grayson and Sophie, Brynn and Will (Made for You). I liked both the hero and the heroine and I thought they paired well. She makes him loosen up and he grounds her. It’s a good balance. I read it in a few sittings and was sad to part ways. One of my favorites published this year.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Only with You (The Best Mistake)

Review: Cinderella and the Sheikh by Teresa Morgan

cinderella sheikHero: Sheikh Rasyn (Ra-sin) Al Jabar has no interest in becoming the next ruler of his homeland, Abbas in North Africa. He decides a Western wife will surely raise the country’s hackles and get him out of the line for succession. When he spies Libby, he thinks he can fulfill his desire to leave the throne and get pleasure out of the arrangement too. He puts on his most charming face and goes in for the kill.

Heroine: Libby Fay is working as a waitress at Hotel Scheherazade in very posh upscale Manhattan. She earns big tips from the wealthy clientele. Waitressing for Libby allows her to wait on people who need a little tender loving care (TLC). She feels that she makes people’s days easier. Growing up, she and her mom would play restaurant, and that’s when she found her calling. This job is the best job she’s ever had and she’s not about to mess it up for a playboy sheikh… even if he’s devilishly handsome and charming to boot.

Review: Libby is no fool. She doesn’t feel Rasyn’s attentions are genuine. He’s only just met her – how can he be in love with her? When he proposes marriage on the first “date” she’s floored. She doesn’t love him, why would she marry him? She says “yes” to help him save face, but an inch given is a mile taken with Rasyn. Twice in the novel, Libby’s mom provides the push to allow Libby to open up to Rasyn. First, he looks at Libby like her father looked at her mother… and then later when her mom asks if she ever gave her heart a chance to love Rasyn. I liked Rasyn’s line about not marrying a man you love, but marrying a man who loves you. I thought that was great! I also like how his plan to bring in an uncultured Western woman backfires. She’s genuine and kind which draws people to her. So while she makes social gaffs like he expected, their results are anything but catastrophic. Poor Rasyn.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Cinderella and the Sheikh (Hot Contemporary Romance)

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: Not Quite Dating (Not Quite, Book 1) by Catherine Bybee

not quite datingHero: Jack Morrison is ready to find a woman who will like him for himself and not for the family hotel chain. The point is made especially clear to him when he runs into an ex who is clearly delusional and thinks they will get married and mouths off when he informs her otherwise. He’s decided that the perfect woman for him will love his preference to be laid back – beat-up truck, cowboy hat, and all.

Heroine: Jessica “Jessie” Mann is a single parent trying to make ends meet while helping put her younger sister through college. No easy feat on a waitress’s tips. She’s decided to finally take her mother’s advice on love, namely that “loving a rich guy is as easy as loving a poor guy.” So while Jack is cute, his seasonal job at a fancy hotel and his dreams and goals combine to make him entirely unsuitable.

Review: A cute story that is light and fluffy and goes down easy. I enjoyed the big misunderstanding plot twists, yes plural. Good thing these two both had busybody sisters to step in and get their heads on straight. More sexy time would have been great.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Not Quite Dating (Not Quite series)

Review: Extreme Measures by Rachel Carrington

extreme measuresReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Stuart O’Malley and Arlin Murphy are found in a cell located at Attica Prison and are planning their escape. Matt Giles’ duty is to try to recapture them. Rachel also lets us know that he has a personal connection to the case.

Erin Prescott is a waitress/owner of a coffee shop. One day at work she sees her ex-husband. There is one scene where Rachel has the couple spending time together and you can just about feel the tension between the two of them.

Rachel does a great job of showing how “nasty” Stuart and Arlin are. She also knows how to build the suspense and that will have you holding your breath. It will also have you wanting to turn the page so that you can find out how everything ends. It goes to show how desperate some people can become and how it can affect the people around them. I also have to wonder the amount of research that needed to be done in order to get all the facts and situations to sound believable.

This is a book with mystery, action, and suspense that starts right from the beginning. If you’re looking for a book that has lots of romance in it, you won’t find it here. But if you want a book that has lots of suspense and then ends with the romance this book is for you. If you have read other books by Rachel this is also a book that you will want to add to that list. I also felt that this is one of those stories that would be great as a movie.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Extreme Measures

Review: S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline

s.e.c.r.e.t.Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This is written in the first person.

Cassie Robichaud is a waitress and appears to be very observant about the customers at the establishment she works at. It seems to be a place where they all care about each other but as you read the story you may question this first assumption. Cassie is a very visual person and is great at describing what we can only imagine.

She is also a very caring person. She lives in apartment and seems to go above and beyond to care about one of her neighbors – which in this day and age can be very rare. But then she’ll surprise you by taking a walk on the wild side. Cassie meets a woman named Matilda Greene who may be able to answer the questions that she has.

L. Marie has Cassie filling out a questionnaire in one scene. You may find that you want to answer the questions yourself. The more that I get into this story, the more I feel that I need to have a little ambiance – something to help set the mood. She also has me very jealous of Cassie – I want to be in her shoes.

L. Marie has left me wondering if there are any clubs/societies like she describes here. I also wonder about the amount of research involved because this group is just so believable. It shows that women can be strong and go out of their way to help other women become empowered.

I enjoyed watching Cassie grow sexually and as a woman. She also finally realizes that sometimes what we want has been in front of us all along. But then L. Marie puts in a surprise. She’s also left me wondering if the stories of this club/society continue. Then I did some internet research and found her web site, http://www.secretnovels.com/, and found that they just might. If you liked this first book as much as I did, you will be happy to hear that there is going to be another book.

You always want to make sure to read all the way to the end. It will not give you any hints into book two but she has posted some book discussion questions at the end. You, and/or your book club, may want to answer and discuss. And if you sign up for the newsletter at the web site, you will be able to get notification when book two is coming out. You can also find out why she picked the setting/city for the story.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: S.E.C.R.E.T.

Review: Sweet Tea at Sunrise (Sweet Magnolias, Book 6) by Sherryl Woods

by Karin, guest reviewer from Savvy Thinker.

This is book 6 in the Sweet Magnolia series, but it is the second one I have read.

I am really enjoying these books. I’ve already been to the library searching out others the author has written. The characters are endearing, warm and real. I am left with a good feeling when I finish the books.

The story
This is Travis’ and Sarah’s story. Travis is an ex-ball player. Sarah is the divorced mother of two whose ex-husband tore her down at every opportunity, following his parents’ lead. She ultimately found the strength to leave him. She is beginning to put her life back together on a stronger footing.

Her friend Raylene lives with her as she recovers from her abusive marriage and lives with agoraphobia.

When the book opens Sarah is a waitress. She has the gift of gab, talking with the people at her tables, and enjoying their lives. Enter Travis, a man new to town, who occupies one of her tables, and disturbs her on many levels as he begins to tease her. He sees in Sarah what she doesn’t see in herself.

Meantime, Walter, her ex-husband is having his own epiphanies. He realizes that he has lost his family because he wasn’t much of a man. He quits the family business and stands up to his parents. He knows there isn’t a chance with Sarah again, but they can become friends. And he begins a friendship with Raylene which carries into the book I read first, but comes after in real time.

My take
I loved the book and give it 5 out of 5 stars. I like that the characters grow. I also like that the author views her characters compassionately. They are characters we can love. And so is the love story. Even the peripheral characters are well developed.

Here’s what I wrote when I reviewed this at my blog:

I love spending time in Serenity — and that pun is intended! and perhaps may have contributed to the name of the town.

Have you read it? or any of Sherryl Woods’ books?

You can read my review of Honeysuckle Summer at Savvy Thinker.

Buy: Sweet Tea at Sunrise (Sweet Magnolias)

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Review: Dear Penelope by Sharon Ihle

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I won a copy of Dear Penelope over at Kristie’s Ramblings on Romance blog during The Great Western Drive. Thanks Kristie!!!

This Western is a very sweet romance with a lot going on. You’ll find robberies and fisticuffs alongside chocolate stars and a marriage of convenience. It’s very lighthearted all the way along. There are a few things that keep it from being a truly great story and one for me was the lovemaking scene. I wanted a little more description in the bedroom as it was kind of sparse.

The novel setting is a small town called Emancipation in Colorado, near Wyoming. It serves as a backdrop for the suffragist movement. The woman of Emancipation run it and you’ll find them in positions of mayoress, sheriff, city council, newspaper owner, etc.

The heroine is partially clumsy. She’s always tripping or spilling things. It happens when she gets flustered. The hero is sort of an orphan. His mother left home and his father drank himself to death. He’s grown up now and runs a few saloons in Denver and Emancipation.

Sebastian Cole first meets Lucy when she arrives in Emancipation off of the train. He rescues her from a mishap. Later he rescues her from humiliation and financial desperation by offering her a job as a waitress in his saloon.

The humiliation that Lucy faces is finding out that her much anticipated arrival in Emancipation is unwelcome. Charlie, her fiancé, sent her a letter warning her not to come but it never made it to her. Charlie has a new fiancée and her name is Cherry. Disgraced and feeling miserable Lucy turns to Sebastian for help and there’s one thing Sebastian has never been able to resist and that’s a damsel in distress…

Rating: 3 Stars

Buy: Dear Penelope