Archive for the ‘BOYS are just BETTER in BOOKS (Romance and Indie Authors)’ Category

HOLD ON TO ME by Elisabeth NaughtonSTOLE MY HEART!!

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I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time. I read Wait for Me over a year ago and loved the character of Mitch Matthews from the first moment he jumped off the page. I wasn’t sure about the character of Simone – or if she was the right person for Mitch, but Wait for Me wasn’t their story.  Now that I’ve finished Hold on to Me, I can honestly say – it was worth the wait! Ms. Naughton is a master at writing romance suspense, a genre that is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Mitch and Simone’s story begins with an unpredictable bang, heartbreak right from the start. What begins as a casual fling quickly becomes more than that for both of them. But their secrets are just too much! This dialogue driven story is quite a page turner and is tough to put down. Each chapter ends with a moment of extreme suspense or heart-wrenching angst. The supporting cast is tremendous and I’m thrilled that Katie and Ryan are woven into this story. I believe however, Shannon and Julia steal this show. The two young girls orchestrate a perfect reunion for Mitch and Simone, which is one of my most favorite book moment. Simone’s daughter completely stole my heart, and all readers will want the two lovers together if just for her. Mitch and Simone’s chemistry is hot and tender, but their stubbornness is a bit overdone. The storyline seemed a bit of a stretch and unrealistic, but that’s to be expected for this genre. Finally, I’m really a fan of strong male and female friendships aside from the romantic element. Mitch, Ryan and now Tate share exactly that – a great Bromance! Naughton’s books are always enjoyable and well written – and this tale is no exception. Although this is a continuation of Wait for Me, it can be read as a stand-alone, but to get the full effect of the entire cast of characters – read in order. Hold on to Me is a terrific romance full of action, suspense, drama, and several hot and sexy scenes!

Remember … BOYS are just BETTER in BOOKS! And I’m in love with this modern-day hero Mitch Matthews!

BE WITH ME by J. LynnSTOLE MY HEART!

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Teresa Hamilton is having one of the worst years of her life. Even though dancing is her passion, a serious leg injury has seated her on the sidelines.  Although college is her second choice – it’s her only option at this time. Attending the same school as Cameron, her brilliant and over-protective brother, seemed like a great idea when she first arrived on campus. But she has one problem … she’s head-over-heels in love with her brother’s best friend. A stolen romantic moment and an unforgettable kiss with Jase has woken up her heart. Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s only shared with a handful of people.  He believes his family responsibilities leave little time for any kind of relationship.  But he’s so drawn to Teresa, and he can’t stop thinking about that kiss either. The kiss he shared with his best friend’s younger sister. And that one kiss just might wreck his lifelong friendship with Cameron. As Jase and Teresa’s relationship develops and their attraction grows, secrets and intimate moments are shared. Ms. Lynn has hit a homeroom with this installment – which I have to admit surprised me at first. I enjoyed Cam and Avery’s story in Wait for You and Trust in Me, but I barely remembered the supporting characters of Teresa and Jase. In the end, that didn’t matter because their characters were developed perfectly. Both Jase and Teresa have a deep and interesting back-story that I cared about. Jase isn’t the typical alpha-male “I’ll save the day” hero. Instead, he is more laid back until he needs to demonstrate love and care for Teresa. His indecision in dealing with his feelings for Teresa makes him more realistic. What I really love is that their romance develops at a pace I completely respect. So when their physical relationship begins, I’m thrilled they’ve found a way to be together. This dialogue driven story has a well-framed plot with the perfect amount of angst and intrigue, all while subtly tackling the topic of abuse. Each page of this story is filled with realistic people having real-life experiences. We’re introduced to a few new secondary characters that are very different from the others already on the canvas. I’m hoping Ms. Lynn will write a story for Calla! I love how the story is resolved in the end … heart wrenching to heartbreaking to heartwarming. My emotions were pushed to the limits while reading every single page. By far … the best of three!

FALLING FOR MR. WRONG by Inara ScottMY HEART LOVES A HAPPY ENDING!

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This is the third installment in the Bencher Family series by Inara Scott.

After every attempt to save his marriage, Ross Bencher and his wife decide they are better off as friends, and divorce after three kids and many years together. The night before Kelsey Hanson leaves to climb the deadliest mountain in world, she spends it at home in the company of one Ross Bencher – newly divorced Ross Bencher. And it’s the best sex of her life. His too. Three years into the future, Ross moves away from his New York City home and the very tight Bencher family to live closer to his kids in Colorado. When his ex-wife is called away on an extended business trip, Ross has to quickly step into the role of Mr. Mom. The babysitter his ex-wife hired has succumbed to food poisoning, and the agency is sending a replacement. The agency is owned and operated by Kelsey’s BFF … see where there is heading? While this dialogue driven story has everything required of a contemporary romance, there seems to be one missing ingredient.  A hero the audience will love.  Ross Bencher is a great dad, but he comes across as a condescending creep where Kelsey is concerned. I just never fell in love with him. Kelsey however, is a breath of fresh air. I found her tough exterior endearing and her sense of humor refreshing. Kelsey’s story is unique. I was curious to learn her back-story, and see how her relationship with her father would play out. But for me, I found it hard to care if Ross and Kelsey ended up together. I just couldn’t get passed Ross’s initial reaction when Kelsey rang his doorbell, and became the temporary babysitter. I always look for well-developed secondary characters. They breathe life into the principle parts, and that’s exactly what we have here. The kids’ relationship with Kelsey saves this storyline, and I loved how her friendship with each kid is developed.  I like stories with a “second chance at love” theme, and that’s exactly what Ms. Scott delivers. One last note – I really DISLIKE this cover – ALOT! I don’t see or feel any love here. In fact, I see questions in the guy’s eyes. Almost like … “hey you’re cute, but I don’t trust you with my kids!” Not a great cover for a romance novel Entangled!! Of the three Bencher family stories, the first installment, Rules of Negotiation has more heart, but I’m a sucker for these family dramas. That alone will keep me coming back for more.

BEFORE JAMAICA LANE by Samantha YoungSTOLE MY HEART!

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Samantha Young’s Dublin Street series continues with Olivia and Nate’s story. Moving to her father’s home of Scotland, Olivia looks forward to a fresh start after her mother’s death. Enjoying her new found friendships with Joss and Braden, Ellie and Adam, and Jo and Cameron; Olivia also finds herself paired up with Cameron’s best friend Nate on many occasions. Despite her outgoing personality, Olivia hasn’t had many relationships. She’s terribly insecure, and lacks confidence when dealing with members of the opposite sex – except for Nate. Nate has quickly become her best friend. Their interests and tastes are similar. When Olivia expresses an interest in a hunky postgrad who visits the library where she works every day, Nate encourages her to a pursue a relationship. But he gets the surprise of his life when she opens up and tells him how little experience she has with men. What begins as a friendly education in seduction quickly becomes an intense, hot affair. Olivia knows early on she’s fallen in love with her friend. Nate however is still living with ghosts, and quickly dismisses his growing feelings for Olivia. Ms. Young has once again hit paydirt with tremendous characters that I simply love. All of our favorites from the previous installments are part of the story that drives Olivia and Nate’s romance. This dialogue driven story has a refreshing plot line. I love Olivia because she is the first character who seems like a real person. Too many books only give us perfect size zero beautiful woman as the heroine. It was nice to read about a real woman – one with self doubt, who questions her body and doesn’t ooze sex at every turn. Even more, I loved how Nate saw her. For that alone … he is my hero. Every single page sizzles when Olivia and Nate are together because at the heart of their story is a real friendship. This is a REAL love story!

THE BET by Rachel Van DykenBROKE MY HEART!

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Oh boy … this one is tough to write! The Bet was not one of my favorite books, but I gave it three hearts because of its happy ever after ending. When Ruin came along I decided to give this author one more try and it became one of my favorite recent reads. Because of Ruin, I ordered The Wager, hoping for yet another surprise. My surprise was this was the longest book I ever read – and I’m not referring to number of pages or word count. Did the same Rachel Van Dyken who wrote Ruin – write this implausible, repetitive, confusing, ridiculous story?

This is Jake and Char’s story. Jake and Char have a bit of a past – from Junior High School. Char can’t seem to let go … until they meet later in life having a “drunken Jake” one night stand. Jake barely remembers the night. Char … is simply heartbroken. For some reason no one in this very tight community of people knows that Kacey has asked Char to be her maid of honor until they all end up on the same plane together. Then there are calls of a “bomb” on the plane. Never funny anymore Rachel!! For some reason the Air Marshal force feeds Jake peanuts – and he goes into anaphylactic shock!  What?? And all of this puts Grandma into action – setting up Char and Jake. Grandma spends most of the book putting Jake and Char together in crazy settings – performing their wedding duties as best man and maid of honor. Since when do the best man and maid of honor dance a special dance at a wedding reception? I always thought the bride and groom take the dance lessons. But not in this book! I thought the grandmother was a hoot in The Bet, but in this installment her actions are just so over the top – it’s unbelievable! I laughed out loud, and not because the story is funny. The characters have no substance, and I found it impossible to care about any of them. The monologues were looooonnnngggg and repetitive! Finally, the entire plot was so … I’m still scratching my head over this one! Rachel – did you really write this story?

LOVING CARA by Kristen ProbyMY HEART IS FULL OF LOVE!

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Ms. Proby is a gifted storyteller. The With Me in Seattle Series is in my top ten list, and I absolutely love the Montgomery family. So … I was anxious for her new series. And, I’m sure you can tell … I’m stalling. Here’s the problem. I am not a fan of insta-love! I like insta-connection, but not insta-love. And that is my beef with Cara and Josh’s story. It felt like one day they saw each other again, reconnected after high school, and then the next day they were madly in love. Perhaps more story of their past friendship would have helped. I completely loved Cara’s relationship with Sean, and found that very believable. Also, once they were together I found Josh and Cara’s relationship endearing. Cara’s friendship with Jilly, who is miles away is exactly what best friends should be about, and I’m sort of disappointed that Jilly isn’t getting the next story! Ms. Proby writes excellent family dramas, and I wish this story had more of that aspect. I would have liked more background to Josh and Zack’s relationship, and what led Zack away from the ranch. I wish the twin’s parents were developed more as well. Sean is also an interesting character, and we get just a sliver of him. I want the entire background story! What happened to him? Kristin still delivers a dialogue-driven story filled with hot, hot, hot romance. She is such a gifted storyteller, I am certain this installment is falling a bit flat probably due to the fact that a publisher/editor is now involved. I can hear it now … cut this … cut that! Overall the entire story felt undone and rushed. Hey Mr. Publisher/Editor – leave Proby alone!! She’s a damn fine writer with a great following! I can’t wait for the next installment in the With Me series (which Proby self-publishes). I bet this one will be cooked to perfection!

misbehaving by abbit glinesMY HEART LOVES A HAPPY ENDING!

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This installment is a companion novel to the Sea Breeze series and is a continuation of Breathe. Jason Stone (Jax’s brother) has taken up residence in Sea Breeze to contemplate his future. His mother has political plans for her youngest son, and nothing better get in her way. An unexpected affair with a girl from “the wrong side of tracks” leads Jason to question more than just his future.  He’s tired of living in his rock star brother’s shadow, and even more tired of being used to get to Jax. Jess is a welcome diversion who is taken with Jason’s chivalry, and knows she’s feeling too much too soon. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this addition to the Sea Breeze family. The book starts with a bang. I absolutely love how Jason and Jess meet. The story also ends with a bang, and I love the ending. The problem is the middle – the meat of the story. Jason is not a typical romantic hero and his character is in question early on. I did however love Jess. I appreciated her no-nonsense attitude, and the character she became after she and Jason split the first time. There are so many questions left unanswered. Jess’s career as a designer (or lack thereof) is disappointing. There is a huge missed or underdeveloped storyline here! The conflict near the end of the book (no spoilers here!) seemed to fall flat. I did not see or hear enough about her mother to care about her. This makes Jess’s actions somewhat unbelievable. This is most definitely a dialogue driven story – which I love. I did appreciate Jason’s romantic side, and thoroughly enjoyed the first part of their trip to New York City. I also always look for strong supporting characters, and I just didn’t find them in this one. For me, lack of a supporting cast leaves the principal parts underdeveloped. My biggest disappointment is with the cost. This is expensive for a Kindle book! Really expensive! But overall, it is a quick and easy read that finished with a beautiful happily ever after!

Frigid by J LynnMY HEART LOVES A HAPPY ENDING!

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Sydney and Kyler have been friends forever. Sydney is in love with Kyler, but he doesn’t know it. Kyler is in love with Sydney but she doesn’t know it. The problem – Kyler doesn’t think he’s worthy of Sydney. Over the years, he’s never stayed with a girl for more than a few nights. He put the “man” in manwhore. Nearing the end of their last year in college Sydney and Kyler plan to spend their Christmas vacation celebrating with friends. Unfortunately the great weekend they have planned is disrupted by the storm of the century. The holiday blizzard prevents their friends from making it up the mountain and leaves the two friends VERY MUCH ALONE. Ms. Lynn also adds a bit a mystery to this coming of age story. Kyler and Sydney’s romance is sweet and the characters are somewhat endearing, but what I missed was great dialogue. While Ms. Lynn is an exceptional descriptive writer, this love story lacked interaction between the characters. This is a personal bias – I want my characters talking … I don’t want to hear what’s in their heads. I want to feel what they feel through deep conversations. The beginning of the book holds a great deal of promise. The idea of friends to lovers is great idea. But the mishaps at the ski chalet were a bit overdone and I felt Sydney was a very weak heroine. I didn’t particularly care for how he carried her all of the place like she was a child. Add that to the fact that his term of endearment is “baby.” Although the mystery aspect is a great twist, it was a bit violent for me. Sydney and Kyler’s BFFs are pretty funny, and their part in reuniting the two lovebirds at the end is sweet. It was great to see BFFs at work!