Wednesday, February 18, 2015

TEXAS MAIL ORDER BRIDE by Linda Broday




Publisher:   Sourcebooks
Published:   January 6, 2015
ISBN: B00NEUAM7O
Genre:  Historical Western Romance
Format:  Ebook - Netgalley
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina Gina@loveromancesandmorereviews.com

THREE HEARTS

Delta Dandridge hasn’t had an easy life but she’s made do with what she has and kept did what she could to keep a positive outlook.  When she spies an ad for a mail order bride she heads west to Battle Creek, Texas and her groom, Cooper Thorne.

Along with his two brothers, Rand and Brett, Cooper Thorne is part of the Battle Creek Bachelor’s club.  In fact, he’s the club president.  The last thing Cooper is looking for is a bride, especially a Southern Belle who starts meddling in Battle Creek business.  Between her heading over to the mercantile and getting a job to starting a women’s garden club he becomes more and more sure marriage, especially to such a troublesome woman is not for him. 

Sure he believes that.  Yup.  Cooper Thorne is not remotely attracted to Delta Dandridge and she can’t leave town fast enough for him.

And she really irritates him when she starts helping out around town.  Uh huh. 

Cooper soon learns there’s a fine line between being irritated because he wants her and telling himself he doesn’t.  But Cooper and Delta aren’t without their secrets—secrets that have followed them to Battle Creek.  Are they the kind of secrets that can forge a solid marriage—or that will tear it apart?

I’m a long-time fan of historical western romance.  The only genre I like better than historical westerns are time travels where a modern woman ends up back in the 1800s’.  When I was offered the opportunity to read and review Linda Broday’s TEXAS MAIL ORDER BRIDE I jumped at it and I’m glad I did.

Broday does a nice job with Delta’s development from arriving in town to find she’s been duped into believing a marriage is in the offing to picking herself up and making her own way.  Delta is true to herself and her heart—and she has a good heart.  She opens herself up to each person she meets and even when she finds herself falling in love with Cooper, she is willing to be his friend if nothing more. 

Cooper and his brothers each go through their own growth – together as a family and in coming to terms with their own past. 

A few times I had the impression that TEXAS MAIL ORDER BRIDE was originally intended as a standalone rather than book 1 of a series because of the different tangents that the author went off on in Brett and Rand’s stories.  Particularly the outcome of someone in Rand’s past would have been a great mystery to leave for another story rather than wrapping it up nice and neat in what felt like a hurried ending. 

I never really felt that Cooper and Delta connected—she and Rand seemed better suited to each other and I could easily have seen the two falling in love with Cooper being happy for them.  There were what in a cozy mystery would have been some fun red herrings – Jenny, the widow, Brett’s living situation – that were tied up a little too neatly for me. 

I did like the townsfolk and I appreciated how Broday had a first grasp on the language and manners of the time.  She didn’t resort to letting modern concepts fill in the gaps in the story so I felt very much like I was watching the story unfold in the late 1800’s.

This is an objective review and an endorsement of this book.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

SLEIGH BELLS IN VALENTINE VALLEY by Emma Cane




A Valentine Valley Novel
Avon
October 28th, 2014
978-0-06-232340-8
Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Publisher
3 Hearts



Welcome back to Valentine Valley where the holiday season will bring together two people with a shared past and maybe a bright future…if they believe in their love that is.

Kate Fennelli is trying to figure out her life when she returns to Valentine Valley and the man she left behind when she took a job to further her career as an attorney. Now years later, at a crossroads, she decides to look up Tony De Lucca, the one man she loved with a passion that scared her all those years ago. Sitting in his bar as she spills all her problems to him is surreal yet feels so right to Kate. But isn’t that chapter of their lives closed?

Tony De Lucca is stunned to see Kate and even more so to find that he still has feelings for her after all these years. Broken hearted when they parted, Tony is determined to stay away from Kate except he is drawn to her like a moth is to a flame. Now as they dance around the sparks that fly between them, can their second chance at love happen this holiday season?

I really enjoyed SLEIGH BELLS IN VALENTINE VALLEY and found it a perfect holiday romance to enjoy right after the holidays. The main characters, Tony and Kate have a deep connection as they try to reforge the bonds that were severed long ago. The connection that these two main characters have is a delight to read, especially as I have s oft spot for second chance love stories. Add in Christmas time and you got a magic within the pages. The author does a great job in showing the reader Tony and Kate’s relationship as it turns from a friend’s with benefits sort of thing to a full blown love affair of the heart; Except Tony doesn’t want to risk being hurt again even if he is still in love with Kate. The characters are well written, multi-dimensional and kept me interested until the very end. Add in a few secondary characters that peaked my interest, the story moved along at a nice even pace.

SLEIGH BELLS IN VALENTINE VALLEY is a sweet and timeless romance set in a town that could be anywhere USA. I loved how this author populated it with intriguing characters that keep your interest even as you long to know more about them and the town. This is an author who knows how to weave a spell around her readers while keeping the characters fresh and exciting for them as well. I loved how this author captures the spirit of the town as well as Christmas to conjure up a well written story in her Valentine Valley series. If you enjoy a sweet romance set in a town that leaves you eager to discover, then try SLEIGH BELLS IN VALENTINE VALLEY. This is a perfect holiday read to enjoy anytime of year!

This is an objective review and not an endorsement


Monday, February 16, 2015

ALLIANCE FORGED by Kylie Griffin




A Novel of the Light Blade, Book Two
Berkley Sensation
July 3rd, 2012
978-0-425-25601-54
Fantasy/Paranormal
Paperback
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Publisher
4 Hearts


For the Na’Chi-half human/half demon, living among the humans now has caused tension and dissension. For Varian, leader of the Na’Chi, life isn’t as smooth as he anticipated when they sought sanctuary with the humans. For prejudice continues and rebellion brews, Varian finds that to survive the coming days as well as have the peace he always thought would elude him, he must do the impossible: embrace the dark heritage of his demon side in order to keep the fragile alliance between Na’Chi and humans in force. He just never anticipated falling in love with the beautiful Kymora Tayn, a Priestess who steals his heart, while she calms the darkness inside him.

But when humans kidnap Kymora and cause the alliance to falter, Varian will have to do the impossible in order to save Kymora as well as the alliance- embrace his darker half.

ALLIANCE FORGED is a stunning continuation from the first book, Vengeance Born, and picks up right after that one ended. This time the reader is thrust in the aftereffects of the alliance between Na’Chi and humans as prejudice, rebellion and hatred rear its heads all around them. I got to admit this author’s world building is just phenomenal. The intricate society of demons, humans and half-breeds is exceptionally detailed and the author does a masterful job in keeping the reader glued to the pages. The characters are also exceptionally vivid. They are multi-dimensional, showing their vulnerability as well as their strengths that just delighted me while I read ALLIANCE FORGED. The author does a great job in capturing their struggles as they try to overcome insurmountable odds and achieve the peace they want/need.

ALLIANCE FORGED is not just Kymora and Varian’s story but also the continuation of the struggles humans and Na’Chi’s faced after finding out that the Na’Chi exsisted and are not myths like the humans believed. I loved the in-depth look at why Varian acted the way he did and how he was able to let his guard down with Kymora and a few chosen friends he trusts. The struggle this character has through book one and now book two is just heartbreaking. I was heartbroken at some of the revelations of his past and loved how Kymora soothed him and his demon side. Kymora may be a priestess and blind but she can see aura’s and ones heart and with Varian she found a man who needed her in ways that had her longing for more. The sparks flew when we met these two in Vengeance Born and in ALLIANCE FORGED; the reader is treated to their romance amid kidnappings, rebellion, fighting and more. I loved these two together and found that Varian brought something out of Kymora and vice versa. Both were the other’s part of their heart/soul and I loved how soothed Varian was when he was with Kymora. It was a side many didn’t see in the Na’Chi. All the characters are well written and I loved some of the plot twists that had me biting my nails in anticipation.

ALLIANCE FORGED is a wild ride from start to finish and if you enjoy a fast paced paranormal romance than this is one book you don’t want to miss. I do caution that there are some sexy scenes that will curl your toes and you do need to read book one, Vengeance Born, to understand the back storyline that is mentioned a few times in book two. Overall, this was one series I am eager to see where the author goes next. We got some hints at what is to come so be prepared for another spellbound ride in the light blade series.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement



Sunday, February 15, 2015

VENGEANCE BORN by Kylie Griffin




A Novel of the Light Blade Book One
Berkley Sensation
February 7th, 2012
978-0-425-24536-1
Paranormal/Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller Romance
Paperback
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by self-purchase
4 hearts




There is no mercy in the demon realm and for half-breed daughter of the Na’Reish leader, Annika, is about to find that her life is about to get complicated. When she finds out a light blade warrior is imprisoned in her father’s dungeon, she finds that her dreams of escape just might come true…if Kalan, the light blade warrior, will just trust her enough to get him out of the Na’Reish territory alive.  But Annika must put her trust in the human who is hiding a secret, one that could destroy t he fragile trust between them. With enemies all around them, can Kalan and Annika forge a strong enough bond in order to have the change they need to survive? Or will it all be for naught as the humans’ race into civil war?

Wow is all I got to say when I picked up VENGEANCE BORN. What I thought would be a fairly entertaining read was more than I bargained for and in a good way too! The world building this author does is subtle, complex and so wonderful I was blown away by it all. The complexities of each race- human, Na’Chi and Na’Reish -are described in a way that it doesn’t feel like it is information dumping but part of the storyline as Kalan and Annika try to understand one another’s people. With the right amount of mystery, action and a bit of romance, the author delivers a wild ride from the first page to the last. I loved the connection these two forge and it wasn’t rushed as the reader is treated to the dance of a relationship between them. The characters are also so well written you could hope to see them on the street or meet them for coffee. The reader is enchanted with the many different characters- from humans to Na’Chi to Na’Reish. I loved that you didn’t need a scorecard to figure out who was what and there was just enough secondary characters to keep things moving along nicely.

Meet Kalan and Annika. Kalan is a light blade warrior and hates all demons as that is how he was brought up. Annika has never known acceptance or love as her demon father raped her light blade mother and she was always told she was bred for vengeance only and only tolerated if that among the Na’Reish. These two shouldn’t have been a perfect match but they are just perfect for one another. Both give the other something they are missing-love, acceptance, trust, etc and as these two journeys towards acceptance between Na’Chi and humans, they find that their hearts are engaged as well. Can Kalan forge an unbreakable bond with Annika as enemies within the humans and outside in the Na’Chi and Na’Reish so they can work towards peace or will it all come crashing down among them? These two are so entertaining it was a delight to root for them. I loved how these two learned from one another and tried to build their fragile trust into something more. The character building in this first book of the light blades was quite enjoyable and unexpected. All the characters-main ones as well as secondary ones-were multi-dimensional and moved the story along nicely.

VENGEANCE BORN is a wildly entertaining story that debuts a new twist on the paranormal/fantasy genre that completely captivated me and made me eager for more. I am eager to see where this author goes in her Light Blade series and can’t wait to read book two. I highly recommend it to those liking something a bit different in their paranormal/fantasy genre.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement


Saturday, February 14, 2015

MOST ELIGIBLE SHERIFF by Cathy McDavid



Publisher:   Harlequin
Published:   March 1, 2014
ISBN:  B00FBZCEXA
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Format:  Ebook - Netgalley
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina Gina@loveromancesandmorereviews.com

THREE HEARTS

When her sister, Ruby, a Las Vegas casino manager finds herself in a sticky situation her twin sister, Scarlett steps up to help her out. 

Actually Scarlett is also, in a way, helping herself.

Ruby is set to testify against a stalker whose goal in life is to terrorize Ruby before he kills her.  Scarlett has been involved with local Sweetheart Sheriff, Cliff Dempsey, but in fact she’s in love with a guy named Demetri.  The sisters trade places—it’s not a stretch because they’ve done it before, but this time the stakes are the highest possible—their hearts are on the line.

It doesn’t take Cliff long to realize Ruby isn’t the woman he’s been dating and thought to make his Missus.  Can he put his feelings of betrayal aside to continue to protect Ruby?  Or more importantly, can he trust his heart that she’s the one before the stalker finds her?

I get a kick out of twin switching stories and for the most part enjoyed Cathy McDavid’s MOST ELIGIBLE SHERIFF.  I like western romances, but not everyone else does.  While there was some horseback riding and ranching, the story could have taken place pretty much anywhere so for the most part if you’re a fan of romance it’s a sweet one.  There was a lot of telling instead of showing which, at times, made the story drag.  I didn’t feel much emotion in the telling of the story. 

MOST ELIGIBLE SHERIFF is book 3 of the Sweetheart, Nevada series but you do not have to have read books 1 and 2 to pick up on the characters and the nuances of the town which is nice for a newcomer to Ms. McDavid’s writing. 

If you’re looking for a quick, light romance this one is a good bet.


This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.