Tag Archives: Second Chance at Love

A Love Affair to Remember by Jennifer Skully

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
A Love Affair to Remember by Jennifer SkullyA Love Affair to Remember by Jennifer Skully
Series: After Office Hours #2
Also in this series: Desire Actually
Also by this author: Desire Actually
on October 12, 2016
Genres: Romance
Format: eARC
Goodreads
four-half-stars
What if one night ruined your whole life?

In one sizzling night of forbidden passion, Gloria King set fire to her comfortable life and watched it be consumed in the conflagration. The man who lit the match—Parker Hunt.

And now Parker is back.

More than five years have passed since Parker has seen Gloria, but the passion between them is undeniable. And he’ll do anything to have a new chance to get it right, if only he can convince Gloria to trust her heart.

Gloria has pieced her life back together after their forbidden night. But Parker is still the only man in the world with whom Gloria can never look for happiness, no matter how badly she might want it. If only she could resist his magnetism, forget the delicious taste of his kiss and the sweetness of his caress…

Can a single night of passion born in shame become a lifetime of love?

A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.

Hooray, it’s the next book in Jennifer Skully’s new After Office Hours hot contemporary romance series! Regular readers of this blog may recall that the first book in this series – Desire Actually – was one of my favorite reads this year. This new book – A Love Affair to Remember – picks up not long after the previous one, telling the story of how two people get a rare second chance to be together after making a terrible mistake five years earlier.

We met Gloria King in Desire Actually, when she helped that story’s heroine get a promotion and office she deserved, earning the enmity of the company’s HR VP in the process. Five years earlier, Gloria had succumbed to a single night’s temptation with an attractive co-worker, and has been paying the price ever since. She quit her job and confessed to her unforgiving husband, taking all the blame for the wreckage of her marriage. Now divorced and living far away from where it had all gone wrong, she’s living a life deprived of love when the man she couldn’t resist and never forgot waltzes back into her life.

Parker Hunt was in a struggling marriage when he and Gloria enjoyed a single night of mutual pleasure while traveling for work. Unlike Gloria, he kept quiet about their tryst but still ended up divorced when his wife announced she was leaving him for another man. Parker knew he’d deserved what happened but hoped one day to reclaim the woman who still haunted his dreams. Now that he’s found Gloria, he’s going to make sure they finally get the happy ending they couldn’t have before.

One of the reasons I love reading this author is because her characters are frequently those who don’t often get their own HEA in current romance, namely people over forty. Gloria is in her late forties and Parker is slightly younger, but their age really only comes up in the context of having children, and after the end of her marriage, Gloria has already resigned herself to remaining childless. This author also handles the touchy topic of infidelity quite well here, which is remarkable considering both the main characters cheated on their respective spouses with each other years before the events of this story take place. For some readers, that would be a deal breaker from the start, but for me they both showed they’d regretted their actions and knew they’d been in the wrong. Indeed, so much of this story is showing how Gloria had punished herself much more severely than anyone that for me to do the same would be unfair.

Meanwhile Rhonda Baker, the HR VP who tried to ruin Jordana’s life, is now gunning for Gloria, and her machinations became increasingly annoying for me, even though she does help provide the impetus for Gloria’s epiphany about her need to stop punishing herself over Parker. It was made clear why Rhonda is seemingly allowed to run roughshod over fellow employees but I hope she’ll have her own day of reckoning in a future book.

Overall, it was great to be back in the offices of Brett Baker’s Silicon Valley startup, and I enjoyed seeing more of how the company’s front office gets their work done, as well as the scenes with Jordana and Grady from Desire Actually enjoying their newly public relationship. With A Love Affair to Remember, Jennifer Skully has upheld the excellence she set at the start and continues to keep me excited about getting to read the next book in the series.

four-half-stars

Review and Giveaway: The Collar by Tara Sue Me

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review and Giveaway: The Collar by Tara Sue MeThe Collar by Tara Sue Me
Series: Submissive #5
Also in this series: The Enticement
Also by this author: The Enticement
Published by Penguin, Penguin Publishing Group on July 7th 2015
Genres: BDSM, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Erotic Romance, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 336
Goodreads
four-stars
The New York Times bestselling author of The Submissive returns with a scintillating new tale about power, danger, and jaw-dropping passion.... Nathaniel and Abby are struggling to navigate the challenging waters of their own relationship, when they get a surprising phone call from their partners in play, Dena and Jeff, who are in need of a helping hand… Seven years ago, blonde, beautiful lawyer Dena Jenkins was tired of her carefully controlled life. Desperate for something exhilarating to help her escape the pressures of her demanding job and her senator father, she joined a steamy, local BDSM club as a submissive. There she met brooding Dominant, Jeff. The attraction between them was undeniable, and, despite Dena’s doubts, they couldn’t stay away from each other. Except, as the years have passed, their blazing connection has proven difficult to maintain. Dena and Jeff have a history they’d rather forget, but Dena can’t let go of the past, and Jeff is ready to move across the country to give her space. Now, to save their passion, they’ll have to rediscover what it means to trust each other—and give themselves to each other completely.

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THE COLLAR is the fifth book in Tara Sue Me’s excellent Submissive series and the first where the main focus is not on the couple who have been the center of the ongoing story. Jeff and Dena were both introduced briefly in the previous book, THE ENTICEMENT. Now in THE COLLAR we get to discover their backstory and see them find their way back to each other again with the help of Nathaniel and Abby, as well as the somewhat opportune timing of a surprise stalker.

It’s clear from the start that Jeff and Dena were meant to be together before something terrible came between them. At first I thought the problem would be related to the different worlds from which they came. Dena was raised in the lap of luxury and privilege thanks to her father’s elevated status in political circles. Jeff’s origins were much lower and less pleasant, and it seemed as though he’d never stop thinking he wasn’t worthy of her. Yet when they met at the local BDSM club, her submissive nature and his Dominance fit perfectly together, and the love they found together seemed invincible. But now it’s years later and whatever broke them up still appears to be keeping them apart. As much as it kills him inside, Jeff is getting ready to move far away for good, in the mistaken belief that it’s the best decision for them both. It’s only when a sudden threat to Dena’s safety appears that Jeff realizes he must stay and protect her at any cost, even if it means reopening old wounds and confronting what stands between them once and for all.

I was concerned at first when I realized Nathaniel and Abby would not be the central couple of THE COLLAR but was soon placated by how seamlessly their story is woven into that of their new friends Jeff and Dena. We already know how great Jeff is by how he saved Abby in THE ENTICEMENT and the great trust that Nathaniel has placed in him. We also soon see that Dena isn’t the entitled rich girl one might expect with her upbringing. It’s only when Dena is with Jeff that she’s truly happy, and the same is true for him. But it’s quite obvious that the pain that stood between them would have won if it wasn’t for the person who suddenly starts threatening Dena’s life.

Normally when this type of suspense plot is used to bring the hero and heroine together I get worried that it will take over entirely, but in THE COLLAR the suspense serves the romance, not vice versa. Even when I was able to figure out the culprit, I didn’t much care because that subplot was just the excuse needed to keep Jeff with Dena long enough for them to deal with all the misunderstandings that had kept them apart. So much of THE COLLAR is Jeff and Dena recalling the past and working together to get beyond it, and that’s what I loved the most about this book. But we still get enough Nathaniel and Abby so that it’s their story as well, and that’s why THE COLLAR is yet another great entry in the Submissive series for me.

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four-stars

Review: The Perfect Letter by Chris Harrison

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Perfect Letter by Chris HarrisonThe Perfect Letter by Chris Harrison
Published by HarperCollins on May 19th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance, Western
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Goodreads
three-stars
As the longtime host of ABC's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Chris Harrison has learned a thing or two about romance. Now, in his debut novel, Chris draws on his unique insights and wisdom to explore the exhilarating experience of risking it all in the name of love."The truth was something Jake said they should keep, always, between the two of them . . . "Leigh Merrill had spent ten years running away from her past. A talented young book editor on the fast track at a major publishing house, Leigh had been determined to build a life for herself in New York City—a life far from the hay-filled barns, swimming holes, and rolling hills of her grandfather's horse farm in Texas. And for the most part, she'd succeeded. This new life, one filled with books and parties and romance, was everything she'd dreamt of as a girl. Complete. Happy even, if Leigh considered the future she was building with Joseph, a brilliant, generous man who adored the very ground she walked on. Still, when the invitation arrived asking her to be the keynote speaker at the Austin Writer's Conference, Leigh couldn't ignore the nagging feeling that Texas, with all of its tangled secrets, was calling her home.Out of reasons to say no to a free trip, Leigh sees the conference as a perfectly timed escape—just a few days away to catch up with old friends, meet a few potential authors, and clear her mind. But Leigh's plans for a quiet retreat quickly dissolve when a stack of deeply personal letters from the past are left in her hotel room. After all these years of running, Leigh has nowhere to hide. In her hands she holds the letters that bare her soul and her secrets, the letters she wrote to one man, the love of her life—Jake. With her past and present crashing in around her, Leigh must decide just how much she's willing to risk for love.A remarkable debut by a modern-day love expert, The Perfect Letter is a must-read for Bachelor fans, and hopeless romantics, everywhere.

When I heard Chris Harrison, the veteran host of the long-running Bachelor/Bachelorette reality competition series, had written a romance novel and credited Nicholas Sparks as his role model, you can imagine how cynical my reaction was. Just because a guy hosts a tv show where people think they’re finding true love doesn’t mean he can write a real romance. And readers familiar with Nicholas Sparks know all too well how most of his books are the opposite of romances (spoiler alert: he likes to kill off one or both of his romantic leads off by the end). But as a romance reviewer and admitted Bachelor/Bachelorette fan, I couldn’t resist such a hugely publicized book. So I requested an advance copy, set my expectations to zero, and plunged in headfirst.

Fundamentally, THE PERFECT LETTER is not an all-out debacle, as some (including me) might have expected, and it is an actual romance, unlike most of what Nicholas Sparks produces. But it is also not a particularly well written romance, relying on too many obvious tropes without any attempts at originality on its way to a conclusion that manages to be both unbelievable and predictable.

Leigh is a successful young woman on the verge of a huge promotion in her dream job and marriage to a man to whom she owes so much. But first she must return to the place she’s stayed away from since her beloved grandfather died while attempting to avoid the one man who’s kept her away all these years. When Jake comes back into Leigh’s life, it’s like they’d never been separated, never lost each other in a sudden act of violence. But as Leigh is torn between her big city future and her small hometown past, someone else is poised to destroy it all before she gets the chance to decide for herself

For someone who has never read a romance book before, everything in THE PERFECT LETTER might seem new and exciting, but for an experienced reader, what’s here is a slightly longer version of a stereotypical category romance. After years of denial, adorable wunderkind heroine must confront a past tragic event that tore from her great love and forced her from the only home she’s ever known. Noble bad boy hero sacrificed all for his one true love but can’t help wanting her back even as the evil source of their pain has coincidentally returned to deal one final deadly blow. Add a red flag fiance, a wacky but loyal gal pal, and an ending that went well beyond mere eyerolls, and you’ve got THE PERFECT LETTER.

Just because a true romance must end with the hero and heroine together and happy doesn’t mean that a book shouldn’t keep the HEA from appearing predetermined. But THE PERFECT LETTER doesn’t even really try. The supposed conflict regarding Leigh’s existing commitment to her NYC boyfriend / wannabe fiance is laughable, as we’re already informed right at the start that the boyfriend mocks her Texas origins, isn’t particularly giving in the bedroom, and won’t listen to her concerns as he tries to railroad her into being his bride. Indeed, we’re supposed to be happy that Leigh instantly falls into bed with Jake after years of estrangement because he is her one true love, and Leigh’s hometown BFF is there to give voice to that opinion in case we might have any moments of doubt.

And when the real threat to Leigh and Jake’s long awaited happiness finally presents itself, it’s clear that the lack of plausibility isn’t limited to just the romantic elements of the story. You see, at the heart of THE PERFECT LETTER are the letters Leigh sent to Jake for several years after their wrenching separation. But it’s the one letter she wrote that has placed them both in danger, and the implausibility of its existence is matched only by what the heroine ultimately does in an attempt to save herself and the hero from the person using it to threaten them both. It’s difficult to fully express how unbelievable the resolution of the suspense plot is without resorting to spoilers, but when I’m searching online for details on how much a bank will allow you to withdraw from a personal account with only a few days’ notice, it’s safe to say I’m more than a bit skeptical about what’s going down.

As someone who is often fortunate enough to receive free advance copies for review, I’ve tended not to discuss book prices in my actual reviews, although if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll see I have well defined opinions about what I will and will not personally pay for any book. But after a great deal of thought, I’ve concluded that cost is a key factor for enough readers that I need to stop ignoring it in my reviews. After all, saying a book is worth reading isn’t necessarily the same as saying how much it’s worth paying for, or even worth paying for at all.

So let’s talk about how much this book is being sold for and how that relates to its content. The new ebook price for THE PERFECT LETTER is $11.99 at the time of this review, and that’s in line with the majority of most big publisher hardback book releases by a well known personality. But even if it was half that price, I still wouldn’t buy it, if only because a highly marketed book like THE PERFECT LETTER will be fairly easy to find at the public library. There’s not much in this book that I care to read a second time, and certainly not for that much money, but like the rest of this review, that’s just my opinion and yours may vary.

In conclusion, it’s fair to say I was entertained by THE PERFECT LETTER and I’m happy I got to read it, though it’s a shame that it wasn’t the book it claims to be in its blurb. At least it’s a genuine romance, and not the Nicholas Sparks kind, and for that and for the reasonably enjoyable intimate scenes between its hero and heroine, THE PERFECT LETTER is still worth reading, even if not at full retail price.

three-stars

Review: The Duke of Andelot by Delilah Marvelle

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  The Duke of Andelot by Delilah MarvelleThe Duke of Andelot on April 10 2015
Pages: 314
Format: eARC
Goodreads
four-half-stars
For fans of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Tom Jones comes a twisted, sexy tale that takes the French Revolution to smoldering new heights.

Long before becoming the flamboyant courtesan known to men as Madame de Maitenon, Thérèse Angelique Bouchard, dreamed of becoming an actress capable of commanding not only the stage but all of Paris. Until she meets an extraordinary aristocratic gentleman who sweeps her into his arms and the danger of his life, while offering her the sort of wealth she never imagined. What starts off as a seductive alliance, ends in her giving him the one thing she, as a mere bourgeoisie, cannot afford to give: her love.

After the murder of his older brothers, Gérard Antoine Tolbert, becomes the last heir to the powerful dukedom of Andelot, leaving him to fight for not only his life, but the allegiance he holds for the crown. During the final rise of the French Revolution that whispers of the violent change about to shake the entire country, Gérard meets an aspiring actress who entices him into wanting more out of not only himself but life. In trying to protect her from their overly passionate alliance and those that want him dead, he must decide what matters most: his life or his heart.

WARNING: This book contains strong language and sexual content that may cause respectable people to swoon.

THE DUKE OF ANDELOT is the triumphant conclusion to Delilah Marvelle’s excellent School of Gallantry series, but like the other books before it, it can easily be read as a standalone, even if you don’t know who everyone is in the lovely epilogue. I myself came into this series with book 4, NIGHT OF PLEASURE, and since then have enjoyed going back and discovering the stories running concurrently with all the others.

As the final book of the series, THE DUKE OF ANDELOT is somewhat different from the rest in that the bulk of its story takes place decades earlier. In it we learn how the notorious Madame de Maintenon found her own true love, only to lose him, perhaps forever, to the chaos of the French Revolution. Before she was the toast of Paris and London, she was merely Thérèse, the butcher’s daughter, tramping through the countryside on her way to her beloved cousin Remy and his small Paris theater. When a threatening highwayman turns out to be Gérard, a highly placed aristocrat on his way to attempt an improbable rescue of his beloved godfather, Thérèse is attracted to him, but skeptical of his motives. As their journey continues, their love for each other grows as quickly as the danger they both face while the Revolution speeds toward its predestined conclusion.

I’ll admit that when I first started reading, I was disappointed to begin in the past, with only my knowledge that this was Madame de Maintenon’s story to keep me from immediately losing interest. But once Thérèse and Gérard find themselves completely in love with each other, I was thoroughly hooked. And by the time they each must make the decisions they need to stay alive, I was awash in tears which lasted all the way to the short but satisfying epilogue which tied up the whole series in joy. Even the small repetitive parts (for those familiar with the previous books) couldn’t keep me from wallowing with glee in the Happy Ever After for the woman who had brought so many to others before her and the one man worthy of her love. THE DUKE OF ANDELOT is a satisfying historical romance for anyone who loves a happy ending that’s merely delayed, not denied.

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four-half-stars

Review: Say My Name by J. Kenner

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  Say My Name by J. KennerSay My Name by J. Kenner
Published by Random House Publishing Group on April 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Goodreads
four-stars
New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner kicks off a smoking hot, emotionally compelling new erotic trilogy that returns to the world of her beloved Stark novels: Release Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me. Say My Name features Jackson Steele, a strong-willed man who goes after what he wants, and Sylvia Brooks, a disciplined woman who's hard to get--and exactly who Jackson needs.   I never let anyone get too close--but he's the only man who's ever made me feel alive.   Meeting Jackson Steele was a shock to my senses. Confident and commanding, he could take charge of any room . . . or any woman. And Jackson wanted me. The mere sight of him took my breath away, and his touch made me break all my rules.     Our bond was immediate, our passion untamed. I wanted to surrender completely to his kiss, but I couldn't risk his knowing the truth about my past. Yet Jackson carried secrets too, and in our desire we found our escape, pushing our boundaries as far as they could go.   Learning to trust is never easy. In my mind, I knew I should run. But in my heart, I never felt a fire this strong--and it could either save me or scorch me forever.   Say My Name is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences. From the Trade Paperback edition.

In SAY MY NAME, J. Kenner returns to the world she established in her original Damien Stark erotic romance trilogy, only this time the heroine is Stark’s most trusted employee and her hero is the one man she’s loved enough to push away for his own good. When the only way Sylvia Brooks can save her first solo Stark International project is by begging Jackson Steele for help, that rescue could cost her own sanity. But as the two star-crossed lovers slowly learn to love and trust again, they soon find what’s at stake might be their own lives.

Although I quite enjoyed the original Stark trilogy, I’ll admit this new book started a bit slowly for me. I’ve never been a big fan of trying to guess what the initial relationship was between the hero and heroine, or what broke them apart so brutally that she fears his harsh reaction as he initially tries to reject her. So the story was a bit frustrating for me until the flashbacks were over and we were completely in the present. But from that point on, I was completely enthralled, even already knowing how Kenner structures these trilogies so that the first two books end on a tentative Happy For Now, saving the Happy Ever After for the final story.

Both Jackson and Sylvia have endured terrible childhoods which are still influencing their present lives more than even they could have predicted. They can’t stay apart any longer and yet everything seems to be conspiring to split them up anyway. And hovering over it all is the outsized influence of Damien Stark himself, to the point that Sylvia may soon have to choose between the man she loves and the man who has earned her complete loyalty. It’s a heady mix of love and intrigue, and Kenner continues to deliver a knockout experience that made me long for the next book even as I was more than satisfied with this story’s ending. To say more would give too much away, and I encourage everyone who loved the original Stark trilogy to read SAY MY NAME to find out what’s there for themselves.

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four-stars

Review: Never Let You Down by Joely Sue Burkhart

Never Let You DownNever Let You Down by Joely Sue Burkhart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review at Night Owl Reviews.

Review Excerpt:

Much like the unconventional relationships highlighted in each of the previous Connagher books, NEVER LET YOU DOWN also features an unconventional way of telling the multi-layered story of Virginia and Jeb’s romance. We have a view of the present day as Jeb returns to woo the woman he’d never stopped loving. We also view the past, as all the questions about how he is inextricably linked to Virginia and Ty are eventually answered in full. And then, as the past and present wind their way around each other toward the anticipated HEA, a third voice enters the story in the form of a book within the book — a slightly over the top erotic western romance with a more than passing resemblance to the love story being told in the rest of the book. This manner of storytelling is risky with the danger of confusing the reader, but I was able to easily keep the three portions separate while appreciating how they all fit together as closely as Virginia, Ty, and Jeb did by the end of the book. It’s a beautiful love story in all its combinations, and a wonderful addition to one of my favorite erotic romance series.

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Blog Tour: Pulled Within by Marni Mann

Pulled Within Cover

Title: Pulled Within (Bar Harbor Series #2)
Author: Marni Mann
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Booktrope
Release Date: September 12, 2014

Synopsis:
Storms can’t last forever…can they?

For five long years, Rae Ryan has lived in a storm over which she has no control. Little by little, everything has been taken away from her—her job, her relationship, her best friend and her home. Plagued by nightmares and a terrible family secret, she carries her scars as much on the inside as she does on the outside.

Hart Booker, another disappointment from her past, returns to Bar Harbor and shelters her from the rain. He reminds Rae that forgiveness is possible, happiness can be found on the other side of darkness, and beauty rests beneath her scars. But a sinister figure lingering in the background seems determined to pull Rae back into a past she’s been trying to outrun. Can she survive the storm and become part of the light she so desperately desires? Or is she destined to remain Pulled Within?

Recommended for mature audiences due to explicit language, sexual abuse, disturbing situations, and drug use.

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About Marni Mann:
A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann, now a Floridian, is inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. She taps a mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos, taking her readers on a dark and breathtaking journey. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, she’s scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking her four-legged children.

Connect with Marni Mann:
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There will be 4 lucky winners in the Pulled Beneath Blog Tour Giveaway!
Grand Prize – Signed Pulled Beneath and Pulled Within paperbacks, $40 Amazon e-giftcard
1st Runner Up: Signed Pulled Within paperback, $20 Amazon e-giftcard
2nd Runner Up: Signed Pulled Within paperback
3rd Runner Up: Pulled Within e-book

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Review: One Sexy Ride by Vivian Arend

One Sexy Ride (Thompson & Sons, #2)One Sexy Ride by Vivian Arend

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.

ONE SEXY RIDE is the second story in Vivian Arend’s new Thompson & Sons series, and it’s set in the same world as her previous Rocky Mountain series, but you don’t have to have read any of the previous books to be able to enjoy what’s here.

Janey has spent most of her life up until now pining after Len Thompson, all to no avail. He’s always been around her, being her good friend, but nothing more. What Janey really wants is that one true love to settle down with and raise a family, and she’s been convinced that Len is that guy. But what she’s never known is that even though he does secretly love her, that love is also why he’s continued to keep her at arm’s length. For Len has seen what happens when you lose your one true love, and he’s determined to never let that happen to him. So the last thing Len wants to do is love Janey, because losing her would be so much worse than not ever having her in the first place.

Tired of putting her life on hold for a guy who apparently doesn’t see in her what she sees in him, Janey has made plans to finish renovating her beloved family home, then sell it and leave town for good. Her decision to leave town, combined with a key moment when Len saves Janey from certain danger, makes him think that maybe he can at least have a taste of what he would never dare claim for good. But Janey’s heart is all in, and only time will tell if Len can move past his fear to commit to her before it’s too late.

One of the things I love about Vivian Arend’s books is her heroines and heroes are both strong and sweet. I never doubted for one minute that Len was worthy of Janey’s seemingly unrequited love, yet when he provided tangible proof of that worthiness near the very end of the story, it was all I could do not to melt in a puddle of happy tears at just how right I’d been. Len wants to love Janey – he really does! – but he’s just so terrified of being left without her that he’d rather push her away now than lose her for good later on. When Janey inevitably gets too close for comfort, the way Len tries to hasten her departure is so devastating that it demands an epic hero grovel to make things right. And let me tell you, Len’s grovel is easily one of the best I’ve read in a very long time. It isn’t just about how he shows how sorry he is, although that’s a big part of it. It’s also how he shows that he really does understand her as her own person, and how he’s been in love with her just as long as she’s been in love with him. Janey and Len’s romance is a great read all the way through, but the way they resolved their differences is what elevated ONE SEXY RIDE from merely a wonderful story to one of the best I’ve read in 2014.

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Review: The Bookseller’s Daughter by Pam Rosenthal

The Bookseller's DaughterThe Bookseller’s Daughter by Pam Rosenthal

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Night Owl Reviews.

Review Excerpt:

From the very start, Marie-Laure displays her unyielding spirit and indomitable will, and we see that despite her lowly status, it is clearly she who is too good for Joseph. But as THE BOOKSELLER’S DAUGHTER progresses, Joseph is forced to come to terms with his useless existence, and by the end, he has grown emotionally into a fully adult man worthy of her heart. Even though I had an idea of how and where they would ultimately end up together, the journey there kept me riveted the entire time, and made the seemingly inevitable ending even more enjoyable for me. It’s a wonderful historical romance well worth reading. (Copyright Night Owl Reviews)

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Review: Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan

Suddenly Last Summer (Hqn)Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

 

SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER makes me wish yet again that the Snow Crystal resort in Vermont really existed. I would sit out on the deck of my lodge suite and just admire the view all day, especially if it included any or all of the O’Neil brothers. In this book, Sean O’Neil is so appealing as a romance hero, especially once he realizes how wrong he’d been about everything, including his grandfather, and how he can be a positive force in Elise’s life instead of just another man she has to push away. Elise was a decent heroine in her own right, although she did start to grate on me after a while with her over-the-top über-French drama about how it was all her fault about Walter and the inevitable delay in opening the new restaurant in the resort’s old boathouse. I think part of my reaction was because this is now the second romance I’ve read in the past year with a passionate French chef heroine named Elise. While that’s not this book’s fault, I am hoping very hard that this is not a new romance trend.

I also had a problem with one of my personal reading pet peeves: inconsistent condom use. There was a specific point where one was explicitly referenced the first time they had sex, but never again thereafter, despite several scenes where I would have expected there would have at least been a passing mention. Considering how adamant both the hero and heroine were about never settling down or having children, I was worried about the possibility of an unintended pregnancy throughout the rest of the book, so I was quite relieved when that did not happen.

Beyond those minor issues, Elise and Sean were a joy to read when they let themselves just enjoy the moment and be honest about their true emotions. I loved how he handled the fallout from their final Big Misunderstanding, and when they finally shared their feelings for one another, their HEA was worth every moment of earlier doubt. SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER is a worthy followup to the previous book in the O’Neil Brothers trilogy, and I’m so glad that there will be one more book in this series so we can see Tyler and Brenna get their own happy ending, too.

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