dinsdag 26 april 2016

Hero Forgotten - SaraLynn Hoyt

Publisher: Romance Beckons

Published:  April 2016

ISBN: 9780985329266

Abigail Blakemore is a descendant of talented female mediums and is one of the best in her own right. Law enforcement from all over the Seattle area seek her out to help with their toughest cases. But hiding at home and conducting most of her business via the internet is no way to meet men. But a new ghost who has entered her life is about to change all that.

Kent Caruso, ex-Special Forces, now a highly skilled hacker at a Seattle dotcom, can’t forgive himself for his wife’s accidental death while he was deployed in Afghanistan nearly two years ago. Interested in the supernatural for years, he finds himself wandering into a little occult shop on Valentine’s Day and smack into the sexiest palm reader in Seattle.

The first book in the Oasis Group series starts with a fast, hot romance between Abby and Kent that has a little help from cousin Marty and one of his not quite perfect elixirs. What will the side effects be and will Kent and Abby’s love be strong enough to prevail over the powerful Blakemore legacy?
Only cousin Jake Blakemore, CEO of the Blakemore Oasis Group—a prestigious private security firm of highly skilled operatives—knows how deep those male dominated Blakemore secrets go and he won’t share much of his knowledge with Abby. But he assures his cousin that if hers and Kent’s feelings are true than in the end, nothing can stand in the way of their happiness.

My review
You can definitely say a fast and hot romance, this Hero Forgotten. The book starts with the sentence: "Wakey. Wakey... How dare she intrude on this private and spectacularly lucid moment of the perfect man and equally perfect sex!"
Okaaay... I nearly closed my e-reader. Although I'm not opposed to fast and hot romance, a burning lava meltdown on page one is maybe a little bit too much. Fortunately, I kept on reading (I know, I'm a reading junkie), and it turned out I wasn't falling headfirst into a love scene. It turned out Abby was only dreaming and she was roughly awakened by a female ghost who really wants her attention.
The ghost wants her to meet Kent, her former husband to tell him something. And since Abby is a medium, she found her useful in her quest. The conversations in the book are funny: "I sure as heck hope you're him. I better not have gotten up this early for nothing. Are you Kevin, Keith, Kenny? Kent, I'm Kent, but how did you know that? Have a seat Kent. Dari wants to talk to you and she's been a complete pest about it, so I can't leave you, until she's had her say."
Of course Kent is a bit weary of Madame Abigail and her story of his late wife Darlene. "So Darlene? Not Dari... geez, I never get the names right." But Abby knows stuff, nobody else could know. So is she legitimate? And what has potion number nine to do with all of it? Well, if cousin Marty is correct, it explains the hot and steamy on page 37 already! So besides the new ghosts who are tormenting Abby in the pages to come, the rest of the story is a bit flimsy and mostly around aroused bodyparts and the exchange of fluids. So, a fine read for late in the evening, but definitely not something for during your lunchbreak. The ghostly story is the most entertaining in the second part of the book, so just keep on reading. Three out of Five stars for SaraLynn Hoyt and a thank you to Netgalley for this ARC.


donderdag 21 april 2016

Shanahan's Revenge - Julie Mac

Publisher: Escape Publishing

Published: May 2016

ISBN: 9781760370398

What happens when you fall in love with your worst enemy?
When the CEO of one of New Zealand’s biggest companies steps down, heir apparent Kate McPherson and Australian outsider Sam Shanahan are left fighting for control of McPherson & Co.

But Sam hasn’t just travelled to New Zealand for business. He’s there to avenge the wrongs done to his mother three decades ago, and he’s determined that no one—especially not his beautiful arch rival—will get in his way.

Poised to take over the company from her father, Kate has fought hard for her success and will do anything to defeat the stranger who’s after her job—no matter how strong the chemistry between them.

Sam and Kate are driven apart by ambition and drawn together by fiery attraction. And between them sizzles a family secret that threatens to blow Kate’s world apart.

My review
The blurb of this book made me think of the movie "You've got mail" (with The Shop Around The Corner, as you can imagine I'm a fan...) . The story of this book is not exactly the same of course. First off, the location is totally different. Instead of the busy streets of New York, this story takes place at the quiet inland of New Zealand. And whereas Kathleen doesn't know she is falling in love with her biggest business rival Joe, Kate knows exactly who she is falling for. But Sam has secrets and when he kisses Kate passionately and then gives her the cold shoulder the next minute, Kate is confused. And scared. Since she lost her mother at a very young age, Kate is afraid to lose a loved one again. So, because she doubts Sam intentions, she tries to block him out. 

But fate (with a little help from her stubborn grandfather) just keeps bringing them back together. And while the sparks are flying, Sam starts to doubt his initial reasons for coming to New Zealand. And Kate tries to deny the feelings that are developing between the both of them. When a family secret seems to tear apart Kate's world, who can she turn to? Can Sam be trusted? Or is he just using Kate to take over her family's company?

Of course, I won't tell you the ending, but beware of sudden changes in the story. They keep you on edge. Wonderfull written, with a lot of speed in the story. Not surprisingly, since the book is only 150 pages. Maybe next time Julie Mac can use some extra pages to ensure a more fluent evolution in the story. In Shanahan's revenge there are some sudden changes in the story (as well in the behaviour of the characters), which could have been more developed if you take some more time to describe the scenarios. But overall a nice and light reading. Four stars for Julie Mac and. And thank you Netgalley and Escape Publishing for this ARC.  

woensdag 20 april 2016

Savage Urges - Suzanne Wright

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Published: May 2016

ISBN: 9781503935440

My review

Savages Urges is the fifth book of the serie The Phoenix Pack. And although you don't need to read the other books, it will probably give you a more broad perspective on the characters. Nonetheless the story is a delightful read. Makenna is a very loyal and also very superstitious woman, with a protective streak towards Zac. Zac is a loner, just like herself and she is committed to see that he gets adopted by the pack of Ryan Conner. And of course, it does make the task for Makenna more interesting, when she finds out she is attracted to the brooding enforcerer of the Phoenix Pack. 

But since there is no mating bond, Makenna is certain that she and Ryan aren't meant to be more than just lovers. And although that is a shame, she decides to appreciate Ryan as a "Mr. Right Now" instead of a "Mr. Right". Well, no comments here, I think I would have done the same thing...

When Remy comes along, who tries to make Makenna's boss Dawn a living hell by intimidating people to force the shelter into his 'very generous protection'. Of course, Makenna with her quick wits and humorous conversations keeps Remy at bay. But Remy isn't one Alpha to mess with and the story starts to turn ugly. Fortunately Ryan is convinced Makenna is The One for him and his wolf certainly doesn't want Remy near Makenna. So all civilization aside, and let the wolfs run free!

Suzanne Wright has written an intriguing story, with enough plot twists to keep you reading. The whole issue with the mating bond was a bit unclear to me, so that part was a bit confusing and illogical to me. But otherwise a fun read.
Four stars for Savage Urges and a thank you to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for this ARC.

dinsdag 19 april 2016

Only Beloved - Mary Balogh

Publisher: Signet

Published: May 2016

ISBN: 9780451477781

From the legendary New York Times bestselling author of Only a Kiss and Only a Promise comes the final book in the rapturous Survivor’s Club series—as the future of one man lies within the heart of a lost but never-forgotten love...

For the first time since the death of his wife, the Duke of Stanbrook is considering remarrying and finally embracing happiness for himself. With that thought comes the treasured image of a woman he met briefly a year ago and never saw again.

Dora Debbins relinquished all hope to marry when a family scandal left her in charge of her younger sister. Earning a modest living as a music teacher, she’s left with only an unfulfilled dream. Then one afternoon, an unexpected visitor makes it come true.

For both George and Dora that brief first encounter was as fleeting as it was unforgettable. Now is the time for a second chance. And while even true love comes with a risk, who are two dreamers to argue with destiny?  

My review
Only Beloved is the 7th book in the serie of the Survivor's Club. If you haven't read the other books, you can read this book as a standalone book perfectly, because Mary Balogh gives enough information about the characters and the previous books. However, by doing so, the story in this book is starting a bit slowly. Mary shows you the story of Dora and George, but since the couple is somewhat older (late thirties and forties), there is a lot of story to tell. So when you are updated after about one third of the book, the pace finally picks up. Mary has a lovely way of giving her characters depth and feelings, so you soon find yourself thrown back in history, when it was completely normal for a Duke to visit an acquainted woman and out of the blue ask her to marry him. And you also don't think it is strange that the woman thinks about this offer for about 5 minutes and then totally agrees to marry the guy. And when the Duke (a total gentleman) offers to introduce his fiancee to 'the ton' in Londen before the wedding, then that is totally normal as well. 
And when you are reading the story, you can't help but feel that this was actually happing in the ancient history. So it is a very sweet and romantic story, with a lot of lovely characters from the earlier Survivor's Club stories. In the final part of the book, there is suddenly a little twist in the story, so the gentle flow of the book turns a little bit more into a river. But by no means there is a gigantic waterfall in the book. So it's a very delightful read, with a nostalgic feel and a tough of old fashion romance.
However, since I'm more of a 'let's-go-rafting-down-the-waterfall' kind of reader, only three stars from me. With a thank you to FirstToRead for this ARC.

zondag 10 april 2016

When I'm Gone - Emily Bleeker

Publisher: Lake Union Publisher

Published: March 2016

ISBN: 9781503953383

Dear Luke,
First let me say—I love you…I didn’t want to leave you…

Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there’s something he’s not prepared for—a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie’s handwriting, waiting for him on the floor of their suburban Michigan home.
The letter inside, written on the first day of Natalie’s cancer treatment a year ago, turns out to be the first of many. Luke is convinced they’re genuine, but who is delivering them? As his obsession with the letters grows, Luke uncovers long-buried secrets that make him question everything he knew about his wife and their family. But the revelations also point the way toward a future where love goes on—in written words, in memories, and in the promises it’s never too late to keep.

My review
This book is like sitting on a rollarcoaster. Your emotions will reach absolute highs and lows. You will laugh and you will cry and you definitely will be turning the pages. The story starts when Luke Richardson is returning home with his three kids after burying his wife. You can actually feel the despair and grief coming from the pages. Emily Bleeker has done an outstanding job in describing all the emotions that Natalie and Luke go through from the moment Natalie is diagnosed with cancer, right until the first months after her dead.
Since Emily has been battling her own rare form of cancer (and survived thankfully), undoubtly she has written from experience, but it was splendidly done. 

Luke starts receiving mysterious letters from Natalie. They contain directions for Luke to help him picking up his life after her death, memories from her past and she talks about a secret she needs to share with him. For Luke, the letters are a lifeline and he clings onto them. But it also makes him wonder just how good he knew who Natalie was and what she was hiding from him. Together with Annie, Natalie's best friend, he tries to find out where the letters come from and what Natalie is hiding.

You'll laugh at the tactics of Natalie to get Luke to start dating again, you'll frown on the story from the past of Luke and it makes you wonder if you'll ever understand what Natalie tries to realize from the grave. The story is well written, with enough twists in the plot to keep you wondering and turning the pages. A lovely read, highly recommended! Thank you Netgalley for this lovely ARC.

zaterdag 9 april 2016

The Girl from Summer Hill - Jude Deveraux

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Published: May 2016

ISBN: 9781101883266

The first book of a new contemporary romance series set in the mountains of Virginia in a town with full of family legends, romance, and secrets from New York Times bestselling author of the Nantucket Brides trilogy.

Sparks fly as fiery Casey Reddick and brooding Hollywood actor Tate Landers clash in the Virginia summer heat. A chef who puts her career first and her love life second, Casey doesn’t see what every girl in town is swooning over. She made up her mind the moment she met Tate—he’s gorgeous, but stuck-up, nothing like his ex-brother-in-law, Devlin who’s playing the Wickham to Tate’s Darcy in local production of Pride & Prejudice. Casey makes the perfect Elizabeth Bennett—how could she be star-struck when she’s heard Devlin’s damning stories about Tate? As they rehearse together, however, Casey finds herself attracted to Tate—he’s much more down-to-earth than she expected and any physical contact between the two of them literally gives her a tingling, electric shock. As opening night draws near, Casey has some difficult decisions to make. Whom should she believe? The seemingly sincere, slighted Devlin or Tate, whose rough, arrogant exterior may only be skin deep. She’s come to love that jolt she gets when they touch—but will she get burned?

My review
Jude definitely has the attention of the readers after the first sentence: "There was a naked man on Casey's back porch." Well, that's one way to start a romance novel. The tone has been set and the author luckily lives up to the enticing start of her novel. 
Casey is a lovely but feisty character who can appreciate the fine specimen on her porch, but as soon as the gorgeous man opens his mouth, she realizes he is just one arrogant big time movie star with a stick in his ass. The bantering between Tate and Casey is hilarious at times and sparks are definitely flying.
Although the story is about a local production of Pride and Prejudice in the little town of Summer Hill, the true story of Lizzy and mr. Darcy enfolds along with the rehearsals of the play. Jude has done a splendid job of entwining the original story of Jane Austen with the storylines of Tate, Jack, Gisele, Kit, Lori, Olivia, Nina, Devlin and Casey. 
The story of the Girl from Summer Hill is more down-to-earth than the Nantucket Brides trilogy. So there are no ghosts from the past haunting the main characters. But there are some secrets from the past, which remain secret for a great part of the book. It keeps you wondering why Olivia reacts to Kit the way she does and why Nina and Emmie are so protective of Tate.
Unfortunately, not all the characters were written in depth. For instance, the dare devil with an angelface Gisele (better known als Gizzy), is a humorous girl. But it doesn't get very clear why she acts like a adrenoline junkie. Perhaps Jude will go into that in the sequel of this book (it is told, this book is the first in a new series). It would do her justice, because she plays a big part in the first few chapters of the book, but her role becomes lesser in the end. 
Devlin and Tate couldn't be more opposites then they are. Casey gets stuck in the middle, when she dates Devlin, but has to rehearse with Tate for the play. Are the stories Devlin tells her about Tate and his sister true? Or are those the tales of a resentful ex? Surely, Devlin can't be making the stories up? And the photos Casey accidently stumbles on, are showing evidence of truely horrific behaviour. Although Tate is an arrogant prick, Casey has a hard time believing that he is the coldhearted bastard Devlin describes him to be. And why is she so much attracted to him? She isn't a giggling college girl any more, so what is that electric shock she gets, everytime she goes near him? All secrets are revealed during the premiere of the play. So you just have to keep on reading until then, just as I did with my ARC from FirstToRead.