Tag Archives: Romance

Review: The Ruby Brooch by Katherine Lowry Logan

2 Stars

As the sole survivor of a car accident that took the lives of her parents and best friend, Kit MacKlenna struggles with survivor guilt.  This is especially hard for Kit because as an EMT, she was trained to save lives and she feels that she failed to save her loved ones.  She comes home to her family seat, a sweeping horse ranch, only to learn that the life she knew was built on a lie.  In a letter from her father, he reveals that she was abandoned as a baby 160 years earlier and the only clues to her identity are a blood-splattered shawl, a portrait of a 19th century man and a Celtic ruby brooch, which her father claims has magical powers.  Kit decides to continue her father’s search for her true identity and solve her birth parents’ murder.

Kit travels back to 1852 and arrives in Independence, where she meets Cullen Montgomery.  He is a San Francisco bound lawyer who is leading a wagon train over the Oregon Trail.  Against his better judgement, he helps Kit join his wagon train.  She passes herself off as a widow and makes fast friends with one of the families on the train as she hires their son as a driver.  But Cullen doesn’t believe Kit is who she says she is and he is determined to find out why she’s lying and what she’s hiding.  Especially after a series of accidents and miraculous survivals show Kit to be more than a simple widow.

As someone who has read a lot of fantasy novels, it’s not too hard for me to suspend belief and accept the supernatural and unusual.  But The Ruby Brooch wants me to not only to accept the existence of magic and time-travel, it also wants me to ignore basic science and common-sense.  I just couldn’t do it.  I could accept that Kit took her iPod and a solar charger with her and could listen to music, it might just be possible to do so.  But to be able to watch YouTube?!  Also, people were far too accepting of Kit’s behavior.  They just shrugged it off instead of being distrustful of her.  The only person who even has a hint of distrust is Cullen but he tempers that against his growing feelings toward her.

I had a lot of high hopes for this book.  I was really hooked by the description and the first few chapters did have me looking forward to Kit’s adventures.  I did appreciate that the author made Kit a fairly strong female lead and not a typical damsel in distress, though she does seem to find herself in trouble more often than not along the trail.  Unfortunately almost all of the characters followed a typical stereotype.  You had the crusty but heart-of-gold sidekick, the ever-faithful and strong mother, the little girl that reminded Kit of herself, and of course the dashing hero.

The romance between Cullen and Kit was more annoying than interesting.  At times I wanted to just scream at both of them.  Granted, I think most novels with a romance angle have many readers doing the same thing as we get frustrated with the characters lack of common sense!

The writing wasn’t bad and it was a quick read.  I just couldn’t get interested in Kit and Cullen the way that many other readers have been able to.  There wasn’t a connection for me.  There are other books in this series, but I’m not sure I’ll be checking them out.

 

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Filed under Fantasy, Romance

Review: Searching for Harmony by Kelly Elliott

4 Stars

Harmony Banks has already been through hell.  She was disowned by her parents because she became pregnant instead of going to college.  She and Trey married and began their lives together to raise their son, TJ, as a family.  Then her world is shattered again after a horrible accident takes both her husband and her son from her.  As time passes, she learns that her marriage wasn’t what she thought it was and begins to fall apart.  The only thing keeping her going is the strong friendship she formed with the firefighter who saved her life.

Preston Ward is a firefighter and first responder.  He thought that he’d become immune to the emotional roller coaster that can come along with his job, especially when unable to save a child.  But he couldn’t get Harmony or her son out of his mind, so he visited her in the hospital.  The bond that started when he saved her life, grew into an amazing friendship, one that saved both of them from what could have been a very deep depression.

As the months pass, Harmony and Preston become closer and begin to recognize that the feelings they have for one another are definitely more than friendship and go much deeper than either one of them expects.  But can Harmony get past her heartbreak and let herself love again?  When you lose everything once, can you open yourself up to someone even if there is the possibility that you could lose it all again?  Can Harmony and Preston let themselves just live in the moment and take everything that life has to offer them?

I really did enjoy this book.  It was a tear-jerker in several areas.  I wasn’t always convinced of the authenticity of the characters, but they were definitely a warm and loving bunch that I wanted to get to know more.  The romance wasn’t overdone and it was one of the more believable romance stories I’ve come across in quite awhile.  There were times I wanted to smack both Harmony and Preston upside the head, but who doesn’t want to do that from time to time with people in our own lives?

 

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Review: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber

4 1/2 Stars

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publishers for the chance to read this book.

Nichole and Leanne are an unlikely duo.  Leanne is Nichole’s mother-in-law and now they have both left their troubled marriages and have taken up apartments in Portland near each other.  They are each other’s support and they have created a set of rules to live by in order to get their lives back.  They are now taking care of themselves, something that they lost along the way during their now broken marriages.

Nichole was married to Jake, Leanne’s son.  When she finds out that he was cheating on her and got another woman pregnant, she showed amazing strength and left him and served him with divorce papers.  Leanne drew strength from Nichole and finally got up the courage to leave Sean and their marriage of nearly 35 years.  For decades she had been quietly ignoring his cheating and indiscretions, but  in watching her son follow the same pattern as his father, she has finally had enough and walks out and starts a new life.

It is now two years since they left their respective husbands.  Jake has been dragging his feet and is finally ready to finalize the divorce.  Nichole gets this news and promptly backs her car into a ditch.  She meets Rocco, a local tow-truck owner who drags her car out of the ditch and through a series of events that were both comical and endearing, they begin a friendship that could definitely move into something more.  Rocco is the opposite of the white-collar Jake but maybe this is just what Nichole needs.

Leanne has started volunteering to teach an English as a second language class in the evenings.  This is where she meets Nikolai, a very talented baker from the Ukraine.  He soon becomes her favorite student and is taken to walking her to her car every evening and baking her bread.  He slowly begins to show her that she is lovable and desirable.  That her ex-husband was a fool.

While this is definitely part of the happy endings club of books, you really wonder through the majority of the book if this will ever happen or if this will be one of those books that defies the odds and doesn’t give the characters a happier ending.  There are more than a few tear-jerker moments and I definitely gasped out loud a few times.  It’s not all sunshine and roses for these ladies and the men in their lives.  There are plenty of conflicts and tragedies that wind their way through this story.  This is definitely not your typical romance novel and I was very pleasantly surprised by this.  It was a very engaging story and I found myself blazing through it, unable to put it down.

I loved all of the characters, even Jake and Sean.  They had an authenticity to them that you couldn’t deny.  While this isn’t my typical genre, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a good romance novel with a great ending.  Authentic characters and a story that doesn’t require you to suspend belief.  This is a story that could probably happen to any of us and probably echoes some of our own marriages and struggles.  I am definitely a fan of this book and will most likely be looking into other books by the author if they are anything like A Girl’s Guide to Moving On.

 

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Filed under Romance, Women's Fiction

Review: Beating Ruby by Camilla Monk

4 Stars

I received this an an ARC from the author after reading and reviewing the first book in the series, Spotless.  And being a total airhead, I totally forgot to post my review until I got an e-mail about the upcoming third novel in the series.  So I apologize to the author, I don’t have any other excuse other than to say I was busy trying to convince Krakky to pick the lotto numbers for me.

This book is the second in the Spotless series and picks up a few months after we left Island Chaptal.  She has seemingly gotten on with her life after she was kidnapped and learned that everything she knew about her life was a lie.  She has a new job that she enjoys and she has found a nice, normal boyfriend, Alex.  She is still healing from her broken hart, having had it broken at the hands of March.  The hit man sent to kidnap her and who ultimately helps her unravel the secrets of her life.

Island has been working on Ruby, a revolutionary software project for the banking industry.  Her boss is soon found dead and all evidence points to him stealing a vast fortune using Ruby and then erased all records of the transaction and the software itself.  Of course it falls to Island to clear his name and set his legacy right.  And of course she needs to turn to the one man who broke her heart to help her.  But can she trust him again?

Once again this book is hilarious.  A romance novel that doesn’t take itself too seriously and allows the reader to laugh at the plot, the characters and ultimately themselves.  A truly tongue-in-cheek approach to “Chick-Lit” that makes you smile every time you pick up the book.  It’s a romance novel that makes fun of the entire genre.  Every outlandish situation is one that makes you smile.  You know that nothing like this would ever really happen in real life, but that’s the whole idea!

Once again this book had everything.  Romance, intrigue, epic battles and a scene with a baby octopus that simply cannot be missed.

I love the characters in spite of myself.  You really do have to suspend belief because there cannot possibly be people like this in the real world.  Though, if there were, I think I would love to meet them!

If you want a romance that doesn’t take itself or the characters too seriously, definitely pick up this series.  As long as you read them in the spirit that they were written, you will not be disappointed.

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Filed under Humor, Romance

Review: The Forbidden Billionaire by J. S. Scott

3 Stars…maybe…

Caveat:  This is Book 2 in the Sinclairs.  I have read, but did not review the first book in the series No Ordinary Billionaire.  In order to really get the whole picture, you’ll want to read the books in order.  You can almost read this book as a stand alone, but there are pieces to the backstory that are only made clear by reading the first book.

Review: I grudgingly gave this book 3 stars.  It wasn’t terrible, but it really wasn’t that good either.  But I also couldn’t put it down, so I felt I had to put that extra star in there just for keeping me sucked into the story.  What really surprised me though was the fact that a supporting character drew me in far more than the two lead characters and I’m really looking forward to getting to know Evan better.  Even as a supporting character, he really stands out.

This book focuses on Jared Sinclair and Mara Ross.  He is part of the incredibly wealthy and, as chance would have it, sinfully good looking Sinclair clan.  He is an architect by trade, he has a love of old homes and architecture in general.  He gave up the dream of restoring old homes due to a long ago betrayal and went into the real estate business and added to his riches.  It’s not what he wants to do, but he feels like it’s what he has to do.  It hurts too much to look at the past and the misplaced guilt of what happened after he was betrayed by the people who he should have been able to trust most.  He’s back home in small town Amesport for his brother’s wedding and this is where he meets Mara, the local doll-shop owner.

Mara is not your typical femme fatale.  She’s a little too curvy and has absolutely no self-esteem.  She meets Jared during a particularly low time in her life.  She’s a small shop owner who lives above her shop in a very old home.  That home is being sold by the owner and she’s being evicted.  Her doll shop has been passed down from her grandmother to her mother and now to her.  She’s not making any money and what money she does make by selling jam, sauces and taffy at the local farmer’s market, goes right back into keeping herself alive.

Jared arrives with a business plan and a way to keep everyone happy.  He will put up the capital to get her up and running and selling her consumables full-time.  Mixing business and pleasure.  They feel an instant and overwhelming attraction to one another.  They try to keep business and personal life separate, but that doesn’t exactly work out as well as they’d like.

There were a few turn-offs for me in this book.  The language was overly vulgar.  I’m in no way a prude, trust me on this.  But there really is such a think as using the “F” word too much.  There were many times where I thought to myself “if a guy actually talked to me like this, I’d probably slap him across the face and walk away.” but all it does is make Mara hot.  And that’s another thing.  Mara has absolutely NO self-esteem.  She has nothing good to say about herself, ever.  She’s about as interesting as a wet noodle.  She gets a little better as the book goes on, but she really is annoying.  Give the girl a backbone!

I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it.  But if you’re looking for a feel-good story with animal attraction, some sex and a glimpse into the ridiculously wealthy…give this one a try.  Be warned, there is quite a bit of vulgar language and the sex scenes are fairly graphic, but not obscenely so.

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