Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ARC Review: The Chance

The Chance
Robyn Carr
Contemporary Romance
Thunder BPoint/Book 4
MIRA(Harlequin)/February 25, 2014

With its breathtaking vistas and down-to-earth people, Thunder Point is the perfect place for FBI agent Laine Carrington to recuperate from a gunshot wound and contemplate her future. The locals embraced Laine as one of their own after she risked her life to save a young girl from a dangerous cult. Knowing her wounds go beyond the physical, Laine hopes she'll fit in for a while and find her true self in a town that feels safe. She may even learn to open her heart to others, something an undercover agent has little time to indulge.

Eric Gentry is also new to Thunder Point. Although he's a man with a dark past, he's determined to put down roots and get to know the daughter he only recently discovered. When Laine and Eric meet, their attraction is obvious to everyone. But while the law enforcement agent and the reformed criminal want to make things work, their differences may run too deep…unless they take a chance on each other and find that deep and mysterious bond that belongs to those who choose love over fear.

It's small town love on the beautiful Oregon coast.  It's hard not to enjoy the setting when Ms. Carr paints such a breathtaking picture of this fictional town.  Makes me want to visit, if not live there.  For Laine Carrington and Eric Gentry, they are living there and acclimating to small town life and the chance at love.

Ever since meeting Laine in the previous book, The Hero, I've been curious about her.  She's an FBI agent who is in desperate need of some down time.  It's also obvious she tends to keep herself from getting too close to people.  I thought it might be difficult to know Laine but her thoughts and actions allow for insight to this intelligent, independent women.

Eric Gentry has lived through some rough times but doesn't hold any anger regarding what life has thrown at him.  He simply tries to do the best he can, it's admirable if a little boring.  Eric is likable enough but he fell flat when compared to Laine.  I would have liked to see more of Eric's relationship with his daughter.  I didn't feel like I really got to know Eric as well as I would have liked.  Maybe he was too easy going, too complacent about his past.  Maybe I just needed him to be a little bit more bad.

The romance could have used more sparks.  It was sweet but predictable.  What pulled me in and kept my interest were the other characters, most of whom we've met in previous books.  I do like how Laine opens up and allows herself to make friends and settle in to her rental home.  Something she didn't plan on but instead evolved as she changed the focus of her life.

Overall, a sweet romance with a strong heroine who takes control and drives the story.

Rating: B

Thunder Point Series ~

The Wanderer
The Newcomer
The Hero
The Chance
The Promise (June 24, 2014)
The Homecoming (August 26, 2014)


Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: Watch Your Back

Watch Your Back
Karen Rose
Romantic Suspense
Baltimore/Book 4
Signet/February 4, 2014

A cold case reopened. A murderer re-emerging more deadly than ever before.

Baltimore Homicide Detective Stevie Mazzetti has suffered losses no woman should have to endure. And, despite it all, she’s still a fighter. When she learns that her ex-partner might have miscarried justice, she’s determined to put the past to rights, even when she becomes a target.

It’s former Marine Clay Maynard’s job to see the risk in every situation, but he doesn’t have to look hard to find the danger surrounding Stevie. Since the minute he first saw her, Clay has wanted to protect the wounded officer, and he started loving her not long after that. So when Stevie attracts the attention of a vicious psychopath, Clay will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. That is, if he can stay ahead of a killer with everything to lose—and something terrifying to hide...

Ms. Rose has once again delivered an amazing suspenseful romance that kept me on the edge of my seat.  It's Stevie and Clay's turn to have their lives turned upside down.

Stevie Mazzetti is looking into the corruption of her former partner.  She is determined to bring the right criminals to justice and free the innocent.  Not everyone is happy about this which is why Stevie's and everyone around her is in danger.  Someone keeps trying to kill her and Clay is determined to keep her safe.  I enjoyed this storyline with Clay adding his experience as a Marine and a police office to that of his PI work to not only keep Stevie and her daughter Cordelia safe but to unravel the who and whys.

Stevie, well I liked her, have liked her since she first showed up a few books ago but she really needs to work on relying on her police training and not fall for being lured out into the open.  It irritated me the way she would go running into a situation with little or no thought for the fact that someone has been trying to kill her on nearly a daily basis.  Use your head Stevie!

The romance was sometimes a bit of a two steps forward and one step back which isn't surprising given the situation Stevie and Clay find themselves in.  There isn't a lot of alone time and the stress factor is over the top with a killer on the loose.  Still, Clay and Stevie do find some moments and eventually give in to those raging hormones.  They still have to deal with keeping Stevie and her daughter safe while unraveling the mystery of who is trying to kill them.  I liked how the story continued to progress, unfolding the layers of mystery while giving reminders of the romance that is also developing amid the chaos.

The plot moves along at a steady pace, keeping the interest high between the hunt for the killer, the mystery of dirty cops, and how it's all connected to Stevie's past.  Loved the way everyone gets involved in helping not only protect Stevie but those she loves.  Another winner from Ms. Rose.

Rating: A-

Baltimore Series ~

You Belong to Me
No One Left to Tell
Did You Miss Me?
Watch Your Back

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

ARC Review: To Tempt a Viking

To Tempt a Viking
Michelle Willingham
Historical Romance/Ireland/875 AD
Forbidden Vikings/Book 2
Harlequin/January 21, 2014

She’s Testing His Resolve!

Warrior Viking Ragnar Olafsson stood by as his best friend claimed the woman he desired the most. There was only one way to quench the deep darkness within him—become merciless in battle.

When Elena is taken captive, fearless Ragnar risks everything to save her. Now they are stranded with only each other for company. Suddenly every longing, every look, every touch is forbidden. Elena could tempt a saint—and sinner Ragnar knows he won’t be able to hold out for long!

To Tempt a Viking is certainly a romance but it contains a plot device that some readers may have an issue with.  The heroine is married when the story begins.  Not only is she married but she's married to the hero's best friend.  The husband is not abusive or a complete ass, he's just not in love with his wife.  Most of the time this didn't bother me since the husband isn't around for most of the story.  This made it easy to forget about him and concentrate on the developing romance between Ragnar and Elena. The only problem I had was when reminded of Elena's marital status.  Then I felt uncomfortable and wished her husband had been dealt with prior to the beginning of the story.

Elena Karlsdotter has spent the five years of her marriage trying to please her husband.  She keeps their home clean, tries to anticipate his needs and most of all longs to have his child.  They have grown distance when they journey to Ireland to establish a settlement.  They are met with resistance from the Irish and separated during the fighting.  Elena is saved by Ragnar, her husband's best friend.  This is when we see Elena and Ragnar's long standing friendship.  Then, and what I truly enjoyed, the friendship desperately wants to become more on both their parts but their loyalty to Styr, Elena's husband, keeps them from acting on the attraction.

Vikings can be such misunderstood heroes.  Underneath the brooding face and brutally muscled exterior may lie a heart and soul any woman could love.  Ragnar Olafsson is one of those Vikings. For Ragnar, battle is his outlet.  He is able to release his frustrations, the main one is his desire for his best friends wife.  Ragnar didn't have the best childhood.  You could say he came from the wrong side of the tracks, if there had been tracks in 875 AD.  He didn't feel his was good enough for Elena, her family being part of the haves and Ragnar being part of the have nots.  But when she is dependent on him for her safety, his skill at fighting becomes a huge asset. I liked how both Ragnar and Elena's strengths are shown in their struggle to survive.  Clearly, Ragnar is the physically stronger of the two but Elena has her own strengths to lend in their survival.

The romance is sweet, frustrating and emotional.  Sweet in how Elena took care of Ragnar the boy when they were children and continues to try to take care of Ragnar the man.  Frustrating in how Ragnar continues to think he isn't good enough for Elena.  How she deserves better, forgetting himself and what he deserves.  And emotional in how both Elena and Ragnar's emotions are not only revealed towards each other but towards Styr, family and what being a family means.

I think if you don't mind the heroine being married and you like Viking stories, then you'll enjoy Elena and Ragnar's romance.

Rating: B

Forbidden Vikings Series ~

To Sin with a Viking
To Tempt a Viking

Monday, February 3, 2014

ARC Review: Foreplay

Foreplay
Sophie Jordan
Contemporary/New Adult 
The Ivy Chronicles/Book 1
William Morrow/ November 5, 2013

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.

Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real...

Oh, this was a such good read! I was expecting and hoping for a fun, light contemporary romance. What I got was a wonderfully enjoyable look at how intentions and objectives can be overcome by passion and need.

Pepper feels she is ready to experience more in the area of romance.  She has one particular guy in mind but her extremely limited experience makes her think her skills in attracting a guy are in need some training before she goes for her real target.  So her friends lead her to a hot bartender at the local hangout.  Pepper gets a hottie bartender but not at all who she was expecting!  I enjoyed Pepper and Reece's interaction both with clothes on and off but it did move a little too fast when you consider Pepper's lack of experience and the push her friends give her to get things moving.

Reece is intrigued by Pepper.  She's far from a typical party girl and it's obvious she doesn't have the experience of many of the girls he comes in contact with at the bar.  But Reece is attracted to this girl who can't seem to make up her mind if she wants him or not.  She's a challenge and Reece is up to the challenge.  I liked Reece a lot.  He doesn't play games but is upfront with what he wants.  I'd say he's almost too good, too mature for this Pepper.  Maybe a Pepper who has more maturity when it comes to relationships would have been a better fit from the beginning but fortunately for her, Reece is patience and teaches her what relationships are about.

There were times I found myself alternating feeling sorry for Reece then for Pepper.  Then I would get frustrated with Pepper for her fixation on Hunter.  She has blinders on when it comes to Hunter.  It's obvious the chemistry is there with Reece and not with Hunter.  Yet, Pepper insists on pursing her final objective - Hunter.  It's not that Hunter a jerk or a loser, that would have made Pepper into a complete idiot.  Nope, Hunter's actually a good guy, just not the guy for Pepper.  I expect the next time we see him it will be as the hero.

Pepper has a couple of gal pals at college with her who give her advice on how to attract a guy. They help her come out of her shell in the form of a makeover.  While I didn't see anything wrong with this, they were trying to help her, I was glad Reece liked Pepper for who she was without the sexy clothes, hair and makeup.

Foreplay is a strong start for this New Adult romance series.

Rating:  B+

The Ivy Chronicles ~

Foreplay
The Tease (May 24, 2014)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Review: Duke of Midnight

Duke of Midnight
Elizabeth Hoyt
Historical Romance
London/1740
Maiden Lane/Book 6
Grand Central/October 15, 2013

WHEN A MASKED MAN...

Twenty years ago Maximus Batten witnessed the brutal murders of his parents. Now the autocratic Duke of Wakefield, he spends his days ruling Parliament. But by night, disguised as the Ghost of St. Giles, he prowls the grim alleys of St. Giles, ever on the hunt for the murderer. One night he finds a fiery woman who meets him toe-to-toe—and won't back down.

MEETS HIS MATCH...

Artemis Greaves toils as a lady's companion, but hiding beneath the plain brown serge of her dress is the heart of a huntress. When the Ghost of St. Giles rescues her from footpads, she recognizes a kindred spirit-and is intrigued. She's even more intrigued when she realizes who exactly the notorious Ghost is by day.

DESIRE IGNITES A DANGEROUS PASSION

Artemis makes a bold move: she demands that Maximus use his influence to free her imprisoned brother-or she will expose him as the Ghost. But blackmailing a powerful duke isn't without risks. Now that she has the tiger by the tail, can she withstand his ire-or the temptation of his embrace?

A dashing hero in a wig.  A heroine with a heart and soul as brave as any man's.  Two people who, if society is to be believed, have nothing in common.  And yet they find they have some of the most important things in common. Maximus and Artemis are truly a pair I enjoyed watching fall in love!

Artemis Greaves is a wonderful heroine!  She is brave even when scared beyond belief.  Loyal to those she loves and highly intelligent.  Her only real fault is not believing enough in herself. Sometimes I just wanted to shake her and tell her she is so much better than she gives herself credit for.  Artemis must put up with Penelope's self centered attitude and lack of common sense but she does stick up for Penelope.  I thought this said a lot about how important family was and how much Artemis cherished the little family she had left.

Maximus has no idea what to think of Artemis.  She is not like any woman he has known.  He has held the title of Duke since he was a child when his parents were murdered.  So Maximus is accustomed to everyone deferring to him.  It proved to be entertaining hearing Artemis speak her mind to Maximus and his reactions to her.  She brings out his darker, less refined side beautifully.

This series continues to deliver not only romance but suspense, action and humor.  I feel jealous of new readers to Ms. Hoyt, who have never read the Maiden Lane series.  You get the pleasure of reading it for the first time!  So if you have not read this series, what are you waiting for?

Rating: A

Maiden Lane Series ~

Wicked Intentions
Notorious Pleasures
Scandalous Desires
Thief of Shadows
Lord of Darkness
Duke of Midnight

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ARC Review: Crash Into You

Crash Into You
Katie McGarry
Contemporary Young Adult
Pushing the Limits/3
Harlequin Teen/November 26, 2013

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker - a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

What an emotional, wild ride Crash Into You proved to be!  It flew by at breakneck speed and I found myself trying to slow down towards the end because I didn't want it to be over.

Rachel Young may seem like perfection in a pretty dress but she is flawed, just like any other teen, trying to find her way and the direction she wants her life to take.  She has some serious obstacles to overcome, mainly her parents and their strict expectations for her.  When she meets Isaiah, Rachel is looking for an outlet for her rebellion in the form of street racing. She gets more than she bargained for and lucky for her, Isaiah is there to help her out.  It was so emotional, seeing Rachel attempt to live up to the unrealistic expectations her parents had placed on her.  She tries so hard to overcome her fears that I couldn't help but be angry at her parents for not seeing how much pressure and stress they put on her.  McGarry did well in bringing such strong emotions out in the the characters and this reader.

Isaiah Walker knows everyone thinks Rachel is out of his league.  She is not someone he would hang out with or date but he still has this overwhelming need to hang out with her and wants to date her.  I loved how Isaiah takes a huge leap of faith with his feeling for Rachel.  He could be setting himself up for a world of hurt but he takes that chance.  Isaiah is a hero you wish the best of everything for.  He has been through so much and still has a way to go but he doesn't give up.  The mom side of me wanted to give him a home where he would be wanted and loved.  The teenage girl in me would have taken Isaiah as a boyfriend in a heartbeat! He definitely left an impact on me.

The character development is well done not only for the main characters but with the secondary set.  Also, the pacing matched between the suspense, developing romance and the conflicts at home Rachel and Isaiah are dealing with.  The suspense and dangerous situations Rachel and Isaiah find themselves in are made believable because McGarry takes the time to create the framework of the situations.  I loved how nothing is glossed over - neither the brighter moments nor the darker hours. Within those tense situations are reminders that Rachel and Isaiah are teenagers who are facing circumstances not every teen must face.

Even if you don't usually read Young Adult, I encourage you to give Ms. McGarry's Pushing the Limits series a try.  It's more than Young Adult, it is exceptional story telling.

Rating: A

Pushing the Limits Series ~

Pushing the Limits
Crossing the Line (novella)
Dare You To
Crash Into You
Take Me On (May 20, 2014)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

ARC Review: Hard As It Gets

Hard As It Gets
Laura Kaye
Romantic Suspense
Hard Ink Series/Book 1
Avon/November 26, 2013

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey's tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome--pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He's left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander's daughter. Loyalty won't let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn't expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge...

Never having read Ms. Kaye I wasn't sure what to expect so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the suspenseful romance of Becca and Nick (or Rixey as he is also referred to).

Becca Merritt is a very capable ER nurse.  She's use to stressful, tense situations but nothing has prepared her for her brother's kidnapping.  So she turns to Nick Rixey for help.  I liked Becca and how she was portrayed as an intelligent women with faults and flaws.  She makes some mistakes but it's realistic since her experiences have not prepared her for where she has found herself.  Even though Becca is worried, stressed and scared, she holds her own with the big bad Rixey.  He's actually not that bad, he just gives off that attitude.

Nicholas Rixey is still recovering from his injuries sustained during his last battle.  He has withdrawn from his friends, his military brothers and would probably withdraw from his brother Jeremy if Jeremy let him.  Instead they work and live together, Jeremy having taken Nick in when Nick was drifting after his release from the Army.  Rixey is a wounded warrior without a war to fight.  Becca gives him that fight and makes him want to do more than just exist.

There is mistrust at the beginning between Becca and Rixey.  She doesn't know him, only that he was one of her father's men.  He has reason to hate Becca's father and in the beginning, transfers his attitude towards Becca.  He quickly changes his mind when he admits to himself what he knew all along - Becca is not responsible for her father's actions. Rixey is written in a way that you get why he reacts and thinks the way he does.  He is far from perfect and is willing to ask for help, even if it means humbling himself.  I liked how he and Becca learn to trust each other as they are falling for each other.  If there had been no trust, the relationship would have felt hollow.  Instead, it felt real.

I think real is a good word to describe Hard As It Gets.  The action, romance and characters all feel real.  The secondary characters fulfill their roles without overwhelming the hero and heroine and the suspense.  There were a few periods of a little too much character introspective, throwing the pace off but not enough to dampen the enjoyment.  Can't wait to see what happens next!

Rating: A-

Hard Ink Series ~

Hard As It Gets
Hard As You Can (February 25, 2014)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

TBR Challenge: The Navy SEAL's Bride

The Navy SEAL's Bride
Contemporary Romance
Harlequin/August 7, 2012

Ex-navy SEAL Tom Cartwright is struggling to return to civilian life. His little niece is his only ray of sunshine and he agrees to be the "show" in her school show-and-tell.  Teacher Caitlin Rose knows all about past disappointments—once, she danced in the spotlight but now she shows others how to. She's learned the hard way to rely only on herself. Yet as soon as Tom looks at her with those big brown eyes, she's done for….

Can Caitlin crack the walls around this soldier's battle-worn heart?

This year's challenge is off to a good start!  I totally flaked out on last year's challenge but not this year!  A big thanks to Wendy for once again hosting the challenge.

The suggested theme for January is short stories or novellas. Since I have an abundance of Harlequin romances on my TBR pile, that's where I searched out and found one of Ms. Lane's contemporary romances.

It's because of a little girl, Gabby, that Caitlin and Tom meet.  Gabby is Tom's niece and when Tom first sees Gabby's teacher Miss Caitlin Rose, he has a hard time keeping his eyes off of her.  For Caitlin, it's a similar reaction but she has a history with military men and it's not a good one.

The romance moves along quickly, with Caitlin and Tom acting on their mutual attraction.  Caitlin and Tom each have difficulties in their past to overcome.  Tom is learning to accept that he will never go out in the field again but will instead teach recruits.  He doesn't feel like he has anything long-term to offer to a woman. Caitlin thinks she can't trust a man with a military background.  Neither Caitlin or Tom showed much conflict or resistance when it came to overcoming their pasts.  I would have liked to see more conflict and resistance to dating each other since much emphasis was place on these two reasons.

Tom dated Caitlin, slept with her but was not willing to listen to her when she tried to sympathize with him about his loses.  It felt very unreasonable of Tom to brush Caitlin off so quickly, demeaning to a certain extent.  He became angry and scared Caitlin with his reaction to her trying to simply talk to him about his losses.  I didn't like this side of Tom and thought he overreacted.  Turned me off the hero.

There are some words and terms that sounded a bit off.  Since the author lives in New Zealand, perhaps the odd words and phrases are more specific to that region and why I'm not familiar with them.  Nothing really major but the hero is a U.S. Navy SEAL and it did cause me to pause a few times.

Rating:  C

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review: Dare You To

Dare You To
Katie McGarry
Contemporary Young Adult
Pushing the Limits/2
Harlequin Teen/May 28, 2013

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....


"I dare you..."


If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

After reading and loving Pushing the Limits, I was looking forward to the next in Ms. McGarry's emotionally charged Young Adult series.  While Dare You To didn't have as strong of an impact that Pushing the Limits had, it is still a worthwhile addition to the series.

It all started with a dare.  And while some things that start with a dare don't always end well, for Ryan and Beth, the dare was only the beginning of what would prove to be a very exciting, emotional roller coaster ride.

Beth Risk had to grow up too young and too fast.  In her relationship with her mother, Beth is the parental figure while her mother is irresponsible and immature.  Beth continues to keep her mother out of trouble but this places Beth in right trouble's path.  I couldn't help but feel sorry for Beth. Her attitude could use some adjusting but she uses her rebellious teen attitude as a shield to protect her from the world of disappointment she has experienced.

Ryan Stone is the all American teenager.  Good grades, lots of friends, baseball star - yes, he has it all.  But he wants something more, something different.  He is intelligent but hides it behind his jock persona.  Ryan is mature, willing to see beyond Beth's bad girl image to the real girl behind the attitude.  I liked how the conflict between Ryan's dreams and his father's dreams for him are shown and resolved.

For Beth and Ryan, the chance meeting that turns to friendship then romance, acts as a catalyst for major changes in each others' lives.  They are both able to see the potential in one another and provide encouragement towards reaching for something they each thought was unattainable.

Rating: B+

Pushing the Limits Series ~

Pushing the Limits
Crossing the Line (novella)
Dare You To
Crash Into You
Take Me On (May 20, 2014)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

ARC Review: Santa, Bring My Baby Back

Santa, Bring My Baby Back
Cheryl Harper
Contemporary Romance
Rock'n'Rolla Hotel/Book 3
Avon Impulse
December 17, 2013

A bride abandoned at the altar . . . just in time for Christmas? 'Tis the season for second chances at Cheryl Harper's Elvis-themed Rock'n'Rolla Hotel.

After trying and failing at acting, modeling, dog grooming, and a dozen other jobs, Grace Andersen thought for sure she'd nail marrying a rich man. But dumped in a hotel chapel and strapped for cash, Grace needs a miracle—and a job.

If it were up to Charlie McMinn, Grace would be a married lady by now. Officiating weddings in gold lamé and a rock star pompadour may not have been his idea of getting into the holiday spirit, but with a gorgeous bride asking for his help, Charlie doesn't mind sticking around his mother's hotel a few more days. Especially if it means getting Grace settled …

Grace isn't sure what to think of sexy, rugged Charlie, except that she can't deny the attraction between them, or how good it feels to finally fit in somewhere. Is she ready to give a certain place—and a certain someone—a real chance? Or will she abandon a true Christmas miracle?

Cheryl Harper gives readers a sweet, quirky romance between a schedule loving hero and a no plans required heroine.  It's set against the backdrop of an Elvis themed resort hotel.  And while there are a number of Elvis sightings, the focus is on the developing romance of Grace and Charlie.

Charlie McMinn is happiest at his home in the woods, working his magic on increasing his and his mother's investments.  It's his mother Willodean, who draws him out of him seclusion and has him working at the resort.  Charlie doesn't like his time at the resort but he loves him mom and that's why he's willing to dress as Elvis.  Charlie's really a sweetheart under all that grumpiness and I enjoyed see through that grumpiness to the hero underneath.

It turns out being left at the alter is the best thing to happen to Grace Andersen in a long time.  She finds herself more or less stuck at the Rock'n'Rolla Hotel.  Grace does seem to land on her feet and this time is not different except for Charlie.  He makes all the difference between just another job and a new life.  Grace slides into her new role and new life at the hotel.  She also makes her way into Charlie's life and it was interesting to see how much these two seemingly different people have so much in common.

The hotel and resort has it's variety of eclectic residents.  They all add some spice to the story but my favorite is Willodean.  She is the voice of wisdom, reason and experience.  She is the driving force of the hotel and the people who live and work there.

Although Santa, Bring My Baby Back is considered a holiday romance, it's a fun read for any time of the year.

Rating: B

Rock'n'Rolla Hotel Series ~

Love Me Tender (novella in anthology Kiss Me)
Stuck on You
Can't Help Falling in Love
Santa, Bring My Baby Back