Saturday, March 28, 2015

ARC Review: We All Looked Up

We All Looked Up
Tommy Wallach
Young Adult/Pre-Apocalypse
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
March 24, 2015

Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, ddoesn'tunderstand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.

This is a scenario which could potentially happen. We do hear about asteroids coming what science calls "close to earth", when in reality they are millions of miles away. But for the characters in Tommy Wallach's We All Looked Up, coming close isn't a factor. This asteroid is almost destined to make impact. It's a pity the characters and their story didn't leave a great impact on this reader.

The story starts out with getting to know these teens and their lives prior to the devastating news that will change their lives. What I found interesting is the different reactions to the news of the asteroid. Some people pull closer to their families while others rebel against everything and everyone. It makes you wonder if they are going against their nature or if the event is bringing out their true nature.  It's always good when a book makes you think.

The main characters don't have much in common at the beginning but band together and find some surprising commonalities  as they come to know each other. The pairings up would not have occurred in real life but this is a surreal life these characters are living, knowing their lives might be ending in a very short amount of time.  Might as well make the most of it seems to be the prevailing attitude.

If the plot had continued focusing on the main characters the story would have held my interest but instead we are lead into another direction. The world of drugs and crime populated by thugs left me caring little for the outcome of these characters. They continued to make poor, idiotic choices, wasting away the time they had instead of appreciating it.

In the end, while I wanted to care about these characters, about the changes they made prior to the asteroids impact, I felt a bit empty by the end.

Rating: C-

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

TBR Challenge: Once in a Lifetime

Once in a lifetime
Jill Shalvis
Contemporary Romance
Lucky Harbor/Book 9
Grand Central Publishing/February 18, 2014

SOMETIMES WRONG IS OH-SO-RIGHT

After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he's back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she's not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben - even though he has absolutely no idea what she's done...

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

Aubrey is a former troubled teen and beauty queen but if you stop at that simple description, you would be missing out on a lot. After her latest, very public embarrassment, she's reforming herself. Aubrey has decided to atonement to everyone she's wronged. So she makes a list and checks it off as she goes but one name on the list is causing her a lot of problems.

Ben McDaniels' wife Hannah died five years ago and since then Ben has been making himself scarce in Lucky Harbor. Instead, he travels around the world, helping others. Ben works in dangerous places around the world, running from his memories in Lucky Harbor. But he keeps coming back because it's home and his family is there. When he finds himself back in Lucky Harbor he has no plans to stay long but those plans change when Aubrey Wellington runs across his path.

The chemistry between Aubrey and Ben is there but there is also reluctance on both their parts to give in to any desires. That reluctance doesn't last long and soon Ben and Aubrey have moved past their hesitancy into a not-so-serious relationship. It was believable but I didn't like the way everyone warned Ben away from Aubrey, implying she wasn't good enough for him. Ben garnered sympathy because of his dead wife and Aubrey was known as the town screw up but I think that had just as much to do with her mistakes as with jealousy over her looks.

Often there is a secondary relationship which can sometimes be just as interesting, if not more, than the main couple. In this case, the secondary relationship I enjoyed is between Ben and his cousin Luke. They are more like brothers, growing up together after Luke's mom took Ben in when he was left alone in the world. It's a beautiful relationship filled with love, laughter and mutual harassing of each other. I found myself wishing they had more page time which I can't remember ever happening with two straight guys.

Once in a Lifetime, the ninth book in the series, left me less than satisfied. There is a feeling of sameness to the stories. I know where it's going, which isn't always bad but there are few if any surprises along the way. Surprises are good, they keep our interest piqued. I do plan to read the rest of the series in the hopes there are still a few surprises along the way.

Rating: C

Lucky Harbor Series ~

Simply Irresistible 
The Sweetest Thing
Kissing Santa Claus novella in the anthology Small Town Christmas
Head Over Heels
Lucky in Love
At Last 
Forever and a Day
It Had to Be You
Always On My Mind
Once In a Lifetime
It's In His Kiss
He's So Fine
One In a Million

Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: Third Degree

Third Degree
Julie Cross
Contemporary/ New Adult
Flirt/March 25, 2014

I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.

But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.

Oh, this was such an enjoyable story! I'm surprised at how much the young me inside could identify with Izzy and it has nothing to do with her genius IQ. Izzy's an oddity in the world of medicine. An eighteen year old with her M.D., she is freakishly book smart but her life experiences are so limited when it comes to human interaction she stumbles and falls often.

After failing to get into a residency program, the genius Izzy heads back to college. Not so much for the traditional classroom experience but for the life experience. To help Izzy gain this experience is her R.A. (resident adviser), Marshall Collins. He's hot, funny and attracted to Izzy. He also genuinely likes Izzy for who she is. He does give her advice about tempering her need to diagnosis everyone as he helps Izzy learn to fit in.

Marsh comes up with a plan for Izzy to experience college life and teen life to the fullest. To experience what she has been missing out on while she was busy earning her doctorate when most teens were in high school. Marsh is playful, cheerful, mischievous and sweet and just an all around good guy. Yes, we females tend to be intrigued by "bad boys" but there is something to be said about the good guys.

Izzy and Marsh's relationship is running along fairly smoothly but we know it will hit a rough patch and it does. How they both handle it shows that maturity and intelligence do not always go hand in hand. Izzy begins to realize just how much she has missed out on because of her unconventional upbringing. She has had great opportunities but missing those everyday teenage activities has lead to her struggles to form healthy relationships. Cross does a good job showing this through Izzy's revelations about herself as she works through her new emotional side.

Third Degree is a smart, funny and adept look at how Izzy and Marsh cope with their challenges and how they learned to lean on each other's strengths.

Rating: B+

Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: Hard Time

Hard Time
Cara McKenna
Contemporary Romance
Penguin/April 15, 2014

My pounding heart went still, eerie as birds fallen silent in the wake of a gunshot.

He was big. Tall frame, wide shoulders-but not burly. His near-black hair was due for a cut, curling under his ears. Dark brows, dark stubble, dark lashes and eyes.

And he was handsome. So handsome it broke your heart.

A deck of cards was split between his hands, paused midshuffle. Some of the men wore navy scrub tops and bottoms, some navy tee shirts, a few white undershirts. This man wore a tee, with COUSINS stenciled on the front, above the number 802267. Those digits imprinted on my brain, burned black as a brand.

He watched me. But not the way the others did. If he was trying to picture me naked, his poker face was strong, though his attention anything but subtle. His entire head moved as I passed through his domain, but his eyes were languorous. Lazy and half-lidded, yet intense. A hundred looks in one. I didn't like it. Couldn't read it. At least with the horny jerk-offs, I knew where I stood. I wondered what the worst thing you could do and still only get sent to a medium-security prison was. I hoped not to ever learn the answer.

And I hoped to heaven inmate 802267 hadn't signed up for any of the day's programs.

So very different and so very good! It's not often romance readers get to see and experience the inside of a prison. As the story opens, librarian Annie Goodhouse is on her way to her first day at Cousins Correctional Facility. She, of course, is nervous. Who wouldn't be, knowing you will be in a room full of convicted criminals with only a handful of guards to protect you? But Annie wants to help and she's curious about the inmates. It's an environment not many outsiders have access to so there's bound to be some curiosity. There is also fear and trepidation. Annie has some doubts as to what she is doing and if she can really help any of these men.

Inmate 802267 catches Annie's eye right away. He stands out in a room full of dangerous men. It's the way he holds himself and the way he looks at her. Annie is very aware of his presence as Eric, inmate 802267, is very aware of her. Eric Collier has been locked up for five years on a ten year sentence. He's quiet, thoughtful but can be dangerous if pushed. I found Eric to be an interesting character but the interest, at the beginning, is more of how Annie reacts to Eric than Eric himself.

The first part of the story takes place at the prison while the rest takes place outside prison. I found the beginning to be more tense and intriguing. After the prison, the romance became far more similar to other "good girl/bad boy" romances. Annie believes in the good in Eric while Eric is still very aware of the bad in himself. It's not so much that he apologizes for himself but he doesn't think he's good enough for Annie and there were times when I agreed. He became less alpha and more subservient to Annie towards the ending.

The insight Annie give gives to her experiences in Cousins is revealing not only in what goes on in prisons but what an outsider is exposed to. Annie realizes some of her preconceptions are accurate while others, not so much.

Rating: A-

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Lovely Wild

Lovely Wild
Megan Hart
Contemporary Fiction
MIRA/November 25, 2014

Brought up in the savage captivity of her unstable grandmother's rural Pennsylvania home, Mari Calder once yearned for rescue. Now she struggles every day to function as an adult in the confines of normal society. Left with only a foggy recollection of her childhood, she's consumed with being a dutiful wife to her husband, Ryan, and mother to their two children.

But an unexpected twist of events returns her to that long-forgotten house in the woods. Soon, Mari is greeted with reminders of a past life, the clarified memories only inviting a new level of strangeness into her fragile world. To protect her family, she must find the beautiful, powerful strength hidden in her inner chaos. Because someone is bent on exploiting Mari's trauma, and as normal and wild begin to blend, a string of devastating truths force Mari to question all she thought she knew.

I don't always know what to expect from Megan Hart other than a good story. Maybe I should expect the unexpected? Lovely Wild is clearly a deviation from Hart's erotic romance roots but she still delivers her thought provoking writing and emotional punches in true Hart style. Don't shy away from this because it is not a romance. It's a story not to be missed and hard to put down.

I dare you not to feel sorry for Mari. She is different and she knows it which is why she is not always comfortable around people. There is little to no pretense with Mari, she says what she means and doesn't lie. But she doesn't always know what to say in "normal" circumstances. After getting to know Mari and her background, I didn't feel like Mari was less than normal. Mari makes you see how what is considered normal is often fake and insincere, which Mari doesn't know how to be.

As the story progresses, Mari finds her life circling around to where she started, at the house in the woods. It's here Mari confronts her past as well as how the past fits in with her present and future. Her children are the most important people to Mari but they are not the only family she has. It's family, in all forms, that Mari must deal with.

Seeing Mari back at her beginnings, it's eye opening. She has come so far but still has a ways to go. What I enjoyed seeing is how Mari interactions with her children. She may not have the traditional background of growing up with a loving mother but she is a wonderful mother. It's instinctual with Mari. So while she is having trouble in her marriage she continues to nurture and protect her kids.

One thing that sets this story apart is the different point of view. We not only get Mari's POV but also her husband Ryan's and her teenage daughter Kenda. This gave the story a different feel than it would have had it all been told from Mari's POV. While I didn't like Mari's husband, I wouldn't say seeing events through his eyes made me sympathetic towards him, it did help to understand why he made some real bad choices. Mari's daughter Kenda comes off as they stereo-typical self-absorbed teen but her observations show she is more aware than her parents think she is.

Towards the end is where the plot became less filled with surprises and more filled with predictability. Mari's world is not wrapped up in a pretty bow but ended up closer to normal than where it felt Mari should be.

Rating: A-

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: Closer Than You Think

Closer Than You Think
Karen Rose
Romantic Suspense
Cincinnati/Book 1
Signet/February 3, 2015

Psychologist Faith Corcoran is desperate to escape the stalker who’s made her life a nightmare for the past year—desperate enough to run to the one place that has been her nightmare far longer. Both boon and bane, her recent inheritance of her grandmother’s old house in Cincinnati offers sanctuary in which she can start her life anew, but requires that she face the dark memories that still resonate to this day. 

But she has no idea how close to home her fears still are. 

Two college girls have gone missing in the area, and FBI Special Agent Deacon Novak is called to work on the case. When his inquiry unexpectedly leads him to Faith, he finds a beautiful and brave woman he can’t help but fall for. Soon they’ll discover that this seemingly simple investigation is anything but. Reaching back decades into Faith’s own past, it will shatter everything she believes to be true and will give terrifying new meaning to flesh and blood.

The start of a new series from a favorite author can be exciting. While this is a new location and some new characters there are a few familiar characters, most notably the hero, Deacon Novak.

Deacon is a very physically distinct character but beyond his physical attributes, he is intelligent, determined and a risk taker. He's an FBI agent and while he follows the rules, he also thinks outside the box. It was good to learn more about Deacon, about his past and his family. It helped make him a more complete character rather than this shadowy form in a leather coat. I did find him almost ordinary but I think that was due more to the build up in previous books as well as his unique features. Was I expecting some type of superhero? Maybe. Turns out he's more of an everyday hero.

Faith Corcoran is an intelligent psychologist who is trying to escape her past. She has changed her name and moved in an attempt to be safe. Faith's intelligence is not hidden or downplayed in a false attempt to make her seem more vulnerable and I liked that. Faith certainly still has vulnerable moments, but through intelligence and sometimes luck, she survives. She also doesn't treat Deacon like a freak of nature but sees the allure of his physical differences.

I've always thought Rose can write some creepy, nasty villains,but this time she may have just outdone herself. Sick bastard sounds about right. Rose keeps the reader guessing as to who the villain really is. We are also introduced to some new secondary characters who added another layer to the plot. The plot itself is intrinsic to both Deacon and Faith resolving the struggles and suffering in their pasts.

Like many of Rose's romances, this one happens quickly but doesn't feel rushed. Along with the quick pace of the suspense, so goes the romance between Deacon and Faith. At one point I couldn't believe it had only been two days since Deacon and Faith met. It felt like they had known each other for years. It had to do with the way they clicked with each other. The suspense and danger do throw them together in stressful situations which only seems to enhance the attraction.

With the first book in a "newish" series read, I already find myself looking forward to the next book. I wonder who the hero and heroine will be? For now, only Ms. Rose knows.

Rating: B+

Cincinnati Series ~

Closer Than You Think

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

ARC Review: The Girls of Mischief Bay

The Girls of Mischief Bay
Susan Mallery
Contemporary Fiction
Mischief Bay/Book 1
Harlequin/February 24, 2015

Spoiler Alert/Warning Below Rating

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time at her Mischief Bay Pilates studio. Can she say enough is enough without losing the man she loves?

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg rose to become vice president in her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she can have it all. And if she can, does she want it?

Although Pam Eiland has a beautiful house and a husband she adores, she feels… restless. She wonders who a stay-at-home mom becomes after the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise her husband brings the heat and the humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.

Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, three very different women will discover that friends can become family, and that life is richer with sisters at your side.

This isn't what I would consider a romance. It's a contemporary story about friendship with some romance but not in the traditional sense of following the relationship of a main hero and heroine. What it is is a story about three women, Nicole, Shannon and Pam, who through their friendship, weather some very rough seas together.

One thing about Nicole, Pam and Shannon that sets them apart from what might be called the typical friends story is their age differences and the stage that each is in their lives. Pam is the eldest at fifty. She has been married for many years and has three grown children. Shannon, closing in on forty, is single and career driven but hoping to find love. Nicole, the youngest at thirty, is married with a young son. All three have struggles in their love lives but those struggles are different because each woman is at a different phase in her life. This kept the plot moving along.

We get points of view from each of the three women which helps give insight to how they are feeling and thinking. They share a lot of their thoughts with each other but do hold back some. Also, getting the same scene from different points of view shows how perceptions of others isn't always accurate, even with close friends.

With three different women there is a greater chance the reader will relate to at least one of the women. The downside is if the reader only relates to one of the lead characters that leaves a possible disconnect with approximately two-thirds of the narration. I found myself able to relate easiest to Pam but less so to Nicole and Shannon. Nicole mostly because of how she allowed her husband to treat her. She didn't stand up for herself, but rather tried to justify his self-centered actions. This left me feeling little sympathy for her. Shannon was a little different. With Shannon there is sympathy for her situation even though she has been in control of her life and where it has lead her up until now. Her decisions were intelligent and well thought out. I actually liked her the best.

The first half of the book was enjoyable getting to know the three women and seeing where their lives were going. It was when the bad things started to happen the story took a turn that turned out to be a turn off. It was as if some terrible, life shattering event had to happen to each woman and they might not make it back from the brink they found themselves on. I found certain parts simply depressing. Yes, they did band together and overcome and pulled each other back from the brink but in the end, the trip was a little too rough for me.

Rating: C+


Mischief Bay Series ~

The Girls of Mischief Bay











Spoiler Alert / Warning

If you have recently, and that could be months or years, depending on where you on in the grieving process, suffered the death of your spouse then this might not be the book for you. One of the main characters' spouse dies and we see her go through the aftermath of his death. It wasn't easy to read and might prove to be too difficult for someone who has been there. Or, it could have a positive affect. Reading about a character going through this might make you feel like you're not alone. I felt a warning was needed because the death in the book came as a surprise. Not the blurb nor the story leading up to the death made me think this would happen.

My sincere condolences if you have suffered the death of your spouse, at any point in your life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

TBR Challenge: Fallen from Grace

Fallen From Grace
Laura Leone aka Laura Resnick
Contemporary Romance
Five Star/June 2, 2003
Reissued/Blonde Trifecta/January 31, 2011


* Rita Award Finalist for Best Contemporary Romance
* Desert Island Keeper, AllAboutRomance.com
* No. 29 on DearAuthor.Com’s list of the Top 100 Romance Novels

My TBR pile is huge! There are any number of books that I have no idea how they got there because they have been there so long. The book I chose for this month has been sitting on one of my bookshelves for years but I do remember who recommended it. Kristie from Ramblings on Romance was kind enough to share her enjoyment of this unique romance. I'm so glad I listened to her advice and scouted this one out at the used bookstore many years ago. I just wish I had not waited so long to read it!

After thirty-something Sara Diamond experiences professional and financial setbacks, she moves into an eccentric little apartment and works on reviving her career. Before long, she becomes good friends with Ryan Kinsmore, the handsome twenty something man next door, who shares her balcony—and her unreliable utilities.

But Sara’s new neighbor conceals painful secrets and a double life behind his gentle charm and good looks. As their friendship blossoms into love, Sara gradually learns the truth about Ryan, who’s trapped in a world of lies, danger, and sex-for-hire. With his spirit renewed by love, he becomes determined to find a way out of the life he was drawn into as a runaway minor, and equally determined to rescue a street kid whom he finds falling into the same traps that once caught him. But Ryan’s secret life is lived in a ruthless world which won’t easily let him go. Having fallen so far from grace, can he find his way back?

This is certainly something different. Given that it was first published over ten years ago, I doubt there were many novels that could compare at the time. A hero prostitute is not something you come across everyday. Luckily for Sara Diamond (and me) this hero came into our lives.

Sara Diamond has downsized. Sold her condo and moved into an interesting apartment with crooked stairs and an eccentric landlord. The move was not planned but inspired by circumstances which were out of Sara's control. She is now self-employed, attempting to revive her career. The one truly bright spot in her new life is her neighbor, Ryan Kinsmore. He is not only good looking but kind, caring and simply fun to hang out with. Sara is attracted to him but is aware of the age difference, he's 26, she's 35. She thinks there is no way Ryan would ever see her as more than just a friend.

Ryan Kinsmore is exactly what he seems when he is with Sara. But there is much he is hiding and he knows when it eventually comes to light, things will never be the same between him and Sara. The situation is complex, made more so after Ryan and Sara sleep together. Ryan had to know how Sara would react after they made love and he is called into work. Which is why his disappointment towards Sara's reactions surprised me. If he knows women and Sara so well, there's no way he could have expected Sara to react any differently. This isn't casual to her and there is no way to expect her to be okay with him sleep with other women. It doesn't matter if it's only work to Ryan, in Sara's eyes it's cheating.

There are so many elements that made this story so compelling. Ryan's coping mechanism for living the life he does. He keeps his personal life separate from his work life. He even has a different name for work. No one from work knows where he lives. He takes in strays - a bird, cat, and dog. Yes, a psychiatrist would have a field day with Ryan. But it's Sara who pushes into both Ryan's personal and work life. Sara is pushy, sometimes too much, not always knowing when to back off. It did become a little irritating when she had such tunnel vision to get Ryan to talk to her, even when he was clearly in pain, either physical or emotional. She did help him realize he is worth so much more than being used by Catherine, his boss.

The ending felt a little rushed and tidied up too neatly. After everything Ryan and Sara went through, the end was almost anti-climatic. Still, the story as a whole was captivating with well developed characters and a plot surely different than most.

Rating: A-

Monday, February 16, 2015

ARC Review: One Wish

One Wish
Robyn Carr
Contemporary Romance
Thunder Point/Book 7
MIRA/February 24, 2015

Grace Dillon was a champion figure skater until she moved to Thunder Point to escape the ruthless world of fame and competition. And though she's proud of the quiet, self-sufficient life she's created running a successful flower shop, she knows something is missing. Her life could use a little excitement.

In a community where there are few eligible singles, high school teacher Troy Headly appoints himself Grace's fun coach. When he suggests a little companionship with no strings attached, Grace is eager to take him up on his offer, and the two enjoy…getting to know each other.

But things get complicated when Grace's past catches up with her, and she knows that's not what Troy signed up for. Faced with losing her, Troy realizes Grace is more than just a friend with benefits. He's determined to help her fight for the life she always wished for but never believed she could have—and maybe they can find real love along the way.

Can't believe we're already on book seven in the Thunder Point series.  In a way it feels like we just started but then again these characters feel so familiar, much like the Virgin River characters began to feel like family. One Wish was a relaxing romance. The hero and heroine are both intelligent, mature adults who didn't irritate the heck out of me with stupidity. That's always a relief!

Troy is attempting to heal his broken heart. Poor Troy! I didn't really feel sorry for him after his crush on Iris McKinley (see previous book) didn't pan out. Troy likes playing the field and it never felt like his heart would stay broken for long. Which is why it was no surprise when Troy took notice of Grace who just happened to be Iris' best friend.

Grace isn't blind and Troy is certainly easy on the eyes! Not only is she attracted to him physically but she finds she enjoys spending time with him. Grace's usual male friends include a medieval knight, a vampire and a Navy SEAL. Yep, Grace has book boyfriends! This made me like her that much more! She has convinced herself that she wants a quiet life and her life in Thunder Point suits her. Except she finds, after meeting Troy, a need for a little bit of excitement outside of her books. Troy offers that excitement and at first Grace thinks it's enough.

The romance starts as casual, friends with no strings but soon both Troy and Grace realize they want more. They're comfortable with each other and find they have much in common with their humor and their dedication to their work. It was a sweet friendship to lovers romance but nothing earthshaking. I found Grace's background and how she came to Thunder Point nearly as interesting as the romance.

Rating: B

Thunder Point Series ~

The Wanderer
The Newcomer
The Hero
The Chance
The Promise
The Homecoming
One Wish
A New Hope (June 30, 2015)
Wildest Dreams (August 25, 2015)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review: Can't Help Falling In Love

Can't Help Falling In Love
Bella Andre
Contemporary Romance
The Sullivan's/Book 3
Self Published/December 2011

Gabe Sullivan risks his life every day as a firefighter in San Francisco. But after learning a brutal lesson about professional boundaries, he knows better than to risk his heart to his fire victims ever again. Especially the brave mother and daughter he saved from a deadly apartment fire...and can't stop thinking about.

Megan Harris knows she owes the heroic firefighter everything for running into a burning building to save her and her seven-year-old daughter. Everything except her heart. Because after losing her navy pilot husband five years ago, she has vowed to never suffer through loving - and losing - a man with a dangerous job again.

Only, when Gabe and Megan meet again and uncontrollable flames of desire ignite between them, how can he possibly ignore her courage, determination, and beauty? And how can she deny not only his strong bond with her daughter.but the way his sweetly sensual kisses are challenging her to risk everything she's been guarding for so long?

This winter, if one - or both - of them aren't careful, they just might end up falling in love.

Even though I started with the third book in the series, this can be read as a standalone. It did make me want to know about the two Sullivan brothers who came previously as well as the other Sullivan siblings whose stories come after Gabe's.

Gabe Sullivan is a firefighter. A genuine hero although he does see himself as that. Instead, he sees himself as a dedicated firefighter just doing his job. It's his job that brings him into very close proximity with Megan and Summer Harris. Saving their lives was only the beginning for Gabe. He feels an attraction to Megan but had decided he would not get involved with anyone he rescues. It doesn't' take long before Gabe changes his mind.

Megan Harris is a strong woman and that strength has sustained her during some very difficult times. Her husband, a Navy pilot was killed during a crash five years ago. Ever since, she has raised her daughter Summer on her own. Megan has also vowed never to date a man with a dangerous profession. I can understand her viewpoint but when she compares her deceased husband to Gabe, the comparison was only correct on the surface. The reality is her husband was a thrill seeker where as Gabe takes what he does seriously and doesn't take unnecessary risks. Gabe loves his job because he can help people, not for the danger or the thrill of it.

Gabe can't get Megan off his mind but she holds fast to her rule of not dating someone with a dangerous job. Gabe goes into firefighter mode and uses his rules to win Megan around to giving him a chance. I did like that Gabe didn't give up but was able to see how well he and Megan fit together. She was too stubborn and set in her ways to see what a good guy Gabe was. This did not endear me to Megan, in fact, she got on my nerves. At certain points I felt Gabe deserved better than Megan. Not the best feeling to have towards the heroine of the book I'm reading.

In the end, this is a romance novel so they do get their happily ever after but Gabe had to work too hard for his.

Rating: C+

The Sullivans ~

The Look of Love
From This Moment On
Can't Help Falling In Love
I Only Have Eyes for You
If You Were Mine
Let Me Be the One
Come a Little Bit Closer
Always on My Mind
One Perfect Night (novella)
The Way You Look Tonight
Kissing Under the Mistletoe
It Must Be Your Love
Just to Be With You
I Love How You Love Me,
All I Ever Need Is You (April)