Kostas’s Convenient Bride by Lucy Monroe

Kostas’s Convenient Bride by Lucy Monroe
Publisher: Harlequin Presents
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (224 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Her boss needs a bride…

Can she step out of the shadows and down the aisle?

Discovering her boss, billionaire tycoon Andreas Kostas, must marry is devastating for Kayla. Then Andreas proposes that Kayla wear his ring! Having experienced the incandescent pleasure of his touch, she’s hidden her yearning for him ever since. It’s the proposal Kayla’s always dreamed of, but dare she risk her body and heart to become a convenient wife?

Oh, how I adore the characters that Ms. Monroe creates. The conflicts and dynamics between her heroines and heroes are always entertaining.

I’m going to choose Andreas as my favorite person in this novel. Why? Because he cracked me up. Everything he did proved two things; he actually loves Kayla and that he has no clue that he does. He’s one sexy Greek who doesn’t care two figs about the fluffy, inconsequential and spurious trappings that people seemed determined to infuse their conversations and/or business dealings with. He cuts to the chase, is blunt and tells it like it is, and folks can like it or lump it. He’s a sharp businessman and it’s given him a certain reputation, not to mention he’s also impressively rich. Andreas is very goal oriented, focused and driven. He plans everything out in his life according to those goals. Everything that is, except the reaction of the heroine, Kayla. For some reason, his goals are not her goals, and it throws him for a loop. That’s when the fun really begins. He makes a ton of mistakes and the aftermath of each one showed me exactly what this romance reader looks for.

What I liked about Kayla was her throwing curve balls at Andreas. She was a geek, a Brainiac if you will when it comes to writing computer code. Yet, she is much more in tuned with her feelings. She knows what she wants and when she realizes that she might never get it, she starts taking steps to move forward with her life. That was another big moment that catapulted the story into something wildly entertaining. The scene when Andreas followed her and banged on the door? Oh yeah, someone is finally waking up. Just remembering that part puts a big silly grin on my face. What comes after is a romantic pursuit that pushed my happy buttons.

Another winning element in the novel is the family dynamic. Andreas has a ginormous chip on his shoulder. It’s completely understandable that the hero acts like a lion with a thorn in his paw. What I didn’t expect was Kayla’s ability to bring about a miracle that soothes more than one ornery lion’s paw. Nor did I expect the surprise the heroine received from her own gene pool. The happy ever after is bigger than just one man and one woman. I thought it wonderful and made this book even better.

I have to mention the descriptions that Ms. Monroe used to show me the intensity of Andreas’ gaze when he fully focused on Kayla. It gave me happy, zippy shivers. When they could no longer resist the pent up passion between them and finally exploded in each other’s arms, it was everything I hoped for; sexy, sultry, intense, loving and well written.

Kostas’s Convenient Bride is the kind of romance that Ms. Monroe is known for. She has once again made me very happy by writing a wonderful, engaging and fun romance with a couple of people who were so very perfect for each other because they were both kind of oddball. If a reader is looking for a story to while away a lazy afternoon, then this novel should fit the bill. It sure made my day.

Love’s Dangerous Challenge by Ellynore Seybold

Love’s Dangerous Challenge by Ellynore Seybold
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full length (238 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

During the Reign of Terror in France in the late 1700s, the common people amused themselves by watching the heads of the nobility roll, severed by the guillotine. When Eduard Saulnier falls in love with Countess Annise de Brisson in 1793, he fears that, as a commoner, he will never be allowed to court her. But Annise is staying with her aunt because her parents have been sized by the revolutionaries and condemned to die by the guillotine. Eduard approaches the old lady for permission to court Annise, knowing his chances are slim. However, he is totally unprepared for the old countess’s answer—yes, he may court and marry Annise, after he gets her parents out of prison…any way he can.

Every once in a while, love at first sight happens, but would a man risk his life to prove this? Eduard does. The setting is Revolutionary France, and the dangers are high and everywhere. Luckily, Eduard is a commoner, but he falls for a young aristocratic woman. Since her parents were carted off to prison and scheduled for a probable execution, Eduard has to go to Annise’s great aunt to ask for Annise’s hand in marriage. When the aunt says he can have her blessing if Eduard can get Annise’s parents out of prison, he’s afraid, but luckily for us readers, he takes up this challenge.

What follows is an adventure driven by suspense. Eduard recruits some interesting friends with controversial jobs, such as the executioner. He is a nice young man and likeable from the start. Annise is also likeable as are her family members and Eduard’s friends and family. The author has done a good job at filling out the characters. They are kind-hearted, and their honorable actions are driven by their personal faith, giving them all integrity.

As a reader with a degree in French, I found the world building of this time and place to be exciting and accurate. The challenge given to Eduard was a perfect set-up for suspense. The test was also easy to believe because it required that Eduard have help, and he realized he needed it.

The tone to this story is sweet. The characters have gratitude for what they have, and the love is an innocent young love. There are many tender kisses.

Some questions came up for me as a reader though. Sometimes things happened too easily. For example, why did Annise’s relatives accept Eduard, a stranger, without a remark? Why did another aristocrat, Lukas, accept Eduard’s surprising secret and take it the way he did? Everybody seemed to just accept and be happy upon hearing revelations, and without doubts. Perhaps the tension could have been higher.

This is a pleasant read though, and I’m glad I read it. It was a breath of fresh air reading about people with integrity doing things for good reasons.

Twice Bitten by Lynsay Sands

Twice Bitten by Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full length (384 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Thrilling, witty, and oh-so-sexy, Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau novel brings together a beautiful Immortal and the man who is her destiny…

For someone who’s been around for over a hundred and forty years, immortal Elspeth Argeneau hasn’t done a whole lot of living. Now that she’s moved away from her controlling mother, she’s tracking down rogue vampires and enjoying some overdue freedom. A fling would be fun. A life mate can wait. Yet to Elspeth’s surprise, her landlady’s hot grandson checks both boxes.

Wyatt fell instantly in love with Elspeth four years ago. He’s stunned to run into her again, especially as she has no memory of him. Then again, there are a lot of things about Elspeth that don’t make sense, like the miraculous speed with which her wounds heal. And the chemistry that transforms every touch into an explosion of desire. But with mysterious “accidents” besieging Elspeth, the ex-Special Forces soldier appoints himself her bodyguard. But time is running out to uncover the truth about her enemies—and rediscover the man determined to love her for eternity.

Have you ever heard of ‘helicopter parenting’? Where a kid’s life is micromanaged? I’d heard of the term but I had to look it up. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a bonafide conflict and it plays an important role in this novel. Almost all the Argeneaus I’ve met have been wonderful, exciting and fascinating people to read about. In Twice Bitten, Ms. Sands introduced me to someone that is also interesting but for all the wrong reasons.

Elspeth is a heroine in need of saving. She doesn’t think so. I didn’t think so either, until the hero, Wyatt, came upon the scene. Since a reader is gifted with both Elspeth and Wyatt’s points of view, it becomes quickly apparent that something is a bit off. But what could it be? How could it happen?

If a reader checked out the synopsis, they’ll have an idea but the explanation, the reality of what is going on, is shocking. Frankly, I was horrified. Elspeth’s two sisters, The Boobsy Twins, first come across like Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters. For a lot of the book, I did not like them until one pivotal scene shed some light on their true natures. I really didn’t expect that. At. All. I think every one of them was in some kind of survival mode. What a way to live!

As for Wyatt – he’s a very confused hero. He can’t help but wonder what is going on with Elspeth. Slowly but surely he is eventually introduced to the reality that not only do Immortals exist, but Elspeth is one of them. The process from unknowing to knowing is one of the best parts of the book because so much happens to get him there. At times it’s funny, certainly entertaining, it’s sexy and hopeful. However, there are times where I got chills up my spine. The good thing about Wyatt? He’s solid hero material. Sure, he seems to take things in stride a little too easily, a bit too accepting and takes to hanging out with Immortals like a duck to water. That kind of blew my mind because you wouldn’t catch ME being able to have that level of laissez-faire when presented with people who have fangs. Maybe it’s because Wyatt had a military background? No matter, he’s sexy, yummy and perfect for Elspeth.

There is a lot to like in this novel. There is also a great deal of depth, suspenseful situations and rioting emotions that help create an amazing stage on which the romance between Elspeth and Wyatt plays out. I know that the story references Elspeth’s appearances in past books in the series, but it was hazy at best for me. I almost want to say this could be a standalone read, but perhaps not as once again the community that is the Argeneau family comes together to assist in fixing the debacle that surrounds Elspeth. I like it when the family members pitch in to support the current hero and heroine in their time of need. It’s a great feeling.

Seriously, I enjoyed every moment of Twice Bitten and the happy ever after is smile-worthy. The wrap up was wonderful on many levels. It had me giggling and happy and I am ever so glad to hear the news that was imparted by a ‘relative’ of Elspeth’s. There is hope for a bigger HEA for all involved; it’ll just take some time. The most important joy comes from Elspeth and Wyatt finally getting to stay together, forever. It’s the perfect romantic ending. Fans of this series are in for another great read and a treat when they dive into their own copy of Twice Bitten. Ms. Sands rocks!

March Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks

Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (320 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy


Gwennore is an Elf able to track down the cause of a certain illness and heal it―a valuable asset to her people. But when she is thrust into the realm of the dragons, she discovers a haunted place of power, passion, and magic―one that is plagued by an ancient curse. When she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, Gwen knows she’s entered a whole new world of trouble. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon. So why does making a deal with the devil feel so good?

Silas has no way of saving the royal family he’s served for years. But when a beautiful, innocent elf comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to desire in a way he’s never felt before. But how can he trust a sworn enemy. . .and how can he live without her, in Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks.


Betting on Cinderella by Petie McCarty

Betting on Cinderella by Petie McCarty
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (434 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

Garrett Tucker inherits his grandfather’s casino empire and steps into the reclusive billionaire’s shoes as the “Prince of Vegas.” His first act is to buy a bankrupt casino in Biloxi. When he discovers embezzling in his new operation, Garrett goes undercover. His prime suspect is the new finance supervisor—the spitfire brunette who stole his heart at first sight.

Andi Ryan moves to Biloxi to care for her godmother and takes a job as finance supervisor for the renovated Bayou Princess casino. She discovers someone is skimming from the till and starts her own investigation, worried she will be blamed for the theft when the new owner discovers her godmother has a gambling addiction.

A rival Vegas competitor has sent a spy in to ruin the Bayou Princess, and Garrett and Andi are forced to work together to prove her innocence and discover the identity of their casino spy.

Filled with interesting, colorful characters this most recent take on Cinderella certainly entertains.

Andi is a fun character, caring and loyal. Garrett is a picture perfect hero, except for that pesky detail he forgets to tell Andi as they become embroiled in a relationship. Flora, as the “fairy godmother” in this tale is just a hoot. And we have an evil stepmother and step-sister to seal the deal.

While not a suspense novel, this story does have some of the elements: an embezzler, crime, mystery…but it’s handled with a light touch and the emphasis is on the romance. The relationship is sweet (Andi has a few hang-ups about sex, so the couple keeps it pretty chaste outside of a few steamy kisses) and I admit to thinking Garrett was a little too good to be true. Perhaps the author painted him thus so it was even harder for Andi to accept his secret later on? I won’t say that the “surprises” surprised me much (well, maybe one), but they weren’t the point of the book.

At its heart, this is a romance. It covers all the right things to fit tidily into the romance genre and fans of the genre will thoroughly enjoy the book. It’s not earth-shatteringly unique or a book I’ll likely remember years from now, but it was one that made me smile and kept me reading until the very end and, ultimately, isn’t that what romances are all about?

Can’t Stop the Music by C.D. Hersh

Can’t Stop the Music by C.D. Hersh
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (154 Pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Review by Rose

Jammed highways, food shortages, and rainstorms can’t stop the music when hippies Rose and Dakota hear the melody of love at the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival. Or can it? When a jealous wannabe girlfriend and misunderstandings drive them apart, the couple loses track of one another in the massive crowd. Will they find each other again, or live lives of missed opportunities?

This is a sweet second chance love story featuring two people, Rose and Dakota, as they meet too briefly at Woodstock. They each feel a connection, but circumstances prevented them from acting on that connection.

Fast forward several years and fate has once again stepped in to throw Rosemary and Anthony together. They each realize the connection is still there, but there are now other circumstances that try to get in the way.

The first part of the book features their time at Woodstock and the author does a wonderful job making you feel as if you were there. I could almost feel the rain and the mud, smell the pot, and hear the music. It was indeed a once in a lifetime experience.

All of the characters, even the secondary ones, were very well drawn. The author did a great job at showing both side of the “free love” issue from the sixties.

This was a quick and enjoyable read–I was surprised when I got to the end of it. I literally could not put it down once I started reading it. Kudos to the author.

Into a Distant Light by Mary Patterson Thornburg

Into a Distant Light by Mary Patterson Thornburg
Publisher: Uncial Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short story (6700 words)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

When Lizzie and Robert married, she thought he’d had enough of adventure to last a lifetime. After all, his voyage above the Arctic Circle had been a near-fatal disaster, and he never talked about it at all. He’d never even written about it, except in a long letter to his sister. But someone, somehow, had found out. And now, given another chance, he couldn’t resist that call.
When he came back, of course, she would share in his fame, glory, and wealth. But what would happen to her if he didn’t come back?

Does anyone ever wonder what really happened to Frankenstein’s monster? The story goes that he went off into the distance to die. However, Mary Patterson Thornburg has a different story to tell, one from those who knew him or his “father” the doctor.

Packed into this short tale is quite a bit of story. Set in England during the Regency, we get an inside view of the doctor, and his creation, mostly from the point-of-view of an English explorer to the far north. This explorer, Robert Walton, rescued the doctor in the icy wilderness then heard a good tale of his own. He wrote to his sister with some interesting observations.

Robert comes home but then leaves again, returning to the North Pole, and this time, things won’t go so well for him. He finds himself in a dire situation, and the “monster” approaches him. From here, we get his side of the story.

The tone of this writing gives the feel of the era without being too much. It is a quick-paced account, and the years fly by within a few pages. However, not a lot happens until half-way through. I found myself wishing more of the main action was mixed in with the mundane details. Character development is good for such a short rendition. We get to know the characters with a few well-chosen words, and come to understand them.

The story may be short, but it was worth peeking into the life of a legend and hearing a new account of what “really” happened.

The Duke’s Daughters: Lady Be Reckless by Megan Frampton

The Duke’s Daughters: Lady Be Reckless by Megan Frampton
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (355 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The Duke’s five daughters have beauty, breeding, and impeccable reputations. Or at least, they did. Now that two have chosen to follow their hearts, can the others be far behind?

Lady Olivia refuses to repeat her siblings’ scandalous mistakes. Instead, she will marry the lord rejected by her sister and help with his good works. When he resists, Olivia forms another plan: win his lordship’s admiration by helping his illegitimate best friend find a bride. How difficult can it be to transform the rakish Edward Wolcott into a gentleman? To ignore his virile good looks? To not kiss him in a moment of impulsive madness? Apparently, very difficult indeed.

Edward Wolcott promised his ailing father he would marry well, and it appears Lady Olivia wishes to assist him. The sparkling firebrand intends to smooth his way through London’s ballrooms, parlors, and eligible ladies, while all Edward’s thoughts suddenly revolve around bedrooms . . . and Lady Olivia herself. Only a scoundrel would seduce the duke’s most dutiful daughter. And only a truly reckless lady would risk everything to be in his arms . . .

Take two lost souls, mix them up and watch the sparks fly…

I’ve never read a book by Megan Frampton and I’m glad I rectified that mistake. This book flowed nicely and I read it in one afternoon. It’s an easy read and fun.

The heroine, Olivia, has a high opinion of herself—she thinks she knows best and can help out whenever needed. She tends to take this belief she knows best for everyone else to the extremes. It’s a tad off putting at times because she won’t get moved from her ideas. I liked her growth through the story, though and was glad she did have a chance to do so.

Edward has his issues, too. He’s the bastard son and doesn’t think he’s good enough for anyone. He believes, no matter what, that everyone is looking down on him. It got a tad old after a while because I wanted to say, you know, they aren’t all against you. He had chances with Olivia, but was too consumed with his feelings of inadequacy.

Still, the passion between Olivia and Edward sizzled. I couldn’t get enough.

I’m glad I read this book and even though it’s book 2 in the series, I didn’t feel lost. I recommend this for anyone who wants a fun afternoon read.

In The Sheriff’s Protection by Lauri Robinson

In The Sheriff’s Protection by Lauri Robinson
Publisher: Harlequin Mills and Boon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

He will protect her

But can the sheriff resist his forbidden desire?

Oak Grove sheriff Tom Baniff might be hunting Clara Wilson’s criminal husband, but that doesn’t mean he won’t help protect Clara and her young son from the outlaw’s deadly threats. When he invites Clara to his hometown, Tom is determined to keep her safe. But with her so close, can he resist the allure of the only woman he’s ever wanted?

When I read the Author’s Note in the beginning of the book that said she wrote “In The Sheriff’s Protection” in two weeks I was alarmed. You see, I am a fan of Lauri Robinson and I have her on a pedestal. This is my sixth book written by her. More importantly, I am a huge fan of the Oak Grove series. I was afraid to start the book because I didn’t want to be disappointed like I have been in the past by other authors and their series. I had the book for a week before I had the courage to start it.

I was scared for nothing! Seriously, let me quote the first paragraph and see if it captures your interest like it did mine.

“Ma, a rider’s coming’ up the road!” Billy exclaimed, his legs going the same speed they always were. At a run. “A man on horseback! Maybe it’s Pa, MA! Maybe he’s come home!” Clara Wilson squeezed the edge of the table, willing the fire-hot pain in her leg to ease while trying to find the wherewithal to respond to her son. “Shut. The. Door. Billy,” she forced out.

Need I say more?

Lauri Robinson is still number one in my book and so is the Oak Grove series.

It was enjoyable to watch the hero, Tom Baniff, succumb to falling in love with Clara Wilson, the heroine. He tried to resist the attraction for numerous reasons but it was inevitable. Clara lived a hard life and it was rewarding to see her accept Tom’s love. She had her many reasons why she and Tom could never be but with time those reasons became invalid. I really liked Tom because he was a sweet and kind man that possessed the rough and tough qualities necessary to be a respected sheriff. All the qualities I enjoy in a hero. Clara was written as a relatable heroine who loved her son and would do anything for him. As a mother myself I was able to justify her decisions based on my love for my child. Together as a couple, they made for a durable sweet romance.

In the synopsis it mentions that Tom is hunting for Clara’s criminal husband, Hugh Wilson. That plot thread added a bit of suspense. The entire plot as a whole made for a rapid page turner. I was entertained and intrigued with the several plot twists and turns that occurred along the way.

I want to share a recent experience that I had with my sister. She suggested I read a book that was part of a series that supposedly could be read as a standalone. She loved it and thought I would to. I wasn’t as enthralled about it as she was. My reasoning was that I felt lost with all the mentions of other characters. My belief is that only a fan of the series would understand those connections as they’d read the previous books. Therefore that means I felt they were under developed, just tossed into the script. This experience got me thinking about the Oak Grove series that I adore so much.

The Oak Gove series are books that can be read as standalones. However, as I was reading “In the Sheriff’s Protection” I was paying particular attention to honorable mentions from previous books in this series. Would I feel the same way about this story as I did the book my sister recommended if I hadn’t read the previous books about Oak Grove? Each time I read a story from this series I am overcome with comforting and familiar feelings. Lauri Robinson does write a story with a cast of characters that I think about days after finishing one of her books.

This time a character from a previous book, Angus, had a much more developed script in this story. I have to honestly look back and ask myself, would I have enjoyed this book as much as I did without reading the other books? I have to say no, I wouldn’t. Several of the past characters were mentioned as if tossed in but I knew who they were so I didn’t feel lost. I understand it was the author’s intent to establish the sense of community in Oak Grove. These characters actually do need to be mentioned and because they were, I felt embraced by the community I’ve come to love.

This brings me to the conclusion that new readers really do need to read at least some of the previous books in order to be enthralled with In the Sheriff’s Protection as I am. This is especially so since this novel has the feeling of being even more dependent on the world building that’s come before. Since I have, I can claim with authority that I loved it! And, I definitely recommend this novel to fans of this series.

In conclusion, I was satisfied with “In the Sheriff’s Protection” and its happy ever after. I’m looking forward to the next book in the Oak Grove series being released in the Fall of 2018.

How To Lose An Alien in 10 Days by Fiona Roarke

How To Lose An Alien in 10 Days by Fiona Roarke
Alienn, Arkansas 2

Publisher: Nickel Road Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (698 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Alexandria Latham Borne is supposed to marry into one of Alpha-Prime’s most prestigious families. Her unwanted future fiancé has wealth, breeding, social status … and that’s about it. She is less than wowed during their luxury get-to-know-you journey to Earth. Once the spaceship docks in Alienn, Arkansas, Ria jumps at the chance to jump ship and explore the colony of extraterrestrials hiding in plain sight. Cam Grey takes his job as chief of security at the galactic way station and the Big Bang Truck Stop operated by his family very seriously, but even he needs a break. No one suspects the by-the-book enforcer’s secret refuge is the karaoke bar just over the county line from Alienn, Arkansas. It starts out as just another night of uncomplicated amusement. But no one is more surprised than the jaded Alpha when the gorgeous woman with blue-streaked hair sings her way into his bed — and his heart. When he learns his sexy karaoke singer has defied colony rules, putting them all at risk of discovery by the unsuspecting earthlings, he knows his duty. What he should do is lock her in the brig. What he does do is ignore all the rules he’s spent his career upholding. Cam’s also been burned by love before, but his mischievous Ria is a rule-breaker he can’t resist. Is she a heartbreaker, too?

Alienn, Arkansas is an alien base hiding in plain sight. Cam and his family, including many, many brothers, run the Big Bang Truck Stop, but below is a way station for alien spacecraft. Now there is a passenger missing from a luxury liner and it’s Cam’s job to find her. He has a problem because he’s just found the love of his life and doesn’t want to leave her to some spoil​ed​ space brat.

This book has comical overtones, with the brothers sparking off one another, and Ria – the love interest – having a secret of her own. I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed reading about their antics and wondering how they ​could ​get round the problems that ar​o​se from being an alien on earth. To top up his problems his Aunt Dixie and her friend go missing and he’s tempted to walk away from his responsibilities and spend time with Ria instead of doing his job.

A really good book with love, humor and a very enjoyable plot to hold everything together.