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.

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.

The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family by Lisa Carter


The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family by Lisa Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full length (220 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Second Chance Family

Young widow Kristina Montgomery moves to Kiptohanock, Virginia, hoping it will give her and her teenage son, Gray, a fresh start. She longs for the peace and quiet only a small town can provide. But her plans are thwarted by her new neighbor, Canyon Collier, a former Coast Guard pilot and a crop duster. Gray is instantly drawn to the pilot and his teenage niece, Jade—and Kristina’s not far behind. She and Canyon are soon bonding over parenting their charges and their spark becomes undeniable. Could it be that the spirited pilot is just what Kristina needs to teach her heart to soar again?

Love is being thwarted by the past; a widow’s grief and guilt, and a man’s burden from his family’s reputation. One needs to let go and the other needs to believe he’s not defined by the choices of others. The thread woven throughout The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family is faith. Faith in dreams, in neighbors, in love and in God, can work miracles even when they are no bigger than a bouquet of flowers.

This is a very sweet romance between Kristina and Canyon. I enjoyed watching them when they were together. When it was just them away from everything else; when they forgot about their hang-ups, worries and their tendency to overthink things; I got the solid sense that they truly would be perfect and wonderful for each other. Their easy camaraderie and playful banter was engaging.

I liked how Canyon took to the role of being a parent and how Kristina’s son, Gray, made her realize the rut she had gotten them both in. Jade, Canyon’s niece, and Gray are great secondary characters. As for the hero and heroine, they each had a gaping hole in their hearts that needed healing. The heroine lost her first husband and couldn’t find a reason to move forward, and Canyon never had a healthy family role model so it left him feeling like he was on the outside looking in. How could he be a good father figure to Jade? After seeing the love of a mother for her son, as Kris is to Gray, he felt his insecurity more keenly. Those levels of heartache aren’t a good thing and the author made that very clear. Ms. Carter also made it quite apparent that God has some definite plans and he is working through the townspeople of Kiptohanock. There were some wonderful people there including Kris’s brother, but Margaret especially so.

The one moment where I felt the book didn’t reach me is the moment supposedly where Kris has this great epiphany. It sounded so powerful and firm, and there was this great moment of opportunity, and then … dud. Seriously? She choked? All that and she couldn’t say the words? Grrrr. It’s a good thing there was at least one little kiss in the story that showed me that the chemistry is strong enough to stir their passions so they’d work harder at getting together.

There’s a little drama to spice things up; again showcasing the strong points in each of the main characters as they face their worst fears. It was a relatable plot conflict because high school kids do get into that type of trouble. It was well written and effective.

I’m quite satisfied with the story, the romance and the happily ever after that I found within the pages of The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family. I liked that all the plot threads were tied up, and Kris finally got to touch Canyon’s hair as she’d been wanting to all through the book. Heck, I actually had the itch to do that myself, the writing was that convincing. All in all, this is a really nice romance to spend an afternoon with.

Engaged to Her Ravensdale Enemy by Melanie Melbourne


Engaged to Her Ravensdale Enemy by Melanie Melbourne
Publisher: Harlequin Presents
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (186 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

In bed with her nemesis…

When Jasmine Connolly’s third engagement is broken off, she decides to make her man jealous by enlisting the help of her enemy, playboy Jake Ravensdale! Jasmine may never have forgiven him for his rejection years ago, but the heartless lothario is the perfect candidate for her plan.

As tensions build, the line between love and hate increasingly blurs, teetering on the brink of explosion! Jasmine might be wearing Jake’s ring, but she can’t let go of the hurt he once caused her. Because if she does, what’s to stop her from falling prey to the Ravensdale playboy’s charms…?

Some books make you feel more emotions than others. This one hit them all. I laughed, got angry, felt sad, compassion and then felt all mushy, but now I’m all bubbly. It’s a mild case of book glow for sure. Engaged to Her Ravensdale Enemy by Melanie Milburne is part of her series ‘The Ravensdale Scandals.’ I didn’t know that until after I finished the book – not that it matters because it can be read as a standalone.

I fell for the hero, Jake Ravensdale. I really didn’t want to. I know he was gorgeous and rich but his rejection to the heroine, Jaz, was cruel. I was quite angry with him. Even though it was seven years ago, I could feel the sting of it as I read about it. I totally sympathized with Jaz. I felt sad when I read about Jaz’s history with her parents but it helped me to understand her life choices. I was able to feel compassion towards her and I respected how she dealt with the side character, Emma. I couldn’t help but to laugh when Jake and Jaz bickered back and forth. They were so quick-witted and snarky with comebacks that I only wish I could be quick-witted like that. The synopsis was spot on when it mentions how the author wrote a delicious balance between love and hate that “teetered on the brink of explosion”; I ate it all up.

Was the plot believable with three broken engagements? Was the plot thread with Emma realistic? Does it matter when we’re talking about the charming Jack Ravensdale? The author’s writing style made it all work. I was entertained and isn’t that why we read books? Sometimes I find it nice to sit back and relax with a mushy romance that makes me feel all goofy even if it might be a bit unrealistic. It could have happened to somebody somewhere. Who am I to say if it’s realistic or not. This was an easy, fun and enjoyable book from beginning to end that I was able to read in a few hours.

I would consider reading the other two books in this series based on how satisfied I was with this one.

Texas Rebels: Paxton by Linda Warren


Texas Rebels: Paxton by Linda Warren
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (224 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

THE COWBOY’S REDEMPTION

After years of girls, beer and a wild life on the rodeo circuit, bull rider Paxton Rebel is done being “The Heartthrob.” His brothers have already settled down and are starting families. Paxton doesn’t really believe he’s meant for love…until he rescues the slight, lovely woman with sea-green eyes on a cold, windy beach.

Remi Roberts can’t trust a charming lady-killer cowboy like Paxton—especially since he’s a Rebel, a family she’s been taught to distrust. She needs to concentrate on recovering from her accident, which is the only thing standing in the way of her adopting the baby girl she adores. Besides, fairy tales don’t exist and bad boys definitely don’t change. Only, this cowboy is determined to prove her wrong…

I finished this book, Texas Rebels: Paxton by Linda Warren a few days ago and wanted to sit on it before I wrote the review. I did love the cast of characters in this series because I feel they demonstrate what family is all about. I enjoy how the characters are incorporated in the community of Horseshoe, Texas. They are really well developed and make the story heartwarming. This story added Miss Bertie who brought a bit of humor into the book. Her granddaughter, Remi, is the heroine.

All that being said, less than a month ago I read Texas Rebels: Elias by Linda Warren which was my first time reading a book by her, and the first book for me in this series, Texas Rebels. I absolutely LOVED it. Therefore I was very excited when I got my hands on this book, Texas Rebels: Paxton. This is a classic example of why I typically avoid reading series. While I enjoyed this book, I was disappointed that it didn’t meet with the high hopes I had of it being another awesome book like Texas Rebels: Elias was. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone. I wonder, if I hadn’t read the other book first, might I have enjoyed this one more if I hadn’t had the expectations from reading the other story first? Unfortunately, I did have high hopes and now I need to write an honest review. Fortunately, Texas Rebels: Paxton does have some positives worth mentioning.

The heroine, Remi, was literally weak and strong at the same time. She was recovering from an accident that left her severely injured. As a result she was filled with the conflict of “woe is me, how will anyone love my scars?”. Yet, she possessed the determination to exercise and work hard towards getting better. I struggled with connecting with her because of the way she was written: a selfish individual with bursts of being a thoughtful person only to go right back to her “all about me” attitude. The plot thread that reveals why and how the accident happened was foolish considering we’re talking about a grown woman. However, it further established her self-centeredness. It didn’t help that her first scene in the story portrayed her as rude.

I believe in love at first sight but is it powerful enough to change a person over night? The hero, Paxton, was described as a selfish, famous lover boy rodeo champion. But, after meeting Remi, he decided he wanted to change into a family man overnight. It was a tiny bit hard to believe. Even his other brothers were calling him out on it, asking what has gotten into him. I believe people can change but I’m not sure it can happen overnight. Try as you might, it’s not as easy as this book made it out to be. It did help that his other brothers had gotten married and started having families. Paxton was starting to feel the pressure of changing his ways and meeting Remi just reinforced his decision to change. But I felt like the change was a little abrupt.

The plot thread with Remi’s brother, Ruger, could have been deleted and I wouldn’t have missed it. I didn’t connect with that development very well. I understand Remi wanted a relationship with her brother but he annoyed me. He was old enough to figure the truth out for himself and stand up to his uncle and make his own decisions. However, I understand how Ruger was a necessary character in the plot as another attempt to connect the stories in the series by reminding readers of the rivalry between the Rebels and the McCrays.

The plot thread with Annie, the baby that Remi wanted to adopt, was a struggle for me, which is sad because it was a significant plot point. I felt like it took the spotlight away from the developing romance between Remi and Paxton in the beginning by constantly making the book about Remi. However, as the story developed, Annie became less and less about Remi and more about Paxton and Remi as a couple. I imagine this string of events regarding Annie was an attempt to incorporate drama into to plot. At this endeavor I’ll admit the author succeeded.

Remi and Paxton as a couple were okay. They appeared to be compatible. Paxton grew on me to the point that I did believe that he loved Remi and was a changed man. Eventually, Remi grew on me also and I felt that they were meant for each other. I didn’t appreciate how they took some time apart near the end. I’m sure that was another attempt at pulling heart strings and drama but only succeeded in annoying me. I thought it was cute how their relationship was equated to two geese named Henry and Henny. That element was a nice, unique and appreciated touch.

It is necessary for me to mention that this was a super-fast paced book – everything happened very quickly. My interest was captured right from the start and held throughout the story until the end despite my connectivity struggles. I feel the story could have slowed down some because I felt rushed. I can’t help but wonder if that is also why I struggled as much as I did to fall in love with this story. I desperately wanted to love it as much as I did the previous book.

In conclusion, I do recommend this book for other readers to give it a try. I strive really hard to be honest in my reviews but I feel my review of Paxton is slanted or biased based on my previous experience in reading Elias.  I am willing to try another story about those Texas Rebels, though, as there are enough positives in Paxton to recommend that other readers or fans of Ms. Warren give this one a try.

Married to Claim the Rancher’s Heir by Lauri Robinson


Married to Claim the Rancher’s Heir by Lauri Robinson
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical
Pages: Full length (288 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

To claim his heir…

…he must marry his enemy!

Gabe Callaway is outraged when feisty Janette Parker lands on his doorstep with her orphaned niece—though he soon realizes little Ruby is heir to his ranch! If Janette wants money, he’ll pay her off to keep the little girl in her rightful place. But all Janette wants is Ruby… Will Gabe do whatever it takes to claim his heir—even marry Janette?

If you have not read a Lauri Robinson book then I don’t know what you are waiting for. This is my fifth one and apparently she’s written thirty four. Why didn’t I discover her books sooner? Better late than never.

Sometimes when you read multiple books by the same author they become monotonous. This can’t be said about Ms. Robinson’s novels. I’m flabbergasted at how the author has once again delivered a flawless writing style that articulated an eloquent and fluent plot. Married to Claim the Rancher’s Heir is another original work of art by Ms. Robinson filled with relatable characters and heartwarming drama that left me with unforgettable memories.

Gabe Callaway, the hero, was headstrong, handsome, and responsible with an endearing sensitive side that appeared on several occasions when he was around the heroine, Janet Parker.

Janet Parker was equally as headstrong, beautiful, and capable of taking care of herself. When Janet and Gabe were together it was fun to see who could outwit the other. I was thoroughly entertained when they were ultimately both outwitted by someone unexpected – a hilarious plot twist.

There’s so much more to this story than the synopsis alludes to. There is a tiny suspense story line involving Janet. I was riveted to the book well past my bed time. It was swoon worthy how Gabe became her protector.

I emphatically implore readers to read Married to Claim the Rancher’s Heir. I fell in love with Gabe and Janet and the epilogue sealed the deal.

Christmas with the Best Man by Susan Carlisle


Christmas with the Best Man by Susan Carlisle
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full length (255 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

A kiss, a fling…a wedding ring?

Dr. Helena Tate still believes in love, despite her past heartbreak, and that one day she’ll have a baby of her own. Her gorgeous but brooding colleague Dr. Elijah Davenport, however, is not the man to pin her hopes on. He’s no longer interested in long-term relationships.

But being maid of honor and best man at a wedding in snow-covered Central Park heightens their attraction. Soon their Christmas fling becomes so much more! Can Helena tame Manhattan Mercy’s playboy—so they both get the love they deserve?

The first paragraph filled me with hope for an ER-style drama-filled love story and it was an immediate hook. “Dr. Helena Tate knew what a madhouse the ER could be during and after a major nor’easter but to experience it first hand was always a draining experience.” I think I’ve watched too many episodes of Code Black and Chicago Med. My expectations were set too high in regards to the emergencies I was expecting to read about. I was expecting some major car accident pile up on the snow covered highway with multiple injuries arriving in the ER all at once. There were three emergencies. One was kind of funny, one was a bit more tense like I had expected and one was heartwarming. All the incidences were relevant in demonstrating to the reader characteristics in each the hero and heroine, making them relatable.

Helena is the heroine and Elijah is the hero. As the author states, “they each have a dark past to overcome. Love isn’t an easy thing for them.” I loved how, despite Helena’s past, she still believes in love and dreams of having that happy ever after with her dream match. Helena’s dark past was much more believable than Elijah’s dark past. However that could be because I grew up with a family more like Helena’s than Elijah’s. I can’t imagine keeping the secret like the one Elijah did. Of course I can’t keep secrets to save my life. I don’t know what I would have done if I was in Elijah’s shoes. The author did a nice job justifying Elijah’s decisions and feelings to the point where I was able to go with it.

Despite their past heartbreaks, the question in my mind was “will they overcome their fears and give love a chance?” I’m happy to say that this story was written very well and never did I feel like banging my head as the couple worked towards their happily ever after. The book flowed nicely and retained my interest from beginning to end. It would have been nice to have a more developed cast of characters for the reader to bond with besides the hero and heroine, but there are honorable mentions for some of them. It also would have been nice to have an epilogue that would have shared with me how things turned out for Marcy and her baby, Olivia. As far as side characters go, the main ones were the most developed and relative to Helena’s character. I would have enjoyed a conclusion where Elijah made peace and reached closure with his parents. Mostly it would have been nice to have a more solid ending with Elijah and Helena five years down the road, perhaps sitting around a Christmas feast at his parents.

The Christmas season was nicely incorporated throughout the story and was a splendid touch to the romance budding between Elijah and Helena. I enjoyed the day they spent in New York doing Christmas related activities. I could feel the Christmas magic.

Overall this was an enjoyable book to pass away a few hours. The love and chemistry between Elijah and Helena was emotionally heartwarming. I would recommend this book despite all the things I wish were different.

The Housekeeper’s Awakening by Sharon Kendrick


The Housekeeper’s Awakening by Sharon Kendrick
Publisher: Harlequin Presents
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (184 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

At her boss’s beck and call…

Recovering from a terrible car accident, world renowned playboy Luis Martinez is bored, grumpy and frustrated. He’s sick of nurses fussing over him, so he fires the lot and demands his sweet, innocent housekeeper massage him back to health!

Carly Conner has spent her life trying not to be noticed. But now with her boss looking at her differently, every day the tantalizing tension between them grows. When Luis whisks her away to his villa in the south of France, how long will she be able to deny the temptation he poses…especially when he makes a second shocking proposition?

My first romance book was a Harlequin at the age of sixteen. I’ve been hooked on romance books for the last thirty years. I recall back then never being ashamed to open my romance book wherever I was. Somehow between then and now reading a romance book became something to be ashamed about. If I had to pinpoint it I’d have to say it was from the razzing I use to get about how romance books weren’t real life. I was teased for how they are considered smut books. After a while I didn’t need to fold the book in half to hide the cover because I could download my books. For years I’ve been reading romance books in secret on my iPad. Until last weekend. I was given several Harlequin paperbacks to read. I was at my son’s all day wrestling tournament and I folded the book in half to hide the front cover. Well, much to my dismay as I was devouring the pages, I forgot about folding the book in half. I did get a few looks and chuckles from my husband and a couple of my friends but I didn’t care because I was so absorbed in the hero, Luis Martinez and the heroine, Carly Conner’s budding romance.

Mind you I grew to consider Harlequin to be a good introduction into the romance genre and then I graduated to romance novels such as Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, or Danielle Steel. I became stuck up and felt Harlequins were inferior. That was then.

As I said, I’ve recently been given several Harlequin softcovers. I picked the “The Housekeeper’s Awakening” to read first. Boy! Was I surprised! I really did enjoy getting to know and accept Luis and his slightly male chauvinistic characteristics. The reader was able to see his tender side often enough that Luis was a lovable hero. Carly Conner was Luis’s housekeeper. I’m not sure how realistic it is that a billionaire would fire his nurse and request his housekeeper to take over the nurse’s duties. However, it doesn’t matter how realistic that was or not. I was thoroughly entertained with the plot. Especially after reading both their past histories; together they made a plausible equation. I was intrigued enough to continue reading to see how everything would work out in the end.

There was some conflict with Carly’s sister. I secretly wished Luis would have overheard what her jealous sister, Bella had said to Carly at one point. I yearned for her sister to get a taste of her own medicine. However, I’m sure just seeing Carly’s happy ever after will be enough justification. Personally I could never see anything likable in Bella, or Carly’s mother for that matter. Carly was an intelligent goal focused mature woman who wasn’t afraid to stand up to Luis. Fortunately Luis could see the catch that Carly was.

I’ve never read a book by Sharon Kendrick before but I certainly would like to read another book from her since I enjoyed her writing style. I’ll have to dig through the bag and see if there’s another one by her since I have another all day wrestling tournament to attend tomorrow. Perhaps this time I won’t bend the book in half at all. I shared my personal experiences in this review in case there are other readers like me who feel or thought like I did about reading a Harlequin. I regret my snobbish view point and wonder how many good books I’ve missed out on. And I do recommend “The Housekeeper’s Awakening”.

Texas Rebels: Elias by Linda Warren


Texas Rebels: Elias by Linda Warren
Publisher: Harlequin Western Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (224 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

FIRST LOVE, SECOND CHANCE

Maribel McCray knew moving back to Horseshoe, Texas, would mean facing Elias Rebel, the cowboy she was forbidden to love in high school. She just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. With her teenage son, Chase, in trouble, she needs Elias’s help. He may be a Rebel, sworn enemy of every McCray, but he’s also Chase’s father.

For the lone bachelor of the Rebel clan, there’s only one way to make up for lost years with his son—become a family for real. But Maribel’s distance runs deeper than the Rebel-McCray feud. Elias won’t settle for a marriage of convenience with the woman he’s falling for again. How can he convince Maribel some second chances are worth taking?

I really enjoyed this book. I’m disappointed that I didn’t find the Texas Rebels series by Linda Warren sooner. This is the seventh and last book in the series. I am going to have to go back and read the rest of the stories because I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy them based on how much I enjoyed reading this one.

I really need to point out that this story was a heartwarming romance about second chances. The heroine, Maribel, was written in a way that she could very possibly be me or someone I know. She has realistic issues that I can’t get into but I genuinely could understand from a personal perspective. In fact the advice she was given had a direct impact on me. Therefore I can consider this book to be inspirational. I quote, “You may not understand that kind of love, but sometimes people love the way they can”. That statement spoke to me and was powerful and meaningful to the plot. I admired Maribel for her courage and vulnerability as well as her ability to forgive.

I really connected with Elias, the hero, because he shared my values in a relationship. Elias and I both need vows of love to be shared at some point in the relationship. However, Maribel shared my values as far as needing to see love through actions not just with the words “I love you”. Together they demonstrated true love. I respected how Maribel and Elias were direct and honest with each other. No mind games.

When I read a romance book I want to be able to rave about it. I am so excited to be able to do just that. Everything was remarkable. The writing style, the plot, the characters, the pace, and the originality all had me captured from the start to the end. While this story was the ending in the series, fortunately for me it was my beginning. I will get to go back and meet all of the characters in the Rebel and McCray families that I briefly got to know and fall in love with in Texas Rebels: Elias.

I am quite thankful that I stumbled upon this book and I can definitely recommend it. Texas Rebels: Elias was an extremely enjoyable read for me. Just be prepared to “expect the unexpected”. This novel is more than meets the eye.

Playing by the Greek’s Rules by Sarah Morgan


Playing by the Greek’s Rules by Sarah Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (192 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

It’s time to throw away the rule book…

Idealistic archaeologist Lily Rose craves a fairy-tale love, but in her experience it always ends in heartbreak. So now Lily’s trying a different approach—a fling with her boss, infamous Greek playboy Nik Zervakis!

Anti-love and anti-family, Nik lives by his own set of rules. There’s no one better to teach Lily how to separate sizzling sex from deep emotions! But while Nik has the world at his feet, he also has dark shadows in his heart…

It starts as a sensual game, but can Lily stick to Nik’s rules? And what’s more, can he?

This is a romance story to hug close and re-read when I need a happy boost. The premise uses a typical trope but the delivery is pure magic and Lily Rose is so delightful and funny, I loved the heroine’s personality. Mr. Iceberg Nik didn’t stand a chance.

I’ve been a fan of Ms. Morgan for quite a number of years but I have no idea how in the world I missed reading this little gem. It’s practically perfect. I can say in all honesty that I disturbed my hubby’s concentration as he watched his favorite T.V. show because I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. First it was the power shower, and then there were two other scenes at which I was powerless to stop the giggles bursting forth. I talked out loud to my Nook and gasped when I figured out who Lily was talking to on the phone. Oh no! Oh, yes. That’s Lily for you. The heroine’s effect on Nik must have felt like a roller coaster to him; many times I’m sure he felt the sudden drop after the amazing highs only to feel dizzy from the loop-de-loop that is the heroine’s personality. She kept him on his toes. He never knew what she’d say next and that was half the fun.

Dialogue. I absolutely, totally, without doubt or hesitation, ADORED Lily’s dialogue. How Nik held out from falling in love with her as long as he did astounded me. She made me laugh with her turns of phrase. I cannot say enough good things about how Ms. Morgan presented her heroine and her quirky nature. Everyone should have someone in their life that is as imaginative with their dialogue, idioms and phraseology as Lily’s was. It worked because her character came across as sincere, caring, loving and supportive. The one element that I believe is her greatest strength was her capacity for forgiveness. That is a personality trait that would benefit everyone in real life and the author had her heroine live it, not just pay lip service to the sentiment. I was very impressed.

Any reader who is serious about reading quality romance stories needs to pick up their own copy of Playing by the Greek’s Rules to see what I’m waxing poetic about. If I can find this in a print book format somewhere, I’m buying it so I can literally put this on my ‘keeper shelf’. That’s how good this book made me feel after I read the final paragraph and why I give this novel a high rating. Ms. Morgan rocks!