*Starstruck by Ivy Dawes

*Starstruck by Ivy Dawes
Publisher: Flower and Bear Books
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur


Dropped by my acting agent? Check. Dumped by my crappy ex boyfriend? Check.

This was not what I envisioned when I moved to LA. So I’m starting at the bottom. Again. When I get a job as a PA on the set of an upcoming Starlight Studios movie, I am stuck catering to the whims of a has-been who treats me like dirt. It’s almost enough to make me reconsider this gig. That is until I meet a background actor who gives me butterflies and makes me feel like I’m alive again.

But looks can be deceiving. Especially when he is buried under layers of facial prosthetics and fake blood. Turns out he’s not a background actor at all. He’s James Everett, the film’s leading star. He’s smart, funny, ridiculously handsome, and everything I want.

Falling in love with a movie star? Check. But does that matter when the film studio is pushing him to enter a fake relationship with someone else?


I have money, fame, and now the leadership role I’ve dreamed of for years at Starlight Studios is finally within my grasp. As long as I stay in line. Anyone would want to be in my shoes. But despite what the public believes, being a part of the Everett family acting dynasty isn’t all award shows and accolades. People only look at me for what they can get from me. Roles, connections, even just being seen in public with me is enough to boost someone’s image in Hollywood. It’s exhausting.

Then, I run into Kat… literally. She’s fun, feisty, and beautiful inside and out. Instead of wanting me for my name, she wants me for who I am. And she’s starting to make me question my father’s actions and his control over my career. The only problem? In order to get that promotion at my family’s film studio, I have to sign a relationship contract… with someone else. What we have is a bright spot in my life, but is it about to be extinguished?

Starstruck is an entertaining Hollywood story about a struggling actress and a popular movie star. The two main characters are down to earth and easy to connect with and their connection is sweet and easy.

Kat is working as a P.A. on a movie set when she meets James, the star of the movie. Her life hasn’t worked out as she has planned, and her confidence is at an all-time low.

I liked James and Kat and thought they were great together. They are down to earth, don’t have big egos and help each other deal with some of their issues. Hollywood is a cutthroat place, and this wouldn’t be a Hollywood story without some backstabbing, bloated egos and insincere smiles. Where everyone around them is insincere James and Kat are honest and work well together. This is an entertaining story from start to finish.

*Happy Harry by Barbara Lampert

*Happy Harry by Barbara Lampert
Publisher: Golden Wolf books
Genre: Non-Fiction, Animal Essays
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

“Nobody who loves dogs will be able to resist your book! A magnificent love story!” – Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, international bestselling author of Dogs Never Lie About Love and When Elephants Weep.

In her dog memoir “Happy Harry: A Magical Golden”, psychotherapist Barbara Lampert, a lifelong dog lover, tells the story of her beloved Golden Retriever, Harry. Like her first dog memoir, Harry’s story comes from her mostly uncensored daily journal and takes place in Malibu, California.

Harry was a genuinely free spirit – wild, and very wolf-like. Did all this contribute to his being exceptionally happy? Perhaps.

Harry was not only the happiest being Barbara’s ever known, happy to the very core of him, but also the bravest. More than once in his life, Harry had to face true adversity, and each time, Barbara would look at him in wonder, not fully understanding how a being could be so brave and at the same time continue to be so happy.

Harry literally pranced through life, with a joyous attitude that made being around him like magic. Barbara fell in love with Harry. And as you immerse yourself in Harry’s story, it’s likely you will too! Happy Harry is unforgettable!

You don’t have to be a lover of Golden Retrievers to find this story captivating, but if Goldens are your favorite dog, you will thoroughly enjoy this story about Harry the rambunctious, precocious and fun-loving Golden Retriever.

When I first saw this book about Harry, a Golden Retriever I knew I had to read it. I have raised four Goldens throughout my life and currently have Charlie, a two-year-old Golden Retriever. So many things Barbara Lampert wrote about resonated with me. I could relate to so many of her experiences with Harry. The descriptions of Harry are funny and poignant. The writing is entertaining and interesting, and I fell in love with Harry along the way. The story chronicles Harry’s life from the time he is adopted at nine weeks, until his death. Harry is a typical friendly Golden Retriever, and I enjoyed reliving Barbara’s experiences with him. Her love of dogs and how much Harry touched her heart is evident in her writing.

Barbara takes us on a thoughtful and insightful journey. It is a beautiful tribute to Harry and made me laugh at all his crazy antics and cry when his end was near. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a sweet, feel good, well written story. This story touched my heart and made me want to give my dog a hug and make sure I enjoy the time he is with me.

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*Liar’s Point by Laura Griffin

*Liar’s Point by Laura Griffin
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Two homicide detectives must separate the puzzling truth from a growing web of lies while investigating a murder victim’s friends and lovers in Lost Beach, Texas.

Detective Nicole Lawson is fed up with her job and nonexistent love life. Her first date in months gets cut short by an urgent call from the chief of police. A body has been discovered at Lighthouse Point, and the medical examiner finds an array of strange clues. When the death is ruled a homicide, the news quickly reverberates through Nicole’s beachside hometown.

The Lost Beach police department swings into high gear. Leading the investigation is Emmet Davis, a veteran detective who is Nicole’s fiercest rival at work and also the man she has secretly harbored feelings toward for years. With Emmet calling the shots, Nicole sets out to search for leads, starting with the enigmatic yoga instructor who first discovered the body. Nicole is certain the witness knows more than she’s revealing and may even hold the key to unlocking the case.

When another person turns up dead under suspicious circumstances, Nicole sees a bizarre pattern, but no one believes her theory. Under the gun to solve the case, Nicole must put aside her tumultuous feelings and work closely with Emmet to figure out who is targeting her beloved hometown . . . before she becomes a target herself.

I’m always excited when Laura Griffin comes out with a new book because she is one of my favorite authors. She knows how to write intense, suspenseful stories that keep me quickly turning the pages to find out what will happen next.

Nicole and Emmett are the two main characters in her newest book, Liar’s Point. They are detectives working together on a case involving a murdered woman. Nicole and Emmett are dedicated and hardworking and although they are attracted to each other, they are afraid to admit their feelings.

I loved everything about this story, especially Nicloe. Nicole is a fearless and dedicated detective. She has to work twice as hard as her male peers but is still treated differently because she is a woman. She has had a crush on Emmett since high school, but she is afraid to act on her attraction because it could ruin her career.

All the characters in this story are interesting, the plot is riveting, and the writing is spot on. I enjoyed all of Emmett and Nicole’s interactions and felt the chemistry between them. This story kept me on the edge of my seat, and I wasn’t sure who the murderer was until the very end.

*The Stranger I Wed by Harper St. George

*The Stranger I Wed by Harper St. George
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group, Berkley
Genre: Historical, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

New to wealth and to London high society, American heiress Cora Dove discovers that with the right man, marriage might not be such an inconvenience after all. . . .

Cora Dove and her sisters’ questionable legitimacy has been the lifelong subject of New York’s gossipmongers and a continual stain on their father’s reputation. So when the girls each receive a generous, guilt-induced dowry from their dying grandmother, the sly Mr. Hathaway vows to release their funds only if Cora and her sisters can procure suitable husbands—far from New York. For Cora, England is a fresh start. She has no delusions of love, but a husband who will respect her independence? That’s an earl worth fighting for.

Enter: Leopold Brendon, Earl of Devonworth, a no-nonsense member of Parliament whose plan to pass a Public Health bill that would provide clean water to the working class requires the backing of a wealthy wife. He just never expected to crave Cora’s touch or yearn to hear her thoughts on his campaign—or to discover that his seemingly perfect bride protects so many secrets…

But secrets have a way of bubbling to the surface, and Devonworth has a few of his own. With their pasts laid bare and Cora’s budding passion for women’s rights taking a dangerous turn, they’ll learn the true cost of losing their heart to a stranger—and that love is worth any price.

Harper St. George knows how to write a rich and satisfying story with characters that are entertaining and interesting. I loved this enchanting historical story set in the late 1800’s so much, I never wanted it to end.

Cora, the eldest of the Dove sisters, must marry a titled gentleman to gain her inheritance, so she and her two sisters travel to England to find a groom. When Cora arrives in London, she meets an assortment of potential husbands including Devenworth.

Devenworth needs a rich bride to save his ancestral home. Although he is attracted to Cora, he ultimately marries her for her dowry. They marry first and slowly fall in love as they become acquainted with each other. The more they learn about each other, the deeper they fall. However, they are afraid to let down their guard and trust each other completely.

I loved Devenworth and Cora together and enjoyed all of their encounters. Sparks would fly whenever they were together, and I found myself immediately immersed in their story. I felt like I was right there with them, and I easily connected with all the characters.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and can’t wait to read future stories featuring the two other Dove sisters.

*Loving Georgia Caldwell by Victoria Chatham

*Loving Georgia Caldwell by Victoria Chatham
Publisher: BWL Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Professional football was Ty Harding’s life. Injury and age ended it. Now what? Returning to the family ranch after two decades to decide his future, he finds it in crisis. His mother needs help, and Ty’s ranching skills are rusty. His only recourse is his high school sweetheart, who runs the adjoining property.

Georgia Caldwell manages her thriving spread and competes in team cattle penning. She has little room for anything more, especially an injured football hero. She only agrees to give Ty Harding a crash course in Ranching 101 because of what they once had.

Ty is captivated by the strong woman Georgia has become. Is her busy life the reason she keeps her distance from him, or is it something else? Could whatever she is hiding keep them apart, or can Ty become the man Georgia needs for them to rekindle what they once had?

This is a small town story with a lot of heart. The characters are realistic, vulnerable and easy to connect with.

Ty is a former football player trying to figure out what his life without football looks like. He returns home and wonders if he can still fit into small town life. Even though many things have changed, Ty still finds himself attracted to Georgia, his former girlfriend. Since Ty has left, Georgia has learned to be tough and work hard. She knows how to take care of herself and has made sacrifices to help others.

I enjoyed reading Ty and Georgia’s story and I thought they were perfect for each other. The story is engaging and I was happy Ty and Georgia had a chance to be together again because they deserve to be happy.

*Fashionista’s Playbook by Candi Scott

*Fashionista’s Playbook by Candi Scott
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

The door to the New York fashion world shut firmly in her face, Moriah Stanhope’s only option seems to be to return to her small-town home as a failure. At least, she would go home in disgrace, but her car was just repossessed. In front of the hottest guy she’s ever seen.

Travis Madera is supposed to hire an assistant. One with qualifications and experience. Someone who won’t be starstruck by the fact he’s a professional football player. But he never could resist a damsel in distress, especially one with all those curves.

Moriah’s been humiliated in front of guys like Travis before. But as his assistant, she has access to every moment of his day-to-day life, so surely she can stay ahead of any potential problems.

Until the past comes rushing into the present.

Candi Scott writes an emotional and entertaining, sports romance. The story is well written, the characters were easy for me to relate to and the story immediately drew me in.

I loved everything about the two main characters. Moriah is curvy, smart and sweet and Travis is a hot football player with a heart of gold. Moriah and Travis have undergone pain and hurt in their pasts, which makes them vulnerable and slow to trust others. However, when these two meet, they meet they have a strong connection and attraction. They feel comfortable with each other and are able to put down their guard.

It was so much fun reading Travis and Moriah’s story as they fall in love. I easily connected with them and enjoyed all of the interactions. They have a strong chemistry and thought they were perfect for each other. You don’t want to miss this captivating story.

*All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata

*All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata
Publisher: Avon and Harpers Voyager, Avon
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

The people we lose take a part of us with them…but they leave a part of themselves with us too.

Aurora De La Torre, or Ora to her friends, knows moving back to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, a place that was once home and is now full of bittersweet memories of her late mother, isn’t going to be easy. Starting your whole life over probably isn’t supposed to be.

But after breaking up with her longtime, famous musician boyfriend, hiding out in a small town in the mountains might be the perfect remedy for a broken heart. And checking out her landlord who lives across the driveway just might cure it, too.

Only Tobias Rhodes didn’t rent out the apartment to her, rather it was his teenage son, Amos. Fiercely protective of his family and distrusting of strangers, gruff and grumpy Rhodes initially keeps little miss sunshine Ora at a distance. But over days and weeks, long hikes and fireside chats, Aurora breaks down his walls and soon an unbreakable friendship blossoms into a once-in-a-lifetime love.

When I first read this book in 2021 I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now that it has been rereleased, I decided to read it again and I found that I loved this story just as much the second time around. Mariana Zapata knows how to paint a picture and make the story come alive.

All Rhodes Lead Here is a slow burn, emotional story with realistic character development. The two main characters Rhodes and Aurora, are confident, successful people, but they also have insecurities in some areas of their lives.

Aurora is recovering from a breakup that left her devastated. She had no power or control in her last relationship and is now on a mission to achieve some goals she has set for herself to regain her self esteem. Aurora is slowly learning to believe in herself again, face her fears and regain her confidence that her last relationship destroyed. She has nowhere to go and nothing to show for the years she wasted on her past relationship so she decides to move to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. She meets Rhodes when she rents an apartment from him.

Rhodes is the strong silent type and he keeps his emotions hidden behind his stoic demeanor. He is perfect for Aurora because he is protective, has a big heart and he is willing to wait to give Aurora the time she needs before starting another relationship.

I enjoyed reading Rhodes and Aurora’s story, they have loads of chemistry and I loved all of their interactions. These two cautious people are perfect for each other. This beautiful story is filled with emotion and yearning and it immediately drew me in. I cared about the characters and I couldn’t stop reading until they found their happily ever after. I loved this endearing story and I think you will too.

*Merry Pucking Christmas by Kelly Jamieson

*Merry Pucking Christmas by Kelly Jamieson
Publisher: Victory Editing Netgalley Co-op
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Harley Reid
My holiday plans? Boxed wine, flannel pajamas, and Netflix minus the “chill”. I hadn’t planned on getting off my apathy until after New Years—until I accidentally crash into my ex’s new girlfriend’s car. But it’s the motivation I need to flee to my Aunt Nora’s place in NYC for Christmas.

Colliding with a typically grouchy New Yorker isn’t my best foot forward. But sweet Jesus on a cracker, he’s a lickable, Viking-size hunk of hotness. As we somehow keep running into each other, I begin to believe I can shed the hurt and humiliation and be fearless.

Nils Axelsson

My holiday plans? Spending my hockey team’s break alone. My friend Nora, however, won’t let me escape her vortex of holiday cheer, and I find myself agreeing to take her niece to a Rockettes show.

I was expecting an awkward teenager in braces, but it’s the same woman who plowed into me in the elevator. A knock-me-sideways stunning blonde whose beauty and kindness hits me like a puck to the chest. The more time I spend with her, the more I want as much as I can get before she has to go back home. Unless I can give her a reason to stay.

This is a heartwarming Christmas novella about Nils and Harley, two broken-hearted people not interested in celebrating Christmas.

When Harley decides to go to New York for Christmas, she meets Nils and as they spend time together, they start to fall in love. I love reading stories about hockey players and Nils is the perfect guy for Harley. I liked both Nils and Harley and they share tons of chemistry whenever they are together. I was cheering for them and hoping they would get the happy ending they both deserve.

I enjoyed reading this enchanting novella. It put me in the holiday spirit and left me with a smile on my face.

*All I Want for Christmas is You by Erika Kelly

*All I Want for Christmas is You by Erika Kelly
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Holiday, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Her children are grown, her ex betrayed her in the worst way, and it’s her first Christmas alone. What better way to spend it than with the hottest man she’s ever seen? She deserves a little fun after losing everything she’s worked so hard for.

Margot Rhodes is glad to wake up in her hotel room to an empty bed. Her one and only hookup was phenomenal, but she doesn’t need to say goodbye to a man she’ll never see again. Except when she comes downstairs…she finds him in the lobby.

A snowstorm shut down the airport, and now she’s stuck with him for three days.

She needs to rebuild her life–not fall for some guy who lives two thousand miles away–so she does her best to avoid him, but the infuriating man keeps teaming up with her in the holiday events the hotel owner’s arranged to keep her guests happy.

And then, when it’s time to go their separate ways, he makes an offer she can’t refuse. It requires a move to his hometown…but what does she have to lose? She’s starting from the bottom which means the only way forward is up.

She’s got a second chance at life…is she willing to risk it all for a dirty-talking stranger?

All I Want For Christmas Is You is a delightful story filled with Christmas cheer and good feeling. I immediately connected with the two main characters, Beau and Margot and I enjoyed reading their story. In fact, I couldn’t stop reading their story until I was sure they would get the happy ending they both deserve. They have an immediate connection with each other, and their chemistry is intense.

Sadly, Beau and Margot’s first marriages were not happy because they were married to selfish people and after divorcing, they never expected to fall in love. Beau and Margot aren’t looking for a relationship but love unexpectedly finds them. They have both been hurt by their former spouses and have a hard time trusting each again. Their story shows the ins and outs of a new romance and how hard it is to take a leap in faith and trust another person after being hurt. I admired both of them. They are wonderful parents to their adult children, have a great relationship with all of them and have so much love to give. Beau and Margot deserve to be happy after all they have gone through.

I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful and heartwarming Christmas story. Beau makes all of Margot’s dreams come true and Margot shows Beau how wonderful love can be.

Erika Kelly is one of my favorite authors and this story left me with a good feeling and put me in the Christmas spirit.

*The Last Close Call by Laura Griffin

*The Last Close Call by Laura Griffin
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group. Berkley
Genre: Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

A talented genetic analyst and a detective who’s haunted by an elusive cold case team up in the new standalone romantic suspense from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.

Forensic genealogist Rowan Healy has made a name for herself by helping investigators trace the family trees of violent criminals who have eluded justice for years. But the pressure of police cases left her burned out, and she’s shifted her focus to helping adoptees find their biological parents.

Austin detective Jack Bruner has spent his career successfully tracking down vicious criminals—with the notable exception of the West Campus Rapist, a meticulous offender in Texas who has never been identified. When the latest two victims come to light, Jack sees his target is escalating his violent behavior—and only with Rowan’s help does he stand a chance of cracking this case.

Moved by Jack’s dedication and the brutal details of the attacks he lays out, Rowan agrees to help. When her ground-breaking DNA research sheds new light on the criminal’s background and helps them zero in on a search radius, Rowan and Jack must race against the clock to find a ruthless killer who’s growing bolder the longer he evades the law.

Laura Griffin writes a compelling story filled with mystery, romance and lots of suspense. The Last Close Call, her latest book, had me on the edge of my seat, quickly turning the pages to find out what would happen next.

This enthralling story takes place in Texas. The two main characters Rowen, a genealogist and Jack, a detective meet while working on a case involving a serial rapist. Jack and Rowen have an immediate connection, a lot of chemistry and I enjoyed all of their interactions. They are both dedicated to their jobs and don’t have time for relationships, but the pull they feel toward each other is impossible to resist.

This intriguing story was the perfect mixture of romance and suspense. The plot is interesting and the story held me spellbound. I felt like I was right there with Jack and Rowen and this story kept me interested until the very end. I enjoyed reading about all the behind the scenes police work Jack is doing trying to catch the serial rapist. Jack feels a lot of pressure because he knows time is running out, until the rapist strikes again. Laura Griffin is one of my favorite authors because she knows how to write an intriguing romantic story and she never disappoints me.