Beautiful Crazy by Kasey Lane


Beautiful Crazy by Kasey Lane
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (352 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Quince

Their tension is turning up the heat—in the boardroom and the bedroom…

Kevan Landry is trying to keep her life on track and her brother in rehab. If her fledgling marketing firm can sign the hot new band, Manix Curse, it will make a world of difference. Mason Dillon heads the most successful music PR firm in Portland. He’s desperate to breathe new life into the company by signing Manix Curse.

The stakes are high when a battle for the band—in the bedroom and the boardroom—becomes a battle of the heart. But if these two can set aside their differences, they may find they’re the right mix of sexy savvy to conquer both their worlds.

Kevan Landry and Mason Dillon are complete opposites. Kevan is full of tattoos and dressed in vintage clothes. She runs a small fledgling marketing firm, she has no money, her brother is an addict and she comes from a dysfunctional family. Mason on the other hand, is all business and money. He has no tattoo, he is dressed in business suits, he works for huge PR firm and he is loaded. His family might not be full of love and affection but it is far from dysfunctional. But Kevan and Mason have one thing that bring them together; they want to sign a contract with the same band. In order to get a band they have to spend time together on the tour. The only problem with them being together on the tour is that they are enemies who like one another a lot.

I absolutely loved this book. Everything in it is perfect; characters, plot, relationship between Kevan and Mason, everything. Although it is the first book in the series it focuses solely on the relationship between Kevan and Mason without trying to make introduction into a series. The characters are three-dimensional and it was so easy to fall in love with them. Kevan is a tough girl on the outside, but so fragile on the inside. She is a fighter and I rooted for her through the whole story. Mason is typical alpha, but while he goes for what he wants, he is also so gentle toward Kevan. The relationship between two of them is emotional from the very beginning. It is so obvious that they are head over heels in love with each other from the start. Only, it took them quite some time to realize that. The plot is also amazing; Kevan’s and Mason’s relationship is put in the context of the music world, business deals, promotions and life on the road.

If you are looking for a highly emotional and intense contemporary romance Beautiful Crazy is a perfect story. Read it; it is absolutely amazing!

Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear


Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

angling with a White Wolf—Best Christmas Ever, or Real Trouble?

Romance writer Candice Mayfair never missed a deadline in her life—until an accidental bite from a werewolf puppy turns her into an Arctic wolf shifter. She’s forced to isolate herself in the wilderness to cope with her unpredictable shifting while she works on her deadlines. After all, for Candice, Christmas is just another day.

Enter private investigator Owen Nottingham, a wolf shifter hired to find Candice so she can collect her inheritance. They have a real problem: she must arrive home in human form, and that’s not happening during the full moon. Besides, Owen has a new mission: to convince the pretty she-wolf her best move is to join his pack in time for Christmas…and to prove he’s the only wolf for her.

Ms. Spear has done it again. She has written another fun werewolf romance with an interesting twist on an often told tale. You know, a struggling heroine finds herself a possible heiress, has to compete with someone else to prove she is who she is and finds herself in a pickle because someone does not want her to prove it. Throw in a new way of life, a hero she’s not sure she can trust and finding out she is not a lone wolf after all, totally makes Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas worth taking the time to snuggle down and get comfy with while reading.

I liked Candice and Owen’s romance. I liked how they met, how they courted and the dialogue that flowed back and forth between them. I enjoyed seeing how the heroine fit in with Owen’s small pack and I adored all the kids and their antics. One of the kids is of course extra mischievous and ends up having a special place in Owen and Candice’s heart. Mine too, for that matter.

The conflict is mostly character driven except when it comes to the heroine proving her authenticity. That’s where the external conflict shows up and it provides the suspense and drama needed to keep the plot moving. There are plenty of surprises and interesting twists so this story avoids being a cliché. Ms. Spear sure had a challenge ahead of her in trying to fit all the action in during a rushed but believable timeline that raced towards the final showdown and satisfying conflict resolution. It was well paced, used effective descriptions and engaged my emotions.

I know the title mentions Christmas and that it’s a really big holiday, but the season isn’t the focus of the story. The special time is used more to wrap up the happily ever after as it’s the perfect reason for a celebration of family, of hope, of dreams come true and the start of a wonderful future. It has a feel good, optimistic and charming ending all tied up with a beautiful, big bow of romance and love.

Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas is a sweet romance that pulls the heartstrings because both Candice and Owen lost the lives they had before the ‘big change’. But, in each other, found happiness and joy for the life that’s ahead of them. I’m quite confident that their happy ever after is actually the beginning of a wonderful new life adventure for both of them. I’m a very content reader.

Last Chance Cowboys: The Outlaw by Anna Schmidt


Last Chance Cowboys: The Outlaw by Anna Schmidt
Where the Trail Ends Book 3
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (322 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Amanda Porterfield longs to experience real adventure. So when she’s offered a position in bustling Tucson, she leaps at the chance despite unknown dangers―dangers like the mysterious Seth Grover.

As an undercover detective working to stop a gang of outlaws, Seth can’t afford the distractions a woman like Amanda inspires. Yet when the fiercely intelligent beauty is thrust into the middle of a heist gone wrong, Seth will fight for a future that may never be theirs…even if it means risking everything he holds dear.

The Outlaw is an entertaining novel that was filled with exciting adventure; the kind of adventure that Amanda Portefield longed for to escape the monotony of her days. The writing style made it easy for me to be sucked into the author’s imaginary world filled with relatable characters and unpredictable plot threads. I thoroughly enjoyed being captivated from the start of the book all the way to the end. The pace was consistent and thrilling which kept me continuously turning the pages.

Amanda Portefield was a strong willed, spirited leading lady who had the misfortune to find herself in a few sticky situations. Some of those situations made me laugh while others made me grimace. It was to Amanda’s great fortune that the hero, Seth, possessed the uncanny ability to be nearby to rescue her, most of the time. Seth was greatly distracted by her intelligence and beauty and she couldn’t hide her interest in his mysterious persona. I mean, seriously, who could resist an undercover detective working to stop a gang of outlaws. I can’t deny that I found Seth to be more than enticing for me. I could feel the romantic tension when they were together.

While this is the third book in a series it can be read on its own. The fact that the plot threads were all tied up with a happily ever after at the end of this book made The Outlaw the ideal romance book for me. I would strongly encourage my family and friends to read this delightful, engaging and well written love story.

Seal Wolf Undercover by Terry Spear


Seal Wolf Undercover by Terry Spear
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (292 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review ed by Xeranthemum

Never be so foolish as to fall for the enemy…

Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews has joined the jaguar-run United Shifter Force to track down a deadly criminal. She’s even willing to work with PI Vaughn Greystroke―until the hot, growly SEAL wolf makes the mistake of getting in her way. Naturally, she shoots him. Who could blame her?

Vaughn Greystroke has always worked alone. But when a string of attempted murders puts him in the crosshairs, teaming up with the Shifter Force begins to sound like a good idea. Even if he has to work with alluring―and potentially treacherous―Jillian Matthews. Vaughn is a trained SEAL, after all. He can surely keep his distance from Jillian…no matter how much she’s getting under his skin.

Unraveling a mystery always makes for a great plot. It’s how an author weaves the story that creates an experience to remember and Ms. Spear found a unique hook that I totally could get into.

When Jillian shot the hero, Vaughn, not only was it totally unexpected but once he figures out just who shot him, the sparks start to fly. What I found fascinating is there were so many people shooting at one time or another, I could never figure out who was the criminal. Who really was against whom and just who were the bad guys and where’d they come from and why in the world were they in this little town anyway? Then to find out not only who they were but WHAT they were just sucked me into the adventure. There was so much to find out in this novel that it was easy to keep flipping the pages into the wee hours of the morning.

Imagine my surprise when I found some of the characters were channeling Mel Fisher in their pursuits. That was another treat for me because I love stories like that. It’s a lure that many people would find hard to resist.

There are a lot of smiles throughout the story every time Jillian and Vaughn are together. Their dialogue was fun, snappy and gave me insight into their personalities. Then of course there is the romance which completely worked for me. I liked the heat and how it evolved their relationship towards the next step. In fact the author used a lot of scent references to engage a reader’s senses. There’s a lot of sensual imagery as well to keep readers who like the hot stuff very happy.

Ms. Spear delivered some action packed scenes that were well written, suspenseful and very believable. I mean, once I got to the part when the motivation was revealed, it was so human. This might be a paranormal romance story but the people are just like every other human you read about – including the criminals. This was a very down to earth kind of plot conflict and it worked, probably because one of the villains was so understated for most of the book. What a surprise!

Seal Wolf Undercover is an action story about people with motivations like folks that might live next door to you, except they go furry. Some of their problems are unique to being shifters but the way Ms. Spear writes about her characters never seem farfetched. Being able to relate to a hero and heroine’s emotions and cheer for them as they overcome challenges as they fall in love is one of the best things about this author’s books. Her characters get me every time. This was really fun read and a solid recommend to other paranormal romantic suspense readers.

The Wicked Heir: The Spare Heirs by Elizabeth Michels


The Wicked Heir: The Spare Heirs by Elizabeth Michels
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (457 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

When the love of Lady Isabelle Fairlyn’s life is betrothed to her twin sister, Isabelle vows to find a suitable replacement before the end of the season. He must be a talented dancer, have a keen fashion sense, and be perfectly dashing in every way.

Fallon St. James is the farthest thing from perfectly anything. As head of the secretive Spare Heirs Society, he must stick to the shadows…even as Isabelle’s friendship pulls him reluctantly into the light. But when Isabelle gets involved with the one man who could destroy Spares, Fallon must decide between protecting his life’s work―or risking everything to save the woman whose warm smile leaves him breathless.

Isabelle Fairlyn, so naïve and yet so eager to have a marriage founded on love, makes one want to reach out and steer her away from faulty judgments she makes about men. Her maturing as she learns the outside appearance does not really show the true nature of a man makes for page-turning reading. Her innate joy and innocence come alive on the pages.

Fallon St. James, all business as he works tirelessly to save the Spare Heirs Society, sees her as a mystical beauty, innocent, a wood nymph who makes him smile; something he rarely does. How the two of them become friends is a delight to read. How they become more than friends is even better.

How Elizabeth Michels weaves in back story and the villain Reginald Gapling is masterful. Gapling’s elusiveness and threat create an edginess to the plot and a sense of unease for the well-being of Isabelle. In her naiveté, she finds him charming.

Elizabeth Michels uses all the usual trappings of early nineteenth century life in England, but with twists and unique main characters. The spare heirs, so often the misfits, become guardians of the seamier side of London while making a living in a society that often leaves spare heirs in limbo with no trade and no inheritance..

The Wicked Heir, extremely well crafted, is captivating and powerful with an elaborate plotline and intriguing characters, plus the innocence and joy for life woven into it all makes it extra special.

Scandalous Ever After by Theresa Romain


Scandalous Ever After by Theresa Romain
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (326 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Does love really heal all wounds?

After being widowed by a steeplechase accident in Ireland, Lady Kate Whelan abandons the turf. But once her mourning is complete, her late husband’s debts drive her to seek help in Newmarket amidst the whirl of a race meet. There she encounters antiquities expert Evan Rhys, her late husband’s roguish friend―whom she hasn’t seen since the day of his lordship’s mysterious death.

Now that fate has reunited them, Evan seizes the chance to win over the woman he’s always loved. But once back within the old stone walls of Whelan House, long-held secrets come to light that shake up everything Kate thought she knew about her marriage. Now she wonders who she can trust with her heart―and Evan must decide between love and a truth that will separate him from all his heart desires.

Friends who long to be lovers, but fear crossing the line, Kate and Evan tiptoe around their feelings, but crave each other’s company.

The death of Kate’s husband, who was Evan’s best friend, leaves each of them with a heavy load; hers is a load of debts left by her unfaithful husband and Evan’s is a load of guilt. How they work through the conflicts makes attention-keeping reading.

When Nora and Declan, Kate’s children, enter the picture, with their views about life before and after their father’s death, the story gains depth. Their actions and words show so much about how children see, the often complicated, ways that adults handle things.

Kate and Evan are in the company of both their families as they find their way. The contrast in their families’ life styles and the way they see themselves reveals much about how Kate and Evan came to be the way they are – interesting reading. It is easy to see how the world has been gray to Evan most of his life.

The secondary characters, like Janet Ahearn and Mary O’Dowd, along with the back stories and how they figure into the things Kate and Evan must sort out dovetail together in intriguing ways. They even fit in with some of the underhanded ways of the antagonist, Finnian Driscoll.

I particularly enjoyed the dialogue with the nuance, humor, and understatement. The author has an amazing way of writing so the reader feels as if she is right there in the experience with the characters.

A Match Made in Texas by Margaret Brownley


A Match Made in Texas by Margaret Brownley
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (369 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Welcome to Two-Time Texas:
Where tempers burn hot
Love runs deep
And a single woman can change the course of history:
There’s a new sheriff in town.

Amanda Lockwood gets more than she bargained for when she’s elected Two-Time Texas’s first female sheriff. Anxious to prove herself, she sets out to stop crime in its tracks—taking down wanted man Rick Barrett in the process. But there’s something special about the charming outlaw. Common sense says he must be guilty…but her heart keeps telling her otherwise.

So what’s a sheriff to do? Gather an all-female posse and ride to save the day.

Things sure don’t look good for Rick. If he doesn’t convince the pretty sheriff to let him go, he’ll soon be pushing up daisies. But his plan to woo her to his side backfires when he’s the one who falls head over heels. Now he must choose between freedom or saving the woman he loves…and the clock is ticking.

Who knew A Match Made in Texas could be such sweet, clean, madcap fun?

She’s a young, independent woman. She’s fighting for women’s right to vote and has been in jail a few times. She’s not interested in marrying. She’s also her parent’s despair…

She’s traveling back home on the stage and the driver is running the team like a demon. She cusses him out, he throws her and her baggage off the stage and leaves her in the middle of nowhere. This is not a good start at getting back home. When a cowboy pulls up in his wagon and offers her a ride, she’s not sure she trusts him. However, there’s no other way to town because she can’t pull her hope chest all that way. She says yes.

This was a very cute story with danger, robberies, a house burning down and a sudden interest on Amanda’s part with this particular cowboy. She decides to forget him but she can’t. It gets even worse when she says she’ll run for Sheriff to further support women’s rights. The men protest but they can’t stop her. It’s even worse when she gets the most votes.

The story moves well, the snappy conversation between Amanda and Rick will make you laugh, and her deputy is a joke but she does her best. Rick even tells the men that she hit what she was aiming at chest level. He didn’t mention it was her hope chest.

When Rick gets thrown in jail for murder, it really makes her worry. How can she prove he didn’t do it without witnesses? Luckily she has a woman posse (which all the men are mad about) who can help her. There’s no way not to enjoy a book where the Sheriff can’t shoot straight, her deputy wants to shoot everyone, and her posse runs around in carriages. Enough silly stuff happens to make it a fun read and it ends well. This was a very enjoyable read.

Highland Hellion by Mary Wine


Highland Hellion by Mary Wine
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (314 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

KATHERINE CAREW

Illegitimate daughter of an English earl… Abducted to Scotland at age 14… No family, no reputation… No rules

ROLFE MCTAVISH

Heir to an honorable Highland laird… Can’t believe how well tomboy Kate can fight… About to learn how much of a woman she really is

Scotland is seething with plots, the vengeful Gordons are spoiling for a fight, and the neighboring clans are at each other’s throats. All it takes is a passionate hellion with a penchant for reckless adventure to ignite the Highlands once more.

Mary Wine’s tales always transport me to the far-away and long-ago Highlands where danger and feuding are forever present. Highland Hellion is one of her best. I highly recommend it.

Bastard born to an English noble, Katherine Carew, at age fourteen, was sent to Scotland to be used by the Earl of Morton in his efforts to keep England from invading Scotland and to bring peace to Scotland’s “forever-feuding” Highlanders—Highlanders who hated English blood. She becomes the Highland Hellion.

Marcus MacPherson, ordered to marry Katherine, pulls a fast one on the Earl of Morton. Marcus marries Helen, the woman he loves, and spirits Katherine away to the far north where he trains her along with the young men of the MacPherson clan. However, at age twenty, she is told she cannot go on raids with the young men. She must now start dressing like a woman and doing things women do, things for which she has no training.

She rebels and sneaks out at night on her horse. The raiding neighboring clans capture her and use her to their own advantage or, at least try to. Her hard-won courage is her sole possession. She calls up every ounce of that courage to survive in a world where she is hated just because of her blood.

Rolfe McTavish takes Katherine from the cruel Gordon clan. Rather than take her home to the MacPherson clan, he takes her to his clan’s stronghold to teach her a lesson.

Here we have the beginning of a turbulent love story that sends the heart racing. Love versus duty becomes a major issue as Rolfe’s crippled father, the Laird of McTavish, against his son’s wishes, plans to use her to gain title and position for himself.

How Mary Wine works things around so all the clans that had tried to use Katherine end up in Edinburgh area wanting to save her makes spellbinding reading.

Lastly, Adwin, Rolfe’s mentor since he was a child, sees Rolfe scolding and almost crushing Katherine for doing a super courageous thing to save Rolfe. Adwin tells Rolfe in no uncertain terms: “Do not let her affection be strangled by your pride.”

How a happy-ever-after comes out of all this is amazing.

SUPER GOOD READING!

Sweet Southern Trouble by Michele Summers


Sweet Southern Trouble by Michele Summers
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (387 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

An ambitious Southern belle
Marabelle Fairchild knows she’s a gal who can get things done. Feeling unappreciated at the exclusive private school where she’s a kindergarten aide and varsity tennis coach, Marabelle determines to score with the next big fundraiser. What she doesn’t expect? A smokin’ hot football coach to throw her off her game…

A reclusive NFL bachelor…
NFL coach Nick Frasier is Raleigh’s most eligible bachelor, but he wants to focus on his career…not his playboy status. He doesn’t need a smart-mouthed, pint-sized kindergarten teacher pestering him. So he cuts Marabelle a deal—in exchange for Nick sponsoring a bachelor auction starring him and his gorgeous celebrity pals, Marabelle will pose as his fiancée to ward off unwanted advances.

What could possibly go wrong?

Marabelle Fairchild has a smile as innocent as a cherub, but is as tenacious as a turtle that won’t turn loose until it thunders. She wants, needs, Coach Nick Frasier and his ball players to participate in a bachelor’s auction to benefit Trinity Academy. Her independence, pride, and sense of self worth are at stake.

Handsome, wealthy Nick Frasier wants and needs tiny, feisty, tactless, atrocious-dressing Marabelle for his own personal reasons.

Sweet Southern Trouble is one of the best love stories I’ve read in a while. It blooms with captivating characters, humor that is both subtle and blatant, and the hated antagonist named self-doubt nipping at Marabelle relentlessly. Of course, other human antagonists sneak in and make one bristle at their devious ways—page-turning reading.

Michele Summers does an outstanding job. The high quality of her writing is a joy to read. Her unique, humorous expressions that enliven the story and create wonderful mental images add a delightful, extra dimension to the story: such as Marabelle separating her usual clothes from her classy clothes so they won’t breed, made me giggle, as did the mention of gathering celebrates for an auction is like herding cats.

The love scenes are of the WOW quality. They are not overdone or done too often, just enough to add the perfect spice to the unique relationship Nick and Marabelle share.

Marabelle thinks with her heart not her head and warns herself often that she is living in a fairy tale on borrowed time. While Nick thinks with a different part of his anatomy, but there is also a part of him that realizes Marabelle is his sanctuary. Life is different since the multifaceted Marabelle took on the job of his fiancée.

EXCELLENT READING!

A Piece of My Heart by Sharon Sala


A Piece of My Heart by Sharon Sala
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (280 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

She’s never had a home
Growing up in a troubled foster home, Mercy Dane knew she could never rely on anyone but herself. She’s used to giving her all to people who don’t give her a second glance, so when she races to Blessings, Georgia, to save the life of an accident victim, she’s flabbergasted when the grateful town opens its arms to her. She never dreamed she’d ever find family or friends–or a man who looks at her as if she hung the stars.

Until she finds peace in his arms
Police Chief Lon Pittman is getting restless living in sleepy little Blessings. But the day Mercy Dane roars into his life on the back of a motorcycle, practically daring him to pull her over, he’s lost. There’s something about Mercy’s tough-yet-vulnerable spirit that calls to Lon, and he will do anything in his power to make her realize that home isn’t just where the heart is–home is where their heart is.

“I don’t know how to belong to anyone.” Mercy Dane aged out of the foster care system with no memory of family. She’d learned how to survive in the system and she learned how to survive and thrive in the rough part of Savannah.

She is a Harley-riding, kind-hearted, warrior-spirited twenty-six-year-old who can take care of herself. She works hard and copes with life on her own terms. But at nineteen, when her apartment was broken into and robbed, she was almost defeated. A new, kind, and caring neighbor offered her sanctuary and more. She left before he woke, but she knew she’d left a piece of her heart with him.

How he comes back into the story made my heart happy.

The very name of the town Mercy races to hoping to save a life on Christmas Day foreshadows good things to come in her life. Blessings, a small town not too far from Savannah, has good and not-so-good people who set Mercy’s life on a new course. This makes super good reading.

Sharon Sala works magic with words as she brings characters to life on the pages of A Piece of My Heart. They bring Mercy to a place in life she never dreamed of being. Hope Talbot, the woman she gave blood to; Lon Pittman, the sheriff of Blessings; Ruby, the owner of Curl Up and Dye beauty salon, and Duke, Hope’s foot-in-mouth, old bachelor brother-in-law, are characters not to be missed. Of course there are a few antagonists that are dealt with in first class order (loved how they were all handled). Lots of others play significant parts as the plot unfolds, but the ones mentioned are the one that bring in humor, unconditional love, and shepherd Mercy into a world that promises and gives her people to belong to and with. Of course, that happy-ever-after that I’m always looking forward to, even when it seems impossible, does happen..

Excellent Reading!