Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Something Great, Something Wonderful, & Something Forever by M. Clarke

She didn't know what she was missing...until he found her.

Maxwell Knight was dangerously good-looking, seductively charming, and definitely trouble. He was everything Jeanella Mefferd did NOT need now.

Fresh out of college, life was predictable and comfortable for Jeanella. She had the strength of her friends, the security of her job, and she was dating a reliable man; it was all smooth sailing. That was until one night, when she met someone who made her feel things she'd never felt before—dangerous, heart pounding, breathless heat. 

Never imagining she would see him again, Jeanella has no idea what to do when fate steps in and thrusts Maxwell Knight into her life, just as things were beginning to change around her. When she lands her dream job and travels to New York for Fashion Week, can she focus on her career instead of on Maxwell? 

Will she ignore all the danger signs and jump straight into his arms; or would she miss out on the chance of finding something great?


Once again I have found a great trilogy of books through that dependable and ever productive service called "Book Bub."  And this first book in the series was free to boot.

It is the story of a woman who has been very limited in her dating life, especially since finding her almost fiance in the bed of her roommate in college.  Add to that the fact that the affair had been going on for several months.  Since then Jenna (as her friends called her) had been definitely reluctant to date and most certainly wasn't interested in any many who was less than steady, who was low risk, etc.  She had found that in Luke, a man she had met through her contacts in her present job.  They had a very low key relationship--Jenna hadn't even allowed him to kiss her until challenged by her friends.  (It's about time you found out if he makes you sing the "Hallelujah Chorus.")  It is then she meets Maxwell Knight, totally unaware that he is about to become her new boss.

Maxwell is a man who is one of those guys who could be featured on any GQ magazine cover in the world.  He makes the women in his company swoon just in his daily business suits.  Yet he is more than willing to admit that he really doesn't know what love feels like.  When he first encounters Jenna over a series of random meetings, he is quite "taken" with her and pursues her even after she becomes one of his employees.  He is a man of principle, has lovely manners, and doesn't seem to  harbor any scandalous secrets.  Yet Jenna is still worried that he will be "too much" for a low key girl like herself.

This story is really about two people who have tasted disappointment and who are both wary of what it might be like to take an emotional risk.  Even as a a high profile character in the high-powered world of fashion publishing, Max is still not sure he can ever find a woman who will love him for himself and not his money or contacts.  So their story is full of ups and downs, miscommunications and misunderstandings, hard lessons learned and a number of important "ah ha" moments about themselves and each other.  

The background characters in this story are important.  Max's brother Matthew is a man who is working so hard to gain back a life that is not mired in grief over the loss of his fiance.  Becky, Jenna's best friend and present roommate is a far more experienced woman sexually, yet she and Jenna have become sisters in every way and are equally important to one another as each must journey toward their destinies.

This trilogy is a really delightful set of three stories, and each is important in fleshing out the journey that Jenna, Max, Matthew, and Becky must take toward the future.  There are other good friends who are present and who compose the context of these books.  Each is so well written and I am delighted to have found another author who seems to have such a good "handle" on what life can offer, how people interact romantically, and how the rough and tumble universe of human love and be endured and sometimes bring the joy we all ultimately seek.

This second book is really about how Max and Jenna now move into a more mature aspect of their growing relationship.

Sometimes falling in love means letting go of the past…

Jeanella’s confidence and trust in Max continues to grow, and life seems to be on track. Then Crystal decides to pursue a sexual harassment lawsuit, and Jeanella’s world turns upside down. Once again, she wonders if she will ever be enough for Max. Jeanella is forced to make a decision; stay and fight for her man or leave him for good. 

Becky's unexpected friendship with Matthew continues to blossom, as they try to define the boundaries of their relationship; but a one-night stand threatens to ruin it all. As Matthew’s feelings for Becky grow, he’s torn between guilt and heartache over his deceased fiancĂ©e. Can Becky break through his wall and help him heal?


This third book definitely has some unexpected twists and turns for both Max/Jenna and Becky/Matthew.  There are still the old hurts of the past and the shadows of ghosts that haunt Becky and Matthew.  And life hands Max and Jenna a surprise they may just not be able to move beyond.

A heated moment.
Desperate decision.
Life altering choices.

Max and Jenna are forced to test their relationship. Will they be able to embrace the challenges life throws their way? Secrets can ruin the foundation of a relationship. Will Matthew choose to withhold vital information from Becky that could consume her with doubt about their future?

When it comes to love, Something Great can turn into Something Wonderful, but can it be Something Forever?


All in all, this is a terrific set of books and one I highly recommend.  They have made their appearance over the past months of 2014 but their subject matter is as contemporary as ever.  I highly recommend them and hope some of you will search them out and enjoy them as much as I did.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

If You Like Shifter Stories, You'll Love This Boxed Set: Fated Mates by Adrianna Hunter et al

If you like your men dark, dangerous and alpha, this exclusive shifter romance boxed set is for you. Featuring hot stories from popular New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble bestselling authors, including Adriana Hunter, Liliana Rhodes, Lynn Red, A.T Mitchell and more, these steamy books and alpha shifters will be sure to whet your appetite and leave you howling for more.

All American Wolf by Adriana Hunter: If Serena's not careful she may lose her heart to Brody Sullivan - the dangerously possessive stranger who is willing to break every one of her rules.

Charming the Alpha by Liliana Rhodes: Hannah Crane's ordinary life changes after she meets Alpha wolf Caleb. As the center of a centuries old curse, is Hannah a wolf charmer or Caleb's fated mate?

Change For Me by Lynn Red: Motorcycle riding, tattooed bad boy alpha werewolf fights to save his mate from his terrifying rival. Steamy, seductive, sensual werewolf romance.

Bear King's Curves A BBW Werebear Shifter Romance by A.T. Mitchell: Curvy Lyla's bad attitude toward bears is about to change. Destiny blind Nick is the Alpha to do it, no matter how much passion, mystery, and danger it means...

The Alpha's Mate by Michelle Fox: Chloe Weiss has finally met the mate of her dreams, but jealousy in the pack and a murderer on the loose make for a dangerous 'happily ever after.'

Romancing the Wolf (BBW/Werewolf Romance) by Skye Eagleday: The romantic adventures of two curvy sisters and one hot pack: Can the werewolves survive Bree and her sassy sister?

Witchy Wolf by Alexis Dare: A brutal attack alters Chloe’s life. As her world crumbles, biker Gabe steps in to pick up the pieces. Can he save her from the danger lurking in the shadows?

Delicate Freakn' Flower by Eve Langlais: Can a pair of hunky shapeshifting jocks convince a not-so delicate freakn’ flower that they can handle her thorns—and her passion?

The Alpha Claims A Mate by Georgette St. Clair: Curvy Ginger Colby accidentally insulted the Alpha of the local pack when she rejected him at the local honky tonk-and now he's seeking delicious, sexy revenge.

A Change To Bear (Last of the Shapeshifters) by A.E. Grace: Liam, shapeshifter, is on the run. Hunted by a man who will hurt anyone he cares for, it's why he can't fall in love. Until he meets a curvy Terry Spencer...

Protecting The Alpha by Tabitha Conall

Curves For The Lone Alpha by Molly Prince
 


The blurb pretty much tells it all.  These stories, however, are novella length, but all are interesting and pack a fine literary wallop.  There were some I found more interesting than others, and one or two I had found in other anthologies.  But for 99 cents, what's not to like?  Actually, I like shifter stories a lot, have liked them almost from the beginning and keep on being fascinated at the various "takes" authors have on their abilities and lifestyles.  All in all, each story is very romantic with a moderate amount of "hot lovin'" and are more than good enough to be given a chance to engage the reader's imagination.

I am delighted that publishers are making these boxed sets available to those of us who like the eReader format.  Lots of money I don't have to spend and yet I have been introduced to some new authors.  That is definitely the case with this boxed set.    My best guess?  I think you'll experience lots of good reading here.  I give the set a rating of 4 out of 5.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Strange Christmas and A New Year

It was a tough Christmas for us this year.  Early in December we were with almost our entire family as we gathered for an important family birthday celebration.  But it was sad to have to say "Good-bye" just a few days later and know that the kids and grandkids were going home in all directions and we didn't know when we would be seeing them again.

As if that weren't bad enough, the dreaded "holiday virus" that seemed to afflict so many this year made a stop at our house.  The Saturday before Christmas I began to have a very uncomfortable feeling in my chest and before another 24 hours had passed, I was one sick cookie.  Add in the fact that between that Saturday and Christmas Day, I had been contracted to play the organ at eight -- that's right, 8 -- holiday church services in our area of Tennessee.  I made it through, but by the last service on Christmas Day I was thrashed good and proper.  My hubby had fallen ill on Christmas Eve, so instead of celebrating and sharing with the few family members living close by, we hunkered down in our blankets with our scrambled eggs and cottage cheese and toast and tea, and somehow got through the difficult days.  It is definitely true that the older one gets the longer the recovery.  We were fortunate that we both tested negative for the H1N1 flu. but the virus we did have was no fun either.\

Now it's a few days into the New Year and we are recovering well.  But there is no doubt that it didn't come in with a blast, at least not at our house.  We did get back on our feet sufficiently to get together with one of our daughters and her family for a scrumptious prime rib dinner, a trip through the community's "Galaxy of Lights" which was spectacular, and then a bit of a drive home before the party folks spilled out on the roads.

So now we look forward to some special things.  Our daughter-in-law celebrates a birthday, our first great-grandchild has his first birthday this month, great-grandchild #2 is due to arrive early in February, and great-grandchild #3 sometime in April.  That means lots of knitting of baby afghans and sending special stuff through the mail since we are a long distance from some of the action.  Yet we are delighted as our family increases and as we see the new generations arriving.  It is humbling to know that it all started decades ago with two people who fell in love in a train station in Chicago and somehow we have made it until now.

My prayer and hope for all of my friends, family, and followers of this blog are that you will all experience really good things this 2015, that when the down times come you will have the friends and support you need to weather the life storms, and that we will all continue to enjoy the best of good romance fiction along the way.

My own New Year's Resolution -- and the only one I am making this year -- is that I will be so much more consistent in touching base with all of you and keeping this blog in touch with the good books I am reading.

New Year's blessings to you all!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Southern Middle Tennessee . . . Baby, It's Cold Outside!! But This Bundle Made Me Feel All Warm & Fuzzy Inside!

That's right . . . we are in the midst of a terrible cold snap that has most of the United States in its grip.  The blue hills of the Cumberland Mountains that surround the valley where I live were coated with snow just a day ago . . . it was only about 9 degrees at 5:00 AM.  Yes, we really feel it here as we are just not used to freezing our buns off.  But it reminded me that I had not been keeping up with lots of stuff on this blog.  My daughter's blog has now been closed and it was because of her that I even started.  I have been reading like a crazy fool and thinking all the time:  "I have to write reviews!!"  And then I start another book and off I go thinking about writing a review -- soon.  As I am not quite ready to give up the blogging experience and I still enjoy following others, I am going try really hard to do better in the future.

So here's the latest that I wanted to share with y'all and let you know that it is also connected to a great cause.

This Pets for Vets charity bundle is available for a limited-time discount.  They’re all hometown heroes, guys from small towns who’ve made a name for themselves, big or small, who’ve withstood the odds and risen to the challenge, who are heroes in their own right.
 
Presenting a contemporary romance bundle of 16 novels with happily-ever-after endings, including previously published readers' favorites and brand-new material.


This is another one of the current passel of collections for small prices that are being made available by book sellers.  This one, however, really clicked with me as it was touted as a charity fund raiser to supply pets for vets who are suffering from post-war injuries, both inwardly and outwardly.  The stories are by some of our favorite authors and they are not novellas.  Many of these 16 stories are full-length novels and all the stories are really good.  Of course, some resonated more with me than others, but I have to say that I enjoyed all of them.

These heroes are all hurting one way or another and the women who come into their lives are often instruments of healing and a second chance to find a sense of belonging they feared would never be theirs.  In some cases the returning vet is instrumental in helping the heroine to face difficult memories or life situations.  In all cases, the stories are heart-warming and many were so good that I wanted to read more from that particular author.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, reading these stories made me oh so thankful for my own family, for those in my family who have served in active military careers, for those who were willing to give up their lives and the possibility of a normal future in order to serve us at their country's call.  War is hell and I hate it passionately.  But these men and women in our family and in yours as well are all to be cherished and appreciated.  Thus I highly recommend that all of you look up this collection and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Incidentally, I got mine for a tiny price at Amazon.com.  Also, you can read more about each individual story at Goodreads.com or on Amazon.com.  Until next time . . .

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Terrific Buy!! A Terrific Collection!! Some of the Best Stories I Have Read in a Long Time!!

All work and no play? No way! These TEN books by New York Times, USA Today, and National Bestselling authors show how hot workplace romances can be. And the best part? It’ll be just $0.99! Don’t wait...it’ll only be available for a limited time after 6/2, and then it’ll be back to business as usual.***

Retail value of the individual books is over $25.00!


Anthologies, for some reason, have never really been my "thing" but this collection of stories revolving around the work place is exceptional for a number of reasons.  

First, it's a terrific buy!  Right now publishers together with book sellers are putting collections on sale for a mere 99 cents and with few exceptions they are terrific buys of books most of us romance fiction readers would love to read.  Most are put together around a particular theme and that is the case here.   Considering the retail value, 99 cents is chump change and it is available through several sellers.  It's not to be missed.  At that price, it makes no difference if one or two of the stories aren't someone's particular "cup of tea."  Even just one book at 99 cents is a deal.  To get 10 of them is really a steal!

Second, this collection features a number of "heavy hitters" in the romance fiction genre.  All of the stories are written by authors who are well-known in the field and all of whom are writers who have proven their abilities as exceptional story tellers.  Each of the stories is a complete tale and each is centered around its own particular set of circumstances.  It's a great opportunity to read some excellent writing and to enjoy some of our favorite authors at pennies per story.  In today's economy, what's not to like?

Last, each of the stories were really good.  I didn't find any one of them that wasn't a fun and terrific read, even though some were shorter than others.  The characters were unique and all of them held their own in situations that were as varied as the abilities and experience of their authors.  Each story had its edgy and tension-filled quality to keep the reader moving forward.  I didn't find myself flipping through pages to skip portions as I sometimes find myself doing.  Each story was the kind of tale that started out well and kept me glued for the duration.  Add in all the other positives about this set and you just can't go wrong.  

I have purchased a number of boxed sets in the past weeks and found most of them to be better than OK.  Some have turned out to be less than OK, unfortunately.  However, this set is one of the best IMHO and I encourage each of you to get it while it is on sale.  Until next time . . .

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What I've Been Reading This Week . . .

I couldn't believe it had been months since I had written anything on my blog.  Lots of stuff going on in my life and along with a bad case of flu, a family being hospitalized and subsequent travel to his home, extra local trips to care for our newest little family member who we are babysitting while his mom goes to school . . . and on and on.  Could I have found time to blog?  I probably could have but every time I started to pull up the blog I got a call or someone in the house wanted something and so forth.  I just closed the laptop and promised myself I would get back to the writing the next day -- which I obviously didn't.  I know many of you have been checking every once in awhile and I apologize for being such a slacker.  Part of my joy at being retired is that I can pick up my eReader and just go for it without stopping--well I do have to stop and get some chow for hubby once in awhile--but for the most part it has been a glut of reading almost non-stop for months.  I did write a guest review for my daughter's blog yesterday and it posted this morning and I just finished a review for The Book Binge, my first in a very long time.  I think it is time to get back on the review writing horse and start to ride.  I will offer the excuse that my hubby plays his game on the desktop all the time and I have the laptop which, I am sorry to say, is simply not behaving very well.  I think it is time to get some professional help.

Anyway, I am sharing some of the books I have read the past week or so.  I read fast so this is only a few of what I read and enjoyed.

This is the first in a new biker series I have started reading and a genre of romance fiction I have returned to after quite a long time.  Bikers fascinate me and I am not really sure why.  I know I really like motorcycles and there was a time when hubby and I seriously considered getting a Goldwing or something similar and starting out across the country.  Anyway, this is about two motorcycle clubs, one of which is populated by true scumbags, who are into human trafficking and to whom the mayor of a small community in the Northwest sold his only daughter in exchange for some political favors.  Her life as she had known it ended although for some reason the bikers didn't rape her.  Along come the Prairie Devils MC and the president of the club sees Rachel and is determined to have her.  Thus she is rescued from the scumbags.  This story is a very different kind of love story and is a look/see into a culture and lifestyle that is very different than most of us know and understand.  Readers either love it or hate.  I happened to enjoy the book very much.


This is the second book in this new series and is even more out of the ordinary and unexpected than the look into the Prairie Devils in book one.  Here you have an arm of this club made up of only a few bikers, all of whom have decided that the nomadic kind of wandering is really their preferred mode of living.  However, they are tried and true Prairie Devils and when the president calls for their help he gets it, even if it means that they must remain in one location for some months.  It is here that they again encounter the Grizzlies, the "scumbags" previously mentioned in book one, and the subsequent "war" that ensues over territory and money as well as the decision of the Prairie Devils to teach them to keep their hands off Prairie Devil women.  Again I have to reiterate that this is a very different kind of culture as well as a very different understanding of loyalty and what it takes to resolve issues, staying just inside the line that separates law and disorder, etc.  How someone can live thus is a mystery, but I did appreciate the very good writing and enjoyed the book very much.


I was asked to read this book in order to write a guest review just recently.  I don't read a lot of M/M books but this was one that turned out to be a very poignant story of a young gay man's summer experience that ended up being very different from what he expected.  Christopher Carlisle, most often called Topher, expected to find a summer job to supplement his college scholarship and help to keep him from having to go in debt with school loans.  He was boarding at his best friend's summer home so he could save money.  His life had been impacted negatively by a mother who was an alcoholic, relatives with whom he was placed who may have appeared to accept his gender preferences but who made his life miserable in so many hurtful ways.  He was derailed by a short affair with a married man who happened to be his best friend's father, but even as that experience nearly upended him emotionally, he met several people who ended up being stablizing influences.  It was a summer of growth and new understanding about his worth as a person and the healing power of genuine love.

I found this book through BookBub and ended up really liking this novel a whole bunch.  I have long left behind those early romance paperbacks where two people are at each other's throats for 2/3's of the book and then end up falling into each other's arms.  This story is very different.  Puzzled at her husband's disregard and his apparent lack of feeling for her, this wife demands a divorce only to find out that she is pregnant and must continue in the marriage until the baby is born.  This story is about two people who have lived with misunderstanding and hurt nearly the entire time they have been married.  They have far different goals for their futures but somewhere the husband seems to change, to begin expressing a caring that is very different although his wife is now unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Yet the reader is aware of small threads of hope that wind their way into the story and in sufficient amounts that the reader is strung along to see how this whole situations either comes together or unravels completely.  The book is beautifully written.


I have loved this Redstone Security series from the beginning and have all the books in the series.  Each is stand alone but has enough connection with the previous books that readers can put the ongoing stories into proper perspective with these new characters.  We have here a serious professional who has military background, who is very good at what he does, and who inadvertently encounters an heiress who he helps escape abduction.  She just wants to live her life on her own terms, doesn't care about her father's wealth, and lives off the money she makes with her art.  Alexander Blue is drawn into her situation as it become obvious that the attempted kidnapping wasn't a fluke, that someone is targeting her.  Of course there is an attraction between these two and yet even that is in serious jeopardy because of the attempt on her life.  It's another fine bit of writing from an author that many of us have come to really like, both as Katie Reus and as Savannah Stuart.  Those who love this series will not be disappointed.  It's not another re-do of past stories.  It's every bit as good as the previous novels.

This is book 7 in the Fatal series and it is the kind of book that all of us who love this series could hardly wait to read.  Sam and her sexy politicial senator husband are poised to take a much needed vacation and are ready to leave the day following attendance at a baseball game with their newly adopted son.  When arriving home they find the badly battered body of Sam's niece and while she is barely alive, the reports are released that a whole group of teens are dead.  There is evidence that drugs are involved, and because of the homicides, Sam's vacation is now postponed, a fact that more than irritates her hubby.  Add in the fact that Sam's husband is running for re-election to the Senate and this will be their last chance to get away before the campaign goes into high gear.  Needless to say, the stress on their new marriage is ramped up to an unbelievable degree.  Add in the presence of several characters that have caused problems in the past between Sam and her husband as well as difficulties with her disabled father, and you hve a novel that is chock full of action, anxiety, hurt feelings, long absences, and sleepless nights, and you have another great Marie Force novel, one you will have great difficulty putting down.  In fact, putting it down may well nigh be impossible.

Book 4 in the Mountain Masters and Dark Haven series by an author that many of us have come to enjoy no matter what the gist of her novels.  Known best for her Shadowlands novels, this series is set in the San Francisco Bay Area and includes novellas that are a part of two anthologies and a number of stand alone stories.  This novel highlights the "enforcer" of Dark Haven, a BDSM club in San Francisco, and a young woman on the run from a murder charge.  Armed with a false ID and a cover story about her past, Lindsey is highly educated but she is working low paying jobs to support herself and stay below the law enforcement radar.  Zander deVries is an intuitive individual who perceives that something is "off" about this woman but is attracted to her anyway.  Their D/s relationship is on-again-off-again due to Zander's penchant for misunderstanding any woman he things is a gold-digger, a label he applies to Lindsey even without knowing the truth of her situation.  In seeking to know more about her he puts her life in danger.  The story is full of intense sexual encounters, some genuine caring, some disappointment, mystery and suspense, and characters with real needs, hurts, flaws, and tender hearts underneath it all.  A really terrific book.

Hope all of you are still checking out the boxed sets that show up at Amazon all the time.  They are only 99 cents for a limited time, so be sure to grab the ones that look interesting.  Even if they turn out to be what you don't like, the price is certainly right.  Until next time . . .

Monday, February 10, 2014

Those Freebies Will Get You Every Time!!

There is no doubt that those of us who really love to read are suckers for free books!!  Amazon is a virtual treasure trove for finding some hefty bargains among their freebies and yet so often what looks like a stand alone novel is actually the first segment of a serialized novel.  These aren't my favorites, to be sure, as I really don't want to see my book buying dollars disappearing at an alarming rate.  I spend a terrible amount of dollars as it is.  But I just can't resist those free books.   I am now hooked up to www.bookbub.com and that is a great source of free books.  In the past I have gone to other free book sites, but Amazon and Book Bub have recently been my main places I indulge my love of more books.  (As if I need to have more books!)
One of the series I chanced upon was a recent book that I didn't at first realize was a serial.  It was in a really great collection known as "The Alpha's Touch" and which is presently on sale at a great price.  I found it on Amazon, of course, and since I recognized some of the authors' names and thought it sounded like a good deal, bought it for a ridiculously low price.  What a bargain!!  So far all the stories are just delightful--a very good mix of erotic romance, paranormal romance, and everything in between.  One of those stories was a serialized novel that was by an author who was new to me and one that I will now be on the look-out for in the future.  In addition, I am now waiting for the next segment in this new novel.

His Golden Cuffs sounds like a BDSM novel but the main sense of the novel is anything but.  Actually, it is about a proposition made by the hero, Leo, to Anya, a woman with whom he had a loving relationship until about a year prior to the time of the story.  Leo had suddenly left Anya at a time when her mother was dying from cancer and she was trying in the worst way to protect her family from the criminal activity of her father with his professional con artist lying--he was one of those guys who are always talking about wonderful investment opportunities that don't really exist.  Now he wants Anya for his trophy wife for one year in order to gain the use of her society contacts and to take over her family company with as little trouble as possible.  Anya agrees but knows that her heart will be shattered once again when Leo leaves her high and dry at the end of their year together.

It must be terrible to live with someone you know really no longer believes in you.  There may be some solid Caveman-type lust involved in the relationship, but how awful to live with the knowledge that the man you once thought loved you was willing to walk away from the relationship without even talking about his questions and doubts.  

This is a captivating story and I think almost any reader would be so drawn into the story that there is no question of buying the second installment of this novel.  There was no way I was going to just move on without reading the next installment and am now awaiting the third and final installment which will be available in Spring, 2014.  This novel is beautifully written, with a very good flow to the story, characters that are well-developed and done in such a way that they come alive, not only in the story but in the reader's imagination.

Yes, those freebies do indeed rope us in and it is just like crack to a reader--who can resist a free book?