Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: Fast Track by Julie Garwood

Fast Track by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard, Book 12
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Romantic Suspense Fast Track Cover
ISBN: 9780525954453
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Cordelia Kane has always been a daddy’s girl—her father raised her alone after her mother died in a car crash when Cordelia was just two years old. So when he has a serious heart attack, Cordelia is devastated, and the emotion is only intensified by the confusion she feels when he reveals the shocking truth about her mother.

Cordelia can’t suppress her curiosity about the woman who gave birth to her, and when she discovers the answers to her questions lie in Sydney, Australia, she travels there to get them.

Hotel magnate Aiden Madison is Cordelia’s best friend’s older brother. He’s oblivious to the fact that she’s had a crush on him for years. When he gets railroaded into taking her along to Sydney on his company jet, he’s unwittingly drawn into a volatile family drama.

Aiden wants to help Cordelia get answers about her mother, but threats from her wealthy, high-powered family are quickly becoming dangerous. Sparks are flying between Cordelia and Aiden, but after multiple attempts are made on Cordelia’s life, Aiden realizes he must put a stop to the madness before he loses the thing he values most.

Secrets, danger, and family drama will take readers on a journey from Chicago to Sydney in Fast Track. I can always count on Julie Garwood to deliver an entertaining story, and Cordie and Aiden’s book is no exception.

Cordelia Kane’s life is turned upside down when her father reveals the truth about her mother right before he dies. Yet while Cordie is ready to let go of the past and start a new life in Boston, this revelation keeps her in Chicago…and in the sights of Aiden Madison, her best friend’s brother and the man she’s secretly loved for years. It’s Aiden who helps Cordie on her journey to Australia to learn the truth about the woman who gave birth to her. And when it becomes clear that someone is targeting Cordie, it’s Aiden who appoints himself her protector. The circumstances that draw them together are what finally opens Aiden’s eyes when it comes to seeing Cordie for the desirable woman she is. The two of them begin their love story with a solid foundation based on years of knowing one another, and I liked the easiness to their love story. That being said, their romance did lack the usual spark found in Ms. Garwood’s books, likely because we didn’t get to go very deep into Aiden’s character. Some of my all-time favorite love stories have been written by Ms. Garwood, so the extreme understated-ness of Cordie and Aiden’s romance was a bit of a disappointment, particularly since the two had so much potential. Still, I liked them together and I did finish Fast Track a satisfied reader.

Outside of the Aiden-Cordie romance, the biggest plot thread to Fast Track involved Cordie trying to learn more about her mother. There’s ample danger and a dash of suspense stemming from this storyline, and though I won’t spoil the book, I will say that my heart broke for Cordie. Her eye-opening trip to Sydney only makes me happier that she has such amazing best friends in Regan and Sophie. And speaking of Regan and Sophie, these two former Buchanan-Renard heroines (of Murder List and Fire and Ice respectively) along with their heroes, Alec and Jack, add warmth and humor to Fast Track. I loved seeing these four interact with Cordie and Aiden, and fans of the series will surely be delighted that they play such strong supporting roles. As someone who’s been reading the Buchanan-Renard series out of order, I can safely say that Fast Track can be read as a standalone. That being said, if you’re new to the series and don’t want to read Murder List and Fire and Ice after finishing this book I’ll be surprised.

I’m always eager to read Julie Garwood’s books, so you can bet I’ll be back for more Buchanan-Renard adventures, particularly if there’s a story in store for the sexy Liam Scott, a man so charismatic he threatens to steal the show from the Cordie and Aiden. Though Fast Track has its ups and downs, overall it’s a fast-paced, highly enjoyable read.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Review: Love is a Battlefield by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy

Love is a Battlefield by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy
Series: DreamMakers, Book 2
Publisher: Vivian Arend
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Love is a Battlefield Cover
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Elle Kennedy Reading Order

He’s ready to admit she’s all grown up…

After two tours of duty, former Army Ranger Jack Hunter is back in the US, working to keep DreamMakers a brilliant success. Now that his best friend’s little sister is home from college, it’s time to retire his hands-off policy and take action. He wants Pepper Wilson in his bed, but seducing the feisty redhead could be dangerous for more than one reason.

She’s ready to push all his buttons…

Pepper is tired of being bossed around by everyone in her life, especially arrogant, annoying, overbearing Jack Hunter. While she can’t deny the man is out-of-this-world gorgeous, his alpha routine is getting old. His steely determination proves a match for her own, though, and the attraction simmering between them ignites into fiery passion.

But can their wild sexual exploration turn into more without someone getting burned?

Love is a Battlefield is h-o-t HOT! This second installment to the sexy DreamMakers series is even better than the (admittedly fantastic) first. I absolutely loved Pepper and Jack’s story and I can’t wait to read it again!

Jack is my favorite kind of alpha hero. He’s a take-charge former soldier who knows his way around a woman’s body like you wouldn’t believe, plus he’s got a great sense of humor and a good heart. How could you not love him? Pepper is a bright, energetic young woman with a quick mouth and a caring heart – the kind of woman I’d love to have as a friend if she were real, and the perfect match for Jack. Her loving but overprotective family treats her like she’s still a child, but Pepper is definitely grown up and determined to make her own way in the world. The last thing she needs his her brother’s best friend being an “alpha-hole” while she tries to do so.

Yet despite Jack’s bossiness, Pepper can’t deny her attraction to the hot-as-hell man she knows almost as well as she does herself. Their crackling chemistry makes Love is a Battlefield wildly entertaining. And when these two stop circling each other and hit the sheets (among other places)… Well, my advice is to turn up the A/C, because these two are hot enough to melt a glacier or five. Add in a dash of intrigue thanks to a stalker plotline, a healthy dose of realistic jealousy from an old flame, and a wealth of laughter and fun with Jack and Pepper’s friends and family and you’ve got one well-rounded story. I flat-out loved this fast-paced, engaging book and I hated whenever I had to put it down.

Love is a Battlefield is deliciously wicked good fun from beginning to end. Authors Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy continue to knock it out of the park with the DreamMakers series and I cannot wait to read Dean’s book, Don’t Walk Away.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Wedding Wishes by Dee Tenorio

Wedding Wishes by Dee Tenorio
Publisher: Kindle Worlds
Genre: Contemporary Romance Wedding Wishes Cover
Source: Purchased By Reviewer
Buy it here: Amazon

Sometimes, even wishes need a little bit of help...

Kindergarten teacher Ella Caine is getting married, but if you ask her best friend Jordan, she's making a mistake. He's spent a lifetime in love with Ella, but now that she's set a date at The Rose Chalet, he's running out of time to prove she loves him, too. When he overhears her wishing on a falling star, it might be just the touch of magic he needs to finally make Ella listen to her heart.

Wedding Wishes is as sweet as the cupcakes Ella adores and twice as delicious. Dee Tenorio has penned a fast-paced, lighthearted love story that will surely charm your socks off.

Ella has been Jordan’s best friend since childhood, but somehow he’s never been able to make her see that his love for her is more than platonic. She doesn’t take his declarations seriously, and now he’s close to losing Ella to a man who will never make her happy. It’s time for this sexy photojournalist to put down his camera and make one last attempt at proving to Ella he’s the one for her. I absolutely loved the easy relationship Jordan and Ella have, and watching their true feelings for one another come to light was simply lovely. Both protagonists are insanely likeable, and their bright, mischievous personalities endeared them to me from the start. Quite simply, there’s nothing not to adore when it comes to these two and their burgeoning romance. I devoured Wedding Wishes in one sitting, the sparkling banter and quietly romantic story sweeping me away for a time.

Wedding Wishes is set in the world of Lucy Kevin’s Four Weddings and a Fiasco series. As I haven’t read any of Ms. Kevin’s books yet, I can safely say that Wedding Wishes can be read as a standalone. That being said, I adored the Rose Chalet, a wedding venue Ella falls head over heels in love with, and I’ll definitely be reading the original series, as I found myself intrigued by Ms. Kevin’s characters.

I can always count on Dee Tenorio to deliver a highly entertaining tale. Wedding Wishes is no exception and I look forward to reading Ella and Jordan’s story again and again and again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: Rise of the Gryphon by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

Rise of the Gryphon by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
Series: Belador, Book 4
Publisher: Pocket Books Rise of the Gryphon Cover
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9781451671995
Source: Publisher
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Sherrilyn Kenyon Reading Order

As an Alterant, Evalle Kincaid has long been one step away from incarceration or annihilation, even though she’s saved countless lives numerous times. Now Evalle has a chance to learn the truth of her origins…if she can track down her fellow Alterants before the Medb coven does. Her quest will take her deep into the world of paranormal fight clubs and it’ll take not only Evalle, but Storm, the Skinwalker she’s growing dangerously close to, to find the Alterants Evalle seeks and stop the Medb from destroying the Beladors.

The stakes are higher than ever before for Evalle and everyone she holds dear in RISE OF THE GRYPHON. Authors Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love are a dynamic writing team and they keep the action going hot and fast in this fourth BELADOR novel.

Evalle, Storm, Tzader and Quinn all face unspeakable danger, both to their lives and to their hearts. Without giving too much away – for most of the fun in this book is in discovery – each has their personal loyalties tested and all of them court heartbreak as Medb’s plans to destroy the Beladors threatens to come to fruition. Mses. Kenyon and Love throw a number of curveballs both at their protagonists and at readers. Very rarely am I surprised by the turns a story takes, but these two amazing authors outdid themselves. Again, I don’t want to spoil the story, but suffice it to say that the surprises in store for readers both in terms of world building and emotional connections are phenomenal.

RISE OF THE GRYPHON is the fourth BELADOR book, and the authors don’t hold back, throwing readers into the deep end of this world. For that reason, I highly recommend reading BLOOD TRINITY, ALTERANT and THE CURSE before starting this book. The world of the BELADOR series just keeps getting more intricate and I cannot wait to see what happens next. Evalle’s next adventure can’t come soon enough!

Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: The Man Plan by Tracy Anne Warren

The Man Plan by Tracy Anne Warren
Series: The Graysons, Book 2
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance The Man Plan Cover
ISBN: 9780451466143
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

What’s a girl to do when the man she’s loved her entire life thinks of her as a little sister? Worse, her own big sister was the one who broke his heart years earlier. For Ivy Grayson, the chance to get him to see her in a different light comes when she receives an unexpected invitation to move into his luxury New York apartment building. Manhattan also just happens to be the perfect place to pursue her wish to become a successful artist. But how many dreams can one woman expect to come true?

Billionaire financier James Jordon has everything a man could want—except love. When Ivy’s family asks him to keep an eye on their “little girl” in the big city, he agrees. But the innocent girl he knew is now a dynamic woman who knows what she wants, and how to get it. He may have promised himself to keep things platonic, but ignoring the game of love isn’t an option. Especially when Ivy is so eager to play.

The Man Plan is a book with a cute (though awfully familiar) premise that ultimately falls short in execution. I really wanted to enjoy Ivy and James’s story, but the soap opera-light feel of the book simply wasn’t for me and it wasn’t until almost the very end that I liked the heroine at all.

Ivy has had a crush on James for as long as she can remember, but he’s always treated her like a kid sister. He’s fifteen years older than her, a successful businessman, and he’s not too keen on opening his heart to another Grayson woman after Ivy’s sister broke his heart and left him at the altar. Ivy’s determined to make James see her as a woman, and she sets out to ensnare him and make him love her. Where this plan breaks down (for me) is Ivy herself. She’s a nice girl, but is slightly spoiled, something that’s never really addressed. She’s had everything in life handed to her, making it hard to feel any sympathy for her for the whole week that things don’t go her way. Though she claims she’s a woman, in reality this twenty-year-old still acts like a teenager, making it hard for me to swallow the age gap between her and James. I’ve read books with significant age gaps between hero and heroine before, but never before have I read a story where the maturity levels between the two protagonists are so significant. As for James, I felt like we only got to see the surface of his character, and I really wanted to go deeper. As a couple, they never quite rang true for me until the very end. Fortunately author Tracy Anne Warren finishes The Man Plan strong, but two chapters of solid story doesn’t make up for an entire book of high school-like seduction plans and sob fests.

The saving grace of The Man Plan is the story’s minor characters. Ivy’s sister Brie is smart, hardworking, and interesting and I wanted to learn more about her. There’s also the beginnings of a plot thread concerning Ivy’s brother and sister-in-law. I desperately wanted to follow said storyline, but unfortunately it was never fully fleshed out. All in all, The Man Plan simply wasn’t the book for me. I simply couldn’t suspend disbelief long enough to buy a true romance between a mid-thirties, mature businessman and an immature heroine, no matter how lovely or love struck she is. I’m not sure I’ll be reading any more books in the Graysons series, but who knows? Brie Grayson might just tempt me into giving this series another shot.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield

The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield
Publisher: InterMix
Genre: Mystery Romance The Inheritance Cover
ISBN: 9780698182592
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Maggie Willings knew that returning home for her estranged grandfather’s funeral would not be easy, but she never expected the reading of his will to be the most difficult part. It turns out her grandfather named four people beneficiaries to his vast estate—Maggie, her brother Robert, her ex-boyfriend Andrew, and her grandfather’s far-too-young girlfriend Bethany. But only one of them will win his millions: whoever finds out the truth about what happened to Maggie’s younger sister Cassandra, who vanished over eight years ago.

As her grandfather’s strange challenge pits Maggie against those nearest to her, she’s reluctant to drag up painful memories of her sister and distracted by a lingering attraction to Andrew. But as she delves deeper into her sister’s mysterious vanishing, she begins to discover that each of the contestants has dangerous secrets to hide—and with ten million dollars on the line, no one, not even those she loves most, can be trusted…

Everyone has a secret to be uncovered in The Inheritance. Olivia Mayfield’s debut novel is a well-crafted mystery that will have you reading late into the night.

Maggie is the heart and soul of The Inheritance. She’s a smart, focused woman who’s done her best to put her life back together after the disappearance of her younger sister nearly tore apart her family. Her grandfather’s will drags Maggie right back into the chaos as she’s forced to confront broken friendships, shattered family members, and an old love who still has the power to make her emotions go haywire. Maggie putting the pieces of her old life back together is every bit as important to the story as her unraveling the mystery of what happened to Cassandra. Ms. Mayfield does a fantastic job of weaving Maggie’s developing relationships (both romantic and platonic) in with the overarching mystery of the story. I loved watching Maggie peel back the layers of everyone’s character even as she started to gather evidence of what truly happened to her sister. And speaking of Cassandra’s disappearance, Ms. Mayfield doesn’t make the quest for answers easy on Maggie. Twists and turns await readers, some of which will be met with glee, others with a heavy heart. It’s difficult to talk about a story like this without ruining the mystery, so I’ll leave it at that. A dash of romance in the form of an old flame ups the stakes for Maggie and rounds out the story beautifully.

The Inheritance is interesting, energetic, and wholly entertaining. This story will hook you from the very first page and not let you go until, like Maggie, you have all the answers. I thoroughly enjoyed The Inheritance and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Mayfield’s work!

Note:The Inheritance was previously published as a six part serial.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: What a Duke Dares by Anna Campbell

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I absolutely love Anna Campbell's writing, so it's no surprise that her upcoming historical romance, What a Duke Dares, is a book I'm eagerly awaiting.

Now that I've gotten the sane answer out of the way, the second reason What a Duke Dares is my WOW pick is that it's CAM'S BOOK *insert me fangirling all over the place* The wait for this delicious duke has been far too long for this fangirl. August 26th can't come soon enough!

What a Duke Dares Cover Title: What a Duke Dares
Series: Sons of Sin, Book 3
Author: Anna Campbell
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Anna Campbell Reading Order and Reviews

Book Description (from Anna Campbell's website):

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that's who. She's known Camden Rothermere since they were children - and she also knows she'd bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can't stop her. Then her brother's dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he'd finally gotten over.

The only way they'll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they're married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed - until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins...
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