Monday, September 24, 2018

Review: A Rose in the Highlands by Heather McCollum

A Rose in the Highlands by Heather McCollum
Series: Highland Roses School, Book 1
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781726414654
Release Date: September 24, 2018
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Entangled

1684, Scottish Highlands

Englishwoman Evelyn Worthington is resolved to build a school for ladies in her brother's newly purchased Scottish castle. But when she arrives, not only does she find the castle scorched by fire, but a brawny Highlander bars her entry.

Clan chief Grey Campbell would rather die than see his family home, Finlarig Castle, fall into English hands, so Grey must win the battle of wills with the beautiful Sassenach who flashes a bill of sale before him.

When the war between Evelyn and Grey escalates, passions flare. But outsiders have their own plans for Finlarig. After secrets are revealed, and muskets are lit, the fates of the Campbell Clan, the school, and a possible future for Grey and Evelyn are in as much jeopardy as their lives.

When Evelyn Worthington flees England and an unwanted suitor to start a school in her brother’s newly-purchased Scottish castle, she doesn’t expect to find the castle’s previous owner to still be living there! Clan chief Grey Campbell is dark, brooding, and determined to keep his place in Finlarig Castle, which he claims was unlawfully seized by the English. Evelyn isn’t quite sure what to do about the handsome, irritating man, but she’s not about to let him ruin her future…

Get ready for an entertaining battle of wills! A Rose in the Highlands crackles with energy thanks to the excellent chemistry Grey and Evelyn have. I adored Evelyn’s spirit and her determination to set up a school where girls can learn a host of skills from reading to self-defense. She’s an intelligent woman who won’t be cowed in a time where silence and obedience were demanded of her peers. And while Grey starts out as her enemy, it’s clear these two won’t be able to resist the pull between them for long. Grey has reason to hate the English. His parents were murdered, his castle seized, and he and his family and friends were nearly killed. So even while I was rooting for Evelyn to succeed in starting her Highland Roses school, I understood where Grey was coming from in the beginning. He’s a strong, proud man, but he’s also protective and caring. He and Evelyn make a great match and I enjoyed watching them fall in love. Add in secrets, conspiracies, and a healthy dose of suspense and you have a truly well-rounded story that’s incredibly difficult to put down.

Grey and Evelyn are the heart of A Rose in the Highlands, but the residents of Killin – not to mention Grey and Evelyn’s siblings – add further life to the tale and made me look forward to more Highland Roses School books. So while I finished A Rose in the Highlands a well-satisfied reader, I’m eager to learn Scarlet Worthington’s secrets in A Rose with Thorns.


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, September 23, 2018

Review: Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis

Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, Book 6
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9780062741837
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Who needs mistletoe?

Most people wouldn’t think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn’t most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she’s been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that—but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once…

Whiskey and pain meds for almost-healed bullet wounds don’t mix. Lucas needs to remember that next time he’s shot on the job, which may be sooner rather than later if Molly’s brother, Joe, finds out about them. Lucas can’t believe he’s drawing a blank on his (supposedly) passionate tryst with Molly, who’s the hottest, smartest, strongest woman he’s ever known. Strong enough to kick his butt if she discovers he’s been assigned to babysit her on her first case. And hot enough to melt his cold heart this Christmas.

It’s never a bad time for holiday cheer, especially when you’ve got a story like Hot Winter Nights to read. Lucas and Molly’s romance is funny, heartwarming, and sensual. It’s impossible not to be swept away by this sweet confection of a tale.

Molly is a fighter. She’s got grit, strength, and a spine of steel and I loved that about her. As the office manager at Hunt Investigations, she knows she’s invaluable to the team. Yet she also knows she can and wants to do more, only her boss, brother, and the other members of the team are overprotective of her, in part because of the permanent nerve damage she has in one leg. But Molly is nothing if not clever and resourceful, so when a bad Santa case comes her way, she’s determined to take it on. She knows it isn’t safe to work alone, so she talks Lucas into helping her, not knowing her boss has already ordered him to keep an eye on her. Lucas is a hero you can’t help but love. He sees and respects Molly’s skills, knowledge, and abilities and even though he’s as protective as the rest of the Hunt investigators, he supports her in her quest to become an investigator. When it comes to his attraction to her, well, the sister of his best friend is off-limits. Except close quarters make it impossible for either of them to deny the pull between them…

Both Molly and Lucas have scars – physical and mental – from their past that make them put up walls around their hearts. Though it’s obvious to readers that they’re a perfect match, their road to happily ever after isn’t an easy one because insecurities and old ghosts aren’t easily overcome. Jill Shalvis perfectly balances their internal struggles with their otherwise bright and sexy romance and I was rooting for Molly and Lucas every step of the way.

Family and friends bring additional warmth and good cheer to Hot Winter Nights and Heartbreaker Bay fans will be delighted to catch up with past heroes and heroines (though if this is your entry into this series, you won’t be lost). I adore this series with its quirky, welcoming characters and the friendships add some sparkle to the story without detracting from Molly and Lucas. The only downside to this book is that I finished it incredibly eager to read the next Heartbreaker Bay book, Playing for Keeps, and that’s not a bad problem to have.


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.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Review: Don’t Touch My Petunia by Tara Sheets

Don’t Touch My Petunia by Tara Sheets
Series: The Holloway Girls, Book 2
Publisher: Zebra Shout
Genre: Contemporary Romance with Paranormal Elements
ISBN: 9781420146288
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Pine Cove Island is the kind of enchanting place where anything is possible…

The Holloway women each have a special gift, passed down through generations, each one a little different. Juliette possesses a magical green thumb, which makes her job managing the local florist shop a dream. She may be a bit wild, but she knows what she wants: to save enough money to buy the shop from her boss. Then in marches Logan O’Connor, more annoyingly handsome than ever, turning all her plans upside down.

Logan hasn’t been back on Pine Cove Island since he was eighteen and broke Juliette’s teenage heart. Now it turns out he’s her boss’s nephew—and will be spending his days remodeling the shop and barking orders. At her.

For the sake of the business, Juliette will have to ignore their simmering attraction and work with Logan. But that doesn’t mean she has to make things easy for him. Because no one knows better than she that one tiny, perfectly planted bit of garden magic could uproot Logan’s own plans and keep him out of her way. And nothing would make her happier. At least that’s what she thinks…

Tara Sheets has the magic touch when it comes to sweet, utterly charming romances. I adored her first Holloway Girls book, Don’t Call Me Cupcake, and was pleased to find the enchantment didn’t wear off with Don’t Touch My Petunia.

Juliette has a magical connection to plants that someone with a black thumb like me envies. She’s vibrant and endearing, but she also had a vulnerable side that tugged on my heartstrings. Aside from her cousin Emma, everyone she has ever loved has left Juliette so she guards her heart fiercely. She relies on no one but herself, has walls a mile high, and is wary of change. Only someone like Logan could manage to scale those walls around her heart. Logan is the perfect hero without coming off as cardboard. He’s patient, kind, quiet, strong, and though he doesn’t take any flak from Juliette, he doesn’t scare easily when she resists change or her self-preservation instincts kick in and she tries to push him away. They have great chemistry that shows from the start as they banter and bicker, then slide into love. Their romance made me sigh more than once and there are so many sweet moments I don’t want to spoil by revealing. I really enjoyed watching them heal from the ghosts of their pasts with each other’s help and I liked them together so much that I hated having to put the book down.

A cast of lively secondary characters round out the book but never take the focus off of Juliette and Logan. I love the world of Pine Cove Island, the charm of the shops and the welcoming residents who each have their own fun quirks. I’m so glad Ms. Sheets will keep the magic going and give new Pine Cove Island resident Kat her own book because I don’t want to leave this place behind. If you enjoy sweet romances with a touch of magic, you’re sure to delight in reading Don’t Touch My Petunia.


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, September 2, 2018

Review: Hard Deal by Stefanie London

Hard Deal by Stefanie London
Series: Melbourne After Dark, Book 2
Publisher: Harlequin Dare
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781488082658
Release Date: September 1, 2018
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

For one night only, Imogen Hargrove is a sexy spy. She’s donned a mask for the Carmina Masquerade Ball, where she hopes to catch her sister’s cheating fiancé, Daniel, in the act. But she’s the one who gets rumbled when she strays too close to her target—only to realize she’s been tailing the wrong man. A searing kiss makes her forget her mission altogether, and the mysterious stranger awakens something inside her: a burning passion she hasn’t felt since the brutal breakup of her last relationship.

Imogen is mortified to discover that the man behind the mask is her colleague, notorious womanizer Caleb Allbrook. He’s the last person she wants to get close to, and she doesn’t need another playboy in her life. But that kiss has her curious—besides, Caleb knows her sister’s fiancé and could prove very useful in digging up dirt.

She makes a deal: she’ll go on a date with Caleb in exchange for information on Daniel’s affair. But Caleb’s irresistible charm turns a casual conversation into a night of sultry seduction. Imogen knows Caleb is bad news—yet he makes her feel sexier than any man ever has. Can she pull herself away from yet another toxic relationship, or will Caleb prove there’s more to him than just sex appeal?

Hard Deal is so much fun to read. It’s both steamy and playful and the chemistry Caleb and Imogen have practically snaps and sizzles on the page.

To all the world, nothing can ruffle Imogen Hargrove. She’s smart, organized, and keeps her passionate nature tamped down. But beneath the surface is a woman who wants to live a more vibrant, sensual life. Imogen was badly hurt by her cheating ex-husband and it’s easy to see why the emotional scars she carries have heavily impacted her life. She’s a kind-hearted heroine who is easy to like, even when she makes mistakes to guard said heart. I really liked Imogen, so I was eager to see her come out of her shell. Caleb helps her do that by knocking her off her axis. He’s a swoon-worthy hero who is so much more than the playboy people know him as. Caleb is charming, good looking, and sexy as sin, but that’s only a small part of him. He made me smile with his rebellious socks and the way he could read people. But it tugged on my heartstrings to see the hidden, vulnerable part that feels unwanted and unloved by his father. He and Imogen both have ghosts in their pasts they have to overcome in order to open their hearts and have a shot at a real relationship. Yet while Imogen and Caleb have to work for their happily ever after, that doesn’t mean the road to it is lacking in fun – quite the contrary. Hard Deal is deliciously dirty and Imogen and Caleb are anything but shy when it comes to pleasure.

Hard Deal is the second book in Stefanie London’s Melbourne After Dark series but it can easily be read as a standalone. That being said, I will definitely go back and read Unmasked because I absolutely adore Ms. London’s writing. I’ve only read a few of her books, but the ones I’ve read are flirty, fun, and wholly addictive. Caleb and Imogen’s romance is no exception and I cannot wait to re-read it.


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.