Thursday, February 21, 2019

Review: A Little Bit Engaged (One Night to Forever Book 3) by Melissa McClone

One little public scandal—and now they’re engaged…sort of.

When Cara O’Neal finds herself dragged into a PR nightmare with A-list actor—and former crush—Brody Simmons, a pretend engagement seems to be the only way to stop the madness. But she’s not an actress, and faking anything with Brody has epic failure written all over it. It’ll take nothing short of an Oscar-worthy performance to survive with her heart intact.

Brody enjoys playing the role of Cara’s adoring fiancĂ© way more than he should. Acting like he’s in love with the pretty bookworm isn’t exactly a chore. She’s always been a good friend, but he can imagine her as more, which complicates their charade. When the lines between make-believe and reality blur, can Cara and Brody turn their fake relationship into a true happily ever after?

My Review:

A forbidden crush turns into a happily ever after.

Cara O’Neal has had a crush on actor Brody Simmons since high school, but she kept it to herself because he was dating her twin sister, Caitlin.  They were Hollywood’s hottest couple.  But, one night when Brody shows up at Cara’s apartment asking a favor of her, Cara learns the romance between Brody and Caitlin fizzled out a long time ago.  They have just been pretending to date because of a movie series that they star in together.  Now, Brody needs Cara to pretend to be his fiancĂ© to cover for a lie Caitlin told the press.  Caitlin said Brody has been seeing her sister and they are engaged.   Cara soon finds herself playing the role of a lifetime, even though she isn’t an actress.  The end result leaves Cara and Brody with the happily ever after they deserve. 

This book was a lot of fun to read.  I really got caught up in the story.  I felt bad for Cara and Brody who got caught up in her Caitlin’s.  But, I was glad they ended up together.  They were good for each other. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review: Daughter of Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

The highly anticipated sequel to Alan Brennert’s acclaimed book club favorite, and national bestseller, Moloka'i

Alan Brennert’s beloved novel Moloka'i, currently has over 600,000 copies in print. This companion tale tells the story of Ruth, the daughter that Rachel Kalama—quarantined for most of her life at the isolated leprosy settlement of Kalaupapa—was forced to give up at birth.

The book follows young Ruth from her arrival at the Kapi'olani Home for Girls in Honolulu, to her adoption by a Japanese couple who raise her on a strawberry and grape farm in California, her marriage and unjust internment at Manzanar Relocation Camp during World War II—and then, after the war, to the life-altering day when she receives a letter from a woman who says she is Ruth’s birth mother, Rachel.

Daughter of Moloka'i expands upon Ruth and Rachel’s 22-year relationship, only hinted at in Moloka'i. It’s a richly emotional tale of two women—different in some ways, similar in others—who never expected to meet, much less come to love, one another. And for Ruth it is a story of discovery, the unfolding of a past she knew nothing about. Told in vivid, evocative prose that conjures up the beauty and history of both Hawaiian and Japanese cultures, it’s the powerful and poignant tale that readers of Moloka'i have been awaiting for fifteen years.

My Review:

A well written story that I was drawn into from the very start. 

First off, this is the first book by this author that I have read.  I didn’t read the prequel to this book, Moloka’i.  It isn’t necessary to be able to understand and enjoy this book.  But, I will definitely be going back to read it just because I loved this story so much. 

Daughter of Moloka’i is Ruth’s story.  Ruth was born on Moloka'i to parents who had leprosy.  She was brought to a convent in Honolulu where she would have a chance at a better life.  From an early age, Ruth struggles with being half Hawaiian and half Japanese.  When she is adopted by Japanese parents, she is brought up with their culture.  Ruth and her new family move to California to help on her uncle’s farm when she is five years old.  It turns out to be a big mistake.  They are faced with racism as soon as they arrive.  The story follows Ruth through her school age years, marrying and having children.  And, just when things seem to be going good, Pearl Harbor is bombed.  Ruth and her family are sent to live in  internment camps.  After the war ends, everyone is allowed to leave the camps and resume life, even though they don’t have a clue what they will do after losing everything they had.  Ruth also learns who her birth mother is and meets her.  She learns more about her Hawaiian side of the family and their culture, and with what it was like for her mother living in Kalaupapa, the leprosy settlement on Moloka’i.  

This is a story of love, loss, triumph, tragedy and overcoming the odds with dignity.  This book is so well written, I could easily visualize the scenes.  It is one story that will stick with me for a long time.   I highly recommend it.   

Thank you St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Review: I Got You Babe by Jane Graves

She picked the wrong man... only to find Mr. Right.

On the run for a robbery she didn’t commit, Renee Esterhaus is stuck in East Texas with a broken-down car and a nasty bounty hunter hot on her trail. Desperate for a way out, she makes a promise she never intends to keep – offer the first man she sees a night of unforgettable pleasure in return for a ride. A night to remember, all right, since the man turns out to be a cop on vacation with zero tolerance for sweet-talking criminals.

When the truth comes out, John DeMarco is determined to take Renee to jail, but it isn’t long before he thinks she may be innocent after all. Soon they’re working together to clear her name, but that means dodging his all-cop family, dealing with oddball suspects, staying one step ahead of a pissed-off bounty hunter – and trying to pretend they’re not falling in love.

My Review:

Renee Esterhaus was on the run.  She didn't commit the crime the police said she did, but no one would believe her.  She wasn’t about to go to prison for something she didn't do.  When Renee met John DeMarco, she didn't know he was a police officer who is just taking some time away from his job.  He was the first person she saw at the diner when she ran in for help.  She just needed someone with a car to get her away from the bounty hunter who is after her.   After Renee pours her heart out to John, he starts to believe her story.  John decides to take in it his own hands, regardless of the consequences, and help her find the real person behind the robbery.

This was an intense, sit on the edge of your seat, book.  I couldn’t put it down.  It’s a wonderful romantic suspense story with characters will want more of.  This is the beginning of a new series and it is starting off with a bang.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Review: Judd's Vow (The Harlow Brothers Book 3) by Kaylie Newell

His heart has been grounded for so long. But she’s about to give it wings...

Captain Judd Harlow is happiest in the air. It’s only when he’s flying that he can leave his childhood memories behind. But when he and his brothers find themselves the guardians of their 12-year-old half-sister, he knows moving back to the small Montana town where he grew up is the right thing.

When Savannah Casteele learns that a local pilot has agreed to fly her and her little boy to Chicago for a long-awaited surgery, she’s overcome with gratitude. A young, single mother, her first priority has always been raising her son the best way she knows how. But when she sees Judd for the first time, she’s unprepared for the affect he has on her heart: He’s stoic, guarded, and a little out of reach, reminding her that she’s not the only one who’s trying to put aside a broken past.

As they begin falling for one another, brought together by the children in their lives, they start seeing family not just as something you’re given, but something you create. And that the heart, no matter how scarred, is always capable of a tender, new beginning. But are they both willing to take a leap of faith to get there?

My Review:

Let me start by saying, I was hooked right from the start of this book.  Savannah Casteele and Judd Harlow met when Judd flew Savannah and her four year old son, Wyatt, to Chicago for Wyatt’s cleft lip surgery.  Savannah had given up on men when her ex left shortly after Wyatt was born.  She wanted to be the best mother possible, so she worked hard and didn’t date.  But when she met Judd, she was surprised by the instant attraction she had for him. 

Judd was a pilot who had returned to Marietta to help his brothers raise his half-sister.  Judd didn’t have relationships.  He didn’t believe in love.  But, when he started spending time with Savannah, everything changed.  He tried to fight the feelings at first, but just couldn’t get her out of his mind.  It was a quick start to a relationship, and there were some rocky parts, but in the end, they found their happily ever after.

This was one of those books that I just didn’t want to end.  I became emotionally attached to the characters, especially Wyatt.  The writing felt so real.  This story reminds me of one of those Hallmark TV Channel movies.  I can easily visualize it now.  Even though this book is part of a series, it can definitely be read on its own. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Review: An Impossible Attraction (The Cavallo Brothers Book 1) by Elsa Winckler

He was Mr. Wrong until he did everything right.

When Interior Decorator Zoe Sutherland is offered the career-building opportunity of a life time – working on super star architect David Cavallo’s glamorous new hotel – she’s thrilled...until she meets David. He may be the most handsome and sexy man she’s ever met, but he’s also the most arrogant and mysterious. He denies her access to the hotel’s floor plans, interfering with her ability to work. And when she stands her ground and challenges him, his smoldering looks threaten to derail her focus and remind her that there is more to life than work.

David’s life is his career. He enjoys women, but has a love 'em and leave 'em attitude, which has worked until Zoe. She fires up more than his libido and one night of loving is not nearly enough. He wants more. That she might be out to steal the plans of his more daring project to date, has him thinking that perhaps he should keep this potential enemy even closer…in his bed.

My Review:

Zoe and Dale were meant to be together.  It just took some time, and a little nudge from some family members, for them to figure it out.

They shared a dance and a kiss when Zoe’s sister married Dale’s brother.  It was enough to make sparks fly.  But, Zoe didn’t trust men and she would never date Dale.  So, how could she have gotten caught up in the moment?  Dale was a rich man with a reputation of dating women and then dumping them when he got bored with them.  Ever since that kiss, Dale couldn’t get Zoe out of his mind and he was willing to do anything to have her as his own. 

This was a fun book to read.  I could feel the tension between Zoe and Dale from the start.  But, when they got together, look out!  They were a steamy couple.  I enjoyed the family drama in the book too.  There were quite a few characters in this book as both families have lots of siblings, but they didn’t confuse me while reading the book like I have experienced in the past.  I really liked Zoe’s mother too.  She was a hoot.  I just wish the ending had been written out with a little more detail.  It felt rushed and I really would have loved seeing Zoe and Dale come together on their own terms.  This book is part of a series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.