Thursday, March 28, 2019

Review: Next Door Knight (Man's Best Friend Book 2) by Nicole Flockton

Can a dog heal two wounded souls?

Newly single Kerry Williams is at her wit’s end. She's juggling her injured father’s care, a new job as the manager of a hip new restaurant and her therapy dog Willow volunteering at the Veteran’s Center -- all while struggling to rise above her humiliating heartbreak. When her father's caretaker fails to show one evening, she’s terrified she’ll lose her job. And then Willow runs away. Panicked, Kerry gives chase and immediately runs smack into a tall, dark and sexy wall of muscle, palming a squirming bundle of fur. Her new hero seems like an answer to her prayers.

The last thing K-9 officer Caleb Bradshaw wants, is to babysit his neighbor's father and her dog. He’s facing a potential career-ending injury and grieving the death of his working partner, Trigger. Sure he can handle a cranky old man, but the quiet comfort of Willow who follows him around with liquid-eyed sympathy tugs at the heart he’s trying to keep walled-off after his many painful losses.

Kerry knows Willow can ease Caleb’s grief, but he continues to push her away. Even though her life is in shambles and she too should walk, Kerry knows she can’t and won’t. Will Caleb accept her help or will he close himself off completely?

My Review:

Kerry Williams and Caleb Bradshaw are brought together by Kerry’s therapy dog, Willow, who has found a way to sneak into Caleb’s back yard.  Willow eventually works her way into Caleb’s heart just like she does to everyone who meets her.  But, Caleb is set in his ways and content staying in his house not talking to anyone, especially not having to get out and return the dog to his neighbor.  He has PTSD and recovering from gunshot wounds that not only wounded him but killed his service dog, Trigger.  He doesn’t think he will ever be able to move past the tragedy that happened that day.

Kerry has finally gotten her life in order.  She left her abusive boyfriend and has her own place now where she is helping her father recover from a skiing accident that broke both of his legs.  She has a good job and enjoys taking Willow to the VA center, on her time off, to visit with the men there.  She didn’t expect to fall for Caleb when she met him, but there is just something about him that makes her heart melt once she gets to know him.

Willow is the match-making therapy dog who helps everyone.  I couldn’t help but fall in love with her.  She is the perfect little scene stealer.  I really enjoyed Kerry and Caleb’s story too and where the author took it.  I could tell a lot of research had been put into the writing of this book.  It felt very true to life.   

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Review: Tess (Outback Brides of Wirralong Book 2) by Victoria Purman

Can a town known for “I do,” change her “I don’t?”

Up and coming American winemaker Tess Harrison is temporarily working at an Australian vineyard where her family now has a financial stake. She’s excited to make her mark away from her dominant family and the outback’s premier organic winery seems like the perfect training ground. One problem: No one told her the small town Wirralong was a premier wedding destination, and every time tomboy Tess turns around she’s confronted with white dresses, trails of petals, gleaming gold rings and starry-eyed kissing couples promising forever. When a new hire upends Tess’ careful plans for her life and her career, she find herself reluctantly re-thinking her dislike for the M word.

Tall, dark and rugged-looking Australian Connor Hawker has just been hired as the new Irrigation Manager at an organic vineyard. This new job was meant to be a fresh start, far away from South Australia and the small church where he was dumped at the altar by his French fiancĂ©e. He wants nothing more than to be laser-focused on his new job, except he finds himself distracted by the talented, cheerful, and ambitious blonde winemaker from California. Soon their no-strings fling becomes far more complicated, and Connor wonders if another woman–with life plans across an ocean will again leave him alone.

Can Connor trust in love again and will Tess realize it’s not the wedding she needs, but the love of a man like Connor.

My Review:

The town of Wirralong, Australia, is known for being a wedding destination.  Newcomers, Tess Harrison and Conner Hawker feel they don’t belong in a place that caters to weddings and everywhere they turn its flowers, dresses and brides. 

Tess grew up being a tomboy and has winemaking on her mind.  She doesn’t need a man in her life for anything.  Conner was dumped by his girlfriend minutes before they were supposed to be married.  So, he is scarred from that and still isn’t interested in dating.  But, when Conner gets a job as the irrigation manager at Matthews Wines and meets Tess, he soon finds himself wanting to get to know Tess better.  Tess couldn’t get Conner off her mind either.  They soon find themselves caught up in a romance that shouldn’t have happened. Tess is only in Australia for a few weeks and then she is headed back home to her family winery in California.  How can they make a relationship work when they live half a world away from each other? 

As with the other Outback Brides books, I enjoyed this story quite a bit.  Tess and Conner were very likeable and even with their differences and flaws they turned out to be good for each other.  The build up to their romance took a little time, but once they got together things really heated up.  I also liked the camaraderie between all of Tess’s friends and how they have each other’s backs when one needs some advice or encouragement.  I would definitely recommend this book because of the romance, friendships, Australia and of course the wine.     

Review: Taming the Troublemaker (The Hills of Texas Book 3) by Kadie Scott

One daring kiss with the playboy tempts the good girl, but can she tame him?

Autry Hill may be a cowboy to his boots, but he’s also gained quite the reputation as a charmer and playboy. His parents aren’t sure he’s ready to take the reins of the family’s prosperous Texas ranch, so they set up a challenge: No women or scandal for the next six months and the ranch house he grew up in is his. Easy peasy, Autry thinks. He’s already tired of late nights and romancing, until elementary school teacher Beth Cooper happens to cross his path. Suddenly Autry is losing his heart, his mind, and what’s left of his reputation.

Good girl teacher Beth Cooper is far too practical to fall for Autry Hill, even if she had a crush on him way back when. The man’s been breaking hearts since middle school. But when he becomes her unexpected champion and then they work together to help one of Beth’s troubled students who’s about to lose everything, she sees a different side of Autry – serious, compassionate, determined and dedicated. And that Autry is nearly impossible to resist. Does she need to?

My Review:

A teacher, a cowboy with a bad reputation, and a little boy who steals everyone’s heart, made this an unforgettable story.

Beth Cooper and Autry Hill lived in the same town but weren’t friends.  Beth knew Autry was the town bad boy and kept away from him.  But, fate had another idea in mind, one that brings them together in a way neither expected.  It turned out Beth had a little boy in her class, Dylan, who needed a male figure in his life.  After Autry is arrested for fighting and given community service, Beth suggests he become a big brother for Dylan.  Their love for Dylan brings Beth and Autry together and both of their lives are changed forever.

This was such a good book.  I didn’t want it to end.  The story was easy to follow along with and I really liked the characters and author’s writing style.  There were so many great scenes.  I laughed so hard during the skunk scene and then Autry fighting with Beth’s neighbor in the middle of the street, in the rain, wearing nothing but his underwear.  They were comical, but crucial parts of the story.  The scenes with Dylan were sweet and inspirational.  The chemistry between Beth and Autry is off the chart once they give in to their growing attraction.  I would definitely recommend this book to any romance fan.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Review: Wild at Heart (The DeMarco Family Book 2) by Jane Graves

You can run from the past...but you can't hide from love

When private investigator Valerie Parker tails a cheating wife one night, it’s business as usual – until the woman is murdered and the man she’s with becomes the prime suspect. She’s astonished to discover the man’s identity: Alex DeMarco, a man she was once insanely in love with and who shattered her dreams and broke her heart… all in the same day.

As a cop, Alex feels obligated to offer the stranded woman a ride home. When she ends up dead and Val Parker is the one who places him at the scene of the crime, he knows the grudge she holds may affect her testimony and put him behind bars forever. Then her life is threatened, and soon they’re on the run together, working to clear his name and protect her life. Once again, Alex find himself drawn to this wild, impetuous woman from his past, even as every step they take deeper into the Texas Hill Country may be their last.

My Review:

A fast paced, nail biter of a story.

Five years ago Valerie Parker and Alex DeMarco met at police academy.  Valerie fell hard for Alex from the start.  They spent one incredibly passionate night together, but the next morning Alex was gone.  Then came the big blow; she was dismissed from police academy that day.  Valerie despised Alex ever since, but she never forgot how he made her feel during the time they spent together.

Now, Valerie is working as a private investigator and the woman Valerie is paid to watch is murdered and Alex is the prime suspect.  Tensions rise as Alex and Valerie travel across Texas looking for the real murderer before someone else ends up dead. 

This is the second in the DeMarco Family series and just as good as the first.  If the suspense and passion aren’t enough to pull you in, trying to figure out who the killer is definitely will.  I enjoyed this book as much as the first and I will anxiously be waiting for the next one.  Even though this is part of a series, there is no cliff hanger and each book can be read as a stand-alone.   

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Review: Lacey (Outback Brides of Wirralong #1) by Fiona McArthur

Nine months later...

Lacey Jerome had always fought her attraction to sexy police officer Cameron James, but one crazy night, she let her hair down and fell into bed with him. Their night together turned more passionate, more soul-scorching than she’d imagined it could be, but mixed messages from Cameron had her fleeing the scene.

Now, she's back in Wirralong with the memories of their one-night stand etched into her mind and a mission to reconnect with the man who made her lose her head in the most delicious manner.

Cameron never forgot Lacey -- and not for lack of trying. He has his own restrictive code, but somehow his thoughts always manage to wander to the newly returned beauty. He has questions and Lacey knows all the answers.

My Review:

Set in the Australian Outback, in the town of Wirralong, where weddings and happily ever afters have become the trend, one couple discovers the consequences of their one night stand.  Will the love of their baby be enough to bring them together? 

Lacey is enjoying a wedding with her friends, on the night her divorce is final, when Wirralong’s hottest police officer sits beside her.  Lacey gives in to Cameron’s flirtations and she soon finds herself spending the night with him at his house.  When Lacey returns to Perth to collect her belongings and wrap up the sale of the house, she discovers she is pregnant.  Lacey doesn’t return to Wirralong until she is eight months pregnant.  She soon finds herself in early labor with Cameron rushing her to the hospital.  But, they are too late and Lacey ends up giving birth on the side of the road with Cameron right there helping her through it.  Lacey wasn’t ready to disclose the identity of her baby’s father, but Cameron figures it out when he sees baby Ethan has a birthmark that is identical to his own. 

Cameron is a dedicated bachelor.  He doesn’t plan on getting married or ever having children.  But when he discovers he is Ethan’s father, he starts to have a change of heart.  Now, Cameron has to convince Lacey that they will make a good couple and he can be a good husband and father.    

This was a fun and emotional book to read.  It was short, but lots of details were packed into the pages.