The Christmas Rescue | 3 Stars

The Christmas Rescue
By Laura Scott
3 stars

I had mixed feelings when I picked up this book. First, the heroine’s name is Kayla and she lives in Wisconsin. So do I, so I thought this might be interesting, kind of like reading a book about myself. On the other hand, it sounds like a crime-thriller, which is not my cup of tea. Still, it was a gift, so I thought I’d give it a go.

It was an interesting read. The thriller plot was well paced, a little information being revealed at a time so that I felt like I was investigating right alongside the characters. The ending of the romance fell just a little flat for me. The heroine got over her (very justifiable) fears very quickly, because she realized that was what God wanted. I agree, once you know what God wants for you, things fall into place, but her realization happened out of the blue. Nothing really triggered it. The ending didn’t work for me, but the rest of the story was an interesting read, especially if you enjoy watching someone come to faith.

Where I Belong | 5 Stars

Where I Belong
by J. Daniels
5 Stars

Hot, hot, hot read! Our characters jump into bed in the opening scene, and I was hooked from the start. It was great to watch their relationship build into something more. Also, enemies to lovers? Love that. The hero and heroine grew up together (her BFF’s older brother – another win for lovers of tropes!), and he was a total jerk to her. I found it very believable how they slowly overcome their past together; they didn’t just fall in love and “get over it” overnight.

Clear your schedule when you pick up this book—I couldn’t put it down until I finished.

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished | 5 Stars

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished
by Sarah MacLean
5 Stars

I was just a bit skeptical of the premise on this one (the heroine faked her death and blamed it on the hero, sending him into a life of exile) and was wondering just how the characters would overcome such a terrible action on the heroine’s part–one that she hasn’t rectified in over a decade. But I needn’t have worried. Sarah not only redeemed the heroine, but did it in her traditional fashion: with spunk, charm, and wit. Not to mention plenty of love/hate interactions between our characters! I never doubted they would get together in the end (it’s a romance, after all), but there were moments where I was on the edge of my seat, asking, “How are they coming to come back from THIS? How can their love overcome THAT?” A delightful read that I’m sure others will enjoy as much as I did!

Close Up by Virginia Kantra | 5 Stars

I LOVE the compound-related storyline, SO intriguing and very timeless. The relationship between the compound and the town was also handled very nicely. The compound’s people weren’t painted to be the “bad guys.” Instead, the author showed how they were a peaceful if radical people and the townspeople lived alongside them harmoniously.

I also found the characters very believable. Sometimes with crime/investigation stories, the character who isn’t a police officer is either completely helpless or so experienced with law practices that it doesn’t make sense. In this case, the heroine’s experience and inexperience were perfectly balanced, and I really enjoyed a character who sometimes needed to be saved but who could also save herself.

I think my favorite part about this story was that I truly believe that our hero and heroine belong together. It’s easy for the adrenaline of a life-and-death situation (like theirs) to create an ideal atmosphere to fall in love, or at least in lust, but I felt that these two characters fit together so well that if they’d met at a coffee shop or on the street somewhere, they would have fallen in love just the same.

Tempests & Slaughter | 3 Stars

Tempests & Slaughter
By Tamora Pierce
3 Stars

Let me start out by saying that I have been waiting for this book for 15 years. Well, since I first heard that Numair was going to get his own book. So I came into this with a lot of expectations – 15 years of pent up hopes and dreams.

Basically, I spent the whole book waiting for something to happen, and nothing ever did. There was no climax. I never felt like we were building toward anything, and there was nothing to overcome. Essentially the entire book is spent watching Arram go to class and hang out with Varice and Ozorne. I understand that we need to set up Arram’s relationship with these two, but there really was no story. I felt like the author started the book too soon, and we simply followed Arram along while waiting for the actual story to begin – which hopefully will be book 2.

That being said, Arram’s character was on point. There were so many times when what I was reading about his childhood completely clicked with his adulthood. You could tell that the author really knew her character inside and out, which was great to read. That was probably the best part of the book – really feeling like I was reading about the younger days of a character, not reading about a different person.

For someone who’s never read the Wild Magic series (the adult years of our main character), I wouldn’t recommend Tempests & Slaughter because it doesn’t pack enough punch to stand on its own. For fans of the character, however, we will all read this story, regardless of reviews.

Z-Bot | 3 Stars

This was a fun sci-fi romance. What really drew me in was the incredible wealth of knowledge the author has of computers, technology, and the complex functions that all work together. There were layers upon layers of technical plots, things I never would have even dreamed about. I am not a tech savvy person, but the author presents the information in such a way that I was never confused by the information or doubted its authenticity. Really, for me, the technical information was what made this book so fun and exciting, even more than the thrilling plot: after a man dies, his body is reanimated by a computer—but then his soul returns to his body and he must fight to regain control not just of his body, but of his new life.

The romance between the two characters was sweet and believable. I particularly enjoyed that Chris, our hero, was a nerd. Sure, he had recently hit the gym as part of his plan to gain confidence and appeal with women, which he completely succeeded at, but he’s also still somewhat shy and sweet—very refreshing traits in a genre often filled with alpha males.

A Scot In The Dark | 4 Stars

A Scot In The Dark
by Sarah MacLean
4 Stars

I didn’t like the tone of this book at first, and I was very tempted to put it down. But I’m so glad I didn’t! I quickly fell in love with the hero who had been so tragically misunderstood and scorned in the past. I really loved the hero’s backstory, his internal narrative, and the way he acts around the heroine. Also – what’s sexier than a man whose Scottish accent sneaks out whenever he gets lost in the moment with the heroine? Swoon!

There was also a sweet line questioning why we put so much importance on “firsts” or “seconds” rather than who we spend our lives with. I thought that in a genre often populated with virgins, this was particularly poignant.

Carolina Home | 5 Stars

Carolina Home
by Virginia Kantra
5 Stars

If you’re a lover of romance that’s small-town sweet AND super hot, you’re going to love Carolina Home! I immediately fell in love with both our characters, and I found that their romance-that’s-not-a-romance was very natural and believable. It didn’t feel at all that it was being forced or manipulated to fit the story. I also particularly enjoyed the involvement of the secondary characters. The subtle secondary plots hint at future books in the series, and I’m excited to read more!

Hit The Spot | 5 Stars

Hit The Spot
by J. Daniels
5 Stars

Another book that I stayed up all night reading because I HAD to finish! I love the angst between the characters and how their relationship develops from a love/hate relationship based solely on physical attraction to a true love story. And boy, is their love a steamy one! Be prepared for a super hot read from beginning to end!

I’ll be honest – in the opening pages, I did not like Jamie, our hero. He was arrogant, very sexual, and maybe not too respectful of relationships. I was scared, and wondered, how are we going to redeem this jerk? But as I read on and fell in love with him, I realized that if we want a bad-boy-turned-good, we have to let him actually be a bad boy in the beginning. So, stick with it, even if you want to treat him the way our heroine does (I won’t ruin it by telling you, but you’re going to love it), and I promise you’ll fall head over heels in love with him too. This is a book I can’t stop rereading. The emotional journey, especially for the heroine, is just so intense. Love it!

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake | 5 Stars

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
by Sarah MacLean
5 Stars

I loved this story! The heroine was absolutely fabulous, sassy, and witty. She was completely unwilling to be shackled by her status as a female or spinster, and watching her complete her bucket list was wicked fun! The romance is so sweet as well, with a wide and believable range of emotions not limited by the characters’ roles in society. I have no complaints whatsoever, other than that the book had to end.