Review: More Than Anything by Natasha Anders

Publish:  June 11th 2019 by Montlake Romance       ASIN: B07KXMVBR6

Series:    Broken Pieces #1                        Rating:  5*

In a nutshell –  I really, really loved this story!   The protagonists grew up as neighbors.  Tina Jenson was the pesky little sister of her brother Smith’s best buddy Harris Chapman.   Harris was a few years older, and may or may not have recognized the pure adoration and major crush Tina had on him.  After all in her mind Harris was the most handsomest man alive in spite of him having an identical twin brother.   

Tina was self conscious of her well developed body after her mother constantly found fault with her looks, leaving Tina in a state of very low self esteem. But regardless of her big boobs and big booty, Tina was determined to have a grand time at Harris and his twin brother Greyson’s 20th birthday celebration.  As it happened it turned out to be the best (Tina and Harris jumped into bed together) and the worst  (when she overhears crude and hateful comments the next morning) night of Tina’s life.

Ten years later, Tina’s life is a mess. THE night with Harris didn’t just hurt her feelings; it started a cascade of disappointment and soul searing heartbreak. Every time she bumps into Harris, her heart twists inside out. She is constantly trying to hate the very sight of him, yet still wants him.  Truthfully, she’s harboring a painful secret from their night together that she’s not ready to reveal.

Crossed signals, high-society whispers, and shame have kept Tina and Harris apart for years, but deep down, they’re hungry for each other and eager to write their own rules. The story combines huge betrayals and a huge emotional roller coaster of misunderstood comments, finger pointing and some very hot sensual laden scenes.  With so much history of failing and feeling like a failure, it was taking its toll of both on Tina and Harris who was trying his best to convince her she was truly an  amazing woman!  

Loved the pace, the prose and the emotion!  Great read.

Review: Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Series:  (Hot and Hammered #1)    Rated:  5*

This was a brand new author for me and the first book of a new series by a New York times best selling author.  Love discovering new authors (even if they’ve been around for a while) and FIX HER UP was indeed a fun read for me. Just have to say, I loved the story, loved the characters, loved the humor, and it hit all the ahhh spots in a lovely romance!

Georgette “Georgie” Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town.  As the youngest sibling she picked balloons instead of blueprints and her family has never taken her seriously since. Georgie loves what she does; planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh.  Although, she has plans to expand into a full entertainment venue; along with spicing up her wardrobe;  working on her personal appearance (hair shaping and waxing (?)); and putting herself on the market to stop day-dreaming of her longtime crush of Travis Ford!

Truth! Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, never.  Obviously she’s never been kissed either!  No one takes her seriously that’s for sure. But if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who entertains in a clown suit. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and bad boy tabloid favorite?

After an injury ended his career Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie. Now he’s flipping houses with Georgie’s brother to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. He made a name for himself on and off the field and now he’s having to live with the jokes of his bad boy love-um and leave-um affairs. Then here comes Georgie, his best friend’s little sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she kicks his butt to get him out of his depression she proposes a wild scheme. They’ll pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. It’s not like it’s real, but somewhere along the line, the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

Bonnie Blythe is an English professor who has been engaged many years to her long-term boyfriend with dreams of  tomorrow as married and happy.  Her best friend met a fellow overseas last year and within months Bonnie is helping to plan her wedding.  Secretly Bonnie might be just a tad jealous that within months she was helping to plan a wedding that wasn’t hers.  However, a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, and she decides to close the book on love.  But in a romance novel – never say never.

Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel – sexy, virile, handsome and impeccable manners. Fate has put Bonnie in England for the summer—to teach her favorite subject and conveniently very close to Theo. They had agreed to be friends-with-benefits but just as Bonnie begins to believe she’s falling in love she learns a bitter truth that makes her take a step back. Will she forge ahead and tell him or hold off so he can complete his ‘duty’ to his family!  Or, will she have the courage to risk her heart again?

The characterizations in this were spot on! I could truly feel Bonnie’s rage, disappointment and insecurity when she discovered her ex in HER bed with another woman!   Devastating as it was – Bonnie had been true blue even when she had met the most devastatingly handsome Brit the year before and the physical attraction had been powerful.  So to discover it had all been in vain – horrible!

So, giving in was only to discover that Theo was ten times more sexy, kind , courteous and such a superb lover she kicked herself that she’d wasted all that time with such a loser. But now she also discovers Theo’s secret and the fact that he was being nagged into a marriage of convenience by his mother – life couldn’t get much worse.   But if you want to find out if it does or doesn’t you will just have to read this book!  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: My Ex-Best Friends Wedding by Wendy Wax

Paperback, 368 pages                     Publication: May 14th 2019 by Berkley Books

ISBN13: 9780440001430   RATING;  5*

Loved this story of a  wedding dress passed down through generations until it unravels the tangled threads of the last three women who wore it.  It’s about friendship, family, and forgiveness and I couldn’t put it down!  NOTE: At times I really wanted to reach in and shake some of the protagonists to knock some sense into them!  HOWEVER – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!

It had been carefully stored away for safekeeping, a timeless ivory wedding dress, with scooped neck and cleverly fitted bodice, whispering of Happily Ever Afters. To Lauren’s mother Kendra, who wore it briefly; to her daughter Lauren who’s looking forward to wearing it; and Brianna her best friend who got to wear it first.  To all three women  it’s a reminder of what could have been, the promise of a fairy tale, and a friendship torn apart. But as Kendra knows firsthand: it wasn’t the dress’s fault.

Once closer than sisters, Lauren and Bree were sisters of the heart!  They grew up together, shared the same dream together, but then made choices that transformed their lives as they grew apart. Each held just a bit of resentment against the other blaming each other allowing broken promises and unfulfilled dreams to destroy their friendship. 

Now as a successful author, Lauren returns home to the Outer Banks, fiance in tow, to claim the dress she never thought she’d wear. While Bree, a bookstore owner, grapples with the realities of life after you marry the handsome prince. As the former best friends wrestle with their uncertain futures, they are both certain of one thing: some betrayals can never be forgiven.

Never expecting her past to catch up with her, Kendra struggles with a secret she’s kept for far too long. She vows to make sure the dress will finally bring Lauren and Bree back together – knowing they’ll need each other to survive the coming storm after the bomb drops from the revelation of her life.  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: SAY YOU’RE SORRY by by Karen Rose

Kindle Edition, 608 pages

Publication: February 21st 2019 by Headline    ASIN: B07CG6QP5P

Series  Sacramento #1                                     Rating 5*

I have recently become a great fan of Ms. Robards and know without reading a review what to expect.  Fabulous intelligent writing, awesome character building, fast action, and truly bad-ass villains, whom you simply cannot wait for them be found out and dealt with!  Often times as in SAY YOUR SORRY, you may even feel some compassion for the villain based upon what factors led them to conduct such heinous crimes. 

FBI Special Agent Gideon Reynolds has tried to put his past behind him. He escaped the violence of a cult upbringing when he was just thirteen, and since then routine and discipline have been his way of making sense of the world. But when a friend calls to show him a piece of evidence from a young woman who fought off an attacker. With that Gideon’s  world was about to come to a screeching halt!

Daisy Dawson has had more than her fair share of pain – but she’s done being a victim and a prisoner. Brave and determined, Daisy is not going to let anyone take away her independence again. However her newly appointed intensely dark FBI investigator and bodyguard is certainly appealing to her passionate side.

Soon it appears clear that Daisy’s attack was just the beginning when bloodied bodies of young women are showing up all over California.  As Gideon and friends work to find the killer, it’s clear that Daisy is in more danger than they ever realized.

***  As an introduction to Ms. Robards newest series opener, you are introduced to a whole new plethora of family which I am sure will play central roles in this new series.  I love how Ms, Robards invites you into loving family scenario’s to a place to feel safe, when all around you the villains are spreading horror and hatred.   As the intro to her new series SACRAMENTO – I personally cannot wait for her to hurry up with the next books in this run.   Love and highly recommend!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Military Wife by Laura Trentham

Published:  Feb 5, 2019  by  St. Martin’s Griffin

SBN13: 9781250145536         Series: A Heart of a Hero #1     Rating: 5*

Harper Lee Wilcox’s life has been more or less at a standstill since the death five years ago of her beloved husband Noah.  Noah was the only person she ever dated, and loved – a true soul mate.  He was a Navy SEAL killed in the line of duty and never met, his son Ben born after he passed and named after his best friend and SEAL team mate Bennett Caldwell.  

While Harper is feeling a growing restlessness of needing a new direction, a call from her best friend Allison helped to make her act.   Allison was dealing with her husband, another Navy SEAL struggling with PTSD, and Harper drove to Fort Bragg to help her out. 

Two things occurred during the visit.  One, not every widow of a fallen SEAL received a very generous monetary award given to the wife.   Two, she discovered most of the other military wives struggled with husbands deployed for months at a time and felt as lonely and discouraged as Harper was feeling now.  At last a purpose! 

Harper came up with an idea of starting a business for military wives that would finally use her two degrees of business and marketing.  And be good for the other military wives to give them back purpose while waiting for their husbands return.  

Additionally and central to the read was discovering and finally meeting Bennett Caldwell, her husband’s very best friend and team mate whom Harper had never met.  Bennett was a man who held secrets and the truth behind what really happened to Noah on the field of battle. But most of all he was a man whom Harper felt an emotional pull towards that bothered both of them because of the love they both had felt towards Noah.  Could they find happiness together and put feelings of guilt to rest behind them…. 

All I can say is THE MILITARY WIFE packs an emotional punch to heart and soul and brought tears to my eyes (in a good way) and a lump in my throat! Sweet, sensual and a very highly recommended read!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Dare Me Again by Shelly Alexander

NET GALLEY – Jan 15, 2019             Kindle Edition, 285 pages

Publisher:   by Montlake Romance          ASIN: B07FD9PWDD        

Series:   Angel Fire Falls #2 Rating:  4*

Brilliant and restless, financial wizard Elliott Remington doesn’t turn down a dare – anything to help out his family.  This time it’s to coordinate a service-dog boot camp for veterans at his family’s resort. Success with this event will cement the resorts future meaning a one-way ticket to the West Coast to continue his dream career. But it comes with a hitch: teaming up with his ex, who vanished on him ten years ago with nothing more than a kiss-off note.

*** Loving Elliott with all she had, Rebel Tate did what she had to do—for both their sakes when she left.  As a dog whisperer with a keen sense of survival, she’s struggled and lived a tough life. This is Rebel’s last ditch effort to establish herself and fulfill her dream right back in Angel Fire Falls, doing what she loves, next to a man she’s never forgotten. The passion between them still smolders, with ignition just around the corner but neither is ready to get burned.

Both were stubborn and both had secrets too terrible that kept them from forgiving themselves for reasons only they understood.  Neither had ever told the other what they were, and both had reasons to not reveal them.   However, TRUST and taking a chance would be the one thing that could free them to love completely again.  While training dogs – a big part of training required trust and acceptance. With a bit of luck, maybe they could take their cues from the rules governing the of training dogs to learn to trust themselves!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Maybe for You by Nicole McLaughlin

Maybe4You

Paperback, 320 pages                               Published August 28th 2018 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

ISBN: 9781250140029                  Series:   Whiskey and Weddings #3      Rating:  4*

After a year of mourning her fiancé, Alexis Parker has worked hard to rediscover what she really wants out of life. She’s fresh out of the military and back stateside where her big brother wants to take care of her as he always had since she was orphaned at 7 years of age.   Consequently he offers her a marketing job at the Stag Distillery his business whom he partners with three of his best friends. Unbeknownst to him Alexis has preliminarily accepted a job working for the CIA.  The new job would be starting in  3 or so months and knowing it would just be for the summer she agrees to work for the Family business  taking it on as  a challenge and a change.  After all Alexis would be accompanying her best friend and email pal Jake Cooper on a Stag Distillery cross-country promotional tour. Jake may have a playboy reputation, but Alexis is surprised to find out that there is more to him than meets the eye. And along the road, she is beginning to like what she sees. . .

Jake promised Alexis’s brother that he’d be an absolute gentleman. Of course, that was before he and Alexis hit the road, and they both agreed that what Alexis’s big brother doesn’t know won’t hurt him. The plan: they’re consenting adults and what happens on the road and in the RV stays on the road and in the RV!  Although ‘crap happens’  and Jake realizes that he and Alexis make a perfect mix. Can this notorious playboy convince Alexis that he’s ready to shake things up and give true love a shot?

Absolutely a really heartfelt romance, with a best friend who thinks he doesn’t deserve the girl but wants her anyway, knowing of the love she is still holds fast to and still grieving over the finance she lost. This story definitely has a strong emotional pull and the romance and sensualness are really over the top!  Loved it.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

DreamDaughter

NET GALLEY – October 2, 2018                                        Hardcover, 384 pages

Publication: October 2nd 2018                                           by St. Martin’s Press

ISBN:   1250087309       Rated:  5*

Right from the very first pages I knew that THE DREAM DAUGHTER was going to affect me emotionally; 1) because it is from a writer whose prose and story lines are incredibly enduring, and 2) because the book description gripped me right from the start and I knew I had to read it.  

Set in the late 60’s and early 70’s you start off with a chance meeting of a patient, Hunter that no one could through to except a young PT therapist who was assigned to him.  Their meeting almost seemed fated and an interesting comment of  “you’re going to love my sister” in the prologue  gave me a hint of what might be coming.   

From the first chapter you’ll discover that Hunter, whom Caroline had introduced to her sister was now her brother-in-law.  Caroline is a young wife waiting for her husband to come home from Vietnam and just discovering she is pregnant a joyous event she can’t wait to surprise her husband with!  Unfortunately, the doctors have just informed Caroline that her baby has a serious heart defect that will likely kill the child before it could even be born.    

Except, Hunter, kind of a mysterious guy from the get-go, is telling Caroline that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will require a leap of faith, strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed.  A strength she mustered from the bottom of her soul to save the unborn child she loved with all her heart!

You’ll be on pins and needles for most of the read and the things Caroline goes through from her baby daughter.   When you finish this book you will be as drained emotionally as I was and it will be a testament to the love from a mother for her child that brings those emotions to the forefront.  

Bottom line:  Another tremendously satisfying read from the brilliant author Diane Chamberlain.  Incredible story!!

Marilyn Rondeau