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

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Review – Becker’s Circle by Addison Bray

BeckerCircle

Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing (March 14, 2018)

ASIN: B07B3HT15Y                           Rating: 4*

Gillian’s  boyfriend believed she was too gutless and dependent upon him to leave. WRONG! Gillian graduated Harvard early and left his hot temper and everyone else behind for Dallas quite determined to make it on my own.   She found  a job in an accounting firm as she worked towards her CPA and then landed a second job bartending at the neighborhood pub.  Tips were good but it’s smack in the middle of drug central where almost every jerk in the neighborhood hits on her.

Soon after starting her bartending gig, the neighborhood’s very popular drug dealer fell to his death a few feet from the table Gillian was serving. The cops say suicide, but the hot guitar player in  the band and she suspect foul play.   They started their mini investigation and as they discover more and more they’re drawn closer to each other. Before long they discovered, they knew who the murderer is!

*** Well talk about some colorful characters!  BECKER’S CIRCLE had them all and then some!  From the ‘witchy’ boss from hell at Gillian’s ‘day’ job at the accounting firm, to the girls who frequented the bar scene identified by their drink of choice names.

One has to commend Gillian by taking control of her life and setting off for a new life away from a toxic boyfriend who wanted complete control over her.   Yes, she made a couple of mistakes before she hooked up with her guitar wheeling buddy but overall I think she did well; juggling full time and part time  jobs while studying for her CPA exam.  The clues she came across to discover who the murderer was  were actually pretty minute, but in the end she persevered, and came out the heroine of Becker Circle.

Frankly this was a pretty sweet and suspenseful story with lots of twists and turns.  At the end  I loved the career choice!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Sadie’s Highlander by Maeve Greyson

Sadies Highlander

Published: September 12th 2017 by Loveswept                           Rating:   5*

ASIN:    B01MZ18FVS          Series:   Highland Protector #1

I have loved Maeve Greyson’s Highland books since I first discovered her Highland Hearts series and now, I am so lucky to starting Book #1 of her Highland Hearts series and just by reading the first book SADIE’S HIGHLANDER – I can tell that this is going to be just as engaging, funny and sensual as her prior series.

Alec MacDara and his brothers and family traveled forward in time to be the protectors of the sacred Heartstone.  They are now owners and operators of a theme park called Highland Life and Legends.  As the chairman of this enterprise, Alec has been keeping the real castle and it’s treasures separate, while fending off a plethora of requests to film on the grounds.  However after some very charming letters from a production assistant, he agrees to a meeting.  At first, the minute he meets the CEO of the company he realizes what a mistake he’s made, but then he notices her assistant.  The woman with lush curves who is so down to earth he almost forgets his name!

Sadie Williams is the sister to the owner of the motion picture company who has for years kept Sadie in the lowliest of positions while Sadie waits for her sisters promise of one day becoming a writer.   However Sadie was shocked when Alec agreed to allow the picture company upon one condition! Sadie would have to live in the castle and report to Alec every day of the company’s progress. Sadie agrees but wonders why Alec looks at her as if he was waiting to gobble her up!  Knowing she was a bit on the chubby side and having always been told by her sister she was ugly, Sadie didn’t know what to think of the hunky Highlander who thought she was beautiful!

Fabulous, funny and sexy – couldn’t ask for more and Maeve Greyson delivers in spades!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

 

Review: The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

Stolen Marriage

NET GALLEY – October 3, 2017

Date: October 3, 2017                           Print Length: 384 pages

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press            Rating: 5*

I have read many books by Diane Chamberlain and have been moved by each and every one.  In THE STOLEN MARRIAGE she has written a very compelling and, for me, and emotional story set during the 1940’s polio epidemic and the discrimination still held in the South between the whites and folks of color.

The setting for the majority of the book is in Hickory, NC when a young engaged Italian woman made a mistake that changed her life.  Tess DeMillo’s life had been mapped out for years, she was on her way to becoming a nurse and her fiancé, the boy next door, was on his way to becoming a doctor.  Unfortunately, a brief trip to Washington DC, and too many cocktails led Tess to sacrifice the virginity she was saving.

Pregnant with nowhere to go, Tess knew she needed financial help and approached the man who was the father of her child.  Instead of monetary help he asked her to marry him but Tess discovered the handsome man, with a gorgeous home and wealthy beyond her wildest dreams was kind but had no interest in consummation of the marriage.   In a difficult situation and wanting something for herself, Tess finishes her nursing degree and goes on to become a nurse for the NC’s Emergency Infantile Hospital, which was built and staffed in just 3 days.

Even though I am late in writing the review, I finished this book in record time as the story was not something one could let go of.  Ms. Chamberlain continues to write the books that take you away to another place and time – just what I look for and another WOW book others must discover!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Suddenly Engaged by Julia London

SuddenlyEngaged

July 25, 2017 Kindle Edition, 334 pages by Montlake Romance

ASIN:  B01N03MEFJ Series:   Lake Haven #3 Rating: 4-1/2*

Kyra Kokinos is a single mother trying to make ends meet.  Kyra waits tables by day, works on a real estate license by night and spends as much time as possible with Ruby her very precocious six -year old daughter.  It’s a chore trying to keep Ruby from pestering their grumpy next door neighbor Dax Bishop.  Dax is a gruff solitary man who keeps to himself after having been burnt by a nasty divorce.  He might give you water if you were dying of thirst, but come to Kyra’s aid with a marriage proposal when Ruby needed life saving surgery?  Wow, this was something Kyra never saw coming!

***  I loved this story and Ruby aka little “coconuts” absolutely stole my heart away.   Dax was such a gruff curmudgeon right from the start, but loved when he christened Ruby with the coconuts moniker. After learning  more of Dax’s story I couldn’t help wanting to see him find his own happiness and if it included Kyra and little ‘coconuts’ so much the better!

Actually, I couldn’t help comparing Kyra’s struggles with my own as so many women struggle to work,  raise a child and go back to school to improve their lot in life.   A simple enough theme and very current by todays standards.   Nope, I even understood the fast food dinners one would settle for because life was so busy trying to stay above water and still provide for your child.

The characters were all admirably fleshed out and the secondary characters were most creative adding to building the story into a wholesome and totally enjoyable read. Bottom line is  that I absolutely loved SUDDENLY ENGAGED and the realness of the story!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

SomeKindHero

NET GALLEY July 11, 2017                             ISBN13: 9780345543820

Published: Ballantine Books                      Series   Troubleshooters #17

Rating:  5*

Navy men are pretty cool, but in spite of being highly intelligent, strong, determined and even bit stubborn, I am beginning to think that good looks are also a key to becoming a top Navy Seal.  Peter Green is a very tough cookie – he has to be to in order to accept only the top of the crop for entrance into the Seal program.  However, after his ex-wife’s death and his somewhat estranged daughter, Maddie came to live with him, Peter was at his wit’s end!   He thought he was doing everything right but tough rules and standards he taught his recruits were not something that his daughter was ready to accept.  In fact – Maddie had just disappeared and Peter had no idea where to turn.

Romance writer and author Shayla Whitman could solve all sorts of problems with her writing and the assistance of her imaginary sidekick Harry.  Never did she ever expect to be drawn into the drama her new hottie neighbor was having since his daughter had come to live with him.  However, she is a mother and having the experience of raising two sons, she was more than willing to steer Peter in the right direction to begin looking for clues and obtaining information the could help him in his search.

*** Well now here is the gist of the story.   Rather than think this is just a simple runaway kid theme – well it is – but it’s not.  Being new in town, Maddie was befriended by a not so good ‘friend’.  So called ‘friend’ happened to be dealing drugs unbeknownst to Maddie then left town leaving Maddie holding the bag – only the bag was empty and the bad guys believed Maddie had absconded with their ‘stuff’ so Maddie, aged 15, is on the run with her boyfriend who happens to be 21 and Peter finding this out is ready to roast the boyfriend alive.

However, Shayla, his neighbor has been sticking to him and advising him about how teenaged daughters react to somewhat overbearing fathers (who have never been part of their daughters life until now).  The dialogs between Peter and Shayla (including comments from Harry which sometimes Shayla forgets that Harry is imaginary and answers) are downright hilarious.   And naturally what would this very hot Navy Seal want with an older woman like her – even if she still looked pretty damn hot with a very active libido that could match his.

Bottom Line:  SOME KIND OF HERO was a terrific read, suspensefull, hard to put down, amusing, and sensual.  Obviously it is definitely a recommended read!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Home At Last by Lily Everett

Home AtLast

Series: Sanctuary Island #6

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (March 7, 2017)

NET Galley – March 7, 2017 (ISBN13: 9781250074065)

Rating:  4*

After his mothers funeral, Marcus Beckett had left Sanctuary Island with the intention of never returning.  But now, after living the dangerous job he’d had as a bodyguard for some high value politicians, he was ready to return and enjoy a solitary life as the proprietor of a small neighborhood bar in his hometown.

Unfortunately, Marcus had made a huge mistake. He had seduced and then dumped the town’s sweetheart, Quinn Harper.  Marcus actually thought he was doing Quinn a kindness – a great gal like Quinn had no business with a broken man like him!   Consequently, his business was taking a hit by the customers who thought his treatment of Quinn was not nice and they were now boycotting his bar.

Quinn was worried sick over her parents as her mother seemed enthralled with her latest marriage counselor who seemed more like he was counseling for a divorce than a reconciliation between her parents.  As such Quinn came up with a  fake four-week courtship where by she would convince Marcus to play along and pretend they were seriously dating, letting he r parents know that all was well in her life and letting the townspeople know it was all right to come and frequent Marcus’ bar again.

*** In this stand-alone story HOME AT LAST by Lily Everett, we are once again visiting the charming area of Sanctuary Island and some of the marvelous characters that you’ve met in previous books from this SANCTUARY ISLAND series.  Marcus and Quinn had began a relationship in the previous book of this series which had ended in a humiliating breakup for Quinn.   Wanting desperately to save her parents marriage, Quinn begged Marcus to go along with her scheme and even though Marcus was reluctant he couldn’t deny that he really did want Quinn as much as she wanted him.

The pacing was done very well and this was an easy read.  The growth Marcus maintained after he finally opened up about his past and came to terms with his aversion of his father made it easier to be honest with Quinn.    Loved the storyline regarding the conman marriage counselor and loved seeing him get his comeuppance.   Bottom line:   A really fun and heartwarming story that is perfectly enjoyable.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Bound Together by Christine Feehan

BoundTogether

(Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart #6)

Net Galley  – March 21, 2017 Mass Market Paperback, 1st edition

Publication: March 21st 2017 by Jove ISBN13: 9780399583933

Series:  Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart #6 Rating: 5*

Viktor Prakenskii has for the last five years put his life and love on hold in order to take down one of the most feared motorcycle club from the inside.  Along with wanting to take down the seemingly untouchable head of the organization Viktor wanted desperately to stop the exploitation of innocent children who were being sold into lives of perversion and shame.   But most of all Viktor wanted to reclaim his wife, Blythe Daniels whom he had left behind after he’d murdered her stepfather.

***  First of all, I have to say how sad I am that this is the last book of this remarkable series of the Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart.  To say this was remarkable is almost an understatement, but I personally will definitely miss all the wonderful characters whom I’ve come to love.

Blythe hadn’t heard a word from Viktor in five years and had never even informed her sisters of the quickie marriage she and Viktor had embarked on all those years ago.   When he showed up in Sea Haven after no word in all that time Blythe was full of emotions and least of all was the physical response he invoked just by being in the same vicinity as she.

With Viktor came his ‘family’ a group of damaged souls whom Viktor had grown up with and protected as best he could.  This group were all ready to kill and die for Viktor and would not and by and see him hurt – by anyone.   As far as Viktor was concerned, Blythe was the key to both his and his ‘family’s’ future.  Viktor know that with Blythe’s gifts of healing and compassion she would be able to help him and his family heal from years of hellish abuse.

Bottom Line:   With fantastic writing and super strong characters, BOUND TOGETHER, is the cherry on the top of this amazing series.   I only hope that Ms. Feehan finds it in her heart to do another series similar to this and focus on Viktor’s other ‘family’ of misfits and how they go on with their lives.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Close to Home – Lily Everett

closetohome

Paperback, 304 pages Publication: February 7th 2017 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

ISBN13: 9781250074058     Series: Sanctuary Island #5 Rating:  5*

Johnny Alexander was finally home, nervous and trying to shake off the deep undercover life he’d lived for the last two years.  First he needed to report into his supervisor, and then go home to the one thing that had sustained him for the time he’d been away – to hold his wife Terri whose memory had kept him sane when the world he’d lived in turned insane.  Much to his dismay, his best friend and supervisor Brad handed him an envelope filled with legal papers – divorce papers from over a year ago.

Terri had changed her name to Tessa but kept her married name of Alexander.  Finally Tessa had grown from the scared timid girl Johnny had married eight years previous and had decided that she needed to stand on her own!  Tessa had found her independence and was forging a new life for herself on Sanctuary Island with a job she loved; new friends; and her very own self-dependence.   It’s a quiet life on her own and though she still loved Johnny she felt she had to let him go to find a real wife he’d be happier with.

***   Wow, loved this scenario!   Terri/Tessa had been rescued by Johnny when he discovered her cold and shaken in his barn.  Always an honorable young man, he knew he had to protect the young girl and he married her in order to give her a safe home and his protection.  He treated her like a precious ‘china doll’ and after a few years where he was gone more often than not as a soldier and then as  a special ATF agent Tessa came to the conclusion that she wanted more from Johnny than a chaste kiss on her forehead as she went to bed alone.   What she didn’t realize was that Johnny did want more but wasn’t ready to cross over the line that he’d set for himself.

When Johnny was faced with the fact that Terri/Tessa had actually left, he followed her to Sanctuary Island and found a completely different woman than the shy girl he was married to.  Tessa had cut her long brown  hair into a very becoming blonde style but her whole demeanor had changed.  Far from the shy retiring girl he married, Tessa was smiling and laughing and obviously both very happy and very much in control of her life.

Johnny was going to have to work very hard in trying to seduce his own wife and show her that the marriage he wanted was the same one she had dreamed of – both physical and passionate.   The only thing that stood in their way was a madman from Tessa’s past who was determined to drag Tessa back to where she’d come from.

Bottom line:   Great writing – wonderful storyline and lovely characters you can easily fall in love with.  Sanctuary Island is a magical place – Highly recommended read.

Marilyn Rondeau