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

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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

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