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Review: Not Quite A Husband by Sherry Thomas

notquiteahusband125x200Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith’s. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn’t possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India?

Leo has no reason to think Bryony could ever forgive him for the way he treated her, but he won’t rest until he’s delivered an urgent message from her sister—and fulfilled his duty by escorting her safely back to England. But as they risk their lives for each other on the journey home, will the biggest danger be the treacherous war around them—or their rekindling passion?

If you haven’t read a Sherry Thomas book, you are truly missing out. Her writing is absolutely beautiful. When I hear people talking about distinct voices and storytelling, Ms. Thomas is one that always come to mind. I just haven’t read another book that has that little something extra in the storytelling like Ms. Thomas. How about an excerpt to prove it?

Not Quite A Husband is set in the late 1800s, just before the turn of the 18th century. But a later time period didn’t take away from the olden days of stories where men were considered gentlemen in polite society, but a little naughty everywhere else. Ladies were still expected to be simpering misses, but our heroine, Bryony (isn’t that a gorgeous name?), is anything but.

No, not at all! Bryony is actually surgeon. She’s gone to school and everything. It was refreshing to read about a woman who made something of herself without having done so in hiding behind a man’s name. Benefit of the later time period.

The hero is Leo, a brilliant mathematician. Now I absolutely abhor math and all things related, so I wasn’t too sure about Leo. But boy-oh-boy, it didn’t take him long to win me over. Had my math teachers been more like Leo, I might have enjoyed that subject a little more.

But back to the story. I fear another author would have butchered this storyline. Ms. Thomas, master that she is, tread very well. In Not Quite A Husband, the characters made their own messy bed by their own actions and then laid in them. Or well, suffered, perhaps.

I’m confusing you, aren’t I? Well, it’s not always easy to write a spoiler-free review, ya know.

In the beginning, I was one hundred percent in Bryony’s camp. Leo did something to her and screwed things all to the devil and back. I didn’t know what it could be, but I was certain that’s the way things happened. But then it didn’t take long where I shamelessly switch over to Leo’s side and decided it was all Bryony’s fault why they weren’t together. I didn’t know what Byrony had done, or why, but I knew sweet Leo couldn’t have been the source of their relationship problems. Indeed, the more I read, the angrier I got with Bryony for the treatment she unleashed on on poor, poor, handsome Leo. 

But then it happened again. I was able to instantly forgive Byrony, but I couldn’t quite leave Leo this time. It was no doubt by this point that an action he took was the root of their problems, indeed should have been a deal-breaker for me as a reader, but I couldn’t leave him. I was even guilty for feeling sorry for him, like I was betraying Byrony because I wanted her to desperately see his reasoning’s. And that’s what propelled me to turn the page and the next, and the next, instead of closing the book, despite what Leo had done. The more he talked and explained, I couldn’t decide who deserved my sympathy the most.

Now you see why I enjoyed this book so much? These two really reached down deep inside and planted themselves with me. I still find myself thinking of them. Are you interested now? How about a free book?

GOOD!

Because I have a copy going to one commenter. Leave a note and I’ll pick a winner….

Keri Ford

Amazon      Kindle      Barnes&Noble    SonyE-Reader

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Review: Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis

instant-sm3So let’s get the disclaimer out of the way, shall we? Hi, my name is Keri Ford and I sometimes write reviews. I don’t score them, but if I’m writing about a book, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s because I absolutely loved it and wanted to rav about it. Another thing, I don’t do spoilers. So, read ahead and be prepared to have your mouth watering for a copy when you get to the end.

Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis is such a sensual read, and that’s part of why I loved it so much. Ms. Shalvis really made it a hot book by the chemistry cooking between these two. There were so many times sex could have taken place, but didn’t. And it’s a better book overall for it.

Carmeron Wilder. OMG, I completely fell over in love with this hero. The guy is bad boy all over, but his heart is all smashed and has him conflicted in the head. The man lived full out–we’re talking Olympic Champion, Winter X Games Champion–his entire life, until an accident set him on his backside. Boarding and skiing was something that was his, something that he had as a kid when he had nothing. And now he’s grown and he’s totally lost. He’s that kid again, only this time he has no direction, no drive. There’s just nothing there telling him where to go or what to do. He’s traveled the world looking to belong somewhere and he doesn’t find that place, so he comes back home–to his family, but he’s still lost. He doesn’t know what to do with himself or, really, how to interact with people around him at times.  

Katie Kramer was in an accident of her own. She came out emotionally scarred, but she also is looking at life differently now. Before the accident, she wasn’t living, so after recovering, she sets out to change that and drives her car until coming to a little town called Wishful where she finds a help-wanted add for an accounting temp position. The position is at Wilder Adventures, perfect place for her start a new life full of adventure and living.

So how do these two work so well? From Cam’s mouth:

“It’s different for us, Katie. I lost what I was living for and you found it.”

See, now what’s not to love so far? From that one line, you can just tell the man is laying rock-bottom. And Katie, she’s so strong, but weak at the same time. Her accident haunts her.  It tries it’s hardest to hold her back, but she fights through it. It grabs ahold of her by the throat sometimes, but she doesn’t let it stop her.

The setting is marvelous. I felt like I was there. Like the snow was coming down outside all powdery and there were mountains in the distance. It made me wish hubs and I had sprung for that honeymoon to the Alps instead of a week in Hawaii. Ms. Shalvis nailed the setting with lines like:

“The night was a good one, about thirty degrees. Better than the freeeze-your-balls-off cold it’d been all week.”

Now that right there just makes you cold. about thirty degrees is good? That IS freeze balls off cold in my neck of the woods. Lines like that are scattered throughout the book and really empasized the cold without her constantly saying it was cold. There’s great imagery in the book talking about the (paraphrasing) wind whipped the powerdy snow from the top of the mountain. And you could see it. Everything was just so vivid in my mind, and that’s saying a lot from me since I typically start scanning at clumpings of setting descriptions. Katie is from LA, so that really helped visualize and feel the setting when she was doing things like tucking her pants in her boots to keep snow from filing up her shoes.

The story is unbelievable, the writing is amazing and really brought these two, and their chemistry, to life.

She walked a few steps and turned back. “I feel like a duck.”

That’s natural. You’ll get past it.” He took her and pulled her in close, tipping up her chin to meet her gaze. “And as for the other choice…I do want you. So damn much.”

“You don’t have to say that–”

“I want to kiss you, ” he said quietly. “Touch you. I want to do things to you all night long.”

She stared at his mouth, hers falling open.

“I want to fell your heart pound for me when I’m inside you. I’m sory I wasn’t clear on that. I’ve been unclear on a lot of stuff lately, especially with you because I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Misguided,” she murmured, her voice a little thick. “I can take care of myself, Cam.”

“You do. I know that. You’re so strong, but I…Look, I wasn’t completely honest. You do scare me. Okay? You scare the hell out of me.”

She nodded. “I could hold your hand.”

I can’t tell you how many times I laughed out loud because, like Cam, you just never knew what was going to come out of Katie’s mouth. And that was the big appeal about her. She was quick witted without being annoying and she was spunky without being cliche. Katie was nothing more than just being Katie.

So how hungry are you to get a copy now? And I didn’t even tell you about poor Annie and Nick as they go through the book trying to see each other, something that escapes the both of them on how exactly they are supposed to ‘see’ each other (inside book joke, you’ll have to read to understand <g>). I didn’t tell you about Cam’s two hot brothers, TJ and Stone. Nor did I tell you about Harley, the town–girl–mechanic. Or about Serena, Cam’s ex who you don’t want to like, but you just can’t help yourself wanting her as your girlfriend by the end of the book. I didn’t tell you about little Chuck who you just want to cuddle up in a blanket. And I didn’t tell you what the line, “Chickens aren’t sexy.”, is all about.

How about an Excerpt?

So, ever gone looking for an adventure? What about survived the cold, and ahem, for us Southerns, I mean real cold when you’re wishing for those not-so-cold thirty degree days? How about busted your backside trying to downhill ski (I always pictured myself turning into a giant snowball like cartoons on tv)?

One lucky commenter will recieve a signed copy of Instant Attaction, so don’t be shy!

Amazon Barnes&Noble

A Must Have Review – Would Be Witch by Kimberly Frost

Our Must Have selection for March is by Kimberly Frost.

“Nothing’s More Embarrassing Than Malfunctioning Magic” 

I read an excerpt on Kimberly’s website a few months before the book came out in print and couldn’t wait for the release.  I don’t usually read paranormal, but this story hooked me from the first page!            

            Blurb from the back:

            The family magic seems to have skipped over Tammy Jo Trask.  All she gets in the way of supernatural are a few untimely visits from the long-dead, smart-mouthed family ghost, Edie.  But when her locket, an heirloom that happens to hold Edie’s soul- is stolen in the midst of a town-wide crime spree, it’s time for Tammy to find her inner witch.  

This poor girl doesn’t have a clue what she’s about to get into.  The family magic skipping over her generation or being dormant has been a blessing in her eyes.  Or so she thought.  Now she’s lost her job because of an altercation with a snobby ex-classmate and would love nothing more than to hex her nemesis with a nasty case of the hiccups.   

“Would be Witch” is a great story with lots of twist and turns.  Tammy Jo’s main goal is to find her locket before the soul of a dead relative is lost forever.  You see her great-great-grandmother’s dead twin sister, Edie lives in the locket.  She’s a ghost.  And the locket was stolen at a Halloween party hosted by one of Tammy Jo’s friends.     

In the midst of all the chaos, two handsome men battle for Tammy Jo’s affections.  The extremely handsome cowboy Deputy, Tammy Jo’s ex-husband who wants nothing more than to win her back.  And a gorgeous, rich, and very mysterious Bryn Lyons who’s her perfect match, magically that is.  It was so hard for me to decide who to root for! Throw in one seventy two year old retired psychiatrist determined to bring back his dead wife using a few drops of Tammy Jo’s blood, a pack of werewolves out to track her down, and a cross dressing vampire and this book is hard to put down.   Wonderful humor mixed in with some really great action and mystery.   

Will Tammy Jo get her powers under control before it’s too late?  Will she succumb to Bryn’s charismatic good looks and charms?  Or will she fall back into the arms of her hunky, down to earth ex-husband?  And just where is that darn locket! J

 I can’t wait for her next book!

 Be sure and check back on March 24.  Kimberly will be our guest!

 

 

Christian Romantic Fiction

Hello! Keri here. I’m packing and heading out of town today for a writer’s conference. Yeah! So in my place today I’ve asked my very good friend who taught me all I know about this writing business to blog for me today. Give a warm welcome to Cynthia D’Alba.

Before I was a writer, I was a reader. I read in almost every genre…historicals, regencies, contemporaries, category romance, romantic suspense, mysteries, erotica…you name it, I’d read something in that genre, except inspirational romance. I figured if I wanted a sermon, I’d go to church on Sunday and let Pastor Pam have a crack at me.

 

Even with contest judging (and I’ve done a lot of judging), I’ll tell the coordinator to send me anything but inspirational. I don’t read inspirational romance. I knew what I’d find there… cardboard pious characters, no beer, no dancing, no sex, no romance, characters with no sense of humor doing a lot of praying and preaching to others about God. No thanks. Not for this gal.

 

I’m not someone who wears her religion on her sleeve. I’m a quietly religious person. I don’t talk about my  beliefs. I don’t defend my beliefs. I don’t try to convert everyone to my beliefs. They’re mine. Your beliefs are yours. But I truly believe there is one God and this one God is found in many religions other than my own, Christianity. So, when it came to reading inspirational fiction, I had my prejudges all ready.  I’m embarrassed to admit I have a friend who writes inspirational romantic suspense and I don’t even read her stuff.

 

For the last couple of months, I’ve been in Florida – mostly hiding from the cold Arkansas weather. We’ve been doing this for about five years and I’ve made some good friends, one of the best being Lee Duncan. Lee is also a writer, a wonderful writer who is on the edge of publication. We were having lunch and I was confessing my recent (but strong) lack of faith in my own writing skills, to the point of giving serious consideration to quitting. Lee listened in her calm way, not challenging me, not giving me insincere advice or encouragement to “keep on trying.” A little later in the conversation, she asked me if I read Rachel Hauck. Rachel is a member of Space Coast Authors of Romance (STAR), the local RWA chapter that both Lee and I belong to. I had to confess I didn’t. Doesn’t she write inspirational romance, I’d asked. I don’t read that. Lee didn’t say much and lunch continued. Later, Lee said that Rachel had a new book out-Love Starts With Elle-and suggested I might really enjoy reading it. She offered to loan me her copy. I said sure because I’m a nice person who didn’t want to roll her eyes at the suggestion that I read Rachel Hauck’s inspirational romance with all it’s praying and preaching. My plan (Sorry, Lee and Rachel) was to get the book, pretend to read it, and mail that sucker back to Lee. Instead, I opened it and read it.

 

To say this book was an eye-opener would be the understatement of the year. Her characters were rich and deep with emotions, conflicts, challenges. They were far from perfect. Yes, they prayed, but somewhere along the way, Rachel left out all the preaching. She let her story do the work.

 

lswecover_0001Love Starts With Elle is the story of Elle Garvey, an artist who has found the love of her life in pro-football-player-turned-minister Dr. Jeremiah Franklin, or so she believes. As soon as she accepts his proposal, she learns he’s taken the position of senior pastor at a mega-church in Dallas, TX, which will require her leaving friends and family to be with him. She is willing (although reluctant) to do so, but as continued distance and compromise are forced on the couple, both begin questioning their upcoming marriage. In preparation to leave town, Elle has rented her cottage to New York Lawyer Heath McCord, a recent widower and father to TL (You’ll have to read the book to learn what TL means).  Each character has a relationship with God, but it’s a personal bond that affects each one differently.

 

So my eyes (and closed mind) have been opened to a new genre that I never expected to like, much less want to read more in. I will be picking up Rachel’s other books and eating a little crow.

 

So what about you? Have you read Christian Fiction? What did you think? Anyone you’d recommend?

A Must Have Review – Highland Warrior by Monica McCarty

warrior_215If you’re new to my reviews, you can safely read ahead without fear of spoilers. I don’t talk plots because once I get started on a plot I love, I can’t get my trap shut without telling the whole story. Instead, I highlight the things I loved about the story. More often than not, it’s the characters.

Our February Must Have is Highland Warrior by Monica McCarty. And OH, MY WOWSERS! I’m talking mouth hanging open nearly the whole time while I read. And this is a 359 pg book!

Our poor hero, Jamie Campbell, has racked up quite the reputation while trying to enforce some bit of law in the highlands.

Poor guy, he’s only fighting for what he feels and knows is right in his heart and the man is ruthlessly hammered for it. His nickname? Henchmen. Women fear him. Men fear him. Children fear him. The only person who doesn’t fear him (well, not fear him in a sense of is-he-going-to-kill-me? fear) is Caitrina Lamont. Our heroine.

And why is she not afraid, you ask? Is the girl some spirited young lass who flaunts about challenging everyone she knows? No. That’s what I love about Monica’s books. She can create a strong heroine while the heroine still falls in the boundries of what was expected out of women at the time.

Caitrine met the hero and had a bit of a conversation, you could say, before she found out who Jamie was exactly. She learned enough about Jamie in their first meeting that even when she finds out who the man is, The Henchman and a Campbell to boot, she can’t control her attraction.

She fights the draw. Fights it with everything she can.

Jamie doesn’t make her fighting easy. He hadn’t set out to find himself a wife. Not that he doesn’t want one, he’s simply been busy trying to enforce the law. But a man has to marry and after meeting Caitrine, she’s the one he wants.

But things can’t be simple at all. Remember the above tidbit about Jamie being a Campbell? Well, Caitrine is a Lamont. The Campbells and Lamonts have been fighting for a long time. In Caitrine’s eyes, she doesn’t care how badly she’s attracted to him because in her sheltered life, she will never bind herself to a Campbell.

But, life happens and Caitrine and the woman we’ve grown to love is broken when her home is attacked. And your heart breaks right along with her. Through circumstances and desperation to reclaim her family’s land, she marries Jamie.

Now both Jamie and Caitrine’s loyalities are put to the test. Do they trust in their hearts and their new not sure if it’s love or do they side with their families (remember the Campbell/Lamont fighting)–putting them at ends with one another? It’s an intense read.

You can see why I had my mouth hanging open so much. Really, I think this book is the fastest I’ve ever read. And you know what? I’ve got it sitting at my elbow right now. The first chance I have to pick a book up, I’m going to have to bypass that TBR pile and go for another delectable dive into Highland Warrior.

If the above isn’t enough to make you run to the nearest copy, Monica has an excerpt on her site. By the way, it’s from the opening when Caitrine meets Jamie and is one of the best openings I’ve read. It made me snuggle down in the couch cushions just a little more as I laughed aloud.

The Campbell Trilogy continues with Highland Outlaw and Highland Scoundrel in back to back releases. So no long waits between books!

From the back of the book:

The ruthless enforcer of Scotland’s most powerful clan, Jamie Campbell will use any means necessary to vanquish lawlessness and unrest among the feuding Highland clans. Seduction is a game as easily played as subterfuge, but when Jamie poses as a suitor to a rival clan’s daughter in order to expose treason, the line between duty and pleasure is suddenly blurred. Ebony-haired, ruby-lipped Caitrina Lamont defies him, denies him, and arouses him like no other woman.

Caitrina has no intention of forsaking her beloved father and doting brothers for a husband–especially a hated Campbell. But Jamie’s raw, sensual strength and searing kiss melt her resistance. When her idyllic world is shattered, Caitrina’s only ope to save her clan lies in the arms of Jamie Campbell, the enemy she holds accountable for its ruin. Can their tenuous truce, born in the velvet darknes of passionate nights, forge a love as strong as the sword that rules the Highlands?

Keri Ford

A Must Have Review – Romeo Romeo by Robin Kaye

romeoromeocover2Hey, Everybody. Up for our January Must Have is Romeo Romeo by Robin Kaye. If you’re new to my reviews, you can safely read ahead without fear of spoilers. I don’t talk plots because once I get started on a plot I love, I can’t get my trap shut without telling the whole story. Instead, I hightlight the things I loved about the story. More often than not, it’s the characters.

All she cares about is her career, so she survives on take-out and dirty martinis, keeps her shoes under the dining room table, her bras on the shower curtain rod, and her clothes on the couch…

Nick Romeo is every woman’s fantasy — tall, dark, handsome, rich, really good in bed, AND he loves to cook and clean…

He says he wants an independent woman, but when he meets Rosalie, all he wants to do is take care of her. Before too long, he’s cleaned up her apartment, stocked her refrigerator, and adopted her dog…

So what’s the problem? Just a little matter of mistaken identity, corporate theft, a hidden past in juvenile detention, and one big nosy Italian family too close for comfort…

The blurb absolutely nails this story. Nick is indeed every woman’s fantasy in that he likes things clean and loves to cook. Not only loves to cook, but is good at it too! When I first heard that Nick was a cleaner, I got a little worried he’d be pictured as too unbelievable. But he wasn’t.

Ms. Kaye really handled Nick’s personality perfectly. When he vacuumed, it fit him. Little things like him picking up the heroine’s apartment didn’t seem forced or unrealistic. Maybe because my husband is a tidier sort of person who will come behind me and straighten my shoes. I don’t know.

But because of the kind of man my hubby is, I could relate to Rosalie trying to find her things! My computer room often gets tossed crazy in a matter of days, but I still know where everything is and can find a sheet of paper buried under a stack of stuff in seconds. I’m completely lost and unable to function if somebody else comes in a picks up behind me. I can’t find anything! And that’s when I really bonded with Rosalie. She’s late for work and looking for her shoes in the usual spots–under the table, by the couch. It doesn’t dawn on her to look in the closet until Nick pulls them out.

These two match each other well. Nick has always been the playboy. The man always in charge of the relationship. Rosalie knocks him on his rear-end when she refuses to let him have his way (such as picking her up for a date). She doesn’t let him drive her to the resturant to try to be a pain, she does it because, hello! She just met the man. Nick becomes completely lost when Rosalie nonchalantly tosses out the, “I’ll call you.” line. His physical state worsens when days go by and she doesn’t call!

Again, it’s not that Rosalie is playing games with him. That’s just her personality. She’s very on the go and has a lot on her plate.

One of my favorite scenes is when Nick’s sitting by the phone waiting on her to call. You can just feel his frustration because we’ve all delt with those moments of wondering, but at the toohotsame time, you just have to laugh because he’s getting his desserts for all those other women he’s left sitting by the phone.

One of my first thoughts while reading Romeo Romeo was, huh, this book must be set in the Brooklyn/Jersey/New York area. I knew it was somewhere up there in that northern part. And I was right. It’s in Brooklyn! This thought of mine completely shocked me because I don’t normally read and guess where my characters are. I can get a great feel of a place, but this is the first book I read that I felt like I was really living in that area. You can just hear the Brooklyn accent and feel the culture within the first few pages.

The best part about this story is the writing. Props to you, Robin. The book is filled with lines like,

Her heart raced as if she’d run five miles. Not that she ever had, but if she did, she assumed her heart would race like that.

How fun is that? I’m telling you, those catchy lines appear throughout the whole book and kept me chuckling. Between those lines and the great characters, that’s what made Robin Kaye’s Romeo Romeo my 2009 January Must Have Book.

Available at: Amazon    Barnes&Noble

A Must Have! Review: Divorced, Desperate, and Dating by Christie Craig

If you come here for the commentary only, then you’ve missed the Must Have section right there to the left. I hope to make that a new feature once a month or so.  And just so you know, I don’t talk about plots in my reviews because I have a hard time not giving away spoilers.

tndatingLast night I started reading Divorced, Desperate, and Dating by Christie Craig,hoping to just read a chapter or two as the Hubby watched Sunday Night Football in bed. Next thing I know, the tv’s off and the hubby is snoring in bed next to me. And it’s getting late. But you know what? I didn’t care. I was too pulled into the humor and suspense that Christie magically pulls together. You want laugh out loud funny with page turning suspense, then Christie Craig is the author for you.

I would have been up until probably four a.m. finishing this book, but my son woke up around one. By the time I finished with him, I was ready for bed. Next morning I picked it up first thing and finished it.

The heroine, Sue, is a mystery author. Normally I’m not a big fan when one of the main characters is also an author, but Christie worked it together well. Her profession wasn’t just thrown in as some after thought. Like, oh, this character is an author because that’ll make it easier for her to have lots of time off. Not the case AT ALL in this story.

Sue’s great. She has a good sense of humor, she doesn’t have a choice but to have one with the family she comes from. She tries to be confident and put on a good face, but she just can’t pull it off. She’s scared. She’s scared of the future and she has a right be so. This poor chick has just gotten hammered by the Bad Dating Gods who keeps sending her men with issues.

Sue knows our hero, Jason. They had a steamy kiss, he promised to call, but never did. So when Jason steps back into tndddeliciousher life, she’s freaked out for the most part. She doesn’t want to risk getting close after thier bit of history together.

Jason, man that he is, can’t figure out for the life of him why Sue keeps pretending she’s not interested. And that’s what makes him so lovable. One of my favorite things about Christie is how she brings that great ‘man’ element to her heroes. In DD&Dating, Jason is buying Sue a box of Godiva’s in this scene.:

“That’ll be a hundred-thirty-six dollars and forty-two cents,” the clerk said
Jason shook his head. “What?”
She repeated the amount.
“For chocolate?”
The woman’s smile thinned.”It’s Godiva.”
“Do you know how many Snickers I can buy with a hundred and thirty-six bucks?”
She grinned. “Snickers won’t impress a woman.”
Jason pulled out his credit card. “I’d better get laid,” he muttered.

See? Doesn’t that just scream man? This book is filled with thoughts like this from Jason that kept me chuckling half the night and all morning. And when Jason talks with his best friend, Chase, things get even more side-breaking funny as you read about Chase trying to explain love to Jason.

Divorced, Desperate, and Dating is book two in Christie’s Divorced, Desperate series. Divorced, Desperate, and Delicious is book one and is also a treat. The books are not requred at all to be read in order, but they are both incrediably wonderful. Amazon  Barnes&Noble

Have you read this book yet? Know any men like Jason?

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