Review: VANISHING ACT by A.M. Madden

Title: Vanishing Act

Author: A.M Madden

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: NetGalley 

Review by Candy

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Hollywood superstar, Landon Price has had enough of being a celebrity. The latest movie he just finished filming was full of nothing but drama and he is still mourning the death of his brother. Deciding he needs a break from it all, Landon disappears to a remote Hawaiian town to recharge his batteries. What Landon didn’t count on was meeting Zara Jobart, a local resident, whom Landon finds himself immediately attracted to. Zara has no clue who Landon is and he is just fine with that. What will happen when Zara discovers the truth? Will Landon return to Hollywood or give it all up for Zara?

I loved the banter between Zara and Landon. Both of these characters have as good as they got. There were several times in the book that I found myself laughing out loud at their conversations. The star of this book though is Zara’s dog, Marshmallow, or Spike as Landon renames him. Spike runs away one day and finds Landon, which is how he meets Zara. Anytime Spike is in a scene, he completely steals it with his cute antics.

I also enjoyed how much detail Madden put into the secondary characters and the town of Lanai. The characters were so vivid and made for an interesting backdrop to the main story of Zara and Landon. It is too bad the town of Lanai doesn’t actually exist because I would definitely add this to my bucket list of places to visit if it did.

Vanishing Act by A.M. Madden is a standalone romance. Madden put her own spin on the rich/famous hero meets small town girl and creates a fabulous world that you wish was real. If you enjoy contemporary romance, this book would be a good read for you.

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Review: BLOOD VOW by J.R. Ward

Title: Blood Vow

Author: J.R Ward

Category: Paranormal Romance

Source: Borrowed from library 

Review by Candy

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When the Black Dagger Brotherhood puts out the word that they would be recruiting new members to fight the Lessening Society, the vampire Axe joined up. A loner by choice, Ace quickly proves himself to the Brothers as a ruthless fighter. So much so that he is recommended to take a job as the personal body guard to Elise, a member of the glymera. Axe doesn’t want or need the complications of being attracted to Elise but neither can seem to deny the heat between themselves. Meanwhile, Rhage and Mary are so very close to becoming parents as they proceed with the adoption of Bitty. When a relative comes forward the whole process is placed in jeopardy. Can Axe remain professional with Elise? Will Rhage and Mary finally become parents?

Axe looks like one of those guys that you don’t want to meet on a dark and lonely street. In actuality, despite his cold façade, he is really a caring individual who throws up walls to prevent from being hurt. His back story of growing up and how he lost his father was full of sorrow and explained so much of why he chose to become a loner. 

One of the reasons I love reading Ward’s paranormal books is that her female characters are always so strong. Elise is another perfect example of this. She has been secretly going to school to work on her graduate degree against her father’s wishes. As the story progresses, Elise stands up to her father and to the confining expectations of what it means to be female in the glymera. 

For me personally, the better story line was that of Rhage and Mary. Longtime fans of the BDB series have known that this beloved couple would adopt a young at some point. Traumatized and abused by her now dead father, Bitty blossoms under the attention and love of Rhage and Mary. It quickly becomes apparent that Bitty is meant to be with Rhage and Mary as their daughter. 

Blood Vow by J.R. Ward is the second book in the Black Dagger Legacy series (not a standalone read). Ward as always has created fearless male warriors and strong female characters that are so real they become family to you. If you love paranormal romances, Ward is a must read in this genre.

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Review: THE PRETENDER by HelenKay Dimon

Whew! The Pretender by HelenKay Dimon is a fantastic romantic suspense / mystery in the Games People Play Series. I was sucked in from the beginning and could not put it down until I knew who was the guilty. My emotions were all over the place with this one. I love that we get to follow the clues along with the characters in this story.  Along with the murder mystery, The Pretender follows the romance of Harris and Gabby. Two very flawed characters looking to fit somewhere and with someone even if they don’t realize it.

The pace of the story was spot on and I found myself hanging on to each word. I felt like I couldn’t read it fast enough yet I had to go slow enough so I didn’t miss anything. Harris and friend Damon come to Tabitha Island to keep the heat off Gabby, who is falsely being accused of killing her sister by her uncle. Of course, they come in undercover sort of. Sparks fly between Gabby and Harris in a primal, physical way and eventually in an emotional way. They take a different path to love then a lot of people. The intimate scenes are smoking hot! Dimon does a fantastic job with the show of those scenes.

As with any series, I adore characters from past books and Wren (from The Fixer) is always a presence in any of the books in the series. The scene near the beginning with Wren, Emery, and Harris was fantastic. It shows so much of each of their personalities. Just perfect. I was glad to be introduced to Damon, another Quint Five member, and hope to read a book about him in the future.

If you are looking for a romantic suspense and/or mystery book that will catch you from the very first page and won’t let you stop thinking about the characters until after you finish the book, give The Pretender a read. While it is part of a series, each book can be read as a stand alone with its own plot.

Title: The Pretender (Games People Play, #3)

Author: HelenKay Dimon

Category: Romantic Suspense

Source: Purchased from Barnes & Noble

 

Review: SINCE LAST CHRISTMAS by Jeffe Kennedy

I recently finished Since Last Christmas by Jeffe Kennedy and all I can think about is that I want more. It was so hard to put down! Since Last Christmas is the 3rd book in the Missed Connections series and follows Amy and Jon (and a little of Brad). I enjoyed the fact that the characters are not your typical romance heroes and heroines. They seem more like regular people – almost like I was listening to Amy tell me about her past few months over drinks or something. The characters seem human. They have their quirks and flaws.

Amy has her life planned out, or at least her next year. She knows just how she will be proposed to. How she will spend the next few months of her life. Everything will be perfect. Until it’s not. When things don’t work out the way she expects, she is lost. But is quickly found by someone she never thought about.

Kennedy is such a fantastic storyteller. Since Last Christmas is interesting, the pacing is on point, and I just fell in love with the characters and their lives. The romance between Jon and Amy is so awesome to follow. It was fun to hang out with them and I really want to be friends with the Fab 5!

Getting to catch up with characters from past books in the series is always wonderful and I look forward to the next few stories with Ice and Julie. Missed Connections is an amazing series and while it is enjoyed more (in my opinion) by reading in order, you can read any of them on their own. If you are looking for a contemporary romance that is different than many you read about, Give Since Last Christmas a try!

Title: Since Last Christmas (Missed Connections, #3)

Author: Jeffe Kennedy

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: Copy received from Author

 

 

Review: CROSS COUNTRY CHRISTMAS by Emily Leigh

Emily Leigh is quickly becoming an auto-read author for me after just two books! Cross Country Christmas was a fun holiday novella that takes you from Georgia to Washington in a few days but with lots of emotion, laughter, and love. Who doesn’t want to go on a road trip with a hot, sexy, Country Movie star?

In Cross Country Christmas, Gracie needs to get out of town and wants to head home to Seattle for Christmas. With the grounded flights due to weather, she opts to rent a car and drive there. Country Movie icon, Kale, needs to get to Montana ASAP. With one last rental care available, the two decide to share it and the road trip begins.

Leigh does an incredible job of developing interesting and lovable characters in this story with a unique plot for each character and weaved together effortlessly. Even the scenes we think will be typical cliche romance are done with a twist and entertain even the hardest core romance fan. It’s a fresh story, one that I wasn’t quite sure how it would end.

It was hard to put down but so easy to get lost in Cross Country Christmas from the very first page and is everything you want in a holiday novella. Give it a read!

Title: Cross Country Christmas

Author: Emily Leigh

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: Purchased from Amazon

Review: HOLIDAY WISHES by Jill Shalvis

I absolutely love holiday novellas! Holiday Wishes by Jill Shalvis is the type of story I look forward to each Christmas season. It is short, sweet, sexy, and entertaining from start to finish. It left me all warm, fuzzy, and happy sighing at the end. What else could a girl want?

In Holiday Wishes, Sean drives his brother and friends up to a Bed and Breakfast to celebrate his brother’s bachelor weekend. He unexpectedly runs into an old flame in Lotti, the Inn Keeper. Boy is that a blast from his past. Little does he realize Lotti’s feelings towards him are a little different.

Shalvis tells the story of how Sean and Lotti find their way back to a romance. It’s fun, it’s light, it’s super sexy. A lot happens in just a few days which makes it a bit of a whirlwind. If you enjoy holiday romance novels, give Holiday Wishes a read!

Title: Holiday Wishes

Author: Jill Shalvis

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: Purchased from Amazon

 

Review: SWEET THING by Emily Leigh

Sweet Thing by Emily Leigh is a book I have had on my to-be-read list for a long time. After finishing it today, I am kicking myself for not reading it earlier! Leigh is a new-to-me author so I didn’t really know what I was missing. Well, I have already looked up her website to see what other books she has written that I can get my hands on! Sweet Thing is the first in the Hale Street series and we are introduced so characters in Sweet Thing that we will read about in future books. After reading Sweet Thing, I find myself wanting to eat cupcakes, remodel my house, and snuggle my husband a little longer each night. I love when an author can inspire my life in an entertaining fiction romance!

Violet Calloway is the heroine that every reader wants to be or befriend. Violet cares so much about everyone around her and doesn’t do anything less than 100% in life. Even if it means sacrificing her own happiness. Nick Morello is the contractor that is hired to remodel an old building on Hale street for Violets new bakery. As you can imagine (this is a romance after all), sparks fly, and the chemistry is off the charts for these two. Their romance was such fun to watch  – from the easy way they communicated, to the friendship and respect that built between them, to the hot and steamy bedroom moments. What I loved about Violet and Nick is that even when they had hurdles to get through neither of them acted immature or ridiculous. They treated each other with such respect and maintained their professional relationship. It is what I am looking for when reading romance at this stage in my life.

The supporting characters in Sweet Thing were equally engaging to me. They each have a story that I want to know about. What happened in their pasts to make them the way they are today? There is something surprising that happens to a couple of the supporting characters and it had me looking ahead a the other Hale Street books. I was relieved to see that we get to catch up with these two that are so prominent in Sweet Thing.

If you are looking for a fantastic story that is entertaining from start to finish, has characters that make you feel like you are already friends with them, and a hot and steamy romance, give Sweet Thing a read. And if you have yet to read Emily Leigh, you need to start. Her writing is easy, smart, and she is great at showing the scenes. You can taste the cupcakes that Ivy makes and feel the shivers that Violet gets when Nick touches her all based on her descriptions. What do you have to lose?

Title: Sweet Thing (Hale Street, #1)

Author: Emily Leigh

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: Purchased from Barnes & Noble