Thursday, May 16, 2019

Summer by the Tides - Denise Hunter

Synopsis: Maddy and her older sisters rush to their grandmother's beachfront cottage after her neighbor calls to report her missing. Each has troubles of their own to add to the distressing situation. Connor's concern for his neighbor turns into a struggle to finally move on after his wife's death and admit his attraction to the girl next door. With lots of decades old baggage, and a closet full of family secrets, the sisters spend their days cleaning out the cottage and healing old wounds.

Review: I don't think Denise Hunter is capable of writing a bad book. That said, it seems she's taken it as a personal challenge to pile on as much strife and turmoil as one could imagine and then add a couple more doozies just for good measure. One truly has to suspend belief to accept all that happens to these poor sisters. Remarkably, they somehow manage to face them all and come out all the better in the end. Truly, the story is a good one and certainly Maddy and Connor are awesome together. Their chemistry is perfect and you just love to watch them fall in love. The faith element is much more natural in this book than some of her more recent ones. It's not doctrinally heavy or preachy but is a reflection of the characters and their own relationship with God. A good clean contemporary romance that's a great summer (or anytime) read.



Amazon Pre-Order $10.99
Reg $15.99

I received an ARC

Monday, May 13, 2019

Love Again at the Heart of Main Street - Meg Easton

Synopsis: Tory's getting along fairly well as a new divorcee with a gaggle of kids. Trouble comes in the form of a downed tree on top of her coffee shop. With a tight budget and a construction boom putting contractors in short supply, she's not sure how she'll get things fixed and income coming in again. Nate's construction company is booming but his love life is on hold as he recovers from his own divorce. A soft spot for the pretty Tory finds him working late nights and Saturdays to spend time with her. 

Review: This fourth installment in the Nestled Hollow series is very sweet. Two really great people finally letting down their barriers and finding companionship and love is always heart warming. Tory is a great mom who deserves better than she's gotten. Nate is a great guy who has lots to offer this would-be instant family. Previous characters in the series tie things together but the story is complete alone. Reading earlier books will make it better but isn't essential. A good clean contemporary romance.


Amazon $2.99

I was given an ARC

To Love a Lord - Michelle Pennington

Synopsis: Patience doesn't have a fortune to permit her the luxury of being selective in her matrimonial choices. So when she gets a love note from the rake she's been crushing about, she's more than looking forward to the upcoming house party she hopes to meet him at. Meanwhile, Lord Stanton has come to appreciate the hidden gem the beautiful Miss Wendover truly is. Now that he's also managed to get invited to the house party, he needs only prove to her he's worthy of her attentions.

Review: A debut regency novel for Michelle Pennington, but we can only hope there are many more in the works. She's done a good job of preserving the regency world while keeping it lighter than a Heyer can be. We can appreciate that, while it's definitely a contemporary regency, unlike many authors, Pennington doesn't water it down by constantly explaining the ins and outs of the period. Patience is a lovely heroine who is no simpering miss and is mature enough to see the reality of her situation quickly. She makes good choices and more than deserves her HEA. Stanton is a worthy hero who keeps his head about him while falling for our Miss Wendover. The supporting characters round out the story nicely and add to the entertaining adventure. A good clean, fun regency.

Amazon $2.99

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Behind the Light of Golowduyn - Deborah M. Hathaway

Synopsis: After her uncle's accident, Abigail is charged with both caring for him and the lighthouse they live in. She's resigned to living this quiet life alone with him. Things change quickly when Captain Kendrick's ship wrecks one night. He's ready to retire, her uncle is thrilled to be reunited with the son of an old friend, and Abigail is a little enchanted with the extra help.

Review: A marriage of convenience combined with a little mystery keeps this story moving along. Set mostly at the lighthouse, there's not a lot of excitement save the antics of some ne'er-do-well. Abigail is a little difficult to love. It's easy to feel Gavin's frustration with the situation. He's extremely patient with her and is a worthy hero. Definitely a clean romance with a sweet HEA.

 
Amazon $.99

I received an ARC

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Flirting With the Bad Boy - Michelle Pennington

Synopsis: Amber is a school basketball star looking to earn a scholarship. She's got no time for boys and the distraction they bring. Jason is the new kid. A bad boy who comes to her rescue. He has no problem with distractions and is more than happy to try to become Amber's

Review: A good clean YA romance. While she doesn't sugar coat teen life, Pennington tones down the challenges teens face as they muddle through high school. The situations are tense but now gritty. Amber is a great heroine and Jason is a solid hero. They have a nice chemistry and are easy to like. You certainly have no reservation in cheering Jason on in his pursuit of Amber. It's great to see them get their HEA. 



Amazon $2.99

I was given an ARC

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Waves - Amy Matayo

Synopsis: Dillon's mom is desperate to see her married and is thrilled she's come on their family reuinion cruise to celebrate her grandparent's anniversary and nurse her broken heart. She's sure Dillon will find her soulmate on the ship. Dillon is not at all interested in a new relationship. Liam's brother has had a crush on Dillon for a while now so he's not acting on his own inclinations towards her. But when they find themselves on a deserted island for nearly a week, things change and that promise to respect his brother's first dibs gets a little thin. 

Review: True to form, Amy Matayo has created an awesomely ridiculous story you can't put down. I mean, nobody gets stranded on a deserted island and you KNOW everything is going to work out, but you still get sucked into every coconut cracking, fish spearing scene. Dillon and Liam are a great pair and watching them work together and figure out their feelings for each other both on and off the island is a treat. Some inuendo and, frankly, it's amazing that she manages to keep five days in swim trunks, a bikini, and little hope of rescue clean, but she does. 


Amazon $3.99

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Sweet on You - Becky Wade

Synopsis: Britt is the youngest of the Bradford sisters that this series has revolved around. She's a chocolatier focused on growing her business and staying single. Zander is her longtime friend and the man who has crushed on her for over a decade. He's become a successful author and been trying to clear his head of Britt while on a world tour. Having to return home early, after his uncle's unexpected, death doesn't help one bit. As he an Britt unearth family secrets, they discover some of their own.

Review: We've seen peeks of Zander in previous stories and the good news, is that the wait was worth it. He's even better than any of us could have imagined. Lucky Britt! More unsolved mystery detective novel than romance, it's still lots of fun to follow Zander and Britt around the region disecting his uncle's mysterious past. While there's not a lot of courting, this final installment in the Bradford sisters series is really satisfying. Britt is a lovely young woman who's trying hard to find her place both in business and in her family. Zander is a steady, strong, and loyal hero. The Bradford's are a fabulous family and it's been nice to get to know them a little better with each story. Becky Wade has a great talent to create endearing characters and tales that you can't help but fall in love with. Some faith based content but not heavy or preachy. A fun clean read.

Amazon pre-sale $9.99

I was given an ARC.

Emma the Matchmaker - Rachel John

Synopsis: An Austen retelling with a modern twist. Emma is a fashion consultant looking after her grandfather and busy finding love for his new nurse. George is her brother-in-law and finding himself falling for Emma.

Review: Not usually an Austen redo fan, but this is a cute retelling that stays close enough to hint at the original but new enough to keep you wondering how Rachel John is going to get around to finding a HEA for our hero and heroine. It's a quick read and fun too. Emma's not a rich witless fashionista but a concerned grandaughter with her own fledgling business. George is a medical assistant with genuine concern for people around him rather than a rich aloof business mogul. They're refreshingly regular people with a realistic friendship that finds itself becoming more. A fun summer read.

Amazon $.99

I was given an ARC.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Because You Loved Me - Delaney Cameron

Synopsis: Bridgette's parents have died recently and left a mess behind. Her much younger siblings are entrusted to her father's protegee. Suddenly alone and without an allowance or a hefty inheritance to prop up her lifestyle, she starts to push her plans to marry her secret fiance. Graham is happy to become a guardian to his mentor's children. But he'd prefer to take care of Bridgette too. He's had a crush on her since her first day of work in the family business. He's not particularly thrilled to learn she's engaged but he's a patient man.

Review: One thing you can bank on with Delaney's books, is that there's no drive-by drama. Her romances are steady and methodical, culminating in sigh worthy HEA's. Graham is such a steady, good guy, that you fall for him immediately. Bridgette is a fabulous heroine with her troubles and determination to overcome the world. Even though you know she's going to inevitably figure things out, you stay up way too late hoping it'll be in just the next chapter. A really endearing couple with a heartwarming story that gets you looking forward to what promises to be a great new series. A sweet clean romance.


Amazon $.99

Friday, April 12, 2019

Catching Waves - Kimberly Krey

Synopsis: Carly's looking forward to her summer stint as a surf instructor for kids at an exclusive resort. Problem is, Gage needs to learn to surf to prepare for a role in his upcoming movie and only wants a woman instructor. Carly reluctantly agrees to keep her boss happy. Gage only took the role to appease his movie star father but now that he's met Carly, he's not so sure it was the worst thing he could have done.

Review: Good summer read. Completely predictable with doses of angst and misunderstanding and you've got a easy light read to enjoy on a warm lazy day. Carly and Gage are a cute couple. I might have liked a better flow to the ending. The leap to the last couple of chapters was a little abrupt but seeing them get their HEA was sweet.



Amazon sale $.99

Monday, April 8, 2019

Kissing the Boy Next Door - Judy Corry

Synopsis: After a long family feud, best friends Wes and Lauren have renewed their friendship. Only, things get a little complicated when they find they don't want to be just friends this time around. Their warring parents and family secrets only add to their troubles.

Review: Judy Corry is a solid writer. The writing here is good and what you'd expect from her. The romance between Wes and Lauren is sweet and you really grow to like them both. The problem I have with this YA story is that it's a huge can of worms that involves a whole lot of sneaking around and lying to parents. Add to that the lack of solid consequences for their deceptions and you've got a recipe for trouble. While the book is clean, there is some questionable behavior and some somewhat mature subject matter so I'm reticent to call it chaste. Conservative parents are going to have a big problem with calling this a YA romance even though it revolves around teens. It's a good story and worth reading but consider screening if you're concerned about content for your YA.


Amazon $2.99

I received an ARC

Please Excuse My Absence

I haven't posted many reviews or shared many great deals or new release announcements over the last couple of months. I apologize for that. I've been called to care for my sweet mother in law as she battles cancer. I am, consequently, a little distracted. However, I am finding minutes here and there to read and will do my best to share my thoughts on some of the better clean romance I find along the way. Thank you for your patience.

My best to you and yours

Debbie Jo


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Saved by the Movie Star - Michelle Pennington

Synopsis: Despite the fact that nothing is going on between them, Veronica is being accused of stealing Chris away from Kim and breaking up Hollywood's power pair. Now she's stuck with him as her co-star in her next movie. It also happens to be her dream role so she's not about to give it up just to avoid him. Chris is glad to be rid of Kim and isn't at all sorry to be starring in Veronica's next movie. If he can just get her to stop seeing him as the bad guy...

Review: A fun light read. Good cast of characters to add some dimension to the story. A touch of mystery and intrigue to keep things interesting. Chris and Veronica are a good couple. Definitely some good chemistry. He's persistent but patient. She does a good job of trying to keep her wits about her despite his efforts. Nice clean read. 

Amazon $.99

I received an ARC

Monday, February 4, 2019

Wedding Belles - Anthology

Synopsis: A series of novellas with interconnecting plot points and characters. Each is a stand alone but each builds on events in the previous story. Beginning with the event planner for an upcoming wedding, then the musician, followed by the maid of honor, and ending up with the photographer.

Review: Probably one of the best anthologies I've come across in a long time. Each story is written by a capable author and each holds its own. Often, anthologies include stories that aren't all up to snuff and occassionally just one saves the rest. Not the case here. Each couple is as well developed and engaging as the next. They've done an excellent job of interweaving details but keeping them independent and satsifying in and of themselves. There's always a love hate with a novella you end up liking. You wanted a quick read but then you fall in love with the couple and you want to know more. Not so much with this collection. The authors have all done an exceptional job of giving you a complete and endearing story. In fact, each of their couples is so much fun to follow that you can only hope they create a few spin-off stories with other characters from their stories. You can tell it's a great anthology when you have a hard time deciding which couple is your favorite. And, in this case, it may prove difficult to actually pick one.

 
Amazon: $3.99




Healing Hearts - Sarah Eden

Synopsis: Miriam is running away from the asylum she's been committed to by her family. Landing a nursing job in a remote Wyoming town is exactly what she needs to start her new life. She doesn't, however, need an arranged marriage. Gideon is the region's only doctor and is desperately in need of some help. Getting a wife who's a nurse will solve all of his problems - until his mailorder bride arrives and realizes the company who sent her wasn't exactly upfront about all of the details. The town loves Gideon and can't for the life of them understand why she wouldn't want to marry him on the spot. When catastrophe strikes the town, and Miriam jumps in to help, they soon warm to her and are ready to help her when her own crisis hits.

Review: A sweet and honest romance. Not a lot of courting but definitely a lovely chemistry that brings this endearing couple together. There's plenty of drama to keep things interesting. The cast of characters is fairly extreme and sterotypical, but they add to the charm of the story. While it does get tense, it is a fairly light, fun read. The banter between Gideon and Miriam is fun and you can't help but want them to get their HEA. A delightful addition to the Proper Romance series.


Amazon Pre-order $8.89

I received an ARC

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Finding Jack - Melanie Jacobson

Synopsis: Emily's just gotten a promotion, is dating a great guy, and things are humming along nicely. That is, until her roomate puts her in Jack's crosshairs and she becomes the target of his photoshopping wizardry. Suddenly she's not so happy with her situation. They strike up a remote friendship and suddenly everything in Emily's life doesn't seem all that fantastic afterall.

Review: There's a reason why Melanie's books are on the automatic buy list. They're fabulous. The chemistry between her heroes and their heroines is always spot on. Like previous books (the List, Always Will, for example), Emily and Jack spend a good part of their relationship messaging each other. Melanie has this mastered and their banter back and forth is so much fun to read. The challenges the couple face are real but not impossible. There's no contrived miscommunication or angst. Just two great people trying to figure out how to make things work. The tight cast of characters are equally endearing and the bonus relationship is fantastic. Unlike most of her previous books, this one does not involve Latter-Day Saint themes or characters.

Amazon $2.99

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Desperate Hope - Elizabeth Camden

Synopsis: As mayor, Alex is tasked with finding a way to keep his town from disappearing when the state's planned resevoir is built. He and Elois have a past that was cut short when her guardian ran him out of town and sent her off to a convent when they were teenagers. When she shows up to help with demolition plans, he sees an opportunity to rekindle their relationship. She's only interested in doing her job and returning to NYC to a quiet, respectable life.

Review: Elizabeth Camden is an excellent writer and this has been a really enjoyable series. The previous books laid the groundwork for this one but are not essential to understanding and enjoying it. 

While it's well written, this installment is not my favorite. Alex is a great, fun loving guy. The heroines in this series have all been bright, capable women and Elois is no exception. But she's a little cool and harder to become enamored with. 

Since they had a previous relationship, there's not a lot of tension that leaves you hoping they'll figure it out. In fact, there's very little courting. We're told they spend time together and Alex is trying hard to win her over, but we don't see a lot of it. Rather, the focus is on moving the town and getting the people up to higher ground before the government deadline. 

Old familiar characters from previous books show up, which is neat. There are glimpses of a larger ominous problem festering but it only really comes to a head near the end and is somewhat disconnected from the main narrative of the town's move. After spending a great deal of time rooting for the residents and wondering if they'd get all of those buildings moved, we are merely told that in the end they were successful and the lens shifts suddenly to the flash-in-the-pan crisis. Again, it's all well written, but it would have been just as satisfying if the only crisis had been the town's move. It didn't need a contrived event that required some daring-do.

Some faith elements but they aren't glaring or preachy.



Amazon Pre-order $9.99

I was given an ARC

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

My Not So Wicked Stepbrother - Jennifer Peel

Synopsis: Emma Loveless thinks her last name has cursed her in the love department. She's fallen for her stepbrother (by marriage) and knows they can never be together. She's trying hard to move on and forget about him. But Sawyer isn't quite as ready to give up his best friend.

Review: Once again Jennifer Peel has put out an all-nighter. Better clear your calendars because once you start, you won't get anything done until your finished. Like most of her heroine's Emma is sarcastic, self depracting, and a little pesimistic. Sawyer is the steady fellow you expect from Peel. They obviously make a great couple so you're definitely glad they get their HEA. While the characters aren't particularly unique, their story is, and it's fabulous. Keep your tissues handy. Emma encounters some tough challenges you can't help but get a little emotional over. 

Some mild language and some edgy dialogue you could easily skip over at the comedy club without missing too much. Fairly clean. There's a makeout scene that's a little edgy that more conservative readers might not appreciate. The proofreading in this one is better than previous Peel books but still could use some fine tuning.

 
Amazon $3.99

Saturday, January 12, 2019

A New Year's Kiss - Delaney Cameron

Synopsis: Norah works as a tour guide in a historical mansion. Lance is a lawyer who's just bought planning to keep it open and use it as a his home and office. He wasn't planning on falling for the cute tour guide. He was especially not planning to fall for a tour guide with a boyfriend. Norah's not sure who she's falling for - her old flame or her new boss.

Review: A consistent addition to the Finding Love series. Norah is a darling. It's nice to see Lance get his own story and get to know how great he is. The love triangle with Norah's old flame adds some twists and turns that really do get you wondering how things will play out. I'll admit that this series has a lot of installments and it's getting a little tricky to keep everyone straight. Even though it's a stand alone book, you sure wish you could still remember what happened with so-and-so when they pop up at family gatherings etc. No big surprises, no big angst, or miscommunication. A cute and easy read.

Amazon $.99

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

With this Pledge - Tamera Alexander

Synopsis: Set near the end of the Civil War, Lizzie is a southern governess waiting for her lieutenant to return to marry her. A gruesome battle is fought nearby and the wounded are brought to the estate where she lives. When Roland extracts a pledge from her to ensure the surgeon doesn't amputate his leg while he's unconscious, she ends up giving him far more than a promise to protect his interests. Lizzie finds herself torn between the commitment she's made and the man she's falling in love with.

Review: Gosh, where to start? This is NOT a book for the feint of heart. It is graphic and disturbing and heart wrenching. Keep your hankie handy. You might want a few. Lizzie's story changes you. The struggle you feel as a reader when you DON'T want her fiancee to return! The relief when he does! Tamera has created a story that will pull you and stretch you and demand more of you than a light, poolside read. While she paints a graphic picture of the battle and its aftermath, you can skip over much of it without losing the plot. So don't let it deter you from tackling this beautiful story. Lizzie is extraordinary. Roland is exceptional. Their chemistry is perfect yet doesn't overpower everything else that's going on. It is wonderfully interwoven into the fabric of this very complicated and often unclear struggle to understand how to adapt and accept their rapidly changing world. There is a significant and beautifully natural faith element.

Amazon $9.99

I was given an ARC.

Friday, January 4, 2019

A Bound Heart - Laura Frantz

Synopsis: Lark and Magnus live on the same island in Scotland. While he's been raised to become the laird of the island, she has been his playmate and schoolmate throughout their lives. Through a series of tragic events, both are transported to the colonies. He to the West Indies, she to Virginia. Along the way, they discover their bond of friendship is far more.

Review: More moving saga than romance, the writing is exceptionally beautiful. The characters are rich and deep, the worlds they live in vibrant and sumptious. You can't help but fall deeply into this meandering tale. If you're looking for a traditional romance, you may be frustratingly disappointed as it is much more than a light and easy HEA. Indeed, Lark is courted far more obviously by other men than Magnus ever does. While an integral part of the story, their romantic relationship is not so obvious as the average romance reader might like. Instead, enjoy the story for the struggle and the triumph of this strong and determined pair. Faith and scripture play a significant role but doesn't feel preachy or contrived. It's part of the fabric of the characters and a key to their long suffering and success.

Amazon $9.99

I received and ARC