Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tag... You're It!

My friend Rose Blue challenged me to a game of Book Tag. 
You must be honest.
You must answer all the questions.
You must tag at least 3 people.

1. ) What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind.

2.) What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Current: Fortune's Surprise Engagement by Nancy Robards Thompson
Last: Somebody's Baby by Donna Alward
Next:  A Sky Full of Stars by Samantha Chase 

3.) What book did everyone like, but you hated?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

4.) What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
Outlander Series

 5.) What book are you saving for retirement?

 6.) Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?
Wait until the end...always!

 7.) Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?
I enjoy reading them.

 8.) Which book character would you switch places with?
Lauren Willig's Eloise Kelly from the Pink Carnation series.

9.) Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)
My aunt gave me a copy of Charlotte's Web when I was nine.
Loved the book and still have it on my bookshelf.

10.) Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.
About five years ago, author Grace Burrowes posted on Facebook that she would mail copies of her books out to the first 10 people who commented on her post. I had never heard of her but, I responded and she sent me autographed copies of Gareth and Nicholas. The two books are on my keeper shelf and I have read every single one of her books and appreciate her kindness every day.

11.) Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

12.) Which book has been with you most places?
Grace Burrowes Nicholas. A great comfort read.

13.) Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

14.) Used or brand new? 
 New, any kind!

15.) Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

16.) Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

17.) Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?
Samantha Chase's One More Kiss had lots of recipes....and she included them in the novel.

18.) Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
Gayle Cochrane

19.) Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

Now I’m tagging:

Lisa Hutson

Gayle Cochrane

Monique Daoust

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Susan's Review of Fortune's Surprise Engagement


Olivia Fortune Robinson has done some crazy things in her life, but this has to be one of the craziest. She has just propositioned sexy Alejandro Mendoza to be her pretend boyfriend for a week. What's even crazier? He said yes!

They're doing it all for Sophie—or so they think. Liv's cynical view of marriage accidentally convinced her little sister to call off her own wedding, and Liv has to fix things and quick. What better way than to "fall in love" herself? Tall, dark and alpha, Alejandro doesn't seem to mind having Liv on his arm—or in his bed. But when the two commitment-phobes suddenly become faux fianc├ęs, Liv's traitorous heart starts to fall for real… Is Alejandro's far behind?

Susan's Review

What's the worst thing that could happen at a bachelorette party?

A teary bride- to-be running away from her party and calling off her wedding?

A tipsy bridesmaid who doesn’t believe in love propositioning her sisters’ brother-in-law?

Nancy Robards Thompson’s Fortune’s Surprise Engagement is wonderful story of two career focused people who have no time or desire for romance. Or do they?

Olivia Fortune Robinson has organized a fabulous weekend bachelorette party for her sister Sophie and her future sister-in-law Dana at the plush Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas. She has thought of everything—dinner at the hotel’s elegant dining room, massages and poolside mimosas—except she forgot to keep her opinions of love and marriage to herself. A tipsy Olivia gives a candid answer to why love and marriage aren’t for her. Olivia’s response upsets Sophie so much that she leaves the party in tears.

Alejandro Mendoza’s brothers have married into the Fortune Robinson family. He is in the process of purchasing a vineyard near Austin and is staying at the Driskill. Alejandro watches Sophie and her sisters Zoe and Rachel leave the bar. He decides to keep Olivia company at her table. I loved the instant connection between the couple. In between drinks, Olivia fantasizes about a fling with handsome, sexy Alejandro; while Alejandro is surprised to find himself flirting with the attractive Olivia. They share a passionate kiss and Alejandro returns the tipsy Olivia to her hotel room.

Sophie’s reaction to Olivia’s feelings about true love and the resulting chain of events make for a fast-paced entertaining read. The conversations between Zoe, Rachel, Sophie and Olivia are emotional, honest and funny. Enjoyed how the sisters banded together to help Olivia convince Sophie that she believed in love. The scenes where a desperate Olivia propositions Alejandro to be her pretend boyfriend for the week was hilarious and superbly written! I loved this couple and their connection—it worked for me! Loved Alejandro's grand gesture at the rehearsal dinner and how it took Olivia by surprise!

The attraction between Alejandro and Olivia is real—will their relationship fizzle out after the brides say I do?

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
Book provided by Nancy Robards Thompson
Photo of Celeste taken by Susan Gorman
Engaged graphic by G.Cochrane

About the Author

Award winning author Nancy Robards Thompson lives and writes in Florida, but her imagination transports her all over the world. She’s worked a myriad of jobs including television show stand-in; production and extras casting for movies; and several mind-numbing jobs in the fashion industry and public relations. She earned a degree in journalism only to realize reporting “just the facts” bored her silly. Much more content to report to her muse, Nancy has found Nirvana doing what she loves most – writing contemporary and historical womens fiction full-time. After hanging up her press pass, this two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart struck gold in July 2002 when she won the award. Since then, she’s gone on to sell 30 books, which critics have deemed, “…funny, smart and observant.”

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Barefoot at Moonrise by Roxanne St Claire (Edited review)

Barefoot at Moonrise
by Roxanne St Claire

This is book two of the Timeless series.
What a great idea for a series of grown ups falling
in love. Really, love stories are wonderful. But when
they are in my age group. They have been around
the block. They know whats what. And they know about
falling in love.
So Beth Endicott grew up on the right side of the tracks.
In a well off family. With a very domineering father.
As a result, Beth has made her own way. Started her
own business and is making it successful herself. Not the
easy way. None of her adult life has been the easy way.
Not since high school when her boyfriend broke up with
her using cruel words and blame . Then an unhappy marriage.
A harsh miscarriage. The horrible divorce.
And now, she is at her high school reunion.
Ken Cavanaugh is the boyfriend that destroyed Beth in high
school with his horrible break up. His beloved father was killed
at a construction site owned by Beths father. Ken has spent his
life blaming Mr Cavanaugh. He has not been about to let go of
the hatred. While he is satisfied with his life as a fireman and
paramedic, he knows he is missing something. That family
life. Then he sees Beth at the high school reunion. It's his
chance to apologize to her. For the terrible way her treated
her back then. But it only takes a short second to realize he is
still in love with her.
"She looked away and gnawed on her lower
lip. "I have....baggage," she finally said.
"Who doesn't? At our age, if we didn't
have baggage, we wouldn't have lived. We
can unpack it together."
Can they get over the past? Beth is Miss Independent. Beths father and
first husband taught her to never let anyone have any power over her
life or feelings. Can they get past all the hate and secrets? Can Beth let
herself love again? How can they have a relationship if Ken
can't be in the same room with her father?
"...spotted a pair of red and white high heels
tucked by the stairs the led to the sand.
He couldn't help smiling, because, hell,
this was better than Cinderella.
All he had to do was follow the footprints
in the sand."

I liked this story from the beginning. But at 23%, I fell
head over heels in love with it. Its not unusual for me
to weep a little here and there during a good love story.
But it is unusual for me to be surprised. It is unusual for
me to laugh out loud as I am crying. And it is very
unusual for me to finish a book in just over one day.
I highly recommend Barefoot at Moonrise. It caught
me completely off guard. I have enjoyed reading
Roxanne St Claire before. I loved book one of this
series. But I did not expect the deep feelings this
story caught up in me.
I am adding to my original review as I just finished
listening to Barefoot at Moonrise in audio form.
Oh my gosh, fabulous. I truly loved this story.
Easily my favorite Roxanne St Claire story. Period.
And it is wonderful either way. Reading or listening!
The narrator is wonderful. His name is BJ Harrison.
I prefer male narration in romance stories.
I highly recommend giving this one a try.
Completely enjoyed listening to this story after I
loved reading it so much too.
I was given my copy of this book in exchange
for an honest review.
Review by Lisa Hutson

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Susan's Review of Forbidden Kisses by Annie Rains

Their chemistry is more explosive than ever. 
And if the Sawyers can forgive and forget, anything is possible.

Blushing Bay #1
Annie Rains
Releasing April 11th, 2017

For years, Jack Sawyer’s family has been running their upscale seafood business like a finely tuned machine. But every machine breaks down eventually, and suddenly Jack needs a new office manager, a new kayak launch, and a new lease on life. Then Grace Donner shows up again. She’s smart, motivated, and perfect for the manager position, but if she’s anything like her mom, she can’t be trusted. And Jack has never been able to trust himself around Grace.

Grace hasn’t seen her former stepbrothers since their parents’ messy divorce, but she never forgot them—especially Jack. She misses being part of the big rambunctious Sawyer clan, and if there’s an opportunity to set things right, she means to do it. But she can’t ignore Jack’s irresistibly kissable lips, or the searing way he looks at her when he thinks she’s not looking. Their chemistry is more explosive than ever. And if the Sawyers can forgive and forget, anything is possible.

Annie Rain’s Forbidden Kisses is a contemporary twist on the second chance for love romance. The ability to forgive and to move forward are themes that are woven throughout this well-paced novel.

Jack Sawyer hires Grace Donner as the office manager for his family’s seafood business. His brothers are unhappy with his choice because Grace’s mother was married to their father and their marriage ended bitterly.

Jack is at a turning point in his career. His best friend died in a boating accident and a grieving Jack has lost the desire to continue fishing for his family business. He is interested in striking out on his own and starting a marine building company but, he is worried about his family’s reaction to his decision. Grace desperately needs the office manager position at Sawyer Seafood to pay for her mother’s medicine and other medical expenses. Because of the animosity between the families, Grace feels compelled to resolve the situation between them.

The chemistry between Jack and Grace drew me into the story. I loved the scene when Jack and Grace are needed to take over a delivery run on short notice. After making the deliveries, they share a meal and decide to take a walk before driving home. The unspoken attraction between the couple intensifies as they walk through the busy tourist town. Jack and Grace find it easy to talk to each other and Jack becomes aware that he’s not thinking of her solely as a friend.

Grace and Jack decide to move forward with their relationship and agree to keep their romance a secret from their family and friends. Their relationship is tested several times. Loved when Jack went to Grace’s for dinner only to find her mother seated at the dinner table. The evening does not go as planned because Grace miscalculated Jack’s ability to forgive and forget. The animosity between Jack and Tammy Donner has not faded with time. The dialogue between the two characters is very emotional and direct. When the couple's relationship becomes public, the author does a fabulous job capturing the reactions of Jack’s Father and brother Noah when they learn about Jack and Grace. I could feel Noah’s hurt and disappointment when he found out that his brother’s relationship with Grace was sexual.

The couple’s trust issues resurface and their relationship falters. The last few chapters are exceptionally well crafted—the dialogue is honest and the characters recognize their mistakes and learn from them. Can Jack and Grace have a relationship without their family members interference? Can they trust each other and believe the best of each other? The well –written conclusion to this novel took me by surprise… but, was perfect for this couple.

If you enjoy reading authors Sherryl Woods, Samantha Chase and Melissa Foster--- you will love Annie Rains first book in the Blushing Bay series!

Reviewed By Susan Gorman
Edited by Brian McGee
ARC provided by Tasty Tours

Annie Rains is a USA Today bestselling author who writes small-town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and three children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.

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Jack reached for a folded blanket beside the cooler and laid it down on the open floor of the boat. “I know it’s not the most comfortable surface for lying back, but I thought we could look at the stars. It’s a favorite pastime of fishermen, you know.”

“Oh yeah?”

He reached for her hand to help her lower to the floor. She held on to his tightly, surprised at how off balanced she felt. Then they lay back together, close enough that they touched. The soft hair on Jack’s arm resting against hers aroused her senses. Were they really just going to look at the stars?

Yes, it was all very romantic, but so was doing other things under the stars. Things she’d been thinking about since stepping aboard.

Jack pointed up at the sky and started to speak. Grace was tired of talking, though. Tired of resisting what she wanted, and right now all she wanted was Jack.

Unable to help herself, uninhibited by the wine and the romantic environment, she rolled on top of him and crushed her mouth over his.

Judging by the stiff protrusion that met her inner thigh, he wanted her just as much.

“Well, hello there,” he said, smiling against her mouth.

“I’m sorry,” she said, even though she didn’t mean it.

His hand slid down her back and settled on her bottom, pulling her snug against him. “I’m not. I’d decided tonight was for romance only, but I can’t think of anything more romantic than making love to you on this boat.”

White-hot heat tore through her. She was so hot that maybe it was time to start stripping.

As if reading her mind, Jack tugged the hem of her shirt up on her back and then over her head. The rest of her clothes fell away in the wake of his needy hands until she was tipsy and naked on the floor of his pontoon boat—on a boat ride to nowhere in particular, except his body was promising to shoot her to the low-hanging full moon.

Susan's Review of Truly, Madly, Whiskey by Melissa Foster

Watch mysteriously sexy Bear Whiskey claw his way to 
his happily ever after with sassy, rebellious Crystal Moon.

Melissa Foster
Releasing April 10, 2017
World Literary Press

A new sexy standalone romance by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster.

Eight months is a long damn time to have the hots for a woman who keeps a guy at arm’s length. But Crystal Moon is no ordinary woman. She’s a sinfully sexy, sass-mouthed badass, and the subject of Bear Whiskey’s midnight fantasies. She’s also one of his closest friends.

Just when Crystal thinks she has her life under control, scorching-hot, possessive, aggressive, and fiercely loyal Bear pushes all her sexual buttons, relentless in his pursuit to make her his.

The more Bear pushes, the hotter their passion burns, unearthing memories for Crystal that are best kept buried. But there’s no stopping the collision of her past and present, catapulting the two lovers down an emotional and sexually charged road that has them questioning all they thought they knew about themselves.

Bear Whiskey is hands down my favorite Melissa Foster alpha hero! I wasn’t too sure if the tattooed biker character in the author’s novel Truly, Madly Whiskey was going to appeal me but the strong, compassionate, family -oriented man quickly won me over. Bear is at a crossroads with regards to his career. He is working at his family’s bar several nights a week as well as full- time at the family’s auto repair shop. His passion is to create custom motorcycles, but he feels torn between his dreams and his obligations to his family and their businesses.

Bear and costume designer Crystal Moon have been friends for eight months. He wants to move their relationship forward but, Crystal is hesitating. Crystal’s career as a designer is finally taking off and she’s not sure if she has time for a committed relationship. Bear realizes that Crystal is the woman he’s been waiting for and decides to give her space.

I loved the symbolism in the character’s names. The name Bear fits the larger than life, kind, protective, character of Robert Whiskey. Crystal is a survivor and she has changed her name from Christine to Chrissy to Crystal as she has overcome several major life changing events. She has dealt the death of her father, embarrassing family situations with her mother and brother and overcame a nightmarish issue while away at college.

Bear senses that there is more to Crystal’s story and I liked that he listened to her and didn’t push her physically or emotionally. It also took me awhile to warm up to Crystal and I wondered if she was going to let Bear be a part of her life. Enjoyed how the author let Crystal’s story play out piece by piece as her relationship with Bear changed from friends to lovers. I finally understood what shaped her character as I read her very emotional, heart breaking story.

Bear and Crystal’s story is a contemporary twist on the friends- to- lovers romance. Their slow emotional dance captivated me from page one of the book! Truly, Madly Whiskey is a passionate story between two characters who are trying to find their way through life. The fast-paced novel made me laugh, smile and cry as the Bear and Crystal slowly learn to sort out career and family obligations while falling truly, madly in love with each other. Kudos to Melissa Foster for dealing with several tough social issues and for providing such a surprise ending for Bear and Crystal—it was PERFECT!

Reviewed By Susan Gorman
Edited by Brian McGee
ARC provided by Tasty Tours

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.

Excerpt “Really, Bear. I can drop you at your place before I go to the fabric shop.” Crystal started the car, feeling more in control than she had inside the shop. She hated the way she’d frozen up when things had gotten hot between them. She wanted him. After putting herself through three years of therapy, dealing with not only the trauma of the attack, but the bullshit with her mother and the loss of her father, she was sure she could handle anything. She’d dated other guys since she’d left college without issue. Why did it have to be different with the only guy she wanted to be close to? It pissed her off that her past still owned a piece of her, and she needed to get over it before Bear got fed up and walked away for good.

“I have to go to the store anyway.” He flashed one of his smiles. “We might as well go together.”

“You need to go to the fabric store?” she said flatly, knowing he was bullshitting her. She realized her car smelled different, cleaner. The seats were shiny, the dashboard dust free. “Did you clean my car?”

“Detailed it,” he said casually, as if he did this type of thing every day. For all she knew, he did. “Changed your oil, topped off your fluids. You really need to do those things every three thousand miles.” He touched the doll hanging from her rearview mirror. “I dusted off this, too, even though I’m a little worried that it’s a voodoo doll.”

She wasn’t about to tell him it was a worry doll that she loved more than life itself.

“Bear.” She couldn’t suppress her smile about the voodoo doll as she drove toward the store. “You really need to stop acting like you have to take care of me. I appreciate you handling the inspection, which I’m paying you for, by the way. But you don’t have to do all these things for me. I already like who you are.” Even if I have a hard time showing it.

“I know you do,” he said, as cocky as ever.

Why is that such a turn-on?

“I didn’t do it to get your attention. Shit, six three, two thirty.” He flexed his biceps and winked. “You’re sitting next to Peaceful Harbor gold, baby. I’ve got your attention.”

She couldn’t suppress a laugh. “That you do, and probably half the women in this town.”

“Only half?”

He kept her laughing the whole way to the fabric store, and it was just what she needed. It really had been a long day. They’d hosted three parties, and one of the mothers was just about the most obnoxious woman on earth. She’d pushed her daughter toward pink frilly outfits for the first half hour, when all the little cutie had wanted was to dress up as a skateboard princess. Gemma realized Crystal was going to strangle the wench, and she’d calmly suggested the woman head down to Jazzy Joe’s for coffee. The rest of her day hadn’t been much better. Plus, she’d spent the morning overthinking everything about her relationship with Bear, which was probably why she’d freaked out when she’d really been dying to kiss him.

She parked in front of the fabric store. There were some things that just didn’t fit in the world as Crystal knew it, and Bear Whiskey clad in a tight black T-shirt that said Whiskey Bro’s across his massive chest, a pair of snug, low-slung black jeans, and leather boots strutting into Jennilyn’s Fabric was on the top of the list.

She pulled her list from her bag as his eyes coasted over the store. What was he thinking, coming with her? That was dedication she could not ignore. The epitome of commitment.

That is Bear.

My Bear?

She toyed with that as he draped his arm over her shoulder. She wondered what had taken him so long. She’d expected him to do it the second she’d stepped from the car, but he was probably in shock that they were actually going to a fabric store. She smiled to herself as he leaned closer and rubbed his nose along her cheek.

“Can I help you?” she asked with a laugh.

“You smell like jelly beans, and I happen to have a thing for sugary goodness.”

“You can’t seriously have that good a sense of smell.”

He pressed an unexpected, and deliciously warm, kiss to her cheek and reached into her purse, withdrawing a bag of jelly beans. “Hoarding? Or were we going to hide these later in your body and let me find them?” He moved his mouth beside her ear and whispered, “Blindfolded. With my hands tied behind my back.”

He nudged her deeper into the store. Holy crap. She’d stopped walking. Was she breathing? And was that a thing? Blindfolded? Hands tied behind his back? Oh, the control that would give her. She’d be at no risk of being overpowered. But would she want that much control? She imagined herself lying naked on her bed, watching as his greedy mouth moved over her breasts, down her belly, and she felt herself go damp.

No, no, no.

Ice cream. Ice baths. Cow poop!

Her body continued vibrating from the inside out. This was bad. Really, really bad. Like a virus she couldn’t shake. She needed an anti-Bear pill. Stat!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Barefoot at Sunset by Roxanne St Claire - Kindle and Audio (Edited review)

Barefoot at Sunset
by Roxanne St Claire
Kindle and Audio versions

Being a woman in her 50s and a lover of
romance reading, I have wondered before.....
Why are all of the couples so young!? Love just out
of college is fine and all. But what about the rest of us?
Roxanne St Claire has written just the story for us.
This is the first in her new Timeless series.
Emma DeWitt has been stood up at the alter by her
boss. Typical story, right? Only Emma is in advertising
and she is the best thing that company has. She doesn't
know it though. Her confidence at an all time low, she decides
to go to the resort they were supposed to honeymoon at.
Of course, it is a disastrous idea.
Mark Soloman went to high school at Mimosa High School.
So many great memories. Overshadowed by so many
heartwrenching memories. Mark is back on the island for his
high school class reunion. He was widowed 16 years ago.
The love of his life, Julia and Mark were high school
sweethearts. And he cannot imagine why he is back here.
Mark has felt these 16 years that Julia sends him messages.
He feels like her spirit helps direct him.

I absolutely love the idea of romance reading with silver
foxes starring. The two of the them have life experience.
Not just him. But her too. They know more, have seen
more. Have different fears. And they have different ways
of dealing with these fears.
Mark Soloman has a brilliant way of dealing with fear.
This story was fun and hopeful and oh my goodness,
so so so romantic. Grown up romance. Not puppy love.

I am looking forward to the rest of the series.
Being my age, I can't think how someone in her 20s
would get this book. It's romance after all. I have
loved reading young romance all these years. So 
why wouldn't they?  But when we are young,
we are quite often less tolerant of things
sometimes, so I dont know. But I believe there is a
big group of hungry readers looking for this kind
of story. I highly recommend it.

I have just finished listening to this story
in its audio version. The narrator was new to me.
So I am ever suspicious. His name, yes it is a him.
Thank goodness. I am rather partial to male narration
with romance stories. His name is BJ Harrison. So first
off, I am not sure, male or female. But it was not long
into the story that I realized it was all ok. The story
I loved was in good hands. He did a great job.
If you are a fan of audiobooks or if you want to
give one a try, I recommend this one.
I enjoyed it very much.

I bought my copy from Amazon.
Review by Lisa Hutson

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle - Audio version

Hold Your Breath
by Katie Ruggle
Audio version
This Katie Ruggle was a recommendation to me.
It was on sale. I got both the kindle and audio for a great price.
And I do love a bargain. Turns out I got my moneys worth.
Louise "Lou" and Callum are members of an ice rescue
dive team. What a tough harsh environment. But they are
prepared and trained.
As they are falling in love, there is a crazy stalker
following, staying just a step ahead.
There is suspense and some laughs.
And I want to mention that Hold Your Breath
does end in a bit of a cliffhanger. 
I enjoyed the story and the characters. Maybe I will
try some more from the series on down the road.
I bought both the audio and kindle versions on Amazon.
Review by Lisa Hutson