Review: This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Chicago Stars, Book 5
Sensuality: 3
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hero: Kevin Tucker
Heroine:  Molly Somerville
Date of Publication: March 17, 2009
Started On: January 30, 2010
Finished On: January 31, 2010

First of all, I just have got to say, what a great read! This book has everything that makes a great romance. Susan Elizabeth’s charm never fails to evoke all the right emotions from the reader.

I haven’t really been reading the Chicago Stars series in order, a fact which I am thinking of remedying by starting from Book 1 of the series, the story of Molly’s sister which I am really interested in reading after seeing quick sneaks into her life with Dan Calebo.

Molly and Kevin’s story is a fascinating one, not just the story of how they find one another and quickly fall in love, but rather a journey these two take in finding the love they could both have with one another if given half the chance. At first glance, Molly and Kevin couldn’t be further apart from one another if they tried. A children’s books author, her characters you find are closely linked with Kevin’s escapades over the years, Molly has had a huge crush on Kevin as long as she can remember. Not that football jock Kevin even knows she exists. With the continuous string of the doll faced women with no brains of their own that parade through his life, Kevin seems to be at the top of his game playing for the football team managed by Molly’s sister Phoebe.

Though Molly doesn’t seem to realize it, she has got this streak of restlessness inside of her which lands her in trouble from time to time. This is what ends her up in Kevin’s bed, seducing him in his sleep and an outraged Kevin who gets rightfully pissed off about being  taken advantage of. Kevin makes Molly promise to him that if there ever were consequences of their coming together she would let him know, which of course Molly doesn’t when she finds herself pregnant.

Molly’s well meaning family, Phoebe and Dan are both shocked when they find out Molly is pregnant and jump to all the wrong conclusions about who took advantage of whom when they find out that Kevin is the father. Kevin slams back into Molly’s life and makes her marry him, though Kevin can barely be civil to the woman who has turned everything in his life upside down.

In the end, mere hours after getting married, tragedy strikes which quickly spins Molly’s world out of control. Once again, its Kevin who shakes her out of depression, takes her off on a trip to Wind Lake, and finds herself running the quaint bed and breakfast that Kevin inherits from his aunt which Kevin wants nothing to do with. Here Kevin faces his demons from his childhood face on, with Molly finally finding peace within herself in this beautiful place.

Tentatively, Kevin and Molly find in one another friendship, and finally red hot desire for one another, that makes Kevin sweat profusely at the idea of getting all his emotions involved in finally inevitably falling for Molly.

This is truly great story with a lovable cast of side characters and of course who wouldn’t love Molly’s fictional characters Daphne and Bunny with their witty and adorable insights into the beginnings of each chapter of the book. Highly recommended for those who love a good romance with a witty cast of characters that could make you smile, make your heart ache just a little and finally end you up with a bunch of happy tears at the truly deserving happy ending!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Dangerous Lover by Lisa Marie Rice

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Dangerous, Book 1
Sensuality: 4.5
Publisher: HarperCollins
Hero: Jack Prescott
Heroine:  Caroline Lake
Date of Publication: July 31, 2007
Started On: January 29, 2010
Finished On: January 30, 2010

This was a book I started reading sometime back, way before I even started this blog, and for some reason I stopped reading through before I reached half way, and now am wondering why I gave up reading a trademark romantic suspense story from this author.

Caroline Lake, a girl who comes from a rich family was the object of then homeless Jack’s adoration. Though he knows that he would never be worthy of Caroline nor would he ever have the means to be with her and her well off family, far removed from the homeless shelters that Jack resides in, that doesn’t stop Jack from yearning for Caroline and wanting her as his own.

On the fateful day that his drunken mess of a father drops dead right in front of his eyes, Jack rushes off in the cold snowy wintry day towards Caroline’s place, just so that he could see her face which would make his bleary existence in this world just a bit brighter. However, Jack sees Caroline with his boyfriend Sanders, which kills something inside of him. He moves on without looking back, never knowing what the future would hold for him.

Now twelve years later, Jack is back. After serving in the military as a tribute to the person who had saved him from merely existing and withering away, Jack returns with 21 million dollars worth of blood diamonds from Sierra Lone, the last mission his ‘adoptive’ father had requested from him. Not knowing that the person who was ruthless enough to kill an entire village for the diamonds was hot on his trail, Jack makes his way back to Summerville, just to see how the woman of his obsession and wants and desires has fared over the years.

Life hadn’t been one smooth ride for Caroline. Her parents killed in a fatalistic car crash rendering her younger brother crippled and a couple of bad investments his father had made rendering them penniless with the costly care required for her brother, Caroline was at her wits ends after her brother had finally succumbed to death, leaving her all alone, with a mountain of debt and no way of paying it off.

On Christmas Eve, Jack comes by to her bookstore looking for a place to stay. Although Jack has a dangerous vibe around him, Caroline cannot help but respond to his dark magnetism. Thinking Jack to be hard down on his luck, she offers him a place to stay at her home, and finds in Jack more than she ever hoped possible. However, though Jack may have found Caroline and got her at last, the person who is after the diamonds is relentless in his pursuit, pulling all the stops and stopping at nothing to get back what he claims rightfully as his.

As usual, Jack is pure alpha male, Caroline the true version of a damsel in distress with the power to bring the strong alpha to his  knees. Highly sensual, this book is a good read for those who love romances with the bite of a thriller in it to make things a bit more interesting.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Unforgiven by Delilah Devlin

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Lone Star Lovers, Book 2
Sensuality: 4
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd
Hero: Cutter Standifer
Heroine:  Katie Grissom
Date of Publication: January 12, 2010
Started On: January 28, 2010
Finished On: January 29, 2010

This book deals with an issue that I have never come across before in a romance novel. That is the infidelity of the heroine. Usually in romance novels, its a real turn off to find out either the hero or the heroine had strayed to ‘greener pastures’. Most of the time rather than actually actually committing the act of infidelity, there is a misunderstanding between the hero and the heroine which is always later resolved in the novel. However it is not the case in the story of Katie and Cutter.

In the first book of this series which I didn’t read but was able to make out what happened by reading this book, Katie sleeps with Justin Cruz, now husband of Cutter’s sister Dani Standifer. Although Katie was in a relationship with Cutter at that time, no matter how wrong infidelity is, Katie was feeling vulnerable and alone cos Cutter wouldn’t really open up to her and give her what she needed.

Katie has regretted sleeping with Justin from the moment Cutter finds out what happened between the two. Resolving never to let Katie into his life again, which is a bargain he has held till now, seeing Katie gatecrash Dani’s wedding party is the last straw for Cutter. Thinking Katie had come to mourn over Justin, Cutter treats Katie like trash and takes what he has always wanted from her. Katie gives herself to Cutter thinking that she might get a second chance to work things out with him if she lets him have his way with her.

These two embark on a purely sexual relationship, the consequence of which renders Katie pregnant. I felt that this story was too rushed and thus the resolving of the conflict between Katie and Cutter didn’t quite give the satisfaction that I was craving as the reader. This story would have been much better and a more memorable one if the author had taken time to actually develop Katie and Cutter’s characters a bit more and resolve the trust issues Cutter had with Katie in a more believable manner rather than just all of a sudden confessing that he loves Katie and wants her to be his wife.

Anyhow okay for a quick read that doesn’t require much thinking on the reader’s part.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Midnight Angel by Lisa Marie Rice

Format: E-Book
Read with: Microsoft Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Midnight, Book 3
Sensuality: 4
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Douglas Kowalski
Heroine:  Allegra Ennis
Date of Publication: August 17, 2007
Started On: January 26, 2010
Finished On: January 27, 2010

Lisa Marie Rice writes wonderful stories with strong alpha heroes that fall so deeply in love with the heroine that it moves the reader deeply. This book is in no way an exception to the rule.

Where Allegra Ennis is beautiful, cultured and talented, Douglas is a former SEAL, tough as nails and scarred from his various battles for his country. As much as people are drawn to Allegra and her beauty and her amazing music, people tend to stay away from Douglas and look the other way and walk away rather than be in his presence. Which has suited Douglas just fine until he first hears the haunting notes of beautiful music that Allegra makes.

Allegra has known her fair share of grief and sorrow. With a talent that could have taken her places in the world, all of it was destroyed in one night when her father was brutally murdered and Allegra beaten so much that she was rendered blind with her memory blocked of the events that took place that night so that her father’s murderer got away on an insanity plea and landed up in a psychiatric institution for the rich.

From the harrowing first moments during which Allegra and Douglas bond, over to the way in which these two souls find the one thing they have both been yearning for in each other, this read is at times sweet, hot and thrilling at the same time. Allegra’s father’s murderer puts his final plan in motion to kill and eliminate Allegra once and for all, and its Douglas who literally moves heaven and earth to keep his precious Allegra safe.

A good read, recommended for those who love romances with a bit of a thriller in the mix.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Too Much Temptation by Lori Foster

Format: E-Booktoomuchtemptation
Read with: Adobe Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Brava Brothers, Book 1
Sensuality: 3.5
Publisher: Zebra Leads
Hero: Noah Harper
Heroine:  Grace Jenkins
Date of Publication: December 1, 2007
Started On: January 25, 2010
Finished On: January 25, 2010

I read this book a long time back and whilst browsing through a discussion forum on Amazon, I once again came across this title and had the itch to read it all over again. Lori Foster is an author who writes great stories with lots of humor injected into the romance which makes reading the book a more memorable one. And yes, the sensuality level of her novels are off the charts as well!

Noah is one of the bastard grand sons of Agatha, a woman who is as rich as she is aristocratic. With his father who had made no claims on any of his sons, Agatha searches Noah out when her son dies leaving her bereft and without a family to leave everything she has. Although Agatha puts her pride before everything else, she teaches Noah everything about doing business she knows. Noah has his life all mapped out and goes along with his grandmother’s plans of marrying Kara, his fiance of more than a year, whom he finds in bed with another man going at each other like crazy. Noah calls off the wedding but in consideration to Kara’s feelings and fears that her parents wouldn’t accept the person with whom she has fallen in love with, Noah takes the brunt of all accusations and criticism on putting a stop to a wedding that would have rocked the city.

Grace Jenkins, secretary of Noah’s grandmother for the past three years, who has loved Noah ever since she set her eyes on him, is outraged when she hears that all the blame has been placed at Noah’s feet. Knowing Noah, Grace knows that he wouldn’t have called off the wedding unless he had a very compelling reason to do so. Such trust and faith from someone whom Noah never even expected, Noah finds himself lured towards the gentle and loving nature behind the no nonsense facade Grace puts up. Its inevitable that Noah and Grace end up in bed with one another when Grace has been yearning for Noah ever since she met him.

With Agatha meddling all the way to get Noah and Kara back together, thinking she knows whats in the best interest of her grandson, and Grace fighting for Noah’s honor every step of the way, this story makes a highly entertaining read, one thats quite easy to read in one sitting. Recommended for those who love a feisty heroine who is not of the perfect dolled out variety usually found in romance novels, and a scorching hot hero who is guaranteed to make your toes curl.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Burning Up by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze, #380
Publisher: Harlequin
Sensuality: 3.5
Hero: Lucas Grant
Heroine:  Sophie Gallagher
Date of Publication: February 1, 2008
Started On: January 21, 2010
Finished On: January 23, 2010

Lucas Grant, famous movie star and notorious playboy needs to recuperate to recover from a torn ligament on his knee. One of his friends offers him their place up on the Blue Mountain and its just him and his personal chef Sophie Gallagher all alone for the next four weeks.

Sophie is the exact opposite of Lucas. Being dumped by her boyfriend of fourteen years which had propelled her to take the job in the first place, Sophie isn’t one who takes risks or rushes headlong into things without thinking them to death first. However things get interesting for Sophie when its lust at first sight for her with Lucas.

At first, Lucas thinks he might go stir crazy if he has to stay around the quiet place for four whole weeks. However, with Sophie around and the anticipation of working and wooing a woman into his bed for the very first time, Lucas rises up to the challenge to get more than what he bargained for.

Their relationship was supposed to be strictly about sex and nothing more. Until Sophie went ahead and confessed her love for Lucas which didn’t bode very well for Lucas as he was scared shit about love. A childhood tragedy which had landed up Lucas in the state ward care, and Lucas’s refusal to face his past demons eventually break these two apart until Lucas finds the strength to lay his past to rest and really and truly love and be loved by the only woman who means everything to him.

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Review: Home for the Holidays by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Single Father, # 27
Sensuality: 3
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Joe Lawson
Heroine:  Hannah Napier
Date of Publication: November 1, 2009
Started On: January 21, 2010
Finished On: January 21, 2010

I don’t know how she does it, but Sarah Mayberry is one author who never disappoints. In this Harlequin Super Romance, Sarah Mayberry explores the story of a single father Joe with his two children Ben and Ruby and the second chance at love this family is given, with a few surprises thrown in at the end.

Joe’s wife Beth dies in a car accident. It has been two years since then and Joe moves their family to Melbourne to start over afresh. On his first night at their new place, Joe encounters his neighbor Hannah which leaves both of them with mistakenly bad impressions of one another.

Joe, still in love with his dead wife, who hasn’t even thought about a woman in ages and Hannah who was jilted by her fiance for her sister who has the dream of travelling all over Australia and fears giving away her heart to another when she is still reeling from the shock of the immense betrayal she faced, never thought for a moment that they both might find in each other what they have been missing.

However, with a family to consider, things do not go as smoothly as one might think. Although Ruby is delighted with the idea of Hannah and Joe dating, Ben doesn’t warm up to the idea and goes out of his way to make Hannah’s time together with the family a miserable one.

Sarah Mayberry has created such heartwarming characters in each of the lead roles in this novel. I absolutely fell in love with Joe’s daughter Ruby, she is such a delight teaching Hannah the highs and lows of the current fashions when she is just 8 years old.

In the end, working through a lot of hurdles fate throws their way, this family triumphs in all the ways that matter. A good read, recommended for those who love a good romance with a dose of family life and second chances thrown into the mix.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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