Review: It Must Be Love by Rachel Gibson

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: AVON
Hero: Joseph Andrew Shanahan
Heroine: Gabrielle Breedlove
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 07, 2000
Started On: July 28, 2021
Finished On: July 29, 2021

Needing to read a book that would bring all the feels and then some, I decided to take something out of the backlist of Rachel Gibson’s published works, and found myself reading It Must be Love, bringing together two protagonists who are the very opposite of each other in every single sense.

35 year old Joseph Andrew Shanahan (Joe) is a law enforcement officer who has been shadowing the moves of 28 year old Gabrielle Breedlove for the past couple of days. Fifteen years as a police officer, and Gabrielle is the first person to get the jump on him, which hurts his pride. Gabrielle and her business partner Kevin comes under investigation upon suspicion of using their curio shop to deal in stolen antiques, and Joe remains unconvinced that Gabrielle might be as innocent as she claims to be.

Forced to play boyfriend-girlfriend for Joe to get the evidence he requires means that the situation creates for the kind of moments that makes it hard to turn away from the blistering heat and desire that flares to life between them. Neither Gabrielle nor Joe believes that they are right for each other, but then there is no denying the other half of your soul, is there?

I had such fun reading this novel, and picking this was the right choice at the time. I love the uniqueness that is Ms. Gibson in her books – she brings together the classic alpha male who literally makes you swoon and then some, and it is always an experience to see how the smart-ass heroine brings them to their knees before all is said and done.

Like I said earlier, Joe and Gabrielle are the antithesis of each other, which makes it hard for either of them to see the qualities that actually draws them together. Joe, who has a colorful childhood growing up with four older sisters, is chauvinistic in his way, and wants a woman who is low maintenance, would be a good housewife (after all, he does not like to cook), would pick up after him, and also enjoy fabulous uninhibited sex of the kind that he does.

Meanwhile Gabrielle, who has an unconventional childhood at best traveling across the country with a mother who claimed to have psychic powers after their “summer of awakening”, wants a man who is enlightened and physically appealing – a tough combo to find if ever there was one. Gabrielle would rather chew her arm off than admit to the fact that Joe gets under her skin in a way that makes it impossible for her to deny how much she is affected by everything that is Joe.

However, being forced to engage as a couple means looking beyond their initial impressions and finding common ground, which leads them to give in to the heady desire and strong connection between them. While both Gabrielle and Joe are reluctant in their own ways, Joe has a harder time reconciling with his reaction towards a woman whom he considers to be crazy and not so right in the head.

I loved Joe, his chauvinism and all – I found it adorable the way he fell so helplessly for the woman who drove him stir-crazy in many ways. I loved Gabrielle too; for all her need for an enlightened man, she is no match for the charm and intensity that is Joe in every sense. Yin to her yang, it is Joe that resists towards the end, until he too of course has no choice left, but to surrender. I also had such fun getting acquainted with Gabrielle’s mother, Joe’s family, alongside with the unruly mouthed parrot of Joe’s!

Recommended for fans of Ms. Gibson and romances that features two opposites, whose journey towards their happily ever after is always a delight!

Final Verdict: It is nothing but love that draws together two people at odds with each other; what is fascinating is their journey towards reconciling with that love, which is where Ms. Gibson excels at!

Favorite Quotes

The kiss was tender, almost sweet, and she fought to keep her eyes open, fought to remind herself that the lips brushing hers, as if he really were her lover, belonged to a hard-nosed cop with a black aura. But at that moment, his aura didn’t feel black. It felt red, the sultry hot red of passion, his passion, surrounding them both and urging her to surrender to his persuasive touch.
She lost the fight. Her eyes slid closed and her lips parted. He coaxed her mouth open, and his tongue touched hers, hot and slick and enticing a response. She pressed her mouth against his, deepening the kiss, and gave herself to the sensations surging through her. He smelled good. He tasted better.

Teasing even as he soothed her with his mouth. Her position against the wall arched her back and thrust her breasts into his hard chest. Her nipples drew tight, and when he deepened the kiss, Gabrielle got all squishy inside. Hot liquid pooled low in her abdomen and dragged a moan from deep within her chest. She heard it but barely recognized it as coming from her.
Then she heard something like Joe clearing his throat, but standing within the hypnotic influence of his deep red aura, she wondered how he could clear his throat when his tongue was in her mouth.
“When you get done with the handyman, Gabe, I need you to look over those invoices for that damaged shipment of sushi plates.”

“You don’t believe I’m trigger happy?”
She shook her head. “I don’t believe you’re reckless, or that you’d take someone’s life unless you weren’t given a choice.”
“Maybe I’m as cold-blooded as the papers said. How do you know?”
She answered what she knew to be true in her heart. “Because I know your soul, Joe Shanahan.”
Joe looked into her clear green eyes, and he almost believed she could see inside him and know something he didn’t know with absolute certainty.
She licked her lips, and he watched the tip of her tongue slide to the corner of her mouth. Then she did something that stopped his heart and sent pure lust slamming into his groin. She bent her head and kissed his thigh.
“I know you’re a good man.”

He reached for her and covered her mouth with his. He recognized the taste of her full, sweet lips, as if they were lovers. As if he’d known her forever. He slanted his head to one side, and her mouth opened to him, hot and slick and welcoming. He felt her shudder as his tongue touched hers. Her arms twined around his neck, and she clung to him. The front of her bibbed dress brushed his bare chest, while her hips arched toward him, pressing into his rock-hard erection. Joe grasped her waist, and instead of playing it smart and shoving her away, he ground his pelvis up against her. The pleasure was exquisite and painful. Throbbing agony and ecstasy, and he wanted more from her than a kiss.

He opened his mouth to tell her she had great breasts, but all that came out was a tangle of swear words as he spread the bead of oil across the tip and circled her puckered flesh.
Gabrielle swayed and placed one of her hands on the back of his neck. She pressed her moist lips to his and gently sucked his tongue into her mouth. Joe smeared oil all over soft breasts and smooth belly. He wanted her. He’d never wanted anything like he wanted to give into the aching lust pounding his groin.

“Do you remember the night I walked into your backyard and found you floating in the kiddie pool?”
“I wanted to do this.” He leaned over her and placed his palms beneath her shoulders. He lifted, then nestled his face in her cleavage. He placed soft kisses between her breasts as she ran her hands across his bare shoulders and down his smooth back. She wrapped one leg around his waist and pressed into him. A low groan tumbled deep in his throat as he pressed back, shoving his hard erection against her crotch. Everything in her consciousness focused on him, the pleasure of his touch, and the dull ache between her legs.

“Put your hands behind your head,” she ordered.
Suspicion shone in his eyes, but he did as she asked. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to blow your mind.”
“That’s a bold statement.”
Gabrielle just smiled. She’d taken six months of belly dancing, just enough to know how to roll and undulate real good. She raised her hands high in the air and rotated her hips as she swayed. She closed her eyes and lost herself in the feeling of him touching her deep inside. “You like this?”
“God—d da—mn!”
Her smile grew, and with him buried deep inside, she blew his mind.

He knelt before her, placed her foot on his shoulder, and grasped her behind in his big hand. He combed his finger through her short pubic hair, then tilted her pelvis toward his mouth and kissed her there. She leaned her head back against the shower wall as the tension inside her built tighter and tighter. Then he stood and she wrapped her legs around his waist. His smooth, hot erection slid against her bottom, and she shivered.
“This is my favorite part,” he said, lifting, then lowering her onto his engorged penis, burying himself deep inside. “Touching you where you’re all hot and slick. Where it feels so good. Where you feel so good.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple | AbeBooks

ARC Review: Noble Destiny by Katie MacAlister

Format: E-booknobledestiny
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Noble, #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Hero: Alasdair Iain McGregor
Heroine: Charlotte Honoria Eveline Benedict
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 3, 2014
Started On: July 8, 2014
Finished On: July 12, 2014

Noble Destiny by Katie MacAlister is the second book in her re-published Noble series. I can see why anyone would want these books re-published. These are absolute gems of reads with so much humor and sexy passion to them that one can’t help but be entertained for their money’s worth and then some.

Both the hero Alasdair Iain McGregor and the heroine Charlotte Honoria Eveline Benedict are characters that were encountered in the first delightful romp of a novel in the series, Noble Intentions. Noble Destiny takes off four years after, when Lady Charlotte returns home to England after the Italian husband with whom she eloped with dies and leaves her a widow. Charlotte returns destitute with nary a penny to her name. Worst of all, the ton proves to be unforgiving where her reputation is concerned. Charlotte, not one to be daunted by the “little” things in life decides that if she is to get back into society’s good graces, she would do well to procure a rich husband the likes of Lord Carlisle.

Alasdair (Lord Carlisle or Dare as he would have people call him) has no time for romance or marriage or anything of the sort. Perhaps four years ago he had harbored in his heart to ask for Charlotte’s hand in marriage, but that notion had died a quick death when he had discovered that Earldom had come at a steep price where he had been concerned. But Charlotte once she puts her mind to something is not one to be deterred and her plan to nail Dare as her husband goes somewhat according to plan when Dare resigns himself to his fate where Charlotte is concerned.

What follows is a hilarious tale that would be hard to pull off for most authors but something Katie does rather fabulously. I found myself literally laughing out loud in many places and snorting through the rest as Charlotte’s character leads the reader and Dare along on a ride that is filled with mirth, havoc and oh such wonderful romance that one can’t help but be enchanted throughout.

At first Charlotte comes off as this vain heroine whose one sole aim is to acquire a husband rich enough to support her and good looking enough to match her in looks and of course who would give her wonderful looking babies. Her penchant for mixing up words leaves people around her perplexed, trying to keep up where the conversations with her takes them and let me tell you that it takes one hell of a writer to pull off that sort of character. I was prepared to dislike Charlotte for her vanity but then I should have trusted the author a bit more to lead me on a journey of discovery where Charlotte was concerned. She had redeemed herself multiple times over by the time the novel had seen to its ultimate conclusions and I don’t think I could have asked for someone more perfect for Dare than Charlotte.

And Dare. Oh my sweet Lord, Dare. The man is sexy personified through and through. Good looking enough to have tons of ladies tumbling after him with a body to match, Dare is not one to give into the frivolous nature of the many that constitute the ton, nor does he have that much of a use for what the ton thinks of him and his reclusive manner when it comes to hanging out with the ‘in’ crowd. Dare spends his days and nights tinkering away in his workshop, making enough money to pull the family name through his only goal in mind. And  then comes Charlotte into his life and the woman moves him to do things that he wouldn’t have thought himself therwise capable of.

One of the most interesting aspects of Charlotte’s character is her innocence coupled with her “knowledge” on matters of the carnal variety. I so loved how Charlotte responds to Dare on a physical and emotional level, the physical ones giving such delightful tension to the story. There were times I had to fan myself by seeing Dare through Charlotte’s eyes, the fantasies that man moves Charlotte to harbor is one that turned out to be such a delightful aspect of the story.

If you are worried about not having read book 1 in the series before this, worry not. This can be read perfectly as a standalone. But Noble Intentions too is a novel worth indulging in but comparing the two, Charlotte’s story wins hands down! With a couple of surprising twists to the story with a delectable cast of secondary characters, Noble Destiny is a novel very well worth your money. Most highly recommended for fans of romances!

Final Verdict: A deliciously sexy & honest to goodness laughter inducing romp!

Favorite Quotes

He was coatless, cravatless, his shirtsleeves rolled up to expose muscled forearms that were as bare as the day he was born. His shirt gaped at his neck clear down to the top of his waistcoat, exposing a tanned column of throat that made Charlotte’s mouth suddenly go dry.

Her breath caught in her throat, her nipples hardened and clamored for Dare’s touch, joining a veritable cacophony of cries for attention from numerous other parts of her body. She wanted his hands on her flesh, touching her, warming her, easing the ache that he started so deep inside her. She wanted it all, and she wanted it right at that moment. She took a step toward him. His eyes glittered darkly as he moved toward her, making a soft noise deep in his chest that answered the look in her eyes.

“Since you have no dowry, and no family to pay for the wedding, you will practice the utmost economy and organize it to my scriptures. Strictures,” he corrected himself. “Good God, your tongue is contagious!”
“There’s nothing wrong with my tongue,” Charlotte snapped, at her limit for being insulted and yelled at. “Which you’d know if you took the time to kiss me. You didn’t even do so when you offered for me, you beastly man, you!”

She didn’t have time to think of just what she’d do to his chest before his mouth took possession of hers.
“Dare! You can’t!”
“My lord!”
“Lady Charlotte, you mustn’t!”
“My lady!”
“Oh, Batsfoam, do something!”
“Short of warming up his lordship’s bed, I am at a
loss as to what you’d have me do, miss.”

He was everywhere, surrounding her, overwhelming her, one hand pulling her hips close to him, his thighs hard against her legs, her breasts aching and heavy again, pressed tightly against his chest. One hand tangled in her hair, pulling her head back until she was bent over his arm. But it was his mouth that captured and held her attention, his mouth that demanded and gave, coerced and teased until her eyes felt as if they would roll back in her head.

Charlotte was suddenly desperate to touch his flesh. She tugged at the shirt until it pulled free of his trousers, slipping her hands beneath to where his flesh beckoned and called to her.
“So hot,” she breathed, running her fingers over every muscled bulge and valley, tracing the line of his ribs, overwhelmed with the sense and feel and scent of him until she had to lean forward and press her face against his shirt. “You make me feel so hot, husband. You make me feel as if I’m on fire.”

He had thought her the devil incarnate? Dare tore his lips from the soft curve of her throat and watched as she arched her back, her eyes wide with amazement as ecstasy claimed her, her song of rapture filling him, binding him to her until he couldn’t tell where she ended and he began. Her love swept over him in a wave of heat so strong, it burned her name from his tongue as he gave way before it, pouring his life into her.
Soft, meaningless words were pressed into his flesh with gentle kisses and sweet breath. She wasn’t a devil; she was an angel.
And he would never let her go.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo | Kobo


ARC Review: Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins

Format: E-bookwaitingonyou
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Blue Heron, #3
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Lucas Damien Campbell
Heroine: Colleen Margaret Mary O’Rourke
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 25, 2014
Started On: March 24, 2014
Finished On: March 28, 2014

Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins is the 3rd book in her Blue Heron series. All stories are based in the small town of Manningsport, New York and are fabulously good, at least starting from the 2nd book which is where I got my introduction into this series. Each of these stories can be read as a standalone, but then why give up on reading equally good and heartwarming tales of love that can leave you with a tingle or two in the right places and a smile deep in your heart, rather than wasting time on so many lackluster reads out there?

Waiting on You tells the story of 31 year old Colleen who has lived in Manningsport practically her whole life. Co-owner of the best and only bar in town with her twin Connor, Colleen is happy and well adjusted into her crazy life in which she finds the time to play matchmaker and considers half of the happily married younger couples in town to be her success stories. Though her own life could use a dose of all consuming love and lust, Colleen hardly lets it bother her until Lucas Damien Campbell strolls back into town bringing the memories of an entwined past that leaves her with little choice but to convince herself that she is so over Lucas.

Life and circumstances had kept Lucas away and he would be leaving once again when he finishes taking care of what summoned him back in the first place. Though seeing Colleen brings back all the yearning and memories back with a force that rocks and shakes his very world, this time around Lucas is prepared for the effect Colleen has always had on him ever since the very first time their eyes had met across the breadth of a classroom. There is desire and then there is the wanting of the heart which had never stopped clamoring for the one single time love and passion had consumed Lucas in his lifetime.

Colleen would like nothing better than to think of herself immune to all that Lucas is has been and will always be on her senses and her heart. But it is inevitable that with nothing holding both of them back that they would gravitate towards each other sooner or later, and oh but what a delicious way to surrender when it is with the man to whom no one else would ever compare with. But Colleen does put up a good fight, trying to save herself from a heartbreak that she knows is yet again as destined to happen as the two of them getting back together.

When you open a Kristan Higgins, it is not just a story of boy meets girl and they fall in love and lived happily ever after that you get. There is so much more to each of her stories, the heartwarming small town life that she practically brings to life in every single one of her stories part of the charm to a Kristan Higgins. And of course there is her characterization; each and every single one of the characters that appears in her stories has something to contribute towards making a well rounded story; some come with an edge to them while the rest fill in those roles that makes a story wholesome for the lack of a better word. And in Waiting on You, readers get to sample the full scale of just how beautiful a tale that Kristan can weave when she puts pen to paper and starts creating her stories.

One must not forget the fun factor in Kristan’s books and Waiting on You definitely had its fair share of laugh out loud moments. Trust me when I say this, I was laughing so hard during certain scenes in the story that I was starting to question my own sanity a time or two. There are very few authors who can do funny like Kristan does and that is always one reason that I would keep going back for her stories.

For those who steer clear of Kristan’s books because she almost always writes her stories in the first person, here is the chance to sample her stories as the Blue Heron books are all written in third person with both the hero and heroine’s viewpoints included. I would say Kristan has come a long way in terms of how she tells her stories. The level of involvement between her heroes and heroines that definitely takes up a larger chunk than they did in prior books. And then there is the sizzle factor in her books that used to be left mostly up to the imagination and creativity of the reader’s mind. Though even now there aren’t detailed scenes of lovemaking included in Kristan’s books, I’d say her novels of late are more well rounded even in that aspect.

I loved Lucas, no two ways about it. There is no way on this Earth that a straight woman would NOT be moved by the man that Lucas is, his intense gaze alone enough to render a woman into a puddle of goo. Yep, Kristan has created him that well. Trust me on that.

And then there is Colleen. At first, I thought that I wouldn’t end up liking her as much as I loved Lucas, but turns out she proved me wrong and I was in love with her and rooting for her as much as I was for Lucas. There is so much emotion interwoven into the story that I had this huge lump the size of a football field lodged into my throat. Yes, it was that angst ridden at times and that emotional too. I wept for the boy that was Lucas and the man who had to turn his back on the yearnings of his heart because that’s the sort of person he is. A man with a beautiful and loyal soul that refuses to back down, a man who owns up to his responsibilities. Add to that his gorgeous looks, oh well, Lucas practically speaks for his character himself.

Recommended to every single one of you who loves contemporary romances. There is humor, there is love and then there is the sort of emotional sucker punch that you would not be forgetting anytime soon! A good story is one that makes you smile, laugh and cry and then makes you smile from ear to ear through your tears. And that is the reason why Kristan Higgins remains a force to be reckoned with in the genre!

Final Verdict: Laugh inducing goodness & emotional wallop that only Kristan Higgins can deliver!

Favorite Quotes

He threw up his hands. “I don’t know whether to strangle you or kiss you.”
“Don’t you dare kiss me.”
He kissed her.
God. It was a prayer, as in God help me, because Colleen’s whole body lit up with flares of light and heat and tiny pinpricks of shock. Lucas was hot and hard and strong, and she wrapped her arms around him and held him just as hard, her mouth opening under his, and yes, yes, this was what they were meant to do, this elemental, hard, thought-stealing kiss.

He was locked in from the second he kissed her, something he’d been thinking about doing from the moment he first saw her, something he’d vowed not to do because it was certain that even one kiss would bind him to her.
He was right. The second his lips touched hers, a word came into his head, a word from long ago when his mother was still alive, when Spanish was still spoken at home.
Mía. Mine.
Colleen was his.

Then he stood up, slid his hand around her neck and pulled her in for a kiss.
She didn’t see that coming.
Didn’t pull away, either.
It was a hard, authoritative kiss that seared through her. Good God, the Spaniard could kiss. His five- o’clock shadow scraped her just the right amount, and his mouth, oh, yes, that mouth of his, that fallen-angel mouth…and then it was over, and he stood in front of her, dark and sure and steady when she was lucky to be standing, her legs suddenly warm and wonderfully weak, her special places bursting into song.

He wrapped her in his arms and hugged her against him, tucking her face against his beautiful, smooth warm neck. “Thank you,” he whispered, and her en- tire side electrified.
“Oh, you know,” she said, her voice wobbling. She tried to pull back, but he just held her tighter.
“Have dinner with me tomorrow,” he murmured, his lips so close to her ear. “I promise not to break your heart.”

He sat on her bed and looked at her, his Spanish eyes black and unfathomable in the dim light of the fading day. Turned her hand over and kissed the soft side of her wrist, and looked at her again, his thumb sliding over the spot he’d just kissed, and suddenly, Colleen realized her eyes were full of tears.
“I missed you,” she whispered, and he stood again and kissed her softly, softly, then wiped her tears away and kissed her again.
“Oh, mía,” he whispered. “I missed you, too.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo | B&N | ARe | HQ | iTunes


Review: Heartbreaker by Karen Robards

Format: Paperbackheartbreaker
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Jess Feldman
Heroine: Lynn Nelson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 24, 2011
Started On: May 22, 2011
Finished On: May 22, 2011

With the end of the world stuff circulating around the Internet and the world media, I picked up quite a fitting read for the occasion, and I promise you that it was all by coincidence. Karen Robards is a favorite author of mine and every now and then I pick up something of hers just to get my fix of Ms. Robards who delivers kick-ass romantic suspense with a superb dose of sensuality in almost all of her novels of the genre. Similarly Heartbreaker is a contemporary romantic suspense packed with non-stop action and a race against time as well as the bad guys with a heady mix of humor in it that makes this a great read!

35 year old Lynn Nelson, anchorwoman of WMAQ Chicago is on a vacation from Hell. Lynn had signed up for a 10 day long wilderness vacation just so she can try and work on her relationship with her 14 year old daughter Rory who seems to have a bone to pick with her lately. Lynn is not someone who is at all prepared to “bond” with nature and with her plans to spend more time with Rory backfiring in her face, Lynn is resigned to having a miserable time on the 1st vacation she has taken in 3 years when danger strikes propelling Lynn and her daughter to depend on the last person she would trust for survival.

35 year old Jess Feldman co-owns Adventure Inc. with his elder brother Owen. Jess is handsome, charming and easygoing and has the hots for Lynn from the moment she steps down from the plane to become part of the wilderness vacation which is promoted and carried out by Adventure Inc. And though Lynn makes her disdain for “fake” cowboys clear right from the start, Jess is glutton for punishment as Jess is a man who likes beautiful babes with “balls” as his brother Owen keeps saying.

When a freak accident of nature separates Lynn and Rory from the rest of the group, it is Jess who comes to their rescue, proving that he is the “real” cowboy material time and time again. Surviving the freak accident only to stumble upon one’s worst nightmare, Jess, Rory and Lynn are forced to run for their lives as they are chased through the forest not really knowing what lies in store for them. When a clearer picture emerges from the unfolding events, Jess and Lynn are horrified by the scale to which a mad man who is hell bent on achieving his prophecy of the world coming to an end become true, even if it means taking matters into his own hands, in the most devastating ways possible.

I loved the adventure aspect of this novel. The pace though at the very beginning of the novel tended to be a bit slow for me, once danger comes calling, there is no stopping the chain of events that follows making Heartbreaker a great adventure romance.

I loved Jess’s character. He is the furthest thing from being broody and tortured and all that that makes us ladies go weak at the knees. Contrary to that, Jess is charming, sexy as sin and has a way of teasing Lynn that just brings to light the his endearing qualities. Now before you all go on and think that he is a beta hero, let me stop you right there and say that every single inch of Jess is alpha through and through. When push comes to shove, he is the guy to you can depend on to save you and he certainly proves himself much more than able in ALL the areas that matter *wink*. And I damn near broke out into an applause each single time that Jess kept on surprising Lynn with his true character!

Though the romance aspect of the novel is kept at a minimal, that does’t make the impact of the sexual tension that rises between Jess and Lynn any less and of course the scenes of passion any less memorable. And I so loved the humor-filled tone of the whole story that just kept me on the verge of laughing out loud even through the most tension wrecked moments.

Moving onto Lynn, at first I was ready to project myself into the story and bitch slap her a time or two because she kept getting on my nerves with her less than wonderful attitude. But she does a wonderful job of turning herself around and knowing where her ballsy nature comes from helped in settling my emotions down where she was concerned. In the end, she turns out to be a champion as much as Jess and things do finally end on a happy note with her daughter Rory too! All in all, a very well rounded tale that earns 4 solid stars from the sunny side of life!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo


Review: The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis

Format: E-bookthesweetestthing
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Lucky Harbor Series, Book 2
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Ford Walker
Heroine: Tara Daniels
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 28, 2011
Started On: April 1, 2011
Finished On: April 2, 2011

I have been waiting eagerly for the release of the 2nd installment of The Lucky Harbor series, book 1 of which I enjoyed immensely. The Lucky Harbor series centers around 3 sisters, the death of whose mother Phoebe Traeger brings them together. The 3 sisters Maddie known as the Mouse, Tara as the Steel Magnolia and Chloe as the Wild One definitely make the stories come alive with the unique characteristics that each of them lend to the story.

Book 2 is the story of how the Steel Magnolia aka Tara Daniels gets a second chance with her first love Ford Walker whom she left behind 17 years back in Lucky Harbor. It had been when both of them were 17 years old that Tara had been sent to Lucky Harbor to spend summer with her mother, a relationship on tenuous grounds at best. Both Ford and Tara who come from broken families find something in each other that they are irresistibly drawn towards, making Tara give her heart, body and soul to the deliciously sinful and sexy as hell Ford. Their affair ends tragically when Tara finds out that she is not at all ready to deal with the consequences of a grown up relationship and sacrifices a big chunk of her heart by leaving Ford and giving up a vital piece of her to go back to life as she knew it.

17 years later, Tara comes back because of Phoebe’s will and stays far longer than she ever expected to when she finds herself making up one excuse after another to stay back. Ford, now a world class sailing expert who co-owns The Love Shack, the local bar with his best friend Jax seems to be as alluring as ever, a more lethal combination of charm that he so effortlessly wields together with his good looks that has women all over town fawning over him. Ford might be laid back and take the easy way out in life but that doesn’t mean that he is not affected when the woman who has haunted his dreams for far longer than he cares to count comes back to Lucky Harbor and starts stirring up feelings that Ford has long since thought dormant in him.

The one thing that has rankled Tara who is as uptight and anal retentive as they come is the fact that Ford had never deemed her important enough to stop her from walking away or to come after her when she had left him all those years ago. But even Tara’s backbone of steel is not enough to make her say no to the way Ford plays havoc with all her emotions – all in a deliciously good way. Things get interesting when Tara’s ex-husband comes back, looking for a second chance and to win back Tara’s affections making Ford seethe with the utter feelings of possessiveness that storms through him.

The Sweetest Thing, though it did not wow me as much as Simply Irresistible did, I still loved it to pieces. Ford Walker is the type of hero I can happily dream about for eons with his wickedly sinful nature that comes out to play and ruffle the feathers of the tightly buttoned up Tara. Ford is exactly what Tara needs in her life to loosen up, to find herself once again and take a second chance on falling in love and being loved. The wickedly sensual positions these two constantly find themselves in adds to the magic that Ms. Shalvis weaves with her stories in the Lucky Harbor series making this a well rounded addition to the series.

Jill Shalvis has a remarkable talent for writing stories that one minute has me laughing until my sides hurt and the next making me feel as if someone has sucker punched me quite well. The constant roller coaster of emotions that I have come to identify and revel in when it comes to this series was present in this story as well making it an utter delight to sink into the characters that make up the Lucky Harbor series. Ms. Shalvis has a way of making my toes curl completely inward and hum in delight a time or two with the very well done love scenes in the book.

Now I am completely focused on reading the 3rd book in the series, Head Over Heels which is to come out in December 2011. I think Chloe and Sawyer may yet come to be my favorite couple in the series with their totally opposite natures which is going to make for a very explosive addition to the series – hopefully!

I finish off my review with a glimpse into the sizzling hot attraction between Ford and Tara that just makes the pages come alive every single time!

And then she realized something else. She wasn’t breathing.
He wasn’t either.
Of their own accord, her hands slid up his chest, wrapped around his neck, and then … oh God, and then.
Ford said her name on a rough exhale. Holding her against the hard planes of his body, his eyes filled with a quiet intensity, he lowered his head.
“Stop me if you’re going to,” he said in quiet demand, all humor gone.
Tara sucked in some air, but didn’t stop him. Not when his lips came down on hers, and not when he kissed her until she couldn’t remember her own name.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard


Review: Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

Format: E-bookSimplyirresistible
Read  with: Amazon Kindle

Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: A Lucky Harbor Novel, Book 1
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Jackson Cullen III (Jax Cullen)
Heroine: Madeline Annie Traeger (Maddie Moore)
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication:  October 1, 2010
Started On: January 26, 2011
Finished On: January 29, 2011

Ever since I read Shadow Hawk and didn’t like it as much as I expected to, I have been a little wary of picking up anything by Jill Shalvis and that’s the main reason why I have hesitated in getting a copy of her latest novel Simply Irresistible, the 1st book in the Lucky Harbor series. Now, I am so very glad that I let reviews from my friends on Goodreads who all loved this book to pieces convince me to give this title a go because I am slapping myself for being stupid enough to let such a yummylicious read go by for so long without an attempt to read it.

Simply Irresistible is a book that lives up to its title, yes, its simply irresistible and I found myself so engrossed in the world of Lucky Harbor, the small town life, the larger than life heroes, Jax Cullen who makes my knees go wobbly each and every time and the sisters who make this novel come vibrantly alive that I forgot to mark this book for quotes as I read along, something which I always do when I am reading a novel so that my review would be a complete one. That just goes to show how marvelous a tale Ms. Shalvis has spun with her new series and I can’t wait until the next one comes out in April of this year.

Jax Cullen is a hero who presents himself as a mass of contradictions and I so love myself a hero like him. At first he comes across as the bad boy hero who rides into the story on his bad-ass motorbike; but layer by layer his character unfolds to reveal the complex man he is behind the facade. Jax had grown up with his father when his parents marriage had failed and his father being a cutthroat lawyer by profession, their relationship had had no room for emotions. A grown up Jax had followed his father’s footsteps and had become a very expensive defense attorney for a huge law firm in Seattle, where winning cases at all costs had been the bottom line. His work there had earned him the name of Jackson Cullen III and it had taken Jax’s last case which had gone horribly wrong for him to quit his job and return to Lucky Harbor, the last place he remembers being happy. Now 5 years out of a profession that had sucked the very soul out of him, Jax is laid back, goes through life at his own pace and works doing what he loves; building and restoration. The mayor of Lucky Harbor for the second term Jax is not looking for a relationship after his fiance had walked out on him when he had walked out on his job; that is until beautiful and klutzy Maddie nearly runs him over in her car.

29 year old Maddie is broke and homeless when her late mother’s will brings her to Lucky Harbor. Maddie had been raised by her father who had been a movie-set designer ever since he had taken custody of her since Maddie had turned 5 years old. Having never had much contact with her flighty mother, Maddie is as surprised as her father and two half sisters Tara and Chloe to learn about her mother’s will which had bequeathed them Lucky Harbor Inn, in the hopes of bringing 3 of her children together even if she may not be around to see it. Maddie had earned the nickname of the Mouse from her mother and is a survivor of a physically and emotionally abusive relationship from her ex-boyfriend Alex, an angry, uptight and aggressive LA attorney who didn’t know how to control his temper. It had been Maddie’s retaliation towards Alex that had cost her her job and makes her swear off of men altogether until she runs into the very sexy and delectable Jax Cullen who makes her tingle in all the right places with his searing velvety gaze alone.

When their mother’s will brings them together, it is only Maddie who at first wants to make a go of things and work towards making the derelict Lucky Harbor Inn habitable once again. And that is how Jax Cullen and his tool belt comes into the scene, seducing Maddie of every good intention she has about swearing off of men until now. As Jax brings down the walls that surround Maddie’s heart, so develops a heartwarming relationship between 3 sisters who had not seen each other for the past 5 years. Amidst the small town life of Lucky Harbor, sexual awareness of the eyebrow singeing variety turns into a love so worth taking a chance on that I as a reader absolutely couldn’t have asked for more.

I liked:

  1. Jax Cullen. Every single time he walks in with his tool belt around him – needless to say I am a puddle of goo every time that happens and wouldn’t have it any other way. He has this way of seducing Maddie out of her noble intentions that left me breathless and wanting more of  where that came from. I loved him for his quiet intensity, his kindness, and the smoldering sensuality that leaps into the picture every time he walks in *fans self*. Jax can certainly master my ahem! baser emotions any day he chooses! ^_^
  2. Maddie. She is klutzy,  less than perfect and so down on herself when she comes to Lucky Harbor. But she has an inner strength that can definitely make her the Steel Magnolia, the title her mother has given to Tara the eldest of her 3 girls. Maddie’s determination to heal from the brutality of her relationship with Alex and how she is so irresistibly drawn towards Jax and his quiet determination and strength made me root for her big time!
  3. Loved the dialogues, each and every one of them whether it be between Jax and Maddie, or between Maddie, Tara and Chloe or Jax and his buddies. Several laugh-out moments in the conversations that makes this an excellent book to cure you from all your woes.
  4. Jax and his tool belt. There! Now I have said it. Can’t help but remember a guy on a show on Discovery Travel & Living who had a tool belt around him whilst he went about giving makeovers to people’s homes. Even then, my sole focus was on the tool belt. I guess that explains a bit on my fascination with the tool belt. ^_~
  5. I absolutely loved the relationship that develops between Maddie, Tara and Chloe. They are all so very different from one another but the affection and love they have towards each other is evident right from the very beginning. Though it is Tara’s story that will be coming out in April, I can’t help but want to read Chloe and Sawyer’s story. I have a mind that it’s going to be pretty darn explosive!! ^_^
  6. Loved the quotes from Phoebe Traeger at the beginning of each chapter. They were seriously thought provoking and at the same time gave me something to laugh out loud as I delved into each chapter.
  7. Jax’s lethal brand of seduction. I seriously, seriously could get used to it! *winks*

I disliked: None.

Favorite Quotes

Two, and even more unsettling, he smelled good – sexy and alluring. Closing her eyes, she felt her body tingle, brought to a hyper-awareness that felt almost foreign as something zinged through her.
Desire. Bone-melting desire.
When she opened her eyes again, he was even closer. His eyes weren’t the solid warm caramel she’d thought but had flecks of gold dancing in them, as well. She could have drowned in all that deliciousness.
Not a  bad way to go, she figured – death by lust.

Chloe stood there, a small smile on her lips as she peered past Maddie at the Jeep. “Who’s that?”
Maddie watched the brake lights of the Jeep as it vanished into the night. “Jax Cullen. And that’s all I know,” she said before Chloe could ask anything else.
Well, except that he had a voice that went down like smooth whiskey, a way of looking at her that tended to get her to say more than she should, and oh, yea, he kissed like heaven on earth.

With a sigh, she picked up her knitting instead of inhaling any more food and continued from where she’d left off last night. “In, wrap around,” she said to herself. “Pull out.”
“You know,” Chloe said licking some batter off her thumb. “The way you knit always sounds a little dirty. I bet if you knitted in earshot of a guy, you’d get laid for sure.”

The back door opened, and all three of them swiveled to look as Jax filled the doorway. He looked like sin on a stick in faded Levi’s, a long-sleeved graphic Henley, and – there went her pulse – that damn tool belt slung slow on his hips.

“Don’t take life too seriously. After all, none of us are getting out alive anyway.” – Phoebe Traeger

“Experience is something you get… after you need it.” – Phoebe Traeger

Recommended for anyone who loves a good contemporary romance that can play with all your emotions in a good way and leave you with a huge smile at the end should read this novel. A great beginning to a series which I am sure can only get better. A story that petted, stroked and fed each and every craving I have as a romance reader; I can’t recommend this novel highly enough!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard



Review: A Man for All Seasons by Heather MacAllister

Format: E-bookamanfoallseasons
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze, #583
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Tyler Burton
Heroine: Marlene Walters
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1,  2010
Started On: December 19, 2010
Finished On: December 21, 2010

The question utmost on my mind after finishing up this delectable, spicy and funny holiday romance is “Where on Earth has Heather MacAllister been all my reading life?”. I mean seriously! This book tickled all my funny bones unlike any story I have read of late and the funny bones weren’t the only ones that Ty tickled with his wickedly inappropriate thoughts about his friend Marlie who all of a sudden turns into a sexy siren that calls to his libido to carry her off into his cave and have his wicked way with her.

Marlene Walters or Marlie as she is known as is two years younger than Tyler Burton (Ty). Marlie and Ty’s parents are really close friends and so when they had been young Ty had ended up being Marlie’s reluctant playmate on several joint family vacations. Ty had always felt that he had got the worse end of the deal when he had always ended up babysitting Marlie and watching out for her when he would rather have hung out with kids his own age and as he grew older and his interest in the female populace had skyrocketed he would rather have spent his time wooing the girl who he fancied at the moment.

Years later, Marlie is all grown up, works from her home as a computer geek and is paying off her mortgage on her home, the mortgage a present from her ex-fiance who had just upped and left quoting that he just couldn’t handle it anymore. And when Ty whose house is under construction needs a place to stay, Marlie is more than happy to share and rent her home to live together. A year and a half of living together, Marlie discovers that certain things haven’t changed even with time and distance; her fascination with Ty, her friend who views her as nothing more than a pesky being who inhabited his childhood.

But things take an interesting turn when Ty in the guise of impressing his then girlfriend Axelle ends up buying Marlie twelve dates thinking that keeping Marlie busy dating them would get Marlie out of the house long enough for him to cozy up with Axelle. But what happens is the farthest thing from Ty’s mind when with a little makeover Marlie knocks his socks off, literally squeezing the very air out of him by making him realize that what he had been searching for all his commitment phobic life had been right under his nose all this time.


  1. The uniqueness of this friends to lovers story. What makes this tale so unique is the way the story is told. Never does a moment go by that doesn’t make you want to grin from ear to ear or makes you want to laugh out loud in merriment. Witty dialogue alone is not what makes this book special, the story is mostly told from Ty’s point of view which certainly makes for an interesting read when his emotions and libido goes on full red alert and starts noticing Marlie for the delectable woman she is, the woman who is the ONE for him. And Ms. MacAllister certainly pulls no punches in delivering enough emotion to make you giddy once you are done! A delectable read indeed is this one. ^_^
  2. Marlie Walters. She is far from being perfect and at the beginning she is as sloppy as anyone can get which made me relate to her on a whole new level. I understood where she was coming from and that made this book the instant winner it was for me. I loved Marlie’s thoughts and her bubbly nature which fully complements Ty’s more serious and orderly nature.
  3. Ty! *Sigh* The guy just makes me go weak at my knees with all those wicked thoughts that races through his mind  each and every time that he tries to deny what he feels for Marlie. And when Ty does come to realize that it is Marlie with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life with, I found the way he tried to go about convincing Marlie of his intentions so cute and endearing.
  4. The sizzling sexual zing in the story. Though this book doesn’t pack a bunch of sex scenes of the explicit nature, I had a lot of fun reading and feeling the chemistry between Marlie and Ty skyrocket to unbearable levels with every encounter. That makes this book a Blaze worth indulging in!

Dislikes: None! Though I would have loved me an epilogue! Would have lent this story the perfectness it deserves.

Favorite Quotes

He was barely aware of Axelle slipping away and reappearing on the other side of the table to murmur in Paul’s ear. To do so, she had to stand right next to Marlie and Ty unwillingly compared the two women.
Axelle was tall and thin and darkly exotic. His type.
Marlie was creamy and lush. And jiggled. Not his type.
Right then Marlie’s gaze connected with his and his blood began to simmer.
Why? Why is she
not your type?
He couldn’t remember.

Ty took the brakes off his desire and it raced through him.
Angry Marlie-on-the-kitchen-floor was completely unaware of the cataclysmic shift in their relationship.
She looked up, and then straightened. “Is that all you plan to do? Stare down my dress? Or are you going to help me fi-”
Ty planted his hands on either side of her face and kissed her.
He hadn’t planned to kiss her, hadn’t even thought about kissing her. He hadn’t allowed himself. He’d just acknowledged a general desire that he had no intention of acting on, and refused to dwell on specifics.
Except while his mind had been keeping things fuzzy, his body had been very clear about what it wanted and who it wanted it with.

Recommended for:

  1. Fans of Harlequin Blaze titles.
  2. Fans of holiday romances.
  3. Fans of contemporary romances with enough humor and sexual zing to warm your insides through a cold wintry night. I loved this one to bits! ^_^

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Harlequin



Format: E-bookheartoffire.JPG
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: None
Hero: Ben Lewis
Heroine: Jillian Sherwood
Sensuality: 3.5
First Published on: July 1993
Started On: 18th December 2010
Finished On: 18th December 2010

Review: Miss Congeniality by Shelly Laurenston

Format: E-bookwhenhewasbad
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Magnus Pack, Book 3.5
Publisher: Brava
Hero: Niles Van Holtz
Heroine: Professor Irene Conridge
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 1, 2008
Started On: June 13, 2010
Finished On: June 13, 2010

Oh my god! This has to be one of the most hilarious and witty romances that I have ever come across. Van, a wolf shape shifter, who would one day become the Alpha Male of his family’s pack doesn’t understand the reason why he has always hunted after Professor Irene Conridge ever since he had locked onto her scent seven years back.

Van’s family being one of the richest families in the area, frequently turns up at the fund raising functions for Irene’s university and even the opening dialog itself had me smiling. Irene is a genius physicist who has no time whatsoever for the frivolities in life. She couldn’t be any more different from the sexy and compelling Van even if she tried. Though she had always found Van a trifle bit annoying to say the least since the guy seemed to turn up at every function she attended to discuss her choice of undergarments, one of her experiments puts Irene in danger and it is Van and his pack that rescues her from being devoured by a pack of lions and hyenas.

Van has no choice but to mark her as his mate, though Van doesn’t believe in the folklore that surrounds the concept of marking a mate for life. Currently as happy as a clam with his mission of screwing anything that stands around long enough, Van all of a sudden finds himself uninterested in the plentiful female company that seems to surround him.

Its hilarious to read how these two try to stay away from one another but the simmering and oh so hot attraction that is unleashed right from the very first kiss is enough to keep you warm for all winters to come. Van is the type of hero you cannot go wrong with, someone who is tender, caring, protective and possessive to the right extent whilst understanding the complex genius of a woman Irene is.

With interesting side characters and a bit of danger that crops up every now and then, this is as good a romance can get. I couldn’t seem to put this book down once I started and I am definitely going to check out other books by the author. Her writing style is something you don’t come across every day.

A hot, funny and sensual read that makes for a beautiful romance, and an epilogue that I absolutely loved, this book is highly recommended even for those who do not read paranormal romances.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo



Review: Truly Madly Yours by Rachel Gibson

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Nick Allegrezza
Heroine: Delaney Shaw
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 31, 1999
Started On: April 27, 2010
Finished On: April 27, 2010

When pretty hairdresser Delaney Shaw returned home to Truly, Idaho for the funeral of her stepfather, she  never planned on staying around for long. But the ten year estrangement from her mother and stepfather might as well have never happened when her stepfather’s will stipulates that she stay in Truly for a period of one year if she were to receive the property bequeathed to her worth 3 million dollars.

And Delaney never expected Nick Allegrezza, her stepfather’s son whom he never acknowledged when they were growing up to be part of the will. Nick and his brother Louie were property developers and Nick was to be the owner of some hot property if he could refrain from having sex with Delaney.

Though Nick wouldn’t admit it, the night ten years back when he had held a warm and willing Delaney in his arms has been etched onto his mind for eternity. Though he tries to act nonchalant and unaffected by Delaney’s presence in Truly, he can’t help but find ways to be near her and to appease the hunger that she arouses in him.

Before long the small town is once again bursting at its seams with the delicious gossip on how Nick heats things up with Delaney. From the eccentric customers that trickle in to the saloon Delaney opens up to the many squabbles that take place within Nick and Delaney’s family, this book is a special treat with humor, red hot passion that makes your toes curl up and a great ending that is rare in most of the modern romance novels that come out.

Highly recommended for those who love romantic comedies as well as a good romance with a hot hunky hero that takes your breathe away.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble



Short & Sweet Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Hero: Calvin Morrisey
Heroine: Minerva Dobbs
Sensuality: 2.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 2007
Started On: April 7, 2010
Finished On: April 11, 2010

Storyline: Calvin (Cal) just got out of an intense relationship where the woman wanted more than he could give. What he just wants for now is some peace and quiet in his life. He doesn’t think its too much to ask for and one night he finds himself and his friends Roger and Tony in the company of David who just broke up with Minerva (Min) that very night at the bar. David knowing that Cal is a man who bets to win, bets Cal 10,000 dollars to get frumpy and overweight Min to sleep with him within a month’s time. Though Cal doesn’t agree to this bet, Min overhears David betting Cal and thinks Cal has agreed to the bet. Since Min desperately needs a date for her sister’s wedding in three weeks time, Min decides that she would play along so that Cal would be her date for the wedding.

The first meet: Cal and Min first meet at the bar that they all hang out after work. Cal the almost sinfully handsome hero and Min who needs a crash course in building self confidence and attitude due her mom constantly harping on about her being over weight, these two seems to be the opposites in every way.

Time period: No specific time line given in the story, just that the story takes place in the present day.

Awareness between the two characters: The zing of electricity between the two characters is built up right from the first. Though neither Min nor Cal wants a relationship at the moment, nor do they want to get involved in any other way with each other, they keep bumping into each other and through these chance and not so chance encounters, Miss Crusie keeps the sexual tension and awareness between the two at an all time high which makes the book quite enjoyable.

The turning point: The turning point in the relationship of Cal and Min comes gradually. Since they both do not want to be with each other, but do end up spending time with one another, they do find out that first impressions do not really tell the whole story about a person and that there were layers to each of them that inexorably drew them to one another. With their quirky group of friends and dysfunctional families they are a couple who have got all the odds against them, but somehow, fate tends to work in mysterious ways to bind these two together and before they know it, they are half way in love with one another.

How the relationship grows: Cal and Min’s relationship grows in no ordinary fashion. With David and Cal’s ex-girlfriend Cynthia (a relationship psychologist) who has an axe to grind and wants him back plotting against these two who are reluctant to be with one another in the first place, there doesn’t seem to be much room for their relationship to grow. However, a few well placed bets here and there and a few chance encounters and not so chance encounters somehow bind the lives of these two together and in the process both Cal and Min find stuff about one another that draws them closer to one another. The continuous heat and attraction between the two makes things interesting whilst this goes on.

Ending: Cal and Min’s happily ever after doesn’t come that easily. Both of them have issues to work out, and some grovelling to do and a bet to win or lose before they could both assume the roles of their happily ever after. Wonderful ending though! Loved the stories of all the side characters in the book who made this novel a much more fun and a wonderful read. Reading how their lives turned out in the end made the book a solid hit with me!

Likes: All the cast members in this book were wonderful. The whole time I was reading this book, I was imagining it as a movie which would generate some serious laughter from the audience. Ms Crusie never ever fails to amuse!

Dislikes: None for me with this book!

Recommended for: Those who love romantic comedies, those who would love a story where the chubby girl meets the hot hunk and they fall in love, and for those who love novels by Ms Crusie. You cannot go wrong with this one!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard