ARC Review: Montana Actually by Fiona Lowe

Format: E-bookmontanaactually.png
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Medicine River, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Josh Stanton
Heroine: Katrina McCade
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 6, 2015
Started On: May 19, 2015
Finished On: May 20, 2015

Dr. Josh Stanton’s move to Medicine River County, to a town called Bear Paw comes from the need to quickly pay off his student loans. The move from Chicago hadn’t come easy for Josh. The relationship that he has just gotten out of, after being burnt from the brunt of it all doesn’t make it any easier to bear. Josh comes from a family of prestigious surgeons. The fact that he had chosen to specialize in ER medicine and lands in a town which requires he divide his time between the clinic and the ER isn’t an irony lost on him.

Katrina McCade returns to her hometown after eight years of living it up outside of it. What brings her home back to her family is too shameful for her to reveal. The fact that she had been duped by the man she had been in love with, ready to share her life with is something that is proving quite difficult for Katrina to get over from. The last thing she needs is for the entirely too irresistible Dr. Josh to be her new tenant, a man who makes her stir crazy from desire one minute and makes a side of her she is not too comfortable with to rear up the next.

While the attraction between Katrina and Josh is inevitable from the start, what makes the story juicier is that neither of them wants to be in a relationship and thinks of their non-relationship as a sort of “people who can barely stand each other – benefits” sort of agreement. What neither of them bets on is finding things that they both like, respect and eventually come to love about each other. But the scars left behind from previous relationships prove to be not that easy to get rid of. However, it does deliver the sort of deliciousness that proved Montana Actually to be a book that was hard to put down.

Fiona Lowe makes it so easy to fall in love with every single aspect of this book. From the reluctant and very sexy Dr. Josh to Katrina to the whole bunch of secondary characters that brings the whole story alive; there is nothing I would change in any of it. The entire setting, how Josh who would like nothing better than for the nightmare he has been saddled with to be over, finds himself slowly settling into the pace of life at Bear Paw and finding it in his heart to accept and be accepted into a tightly knit community was a wondrous thing to watch unfold.

Every single character that appeared in the story was endearing and unique in their own way. The secondary romance included in the story was just the icing on the cake if you ask me. Fiona’s insight and sensitivity in handling a character such as Beau with his speech difficulties reminded me of Ellen O’Connell’s story Without Words. There is an emotional impact when characters such as Beau are delivered in the right manner that just makes a story that much more worth savoring.

The sparks between Josh and Katrina that emerge from the very beginning was a sight to behold and enjoy as well. Josh with his reluctant fascination towards a woman who makes him want to grit his teeth at times and then makes every primal instinct within him come alive at the very next second shakes him up unlike anything else. The pain that Josh holds in his heart from the life and relationship that he’d left behind is very real one, one that nearly broke my heart. But the delicious fun that Josh indulges in with Katrina, all in the name of just sex alone of course, was too fun to watch to dwell on the pain and heartache. And before I knew it, I was in love with Dr. Josh myself.Oh well, who am I kidding. I was in love with him the minute he stepped into the shower – with all his clothes on!

Katrina herself has got a past that rivals Josh’s. The fact that she had come back to her hometown after so long speaks volumes. Her heart had broken into pieces when her last relationship had ended with disillusionment of the kind she never thought possible hurting her soul. Katrina swears off men, especially doctors and the last thing she needs is to have lascivious thoughts about the town’s new physician. But that’s exactly what she ends up doing and more and it was sheer joy to see these two make their way towards their happily ever after.

While the story might seem all light, fluff and laughter, it was hardly that. There is enough emotion in it to practically sucker punch you over and over again. It takes a rare kind of book for me to shed actual tears and Montana Actually turned out to be one of those unique books with the ability to make me bawl my eyes out. Perhaps it was because I was in a pensive mood myself or because Fiona Lowe is that good; I’m going to go with the latter, I had to stop reading at a certain point and take a break because the emotional impact of it all was too overwhelming to continue. I don’t mean to scare any of you into not picking this up; let me reassure you that you would want to continue because there is definitely love and laughter at the end and of course the delicious sneak peak into the second book in the series to contend with!

It is tough to pull off a book with multiple characters and even plot in a secondary romance and make ALL of it work to give such a deliciously beautiful book. I for one am kicking myself for having waited this long to read this. Oh well. Life happens and my reading ambitions definitely have a way veering off track during those times. Last but not the least dear Ms. Lowe, keep em’ coming. For there is nothing more that reaffirms my belief that romance books are what keeps the world turning than a good book that engages all my emotions.

Final Verdict: Fiona Lowe effortlessly charms her way into your heart with Montana Actually. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Josh strode quickly through the door, filling the diner with his height, his breadth and his restless energy.
Light gray eyes—eyes that no longer looked like a red trail map—met hers. A flare of surprise burned in them along with something that made her shiver in a very good way. As fast as it had glowed brightly, it faded away leav- ing her wondering. In its place was the more familiar and slightly detached gaze.
She swallowed hard, determined to sound cool, calm and collected. “Doctor Stanton.”
“Nurse McCade.” He eyed the coffeepot in her hand suspiciously. “I hope you’re more in control of hot coffee than paint.”

One minute there was a safe and healthy distance between them, and then the old sofa cushions caved inward, rolling her sideways. Her shoulders bumped into his arm and then she fell across him. Suddenly, she found herself sprawled half on his lap.
“Sorry,” she spluttered as her body squealed in delight. “This sofa is a disaster.” She tried to move but the sucking cushions pinned her against him—a solid wall of muscle radiating heat. Heat that wove through her, taunting her with delicious quivers that danced and swirled before rushing straight to the apex of her thighs.

He groaned and, tantalizingly slowly, traced the outline of her top lip with the tip of his finger. Like a match to paper, she went up in flames as heat and joyful anticipation rocked her. She opened her mouth under his touch, her tongue licking the tip of his finger before her lips sucked it inside her mouth.
The black pupils of his eyes bled into the silvery gray. “Dear God, you’re killing me.” As he withdrew his finger, his other hand curved around the back of her neck and he kissed her.

The kiss was deliciously restrained and divinely decadent. Honor and lust—a kiss of the ages. A kiss any woman would envy.
A kiss that was driving her wild. She wanted to shake the control and unleash the passion.
Tingling from head to toe and desperate to really taste him, she opened her mouth under his, flicked out her tongue and invited him in. He didn’t hesitate. He branded her with his heat and his need for her, both giving and taking, and her knees buckled. She grabbed onto his shirt and he staggered backward, bringing her with him.

He waited for her to say or do something to tell him exactly what she wanted, but she stayed silent, so he lowered his mouth to hers.
He tasted salt, beer and restraint. He lightly nipped her lower lip.
She moaned, rose on her toes and opened her mouth under his, taking him in.
Thank you.

“If I didn’t think it would give you a swelled head, I’d tell you that the reality of you naked, even fuzzily out of focus, far outshines the fantasy.”
He grinned at her with dimples dancing. “I aim to please.”
“So do I.” She closed her hand around him, loving the hot and silken feel of him in her palm.
“Jesus, Katrina,” he moaned as his hands reached for her. “Too much of that and I won’t be pleasing you for another twenty minutes.”
“Where’s your self-control?” she teased.
“I lost it the moment I met you.”

She wasn’t sure if she crawled up him or if he lifted her or if it was a bit of both, but suddenly her arms and her legs were wrapped tightly around him and her back was pressed up against the tiles.
All of her quivered with unmet need and her body screamed for him. “Fill me up.”
Snowstorm gray eyes gazed into hers, filled with match- ing need. “Now?”
“Yes, please, right now.”
He pushed up. She pressed down and beseeching muscles gripped him tight, so tight it was as if they were scared he might change his mind.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | eBookMall | iTunes


ARC Review: Picture Perfect Wedding by Fiona Lowe

Format: E-bookpictureperfectwedding.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Wedding Fever, #2
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Luke Anderson
Heroine: Erin Davis
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 12, 2013
Started On: August 4, 2013
Finished On: August 5, 2013

30 year old Luke Anderson is a dairyman, the owner of Lakeview Farm, a farm that has been in his family for generations. Though Luke has gone through the whole of his life preparing for the takeover of the business from his father, something akin to discontentment has settled deep in his gut and he is unsure of the hows and whys of it and how to shake it off.

Erin Davis is a photographer of high-end brides, someone who has a plan to take her from Point A to Point B. Not one to take unnecessary risks, Erin needs the award which will be hers if everything goes according to plan, the publicity the award is going to bring on which she is basing the future of the rest of her self-made career on. Standing in her way of achieving the picture perfect wedding is one delicious hunk of a farmer who gets her inner wanton self doing cartwheels and somersaults in her attempt to make him sit up and take notice.

When Erin turns up at Lakeview Farm, the one thought that rushes through Luke’s mind before turning to mush in the face of that sizzling attraction that flares to life between them is the fact that he has no time in his life for high maintenance city girls. Luke might want to turn his back on Erin and her beautiful green eyes that calls out to him on levels that he doesn’t even begin to understand, but he finds that the strange fascination that he has for Erin is hard to say no to. For Erin, Luke is the one temptation that she cannot resist, even when their summer affair heats up just more than her sheets at night.

Picture Perfect Wedding is the second book in the Wedding Fever series set in the small town of Whitetail, Wisconsin. I loved this instalment in the series from the characters to the fun antics that had me snorting and laughing out loud and also the secondary romance that unfolded between the town widower Nicole and the hot new fire chief Tony.

Luke and Eric are a delicious couple, both with their own misgivings about their future and their own battles to fight. Luke is a man who is undecided on what he wants to do to the farm, and it certainly doesn’t help matters when it brings problems raining down on his close-knit family and has his retired father breathing down his neck.

Erin falls in love with every aspect of the charming life that she sees happen every day in Whitetail. With a steady income burgeoning her bank balance for the first time in a long while, Erin finds herself to be in her element, all the while working towards photographing the perfect wedding which would change the course of her life. But beneath all that enthusiasm lies a heart that is scared beyond anything at the thought of tying herself down, opening her heart to pain and heartache that is certain to follow in the wake of every relationship.

I loved both Luke and Erin, Lukes stoicism something that truly made his character one thats fascinating. Put into the mix his family and two dogs plus the various well meaning members of the community, well you have a hell of a lot on your hands to juggle and its wonderful the way Fiona knows just what to do to keep the story flowing smoothly. I loved the sexual battle of wills that took place between Luke and Erin and of course I didn’t even expect Nicole to come out and show a side of herself that I wouldn’t have ever thought her capable of. The secondary romance that took place perfectly complemented and was in line with the primary story that was unfolding and though I would have loved to learn more about Tony, I found myself pretty much satisfied with the level of detail Fiona went into when it came to their romance.

If there is anything Fiona Lowe does exceptionally well, it is contemporary romances set in small towns and she writes them with so much heart that it is impossible not to lose yourself in the magic of it all.

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of small town romances.

Final Verdict: Picture Perfect Wedding comes to you with lots of sizzle, fun & heart. Not to be missed!

Favorite Quotes

With a puff of dissatisfaction that he was so slow to respond, she pulled her hand from his, rose on her toes, slid both her hands against his cheeks, angled his mouth and kissed him.
Her lips pressed against his and the slight scratch of his top lip grazed hers as she coaxed him to open his mouth to her. Chocolate, coffee and heat flowed through her, spinning currents of delight eddying through her, feeding her need for this man like oxygen fuels fire.

Her fingertip touched his and flames engulfed her. His large, strong hand closed around her wrist. She lunged toward him as his arms lifted her at the hips, and then her legs were wrapped around his waist, and she was burying herself against his chest. She was home. Her body, so taut with ragged need for so long, stilled for a heartbeat, suspended in bliss, and then primal energy thundered through her. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she lowered her mouth to his and kissed him.

His hands gripped her hips and he lifted her over him and then very slowly he lowered her down.
Her body, oh so very ready and desperate for him, opened easily, absorbing him bit by bit until she’d stretched to the limit and he completely filled her. The sensation was indescribable and she experienced the oddest feeling that she was going to cry, which made no sense because her body was on fire for him. Her throbbing muscles, which had ached for him, closed around him and need became fire driving her upward to seize the ultimate prize.

She smelled of vanilla and tasted of salt and he couldn’t get enough of the feel of her body. Reverently, he cupped her breasts in his hands, savoring the weight of them against his palm.
She gave a moan of pleasure and he felt her breasts tighten. He grinned. He’d never had a lover this responsive. Very slowly, he moved the pad of his thumbs across her nipples. Her body jerked and her eyes opened as wide as a cat’s. In the clear, green depths he clearly read desire—hot, molten need for him.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Carina | iBooks




ARC Review: Saved By The Bride by Fiona Lowe

Format: E-booksavedbythebride
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Wedding Fever, #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Finnegan Callahan
Heroine: Annika Jacobson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 15, 2013
Started On: May 10, 2013
Finished On: July 1, 2013

Hero: Finnegan Callahan, driven and ambitious, is a man who steers clear of emotional entanglements. He knows for certain that forever never works. After all his parents had been the perfect example of how bad things can turn out when “love” leaves the equation.

Heroine: Annika Jacobson, a little bit klutzy with a whole lot of heart and enthusiasm for everything she puts herself into. She might not look too deep into herself and take care of what requires fixing when it comes to her own self, but she certainly does all that and more when it comes to the people that she loves.

Storyline: Saved by the Bride is the 1st book in the Wedding Fever series. Annika is the heroine who is determined that she would save her ailing hometown of Whitetail, Wisconsin at any cost. She is willing to go to any lengths, even if it means gatecrashing into the engagement party of the daughter of one of the most influential businessmen who owns property in Whitetail, if that is what is required to fix things up. Things however don’t go according to plan and before she manages to gracefully gatecrash, she is in dire need of rescuing and along comes Finnegan Callahan, a man who makes all her girly bits sit up and take notice when they really should not.

Before long, Finn and Annika are embroiled in a summer long affair that has no room whatsoever for emotional entanglements. But then when has love ever gone according to plan?

Setting: Saved by the Bride has a contemporary setting and takes place in the small town of Whitetail, Wisconsin and is told from both Finn and Annika’s points of view. Other secondary character viewpoints are also included.

Likes: Fiona Lowe has a talent for weaving stories with a lot of humor and heart in it with characters that really drive the story forward. Saved by the Bride is my second book from Fiona and I liked what the story had to offer. Being the first book in a new series always means laying the foundation for the novels that’d follow and I believe that Fiona has done a splendid job in the setup and I certainly did fall in love with the way of life in Whitetail.

The enthusiasm with which the folk of Whitetail takes on the project of turning their ailing town around rather than sitting on their bums and endlessly worrying about the dire circumstances they had all fallen into was really infectious. If everyone in this world puts that much heart and effort into solving their problems I bet that this world would be a whole different and a much better place.

Finn and Annika’s budding relationship is a mix of treading wearily into murky emotional waters and a whole lot of heat in the physical aspect. The attraction between Annika and Finn is one that sizzled right from the onset and is one the reasons why someone like Finn who is all too wary of anything emotional to take that step towards Annika, be it even if his intention at first had been to enter into a solely physical relationship.

The relationship between Finn and his father Sean was at times hard to read about. There is so much angst involved, the emotions that had been locked down for so long on Finn’s part upon all that disappointment he had encountered while growing up is hard to just forget and move on from. It is Annika who makes him face what he doesn’t want to and in turn it is Finn who makes Annika face all that she doesn’t want to.

I loved and loved the romance between the secondary characters Bridget and her fiance Hank. Bridget’s need to get everything perfect in the misguided notion that her wedded life would be everlasting if then was an aspect of the story that I found myself really interested in.

The one bit that I truly liked was the time Annika was “forced” to take in order to find herself and make peace with her past and finally be able to return to being who she is supposed to be. I think love in its finest and lasting form can only happen only when you are at peace with your own self.

And way out of topic, but something that just tickled my funny bone; Annika being called “Anni”. Mohamed Nasheed or rather “Anni” as he is known amongst his supporters is one of the Presidential candidates in the upcoming Maldivian elections in September 2013!

Dislikes: I might be the only one who thinks so, but I thought that the story sometimes deviated a bit too much from the focus that should have been Finn and Annika. Sometimes that’s the drawback of reading stories featuring a lot of characters; focus is lost from the main leading characters and I believe that happened in Saved by the Bride too. Not that the other characters and their interactions weren’t interesting and lent its own colorful richness to the unfolding story. But I’d have loved to read about Annika and Finn just a tad more.

Recommended for: Those who love romances set in small towns that encompass a lot of humor and heart. This one’s for you!

Final Verdict: A whole lot of humor, a little bit of angst and love of the heartwarming kind. You are definitely going to fall in love!

Favorite Quotes

She opened her mouth under his and sighed. He tasted of malt, of hot, starry summer nights and a tantalizing sense of long-lost joy. With her hand still pressed against his chest, she curled her fingers under the gaps between the studs of his formal shirt, and the tips met hot skin and taught muscle. Her breath hitched and her palm itched to feel more.
His hands slipped down her neck, caressing her bare shoulders and journeying along her arms – the touch leaving a trail of intoxicating bubbles that joined together into an effervescence of unadulterated need.

His mouth melded to hers and his heat flooded her like the blast from an open furnace – swooping through her like a hot wind on an August day. It instantly fanned all the tiny embers of desire that had been burning deep inside of her for days, into a ranging and out-of-control wildfire. She plundered his mouth with hers, filling herself with his taste of coffee, mint and sex. As she lost herself in his mouth, she pressed her hands to his naked skin, touching him and soaking him up like parched land absorbs rain when the drought breaks.

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


ARC Review: Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe

Format: E-bookboomerangbride
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: Standalone
Hero: Marc Olsen
Heroine: Matilda Geoffrey
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 8, 2011
Started On: August 5, 2011
Finished On: August 6, 2011

Boomerang Bride which is set to release on the 8th of this month is my first Fiona Lowe and it definitely is not going to be my last. I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that Carina Press releases some of the best romances all year round as each and every story apart from a very select few have always been immensely satisfying for me and Boomerang Bride is no exception to that rule.

Boomerang Bride kicks off when 34 year old Marc Olsen comes home to Hobin, Wisconsin for his annual Thanksgiving visit and finds himself intrigued enough to investigate the pitiful & homely looking bride toting a huge cake wandering around looking for the groom. Discovering that the Australian bride who has flown all the way from home to surprise her fiancé Barry who seems to have wiped himself off the face of the Earth has got a lot of spunk in her surprises him and entertains him unlike anything else has for the past couple of months during which a restlessness has taken a hold of him.

A brilliant architect based in New York, Marc is fiercely possessive of his independence and has no plans of giving even an inch of it up anytime soon. Tall, blond and blue-eyed with immense good looks, Marc has never had to actively work to win the affections of a woman and nor has he any intention of doing so until the turquoise eyed Australian with her auburn curls tempt him beyond reason to break every rule in his book of “How-to-avoid-needy-women-and-commitment”.

Setting out on her grand adventure, 30 year old Matilda Geoffrey never thought that she would be scammed so thoroughly and be left destitute with no way to return home. Calling on the reserves of her pride and her optimism that something would come through, Matilda grudgingly accepts the much needed help that the disturbing Marc with his Viking good looks offers her. Before Matilda knows it, she is elbow deep in the family issues that Marc so valiantly tries to avoid, taking care of a post-op Lori Marc’s younger sister and her son Kyle who is in his surly teenage phase all the while fighting the immense attraction that she feels for Marc along the way.

Marc doesn’t make it any easier for Matilda  to forget that her knees start to give in every single time he turns on his charm and gives her his intense bedroom stare that just makes her want to lay down and give herself up to his mercy. But the Australian is made of sterner stuff than that, or so she thinks and inevitably succumbs to the fire that courses through her veins whenever Marc takes her in his arms and proceeds to show her that Matilda indeed has a thing for her Viking though no promises are made by either regarding the future of their “relationship”.

In the end, Matilda turns out to be a godsend to Marc and her sister both as her Australian charm and spunk goes a long way in healing hurts that even Marc doesn’t realize exists deep inside of him and makes them all take a second look at the blessings they are left with, even when life has dealt them all with severe blows along the way. But even Matilda’s love is not enough to keep Marc from leaving and making the biggest mistake of his life until he realizes it with just enough time to spare to woo the woman whom he loves more than anything to agree to share her life with him, now and forever.

For me, Boomerang Bride was just sheer magic to lose myself in. From page one Matilda and Marc’s witty banter reeled me in and the slumbering sexual tension that slowly awakens between the two was magic in itself as I reveled in each kiss and touch exchanged between the two until its very explosive conclusion. Marc is a hero who got his priorities mixed up along the way, having had to grow up and take on responsibilities as the man of the house when he had been just a child himself. It is how he slowly finds his way back and realizes the importance of family, love and just how much he has been shunning himself from all that his family offers that was one of the best parts of the story.

Matilda is a heroine I can definitely get on board with. Even when her grand adventure and her dreams of getting married and having the home she never had with her wanderlust parents falls flat on her, that doesn’t stop her from taking one day at a time, of fighting her way back to regain what she has lost – and the best thing about her is how she doesn’t let her dreams and hopes shatter along the way and her optimism was certainly a healing balm that worked its magic over both Marc and Lori.

I found myself enchanted with the secondary romance that took place as much as I was charmed with Matilda and her Viking’s romance. Brian who relentlessly pursues Lori and has waited patiently for a long, long time to claim her as his own unleashes his bad-boy persona to get what he wants and to show Lori that she is all the woman that he needs in the world and that there is no going back for either of them except sharing their lives together till death does them apart. I loved, loved, loved how Brian woos Lori and Oh-God, his gentleness just undid me and made me want to cry buckets of happy tears.

Fiona Lowe can certainly deliver a mean epilogue and I loved how she shows everyones’ lives together a couple of years on. And the fact that his wife’s Australian accent still turns Marc on was one of the highlights of an epilogue that was beautiful and delivered the closure that I needed to let this romance go, though the characters and its sheer charm would remain for a long time in my heart.

Final Verdict: Charming, beautiful and heartwarming, Boomerang Bride is a romance for everyone!

Favorite Quotes

(Matilda) “Don’t drop it.”
The comment reminded him of growing up in a houseful of organizing women. “Are the English always this bossy?”
Surprisingly well-shaped eyebrows shot skyward. “The English are far too polite for their own good. Australians, on the other hand, call a spade a spade.”

(Marc) “Don’t tell me you’ve flown all the way from Australia in a wedding dress?”
She rolled her sea-green eyes and shot him a look that severely questioned his intelligence. “No, Blondie, I haven’t. I put it on at the service station in the last town to surprise Barry.”
Blondie? No one had given him a nickname since high school. He matched her eye roll with one raised brow. “Surprise him or scare him?”
“Hah hah, and I’d been told the Yanks didn’t have a sense of humor.”

Wordlessly, he brought his mouth down gently onto the edge of her mouth, stage one of a planned assault to assuage his desire and reclaim much-needed order back into his life. She tasted of cold and ice—a flavorless combination that numbed his lips and cooled his blood. He instantly relaxed, cocooned in a bubble of knowledge that he’d been right all along about Matilda. She didn’t do it for him.
He brushed his lips across hers well on his way to ending the perfunctory caress, while his mind toyed with a quip about snow to keep things light. Suddenly the ice cracked. Chocolate and chili collided in a rich heady rush, spilling over his lips in a sweet, tangy promise. Fire lit through him and his tongue flicked against pillow softness, desperate to taste more.