Tag: romance

Book Review: Second Chance at Two Love Lane, by Kieran Kramer

second chance
Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Title:   Second Chance at Two Love Lane
Author:  Kieran Kramer
Genre:   Romance
Rating:   3 out of 5

Ten years ago, Ella and Hank were both struggling actors with big dreams. Instead of taking a big role, Ella refused as a show of support for Hank. Instead of a proposal, she got dumped when Hank got a big break, something Hank has always regretted. He still loves Ella, but she has a new life.

She acts in community theater, but she’s also a matchmaker at Two Love Lane, doing her best to solve the problems of her clients’ love lives and see them happy. When Hank comes to town to shoot a leading role, he gets Ella a bit part, and wants to make things work between them. But Ella knows he’ll just leave her behind again when fame’s demands take him out of Charleston.

I didn’t realize this is the third book in the series, but they’re written as standalones, so that doesn’t affect anything. For me, the characters weren’t very fleshed out, and some of them came across more as caricatures than anything. Very one dimensional. The entire plot felt very bare-bones and too easy, and one of the subplots seemed rather pointless and did not add anything to the story.

Kieran Kramer is a USA Today best-selling author and has an MFA from The College of Charleston. Second Chance at Two Love Lane is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Advertisements

Book Review: Love in Catalina Cove, by Brenda Jackson

love in catalina cove
Image belongs to Harlequin.

Title:   Love in Catalina Cove
Author:   Brenda Jackson
Genre:   Romance, fiction
Rating:   4.5 out of 5

Vashti left Catalina Cove Louisiana over ten years ago after a teen pregnancy left her heartbroken and childless. She never had any desire to return. But with the death of her aunt and an inheritance of her beloved B & B, Vashti returns. And immediately gets a speeding ticket from Sheriff Sawyer Grisham.

Some things never change in Catalina Cove, but Vashti discovers that some things have changed. Despite that, she’s determined to leave the cove behind her for good. Until fate—and an unexpected benefactor—intervene, and she finds herself restoring the old B & B to its former glory, so she can run it.

When the biggest secret of her life comes to light, Vashi discovers that thing she thought to be true aren’t—and unimaginable change lies in their wake. And Sawyer and his daughter are right there beside her. Will she be able to face her new future, or will the past continue to haunt her?

I probably picked this up because it’s set near New Orleans, a city I love. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read any of Brenda Jackson’s books before, but I enjoyed this book a lot, and I’m interested to read the rest of the Catalina Cove series. Vashti was an interesting character, but I liked how honest she was with herself. I did see the “big” surprises coming, but they were handled very well, regardless, and I read this straight through in one sitting.

Brenda Jackson is a bestselling and award-winning author. Love in Catalina Cove is her newest novel, the first in the Catalina Cove series.

(Galley provided by Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Fromage à Trois by Victoria Brownlee

Image belongs to Amberjack Publishing.

Title: Fromage à Trois
Author: Victoria Brownlee
Genre: Fiction, romance
Rating: 4 out of 5

Ella and Peter have been together 8 years and she’s expecting a proposal. What she gets is Peter telling her he’s off to find himself—and he never intended to marry her. With her heart broken, Ella decides to move to Paris for a year. Her French is questionable, and she doesn’t know a soul there, but she knows a change will do her good.

In Paris, Ella wanders into a fromagerie—a cheese shop—and ends up in a bet with Serge, the owner, that she can’t eat 365 kinds of cheese in a year. In between washing dishes at a coffee shop, she explores the city, works on her French, and meets a dashing French man.

Ella is torn between the two sides of life and Paris, and she’ll have to decide if her dreams will ever live up to reality.

This was a fun read. I might have wanted to slap Ella couple of times, but her adventures made me laugh. I can’t imagine just moving to another country for a year, so I admire that, and the cheese made me drool!

Victoria Brownlee is a writer and editor from Australia who now lives in France. Fromage à Trois is her first published novel.

(Galley provided by Amberjack Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Royal Runaway, by Lindsay Emory

RoyalRunaway_4-4
Image belongs  to Gallery Books.

Title:   The Royal Runaway
Author:   Lindsay Emory
Genre:   Romance
Rating:   4 out of 5

Thea just wants a night out on the town without the pressures of her job breathing down her neck. But, as Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria of Drieden of the Royal House Laurent, a no-stress night out of the castle isn’t really an option. Except Thea’s been sneaking out of the castle for years.

It’s been a rough four months since Thea was left at the altar. She was exiled until the rumors died down, but now she’s back on princess duty:  attending a myriad of events, all with her perfect princess smile firmly in place.

But on her secret night out, she meets Nick, a sexy Scottish stranger, and decides it might be time to stick her toe in the waters of romance again. Until Nick turns out to be a British spy in search of his brother—Thea’s ex-fiancé—and intent on uncovering the conspiracy behind his disappearance. Even if it goes all the way to the crown.

I thoroughly enjoyed this snarky, page-turning read. Thea’s rebelliousness was fun to read, and she’s down-to-earth for a princess (not that I know any). Nick was a perfect foil for her attitude and adventuresome spirit, and their banter made this even more fun to read.

Lindsay Emory is a Texan and an author. The Royal Runaway is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Season of Wonder, by RaeAnne Thayne

seasonofwonder
Image belongs to Harlequin.

Title:  Season of Wonder
Author:  RaeAnne Thayne
Genre:   Romance
Rating:   4 out of 5

Dani Capelli desperately needed a chance to start over, so she took the job as a veterinarian at a clinic in the small town of Haven Point. With her two daughters, she leaves behind New York and the secrets of her past life. She just wants to make a safe home with no trouble.

But her oldest daughter has other ideas, and soon the deputy sheriff is knocking at her door. Dani didn’t want trouble, but she never really imagined trouble being quite so good looking, either.

Ruben never thought he’d fall for a big-city girl, but he’s attracted to Dani and her daughters. He wants to show them his family traditions to prove that life in Haven Point is all they need. No matter what secrets Dani is hiding.

Season of Wonder is a standard small-town romance. The writing is solid, and the characters are believable and likable. This is the first novel I’ve read by this author, but I would read more.

Raeanne Thayne is an award-winning author. Season of Wonder is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review Trouble Brewing, by Suzanne Baltsar

trouble brewing
Image belongs to Gallery Books.

Title:   Trouble Brewing
Author:   Suzanne Baltsar
Genre:   Contemporary romance
Rating:   4 out of 5

Piper Williams is an anomaly, a woman brewer sticks out in the small craft brew community in Minnesota. But Piper is determined to make it. She wants her beer to be a success—and she’d like to own her own brewery instead of using her garage.

Blake Reed owns the newest gastropub in town, and he’s agreed to stock four of Piper’s brews, so clearly dating him is out of the question. No matter how attractive Piper finds him.

But their attraction is hard to deny, so Piper agrees to date Blake—if two other pubs will stock her beer. She’s on the verge of realizing all her dreams, and she can’t let a man get in the way. Then Piper gest a dream offer—one that will take her away from Minnesota, and Blake. Is living her dreams worth losing Blake?

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The snark between Piper and Blake is fantastic, and the secondary characters are just as enjoyable as they are. I had to resist the impulse to go track down some craft beer as well…

Suzanne Baltsar lives and writes in Pennsylvania. Trouble Brewing is her debut novel.

(Galley provided by Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Matrimonial Advertisement, by Mimi Matthews

The Matrimonial Advertisement

The Matrimonial Advertisement
Image belongs to Perfectly Proper Press.

Website:  Title:   The Matrimonial Advertisement
Author:   Mimi Matthews
Genre:   Historical romance
Rating:   4 out of 5

Ex-army captain Justin Thornhill needs someone to make his life a little bit easier. Orphaned and growing up in poverty, he’s spent 20 years paying back old grievances, making his fortune, and getting tortured in an Indian prison. Now he just wants to get along with the local villagers and have someone run his isolated household. A matrimonial advertisement seems the perfect way to accomplish that.

Helena will do anything to escape London, even traveling to the back of beyond and marrying a stranger. It’s a small price to pay for her freedom. She even starts to think she and Justin can be happy together. But when secrets from her past show up, will Justin keep her safe? Or will he listen to his own fears and walk away?

Occasionally I’ll read a book marketed as romance. Not often. And only if the premise and characters sound fairly unique and promising. Which is why I picked this one up. I’m glad I did. Helena’s secret was perfectly horrible and completely believable, given what I know about her era, but I loved her strength. Justin is deeply wounded, but so willing to help everyone around him. I loved how their relationship grew and developed.

Mimi Matthews writes about 19th century English history, historical romances, and she’s a lawyer. The Matrimonial Advertisement is her newest book.

(Galley provided by Perfectly Proper Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Cottage by the Sea, by Debbie Macomber

cottage by the sea
Image belongs to Ballantine Books.

Title:   Cottage by the Sea
Author:   Debbie Macomber
Genre:   Romance, fiction
Rating:   4.5 out of 5

To recover from a horrible tragedy, Annie moves to Oceanside, the seaside town where her family vacationed when she was a teenager. She loves the small town and the people who live there.

Like Keaton, the gentle, almost-silent man who always helps her out. Mellie, her landlord and next-door-neighbor, who never sets foot outside her door and is cranky and angry. And Britt, the girl at the coffee shop who Annie suspects hides a terrible secret.

Annie feels at home in Oceanside and falls in love with Keaton, but when she’s offered the chance of a lifetime, she must choose between her dreams and her healing heart.

Debbie Macomber is a solid, consistent writer who always delivers a compelling plot, great characters, and interesting conflict. Cottage by the Sea is no exception. Annie suffered a horrific tragedy, and grief almost overwhelms her until she returns to the scene of her younger happiness. Keaton is a fascinating character, and I loved reading about him.

Debbie Macomber is an international best-selling author. Cottage by the Sea is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Ballantine in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Love Letter, by Rachel Hauck

Love-Letter_Cover-Comp

Title: The Love Letter
Author: Rachel Hauck
Genre: Historical, Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5

Chloe Daschle is known in Hollywood for being the actress to play a convincing death scene. But she’s tired of dying. She wants to live. When she hears about the role of Esther Kingsley in a historical film, she decides to go for it.

The script is based on a one-page love letter written by screenwriter Jesse Gates’ ancestor, Hamilton Lightfoot, but Jesse would far rather write about romance than try his hand at it…again. When Jesse and Chloe meet, they both must re-think their views on love—and their pasts.

During the Revolutionary War, Esther longs to be with Hamilton, her friend from childhood, but Hamilton is torn between his love of peace, and his desire to fight for the land he calls home. He’s afraid his thirst for revenge over the death of his father will motivate him—not the cause he wishes to fight for. And Esther must choose between her beloved father, a British Loyalist, and the rebel Hamilton, the man she loves.

I expected a light romance in The Love Letter but got so much more than that. Chloe is an intriguing character: she grew up in Hollywood and has a past as one of those behaving-badly starlets caught on tape to live down. She’s changed, and now she wants so much more out of life, but Hollywood has her in a tidy box she’s not sure she can escape. Until she meets Jesse, who does things his way, not buckling to threats or even friendly advice. With Esther and Hamilton’s story woven throughout, The Love Letter was an engrossing, lovely read.

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning and best-selling author. Her newest novel is The Love Letter.

(Galley provided by Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: How to Walk Away, by Katherine Center

how to walk away
Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Title:   How to Walk Away
Author:   Katherine Center
Genre:   Fiction, romance
Rating:   4 out of 5

Margaret Jacobsen was on the cusp of everything she’d dreamed of:  her dream job, a fiancé who’s absolutely perfect, and her wonderful life about to start. Until a plane crash leaves her burned and paralyzed, and that wonderful life disappears from view.

In the hospital, Margaret has six weeks of healing time; after that, she must go home, and the optimal healing time has passed, meaning if she can’t walk by then, she never will. So Margaret throws herself into her efforts to heal, with the help of a surly physical therapist who pushes her to do her best—and whose bad attitude is a challenge.

Along the way, Margaret must deal with heartbreak, family secrets, and the realization that life sometimes doesn’t turn out like we plan—and that’s okay.

I enjoyed this so much that I read it straight through in just a couple of hours! Margaret is an inspiring person I’d love to hang out with. What she goes through after the plane crash is captured in blistering detail, and I can relate to the mental reevaluation that’s necessary when you wake up in the hospital with your whole world changed. If you like smart fiction with a bit of romance, a heroine whose determination will inspire you, and a quirky family, this book is for you!

Katherine Center lives and writes in Houston, Texas. How to Walk Away is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)