The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

A Christmas Cowboy Hero (1)

The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant returns to Texas, where a small-town legend just might find the greatest gift of all in The Christmas Cowboy Hero

’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays—even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything.

Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped raise since she was a teenager. Keeping them in line is no small task while she’s also working toward her college degree. And now that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle at the East Ranch, Abby is at her wits’ end. But there is a silver lining: Clayton East. He believes in second chances, and is willing to give one to her brother this Christmas. Letting beautiful Abby—and the inescapable longing in his heart—off the hook, however, is a whole ’nother story. Could it be that the woman of this local hero’s dreams has been back at home all along?

So when I started prepping my  review of this latest release from Donna Grant, I kept thinking it was a novella. Then I looked and realized this book is over 300 pages in length. So one of the big things I can say about this story is that it moves quickly and it’s definitely a story that sucks the reader in. When I started it, I felt like I was halfway through in no time at all. For me, I love stories that flow this well.

Our story starts out with Clayton East avoiding calls from his mother, back in Texas. Clayton is an ex-Navy SEAL and is working in South Africa, protecting animals from poachers. (Yeah, I was swooning in the first chapter). Then he finally takes the call from his mother, where he learns the East Ranch is in major trouble.

We then meet Abby Harper, where she’s running to the police station because her brother, Brice, has been arrested. The crime? Stealing cattle from the East Ranch. Abby is devastated since she’s been raising her brothers since she was 18. With a mother who ran out on them, Abby and her brothers only have each other. Clayton and Abby immediately have an attraction to each other. Clayton decides to extend a second-chance to Brice, by allowing him to work off his major debt to the ranch, instead of pressing charges against him.

While this is happening, Clayton and his family are also dealing with the realization that their CPA embezzled a significant amount of money from them. Abby works for a different CPA in town as an assistant and starts helping Clayton look through the financial records for the ranch.

“No, Abby Harper, I’m going to pay you what you should’ve been earning all this time. You’re worth it.”

This quote really stuck with me while reading. Several times in the story, Clayton lets Abby know that she’s worth it, and someone else’s loss is his gain. Abby’s brothers realize the sacrifices she’s made for them, even though Abby never mentions it, never complains. So to see Clayton see these things in her, and make her feel valued and appreciated, it was like Abby was able to blossom when she was around the East family. This was especially heartwarming to see because as the reader goes along, you realize how much Abby really has done for her family.

This story might be one of my favorite Christmas stories. You get all of the Christmas activity, but then we see forgiveness, fresh starts, love, and even suspense. This is a Christmas novel that any reader could enjoy because there is a little bit of something for everyone.

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Cuffed by K. Bromberg

Cuffed

Cuffed by K. Bromberg

From the New York Times bestselling author, K. Bromberg, comes a new series about three brothers, the job that calls them, and the women who challenge them.

“I hate you. I never want to see you again.”

Grant Malone is not the reason I moved back to Sunnyville—at least that’s what I tell myself. Yet, those parting words I said to him back in third grade, ring in my ears every time a townsperson brings up one of the Malone boys. I thought time had healed my wounds. I was wrong. Nothing could have prepared me for how I felt when I finally saw him again.

Twenty years does a lot to turn a boy into a man. One who hits all my buttons—sexy, funny, attractive, and a police officer. But Grant is off limits because he knows too much about my past.

But I’m drawn to him. That damn uniform of his doesn’t hurt either. It’ll be my downfall. I know it.

What’s one night of sex going to hurt . . . right?

***

I’ve always loved Emmy Reeves.

That’s why I’m shocked to see her all these years later. The shy girl I once knew is all grown up.

Adventurous and full of life, she owns my heart now, just as much as she did back then. Convincing her of that is a whole different story.

I’ll give her the one night she asks for—like that’s a hardship—but when it comes to letting her walk away after, she has another thing coming. There’s no way in hell I’m letting her go this time without a fight.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2yF3ktD

iBooks:  http://smarturl.it/CuffediBook

B&N:  http://smarturl.it/CuffedBN

GoodReads:  http://bit.ly/2atr83J

K. Bromberg is one amazing author. I’m not new to her work, but I admit I haven’t read The Driven series, which is the series that everyone seems to know her for. But every time I get the opportunity to dive into her new work, I’m always blown away. This author takes topics that are tough, or even unusual in the book world, and the words flow seamlessly.

Emerson Reeves and Grant Malone are best friends in the third grade. But Emerson has a secret, one that Grant tells. Grant never sees Emmy again. Not until she pops up in Sunnyville, 20 years later and calling him “Officer Sexy”. But that’s before she realizes who he is.

One of my favorite aspects of both Grant and Emmy is that they are both doing their own thing before they run into each other. Neither one is looking for anything serious and neither one is lacking a slumber party partner. We see male characters like this frequently, but we don’t always see the female characters in this way and I appreciated that.

Emmy is one tough woman. She is this skydiving, stubborn, intelligent, sexy woman. This character is where we see the author shine. Emmy has been through a lot through her life; and while parts of her past may haunt her, it never defines her. Emmy is living her life, and she is willing to leap.

About Damn Time Teaser

Grant Malone is something else. Lord, I am happy my town does not have their own Grant Malone on the police force because the ladies would be committing crimes to get into his handcuffs. He’s the son of the former Police Chief of Sunnyville and he has aspirations for himself. He’s handsome and he knows it. He’s also a good man. He had his eyes on Emmy before he knew it and now that he’s an adult, he won’t let her go this time.

This story is fantastically written and readers experience everything from humor to heartbreak and back again. The author tackles tough situations with her characters but the story never becomes dark nor does it diminish the realities that Emmy or Grant are experiencing.

This book isn’t just about the past, it’s not just about second-chances, it’s not just about fun with handcuffs. It’s so much more than any of these tropes and it goes beyond humor, heartbreak, or redemption. A must-read for anyone who wants a story that will truly pull at your heart, all while making you cheer for the characters.

With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

WithThisRing

With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

A wallflower determined to fulfill a dying promise, the rogue she jilted years ago, and an orphaned baby are all brought together amidst the magic of Christmas in this new novella from Manda Collins.

Miss Merry Parks makes a deathbed promise to a schoolfriend that her infant daughter will be taken to her absent father. There’s only one problem—to find the baby’s father, she’ll have to consult his cousin, Viscount Wrotham, the man she jilted five years ago. The man she couldn’t forget.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, is stunned to find Merry Parks—looking more lovely than ever–on his doorstep with an infant in her arms. His shock soon turns to dismay when he learns his own cousin William is the man who abandoned his wife and child. As head of the family he’s duty bound to see right is done. But he can’t let this opportunity pass. He’ll take Merry and the baby to his cousin, but he’ll woo her back in the process.

Merry agrees to travel with Alex and the baby to Wrotham Castle, where the entire Ponsonby family has gathered for Christmas, but her plans to see the baby settled then leave are ruined by a snowstorm. After five years apart, Alex and Merry will spend the week getting reacquainted. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the holiday, or the magic of the season, but there could be something else in the air this Yuletide…A Christmas Reunion.

I’ve never read Manda Collins before. In all honesty, I don’t usually read historical romance either. Once in awhile I will, but it’s typically an author I’m familiar with and know that I already enjoy their writing. This book is opening my eyes to new horizons though.

This book is the definition of what a holiday romance should be. There’s love, second chances, snow, a sleigh ride, some family drama, Christmas. I have enjoyed other holiday books but a lot have felt forced or like it didn’t capture the magic of the season. This book captured that magic for me.

Merry’s friend, Charlotte, delivers a baby but dies after from complications. Merry’s final promise to her friend is to find the father of the baby and ensure she has a family to care for her. Unfortunately for Merry, she needs help from the very man she once was betrothed to, Alex Ponsonby.

A few of the things I really enjoyed about this book were both Merry and Alex’s characters. Even though they are both proper and appropriate to the time period, both are more than willing to stand up for what is right. Merry is nervous to have to turn to Alex for help, but she is selfless and does the right thing for the baby. Alex, who is still reeling from the hurt of Merry leaving him, puts aside his own resentment and vows to help Merry and the baby.

Another aspect I loved about this story is that while it’s definitely historical, there are moments of humor and a few twists. One twist is Alex’s Grandmother. She is a total witch. Then there is a slight touch of mystery with one of the holiday guests. It just the right amount of extra little elements to keep you interested but it didn’t overpower the actual fact that this is a holiday romance.

Historical Romance fans: this is the holiday romance for you. To be honest, I feel like the majority of readers could enjoy this book. It’s not overly heavy, the magic of Christmas remains throughout the story, and the great romance between Alex and Merry is the icing on the cake.

 

 

Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

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Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

The best gift of all is the one you share with someone else. . .

From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn’t a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry—just a few no-strings dates while he was in town.

Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously—how could she not, when she’s rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he’s just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love…for real. And Deacon can’t help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it’s the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who’s become Deacon’s favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?

Macy Frost might be a descendant of Cupid. But even if she’s not, she’s one heck of a matchmaker. And that skill is about to come in handy with Deacon, a newcomer who shows up unexpectedly.

The biggest component of this book that I found myself loving was how the story came to life. The descriptions were so vivid and I could easily see Macy and her cat, Oscar, walking to work. I could see her office, her home and it’s piazza. I could see Fran, Deacon, George, etc. This author does a wonderful job with the imagery. I would read this author again for that piece alone.

In complete fairness, Macy was a little hard for me to like. She sort of rode the line between society girl and a little slice of wild child, and because of this, some of her sweetness came off a little too proper to me. One scene that comes to my mind is that she has only known Deacon a day or two and she’s fantasizing about him making love to her. I was fine with that scene, but Macy isn’t that old, and the wording just felt a little awkward. With that said, I felt like a lot of her actions and words did make sense for her character. It just wasn’t a personal favorite of mine.

This story is told in two viewpoints, alternating between Macy and Deacon. I enjoyed Deacon’s chapters a lot more. I think he was a bit more honest, his tone seemed more realistic to me. Deacon isn’t interested in finding a soulmate. He needs Macy’s help to find a few dates to appease the aunt who cared for him growing up. Nothing more. But Macy is convinced that she can find the person he’s meant to be with. But what if that person is Macy?

The other nice aspect of this story is that you get a full-length book. Amazon has this listed as 346 pages, which is significantly longer than other holiday books I’ve come across. So I appreciated that the story wasn’t rushed and I got to really savor the story.

I think this book is perfect for anyone who loves holiday romance but also for someone looking for a lighter, cheerful read. The story comes to life and you feel like you’re in Charleston as you read along.

 

Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery

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Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery

From the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Susan Mallery, read the second irresistible installment in the Happily Inc series!

Mathias Mitchell’s easy smile hides a world of hurt. After the worst kind of family betrayal, he moves to Happily Inc., California—the wedding destination town supplies a steady stream of bridesmaids, perfect for his “no promises, no pain” lifestyle. Yet he can’t stop watching for his beautiful, elusive neighbor on the animal preserve behind their homes.

Gamekeeper Carol Lund knows she’s not special enough to attract an alpha male like Mathias, so his offer to help her adopt a herd for her lonely giraffe is surprising—and his determined seduction, even more so. But just as she finally welcomes him into her bed, his careless actions crush her heart. Will she give him a second chance to prove she’ll always come first in his heart?

Don’t miss You Say It First, the first book in the Happily Inc series. 

I’ve been a fan of Susan Mallery for awhile now and I admit freely that I miss the character’s from her Fool’s Gold series. Well, if you also feel that way, then the wedding destination town of Happily Inc is for you.

The biggest thing I enjoyed about this book, and the author itself, is that for the most part, things are kept light. Yes, there are some conflicts but for the most part, I always feel like this author keeps me pulled into this fantastical small town. Are some pieces a little unrealistic? Yes, but I also think that makes it fun. I mean, who wouldn’t love a pub called “The Board Room” where you play board games while having drinks? I know I would love that.

Another thing that was different about this book was the fact that we have almost simultaneous love stories happening. We have Carol and Mathias, but then we also have Violet and Ulrich. I enjoyed getting a little more story in this book. I haven’t read every Susan Mallery book but I don’t feel like I’ve seen her have two love stories in one. So I enjoyed that aspect.

With that said, there were a few things I did struggle with. This is only the second book in the series and there were a lot of characters floating around. By the time I got to the 30% mark, I had met almost thirteen different people in this town. Combined with the fact that you have two love stories happening, it was a bit much at times. There was almost a point where you’d miss someone, and then be trying to figure out where you met them before. It wasn’t a crisis to me, but I will say it made the book not flow as well for me because I kept trying to keep track of everyone.

If you are already a fan of Susan Mallery, and in particular, if you were a fan of her Fool’s Gold series, you will love Happily Inc. We even get a couple tiny mentions of Fool’s Gold in this book. This book is light and I always enjoy a trip to one of the author’s fantastical small town worlds.

Perfectly Undone by Jamie Raintree

PerfectlyUndone

Perfectly Undone by Jamie Raintree

A stirring debut rife with intoxicating family secrets and dazzling insights into our most basic desires, Perfectly Undone offers an intimate, uncensored exploration of forgiveness and fidelity, in all its forms, as a young doctor struggles with her sister’s death—and the role she played in it—while her own picture-perfect relationship and promising career unravel around her.

Yes is such a little word…

Dr. Dylan Michels has worked hard for a perfect life, so when her longtime boyfriend, Cooper, gets down on one knee, it should be the most perfect moment of all. Then why does she say no?

For too many years, Dylan’s been living for her sister, who never got the chance to grow up. But her attempt to be the perfect daughter, perfect partner and perfect doctor hasn’t been enough to silence the haunting guilt Dylan feels over her sister’s death—and the role no one knows she played in it.

Now Dylan must face her past if she and Cooper stand a chance at a the courage to define her own happiness before her life becomes perfectly undone?

Set among the breezy days of a sultry Portland summer, Perfectly Undone is a deeply moving novel of family secrets, forgiveness and finding yourself in the most surprising of places.

Sometimes you have to lose your way to find yourself

As I start my review, I still can’t believe this book is from a debut author. This book has vivid imagery, but the author is skilled enough to know when to pull back and when to push the reader. The story is beautiful, painful, and yet manages to ride the line between the two.

Our story starts with Dylan and her boyfriend, Cooper. Both are successful doctors, and Cooper and Dylan have been together for nine years. Cooper is ready for the next steps but Dylan is just sort of existing. She isn’t unhappy, she isn’t happy. She isn’t really anything. Personally, Dylan’s character worked for me. I understood her immediately and I feel like a lot of other women will too.

Normally, books with the main character having some mysterious secret really irk me. Mainly because when the secret comes out, it’s never as big as the story built it up to be. With this story, however, Dylan’s secret regarding her sister’s death seems less about the secret as the story goes on and more about forgiveness, of others and oneself. I appreciated this because it made the secrets more dynamic and more about moving on and how we heal versus being about a big confession and then the characters just automatically feel better.

This book was truly wonderful. It made me think, it made me cry, and this author definitely made me open my heart while reading this book. The way ideas and feelings are presented caused me to open my eyes a bit and really see things from a different perspective. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who wants real characters with real life problems, and anyone who believes in the power of forgiveness and love.

 

Holiday Spice by Samantha Chase

HolidaySpiceHoliday Spice by Samantha Chase

As soon as the mistletoe goes up, that’s when life gets really interesting

Darcy Shaughnessy has gotten used to her overbearing brothers chasing away any man she wants to date. But a chance meeting with a brooding – and deliciously handsome – artist is about to make this holiday season one to remember.

There’s only one thing Benjamin Tanner loves more than his woodcarving: solitude. Then he gets snowed in with Darcy in his cozy cabin in the woods, and their heated feelings begin to melt the icy barrier between them.

With Ben’s need for privacy and Darcy’s love of family and social life, will opposites still attract once the snow clears and the holiday festivities come to an end?

The Shaughnessy Brothers Series:
Made for Us (Book 1)
Love Walks In (Book 2)
Always My Girl (Book 3)
This Is Our Song (Book 4)
A Sky Full of Stars (Book 5)
Holiday Spice (Book 6)

This book has the perfect release date. Weird thing to notice, right? I haven’t ever felt like a book came at just the right time, but this book does.

A big reason for that is Darcy and Ben meet well before Christmas, in October. For me, this added some build up to the holiday season and made their story more than a holiday love story.

Darcy is the youngest in the Shaughnessy family and the only girl. I felt the author really captured Darcy’s personality perfectly. I say this because at times, I almost felt like she was a little bit bratty, but then I would be able to align with her on her brothers and dad not entirely understanding her. In past books in the Shaughnessy Brother Series, we always see everyone going overboard with Darcy and you can really understand how she feels sort of trapped because it’s like she can’t ever get on her own two feet.

Ben, on the other hand, has his own family issues to deal with. His parents died two weeks before Christmas, several years back. Since then, Ben doesn’t do the holidays. He doesn’t do family, he doesn’t do traveling. Ben’s preference is solitude, which puts him in direct contrast with Darcy, who is social all the time.

Darcy mentions several times that Ben is a man, not a frat boy. I can’t really pinpoint why, but I loved that the author chose to have Darcy make this distinction. Maybe it’s because as young women, so often we choose someone who might not be the best fit just because someone sort of fits with us. Seeing Darcy realize this is pivotal in a few ways. Throughout the story, we see Darcy trying desperately to make her own way, but not having any luck. With Ben, you can see Darcy’s eyes opening up to other possibilities. This includes her career.

This story seems a little bit deeper than some of the books in the series. Each sibling has truths they have to accept and learn from, but Darcy’s seemed a bit more intense. This was appreciated because Darcy and her story has been a bit of a buildup throughout the whole series. There is also a scene where Owen dishes out some advice to Darcy, and while it might not be easy to hear, it’s a truth that Darcy needs to learn.

This book is the last in the Shaughnessy Brothers Series and I loved the ending. This story summed up the entire series beautifully and I admit that I shed a few tears. The author has created this incredible world with the Shaughnessy family and while I’m sad to see it come to an end, the ending is one the Shaughnessy family would have loved themselves.