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What I Read: September & October 2015

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September was a super busy month in our house. We got a lot done and accomplished and I pretty much spent the month trying to adjust to school schedule after my summer of sloth-dom. The struggle is real, y’all. I did read a few great books though. I continued to borrow books from the library and it’s been really weird to have paper books in my hands again after reading exclusively on my Kindle for so long. But these are books that I otherwise would not have been able to read for quite awhile because they are expensive for the Kindle and I refuse to pay more than a few dollars for a book for my Kindle. I have a bunch of books on hold that I’m waiting to read from the library and I do still have a TON on my Kindle waiting for me to read. Here are some great reads from September.

1. Taken by Dee Henderson– Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She has enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time. When Shannon contacts private investigator and former cop Matthew Dane to help her navigate her reentry into society, she quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. For one thing, her brother is the leading candidate in the race for Illinois governor, and news of her escape will create a media frenzy. For another, the ransom her family reportedly paid years earlier appears to have been a scam; no one knows what happened to the money. And then there’s the fact that Shannon’s escape involved faking her own death. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her. If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her–even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.

I love Dee Henderson and I will read anything she writes. This book was really good. It was pretty long and it took me about a week to read it because I had to really pay attention so I didn’t miss anything. I enjoyed the characters and their interactions with others. I can’t wait for her next book!

2. Friction by Sandra Brown– A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?

This book was really good. It had romance, mystery, action, and suspense. Basically all the things I love in a book. The mystery was well done and I didn’t figure it out until near the end. I liked both the main characters and the supporting characters really added to the story instead of distracting from it. I’ve been a Sandra Brown fan for many years and this reminds me of some of her earlier novels. 

 3. Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon– After seven years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant has hit a wall. Ready for a kinder, gentler life, she takes a job as a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes the resources of her department. A call for assistance brings detective Mac McGregor, an ex-Navy SEAL, to her doorstep. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn’t want this dead person telling any tales–and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried. 

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were interesting and the story line was great. Even though you know early on who the “bad guy” is it doesn’t distract from the story. If anything, it enhances it because you’re inside the head and thoughts of the killer. I love that! I enjoyed reading how everything came together and wrapped up. It was really realistic and I love that. This is the first in a new series and I can’t wait to read the rest. 

4. Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting– An emotional love story that follows the touch-and-go relationship of Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts. As Hayden and Tenley navigate their newfound but slightly unstable relationship, they want to trust each other, but Hayden is hiding a dark and shameful past that he doesn’t ever want Tenley to find out about. And Tenley has secrets of her own that could make Hayden run away forever. When Tenley asks Hayden to put a beautifully elaborate tattoo across her back, the two form what they thought was an unshakeable bond. But when Tenley’s past shows up on her doorstep, will Hayden stand by her side…or run?

I really enjoyed this book. It made me feel the emotions of the main characters and I really felt connected to the story. Their actions and reactions made sense and fit with the story. Tenley made my heart hurt in the first part of the story and it was great to watch her come out of her shell and blossom. The secondary characters in the story added considerably to my enjoyment of the story- there presence was just enough to add to the story without detracting from it.

5. Inked Armour by Helena Hunting– In the wake of losing Tenley Page, tattooist Hayden Stryker’s tumultuous past is haunting him. Plagued by nightmares about the murder of his parents, Hayden reaches out again to Tenley. Having run from the man she doesn’t believe she deserves, Tenley finally lays her guilt to rest. Despite their intense physical attraction, Hayden and Tenley struggle to repair their fragile emotional connection. As Hayden gets closer to the truth, he must find a way to reconcile his guilt over his parents’ death in order to keep the woman who finally cracked his armor, and found her way into his heart.

This is book 2 that follows Clipped Wings. It was good, not as good as the first but I needed to see how their story would end. I really liked Tenley in this story- she had backbone and fire and it was so nice to see. Hayden was a little more closed off in the second story but it fit well within the storyline. You should definitely read Clipped Wings before you read Inked Armour, they are not independent stories. 

6. Together With You by Victoria Bylin– When a Lost Child warning blasts over the mall’s PA system, toy store manager Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about five-year-old Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that Penny suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly’s own past suddenly confronts her. Never again will Carly become involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny–and Penny’s handsome father–tugs at Carly’s heart. Before she has time to think it through, she agrees to a much-needed job as a nanny. Dr. Ryan Tremaine knows he messed up his life. But this summer he will redeem himself. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan is dedicated to his sink-or-swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruiting Carly Mason to be Penny’s nanny. Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?

I really enjoyed this book. It was not heavy on the romance, the relationship between Carly and Ryan was slow building but heartfelt. I could feel Ryan’s frustration with the circumstances as well as his shame at the part he played in the destruction of his marriage and his daughter’s diagnosis’. Carly had her own issues and it was nice to see her work through them without running away. She was a mature adult and there was no unnecessary drama. The only character I really disliked was the aunt. She got on my nerves and I wish her part in the story had been resolved differently. Like with a untimely fall off a cliff. But that’s just me. We fostered more than one child with FAS and FAE. It’s a hard road and a very challenging condition to deal with. The book portrayed it very accurately and honestly, there wasn’t any sugar coating. 

October was another busy month. Since I did my 31 Days of Simple & Delicious Dinners for Busy Moms series every day in October I decided to just combine my September and October reads together into one post. So here are some great reads from October.

1. Seducing Lauren by Kristen Proby– Now that his best friend, Josh, has happily settled down with his true love on a Montana ranch, small-town lawyer Ty Sullivan starts thinking that maybe single life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And when Lauren Cunningham’s no-good ex-husband comes after her for an unexpected trust fund, Ty steps in to protect her. But soon he can’t help but think of her as more than a client. Lauren’s in no mood to jump into another relationship, so how can Ty convince her that her mistake wasn’t getting married, but marrying the wrong guy?

I just love this author. I always seem to connect with her stories and her characters. This is book 2 in her Love Under the Big Sky series and it was even better than book 1. I also read book 2, see below.

2. Falling For Jillian by Kristen Proby– Jillian thought she was a city girl through and through; the fast cars, high fashion, and glamour—she loves it all. But when her ex tells her he’s having a baby with his new wife (after Jillian struggled for years to get pregnant), she hightails it back to Montana to cry on the shoulder of her best friend, Cara. But in truth, Jillian would rather be comforted by someone else…specifically Zach, Cara’s brother-in-law. Zach is a veteran of the Iraq War who came back to the family ranch to raise his preteen son after the boy’s mother took off. He’s struggling to re-establish a relationship with his son, and warding off the demons of PTSD, which still haunt him. The last thing he needs is bold, brassy Jillian…but why can’t he keep his hands off her?

This is book 3 and it’s every bit as good as the other books in the series. I hope here will be a book 4! I was so happy to see Zach get his own book. I could really feel these characters and what they went through, which always makes a book great for me. 

3. If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins– Wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate understands the happily-ever-after business, yet somehow she’s still involved in her ex-husband’s life. In fact, Owen’s new wife may—inexplicably—be Jenny’s new best friend. Sensing this, well, relationship isn’t helping her move on, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she’ll be able to bask in her sister Rachel’s picture-perfect family life…and hopefully make one of her own. Her timing couldn’t be more perfect, since Rachel will need her younger sister. Her idyllic marriage has just fallen to pieces in spectacular fashion after she discovers her husband sexting with one of his colleagues. Second chances aren’t in Rachel’s nature, but the desire for an intact family has her rethinking her stance on adultery, much to Jenny’s surprise. Rachel points to their parents’ “perfect” marriage as a shining example, but to protect her sister Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship­—and reveal a secret about their family she’s been keeping since childhood. During this summer of secrets and lies, temptation and revelation, Jenny and Rachel will rely on each other to find the humor in their personal catastrophes, the joy in their triumphs…and the strength to keep hanging on.

Oh this book. It made me feel all the feels while reading it. I loved the contradiction between the two sisters’ stories and how they navigated through each others’ issues. I could see myself and my sister in them and I loved that. I was also extremely happy with how the story ended. I highly recommend this one. It’s not a light fluffy read, it has substance and is emotionally charged. 

4. Dark Ghost by Christine Feehan– Monk. Bounty hunter. Vampire slayer. Andre Boroi has spent centuries battling the undead, holding out against the dark with honor. But now, gravely wounded by master vampire Costin Popescu, Andre will be easy to track—his spilled blood marking the killing trail for Popescu and his hungry band of underlings. Andre’s only chance is to disappear into the gray mist of the Carpathians. To wait. To hope. In the mountains in search of a precious crystal, geologist Teagan Joanes suddenly finds herself hunted by those she once trusted. Then she comes across the warrior—wounded, wanting and irresistible. Andre has been craving her for an eternity: his lifemate. Her warmth envelops him. Her scent pulsates. And with every beat of her heart, Teagan surrenders to a passion she can’t possibly comprehend. Now they are bound by destiny, but is it enough to keep them safe from a stalking, relentless darkness that threatens to swallow them alive?

It’s no secret that I adore Christine Feehan. This book was really good. The last couple of books have not been my favorites in the Dark Carpathian series but this one was great. I enjoyed the interactions between Andre and Teagan. I liked that she was not a delicate flower but she stood her ground. I wish there had been more of the other Carpathians in the story but it was still a really good addition to the series. 

5. Devoted in Death by J.D. Robb– When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a body in a downtown Manhattan alleyway, the victim’s injuries are so extensive that she almost misses the clue. Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart—and initials inside reading E and D . . .Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl, had been separated while Darryl was a guest of the state of Oklahoma, and now that his sentence has been served they don’t ever intend to part again. Ella-Loo’s got dreams. And Darryl believes there are better ways to achieve your dreams than working for them. So they hit the road, and when their car breaks down in Arkansas, they make plans to take someone else’s. Then things get messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again. As they cross state lines on their way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they will leave a trail of evil behind them. But now they’ve landed in the jurisdiction of Lieutenant Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And with her husband, Roarke, at her side, she has every intention of hunting them down and giving them what they truly deserve.

Oh, J.D. Robb. How I love your books. There has yet to be a book in this series that I have not loved. I just love the characters, their interactions, the futuristic setting, the mystery…I love it all. 

6. When You Dare by Lori Foster– Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he’ll take the mission he’s offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who’d had her kidnapped—and for the first time, Dare’s tempted to combine work with pleasure. Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she’s uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful, estranged father? The ex-fiancé who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all.

I really enjoyed this book. It was full of mystery, action, romance, and the heroine was not a whiny, wimpy, victim. I hate those. She was strong and she didn’t back down. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in this series. 

7. Protecting Melody by Susan Stoker– Tex gave everything he had to his country and his SEAL teammates. When an IED took away part of his leg, and his career, he devoted himself to his country and friends from behind his computer. He’s always been the man that can find anyone, that uses his computer skills, legal and illegal, to keep people safe and to put the bad guys behind bars. But behind a computer is a lonely place to be. While he might put on a good front, Tex can’t help but feel he’s missing out when he sees how happy his friends are. But when the woman he’s been talking to online for the last six months suddenly disappears without a word, Tex knows it’s time to step up, and use his skills for himself this time.

This is book 7 in the series and it was fantastic. Every book in this series has been great and I highly recommend all of them. But do read them in order because even though they are each standalone stories the characters show up in each story so you’ll enjoy it much more in order. I loved that Melody was strong and independent and smart. She wasn’t a sniveling coward waiting for a hero. It was a refreshing change from a lot of romantic suspense books.

8. Justice for Mackenzie by Susan Stoker– A member of the famed Texas Rangers, Daxton Chambers has dealt with more than his share of depravity. But the Lone Star Reaper takes evil to a whole new level, kidnapping and burying women alive. It’s Dax’s job to help keep San Antonio safe, but even with help from friends in various law enforcement agencies, the killer remains two steps ahead. It’s hardly the ideal time for a relationship, but Mackenzie Morgan is too luscious to resist. Dax wants her–which makes her an instant target for his newfound enemy. When the Reaper gets personal, it will take every ounce of Daxton’s considerable skill and training to keep Mack alive.

This is book 1 in a new series from the same author above. I loved loved loved Mackenize. She was amazing- funny, smart, and strong. The interactions between Mackenzie and Dax were so funny and they were a great match. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series!

9. Songbird by Sydney Logan– Callie Franklin doesn’t do one night stands. Ever. She’s far too responsible and focused on her career to ever let herself give in to temptation. But, on the eve of her best friend’s wedding, she meets that temptation . . . And his name is Devin McAllister. Devin, on the other hand, has no problem with meaningless hookups. The very last thing he needs—or wants—is a relationship. Relationships come with strings. Relationships come with heartbreak. A late-night encounter in the hotel’s piano bar finds the two unable to resist each other. With her angelic voice and bright blue eyes, Devin’s sure he’s never met anyone as beautiful as his Songbird. Six weeks later, when two pink lines confirm Callie’s worst fears, she and Devin have to face the consequences of their wild weekend. And they have to deal with each other—whether they like it or not. With a love story that’s far from traditional, Callie and Devin begin to wonder if their one-night stand could turn into something neither of them anticipated. A happily ever after.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. It was really good. The characters were realistic and easily to relate to. Devin’s reaction to Callie’s pregnancy news was realistic and so was her response. I loved watching them find their way. I highly recommend this book. 

10. Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines– To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer. Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away. As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else. West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go.

Even though this was technically a young adult book it was really good. I always enjoy Abbi Glines books and this was really tugged at the heartstrings. Both main characters were amazing and the supporting characters were just as good. I highly recommend this one if you like emotional, deep, stories. 

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What I Read: August 2015

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 I was so busy in August- rearranging the kids’ rooms, cleaning out the house, and getting ready for BTS time- but I still managed to read quite a few great books. I’ve continued to borrow a lot of books from the local library but I have accumulated a bunch from favorite authors on my Kindle that I plan to start reading now that the kids are back in school. Here are some great reads from August.

1. Country by Danielle Steel– Stephanie Adams is a devoted stay-at-home mother, married to a successful lawyer in northern California, in a dead marriage she’s stayed in for years for the sake of her children. Then, on a ski trip in Squaw Valley, her fifty-two-year-old husband dies suddenly and all bets are off. Despite her children’s grief, and her own conflicting emotions and loneliness, Stephanie tries to move on, but struggles to find herself as an independent individual after years of giving up her life for everyone else. A spur-of-the-moment road trip and fork in the road lead her to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and a chance meeting—and her whole life changes forever. She meets country music megastar Chase Taylor, who opens his whole world to her. Stephanie is no longer the same woman, and can’t be anymore: A new man. A new life. The excitement of Nashville. She discovers not only Chase, but herself. The music is bittersweet and the lyrics true in his dazzling, exotic, and honest world. As it deftly explores the complex ties between spouses, children, lovers, and friends, and dances between the past and the future, Danielle Steel’s moving novel brilliantly captures the shock of sudden loss, and the freedom it can bring. Here America’s most beloved novelist shares the enduring power of seizing the day. Carpe diem.

I haven’t read a Danielle Steel book in awhile but for some reason this one caught my eye. I ended up really enjoying it. I thought the characters were really well developed and the romance wasn’t as formulaic as some of her other books. There was a fair amount of conflict and strife, and not just between the two main characters but also with the secondary characters. I liked that both main characters were older, in their 40’s, and mature. There were no silly arguments due to immature communication problems. 

2. An Obsession With Vengeance by Nancy Haviland– Maksim Kirov is a mobster who gets what he wants, both at his posh gentleman’s club in Hell’s Kitchen and in the bedroom. Sexy, dangerous, and obsessed with control, he’s risen through the ranks to become a highly respected leader in the tight-knit Tarasov crime syndicate. He rules with an iron fist…until he meets Sydney Martin. The Australian-born Sydney is determined to refuse Maks’s advances, despite their electrifying chemistry. The owner of a neighboring nightclub, Sydney rules her own domain. But when a deal with a Mexican drug cartel goes terribly wrong, she has no choice but to turn to Maksim and the Tarasov organization for protection. Could giving in to their intense attraction be what saves both Maks and Sydney? Or will their all-consuming passion—and her shocking secret—destroy their lives?

This is book 3 in the Wanted Men series and it was really good. I’m a sucker for mob romance storylines and this one was good. You don’t have to read the other 2 in the series to understand this one but all the characters overlap so I recommend reading the other 2 first. Plus, they are really good. 

3. Cries in the Night by Kathy Clark– Julie Lawrence is a Victim’s Advocate for the Denver PD. Her job is to respond to domestic violence incidents, fires, car accidents and other tragic events where people need help dealing with their darkest moments. She has had her own share of tragedies in the past which gives her empathy and a unique insight into victims and what they need to heal and move on with their lives. But she is better at giving advice than taking it and has closed herself off from sharing her life with anyone or anything except a stray tiger-striped gray cat. Rusty Wilson is a firefighter with a reputation for working hard and playing harder. He meets Julie while he is trying to save a burning house and she is protecting a battered wife and an unborn child. He is attracted to her, but not ready to settle down. To his surprise, she resists even his most platonic attempts at developing a relationship. One day a typical call turns into a hostage situation, and Julie rushes to the scene, partly in her role of Victim’s Advocate and partly because Rusty is involved. She finally accepts his offer of friendship, and as they get to know each other better, they realize they have a lot in common. When a stalker starts playing a cat-and-mouse game with Julie, she and Rusty work together, trying to figure out which of her past domestic violence cases has created a psycho who wants revenge. In her line of work, there are a lot of people who want her dead. Julie has no idea who is trying to kill her. The warnings had started out as just creepy, but gradually turn into genuine threats on her life. Rusty provides the emotional and moral support she hadn’t realized she needed until the danger increases. Their love affair starts in the heat of passion and ends when he finds out her secrets. Someone is watching . . . and waiting. Julie has dedicated herself to saving other people. Who’s going to save her? 

This is book 2 in the Denver Heroes series. I did not read book 1 yet and I had no issues reading this book. I really enjoyed this storyline and thought the characters were well developed and real. The story was fast paced and interesting. I’m definitely going to read book 1. 

4. Nemesis by Catherine Coulter– When Special Agent Lacey Sherlock foils a terrorist attack at JFK airport, she thinks her job is done and turns the reins over to the New York FBI. But stopping the grenade-carrying crazy was only the beginning. Another plot unfolds nearly simultaneously with a bomb at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The terrorist at JFK refuses to speak to anyone but Sherlock. She heads back with counterterrorist Special Agent Cal McLain to try to get him to talk. Meanwhile, Savich—with the help of Agent Griffin Hammersmith—has his hands full trying to track an elusive murderer who looks like a Hollywood Dracula. When Dracula’s attempts to kill Savich collide with Sherlock’s terrorist case, very strange things happen. Who is really behind the bombing attack at St. Patrick’s? How does Savich’s mysterious killer fit into Sherlock’s terrorism investigation? Savich and Sherlock race against the clock, as more lives are in danger with every passing minute.

This is book 19 in the FBI Thriller series featuring Sherlock and Savich. I adore this series. I’ve read every single book and I’ve re-read a lot of them multiple times. This book had a great mystery and lots of action. You don’t have to read all the books to understand this one, but you should totally read them anyway because they are so good!

5. Undetected by Dee HendersonWhen asked what he does for a living, Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: “I’m in the navy.” But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping its crew trained and focused during 90-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and carries it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating in the Pacific Rim, the navy is glad to have him. Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, pretty, and very smart. She’s a civilian, but she understands life in the navy. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him. Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. But a breakup she didn’t see coming has her focusing all her attention on what she does best–ocean science research. She’s on the cusp of a breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop’s perspective and help. Because what she’s told the navy she’s figured out is only the beginning. If she’s right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter. 

I’m a huge fan of Dee Henderson. I read all of her books. This one was really good. It was a long book with lots of details and an intricate plot so it took me about a week to finish it but that was a nice change from some of the more “fluffy” books I also enjoy. I liked both the main characters a lot and thought they were really well developed and well matched. 

6. Code Triage by Candace Calvert– Dr. Leigh Stathos likes her ER shifts fast, furious, and adrenaline-infused—“Treat ’em and street ’em”—with no emotional complications. Life’s taught her a soul-rending lesson: nothing lasts forever, including marriage. And the clock is ticking toward the end of hers. Then an unwelcome confrontation with “the other woman” begins a whole new set of lessons. San Francisco police officer Nick Stathos never gives up, whether protecting his patrol neighborhood, holding fast to faith—or trying to save his marriage. Seven days is all he has to reach Leigh’s heart. But when a desperate act of violence slams Golden Gate Mercy Hospital into lockdown, it starts a chain of events that will change lives forever.

I liked this book a lot. I’ve read the other books in the Mercy Hospital series and this one is probably my favorite. I liked the premise of the marriage on the rocks but I was a little blindsided that infidelity was a core subject in this book. I somehow missed that in the blurb. I completely understood and empathized with the wife’s character and her decisions made perfect sense to me. I totally hated the “other woman” and she made a great antagonist for the story. 

7. Loving Cara by Kristen Proby– Josh King is an expert at running his family’s multi-million dollar ranch in Montana. (And all that outside manual labor has done wonders for sculpting his six-foot-three body, too.) But as sure footed as he is when it comes to the ranch, Josh doesn’t know anything about how to deal with an adolescent boy—so when his twelve-year-old nephew, Seth, is dropped off on his doorstep, looking scared and acting surly as hell, Josh knows he needs help in straightening him out. Cara Donovan loves her quiet life as a teacher in her sleepy hometown, so she jumps at the chance to make a little money over the summer as a tutor. But when she learns she’ll be teaching Josh King’s nephew, Cara’s sweet summer job gets a little bit hotter. Cara tries to focus all her attention on tutoring Seth, but Josh proves to be a delicious distraction, while Josh’s memories of the shy girl he once teased in high school are nothing like the beautiful woman he’s facing now. Can he persuade her that there’s more between them than a summer fling? 

I’m a huge fan of Kristen Proby. She’s fabulous and she writes the best characters. This is the first book in her Love Under the Big Sky series and it was fantastic. I can’t wait to read the other books, I have them on hold at the library. I loved the setting of the book and I found the main characters to be easy to like and very real. 

8. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs– Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water.

I started the Mercy Thompson series this month and read books 1-6 in about 10 days. I’m reading book 7 right now and I just downloaded book 8 from the library. This series is SO GOOD! I love paranormal books and this one gives you wolves, vampires, fae, witches, and skin walkers. It’s fantastic and the story lines are full of action and tension and fighting. There’s also romance and a brief love triangle. I can’t recommend this series enough!

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What I Read: July 2015

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I read some great books in July. I didn’t read as many books as I usually would but it was a busy month for us. We spent a lot of time at the pool and in the hot tub plus I started some time intensive home projects. I’ve been borrowing some books from our local library on my Kindle to save a few dollars so I’ve continued to branch out into some genres other than just romance. It’s been nice to have a change! But I still love me some smutty romance books. Here are my favorite reads from July.

Stay by Victor Gischler– David Sparrow is an awesome stay-at-home dad. He gets his kids ready for school while his wife, Amy, commutes to New York City, where she is an Assistant District Attorney. She just inherited a major case: prosecuting crime lord Dante Payne. Meanwhile, David is content chatting with the moms at school drop-off, and doing housework. One night, David is awoken by a sound downstairs, and discovers a man in Amy’s office, going through her work documents. Instinctively, David confronts the man and a fight begins. But not a fight between a stay-at-home dad and a common burglar. No, this is a fight out of a Bourne movie and it is intense. David wins, but barely. He tries to explain to the cops that this guy was no ordinary burglar but they mostly ignore him, especially when they find out what he does for a “living.” We now discover that David is a former Solo Ops officer, a soldier who was routinely dropped in war zones with a specific mission. If he was caught, the US government would disavow all knowledge of him. David was honorably discharged after too many missions and was excited for a quiet, normal life. However, with Dante Payne now targeting Amy and her family, David decides to reactivate himself and take the fight to the vicious criminal lord. And Dante Payne has no idea who he’s just crossed.

I borrowed this one from the library and it was fantastic! It was full of suspense and misconceptions and the main character, David, is very Jason Bourne-ish. This book kept me enthralled from the beginning to the end. It was mainly a suspense story but it also touched on the undertones in a marriage and the combination was great. 

2. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty– Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.   So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, , she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…

This is another book I borrowed from the library. It’s the first book I’ve read by this author and I was only about a quarter of the way through when I went ahead and put holds on all her other books at the library. The whole premise of this book was interesting to me. I enjoyed seeing how Alice unraveled her life and discovered what went wrong. I was worried about the ending but it was very satisfying and I really enjoyed it. 

3. Under The Lights by Shannon Stacey– They were the golden boys of fall: Stewart Mills High School’s legendary championship winning football team. Fourteen years later, they’re back to relive their glory, save the team—and find themselves again…Chase Sanders’s life has taken a lot of crazy turns lately. But returning to his hometown to help his old coach keep his high school football team afloat might be the craziest thing to happen to him yet. That is, until he starts falling for the last person he should—Coach’s gorgeous daughter…Kelly McDonnell learned the hard way that cocky, charming men are nothing but trouble, so she knows Chase is bad news. Still, she can’t resist his smile—or the rest of him. But when his loyalty to her father conflicts with their growing attraction, any hope for a relationship might be blocked before it can even begin.

Yet another book I borrowed this month. I love football and anytime the sport is wound into a storyline I’m going to be happy! I loved the small town feel of this book. The characters were really easy to like and felt very developed. The story was one that sucked me in and made me happy. I can’t wait for the next in the series.

4. The Edge Of Normal by Carla Norton– In many ways, Reeve LeClaire looks like a typical twenty-two year old girl. She’s finally landed her own apartment, she waitresses to pay the bills, and she wishes she wasn’t so nervous around new people. She thinks of herself as agile, not skittish. As serious, not grim. But Reeve is anything but normal. Ten years ago, she was kidnapped and held captive. After a lucky escape, she’s spent the last six years trying to rebuild her life, a recovery thanks in large part to her indispensable therapist Dr. Ezra Lerner. But when he asks her to help another girl rescued from a similar situation, Reeve realizes she may not simply need to mentor this young victim—she may be the only one who can protect her from a cunning predator who is still out there, watching every move.

This was a great suspenseful book that I borrowed from the library. I really enjoyed the build up in the story- it sucked me in and kept my interest the whole time. The characters were really well developed and the story was tight. I will definitely read the rest of the books in the series. 

5. Protecting Summer by Susan Stoker– At age fifteen, Sam “Mozart” Reed’s life changed the day his little sister was found abused and murdered. Since her death, he’s spent his life hunting for the serial killer who took his sister from him and ruined his family. Using his connections, and SEAL training, Mozart believes he’s finally tracked the killer to the town of Big Bear, California. Summer Pack is working in a crappy motel up at Big Bear Lake until she can find something better, more meaningful, more real. While living in an unhealthy situation, she meets a man who is everything she’s ever dreamed about and who helps her see that there are some people in the world who will actually do what they say they will and keep their word. But somewhere in Big Bear is a killer waiting to strike again. Waiting and watching for the perfect victim.

I love this series. This is book 4 and it was just as awesome as the first 3 books. All the same characters are in each book even though each story is a standalone. This author definitely has a formula for her stories but they work and I love them. 

6. Protecting Cheyenne by Susan Stoker– Living in Southern California, Cheyenne was used to seeing hot military men as she went about her daily business. An anonymous encounter at the grocery store cemented her crush on one such man. He was big, built, and incredibly easy on the eyes, but it wasn’t as if he would ever really notice her. Always in control of any situation, Faulkner “Dude” Cooper knows explosives. As a bomb expert, he’s lived through many high pressure situations. Disfigured by a bomb while on a mission, he’s used to being looked at with pity. When he’s called to a local supermarket to assist the local PD, the last thing he expects to find is a generous act of kindness performed by a beautiful, amazing woman. Enchanted by her selflessness in the face of danger and intrigued by her actions to save civilians she didn’t know, Dude’s hooked. Dude was able to save Cheyenne from the group of thugs trying to take her life, but when the past comes back to haunt them both, sometimes having the knowledge and the desire isn’t enough to beat the countdown of the clock. 

This is book 5 in the series from above. It was just as good as the others but it was definitely a little steamier and had elements of light BDSM so if that’s not something you’re comfortable reading then you might want to skip this one. It’s nothing hardcore but if dominant/submissive relationships bother you then this book will bother you. The story is fabulous and I enjoyed it.

7. Protecting Jessyka by Susan Stoker– Kason “Benny” Sawyer was the last single man on his Navy SEAL team. He loved his teammates like brothers and respected each and every one of their women. They’d all been through hell and they deserved their current happiness. But seeing the love between his friends and their women made it tough to be the odd man out all the time. Jessyka Allen had a good life, until it wasn’t anymore. Finding herself in an impossible situation, with no noticeable way out, her job was an escape. Working at the small Bar and Grill put her in contact with some wonderful people, who Jess figured couldn’t ever understand what she was going through. Being a SEAL, Benny thought he knew the true meaning of teamwork and friendship. But Jess would show him that everything he thought he knew about sacrifice, trust, and love, paled in comparison to what she brought into his world. 

And this is book 6 in the same series. It’s just as good. I can’t say enough about this author. I just really enjoy her stories and I love the characters. This one varied from her usual formula a bit but it was still really really good. I can’t wait for the next one to come out in September!

8. Burn by Suzanne Wright– Part of a small demon lair in North Las Vegas, tattooist Harper Wallis lives a pretty simple life. That changes overnight when she discovers that her psychic mate, or ‘anchor’, is a guy who’s rumored to be the most powerful demon in existence. Compelling, full of secrets and armed with raw sexuality, Knox Thorne is determined to claim her as his anchor, creating a psychic bond that will prevent their inner demons from ever turning rogue. The billionaire also wants Harper in his bed. She’s not so sure she wants either of those things. No one seems to know what breed of demon Knox is, only that he’s more dangerous than anything she’s ever before encountered. But he refuses to walk away. And when an unknown danger starts closing in on Harper, it seems that Knox is the only one who can keep her safe. As Prime of his Las Vegas lair and a successful businessman, Knox Thorne is used to being in control. He’s also used to people fearing and obeying him. Harper does neither, which unexpectedly amuses him. Unpredictable, elusive, and complex, she draws Knox and his inner demon like nothing ever has. Knox is used to getting what he wants, and he wants Harper. He’ll have her, and he’ll keep her safe from the threat that looms over her. Because Knox protects what’s his. He won’t allow anyone to take her from him. Even if it will mean letting the demon inside him rise and wreak the havoc it was created to make.

Y’all. I don’t even know what to say about this book other than- READ IT. Immediately. This was hands down my favorite read of July. I could not put it down. I’m a fan of paranormal stories but they have to be done right. And the demon stories are not usually my favorites. But this one- this one is one of my all time favorite books. The lead, Harper, is one bad ass chick and I adored her. I cannot wait for the next one in the series!

9. Earth Bound by Christine Feehan– After escaping from a cult, Lexi found refuge with her sisters on the farm that more than sustained her body—it nurtured her soul as well. But she never forgot the terror she left behind or the always present fear that the cult would find her again, and claim her. Then her nightmare came true. Lexi was discovered and threatened—only to be suddenly saved by a stranger. He is Gavriil Prakenskii, and he’s awestruck by the woman he’s rescued. She is destined for him. He can feel it in his soul. But how can Lexi find happiness with a man steeped in secrets and shadows, one intimately acquainted with violence, and whose very love could be the death of them?

This is book 4 in the Sister of the Heart series and I really enjoyed it. I love just about anything that Christine Feehan writes. Her Dark Carpathian series is one of my all time favorites closely followed by her SeaHaven series. I like how she builds a whole world in her series and each book revolves around the same characters, focusing on one character in each book. I love the elements of magic in her books. If you haven’t read anything by her then you’re missing out.

10. Happily Ali After: And Other Fairly True Tales by Ali Wentworth– Moved by a particularly inspirational tweet one day, Ali Wentworth resolves to live by the pithy maxims she discovers in her feeds. What begins as a sort of self-help project quickly turns into something far grander—and increasingly funnier—as the tweets she once viewed with irony become filled with increasing metaphysical importance. And thus begins her “Unhappiness Project.” It’s not long before Ali expands her self-improvement quest to include parenting, relationship, fitness (or lack thereof), and dieting advice. The results are painfully (at times literally) clear: when it comes to self-help, sometimes you should leave it to the professionals.

I laughed out loud so many times while reading this book. A few times were in the middle of the night when I was battling insomnia and I woke Matt up because I was laughing so hard. Ali Wentworth is hysterically funny and I enjoyed every bit of this book. I borrowed it from the library and almost didn’t because I hadn’t read the first one, Ali in Wonderland, but it really didn’t matter. If you love to laugh then you need to read this book.

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What I Read: June 2015

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Continuing on the theme of “not enough hours in my day” for the month of June, I didn’t read very many books. But the ones I did read were fantastic. Between the kids out of school and wanting to go to the pool every day, to the 2 new puppies that have taken over my life, to the World Cup games on almost every day….well, reading took a backseat this month. I also branched out and read some different genres this month- mystery and humor/non-fiction. I just needed a change! So instead of breaking down the books into 5 & 4 star ratings I’m just going to share the books I read and what I thought about them.

1. Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner– Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family.  A perfect life. When investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene in the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and Taser confetti in the foyer.  The family appears to have been abducted, with only a pile of their most personal possessions remaining behind.  No witnesses, no ransom demands, no motive.  Just an entire family, vanished without a trace. Tessa knows better than anyone that even the most perfect façades can hide the darkest secrets.  Now she must race against the clock to uncover the Denbes’ innermost dealings, a complex tangle of friendships and betrayal, big business and small sacrifices.  Who would want to kidnap such a perfect little family?  And how far would such a person be willing to go?

I loved this book. I’ve always been a fan of Lisa Gardner and this book lived up to my expectations. I did not see the ending coming until I was almost there so that’s a huge plus for me! I enjoyed figuring out all the pieces and seeing the different characters interact. I highly recommend this one! 

2. Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner– My name is Nicky Frank. Except, most likely, it isn’t. Nicole Frank shouldn’t have been able to survive the car accident, much less crawl up the steep ravine. Not in the dark, not in the rain, not with her injuries. But one thought allows her to defy the odds and flag down help: Vero. I’m looking for a little girl. I have to save her. Except, most likely, she doesn’t exist. Sergeant Wyatt Foster is frustrated when even the search dogs can’t find any trace of the mysterious missing child. Until Nicky’s husband, Thomas, arrives with a host of shattering revelations: Nicole Frank suffers from a rare brain injury and the police shouldn’t trust anything she says. My husband claims he’ll do anything to save me. Except, most likely, he can’t. Who is Nicky Frank, and what happened the night her car sailed off the road? Was it a random accident or something more sinister given the woman’s lack of family and no close friends? The deeper Wyatt digs, the more concerned he becomes. Because it turns out, in the past few months, Nicky has suffered from more than one close accident. . . . In fact, it would appear someone very much wants her dead. This is my life. Except, most likely, it’s not. Now watch me crash and burn.

This is another Lisa Gardner book from the same Tessa Leoni series as the first book on my list this month. I enjoyed this one too, although I did figure out the ending quicker in this one. I enjoyed seeing the same characters and watching their relationship progress. I will definitely continue reading this series. 

3. One Last Thing by Rebecca St. James– A hope-filled soon-to-be bride makes a discovery about her fiance that rocks her world and provokes a maelstrom of decisions and self-discovery. Tara Faulkner has dreamed of her wedding and the life she and her fiance Seth will share in their hometown of Savannah . . . and by all accounts, it should be a charmed one. But when she discovers three weeks before the wedding that Seth is seriously addicted to pornography, Tara’s dreams are shattered. She must decide whether she will stand by Seth, but she also must let go of the dream she shaped for herself and discover a real vision for her life–and where it will come from. With all else falling apart, Tara encounters an unexpected–and unlikely–group of women mentors. They help her peel back the layers of shaming secrets and begin to clearly see the real issues of her generation. In the end, she’s able to make a decision based on God’s vision–not her own.

I wasn’t sure about this book at first. The first few chapters I felt like the main character, Tara, was overreacting to the big “discovery”. But as the book went on I began to see her side and understand why she reacted the way she did. And as the story progressed it turned out that she was right. I enjoyed the story line and how the author resolved the conflict. This was more literary fiction than romance and it was a nice change. 

4. The Consequences of Revenge by Rachel Van Dyken– After losing his best friend to another guy, the notoriously too-confident Max Emory suddenly feels lost. He may have devastatingly good looks, an abundance of charm, and a claim to one of the biggest hotel empires around, but he has no ambition anymore. So when his fed-up friends decide they’ve had enough of his moping, they sign him up to be the next bachelor on the reality series Love Island. And between his pride and his forged signature on an ironclad contract, Max just can’t say no. Now he’s stranded in paradise with twenty-four women, one terrifying goat, and Becca, the breathtaking barista who already turned him down back home. The closer Max gets to Becca, the more determined he becomes to win her over. As she gets to know him better, things start heating up. But is Becca really after Max’s heart—or is she after the cash prize she could claim once the cameras stop rolling? 

This book was hysterical. I absolutely adored the first book in the series and this book was just as good and just as funny. It had all the same characters from the first book and a lot of the story and humor won’t make sense if you don’t read the first book so definitely read them in order. I laughed out loud so many times that Matt kindly asked me to stop reading it in bed because I was keeping him awake. 

5. Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle– “There is really no better indicator you’re a mother than acquiring the ability to catch throw-up in a plastic bag, disinfect your hands, and immediately ask your friend to pass the beef jerky as you put on another Taylor Swift song and act as if nothing has happened.” This is the type of insight Melanie Shankle offers in this quirky memoir of motherhood. Written in the familiar, stream-of-consciousness style of her blog, Big Mama, Sparkly Green Earrings is a heartwarming and hilarious look at motherhood from someone who is still trying to figure it all out. Filled with personal stories—from the decision to become a mother to the heartbreak of miscarriage and ultimately, to the joy of raising a baby and living to tell about it—Sparkly Green Earrings will make you feel like you’re sitting across the table from your best friend. A must-read for anyone who’s ever had a child or even thought about it. 

If you aren’t reading her blog, Big Mama, then you are totally missing out. Melanie Shankle is hysterical and down to earth and so much fun to read. She draws you in like you are her personal friend and she keeps you entertained. I love her. And I loved this book. This was another one that I couldn’t read in bed because my laughter was shaking the whole bed when Matt was sleeping. I snorted out loud with laughter more than once. I highly recommend this book and her blog!

6. Holding Strong by Lori Foster– Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn’t share. That’s why he’s been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry’s about to need more than she knows…Denver’s combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she’s been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can’t hide behind a carefree facade. Because the man by her side is one who’ll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she’ll trust him enough to let him.

I loved this book so much. I’m a sucker for MMA books and this one was fantastic. I loved the main characters and I really loved the secondary characters. This is book 2 in the series which I didn’t realize until after I started reading it. I bought book 1 and can’t wait to read it. Book 3 comes out in August. All the books are standalone stories but revolve around the same cast of secondary characters. 

**There’s still time to enter for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Jockey.com! All the details are right HERE!

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What I Read: May 2015

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I had a super busy month during May and I didn’t get to read as much as I normally do but the books I did get to read were great! I’d rather read 10 fantastic 4 and 5 star books all month than 30 just okay books. As a reminder, I’m sharing my 5 Star and 4 Star Favorites every month this year. 

5 Stars = I loved it and it has an honored spot on my all-time favorite, will read again, list

4 Stars = I really really liked it but I won’t read it again

May 5 Star Reads:

1.Bound by Hatred by Cora Reilly– When Gianna watched her sister Aria getting married to a man she barely knew, she promised herself she wouldn’t let the same thing happen to her. Matteo – The Blade – Vitiello set his eyes on Gianna the moment he saw her on his brother Luca’s wedding, and Rocco Scuderi is more than willing to give his daughter to him, but Gianna has no intention of marrying for any other reason than love. A few months before the wedding, Gianna escapes her bodyguards and runs away. She has enough money to flee to Europe and begin a new life. But staying undetected when the mob is searching for her is a challenge that takes everything, especially as one of their best hunters and assassins is after her: Matteo Vitiello. After six months on the run, Gianna finally settles into a tentative routine in Munich, but then Matteo and a couple of her father’s soldiers find her with another man. Despite her pleads they kill her boyfriend, and Gianna is forced to marry Matteo. Her emotions alternating between guilt over having dragged an innocent into her world and hatred toward Matteo, Gianna is determined to make life hell for her husband. But Matteo is a master at mind games and their struggle for power soon turns into hate-fueled nights of passion. 

I loved this book. It’s book 3 in a trilogy and while each story is a standalone you will enjoy the stories so much more if you read them in order as they all connect. I love mafia books. I don’t know why but I just really enjoy them. Highly recommend this series!

2. Carter Reed 2 by Tijan– Carter bought his way out of the mafia to protect Emma, but when an old ghost returns to the Mauricio Family, a chain of events starts that can harm everyone. While Carter must decide to return to the Mauricio Family or not, a face that is oddly familiar to Emma comes into her life. She’s given the chance to discover more about her family while tension between the rivaling Mauricio and Bertal Family comes to a head in an explosive way. The truce is officially off, and when the two worlds collide, Carter’s decision is made. He didn’t start this war, but he will end it. He will do anything to protect Emma. 

Continuing with my love of mafia books, here is another one. You do need to read the first book, Carter Reed, prior to reading this one or it won’t make alot of sense. This book was so good- maybe not as fantastic as the first one but pretty dang close. Definitely a series I highly recommend. 

3. Broken by Cynthia Eden– Ex-SEAL and LOST founder Gabe Spencer is accustomed to the unusual in his job. But when knockout Eve Gray steps into his office, he’s rattled. For the mysterious woman is a dead ringer for the heiress thought to be the latest prey of the serial killer who goes by the name Lady Killer. When Eve awoke in an Atlanta hospital, her past was a blank slate. Then she recognized her own face in the newspaper and vowed to learn the truth. Determined to confront the nightmares hidden in her mind, she never expects to find a partner in Gabe. As Gabe and Eve work together, their explosive attraction becomes irresistible. Gabe knows that his desire for Eve is growing too strong, bordering on a dangerous obsession, but nothing pulls him away from her. And when another Eve lookalike disappears, Gabe vows to protect Eve at all costs. While Eve may have forgotten the killer in her past, it’s clear he hasn’t forgotten her.

Next to the mafia books my other favorites are military heroes, probably because I have so many military men in my family. That makes me sound like I have daddy issues, which I assure you is not the case. Ha! This book was a romantic suspense with some good mystery in it. I’m gravitating a lot towards the mystery stories lately instead of straight romance so I enjoyed this one a lot. The second in the series is out now and on my TBR list and the third book is due to be released in October. 

4. Hour Of Need by Melinda Leigh– While fighting in Afghanistan, Major Grant Barrett receives devastating news: his brother and sister-in-law have been murdered in Scarlet Falls, the sleepy suburb of Grant’s youth. Emotionally scarred from war, the career soldier returns home on emergency leave to temporarily care for his orphaned nephew and niece. But when someone tries to kidnap the kids and their teenage babysitter, Grant knows it’s not a random act…and neither were the murders. Already devastated by her neighbors’ violent deaths, Ellie Ross is shattered by the attempted abduction of her teenage daughter so she desperately turns to Grant for help. As they navigate a deadly search for the truth, they struggle with growing feelings for each other and Grant’s impending return to deployment. But time is running out. The killer is growing bolder by the hour, and Ellie and Grant must find him before the children become his next victims.

Another romantic suspense/mystery book that was great. I enjoyed the mystery in this one even though I did figure out the bad guy before the end. It was still a great read with solid characters and a great supporting cast. It is a standalone but there will be other books revolving around other characters from this story. 

5. When I’m Gone by Abbi Glines– I had an urge to fix all her problems. Which was stupid. She was doing fine without me. But something about those big eyes…Mase Colt-Manning has always preferred his humble life as a Texas rancher to his birthright as the son of a legendary rock star. In fact, he rarely visits his father’s rarefied world in Rosemary Beach, especially if it means bunking at his vile half-sister Nan’s house—until one visit leads to a chance encounter with a young, gorgeous house maid who awakens him with her off-key but spirited imitation of a country music star…Reese Ellis finally has her freedom. After escaping a lifetime of abuse from her parents and classmates for an undiagnosed learning disorder, she seizes the opportunity to be a house maid to some of the richest families in Rosemary Beach. But her job is in jeopardy when she causes an accident at the home of her most important client, Nan Dillon. When a hot, half-naked stranger with a cowboy’s swagger comes to her rescue, she’s intrigued—then afraid once he shows his own interest. Reese has never met a trustworthy man in her life. Will Mase be any different? 

I love the Rosemary Beach series and this one was a great addition. You don’t have to read the other books to enjoy this one but you will love the story so much more if you know all the characters first. Beware- this is a slight cliffhanger ending but it does end happily for now so it’s not too bad. 

May 4 Star Reads:

1. The Liar by Nora Roberts– Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed. Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows—and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning.

I haven’t read a Nora Roberts book in quite awhile but this one peaked my interest. It was a good story. I wasn’t surprised by anything that happened in the book- it was pretty predictable but the characters made the book for me. I liked them. 

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins– Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Everyone kept recommending this book to me so I reserved it from the library. It was another mystery/suspense but without the romance. The main character was highly unlikeable to me for most of the book- I just didn’t like her. She was a drunk and a whiner. But in the end I felt sorry for her more than I disliked her. I will say that my dislike of her actually enhanced my enjoyment of the story so not sure what that says about me. Ha! I did guess correctly about how it would end about half way through the story but it was still a good book. 

Did you read anything good this month? I’m joining in with Carpool Book Club!

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