Warning: Obsession ahead

I have discovered Kristan Higgins and I can’t seem to be able to read anything else. There might be a fair amount of her books coming your way in the next bit or so. I’ll also read other authors, but I thought it’s only fair to warn my lovely readers that there might be a bit of a trend in the books you see reviewed here.

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

She loves animals, has a great sense of humour and is an awesome author…what’s a reader to do? ūüôā

Review: The Wicked Duke

Madeline Hunter is definitely an author that I keep tabs on. She writes historical romance and, in my humble opinion, doesn’t always get the credit she deserves. She’s a fantastic writer and has written many books that happily sit on my keeper shelf. So, when I read the back story of The Wicked Duke, it went on my TBR pile immediately.

Lancelot Hemingford is the Duke of Aylesbury, a rake with a devilish reputation with women. Unfortunately, he’s also suspected of his brother’s murder, something that¬†bothers Lance enough that he wants to finally be rid of the condemnation. To clear his name, he makes a bit of a deal with the devil and, in the process, ends up married to Marianne Radley.

Marianne is legally dependent on her uncle, but she’s incredibly intelligent and smart. She’s figured out a way to make money–something of an impossibility for women back then–by writing under a pseudonym gossip letters to the newspaper. It’s that same cunning that has her sniffing out what truly happened to the Duke’s bother.

Their marriage is a busy one. Things start to be uncovered. First and foremost, the Duke wants to clear his name but, along the way, secrets are revealed that test their commitment to each other. The wonderful aspect of the book is that they fall in love with each other by the end, something I was hoping for all along but fearing might never happen.

The Wicked Duke has a great pace. It’s not rushed, the marriage doesn’t happen three days after they meet or anything and yet, I kept turning pages trying to find out what was going to happen next. I think what kept me glued was the great characters, the sad but not over-the-top circumstances and the superb dialogue. Historical romance dialogue has to show feeling without using today’s expressions and that’s not easy with polite, restrictive English sayings. Still, Madeline Hunter manages to do just that.

Madeline Hunter is certainly no dim wit. She has a PhD in art history and more than twenty seven nationally bestselling historical romances in print. If you haven’t tried her before now,¬†check out her website and try some of her books or go for this one. It might be the third in a trilogy but it can be easily read on its own and it’s got everything you want in a historical romance, the love story, the historically accurate pieces and dialogue, great characters and a rakish duke. It’s definitely a great summer read.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: to go to site, click on cover.

 

Review: Catch of the Day

Catch of the Day is a light, contemporary read. It’s got sadness in it, but it’s also got comedy and a set of characters that kept me turning pages.¬†It’s by Kristan Higgins, who seems to find a way to turn any story into an addiction for me. She’s that good.

Catch of the Day tells the story of Maggie. Maggie is awesome. I loved that she owned the only diner in a tiny coastal town. She greets the locals every day and brings meals to shut ins and any local fundraisers. Not only is she super nice, she’s also super-kind. Finally, she has a dog, an elderly lab named Colonel who’s just a gentle soul and who I instantly adored.

Poor Maggie has a problem, though. Everyone sees her as either a daughter or a sister, so there are no possibilities for romance or even a date. Her twin sister, Christy is married and has a beautiful little baby and, while I would be totally jealous, Maggie babysits for free and adores both her sister and her niece.

Before you get the impression that Maggie is just perfect, let me dispel that. Maggie has the terrible tendency to talk…her mouth off.¬†When she has a crush on someone, she tends to tell everyone…and that tends to spread in her little town like wild fire. She also tends to like impossible men, like the town’s priest.

Thankfully, Maggie and the priest stay friends and we get to meet Malone, a gruff fisherman with a heart of gold who rescues Maggie out of more than one fix and then steals her heart.

I make it sound so simple and straightforward but there’s a lovely story here, with great characters and an awesome doggie. Catch of the Day was absolutely heavenly for me. It had humour, great, easy writing, good twists that I didn’t seem coming and a great ending. It was so good, I cut my conversation on the phone with Hubby short so that I could finish it–and I had really missed him.

If you’re a contemporary fan, definitely give Kristan Higgins a try. If you haven’t read her before, this one is a great place to start–though I have yet to find one of her books that I don’t devour in a day. And if you like something with romance and a great sidekick with soft brown eyes, Catch of the Day is definitely for you. A great summer read.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

Review: Until there was you

Kristan Higgins is a new-to-me author. Don’t ask me how it is that I have missed her all these years. I have no idea. I must have been living under a rock. I was at the used book store and someone recommended her to me and I picked up a book of hers because (this is terrible!) I liked the dog on the cover.

Still, once discovered, she won’t stay away from my radar for long. Not after I read this book by her, Until there was you. It was absolutely awesome.

The plot is nothing that hasn’t been seen before, but it was still delicious enough to pull me in. It’s the story of Posey Osterhagen, who owns her own salvaging company (salvaging things, though she’d like to salvage and reno a victorian house), has an adorable Great Dane and a quirky family. The hottest guy in the school broke her heart back in high school and Posey moved on…but he’s back in town.

So Posey is absolutely awesome. She’s kind, supportive of her hilarious friends, yet manages to put some boundaries when said friends sometimes take advantage. She also gives back as good as she gets in the conversation sparring department and that won her a ton of stars in my book.

Liam is our guy, the same one who was mean to Posey back in high school. But he’s not the typical cool, snob. Liam has his own quirks that aren’t as dark and scary as some of the alpha heroes I’ve read in other books. Liam’s wife died recently and trying to cop, along with raising his daughter, have given him not only a bit of stress but some OCD. Now OCD is nothing to laugh about…but with Liam, it’s really almost funny.

That’s the thing that brought Kristan Higgins’ book from good to super, the humour. Her characters are hilarious. Let me give you a sample.

Posey is described in the book as stick-like. She didn’t have too many curves. And she’s often looked over by men for other who are more…well, read and see.

“…the woman next to him, a middle-aged woman whose bosom could shelter a family of four and their Bernese mountain dog.”

The humour in the book doesn’t lag and doesn’t belittle the struggle between the hero and heroine either. I cried with this book and then rejoiced at the ending.

And yes, the Great Dane, Shilo was awesome and silly and all the things big dogs are. I loved reading about him.

You might have read Kristan Higgins and wonder what on earth took me this long but if you haven’t, learn from my mistake. She’s really, really good. Good enough that I’m heading back to the used book store to snag a couple more books by her and I’m adding her to my authors-to-watch list.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

Review: The Perfect Hope

I was actually really looking forward to this one, mostly, because of the two main characters. Ryder and Hope have a ton of chemistry. He’s grumpy and won’t even call her by name and she’s feisty and gives him back as good as she gets. I couldn’t wait to see the sparks fly.

Ryder is the last of the Montgomery men, the guy who works things out and doesn’t say much. He’s quick to temper and faster to find a way to do something with his hands rather than talk it out. Hope, on the other hand, is elegant and polished and the innkeeper at the Boonsboro Inn. She doesn’t like his attitude and from using words to hosing him down with a hose, she lets him know it. Reading about these two exchanging grumblings had me laughing and eagerly turning the pages.

There’s something to be said for chemistry but eventually, it has to change to care and love or there isn’t any hope for the couple. The transition for Ryder and Hope went smoothly as only someone like Nora Roberts can write it. Along the way, we get to hear how the other characters from the other two books are doing and I, for one, was delighted to see old faces reappear.

The three women are fast friends, supporting each other and helping out when needed just like the three brothers are fast friends and joke and tease each other in a very realistic way. There’s also construction that was also deftly and realistically portrayed and work that ruled the lives of these characters like it does mine. It didn’t disappear, like it does in some of the sadder books of romance I’ve read. Here, lives are realistic with flaws and triumphs just like in reality. It creates a world that is believable yet appealing.

The Perfect Hope is a really good ending to a great trilogy. I’ll be honest and fess up that I read it in one sitting. It took me only three hours to gobble it up and I ended with a soft sigh of disappointment that it was done. I highly recommend it to any fan of romance and certainly those of contemporary. Nora Roberts is a phenomenon.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

Note: click on link to go to site.

Up next in books…

My hubby was going to go to the hardware store…so I asked to be dropped off at the local bookstore and…

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Happiness followed.

So these are the books I’ll be rambling about in the next few weeks. I’ve already started Troublemaker by Linda Howard, so that one will come first.

Are you reading anything exciting? Share with me!

Review: The Last Boyfriend

Though this book is the second in the series, it can certainly be read as a stand alone. I had to read it in order, though to give the books the full effect and read them as they were intended but don’t let that stop you if you have this one in hand. It’s excellent.

The Last Boyfriend is the story of Owen and Avery, two of my favourites. Owen is the meticulously organized man who runs the business side of the construction build with his brothers. Avery is inspirational, spur of the moment and, like all of Nora’s heroines, hard working and determined. She runs her own restaurant at the same town.

Owen is realistic and respectful. He’s known and been friends with Avery for a long time. He’s the guy she can lean on when the restaurant is swamped to put on an apron and lend a helping hand.

The move from friend to boyfriend is always tricky. There has to be chemistry along with care and dependability and sometimes, with old friends, things become just boring. Not so with Owen and Avery. They are wonderfully written, realistic and still create a beautiful love story that kept me glued to the book.

I love that the book lingered and showed all the parts of their lives, from friends to the relationships with their mom to get togethers with brothers. It made me feel as though I was enjoying a slice of their lives, not just getting a short, abbreviated route to a romantic end. Nora Roberts knows when to linger and when to move on. Her timing is exquisite.

There’s always a dangerous part in a book and that’s the saggy middle. The same can be said of middle books but this one shines brightly among the three. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance, don’t miss this one. It’s a gem.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Review: The Next Always

I always love reading a book by Nora Roberts and certainly this one wasn’t an exception. She’s got a gift with the written word, for certain but it’s the timing in her writing that impresses me the most. Her stories always feel slow and lazy and not rushed. It’s a beautiful, slow, elegant introduction into the characters and scene. Yet, she can do it somehow with a few words. And this one was particularly beautiful.

The Next Always is the first in a trilogy that I somehow missed reading when they came out. It tells the story of Beckett and Clare. Beckett is the eldest of the three Montgomery men and the architect. He’s helping his family of brothers and mother, restore an old inn and transform it into a beautiful Bed and Breakfast.

Beckett is easy going on the eyes, gentle yet determined in the best of ways. He had already fallen for Clare back when they were teens so it doesn’t take much for him to rekindle the romance. Clare is a widow now, with three delightful little boys and runs a bookstore. She’s kind, motherly and just sweet.

Clare and Beckett are both busy, one with the inn and the other with work and her little boys and, unlike other romances, these two don’t magically lose their business to give way to romance. The romance happens around their busy lives. Clare continues to kiss scraped knees, stop wars and tend to sick boys and Beckett has to answer his phone, curse at delays and run to fix issues on the build. They do find each other, but it’s a realistic, organic build that creates the same realistic, organic feelings of wonder–at least it did in this reader.

I have to add some other things that I absolutely adored about this book. The three little boys weren’t just minor secondary characters, they were delightfully real and absolutely adorable. I loved each and all of them. The same can be said of the dogs in the story and the other secondary characters. Nora Roberts nails it with them.

The other thing I adored was the cheerful banter between the brothers. Nora Roberts does dialogue like a pro and she nailed it in this book. The three brothers are realistically male, joking around much like guys do without becoming bullies or ignorant, which takes a lot of finesse as a writer.

Add in a beautiful love story, and I was a goner. I had to get the second and third book to gobble them up. If you’re a fan of contemporary fiction, don’t do what I did and wait. Pick this one up. It’s fantastic.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Review: Blood Kiss

Blood Kiss is the first book in a spin off series from the Black Dagger Brotherhood and, after reading it, I can’t wait for the second. What a fantastic way to start off a series.

Paradise is a high-class, well-protected vampire. She actually wants to try out for the training centre program of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. She, unlike the other women of high society, wants to think for herself, act on her own and be her own person. Shockingly, she even wants to fight. Like the men.

Her father is a wonderful supportive man and though he has more than one quibble at his daughter’s request, he finally agrees to let her try. So, there was Paradise, from carefully preserved, protected, high class lady to warrior.

It’s not an easy change and we’re there for the ride. The training in the program is tough as nails and the other recruits are all characters with determined personalities that don’t trust each other or her. Becoming a team and working together takes more than a few moments. These guys bond through the program though and come through it together pretty well. Personally, I thought J.R. Ward did a really good job of presenting a physically challenging program that wasn’t ridiculously unrealistic yet presented vampires with challenges designed to help them grow. I not only bought it, I loved it.

One of the other recruits is Craeg. A tough, quiet guy who’s come from the wrong side of the tracks. He’s there to find his own path and get a little vengeance. Along the way, he discovers Paradise and the two become inseparable.

There are plenty of challenges for the two. Paradise comes from a background that determines who she can and cannot marry (oops, mate) and Craeg has his own issues on the subject, not to mention there’s a war going on. Still, they make it and its both beautiful and credible.

I can’t recommend this one highly enough. If you haven’t tried J.R. Ward, give her a chance. You won’t regret it. She’s a master of the genre and a fantastic writer. I know I can’t seem to get enough of her books.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

Note: To go to site, just click on cover.

Review: Walk Through Fire

Walk Through Fire is the latest Chaos novel by Kristen Ashley. It was one I saw while buying groceries and I thought: ‘I’ll just take a quick read…’. Well, one chapter and I was done. Kristen Ashley is like that. I just can’t read one part. I’m hooked.

Please understand, I was shopping with my hubby at the end of a very long day. We were both tired, hungry and crabby. I didn’t have time to stop and read. I had things to do at home–namely his lovely mother was coming–and not a lot of time to do everything in.

I managed to read one tiny chapter while he put the groceries on the conveyor belt. That was all it took. I bought the book and took it home.

Millie Cross made a mistake a long time ago. A huge one and Logan ‘High’ paid for it. Now, she’s run-in with the old Chaos gang and she’s the most hated woman in the planet for them. They treat her like dirt–Logan included–and she takes it, knowing she hurt him.¬†She hurts and tries to get by. It’s absolutely delicious angst.

Still, how on earth was Kristen going to reconcile these two?

Well, I’m not one to spoil things, so I’ll just settle for telling you that they do reconcile, it’s romance after all, but it’s a credible reconciliation and that was what made me a believer. Millie and Logan don’t just go from hurt to love overnight. Things are worked out and along the way there are misunderstandings and mistakes that are both adorable and believable.

We also find the reason why Millie did what she did. And I won’t reveal it here except to say it was both credible and understandable. Which made that angst all the sweeter because she was an undeserving victim of their hatred.

Like all of Kristen Ashley’s books, this one is a great, long read and that wasn’t a disappointment for yours truly. I love getting into her books because she’s a reliable author, who delivers a great story with solid characters and spicy romance. But a great aspect of her books is the length. There’s nothing better than knowing I’ve got a nice, thick book to read. Heavenly.

This is one I’d recommend for any reader of contemporary romance or those who are into edgy, urban romance. It’s one in the Chaos series but can easily be read alone and it’s certainly a great intro to Kristen Ashley. I would highly recommend it.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.