Where my hubby invites me to a special place

So I’ve complained to my lovely hubby that I don’t see him enough. He’s a therapist, so he sees people after work and on the weekends. Since that’s when I’m off work, I barely see him.

Now that it’s summer, we both have a little more time off and he decided to invite me to come to one of his outings. He had to see a colleague at a hospital and thought I could come along for the ride, wait for him in the cafeteria of the hospital and we’d go out for lunch afterwards.

It sounded like a lovely date. I was all ready to go. I got my trusty laptop and asked if there was Wi-Fi at the hospital.

He thought about it. “I don’t think so.”

What? Why not? Most hospitals have Wi-Fi. I told him I’d go ask someone there.

He looked suddenly uncomfortable. “You may not want to do that.”

“Why not?”

“Well, this hospital is for the criminally insane.”

…What?…What?… Criminally insane?! Was he joking?

“Nope.”

Sigh. I ask my hubby for a date and his answer is to take me out to a hospital for the criminally insane.

 

Review: Breath of Scandal

I picked up Breath of Scandal because the back intrigued me and Sandra Brown is a reliable bet. The book tells the story of Jade, a girl who leaves a small southern town after a horrible incident and comes back to face her attackers and find her happy ending. It seemed like a great read and it was thick enough at 500 plus pages, to keep me happy for a while. I wasn’t disappointed and thought I’d share this one with you.

One of the best parts of the book is the slow introduction of the characters. The book retells most of their lives, from an impactful beginning to the present, when Jade comes back to the town. It was delicious to see them emerge, slowly and hear about their lives. It made them fully fleshed, complete persons for me and all the more impactful when they spoke and acted.

The back explains the story happened this way: “On a rainy Southern night, Jade Sperry endured a young woman’s worst nightmare at the hands of three local hell-raisers.” The details of what happened were difficult to read, though I should add that I’m particularly sensitive to violence. Thankfully, Sandra Brown treats the topic with due respect and doesn’t dismiss it or play it down. In fact, the horrible incident is crucial to understanding Jade and her personality, so I could bear the difficulty of reading it because I knew it was pivotal to the story.

And that one night isn’t the entire story. Jade leaves the town but returns and…sure enough, like the book says, ‘all hell breaks loose’.

Hearing Jade’s story, like that of the other characters was amazing. I loved seeing and understanding the choices she made and how she moved up, through life until she was a competent professional with a tough attitude towards work that ensured her success.

I also loved seeing Dillon develop slowly. We hear about his life before Jade, what he did and who he was. Like her, the past doesn’t leave him unscathed but his story explains just why he huffs and leaves a scene or why he doesn’t say much in an argument. We know where he has come from and what’s going on in his head without the author having to tell us.

Dillon and Jade’s love story unfurls slowly while she’s trying to find peace to the demons from the past and he’s trying to find peace in his life. I won’t ruin it by revealing it but I will say that it was both believable and beautiful.

The story has many threads but they’re all carefully tied neatly at the end. There are, of course, some twists and turns but there is a happy ending–and a believable one. It was an ending that justified the long journey it took the reader to get there and that was just yummy.

I would obviously recommend this book. It’s a story of triumph over tragedy from an underdog and I love that concept. But I would say that the best part is the slow, rich tapestry it weaves, telling us a story that began with horrible trauma but ends in a happy resolution. If you’re a fan of Sandra Brown or would like a lovely story to read on a summer night, this one is for you.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

Note: To go to site, click on cover.

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: Heartbreaker

I picked out Heartbreaker on the recommendation of the store clerk in the used book store. I was heading for a flight and I needed something to read. I had never read Karen Robards but with those waiting lines at the airport facing me, I grabbed the book and dove in.

Heartbreaker is non-stop action, which is the best sort of book to have while you’re waiting to board a plane. I couldn’t care less that the person behind me just jumped ahead of me in line because I just kept reading. And it’s got humour weaved in, which is one of my favourite things in romance. It was awesome.

I loved Lynn from the start. I don’t smoke, but I could relate to everything else about her. She was trying to fit in with a bunch of outdoor enthusiasts and she was failing miserably. Lynn is going along with the group hoping to bond with Rory her teenage daughter.

Rory is a very realistic teen and I was desperately glad that she was authentic. There’s little worse than ‘perfect’ children in books. Kids who respect adults, obey, speak only in complete sentences and listen to their elders. Please! Rory was difficult with her mom, moody, defiant and moody. A completely credible teen.

Lynn has a tough time in the outdoors and her reactions to the other happy-go, enthusiastic members of the group are hilarious. Poor woman, things don’t get better for her. She and her daughter have an accident and end up pretty much stranded and hurt. Jess, one of the guides, drops down to help them and the adventure takes off from there.

With Jess along, they have to make it out of the mountains alive. Easier said than done in this mountain though. A group of cult members happens to also be there and they quickly decide that the trio must die.

It’s a pretty roller-coaster ride that had me moaning at the end of more than one chapter with dismay. I had no idea what was going to happen next and I was visiting relatives, which meant I couldn’t ignore them and keep reading. Closing this book was absolutely painful.

I would highly recommend Heartbreaker, especially if you’re going on a plane but certainly as a great summer read. It’s easy, fast, has great dialogue and witty humour. Best of all, it’s romance, so that fits me like a glove. Only one caution, relatives might not understand it if you bring the book along when you visit. 😀

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

Note: click on book to go to site.

Review: Fools Rush In

Fools Rush In is the first book I’ve ever read from Kristan Higgins and you might wonder what hole I’ve been living in because she’s quite a well known author and has more than a few titles to her name. Nevertheless, this one was my first. Still, this won’t be my last read of hers. The book was awesome.

The story has a set up that I loved immediately. Millie Barnes is a doctor coming back home to a small sea-side town. She has her own little house, a wonderful job and is trying to get in shape. She even adopts a friendly doggie from the pound. I adored her. Even better, she’s funny and her humour kept me glued to the book.

Now Millie is a dear but she’s blind as a bat because she’s determined to get a former crush of hers to fall in love with her no matter what and she won’t see reason. Meanwhile, the reader knows that the right guy for her is Sam, the police officer who’s just a sweetie and good-looking to boot but Millie just keeps trying, poor thing.

I had a wonderful time reading this one. It’s written in the first person which feels both intimate and funny. The writing is light with subtle references to TV that ground it and the love story is beautiful. Due to our heroine’s blindness, the attraction between Millie and Sam grows slowly. I didn’t mind that. I thought it felt organic and natural.

If you enjoy contemporary romance with a dash of humour, this one is a great read. A lot like Rachel Gibson or Susan Elizabeth Phillips with the laughter and light dialogue, Kristan Higgins delivered a great story with fantastic characters that made a great read.

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

(credit: kristanhiggins.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

Review: Virgin River

Virgin River was the first book from Robyn Carr that I’ve ever read. It’s the beginning of the series of the same name and I was pretty taken just with the set up. The writing didn’t disappoint.

Virgin River is the story of Melinda; a nurse who grieving the loss of her husband. She moves to the tiny town of Virgin River to try and start over. The move, for someone who’s coming from the big city, is a complete culture shock and, of course, she ends up in a run-down cabin with a suitcase full of impractical, expensive boots.

Our hero is Jack Sheridan who runs the local hang-out/restaurant. He’s a former marine who moved to the small town to find peace and calm after several tours of duty. He’s tough, protective and a really good guy.

I loved the set up from the get go. I foresaw all sorts of small-town shocking adjustments and looked forward to each one. I liked Melinda who had integrity and values she defended. I liked Jack who was kind and protective. Most of all, I liked how the book took its time moving things along. I make up that one doesn’t get over someone they love and move onto a new relationship quickly. This story gave Melinda’s mourning time. She develops feelings for Jack cautiously and slowly, all the while wondering where she fits and if she should stay.

There are a ton of fun, quirky characters in the story and realistic turns of events that kept me interested and kept the book from feeling too ‘nice’. So, I would highly recommend it. Robyn Carr writes a beautiful love story in a gentle, romantic way that doesn’t shock or scare the reader. Even better, it’s only the first in a series, so you know you have lots of great reading ahead.

(credit: robyncarr.com)

(credit: robyncarr.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

Review: Mean Streak

Sandra Brown usually does mystery and I’m not a big fan of that genre. Having said that, I loved Mean Streak. It’s got a fantastic plot, a mystery simple enough that it kept the romance alive, and a beautiful love story. Add to that, the amazing Sandra-Brown-touch with cliffhangers and you have a page-turner that I just couldn’t put down.

The plot was awesome. It stars with a prologue. Not a huge one, so I didn’t get put off, but it left me hanging and I had to read on to find out what happened. Emory is our heroine and she’s an accomplished doctor who likes to run. I immediately liked her. Running endeared her to me even if her personality hadn’t been awesome, but it was. She’s determined and tough and will keep trying no matter what. I loved her.

She’s training for a marathon and has an ‘accident’, then wakes up captive by a very intimidating man. He’s our hero and will remain nameless, like he is for quite a bit of the book, but he’s really awesome. He’s gruff, introverted, cryptic and just as determined to do the right thing as she is. While he’s presented as mean-looking, I was almost immediately won over because he’s incredibly gentle and kind to Emory, taking care of her to his own detriment and putting all other considerations aside.

The mystery of who hurt Emory keeps the book going, though for me, the big issue was how the hero and heroine were going to get together. Finally, when things are explained, it wasn’t so complicated that I couldn’t make out what happened or understand it. And there was a happy ending, which made the romantic-lover in me grin with delight.

Mean Streak was so much fun. It was easy to read, incredibly addictive and not too gory. I would recommend it strongly for any Sandra Brown fans, anyone who likes mystery and anyone who’s into romance. It’s got a special place on my keeper shelf and has me looking for more books from this author.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

What I’m reading…

 

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Strangers in the night is a story collection from Linda Howard. It has three short stories, all romance written by her. If you’ve never tried Linda Howard, this is a great way to see if you like her because those stories are really short. There’s no commitment.

Personally, I love Linda Howard and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this puppy simply because I hadn’t read these three stories by her. Short or long, she’s simply awesome.

 

 

 

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

 

Mean Streak is a mystery-romance by Sandra Brown. Sandra Brown is a fantastic author and I loved the premise of this book. It’s the story of a kidnapping and that idea had me already interested. A man, her captive stuck in a cabin in the mountains? Love it.

I’d also highly recommend Sandra Brown to anyone who likes mystery or a show like CSI or Criminal Minds. She’s a master twists and plots that leave you hanging in the best of ways.

 

 

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

 

Indecent proposal was another must-have because of the plot. It’s a forced marriage and it’s one of those plots that I love. Add a great writer and you’ve got a book that I read under 3 hours. It was absolutely delicious.

I haven’t read Molly O’Keefe before this one and I was delighted to find she’s awesome. Finding a great author is like discovering a precious gem. Such a gift!

 

 

I’m reading these three right now and I’ll share my thoughts on them coming up on this humble little blog. If you’ve read them, feel free to share yours too!

Review: Indecent Proposal

An absolute must read, for me Indecent Proposal had a ton of things going for it. A great plot, a fantastic hero and heroine and, most importantly, amazing writing. Amazing, amazing writing. This is the first time I read Molly O’Keefe but it will not be the last.

The set up wasn’t unique: Harrison Montogomery is the next man to lead his family by getting elected into government. He’s gorgeous, rich and comes from a family that’s the American version of royalty. The problem is, one tough night, Harrison needs a shoulder to lean on and that shoulder is Ryan (our heroine) Kaminski’s. One night they will never forget turns things around for Harrison. Ryan’s pregnant with his child and the only way to avoid a scandal that will ruin his election is marriage.

Ryan doesn’t have a penny to her name and, though initially she doesn’t want a dime from Harrison, she finally accepts the marriage for the sake of her child. Still, their marriage is anything but a honey-moon. Harrison believes Ryan set him up, his family hate her and Ryan’s family isn’t talking to her. Still, with a witty sense of humour, determination and compassion she doesn’t just win them over, she won me over.

This book could have easily been one more Cinderella story but Molly O’Keefe’s adept writing takes it far above that. Ryan has depth and, interestingly, so does Harrison. We see their flaws and their struggles as they come to know and love each other. The end isn’t just a convenient happily-ever-after, there are tumbles and realistic turns. I loved that even Ryan’s enemies turn out to have soft spots and compassion. I loved the turns the book took and the surprising twists along the way. I found Harrison and Ryan as complex, layered individuals with interesting quirks and histories. They had amazing lines that only enriched the already interesting dialogue.

If you’re into romance whether historical or contemporary, I’d recommend you this book. I started it at the book store and couldn’t put the thing down. I had it read in under three hours. It’s one of those.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site

Review: Mine to Take

 Mine to Take starts off a new series for Jackie Ashenden. It tells the story of Gabriel Woolf and Honor St. James. Gabriel is a tough, ruthless, highly successful business man who’s never forgotten the man who hurt his mother. Honor is a highly successful business woman who’s also the stepdaughter of Gabriel’s enemy.

Though this is very much a romance novel, Honor and Gabriel are in opposite sides of a war. Honor doesn’t know the real reason Gabriel is interested in her business proposition but still manages to maintain a detached business attitude. She’s tough, smart and doesn’t give up without a fight.

Though Gabriel is tough as nails, we are privy to his reasons for his anger from early on. Less a monster than he thinks himself to be, he comes across as a man torn by loss and pain and trying to find his way through it. He’s tempted by Honor from the very beginning and determined to keep the upper hand.

They spar at every turn and I loved reading every word. The dialogue is absolutely delicious. There are great lines in almost every scene and I paused just to savour them.

There are also amazing secondary characters. Gabriel’s friends, who I hope will be the heroes in the next books, are awesome and intriguing with great personalities and interesting backstories that made me want to know more about them.

Overall, this was a book I truly enjoyed. Not only was it romance and contemporary (one of my favourites) but it was written by an author I hadn’t previously read. After Mine to Take, this is going to change. I’m keeping a very close eye on Jackie Ashenden from now on and heading to the bookstore to see what other books she’s written.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)