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: 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: 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: Hands of Evil

Hands of Evil caught me from the get go. It’s incredibly well written but that’s not what got me. What caught my interest and didn’t let it go was the humanity of the characters, their honest appeal. Add to that the fact that the book is like a fantastic version of CSI and I was hooked.

We meet JJ who’s a tough guy who is also caring and protective without losing a sliver of that meanness. JJ is the kind of guy I’d want watching my back. He’s smart, dedicated and can drop a bad guy in under two seconds. I liked him from the start and reading the book only increased his appeal.

Grace is a survivor of abuse. Not a victim. The difference is powerful and delightful. She’s a woman determined to find her wings again even if life has thrown her some tough cards. I loved that she was into self-defence and she worked out. I loved that she had a job and stood up to bullies without caving in. She was awesome.

There’s a bad guy in Hands of Evil and I won’t say too much because I don’t want to give anything away. Suffice it to say that this particular nemesis had a tragic past that gave him a touch of humanity sometimes laking in romance.

This book is rich with stories and likeable characters without taking away from the main love story. I wanted to know more about Justin and the rest of the team. I was curious about their lives and histories. They were tough as nails, smart as they come but somehow approachable and funny. I got a sense they’d be awesome friends.

I love romance and I don’t usually like mystery but this book had me. I had to find out what happened. The pace wasn’t rushed or slow, it was exciting. I had to stop myself from gobbling up the book and I know I’ll read it again to savour it slowly. A really great read, I’d highly recommend it.

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Note: click on cover to go to site.

Review: Then Came You

Emily is doing her interning Sunshine, Idaho. She’s an LA girl and counting down the days until she can leave the little town and get back to the big city. She’s determined, spirited and has an easy sense of humour that helps her laugh at her own mistakes. Those qualities help her, but they’re not enough to get over the issue Sunshine presents for her: her boss Wyatt.

Wyatt and Emily already met, as in, really met. They shared one smoking night and as luck would have it, he’s her new boss. When they realize they’re going to be working together for a year, they try to keep things professional. And fail badly.

Wyatt is handsome and kind. He loves animals and helps out his two quirky sisters.

Like the previous books, this one is filled with funny, delightful animals that are as realistic as they are humorous. In particular, I have a soft spot for Peanut the parrot. He’s hilarious. But the human characters are just as funny and interesting.

Then Came You is the perfect summer read. A love story that will make you smile filled with characters you want to know.

ThenCameYou_JillShalvis

 

Note: click on the image to go to the book site.

Review: When I’m with you

When I’m with you is the story of Elise and Lucien. She’s a chef in training and he’s a restauranteur. They meet at his restaurant and sparks fly. Lucien initially takes her on to help her but soon, they develop more than a boss-employee relationship.

Neither the hero nor the heroine stop working throughout the book. Their jobs don’t magically disappear once they meet. They’re real in the entire book and that’s something I truly appreciated as a reader.

Elise is a complex woman who’s pretty misunderstood. Lucien has been burned before and is a little gruff as a result. Their issues come out through their relationship and are resolved in and out of the bedroom.

A note of warning, this is not a gentle read where the sexual act is hinted at. There are some graphic scenes here and if that’s not your cup of tea, stay away.

For all the plot and character development, this book is a love story. I found it a captivating, easy read that I couldn’t put down. I would absolutely recommend this book but I’d buy the complete novel, not the pieces.

WIWY_complete_400-266x400Note: click on the cover to go the site.

 

Book Releases

What an awesome list! Check out this great post!

The BookChick

Check out all the amazing books coming out this month. One-click a book or 20. 🙂

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Eagerly waiting for…

There are a few books I’m desperately anticipating for the summer.

Mary Balogh’s The Escape is coming…I can’t say enough good things about Mary Balogh except she’s on my automatic-buy list for very, very good reason. If you like historical romance, she’s amazing.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

(Note: click on the cover to go to the author’s website.)

Jill Shalvis’ Then Came You is also coming out this summer. It involves two things I love, romance and puppies. Absolutely the best! Can’t wait.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

(note: click on image to go to author’s site)

Now these are only two I’m really looking forward to. There are tons of books coming out. Check out this post by All About Romance with their list of upcoming books.

Do you have any books you’re excited about? Any you’re looking forward to for the summer? Share them with me! I’m always looking for new books–especially if they’re romance! 😀

Review: The Accidental Duchess

The Accidental Duchess starts off with a bang. Lydia is blackmailed and she has to figure a way to keep the contents of a manuscript she wrote from leaking out. Desperate, she agrees with to an old bet with the Duke of Penthurst. She’s willing to wage her innocence over cards. If he loses he has to give her the sum the blackmailer wants, ten thousand pounds–a vast amount back then.

Of course, trying to solve her problems, Lydia seems to get even more tangled into a mess. During this process, she raises the curiosity of the Duke, who then becomes an ally.

I loved the dialogue of the book. I could not only believe it was British but that it was historical. There were no slips, no modern words and yet nothing sounded stilted or awkward. It wasn’t just the dialogue that’s worthy of praise, Madeline has a great way of sliding delicious, little hints along with her descriptions adding hugely to the plot. They’re like little succulent crumbs and I ate them up wondering where they were leading. Nothing was stated over and over until it became nauseating. On the contrary, if anything we were left wanting more which made me turn those pages faster and faster.

A powerful, strong alpha hero and an intelligent heroine that has come upon tough times always draws my interest and this one was no exception. This is a great book for those who like historical romance and anyone looking for a great summer read.

Review: It had to be you by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I’ve said before that Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a master writer and this book is proof. She doesn’t just have complete, believable characters who are loveable in spite being flawed, she shows you how they grow–you see it in the book. Then she knits in a great plot and adds a touch of humour. The resulting book is an absolute gem.

Phoebe, the heroine, has her flaws. I honestly didn’t like them at first…until I understood her history. Dan, the hero, has his issues and, though I thought he was a hot-head jock at first, I got to know him and suddenly I could see the remorse and the good guy under the easy one-liners.

Phoebe has gone through hell and back. Dan is only now starting to realize how messed up his love life is. They have scars that make them so interesting I could barely pay attention to what was going on with the other characters but they’re awesome in their own right. From quirky football players to Phoebe’s endearingly realistic teen sister, they kept the story going.

I love complex stories where sex doesn’t fix things and issues don’t magically disappear in the bedroom or at the end of the book. I think it adds a touch of realism and class to the story. This book had both in spades.

From another perspective, the author is someone who knows football. This book isn’t a lesson or a course on the sport but rather Ms. Phillips knows enough to add colourful elements of the sport that enrich the story, made me laugh and don’t slow down the plot or feel like a lesson. I loved reading about Phoebe’s innocent start into the Stars.

With summer coming, this is a great book for the cottage or the beach. And a great way to get to know one of romance’s finest writers. This is the book that seriously started Ms. Phillips’ writing career and that’s because it’s such a fantastic read.