Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Thank you for following my book reviews for 2012.  I will be posting my reviews for 2013 here.

Monday, December 31, 2012

A Conflict of Interest - Barbara Dunlop (HD #2204 - Jan 2013)

Series: Daughters of Power: The Capital (Book 1)

She tried to stay away from him….

More than once, White House PR specialist Cara Cranshaw has considered that reporter Max Gray might want her only because he can't have her. Given their work, a relationship is dicey -- and impossible now that the president has taken office.

For Max, their relationship may be a lark, a fling -- maybe she's just another woman in the long line that forms a part of his bachelor lifestyle. But for her, what they have is different. She's all but given him her heart. And now she is having his baby.

Very good book.  Cara and Max had been involved for a short time but they can't be now.  With her job at the White House and his as a reporter there is too much risk to them both (reminds me a little of CJ and Danny in West Wing).  The problem is that their attraction is too strong and they can't resist it whenever they find themselves together.  Cara is very good at what she does and doesn't want to risk her position.  She also can't stop thinking about Max and now that she's pregnant she doesn't know what to do.  Max has made no secret of the fact that he doesn't do commitments and he never wants children.  This upsets her but she doesn't want to trap him into something he will come to resent, so she doesn't know whether to tell him or not.  Max is used to brief flings but finds himself not wanting to let go of Cara.  Even though a relationship could mean the end of both of their jobs he can't stop trying to be with her.  This creates a conflict in him because of his decision to be relationship and family free.  He feels he is a bad bet because of his father's actions.  But the more that they try to do the right thing the more that Max wants to be with her.  Cara is also dealing with a crisis at work as a previously unknown illegitimate child of the president is made public.  She and Max are both trying to find out the truth.  This question is not resolved in this book and I expect it will continue through this series.  There are several great scenes in this book but my favorites are Max and the snowboarders and Max's appearance at Cara's apartment at the end.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The SEAL's Valentine - Laura Marie Altom (HAR #1435 - Jan 2013)

Series: Operation Family (Book 3)

Is He SEAL Enough For The Job?

The moment off-duty navy SEAL Tristan Bartoni meets feisty yet vulnerable Brynn Langtoine, he's a goner. He sure didn't have plans to be attracted to a recently widowed pregnant woman who is already mother to a troubled, grieving young son. Nope, the struggling SEAL came home to Ruin Bayou, Louisiana, to finally deal with his haunting past decisions-not to start a new relationship.

Brynn has enough problems without her hormones going crazy whenever Tristan is near. Her son, Cayden, constantly lashes out at her. Her baby will be fatherless. So...what does Tristan think he's doing, making her life even more topsy-turvy than it already is?

But when it comes to putting her heart on the line, who could be more trustworthy than a Navy SEAL? 

Very good book with lots of emotion.  Both Tristan and Brynn had some hard issues to deal with in their lives.  Brynn had been widowed when her pro baseball player was gunned down because of his illegal activities.  She's living in his childhood home awaiting the birth of her second child and trying to deal with her son's heartbreak.  The last thing she wants is to get involved with another man.  She can't help her attraction to him though she fights it all the way.  She knows he isn't going to stay around.  But he is very good with her son who is starting to return to normal under Tristan's friendship. Her biggest issue besides not wanting to depend on a man again was her fear of losing another loved one. Tristan came home to try to come to terms with his own past.  His marriage ended because his wife couldn't handle his job.  She has remarried and taken their son to California where he hardly ever gets to see the boy.  He blames himself completely and it has caused him to lose focus on his missions.  He finds himself drawn to Brynn and her son and starts helping out with things she needs and helping Cayden with baseball stuff.  He makes it clear to her that he won't be there for long and is bad relationship material anyway.  I really liked the way that Tristan kept helping Brynn and how good he was to Cayden.  He didn't see the boy as just a replacement for his own son but as his own person.  His biggest issue was the guilt he felt over the breakup of his marriage and how he blamed himself.  I didn't like the way that he never held her responsible for part of the problems.  I could see how much he wanted Brynn and the kids to be part of his life but that he was afraid of messing up again.   I really enjoyed the way that their relationship grew over time and how they had to learn to compromise.  I loved Tristan's solution to his dilemma.

Darcy and the Single Dad - Stacy Connelly (HSE #2237 - Jan 2013)

Series: Pirelli Brothers (Book 1)


Nick Pirelli's little girl was growing up way "too" fast. He knew she needed a mom-which meant he needed a wife. But finding the right woman in Clearville wasn't easy. The local dating pool was shallow, and the grapevine put Nick's every move under a microscope. Still, he was determined to find Ms. Right...until Darcy Dawson blew into town.

A city girl who'd never set down roots, Darcy wasn't the woman Nick needed. But no matter where he went, he couldn't escape her sexy red curls or her husky laugh-nor could he ignore the joy the beautiful stranger brought to his daughter. Yet he couldn't stop worrying about what "other" people might think. Could straitlaced Nick finally throw caution to the wind for the woman who'd captured his heart? 

Very good book.  Nick is very conscious of being a good father to his daughter.  He knows he should marry again, but wants to be very careful this time.  His first wife had not been happy living in a small town and he didn't want to risk making the same mistake.   He doesn't expect to be so attracted to Darcy especially since she's the opposite of what he's looking for.  He can't stay away from her and finds that he is happier when he is around her. He keeps trying to talk himself out of being with her. I loved the way that everyone else seems to recognize that they belong together before they admit it themselves.  Darcy has come to Clearville, where her mother grew up, to get away from the memory of a fiance who didn't appreciate her for who she was.  She didn't want to get involved with another judgmental man.  She soon realized that Nick wasn't so much judgmental as cautious after having been burned.  She melts at the obvious love he has for his daughter and envies the closeness of his large family.   I liked the way that she is so good at helping Nick with Maddie and how she can make him see things from a different angle.  I loved the small town setting and can't wait to read the other brothers' stories.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

One Whiff of Scandal - Judith Arnold (HAR #281 - Feb 1989)

Can love survive scandal?

Sex, money and power--for weeks, Griffin had been investigating what promised to be the worst scandal ever to hit the sleepy Rhode Island communities. Then Granby Record reporter Jill Bergland stumbled onto the story. Started turning up at his stakeouts. And then had the audacity to challenge Griffin Parker, hard-nosed newshound for the Providence Journal, to a race to the byline.

Would Griffin let this Jenny-come-lately rob him of an exclusive? A possible Pulitzer? Jill was talented. Jill was beautiful. But if she preferred rivalry over romance, that's exactly what she was going to get.

Good book.  I liked both Jill and Griff.  Both were excellent reporters and wanted to be the one to break the story.  I liked the way that Jill recognized that there was a potential story and went after it.  She didn't have the experience that Griff had but she had good instincts and kept turning up where Griff didn't want her.  There was a strong attraction between them but they also realized that being together while working on the same story was not a good idea.  But try as they might staying away just didn't seem to be an option.  Jill had some trouble trusting Griff and tended to jump to conclusions but she was also able to admit when she was wrong.  Griff had been working on the story for awhile and didn't want Jill's clumsy attempts at stakeouts to ruin his chances.  He also found himself wanting to spend time with her and she wasn't far from his mind at any time.  He also really appreciated the fact that being a reporter herself she understood what his life was like and how work could interfere with a personal life.  I loved the way they ended up working together and how their final stories turned out. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Nick All Night - Cheryl St. John (SSE #1475 - June 2002)

Boy-next-door Nick Sinclair had grown up into a hunk extraordinaire -- that was Ryanne Whitaker's first shock on reencountering her sexy, single-dad neighbor. The second was that she was facing this broad-shouldered Mr. Gorgeous across the barrel of a gun!

Turned out Nick was now sheriff of their Iowa hometown and had mistaken Ryanne for an intruder...but meeting him again like that had certainly unsettled her settling in....

Ryanne had planned her stay in town to be temporary. But that was before Nick kissed her! Was it time for Ryanne to trade in the bright lights of the big city for the warm glow of hearth and home?

Good book.  Ryanne was back in Elmwood to try to put her life back together.  Her ex-husband had run off with all their money leaving her in debt to the IRS.  Her pride wouldn't allow her to let anyone know how much of a failure she felt.  Meeting Nick again made her realize how much she had missed having a good friend and remembering what good friends they had been when they were kids.  But then there was an attraction developing that she didn't know what to do about.  She had no intention of staying, but she didn't want to leave either.  It was really hard to watch Ryanne struggle so hard to try to fix everything on her own when asking for help would not have been a weakness.  I really liked the way that her attitude toward the town started to change as she realized the benefits of living in a small town.  I also liked the way that she cared for Nick's son so quickly.  Nick was a pretty terrific hero.  The way he cared for everyone was obvious in everything he did.  He had some dreams of his own but had put everything aside as a way to atone for what he saw as a terrible decision on his part.  He spent so much time caring for others that he never did anything for himself.  I really liked the way that he was there for Ryanne and how his feelings just got stronger.  I also liked the way that he saw the truth of what she told him and was able to make the changes he needed to make.  I loved the way that they were able to share their dreams for the future together.

The Baby Bump - Jennifer Greene (HSE #2236 - Jan 2013)

Series: MacKinnon (Book 2)

Ginger Gautier does "not" need saving, thank you very much. Okay, she's alone and pregnant. And, yes, she's unemployed and less than trusting after her breakup with a big-city doctor, but that doesn't mean she needs to be saved by a man. Especially not by "another" doctor

Ike MacKinnon was enjoying his peaceful, easygoing small-town life-until Ginger changed everything. Tired of Southern belles, the sexy doctor realized that the feisty redhead is the only woman who ever tied him up in knots. Trouble is, she's determined to stand on her own two feet, no matter what the consequences. She won't listen to anything. Not even her own heart.

But Ike's heart is telling "him" that he and this fiery redhead "belong" together. And he's determined to make a house call that lasts forever!

Good book.   I liked both Ike and Ginger.  Ginger had come back to Sweet Valley to take care of her grandfather and get her life back together.  She is determined to stand on her own two feet and not depend on anyone for help - especially Ike.  Unfortunately he always seems to catch her when she is not at her best.  Ginger is really worried about her grandfather whose grasp of reality seems to be slipping.  The family tea farm is in trouble and she is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.  I really enjoyed her bursts of temper.  She wasn't mean or nasty she just tended to let her opinions be known forcefully.  She did her best to resist her attraction to Ike.  She didn't want another man in her life but she wasn't able to resist him.  I liked the way she was finally able to explain her need to him and how he stepped up to help her with that.  Ike was fantastic.  He was such a laid back guy that nothing seemed to upset him.  He coped with all the emergency medical things very calmly and with a great attitude.  He did feel a little overwhelmed by the attention of all the single women in town but tried to maintain his cool.  He was stunned by the vibrancy of Ginger.  Her attitude was a breath of fresh air to him and he soon discovered that he wanted Ginger in his life permanently.  His problem was getting her to see it too.  I loved all the things he did for her and all the obvious care he had for her.  I also loved the way he enjoyed her bouts of temper so much.  I really loved the way he took her away at the end.