Category Archives: Forever

Review: Renegade Cowboy by Sara Richardson

Title: Renegade Cowboy by Sara Richardson
Rocky Mountain Riders Series Book Three
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

A COWBOY’S HOMECOMING

Cassidy Greer knows that cowboys are nothing but trouble. But when her childhood crush comes riding into town, she starts to have second thoughts. Levi’s a world-class bull rider now and more handsome than ever. It’s a good thing she’s getting out of Dodge soon or she just might be tempted . . .

As a famous rodeo star, Levi Cortez could have his pick of any woman on the circuit. But when he reconnects with Cassidy, sweet memories come rushing back. Levi knows Cass doesn’t want to get roped into a relationship. Not with a cowboy. The only question is, can he convince her he’s more than just a renegade cowboy before the summer’s over?

Review:

Renegade Cowboy by Sara Richardson is a heartwarming romance that also deals with real life issues such as unresolved grief and alcoholism. This third installment in the Rocky Mountain Riders series can easily be read as a standalone.

Levi Cortez has undergone a great deal of growing up since his return home. He has finally taken responsibility for something his brother took the fall for many years ago and this has strengthened his bond with his family. Levi is also finally aware that he runs away when things get tough and his actions have consequences.  After his best friend Cash Greer’s death,  Levi left town, essentially abandoning the Greer family who also treated him as a second son. Determined to make up for his past mistakes with Cash’s sister Cassidy and her mom, Lulu, Levi realizes his feelings for Cass run much deeper than friendship.  Given their complicated history and the situation with her alcoholic mother, will Cassidy take a chance on love?

Although Levi has matured a great deal since coming home, he is still very charming with a light-hearted, fun-loving approach to life. Despite his easygoing manner, he takes his responsibilities very seriously and he has kept the promises he made to make up for his mistakes. Levi is absolutely stunned once he realizes the gravity of the situation with Cassidy and Lulu but Cassidy rebuffs his efforts to lessen her burden.

In the years following Cash’s death,  Cassidy’s family slowly fell apart.  Now responsible for caring for her mom, Cassidy is finally on the cusp of attaining her career goals. Despite her excitement over the next phase of her life, she has very real concerns about what will happen with Lulu. In light of the losses she has suffered, Cassidy is very guarded and avoids taking emotional risks.

Levi knows Cassidy is “The One” for him and he eagerly devises a plan to woo her. However, he sadly underestimates  her ability to ignore and evade him. Levi is quick to take advantage of every opportunity to spend time with her but Cassidy is determined to resist him. Theirsizzling hot attraction is eventually too strong to ignore and Levi proposes a no strings fling. Cassidy agrees to his suggestion but will she keep her emotions out of their arrangement?

Renegade Cowboy by Sara Richardson is a heartfelt romance that perfectly balances light-hearted fun and serious issues that are easy to relate to. Levi is truly remorseful for the mistakes he has made and he genuinely wants to right these wrongs. Cassidy is a wonderful young woman who takes her family responsibilities very seriously but she often put others needs ahead of her own.  Their romance tugs on readers’ heartstrings as Levi patiently gives Cassidy the time and space she needs to work through her fears. An absolutely delightful addition to the  Rocky Mountain Riders series that fans of Western contemporary romances will enjoy.

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Filed under Contemporary, Forever, Rated B, Renegade Cowboy, Review, Rocky Mountain Riders Series, Romance, Sara Richardson

Review: Can’t Forget You by Rachel Lacey

Title: Can’t Forget You by Rachel Lacey
Risking It All Series Book Three
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 353 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST LOVE

Jessica Flynn can’t wait to buy up that patch of unspoiled North Carolina woodland next door and expand her spa. What could be more sensuous than a hot-tub soak under the stars? Jessica would love to bask in the romantic view herself-but first she needs to find the right man to join her in this fantasy. Back in high school, she thought that was the dark and brooding Mark Dalton. But then he left to join the Special Forces, and when he returned to town, it felt like their teenage love affair had never even happened.

Mark Dalton has his eye on the same property for his own business. Yet there’s something he wants to have even more. Because Jessica is sweeter than he remembered, and he’s finding it hard to resist his attraction to the competition. When they finally find themselves alone, deep in the forest, nature can’t help but run a little wild. But if she ever finds out what he’s been hiding all these years, she may never forgive him…

Review:

Can’t Forget You by Rachel Lacey is a wonderful second chance at love romance between former high school sweethearts. This third installment in the Risking it All series features Mark Dalton (le sigh) and Jessica Flynn and can be read as a standalone.

Mark and Jessica have avoided each other as much as possible ever since he returned to Haven to go into business with his best friends, Ethan Hunter and Ryan Blake. Of the three men, Mark is the most damaged by his childhood and he is the epitome of the strong, silent type. Intensely private, Mark does not reveal much about his childhood, the years he has been away or his Army career.  Although he has no regrets about moving back to Haven or going into business with his friends, Mark still struggles with feeling like he does not belong.  After he continues to cross paths with Jessica, Mark realizes his feelings for her have not changed over the years but will he be able to overcome his fears that he is not relationship material?

Jessica is still pretty hurt and angry over Mark’s decision to leave her behind when he joined the Army.  Despite sharing friends in common, she has been fairly successful in avoiding him but when their business interests end up overlapping, she has no choice but to spend time with him. When he continues to show his caring and compassionate side while she is going through a difficult time, Jessica tentatively agrees to explore their simmering attraction. Eventually deciding to take their relationship public, will they finally find their happily ever after?

Despite his emotional baggage, Mark is a very kind-hearted and affectionate man.  He finds it difficult to discuss his problems and when he is stressed or worried, he needs time alone to process his emotions.  Due to how their romance ended years earlier, Jessica wants full transparency from him which is a reasonable request  when it comes to issues that pertain directly to their relationship. When it comes to other aspects of Mark’s life, this is a bit of an unrealistic and unfair expectation since everyone is entitled to their privacy. He should also have the choice to decide what he wants to share and he should also be able to decide when to share this info. This becomes a problem when Jessica stumbles across information that has NOTHING to do with her or their relationship but in her opinion, she feels like he should have divulged this to her. She then blindsides Mark with her discovery and proceeds to issue an unfair ultimatum that will either make or break their relationship.  This is the “big misunderstanding” that becomes the pivotal moment for their future and although it was wrapped up fairly quickly, this entire situation felt entirely unfair to Mark since it is tantamount to emotional blackmail by Jessica.

There was one other part of the story that did not make a good impression. Mark is an intensely private person so it felt like a bit of betrayal when Jessica discussed extremely intimate details about him with her friends. If they were having a casual fling, it would be slightly more acceptable to disclose this information but since Jessica is hoping for a long term relationship with him, these revelations were very inappropriate.

Despite a few flaws, Can’t Forget You is a sweet yet very sensual romance.  Mark has been a bit of an enigma throughout the Risking It All series so getting to know him on a more personal level is an absolute joy but also a bit heartbreaking once the truth about his past is revealed . Jessica has many good points but she treated Mark very unfairly when she discovered unexpected information about his past. Mark and Jessica have an explosive chemistry and their sex scenes are blazing hot.  Readers of contemporary romances will enjoy this newest release from Rachel Lacey.

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Filed under Can't Forget You, Contemporary, Forever, Rachel Lacey, Rated C+, Review, Risking It All Series, Romance

Review: Sugarplum Way by Debbie Mason

Title: Sugarplum Way by Debbie Mason
Harmony Harbor Series Book Four
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

“Heartfelt and delightful!” -RaeAnne Thayne, New York Times bestselling author

Romance writer Julia Landon knows how to write a happily-ever-after. Creating one for herself is a whole different story. But after a surprising–and surprisingly passionate–kiss under the mistletoe at Harmony Harbor’s holiday party last year, Julia thought she might have finally found her very own chance at true love. Until she learns her Mr. Tall, Dark, and Broodingly Handsome has sworn off relationships. Well, if she can’t have him in real life, Julia knows just how to get the next best thing….

Aidan’s only priority is to be the best single dad ever. And this year, he plans to make the holidays magical for his little girl, Ella Rose. But visions of stolen kisses under the mistletoe keep dancing in his head, and when he finds out Julia has written him into her latest novel, he can’t help imagining the possibilities of a future together. Little does he know, though, Julia has been keeping a secret that threatens all their dreams. Luckily, ’tis the season for a little Christmas magic.

Review:

Sugarplum Way by Debbie Mason is an endearing holiday themed romance.

Julia Landon is upbeat, positive and always has a smile on her face. With the holidays fast approaching, she is stretched to her limits as she frantically attempts to get her latest novel turned in on time. Juggling many duties, she nonetheless never tells anyone no when they for help. For rather mysterious reasons, Julia is determined to ensure everyone in the Gallagher family is blissfully happy and she has her hands full trying to ensure her last matchmaking attempt succeeds.  She is also doing everything she can to make sure her secret crush Aidan Gallagher has everything he needs to win custody of his daughter Ella Rose. Unfortunately her attempts to secure his future with the Harmony Harbor Police Department run into numerous problems with the police chief, but Julia is undeterred as she continues her attempts to “fix” things for Aidan.

Aidan is extremely suspicious of Julia which has resulted in quite a few inauspicious run-ins between them.  Despite knowing she is keeping secrets, he is also very attracted to the quirky, perky darling of Harmony Harbor.  But with his divorce behind him, Aidan is concentrating on improving his relationship with Ella Rose while also trying to gain custody of her.  Although he is frustrated by Julia’s interference in nearly every aspect of his life, he is also charmed by her.

Despite feeling a little lost due to not reading the previous novels in the Harmony Harbor series, Sugarplum Way is an enchanting holiday love story. Julia is a likable character despite being just a tad too perfect. Aidan is realistically depicted and it is wonderful watching his scenes with his daughter.   The romance between Aidan and Julia is slow moving and peppered with witty banter and laugh out loud humor.  Although the storyline is rather busy due to several story arcs, Debbie Mason beautifully weaves the various threads into a cohesive and entertaining novel.  Readers of the previous books will enjoy this latest addition to the series whereas newcomers will most likely feel confused by the first few chapters. All in all, a charming love story with a few mystical (and magical) elements.

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Filed under Contemporary, Debbie Mason, Forever, Harmony Harbor Series, Rated B, Review, Romance, Sugarplum Way

Review: Back in the Game by Erin Kern

Title: Back in the Game by Erin Kern
Champion Valley Series Book Two
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

WHEN YOU PLAY FOR LOVE, YOU PLAY FOR KEEPS

Stella Davenport wasn’t made for small-town life. Sure, teaching ballet in Blanco Valley, Colorado, is great, but she longs for the chance to perform in a big city. Stella swore she’d never let anything get in the way of her dream-until sexy, broad-shouldered Brandon West walks back into her life. Stella is determined to resist him, even if arguing with Brandon is sexier than any foreplay.

For Brandon, it’s always been just him and his son, Matt. Knowing that love only leads to heartbreak, he isn’t looking to expand his family any time soon. Stella, with her long, gorgeous legs and infectious laugh, is a breath of fresh air he didn’t even know he’d been missing. But when she’s offered her dream job in Chicago, will he be willing to put his heart on the line?

Review:

Back in the Game by Erin Kern is a somewhat angsty romance between two protagonists who are both carrying A LOT of baggage. This second installment in the Champion Valley series can be read as a standalone but the failed date between the couple in this outing occurred in the first book in the series.

Respective events from both Stella Davenport and Brandon West’s pasts continue to affect them well into adulthood. Stella’s childhood with her flighty and inattentive mother and a traumatic event that occurred when she was a teenager have left her with claustrophobia and anxiety. Following a career ending injury and a shocking break up, she moved to Colorado where she  has built a thriving business as a ballet instructor. Although it has been a year since Stella’s disastrous date with Brandon, her attraction to him burns hotter than ever.

Single dad Brandon is struggling with his son Matt’s plans to leave Colorado after graduation to attend college and play football in Texas. He is desperately hoping Matt avoids some of the missteps he made at the same age so Brandon is a little overprotective of his son.  With little time, energy or desire to date since his long ago divorce, he finds it impossible to stay away from Stella but will his unresolved issues from his relationship with his ex-wife prevent him from giving a relationship with Stella chance?

Stella and Brandon are interesting characters but readers will have to suspend disbelief to enjoy their romance. They have not spent much time in each other’s company yet, with just one glance, Brandon seems to magically “know” about Stella’s struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. While their banter is initially amusing, it becomes extremely frustrating since they both use humor and sarcasm to avoid discussing their respective issues which gives their scenes together a superficial feel. Their inner monologues also lack much depth since they mainly focus on their sizzling hot desire for each other.  They do not date in the traditional sense because their interactions mainly consist of accidental meetings around town. Overall, Stella and Brandon’s romance feels superficial and somewhat rushed due to the reliance on contrived encounters instead of actually dating. It also does not help that the novel takes place over a rather short amount of time.

Although the romance element in Back in the Game is underwhelming, both Stella and Brandon undergo tremendous character growth. Brandon’s son Matt is brilliantly developed and he manages to steal every scene he appears in.  Erin Kern brings the novel to a heartwarming conclusion that will satisfy old and new fans of the Champion Valley series.

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Filed under Champion Valley Series, Contemporary, Erin Kelly, Forever, Rated C+, Review, Romance

Review: Maybe This Love by Jennifer Snow

Title: Maybe This Love by Jennifer Snow
Colorado Ice Series Book Three
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

THE GAME OF HIS LIFE

Hockey player Ben Westmore has some serious skills—on and off the ice—and he’s not above indulging in the many perks of NHL stardom. When a night in Vegas ends in disaster, he realizes two things: 1) it’s time to lie low for a while, and 2) he needs a lawyer—fast. But the smoking-hot woman who walks into his office immediately tests all his good intentions.

Olivia Davis doesn’t need anyone derailing her career—or her dreams of starting a family—least of all a skirt-chasing player like Ben. But soon he’s unleashing a full-court press to convince her that he’s the real deal. She’s slowly falling for his sweet, rugged charm, but with so much on the line, Olivia has to decide whether Ben can truly change—or if he’s just playing the game.

Review:

Maybe This Love by Jennifer Snow is an utterly charming and extremely heartwarming romance. Although it is the second installment in the Colorado Ice series, it can be read as a standalone.

Professional hockey player and MVP Ben Westmore does not need any distractions since his team is about to begin the playoffs. Unfortunately, what happens in Vegas does not necessarily stay in Vegas and Ben’s playboy ways has landed him in a very tricky problem. Desperately trying to extricate himself from the situation without attracting any publicity, Ben also has to deal with his unexpected attraction to opposing attorney Olivia Miles.

When the two first meet, Olivia is on the cusp of making some huge changes in her personal life. Professionally, she is a well-respected divorce attorney who represents the wives who are divorcing their professional athlete husbands. Olivia is also a little lonely since she recently moved to Denver from LA and her only living relative recently passed away. After meeting Ben, she begins to have a few doubts about a recent decision, but she does not let her misgivings stand in the way of pursuing her dream.

Ben cannot stop thinking about Olivia and although any type of relationship is completely inappropriate, he arranges a couple of “accidental” meetings between them. Neither of them can deny their attraction to one another but ethically, Olivia should not be seeing him since she is on the other side of his legal situation. However, once she disentangles herself from the case, Olivia and Ben are free to date. Despite her reservations, Olivia agrees to go out with Ben, but is there any chance for a future together once she makes a surprising announcement?

Maybe This Love is an entertaining romance with a wonderful cast of lovable characters. The premise of the story is rather unique and Jennifer Snow skillfully inserts a few obstacles for Olivia and Ben to navigate on their way to happily ever after. This newest addition to the Colorado Ice series is a captivating love story that old and new fans do not want to miss.

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Filed under Colorado Ice Series, Contemporary, Forever, Jennifer Snow, Maybe This Love, Rated B, Review, Romance

Review: Toughest Cowboy in Texas by Carolyn Brown

Title: Toughest Cowboy in Texas by Carolyn Brown
Happy, Texas Book One
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

The Spark of an Old Flame

Last time Lila Harris was in Happy, Texas, she was actively earning her reputation as the resident wild child. Now, a little older and wiser, she’s back to run her mother’s café for the summer. Except something about this town has her itching to get a little reckless and rowdy, especially when she sees her old partner-in-crime, Brody Dawson. Their chemistry is just as hot as ever. But he’s still the town’s golden boy-and she’s still the wrong kind of girl.

Brody hasn’t had much time lately for anything other than ranching. Running the biggest spread in the county and taking care of his family more than keeps him busy. All that responsibility has him longing for the carefree days of high school-and Lila. She may have grown up, but he still sees that spark of mischief in her eyes. Now he’s dreaming about late-night skinny dipping and wondering how he can possibly resist the one woman he can never forget…

Review:

The first book in Carolyn Brown’s Happy, Texas series, Toughest Cowboy in Texas is an entertaining second chance at love romance.

Twelve years ago, Lila Harris left Happy, Texas with a broken heart courtesy of her secret boyfriend Brody Dawson.  Now a well-respected school teacher, Lila returns to Happy to sell her mama’s cafe but she cannot escape the town’s long memory.  Considered the town’s “wild child” because of her fun-loving, spirited antics, the townspeople still refer to her by her former nickname and she is the object of an awful lot of mean-spirited gossip. And woo whee!  Two of the Lila’s biggest detractors are Brody’s mama and Grandma and they are hoping he stays far away from her while she is in town.

Brody’s life changed direction dramatically due to circumstances beyond his control and he now has his hands full running the family ranch with his brother Jace.  He harbors quite a few regrets for the way he treated Lila while they were dating and as an adult, he is quick to apologize for his mistakes. Brody is also ready and willing to fight for her once he realizes he is still attracted to her.

The sparks fly between Brody and Lila once they are reunited but there is plenty of internal and external conflict to prevent them from acting on their attraction. With the townspeople convinced she is nothing but trouble, Lila cannot wait to leave Happy again. She is also rather reluctant to trust that Brody will not break her heart again. Brody knows that Lila is the woman for him, but his mama and grandma are dead set against them becoming a couple. Will Brody fight for Lila no matter what his family thinks? And will Lila be able to work through her reservations about living permanently in a town where she is nothing but fodder for  gossip?

Although Brody and Lila are likable characters, their relationship has a bit of an insta-love feel to it. The townspeople are rather judgmental and quick to think the worst of Lila despite the fact that they really do not know her.  It is also rather frustrating that both Lila and Brody’s families are dead set against them seeing another. The reasons are ridiculously overblown and have absolutely nothing to do with either Brody and Lila.

Toughest Cowboy in Texas  is a sweet yet steamy small town romance with a cast of eclectic but likable characters. While there are a few frustrations with some elements of the storyline, this first installment in the Happy, Texas series is an enjoyable read that I recommend to old and new fans of Carolyn Brown.

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Filed under Carolyn Brown, Contemporary, Forever, Happy Texas Series, Rated C+, Review, Romance, Toughest Cowboy in Texas