Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Embers of the Heart by Rosanne Bittner

Embers of the Heart

Embers of the Heart is a beautifully epic and emotional read from the first page to the last! Be prepared for a roller-coaster ride of feelings when you dive into this story.

Besides delivering an enduring love story, it also teaches the power of love, acceptance, and forgiveness; how evil and hate can burn and destroy a person; and how the consequences and waves of war can continue to ripple and destroy long after the last bullet is fired.

Anna is a young woman who's struggling with facing how the rumblings of war affect her family, and ultimately the loss of her first husband. She shows incredible fortitude and inner strength holding herself together while living through the unknowns and questions of how to survive this time. Her faithfulness and love shine through. You can't help but cheer when doors are finally opened so she can claim her happily ever after with a perfect man for her - even knowing there's still some dark valleys they'll have to travel through.

Nate is exactly the honorable, devoted, strong hero Anna needs in her life. His respect of every facet of Anna showed clearly - even if he may have kinda grumbled about things, they were still the same things that drew him to her. His pursuit of her from beginning throughout their marriage was a thing of beauty. No, he wasn't the perfect man, and could be quite the stubborn fool at moments (neither was perfect - Anna also had her stubborn faults and fears), but he always found his way back to Anna's side, right where he belonged.

Even the secondary characters pull at you in ways - not always good, and not always bad... but they're not exempt from giving you moments to pause, think, and feel.

The amount of love the poured off the pages in the last several chapters stole my breath and made tears streak my face. There's a particular scene (don't worry, no spoilers) that just wrecked me in the rawness and painfulness. And the way Anna and Nate clung and hung onto each other during that time? Breath-stealing in its devotion and overwhelming beauty.

This is probably one of my favorite Rosanne Bittner stories -- where it holds you captive from beginning to end, and gifts you with so much more than a romantic tale, but nuggets of empathy and true love. This is not a book to skip over!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Rescue Trail by Darrel Sparkman

Rescue Trail

I quickly fell in love with this story from first page to last!! Rescue Trail is a charming little escape that gives you heart, laughter, and a touch of bad@ss excitement.

Jake is kinda lost and wandering around after losing his wife years ago and hasn't really figured out what to do next. Then he runs into a lady who needs a bit of help, but there's some sparks and attitude she's dishing out. Watching them play off the other and breathe some life back into Jake is a charming hoot.

If you want a quick little story to set up some fun daydreams (because really, I'd've loved to see this become a longer novella or even a full length novel.. Seeing Lady and Jake partner up and take on the world together would be awesome!!) or just to fully entertain when you don't got alot of time for an escape, this story would be perfect!

This part made me giggle probably more than it should have, but it's still so true.

“Lady, there’s only one rule in a gunfight.”
She looked at him with moist eyes. “Which is?”
He leaned toward her. “Don’t get shot.”

The Last Warrant by Darrel Sparkman

The Last Warrant
What happens when you get a disillusioned US Marshal trying to figure out what he truly wants out of life -- to keep going till an outlaw bullet gets him finally, or take a chance at having a peaceful, good life back home on his ranch? But what's really waiting back at the ranch but an empty house and some cows?

Luke, while being a tough as nails marshal, also had some quirks that made him a bit softer on the inside, and more human. (I still giggle with some consequences of his job and some injuries that come with it.) He had a sense of honor and forgiveness.... of mercy and respect, for both law-abiding citizens and outlaws (but ya know, the more evil of an outlaw you are, the more ruthlessly he's gonna react and deal with you... just sayin'. haha). But he also didn't let others run roughshod over him. I adored when he first met Sarah and the eyes they made at each other and their connection.

Sarah proved very quickly she was the missing piece Luke'd been looking for -- the perfect woman to handle and fit in with his life, whatever he decided to do. She had a strength and cute sassy attitude that complimented him well.

Oh, and I enjoyed the little cross over with Rawlings from Rescue Trail. :) (I *love* that story!)

This is an excellent short novella that gives you all the goodness of a gritty western with a sweet helping of a love story all wrapped up in an easy to read package. Definitely not a story to skip over when you're looking for a short little somethin' to tide ya over.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Den of Thieves by Patti Sherry-Crews


So...... I thought I knew what this book was about. I've seen the research Patti Sherry-Crews had been sharing on the PRP blog, I've read the blurb, I had gotten little teases/hints in some side conversations.... and yet.... I wasn't truly prepared for the mind games and twists and surprises that weaved the story together!

If you're into the sort of thing where you thrive on not knowing anything about a story... just dive right on into the story and stop reading here. Otherwise here's just a little more for you - besides the encouragement to just keep turning the pages, be prepared, there's some drama and twists and curious moments ahead!

Wynne is not the usual kind of hero I'm drawn to... he's quieter, a little hesitant, a bit more unsure of himself. Then again, going undercover as your estranged brother into a outlaw gang where you're on your own, totally out of your element, and dependent upon your outlaw brother telling the truth about everything... and then you encounter some pretty major surprises, one has every right to feel off-kilter. And while overall his personality is on the quieter, gentler side, there's moments where he digs deep and finds an inner strength that I think surprised even him at first. I enjoyed watching his character growth and how he built his confidence in himself. I think he was the perfect kind of man Lucy was needing in her life.

Lucy.... oh my, that girl! She was an unexpected sweet surprise! Her mix of soft and strong drew me to her, even as my heart was breaking for her and cheering her on at the same time. She made some choices that set her on a very tough path, and despite the heavy struggles, she found ways to thrive and survive. When it all was said and done, she definitely needed a man like Wynne in her life to fully bloom.

I was delightfully surprised at how empathetic I felt and attached I became to some side characters... I don't want to spoil anything, just know you may also find yourself rootin' for some of them as well! Maybe it's because I like a bit of a bad boy.... ;)

Anyways, this was another awesome story by Patti Sherry-Crews that I enjoyed opening the cover and falling into.

*leaves the room whistling an old Alan Jackson song...
still you wonder...
who's cheatin' who
and who's bein' true
and who don't even care anymore
makes you wonder
who's doin' right
with someone tonight...
who's horse is stabled next door.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Snowfall: A Slashes in the Snow Prequel by M. Never

Snowfall: A Slashes in the Snow Prequel

YES please - bad@$$ biker meets high-class woman and they're adult about things and they talk and let the sparks fly?! Stinkin' loved it!! Another older couple book (she's in her lower 40s, he's upper 40s) and the heat and attraction and realness is off the charts!

This was my first book by M Never and I'm looking forward to trying out the next in the series.

Also - both narrators rocked (I first listened to this through the Read Me Romance podcast) and brought this story to life.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Her Wicked Hero by Caitlyn O'Leary

Her Wicked Hero

I adored this story! Loved their connection, their sparks, their attitude! Jungle rescues are also a favorite adventure of mine and this one delivered!

Marcia reminded me alot of myself, and I think that's why I connected so well to her, even if some things she did brought some grrs (haha, ahem... perhaps that's why I hear some grrs in real life too?? lol ummmmm.....). And Zed swept off her feet and it just melted me!

Another thing I loved is the bond of brotherhood and family that is displayed so wonderfully - and seems to be a common thread through all O'Leary books I've read. That makes these stories all the more enjoyable and addictive to me.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Her Vigilant SEAL by Caitlyn O'Leary

Her Vigilant SEAL

Loved it! Another awesome SEAL story.

Plus, I got a charming, sweet, shy, girl-next-door for a heroine who still had a strength all her own, which I've been waiting to find more of!

Mason.... He was perfect for her! Uber protective, swoony sweet, just bossy enough, he tripped my trigger.

Her Devoted HERO by Caitlyn O'Leary

Her Devoted HERO
I've found a new military romantic suspense author to add to my favorites list! I totally adored this story - perfect mix of love story and action! Kenna's got sass that serves her well and a amazing love for her boy. Dex has the smarts, the will power and the protective instincts to meet his woman head on. They compliment each other perfectly! Throw in a bad guy story line that keeps ya guessing and a teenage boy turning to be a man and I'm swoonin' over it!

I'm looking forward to discovering more stories in this world.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Cowboy's Honor by Amy Sandas

The Cowboy's Honor
OMGoodness!!! I honestly couldn't stop smiling. The. Entire. Book!!! And once I started, I couldn't stop and finished it all in one day! The Cowboy's Honor is such a cute and adorable and fun read!!

I absolutely adored how Courtney was sassy (in the best of ways) and had such a great attitude facing every trial and challenge that she faced. She had some growing up to do, just in the culture shock of going from a pampered daughter of society to a rancher's wife, but she met that challenge head on and bloomed. I loved seeing her discover herself and in turn, discover what she truly wanted out of life. Seeing her fall in love with the man who "messed up" her independence seeking? Priceless!

Dean had some pretty heavy burdens to carry, along with a heavy-handed demon clinging to him. But those challenges made him into the man of honor he was - respected, responsible, protective. His one moment of loco gave him the best gift of all in Courtney when he married and claimed responsibility for her. Watching him figure out his feelings for her and fall in love was so satisfying! He had his moments of crazy still, but his pursuit of her heart? Swoon-worthy!

I loved getting to meet up again with Malcolm and Alexandria (from book 1) briefly and see how they were doing. Also, the Lawton family just melted me with how accepting and welcoming of Courtney they were, and how they truly made the family feels flow off the page - oh, and their match-making nudges! haha!

This book really just made me happy and delivered a charming story I look forward to revisiting in the future!

If you want book that'll melt your heart and give you the feel goods, grab Dean and Courtney's story!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Gambling With Love by Kaye Spencer

Gambling With Love

Luck is most definitely a lady when Lainie Conrad walks up to the gaming tables. And what a presence she is! If I was blessed with the gift of knowing how to play cards, I'd hope I would even become a quarter of the lady gambler she was - in everything she did. Nick was a gonner for her from day one, and seeing his struggle with trying to love and protect a very head-strong woman was a hoot. He's definitely up for the challenge of having his hands full with her!

Besides the expected bit of sparks between a US Marshall and a maybe-maybe-not-criminal lady gambler, I wasn't prepared for what this story brought to light -- from intrigue and mystery to comic relief, from suspense to spicy heat waves, this little tale packs a punch in its derringer.

If you're looking for a short story to consume in one sitting, but want one with something to keep you guessing and at the edge of your seat, this is it!

A Restless Knight by Deborah Macgillivray

A Restless Knight
*closes the book and feels rudely jerked back to the 21st century.*
Whew!! What a trip!! After a few moments to let go of reality and immerse myself in the Scotland highlands of the late 1200s, I also became a captive of the Dragon of Challon and didn't want to escape my captor. haha!

I loved how Deborah Macgillivray painted the world around me with her words - it was almost like standing there and watching the words grow and bloom a new reality all around me -- I could sense the heather and apple blossoms, see the waves of flowing grass, hear the startling cry from the crows, feel the cool misty fog enveloping around me... then add in the emotions of the characters and I was enraptured! Toss in the smallest touch of mystic and a knight who's armor is not shining because he knows how to use it, and I'm enchanted.

Tamlyn charmed my heart with how strong and brave and defiant she was, but at the same time, she held a regal vulnerability, a softness, a gentleness to her. I loved being in her head as she encountered Julian and fell for her man. She truly was the perfect compliment to him, giving him the peace and calm and healing he so desperately needed.

Julian - the Black Dragon of Challon - his intensity, power, loyalty, determination, and protectiveness, along with his scary roughness, physical strength, and mental fortitude, overflowed from the pages into reality, gifting me with my favorite kind of hero - just with a sword and armor. Oh, and the way he shows his love and affection and devotion to Tamlyn? Watching it grow from an interesting challenge to intense love made me swoon over and over again. And feeling his arms wrap around me..... er.. Tamlyn? I'll take more of that, please. (so will she, I'm sure!)

This felt like the perfect never-ending story (said with much love and appreciation) - there was so much to Tamlyn and Julian's story that it could keep going on and on... and in fact, I still found myself wanting more. Hopefully in future books in this series we'll get to keep tabs on the couple. I also enjoyed how some famous historic characters were weaved into the story, making this feel as it was a true piece of history, and not simply a tale to while away a winter storm.

If you're a fan of epic and beautiful medieval tales, this is one that'll sweep you away!