Sunday, March 24, 2019

Book Review: In Her Sights by Katie Ruggle

In Her Sights by Katie Ruggle

Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, March 26, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Rockies

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Book Length:   384 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 3 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Bounty hunter Molly Pax fought hard for everything she has, turning the bail recovery business she shares with her sisters into an unqualified success. So when their sticky-fingered mother jumps bail and puts the childhood home up as collateral, Molly's horrified. To make matters worse, every two-bit criminal in the Rockies now sees her family's misfortune as their next big break.
She needs help, stat. 
Enter rival bounty hunter John Carmondy: six feet of pure trouble, with a cocky grin to match. John's the most cheerfully, annoyingly gorgeous frenemy Molly's ever had the pleasure of defeating...and he may be her only hope of making it out of this mess alive.
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Vikki’s Musings

In Her Sightsis the first book in Katie Ruggle’s new series, Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters. Thanks goes to the publisher, via Net-Galley, for inviting me to read and review in advance of publication. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

I enjoyed the family unity between the five sisters, and I empathized with their problems with their sticky-fingered mother. It’s amazing the young women are not seriously affected by her dreadful behavior. It must have been chaos living under her supervision, or should I say lack there of! 

For me, the pacing is a bit slow because Ms. Ruggle is clearly setting up the series in this first installment. Unfortunately, it took the focus off Molly and John. Plus, the character development was not strong.

Molly clearly loves her sister and will do whatever it takes to protect them. That is a very positive characteristic. However, it makes her very controlling and closes her off from other relationships. For a good part of the book, she sees John as an annoyance to be tolerated. I’m not overly fond of the enemies to lovers stories. Of course, other readers love that trope.

I found John’s character somewhat superficial and never felt like I knew him. That kept me from truly seeing Molly and John as a couple. Overall, he came across as a decent guy, just not riveting.

The romance takes a back seat to the plot-driven story. For me, I didn’t feel a lot of chemistry or passion between them. That made it hard for me to care about their romance. 

Let’s talk action and suspense. That too took some time to build. However, the climax is great and keep me engaged throughout the last part of the story. Earlier on, some of the scenes were a bit contrived.

Overall, this is not a bad read, just not one that grabbed me. I did find the sisters interesting and will probably read the next book when it comes out. Ms. Ruggle left several threads unresolved, and hopefully that will be corrected in the next one in the series. Happy reading!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Book Review: Faking Forever by Catherine Bybee

Faking Forever by Catherine Bybee

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, March 12, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Mexico, California

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Length:  329 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Shannon Wentworth’s biological clock is ticking, and she isn’t going to let her single status keep her from having a baby. When her wedding-photography business takes her to Mexico, she has every intention of finding a willing baby daddy to help her out. Until the bride goes AWOL, leaving Shannon to coddle the arrogant fiancé who has accused her of sabotaging his wedding.
Victor Brooks never could have imagined that he’d be on a honeymoon for one. Only here he is, taking a hard look at his life after the younger women he thought he loved walked out. The woman who volunteers to help him reflect is the last person he expects to be attracted to. Between the tequila, the sun, and one earth-shattering kiss, Victor finds Shannon a distraction too sexy to ignore.
They strike a deal: wait three months, cool off, and see if their tropical beach attraction is worth taking up when they go back home. Unfortunately, that’s just enough time for the past to come calling. All their best-laid plans are at risk. So is the last thing Shannon expected to matter the most: her heart.

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Vikki’s Musings

Catherine Bybee is fast becoming one of my auto-buy authors. This is book four in the First Wives Club series. When I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review, I immediately accepted since I loved the other books! My opinions are my own and not influenced by anyone.

Faking Forever is real with flawed characters who are able to own up to their mistakes and learn from them. As with all of Ms. Bybee’s novels, Faking Forever captured my attention from the first page and kept until the last. The pacing is fast, the characters are entertaining and well-written, and the plot is fantastic. 

Shannon Wentworth’s character underwent a change for Faking Forever, making her a more complex individual than she’d been in the previous books. I liked the changes and it made for a more interesting read. She exhibits a willingness to speak up for herself and the ability to call out the hero on his less than desirable characteristics, making him a much better man.

In the beginning of Faking Forever, Victor Brooks appears to be solely driven by his work as CEO of his company to the point where he chooses a meeting over flying with his fiancée to their wedding destination. When he ends up seated next to Shannon, she lets him know his behavior is severely lacking toward his girlfriend/fiancée. I really enjoyed how he recognizes his mistakes and goes about correcting them when his bride leaves him at the altar.

His decisions are motivated by his conversations with Shannon. While normally I would not like Victor’s character, Ms. Bybee handles it so well, I fell in love with him. He makes major changes in his life and understands his ex-fiancée was not the right woman for him. 

While the romance moves slower than in most of Ms. Bybee’s books, it is nonetheless satisfying and perfect for their love story. It is believable and appropriate. Once they do come together, the passion between them is emotionally motivated, and I loved them together. I’m so glad Shannon finally found her happy ending. She deserves it after what happened in her marriage to Paul.

If you enjoy character-driven romance novels with engaging characters and a great plot, then you will enjoy Faking Forever. While this book can be read as a stand-alone, I do recommend reading the other books in the series first. You will thoroughly enjoy the paths these four women travel as much as I. Happy reading!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Book Review: Ask me to Stay by Terri Osburn

Ask me to Stay by Terri Osburn

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, March 5, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, South Carolina

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Length:   269 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Author Liza Teller’s new book is something of a mystery. She’s been hired to ghostwrite the memoir of Ray Wallis, an elderly stranger eager to share a very personal and surprising life story. The moment Liza arrives on beautiful Haven Island off the South Carolina coast, she has to ask: Out of all the semi-successful writers with stalled careers in the world, why her?
Kendall James, the dedicated ex-military man in Ray’s employ, has the same question. Why is this New Yorker in a frilly blue dress so important to Ray? But as protective and suspicious as he is, Kendall can’t help falling for the tempting outsider. And he isn’t falling alone.
As Ray’s life story unfolds, Liza and Kendall’s chemistry ignites. And all of it could be explosive. On an island this small, Liza soon discovers that there isn’t much room to hide—from the secrets of Ray’s past or from her desire for a man unwilling to give her the one thing she truly wants.

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Vikki’s Musings

Terri Osburn has become one of my auto-buy authors. Her books are real with flawed characters I can easily love. When I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review Ask me to Stay, I quickly accepted. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

As with all Ms. Osburn’s books, I was immediately pulled into the story and couldn’t stop reading until the last word. The pacing is quick and lively without feeling rushed. The writing is emotionally-charged with just the right amount of description.

Liza Teller’s character quickly captured my attention, and I became vested in her right away, even though her flaws her there. I identified with her fear of the dog in the story because I had that as well until my husband insisted, we get one. I quickly fell in love with my Marlee and now love dogs. This happens to Liza as well. 

What appealed to me was Liza’s willingness to redirect her career when her muse grew quiet. Writing a memoir is quite different from writing fiction. She showed great deal of patience with Ray, and her affection for him touched my heart.

Kendall James is a great hero, exhibiting all the characteristics I most admire in a hero. He is very much the protector. He is immediately drawn to Liza in a big way, but of course, he fights that attraction. He is very protective of Ray and is concerned that he wants his memoir written since there are secrets that could cause a huge issue for the elderly man, and Kendall’s family as well. 

The chemistry between Liza and Kendall is apparent from their first meeting. Liza certainly doesn’t want to be attracted to Kendall and fights it in the beginning, but she can’t resist him. I enjoyed their romance and wanted them to find their happy ending.

If you’re looking for a character driven love story with engaging characters and believable plot, then you will love Ask me to Stay as much as I did. This book appears to be a stand-alone, but an excellent one. Happy reading!