Thursday, December 8, 2016

Bedmates (American Royalty #1) by Nichole Chase

Title: Bedmates: An American Royalty Novel
Classification: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: American Royalty
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 4, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062405195
ISBN-13: 978-0062405197
Author's Website: http://www.nicholechase.com/
Notes: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Maddie McGuire is America's First Daughter. No longer a child but still living at home, she's just gotten herself in trouble and proven she still has a lot of growing up to do. Actions have consequences and while her father has managed to keep her from doing time for her crime, she's not getting off scot-free. She'll be spending the next several months working with the Vice President's son, Jake, promoting and working for the RCVA--Returning Combat Veteran Affairs program.

Jake Simmons is the vice president's son and he has a soft spot for the RCVA. Being an injured veteran himself, he knows how the homes they build can help injured veterans and their families in a big way. As he and Maddie begin work on their first house they become close as they put their differences aside. As Jake's mother notices the change in their relationship she reminds him that Maddie is off limits. That's one of the many rules she's laid out for her son over the years. The problem is Jake isn't a little boy anymore and this may be one rule he'll just have to break...  
When I realized this was a romance about a fictitious president's daughter I had some reservations about reading it. I wasn't sure I'd be pulled into the story, and it took a while for me to warm to the idea. Thankfully, after reading a handful of chapters which toggled between Jake and Maddie's viewpoints, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enchanted with this pair. Both were thrust at an early age into the political arena with every move, decision, and  mistake scrutinized by the world. Every choice, good or bad, reflecting poorly or favorably not only upon themselves, but upon their parents as well. Not many could understand or handle the pressure these two have been under, and that is partly what brings them together.

Maddie wears her heart on her sleeve, but is no wilting flower. When push comes to shove, she'll shove right back and give as good as she gets. In a world where everything comes with strings attached, she's managed to keep herself from being caught up in them. She just needs to learn to think before she acts on things she's passionate about.

There is no doubt Jake's mom is grooming him to be a political powerhouse. Already at ease at any   social function he's used to being in the world spotlight. Over the years he's learned to maneuver through the political landscape and verbal landmines with ease. Handsome, young, and charismatic, he has no problem using those traits to his advantage. While he's used to living in a world where everyone wants something from him, his mother included, he's a little tired of it all. Maddie is one of the few people he's found who is genuine and he can be himself around.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It was a cute story that also brought to light the fact there are many unsung heroes out there in need of help. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any reference to the RCVA other than a store that had nothing to do with Returning Combat Veterans. I wish the author had used this book as a springboard to drum up support for a real program, but apparently she didn't. The relationship between Maddie and Jake was sweet, but got a bit complicated as Jake worked through some emotional issues that dealt with survivor's remorse and the death of a close friend. While by no means a lighthearted read, it did have its moments and I enjoyed the story. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Her Renegade Rancher (Montana Men, #5) by Jennifer Ryan

Title: Her Renegade Rancher: A Montana Men Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Western
Series: Montana Men
Format: Paperback; 400 pages
Publisher: Avon (September 20, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062435353
ISBN-13: 978-0062435354
Author's Website: http://www.jennifer-ryan.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"Take it from an old man, don't put things off. Time slips away so quickly, before you know it, it's gone."

Those were some of the lasts words of wisdom Wayne Traverse imparted to Luna Hill. He'd been encouraging her to talk to Colt Kendrick and fix thing with him. He silently predicted the two would be perfect for each other and, with what he was about to do, Luna could use a good man at her side. Over the years an unlikely friendship had developed between Wayne and Luna and they'd found they were two like minded individuals. He was always giving her fatherly advice and she'd enjoyed the time they spent together as well as his advice. It was a surprise, however, when upon his death he left the majority of his estate to Luna instead of his family, but he had his reasons. The will stipulated there was a way the family could earn back half of that estate, but they'd have to go through Luna to get it. Wayne may have known he'd open up a can of worms on Luna, but it's doubtful he realized it would quickly morph into a barrel of vipers. Luna's life was about to get complicated.


This was another great story by Jennifer Ryan. The position that Wayne puts Luna in was by no means ideal, but, interestingly enough, provided the perfect situation to test one's mettle. In this case, Colt stepped up to the plate. Talk about your accelerated courtships, this one definitely wins the prize. I was equal parts appalled and impressed by what Wayne did. His relatives showed just how low some people will stoop when they get mad about an inheritance that goes to someone they don't believe deserves it instead of them.

I felt so bad for Luna, but admit Wayne chose his successor well. Luna was more than generous when it came to dealing with Wayne's disappointed family. Wayne wanted the land he loved to go to someone who would love and tend to it as he would when he was gone. He found a kindred spirit in that regard with Luna. Thankfully for Luna when things got rough and a tab bit scary, Colt was there for her to lean on.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It had a high dose of suspense paired nicely with equally high dose of romance and embellished by a touch of mystery. I've actually begun reading 'Stone Cold Cowboy' to see if there were any sneak peeks into how this relationship began. While Luna and Colt have known each other for a while, she'd been his friend's girlfriend. It kind of brought to mind the 1981 song 'Jessie's Girl' by Rick Springfield...

'Jessie is a friend, yeah
I know he's been a good friend of mine
But lately something's changed that ain't hard to define
Jessie's got himself a girl and I want to make her mine'


On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. There was definitely some major chemistry going on between these two. FYI, it should be noted these two didn't get together until after Luna broke up with the other guy.

Order of the Montana Men Series:

Friday, November 25, 2016

Early Review of Wild at Whiskey Creek (Hellcat Canyon, #2) by Julie Anne Long

Title: Wild at Whiskey Creek
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hot in Hellcat Canyon
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (November 29, 2016)
ISBN-10: 006239763X
ISBN-13: 978-0062397638
Author's Website: http://www.julieannelong.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Glory Greenleaf knew she was destined for greatness. Everyone who listened to one of her songs or heard her sing knew she had talent. Her plan after graduating from high school had been to leave town and get discovered. She'd been saving for years to do just that, but life had other plans. Just days before her planned exit her brother was arrested and in order to keep her mother from losing her house, she'd had to use her savings to help pay what she could on the mortgage.  Now, several months later, Glory is still living in the same small town hoping to one day make it big.

Deputy Eli Barlow had known the Greenleafs for years and Glory's brother, Jonah, had been his best friend. He'd once harbored a crush on Glory and, truth be told, still does. After arresting Jonah, he'd known she'd never forgive him and the one kiss they'd shared would likely be his last. While romance seems off the table, he's determined to gain her friendship back. He'll try to earn her forgiveness all the while knowing it won't be easy. Glory is fiercely loyal to her friends and family and she believes what Eli did was an all out betrayal. 
When I first started reading this story, I thought it would be your average run of the mill girl makes it big in the music industry type of romance story. After pressing on for a couple of chapters, however, I started to get drawn into the story by a surprisingly multifaceted, complex, and real to life set of characters. It soon became clear this was a surprisingly heartwarming and touching story that had individuals with clear cut dreams, goals, set backs, disappointments, and issues. In other words, I became totally hooked.

Glory is the type of person who is tough as nails, determined, loyal to a fault, and tenacious as they come. While her family is far from perfect, it has always been filled with love and affection. When Eli arrested Jonah he was doing his job, but to Glory it felt like a betrayal. The two have never talked about what happened and the arrest hangs between them like a barrier they can't get past. While Eli is determined to make it up to her, he needs to get her to talk to him first.The thing Glory doesn't realize is that Eli feels betrayed as well. His best friend put him in a position he never wanted to be in. 

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out or 5 roses. I fell in love with this couple, It was like watching two good friends you know are meant to be together finally get it right. Glory's journey to get noticed and gain a break in the music industry was like being on an emotional roller coaster filled with highs and lows accompanied by a lot of twists and turns. As I always say, little things (aka details) mean a lot, and this tale was jam packed with them and a gesture on Eli's part that turned the story into something special. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. A wonderful story I HIGHLY recommend.

Order of the Hellcat Canyon series:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Early Review of Along Came Love (Shades of Love, #2) by Tracey Livesay

Title: Along Came Love
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre:  Contemporary Romance/Interracial
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse (November 29, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062497820
ISBN-13: 978-0062497826
Author's Website: http://www.traceylivesay.com/
Notes: This one had a few word choices that lead me to believe it should be labeled erotic. I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
India Shaw is not the type of person who settles down or stays in one place. Nor is she the type to attach herself to anyone or anywhere. Some might call her a free spirit, but truly she's just flighty--afraid that if she commits to someone or something she'll be disappointed. She graduated with honors from  the school of hard knocks and she's still in a perpetual state of the fight or flight. She, of course, prefers the latter. The only exception being, Chelsea, her sister not by blood but by circumstances. The foster sister who is the only staple in her life. So when Indi finds herself in the delicate position of being pregnant, she turns tail and runs to her. The only problem is Chelsea's on her honeymoon, and when Indi finds herself in jail after breaking into Chelsea's posh San Francisco apartment she is forced to call the last person she'd want to have help her--Michael Black. He's the guy who is responsible for her current predicament. Can anyone saw awkward?
This was a sweet and sexy little story that could have turned out badly for India. Luckily, Michael was an absolute darling and handled everything quite well. While many men would question the paternity, he really didn't have a problem believing her. Michael had been free of a relationship when the two had gotten together, but since he'd gotten back together with his ex. This complicates matters as Michael was on the cusp of proposing to his long term girlfriend, Skylar. While Skylar seemed like his perfect match in so many ways, something was missing from the relationship. It's why Michael and Skylar had broken up at the time of Chelsea and Adam's wedding.

What was fun about the story was the reversal of roles between men and women. Three months prior, when Indi and he had gotten together, Indi had snuck out the morning after their fling and Michael hadn't heard from nor seen her since. Usually it's the other way around. Likewise, usually there are meddling mothers in books, but this time there were a couple of meddling dads.

Indi was a likable, complex individual with a lot of emotional baggage to deal with. Michael was an absolute doll who'd grown up with the knowledge that family came first and helps Indi to trust again. These two seemingly opposite individuals counterbalanced each other to make a great match. Her wildness counterbalancing his serious and controlling nature and vice versa. Interestingly, Indi wasn't the only one with some baggage and Indi helps Michael regain some of the joy in life he'd been missing.  

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It was a lovely story that brought a smile to my eyes and a grin to my face. The chemistry between these two was scorching and they lit up the pages. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Order of the Shades of Love series:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Early Review of The Viscount and the Vixen (The Hellions of Havisham #3) by Lorraine Heath

Title: The Viscount and the Vixen
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Format Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Avon (November 29, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062391054
ISBN-13: 978-0062391056
Author's Website: http://www.lorraineheath.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Killian, the Viscount Locksley, is in no hurry to marry. His father, the Marquess of Marsden, fears he never will, so he devises a plan to get a spare. He places an advertisement in the paper for a wife, but not many are willing to marry, much less conceive a child with, a man thought to be mad even if he comes with a title. In fact, only one woman answers the ad-- Portia.

Portia is young beautiful widow who was left penniless with no living relatives when she decided to take the Marquess up on his offer of marriage. Almost from the beginning, however, her story doesn't seem to add up. She wants protection from something or someone the question being what or who? When she meets the Marquess' handsome son, however, things get complicated. 
This was a wonderful story from beginning to almost the end, The shaky ground started when Portia's big secret was finally revealed. It was hinted at from the very beginning, but the extent of the deceit behind it was massive. While Killian's response was a bit harsh, I don't consider it unreasonable given the time period the book takes place in. If anything it's only a sliver of what could have been dealt out, and given it was only a verbal lashing it would probably be considered quite a mild response at the time. 

Strangely, Killian's response isn't what gave me such mixed emotions, but rather Portia's betrayal. We live during a time when Portia's secret, while still scandalous, wouldn't be to the extreme it was back in the 1800's. Things have changed so much it's sometimes hard to comprehend just how women were once treated. Could Portia have handled things differently and still have ended up with a satisfying ending? I'm not sure. I truly wish I'd read this one in a book club setting because I would so love to know what other people's response to this situation would be. It definitely opens up a Pandora's box for discussion. 

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5. While it had a bit of a rocky ending, I very much enjoyed the overall story. The chemistry between these two was sizzling hot and practically scorched the pages. While I understand why Portia did what she did, it didn't particularly sit well with me. I love how Killian was able to overcome his initial feelings of shock and betrayal and realize that, in the long run, it didn't matter. What mattered was how he and Portia felt about each other. This is definitely a book which will stir up some controversy, but I think that's a good thing. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a SHOWER rating - a cold shower is necessary (need I say more?). Some books should come with a warning - make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order. lol  

P.S. While this is the third book of the trilogy, you can definitely read this one with no prior knowledge of the series.    


Order of the series:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Early Review of The Scottish Duke (Duke Trilogy #1) by Karen Ranney

Title: The Scottish Duke
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (November 29, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062466879
ISBN-13: 978-0062466877
Author's Website: http://karenranney.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Lorna Gordon just wanted to have a little fun. To go to the ball like Cinderella. She already had her Prince Charming picked out, and when she found a beautiful old dress and wig in a trunk in her employer's attic she took it as a sign. So with costume on, she slipped in unnoticed with all the other guests. The problem was she didn't really go unnoticed. The gentleman of the ton noticed her quite well, or rather her nicely displayed decolletage, but, thankfully, no one realized she was just a lowly house maid. Two years before when her father was still alive, she might have ended up at such a party as this, but those days were gone.

What Lorna was doing was improper. What Lorna was doing was forbidden. What Lorna was doing could get her fired, but the head strong chit did it anyway. She'd had a tendre for the handsome young nobleman for some time. So when the ninth Duke of Kinross joined her on the terrace and later led her away by the hand she went with willingly....

Much to her regret she soon learned real life is not a fairy tale. Confound it.
This was a fun read where the main male character started off being more of a cad than a hero. It took quite some time for him to redeem himself in my eyes, but he was a man who had some major issues. Dukes are notoriously sought after by conniving young misses and their families trying to better their positions. He's already been a victim of one such liaison and refuses to be one of another. The experience left him bitter, so much so that his mother fears he'll never remarry. Described as being devastatingly handsome, aloof, and unapproachable he was somewhat of a mystery to the household staff. 

Lorna is an independent, bold, proud, strong, and intelligent young woman who finds herself in a precariously dangerous position, After her night with the Duke, she finds herself with child. Instead of approaching the Duke for help, she leaves and tries to make her own way in the world. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, depending on your perspective, a close friend of Lorna's reveals all to the Duke's mother who then confronts her son. What ensues makes for an extremely delightful read. There is a depth to this story that I truly loved. 

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. There is mystery and suspense associated with an attempt on Lorna's life. There is plenty of drama associated with the predicament Lorna and the Duke find themselves in. Although this one didn't follow the traditional order of love, marriage, and a baby in a baby carriage, it did have a happy ending. As we begin to find out more about the main characters and their stories, I realized these two were just what the other needed. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a  STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I definitely enjoyed this one, and loved the Duke's mother.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Early Review of Taken (LOST #5) by Cynthia Eden

Title: Taken: LOST Series 5
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: LOST Series (Book 5)
Format: Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Avon (November 29, 2016)
ISBN-10: 006243747X
ISBN-13: 978-0062437471
Author's Website: http://www.cynthiaeden.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"Everyone thinks it's over. I get that--six months have passed. Six long months. It should be over."
His brows lowered as he studied her.
"It's not."
Asher just waited. He sure wished she'd look at him again and--
Her head turned toward him, her strawberry blond hair sliding over her shoulders. Her long lashes swept up as Bailey's gaze zeroed in on him. "There's another victim."

Bailey Jones is a survivor. Six months ago she managed to escape the hands of a serial killer. She is the only known survivor. But before she was rescued, she recalls seeing another victim. A woman who was never found, and most likely ran off into the woods and has yet to be found or worse, identified among the dead.

The police say she imagined the women as a coping mechanism. Bailey knows differently. With no help from the police forthcoming, she decides to hire the Last Option Search Team, aka LOST, to find the woman she knows exists because her conscious will not allow her to do otherwise.

What Bailey doesn't realize is that all hell is about to break loose for a second time as another victim, not the one Bailey remembers, is found. Did the true serial killer not actually die in the cabin fire as the police said or is a copycat killer attempting to pick up where the last one left off? Only time will tell--something Bailey has precious little of as it soon becomes clear that the murderer's next target is her...
This was a very suspenseful read that had so many twists and turns to it I felt like I had whiplash after reading it. There were so many things I didn't see coming. So many pieces to the puzzle we didn't have access to at the beginning. So many holes that I didn't even know would need to be filled. If you haven't already guessed, I utterly enjoyed the ride. 

Bailey is a beautiful woman who made headlines when she disappeared. Her stunning good looks and rescue plastered her face all over the news making it virtually impossible for her to go anywhere without someone recognizing her. She has a long way to go in her journey to recovery, and hopes finding the woman who was trapped in the same nightmare as she was will grant her some closure to it all. She knows she'll never be the same, but until the woman is found she doesn't think she can move on.

Asher Young is an ex navy SEAL who LOST assigns to Bailey's case. He has some ghosts in his own closet which is what ultimately led to his working for LOST. Right from the start he feels a strong attraction to Bailey, and his protective nature goes on high alert. He will work closely with her to try to find the missing woman, and protect Bailey from harm while doing so.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. If you're looking for a book with a heaping dose of danger, mystery, suspense, drama, romance and action, in equal parts, then this is the book for you. The relationship between Bailey and Asher is both sweet and complicated. In some ways, their relationship dynamics reminded me a little of the 1992 film 'The Bodyguard'. Their past experiences, however, bond them while Asher's ability to see her not as a victim, but as a strong individual is what seals the deal. I will warn you that this one does contain violence toward women, although it doesn't go into any overly graphic detail, so if that type of story doesn't appeal to you, you may wish to pick up another book. This one is not for the faint of heart. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.


Order of the Lost series:
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