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Monday, May 22, 2017

Any Time, Any Place by Jennifer Probst

Setting: Connecticut
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Gallery
Release Date: January 21, 2017

Any Time, Any Place is the second book in the Billionaire Builders series. It's a story of hidden secrets, a determined heroine, and an equally determined hero.

Raven is happy owning her bustling restaurant and bar called My Place. She'll never get past her father's death, however. He died in a car crash running away with Diana Pierce, the heiress to Pierce Construction.

Dalton Pierce has never gotten past his mother's death. How could a woman so loving with her children abandon them all to run away? While he and his brothers are at a local bar, he spies Raven and admits he falls pretty hard with both her and her antique mahogany bar.

When Raven's asked to be in a magazine, she can't refuse the publicity. At the same time, she needs the bar refinished and Dalton is the right man for the job. She cannot fraternize with the enemy, so how's she supposed to fighting her attraction. As sparks fly, the truth about her past may end everything she's starting to feel makes her whole.

Jennifer Probst's novel caught my interest from the start. I really liked Dalton, and even Raven was an enjoyable character. She's a bit of a spitfire, yet she also has an emotional side that makes her seem genuine. My issue is that the secret about their connection dragged on and on. I couldn't figure out why not just tell him. It's not like she was behind the wheel.

Despite that little niggle, and it's really nothing that hasn't been used as a conflict in romance before, I loved this book. I loved the characters, setting, and wish I could be at the bar. I also would love to return and see more about the kitchen staff. The chef at My Place warmed my heart.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

No One But You by Brenda Novak

Setting: Silver Springs, California.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: May 30, 2017

After escaping an abusive marriage to a police officer, Sadie Harris works as many hours as she can at a local diner, but it's not enough. She stumbles across an ad looking for an assistant. The job pays far more than Sadie currently makes. The problem is Dawson Reed, a man recently released from prison for murdering his parents, is the person in need of help. Sadie's just gotten out of one cruel relationship, she's very nervous about working for a man who was charged with murder.

Now that Dawson is out of prison, he's determined to find who really killed his parents. He also needs to get his sister out of the facility where she was placed and bring her back home. To do that, he needs someone who can be his sister's caregiver. Sadie is the perfect woman for the job.

As Sadie and Dawson get to know each other, the chemistry is obvious. However, Sadie's soon-to-be ex-husband is not about to let her go. Especially not when the person she's working with is a criminal. Sadie and Dawson may be trying to escape their pasts, but their pasts don't want to let them forget so easily.

I've always loved Brenda Novak's romances. The settings are charming. Characters come to life and make you wish they were friends. In No One But You, there's also the touch of mystery that you do want to see how it plays out.

Dawson and Sadie are a great couple. There's definitely chemistry that sizzles, but the added involvement of her pain in the behind ex does make you want to reach into the book. I hated him and couldn't wait to see him get some kind of comeuppance. I wasn't disappointed at all with Brenda Novak's latest.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Park Row
Release Date: May 2, 2017

Ginny Moon is not your typical 14-year-old girl. She's autistic. Five years ago, she was pulled from her abusive mother's home and hospitalized for malnutrition and broken bones. In those five years, she's bounced from foster home to foster home, but she's currently living with the man and woman who could be her "forever dad" and "forever mom."

Ginny's "forever mom" is pregnant and concerned about Ginny's behavior. Ginny is too obsessed with the "Baby Doll" she was forced to leave behind when she was taken from her mom's house to think about her actions. Ginny will do whatever it takes to get her "Baby Doll" back, even if it means running away, being kidnapped, or upsetting her foster parents.

My initial thoughts on The Original Ginny Moon were clear and immediate. I felt horrible for Ginny, all she'd been through, and the complete ignorance of the adults in her life. I hated the foster mom, felt the social worker assigned to Ginny need a new career, and the teachers and teacher's aides were no better.

It drove me nuts that none of them seemed really prepared to help this autistic girl. No one stopped and listened to what she was saying. They were too concerned with themselves and their own perceptions. It aggravated me.

Despite this aggravation, I couldn't stop reading. I wanted Ginny to get an "I told you so" moment. I wanted her to get. If I was rating this story totally on Ginny, it would have a 5 out of 5. I can't go that high, however, because I found the foster mother to be almost as bad as Ginny's birth mother. For that reason, it kind of ruined sections of the story.

The author does a great job creating an autistic heroine. I just wish that the rest of the characters in the book had been a little more prepared at how to parent or counsel someone in Ginny's shoes.