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Monday, November 30, 2015

Mandy Baxter Kicks Off the Holidays With a Billionaire Rancher Book

The name Mandy Baxter immediately brought to mind the character from Tim Allen's hit TV show, but this Mandy Baxter has an appealing series that kept me wanting more.

Nate Christensen wants nothing from his late father. Not the family business and certainly not a dime of his money. He's also had it with woman who are after his family's money. Enter Chloe Benson. Chloe desperately needs money to keep her charitable organization afloat, but after meeting Nate, she doesn't have the heart to ask him for a donation. She's immediately attracted to him.

After a passionate night together, Chloe's convinced Nate might be Mr. Right. That definitely creates a problem with getting the donation she needs. She knows he hates everything about his family's money, but is it possible to prove to Nate that he can have it all?

Every ounce of Holidays With a Billionaire screams - this isn't going to go over well. Yet, despite knowing that Chloe was walking on thin ice, I found myself really liking her character and wanted her to get Nate to see the light. The spark between them was immediate, and I was rooting for them. Obviously, as is true in any romance, there is going to be the conflict, but I appreciated that the author brought it up and didn't dwell on it for chapters upon chapters. 

For a holiday romance, this one from St. Martins Paperbacks is a goodie. It's not too long, the chemistry is there, and I am eager to read more in the Billionaire's Club series.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Taste of Sake: An Exercise in When You Just Dislike the Characters

There's one thing that always kills a book for me and that's disliking the characters. Number one of my list of complaints come characters who have a good thing in front of them, but they are apparently too blind to see it. That's my problem with A Taste of Sake.

Lyrical Shine - October 27, 2015

With a gorgeous setting, everything is set for Sauvignon St. Pierre's vineyard wedding. Her sisters, Merlot and Chardonney, are just as excited as she is. However, the crash landing of a helicopter rushes the ceremony. The St. Pierre sisters' father didn't quite nail his landing, sending his surprise guest to the hospital. Turns out he had an affair with a Japanese woman that produced one more daughter - Sake.

Sake grew up always on the move and rarely in a good situation. She's tough, not thrilled with her situation, and definitely annoyed that her one true friend, her dog, isn't allowed at the St. Pierre estate. That's where realtor Bill Diamond comes in. He's the only person Sake's met in this new setting that she trust to care for her dog. Bill also becomes the person Sake beckons every time she needs something. As Bill quickly learns, there's more to Sake than meets the eye.

I just couldn't develop any attachment to Sake. To me, her choices of words were obnoxious. Her attachment to a man that gets her into trouble with the law made little sense. And, her attitude was equally annoying. Her father was trying to do right and help her achieve success, but she didn't seem to care. Bill's slightly better, but I couldn't see his attraction to Sake, and the dog was not enough to me to bring them together. I had to force myself to keep reading, and that's never a good sign.

Heather Heyford's latest release is clearly part of a series. I haven't read any of the previous novels in the Napa Wine Heiresses series. And as fair as I try to be, I can't say after reading A Taste of Sake, that I have any urge to read the others. I have to chalk up this book as a miss and hope readers out there have better luck with it than I do.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chilling European Mystery: Mark Edwards' Follow You Home

In a chilling mystery by Mark Edwards, readers are taken on a frightening adventure across Europe. While I remained on the edge of my seat, there were definitely moments when I wondered why on earth they didn't spill their story when they reached an embassy. That's definitely impacting my overall thoughts when it comes to the book review.

June 2015 Release from Thomas and Mercer

Daniel and Laura are madly in love. Before returning to their London home where they plan to settle down and raise a family, they decide to travel around Europe and have the experience of a lifetime. Things go south in Romania when they meet another couple. Opting to take the couple up on their offer to wake them up at their stop, Daniel and Laura sneak into an empty sleeper cabin and take a nap. When they wake up, their belongings, including their passports, are gone. The female from the other couple acts as a translator when the guard comes through looking for tickets, but the trio end up getting kicked off the train in the middle of nowhere.

What Daniel and Laura end up seeing in a house in the woods ends up destroying their relationship. They've also vowed to never speak of the events in the woods. When their friends start dying and stalkers seem to be watching them, Daniel and Laura are forced to face up to the events from Romania, if they can survive that long.

I cannot deny that Follow You Home keeps you on the edge of your seat and rooting for the couple. That said, I couldn't understand why they didn't speak up once they were with the British consulate and getting travel papers to get back to London. Logically, that's what I would have done.

The big mystery regarding the events they witnessed were revealed over time. I wasn't shocked by what they'd witnessed and one of the bigger revelations wasn't that surprising to me. However, even with these minor niggles, I still kept reading and had a really good time seeing how things turned out in the end.