The Czar (A Standalone Hockey Billionaire Romance) by Selena Laurence

The Czar (A Standalone Hockey Billionaire Romance) by Selena Laurence

The Czar Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of The Czar by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Mick Petrovich’s life has been built around playing professional hockey and enjoying no-strings-attached time with the puck bunnies. When an injury puts him out of hockey for good, it throws everything he’s lived for into turmoil. His father’s pressure to join the family business only makes matters worse. Mick has very personal reasons for wanting to stay as far away from the vodka business as possible.

Solana Werner has just landed her dream job in the marketing department of Petrovich Vodka. She’ll let nothing stand in the way of proving herself in the corporate world, and she may have something to prove in her personal life as well. Her growing attraction to the heir-apparent of Petrovich Vodka, Mick, is dangerous in more ways than she ever imagined. Both Mick and Solana need to figure out what they really want out of life before it’s too late to have it all.

The Czar is a standalone romance from trusted romance author Selena Laurence. Ms. Laurence can always be counted on to deliver a solid plot and well-developed characters, and this book is no exception. Ever the playboy, Mick’s career-ending injury forced him to wake up and take a hard look at his life. From the beginning of the story to the end, Mick worked his way through a life-changing journey to figure out what came next. In addition to the romance between Mick and Solana, Mick also had to choose a new career path and resolve relationship conflicts with his father over the family business.

One of the things that drew me to Mick beyond the sexy hockey player persona was his Russian heritage. It was incorporated into many aspects of the story, from the food to his nickname for Solana, and gave more depth to his character. I also enjoyed reading about Solana’s Hispanic background and how each character respected where the other came from.

The relationship developed at a nice pace with both Solana and Mick having to come to terms with their feelings for each other in their own time. The only minor drawback from this story for me was that the problems in their relationship could have been avoided, but the growth of each character kept me engaged and turning pages.

Overall, it this was another enjoyable book, and I will continue to read Ms. Laurence’s work as I can always count on an appealing story. All of my reviews of Ms. Laurence’s books can be found under the Author Spotlight tab.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon bn-logo-80x80 kobo-buy-80x80

Happy reading!

Rach

Hinged (Soul Mate Rescued Book 2) by Char Sharp

Hinged (Soul Mate Rescued Book 2) by Char Sharp

Hinged Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Hinged by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Seven years ago, Cooper Baron lost the love of his life. Robin Finch disappeared, and no matter how hard Coop tried to find her, it was like she no longer existed. But he didn’t give up, and he won’t until his soul mate is back in his arms.

Robin Finch has no memory of her life prior to seven years ago. She’s been living with Dr. Ramsey Gunn, as his wife, but deep down she knows he’s not the love of her life. Robin and Ram have been on the run, hiding in the shadows with Ram erasing any electronic evidence of their existence before it can be found by those hunting them. Until the day Robin runs into Cooper Baron, and something in her mind—and her heart—is unlocked.

What should be a sweet reunion is in actuality confusing and life-threatening. Cooper will need to bring down the person who is trying to kill Robin before they can move on with their lives.

Hinged is book two in the Soul Mate Rescued series and can comfortably be read as a standalone book. It is a romantic suspense story with technology thriller aspects. The author’s style brings out a nice amount of emotion between the characters, and it’s easy to feel their love and despair right along with them. The idea of soul mates physically feeling the presence of their other half, though slightly farfetched for my taste, transferred well in this story. Robin’s amnesia and the subsequent recovery of her memory was handled in what seemed to be a realistic fashion.

The plot of the story focused more on the romance than the suspense or thriller aspects. It seemed to be missing vital pieces of information regarding the investigation into the threat against Robin, focusing instead on Robin’s life once she was rescued. Since it was told from both Robin and Cooper’s point of view, I would have liked to see what Cooper was doing behind the scenes to locate and take down the threat. Even after the climax, I wanted to know more about how the climax occurred since the reader wasn’t provided the information prior to that.

Overall, this was a good romance story, and if you enjoy reading a straight romance it could be worth your while. I would have liked to see it a little more rounded with the information that was brought into the plot, but I would probably still try another book by this author.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 apple-ibooks-80x80 kobo-buy-80x80 bn-logo-80x80 gr-icon

Happy reading!

Rach

Cade’s Loss (California Cowboys Book 1) by Selena Laurence

Cade’s Loss (California Cowboys Book 1) by Selena Laurence

Cade’s Loss Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Cade’s Loss by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Cade Jenkins had to give up his whole life at only twenty-five years old. After his parents’ sudden death, he became the guardian of two younger brothers and was responsible for a large California ranch, putting his dreams of a professional surfing championship on hold indefinitely. Years later, he still feels responsible for keeping the ranch running and his brothers in line. When his brothers want to ride the ranch wave of the future—organic ranching—Cade can’t seem to move forward without feeling like he’s forgetting his past.

Organic consultant Nina Cline values her independence just slightly above the environment. She will never again be beholden to a man for her happiness. Meeting Cade in a bar was only a bit of fun for the night, but when he turns up at the ranch as her next client, the sparks begin flying thanks to their opposing outlooks. Cade becomes Nina’s biggest stumbling block. He not only wants to resist every change Nina suggests for the ranch, but she’s also in danger of losing her heart to him.

Cade’s Loss is a remarkable story about family, love, and letting go of the past. It’s a wonderful start to the California Cowboys series, drawing the reader in to the entire Jenkins family even though it’s a standalone book. And what could be sexier than a surfing cowboy with a tortured soul?

Cade’s personality made him easy to love right off the bat. He was a family man through and through, but he’d yet to realize his love for his family had become misguided. He still saw his brothers as needing guidance when they were not only capable of taking care of themselves but also more than qualified to run the ranch.

Nina was a strong woman who had been burned in her career by a man and wasn’t willing to let it happen a second time. Her strong convictions toward herself and the environment made her an endearing character, and her relationship with Cade made her a better person. The relationship between the characters occurred at a natural pace, with plenty of time to actually get to know the other person before falling in love.

The Jenkins brothers were an intriguing family, and I felt connected to the secondary characters and am looking forward to the rest of this series to read more about them.

Other reviews of Ms. Laurence’s books can be found on the Author Spotlight tab.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 bn-logo-80x80 itunes-icon kobo-buy-80x80 gr-icon

Happy reading!

Rach

Dreaming of Rhapsody (A Rhapsody Novella) by Selena Laurence

Dreaming of Rhapsody (A Rhapsody Novella) by Selena Laurence

Dreaming of Rhapsody Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Dreaming of Rhapsody by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Topher Leigh may be a rock star bass player, but he’s not what anyone would expect. His inability to experience feelings and his propensity for saying what’s on his mind set him apart. His brother and best friend do their best to protect Topher and keep him safe, but when Rachel enters his life, everything changes. Topher has only been able to feel in his dreams, until Rachel.

Rachel Wilson’s sister has warned her that getting involved with Topher can’t lead to anything good. He’s a sweet guy, but there’s no future for them since Rachel needs to return to school to finish her veterinary degree. Besides, Topher isn’t capable of being a boyfriend, husband, or a father. Except maybe the people who know him the best don’t really understand him at all.

Dreaming of Rhapsody is a novella in the Rhapsody series and can comfortably be read as a standalone story. The series focuses on the rock stars in the band Rhapsody, with Topher in the spotlight of this book. The fact Topher was so different than a typical rock star sets this story apart from all the others. It’s a sweet story about never underestimating someone’s abilities.

Topher was a well-developed character with lots of idiosyncrasies. In some ways he was extremely naïve, but in others he was more knowledgeable than he was given credit for. With the story told partially from his point of view, the reader got a first-hand look at his frustration and the way he saw the world. I especially enjoyed when he described how everything had beats and colors and patterns.

Rachel was a perfect match for Topher, and their growing relationship was fun to watch. Like Topher’s brother and best friend, Rachel needed to learn to trust him to make decisions for himself. She also needed to learn that it was okay to go after what she really wanted.

This was a wonderful addition to Ms. Lawrence’s catalog of stories. I truly enjoy her writing each and every time.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80  gr-icon

Happy reading!

Rach

Southern Fried Blues (The Officers’ Ex-Wives Club Book 1) by Jamie Farrell

Southern Fried Blues (The Officers’ Ex-Wives Club Book 1) by Jamie Farrell

Southern Fried Blues Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was gifted a copy of Southern Fried Blues by the author. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

When her husband divorces her out of the blue, Anna Martin finds herself a thousand miles from home in a job she doesn’t love and lacking the education she was never able to complete. She’s uprooted her life too many times for a military man, and vows to never do it again. But finding herself and figuring out what she really wants in life might be pushing her toward a sexy man in a uniform after all.

Jackson Davis is a Southern gentleman through and through. Despite his jokes about his mama, it was really his daddy who taught him everything he knows about being a gentleman. And if the best man he’s ever known couldn’t keep a woman happy, Jackson doesn’t hold out much hope for himself. Yet there’s something about Anna Grace that makes him want to try.

Any relationship between Anna and Jackson comes with an expiration date—deployment—so it should be safe for them to spend some time together while they have the chance. But when their hearts get involved, things could get ugly.

Southern Fried Blues is book 1 in The Officers’ Ex-Wives Club series and it can comfortably be read as a standalone. This witty contemporary romance is full of Southern slang and banter that kept me amused throughout the entire story. Jackson had a habit of playing the dumb redneck when he didn’t want to show his true colors. Thankfully, his Anna Grace saw the man underneath and called him on it every time.

The characterizations of the main characters were interesting and consistent. Anna was a Yankee with OCD tendencies. She loved her label maker more than anything else, and organization was her life. Jackson’s appreciation for her idiosyncrasies made their relationship that much more solid. He watched her sort her potato chips, figured out which pile contained her favorites, and then offered his up just to make her happy.

Jackson’s Southern upbringing made him a true gentleman. Every man could take lessons from him on how to treat a lady. Although he had a wonderful relationship with his mamie, his relationship with his sister and his mama needed some work. With Anna’s help, Jackson was able to make great strides in those relationships.

This book didn’t lack secondary characters, and they were all well-developed and entertaining, keeping the story interesting on all levels. I thoroughly enjoyed this entire book and would definitely read more by this author.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

POTUS: A Powerplay Novel by Selena Laurence

POTUS: A Powerplay Novel by Selena Laurence

POTUS Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of POTUS by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

The first female President of the United States is beloved by her nation. After more than two years in office, the country already knows they want Jessica Hampton back for a second term. But what does Jessica want? She’s spent the last six years fulfilling someone else’s legacy, and although she loved her late husband and still loves his family, Jessica’s ready to move on with the rest of her life.

Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Kamal Masri has had demands placed on him from a very young age. In his culture, family comes before all else, and you never disobey your father. Having spent so much of his life outside Egypt, Kamal begins to question these ethics—especially when his father’s request goes against everything he’s been working toward in his career.

The attraction between Jessica and Kamal is undeniable, but their situations make a relationship impossible. Family issues and politics just add to the chaos surrounding them. Each will have to make their own decisions about what’s right for their country … and what’s right for their hearts.

POTUS is part of the Powerplay series, but it is a standalone story. It can easily be read without having read the previous books in the series. The most appealing factor of this book is how both main characters are older and more mature, and their choices have life and death consequences. They each need to make decisions based on not only what is best for themselves but also what is best for their country, and those scenarios rarely overlap.

Aside from the differences between Jessica and Kamal’s goals for their respective countries, the most appealing layer of the story was the differences in their cultures. As an Egyptian, Kamal was raised to believe that men should protect women, yet he was falling in love with the most powerful woman in the world. His protectiveness was not always completely misguided, but he still had to learn to let go and allow Jessica to take care of herself. It amused me to see his friends laughing at him about some of his beliefs.

The plot itself was complex and woven together tightly, creating plenty of intrigue to keep me turning page after page. Every action had a consequence, politically and personally, and no choice could be made in a vacuum. Jessica and Kamal’s relationship grew at a believable pace, and their feelings for each other evoked every one of my own emotions.

I would have liked to see a bit more wrap-up about Kamal’s father, but overall the story left me enthralled and satisfied. I have yet to find a book by Ms. Laurence I didn’t thoroughly enjoy, and I look forward to future additions to this series.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

Closer by Emerald O’Brien

Closer by Emerald O’Brien

Closer Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Closer by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Just when life should be perfect for Chloe Forrester, everything begins to unravel. Her new fiancé is accused of cheating on her with another woman, and to make matters worse, the woman in question winds up dead. Paxton Potter won’t rest until he gets to the bottom of his ex-girlfriend’s death. He may have broken up with her for cheating on him, but that doesn’t mean he can stand to let her killer go free.

Pax makes Chloe question everything she’s ever known. As the two begin to look closer at the events surrounding Pax’s ex-girlfriend’s death, an attraction is formed. Chloe will need to find the courage to make her own decisions when Pax becomes the prime suspect in the murder.

Closer is a romantic suspense story with lots of twists and turns. The suspense was intriguing, keeping me guessing about the murderer right along with the main characters. The relationship between Chloe and Pax was set at a good pace, especially considering they had both just come out of relationships with someone they thought they’d be with forever.

The main drawback to the story was the relationship between Chloe and Harrison. The story opens with Harrison being accused of cheating on Chloe, so I never felt invested in their relationship. Yet Chloe continually considered going back to him, which made her character appear weak and wishy-washy. While the opening drama was meant to draw the reader into the story, some more building of Chloe and Harrison’s relationship would have made her indecision more believable. Conversely, she could have stood her ground in deciding she was done with Harrison, which would have made her a stronger character.

There were also a lot of editing issues in the book, like incorrect dialogue punctuation and comma splices. The number of dialogue interruptions was distracting as well, forcing me to reread the dialogue to make sense of it.

A little more believability and some good editing would have increased my enjoyment of this story. The base was there with a good plot and well thought-out suspense, but it needed a better execution.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

My Lady, My Spy (Secrets and Seduction Book 4) by Sheridan Jeane

My Lady, My Spy (Secrets and Seduction Book 4) by Sheridan Jeane

My Lady My Spy Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of My Lady, My Spy by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Lady Josephine Harrington thought she’d found the perfect man, until she catches Frederick in lie after lie. As a widow, Josephine has no time for lies. Yet she’s drawn to Frederick despite the fact she knows he’s a spy and will frequently be unable to tell her the truth. When Frederick’s mission goes all wrong and Josephine steps in to help him, perhaps this unlikely couple will find a way to make their relationship work.

My Lady, My Spy is book 4 in the Secrets and Seductions series. It is a well-written historical romance with some action in the form of a spy mission taking place. Each piece was compelling in its own right, however the whole of the story left me wanting.

Since this book was received as a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review, I was told that it was a standalone story within the series as I had not read the previous books in the series. This was unfortunately the first issue I ran into. The story jumped right into the action. The main characters’ relationship was already established at the start, as was the spy mission. This left me confused and trying to piece together what was actually going on in the mission and how Frederick came to have his hands burned.

A lot of the story focused on each of the main characters thinking about how they felt about the other without so much interaction between them. I would have preferred to have more meat to the story showing their interactions instead of narration about their feelings. Because of so much narration, the spy mission didn’t factor very prominently into the story.

Overall, I can see how this story would be enjoyable as part of the series and the writing was well-done for what it was, but it lacked fulfillment as a standalone book. If you’ve read the previous books in this series you’d most likely enjoy this one more than I did.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach

Teach Your Heart (Far North Book 3) by Tracey Alvarez

Teach Your Heart (Far North Book 3) by Tracey Alvarez

Teach Your Heart Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Teach Your Heart by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Gracie Cooper has been wandering Europe since her mother’s death four years ago, but now it’s time to return home to New Zealand. That, unfortunately, means once again being under her father’s microscope and having him point out all the ways her life has fallen short of his expectations. Gracie needs a job, because she’s still got plenty of student debt to pay back, but also to fund her next adventure—far away from her father in the United States.

Dr. Owen Bennett is so focused on his career since the death of his sister that he essentially lives a solitary life even when surrounded by people. That will all have to change when his nieces and nephew come to stay with him for a few months while his mother—their guardian—recovers her own health.

It’s serendipity when Gracie runs into the misfit kids. They need a nanny; she needs a job. Everyone’s happy. Except this darn attraction zipping through her every time she sees her new employer could be a problem. He’s so far from her type. She doesn’t stay put long enough to have relationships. How in the world could this ever work? Maybe some lessons need to be learned the hard way.

Teach Your Heart is book 3 in the Far North series but is completely standalone. If you’ve read the first two, you’ll enjoy the updates on the characters from those books, but you won’t be missing any pertinent information if you start with book 3. As usual, Ms. Alvarez has created a believable, well-paced romance that encompasses more than just the relationship of the main characters. One of the reasons I continue to come back to her stories is because I can always depend on their being something more, something that gives the story and the characters depth.

In this book, both main characters had family issues to solve. While they were somewhat predictable issues, in no way was the growth of the characters predictable or boring. Even when I could feel how things were going to play out, I still couldn’t put the book down because I wanted to see it and get the emotions that went with it.

Owen Bennett had immersed himself in work at the hospital, so when his parents could no longer care for his orphaned nieces and nephew and he was nominated for the job, things became complete chaos. He wanted to do right by his sister’s kids, but the situation was only temporary so how could he make life decisions for them, and especially decisions he knew went against her wishes? With little nudges in the right direction from Gracie, his new nanny who had a free spirit like his sister, Owen began to understand there were more important things than his job, and loving these three kids wasn’t temporary, nor was loving Gracie.

Gracie Cooper was restless and didn’t plan on returning home for long, mostly to stay off the radar of her overbearing father. Finding the nanny job with Owen’s kids would allow her to pay back her student loans and still have travelling money. She didn’t bank on making friends, finding a career she actually enjoyed, loving those crazy kids, and of course loving her boss.

Combined with the enjoyable pace of the relationship and growth of the characters was a nice dose of humor. I loved the kids and all their antics, as well as Owen’s rules and how they changed throughout the story.

Another abundantly entertaining read from Ms. Alvarez. I will continue to read more books in this series. All of my reviews of her work can be found under the Author Spotlight tab.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 apple-ibooks-80x80 bn-logo-80x80 kobo-buy-80x80 google_play gr-icon

Amazon UK │ Amazon DE │ Amazon CA │ Amazon Australia

Happy reading!

Rach

The Deeper Chronicles Book 2 by Allyn Lesley

The Deeper Chronicles Book 2 by Allyn Lesley

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided an ARC of Deeper Book Two by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Noah Adams and Avi Linton are finally able to relax and enjoy each other, but business for Noah always takes precedence. Avi understands, to a degree, though that doesn’t keep her from pushing for answers Noah isn’t willing to give. Noah’s business suddenly becomes personal and he has to figure out who is targeting him and how to stop the threat. When the threat sets its sights on Avi, Noah has more to lose than he ever imagined. He’ll need to save Avi without losing himself in the process.

Although not strictly necessary, I highly suggest reading book 1 prior to reading The Deeper Chronicles Book Two. There is a lot of information from the first book that continues into this book, and since it had been a while since I read the first one I found myself struggling at times to understand some parts.

That said, it is an interesting and intriguing romantic suspense novel, and I appreciate the way the author is able to weave together various pieces of the puzzle. So many things are happening at once but I was able to follow along and put clues together, which kept me engaged throughout.

Noah was an alpha who ruled with an iron fist. His characterization stayed true from the first time we met him in book 1 until the end of this book. While I appreciated the consistency of his character, it was also one of the downfalls of my enjoyment. If you’re the type of reader who loves an alpha male and the women who submit to them, then this series would be a great choice for you. Unfortunately, I prefer to see character growth and adaptation. I wanted Noah to show a little trust in Avi and let her into his world a bit. Instead he used sex to distract or deter her every time she asked him questions, which not only left me disconnected from Noah but also wondering exactly what their relationship was based on other than sex. Avi was a bit too weak for my liking.

The copy of the book I received was an ARC edition, so I tried to limit my criticism of grammatical errors, however they did factor into my rating a bit as there were some errors in vital sentences that really took me out of the moment. Hopefully they have been cleaned up in the final publication.

I’m certain this book will appeal to many readers. It just didn’t hit enough high notes for me.

Book Links:

amazon-logo-80x80 itunes-icon kobo-buy-80x80 google_play gr-icon
Happy reading!

Rach