Review: The Debt by Molly O’Keefe

Reviewed by Joanna

This book is a short, free (at time of writing) prequel to the new series Molly O’Keefe is launching rapid-fire over the next few weeks. As I started it, I knew two things. One: it was going to be a big tease, and two: it was going to hurt to read it.

See, the story is set around a group of teenagers living in a foster care home in San Francisco. St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles. Tommy and Beth are in love, sharing stolen kisses in the art room at school. They can’t date, as the husband and wife who run the home wouldn’t allow it.

They rule the place with an iron fist. [Read more…]

Review: How Not to Let Go by Emily Foster

Reviewed by Joanna

This book is the second part (woo finally a HEA!) to How Not to Fall, the tale where open and honest Annie falls for can’t-love-too-tormented Charles. This pair of smart cookies are medical students – Charles postdoc, Annie just entering medical school. At the end of book one (look away now if you love NA and haven’t read it!) Annie leaves Indiana – and Charles – for Boston and 8 years of her doctoral degree. He told her he couldn’t commit as after an awful childhood, he’s emotionally incapable. Attachment-avoidant. No possibility of him falling in love.

Ah, the bigger they come… [Read more…]

Review: The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

Reviewed by Joanna

Here’s another edition of the lives of a small beach town and its residents. In the last book, Mac, the deputy of lovely and tranquil Thunder Point, finally managed to get himself together and ask out Gina, the woman he’s been in love with forever. Their lives are complicated, with his three motherless children and her one fatherless daughter to think about, plus his aunt, her mom and a couple of big dogs they’ll need to sidestep if they’re going to make a go of their relationship.

As this is all settling down, a beautiful woman walks into Gina’s diner. It’s Cee Jay, Mac’s ex-wife. And she wants back in. [Read more…]

Review: The Wanderer by Robyn Carr

Reviewed by Joanna

Here’s a location-strong community-style slow-mo romance, which I wandered through a little confused by, but ended up in love with.

The story is contemporary with an old fashioned feel, where women do girl talk and shopping, guys drink beer and members of the opposite sex don’t quite communicate right. I don’t mean to misrepresent the book – Sarah, our main heroine, is a helicopter pilot, as previously was Cooper, our main hero. But Sarah’s also a mom (well, raising her brother from when he was 6 years old) and managing a household. Coop’s a drifter, and talks like he’s 70 though he’s not quite 40. Fortunately he’s handsome and honorable, and interesting enough to draw me in. [Read more…]

Review: Signs of Attraction by Laura Brown

Reviewed by Joanna

Carli’s hearing aid gives out in the middle of class at college. Worst case scenario, as there’s no replacement batteries in her bag. She’s floundering, unable to hear the professor or lip read due to his unfortunate moustache. Used to hiding her hearing loss, Carli can’t manage, and she has no idea how she’s going to cope with the class. Even with the hearing aids she was struggling.

Ah, luckily a handsome man appears, having noticed Carli’s plight. A knight in shining armor, Reed teaches deaf kids, and though he doesn’t use hearing aids himself, he frequently has to help the kids with theirs, so he carries batteries at all times.

Carli is enamored and aflutter. [Read more…]

Review: How Not To Fall by Emily Foster

Reviewed by Joanna

Here’s a smart NA story for your delectation, with a focus on sexual exploration between Annie, our narrator, an undergraduate in medicine, and Charles, the man of her fantasies – a 4-years-older postdoc at her research lab, with blond good looks and a side dish of attachment disorder. Well.

At the beginning of the tale, earnest Annie is gearing up to ask Charles for a sexual relationship. She thinks they have A Thing, and despite being inexperienced, wants to explore that before she goes off to Boston for eight years of medical school. She is whip smart but doesn’t see herself as pretty, so is nervous he’ll refuse. [Read more…]

Review: Too Hot To Handle by Tessa Bailey

Reviewed by Joanna

Rita burned down her mother’s restaurant. It was an accident, and her mother has been dead a while so she won’t miss it, but even so. It’s shaken our girl up a little bit and made her refocus on what she wants to do with her life. It ain’t cooking, that’s for sure.

A request from beyond the grave has her heading out on a long road trip with her sister and two brothers. They don’t really get along, and they aren’t close. I guess that’s what her mama was trying to fix.
[Read more…]

Review: The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle

Reviewed by Joanna

Now, I need epic love stories like most people need air, so when I heard about a series of books with a Big Love couple I hadn’t read, I got all het up and marched on over to book one. But one person’s Big Love is another’s overdone turkey, and I think I’m about to make myself unpopular with my opinion on this couple. Where I enjoyed some parts of this rock star story, there were significant elements of it I didn’t enjoy, centering around cheating, whining, and indecisive people. [Read more…]

Review: Start Again by J. Saman

Reviewed by Joanna

Kate suffered a huge loss – probably the worst a human can go through. One night as she was working her late shift at the hospital, she’s paged to go down to the ED. Her 2-year-old daughter has been brought in. The kid doesn’t make it. Her husband was already gone after their car crashed.

This prologue had me welling up. How can this be the start of a romance story? Is J. Saman trying to hurt me? Bear with, dear reader. This is not a tale of woe.
[Read more…]

Review: Kiss Marry Kill by Sidney Halston

Reviewed by Joanna

This is a romantic suspense novel with a strong bodyguard and a sexy pop star going up against a creepy stalker. Megan is the star. Five years ago she and Jax, the bodyguard, had a whirlwind four-day romance before he deployed as a marine. Now he’s back and he’s horrified to find the girl he was too afraid to look up in case she’d married, is under attack by some creep at her sprawling mansion. Tough guy Jax leaps onto his motorbike and powers through the police and paparazzi, rescuing trembling Megan from her closet, the stalker long gone.

Phew. What an opening. [Read more…]