Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Just Enough Luck by Aspen Hadley

About the Book
Lucy Moore never lost faith in her fairy godmother, and when she lands an unbelievable dream job working for Drake Enterprises, she knows exactly who to thank for the opportunity. That dream job, however, comes with a twist that has her heading to northern Montana for the month-long annual family retreat at The Lucky Wolf ranch. She packs a suitcase of warm clothes and a fake it 'til you make it attitude, prepared to do all she can to win the family over. Once there she comes face to face with the Drake brothers.
Alexander, Lucy's new boss, is literally a magazine cover model. He's also a numbers geek like her, which makes him dreamy beyond belief, and Lucy can't stop staring. He's too perfect to be real. Daniel is the first person Lucy meets when she arrives at the ranch in the most humiliating way possible. His warmth and humor quickly put her at ease, and she's grateful to have a friend in this unknown, way off the beaten path, frozen part of the country.
In one short month Lucy contends with animal attacks, a temporary roommate who's more robot than human, some ranch-hand flirting sessions, and a little eavesdropping, all while attempting to show her new boss that she can do the job.
When the month ends, and it's time to return home, her story is far from over. Now her heart belongs to the one man who seems perfect for her. Can they overcome all the obstacles in their way?

My Thoughts
Guys, this book was just all the happy things and I’m kind of obsessed!
I absolutely need to start with the banter and interactions between Lucy and Daniel! It was on fire and so authentic and had me laughing out loud so many times! From the moment they met they perfectly clicked and had a genuine friendship that was naturally turned into something more. They both were kind of just unapologetically themselves and didn’t really have any pretense with each other which allowed their relationship to grow without even trying. They were just so adorably cute together and I had a giddy smile on my face whenever they were with each other! Also, random fact about me is that I love when the hero/heroine have nicknames for each other so that fact that Daniel was always making up new ones for Lucy on the spot was my favorite and made me love him even more!
I also appreciated how they had disagreements or conflict and resolved it without being unnecessarily dramatic about it! That’s a rare find and I’m always here for it!
This book had me hating to put it down and wanting to be reading it whenever I had to actually live life-and for someone who normally can set books down and pick them up whenever that’s saying something! I just genuinely loved the whole thing and I’m a little bit sad to leave the happy bubble of these pages! But thankfully there’s another connected book coming and this won’t be the last I see of these characters!
If you love books that put a dopey grin on your face and make you laugh definitely check this one out!

Meet the Author
Aspen Hadley loves nothing more than a great story. She has devoted herself to story-telling for the majority of her life, writing her first novel at her kitchen table in the 8th grade. Aspen writes what she wants to read: clean, sassy, romantic comedy novels that give you a break from real life and leave you feeling happy.
Outside of writing, Aspen's number one hobby is reading. Number two is sneaking chocolate into and out of her private stash without being caught. Other favorite things include: playing the piano, listening to classic rock, telling jokes around the dinner table, eating ice cream, traveling, a good case of the giggles, and riding on ATVs over the many trails in her home state of Utah.
Aspen shares her life with a patient husband, 4 hilarious children, and 1 grumpy dog in a quiet suburb next to her beloved mountains.
Given the choice she would road trip her life away, singing along to the radio and sleeping in every morning.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Lights Out by Natalie Walters

About the Book
CIA analyst Brynn Taylor developed a new program to combat terrorism, and she invited members of foreign intelligence agencies to America to foster cooperation between countries. Now one of them, Egyptian spy Remon Riad, is missing.
Jack Hudson has been working for the Strategic Neutralization and Protection Agency (SNAP) for almost nine years and takes the lead in hunting down the missing spy. But he isn't at all pleased to find out Brynn is involved. It's hard to trust a woman who's already betrayed you.
Every lead they follow draws them dangerously deeper into an international plot. Kidnapping, murder, explosions, poisoning--the terrorists will do anything to accomplish their goal of causing a digital blackout that will blind a strategic US military communications center and throw the world into chaos.
Can Brynn surrender control to a man who doesn't trust her? And can Jack ever get over what she did to him? The fate of the world--and their hearts--hangs in the balance.

My Thoughts
We had to wait over a year and a half for this new novel from Natalie Walters but in this case it was definitely worth the wait!
Things were a little detail heavy at the very beginning but it was all necessary information so bear with it! And once the story gets set up and rolling you totally get sucked into it!
My favorite part of this book was definitely the S.N.A.P. team! I absolutely love well done team dynamics and these guys definitely had that! The banter and camaraderie between all of them was fantastic!
Jack was a great hero and I admired his calm amidst the storms and his selfless desire to protect others.
Brynn was a little harder to like at the start but she definitely grew on me and I enjoyed seeing her character growth throughout the story!
I liked the fact that Jack and Brynn had a history that gave them a stronger basis for their relationship even if it meant they had some things from the past to work through. The two of them were great together and I was rooting for them the whole time!
This wasn’t your typical find the one bad guy and stop him suspense but rather it there were several puzzle pieces and the team was in a race to fit them together before time ran out! There were several close calls throughout and I was completely invested in every twist and turn!
This book was a wonderfully enjoyable suspense and I definitely recommend it! I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

Meet the Author
Natalie Walters is the author of Lights Out, as well as the Harbored Secrets series. A military wife, she currently resides in Texas with her soldier husband and is the proud mom of three. She loves traveling, spending time with her family, and connecting with readers on Instagram and Facebook. Learn more at www.nataliewalterswriter.com.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

The Mobster’s Daughter by Rachel Scott McDaniel

About the Book
The one man who could help her, must never know her name.
If Kate Chamberlin can't reveal her true identity to the world, she must settle for sharing only her talent. Hired as a musician for KDKA radio, Kate plays everything from sponsors’ jingles to complex sonatas. As long as the whispers around the broadcasting room refer to her as “Killjoy Kate” and not “Catarina the crime boss's daughter,” then her life is safe from danger.
Or so she thinks.
When anonymous, violent threats surface, Kate's wary of accepting protection from the handsome private investigator, Detective Jennings. His save-the-world attitude is as charming as his manners, but no one, especially him, can know the gruesome realities of her birth.
The 1924 Pittsburgh underworld is as complicated as it is elusive, and though the dealings of the Salvastanos have dwindled, Rhett Jennings is certain the man responsible for his father's death is still at large. But his personal hunt for justice must be set aside when his day job requires him to investigate threats directed at a young radio broadcaster with enamoring brown eyes and secretive behavior.
When danger surrounds them, will the truth of Kate's past become the key to their survival?

My Thoughts
Oh my gosh!! I freaking loved this book and it just might be my favorite McDaniel book! I was hooked from the very first page by this author’s unique brand of vivid imagery. She literally transports you to 1920’s Pittsburgh and you feel like you are walking the soot filled streets.
Kate aka Catarina had me invested in her plight from the moment we met her. She had endured so much loss and hardship in her life but I loved how she didn’t let it stop her from making a life for herself or keep her from loving and caring for everyone in her path. She was selfless and kind and it shone through her every action.
Rhett also charmed me from the start. I admired the way he stood for justice even though those around him weren’t and when he saw what things were becoming he forged his own path. He was a protector at heart and that was glaringly evident in the way he kept Kate safe even if it meant sleepless nights and long days. Rhett also had a compassionate heart and I loved his interactions with the little boy Kate cared for!
The romance between Kate and Rhett was soft and sweet and they had me melting more than a few times!
There was also some mystery and intrigue and it totally sucked me in! There were some parts I guessed at but I didn’t see the full picture coming!
One of my favorite things about McDaniel’s books is the way she brings historic Pittsburgh to life! I’ve lived near the city all of my life and I love reading about what life was like here all those years ago! It’s so fun to see the places that I know mentioned in the story! And the fun historical tidbits she includes fascinate me!
Honestly this book had it all, I laughed, I swooned, I teared up, and I was happy sighing at the end! Rarely do books hold my attention so fully like this one did, typically I can just stop whenever and I’ll admit I can get distracted by my phone, but that wasn’t the case with this story! I started it with the intention of just a couple chapters before bed but then I was so hooked that next thing I knew it was 2am and I couldn’t keep my eyes open! And the next day I had to force myself to put it down when other things needed my attention! Basically this book was amazing and you need to read it as soon as possible-you won’t regret it!

Meet the Author
Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. She currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two kids. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Never Too Late by Susan L. Tuttle

About the Book
Once, her art brought her fame. This time will it bring her love?
Widowed homemaker Rachael Stark isn’t quite sure what comes after her only child leaves for college. To fill her suddenly quiet hours and scrawny bank account, she needs a job. But painful memories prevent her from resurrecting her former art career, and “motherhood” isn’t much of a résumé. When her best friend needs help recovering from a gunshot wound that occurred in the line of duty, she is there. Finally, someone to take care of.
Evan Wayne won’t let his injury keep him from being a police officer. His dedication to protect the innocent stems from the guilt he carries over having failed his childhood friend. What he needs now is to recover and get back on the streets. Instead, he’s handed a myriad of light-duty tasks by his captain—one of which involves heading up the department’s entry into the town’s annual mural contest. He’s not an artist, but he definitely knows one. And he’ll take any excuse to spend more time with her.
When Rachael agrees to paint for Evan, she never expects to also be drawn into finding answers for the mother of a missing child. As the two friends work side by side on the mural and the case, their feelings move beyond friendship. But with Evan unwilling to leave his dangerous job, and Rachael unwilling to risk another loss of a loved one, their fears may paint over the promise of a beautiful future together.

My Thoughts
Speechless. I am always speechless when I finish a Susan Tuttle novel. I honestly just sit there in awe for a few minutes after reaching the end and wonder how I can ever right a review that will do it justice. But then I start typing and all the things I loved come spilling out and turn into my longest reviews ever.
I have been waiting for Rachael’s story since we first met her, even though she had loved and lost I just knew she had so much more in store. And the second she and Evan were on the page together I knew he was her more. Their friendship was absolutely perfect, the banter and understanding between them was just spot on. And as someone who really likes friends-to-more stories I was so ready to see their journey.
One of my favorite things about Tuttle’s writing is the realness of her characters. They are written so authentically that you feel like you genuinely know them. Every pain and struggle they go through is felt on a deep level and you truly understand the things they wrestle with. Even when I wanted to shake Rachael to make her realize what she had in front of her I felt every part of her fear and understood why she held herself back.
Both Rachael and Evan had experienced some of the most horrendous losses imaginable and they had so much unresolved pain to work through. It was raw and tough but I loved how they helped each other through, though it took outsiders wisdom and God to really break the walls down. They had such a special bond that allowed for speaking truth even when it wasn’t what the other wanted to hear and I admired the way they fully knew when to push and when to step back. They were connected in such a beautiful way and the fact that they were meant to be together was the most obvious thing in the world.
Their relationship had its ups and downs that had me alternatively laughing, yelling at them, sighing in happiness, and even tearing up. Basically it was perfection!
It was also so much fun to see more from Jonah and Penny, and Micah and Belle from the previous books! And Blake and Harlow from her standalone novel even made a cameo which made me so happy!
I cannot say enough how much I loved this book and this whole series! Definitely staying permanently on my favorites list!

Meet the Author
ACFW Carol Award finalist Susan L. Tuttle lives in the Mitten State of Michigan where she's a mom of three and happily married to her best friend. Between still homeschooling her youngest and leading the women's ministry at church, she finds time to write stories filled with inspiration, hope, and encouragement. Connect with Susan at susanltuttle.com.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, November 01, 2021

Labyrinth of Lies by Irene Hannon

About the Book
When the daughter of a high-profile businessman disappears from an exclusive girls' boarding school, police detective Cate Reilly is tapped for an undercover assignment. It doesn't take her long to realize that beneath the veneer of polish and wealth, things are not as they seem at Ivy Hill Academy. But the biggest surprise of all? The only man she ever loved is also working at the school.
Zeke Sloan has never forgotten Cate, but now isn't the best time for their paths to cross again. When their two seemingly disparate agendas begin to intertwine--and startling connections emerge among the players--the danger escalates significantly. But who is the mastermind behind the elaborate ruse? And how far will they go to protect their house of cards?
Queen of romantic suspense Irene Hannon invites you to scale the heights of human folly and plumb the depths of the human heart in this second gripping book in the Triple Threat series.

My Thoughts
I’m not going to lie, book one in this series was a major miss for me and made me a bit wary of this one. But since I’ve long been a fan of the author I wanted to still give it a chance.
It was better than the first but still missed the mark for me. The premise of a 33 year old woman being able to pass as a high schooler for an indefinite amount of time without any one even questioning it for a second was not believable in the slightest. And the fact that she was posing as a student while the love interest, Zeke, was undercover as a teacher just felt icky despite the fact that they had a previous relationship and knew who the other was immediately. It also made it hard for there to be any actual romance because it would have been wrong to every one watching who weren’t aware of their true identities and ages. The only time they really got to spend together one on one were the twice weekly “tutoring” sessions he arranged which somehow never raised anyone’s suspicions even though he didn’t offer tutoring to any other students. Their past history did make the romance not completely unbelievable even if we didn’t get to see a lot of on page interactions.
There were a lot of characters and POVs which gave us a lot of the story throughout so there wasn’t a lot of keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat mystery or suspense but the crime story was still interesting and kept me reading to see how it was resolved.
I could have done without the epilogue proposal that seems to always be at the end of suspense books and is a major pet peeve of mine but I know other people like that so it is what it is.
All in all while this wasn’t a favorite of mine it was still readable and kept my interest throughout.

Meet the Author
Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than sixty contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. In addition to her many other honors, she is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA's elite Hall of Fame and has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.