Last Chance Season by Brenna Mills

Ash, or Ashleigh Jones, has just received her first position as park ranger with the National Park System at Saguara National Park, Arizona. It’s been a life-long dream of Ash’s and she is thrilled except for one thing. Zach Stanley, the love of her life who left her during her college years. Zach now operates the Red Desert Guest Ranch, just a few miles from the National Park. It’s been over eight years since they’ve seen each other, but obviously neither Ash or Zach has forgotten each other. Ash’s best friend is Trish and Mateo is Zach’s sidekick. They both are great characters; very funny and have a very sweet story line. The story flashes from present to past to show the progression of Ash and Zach’s relationship. The plot was interesting but it was very predictable. I found some of the language to be totally unnecessary. There were exclamations that I found to be rather out-of-place and quite crude. I have read many contemporary romance novels with many sexual situations. This book seemed to throw in sex just for the sake of having sexual scenes in it. Parts of the book held my interest but overall, I had a hard time finishing it.

Last Chance Season: A Plum Harbor Novel by Brenna Mills will be published on June 28, 2016. The egalley of this book was graciously given to me by the publishers, Kensington Publishing, in exchange for a honest review.

Marriage, Monsters-in-Law, and Marriage by Sara Rosett

Elle Avery is asked by her sister-in-law, Summer, to take over the organizational duties for her wedding weekend on Camden Island, right off the coast of South Carolina. Mitch, her husband, and their two children are very excited to be attending the wedding at the exclusive vacation resort. Summer and her fiancé, Brian, have a wonderful wedding planned with many interesting events. Elle’s biggest job is keeping peace between Summer’s mother and stepmother, Yvonne and Patricia. Patricia is a foul-tempered woman who sees herself as being in control of the wedding, as well as Gus, Summer’s father. Yvonne is a dreamer who goes around quoting Shakespeare at every opportunity. The story begins the weekend of the wedding when many strange things happen to the bride-to-be. Next, there is a murder with many suspects. Other things “accidentally ” happen to the characters while the reader is treated to a beautiful tour of the barrier island. I really enjoyed the author’s rich character development and great plot. A perfectly satisfying cozy mystery that is sure to please the reader! I would definitely recommend this book to any lover of a good mystery.

Marriage, Monsters-in-Law, and Murder will be published June 28, 2016 by Kensington Publishers. I received this egalley from Kensington Publishers in exchange for a honest review.

The Bluebonnet Betrayal by Marty Wingate

Austin, Texas meets London, England! Professional gardener Pru Parke, transplanted Texan now living in England, receives an email from a member of the (ARGS) Austin Rock Garden Society. She’s asked to fill in for the Society president in the preliminary work for the garden that the Texas group was planning in the Chelsea Flower Show. The president, Twyla, would be arriving with the rest of the ladies in a few days. Right after the Texas group arrives, a murder occurs in their proposed garden site. This begins a cast of quirky characters that all have a part in the murder mystery that lends itself to an English setting and the “Texans never quit” attitude. Secrets are revealed and the intertwine of relationships among the women provide a good story for Pru to show off her amateur sleuthing skills. I love British and cozy mysteries and this book is a great example of both. I would recommend The Bluebonnet Betrayal to lovers of both.

The Bluebonnet Betrayal will be published on August 2, 2016.
This book was graciously given to me by the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
The Bluebonnet Betrayal: A Potting Shed Mystery by Marty Wingate. Published by Alibi, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Close to You by Kristen Proby

Cami (Camilla) LaRue is in love with her friend’s older brother, Landon Palazzo. The only problem is that she fell in love when she was a young girl. Landon always loved having teenager Cami as one of his closest friends, but because he was older, he decided to join the military to get away from the feelings that he felt for Cami. The story begins with Landon coming back to town and Cami attempts to reconnect with him. At first, he is rude and tries to push her away, but soon they both give in to the long-time feelings and begin a sweet relationship. Kristen Proby has a knack for making her characters believable and full of emotion that the reader can “latch” on to. I like her story line in Close to You. It is enjoyable and full of great characters, especially Cami’s friends. I loved all of her friends and loved the banter between them. I highly recommend Close to You to anyone who loves a great (feel-good) story full of snappy, sharp dialogue. It is a great example of today’s contemporary romance at it’s best.

The advance copy of this book was graciously given to me by the publisher, Harper Collins/William Morrow in exchange for a honest review.

Under the Surface by Anne Calhoun

Eve is a former cocktail waitress who now owns her own bar/club, Eye Candy. She is approached by a thug, Lyle, to use Eye Candy in a money laundering operation. Eve went to the police and without her knowledge, Matt (aka Chad) is assigned to Eye Candy to keep watch on the situation and to protect Eve. I did enjoy the plot being a suspenseful, contemporary romance. The problem that I had with the book was the lack of character development and depth. I guess if I had read previous books in the series, I might have felt more development in the character of Eve. In the first part of the book, Chad comes to the club to get a job as bartender. Immediately Eva and Chad feel a sexual tension when their hands touch. Sorry to say, I felt like there was no buildup to this moment and I barely knew either character. When I read this part, I felt no connection at all; no sexual tension, no sexual attraction. I really couldn’t understand the attraction of Chad to Eve. Chad was a strong, silent, brooding type of guy (policeman). My first idea of Eve was that she was a woman who had to dress in a provocative way to appear sexy. The hair that always seemed to cover her eyes kept me baffled. Was that supposed to be a sexy thing? I can’t imagine that in real life, Chad/Matt would have been attracted to Eve. I love stories with women who are in charge of their own bodies but it seemed that Eve had to literally threaten for sex from Chad/Matt. I can’t imagine ever doing that. My gosh, if someone doesn’t want to have sex with you, move on if you are a strong woman (without verbal threats.) I guess that I never really cared for the character of Eve, except that she was a good business person. The book did pick up toward the end, was more enjoyable and the action went much faster. Looking back, I wish that I had read others in the Alpha Ops series first.

The advance galley of this book was generously given to me to read by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for a honest review.

Drive You Wild by Jennifer Bernard

Trevor walked out of the baseball stadium and into the line of fire of a gruff, crazed man with a BB gun threatening to kill him for “messing with his girl”. What girl? Who knows since there had been so many. A white SUV whizzed by, driven by a beautiful, young woman, rushing to his rescue. “Get in!” She yelled and Trevor was whisked off to safety! The young woman was Paige, daughter of Crush Taylor, the Catfish professional baseball team owner. This first encounter was the beginning of a hot, sexy and sweet relationship! What are the things that Trevor has been hiding behind his icy exterior? What is the truth about his haunted life that keeps him on the run? What is the story behind Nina?
I am happy to say that I started reading with the intention of this being just another contemporary romance novel! I was not prepared to become so interested in the fast-paced, sexy story line. I didn’t think that I would become so entwined in the rich characterization by the author. I ended up really enjoying the book and couldn’t put it down from beginning to end. I would definitely recommend this book to romance readers.

This book will be published on June 28, 2016. The advance galley was provided by the publisher, Avon Books, an imprint of Harper Collins, in exchange for a honest review.

Murder Has Nine Lives by Laura Levine

Jaine Austen is a writer/part-time, semiprofessional private investigator. She has a one-eyed ball of white fur known as Prozac the cat! Prozac gets invited to a casting for a “Skinny Cat” food commercial. That’s when all the fun begins! Of course there is a murder and a cast of zany characters, along with funny dialogue and crazy situations! Author Laura Levine has a great sense of humor and hilarious comebacks like, “Twenty bucks for an ice cream cone? Over my dead fudge ripple!” The scene that stole my heart and had me laughing uncontrollably was when Jaine went out on a date with the plumber’s nephew. I don’t want to give away any of the fun of such a great date. You MUST read this book to find out what happened. Laura Levine is hilarious! She has some of the funniest, most unconventional plots that I have ever read. Her dialogue is sharp and witty. Sit back with Murder Has Nine Lives and prepare to be totally entertained.

This book will be published on June 28, 2016. The advance galley was provided by its publisher, Kensington, in exchange for a honest review.

Engaged in Death by Stephanie Blackmoore

Attorney Mallory Shepard has cancelled her wedding to her cheating fiance, Keith Pierce, just three weeks before the date. Good riddance to his overbearing mother, Helene Pierce, but Mallory is still crazy in love with Keith’s grandmother Sylvia. Suddenly, Sylvia passes away and leaves her decaying home of antiques to Mallory. Mallory moves to Port Quincy and finds out that the Port Quincy Country Club, to whom she has already paid for her reception, refuses to refund any money to her. Mallory’s sister, Rachel, comes to the rescue and moves into the dilapidated house. The plan is to fix up the house, try to get back her money from the country club and to also avoid Keith and his meddling mother! There is also not one, but two murders that turn up in Mallory and Rachel’s house. Engaged in Death is funny, charming and has a great story. I really enjoyed it and would definitely read any other books by Stephanie Blackmoore. Her characters are quick-witted, likable and believable.
Engaged in Death will be published June 28, 2016. The advance galley was provided to me by its publisher, Kensington, in exchange for a honest review.

Picture Miss Seeton by Heron Carvic

I love mysteries and especially British mysteries.  Written in 1968, Picture Miss Seeton is a shining star which reminded me of a cross between Miss Marple and Agatha Raisin (Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton).

Miss Emily Seeton, after leaving a performance at the theater, witnesses the murder of a prostitute.  Scotland Yard leads a wonderfully entertaining investigation into the murder that leads them to  Miss Seeton and the entire village of Plummergen., England. The author introduces great characters that love to gossip, snoop and investigate on their own terms that results in plenty of quirky twists and humor.  This is a great read for anyone who loves to read this genre.

Tangled by Kate Douglas

Author Kate Douglas tells an amazing story in just 75 pages! Set in the California wine country, Cassi Phillips is a winemaker for Tangled Vines Dry Creek Vineyard, once owned by her family. New owner Marc Reed has made a few changes to the business.. Nate Dunagan enters the story as a new vineyard manager who is sweet, smart and sexy.. Add a little mystery, some “steamy” attraction and the story of Cassi’s father to create a story that is a great read! I really liked the locale of the story and thought that the plot would have made a great full-length novel.  I would definitely read any titles by Kate Douglas!

Advance egalley provided by St. Martin’s Press for a honest review of the book.