Monthly Archives: January 2015

Ace’s Wild (Hell’s Eight, #7) by Sarah McCarty

Ace's Wild (Hell's Eight, #7)Ace’s Wild by Sarah McCarty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Ace’s Wild
Author: Sarah McCarty
Series: Hell’s Eight, #7
Pages: 416
Publisher: HQN Books
Date: January 27, 2015

Summary:

When you gamble with desire, be prepared to risk everything……

Unlike the rest of the Hell’s Eight brotherhood, Ace Parker’s home isn’t on the range. This restless cowboy craves the hustle of Simple, Texas, a lawless town where he can sate his darker appetites without guilt. At least he did, until Petunia Wayfield arrived. The prickly new teacher is insisting that Ace help her rid the town of drunkenness and card playing. For that kind of miracle, Ace demands a reward the spinster schoolmarm will surely never give.

But Petunia isn’t backing down. Not when the intense passion Ace offers shatters her to the core. As soon as she can afford a ticket home back east, she’ll leave Simple behind for good. Until then, she’ll match his sensual challenge with her own, daring him to give up his fiercely guarded self-control. And then real danger claims Petunia, forcing Ace to reveal the man he really is—even if it drives her away forever….

Review:

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Sarah McCarty has done it again. Ace’s Wild, the seventh book in the Hell’s Eight series, is totally satisfying. As in the previous books, there is a strong alpha male and a woman in need of help. This sounds sexist, but the women are strong in their own right. They need help due to circumstances outside of their control.

Which brings me to a focus of Ace’s Wild that I don’t remember from the previous books – social justice – in particular, the lack of support available to women and children who find themselves in a dangerous situation.

Petunia hopes to open a boarding school for children to give them a safe place to live. She is only temporarily in Simple, Texas until she can earn enough money to move to California where she plans to a open a more prestigious school that will serve more children.

Ace does not think he is good enough for “Pet,” but he protects her anyway. He wants her and she wants him, but they are both too stubborn to admit it.
So we have two hardheaded people who both think they know what they want. Add in a kidnapping (a staple in this series), some mild bondage, and interference by good friends and we finally get to a Happily Ever After.

I loved this book and I hate that the series is almost over. I have read Sarah McCarty’s other books – yes, all of them – and they are really good. However, I just have a special place in my heart for the Hell’s Eight. The men are just as damaged by circumstances as the women, but they are good men anyway. You just have to love an alpha male . . . at least the fictional ones.

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Adam (Riding Hard, #1) by Jennifer Ashley

Adam (Riding Hard #1)Adam by Jennifer Ashley

Adam Campbell returns to his ranch in Riverbend, Texas, after a movie stunt goes wrong, seriously injuring him. He settles in to heal at his family’s ranch, where his four brothers train stunt horses and do stunt riding for movies, as Adam had before he’d moved to Hollywood.

He’s stunned to find Bailey Farrell working there–Bailey was the shy girl who’d helped Adam graduate from high school so he could run off to be in movies. Except the budding Bailey, with whom Adam had a brief but intense affair, has blossomed into a beautiful woman.

Now Adam is beaten-up, broken-down, and has lost his nerve, since the stunt that injured him killed his best friend. When he’s challenged by his rival to a contest of riding feats, the only person he can turn to is Bailey, who helped him once before.

Will Bailey, who has also come to Riverbend to lick her wounds after a life as a software tech in Austin and a painful divorce, be willing to help him again?
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book. Adam is Jennifer Ashley’s first contemporary romance and it is as wonderful as her other books. Even though Adam is not an alpha shifter or and alpha laird, he is very much an alpha male. He is, however, damaged if not broken. It is up to his first love, Bailey, to prove he is still as strong as he ever was.

As with all her books, the couples are both strong characters. They both have something the other needs and manage to work out their differences.

I am pleased that the next book is about Grant. I really want to hear his and Christina’s story.

I am very, very pleased that there is not a long wait between books. According to the author’s website, all of the books will be published this year . . . and I will be preordering them as soon as they become available.

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The Importance of Being Alice (Ainslie Brothers, #1) by Katie MacAlister

The Importance of Being Alice (Ainslie Brothers, #1)The Importance of Being Alice by Katie MacAlister

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: The Importance of Being Alice
Author: Katie MacAlister
Series: Ainslie Brothers, #1 (aka A Matchmaker in Wonderland)
Publisher: Signet
Pages: 352
Date: January 6, 2015

Summary:

Nothing about Alice Wood’s life is normal right now. Her fiancé, Patrick, called off their wedding and relationship only days before their nonrefundable wedding trip. And though a luxurious European river cruise for one is just what she needs, it’s not what she gets…

Due to a horrible misunderstanding, Alice is now cramped in her “romantic” suite with one of Patrick’s friends. Instead of cruising along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers sipping champagne with the love of her life, she’s navigating the waters with a strange—yet mysteriously handsome—British aristocrat.

An author, Elliot is just looking for some alone time to write. But his stodgy, serious self is about to be sidetracked by a woman who seems to have jumped out of the pages of a fairy tale, one who is determined to shake up his life…and include him in her own happily ever after.

Review:

This book was received from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The last thing Alice needs is an uptight English Lord camped out in her cabin. This was supposed to be a romantic river cruise with her soon-to-be husband. When said fiance dumps her for another woman (the Lord’s sister, no less), Alice decides to enjoy the cruise anyway. Or at least, not lose her deposit. She might as well get something out of her money, if only a place to cry alone.

Noooo! Her ex-fiance gives a friend his ticket and never says a word to Alice and she is stuck with a stranger for a cabin mate.

Poor Elliot. All he wants is somewhere quiet to finish writing his book. He’s behind schedule and needs the money to support the ancestral manor and all his many siblings. He needs not to be disturbed.

And Alice is very disturbing.

Katie MacAlister is a great author. Her books are fun and that is the highest compliment I know. If I want a book that I am sure to enjoy, I know I can always turn to her.

The Importance of Being Alice is no exception. It’s the first book in a new series and jumps from one madcap escapade to another. It has two people with two totally different outlooks on life stuck together in a close environment. Alice is a flighty American and Elliott is an uptight English Lord.

So, of course they fall in love. This is a romance after all.

The problems don’t end there though.

There are falling towers. Near fatal accidents. Unknown fiances (oh right, that’s Alice).

Is it a surprise that Alice down the rabbit hole comes to mind?

The second book, A Midsummer Night’s Romp, comes out May 5, 2015 and I have already ordered my copy. I cannot wait.

There is a discrepancy between the name of the series, so you will need to watch out. In some places it is called The Ainslie Brothers and others list it as A Matchmaker in Wonderland. Whatever it is called, you will want to read these books.

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The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman, #2) by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie EffectThe Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: The Rosie Effect
Author: Graeme Simsion
Series: Don Tillman, #2
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Text Publishing Company
Pages: 415

Summary:

‘We’ve got something to celebrate,’ Rosie said.
I am not fond of surprises, especially if they disrupt plans already in place. I assumed that she had achieved some important milestone with her thesis. Or perhaps she had been offered a place in the psychiatry-training programme. This would be extremely good news, and I estimated the probability of sex at greater than 80%.
‘We’re pregnant,’ she said.
The Rosie Project was an international publishing phenomenon, with more than a million copies sold in over forty countries around the world. Now Graeme Simsion returns with the highly anticipated sequel, The Rosie Effect.
Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are now married and living in New York. Don has been teaching at Columbia while Rosie completes her first year of a psychology degree. Just as Don is about to announce that Gene, his philandering best friend from Australia, is coming to stay, Rosie drops a bombshell: she’s pregnant.
In true Tillman style, Don instantly becomes an expert on all things obstetric. But in between immersing himself in a new research study on parenting and implementing the Standardised Meal System (pregnancy version), Don’s old weaknesses resurface. And while he strives to get the technicalities right, he gets the emotions all wrong, and risks losing Rosie when she needs him most.
Review:

I received this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

I loved The Rosie Project and recommended it to several people. Those who read it also loved it. I was thrilled to find out there was a sequel, although I didn’t think one was necessary. It was a great stand alone book.

Having said that, I am so glad I got to read The Rosie Effect. It is another great book and I enjoyed seeing Don and Rose as their relationship progressed. However, it is not as light a book as the first. Rose has gotten pregnant on purpose without discussing it with Don. She is dealing with her own emotional problems which are exacerbated by pregnancy hormones. Mostly, she is terrified that Don won’t be able to emotionally connect with the baby.

Don tries to manage as he has always done . . . by learning as much about pregnancy and small children as he can. This leads to numerous problems involving giving nutritional advice to Rose (not well received), encounters with the law, and court ordered therapy. Since Don knows from his research that Rose should not be stressed, he hides the last two from her.

Actually, I think he would have been safer to have withheld the nutritional advice and told her about his run in with the law.

In a way, this book was heartbreaking. Don tries so hard. He loves Rose and does everything he is capable of doing to keep her happy. It just doesn’t work.

This statement from Don which comes near the end of the book explains so much about his difficulties dealing with others.

“I was suddenly angry. I wanted to shake not just Lydia but the whole world of people who do not understand the difference between control of emotion and lack of it, and who make a totally illogical connection between inability to read others’ emotions and inability to experience their own.”

Make no mistake. The Rosie Effect is a great book. It’s just not as lighthearted as The Rosie Project. Read it. You won’t regret it.

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