The Newcomer (Thunder Point #2) by Robyn Carr

The Newcomer (Thunder Point #2)Rating: 3 stars

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (June 25, 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: With humor and insight, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr looks at letting go of the past-and knowing when you’ve found something worth building your future on 

Single dad and Thunder Point’s deputy sheriff “Mac” McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he’s found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they’re feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can’t get enough of one another.

And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac’s long-lost-and not missed-ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. They’re wondering if their new feelings for each other can withstand the pressure…but they are not going down without a fight.

Step into the world of Thunder Point, a little town on the Oregon coast where newcomers are welcomed, hearts are broken and mended, and the dramas of everyday life keep the locals laughing, crying and falling in love.

Review: I had mixed feelings about this book, but I think I finally came to a decision about it. So here it goes.

I LOVE Robyn Carr’s writing and I enjoyed The Wanderer, the first book in the Thunder Point series, A LOT. Now here’s where my problem lies. When I read the blurb I was super excited to finally, finally read Mac and Gina’s whole story. However, I was thrown into a mix of stories — the great, the bad and the ugly. Now, don’t get me wrong. Carr’s writing is still outstanding, I just wished she would have omitted some things, elaborated on others and left well-enough alone for a bit.

The Great

I loved Mac and Gina’s story. I think their romance was realistic, with ups and downs and everything in between. I believe they made a great couple and I was happy to see them reach their goal of being together. I enjoyed how their past was brought into the story with the appearance of Mac’s ex-wife and Gina’s ex-boyfriend. It brought to light the obstacles and the reasons behind their initial doubts and hesitations before they got together. I would have appreciated to see more of this couple, like I got to see of Cooper and Sarah.

The Bad

Like I said before,  I enjoyed the previous book very much. Cooper and Sarah’s story was a treat to read, so why try to add conflict into it so soon? Yes, I admit I had me at the edge of my seat because I didn’t know how Sarah was going to decide, but why burst my bubble so soon? No, I did not appreciate that, especially since I ‘d become emotionally invested in Sarah and Cooper’s relationship.

The Ugly

I don’t think it was necessary for Ashley’s story to be told at such length. Mention it, yes. Show how her character grew and overcame it, of course. Delve into it and pick it apart, not so much. I do believe that it could have been expanded further in a novella type of story aside from this book and it would have been better for the overall flow of the story and for my enjoyment as well.

I did enjoy her new found friendship and relationship with her father and her reconnecting with Frank. THIS I wanted to read more about.

All in all, The Newcomer provided insight into Gina and Mac’s past, put Cooper and Sarah’s commitment to the test and recounted Ashley’s first heartbreak. It had its sweet moments, its frustrating moments and its sad moments. It felt just like real life, but this resembled reality too much for my taste.

I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Dire Distraction (A-Tac #7) by Dee Davis

Dire Distraction (A-Tac #7)Rating: 4 stars

Published: Forever Yours (June 4th 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: As the commander for A-Tac, a black-ops CIA unit masquerading as Ivy League faculty, Avery Solomon is the best of the best. He’ll stop at nothing to ensure the safety of his team, but when a mystery from the past resurfaces, he puts himself directly in the line of fire.

PUSHED TOO FAR
After years of covert missions, Avery harbors regrets that continue to haunt him. He still blames himself for his wife’s death fourteen years ago-until an A-Tac operative finds a photo that suggests Avery’s wife may still be alive. Determined to discover the truth, Avery heads deep into the hostile territory of Southeast Asia, ready for danger and violence-only to find himself captured by desire . . .

Wilderness guide Sydney Price never backs down from a challenge. She has her own reasons for wanting revenge against the men being hunted by Avery. Though she tries to deny her attraction to the tough, handsome warrior, the spirited Sydney soon finds him impossible to resist. Now she and Avery must work together to uncover the truth-and stay alive. But as the enemy closes in and old secrets unravel, the line between partners and lovers vanishes like mist in the jungle . . .

Review: Avery goes in search of the truth behind his wife’s death. As part of his trip he is assigned Sydney as a guide. Sydney, a strong-minded agent living abroad, is determined to get Avery to his destination. What neither of them is expecting is to find a connection with each other that makes them question their lives until that point and affect their decisions from the moment from there on out.

After reading Double Danger, the previous book in the series, I was curious to know more about Avery. He came across as a strong, alpha-male who cared for his team and treated them as family. I wanted to know more about him and see how genuine that caring side was. I knew a little bit about his past, but was surprised about what it all entailed. Dee Davis did a wonderful job in bringing both the strong, alpha-male and the vulnerable sides of Avery to the page. He was capable, quick to act under pressure, understanding and tender. And yes, he was sexy and dominant and had all of those qualities I look for in a hero.

I liked this story very much. My only complaint and the reason why I didn’t give it 5 stars is the fact that the romance part of the story felt rushed. Avery has not though about engaging in a relationship in 14 years, but he falls in love with Sydney within a week? That was a little hard for me to swallow. I did however overlooked it to focus in the complexity of the characters, the emotions that were brought to the page and how the author brought the series to a close.

The writing was engaging with great action sequences and interesting twist and turns. The conflict continues right from where the previous book left off, with the Consortium still behind all the madness. However, what made this such an riveting read was the fact that it involved Avery’s former partner and friend, his wife’s death and his newly awakened desire for a future with Sydney. Maybe it’s because I haven’t read the first books that I found Avery’ story so fascinating, but I enjoyed it very much.

I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange on my honest opinion.

Fire Inside (Chaos #2) by Kristen Ashley

Fire Inside (Chaos, #2)Rating: 4 stars

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing – Forever (June 4th 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Lanie Heron isn’t looking for love—no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club…

For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She’s too polished and too classy for his tastes. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can’t say no. And he doesn’t regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that’s ever happened to him—in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that.

Review: Now this is more like it! Great characters, emotions galore, events that are relevant to the story and a whole lot of steamy sex scenes!

I loved Hop. He was sexy, a great father, an amazing lover and in-your-face honest. Hell, I even enjoyed his way of rambling on in truncated sentences!  I was even persuaded a time or two into his way of thinking. Yes, he was possessive and full of himself, but he was also sweet and caring and completely everything I wanted in hero.

Thankfully, Laine didn’t lack as a character either. She was troubled, but strong minded and determined. She fought for what she believed in, stood for herself when it counted and stepped up when the time came for her to do so.

I enjoyed their off-the-charts HOT chemistry, their banter and their arguments. It felt real, but still enough of fiction thrown in the mix to make it a great book to escape in. I found myself right there with them – I wanted to feel Hop’s mustache, smack Laine upside the head from time to time and be a fly on the wall when they got together.

I enjoyed the way Kristen Ashley went about bringing these two different characters together and how she developed them throughout the story. First, giving the reader bit and pieces into each of their personalities and gradually exposing their inner most thought, struggles and fears. Even at times when I just wanted them to get the hell over whatever issues they were dealing with, I felt emotionally invested in their relationship. I wanted them to work out, they were THAT great together.

Although Fire Inside is the second book in the Chaos series, it can be read as a stand alone book since the author did a great job of immersing the reader into the motorcycle world that is Chaos Motorcycle Club. She gives enough back story on the secondary characters introduced to make it unnecessary to have read the previous book and focuses mainly Hop and Laine’s relationship.

I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Own the Wind (Chaos #1) by Kristen Ashley

Own the Wind (Chaos, #1)Rating: 3 stars (2.5 stars rounded up because I enjoyed the sex scenes so much!)

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 2nd 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Too hot to handle…

Tabitha Allen grew up in the thick of Chaos–the Chaos Motorcycle Club, that is. Her father is Chaos’ leader, and the club has always had her back. But one rider was different from the start. When Tabby was running wild, Shy Cage was there. When tragedy tore her life apart, he helped her piece it back together. And now, Tabby’s thinking about much more than friendship…

Tabby is everything Shy’s ever wanted, but everything he thinks he can’t have. She’s beautiful, smart, and as his friend’s daughter, untouchable. Shy never expected more than friendship, so when Tabby indicates she wants more–much morehe feels like the luckiest man alive. But even lucky men can crash and burn…(

Review: This is my first Kristen Ashley book, which I decided to request because of all the great reviews her books have been having. It wasn’t a disappointment per se, since I didn’t have a lot of expectations, but it still left me conflicted about how to go about my review.

There were many things I liked about it.

  • The motorcycle club world was interesting to get to know. There was a lot of it explained throughout the book, which helped me understand Shy a little better.
  • The main characters showed some development as the story progressed, which encouraged me to keep on going.
  • There were some touching moments with great emotions that helped me get through the story.
  • The sex scenes were hot and the chemistry between the characters jumped through the page.
  • The secondary characters added to the story and made it more entertaining to read. I liked most of the characters that were introduced. I was especially intrigued with Hop and looking forward to reading more about him.

But there were a lot more things that didn’t work for me.

  • Shy was arrogant. Yes, he was hot and sexy as hell, but most of the time he opened his mouth his sexiness went out the window. I didn’t like the way he treated women and although there came a point where he kind of redeemed himself in my eyes, it did come a little to late to make up for all the times he disrespected Tabby.
  • Tabby was immature and completely let Shy walk all over her. To me, she didn’t know what she wanted.
  • Although there was chemistry between Shy and Tabby, I still found it hard to believe that they could make their relationship work.
  • I admit that in this ‘motorcycle world’ the men are domineering, possessive and brusque, but c’mon, the things Shy said and some of his actions were over the top and completely unnecessary for the story to be told.
  • Too many of what I call “my Calgon moments”. It was good that the doctor’s harassment, the earrings fiasco, the laundry/vacuum debacle and the fridge argument all took place in different parts of the story because if they taken place sooner it would have been a different rating all together.

Having said this, Own the Wind, the first book in the Chaos series, did a great job of establishing the motorcycle world these characters live in. I do want to read the next book in the Chaos series, Fire Inside. I am hoping that the story is more enjoyable since the main characters are older. Here’s hoping it is!

Skinny Bitch in Love by Kim Barnouin

Skinny Bitch in LoveRating: 2.5 stars

Publisher: Gallery Books (June 4th 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Clementine Cooper is a born vegan, com­mitted in every way to the healthy lifestyle she was raised with on her father’s organic farm. But how bad could a little butter be? Bad enough to get the ambitious and talented sous chef fired when an influential food critic discovers dairy in Clem’s butternut squash ravioli with garlic sage sauce. Though she was sabotaged by a backstab­bing coworker, Clem finds herself unceremo­niously blackballed from every vegan kitchen in L.A.

Like any vegan chef worth her salt, however, Clem knows how to turn lemons into delicious, cruelty-free lemonade cupcakes. She launches the Skinny Bitch Cooking School in hopes of soon opening her own café in an empty space near her apartment. But on the first day of class, sexy millionaire restaurateur Zach Jeffries puts a fork in her idea with his own plans for the space—a steakhouse. Clem is livid. For a carnivore, Zach is more complicated than she anticipated. He’s also a very good kisser. But could dating one of the most eligible bachelors in the city—and a meat-eater—be as bad for Clem as high-fructose corn syrup? Shouldn’t she fall instead for a man who seems to be her perfect match in every way—like Alexander Orr, a very cute, very sweet vegan chef?

Clem thought she was open-minded, but as she confronts the challenges of budding entrepre­neurship, old rivals, ex-boyfriends, and tempting suitors, she begins to wonder if she can ever say “I love you” to a man who hates tofu.

Review: Clementine’s life is turned upside down just because of a little butter. Determined not to drown in pity, Clementine decides to take her career as a vegan chef into her own hands. Her dream consists of owning her own vegan restaurant and she has the perfect spot picked out, she just need to save the money to make it possible. In comes Zach Jeffries to screw it all up for her. Not only is he opening a steak house in HER spot, he is handsome and relentless in his pursuit of Clementine.

I liked this story, although I did find Clementine difficult to connect to. She was all over the place with her thoughts, she ran hot and cold and gave me more whiplash than any other character I’ve ever read. Zach was both interesting and infuriating. I didn’t really get to know him very much and what I did learn was okay, but not enough for me to really get emotionally involved in his relationship with Clementine. Like her, he was all over the place and difficult to connect to. So yeah, the romance part of the story didn’t do it for me very much.

I did enjoy the overall story of how Clementine made a name for herself after the butter fiasco, but I especially enjoyed the secondary characters. Kim Barnouin did a great job of bringing theses characters to life through their interactions with Clementine and with each other.  I enjoyed their banter as well as what they brought to the story. The drama between the other characters was funny and entertaining and added to the story very well.

Skinny Bitch in Love was little over the top, but it was fun and entertaining as well.

I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Until Forever Comes (Mates #2) by Cardeno C.

Until Forever Comes (Mates, #2)Rating: 4 stars

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (May 20th 2012)

Synopsis: Ethan Abbatt is a wolf shifter who can’t shift. Plagued by pain and weakness all his life, he hopes to find an honorable death by joining his pack mates in a vampire attack. Instead, Ethan learns two things: draining his blood releases his pain and his wolf, and he has a true mate – a vampire named Miguel.

Miguel Rodriguez is more than four centuries old. Strong, powerful, and vicious, he walks through life as a shadow, without happiness or affection. When a young shifter tells Miguel they’re true mates, destined to be together, Miguel sends him away. But Ethan is persistent, and Miguel can’t resist for long. Once Miguel gives in, being together comes naturally. The challenge is keeping themselves alive so they can stay by each other’s side until forever comes.

Review: Being a fan of Cardeno’s books and having enjoyed Wake Me Up Inside, I didn’t think twice about getting this book.

Although Cardeno C is one of my favorite authors and I usually can’t find fault with his books, I hate to admit that there was one for me in this story. So bare with me while I take a different approach to this review. It’s a doozy!

The Story

Ethan has always been different. An outcast within his pack because of his inability to shift, he knows he doesn’t have much time before his body shuts down and not much to lose by taking part in a vampire attack. Little does he know how his life would be affected by his decision to be a part of this confrontation.

In comes Miguel, a centuries-old, handsome vampire, he can rip a man apart and cross an alley in the blink of an eye. But instead of being afraid for his life when Miguel approaches him, Ethan has a whole other reaction to him – instant attraction.

Until Forever Comes reads as a prequel. It takes place quite a few decades years before Zev and Jonah’s story and it is told by Ethan. I loved the feel of the story that the use of the ‘country bumpkin’ language provided. It added a certain uniqueness to the story and helped to put my mind in a place necessary for me to understand many of the actions and reactions of the pack. I admit that it took me a while to get used to it, but that’s on me. I’m simply not familiar with it.

The Characters

I loved Ethan. He was honest to a fault and relentless when he set his mind to something. Despite knowing the dangers of confronting a vampire, he went to Miguel as soon as he realized that Miguel was essential for his survival. Although saddened to leave his family and everything he has ever known, he was determined to go to Miguel, his true mate.

Miguel was HOT! A powerful vampire who he had roamed the world and had a rough life before being turned, Miguel exuded sexiness with every look thrown at Ethan. Unbeknownst to him, he was reacting to the ‘mate bond’ even before he met Ethan. With an unquenchable thirst that posed a thread of exposure for the vampires, Miguel needed his mate to survive.

I loved this pairing, especially since it was between different species. Ethan was adorable in his loyalty to Miguel, while Miguel was admirable in his fierceness to protect Ethan. Their chemistry was easily palpable and their devotion to each other made for a great romantic read.

The ‘Mate Bond’

And herein lies my problem.

After reading my share of shifter stories and having read how the ‘mate bond’ works in the world Cardeno created, I can understand Ethan’s need to be with his mate. My issue is with how easily he accepted his male mate. Yes, it is an undeniable bond and in Ethan’s case, it is a necessity for him to ‘tie in’ with his mate.

However, if this story takes place before Wake Me Up Inside, in a time when this pairing was not easily accepted, and Ethan’s not much a man of the world and his pack was not exactly ‘in the know’ about the ways of the world how can he not question that his mate is male?

I love it when the characters struggles accept their fate. It is through those struggles that I come to fully admire and relate to the characters. It is their display of emotions and their development as characters while dealing with this acceptance that truly makes their journey as fated mates enjoyable for me. So, no. I cannot overlook Ethan’s easy acceptance.

Hell, I can even overlook the ‘insta-love’ scenario the ‘mate bond’ brings about, but come on, there has to be some sort of hesitation that makes me emotionally invested in their happiness. Something for them to overcome. If it didn’t happen with the difference in species, it should have happened in their ‘mate bond’

 The Writing

I think that Cardeno did a great job of bringing Ethan and Miguel’s story to the page. I was curious about these characters when they appeared in the previous story and I was happy to read their story. It was fun with a little bit of action, a little bit of drama, some conflict a whole lot of steamy sex scenes.

I was not expecting some of what took place and even in their lust-filled haze Ethan and Miguel managed to bring more to these encounter. There were emotions and banter and a lot of things that revealed more about each of them. So, yes. I loved me some Ethan and Miguel together.

All in all, Until Forever Comes was a fun, romantic read with a sexy vampire and a determined, if easily convinced, young wolf.

The Best Man (Blue Heron #1) by Kristan Higgins

The Best ManRating: 3 stars

Publisher: Harlequin HQN (February 26th 2013)

Synopsis: Sometimes the best man is the one you least expect….

Faith Holland left her hometown after being jilted at the altar. Now a little older and wiser, she’s ready to return to the Blue Heron Winery, her family’s vineyard, to confront the ghosts of her past, and maybe enjoy a glass of red. After all, there’s some great scenery there….

Like Levi Cooper, the local police chief—and best friend of her former fiancé. There’s a lot about Levi that Faith never noticed, and it’s not just those deep green eyes. The only catch is she’s having a hard time forgetting that he helped ruin her wedding all those years ago. If she can find a minute amidst all her family drama to stop and smell the rosé, she just might find a reason to stay at Blue Heron, and finish that walk down the aisle.

Review: Faith returns home to work on a special project in her family’s winery. Although she’s not looking forward to facing the man who left her at the altar, his best friend or the pitying looks she’s sure to receive, she has missed her hometown and her family and she’s determined to see this through for however long she decides to stay. Between finding her father a date, helping at the winery and working on her project, Faith comes to terms with many things – especially the fact that she’s attracted to Levi.

I’ve been beating my head against the keyboard trying to figure out how to rate this book. I have read other books by this author and have always found them to be fun, heart-warming and romantic. I guess that is why I am having such a difficult time with this story. It had all the elements necessary to make it an awesome read for me – the characters were complex and kind of broken, there was range in emotions and the dialogue was interesting. I even enjoyed most of the humor – when it wasn’t over-the-top or offensive.

I loved the romance part of it, especially the angsty parts. Levi and Faith both had issues to overcome before they could ever consider being in a relationship again. Their attraction was there, easily palpable, but it was their emotions that really did the trick for me. The secondary characters were enjoyable even if at times there was too much going on with them that didn’t add anything to the main story.

However, I didn’t like some aspects of this book. There were demeaning comments and assumptions based on social status and appearances. Some of these I could overlook, mostly because they are commonly used and this is fiction after all. But I was especially disturbed when a transgendered character was referred to as a “she-male” and the reaction of the characters at encountering this person. Now this I couldn’t overlook.

The Best Man offers a lot of things within its story. There was the romance, the cozy feel of living in a small town and the rewards when one finally learns to let go of the past. I just wished the unpleasant stuff I mentioned above would have been excluded from this story. A lot of people have not been bothered by it, so maybe you won’t either if you decide to give it a try.

I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Lover Undercover (McCade Brothers, #1) by Samanthe Beck

Lover Undercover (McCade Brothers #1)Rating: 4 stars

Publisher: Entangled Publishing – Brazen (April 22nd 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: He’s undercover. She’s in over her head.

Yoga instructor Kylie Roberts is the good twin. At least she was—until an accident forces Kylie to step into her twin’s sexy stilettos at a posh Hollywood “men’s club.” But nothing could’ve prepared Kylie for the dead body in the club’s parking lot or the ridiculously hot detective who insists the killer is targeting her regulars.

Detective Trevor McCade needs Kylie’s help to draw out the killer. It means long nights undercover and long dances where Kylie’s body tempts him with sensual promises. Dances that leave them both wanting more. But despite Kylie’s hidden identity and the danger lurking in the shadows, it’s only a matter of time before Kylie and Trevor take this undercover operation under the covers…

Review: Kylie is the quiet twin, always keeping to herself to not give people anything to talk about. She has always been there for her sister and that’s how she finds herself in mile-high boots dancing at a strip club and in the middle of a murder investigation.

Trevor is a detective looking into a cold murder case that takes him to the last place the murder victim is thought to have been – the strip club where Kylie is currently working at. He knows his way through a murder investigation and undercover work, what he wasn’t expecting was to be drawn to the innocent-looking, sexy dancer that’s caught in the middle of his investigation.

I enjoyed this story so much! Samanthe Beck brought to the page all the elements necessary for me to fully immerse myself in this story. There was the great, complex characters, the intriguing murder mystery and the intense romance. Everything came together to bring to the page a sexy, compelling story that left me wanting more. More of the emotions, more of the mystery and more of the fireworks these two ignited every time they came together.

I liked Kylie. Although she was a bit closed off emotionally, what was depicted helped me understand where she was coming from and why she hesitated in starting a relationship with Trevor. There were times I wanted to shake some sense into her, but I could understand her doubts too. Trevor, on the other hand, was honest in his attraction to Kylie and sure of the connection they had. It was his determination in keeping her safe and his conviction to see this relationship work that made me a fan of his.

I appreciated to the way the author brought Trevor and Kylie together. Not only was there passion in spades, there were also emotions thrown in to make it even more fantastic. Their interactions, their sex scenes it all came together to bring about the romance part of the story. I enjoyed how the author integrated this with the undercover work Trevor was doing. It all worked together to make it believable to me that this relationship was something feasible between Trevor and Kylie.

The secondary characters introduced into the story added to it and made it more interesting. I loved Ian and Stacey. I hope there’s an upcoming story in the works. I loved his humor and Stacey’s reluctance. It made for a great side story.

All in all, Lover Undercover was a hot, sexy read with a wonderful romance and a great murder mystery. I can’t wait to read more from this author!

I received this title from the publisher in exchanged of my honest opinion.

The Cinderella Makeover (Suddenly Cinderella #2) by Hope Tarr

The Cinderella Makeover (Suddenly Cinderella, #2)Rating: 2.75 stars

Publisher: Entangled Publishing – Indulgence (March 11th 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Fashionista Francesca St. James has agreed to work as a “fairy godmother” on the reality TV show Project Cinderella, taking contestants from geeky to dreamy. When Francesca’s archrival bets she can’t transform the awkwardly sweet CEO to hot in under eight weeks, Francesca accepts the challenge.

As CEO of a tech company, Greg may have billions, but what’s it worth without a woman to share it with? From day one on the show though, he clashes with his gorgeous fairy godmother—yet off-set, he can’t stop thinking about her. But this sexy woman is so far out of his league…and wants to change every single thing about him. It’s up to him to show her it’s more than clothes that make the man.May the best man or geek win…

Review:  This story had a lot of potential, it just didn’t reach it to its fullest.

I loved the idea of a photographer and the nerdy type getting together. The idea was different from anything I had read before, but it fell flat in places.

First, Francesca came across as selfish and snobbish. I though the selfish attitude would improve as the story progressed but it didn’t. Although she did a bit of growth throughout the story, I really could not see her with Greg. This is not to say that Greg grew leaps and bounds, but he stayed true to himself and felt more real to me than Francesca ever did. I could understand where he was coming from and what he wanted. He was a bit messed up too, but who isn’t? I just didn’t see Francesca as genuine and that affected my overall impression of her.

Second, the story is supposed to take place within an 8-week span where they would be shooting the episodes for the reality show. I understand that the show wasn’t the main part of the story but I would have liked to see more interaction between Greg and Francesca and the other characters too. I can’t help but think that the reason I didn’t buy her development throughout the story was because I didn’t get to see what Greg saw in her in those encounters. They were recapped from either point of view, but the dialog and interactions were not included in the story. Those that were included were enjoyable and did show a different side of both of them. It just wasn’t enough for me to connect to them fully.

All in all, The Cinderella Makeover was a fun, short read with a happily ever after.

I received this title from the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion.

Along Came Trouble (Camelot #2) by Ruthie Knox

Along Came Trouble (Camelot, #2)Rating: 2.75 stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept (March 11th 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Ruthie Knox’s Camelot series continues in this sizzling eBook original novel, featuring two headstrong souls who bump heads—and bodies—as temptation and lust bring nothing but delicious trouble.

An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.

Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?

Review: After reading the blurb for this book, I was so excited to start it. It seemed like something I would love. The tough ex-military man, the stubborn woman, mutual attraction and a conflict. What’s not to love?!

Turns out that there were some things that I didn’t love.

First, what’s Ellen’s problem? I understand that she went through a difficult time in her previous relationship and lost herself, but that didn’t justify treating Caleb the way she did. She was rude and thoughtless and I just didn’t like her much. There. I said it, I didn’t like her. I’m all for strong willed, independent women, but she took it a bit too far. She was wrong every step of the way and Caleb just kept giving her chances to make up for it.

Second, can someone please explain to me how Caleb, a level headed man used to thinking things through and analyzing situations from every angle, can fall in love with Ellen within a couple of days? Lust, sure! Who wouldn’t like to scratch an itch. But love? Nope, couldn’t understand it, didn’t see the connection.

Third, where was the connection? I could easily see the sexual tension. Hell, Ellen hadn’t had sex in a while and neither had Caleb. But where’s the getting to know you part. Again, this wasn’t Caleb’s fault, Ellen didn’t help one bit.

What I did enjoy was Jamie’s story. Now that was a fun and touching story. Okay, I’m not saying the Ellen and Caleb’s story was a loss. Actually, I enjoyed Caleb very much, especially his interactions with his family and the emotions he displayed. And yes, I admit, Ellen sort of, kinda redeemed herself a little bit there in the end, but I still don’t like her. There. I said, again. Oh, yes, Henri was adorable too!

Although this is the second book in the Camelot series, it can be read as a stand alone. I have to admit that I will be picking up Katie’s story, Flirting With Disaster. She was a treat to read and what I read of her story has me intrigued.

This is the first book  by Ruthie Knox that I’ve read and since every other review I’ve read of her books are singing her praises, I will give her books another try.

I received this title from the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion.