Friday, May 27, 2011

Her Love Next Door

Her Love Next Door (Harlequin Heartwarming)Mae Nunn
Contemporary Romance

"So much for yesterday's vow never to leave the house again without clean clothes and make up."


After an accident takes away her dancing career, Jessica Holliday is determined to pursue her other dream of landscape design.  When a big contract comes her way, she is determined to get it done and get it done right.  Such an opportunity could launch her career.  But the handsome new neighbor seems to be creeping into her life, whether she wants him to or not.  Drew Keegan is ready to settle down since his military career is coming to a close.  Wishing to enter politics, he believes that he will need the proper wife - and his father has one all picked out.  But is this ideal woman really his ideal?  If so, why does he keep thinking of his slightly disheveled, gardening neighbor?

My Opinion: This was a nice, light read with a lot of focus on Jessica.  Unlike many leading females in romances, Jessica deals with weight issues.  As she struggles with her changed appearance and more limited lifestyle, she remains determined to be independent and useful.  She jumps to conclusions a lot to me and seems to be the typical overly independent female with no rationality to her life.  Drew is a man trying to break off from his father's plans, especially when it comes to the choice of bride.  He seems to be a character that encompasses most "perfect" attributes.  Overall it's a cute story, though lacking slightly in imagination.

I was given a free copy of this book to review.  No other compensation was given.  The summary and opinion are 100% my own.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Dream Unfolding

A Dream Unfolding (Prescott Pioneers #1)Karen Baney
Book #1 of Prescott Pioneers
Historical Romance
Christian Romance

"Other than this brief moment, peace seemed a distant friend - the kind that never wrote."


Being ostracized by their community, Drew and Hannah cannot stay in Cincinnati.  Drew is drawn to the advertisements for the Arizona Territory - a place where they could make a new start and he could be of real use as a doctor. Though his wife is less than excited about the idea, they make their plans.  But the trek west is more arduous than either of them expected.  And perhaps will lead down unexpected paths.  Will Colter has been a rancher all his life.  But when he is no longer welcome on the home ranch, he must make a new plan.  Arizona is a promising prospect - if he can get there.  But what kind of life will that be with no family around?

My Opinion: Although an interesting read, as someone who reads romances - this wasn't what I expected or prefer.  The story was long, with a lot of reflection on spiritual things, and little focus on activity or plot.  It seemed to take a long time to get anywhere.  I really felt like this was two or three books instead of one, since there was a definite break in the story - first of Hannah and their trip, then secondly of Hannah and Will (with a possible third of Will alone).  There was a lot of emphasis on the Christian aspect of this story as well as a lot of self-reflection.  The romance was light and fairly dry in all.  My favorite character was actually Drew, who worked hard to do whatever he had to do for his family.  However, too much of this story was relation of historical fact, rather than a story within the historical context.  Though I can see how there would be many out there that may enjoy this book - and the whole series - I wasn't a big fan.

I received a free copy of this book to review.  No other compensation was given.  The summary and opinion are 100% my own.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CLOSED! Splash Into Summer Giveaway Event


For my giveaway, I am happy to tell you that Astraea Press has generously donated a coupon for a free book of your choice from their site.  Astraea Press is a fabulous Publishing company that publishes clean books exclusively.  They offer a lot of varying genres including romance (of course), short stories, mysteries, inspirational, young adult and more.

I have had the privilege of reading and reviewing several titles that they offer and there are many more that I have not read yet.  Some of the ones I have read so far are: Through the Rabbit Hole, Sucker For a Hot Rod, Lifeline Echoes, The Perfect Rose, Wayward Soul, Heartsight and A New Dream.

So, how do you enter to win one of their fabulous books?  Easy!  There is one mandatory entry and two optional ones.  Please write a separate comment per entry.  Please include your email address or have it visible on your blogger profile so I can contact you if you win.

Mandatory Entry: (Must be done first)
-Just tell me why you like to read romance novels! (1 entry)

Optional Entries: (Please write a separate entry for each)
-Follow me via GFC.  Tell me what name you used (1 entry)
-"Like" Clean Romance Reviews on Facebook.  Tell me what name you used (1 entry)

This giveaway is open to anyone age 18 and up and is open internationally.  The contest will end at 11:59 CST on May 31, 2011  The winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond.  If there is no response, another winner will be chosen.

Don't forget to check out all the other great blogs that are involved in this great event!

Congrats to winner: Anita!  I hope you enjoy your book!!!


Monday, May 23, 2011

The Rancher's Bride

The Rancher's Bride : 9 Months Later (Harlequin Superromance No. 1179)Barbara McMahon
Contemporary Romance

"But I'm not looking for some fairy-tale marriage where everyone loves everyone else."




Jake won't let his ornery grandmother win.  According to her will, the family ranch will only pass to him if he has married and produced a legitimate child within a year.  Nevermind that he already has a grown son.  At his wits end, he decides to marry a virtual stranger.  Anything to keep the farm.  Brianna needs to slow down her life and is ready for marriage and children.  She had a crush on Jake once upon a time....could they really make a marriage work?  And what about his son who isn't that much younger than her?  Will this be a cold business deal, or can they somehow manage to make a family?

My Opinion: This is a great read about love and marriage.  You get a two-for-one deal too since there are really two love stories - Brianna and Jake as well as Shell and Loni.  The characters were all very strong and interact well with each other.  The range of personalities and dynamics really show you so many different sides of the story and the family that you really get drawn in.  The author does a good job of convincingly bringing a situation usually used in historical books - "mail-order bride" - into a contemporary setting.  Although a little steamier than many books I review (with a lot of bedroom scenes not described), this one is still a good clean read.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Charity Release

Astraea Press, an ebook and paperback publisher of clean fiction, has released Matrimonial Mayhem, an anthology of five short stories and one novella. All proceeds from sales--yes, that’s 100% for six months (til Nov 10, 2011)--will go to the Governor of Alabama’s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives program to benefit the areas of the state hit by the April 27 tornadoes.

The six stories were written and donated by authors previously published with Astraea. Five stories relate to these authors’ published novels, but one author chose to tell the true story of her parents’ wedding. All of the stories can stand alone and don’t require the reader to purchase the related novels for understanding and enjoyment.

Matrimonial Mayhem can only be purchased from the Astraea website

Illuminations of the Heart

Illuminations of the Heart (Historical Romance Novels)Joyce DiPastena
Book 2 of Series
Loyalty's Web, Illuminations of the Heart, (Book 3 Coming Soon), Dangerous Favor
Medieval Romance

"You are a most hard-hearted angel, carissima."



Sir Tristan lives in constant guilt over failing his wife, Clothilde, and losing her to a terrible accident.  But his stable, though depressed, life is turned upside down by the arrival of Lady Siriol de Calendri.  Siriol may be the sister of his old friend, but she also appears to be the twin of Clothilde.  As if her appearance isn't disturbing enough, Tristan must now decide if his feelings for her are because of Clothilde, or if she is stirring up a new love after all.  Siri is not sure what to expect when her brother's last wishes sends her to Piotou, the land of her father.  She wishes to establish herself as an illuminator.  But such is easier said than done, especially since her brother's instructions to Sir Tristan are to find her a husband.  But Siri finds that the only husband she wants is Tristan - who only sees her as his late wife.

My Opinion: This was fantastic - just as good as the last one!  DiPastena has done it again - I fell in love with it from start to finish.  I love the complex character of Tristan with his conflicted desires and responsibilities.  He is so realistic in both his guilt and passion.  Siri is a great, strong female character - though a little naive at times.  Her character is rich and wise.  Their spark and attraction is wonderful and there are so many twists and turns that you definitely stay on the edge of your seat.  The side characters are great and create a full, complex world that sucks you in.  This was a wonderful book and I would suggest it to anyone.

I received a free copy of this book to review.  No other compensation was given.  The summary and opinion are 100% my own.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

CLOSED! Giveaway!!! Joselyn Vaughn Hardcover Book!

Well, I'm back and I have another fabulous giveaway for you!  Author Joselyn Vaughn is a fabulous sweet romance writer.  I have been lucky enough to read and review her books and I must say that I love them!  Be sure to check her out.  For the giveaway, Joselyn has offered TWO winners their choice of one of her hardcover books.


Courting Sparks           CEOs Don't Cry (Avalon Romance)

Check out my reviews here:

How to enter:  Please do the mandatory entry first. I will verify all entries and erase any that are invalid.  Any comment without an email address (written in or found via google profile) will be erased since I will have no way of contacting you if you win.  This giveaway is open to the US only.
  
PLEASE WRITE A SEPARATE COMMENT PER ENTRY.  DO NOT PUT ALL ENTRIES INTO ONE COMMENT


Mandatory Entry: (MUST be done FIRST!)
- Which book would you like to win - Courting Sparks or CEOs Don't Cry? (1 entry) 

Optional Entries:
- Follow this blog publicly via GFC.  Please leave the name you follow with. (1 entry)
- "Like" Clean Romance Reviews on Facebook  Leave the name you used (abbreviated if you'd prefer) (1 entry)
- Tell me another book that I have reviewed that you would like to read. (1 entry)
- Subscribe to my emails - must verify.  Make sure I know what email address you're using.  (1 entry)
- Add my button to your blog/website.  Leave me a link. (2 entries)
- Purchase one of the books I have reviewed.  Tell me which one. (3 entries per book ordered) Note: You must click on the amazon link in the review or the "Buy Reviewed Books" tab on the right sidebar to order the book(s) or I will not be able to verify this and will erase the entries.

Good luck and have fun!

Rules:  Entrants must be 18 years or older with a US mailing address.  This contest will end at 11:59 CST on June 4, 2011.  All entries must be submitted before then.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org's random sequence generator.  Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond.  If there is no response, a new winner will be chosen.



Congrats to winners: Amanda and SiNn!

CLOSED! Giveaway!!! Harlequin Heartwarming Collection May Book

Another wonderful giveaway is here!  A very special thanks to Harlequin for sponsoring this giveaway!  Harlequin has recently started publishing The Hearwarming Collection which is for their sweeter romances.  I have been privileged to be able to review the books on this line.  April was the first month this line was launched with four wonderful titles.  Please click on the following titles for my reviews.  



Precious Gifts (Harlequin Heartwarming)New Year, New Love (Harlequin Heartwarming)
 
Her Second Chance (Harlequin Heartwarming)Her Forever Texan (Harlequin Heartwarming)
 



So, what's the giveaway?  One lucky person will win their choice of one of these amazing May titles.  

How to enter:  Please do the mandatory entry first.  I will verify all entries and erase any that are invalid.  Any comment without an email address (written in or found via google profile) will be erased since I will have no way of contacting you if you win.  


PLEASE WRITE A SEPARATE COMMENT PER ENTRY.  
DO NOT WRITE ALL ENTRIES INTO ONE COMMENT.

Mandatory Entry:
- Which book would you like to win? (1 entry) 

Optional Entries:
- Follow this blog publicly via GFC.  Please leave the name you follow with. (1 entry)
- "Like" Clean Romance Reviews on Facebook  Leave the name you used (abbreviated if you'd prefer) (1 entry)
- Tell me another book that I have reviewed that you would like to read. (1 entry)
- Subscribe to my emails - must verify.  Make sure I know what email address you're using.  (1 entry)
- Add my button to your blog/website.  Leave me a link. (2 entries)
- Purchase one of the books I have reviewed.  Tell me which one. (3 entries per book ordered) Note: You must click on the amazon link in the review or the "Buy Reviewed Books" tab on the right sidebar to order the book(s) or I will not be able to verify this and will erase the entries.

Good luck and have fun!

Rules:  Entrants must be 18 years or older and have a US mailing address.  This contest will end at 11:59 CST on June 3, 2011.  All entries must be submitted before then.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org's random sequence generator.  Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond.  If there is no response, a new winner will be chosen.


Congrats to: Vanessa who chose Precious Gifts.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Through the Rabbit Hole

Through the Rabbit HoleLisa Kumar
Fantasy Romance
Love
E-Book

"Pausing on the sidewalk, she ruffled through her tote for an umbrella she was sure wasn't there."

Natalie is just going about her life when the truly unexpected happens - she finds herself falling through an abyss and landing in a place that definitely isn't Earth.  But where is she and why?  The hauntingly handsome man named Lohr tells her that she must stay for three weeks and then must decide to stay or return.  But as Natalie spends time with Lohr and his family, an odd sense of familiarity hits her.  But that can't be.  She can't be having memories of people she's never met, can she?

My Opinion: This is definitely an original story and captivating.  Though not an intensely intricate plot, the author managed to create conflict and excitement throughout the story.  I'll admit to wishing for more details and more events along the way, but it was a delightful read nonetheless.  Natalie was a realistic character who fights with overwhelming concepts and desires she doesn't understand.  Lohr is a complex man who tries so hard to allow Natalie the time she needs, despite the cost.  A great love story I'd highly recommend.

I received a free copy of this book to review.  No other compensation was given.  The summary and opinion are 100% my own.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Between the Land and the Sea

Between The Land And The Sea (Marina's Tales)Derrolyn Anderson
Paranormal Romance
Young Adult
E-Book
Book 1 of Marina's Tales
Between the Land and the Sea, The Moon and the Tide, The Fate of the Muse, The Turning Tides

"Abby's tofu was the kind of tofu that gave tofu a bad name."

 Marina has spent her whole life following her scientist father around the globe, but now, at age 16, she has to stay behind.  It's bad enough to move to a new town, a new school and be left to live with her aunt for a whole year, does she really have to deal with real live mermaids too?  Of course, being around the ever-attractive Ethan does make things better, especially since he seems to be interested in her as well.  But things keep getting stranger as she feels drawn to the water and the strange mermaid.  Perhaps she can find answers here than she never got out of her father.

My Opinion: This was a fantastic book.  From start to finish it was filled with colorful characters and exciting twists and turns.  Marina is a fantastic character who really appeals with her independent attitude and unspoiled point of view.  Ethan is the perfect teenage heart-throb -- down to the surf boy tan and generous heart.  I loved how they grew closer in their relationship (I kept rooting for their first kiss long before it happened).  The idea of mermaids was actually very realistic and had a great supernatural vibe throughout the storyline.  Great read and I can't wait to read the next one.

I received a free copy of this book to review.  No other compensation was given.  The summary and opinion are 100% my own.

  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Millionaire Dad, Nanny Needed

Millionaire Dad, Nanny Needed!Susan Meier
Contemporary Romance
Book 6 of The Wedding Planners

"I've had my fling with a playboy."


The Wedding Belles need money, even if they don't all know it.  Audra, as accountant, is the only one, but not for long.  Struggling with what to do, she ends up turning to her mom for advice.  But on her way into the mansion where her mother is housekeeper.  It is there that she runs into Dominic, her childhood crush, and finds him similarly at a loss for a solution.  Dominic needs help taking care of his newly orphaned nephew.  Seeing an opportunity, he offers Audra an exorbitant amount to help. Audra accepts - after all, she's already been burned by a man of his ilk.  Her heart will be safe, right?

My Opinion: This was a fun, sweet story though a bit tried and true with the storyline.  Audra is a quiet, and works as the accountant for the Wedding Belles - who star in the other 5 books.  She is practical and logical almost to a fault.  But she's magically good with kids and has a 20-year-old crush that doesn't take much to rekindle.  Dominic was the better character in my opinion.  He was so realistic with the many many problems that faced him.  They fall in love convincingly and have real problems and issues.  Sweet love story.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

By Heart and Compass

By Heart and CompassDanielle Thorne
Contemporary Romance
E-Book

""You can't escape high school, Lacey.  It follows you around like a piece of toilet paper on your shoe."


Lacey has always been a bit of a nerd.  Slightly obsessed with genealogy and pirates, she buys a home built by the descendant of Captain Bertrand.  Her research on the man has fascinated her.  Though she had a run in with the man's living descendant, Max, that was less than happy at the time, she is undaunted in her fascination.  When rumor leads her to think there may be clues to buried treasure at her house, things get interesting.  And when Max Bertrand agrees that she might be onto something, they just might be on the adventure of a lifetime.

My Opinion: This was a great mystery and adventure book that really keeps you on the edge of your seat.  Though it starts off a little slow, it picks up the pace quickly and keeps you going until the very end.  Lacey is a dedicated and slightly obsessed character who really portrays the"nerdy" kid who grew up to do just what they loved to do.  Max, though a bit rough around the edges, was a wonderful character that really grows on you.  A little lighter on the actual romance side, it's still a sweet love story and the adventure makes the rest of the plot wonderful.  Great read.

I received a free copy of this book for review.  No other compensation was given.  The summary and opinion are 100% my own.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CEOs Don't Cry

CEOs Don't Cry (Avalon Romance)Joselyn Vaughn
Contemporary Romance

"A man is not a confirmed bachelor until he is dead."




Leslie Sparks has always wanted to succeed in business.  She is on the fast track until her would-be-friend betrays her and gets her sent to a branch in the middle of nowhere.  The building is falling apart, there is no computer and stacks of paper instead of filings make for a less than pleasant welcoming. If she can get the branch turned around and profitable, surely she will get a better promotion back in the city.   Of course, the cute guy who is her receptionist/repairman might make the next few months bearable.  Mark is tired of his aunt and her friends trying to set him up with every female they can find.  Perhaps with Leslie he can find a friend - someone to pretend with to get the ladies out of his hair.  But what happens when it's no longer pretend?

My Opinion: I really enjoyed this book.  Mark and Leslie interact so well together it makes it a pleasure to read.  Mark is hardworking and sweet, though occasionally a little dense.  Leslie is directed and focused on making her career the success she wants it to be.  They are so cute together and have some really nice chemistry.  Their conflicts are understandable and so frustratingly fun.  I couldn't wait for them to get together!  Of course there are some awesome side characters again - especially within the Library Ladies.  There are good turns to the story and very natural events.  This is a great book.

I received a free copy of this book for review.  No other compensation was given.  The summary and opinion are 100% my own.

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