Review: Outlaw’s Honor

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Outlaw’s HonorOutlaw's Honor (Cahill Ranch #2) by B.J. Daniels
Series: Cahill Ranch #2
Published by Harlequin Books on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  The series improves as the characters fall into their places. I enjoyed this book as part of the series and I especially loved Darby who is sweet and honorable.  The story slowly unwinds the motives of the characters and I enjoyed the journey.

THE STORY:  Darby Cahill has a quiet life running the bar he and his twin sister own in a small town in Montana. While attending a fair, he sees a woman who shakes his foundations.  Ironically, that same woman tries to pickpocket him later. He is even more shocked when that woman, Mariah Ayres arrives at his bar asking for a job. He hires her while the two dance around what actually happened and what Mariah’s motives are.  Darby becomes more concerned when he discovers that Darby is running and is in danger.

OPINION:  This is a slowly developing romance that is combined with a suspense story.  The story unfolds as the characters motives become known.  The way that Daniels structures this series there is development on various storylines (upcoming romances and overarching mysteries).  A lot happens in this book on various levels.

I enjoyed the mystery in this one and the continuing storyline of the series.  My favorite part of this story is Darby who is simply adorable as a hero.  He is a good man who falls for Mariah instantly — love at first sight — and despite all the circumstances, Darby cannot help but do everything he can for Mariah.

Mariah’s story is complex and only revealed later in the book.  I won’t disclose her story here because part of the development of the story is the questioning of her motives. The romance here is sweet and most of the drama of the series is from the mystery and the external danger.

This book advances the overarching story in the series and I can’t wait to find out more.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The story about Darby’s brother is the one I have been waiting for. More happens here for those who have been following the story.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  OUTLAW’S HONOR is the second book in the Cahill Ranch series. While the story here is independent as to the romance, there is an overarching storyline mystery that continues from the first book.  It’s better to read this series as a whole because there are unanswered questions after this book as well.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: Undaunted

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: UndauntedUndaunted: A Western Romance Novel by Diana Palmer
Series: ,
Published by Harlequin Books on June 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I enjoyed this book as a one time read.  There are some extreme moments in this book that make the hero hard to like, but that is not unfamiliar for Palmer readers.  My complaint is that I think the hero needed to grovel more because of his horrendous behavior.

THE STORY:  Kate Martin has done something terrible. She accidentally hit the jet ski of the local billionaire, Garrett Carlton, with her employers speedboat.  As a result, Garrett was injured and is now blind.  Kate feels a tremendous amount of guilt and secretly takes on the role of Garrett’s assistant in order to help him.  Garrett is very bitter and coldhearted, distrusting women but finds himself drawn to the sweet young woman who he meets.  The problem is that sooner or later he will find out about Kate’s deception.

OPINION:  Diana Palmer has a certain type of story that she tells.  There is often a young, innocent woman who falls for a bitter older man.  The man believes that the woman is more sexually experienced and eventually treats her poorly.  This book has a variation on that story, but the bones remain intact.  I’ve been reading Palmer for 30 years and I enjoy her stories.  This book is good, but I had two problems with it that reduced my rating somewhat.

Kate is a nice person but incredibly naive.  I understand that she comes from a conservative and sheltered background, but it is impossible for me to believe that someone could be so silly in modern America.  She is a nice person but too naive for me.  That, however, didn’t lower my rating.  What did was Kate’s reaction to injuring Garrett.  She is a liar and is in fact deceiving him. She is also guilty of a crime and hiding out.  If anyone doubts that, consider that hit and run would be obvious if she were driving a car instead of a boat.  That bothered me throughout the whole book.  Her behavior didn’t match with her character.  This was too big a problem for me to set aside.

Garrett is a man with a soft heart who has been battered so much that it has made him bitter and hard.  While he longs for belonging and love, he has convinced himself that he doesn’t want it because he has been hurt and disappointed.  My complaint about him is that he is incredibly cruel to Kate because he is attracted to her.  He is the one who hired her.  He could have her leave if he doesn’t want to have her around.  Instead, he treats her terribly.

One of the biggest complaints about Garrett in online reviews is what happens when he finds out about Kate causing his accident.  Actually that I didn’t mind as much because at least there was a reason for his anger and behavior.  My biggest complaint was that I thought that Garrett needed to grovel a big more because of his actions.  I think he deserved it.

There was, however, something I really enjoyed about this book.  I thought that the characters were well constructed and I felt their intense longing for connection. I also enjoyed the construction of the conflict between these two.  I am definitely not disappointed that I read this book and especially for fans of Diana Palmer, this is a good read.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book has a large age difference between the hero and heroine. He is 38 and she is 23.  While this is not that unusual in historicals, it is not as common in contemporary books these days.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  UNDAUNTED takes place in the Long,Tall Texans world.  At this point it is difficult to determine which book in the series this is, but several characters will be familiar to readers of that series.  For new readers, however, the prior book in the series are not necessary.  This book acts as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-half-stars

Review: Renegade’s Pride

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Renegade’s PrideRenegade's Pride (Cahill Ranch #1) by B.J. Daniels
Series: Cahill Ranch #1
Published by Harlequin Books on February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A perfectly adequate book that fails to be completely engrossing because of the number of characters and storylines introduced.

THE STORY:  For nine years Lillian Cahill has thought about the man who left her.  Trask Beaumont ran out on Lillian under suspicion of murder.  He’s now returned to clear his name and get back the only woman he has ever loved.  But strange things are now happening in town with women disappearing and the question is whether these things are connected with Trask’s reappearance or Trask himself.

OPINION:  The story of a couple who gets a second chance at love, RENEGADE’S PRIDE introduces readers to a town where there are many secrets.  During the book, we are introduced to many characters — especially the Cahill’s — who have secrets which will be revealed in the series.

For me, this book spent a lot of time on introducing all the characters.  As a result, the relationship of the main couple failed to be compelling.  My first problem was that I just couldn’t get over the nine year gap in their relationship.  Because the building of the relationship of Trask and Lillian took place years ago, it is considered established as the book begins while I didn’t really get the connection between them.  While the relationship progresses as the book goes on, it takes a long time for these two to truly feel like they belong together.

The focus here in the mystery of what happened nine years ago.  But with so much going on, the relationship got a little lost.  That being said, the story as a whole was good enough to keep me interested and make me want to read more about the people in this town.

WORTH MENTIONING:  There are many unfinished storylines as typical of Daniels series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  Renegade’s Pride is the first book in the Cahill Ranch series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-stars

Review: Puppets

Review: PuppetsPuppets by Jenna Ryan
Published by Harlequin Books on December 1st 1992
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 250
Goodreads
three-stars

“Today I’m a teller of tales. Tomorrow, who knows? I live in the vaults beneath the Puppet Theater, but no one know exactly where. Sometimes I go up and wander through the streets of Paris, but not so much now as when I was young.

“Now I will tell you a story, and maybe when I’m finished, I’ll be wiser than I am at this moment.”

FINAL DECISION:  Seemed like a great idea, but most of the story was the mystery with little in the way of romance.  The couple seemed already set immediately and there was no real story between them. An okay read, but not one I would pick up again.

THE STORY:  Raul Sennett lives in an underground lair beneath the Paris Puppet Theater. He spends his time watching the new human puppet Katarina Lacroix. He wants her and lures her beneath the theater.  But Raul has secrets which keep him confined in his lair. Katarina has her own secrets and tragedies which sent her fleeing to Paris. Now the two navigate the secrets and shadows surrounding them.

OPINION:  I was disappointed in this book because I expected something more than I got. The entire book is mystery with little romance involved.  I’d term it a suspense book with a small smattering of relationship.  The description seemed like it would be moody romance based on the Phantom of the Opera theme, but instead, the story was all mystery.

I just didn’t care enough about the solution of the story.  The book was well written and had some creepy vibes to it as it tilted between mystery, suspense and paranormal.  I just wish there was more romance involved.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book has a strange paranormal vibe to it.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This book is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Calamity Mom

Review: Calamity MomCalamity Mom by Diana Palmer
Published by Harlequin Books on April 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
two-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This is a sweet story but fairly forgettable.  I read it once and thought it was fine, but I didn’t see anything special about the story or the characters.

THE STORY:  Faulkner Scott’s twelve year old son wants a mom and has set his eyes on Shelly Aster.  Although Faulkner believes Shelly is too young, too poor and too inexperienced for him, he can’t seem to stop spending time with her.  As both Faulker and his son fall for Shelly, she has secrets of her own which might make her perfect match for them both.

OPINION:  This is a straightforward and sweet story.  For a story like this, to be a really good story, I think that there have to be memorable characters.  For me, the story was nice, light and easy to read and enjoy, but there was nothing special about it or its characters.  I like Diana Palmer’s books, but this story isn’t one of the best.  Nice one time read but nothing about it was lasting for me.

WORTH MENTIONING: This novella was originally published in 1993.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  CALAMITY MOM is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 2.5 stars.

two-half-stars