Review: Wildfire

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: WildfireWildfire (Fire, #3) by Anne Stuart
Series: Fire #3
Published by Amazon Digital Services on February 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 290
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I really enjoyed this story because there is serious drama and suspense as Sophie and Malcolm are trapped on the island with Sophie’s insane husband. The pacing and characters makes this a very enjoyable book.

THE STORY: Sophie Jordan was an operative with the Committee until she fell in love and married a target of her investigation.  He turned out to be a psychopath and an arms dealer.  Once her husband found out that she had lied to him, he tried to have her killed.  Instead, Sophie was left parallelized and at the mercy of her husband.  Malcolm Gunnison, undercover as an arms dealer, comes to the island in order to finish the job that Sophie botched.  He’s going to discover Sophie’s husband’s new biological weapon and then kill him.  Mal will also kill Sophie if necessary or if she gets in his way.

OPINION: I am a huge fan of Stuart’s Ice series.  Several of those books are on my all time favorites list.  Until this book, the Fire books have been okay but don’t begin to approach the amazing Ice books.  I’m happy to report, however, that WILDFIRE, while not as superlative as the best Ice books, is definitely worthy of being in the same universe.

I really liked Sophie in this story because as the book begins she has been in a deadly battle of wills with her evil husband. I prefer this damaged and dangerous heroine over the sweet innocent.  Sophie made mistakes in her past and has paid for it for years.  Now she is ready to win her freedom and kill her husband, if possible.  She also is immune from handsome dangerous men — or so she believes.  Of course, she find herself reluctantly attracted to the dangerous Mal. The combination of innocence, cynicism, ability to survive and desire to be free makes Sophie’s character one that I desired to follow her journey.

Mal is a nicer Stuart hero than most in these series.  While he begins the book entirely willing to kill Sophie if necessary — or even if she is somewhat inconvenient to him — he quickly begins to fall for her as well.  And although he does some bad things in this book, he is not as dark as some of Stuart’s heroes.  I liked his competence, his determination to do what is necessary and his total commitment to his mission — until, of course, Sophie begins to upset this world.

The story is tense and filled with danger and drama.  There is always the question of the motives of the various characters. I liked that there is almost constant danger with the characters.  From the first page, the characters are in precarious positions and that made the story go quickly.  By having all the action of the book take place on a private island with limited characters and danger all around, the constant sense of peril is preserved.  I liked the story and the development of the characters as they progress.

While not reaching the heights of the best Ice books, this book is the best of the Fire series so far.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The Fire series is about the American branch of the Committee, an anti-terrorism group that uses whatever means necessary, including murder, to stop terrorists.  The series this spins off from, the ICE series, has characters which are mentioned or make appearances in this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WILDFIRE is the third book in the Fire series.  This book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

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

four-half-stars

Review: Somebody Like You

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: Somebody Like YouSomebody Like You (Darling, VT #1) by Donna Alward
Series: Darling, VT #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on February 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“Those who stood on the bridge and sealed their love with a kiss would be together forever.”

FINAL DECISION:  A book with a wonderful sense of heart, I absolutely loved this one.  Wholesome and sweet with just enough humor and angst to keep the story exciting, my first Donna Alward novel made me immediately preorder the rest of the series so that I can find out the fates of the other characters.

THE STORY:  Laurel Stone has returned to her hometown after a failed marriage which necessitated a change in careers.  Laurel now owns the Ladybug Garden Center which is reconnecting her with the outdoors that she loved growing up.  Laurel’s return to Darling also ends up reconnecting her to Aiden Gallagher who broke her heart when they were a teenagers.  Aiden is now a police officer in town.  Aiden and Laurel have a long history together and, in fact, they are legends because they are depicted in the most famous picture in town.  As small children, Aiden and Laurel innocently kissed on the Kissing Bridge where legend holds that those who kiss there will be together forever.  Now the town wants to update the photo using Aiden and Laurel again, but Laurel is in no mood to cooperate.

OPINION: A lovely, heart warming small town romance, SOMEBODY LIKE YOU was a book that I read only because it was offered to me to review.  I accepted the chance to review the book intrigued by the Kissing Bridge and the idea that two people who were photographed on it as children get a chance at romance as adults.  Sometimes I just have to take a wild chance and see what happens.

I’m happy to report that this was a wonderful book.  Funny, sweet, and heartwarming.  Once I began reading it, I couldn’t put it down.  The story satisfied something in me that likes the gentle and real relationships.  (I love angsty dramas but this book isn’t that type of book.  Instead, this book feels like sweet and cold ice cream on a summer’s day — recognizable and incredibly satisfying).

Laurel is a woman recovering from the end of a marriage that made her question all her assumptions about her own future and happy endings.  She is generous and willing to help others even to her own detriment.  She is unwilling to purposely hurt others and that had led her to be taken advantage of by some…but it also opens her up to being wonderful in helping those who genuinely need assistance.  I loved that she is a normal woman who is struggling to determine what she wants from life.  She works hard, is charitable and has to work through her mixed emotions for not only Aiden but her ex-husband.

Aiden is so much a normal guy that I never expected him to become one of my favorite romantic heroes.  Like so many of us, he made mistakes as a teenager.  In his case, it resulted in him hurting Laurel which is something he never intended to do. He is considered the goofball of his family, but like so many clowns, his humor hides a sensitive soul. Aiden is a man who wants to make a difference out of the genuine goodwill in his heart. Caring for a homeless man, solving small town disputes and crimes, and being an important part of his family is a normal day for Aiden.  Laurel and her pain and love brings out Aiden’s desire to care for her.

I loved the romance between Aiden and Laurel. Two people who have known one another all their lives, their interactions have been a series of getting to know one another and then moving apart.  Their romance seemed to have possibilities as teenagers, but immaturity sent them spinning out into the world with other relationships.  Meeting again as adults, the two know one anther but don’t truly know the inner self of the other.  But this time, Aiden and Laurel begin to discover the true self under all the superficial.  Aiden sees the generous and hurt woman under Laurel calm facade and Laurel discovers the deep and caring man under Aiden’s humorous surface.

I’m all for large romantic gestures, and Aiden’s final one made me sigh and smile and read again.  When I began the book, I had expectations and I liked how the book played with those expectations, turned them around and then surpassed what I expected from the final scenes.  Bravo!

The town of Darling manages to feel both incredibly normal and real and also quaint and a typical small town.  The characters are quirky and bring a tremendous amount of humor to the book.  I just knew when I finished this book that I had to read the next books in the series.  And so I shall…see my reviews soon.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book doesn’t contain explicit “on screen” sex and is perfect for those who might want a less graphic and yet entirely satisfying romance.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SOMEBODY LIKE YOU is the first book in the Darling, VT series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 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.

four-half-stars

Review: Tempting Zander

Review: Tempting ZanderTempting Zander (Knight Security, #4) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Knight Security #4
Published by Smashwords Edition on January 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: A good story but nothing overly special.  I enjoyed this as a one time read.

THE STORY:  Zander Buchanan is brought in as head of security for Kate Stewart, a superstar singer. Kate has an ex-boyfriend who is stalking her and she has hired Knight Security to supplement her normal security.  Zander has wanted Kate desperately even as he is exasperated by her. He knows he has to keep his distance to do his job.  She’s hot for him, too.

OPINION:  This is a perfectly adequate story if a bit predictable.  Zander and Kate are fighting their attraction, there is danger from the ex and the ultimate resolution and happy ending.  The characters were nice enough but a bit forgettable.  The best part of the book for me was a scene between Zander and Kate in a store dressing room which was completely memorable. The book was in the category for me of a book that I enjoyed while reading but won’t be one that I think of returning to…except for maybe that dressing room scene.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a short novella.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  TEMPTING ZANDER is the fourth book in the Knight Security series.  Although there are some overlapping characters, this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Some Kind of Magic

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: Some Kind of MagicSome Kind of Magic by Mary Ann Marlowe
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Goodreads
three-half-stars

“I’d never know for sure who much that damn perfume had factored into his feelings for me. And he’d never know for sure how little his fame factored into my feelings for him.”

FINAL DECISION:  This is an enjoyable if a bit predictable story. I liked Eden’s quirky if conservative nature that is changed when she meets the rock star and begins to allow herself to want more.

THE STORY: Eden Sinclair is a biochemist.  One night she wears the latest work from her office out to watch her musician brother. She ends up meeting Adam Copeland and in a move unlike herself, ends up having really hot sex with the slightly grungy musician.  Eden doesn’t realize that Adam is an international rock god wanted by women all over the world. When she finds out she also discovers that her work “perfume” is actually a pheromone designed to attract men.  Now Eden is afraid losing Adam but she doesn’t know if he wants her or the perfume enhanced version of herself.

OPINION:  The positives of this book is how normal the relationship between Eden and Adam is.  Adam might be a rock star, but he also is messy and wants a normal dating relationship with Eden. Eden doesn’t treat Adam with awe, and Adam responds to that.

They both have insecurities in their relationship.  Eden is conflicted about the perfume. She worries that the attraction on Adam’s part is rooted in that pheromone spray. As the book begins, she can’t imagine that she is attractive enough to draw someone like Adam to her. Throughout the book, that instinctive fear that she is not good enough threatens their relationship. I very much enjoyed the growth in Eden as she begins to stretch herself, reach for dreams that she feared trying for.  Adam is insecure as well because he always has the fear that his fame rather than his own self is what attracts Eden to him. This is especially true because even if Eden doesn’t care about his fame, those surrounding her are always effected by it.

The negative in this book for me is that things happen too slowly and didn’t hold my interest in the middle of the book. There were some chapters that I had to push myself through. I thought the pacing could have picked up and would have made the book more compelling.

This is only a small negative because in the end, I enjoyed the book as a one time read. I look forward to what this author will write next.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is the author’s debut novel.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SOME KIND OF MAGIC is a standalone.

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-half-stars

Review: Jacked Up

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: Jacked UpJacked Up (Birmingham Rebels, #3) by Samantha Kane
Series: Birmingham Rebels #3
Published by Loveswept on January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 240
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: My favorite book of the series.  This one has a developing relationship between three people who have never had a menage relationship before but find themselves falling in love with one another.

THE STORY: Sam Taylor and King Ulupoka are teammates on the Birmingham Rebels football team.  Sam is a war veteran with PTSD and guilt from the death of his comrades and hasn’t had sex with a woman since his return because he worries about his nightmares. King convinces Sam to break his celibacy and King agrees to stay in the room to make sure that Sam doesn’t have an episode.  The problem is finding a woman who would agree to such an arrangement.  The two end up meeting Jane Foster, an ER nurse who has been the “good girl” all her life.  When she meets Sam and King, she is attracted to both of them and decides to agree to their scheme to break her “good girl” mold. The night opens them all up to new possibilities.

OPINION: I really enjoyed this book. I really felt these three characters as they worked towards building a three way relationship. None of the characters had previously been in an menage relationship before and weren’t looking for that when the book begins.

Each character has their own journey in the book as the trio winds their way towards a satisfying relationship.  King is the most open to the idea of the menage. He is a big hearted friendly man.  He is the most open sexually to the idea based on his past experiences. But even King has to work out the idea of what are the proper boundaries of a relationship with three participants.

Sam is quiet and closed in. He is trying to work through his issues and he finds that King and Jane balance him in different ways.  While Sam has never had a relationship with a man, he begins to realize that his relationship with King is more than friendship. While Sam struggles with three problems (1) his PTSD and the fear that gives him for any relationship; (2) his attraction to King and (3) the menage.

Jane has her own struggles. She has classified herself as “good girl” and fears the idea of taking action that challenge that view of herself. Thus, even when she wants the menage relationship, she can’t contemplate being involve with such a public relationship with these two famous men. She ends up being the catalyst in the relationship and brings all three players together.

I thought the baby steps that these characters have to take in defining what they want in their relationship was interesting and more realistic. There are many issues they have to navigate between them and I liked seeing them have to think about and address how the relationship is going to work. I thought this book addressed the complications well.  The book could also be considered “beginners menage” and I liked seeing people work through the difficulties and complications.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a true menage with MM, MMF and MF involved.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  JACKED UP is the third book in the Birmingham Rebels series.  This book can be read as a standalone but there are recurring characters.

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: On Second Thought

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: On Second ThoughtOn Second Thought by Kristan Higgins
Series: Cambry-on-Hudson #2
Published by HQN Books on January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 480
Goodreads

FINAL DECISION:  A book that focuses on two sisters experiencing the ending of the relationships and the birth of new ones, this book was interesting but the romance was definitely secondary.

THE STORY:  Kate finally has everything she has ever wanted except a child.  She and her new husband have been trying since their marriage and have hopes of having a child soon — then he husband dies in a freak accident on the night her stepsister expects to get engaged. Ainsley has been with her boyfriend for eleven years and expected to be with him forever — until the death of Kate’s husband convinces him to dump her. Now Kate and Ainsley are living together and their mutual grief and anger bring them together in a way they didn’t expect. Both also have other men in their lives step up and begin to develop a different romantic relationship.

OPINION:  I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a fan of so-called “women’s fiction” because I prefer books where the romance is central to the story.  While this book has romance (two of them) in it, I was left unsatisfied because I wanted to know more about the romance between the characters than either Kate or Ainsley’s personal journey.

That doesn’t mean the book wasn’t good.  It was well written and I really did enjoy it, but I wouldn’t read it again.  The central story in this book is Kate’s loss of her husband. Because the book begins before her husband’s death and takes her through her grieving process, her husband is a central part of the book.  This is Kate’s journey and I greatly appreciated that her journey was complex and multifaceted and addressed head on how one lives again after a loss.  The book was especially refreshing in that it doesn’t judge Kate for moving on — even if other do. It is all here..the grief, the anger, the denial, the desire to be normal and live again.  The emotions are messy and much remains unresolved.

For me, however, the complexity of these emotions meant that they overshadowed any romance between her and Daniel. Things between them felt like default. I liked him and liked his character, but I didn’t feel any intensity between them. Instead, it felt like any guy who had been there for her would have garnered the same response from her. I walked away from the book wondering if the two would even be together in a couple of years.

I really liked the story of Ainsley more and I wish there had been more resolution to her story. Ainsley is suffering when her boyfriend of eleven years dumps her, but that event opens her up to the possibility of a different guy. I thought that her feelings for her ex were resolved before she got involved so the romance felt less conflicted and I really got some connection between these characters.  Her romance was funny and sweet and my only wish is that I had gotten more.

This book is billed as two sisters who resolve their relationship.  But there really isn’t much to resolve between these two.  Yes, there was distance and the two were not particularly close, but there were no serious disagreements or problems between them.  Rather than being their story, I felt that Kate’s personal journey was the heart of this story and Ainsley had a supporting role (even though the book is told in alternating first persons).

Ultimately, the book is a serious look at grief and loss and living again, but not my favorite kind of book.  (I do want to note that I read Higgins previous book in this vein, IF YOU ONLY KNEW, and liked it much better).

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book is really women’s fiction rather than romance although romance does play a part.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This book is loosely connected to IF YOU ONLY KNEW as the two take place in the same town, Cambry-on-Hudson.

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.

Review: For 100 Nights

Review: For 100 NightsFor 100 Nights (100 Series, #2) by Lara Adrian
on January 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“At times in these past few months we’ve been together, I’ve wondered if there are other scars he doesn’t allow me to see. I know there must be, because the broken parts of me recognize the fractures in him, even if he hasn’t permitted me close enough to touch them yet.”

FINAL DECISION:  A middle book that, for me, exceeded the first book in the series. Avery and Nick are navigating their broken parts in this series.  As Avery’s demons recede in this book, we are given an introduction to Nick’s secrets that end in a cliffhanger revelation.

THE STORY:  In the first book in the series FOR 100 DAYS, Avery Ross, struggling artist, agrees to apartment sit in a luxury apartment building.  There, she meets Dominic Baine, billionaire. The two begin a relationship although Avery is keeping secrets.  She allows Nick to believe that she is wealthy as well; Avery also is hiding the fact that her mother is in jail for killing her husband who raped Avery when she was sixteen.  After Avery’s secrets are revealed in FOR 100 DAYS, Nick demands that Avery give into him with complete trust for 100 Nights.  And thus this book begins. The two are now living together and Avery and Nick are drawing closer together although both still have secrets.

OPINION: I would like to get a preliminary matter out of the way.  This book is part of a trilogy which is about the same couple. I don’t take complaints about this fact seriously. Adrian is certainly allowed to construct her story in that manner.  There is nothing hidden about the construction of this story so potential readers should know what to expect.

This book picks up right where the prior book ends. Nick and Avery are engaged in a relationship and are now living together. Avery continues to have secrets from Nick. As the book proceeds, Avery gains in confidence and strength as a woman as this book continues until the revelation at the end.  She is now strong enough to be her own person.

In this book Nick becomes more concrete as a person and less mysterious.. His secrets begin to be unraveled as Avery draws closer to him and his world. This book humanizes him as he begins to reveal his emotional attachment to Avery and as his past is disclosed. In the first book, Nick appears as the stereotypical romantic billionaire with a dark and mysterious past, but in this book he truly gains his humanity as the story moves towards its conclusion.

This book continues the intense, sexy relationship between Nick and Avery but the story contains a sense of drama and plot moving forward. This book ended far too soon for me and I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

If the first book of the series was about Avery and her problems, this book ends that arc and begins an exploration of Nick’s past.  It constitutes the connection between these characters and I expect that the final book in this trilogy will finally expose Nick’s secrets.

I liked this book better than the first in the series because I did feel that this book developed these characters further and because I can now see the outlines of where this story is going. My only reservation is that I have been burned before by these romance in various parts stories. I reserve the right to downgrade all these books if the ending is bad.  Because each of these books depends upon the other, each book is not complete in and of itself, no matter how much I liked the first two books, if it doesn’t end well, I will not be satisfied with what I have read so far.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book ends on the cliffhanger as the book is part of a trilogy.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  FOR 100 NIGHTS is the second book in the 100 trilogy about Avery and Nick.  The trilogy is all about their relationship and thus the books should be read together and in order.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: When All The Girls Have Gone

Review: When All The Girls Have GoneWhen All The Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
Published by Berkley on November 29th 2016
Genres: Commentary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: This is a nice romantic suspense but not spectacular.  I liked the characters and there was good action but I probably wouldn’t pick it up again.

THE STORY:  Charlotte Sawyer is a social director for a retirement community.  Charlotte is careful, caution and risk adverse. She was just ditched by her “perfect” fiance. She receives a key and a note from a friend of her stepsister and finds out that her stepsister’s friend just died under somewhat strange circumstances.  Her own stepsister is unreachable at a “tech-less” retreat and when Charlotte comes to see what the note and key are for, she meets Max Cutler.  Max is a private investigator and former-profiler who has come to Seattle after his divorce to build a new life. Max is looking into the death. He and Charlotte partner up to investigate what is going on. The two find themselves in danger.

OPINION:  I enjoyed this book while reading it, but I didn’t feel that it had the power and memorability of many of Krentz’s books.  The romance was good and the suspense aspect was interesting with lots of twists, but I didn’t walk away thinking I would want to read this book again.

I liked the characters of Max and Charlotte.  They are grounded people who are both rebuilding their lives.  I thought that they had a good rapport.  I did feel the relationship between them grew naturally out of their interactions. I also enjoyed that they are both flawed and there isn’t any big drama between them.

The suspense story was twisty and although much of the story was revealed during the book, there were still surprises.  Things were not what they seemed to be. As I mentioned, I enjoyed this book but it wasn’t a story that I loved so much I would return to it again.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I think this book appears to be the beginning of a series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WHERE ALL THE GIRLS HAVE GONE is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Full Package

Review: Full PackageFull Package by Lauren Blakely
Series: Holiday/Hammer #6
Published by Lauren Blakely Books on January 9th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 300
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Enjoyable, sweet and funny friends to lovers romance.  I really liked these characters as people and their concerns and fears about losing their friendship felt real and I liked that they had problems but were not stupid.  Made me smile and sigh.

STORY:  Chase and Josie have been friends for years.  Chase has also had a thing for Josie for years but refuses to act upon it because he doesn’t want to destroy their friendship.  When Chase is looking for an apartment and Josie is looking for a roommate, the two decide to share an apartment.  The close quarters bring the two together, but how do friends become lovers and still remain friends at the end?

OPINION:  I found this story very enjoyable. For me, it is central that the characters maintain my interest.  Chase is a doctor and a genuine good guy.  But not too good a guy!  A doctor, he likes to entertain Josie with funny cases that come to him. I liked his humor, his good nature and his real desire to keep a relationship with Josie.

Josie is a baker who concentrates on desserts. As the book begins, she is online dating — even though she has been burned before.  She is quirky and very physical and just adorable (especially to Chase).

I appreciated that Chase and Josie were not stupid in their problems with one another.  I felt their real desire to keep their friendship. Their deep feelings for one another send them astray as they fear trying for something more because they risk the friendship that they have.  Their genuineness and honest deep feelings for one another made me accept even when these characters needed to talk to one another.  Fear of losing one another makes them both afraid to confess their feelings.

This book is about these characters.  There is not real external plot.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The book has a number of Josie’s recipes included.  Not only are they actual recipes, but Blakely uses them in a creative way to further the storyline of the book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  FULL PACKAGE is the sixth book in the series of books (unnamed by Blakely) that I’ve called the Holiday/Hammer series.  Each book can be read on its own, but there are connecting characters.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Wyoming Brave

Review: Wyoming BraveWyoming Brave (Wyoming Men #6) by Diana Palmer
Series: Wyoming Men #6
Published by HQN Books on December 27th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A typical Palmer romance with an experienced hero who misjudges the sweet innocent heroine and then regrets it.  I liked this book but it doesn’t elevate Palmer’s formula but rather stays strictly within its boundaries.

THE STORY:  Ren Colter has closed himself off after his fiancee’s betrayal. Everyone is therefore surprised — even Ren — that he allows Meredith Grayling to stay at his ranch. Meredith is hiding from a stalker. Nervous and afraid, Meredith is dealing not only with her current threat but past abuse as well.  The alpha male feels his protective instincts go in overdrive over the innocent Meredith and her gentleness might soothe Ren’s battered soul.

OPINION:  I’ve read Palmer’s books for over thirty years. Her readers know that she has a formula for her books. Her characters often — and almost always in recent years — live in small western towns.  There is usually an experienced but romantically betrayed man who meets up with an inexperienced woman.  He mistakes her for experienced, treats her poorly, finds out the truth and then spends the rest of the book groveling.

I know what I’m getting in one of her novels and sometimes the characters make the story fantastic.  This book was just okay for me. The characters were nice — and even the hero wasn’t too jerky — but I didn’t feel that the characters expanded the formula nor were they so compelling that I thought — “wow!  I’m like to read this again”.

Enjoyable for the time I spent reading it and ultimately forgettable as a book.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book actually is a crossover book with Palmer’s Long, Tall Texans series with appearance by characters from that series.  Seeing characters that I’ve

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WYOMING BRAVE is the sixth book in the Wyoming Men series.  It can be read as a standalone although pretty much all of Palmer’s books are connected these days with characters appearing from different books and series.  This book is most closely connected with DEFENDER.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars