A Man to Hold on To (by Marilyn Pappano)

Contemporary Romance

After Mariah’s mother abandons her, she is placed in the care of Keegan who was named as father on the birth certificate. But Keegan knows all too well that Mariah was conceived after his girlfriend was unfaithful…and he knows who the father is.

Therese has had her share of hardships. First Abby and Jacob, the children of her husband Paul’s previous marriage came to live with them. Then Paul was killed in Afghanistan, and now her two step-children despise her. As Abby’s antipathy towards her worsens she contemplates asking her to leave, even knowing she promised Paul she would look after his children.

When Keegan discovers that Mariah’s father has died, his plans to unload Mariah fall apart. But he sees something in Therese that makes him want to stay in Tallgrass. As they get to know each other, their attraction builds but with three children to consider and secrets lying between them a relationship is anything but certain.

A Man to Hold on To is book two in Marilyn Pappano’sTallgrass series. It’s contemporary romance, and very good contemporary romance but much more than that, the author deals with some of the issues that face returned servicemen and their families with a raw truthfulness that speaks of experience. Her characters are beautifully flawed, her stories are simple but well told.

This book can be read as a stand alone, but I would encourage anyone to check out book one, A Hero to Come Home To.  There is a very quiet christian message within this series but it’s not preachy and I hesitate to call this a christian novel.  I would also say that people who want books that aren’t wall to wall sex will appreciate Marilyn Pappano’s soft hand in the bedroom.

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Many Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Love Like the Movies (by Victoria Van Tiem)

Contemporary Romance

Kenzi has everything she could ever wish for. A good job working for an advertising agency and the perfect fiancé. Even if she’s constantly runner-up in her family’s affections to her oh so perfect sister-in-law, things look pretty good.

Then her ex-boyfriend, Shane walks into the advertising agency and she quickly discovers, the agency is having financial problems, her job is on the line, and they desperately need Shane’s business. She is ordered to do everything she can to secure the account, but she wasn’t expecting to be re-enacting scenes from her favorite romantic comedies.

Love Like the Movies is great fun. It really does read like one of those great romantic comedies of the 1980s and ’90s. It’s a book that will leave you with a silly smile on your face and feeling good for days.

I should note that some might shy away from this book because it’s about a love triangle. I know that’s a trigger issue for many readers of romance. It’s a trigger issue for me as well, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say I had no problems with this book at all.  That aspect doesn’t really play into the story all that much and lovers of cute, quirky romances will love this book.

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Many thanks to Pocket Star and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

True to the Highlander (by Barbara Longley)

Historical Romance

On walking into a fortune teller’s tent at a renaissance festival in New York, Alethia is set a task –– to save the life of an unknown person. Then she passes out and when she wakes, finds herself in Scotland in the 15th century.

When Malcolm MacKintosh finds Alethia lying on the road unconscious he decides to take her to his clan home and to offer her protection. But Alethia, with her 21st century views and determination to fulfil her mission isn’t all that impressed with his efforts.

As old rivalries boil over into violence, Malcolm must learn to trust Alethia who holds the future of the MacKintosh clan in her hands, and as they find a measure of love, the threat of Alethia being snatched back to the 21st century looms over them.

True to the Highlander is rollicking good fun. There is time travel, a little magic, evil villains, heroes wearing kilts, and even a little bit of that old Mark Twain novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. It’s not too serious, just a fun story, well told.

Many thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

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A Hero to Come Home To (by Marilyn Pappano)

Contemporary Romance

Two years after her husband was killed in Afghanistan, Carly continues to grieve the loss and is unable to move on. Her one respite is the Tuesday night Margarita Club, a group of women who like her have lost their husbands and look to each other for support.

Dane lost his leg after a roadside bomb detonated under the vehicle he was in. Now his life is one of rehabilitation and learning to function on a prosthetic limb. But even more debilitating than the physical trauma is the emotional trauma and he struggles with his feelings of inadequacy.

When he first meets Carly he hides his amputation from her, but as their relationship deepens he knows he needs to come clean. But as he comes to depend on her and the emotional support she gives him more and more, it becomes harder and harder to come clean.

A Hero to Come Home To has it’s feet firmly planted in the contemporary romance genre, and as a contemporary romance it’s one of the better ones I’ve read. But the thing that really sets this book apart…the thing that takes it from a solid 4 Stars to 5 Stars, is how the author has dealt with grief, PTSD and survivor’s guilt.  I’ve read a few books that have broached the topic, most of them come across as well researched but somehow don’t quite get it right. Marilyn Pappano gets it…more than just about any other author I’ve read.

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The Chance (by Robyn Carr)

Contemporary Romance

After being shot in the line of duty, FBI Special Agent Laine Carrington moves to Thunder Point to recuperate and make some life decisions.

Eric Gentry is another newcomer to the Oregon coast. When the local gas station and auto repair shop went up for sale he saw an opportunity to move to Thunder Point and be closer to his teenage daughter.

On the surface they are very different, he’s an ex-con and she’s an FBI agent, but they fit together and over time his things take up more and more wardrobe space until they are living together. But he is committed to Thunder Point and the daughter he has only just reconnected with, while Laine’s home and career are on the East coast.

Fans of the author’s Virgin River series are in for a real treat with this book. The Chance, much more than the previous three books is a showcase of what Robyn Carr does best. A strong central story with brief detours into the stories of other characters. It’s really what contemporary romance should be. Nothing too tricky, just a simple story about two people finding love and family.

Many thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

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That Touch of Magic (by Lucy March)

Paranormal (Romance?)

After losing her job as the town librarian and with bills to pay, Stacey begins selling potions to help make ends meet. But with no formal education in the ways of magic it’s trial and error from the get-go. When her potions start to produce unintended comic side-effects she needs to find out what she’s doing wrong and quickly.

Then Leo her former lover, the one she never got over shows up in town and wants a second chance. With her magic going haywire and Leo refusing to leave town she can’t seem to catch a break. And if that’s not enough, she finds herself caught in a sinister magical web which could very well cost her her life.

That Touch of Magic is amazing. It’s been two years since A little Night Magic hit the shelves and it’s obvious that Lucy March has kept herself busy. I don’t often read books that are this polished. This book is good fun but there is a hard edge to it that some may find confronting. Not me, I loved it!

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