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review 2017-06-30 23:05
Falling Angel (Harlequin American Romance) - Anne Stuart

I was moved to hunt down a pair of Levis to see where that silly tag is located - inner right cheek pocket. Artist put it on the outside of the left cheek pocket. Also, based on this story, I doubt the h would have owned a pair of Levis - too expensive.


I actually read this one three times - once out of curiosity when I pulled it from the bin to the anticipation spot, once when I deliberately left the book I'd started in the living room so I wouldn't be tempted to read and stay up too late (so much for that, huh?) and finally, when I actually read it.


So why the 3 stars? Let's just say that in a less capable author's hand, it likely would have been DNFed.


The H is dead - no really - and is in what amounts to purgatory, waiting for...something. It was unclear but I guess he needed to give them a reason to move him on. He gets sent back into a new body, and I have this mental image of the NSA going apeshit about a truck magically appearing in the middle of nowhere (ALIENS!!). It's either that or he's possessing someone else's body. He's charged with fixing 3 lives he ruined in his previous existence. The h is obvious, the family who he ends up boarding with is the second, and there's some kid whose issues are indirectly his fault. It's odd that he never really goes back to his old habits. His new body is preprogrammed to be a carpenter...from Boston...that finds itself in bumblefartnowhereville Minnesota


The h wears a hairshirt made of...I dunno...porcupine quills, poison ivy, and doghair from some wirecoated critter. She got on my nerves so bad... See, she was a dancer, went to college and studied dance (uh...that's all?), took off to NY - as you do - to show off her talents, only to fail miserably and rather than come home, get a job as a secretary...with the H as her employer. She falls for him because she's sure she can fix him (uh oh), and because she's naive and has no clue what he really does, offers up the one company in her home town for his expertise. Then she catches him drunk, sleeps with him, discovers the next day that he'd closed the company after gutting it for its equipment, also discovers she's fired (because he doesn't sleep with the help - one point in his favor I suppose) and storms out in front of a taxi. Now she's running herself into the ground, in penance, refusing help. Because it's all her fault you see. Too wrapped up in her martyrdom to see that her behavior is causing her friends and neighbors distress. Oh, she's aware of it, but if anything, frustrated because they keep worrying. Well dear, if you don't want them worrying about you, make an effort to take care of yourself.


Things that bug me - and this isn't unique to this book - why does everyone with a bit of talent run off to NY in hopes of being discovered? All larger cities, and quite a few smaller ones, have centers for performing arts.


Why, upon discovering you aren't as good as you thought you were, would you remain in a city like that? See above - smaller pond = greater chance of success.


Secretary? Really?! Doesn't that require at least some clerical skills? Typing at the very least. He thought of her as incompetent. Was she hunting and pecking? She said she'd focussed so much on her dancing she hadn't learned any other skills. Uh...


And yet, she sells quilts. That's a skill. Why, with that in mind, didn't she apply at an alteration shop? Or as a waitress or sales clerk...see, these sorts of jobs would make sense. A secretary, not so much.


And yet, it was very readable, mostly because we were in his mixed up noggin most of the time.

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review 2016-11-17 11:43
Safe Harbor (Harlequin American Romance, No 405) - Judith Arnold

First off, that page count must have included ads for various harlequin lines, copyright page, title, etc. What I read was 219 pages. Which brings me to this: someone on a forum asked a while back how many books were 3 star reads. I replied, "most of them". They were astonished. There are a lot of reasons a book might be a 3 star read - characters, plot, failure to connect with THAT reader, or in this case, ambition coupled with limited page count and delusions of grandeur regarding skill of the writer.


Simply put, this book was too short for what the author ambitiously tried (and failed obviously) to do.


It's divided into 3 parts. *3*. There's distant past, there's recent past, and there's present. And it needed about 50 more pages to work out the problems in present but was only given 6.


So...past. H/h are summer friends. They spend every summer running around on the island their respective parents migrate to (why isn't explained). No communication during the school year. They've both hit puberty. In addition to this sudden awkwardness, the h's father didn't come to the island this year, and the h is distressed about that. She and her mother abruptly leave one day - we find out why in part 2.


Recent past: H is now widowed, and in addition, traumatized. His wife was struck by a car at a crosswalk. He saw it happen. He comes to the island to escape well-meaning relatives' matchmaking attempts (can't blame him for that). The h now lives on the island and is a pharmacist. They run into each other and eventually she tells him what happened. Her father was a) having an affair and b) committing a white-collar crime known as embezzling. He got caught. Spent time in prison (for not reporting his ill-gotten gains on his taxes. Who'dathunk?) She has...issues...regarding men and relationships. A week or two go by, he's called to go back to work, and they...have sex. He leaves the next day. Over the course of the next 6 weeks, he does date someone and apparently gets a boner (lovely). She calls and informs him the stick changed colors and she's keeping it. End of part 2.


Present. It's been 2 years and 9 months. He gets the kid for weekends. Their former friendship has devolved into awkward polite strangers. He decides he wants more so moves back to the island and into the house with her. 2 weeks pass. Still polite, strange awkwardness. She gets a note from her father. He's dying and wants to see his grandchild. She reluctantly invites him over. He arrives. She can't cope and is actively avoiding him. 10 hours or so pass. H confronts her and tells her she's acting like a royal bitch, much angst. The next day, father leaves, and h asks H to sleep with her. He asks her to marry him - again (he's asked several times, she's given him an emphatic NO). She says yes.


I believe nothing. They spent nearly 3 years unable to communicate, the H didn't have the balls to ask her out, yet he calls her a bitch - because she hasn't had enough time really to process her father's sudden reappearing, then everything is right in their world? Right.

I can't imagine that ugly word ever disappearing once uttered. And there wasn't much of a relationship there to start with WITHOUT that. At the very least, there needed to be time for her and her father to come to an understanding. Forcing it, with name-calling no less, was not the way to go. And her remembering the distant past when he'd been her summer friend was a cop-out. Because just as she's had time to come to grips with her father (who, btw, blames it entirely on her mother, Asshole), she's also had time to move on past a childhood friendship. Trying to use that as a crutch, when they were never that close to begin with (really? you didn't keep in touch during the school year and you expect one to believe you're besties?) just didn't work.

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review 2016-08-22 23:40
Good read
Cowboy for Keeps (Harlequin American Romance Series #1441) - Cathy McDavid

Cowboy For Keeps by Cathy McDavid is an entertaining read.  This book is fairly short, a good choice for those with limited time for reading.  Ms McDavid has delivered a well written book with lovable characters.  There is plenty of drama and spice to keep the reader engaged.  I enjoyed Cowboy For Keeps and would be happy to read more from Cathy McDavid in the future.  Cowboy For Keeps is book 4 of the Mustang Valley Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.



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review 2015-11-01 20:53
More Than a Cowboy - Cathy McDavid (HAR #1508 - July 2014)
More Than a Cowboy (Harlequin American RomanceReckless, Ari) - Cathy McDavid

Series: Reckless Arizona (Book 1)



Liberty Beckett was so used to watching longtime crush Deacon McCrea ride at her family's Reckless, Arizona, arena, she nearly forgot the handsome cowboy was an attorney. But it won't be hard to remember now that Deacon is representing her father in the legal battle dividing the Beckett clan and threatening the Easy Money Rodeo Arena.


This case is Deacon's chance to clear his name in Reckless. He didn't anticipate the powerful effect Liberty would have on him. Their attraction is undeniable…and a huge conflict of interest. To save his career and Liberty's relationship with her family, Deacon knows he needs to avoid Liberty. But what a man needs and what he wants are two very different things….


Good book with some really complicated family dynamics adding to the obstacles between Deacon and Liberty. Liberty has spent her life believing that she is the product of a one night stand between her mother and a rodeo cowboy, only to find out that her mother has been lying to her. So she contacts Mercer to let him know that she wants to get to know him. Mercer comes to town with more than getting to know Liberty on his mind.


Liberty had known Deacon when they were younger, before he left under a cloud of suspicion for causing a terrible accident on the ranch. Since then he has become a lawyer and returned to Reckless. He boards his horses on the ranch, so she sees him often. Her childhood crush on him is only getting stronger. But any chance of taking it further ends when Deacon becomes her father's lawyer in his looming battle with Liberty's mother.


Deacon came back to Reckless for two reasons. First, to open his own law firm. Second, he wants a chance to clear his name, and being Mercer's lawyer will give him the chance he needs. Unfortunately, he doesn't count on the strength of the attraction between him and Liberty. But as her father's lawyer, starting a relationship with Liberty would create a conflict of interest that could wreck his career.


I liked the relationship that built between Liberty and Deacon. Liberty never believed that he was responsible for the accident that everyone blamed him for, and that confidence in him helps to heal some of the hurt he still feels. Her feelings for him also motivate her to help him however she can in finding out the truth of what happened that day. I did think she was a little naive in thinking that they could be together without it affecting her relationship with her family. Deacon had been attracted to Liberty for awhile, but when the chance came to work with Mercer he took it because he needed the work. Now he struggles to do the right thing. When her father's manipulations come between them, both of them have to decide what is more important to them. 


I felt really bad for Liberty and the things she had to put up with from her family. Both her parents were selfish and manipulative, even though they claimed they were doing things for the right reasons. Liberty had every right to be angry about the way her mother lied to her. However, her father also used her as a way to get back involved with the ranch. I thought he was a bully as well, with the way he would force everyone to go along with what he wanted. I liked the way that Liberty at least wanted to give him a chance. That was quite a contrast with the sheer stubbornness of her mother and her sister. Though there was some progress made in repairing the relationships, I feel like the two parents still have a long way to go.


I liked the fact that the mystery of the bulls was solved by the end of the book. As Deacon's investigation progressed, there were some interesting facts that came to light. Liberty seemed to put the pieces together faster than Deacon did. I loved seeing that Deacon's honorable nature had him helping his accuser, even though he didn't have to. It certainly helped him in the end.

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review 2015-09-17 21:28
A Cowboy's Heart - Rebecca Winters (HAR #1511 - Aug 2014)
A Cowboy's Heart (Harlequin American RomanceHitting Rocks Cowboys) - Rebecca Winters

Series: Hitting Rocks Cowboys (Book 2)

King and Queen of the Rodeo


Driving to Vegas with the Sexiest Cowboy of the Year is a dream come true for barrel racing finalist Liz Henson. Now's her chance to get up close and personal with Connor Bannock, her secret girlhood crush -- even if their families are on the wrong side of a long-standing feud. It's also her shot at rodeo fame before she returns to working as a veterinarian, taking care of the horses she loves.


A five-time champion steer wrestler, Connor's going for the gold -- then he's off the circuit for good. But the divorced rancher doesn't want to return home solo. Dr. Elizabeth Henson was always out of bounds. But this road trip could change everything for the Montana cowboy…if they both return as champions!


Very good book. Connor and Liz's families have been neighbors for years, but an ongoing feud kept them from spending much time together. It was a surprise to Liz when Connor asked her to drive with him from Montana to Las Vegas for the rodeo finals. She was thrilled for the chance to get to know him better.


Liz had had a crush on Connor for years, ever since he gave her some encouraging words after her first rodeo competition. It has never gone away, even though she has dated other men. She looks at the trip as the chance to see if "the inside of the book is as good as the cover". She also expects that the trip will enable her to get over her crush and finally move on.


Connor has been drawn to Liz for a long time, but because of the feud had to stay away. He even married someone else, but it hadn't worked out. With the feud no longer an issue, Connor sees the chance to finally get to know Liz better.


I loved seeing Liz and Connor together. The two of them have a lot in common. It's pretty obvious from the beginning that Connor already has feelings for her. They really connect well during the drive, and find a lot to talk about. I loved seeing the way that Connor knows just what to say to her to boost her confidence for the competition ahead. Connor plans for this to be his last rodeo, then he will quit the rodeo and stick to ranching. Liz also plans for this to be her last rodeo, as she has a veterinarian practice that she needs to concentrate on.


In spite of being a five time champion, Connor seems to have some serious issues with his own confidence. There is one member of his family who has mental issues and who has excelled in making others' lives miserable. I loved the way that Liz was able to see some of the things that were bothering Connor and help him through them. I especially loved the late night conversation, when she gave him an idea for what to do next, while at the same time showing him how much she admires him. Connor has another problem too. His ex-wife has reappeared and is trying to convince him that they should get back together. But Connor is well aware that she is not what he wants. 


Liz falls deeper for Connor as they spend time together preparing for their rodeo events. But she is convinced that Connor is still in love with his ex and that they will be back together by the end of the rodeo. There's a great scene with Connor exhibiting some jealousy, but Liz is still doubtful that it means anything. When disaster strikes during one of Connor's events, Liz is consumed with worry about him. I loved seeing how she was there for him.


I loved the ending, with Connor stretching the truth a little in order to get Liz to make the trip back with him instead of someone else. The end was really sweet as Connor was finally able to convince Liz that what he really wanted was her.


Besides the terrific romance, I also really liked the closeness of the families. The love and support was obvious, and never more so than at the end, during the last of the rodeo competitions. I also thoroughly enjoyed the rodeo setting and getting a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. The story of the "romance" between the two horses was a lot of fun.

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