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review 2020-02-25 23:39
Hurt
Knot a Chance - Samantha Cole

This is book # 3, in the Doms Of The Covenant series.  This story can be read as a standalone novel. To avoid spoilers, and gain a complete understanding of this amazing series, I recommend reading them in order.  I also recommend reading the Trident Security series first.

 

Cassandra AKA Cassie is completely in love with Stefan.  He is not interested in anything long term, and has made his choice clear.  She decides it is time to back away from something that can go nowhere.

 

Stefan does not understand why Cassie is no longer interested in a contract with him.  After she walks out of his life, he starts to realize how much of a part of it she really was.  Then when the worst happens, she is the first to be there to help him.

 

This was an excellent addition to the series.  I loved reading about these characters and getting to know them better.  Loved having the Sexy Six Pack inside this book as well.  The story was at a good pace, and the humor & heat were just the right touch.  I give this great read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-01-22 21:46
Coast Guard Sweetheart (Coast Guard #2) by Lisa Carter
Coast Guard Sweetheart (Love Inspired Large Print) - Lisa Carter

Second Chance Sailor: When coast guard officer Sawyer Kole is stationed again in Kiptohanock, Virginia, he's ready to prove to Honey Duer that he's a changed man and the right man for her. But it's not smooth sailing when a hurricane blows their way. To save the family inn she's restored to perfection, Honey will ride out the storm. But can she handle the turbulence of seeing Sawyer again? Years ago he walked away, taking her dreams of love. Now as Hurricane Zelda barrels down, Honey may have no choice but to trust Sawyer to save her life and just maybe her heart.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Picking up several years after where Lisa Carter's Coast Guard Courtship left off, Coast Guard Sweetheart revisits one of the side stories from the first book: that of Honey (sister of Amelia from Book 1, *Honey's real name is Beatrice, but picked up the nickname due to her hair color) and that fouled up romance Amelia's beau Braeden helped Honey push through. The troublemaker guy in that scenario, Coast Guard Petty Officer Sawyer Kole, is back in town (with Braeden as his boss) and wants to make things right between him and Honey.

 

Wouldn't you know, she doesn't want to hear it! Or so she's trying to convince herself. Wouldn't you want to hear what story was behind a former flame abandoning you three years earlier? Not the least bit curious, Honey? You KNOW she is! But she's in no rush to give him the satisfaction. Their re-acquaintance comes about via a pretty funny food fight (but SUCH a waste of donuts!). But the two have no choice but to put differences aside and work together when their town faces the arrival of Hurricane Zelda and Honey's newly restored inn sits right in the line of fire. 

 

Having thoroughly enjoyed Lisa Carter's first installment in this series, I was really looking forward to seeing where the characters ended up here. Though all the elements seemed to be in place for a strong follow-up, sadly this one just did not serve up the same magic as its predecessor. The humor, charming as all get out in Coast Guard Courtship, just fell flat here, felt a little on the canned side. Further, the plot wasn't nearly as much fun. While it seemed promising, opening a story with a food fight, things quickly fizzled out from there. Even with a hurricane in the mix --- you'd expect some great tension or amazing chats or something right? --- nope, even there it was about as interesting as bath water. 

 

Pretty quickly, Honey's relentless bickering grows tiresome. Not cute. She complains that Sawyer never explained his absence, then when he tries she shuts it down with an "I don't want to hear it"... but then encourages him to try again, but then hardly lets him finish a thought before she's verbally laying into him again. Her level of anger grows unreasonable but she continues to harp on with the "Why won't you talk to me?" Girl, have you only heard your side of things? This whole story has been set up for him to tell his side! UGH, even Max chimes in with a "Stop being a big baby, Aunt Honey." You tell her, kid! Another character takes it further with "Bitterness does not become you, Beatrice."

 

In terms of dialogue, the writing just gets progressively more cringey as the reader progresses. But if you're really into nighttime soaps, the overkill dramatics might not strike you as problematic. I will note a few highlights though. 1) This novel does touch upon the heartbreak of siblings split up within the foster system and later left unable to reunite with each other as adults because of sealed records. 2) The closing scene was undeniably sweet and romantic. Hard not to pull a grin out of me at the description of a modern couple slow dancing to "Let Me Call You Sweetheart". 3) MAX. It was so great to see Max again in this series. Max is doing great and he totally made it worthwhile to hang in there and keep reading! 

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review 2019-01-22 20:40
Coast Guard Courtship (Coast Guard #1) by Lisa Carter
Coast Guard Courtship (Love Inspired Large Print) - Lisa Carter

Coast Guard Officer Braeden Scott's life is all about freedom and adventure. Being assigned to a tiny Virginia coastal village is the last thing he wants. But thanks to a feisty redhead, he's soon discovering the charms of a small-town life. Amelia Duer is all about home and hearth. Taking care of others is her whole world. As Braeden spends more time with her and her nephew, his hopes for a family begin to resurface. Could Amelia prove to be the anchor this charming Coastie needs to stop wandering and create a home for good?

Amazon.com

 

 

NC based writer Lisa Carter places her Coast Guard centered romance in the small town of Kiptohanock, Virginia, where CG officer Braeden Scott gets stationed and quickly finds himself tangled up with feisty redhead Amelia Duer. Being a redhead myself, I had to chuckle at one point in the story where a comment is made about redheaded women in general being "insidious" LOL 

 

He filled his lungs with the bracing sea air. Not so bad. Not the most exciting place he'd ever been quartered, but as long as he could hear the crash of the waves, he'd do fine...Braeden's first love, the sea, remained the only love in his life that hadn't let him down. Give Braeden his boat, the rhythm of the sea and, as one poet had phrased it, "a star to steer by," and he was good. Better than good. Women were trouble he didn't need in his life.

 

Amelia runs her father's charter fishing business since her father decided to take up part time work in a boat repair shop. Running the shop serves as a perfect excuse for Amelia to keep a close eye on her dad as he recovers from a recent heart attack. She grew up in the kind of family where her father never got the son he wanted, so he raised her as he would a boy, turning her into his "fishing buddy", as he liked to think of her. Developing that bond early on has served them well now as they move into the adult phase of parent-child friendship.

 

Braeden's first impression of her is that she's not terribly feminine but certainly admirably gutsy and "tough as a sea barnacle"... the type of compliment that wants to make you say, "Thanks.. I think...". When Braeden rents out a boat shed property without first informing Amelia, she ends up nearly taking him out with a harpoon! (A simple misunderstanding... you'll see.... )

 

Braeden loves a life full of adventure and wild experiences while Amelia is all about having stability and a home & community where she can firmly root. She has reasons for insisting on a firm home base: she lost her mother to cancer and her sister to a drunk driver, leading to Amelia becoming the guardian of her five year old nephew, Max, who is battling leukemia. Max's father is also in the Coast Guard... or at least was... his role in this story is sort of that of "deadbeat dad who abandoned the family".

 

Trying to do her best, Amelia is struggling with Max while he works this phase where he answers all her instructions with "you're not my real mom". There's added pressure on her since she took out loans against her father's business to cover the cost of Max's chemo treatments. Now finding herself unbelievably stressed out and deeply in debt, there's an added layer of tension since her remaining family members grow to see her as someone generally too salty to associate with. 

 

While the arrival of Braeden is an unexpected upset to the routine at first, he proves to be a nice distraction from all the heavier dealings in Amelia's days. There IS something about him that she can't help but be drawn to, but thanks to the whole situation with Max's father, Amelia also happens to have a bit of a chip on her shoulder when it comes to Coast Guard fellas. Then there's the difference in faith between them -- While Amelia finds great comfort in fellowship, Braeden isn't much of a church-goer (but he has his reasons for being so).

 

Braeden unknowingly finds the ways to her heart ... largely by just being himself. He shows willingness to spend so much quality time with Max (such as teaching him how to swim), helping Amelia's sister, Beatrice aka "Honey" navigate out of her own Coast Guard romance gone sour, AND encourages Amelia to pursue art as a career, at the very least as a side gig. While she does love creating paintings of local seascapes and townspeople, Amelia has strong fears of taking her work public... but perhaps with Braeden's support to bolster her, anything is possible! It's also tough not to fall for a guy who insists on teaching the generation coming up about respecting women:

 

"Yeah, Mimi. Leave us guys alone." Max propped his hand on his small hip and jutted it, Honey-style. "We don't need you. Braeden's got this. Go away."

 

She blinked. Braeden frowned. He locked eyes with Max. "Let's you and me get one thing straight, Candidate Duer. Women are to be respected, cherished, and protected." Braeden threw Amelia a glance before his gaze returned to Max. "If I ever hear you disrespect your aunt Mimi or any other woman ever again, you can forget swim lessons or anything else from this Coastie."

 

The starch went out of her carrot-topped nephew. He drew a circle in the water with his toe. "Sorry, Mimi."

 

This is one well-balanced romance! It's part of Harlequin's "Love Inspired" line, so there are Christian themes mildly discussed within the plot, while also incorporating plenty of humor and warm & cuddly courtship scenes. Sometimes titles within this line tend to run a bit heavy on the sap but this one got it just right. To balance out the sweet, there are more serious topics woven in. Max's story as he battles leukemia has its bittersweet notes, but not to Afterschool Special levels. Still, that scene with Max getting attached to a Black Lab only to be told maybe a dog isn't a great idea, and him snapping back with "I'm gonna die anyway"... Kid put a chip in this heart of mine! Then there's the tough moments that circle Coast Guard life itself  --- the blessings of ships ceremony where a bell is rung for each crew member lost to sea, and the intensity that builds around responding to mayday calls. It's all in here! 

 

By story's close, the reader is left waiting to hear the results of Max's latest tests... but since he makes an appearance in Book 2, it looks like the prognosis is good! 

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review 2017-12-17 09:39
Twilight at Blueberry Barrens
Twilight at Blueberry Barrens (A Sunset Cove Novel) - Colleen Coble

This is the third book in the Sunset Cove series and it is my least favorite by far.  

 

Kate is the main focus of this book and she is somehow both bold and brave and completely stupid at the same time.  The author is making her out to be this brazen woman who speaks her mind but then she is doing some pretty dumb things.  There have been reports of a peeping tom in the area where she lives and then a woman is found murdered but Kate can´t sleep so she decides to go sit outside on the porch at night and sip a cup of tea.  I was really annoyed by several instances in the book when she realizes someone has been in her house or she hears a noise in her basement but she doesn´t want to tell anyone or report it to the police because they will just think she is overreacting.  I also knew who the murderer/rapist/peeping tom was well in advance and was hoping I was wrong but no.....  There was other stuff going on too that I didn´t see coming so that was good.  Instead of a strong character though, Kate comes off as weak and whiny.  

 

Kate meets Drake when he comes to Maine to investigate the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law. The police believe it was a murder/suicide but Drake is sure his brother would never kill his wife.  He rents a cottage from Kate and hires her to be a nanny to his two nieces who are now in his care.  Of course he is perfect in every way and falls in love with Kate while they work to unravel the details of what happened.  

 

This is my book for Square 14.

Book themes for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: Celebrate the sun and read a book that has a beach or seaside setting. –OR– a book set during summertime. –OR– set in the Southern Hemisphere.

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text 2016-07-09 19:28
"Prepared For Rage" by Dana Stabenow
Prepared For Rage - Dana Stabenow

"Prepared For Rage" is Dana Stabenow's second Coastguard thriller. This time we track the slow, indirect but inevitable intersection between Abdullah (literally servant of God) a rogue cell of  Al Qaeda, a Coastguard vessel in Florida, and the Space Shuttle.

 

Although some of the characters are the same as in "Blindfold Game", "Prepared For Rage" works as a standalone novel so feel free to dive right in.

 

Dana Stabenow makes "Prepared For Rage" more than a terrorist threat thriller by using it as a vehicle for topics she is passionate about.

 

She staunchly defends the value of the Coast Guard, this time highlighting their role in the Katrina aftermath the Coast Guard were almost the only Federal Agency to provide immediate and effect assistance. Her admiration for them is surpassed only by her anger at the Federal agencies that did nothing to help.

 

Dana Stabenow's long standing love affair with space travel (see her Star Svendotter books) surfaces in a vivid evocation of the astronauts preparing for one of the last (post-Challenger) Space Shuttle missions.

 

That's pretty much the end of the positive emotions. The FBI, apart from a couple of dedicated but almost disregarded individuals, are shown as inept and crippled by political appointees. The lack of security of US ports is laid like an indictment at the feet of the administration.

 

For me, the best part of the book was the portrayal of the Al Qaeda terrorist at the centre of the book. While some of the main American characters where as shiny and perfect as American dentistry, the Al Qaeda leader of Abdullah was gritty, twisted, broken and deeply troubling. Dana Stabenow shows us a clever, ruthless, dedicated man, who knows how to recruit people to his campaign and use them to whatever is necessary, regardless of the personal cost. He is an educated man with skills that would allow him to prosper in the West and build a life for himself but who is driven by his mission even when following it means giving up his life to it. The fact that he is disciplined, charismatic,introspective and brave doesn't win us over to his side, it just makes him a more formidable enemy.

 

As far as plot and suspense goes, this is an above average thriller that kept me guessing (and enjoying guessing) right to the end.

 

The passion with which Dana Stabenow writes gives the book more power, although, oddly, the most realistic and engaging parts of the novel are not about the Americans trying to do the right thing but about the terrorists who move with such deadly purpose.

 

Lorelei King does a great job as narrator on this book, managing all the changes in tone and accent perfectly.

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