Smooth Talking Stranger

Jack Travis was astonished when a woman and a baby showed up at his office claiming the child was his. Jack knew he was not the father but instead of sending them away Jack helped them. He wanted to keep Ella and Luke close to him.

Ella Varner always helped her sister which was why she ended up taking care of her nephew, Luke. She was out of her depth but was determined. Ella will end up getting help from an unexpected source, Jack.

Smooth Talking Stranger is the third book to the series Travises by Lisa Kleypas. I really loved this book. For me this series gets better and better. Hopefully the last book will keep going with the trend.

For me this was all about character development of Jack and Ella. These two characters very much had commitment phobia. Yet they were placed together and feelings towards each other started to take form. I really loved Jack. He was a dater of women but from the moment he saw Ella he wanted her, and for more than one night. I liked how he handled Ella with care and truly wanted her for her. He was very persistent. He was also very patient when helping with Luke. Ella character was a fixer. She tried to help her sister but it never really helped, though she always tried. That is why she helped take the baby Luke. She was very determined especially keeping away from Jack. I liked that she did try her best to stay away from him and didn’t just jump in his bed. Their courtship was a slow seduction that is until Jack made it clear to Ella with what he wanted.

Ella’s mother was a piece of work. She was all about herself and very manipulative especially when it came to Ella. I liked that Jack was able to handle her but it broke my heart how she couldn’t truly love her daughters. Then there was Tara’s character who started the whole mess. It wasn’t that I disliked her greatly but she did think more about herself than others. I will say that she made up for her mess at the end.

Now the mystery behind Luke’s father was very easy to figure out once the players were introduced, but I enjoyed the mystery behind it.

I am reading the last book to the series next.

When We Touch

When We Touch (Whiskey Creek, #0.5)Olivia Arnold wasn’t ready to come home and plan her sisters wedding to the man she thought she would’ve married. Olivia had to hold her head up high and pretend it didn’t bother her. Having Brandon by her side will help her through the ordeal. It didn’t hurt that having Brandon around would make both Kyle and Noelle angry.

When We Touch is the prequel to the series Whiskey Creek. I have read the first book of this series and I really liked it. Its funny that its been a year since I have read anything from this series but I wanted to wait for more of the books to accumulate. Now that they have I have the second book through the sixth to read. I decided to get the first book back out and re-read right after this one which didn’t take me long. I figured that it was a good idea as that was when a lot of the characters were really introduced and you got to know some of their personalities.

I really liked When We Touch. I thought that this novella was well done and to the point. It gave all you the emotions that you wanted, a little heartbreak, betrayal, new beginnings, and love. I liked Olivia’s character but I wanted her to get mad, even though that would only fuel her sister’s, Noelle, happiness. Noelle is a piece of work and there was no redeeming quality in her character. I was happy that in this not so happy marriage will  be coming to an end in the first book. Now the stepbrothers were interesting. I didn’t really like Kyle but it wasn’t like he was a real villain. He made a mistake and now was paying for it. Brandon I really liked as he was a good guy, maybe a little rough around the edges. He wanted Olivia but keeping her was not in his thought process until it became apparent he needed her to be.

I am looking forward to continuing the series with When Snow Falls.

Still Missing

Still MissingAnnie O’Sullivan was closing up her tour when a man will ask to view the house. She will give him the tour but soon will find herself at gunpoint. She will be taken to a cabin and will find out she wouldn’t be coming home for a very long time. Annie will survive a year in this man’s cabin where she was beaten, raped and ordered around. When she finds her escape she will find that coming back to her old life will not be possible as she will never be the same woman.

Still Missing is a novel by Chevy Stevens. This book was read for my book club and it looks like we are back to the psychological thrillers. Personally I don’t mind as I like these stories with their twists that you don’t see coming and yes they are at times very uncomfortable but they make you think. There is also a lot to discuss with these kind of books which is ideal for a book club.

So first thoughts on this book was that it was a gripping intense thriller. It made me nervous and I literally got up and made sure my front door was locked.

Annie was a fighter and what I liked about her character was that she felt real. The things she had to do in the book were unbelievable horrible and I couldn’t believe how brave she was to fight him and then give in to save another. I cringed each time Stevens talked about what was going on to Annie. I cheered for her the entire time to survive and find a way out. Also you know that she escaped as the book goes back and fourth from past to present and in the present she is telling her psychologist the story of what happened to her. So you know she did escape which helped me when reading the book.

Now there were characters I liked and disliked throughout the book. Obviously the man who kidnapped Annie was one I hated but there was another person who I didn’t like. That was Annie’s mom. She was way to selfish and made Annie feel like crap for not caring when it should be the mom caring for her daughter. The mom will show signs of caring but then be selfish again. It is always about the mom and never anyone else. One person I liked a lot was the cop, Gray. He was tough but caring and he did the job right. I liked that he didn’t treat Annie like a permanent victim especially when they met the first time.

So the villain is obviously this mystery man who kidnapped and raped Annie for over a year. He was scum and a sick sadist. I was thrilled with how in the end Annie dealt with him and escaped. She was a true fighter, but it seemed that she was not done fighting. I was wondering how the story would be continuing as she escaped around half way through the book. So what was going to happen now? It could have been all about Annie and how she had to cope with it all. Now it was that but it looked like trouble was not over for Annie as another attempt to kidnap her happened. I was shocked. The question then becomes what is going on? I found it interesting that it went towards the route that someone had this all planned, someone possible close to Annie. So I wouldn’t say who was doing this to Annie but there is someone behind it all. You will find out and be disgusted by this person, at least I was.

The ending, well I really wasn’t sure how it was going to end but I thought Chevy Stevens ended the book appropriately. There was enough there to let us know that Annie would be alright or at least on the way to being alright.

The Blessing

When reading the summary on the book I wasn’t too thrilled. I thought it was going to be a sad book where brothers are torn and love never actually happens. I am a romantic at heart so I love the happy endings. But Jude Deveraux surprised me as I read the book. I thought it was going one way and she completely flips the plot. The Blessing is an intriguing story of family and love.

Jason Wilding can have anything he wants but for some reason he is not happy. Then his brother David calls. David has found love in a woman named Amy who has a son, Max. David needs Jason’s help with taking care of Amy’s son so he can woo Amy.

Jason agrees but things turn as he finds himself falling for Amy and Max. But there are problems and the main one is Amy believes Jason is gay. Jason has to go along with David’s farce but every minute he gets to know Amy the more attached he becomes and the more he wants to break his agreement.

This is the first book I have tried with Jude Deveraux. I like her style with creating the plot as it was very simple but the characters add to the drama. I devoured the book and hoped that Jason found that happy ending but then she threw in a wrench and I was shocked how Deveraux played the plot. But in the long run it made sense with Amy’s character.

The Blessing is one of many novels by Jude Deveraux.

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

From reading the title, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever I imagined some woman in society acting as a spy. I suppose a diary seemed like the right correspondence that would be needed for a young woman to dive into the ton’s acts.  Of course I was wrong as I read the back page summary.

Miss Miranda Cheever fell in love at the age of ten to Nigel otherwise known as Turner or Lord Turner who is her best friends older brother.

He ruined her for other men with his smile and kind words but love would not come easily to Turner as he now has been devastated by love but they will find each other and love will be there only when it is declared.

This story was a toss up, occasionally things started to turn bad for Miranda and her love Turner. I had a feeling a happy ending would come to be but there was the struggle which was like pulling teeth.

The characters were witty and darker than some but so was called for in the situation they were put into. Miranda and Turner were perfectly alike then turned opposite as each grew up. One got a hard hit with life’s reality.

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda was the first book in the two book series. Olivia will now be having her turn.

Tidings of Great Joy by Sandra Brown

Ria Lavender is the last woman in the world to be swept away by a smooth line and a seductive smile.  Talented, sophisticated, and determined, she’s carved out a place for herself in the most prestigious architectural firm in the city.  And she’s just beginning to savor the fruits of her success when she meets a man who will change everything.

Mayor-Elect Taylor MacKenzie is handsome, charming, and charismatic.  Still, Ria never imagines that she’ll leave a Christmas party with him, or that, caught up in the magic of a snowfall and a bottle of champagne, she’ll give in to desire.  But the next morning she faces the stunning truth: she’s slept with a man she barely knows.  And that’s not the only surprise in store: eight weeks later, Ria Knows she’s carrying Taylor MacKensie’s child.

Desperate to spare her baby the pain and stigma of illegitimacy, Ria makes the only decision she can.  Somehow she must persuade Taylor MacKensie to agree to a temporary marriage.  Yet how do you propose marriage to a relative stranger?  How do you react when he meets your news with anger and disbelief?

Within hours, Taylor’s outrage cools and he insists that they marry immediately.  Suddenly Ria is sharing his house, his name, and something infinitely more dangerous to her  heart…a tenderness she never expected, a passion she can’t seem to control.  But afraid that Taylor’s motives have more to do with protecting his career-and his baby-than with his feelings for her, Ria will try her best to keep her distance…until the day tragedy strikes and teaches them both a lesson in miracles-and love.

Sandra Brown created a quaint story on two people who were not looking for love  found it in the mist of it all.  The characters are  unforgettable filled with passion and warmth.

A heartwarming story filled with mistakes, tragedy, blessings and an enduring love. Just right for the holiday season.

Exclusive by Sandra Brown

Heart pounding thriller, sabotage, blackmail, but in the end you still didn’t know what really happened.  At the end there is a conclusion but who is really guilty the lines get blurred with who really killed the baby.  Exclusive is intense and fantastic to read.

A second-string with first class talent, Barrie Travis is stuck at a low-budget independent television station struggling to survive among the giant networks.  Then, suddenly, she recieves an invitation from First Lady Vanessa Merritt for an off-the-record conversation.  Barrie’s reporter’s instincts are instantly aroused.

During a furtive, emotionally charged meeting, Barrie sees that the President’s beautiful wife is stunned by grief after the crib death of their infant son.  Vanessa’s motive for meeting Barrie seems to be to share her headache with another woman.  What Barrie overlooks in her excitment at hearing the confidences of the First Lady are the questions she should be asking: Why would Vanessa Merritt call her?  And why would the President’s wife hint to an unknown reporter that her child may have been murdered?

Blind to everything but getting her exclusive, Barrie is determined to investigate the death of teh President’s child.  But she soon realizes that getting the story will test her ethics and her patriotism.  Would she expose information that could topple the presidency?  She confronts this problem when she tracks down Gray Bondurant, a former presidential aide and war hero who shunned the poltics of Washington in favor of life on a remote Wyoming ranch.  And when they both begin to follow a trail of lies and intrigue right to the White House door, Barrie’s exclusive puts at least three people on the firing line: First Lady, Gray, and herself-as crimes and ambitions combine to endanger their lives and the future of the nation.

Finishing reading you are in awe and still confused in a way.  Excluive was an intense thriller and a joy to read about.  I liked that this concentrated on the first family with a reporter who gets a hunch and runs with it.

Reporters usually come out on the bottom and dead somewhere with these types of novels but with help Barrie is able to survive, barely.

I love the sexual tension between Gray and Barrie, it is intense just like everything else about them.  But it is not easy for them.

The secret of who is the babies father for the first lady will shock you.  It drove me crazy and you wanted to know the truth but only at the end do you find out.

Sandra Brown delivers a suspenseful and heated novel with the sensual tension and adventure.  A novel worth reading.