Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stock Up Saturday Reviews

The Welcome Home Garden Club
A Twilight,Texas Novel, #4
By Lori Wilde
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: March 29, 2011

Traditional meaning of pink and white roses: I love you still and always will.

Caitlyn Marsh owns the floral shop in Twilight, Texas, the perfect place for her given her long standing love of flowers. Raising her small son and running a business keep Caitlyn busy, but not busy enough to forget about her first love and high-school sweetheart, Gideon Garza. Eight years have passed since he left for Iraq, and Caitlyn finds herself alone and pregnant. She hires a private detective to find Gideon, and he tells her that Gideon has been killed in action. Shattered and heartbroken, Caitlyn manages to take each day as it comes, but she will never forget her first love. When Gideon rides back to Twilight on his motorcycle, she thinks she’s hallucinating.

Gideon joined the Army because he had no choice, but he joined the Green Berets and excelled at his job. Now eight years later, he is comes back to Twilight to attend the funeral of his father, who refused to ever acknowledge Gideon. Scarred physically and emotionally from war, Gideon is still trying to heal from all he has been through. Coming face to face with Caitlyn, the love of this life rocks his world. He still wants her, still loves her, but he doesn’t know if she will want a life with the man he has become. Can Gideon and Caitlyn heal the scars of their past and have the life they always wanted?

Small town romances are a favorite of mine, as are reunion stories and The Welcome Home Garden Club combines them in a cozy package. The ladies in Caitlyn’s garden club----the same gals who have been in the first three books of this series----are a delight, and their fondness for Caitlyn has them pulling for her and Gideon to find their happily-ever-after. And if two people ever deserved that happy ending, it’s Caitlyn and Gideon.

They were soul mates.

His mouth came down on hers with the weight of years behind it. He wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her to him. She went up on tiptoes, greedily trying to get as close as she could.

They inhaled a single breath, tasting the rapture of each other.

Their story made me laugh, cry and cheer them on every step of the way. If you like small town romances and the enduring love of two soul mates, this is the book for you.

~ Gannon

The School for Brides
By Cheryl Ann Smith
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: April 5, 2011

Courtesan stories are popular in historical romance, though generally aren’t my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed most of the ones I’ve read; I just don’t actively seek them out, per se. However, I decided to give The School for Brides by Cheryl Ann Smith a try because it is a debut book, and I always love to try a new author. I’m so glad I did because this is not exactly your typical courtesan story (i.e. the heroine is a jaded courtesan)—it’s a refreshing twist on that type of story.

Miss Eva Black runs a secret school for brides. She takes in women who are courtesans and no longer wish to be, and teaches them how to be a proper wife. After they’ve learned that, Eva matches them with gentleman she has interviewed who seek a wife. There is a reason she does this—her mother was a courtesan whose spirit and health severely declined after her aristocratic lover (Eva’s father) passed away. Yes, they loved each other immensely, but since he was married and had other children, that didn’t leave much for Eva and her mother. Eva has dedicated her life to helping courtesans find long-lasting happiness through a respectable marriage.

Then one day, Nicholas Drake, Duke of Stanfield, knocks on her door demanding Eva give him his mistress back. Eva is shocked by two things—that the duke knows about her school, and that he would actually want his mistress back. After all, men like him went through women like water. Unfortunately for Nicholas, his mistress was matched and happily married weeks ago. This, of course, makes Nicholas furious—how dare the dowdy spinster take what is his! He promises revenge and gets it by buying up Eva’s mother’s debts and then calls in the notes. When Eva can’t pay, he demands she take his mistress’s place or she and her mother will be turned out. Because of her mother’s poor health, Eva has no choice but to accept his offer and become that which she loathes—a courtesan.

The School for Brides is a delightful historical debut featuring a spirited heroine, a sexy, arrogant duke, charming secondary characters, and several surprising twists. And I loved the twists. If this book is any indication, I see a bright future ahead for Ms. Smith. I really enjoyed this one and am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series!


Highlander’s Curse
by Melissa Mayhue
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: March 29, 2011

Sexy Highlander Colin MacAlister has been cursed by the Queen of the Fae to feel and hear the pain of all the souls who have not found their soul mates. The only way Colin can be released from this curse is by joining with his own soul mate. Though burdened with the curse, Colin’s only concern is to save Scotland from the horrible English. That is until he wakes up in the 21st century … lying in bed naked and caressing the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.

Archaeology masters student Abigail Porter has just had a wonderful night out with her two best friends. Toasting to each other’s deepest wish over cocktails, Abigail makes a wish to find “the one.” A real man’s man. Believing the toast is just wishful dreaming, Abby is shocked to awake the next morning with a naked Adonis in her bed. And not just “in” her bed, but wrapped around her as if there is nowhere else he would rather be.

As Colin explains to Abby that he is from 14th century Scotland and needs to return there to save several of his family and friends. Colin is also so adamant that Abby used faerie magic to “wish” him to the 21st century. After hearing all of this, Abby is sure the man is deranged or at least delirious. There is no possible way time travel exists. Heck no! But Abby’s opinion soon changes when a seemingly insignificant person in her life turns out to be a villain determined to use Abby’s faerie magic for his evil purposes. Testing Colin’s theory of magic, Abby wishes both Colin and herself to 14th century Scotland to escape the villain. Unsure if their romance can survive the day-to-day routine when there is a 700 year time span, Colin and Abby both have decide if love is worth it.

This paranormal time travel offers up the best of everything -- a strong, intelligent heroine and an extremely hot Highlander who share a passionate romance in the 21st century and the 14th century. What’s not to love about time travel with a sexy Scot? The 8th book in the Daughters of the Glenn series, Highlander’s Curse is a delightful read that is sure to leave any Highlander-loving reader satisfied. No need to worry about reading the previous books in the series as this novel is easily read as a standalone.

~ Buffie

Lover Unleashed
Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 9
By J.R. Ward
Publisher: NAL
Release Date: March 29, 2011

J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series has often been referred to as “book crack” and for good reason. In Lover Unleashed, book 9 of the series, Payne, twin sister of Vishous, meets the man destined to be her mate. After finally having escaped her mother, The Scribe Virgin, Payne is paralyzed in an accident, and there is only one person who can heal her: Dr. Manuel Manello, Jane’s (Vishous’ mate) former boss.

Manny has mourned Jane’s death for the past year, so when she appears asking for his help, to say he’s stunned is a massive understatement. But stunned is exactly the right word when he sees Payne for the first time, and all he can think and feel is “Mine.” When Manny discovers that Payne is a vampire, his feelings for her don’t change, but he’s almost certain they have no real future together. They say that love conquers all, but does that mean that a human and a vampire can find their happily-ever-after?

My Black Dagger Brotherhood addiction continues to be fed with each book in this series. Some books I love more than others, and while I enjoyed Lover Unleashed, it left some unanswered questions and introduced some new characters and side stories that left me hanging. Which, of course, means I’ll continue reading this series to find out what happens next. J.R. Ward’s writing style and incredible world building is unparalleled!

~ Gannon

What good books have you read lately?  


  1. Great reviews ladies
    I am really looking forward to The School For Brides I have heard lots about this one.

    I am off work at the moment so have been reading a few books lately trying to catch up LOL
    I really enjoyed Suzanne Ferrell's The Surrender of lacey Morgan Mistress by Midnight Nicola Cornick
    Fatal Justice Marie Force
    Promoted to Wife Paula Roe
    Dukes to the Left of me, Princes to the Right Kieran Krammer such great reading I am just about to start The Reckless Bride Stephanie Laurens.

    Have Fun

  2. Right now I am re-reading all the Harry Potter books from go to woe. I had forgotten how much fun they are. No wonder they have inspired a generation of children to read. I know children of 7 years of age who could not wait to read the largest of this series.


  3. Great reviews! Like Helen, I can't wait to read The School for Brides. I love the dress on the cover, by the way.

    JR Ward is another author whose books I adore. I wish she wrote faster because the wait for the next BDB book is killing me already.

  4. Thanks, Helen! I do hope you enjoy Cheryl Ann's debut. It's a wonderful story. Enjoy your time off work!

  5. I am a J.R.Ward fan too. I wish I had the patience to just wait and get them all before reading but I just can't have them sitting there looking at me.

    I have been reading Nicole Jordan's The Courtship Wars series, really good reading experience.

  6. Oh, marybelle, how fun! We love Harry Potter. My son and I read the books last year when he was 10 and now my daughter (who turns 7 this week) keeps telling me she can't wait to read them. So, I totally agree with you!

  7. I love the cover, too, Antonia. That's the only drawback from reading an early copy--no pretty cover! I hope you enjoy The School for Brides!

  8. Dianna said: I am a J.R.Ward fan too. I wish I had the patience to just wait and get them all before reading but I just can't have them sitting there looking at me.

    LOL! I've never read a J.R. Ward book, but I feel that way about several authors. Some books you just have to read as soon as they are released!

  9. Helen, I really want to read The School for Brides, even more now that I read Andrea's review. :-)

  10. Marybelle, I love Harry Potter! I started reading the series years ago to my sons, and they read them again on their own. Now my daughter is reading them. Brilliant series!

  11. Antonia, J.R. Ward really needs to write faster. LOL It's agony to wait for the next book in any series you're addicted to.

  12. Dianna, I'd never be able to have all of the BDB books before I started reading them. The suspense would kill me! LOL

  13. I just read ETERNAL RIDER by Larissa Ione and LOVED it! I am now working on getting all her Demonica Series, and just started Lords of the Underworld series, and starting BDB series. I don't know why I had not read these yet, I had been reading almost constant historicals with a little paranormal romance thrown in from time to time.

  14. I read the School for Brides - loved it! Just finished To Wicked to Kiss and started To Sinful to Deny - my first 'gothics'.

  15. Hey there, Helen! I think I have already told you how jealous I am of your time off from work. But I am so happy that you are able to read so many great books!

  16. You know, Marybelle, I have never read any of the HP books or seen any of the movies. I do have 2 boys, so maybe we should plan a weekend to catch up on all the movies.

  17. Hi Antonia! I have heard so many great things about JR Ward's book but have yet to open one up. At least when I do I know I will have plenty to read since she has so many of them out.

  18. Dianna, don't you just love Nicole Jordan's stuff? I haven't read that series, but I really want to (along with a million other books, LOL!)

  19. June, it sounds like your TBR is pretty full too. Happy reading!

  20. Dtchycat, sounds like you are enjoying the series too!

  21. I have School For Brides and the latest JR Ward book in my TBR pile, very excited for both -- I just can't seem to get to either of them.

    I've been on a YA kick and am finishing up YS Lee's The Agency Series, 2nd book The Body in the Tower -- so good.

    It's nice to "see" you ladies again. I'll stop by more often. Buffie, I think you'd enjoy HP...just sayin.

  22. Hey Amy! You think I'd enjoy HP? I'm not too sure. But I guess I will never know unless I take the plunge. :-)

  23. Buffie, the first 3 will be a breeze, and while the ones after are still great, maybe a little editing of the Quidditch (sp?) scenes would have been good. You'll understand.

  24. Thanks for the information, Amy!

  25. I just finished Jennifer Blakes's Master of Arms 6 book series. Set in 1840's New Orleans, it follows the sword masters as they deal with the society and social structure of the time. The characters are well drawn and the story lines interesting. There was always an unexpected plot twist or two. I love the historic detail of her books, both of what is happening in the country and the world and the details of the society and daily life. I would love to see more of this series, but I am afraid it is done.