Three days, three titles

Staying home during the summer break suits me just perfectly…

We venture out to the beach in the evening when the weather is hot, and the local park gets plenty of visits during the day. Picnics and BBQs are the order of the day. But the thing I love to do most is to put my feet up at home and get some really serious reading done.

Last week I managed three books in three days, which is pretty much a record for me. I thought I’d share them with you as a ‘bundled’ review.

Close Enough to TouchFirst up I read Close Enough to Touch, by Victoria Dahl (Harlequin), a sexy romance – Hollywood girl meets rough-riding cowboy…

Cole Rawlins is a rugged Wyoming cowboy born and bred. Yet he can’t help but be drawn to the fascinating big-city girl who moves in across from him. He wants to get close enough to Grace to see past her tough facade, but if he does, she might see the real Cole. The one with a Hollywood history gone bad. As they discover a sizzling attraction, it becomes harder for him to keep his demons at bay – and those fires from long ago may burn them both.

The story is really entertaining and make-up artist Grace Barrett is a fascinating character. She’s not your typical Hollywood type, she’s tough to a fault and fiercely  independent. She’s also sufficiently flawed, explaining why she ends up dirt poor in Wyoming with only the bag on her back for company.

Cole Rawlins is pure cowboy, all rough hands and cowboy boots. Or so it would seem – scratch the surface of his history and you find big-city misadventure and regret. As you might expect, Grace and Cole hit it off straight away. Their attraction to each other is immediate, although Grace’s bruised heart (and ego) ensure that she keeps Cole at arms length – emotionally, but not physically. The sex is passionate, rough and a little bit ‘cowboy’ – not for the faint of heart!

Close Enough to Touch, is a good, quick read with a bit of ‘steam’ for your entertainment.

After MoonriseNext I read After Moonrise, by P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter (Harlequin) which was particularly perfect for a summer read. It comprises of two short stories (one by Cast, one by Showalter) both revolving around After Moonrise, a paranormal detective agency. The two novella’s make for nice, snappy reads. This book was decidedly darker in theme than Dahl’s novel, but just as much fun.

Possessed, by P.C. Cast
Being a psychic detective who can channel only negative emotions makes Kent Raef good at catching murderers, but bad at maintaining relationships. Then Lauren Wilcox arrives with a most intriguing case: her twin sister has been murdered and is communing with Lauren’s spirit – and sharing her body. Raef’s the only one who can track the killer and free the spirit. But soon he begins to wonder just which twin he wants to save…and why…

Haunted, by Gena Showalter
Artist Aurora Harper is convinced she’s witnessed a crime – a murder so brutal she’s repressed the memories, only to paint the scene by the light of the moon. Now she needs her new neighbour, Detective Levi Reid, to help her track down the victim – and the killer. Levi’s dealing with his own memory issues, but one thing he knows for sure: Harper is meant to be his, and nothing can take her away from him – not in this life…nor in death…

Both stories start with a surly (but sexy) detective, tough and detached. Both Raef and Reid have spent so long dealing with the dark underbelly of this world and other more paranormal landscapes, that they’ve become hardened and dejected.

Enter a beautiful young lady. Cue steamy sexual encounter, followed by unintended emotional connection. It’s so much fun!

Both of these stories have really interesting plots the spirit stealing and murderous memories had me gripped from the start.

After Moonrise is scary but not terrifying, and darkly funny at times. It was a really interesting blend of film noir, the paranormal and romance.

Better than chocolateFinally I picked up a book that did not at all help me get ‘back on the wagon’ after the Christmas binge. I spent a day reading Better Than Chocolate, by Sheila Roberts (Harlequin) and craving chocolate.

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations — ever since Great Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they’re about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank…and that would be a disaster — not only for the family but for the town of Icicle Falls, Washington. Can Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, come up with a way to save it?

This small-town story will particularly appeal to two types of people… chocoholics and entrepreneurs, as the novel sees Samantha working to solve a massive small-business problem, all the time consuming various chocolate delights.

I found this story a really interesting picture of an American town filled with every-day people struggling to meet the challenges of a weak American economy. The problems which the financial climate presents are only solved by community and Samantha, her family and her network find that they are forced to dig themselves out of a substantial business hole. This rescue is only made possible by banding together, as town and community.

Of course, then there’s the bank manager, who just happens to be a spunky young man from Samantha’s past. Will he play hero or villain?

At the beginning of Better Than Chocolate, the author challenges the reader get through the book without eating any chocolate. I must admit, I failed this challenge…

It was a great three days of reading, and it’s not finished yet. I’m reading like a machine, and I’ll have lots more reviews for you in the days to come!

Have you had a chance to do any extra reading over the break?

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