I love to read. Started blog, Cocktails and Books, to share my love of books.

Small Town Girl

Small Town Girl - Linda Cunningham I wasn't sure if I was going to like this one based on the first chapter of the book, but I ended up really enjoying it despite not really liking Lauren all that much.

Lauren Smith grew up with hippie parents. She vowed she was going to move up in the world and have a better life. On the verge of marrying a very wealthy older gentleman Lauren seems to have it all. But her parents throw a little wrench in her plans when they deed over her grandmother's house to her as a wedding present. She doesn't want the old farm house in rural Vermont. She doesn't want to be reminded of where she came from. So instead of keeping it, she's dead set on selling it. Convinced by her best friend that she needs to deal with the house herself rather than passing if off to someone else, she heads to Vermont.

Once at the house, she discovers she has no hot water and calls for a plumber. When the plumber gets there she's taken aback by the Adonis with a pipe wrench. She feels an attraction to him that she's never felt before, but at the same time, he's rude and irritating. She doesn't hide her disdain for him, but when given the opportunity in town see seeks him out.

Caleb Cochran has done everything he could over the past five years to keep himself busy. Still dealing with the death of his young wife, he's never been interested in any woman other than the one he was married to. But the moment he lays his eyes on Lauren that all changes. The rub each other the wrong way immediately, but there is something about her that keeps drawing him back in. He knows she's engaged and he knows she's leaving but he can't help himself when it comes to her.

Lauren is very snotty and uppity in the beginning of this story I took an immediate dislike to her. But as the story moves along, you can see that she's starting to realize that what she thought was "making it" wasn't really what made her happy. By the end, you were pulling for Lauren and liked the changes you saw in her.

Caleb laid it all out there. He was a man who knew what he wanted and wasn't afraid to ask for it. Too bad, when he asked, what he wanted didn't want the same thing.

A very enjoyable story about a woman understanding that "making it" doesn't necessarily mean you have money, fancy cars and a ritzy address, but finding happiness within yourself.


Forbidden - Syrie James, Ryan M. James Look for review on Night Owl Reviews

With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series, 1)

With Good Behavior - Jennifer Lane Grant Marsden and Sophie Taylor meet, briefly, outside their parole officers office soon after their releases from prison. Grant had just spent the past two years in Gurnee State Prison for aggravated robbery while Sophie spent a year in a woman's prison for accessory charges. Neither of them know how link their lives are.

From their brief meeting outside their PO's office, both Grant and Sophie are drawn to each other. But it's not until Grant offers Sophie a supportive hug and helps her find a job that they really take the time to talk to one another. Agreeing not to talk about what landed them in jail or who they were in the past, they set out to get to know one another.

Grant is the youngest son to Mafia Godfather, Vincenzo (Enzo) Barberi. The man was an abusive drunk who terrorize Grant, his older brother Logan and their mother. While their mother was able to get them to the safety of her brother, Joe Marsden, it wasn't soon enough. Logan ran back to the only family he's ever know...that of his uncle Angelo, Enzo's younger brother. While Joe did what he could to save Grant from the Barberi influences, Logan embraces the "families" line of work. Unfortunately, Logan embraced it a little too well and that ultimately led him to the doorstep of new psychologist, Dr. Sophie Taylor.

Sophie crossed a professional line when comforting her client, Logan, turned into a sexual relationship. She knew it was wrong, but she was confident she could help Logan deal with the abuse he suffered at the hands of his abusive father and the guilt he felt when he couldn't protect his little brother. She thought Logan cared for her too, but when she's arrested by the police, he leaves her high and dry to take the blame.

As Sophie and Grant's romance heats up, their tie to Logan Barberi rears it's ugly head and both of their pasts start to catch up with them. With Grant's family after both of them, can they manage to outrun the mafia while staying out of prison?

This book is an emotional roller coaster. I swear, if there was a real Grant Marsden I would have to run up to the poor man and give him a huge, comforting embrace. Grant was one of the most emotionally gut-wrenching heroes I have ever read. The trauma this poor man has suffered at the hands of not only his father, but also his brother, is horrifying. He's a sweet, lovable man that breaks your heart every time he has to relive one of those awful moments with his family. Thankful he's met Sophie, who's more than capable of dealing with Grant and his issues.

Sophie was groomed to work with her father in his construction business. So when she choose to study psychology instead, her domineering father casts her out on her own. After her conviction, she's convinced her father hates her, not only for falling into trouble because of Logan Barberi, but because she caused the death of her mother. The woman was very good at covering up her lack of self-esteem. She took fault and blame for everything that went wrong and didn't trust her judgement in men. But McSailor (Grant's nickname) changed all that and showed Sophie that good men protect those that they love.

This book will rip your heart out for our hero and heroine while providing an excellent intrigue storyline with Grant's mafia family and what they're involved in. Have a tissue're going to need it!

Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series, 2)

Bad Behavior - Jennifer Lane The second book in the CONduct series picks up shortly after the first. Sophie is still recovering from cousin Carlo's attack while preparing to start her teaching position at DePaul. Grant, still reeling from the torment his family put Sophie through, dealing with the death of his brother and the prospect of finding a new job, really doesn't want to participate in the couple's therapy sessions their PO has assigned.

But therapy is what Sophie and Grant embark on with Dr. Hunter Hayes. Hunter was working with Sophie when she was first released, but he agrees to take on the couple against his better judgement. He knows right away that things with this couple are not going to be easy. He was right.

Grant's nightmares are bad and with therapy, things seem to get worse. Reliving the nightmare he lived through and knowing that the woman he loves knows all his dirty little secrets is almost too much for him. And when Grant learns exactly what kind of relationship Sophie had with his brother, Logan, Grant snaps.

But Grant's not the only one needing to deal with issues. Sophie's dealing with her tenuous relationship with her father and trying to figure out what her professional life is going to be like now that she's teaching about psychology instead of practicing it. Plus there's her ex-professor/crush who she now works with and makes her feel inferior.

While Grant and Sophie have their own individual issues to deal with, they also need to help Grant's nephew Ben. Grant's determined to make sure Ben doesn't fall into the family business, but Ben's not fully engaged in his clean-cut lifestyle.

But as Grant and Sophie make strides in strengthening themselves and their relationship, old foes resurface and put our couple right in path of trouble. Can they finally stop the Barberi's and live happily ever after?

Sophie and Grant are as cute as ever in this addition to the series, but they both face some real hardships in their relationship. Through their counseling sessions they both learn they have their own set of issues that need to be worked on in order to ensure their relationship will be strong. It was very interesting to "watch" them work through those issues and get to the place where they can actually address those that caused the brunt of their issues.

The continued Barberi story was interesting and we get to witness Enzo Barberi first hand and how the man can still terrorize his thirty year old son....even from behind bars. My only complaint would be what happened to Enzo and the rest of the Barberi family after the events that happened at the end of the book. Maybe we'll get more of that in the third book in the series.

While not quite as heartbreaking as "With Good Behavior" but it was nice to see a good therapist help Grant and Sophie deal with their issues and work towards being healthier individuals and creating that strong, lasting, loving relationship.

Can't wait for book 3.

Baby, Don't Lose My Number

Baby, Don't Lose My Number - Karen  Erickson Look for review on Night Owl Reviews

Simple Twist of Fate

Simple Twist of Fate  - Karen  Erickson Look for review on Night Owl Reviews

Marking Time: Treading Water Trilogy, Book 2

Marking Time (Treading Water, #2) - Marie Force Look for review on Night Owl Reviews

Starting Over: Treading Water Trilogy, Book 3

Starting Over (Treading Water, #3) - Marie Force Absolutely fabulous. Look for review on Night Owl Reviews

Honey, I Shrunk the Werewolf

Honey, I Shrunk the Werewolf - Dakota Cassidy Look for review on Romancing the Book

Deceive Her With Desire

Deceive Her With Desire - Nina Pierce Review to come.

She Tempts the Duke

She Tempts the Duke - Lorraine Heath Look for review on Night Owl Reviews

Maid for Love: McCarthys of Gansett Island (Volume 1)

Maid for Love - Marie Force Another great story!

Fool for Love: The McCarthys of Gansett Island (Volume 2)

Fool for Love  - Marie Force Review to come. Too cute


Bloodlines - Lindsay Anne Kendal Keira has returned to her friends, three weeks after she had died. While they are excited to have her back, none of truly questioned how it is that she is back. But Keira has changed in the time that she was away and she's afraid of what her friends will think. Keira is also struggling with her feelings for demon Eligos, who has been sent by her mother to protect her while in the human realm. But she learns that taking a leap of faith means putting herself out there for the one that you love.

Of course, the group is still trying to determine who is trying to start the demon war and keeps attacking them. It's not easy to do when even Lucifer himself can't find those responsible. So the group takes to upping their power with some demonic help and training so they can be ready when the time comes.

I enjoyed this installment in the series so much better. Maybe that's because Keira is in a much more adult relationship with Eligos. Sure she has to deal with high school "hijinks" by jealous ex-paramours, but ultimately Keira is acting much older than her 22 years and we have the delightful Eligos to thank for that.

We also get insight into Lillith and Lucifer's world in Hell and meet some more of the residents of Hell. Much more enjoyable and engaging.

As with the first book, you get sucked into the what's happening with Keira (not so much everyone else) and stand behind her everything she does: whether it be standing up to her mother, fighting with Eligos or confessing her true feelings for a certain 4000+ year old demon.

Again, I applaud the author for sucking me to the point that I quickly checking Goodreads to see when the last book in the series comes out (January? Really??). While I may not like the flow of the storyline or some of the unnecessary elements, you still can't help but look forward to the last book just to make sure Keira gets her HEA.

North of Need (Hearts of the Anemoi)

North of Need  - Laura Kaye Look for review on Night Owl Reviews


Bloodlines - Lindsay Anne Kendal Keira Jameson, after the death of her grandfather, decides to find out where some comes from and how it is she came in the powers that she has. With her best friend, Lily, by her side she leaves West Chester, Pa and head to Salem, Ma. Paying for a cheap hotel for a week, the friends begin to visit different areas of Salem hoping to get answers to some of the clues Keira found in her grandfather's papers. What they find instead are a group of boys (I guess young men) who seem to follow Keira and Lily everywhere. It's not until a confrontation that Keira and Lily discover that the boys: Lucian, Jake, Danny and Tyler are descendents of the town founding fathers, and Keira is the missing 5th bloodline they've been searching for.

Soon the six of them are inseparable but they discover that the five bloodline descendents need to work together to to fight the coming event bent on starting a demon war and destroying them.

This one had such potential. You could see where the author wanted to go, but it just never quite made it there.

Keira was a strong girl who had to deal with losing the one person who loved her as much as her deceased father (that person being her grandfather) and then finding out that she is part of 5 families that has been persecuted during the witch trials possibly because of the otherworldy gifts they had. She's determined to find out who she is and how she got that way. She's a heroine most would enjoy rooting for (even if the plot sometimes makes you wonder why she's in that book). Even when she spends a large portion of the book being torn between Lucian and Tyler, you want her to do whatever makes her happy and be with the one that lets her be herself.

But it's the rest of the cast and sometimes the plot that had me scratching my head. Lucian, Tyler, Danny and Jake were supposed to have these powers that were going to help protect whatever was coming to Salem (along with Keira), but they just seemed so wishywashy sometimes it made you wonder if they would knock Keira or poor Lily out of the way to take cover themselves. And all of them instantly becoming best of friends 5 minutes after they figured out who Keira was didn't seem believable either.

That said, the last 40-50 pages had me sucked and squeezing my kindle and praying I could read faster so I could move onto the next book in the series to see what happens. Sure it took 240 pages to get me to care about what was going on, but once I was there I needed to know what happened.

So while this wasn't an absolute favorite of mine, I will give it credit for sucking me in at the end and making me need to find out what happens next.

Currently reading

Her Man Flint
Jerri Drennen
Desperate Betrayal
Hildie McQueen