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August Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

Soul DeepSoul Deep by Pamela Clare – C I usually love Pamela Clare’s romantic suspense books and I was excited to see this one release. However, I found this novella overly saccharin and the epilogue was far too cheesy for me and hit a few of my personal hot buttons.

On a more positive note, I was happy to see Janet Killeen again and I liked Jack West from previous books. Jack is 63 and therefore significantly older than the regular romance hero. Janet is 45 and that doesn’t seem the least bit old to me anymore – I’d have almost preferred her to be older actually (with the added bonus of no hot button epilogue because reasons). This is a novella and I expected the romance would be quick but even so I was not expecting the characters to acknowledge (if only to themselves) they were in love in mere days. That was too fast for me and took the book out of realistic and into fairytale for me. Perhaps if I had started the book that way I’d have been okay but I did not so… The beginning was strong but I’m afraid the author started to lose me at the point the L word was first mentioned.   I did like that Janet was always competent, even when she was stuck in a ditch in her car in a blizzard, she had a space blanket to keep her warm.  Perhaps Jack is unusually vigorous for a man of his age (who knows – when I get closer to that age myself I may well think back to this post and slap my past self upside the head) but I was prepared to go with it for the story. 

Rocky Mountain Romance by Vivian Arend, narrated by Tatiana Sokolov

Rocky Mountain Romance audioWhy I read it: Someone linked to the audiobook on Twitter and I one-clicked that sucker straight away.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads) Second chances are the sweetest—and the hottest.

It took a spectacularly embarrassing break-up to knock Steve Moonshine Coleman off his lazy butt. In the ten months since that night, he’s changed his ways, and now that Melody’s back in town, it’s time for this sweet-talking cowboy to convince her to get back in the saddle with him.

A return to her veterinary position in Rocky Mountain House was always in the cards for Melody Langley. Getting back together with Steve? Never part of the plan. He had lots of potential but zero ambition, and there’s no way she’ll accept anything less than a man who can keep up with her, in and out of bed.

But the new-and-improved cowboy is impossible to resist, so Melody issues a challenge. Three months to prove he’s reformed. Three months of Steve orchestrating one sexual indulgence after another—wicked distractions from the old boys’ club Melody faces at work and Steve’s growing responsibilities.

He’s got one shot to prove with more than words what’s in his heart and soul.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I’ve been enjoying this series mostly on audio – Rocky Mountain Freedom isn’t out yet so I read that one – and I was happy when I saw there was a new book out.  Not only that, it’s a bit longer at more than eight hours of listening.  Steve Coleman hasn’t featured strongly in the series previously.  He was playing guitar and singing with the band at Trader’s Pub a while back when a woman dumped a pitcher of beer on his head but other than that, he was mostly unknown to me.  (There’s a family tree on the author’s website which is helpful. Go here.)

Rocky Mountain Freedom by Vivian Arend

RockyMountainFreedomWhy I read it:  I bought it because I couldn’t wait for the audiobook (which I think will be available soon, just not soon enough for me!).

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Three hurting hearts. Too many secrets. One chance to conquer their fears.

Over the past year, Travis Coleman lost the two people he allowed closest to his heart. Both gave him ultimatums—then left. Hell if he needs that kind of pain again. Time to move forward without the friends he thought might save him from his dangerous cravings.

When Ashley Sims returns to Rocky Mountain House, her rambling lifestyle isn’t all she’s hoping to change. Travis snagged a piece of her, and while getting tangled in his issues again might be crazy, she hasn’t given up on him.

Nine months ago, Cassidy Jones walked away to stop his best friend from making a huge mistake. Temptation lingers, though, and when Travis shows up on his turf accompanied by a sensually uninhibited woman, the combination tosses fuel on the banked fire.

Passion flares among the three of them, as hot as the summer days. But are they willing to push the limits, and fight for love?

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I was in the mood for hot and sexy and reliably good so I checked where I was up to in the Six Pack Ranch series and downloaded Rocky Mountain Freedom.  My favourite kind of menage book is where all three are romantically and sexually involved.  Here, I thought there was perhaps a bit of a fairytale acceptance of the polyamorous relationship but the problems weren’t entirely glossed over either and I was able to buy into the fantasy of the romance without any trouble.

Rocky Mountain Angel by Vivian Arend, narrated by Tatiana Sokolov

RockyMountainAngelWhy I read it:  When I listened to Rocky Mountain Rebel recently, I realised I had accidentally skipped this book.  So I bought it and rectified the lack.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Allison Parker needs a convincing excuse to come home to Rocky Mountain House, a hopelessly romantic reason that won’t let her mother suspect the truth—that Allison has discovered Mom is keeping a terrible secret from the family.

Gabe Coleman is struggling with two of the roughest parts of ranching: dealing with his bull-headed mule of a father and making enough to pay the bills. When his old friend Allison offers to help him develop his ideas for organic ranching—in return for pretending to be her fiancé—it sounds like the perfect set-up.

Yet the deception leads them in an unexpected direction, where their shared daily hells are erased by nights of heavenly distraction. It’s not supposed to be real, but once the gates are opened, there’s no denying they’ve found in each other a little bit of paradise.

To break free of the past and face the future, though, will take more than temporary pleasures. It’ll take putting their hearts on the line.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I enjoyed this one and I say this fondly: the set-up is a little fairly unbelievable. Allison’s mother is very ill but doesn’t want to tell the family. Someone has told Allison and she wants to come home but doesn’t want to let on that she knows. So, plan A is “pretend to be engaged to Gabe Coleman”.  Not, “I got retrenched from my job so I thought I’d come home for a while” or something else a little more realistic. Because what we want is the two protagonists in close proximity so the business of falling in love can begin, I could overlook some of the logic problems here. Gabe, to his credit, does at least think about what the deception might mean for his relationships with his (very large) family.  At base, there is a longstanding connection and attraction between the pair and the rest is just excuses. However, once the proximity begins, things progress a lot more believably.  There was a definite chemistry between the pair and but for logistics (they lived in different towns, Allison wasn’t planning on coming back and Gabe is very tied to his land), they would have started dating a year before I think.

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