"A Cowboy and His Neghbor" by Emmy Eugene

 



Description As On Amazon:

Best friends and neighbors shouldn't share a kiss...Jenna Wright grew up next-door to Chestnut Ranch and the five Johnson brothers. Her older brother was best friends with Seth Johnson, and Jenna may or may not have had a crush on the handsome cowboy in her younger years.It was a long time ago, she tells herself.Now that she's divorced and back in town, she definitely has eyes for her best friend.Will he ever notice her?Jenna reasons that he's busy with his ranch and his dog rescue operation. They had an Edible Neighborhood project they were working until funding became a problem, and when Seth learns he's inherited over two billion dollars from his mother's half of a family cosmetic empire, he rushes to tell Jenna they can now fund the Edible Neighborhood. He wasn't supposed to kiss her. It was an accident, he tells himself. But Seth's own feelings roar to the surface, and he can't ignore them.Where did those come from?Can best friends and next-door neighbors Seth and Jenna navigate their rocky pasts to find a future happily-ever-after together?







A lot of things in this book didn't quite ring true to the characters. Why didn't Seth's mother spend some of their money to make her and her husband's lives a little easier? Why did the sons have to spread themselves even thinner trying to keep up with their yard work and house chores? The inheritance portion of the story was my least favorite angle. The two main characters could be interesting at times. The dog rescue was one of my favorite highlights since I am a big supporter of animal welfare. I enjoy a good story without sexual content, but the way these two fell for eachother seemed juvenile considering they were older and previously married. Although it passed the time, I can't say I'd strongly recommend it, and I don't think I'll read the next book. 

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"Open House" by Katie Sise

 


DESCRIPTION:
A decade ago in upstate New York, art student Emma McCullough walked into the woods and was never seen again. It’s a mystery that still haunts her bucolic university town and her broken family, especially her sister, Haley, whose need for closure has become an obsession. But now, finally, the first piece of evidence in the vanishing has been found: Emma’s bracelet, lodged in a frozen piece of earth at the bottom of a gorge. For Emma’s three best college friends, for a beloved former teacher, and for Haley, the chilling trinket is more than a clue in a resurrected cold case. It’s a trigger.

Then a woman is attacked during an open house, and the connections between the two crimes, ten winters apart, begin to surface. So do the secrets that run as deep and dark as the currents in this quiet river town.


It took several chapters to get into this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it. The base of it is good; once you brush off all the stuff thrown at you to distract and confuse. I felt overwhelmed by the number of turns the author took to get to the truth. I also found the final extra twist about the sister's disappearance a little hard to believe because the author hadn't sufficiently shaded the perpetrator in a way that made me accept their actions. I enjoyed the second half of the book better than the first. The jumping around in time was somewhat jarring, and the epilogue disappointed me some.





"The Next Wife" by Kaira Rouda

 


DESCRIPTION:
Kate Nelson had it all. A flourishing company founded with her husband, John; a happy marriage; and a daughter, Ashlyn. The picture-perfect family. Until John left for another woman. Tish is half his age. Ambitious. She’s cultivated a friendship with Ashlyn. Tish believes she’s won.

She’s wrong.

Tish Nelson has it all. Youth, influence, a life of luxury, and a new husband. But the truth is, there’s a lot of baggage. Namely, his first wife—and suspicions of his infidelity. After all, that’s how she got John. Maybe it’s time for a romantic getaway, far from his vindictive ex. If Kate plans on getting John back, Tish is one step ahead of her.

She thinks.

But what happens next is something neither Kate nor Tish saw coming. As best-laid plans come undone, there’s no telling what a woman will do in the name of love—and revenge.






There is a thin line between love and hate. Tish loves money, and if she can't hold on to the man that provides it, then watch out. An Older man with a mid-life crisis thinks he's found his soulmate in a woman young enough to be his daughter. Problem: He has a wife who doesn't understand him or appreciate him, and they fight all the time after building a company and raising a daughter together. Of course, the younger woman will win, right? But, it's not easy being the next wife. This book set me up to dislike characters, feel sorry for others, and think they are weak to discover that they are not weak but diabolical. I admit, I had figured out the secrets before the end of the book, but I liked how the author revealed them at the end. I enjoyed this story and will keep an eye out for other work by this author. 


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"Pure Trash: The Story" by Bette A. Stevens

 


DESCRIPTION:
It's PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/short story), a Compelling Prequel to the novel DOG BONE SOUP. The year is 1955. Remember the Good Old Days? You know, the 1950s and ‘60s, when America was flying high. The All American Family lived a life filled with hopes and dreams and life’s necessities too. Shawn Daniels isn’t your typical American Boomer Boy. No, Shawn is a poor boy. He can’t join Boy Scouts or sports teams. There’s not even enough money for necessities. Besides, Shawn doesn’t have time for that. But when chores are done, there’s always fishing!
In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to turn into treasure. It is going to be a great day. Shawn is sure of it. No school and no bullies to remind him that he’s not one of the crowd. This is a story about bullies and what it’s like to be bullied (and not just by kids). It may redefine your definition of bullying. If you were a child who was thought of as “different” in some way, you know what bullying is about: torment, persecution, intimidation, to name a few of its synonyms. For Shawn and Willie, their difference was based upon the social status of a dysfunctional family and the alcoholism and abject poverty in which they grew up.

                                



Shawn and Willie's brotherly connection entertained and warmed my heart. They found joy in simple things, and even though they were poor, they tried to keep a positive attitude. The way they were treated by adults broke my heart, especially when a church member who kindly smiled at them turned to hateful comments and behavior when they needed her help. I enjoyed reading this short story from a time before my time. 

"Five Alarm Kisses" by Minette Lauren

 





 Raphe and Nina's story is Hot In Magnolia. These two true-to-life characters will have you rooting for them. He almost lost his life fighting a fire. Nina lost her ex-fiance in the same fire. They both feel guilty about the situation and have to overcome these obstacles to have a happy,  committed relationship. Nina has a hard time trusting him because of his bachelor's past, and when some cast members of that past show up on his doorstep looking for a threesome, Nina runs away, but Raphe only wants Nina now. This story includes various supporting characters that will make you laugh. Rosie is a bawdy and unpredictable senior citizen with a penchant for moonshine and pot brownies. That basset hound, LuLu, sure gets around. Sit down, relax, and let Minette Lauren take you away for a while to Magnolia, introduce you to some new people, and keep up with some from the first book. 

"The Haunting of Brynn Wilder" by Wendy Webb




After a devastating loss, Brynn Wilder escapes to Wharton, a tourist town on Lake Superior, to reset. Checking into a quaint boardinghouse for the summer, she hopes to put her life into perspective. In her fellow lodgers, she finds a friendly company of strangers: the frail Alice, cared for by a married couple with a heartbreaking story of their own; LuAnn, the eccentric and lovable owner of the inn; and Dominic, an unsettlingly handsome man inked from head to toe in mesmerizing tattoos.


But in this inviting refuge, where a century of souls has passed, a mystery begins to swirl. Alice knows things about Brynn, about all of them, that she shouldn’t. Bad dreams and night whispers lure Brynn to a shuttered room at the end of the hall, a room still heavy with a recent death. And now she’s become irresistibly drawn to Dominic—even in the shadow of rumors that wherever he goes, suspicious death follows.


In this chilling season of love, transformation, and fear, something is calling for Brynn. To settle her past, she may have no choice but to answer.




After reading it, I don't know what I initially expected from this book. I downloaded it as a free read many months ago and finally got to it recently. It turned out Brynn was haunted, or rather, her vacation place was haunted. The setting is lovely; the author did a good job making me believe I was there. There were some quirky characters. It left a lot of questions. The local authority's suspicion of Dominic never came to fruition. Many questions about Dominic were left hazy. Why did he save Alice if she was doomed to die anyway? Why Did he dive into the water that final fateful time? The ending filled in some details about Brynn and Jane Doe found dead in the beginning. That was the fascinating element of the book. When I finished and thought about it, I got a nice feeling. I want to believe in life after death, love that transcends time and space, and a commitment that lasts for eternity. 



 

"All The Right Things" by Stephanie Renee

 



The sexual content consumes this story. If you prefer that, you may like this book. After probably their fifth round, I started skimming these sections. Andi's life growing up in foster care, marrying the wrong guy, and then finding her knight in shining armor played out from within Andi's thoughts and dialogue. Most of this novel happened inside the characters' heads, switching between Andi and Jonas. Repetition of her self-deprecating thoughts and talk and his continually "saying the right things" had me waiting for a moment of conflict, something that would test their relationship. Although they had a fight at one point, and Andi left to handle some past business, it didn't seem that explosive. Even with Andi's past sad circumstances, I didn't grow invested in the story or the couple. Jonas and his family were the best part of the book, although most of their relationship was also explained through talk.




"Follow You Home" by Mark Edwards

 


AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down. But after a perfect start, an encounter with a young couple on a night train forces Daniel and Laura to cut their dream trip short and flee home.

Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what happened that night. But as they try to fit into their old lives again, they realise they are in terrible danger—and that their nightmare is just beginning…



Mark Edwards has a knack for psychological thrillers. "Follow You Home" lived up to its name. When Danny and Laura returned from a vacation that turned nightmare, the sense of evil waiting in the wings to reach out and snatch them made me believe it had followed them home from Romania. This book caused a rollercoaster of emotions, and when I couldn't believe how bad one person was, another came into frame that made the previous one look mild. I intended to read for thirty minutes or so when I got into bed, but I couldn't stop. Two hours later, I had to force myself to put the book down and try to sleep, although it wasn't easy after the chilling subject matter. Twists shocked me, and the final one left me questioning if the author took it too far; could he pull that off? Did he get away with it? I think he did!






"Cupcakes and Kisses" (Hot in Magnolia Book 1) by Minette Lauren

 


AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

What does it take to make it Hot in Magnolia?

* One cup of sexy

* Two tablespoons of sizzle

* And a whole lot of heart


Magnolia, Texas, might be booming with single men, but as far as Melvina Banks is concerned, it’s a bust. Between her volunteer work with the Magnolia Blossoms, tutoring at the local library, whipping up cupcakes for the local firefighters, and working at her dad’s diner, she has no time for blind dates let alone finding “the one”. Melvina would much rather spend her precious downtime fine-tuning her plan to open a bakery. When celebrity chef, Riley Nash comes to town for a Blossoms fundraiser, Melvina hopes for a chance to pick Riley’s business-savvy brain. With Riley’s nationally acclaimed talents and his successful new restaurant, Braised, he just might be the one who can help Melvina whip her blossoming idea into a recipe for success. Trouble is, she can’t seem to keep her mind on business when it comes to Riley’s devilish good looks and sizzling charm. The heat is turned up when Magnolia’s handsome fire chief, Manny Owens, sparks an interest in Melvina. Torn between two of Magnolia’s hottest bachelors, she can’t help but feel the burn. Can Melvina separate her rising affections for both men, or will she end up with egg on her face?

Cupcakes and Kisses is the first book in the delicious new romantic comedy series, Hot in Magnolia, by award-winning author Minette Lauren. Set in the burgeoning town of Magnolia, Texas, this hot new series is brimming with laugh-out-loud moments and chock-full of endearing characters who will have you rooting for love and cheering for happy endings.




CUPCAKES AND KISSES charmed me. It was both comical and sometimes serious. Melvina's search for love had me rooting for her happiness. She had the attention of two good men; she had to choose one of them and remain true to her dreams. I liked that Melvina was a mature character that knew what she wanted and had real-life issues she'd dealt with such as maintaining a huge weight loss. Her best friend and her Pez dispenser were a little iffy. The Magnolia Blossom president was someone you could love to hate. Riley and Manny were each dreamy in their own way - a bonus. The happily-ever-after was sigh-worthy. I will definitely read more books by Minette Lauren.

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"Kill the Messenger" by Tami Hoag

 




Jace's life is tough, but he keeps on trucking. He refuses to let the world keep him down because he's got a little brother that needs him. He shovels ice for a fish market first thing in the morning and then works as a bike messenger the rest of the day. One night, he's sent to deliver a package that lands him in the middle of blackmail and murder, and now he's holding the information that could cost him his life. This is an action-packed thrill ride. The characters are diverse. The mystery is twisted. Get ready for some surprises. Tami Hoag keeps you on your toes with this one!



This book was a Library loan.