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Romance Novels and Country Music

My motto, at the beginning of the summer of 2018, was read romance novels and listen to country music. And swim in the lake and get a tan and lose 20 pounds. Well, four outa five ain't so bad.

I was still working at Chapters bookstore when the warmer weather arrived, and I figured if I was going to read romance novels, I should try for some variety. So thinking, I chose a book by an author I've previously read (Nora Roberts) and two by authors unknown to me (Katie Ruggle and Rhenna Morgan).

The first novel I read was Katie Ruggle's On the Chase. While on a date with a rich man's son, Kaylee witnesses a terrible crime. However, when she goes to the police station, one of the corrupt officers ambushes her. Afraid for her life and unable to trust the police, she goes on the run, ending up in hiding in a tiny town. She is troubled when she learns her new roommate is dating a cop. She is even more troubled when his cop friend, K9 officer Hugh Murdoch, pursues a romantic relationship. Against her better judgement, she becomes emotionally involved. Odd events start to happen, and Kaylee is afraid she has been found out.

I really enjoyed the first two-thirds of this book. The conflict between the characters and the situations they found themselves in were interesting, and kept me turning pages. The romantic elements of the story are gentle, and fairly tame. At some point, though, the author lost me. I began to feel that the events were too disconnected and the plot fizzled. As well, the dialogue between the characters didn't read true to me. I was ultimately quite disappointed with the book, particularly since it had started so strong. Personally, I'd have a hard time recommending this title. Two stars.

I've read Nora Roberts often, and find most of her books quite entertaining, so my expectations for Come Sundown were high. I wasn't disappointed. I did, however, feel the story started off a bit more slowly than most of the author's books.

Bodine Longbow manages the resort side of Bodine Ranch and Resort, and she is having a problem with staff turnover. When Callen Skinner returns to town via Hollywood, Bodine is happy to hire him to manage her stables. Formerly her older brother's best friend, Bodine always had a bit of a crush on Callen, and now that he's back -- and she's older -- it just might be the right time to find out if those feelings were mutual.

As their romance blossoms, women in the neighbour start disappearing and rivalries from the past reappear. Is the timing of Cal's return too coincidental to ignore? Or, can Bodine trust what her heart feels?

With several plot twists and great chemistry between the characters, as well as a fun sex scene set in a cabin (not to mention the beauty of Montana forming a scenic backdrop) this book is worth a read. While not my all time favourite from Roberts, I'd still recommend the story with a solid 3.5 stars.

The last novel I read in my summer of romance novels and country music was Rough and Tumble: Men of Haven, by Rhenna Morgan. The novel opens with buttoned down heroine, Vivienne, searching for her inebriated sister at Jace Kennedy's bar. Jace sees Viv and is instantly attracted, primarily because he senses that there is a wilder woman hiding underneath Vivienne's safe exterior. He is determined to find that side of her, and release her to be her truest self. With him, of course.

As cheesy (and mildly offensive) as this premise is, I found myself guiltily enjoying this book. The chemistry between these characters is HOT -- as are the sex scenes. Of which, there are many. In fact, the erotic factor in this book is so high, I found myself hiding this book from my fourteen year old daughter's eyes.

The main problem I found with this book is that Jace is portrayed as something of a wild man and law breaker -- yet the only law he breaks is an illegal search of Vivienne's apartment. The rational behind this is that he is the leader of a brotherhood whose interests he must protect. The implication is that the members of the brotherhood are shady. Yet, once again, this does not seem to be the case. If you are able to put this seeming discrepancy from your mind as you read, and if you are the type of reader who enjoys an erotic sex scene complete with copious amounts of dirty talk (still blushing over here!), then this is the book for you.

With the disclaimer that this book contains fairly graphic and explicit sex scenes, I do recommend this book. 3.5 stars.

And now, with September's arrival, I don my cozy socks and sweaters, change my radio station, and go back to my regular reading preferences. Stay tuned for a rundown of my most recent favourite detective novels (Coming soon to a blog near you!)

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