Donna Reads: Only You (One and Only #1) by Melanie Harlow

Emme lives across the hall from Nate. They are friends. They share a love of James Bond movies and often spend evenings together watching a movie and sharing a meal. Nate is a womanizing playboy who often lends a sympathetic ear to Emme’s love life woes. Emme secretly would like more from Nate, but he is convinced that he never wants to marry or have children. He believes he and Emme want totally different things out of life. When an ex leaves an eight week old baby  girl on Nate’s doorstep, telling him in a note that he is the father, Nate is forced to man up and take care of his daughter. 

I loved this one. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy Melanie Harlow’s writing. She is great with character development, and her story lines are humorous and have great depth. Nate had a very sad event in his childhood that destroyed his family and made him afraid of opening himself up to love. He was scared to love and lose again. Emme was convinced she only fell for jerks. In the opening scenes where she receives a wedding invitation to her ex’s wedding, I was laughing out loud.  Emme was sweet and adorable. 

The supporting cast of characters were also well written and added to the story the way that real friends and family would.  I highly recommend this one. 

Donna Reads: Close (Ryder Brothers Book One) by Laurelin Paige

Natalia Lowen is an actress, 36, with a reputation as a good girl. She’s America’s Sweetheart. When she meets former boy band icon, now rockstar, 23 year old Nick Ryder, in a bar and they share a sexy dance together, she doesn’t expect to fall for him. She doesn’t expect him to feel the same way about her. 

This story was okay. Nick was much more mature than Natalia was. He knew what he wanted in life. She spent way too much time worrying about her reputation and what others thought of her. About 74% of the way through when she decided she was too old for him and wanted to end things, I got fed up and put the book aside. I did eventually finish, and they do work things out, but in my opinion the angst wasn’t necessary. 

Donna Reads: Sin & Chocolate (Demigod of San Francisco #1) by K. F. Breene

Alexis is magical, but she thinks her magical skill is nothing special. She lives in the area between magical and non-magical people, and she’s raising two teenagers she’s taken in. She can see dead people, and she helps them cross over when they are stuck between worlds. She attracts the attention of the demigod, Kieran, and he asks for her help with his recently deceased mother who is one of the souls who is stuck. 

This one was just okay for me. The story wasn’t particularly interesting. Alexis was not likable, and sadly she did not grow on me over the course of the book. She was sarcastic and rude, and although the hero repeatedly expressed interest in her, she wanted no part of him. There was little to no romance here. They kissed a few times. There was no heat, no banter, and no charming back and forth. It was just boring to me. 

The best parts were when Alexis spoke to ghosts. I had to backtrack several times, though, and re-read because it wasn’t always obvious to me that people she saw or spoke to were deceased. There was no indication that they were dead until I realized no one else was interacting with them. This brings up another peeve – the writing style. It wasn’t always clear. 

Had I known this book wasn’t really a stand alone, complete story, I probably wouldn’t have read it. It seemed to ramble and not really get anywhere. I’m not sure I’m going to bother with the second book as I think the author intends to drag this on and on. 

Donna Reads: Accidental Protector (Marriage Mistake) by Nicole Snow

Mindy Austin has finally dumped her cheating fiancé and left her parents’ home in Arizona for a much-needed break in Reno, Nevada.  She doesn’t expect to wake up in bed beside a stranger. Unable to remember how she got there, she grabs her clothes and sneaks out. She returns to her borrowed apartment and soon finds a marriage license in her purse and realizes she is wearing an engagement ring and a wedding ring on her finger. 

Noah Bernard is a private investigator and a bounty hunter intent on solving his cousin Jess’s disappearance. Jess has gotten mixed up with a drug dealing, murdering criminal named Cesare Lucient and has gone missing. Noah has been working on a job for Lucient trying to get more information on Jess. Now he also has the mystery of the woman who just crawled out of his bed to solve, too. When he finds the receipt for the rings and wedding ceremony in his wallet, he makes finding the mystery woman his priority. 

Mindy and Noah both remember bits and pieces of a marriage ceremony in front of an Elvis impersonator. When it becomes clear they were both drugged, they both decide to solve the mystery. When Lucient takes an interest in Mindy, Noah knows he must protect her from the evil. He moves her in with him. 

I liked this one. The big, bad bounty hunter, ex-military, tough, dangerous and a little broken, and the sweet and trusting woman who’s been duped by one cheating, lying man and repeatedly bullied by her family to forgive and forget her ex’s transgressions. Mindy was tougher than anyone knew. I loved that her true character emerged and grew over the course of the story. She and Noah are attracted to each other and soon they can’t keep their hands off of each other. Soon neither one wants that divorce. 

Noah is determined to protect her, and Mindy is determined to help him solve the mystery of Jess’s disappearance and take Lucient down. Will they find Jess? Will they find happiness together?

My only (minor) complaint with this one was how neatly everything was tied up by the end, and I do mean EVERYTHING. Even the side characters got happy endings. Everybody had someone; everyone was happy. The totality of it was a little improbable. I do recommend the book, though. Nicole Snow is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.