Book Talk Tuesday: Best of My Love

I’m reviewing this with mixed emotions.

I love the book, but I’m sad it’s the last planned entry in Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series.

cover-best-of-my-loveWe met Shelby Gilmore a couple of years ago. Her brother was in last year’s trilogy and he found true love with Destiny. Shelby suffered at the hands of an abusive father and a too passive mother. Her brother protected her as best he could, until he was injured and Shelby’s mother was dying and needed Shelby’s presence. Her father took out his rage and frustration on her.

Aidan Mitchell runs his family’s tourist adventure business in Fool’s Gold and he enjoys some no-strings-attached weekends with attractive and willing tourists.

Shelby knows she has trust issues and she wants to get over them and find love and have a family. Aidan was perfectly happy until an incident let him see himself as he really was: a jerk.

Shelby hears about it too, and decides Aidan is perfect for her project. She makes him an offer: they will be friends and in building their friendship, they will learn how to relate to the opposite sex. Shelby will learn to trust and Aidan will learn how to treat women.

The experiment goes well. Too well. Of course, this is a romance and this is Fool’s Gold, so you know what will happen. What I love about Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series is that even though we know the ending going in, the getting there is so much fun.

If the series had to end, I’m happy it’s ending on a fun note and that sweet Shelby gets her happy ever after.

And I’m waiting anxiously for Mallery’s new series, set in Happily, Inc, California, a destination wedding town. Sounds like fun!


Book Talk Tuesday: Marry Me at Christmas

If it’s fall, it must be time for a Fool’s Gold Christmas story from Susan Mallery.

I love these stories, for so many reasons.

They’re romances, hello!?!?!

Marry Me at Christmas
Marry Me at Christmas

They’re set in Fool’s Gold, the best fictional town in California.

They’re set at Christmas time, when we love to snuggle with a warm afghan, a cup of tea, and a good book.

The steamy love scenes of the other Fool’s Gold books don’t appear. I like my love scenes to be behind closed doors, and the Christmas books meet my criteria.

In MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS, we finally get to meet action movie star Jonny Blaze who’s been mentioned in the other 2015 Fool’s Gold books. Madeline Krug, part owner of the local wedding dress shop, is asked to plan Jonny’s sister’s wedding planned for the day after Christmas. Jonny has been her movie star crush and she’s intimidated by the thought of even meeting him, much less working with him.

Madeline manages to be professional and she and Jonny plan the wedding and attend some of Fool’s Gold’s local holiday festivities.

I love stories about two worlds colliding and I especially love stories about when a public life and a private life collide. Because at heart, we’re all just people swimming along in our lives, trying to work, love, and laugh and feel like we have a purpose. Whether our purpose is touching people’s lives through the arts or pouring coffee, we’re all happiest doing what we’re meant to do.

So all that combines to make MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS a great book, for winter, for Christmas, for anytime. I love it!


I received a free copy in return for an honest review.

Book Talk Tuesday: Thrill Me

I can’t believe summer is half over, but it must be. I got my third Fool’s Gold book last week. That’s the signal that summer and 100+ degree days are on the way out. I’m happy to see the end of summer heat but not so happy to see the end of Fool’s Gold until Christmas time.

THRILL ME by Susan Mallery
THRILL ME by Susan Mallery

THRILL ME is Maya’s story. We met Maya in last month’s offering, KISS ME. Maya returned to Fool’s Gold with her friend Phoebe who fell in love with Maya’s stepbrother Zane in KISS ME. Now Maya’s been offered a job in Fool’s Gold, the only town that’s ever felt like home. She’s tired of life in LA and ready to come home. She never expected Del would be coming home too.

Del Mitchell and Maya were in love when they were just out of high school. In love and engaged. Until Maya panicked, dumped Del, and left town for college. Del packed up and left too. He’s back in town for his dad’s upcoming birthday party and to decide his next project. He doesn’t expect to strike up a friendship with Maya again, not after she broke up with him.

I loved this one! (No shock, I know.)

Maya and Del are older, smarter, and more experienced now. They’re both surprised that those youthful feelings of love can be so easily rekindled. But Maya just got back to town and Del will leaving at the end of summer. She’d love to travel to some of the places he’s planning to see, but it doesn’t make sense to leave a good job and the only home she’s ever felt she belonged in. Del wants to ask Maya to come with him. They make a great team behind the camera. He’s got a vision for a video project and Maya would be a perfect partner. Except can he trust her? She ran off once, she could do it again.

As usual, I really enjoyed this one and recommend it. The sex is still pushing my boundaries, but it’s later in the book and more subdued than earlier Fool’s Gold installments, which I like.

Go. Buy. Escape. Enjoy. Trust me.


√ I received a free copy of THRILL ME in return for an honest review.

Book Talk Tuesday: Kiss Me by Susan Mallery

KISS ME is the best Fool’s Gold book yet, in my opinion. And it’s definitely an atypical Fool’s Gold book.

Kiss Me by Susan Mallery
Kiss Me by Susan Mallery

Phoebe has been suspended from her Los Angeles job because she took the fall for her boss. Her tender heart is always getting her into trouble. Her friend Maya urges Phoebe to go back to Maya’s home town and accompany her on a cattle drive her step-brother is organizing. Phoebe is unprepared for how much she loves the country and, unexpectedly, how much she’s attracted to the rugged cowboy leading the group across the Fool’s Gold hills with a bunch of cattle.

Zane Nicholson is conducting a cattle drive for greenhorns against his better judgement, but he needs to teach his kid brother a lesson. So here he is, keeping track of kids, senior citizens, steers, horses, and Phoebe. Why the city girl caught his attention when they’re so obviously wrong for each other is beyond him.

The chemistry between Phoebe and Zane is palpable. The story is engaging and quick. Many elements of the usual Fool’s Gold story are missing. No gabfests at Jo’s Bar. No break-up scene when the hero decides the heroine is better off without him. No night of margarita’s as the heroine’s girlfriends surround her with comfort and tequila. The sex didn’t show up in the first hundred pages. Maybe not even the second hundred. The graphic sex is the one element of Fool’s Gold that I don’t love, so it would have worked for me if Mallery had left it off the page completely. But still, I’ll take what I can get. I think the delay in having sex works for Phoebe and Zane. They are so different, they need the time to get to know each other before acting on their attraction.

And it totally works. I didn’t even miss Jo’s Bar or the margaritas. I loved this one! And now I can’t wait for THRILL ME, coming next month.

**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Book Talk Tuesday: Hold Me

It’s spring, almost summer, so it must time to return to Fool’s Gold, California with Susan Mallery.

Hold Me by Susan Mallery
Hold Me by Susan Mallery

HOLD ME is the first book in this year’s trilogy.

Destiny Mills is in Fool’s Gold for the summer, helping the town set up their new search and rescue team. Kipling Gilmore is also new to town. He’s been hired to run the search and rescue team. Destiny’s company sells topographical and tracking software and she likes moving every few months. She likes her predictable life. She had enough upheaval and instability in her growing up years. Her parents are famous and tumultuous country western singers.

Kipling is healed up from a horrific skiing accident. Healed up on the outside, at least. He’s left his old life as an Olympic skier to take up Mayor Marsha on her offer of a home for him and his sister in return for him running the new search and rescue operation.

Destiny’s half-sister is spending the summer with Destiny in Fool’s Gold. They share a father but don’t know each other. As the summer progresses, Destiny, Starr, and Kipling all learn lessons about themselves and about life.

A couple of years ago, I commented that all the hero’s in that year’s Fool’s Gold trilogy had the bad habit of running away toward the end of the book. Kipling does not run and I loved him (and Hold Me) for that.

The things that I love about Mallery are abundant in HOLD ME. Smart characters. Great dialogue. Humor. Quirky secondary characters. And still, the sex is fairly graphic, so be warned. Or be prepared to skip ahead. Although it’s not the sexiest of her books that I’ve read.

I loved it and recommend it to readers of light and fun romance. Stay tuned for the next in the series: KISS ME.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of HOLD ME in return for an honest review. We both kept our end of the deal.

Book Talk Tuesday: Only Us

Only Us is a Christmas novella by Susan Mallery.

It’s Christmas in Fool’s Gold, California, home to many of Mallery’s fun books, several of which I’ve reviewed here.

Only Us by Susan Mallery

Rina is in love with the vet, a single father named Cameron. He was deeply hurt when his wife walked out on him and their infant daughter. He’s raised Kaitlyn on his own and plans to keep it that way. He will never trust another woman.

He doesn’t count on Rina and her love for him and Kaitlyn’s love for Rina. Their worlds are turned upside down by love.

This is a short, quick read. I think it took me three evenings of pre-bed reading to finish it. It’s kind of the perfect Christmas novella:

  • Sweet, but not cloying.
  • Festive, but not garish.
  • Fun, but not flippant.

Only Us came out in 2011. Last year, I reviewed Christmas on 4th Street, and this year’s Fool’s Gold novella, Yours for Christmas, is available as an e-book or is a bonus in the mass market edition of Christmas on 4th Street. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but soon.

Book Talk Tuesday: Until We Touch

Today, I’m talking about the third in Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold 2014 releases, Until We Touch.

book_june2014This is Jack and Larissa’s story and it’s wonderful!

Jack McGarry is one of the newcomers to Fool’s Gold. His PR firm, SCORE, moved to town a few months ago and he’s enjoyed being part of the community and watching his business partners and friends settle in.

Larissa Owen’s is the firm’s massage therapist (three of SCORE’s four partners are retired NFL players) and Jack’s personal assistant.

The previous books have hinted at Larissa’s connection to the emotionally unavailable Jack and I looked forward to seeing how Mallery would work that out.

Larissa loves a rescue and a cause. She’s often called to help find homes for wayward animals and she directs Jack’s charitable causes, especially transplant patients.

Jack suffered a loss years ago and he’s compensated by not allowing anyone to get too close. So how did Larissa get to him and why didn’t he notice until it was too late?

I found Until We Touch particularly satisfying emotionally. I’ve said before that I didn’t care for Mallery’s heroes penchant for running away before they have their epiphany. Jack definitely retreated, but in a way that made sense to me. Then his epiphany and turn around worked. Also, there was less sex in this one, a plus for me, and the first sex scene didn’t happen until at least two/thirds of the way in, and I have to say I liked it. Not just because these books push my steaminess boundary, but I think the increased tension added to the richness of the story.

The town of Fool’s Gold is not quite as much a character as in past books, but we still get a definite taste for the feeling of community. Mayor Marsha is up to her usual tricks. Several new characters are introduced who will likely be the focus of next summer’s books and I can’t wait. I’m especially looking forward to Bailey and Kenny’s story. I can’t wait to see how Kenny will fold and surrender to the inevitability of love in Fool’s Gold, California.

My recommendation: Two thumbs up!


I received a free copy of Until We Met, in return for a honest review.