Tuesday, October 6, 2015 | By: Jennifer Stinger

Book Review: Officer Next Door (Lock and Key Book 1) by Ranae Rose

Alright, half naked man on the cover, muscles, and handcuffs. Check! That is certainly one way to get attention and set the tone for what is going to be happening inside the covers, pun totally intended.

The book begins with Alicia watching her neighbor, Liam, in the shower. I'm not sure how close houses need to be in order to see the kind of detail she can make out, but she loves his tattoo!

She's a wedding planner, he's a security guard. The plot is predictable to a point. A couple of prisoners escape and he doesn't want her to stay alone, so he stays with her until she needs to stay with him. Sprinkle in a little supernatural ghost help and...you get the picture.

I haven't read the other two books in the series yet, but they are with his two friends and, conveniently enough, her two friends that had all met during an improvised cookout.

I would have liked a bit of unpredictability to the story to keep it more interesting. Also, when it got really exciting near the end, the writing became confusing and I had to read it a few times to be able to follow where the main character was.

Book Review: Jem by Michelle Abbott

Good Story, average writing

The story begins with two childhood friends on vacation. When Devon finds out that Jem is being abused at home, he quickly makes her promise not to tell anyone. When she breaks her promise and tells her mother, she calls the Child Protective Service. However, before they can rescue Jem, his father moves them away and the two friends don’t see each other until many years later.

Devon is distrusting of men that have a tendency towards violence and Jem has grown up not knowing any other way. When they do run into each other as adults, one altercation between Jem and a stranger causes Devon to put up her barriers that Jem has to find a way around.

While the plot showed real promise, first person storytelling always presents a challenge, even when switching between the main characters. There were times when the story seemed to drag on and other times when certain things didn’t seem to make much sense, like when Devon didn’t ask him his name until almost the end of the book.

I enjoyed the book and wanted to root more for the characters, I just wish they had been written better. Even the bad guy was a bit over the top for me.

Book Review: Heroes of Chance Creek Series (6 Book Series) By: Cora Seton

I will admit, this series hit on two of my buttons right away. One, it had a half-naked guy on the cover. And two, it has a military theme to it. Well, ok...three buttons, there's a romance story thrown in as well. 

The story begins with four brothers that are given a chance to save their family ranch, but they have to meet a few conditions before a year is up. All four brothers have to get married, one of the wives has to get pregnant, they have to fix up the family home, and they have to stock the ranch.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, no story can be all rainbows and snowflakes. I really enjoyed the first book and getting the know the oldest Hall brother and his determination to earn back the family ranch and find a suitable wife. As the books went on, it felt like the same recipe (very good recipe, mind you) was used over and over again, just changed for each brother. The same elements remained constant throughout the series. I would have liked to have seen a bit more variety, more of the brothers' personality come through. 

I gave this entire series a four out of five because while there were redundant parts of the story line that were reused, I really did enjoy the overall story and I believe it does have a pretty high re-read value to it. 

**Side Note: there's also a Cowboys of Change Creek Series done by the same author. However, I just haven't been sure if I really want to go to the cowboy side yet.