BOOK REVIEW: Hers to Protect by Catherine Lanigan


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Erica here: Guys! I’ve been horrible at sharing reviews for books this year! I haven’t signed up to review very many, and yet and still the reviews keep falling through the cracks in the surface of a BUSY first half of the year. But I’m committed to bringing you more reviews (ahem…ON TIME…ahem), and what better way to back up that promise than share my review of Hers to Protect, book #11 in the Shores of Indian Lake series by Catherine Lanigan? So let’s get to it, shall we? (Please note, I received an advance Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)

I have a confession to make. Somehow, I’ve missed the first 10 books in this series. A surreptitious search of my Goodreads shelves says I haven’t read anything else by Ms. Lanigan. I know, the rule is every books in a romance line like Harlequin’s Heartwarming line can be read as a standalone, but every time I read about a couple in this book, I wondered what happened in THEIR book. This didn’t detract from the story for me, but I figured you should know and take my perceptions with a grain of salt if you’re a die-hard, start at the beginning of the series and go straight through kind of reader like me. There’s a handy dandy “other books in the series” graphic at the end of this post in case you want to go back and read the others.

In Hers to Protect, we’re following Indian Lake rookie cop Violet Hawkins in her quest to become a detective. Up to this point, she’s done little more than hand out the occasional parking ticket, but she knows she has the instincts and skills to be a Grade A detective. She’s secured her first “real” assignment-a stakeout. She’s tasked with finding a suspect in a drug trafficking gang. Instead, she pulls over famous race car driver Josh Stevens.

Josh Stevens is week’s away from an important race when he ends up in Violet’s path. He doesn’t need the bad publicity of a speeding ticket and arrest in the final lead up to the big race. Both his lawyer and his manager advise him to lay low and find a way to get in the tiny town’s good graces. Just when he’s winning over the town, and the pretty Officer Hawks, her investigation and his past seem to place him on Violet’s bad side. Will Violet end up placing Josh under arrest again, or will her heart be the one behind bars?

I really enjoyed this book! I read it in a couple days (work and life interrupted, unfortunately). The plot was engaging and Ms. Lanigan kept the conflict strong throughout the story. The author did a great job of balancing moving both the plot and Josh and Violet’s relationship forward.

I have to admit, I didn’t like the characters right away. They both jumped to conclusions and made assumptions about each other that were a bit extreme. This doesn’t usually bother me, but these came before I felt I had the opportunity to learn their true characters. It took me a while to sort them out and grow to like and care about them.

Another thing that threw me off about them is how quickly they went from dislike/distrust to having strong feelings for each other. I was little more than 50% in when I felt like they might have the conflict resolved and race toward the happily ever horizon. Luckily, Catherine through some hairpin turns in the road to force them to slow down. I don’t have a problem with strong feelings early and often if the writer can keep the conflict equally strong, and Ms. Lanigan managed to do so.

Other than the conflict and plot, I also loved the subplot. The project Violet and Josh work on together with other members of the Indian Lake community not only brought out a bit of the characters’ backstories, it showed their commonality, yet sharpened their conflict at the same time (I won’t say how. You’ll have to pick up the book to find out!).

I would recommend Hers to Protect to anyone looking for a clean read with a compelling conflict, a light enemies to lovers angle, and plenty of small town heart.

Hers to Protect
(Shores of Indian Lake #11)
By Catherine Lanigan
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
April 1st 2019 by Harlequin Heartwarming

She’s sworn to protect…

But does that include a speeding celebrity?

Violet Hawks is a by-the-books police officer—so when she catches a man speeding, she arrests him. Only, the man is famous race car driver Josh Stevens. To make amends, Josh launches a charm campaign, and it works on the small town…and on Violet. But when Josh is connected to an investigation, Violet begins to wonder—can she trust her instincts when her heart is involved?

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Other Books in the Series


About the Author

Catherine Lanigan is the international bestselling and award-winning author of over forty-five published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile. Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into over twenty-four languages. Lanigan was tasked by the NotMYkid foundation to pen a collection of compelling and informative true stories of teen addicts. Ms. Lanigan’s SHORES OF INDIAN LAKE series for HARLEQUIN HEARTWARMING includes LOVE SHADOWS, HEART’S DESIRE , A FINE YEAR FOR LOVE, KATIA’S PROMISE, FEAR OF FALLING, SOPHIE’S PATH, PROTECTING THE SINGLE MOM, FAMILY OF HIS OWN, HIS BABY DILEMMA, RESCUED BY THE FIREFIGHTER and HER TO PROTECT (2019).

Ms. Lanigan is a frequent speaker at literary functions and book conventions as well as inspiring audiences with her real stories of angelic intervention from her Angel Tales series of books. She is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and abuse and was honored by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Washington, D.C. She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including “Coast to Coast” and on television interview and talk show programs as well as blogs, podcasts and online radio interview programs. She writes a monthly blog for Heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.com.

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Cover Reveal: The Truth About Cowboys by Lisa Renee Jones

Happy Friday, Shelfies! Erica here. Today, I’m excited to bring you a cover reveal from Entangled Publishing. I love the team behind Entangled, and not just because they give me free books! I love the romances they are bringing readers, especially the sweet romances in their Bliss line. Although you all know I say you can’t judge a book solely by its cover, how could you not stop and pick up a book with a cover like this? 

The Truth About Cowboys Lisa Renee Jones

Erica again. Couldn’t you just pick this up and read it right now? If this cover looks right up your alley, read on for the back cover copy and links to pre-order your copy. The Truth About Cowboys releases August 27th!

About The Truth About Cowboys:
I had my life figured out.

Engaged to a successful man.

About to make partner at my firm.

Bought a high-rise apartment in downtown Denver.

And then, poof, it’s all gone. Now, like in some cheesy romantic comedy, my car has broken down in the pouring rain on my way to “find myself” in The Middle of Nowhere, Texas. Cue hot guy coming to my rescue and changing my tire. This is the part where we flirt and have a meet-cute, right? That’s how it works in romance novels, and I should know—after all, I’m coming to Texas to write my own cowboy romance. But nope. This sexy cowboy lights into me about not being prepared for the country roads and how inappropriate my high-heeled boots are.

Little did I know, Michael Montgomery would tilt my world into a new dimension with his sinful smirk and his bad attitude. Every time I turn around, he’s there to reluctantly save the day. And every time, I think there may be something to that spark we ignite. But there’s a reason the majority of country songs are about broken hearts. The closer I get to this man, the closer I get to learning the truth about cowboys.

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About Lisa Renee Jones:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with. In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa’s other bestselling series include: DIRTY MONEY and WHITE LIES. She is presently working on her LILAH LOVE series to be published with Amazon Publishing/Montlake Romance. Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine. Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at http://www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

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How Do You Measure of a Year? In Books, Of Course!

The last few days while everyone else was sharing their reflections on their year in reading, I was scrambling to complete my Goodreads goal and editing podcast episodes (*cue confetti* *have a nap waiting in the wings*). I don’t like to review a year until I’m in the new year, anyway.

As you’ll see in my stats, my reading for the challenge was heavily weighted one way. While I enjoyed the books I read and look forward to reading more of the same in 2019, I want to make sure I read more of other genres I love this year. I’ll share my new reading goals in a separate post. On the positive side, I upped the number of books I wanted to read in 2018 by 15 books, and I met my goal! Without further ado, here’s my year in books *:

Books read: 65

Library books finished: 3

Read What You Own Books (that I know I owned before 2018): 6

Review/Launch Team Books: 7

Fiction: 58

Non-Fiction: 7

Romance: 54

-Romantic Suspense: 14

-Contemporary Romance: 38

-Historical Romance: 2

Non-Romantic Fiction: 4

Memoir/Autobiography: 6

These stats provide a good snapshot of my year, but for a more accurate picture, I wanted to spotlight some notable books.My affiliate links are included.

First book finished*: The Trophy Husband by Lynne Graham
This was a quick, fun read that reeked of 90’s romance tropes. If you can appreciate it for what it is–trope soup, limited POV, and 90s level of understanding of masculinity/femininity/happily ever after–it’s a fast and funny book.

Last book read: Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

I really ended the year on a high note. I LOVED this book! This book combines many elements of my favorite reads: Zora Neale Hurston; Anthropological/Ethnographical study; a personal story told in the subject’s voice; a snapshot of an interesting time in history, etc. This story is an important one, and I’m thankful it has finally been published and disseminated.

Better Than Expected: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

This book had some pretty harsh reviews, but I like Anne Tyler and retellings of classics are some of my favorite stories, so I decided to give this one a try. If you’re a fan of Taming of the Shrew or Ten Things I Hate About You, you might like this retelling set between academia and daycare.

FOMO Reads of 2018: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

I heard these two books recommended several times on What Should I Read Next. I caved to FOMO and read both, and I’m glad I did! Both of these books lived up to the hype. Eleanor is funny and endearing, and Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir is gripping and reflective in an engaging way. I highly recommend both.

Best Book for Book Lovers: I’d Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel

If you love all things books and reading, you must read this book! Anne beautifully portrays many of the joys and dilemmas of the reading life. This book is a beautiful celebration of all the things I love about literature.

Series I enjoyed this year:

The Precinct Series by Julie Miller

I read many books in this series in 2016, but I read the backlist and became current on this series in 2018. If you love romantic suspense, seeing your favorite characters in several different books, mini-series within a larger series, and heroes/heroines with real world conflicts and complications, then I highly recommend this series.

Mirror Lake Series by Kathryn Springer
This inspirational romance series was wonderful. The characters were realistic and made me root for them. Springer made the town and its inhabitants come alive, and the conflicts were just as realistic. If you’re a fan of inspirational romances set in a small close knit town involving a core group of characters, then give this six book series a try.
Get in My Kindle picks I’ve Read: Butterface by Avery Flynn and I’d Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel (I also listened to the audiobook of Remember God by Annie F. Downs, but I’m not counting this as I plan to read the physical copy)


I’ve read a few of Avery Flynn’s other books, and Butterface had the humor and heart I’ve come to expect from her. If you like hot romantic comedies (and the heat level is pretty high on this one), you might like this first book in The Hartigans series. Book two, Muffin Top, is also out now, and book three, Tomboy, will release February 18, 2019.

The books I’m Most Looking Forward to in 2019:

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
You can read my post on this book here.
The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman
Read my reasons for looking forward to this The Next Right Thing here.

MY BOOK!!!!!
121418_SS Front CoverI’ve been holding this news in for months! If you’re an email subscriber, you might have heard about this book already, but I wanted to officially announce it to my By Her Shelf readers. The Speaking Season: Poems and Pieces, my first poetry collection, will be releasing this month! If you’re a fan of poetry, this book is a must have for your collection. More details to come soon!

*Note: I don’t track my progress/read status for every book I read through Goodreads. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I don’t want to share what I’m reading. This post was created using my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge statistics. It’s by no means definitive, but it’s mostly accurate.

Review: Cowboys Need Not Apply by Robert Tate Miller

Happy Monday, fellow readers! I’m experiencing a bit of a binge hangover after watching a full season of TV show in one evening (a show gone much too soon, by the way), but I wanted to share another review with you. Entangled Publishing sent me an advance copy of Cowboys Need Not Apply by Robert Tate Miller because I requested it. I couldn’t miss this opportunity. What romance lover wouldn’t want to read the story of a cowboy and a prima ballerina? It was only after I requested it that I realized Cowboys Need Not Apply would unique in another way: it’s written by a man. I haven’t read any Nicholas Sparks or any other big name male romance writers, so I was interested in seeing the spin a guy would put on a romance. You can get your copy of Cowboys Need Not Apply and draw your own conclusions starting today, August 13, 2018.

Title: Cowboys Need Not Apply

Author: Robert Tate Miller

Release Date: August 13, 2018

Review: Rodeo rider Matt “Mad Dog” Walker is on the fast track to being All Around Cowboy, the best bronco rider in the world when one bad ride tears his ACL. The rodeo doc is convinced Matt should retire, or at least sit out the rest of the season, but Matt is too close to achieving his dream of being the best and fulfilling a promise he made to his father before he passed to sit out the Big Ride. Matt’s uncle and manager Harry is convinced he should take the doctor’s advice, but knowing his stubborn nephew, he finds the best rehab facility in the country to give him a shot at a full recovery before his foolhardy ride.

Prima ballerina Jessica Carmichael knows something is wrong as soon as she lands a sauté in a performance. The doctors confirm she’s torn her ACL. All Jessica knows is dancing, and she refuses to miss the Rite of Spring performance where she made her debut at age sixteen. If she’s going to dance again, she has to be able to trust her knee one hundred percent, and the only way she’ll do that is if she works with the best rehabilitation clinic in the country.

When Matt and Jessica both arrive at the clinic, their competitive natures cause them to push one another in therapy to good affect. They came to heal their damaged knees and get back on top of their game, but could these two competitors win at the game of love as well?

Robert Tate Miller has crafted a Cutting Edge-esque romance that’s funny and witty, but most of all heartwarming. Jessica and Matt are both natural born competitors who love what they do. Neither one is ready to walk away from their career, even in the face of such a serious injury. Although the Manhattan born and bred ballerina and the Montana ranch owning rodeo rider live in two different worlds, they share a grit and determination, and a mutual attraction, that makes their burgeoning romance fun to watch. I also enjoyed the supporting characters of Jessica’s sister, Kat, and Matt’s uncle, Harry. They injected much needed realism and sound advice into the headstrong duo.

In addition to a man’s name being on the cover of the book, there were a couple other things that were different about this romance. The hero and heroine didn’t meet until I was about 12% into the book, and they spend a sizeable amount of time away from each other in comparison to other category romance titles. There were also a few points where I felt like the narration turned more clinical and distant than it should have been for the poignancy of the moment the characters (and the reader) were in. Lastly, if I never hear the term “in the footlights” again, I think it will be too soon.

Overall, I enjoyed the crisp, concise language and the way Miller unfolded the story. Miller does a great job of establishing the characters of Jessica and Matt in the readers’ mind and bringing the New York and Montana settings to life.  I loved the banter between Jessica and Matt, and I couldn’t wait to see how the Big Ride and the “big dance” went. I would recommend this opposites attract romance to anyone who loves their romance with witty banter, loveable characters, settings that become characters, and cowboys who can ride a bucking bronco and jeté, plié, and sauté.

Star Rating: 3.5/5

Review: Her Lost and Found Baby by Tara Taylor Quinn

On Tour with Prism Book Tours
Hello, fellow readers! Erica here. Today I have the pleasure of being part of a review tour for Tara Taylor Quinn’s newest release, her first with Special Edition, Her Lost and Found Baby. I’ve reviewed  TTQ before on tour, so when I saw the opportunity to review this one, I jumped at the chance. You can read my review of The Good Father here
Here’s the description for Her Lost and Found Baby:

Her Lost and Found Baby

By Tara Taylor Quinn

Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Paperback & ebook, 224 Pages

August 1st 2018 by Harlequin Special Edition

Friends. Without benefits. They both agreed.

Until she stole his heart.

Tabitha Jones will find her kidnapped toddler…even if it means searching every daycare in Southern California. So when her hunky, wealthy neighbor, Johnny Brubaker, offers a deal, Tabitha sees it as an ideal way to expand her search. In exchange for working his food truck, Johnny agrees to pose as Tabitha’s husband. It’s the perfect relationship…until Johnny realizes posing as a family man isn’t enough anymore.

My review: I first encountered Tara Taylor Quinn’s emotionally gripping work when she wrote for Harlequin Superromance. I followed her to Harlequin Heartwarming and was just as happy with her work there. I expected some things to change with the transition to the Special Edition line, but I hoped Quinn’s signature style would still be evident in the shorter format story.
When I began Her Lost and Found Baby, I wasn’t sure I was going to get my usual TTQ book. The beginning felt rushed, and it took me a couple chapters to get my head around the character of Tabitha. I attribute this to the shorter length of the book and the necessity to get the scenario set quickly. I felt like I was playing catch up on how we came to be at this point in the story. 
I had no trouble connecting with the character of Johnny Brubaker. He came across like a nice guy who was helping a woman through what had to be the toughest time of her life. I loved him immediately. 
After the initial jerky start, I really got into the story. The mystery of where Tabitha’s son Jackson was served as an interesting backdrop to the developing relationship between Tabitha and Johnny. The supporting characters were well developed and acted realistically for the situation they were placed in. Even though the book was considerably shorter than I’m used to from TTQ, the pace was well set and kept. The story progressed in ways that kept me invested in the outcome. 
Tara Taylor Quinn has written a touching story about two people who set out to help each other with their “life quests” and succeed far beyond their initial expectations. More than checking off goals, they build the possibility of love after tragedy. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotionally significant romance with a well-paced, well-developed plot, a hero any woman would love falling for her, and a strong heroine who will stop at nothing to find her son but still manages to care for others.
3.5/5 stars for compelling characters, a finely orchestrated plot, a perfectly paced romantic element, and good secondary characters. 
About the Author



The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. A 2015 RITA finalist Tara appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists, and multiple showings on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller list. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning.
Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.
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