What Are You Reading? (309)

Posted December 2, 2016 by Holly in Features | 4 Comments

WAYR-New

Holly: I spent the week rereading old Linda Howard favorites. Dying to Please, Midnight Rainbow, Diamond Bay, White Lies, Heartbreaker, Tears of the Renegade, Against the Rules, Mackenzie’s Mountain, MacKenzie’s Mission, White Out and Heart of Fire. It’s amazing how well they hold up, even after all this time.

I started Moonshadow by Thea Harrison but I couldn’t get into it. That has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my current reading mood. I’m going to try again this weekend. Currently I’m reading The Thing About Love by Julie James. So far it’s fabulous.

Rowena: It’s been an interesting week of reading for me. I finished Managed by Kristen Callihan (good stuff), Fly with Me by Chanel Cleeton (great stuff), and Bad Boy by Elliot Wake (different and good but frustrating). Right now, I’m reading This is Our Song by Samantha Chase and it’s slow going right now. Hopefully it picks up. Fingers crossed.

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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Guest Review: Beauty and the Billionaire: The Wedding by Jessica Clare

Posted December 2, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Beauty and the Billionaire: The Wedding by Jessica ClareReviewer: Tracy
Beauty and the Billionaire: The Wedding (Billionaire Boys Club #6.5) by Jessica Clare
Series: Billionaire Boys Club #6.5
Also in this series: Beauty and the Billionaire, Once Upon a Billionaire, The Wrong Billionaire's Bed, Romancing the Billionaire, One Night With A Billionaire, His Royal Princess
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: November 15th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

In this all-new novella in the New York Times bestselling series, Hunter and Gretchen are finally tying the knot—but their wedding may not be the easy fairy tale they’ve dreamed of...

Someone's out to ruin Gretchen's happy-ever-after on the eve before the big day. Can she trust Hunter, the man she's given her heart to? And can she rely on her sister Daphne (the least reliable person of all!) to help her salvage things? Or is this marriage going to go down in flames before Gretchen and Hunter ever get to the altar?

Gretchen is getting married soon – on Christmas Eve no less – and she’s stressed!  She’s fired umpteen caterers for one reason or another, she keeps gaining weight instead of losing it because she keeps sampling her own baked goods and then when she visits her fiancé at his office she starts to think he’s being blackmailed!  Could nothing go right in her life?

Daphne is Gretchen’s famous singer sister and is six months out of rehab.  She’s doing really well with her life coach, Wesley.  He’s incredible and she’s madly in love with him but he keeps her at arms length and keeps telling her she’s just a job to him.  She’s upset and really missing her sisters as it’s the holidays.  She knows she screwed up royally and they deserted her but she’s willing to give it another try and hopes they’re willing as well.  She heads to Gretchen’s house and is surprisingly welcomed with open arms.  Her twin, Audrey, isn’t so welcoming but she’s been hurt so much by Daphne it’s understandable.

Both Gretchen and Daphne are looking for support in their time of need and that might come from each other but it may also come from the men they love.

This was a cute story.  We’ve been hearing about Gretchen and Hunter’s wedding for so long in so many books that we just knew that it was going to be the event of the century.  Opening this book and realizing that she’s a mess and so is the wedding was kind of a breath of fresh air.  Even fiancé’s of billionaires can fall apart and have things go wrong.  In this case it made Gretchen and Hunter that much more “normal” to me.

With Daphne we saw a woman who was trying to get her life back after screwing up so badly that her family gave up on her.  Daphne had had told them many times that she was going to do better but she always slid back into drugs and alcohol. I loved that she wanted to do better for her family and for Wesley, but mostly she wanted to do better for herself. She knows she can’t slide back to her old ways and Wesley was helping her.  I almost wish that Wesley hadn’t been her shadow for the last six months, however. Yes, he’d helped her so much but I also know that addicts tend to latch on to things (obviously) so it made me think that if Wesley hadn’t been the one keeping her on the straight and narrow for so long would she have fallen in love with him?  I know that’s my cynicism shining through but I admit that thought crossed my mind when she made it clear she was in love with him. I tried to push those thoughts aside and focus on the relationship.  We didn’t see any of them falling in love so it was hard for me to get into their romance but I was still happy that it all ended well for them.

While this was a pretty short novella but it was still worth reading.  Hopefully Clare’s next revisit these characters in future books.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Who We Were Before by Leah Mercer

Posted December 1, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Who We Were Before by Leah MercerReviewer: Tina
Who We Were Before by Leah Mercer
Published by Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: October 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Pages: 256
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Zoe knows that it wasn’t really her fault. Of course it wasn’t. But if she’d just grasped harder, run faster, lunged quicker, she might have saved him. And Edward doesn’t really blame her, though his bitter words at the time still haunt her, and he can no more take them back than she can halt the car that killed their son.

Two years on, every day is a tragedy. Edward knows they should take healing steps together, but he’s tired of being shut out. For Zoe, it just seems easier to let grief lead the way.

A weekend in Paris might be their last hope for reconciliation, but mischance sees them separated before they’ve even left Gare du Nord. Lost and alone, Edward and Zoe must try to find their way back to each other—and find their way back to the people they were before.

But is that even possible?

At first I was torn about whether or not I wanted to request Who We Were Before on NetGalley. Emotionally-charged books are always on my radar, but some topics are hard for me to read, especially when they deal with cruelty to children, vulnerable people and animals. I also struggle with topics about losing a loved one to illness or accident, since it is something that I am unfortunately too familiar with. I don’t choose to read too many books like these as they usually leave me emotionally drained for a few days after I read them. But after some debating, I decided that it sounded like a book worth trying.

The first line totally punched me in the stomach, It was like that first drop on a rollecroaster – you know it’s coming, but it still catches you off-guard every time. As adults, we are often faced with baggage that we just can’t let go of, no matter how much we want to. We feel we deserve that pain and the guilt that this baggage gives us. When this involves the loss of a loved one, there is no “getting over it”. Ever. But when you are the cause of the loss or even believe that you are, the burden becomes unfathomable.

This is where the book begins. A child is gone and all the should-haves and could-haves will never change the outcome or bring them back. All you have is the heavy blanket of grief.

The author, Leah Mercer certainly knows how to use words to grab you by the heart and squeeze. Her writing is power-packed with raw emotion. As I sat in the living room reading, my fiance told me that I looked like I was about to cry. I probably was…

Who We Were Before is a story of grief. But, it is also about trying to learn to heal. It got inside my head and caused me to rethink some things. While I can’t tell you that this was an enjoyable read, I can say that I feel it was a necessary one. At least it was for me. I feel like it made me look at things a little differently . So, if you choose to read this one, be prepared to have a big dose of “the feels”. I think the author did a great job and I think you should give it a try.

I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I appreciate the opportunity to discover this book.

four-stars

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Review: Downed by Jen Frederick

Posted December 1, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Downed by Jen FrederickReviewer: Rowena
Downed by Jen Frederick
Series: Gridiron #3
Also in this series: Jock Blocked
Published by Self-Published, Jen Frederick
Publication Date: December 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 300
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four-half-stars

He’s the guy no one likes…

Despite winning two national championships, JR “Ace” Anderson was sent packing from his old school after losing the trust of his coach. At Southern U, he has a second chance to prove that his college legacy isn’t endless debauchery and selfishness. But his reputation precedes him, and his teammates offer a chilly welcome in the locker room. The one person who is willing to accept him is the very woman he should stay away from—his new coach’s daughter.

She’s the girl everyone loves…

Bryant Johnson’s only goal in life is to make others happy, even at her own expense. One look at her father’s new star quarterback, and she knows that Ace is her next project. With a reputation for being a “jerk whisperer”, Bryant has spent her last three years at college reforming sorry behavior and turning bad boys into the best boyfriends ever. In Ace, though, she’s met with surly resistance and a sizzling attraction she doesn’t expect. Fixing this wounded warrior will be her biggest challenge yet. Not falling for him will be even harder.

Between her big heart and his damaged one, a battle is ensuing. In this game of love, every defense will crumble.

Downed is the third book in Jen Frederick’s Gridiron series and it follows, Ace Anderson’s book. If you read the last book in this series, Jock Blocked then odds are, you weren’t a fan of Ace’s. With good reason, of course. Ace was an asshole. He did his best friend dirty and with friends like him, who needs enemies, am I right? 🙂

It’s a new year and for Ace Anderson, a new school as well. Ace transferred from Western to Southern and his new coach is hoping that he can lead the team to a championship and that’s what Ace plans to do. Ace has been at Southern for a few weeks now and hasn’t made any friends. He’s got two roommates that don’t include him in their plans, he hasn’t developed any relationships with any of his other teammates and he knows it’s because he’s an asshole. At a party, a girl named Bryant approaches him and before he knows what is what, she’s claimed his as her boyfriend and he just kind of falls in with her. It’s funny because she’s the girl that everyone loves and he’s the guy that nobody likes. Perfect pairing, right? 🙂 Things really take off after Bryant claims Ace and I’m happy to say that this book hit me in all the right places because I loved the heck out of this book.

So Ace’s main focus is playing football. He knows that he probably won’t be playing professional football so he’s focusing on making the most of his time playing football now. He’s not connecting with his receivers and any of his other teammates on and off the field and while they’re pulling wins out of their hats, the team chemistry still needs a lot of work.

Bryant is the coach’s daughter and when Ace finds out about that (all after the fact), he’s not interested in starting up a relationship with her. He’s been there, done that and he’s got a whole lot of regrets where that is concerned. He’s done with all of the drama from Western. He wants to start fresh here and while he never planned on going the girlfriend route (he likes sex, of course), the more time that he spends with Bryant, the more he likes her.

I really like Jen Frederick’s writing style. She writes realistic college romances that just hits me with all of the feels. I love her dialogue. It’s not cheesy. It’s not over the top. It’s just right for the characters and their age groups. I’m always drawn to her characters and it wasn’t any different in this one. Ace and Bryant were great characters that really leaped off the pages. Their personalities shined bright and I really fell in with everything going on. From Ace’s Dad’s shenanigans to Bryant’s issues with the her sister and all of that, I was right there with them through it all.

I really enjoyed getting to know Bryant. I thought she was a compelling character. I really connected with the way that loved to help others. She was genuinely caring and I adored the way that she grew to love Ace, in all of his asshole-ish ways. I really loved how loyal she was to Ace as well. Her attitude toward everyone from Western had me grinning because first and foremost, she was Ace’s girl.

Another thing that I really loved about this book was how Ace was redeemed without changing his personality completely. He was still the same asshole, just better. He was Ace 2.0 and by the end of the book, I had forgiven him for everything from before and still thought he was low key a jerk but I loved that he was Bryant’s asshole. They were cute and I’m curious to see who gets their story told next. This was a great addition to the Gridiron series. I loved the characters, the new ones, the old ones and I’m excited for more. Kudos to Jen Frederick for writing another winner for me. 🙂

Grade: 4.75 out of 5
four-half-stars

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Guest Review: House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

Posted November 30, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: House of Echoes by Brendan DuffyReviewer: Tina
House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 14th 2015
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Suspense
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

In this enthralling and atmospheric thriller, one young family’s dream of a better life is about to become a nightmare.

Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village’s haunting saga is far from over.

House of Echoes is a novel that shows how sometimes the ties that bind us are the only things that can keep us whole.

There is no way that House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy can be a debut book! I had to get that out of the way from the gate! This book is so well-written and is bursting with a dark & creepy, tension-filled vibe that causes the reader to assume that the author has been writing forever.

The setting for this book is right out of a Gothic horror story. It has all the elements that you can expect will scare the crap out of you! When I first read the summary about the troubled family with the dilapidated old mansion in the middle of nowhere I immediately said “Sign me up!!” This book is exactly what a reader like me searches for!

Mr Duffy knows exactly what it takes to keep us reading. He has that powerful skill of building the suspense and keeping the reader on the edge of our seat. The characters are so realistic that I almost felt like I was spying on an unsuspecting neighbor as I was reading! This is a truly unsettling story and I think any person who loves a good thriller will devour this one!

I would like to thank the author for this incredible book, and also NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review it. I have actually bought 2 copies of this book since reviewing it and have given them as gifts. And as any fellow reader knows, this is the biggest compliment you can give to an author. Grab House of Echoes today. It is a perfect read for a a cold and gloomy Autumn day!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars

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