Guest Review: Touch of Red by Laura Griffin

Posted February 21, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: Touch of Red by Laura GriffinReviewer: Jen
Touch of Red (Tracers, #12) by Laura Griffin
Series: Tracers Series #12
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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four-stars

When crime scene investigator Brooke Porter arrives at the home of a murdered woman, the only thing more shocking than the carnage is the evidence that someone escaped the scene. But where is this witness now? A thorough search of the area yields more questions than answers, and before Brooke even packs up her evidence kit, she’s made it her goal to find the witness and get them out of harm’s way.

Homicide detective Sean Byrne has seen his share of bloody crime scenes, but this one is particularly disturbing, especially because Brooke Porter is smack in the middle of it. Sean has had his eye on the sexy CSI for months, and he’s determined to help her with her current case—even if it means putting his attraction on hold so he and Brooke can track down a murderer. But as the investigation—and their relationship—heats up, Sean realizes that keeping his work and his personal life separate is more complicated than he ever imagined; especially when the killer sets his sights on Brooke.

I was excited about CSI Brooke Porter when she was introduced in the last Tracer’s book, and for the most part her story didn’t disappoint. Brooke works for the Delphi Center, and she’s working with detective Sean Byrne to solve a murder. She’s also coming out of a messy, toxic relationship, and that causes some problems for her and her relationship with Sean.

I thought the investigation plot of this book was very strong. I really could not have predicted where this one would end up based on the initial murder! This isn’t a serial killer story like so many of the Tracers books have been, and I admit it was a good change of pace to get something different. Plus the villain is responsible for some awful things, and it’s satisfying to see that person get their just desserts in the end. I also really liked Sean and Brooke, both as individuals and as a couple. I thought they were a great compliment, and I could absolutely see them working out in the long term.

I did have some issues that kept nagging at me after I finished reading, though. First, there’s a plot line with Brooke’s ex-boyfriend that I just didn’t like. He was emotionally abusive and is starting to stalk her in this book. I didn’t see a need for that and felt like it was just gratuitous. Plus, the issue wasn’t really handled seriously in my mind. The whole thing is basically resolved by Sean threatening the guy, which was lame and felt out of character for Sean AND for the ex. That plot point goes nowhere and feels like it’s only there to manufacture a way for Sean to protect Brooke until the major villain starts to focus on her.

The other thing that bothered me was more subtle, and it wasn’t something that even bothered me while I was reading. It was only after, as I started to think about the book, that it started to get under my skin. Brooke doesn’t want a relationship at the start of the book. She admits she’s rushed from bad relationship to bad relationship for years, and she feels like she needs time alone to figure out what she wants and who she is independent of a man. She tells Sean this repeatedly, and he tells her he totally respects that. But then all he does is push her to start something with him. Obviously, Brooke wanted him as well, and it’s clear the reader is supposed to recognize that Sean is a great match for Brooke (and he very much is). My problem isn’t even that Sean sticks around after she tells him she doesn’t want a relationship. My problem is that he says “Yes I totally get it” while secretly thinking “But I really want her so I’ll keep trying to convince her and then she’ll see the light.” I just don’t like it when books subvert the heroine like that. It reinforces the idea that if it’s “true love” it’s ok to push past a woman’s boundaries and ignore what she’s telling you. It didn’t feel necessary, and it didn’t reflect well on Sean in my mind.

Despite these issues, I truly did enjoy this book. It was well paced, a good mix of excitement and geeky investigation, and had a great central couple.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Tracers Series

four-stars


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Guest Review: His Best Mistake by Lucy King

Posted February 21, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: His Best Mistake by Lucy KingReviewer: Tracy
His Best Mistake by Lucy King
Series: The Maclean Family Legacy #1
Published by Tule Publishing
Publication Date: January 22nd 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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two-half-stars

Is it too much to ask for a relationship that works?

When Stella Grant realizes her perfect romance is a lie and that she's the other woman, she flees to her remote cottage in the Highlands to lick her wounds.

Billionaire currency trader Jack Maclean has nothing but contempt for the woman who stole not only his sister’s fiancé but quite possibly a family heirloom to boot. Nonetheless, he wants answers and he intends to get them. A quick trip north should do the trick. Never in a million years could he have predicted a kamikaze sheep and inclement weather would leave him stranded.

Jack might be gorgeous but Stella isn’t in the market for a man, especially one who hates her. No matter how attractive he finds her Stella is the very last person Jack should want. The trouble is, they’re all alone and the chemistry is irresistible, and, well, what happens in Scotland stays in Scotland, right?

Stella is trying to get away from everyone and everything after she found out that she was the “other woman.”  She never wanted to be that person and is sick to think that the man she’d been dating for 3 months was engaged to someone else.  She’d been at a cottage in the Scottish Highlands for almost a month when a truck starts up her drive.  The driver is none other than Jack Maclean, the brother of the woman who was heartbroken when she found out her fiancé was two timing her.

Jack is pissed off on his sister’s behalf but he eventually gives Stella a chance to tell her side of things and he realizes that he believes her when she says she had no idea that she was dating an engaged man. At that point Jack is satisfied with that issues but he can’t seem to get his lusty thoughts off of Stella.  They both know it’s a horrible idea to sleep together but they do anyway and lo and behold, Stella gets pregnant.  Talk about a sticky situation.

Stella is willing to let Jack off the hook or even let him in completely (in the baby’s life) if that’s what he wants. Jack is more than willing to be by her side 24/7 but there are reasons behind that.  Jack, however, has no idea what he’s doing or feeling and when he realizes that he might be falling in love with Stella he calls it quits.

In this story Stella is pretty alone.  She basically raised herself and her parents are so into their own dramas that they barely noticed they had a daughter.  Stella was a bit traumatized by that so she had kind of been looking for love in all the wrong places.  She tended to fantasize about a guy before she ever got to know him.  I think it’s something we’ve all done from time to time.  With Jack she really didn’t do all that much fantasizing until after she got pregnant.

Jack had had some hard knocks in his life but now he was a billionaire and who was so invested in his work he hadn’t had sex in 4 years.  Well, there were other reasons he hadn’t had sex in that long but he never imagined he’d end up having it with the woman who broke his sister’s heart. Once he found out that Stella was pregnant he acted kind of like a nut case.  Yes, again, big reasons why that was but it just didn’t endear the man to me in any way.  He was so on again, off again with Stella that I wanted to smack him upside the head and say, “Snap out of it!”  In the end I thought that Stella was too good for him and I wanted him to grovel more to even get a little bit of attention from her.  But maybe that was just me, IDK.

This was a novella that sounded so very good but in the end didn’t really work for me.  There was nothing truly wrong with it but as I read the last page I laid down my Kindle and thought “meh” which is never a good thing.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Review: Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton

Posted February 20, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Shot on Gold by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Rowena
Shot on Gold (Play by Play, #14) by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #14
Also in this series: Holiday on Ice, Rules of Contact, The Final Score (Play by Play, #13), Changing the Game (Play by Play, #2)
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: February 13th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-stars

In the new Play-by-Play novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Final Score, opposites attract when a figure skater and hockey player lace up their skates--and go for the gold...

Will "Mad Dog" Madigan is making his second trip to the Winter Games, and he couldn't be happier. Hockey is his life and playing for the U.S. team is a privilege. Then he meets U.S. figure skater Amber Sloane. She's beautiful, ambitious and driven--everything Will desires in a woman. He would love to show Amber how hot life off the ice can be.

Amber has skated her entire life, sacrificing everything in the hopes of one day winning gold. Now she's competing for the third and final time. She intends to win, and nothing's going to get in her way--until she meets Will. He's an irresistible charmer, and before long Amber is wondering if this sexy hockey player is the perfect guy to show her some moves outside the rink.

But after all the medals have been awarded, Will and Amber will have to decide if what they have together is just a fling or a real shot at true love.

Shot on Gold is the fourteenth book in the Play by Play series by Jaci Burton and it was a sweet romance. Both the hero and the heroine were so sweet and so polite to each other and they were super nice and all of that but that’s pretty much it.

This book follows Will “Mad Dog” Madigan and Amber Sloane as they fall in love during the Winter Olympics. They’re both competing in the Games and they meet in the athlete’s village and their romance takes off right from the very beginning.

Will is at his second Olympics with the US Men’s Hockey team and this time around, he wants to experience the whole thing with a clear head and make actual memories. His first time around, he won the silver medal with his team and he remembers a lot of alcohol, lots of women and lots of partying. He’s older now so he wants to savor the experience and he wants to help his team win the elusive gold medal. He’s serious business this time around so when he meets Amber Sloane, he’s definitely interested and wouldn’t mind a little female company during the two-week international tournament.

Amber Sloane is competing in her last Winter Olympics. She’s an ice skater who has always put skating above everything else and while she is a very decorated athlete, she doesn’t have a gold medal and she doesn’t have any friends. She’s twenty-four years old and she vows to have some fun during these Olympic games because she deserves a bit of fun after all of her hard work. She’s ready to compete for that gold and she is very confident that this is her year to finally win it. Her one friend is a Canadian snowboarder and they’re roommates again so Amber knows that if anyone can help her let loose a little, it’s Lisa. When Lisa takes her a party, Amber meets Will and she’s just as attracted to him as he is to her and she’s determined that he will be the person that she gets cozy with and he doesn’t disappoint.

Over the course of the two weeks that they’re both competing in Vancouver at the Olympic Games, Will and Amber fall into a relationship that is pretty hot and super steamy. They get closer and closer and they spend as much time as they can together and everything is just peachy. Being together makes them happy and it shows in their performance in the games. Will is killing it on the ice and so is Amber. Everything is perfect. Nothing is ever wrong, except for a few mean words from Amber’s Mom…and I think that was my problem with the book. There weren’t any real conflicts in the romance and the conflict that we do get, happens after the games and to be honest, it was pretty weak.

This book reads like a fairy tale where everyone is accepted and everyone wins a gold medal and while that’s fine, I wanted more meat from the story. The romance itself worked but outside of that, everything was pretty tame. Everyone got along, there was no drama between any of the athletes and I expected…more. I finished this book wanting more. I would have enjoyed the setting and the environment a whole lot more if something actually happened instead of happy, happy, joy, joy, all the time. So while the romance was sweet, the rest of the story low key needed more umph for me.

Play by Play Series

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: To Tame a Wolf by Joann Black

Posted February 19, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: To Tame a Wolf by Joann BlackReviewer: Tracy
To Tame a Wolf by Joann Black
Published by The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: September 27th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
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four-stars

Summoned from her contemplative life in the abbey, Alexandra Ashford finds herself at the mercy of her malicious guardian, a cousin she fears and despises. He plans to force her to marry his crony and so forfeit her estate. Her only chance of escape is to trust the wounded man imprisoned by her cousin.

Taken captive and chained to his torturer's floor, clan laird Ian McGregor is left for dead after a brutal beating. He has little hope of escape. But when his enemy's betrothed offers him freedom and asks for his help, he realizes revenge could be sweet indeed.

Facing seemingly unbeatable odds to escape and reach the McGregor stronghold, their greatest challenge is fighting their growing attraction. How will Alexandra react when she realizes she’s the prisoner of the McGregor laird who considers her the “betrothed” of his enemy?

Alexandra wants nothing to do with her guardian and hopes to spend the rest of her life at the Abbey.  Unfortunately he calls for her and tells her that he plans to marry her off to a man who’s just as vile as her guardian.  She hatches a plan to get out of dodge.  She sets the man free who’s chained up in the main hall and asks him to take her to the McGregor clan, hoping that their laird will allow her sanctuary.  She has no idea that the man she frees is the laird and he become quite smitten with Alexandra.

This was a great little historical.  It was a quick read and just kind of hit in all of the right places for me.  Alexandra setting Ian free, their flight to freedom and everything that entailed and of course their attraction to each other.  The author did a fine job of giving us simmering tension between Ian and Alexandra, I loved it.

If you want a simple yet entertaining historical romance to read then this is the book for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I do have to say that the cover of the book is absolutely ridiculous.  Why in heaven’s name are they staring at his pec?  I just don’t get it!  You can see my thoughts on it here (and Holly’s too!).

four-stars


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Review: Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

Posted February 19, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Brooklynaire by Sarina BowenReviewer: Rowena
Brooklynaire (Brooklyn Bruisers #4) by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #4
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2), Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers, #3)
Published by Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: February 12th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-half-stars

A sexy new standalone from USA Today bestseller Sarina Bowen.

You'd think a billion dollars, a professional hockey team and a six-bedroom mansion on the Promenade would satisfy a guy. You'd be wrong.

For seven years Rebecca has brightened my office with her wit and her smile. She manages both my hockey team and my sanity. I don't know when I started waking in the night, craving her. All I know is that one whiff of her perfume ruins my concentration. And her laugh makes me hard.

When Rebecca gets hurt, I step in to help. It's what friends do. But what friends don't do is rip off each others' clothes for a single, wild night together.

Now she's avoiding me. She says we're too different, and it can never happen again. So why can't we keep our hands off each other?

I couldn’t request this book for review fast enough. To say that I’ve been anxious for Becca and Nate’s story is putting it mildly because I did a happy dance the minute that I got the email that it was sent to my kindle and I stopped reading a book that I wasn’t all that interested in anyway to jump into this one. So, there was a lot of hype going in. A lot, a lot of hype. Sure it was all in my head but I needed this book to be perfect, especially since I had just DNF’d my very first book by this amazing author and…Sarina Bowen delivered, yet again.

Nathan Kattenberger is in love with Becca Rowley and has been for years. It doesn’t matter that he’s her boss. He flat out loves her and has been loving her from afar for so long. It’s getting harder and harder to keep his feelings for her at bay because when she gets hurt, Nate steps in to lend a helping hand because even though Becca works for him, she’s also one of his closest friends and has been with him since the beginning. She knew him before he became the billionaire that he is now, so he knows that she cares for him and not his money.

Becca is still smarting from Nathan transferring her to Brooklyn to manage his hockey team instead of keeping her in Manhattan, working for the company that she started off with. When he hired Lauren, a more sophisticated admin to run his software company, she was hurt because she loved her job in Manhattan but she went to Brooklyn because Nate wanted someone he trusted to run the office for the hockey team that he bought, the Brooklyn Bruisers. That was two years ago and even though Becca loves her job now, it still burns a bit. If Becca knew the real reason Nate transferred her, she’d be blown away because she has no clue that Nate has been carrying a torch for her, all these years. When she gets hurt and Nate starts taking care of her, things start to change and well, heat up.

In the last three books of this series, Becca and Nate have been on the outside of the story being told and they captured and held my interest in every single book. I wanted to know more about Nate’s feelings for Becca and I could not wait until Becca found out how Nate felt about her. I wanted them to be front and center for what feels like forever so getting this book was such a treat for me.

Nate was a fantastic hero. I loved how fierce his love for Becca was and how he tried to do right by her at every turn. He wasn’t the most perfect of heroes since he did get things wrong a lot of times but he proved to be a good listener and he respected Becca and learned from his mistakes. It was nice to see a different take on the boss and employee storyline and I thought Sarina Bowen did a fabulous telling Nate’s story. I really enjoyed seeing his friendship with Stew from beginning to end though I wish that we could have seen more of Stew in the book.

Becca was pretty great herself. She was capable and strong and she reacted to finding out about Nate and his feelings for her the same way that I imagine, I’d react. Completely blown away and then really uncomfortable with all of that money. I connected with Becca’s character and really loved getting to know her.

The romance between Nate and Becca was fantastic. It was sweet and it was steamy and it was everything that I hoped it would be. Sarina Bowen keeps winning me over with these stories and this series and I just never want it to end. I’m curious to see if we’ll be getting a story for Alex cause I’d love to see how her story turns out.

Yeah, I loved this one. So good!

Brooklyn Bruisers Series

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

four-half-stars


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