Category: Reviews

Guest Review: When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

Posted February 23, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann KrentzReviewer: Jen
When All the Girls Have Gone (Cutler, Sutter and Salinas #1) by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Cutler Sutter and Salinas #1
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: November 29th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 352
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two-stars

Jayne Ann Krentz, the New York Times bestselling author of Secret Sisters, delivers a thrilling novel of the deceptions we hide behind, the passions we surrender to, and the lengths we’ll go to for the truth...

When Charlotte Sawyer is unable to contact her step-sister, Jocelyn, to tell her that one her closest friends was found dead, she discovers that Jocelyn has vanished.

Beautiful, brilliant—and reckless—Jocelyn has gone off the grid before, but never like this. In a desperate effort to find her, Charlotte joins forces with Max Cutler, a struggling PI who recently moved to Seattle after his previous career as a criminal profiler went down in flames—literally. Burned out, divorced and almost broke, Max needs the job.

After surviving a near-fatal attack, Charlotte and Max turn to Jocelyn’s closest friends, women in a Seattle-based online investment club, for answers. But what they find is chilling…

When her uneasy alliance with Max turns into a full-blown affair, Charlotte has no choice but to trust him with her life. For the shadows of Jocelyn’s past are threatening to consume her—and anyone else who gets in their way...

After reading over a dozen books in a few days while home with the flu, I just couldn’t find any new books that grabbed me. When this one caught my interest I actually broke my usual rule and paid full price for it. Unfortunately, the book was a big disappointment.

Charlotte receives a mysterious package on her sister’s behalf. The package was sent by a woman in her sister’s investment club. When the friend who sent the package ends up dead, Charlotte starts poking around and comes into contact with Max, a private investigator hired by the dead woman’s cousin to investigate the death. Soon, it becomes clear Charlotte’s sister is missing, and other dangers seem to be centered around the women in the club. Is the danger due to the club’s investment activities, or is it something more personal?

Like I said, the synopsis sounded thrilling, but the reality of the book didn’t live up to the premise. First, there really was no mystery. It was clear early on who the villains, and even the attempted twist at the end was not at all surprising. The danger never felt that acute, and the investigation was kind of lackluster.

Charlotte and Max are both pretty forgettable characters. Charlotte works at a senior community, which provides plenty of opportunities for ridiculous elderly plot moppets. She’s pretty vanilla and honestly doesn’t have much that makes her stand out. Max burned out of law enforcement and now is trying to start his own PI business, so naturally the first case he takes is one he knows will make him little, if any, money. Sounds like a solid business plan, no? He’s also got a bunch of family drama, which gets resolved way too tidily in this book, and some mysteries from his past, which don’t get resolved and I presume will form the longer story arc of this new series. None of it grabbed me.

Most disappointing of all was the romance, though. There is no sexual tension, and the actual sex is definitely lukewarm. I did like that there’s no real conflict of interest or drama about being together. Max knows he’s interested and wants to get to know Charlotte. Too bad there’s no real chemistry either. 

All in all, this was a bland and forgettable story, and it reminds me why I don’t pay full price for most books.

Grade: 2 out of 5

two-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Girl Most Likely To… by Susan Donovan

Posted February 22, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 10 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Girl Most Likely To… by Susan DonovanReviewer: Casee
The Girl Most Likely To... by Susan Donovan
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: December 30th 2008
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 340
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four-half-stars

Kat Cavanaugh was sixteen when she hitchhiked out of Persuasion, West Virginia and vowed never to return. Who could blame her? She'd just stumbled upon her father's adulterous affair, found out she was pregnant, got dumped by her boyfriend, and kicked out of her house and school . . . all in a single afternoon. Twenty years have gone by and Kat's back—gorgeous, rich, and looking for an apology from everyone who'd turned their backs on her. First on that list is Riley Bohland, the boy who broke her heart before she could tell him about the baby.

But Kat didn't count on Riley having his own axe to grind, or that he'd be just as delicious as he was at sixteen. She also didn't count on her heart opening at the sight of him. When their anger ignites a passion intense enough to burn through two decades of secrets and lies, Kat must question everything she thought she knew about her past. And what about her future? The only place to find the answers may be in Riley's arms…

***Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on December 29, 2008.

I adore Susan Donovan. She writes some of the best contemporaries I’ve ever read. He Loves Lucy and Take a Chance on Me are a few of my favorite contemps of all time. That’s why I was so disappointed when I read that this would be Susan’s last contemporary. I mean, wtf?

Kat Cavanaugh left home at sixteen, alone and pregnant. When she went to tell her boyfriend that she was going to have a baby, he dumped her before she got the chance. Kat left town that night and has never returned. Until now, twenty years later. After coming into some unexpected money, Kat decides to return Persuasion to show her parents and Riley Bohland that she made it just fine without them. Little did she know what she would find.

Riley never knew that Kat was pregnant that long ago night. Being pressured by his father to break-up with Kat, he only did it to appease his father and fully intended to get back together with her. He had known that Kat was the one for him years ago, but everyone said that they were too young to know that. So when he found out that Kat left town without a word, he was devestated. That’s until he found out her secret a little more than eighteen years later.

Kat is stunned at Riley’s anamosity toward her. What right does he have to act like he was wronged? She was the one that was dumped, pregnant and alone at sixteen. To Kat’s dismay, the explosive attraction between them at sixteen was even more prominent at thirty six. Even with all the unsolved issues between them, Riley and Kat can’t stay away from each other.

While this book wasn’t up there with He Loves Lucy and Take a Chance on Me, it still had Donovan’s trademark humor. There were a few things the book could have gone without, including Kat’s psychotic father. There was already Riley’s stalker ex-girlfriend and the Bed-and-Breakfast owner who decided that she wanted Riley’s brother, even though he was already taken. Any one of these things by itself would have been okay, but all three together was a tad over the top.

Another thing I think Donovan did a great job on was the confrontation between Kat and her son, Aidan. Finding out he had a father after twenty years is not something that Aidan easily accepts. Especially since the mother he has loved so deeply lied to him. The book wouldn’t have been as good if Aidan would have easily accepted that Kat lied to him. Also, the reunion between father and son is “awwww” inducing.

Overall, I loved this book which makes me that much more disappointed that it will be her last contemp. Boo. and am so excited that she’s coming out with a new trilogy next year. w00t!

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Straight Up Irish by Magan Vernon

Posted February 22, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Straight Up Irish by Magan VernonReviewer: Tracy
Straight Up Irish by Magan Vernon
Series: Murphy Brothers #1
Published by Entangled Embrace
Publication Date: February 19th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 309
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three-half-stars

I need a wife if I want to help save my family’s billion-dollar pub empire. There’s just one problem: I never plan on marrying. So, I need someone who understands that this is just another business deal. I don’t do commitments. And my brother’s executive assistant, Fallon Smith, fits that bill.

Fallon needs help with her grandmother’s expenses, and her pretending to be my fake wife is a way we can make that happen. She’s not my biggest fan, but we can help each other and then go our separate ways. That she’s beautiful and I enjoy spending time with her–doesn’t matter. When all of this is done, she’s heading home to America, and I’ve got a company to run.

A fake wedding and a whole lot of whiskey. What could go wrong?

Fallon finishes her MBA and is looking for a job.  She needs a good one so that she can pay for her grandmother’s nursing home and of course her student loans.  She ends up taking a job in Dublin for the Murphy Pub Franchise.  For the past six months she’s been keeping Connor, her bosses brother, in order.  Calling him to make sure he got to his meetings, etc.  She loves the sound of his voice but when she sees him in person she’s amazed at how good-looking he is.

Connor is a total playboy and not about to settle down any time soon.  This is until his father dies in the will dictates that all three brothers, Connor, Jack and Sean must marry and be married for at least 6 months in order to keep the company.  Also, this must all happen within the next year.  All the men are floored but none more than Connor.  He quickly comes up with a scheme that has him getting quickly engaged to Fallon, getting married and staying that way for a little more than six months.  When that time is through she’ll have her student loans paid off and enough money in the bank to take care of her Nana’s nursing home for the next ten years.\

Fallon isn’t sure about this whole plan but decides to go along with it.  The problem is that if anyone suspects that it’s a farce Connor loses it all.  The more time that Fallon spends with Connor the more she likes him and she’s soon falling in love with the man.  He is so nice to her but she knows that love isn’t something that will ever be on his radar.

Nice book.  I liked Fallon ok and definitely liked Connor both by the end of the book.  I must admit that Fallon was a bit wishy-washy and that bothered me throughout most of the book.  She was just so indecisive and I just wanted her to stand her ground with everyone in her life.

Connor was a bit of a bastard at first but we didn’t get to see too much of his playboy ways before he was “dating” Fallon.  You could tell from the start that he really liked her and that he was falling in love with her, even though he tried to hide it.  I liked seeing the playboy fall. 😉

Overall it was a cute contemporary novel and I look forward to reading about Sean and Jack in the future.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Touch of Red by Laura Griffin

Posted February 21, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 5 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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