Category: Reviews

Review: Fated by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted June 22, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Fated by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Fated by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Dark Protectors #1
Published by Brava
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 299
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Marry Me! Cara Paulsen does not give up easily. A scientist and a single mother, she's used to fighting for what she wants, keeping a cool head, and doing whatever it takes to protect her daughter Janie. But "whatever it takes" has never before included a shotgun wedding to a dangerous-looking stranger with an attitude problem.

Or Else! Sure, the mysterious Talen says that he's there to protect Cara and Janie. He also says that he's a three-hundred-year-old vampire. Of course, the way he touches her, Cara might actually believe he's had that long to practice. . .

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This was my first look into the Dark Protector series and I have no idea why I waited so long to dive into it. I’m hooked on Zanetti’s Scorpius Syndrome series, love paranormals in general, so why did I wait? I have no clue. There were a few parts of this particular book I wasn’t down with, but…shrug. I got past it.

Cara Paulson is a special type of person. She has been an empath since she was a young girl. So it makes sense that she would give birth to a very special child. She had no idea that her child would be prophesied to save a race of evil vampires. Vampires that she had no idea existed until one burst into her home to save her and Janie’s lives. Cara isn’t having any of it even when Janie tells her that Talen is the one that is going to save them. All she sees is a strange man coming into her home trying to kidnap her and her baby. Forget the fact that she has this inappropriate and completely confounding attraction to the man. Being disgusted with herself can come after she gets away from him.

Talen had no idea that Cara was his mate until he comes to her rescue. And come to her rescue he does because he can sense the Kurjans, the evil counterpart to his vampire race, coming to get them. Three hundred years of peace are broken because of Cara’s young daughter Janie. They have no idea what’s coming for them. Before he knew she was his mate, it was his job to protect Cara and Janie. Now it is is duty and honor. He can do nothing less that protect the woman he has looked for over the centuries and the little girl that is now his daughter. If only he could convince Cara that she isn’t getting away from him.

There were a lot of things that I liked about this book. I liked the instant connection between Cara and Talen. Talen was very sweet. The love between the two was very sweet. Talen really cared about how Cara felt. He knew that she had a hard time living in their headquarters below ground and made sure she had plants that she loved to help her cope. He just did little sweet things that really made me like him. Other the other hand, I really disliked how he referred to her as “mate” all the time. Like it was her name. It made her sound like a possession. I didn’t enjoy that all. As for Cara, she was a strong heroine, but made stupid fucking decisions. Including a TSTL one that almost got her killed. Just because she was mad at Talen over a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING. TSTL decisions always happen after stupid BIG MISUNDERSTANDINGS, don’t they?

Even with the things that bothered me, I did find this book enjoyable and am looking forward to continuing this series.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

Dark Protectors

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks

Posted June 21, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya BanksReviewer: Holly
Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks
Series: McCabe Trilogy #2
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander
Published by Ballantine
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 323
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Goodreads
four-stars


Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Seduction of a Highland Lass, an indomitable Highland warrior is caught between loyalty and forbidden love.
 Fiercely loyal to his elder brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put to the test his fealty to his clan, his honor, and his deepest desires.

An outcast from her own clan, Keeley McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric’s keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice: Will he betray his blood ties for the woman he loves?

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on November 29, 2011.

Where the first book in the series had more external conflict, this one has a lot more internal conflict.

Alaric MacCabeis on his way to a neighboring clan to formally offer marriage to the Laird’s daughter, Rionna MacDonald, to secure an alliance, when he’s attacked. All of his men are killed and he’s gravely wounded. He manages to make it to Keeley MacDonald’s cabin on the outskirts of the clan. She’s a skilled healer and is able to save his life. When his bothers, Ewan and Caelen, show up, they decide to keep Keeley since they need a healer in their clan. Not only is Keeley charged with caring for Alaric, but Ewan wants her to attend the birth of his first child.

Keeley was cast out of her clan as a young girl after the Laird made unwanted advances and his wife cried her a whore. She’s been living alone ever since. The idea of being accepted as a healer in a new clan is appealing, but she’s not happy to have been snatched from her home with no choice. The deciding factor in her not fighting her situation is Alaric. They formed a deep bond while Keeley was caring for him.

The problem is Alaric promised to marry Rionna MacDonald. The MacDonald land lies between the McCabe keep and the new land Ewan McCabe (the laird) inherited when he married his new wife. Without the alliance the clan will be divided, not to mention the other alliances they’re working on might be jeopardized. Alaric knows his duty. As much as he wants Keeley, he knows he can’t have her. Not permanently.

Although Duncan Cameron, the villain from the first book, is still a threat in this novel, but the focus is on the internal conflict of Alaric and Keeley being in love but unable to marry. The story could have become bogged down with angst, but Banks managed a good balance between sexy-times, humor and conflict.

Keeley was a practical woman. Her clan threw her out, but she isn’t so hung up on it she’s willing to cut off her nose to spite her face. When Ewan offers her a place with the McCabe clan, she takes it. Her practicality and levelheadedness worked well with the conflict, too. Yes, she wanted Alaric, but she understood what was at stake and what would happen if they risked everything. Alaric also knew his duty, but my heart broke for him. He knew right away that he wanted Keeley and no other, but he also knew he didn’t have a choice.

I think too often in historical novels the main characters throw convention and duty out the window to the detriment of the story. Yes, it happened, but it was rare. I think for a couple to focus more on duty than on love brought a touch of realism.

The story isn’t perfect. There were times when it was bogged down with useless info. The dialogue ran toward cheesy now and again. I also found myself struggling to connect to Keeley in the beginning. Thankfully that didn’t last long. 

Overall this was a satisfying read. I enjoyed the characters and the conflict. Banks has penned a strong second novel for this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

McCabe Trilogy

four-stars


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Guest Review: Scotland or Bust by Kira Archer

Posted June 20, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Scotland or Bust by Kira ArcherReviewer: Tracy
Scotland or Bust by Kira Archer
Published by Entangled: Indulgence
Publication Date: June 11, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 220
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Goodreads
three-stars

After dumping her boyfriend, Nicole Franklin impulsively jumps on a plane and heads to Europe. Sure, money and a job would have been nice to line up first. Even a visa, for that matter. So now she has to play tour guide at an Outlander experience for the most obnoxious man on the planet. Until she stumbles into the wrong bed in the middle of the night and wakes up in Harrison’s arms. Now his family thinks they’re engaged, and the entire village is betting on how long before she’ll be running for the hills.

Harrison Troy has a reputation in the town for burning through assistants. And the bubbly new one he’s just hired is likely no different. But his family quickly has them “engaged.” He should be upset, but she’s the perfect buffer for his interfering family. She says she doesn’t need another man in her life--even if he comes with a castle--and that’s fine with him. So why can’t he stop thinking about the woman who is charming everyone in the town, and maybe even him?

After dumping her boyfriend and quitting her accounting job, Nicole decides to finally take the trip to Europe her boyfriend had promise her – by herself. She buys a first-class one-way ticket to England and decides that she’s going to get a job and be an independent woman.  She is seatmates with Harrison Troy, a stuffed shirt that’s incredibly hot.  Nicole’s a talker and Harrison just wants to be left alone but Nic won’t let him be.  She even makes out with him upon lift off because she can see how anxiety ridden he is.

When the finally land Harrison finds out his assistant has quit and as he knows that Nicole has no job or place to stay, he offers her the position.  She takes the job and they head to his family’s ancestral home.  The home will be the first stop in the Outlander “experience” that Harrison has created in order to try to save his family’s dying travel business.  He’s a billionaire and really wants nothing to do with anything related to “the book and show that must not be named” but he loves his quirky family (despite not wanting to spend all that much time with them).

Because of a bedroom snafu Harrison’s family thinks that Nicole and Harrison are engaged which puts a bit of a strain on things.  Nicole’s a wonderful assistant but Harrison can’t seem to keep his hands off her.

I liked most of the characters in the story – the people of the village in the pub were funny, the friends who came to visit Harrison were great, the quirky/crazy family was even charming.  I liked Harrison although I thought he was a bit too stuffy, even near the end of the book (although he did loosen up some).  Nicole was cute at times but other times she made me nuts.  She just bought a one-way ticket but didn’t have anywhere to stay, hardly any money and just thought she’d get an under the table job and work her way around.  I guess there are people in the world who would do that, but Nicole didn’t seem the type at all.

The romance itself felt rushed.  It seemed as if Harrison and Nicole were just starting to explore their attraction and then boom! they were supposedly madly in love. What? I liked the part where Harrison was professing his love, it was very sweet, but where the heck did it come from?  The build-up of the relationship needed a lot more to it then what it was in order for me to believe these two were going to live happily ever after.

There were definitely parts that ha me rolling my eyes but overall I thought it was a cute book.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Tank by Erin Bevan

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

Guest Review: Tank by Erin BevanReviewer: Tracy
Tank (Black and Blue #1) by Erin Bevan
Series: Black and Blue #1
Published by Erin Bevan
Publication Date: May 17, 2017
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 407
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Goodreads
three-stars

Tyler Wilde moves to Black Widow, Texas, to join the Blue Guardians, a local biker club that helps abused women and children. He's intent on starting his life over, but a small piece of his past collides with his present when he runs into the local waitress, Annie Carter.

Annie’s the girl of his boyhood dreams, and Tyler can’t wait to get reacquainted with her. Only problem is, Annie’s engaged. But what has Tyler more troubled than the diamond on her finger is the bruise that graces her arm. To make matters worse, Annie’s abuser and intended husband is also the town’s Chief of Police.

Tyler is determined to offer Annie a safe haven, but she refuses his help until her life is hanging by a thread.

When Tyler Wilde’s grandfather dies and leaves him his home in Black Widow, Texas, he decides to move there.  He spent summers there for many years and the place holds wonderfully fond memories for him.  He’s also been told that there is a group/biker club that helps abused women and children and he wants to join.

After a couple of weeks of living in Black Widow Tyler heads to the local diner to get donuts for his co-workers and runs into Annie.  They realize after talking that she was the little girl across the river that he taught to skip rocks one summer.  Tyler can tell almost immediately that Annie is trying to hide signs of abuse.

Tyler becomes a prospect in the Blue Guardians and earns the name Tank due to his size.  They end up helping Annie try to get away from her fiancé, permanently.  Unfortunately her fiancé is a cop and a well-respected man in the community – no one knows what a monster he is.  While Annie stays at Tank’s house her friendship with him turns deeper and they both realize they have feelings for each other.  Annie, however, doesn’t know if she can trust any man after what she’s been through.

This is my first read by this author.  I was intrigued by the concept of an MC created to help abused women and children.  It was a good concept and one I enjoyed reading about.  Tank had been abused as a boy and he was still, even as an adult, working through his issues.  Because of his background he was especially good with children who’d been abused and I loved that the author gave him a soft heart due to his past.

Annie was a trooper.  Seriously – that woman had gone through hell and just couldn’t figure out how to extricate herself from the situation.  I was happy that she finally took Tank up on his offer of protection and that the Blue Guardians stepped in as well.

Despite my enjoyment of the Blue Guardians the story did lag at times and I found it a struggle to not skip pages/skim.  There were also some things that happened in the book that had my eyes rolling because the characters were so gullible.  In the end I found that I liked about half of the book and found the other half just ok.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Joint Review: Burn for You by J.T. Geissinger

Posted June 18, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: Burn for You by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Burn for You (Slow Burn, #1) by J. T. Geissinger
Series: Slow Burn #1
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 348
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Goodreads
four-stars

The marriage is fake. But for a sassy chef and an arrogant billionaire, the sparks are real…

Jackson “The Beast” Boudreaux is rich, gorgeous, and unbelievably rude to the staff at Chef Bianca Hardwick’s New Orleans restaurant. Bianca would sooner douse herself in hot sauce than cook for Jackson again, but when he asks her to cater his fund-raiser, Bianca can’t refuse, knowing the cash will help pay her mother’s medical bills. Then Jackson makes another outrageous request: Marry me. The unconventional offer includes an enormous sum—money Bianca desperately needs, even if it does come with a contract—and a stunning ring.

The heir to a family bourbon dynasty, Jackson knows the rumors swirling around him. The truth is even darker. Still, he needs a wife to secure his inheritance, and free-spirited, sassy Bianca would play the part beautifully. Soon, though, their simple business deal evolves into an emotional intimacy he’s built walls to avoid.

As the passion heats up between them, Bianca and Jackson struggle to define which feelings are real and which are for show. Is falling for your fake fiancé the best happy ending…or a recipe for disaster?

Burn for You is a modern take on Beauty and the Beast.

Jackson and Bianca have a very contentious relationship. They get off to a bad start when he shows up at her restaurant and demands a table. Bianca’s latest menu is an ode to his family’s bourbon, but she isn’t about to let him push her around. When he offers her the chance to cater an very exclusive charity event, she knows she can’t refuse. Not only will the publicity give her restaurant the boost it needs, but she desperately needs the money for her sick mother. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the crazy man shows up again and demands she marry him. Turns out he needs a wife by his 33rd birthday -which is just around the corner- or he’ll lose his inheritance. If she wasn’t desperate for money to help her sick mother she’d never consider it…as it is, how bad would be being married to the Beast?

Holly: I was browsing Amazon a couple weeks ago and discovered this book. I love Beauty and the Beast and a modern day retelling appealed to me. I really loved it. Jax and Bianca were great together. Are you glad I forced …ehem…recommended you read it?

Rowena: I listened to the audiobook too and it didn’t work for me. The narrator for Bianca sounded like my grandma and I kept picturing Gretchen from Suits because that’s who she reminded me of so every time she and Jackson would get down and dirty, I kept picturing my favorite of Louis’ administrative assistants with Jackson…and she’s more my Grandma than my heroine of a romance novel. I love the hell out of her but I don’t want to know or read about her sex life. Haha. But dude, that narrator sounds just like Gretchen.

Holly: Conversely, I really enjoyed the narrator. I don’t watch Suits, so I can’t say if she sounded like anyone from that show, but I thought she did a great job with the voices. I don’t ever listen to the entire book. I switch back and forth between reading and listening. The narrator, Diana Luke, really made the book for me. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the book quite so much had I read it on my own. I heard her voice in my head while I was reading and it really worked.

Rowena: Anyway on with the book, after I stopped listening to the book and started reading it on my own, I was able to enjoy the book a lot more. The chemistry between Bianca and Jackson was off the charts and from the beginning I felt it. I knew that we were going to get a good story out of them and we did.

I’m really glad that I listened to you and read this book. It was good stuff.

Holly: Of course it was good stuff. I always give good recommendations. 😉

Rowena: I really liked Bianca’s character and how strong she was, how real she was. When her drama happens, I connected with her because I’ve been there and I thought Geissinger captured her emotions and her grief really well.

My heart broke getting to know Jackson and seeing the man that he grew up to be despite the childhood that he had?? Oh man, it hit me right in the feels and I was rooting like heck for him throughout the entire story.

Holly: Jackson was grumpy and growly, but underneath he was just a giant marshmallow. I loved that about him. I loved how he took care of his people and raised money for causes that were important to him.

Bianca didn’t take any crap from him, and in fact gave back better than she got. I loved her wit and how quick she was to defend herself and those who worked for her. She wasn’t overbearing. They both got on each other’s nerves, but I loved how they also saw below the surface and wanted to help the other. She stuck up for him when he needed it, and he returned the favor. I melted over them both.

Rowena: There were times when I thought both Bianca and Jackson were being super extra about things, like how Bianca would fly off the handle at the smallest thing and how Jackson would growl at Bianca at every turn but in the end, I understood why they were the way that they were with each other and let that stuff go.

Holly: You’re right, they were both extra about things. Still, I loved how they sort of fell into a friendship without even realizing it. So cute.

His family made me angry and I wasn’t satisfied with the way it was dealt with. Jackson felt like shit his entire life because of the way his parents treated him, but his dad waves it all off? Grr. I got over it, however, because it’s a Fairytale.

Rowena: Jackson’s family dynamic left much to be desired and I agree that when everything comes out in the open, his father waved things off and I didn’t think that Jackson got the closure he deserved on that stuff but I’m glad that he finally had the support system that he should have had all along. I also really liked that Bianca was the one to make that happen for him.

Holly: Oh yes, I loved how quick Bianca was to defend him and how she took up for him with his family. That was great.

I really loved this book. There were things that bothered me, and the way Bianca and Jackson acted at the end had me frustrated, but overall it was a really good read. I’d definitely recommend it (and have been, to everyone. lol). I’m really looking forward to reading Geissinger’s backlist.

Rowena: This was the first book that I’ve ever read by Geissinger but it won’t be my last. I really enjoyed this slow-burn romance and am pretty anxious to start the next in the series, even though there isn’t a real link between both books.

Holly: Overall this was a very satisfying read. I was sad to see it end. 4.25 out of 5

Rowena: I agree that this was a very satisfying read. I would definitely recommend.
I give this one a 4 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

Slow Burn

four-stars


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