Format: eARC

Sunday Spotlight: Headliners by Lucy Parker

Posted January 19, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Headliners is the fifth book in the London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker. I’m a pretty big fan of this series so I have been looking forward to this book for as long as I’ve known it was coming. I wasn’t too wild about Nick as the hero since he pissed me off in the last book but I’ve already dug into my eARC of this book and Lucy Parker’s redemption game is strong because by the end of this book, I loved Nick to pieces. I’m super stoked to share an excerpt from this book so that hopefully, you guys will be stoked for this release, right along with us. Check it out.

Sunday Spotlight: Headliners by Lucy ParkerHeadliners by Lucy Parker
Series: London Celebrities #5
Also in this series: Pretty Face, Making Up , The Austen Playbook
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: January 20, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Sparks fly when two feuding TV presenters are thrown together to host a live morning show in Lucy Parker’s latest enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance.

He might be the sexiest man in London, according to his fan site (which he definitely writes himself), but he’s also the most arrogant man she’s ever met.

She might have the longest legs he’s ever seen, but she also has the sharpest tongue.

For years, rival TV presenters Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport have traded barbs on their respective shows. The public can’t get enough of their feud, but after Nick airs Sabrina’s family scandals to all of Britain, the gloves are off. They can barely be in the same room together—but these longtime enemies are about to become the unlikeliest of cohosts.

With their reputations on the rocks, Sabrina and Nick have one last chance to save their careers. If they can resurrect a sinking morning show, they’ll still have a future in television. But with ratings at an all-time low and a Christmas Eve deadline to win back the nation’s favor, the clock is ticking—and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed.

Small mishaps on set start adding up, and Sabrina and Nick find themselves—quelle horreur—working together to hunt down the saboteur…and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant cohosts are secretly lusting after one another.

The public might not be wrong.

Their chemistry has always been explosive, but with hate turning to love, the stakes are rising and everything is on the line. Neither is sure if they can trust these new feelings…or if they’ll still have a job in the New Year.

Excerpt

Blindfolded biscuit decorating.

Sabrina was rapidly becoming a lot less fond of Fenella Price.

Phil Meyer, one of the finalists for Ultimate Cakemaster, the current Sunday evening obsession around the country, was just about bent double so that Layla Johnson, his petite fellow contestant, could secure the length of black silk over his eyes. The pair of them had been chuckling and jostling one another, and obviously having a grand old time as they effortlessly produced a stack of perfectly browned, crisply shaped gingerbread people at their station.

They also looked far too unsurprised by this exciting turn of events; evidently, they’d been given a heads-up in the green room that things were going to take a farcical turn.

Sabrina winced as she glanced back at the pile of biscuits on the Carlton/Davenport station. Their lines of figures looked flat-out tragic. Several were missing limbs after she’d accidentally dropped a tray while trying to avoid bodily contact with Nick, and at least half of them were burnt, after the biscuit prince had forgotten to take them out of the oven. He claimed the temperature had been set too high.

And unlike the piping bottles at the opposite station, their royal icing had an interestingly crunchy texture, because Nick Davenport, usually a veritable Renaissance Man, had no idea how to crack an egg. He’d bounced the shell off the side of the bowl like he was slam-dunking a basketball.

“I thought you knew how to bake,” she muttered under her breath as she slipped the blindfold around Nick’s head. She was tall even without her heels, so they didn’t need to resort to Phil and Layla’s acrobatics. He made a quiet sound of protest when she pulled the tie too tight, and she slipped her fingers under it to loosen it. “Sorry.”

He’d managed to transform in the hour before they went live, and now looked as alert and dapper as ever in his crisp suit. She could smell him, this unusually close. His skin had a warm scent of oud from his cologne and, faintly, vanilla from the bottle of extract he’d spilt all over his hands. Sabrina could almost taste it in the back of her throat.

She smoothed the silken fabric into place over his short black curls. “What happened to the scion of the baking dynasty?”

For the first few minutes of the segment, she’d thought he was just embracing the direction to fudge things a bit, make sure their guests looked suitably expert. After she’d watched him poke curiously at the butter with the handle of a wooden spoon, and the acrid bitterness of burning sugar had reached her nostrils, she’d realised he wasn’t acting, he was just shite.

London Celebrities

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: January 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!


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Throwback Thursday Review: Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry

Posted January 16, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Her Secret Fling by Sarah MayberryReviewer: Holly
Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

Jake Stevens—star reporter and celebrated literary genius—is a snake. How else to explain the way he turns Poppy Birmingham's hero worship into loathing with a single conversation? So what if she's got a lot to learn about journalism? Aren't they coworkers now? On the same team? Jake can take his attitude and…

Then during a job-related road trip, their relationship goes from antagonistic to hedonistic in no time flat. And suddenly Poppy can't think of anything more delicious than having a secret fling with Jake. But with all this intensity, can she really keep it no-strings-attached?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on January 18, 2010.

I really like Sarah Mayberry. I don’t know why I haven’t read more of her books.

I bought this book because I’ve enjoyed Mayberry novels in the past, but I was kind of put off when I realized the hero and heroine are both journalists. As it turned out, there was no reason to worry. The characters were stellar and their careers played a minor role in the overall story.

I liked both Jake and Poppy. Our first impression of Jake isn’t a favorable one. He resents Poppy being hired with so little journalist experience and sets out to let her know right away. He isn’t one of the wounded-heart types who’s only an ass to hide his true feelings. He’s just isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind.

Although Poppy is out of her depth and intimidated by Jake, she doesn’t let him walk all over her. She stands up for herself and gives as good as she gets. Although writing is a new career for her and doesn’t come naturally, she’s determined to make it work.

I really liked that both Poppy and Jake were real characters. They weren’t perfect, they were just two people getting to know each other and dealing with everyday life. It was very refreshing.

The way Poppy acted toward the end kind of bothered me, but I’m not exactly sure why. I think it was that she started acting like a silly girl, pining over a man thinking she could change him. She did wise up – and without too much fuss – so I was able to move past it, but it struck me as not quite fitting in with her character.

Overall this was a very sweet love story with solid characters. I every much enjoyed it.

4.25 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin Blaze. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: His Convenient Husband by JL Langley

Posted January 9, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 14 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: His Convenient Husband by JL LangleyReviewer: Tracy
His Convenient Husband by J.L. Langley
Series: Innamorati #1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: September 4, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: M/M
Pages: 134
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A temporary arrangement? Don't bet the ranch on it.

Innamorati, Book 1

At the tender age of seven, newly orphaned Micah Jiminez lost everything and got lucky. The Delany family opened their hearts and their home, treated him like one of their own. One Delany in particular, though, became more than a brother to Micah. The handsome and protective Tucker is the man to whom he wants to give his love.
But after a single passionate night together, Tucker rebuffs him and hightails it to Dallas to pursue his dreams. Leaving Micah to pick up the pieces of his broken heart and feeling like a fool.

The impending death of the Delany patriarch brings an unsavory relative out of the woodwork, threatening Micah's beloved adopted family. They're going to need all hands in the fight to keep The Bar D from being pulled out from under them all including Tucker. Micah steels himself to convince the man he can't forget to come home.

To his everlasting surprise, it's Tucker who comes up with the perfect solution: a marriage of convenience to Micah. His gut tells him Tucker's motivation involves nothing more than saving the ranch. Now he just has to convince his fragile heart.

This title has been revised and expanded by more than 10,000 words from its original published version.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on January 9, 2010.

The blurb tells us a lot about what’s going on so I won’t go into too much detail. Micah, who’s had a thing for Tucker for most of his life, goes to Tucker because he’s in a bad spot. The Bar D is in financial trouble and Tucker’s grandad, owner of the ranch, is dying. Micah needs Tucker to look over the will that Micah found to see if anything can be done about saving the ranch from the hands of the oldest son, Duncan. Tucker decides to help the ranch out by marrying Micah. You see in the will it says that the first person to marry gets the ranch – even if the marriage is between two men. The marriage only has to be legal somewhere not necessarily in Texas, which is where the story takes place.

I think this story was a bit old school in the fact that the marriage was of convenience. I didn’t mind that so much as I minded the fact that Tucker thought of it and acted on it so quickly. I realize that time was a wastin’ but it happened so fast I was a bit surprised.

At first I thought that Tucker was a complete bastard. The way he was treating his current man-interest was a bit shocking but I soon came to see that it was his way of dealing with men that he truly didn’t want to get too involved with because he still had a thing for Micah – even though he wouldn’t admit to it. He changed his tune once he was back on the ranch and became a much nicer guy. A bit stifling for Micah but with good intentions.

I enjoyed Micah’s character’s strength. He did what needed to be done around the ranch and the Delaney men listened to him. When Tucker came back to the ranch and tried to take over a bit I was happy to see that Micah stood up for himself.

That said, I wish that the story had been a bit longer. I would have liked to have seen a bit more time taken in making the decisions that were made and maybe delving into a few more characters a little deeper but what was there, I liked. I understand this is an extended version of a shorter story that was previously published. Maybe I can hope for an even more extended version? lol I won’t hold my breath. 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The One for You by Roni Loren

Posted January 9, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The One for You by Roni LorenReviewer: Rowena
The One for You by Roni Loren
Series: The Ones Who Got Away #4
Also in this series: The Ones Who Got Away , The Ones Who Got Away, The One You Can't Forget, The One You Fight For (The Ones Who Got Away, #3)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The highly-anticipated fourth book in Roni Loren's unforgettable The Ones Who Got Away series.

She got a second chance at life.Will she take a second chance at love?

Kincaid Breslin wasn't supposed to survive that fateful night at Long Acre when so many died, including her boyfriend—but survive she did. She doesn't know why she got that chance, but now she takes life by the horns and doesn't let anybody stand in her way.

Ashton Isaacs was her best friend when disaster struck all those years ago, but he chose to run as far away as he could. Now fate has brought him back to town, and Ash doesn't know how to cope with his feelings for Kincaid and his grief over their lost friendship. For Ash has been carrying secrets, and he knows that once Kincaid learns the truth, he'll lose any chance he might have had with the only woman he's ever loved.

The One for You is the final book in The Ones Who Got Away series by Roni Loren. I’m so sad that this series is done and over with because it’s been such a great and emotional journey for me. When we first met these characters in The Ones Who Got Away, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with these characters and their stories so much. I thought Roni Loren did such a fabulous job of telling these stories and giving these characters a voice that resonated with me in each and every single book. I just really liked this series and I can’t wait to see what Loren has planned next. I’m all aboard the Roni Loren fangirl train. 🙂

So this book features our last standing friend, Kincaid Breslin. Kincaid was the bubbly blonde that brought the four friends together again and pretty much held everyone to the words they’d given over a decade ago after the school shooting and their support group sessions came to an end. Each woman had written a letter, that they then buried and promised to revisit 10 years later. Well over time, the four friends each went their separate ways and forgot…Kincaid reminded them and helped each of them move forward with their lives. In this book, we see those three friends return the favor with Kincaid.

Over the course of the series, we see just how important the friendship between the women is to their stories as their romances are. These women have come a long way since that first book and I loved seeing their friendship solidify with each passing book. They became a family and that along with Kincaid and Ash’s story had me in tears for most of this book. I’m talking like ugly cry in the middle of the night because I couldn’t put this book down. I was all in my feels throughout this entire story. From the flashbacks to the here and now, I cried a lot. I’m a sucker for the unrequited love trope and Loren did a great job of showcasing the hurt feelings, the inability to move on, the frustration and just, everything. Every single chapter moved the story along and I loved how seeing the past collide with the present and then build and build and build until everything made sense. When things are finally all out in the open and there are no more secrets, no more confusion, when it’s all out on the table and both characters have to live with the choices they make? Swoon. I had all of the feels.

I loved Ash, I thought he was a great hero. I thought Loren did a great job of showing the reader how his childhood shaped who he was as a man. Though I spent quite a bit of the book, frustrated with Ash for not going after the girl, by the end, every choice he made, every time he bit his tongue, made sense. So when he swallows his pride and does the one thing he never thought he’d do…for Kincaid? OMG, the tears continued. There was no doubt in my mind that Ash belonged with Kincaid. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ash was devoted to KC back when they were kids and then again as adults.

Kincaid turned out to be my favorite of the four friends. I thought my favorite book was going to be Rebecca and Wes’ book because I absolutely loved theirs but nope. This book ended the series on such a high note that Roni Loren shot right to the top of my auto-buy list. This book is my first 5-star read of the year and Kincaid was a huge reason for that. I’m so glad that we finally got her childhood story. Her’s was not an easy story to tell but man, Kincaid came so far from that lost young girl with the neglectful mother and no real home to call her own. When she finally, finally gets the happy ending she’s always wanted, my heart was so full for both her and Ash that I stayed up for an extra 30 minutes just rereading my favorite parts of the book. I re-read the letters. Ash’s declaration. The epilogue. There’s a lot of good stuff in here and if you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it. These characters really come into their own, moving forward after such a huge tragedy and it was all just so good. I’m going to miss these characters so much. Love this!

Final Grade

Grade: 5 out of 5

The Ones That Got Away

five-stars


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Review: Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne

Posted January 7, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne
Series: The Central Park Pact #3
Also in this series: Passion on Park Avenue, Love on Lexington Avenue
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne, comes the final installment of the Central Park Pact series, a heartfelt and laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Sally Thorne and Christina Lauren.

Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on, and he knows that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother—announcing he’s already engaged…to Audrey.

But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?

Marriage on Madison Avenue is the final book in the Central Park Pact series by Lauren Layne and IMO, it was the weakest book in the series. I still enjoyed it but not nearly as much as I enjoyed Love on Lexington Avenue and Passion on Park Avenue. I was bummed out about not enjoying this book nearly as much as I was prepared to love it because it’s got the best friends to lover trope and a fake relationship trope that I’m super trash for but I was disappointed in a bunch of little things that I didn’t completely recover from by the end of this one.

Audrey Tate and Clarke West have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Since they were kids. They have amazing chemistry that everyone but themselves can see but they’ve never gone down that road before because they’ve always been such great friends and who wants to mess with that? Not these two for sure. Audrey is a social media influencer and when the haters start to talk about her in a not so great light, a fake engagement to her best friend seems like the way to fix her problems. When Clarke’s ex-girlfriend tries to come back into his life, he’s got his own reasons to want a fake engagement to his best friend. So Audrey and Clarke become “engaged” and plan to only keep up the ruse for a little while, just until the rumors about Audrey die down and Clarke’s ex-girlfriend goes away. Only things don’t go down the way that they planned and before they know what’s what, their engagement goes on longer and longer and starts to feel a lot more real with each passing day.

Here’s what I did like about this book. The book still had the strong female friendship that I adored in the previous books and I loved seeing how protective both of the previous heroes were over Audrey…even against Audrey’s own best friend. I loved seeing Alexis Morgan make an appearance in this one. I also still really enjoyed both Clarke and Audrey individually and the romance was still a good one even though I had some issues.

The lack of communication between Clarke and Audrey had me rolling my eyes down the street. You guys are best friends, you tell each other everything but you can’t tell each other that you’re in love with each other? Clarke, you let Audrey find out about your Dad’s deal on the day of your wedding? You guys love each other so much, have each other’s back but you let each other settle for a marriage of convenience instead of pushing each other to hold out for true love the way that you guys both deserve? On top of that, the way that their engagement kept getting bigger and bigger when they had every intention of calling it off made me mad too. They were wasting so many people’s time and it just annoyed the crap out of me. I would have much preferred the conflict to be more about Clarke and Audrey figuring out that they’ve been in love with each other for a long time without the drag out, knock down fake engagement that started to piss me off the longer it went on and the deeper Audrey and Clarke got into the planning of a fake wedding.

Despite my issues, Lauren Layne still kept my attention throughout this entire book and though I was still annoyed with both Clarke and Audrey, I was glad that they got their heads out of their asses and figured their shit out. I thought the ending was rushed but by the time that came around, I was ready for the happy ending so I wasn’t too annoyed with that. So while this book wasn’t one of Layne’s best, it wasn’t all bad. I came for the female friendships and wasn’t disappointed in the least in that department.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

The Central Park Pact

four-stars


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