Format: eBook

Review: Someone Like You by Lauren Layne

Posted November 1, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Someone Like You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Casee
Someone like You (Oxford, #3) by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #3
Also in this series: I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5), Irresistibly Yours (Oxford, #1), I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford, #2)
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 228
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Lauren Layne’s bestselling Oxford Series continues with the poignant, heartwarming story of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Lincoln Mathis, a man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.

Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy. In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have.

After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.

Lincoln Mathis. Yes, Lincoln. Sexy as sin. Hot as a mother. Sex incarnate. Men want to be him and women want to do him. All his friends are mystified about the fact that he doesn’t have a string of angry exes lined up at his door, but everyone just loves Lincoln. He even has a tiny white dog to go along with the cuteness. Who wouldn’t want a man whose masculinity isn’t threatened by walking a 4lb dog down the street, wearing a pink shirt, or drinking a girly cocktail?

It’s a a carefully constructed lie. Lincoln hasn’t slept with a single woman since he moved into New York City. He’s an engaged man. It doesn’t matter to him that his would-be bride is brain dead and in a health center for people that can’t take care of themselves. Lincoln knows he’s responsible for Katie’s accident. She was trying to answer a text from him, one he sent when he knew that she was driving. It’s only a matter of time for Katie. No one in her state can live a long life.

Daisy Sinclair has been warned about Lincoln by her sister, Emma. The moment she lays eyes on Lincoln she knows that everything she’s been told needs to be thrown out the window. Lincoln is not the man that all his friends think he is. He hasn’t slept around and she doubts he even dates. She doesn’t know why and doesn’t want to make it her business. Lincoln makes it her business when he decides to tell her his deepest, darkest secret. Daisy is devastated for him because she knows that his ending won’t be happy.

When Katie dies, Lincoln is broken. He goes through the motions, but his boss and friend, Alex Cassidy, forces him to take a leave of absence. Where does he get sent? To North Carolina where Daisy lives. Cassidy tells him that he’s going to be doing a set of articles on dating in the South. Lincoln goes because he has no choice. When he gets there he finds that Daisy is exactly what his battered heart needs.

After two short weeks, Daisy has fallen for Lincoln. It doesn’t matter though because in his heart Lincoln is still engaged to Katie. Daisy herself is still stuck in the past and in a physically abusive relationship that broke her. After Lincoln rejects her, she makes the decision that she’s not going to watch life go by. She’s going to live her life.

I simply loved Daisy. I read in the Acknowledgements that LL had a thought about giving Lincoln a mousy copyeditor for a heroine. That would never, ever have worked. Lincoln needed a strong woman like Daisy. Someone that stood up to him, that accepted him and didn’t back down. Their road was a rocky one, but in the end it was worth it to both of them. Daisy never got jealous, never had any ill feelings toward Katie. She always just accepted her as part of Lincoln’s life. That made me love her even more.

My favorite part was at the end when Lincoln was begging Daisy for a second chance. I admit that I got a little teary eyed.

“I’ll go,” he whispered. “But Daisy, if I can ask a favor, as a friend . . .”

She nodded, her heart squeezing at the thought that she might really let him go. “Anything.” 

“Tell me you love me.”

Daisy gasped in pain, and his gaze was tortured but steady as he looked at her.

“Lincoln—”

“I know you love me,” he said, his voice desperate. “Or at least you did before I screwed it up. Let me have the words just once, Daisy. Lie to me if you have to, but give me something to replay when I’m old and all alone and loving you so much it hurts—”

Daisy let out a strangled sob as she launched herself at him, arms going around him as she buried her face in his neck. “I love you,” she whispered. “I love you so much.”

Slayed.

Rating: 4 out of 5. (5 out of 5 for the ending)

Oxford

four-stars


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Review: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Posted October 30, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wildfire by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #3
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

This series is the bomb dot com. Yes, I actually just said that. I can’t help it. I love this series. It is my favorite series of 2018. My very, very favorite. Nevada. Mad Rogan. Nevada and Mad Rogan. Leon. Catalina and Arabella. Bern. Seriously, there is nothing about this series that makes me unhappy. Well, except for the gap between releases.

Wildfire begins exactly where White Hot picked up. Rogan and Nevada rush home from their mountain vacation after Rogan learns that it was Nevada’s grandmother that tried to buy Nevada’s mortgage from him. Which means that everything they’ve done to keep their identities from Victoria Tremaine, she has known who the Baylors were all along.

The only option left to Nevada and her family is to start their own House. While it is not something Nevada wants to do, it is her last and only option to protect her family from her evil grandmother. Rogan agrees with Nevada but also thinks it will put her far out of his reach as once she is a House, he believes that she will start to care about genetics. Like not want to have kids with him because their magics don’t “mesh” and aren’t ideal for procreating. He obviously doesn’t know Nevada as well as he thinks.

Her newest case brings Rogan’s ex-fiance into her life. Rynda Sherwood’s husband has been kidnapped and she is frantic with worry. Unfortunately she is an empath and Nevada was just involved in the murder of her mother. Still, Nevada promises to help Rynda, a promise she has a hard time keeping when it is apparent that Rynda needs a man to take care of her. When her man is not around, she attaches herself to Rogan. Not cool.

Unfortunately this is no ordinary kidnapping. It’s actually part of the big conspiracy that is happening in Houston where a group of mages want to turn Houston into a New Rome. Not only does she have to deal with a group of fanatics, her grandmother is trying to have her kidnapped, and she and her sisters have trials coming up to prove they deserve to form their own House.

As if that isn’t enough, Rogan is more protective than he has ever been, while pulling away from Nevada. Nevada isn’t about to let that happens and pulls him in even closer. She’s not letting the man she loves get away. She loves him and she knows he loves her. Forming House Baylor is not going to impact her relationship with Rogan.

I continue to adore Nevada. Adore everyone in this series. I loved Leon in the first two books, but he really made me laugh in Wildfire. Nevada and her mom finally figured out what his magic was in White Hot. Nevada tells Leon about his magic in Wildfire. His magic is pretty amazing. He is undoubtedly a Prime, but does not want to enter the trials to be registered as such. Nevada asks him why and Leon refers to a conversation he had with one of Rogan’s men.

“One day some other Prime will threaten our House, and when that day comes, I’ll kill him.”

What?

“I’ll do it quiet and clean, and nobody will ever know.” Leon smiled. “I’m going to be a dark horse, the House Baylor’s secret. I’ll be the best assassin. A legend. They’ll never see me coming.”

I would kill Kurt. I would strangle him with my bare hands.

Oh, Leon. Arabella was hilarious in her trials. I was literally laughing out loud. Catalina was far more interesting in this book. Her devotion to her family overrode everything, even her terror of using her magic.

In the end, Nevada and Rogan get their HEA, but the story isn’t over yet. The mages have yet to be stopped and now it seems as if it’s Catalina’s turn to put in the work. I have to say, I’m excited about that!

Rating; 5 out of 5.

Hidden Legacy

five-stars


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Review: White Hot by Ilona Andrews

Posted October 29, 2018 by Casee in Features | 5 Comments

Review: White Hot by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #2
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 389
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …

I don’t think I could love this series any more than I already do. Nevada Baylor is simply…amazing. Incredible? Awesome? All of the above? There is just something about her that makes it impossible not to love her. It’s in her desire to protect her family, while at the same time making sure they all have their own voice. It’s in her determination to not let Rogan take over her life, even if it seems to be for all the right reasons. It’s taking on a new client just so she can help him find his wife’s killer. There are so many more things about her that I could go on and on about. I just heart her.

White Hot brings us back Nevada a new client. Cornelius Harrison has been referred to Nevada by Augustine Montgomery. Ugh. Cornelius’ wife was killed at a hotel with three of her colleagues. The House that she worked for has disavowed knowledge of the crime, only telling Cornelius that he needed to consider the possibility that she was having an affair. Cornelius knows better.

Nevada agrees to take the case. Her agreement to take on the case brings her back into contact with Mad Rogan after months of silence. She knew her decision to turn down Rogan’s offer of taking her away from everything was the right one, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t tempted at the time. Still, she hasn’t heard from him in months. So she is surprised when she finds that he’s connected to her new case. Not only that, but her case is connected to the mysterious group of mages that want to turn Houston into a “New Rome”.

Nevada and Rogan’s relationship moves forward in a big way. Nevada learns that Rogan bought the mortgage to their warehouse, all the surrounding buildings, and built his own HQ right across the street. To say she’s not happy is putting it mildly. I felt this was a pivotal part in their relationship. This is where Nevada has to show Rogan that she is her own person, not another person he is responsible for. She wants him to see her as an equal partner.

While reading Burn for Me, I was aware that the next set of books that come out in this series are going to be about Catalina Baylor. I wasn’t impressed. That changed in this book. We really got to know the family and their dynamics more. This may or may not come as a surprise, but I loved Leon. I think he’s fantastic.

Rogan, though. Sigh. He’s up there on my hero list. This got me. Hard.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m the first. It only matters that I’ll be the last.”

Seriously. Trying to move on…I just loved this book. I love the story, I love the characters, I love the writing. I even love that it’s in first person because it’s Nevada.

LOVE.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hidden Legacy

five-stars


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Joint Review: Hot Dad by Whitley Cox

Posted October 25, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Joint Review: Hot Dad by Whitley CoxReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Hot Dad by Whitley Cox
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 29, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 297
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
one-star

Sam

Since the moment I laid eyes on her I’ve wanted her. But I wasn’t ready.The kids were my world and my wounds were still raw. For six months, I watched her from afar. Dreamed of her, lusted after her, fantasized…But all that’s about to change. I’m finally ready to take the plunge and start dating again. And now that I know she’s single, I’m going to do this right and win Harper. I want her mind, I want her body, I want her heart. And when she gives me all access, no limits, I know she’s the one for me.

Harper

He’s the one we all call Hot Dad at playgroup. The one who makes my knees weak and my panties wet every time he walks through the door. We all eye-fuck the bejesus out of him, and dream of his tongue between our legs. But my kid is my world, and I’m a frumpy mom with a hole in the bum of her yoga pants. What could he ever see in me? So when Sam calls out of the blue, I’m stunned.Now if only the kids can stop cock-blocking us, and his psycho ex would go away. He’s turned out to be a master Dom and I’m willing and eager to be taught how to be the perfect little submissive.

Holly: Rowena and I have been on a Single Dad kick lately. We saw Hot Dad on Amazon before it was released and got super excited. It sounded exactly like the book we’d been looking for. We both preordered, then forgot all about it. We finally remembered this week and decided to give it a go.

This book started off great. I loved the first couple chapters where Hot Dad asked out Hot Mom. I loved their first date. Then shit went downhill.

Rowena: Same. I thought their first couple of dates where pretty great. I loved that they kept getting cockblocked, that they were grumpy about it but making the best of their situations. I also really liked that their kids came first, always. There was no resentment toward the kids or their family members when their alone time was compromised so that was a good thing. Where things started going downhill for me was when the ex-wife showed up.

What in the world was all of that shit about?

Holly: It actually started going downhill for me when they started having sex. Before that, I felt like they had a good mix of romance and sexual tension. They were getting to know each other. They were talking. Then they started having sex and everything ended up being sexual. He was proud of her for standing up for his kids? He wanted to spank her. He thought it was sweet how great of a mom she was? He wanted to eat her. She was having a bad day at work and he wanted to make her feel better? He wanted to bend her over the couch. I didn’t get why everything had to be about sex. That’s not how it started.

Then the ex-wife showed up and completely killed any remaining enjoyment I had. That aspect of the book was so poorly done it literally killed everything else. She shows up and harasses them at a restaurant, calling the kids names and putting her hands on them, but he doesn’t call the cops or his lawyer. She shows up at daycare and literally slaps the kid, and again he doesn’t call the cops? My head was about to explode.

Rowena: While I was reading the book, I was uncomfortable with the way that everything turned to sex when they actually started having it. His Dom attitude didn’t work for me at all but yeah, you’re right. Once they started having sex, their entire relationship was about sex. We didn’t see them growing into their feelings so when they declare themselves just before halfway through the book, I wondered what the hell was left for them to battle and then the ex-wife showed up and I wanted to smack every damn body in the book because that entire thing was such a mess.

Seriously!! I was super pissed about all of that, because it took her burning down Harper’s place for them to involve the cops? WTF? Why did they have all that time to have sex but not any time to call his lawyers to get the ex-wife out of their lives pronto? They loved their kids so much but not enough to safeguard them from the freaking loony tune that is their Mom. Gemma was so upset at her birthday party that she missed most of it but Sam didn’t think that was enough for him to get his lawyers involved? He sure did find time to bang Harper though. They were ridiculous and when it all ended, I was so glad because like you said, this was more of a Hot Mess than anything else.

Holly: I was surprised how everything turned to sex, because prior to that I felt like he really cared about her and wanted to get to know her, and vice verse. After, they just thought about fucking. It was annoying.

I was glad to see the end of it, too. I wanted to like the book, but I just couldn’t. I probably would have DNF’d it if we hadn’t agree to review it together. I’m sorry I spent money on it.

I’m giving 1 out of 5. You?

Rowena: Yep. The minute he found out that she was okay with his kinky sex games, he checked out of the story even though his kids needed him!

I’m so disappointed with how much I didn’t like this book. I had such high hopes and I am pretty easy to please but this book gets a big fat 1 out of 5 stars from me too. I wish we got more of Sam’s Samoan best friend though. Oh well.

Holly’s Rating: 1 out of 5
Rowena’s Rating: 1 out of 5

one-star


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Review: Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin

Posted October 24, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Dearest Clementine by Lex MartinReviewer: Rowena
Dearest Clementine (Dearest, #1) by Lex Martin
Series: Dearest #1
Also in this series: Finding Dandelion (Dearest, #2), Kissing Madeline (Dearest, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 14, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 368
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Twenty-year-old Clementine Avery doesn't mind being called bitchy and closed off. It's safe, and after being burned by her high school sweetheart and stalked by a professor her freshman year of college, safe sounds pretty damn good.

Her number one rule for survival? No dating. That is until she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class and needs material for her latest assignment. Sexy RA Gavin Murphy is more than happy to play the part of book boyfriend to help Clem find some inspiration, even if that means making out...in the name of research, of course.

As Gavin and Clem grow closer, they get entangled in the mystery surrounding a missing Boston University student, and Clem unwittingly becomes a possible target. Gavin tries to show Clem she can handle falling in love again, but she knows she has to be careful because her heart’s at stake…and maybe even her life.

DEAREST CLEMENTINE is a stand-alone with two companion novels. Look for book 2, FINDING DANDELION, on July 11, 2014. This contemporary New Adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.

Dearest Clementine is the first book in Lex Martin’s Dearest series and it follows Clementine as she lets go of the past and moves on to the future with Gavin. Clementine is an undercover YA author who is struggling to write her next book and needs to get it written and make some money before her next tuition check is due. She’s on her own trying to pay for college and she does that by writing books. Past hurts have turned her into a cold woman who has neither the time or the inclination for relationships. She has too much to do and too much to lose to waste her time on guys that will end up just hurting her anyway. When she meets Gavin Murphy, he changes the way she is and the way that she sees her future and personally, I was glad he came along.

Clem was not an easy person to like in the beginning of this book. I have never been a fan of people lashing out at innocent bystanders when they’re hurting or making the people you meet or are in your life pay for the crimes of other people. There’s a difference between protecting yourself and being a total brat to people who haven’t done anything to you to warrant the brattiness. Clem came off as bitchy and I wasn’t a fan of that. Poor Gavin didn’t know what he was battling day in and day out with this girl but he liked her and he put up with it so that he could get to know her. So that he can understand her.

I really did like how Clem came into her own and really grew into herself. She learned a lot from her past and man, what a past it was that by the time the end came around, I was happy for her. I still thought she was a brat in the beginning, but I understood what motivated her and I even respected the life she made for herself. She was really strong, had to be strong for herself because nobody else was going to be and I respected and even admired her for that.

The romance between her and Gavin was probably the highlight of the book for me. I loved how determined Gavin was to win her over and I loved how comfortable Clem was with him…even though there were some immature shenanigans with Gavin’s ex, I loved how they handled everything together. So while I wasn’t cool with some of Clem’s behavior in the beginning, I thought Lex Martin wrote a great story of two young people falling in love and overcoming the obstacles in their lives. It was a quick but fun read and I was interested enough in the second book that I jumped right in.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

Dearest Series

three-half-stars


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