Genre: Contemporary Romance

Featured Review: Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas

Posted December 13, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Featured Review: Mornings on Main by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Casee, Holly, Rowena
Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
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three-stars

From the beloved and bestselling author of the Ransom Canyon and Harmony, Texas series comes a powerful, heartwarming story about generations of family and the ironclad bonds they forge.

When Jillian James lands in the small town Texas community of Laurel Springs, she's definitely not planning to stay--except to find a few clues about the father who abandoned her and destroyed her faith in family.

Connor Larady is a single dad, and the only one caring for his grandmother, Eugenia, who has Alzheimer's. And now he has to close Eugenia's quilt shop. When Connor meets down-on-her-luck Jillian, he's out of options. Can he trust the newcomer to do right by his grandmother's legacy?

Jillian is done with relationships. But as she grows closer to Connor and Eugenia, she must consider giving up her nomadic life for a future with those who need her.

An inspiring family saga that asks us to consider what love and chosen family really mean.

Jillian James is a wanderer. Her father lived a nomadic, off-the-grid lifestyle and taught her to do the same. For years she’s been drifting aimlessly, never staying anywhere long or forming attachments. Recently she started following the path her father took, searching for some clue as to where he may have been in the past, and, more importantly, where he is now.

She lands in Laurel Springs, Texas, and takes a job from the mayor, Connor Larady, cataloging his Gram’s quilt collection from her quilting shop. She’s suffering from the early stages of dementia, and the historical society wants an accounting of each quilt before they’re moved to a local museum for display.

Connor and Jillian have an instant attraction, but he’s deeply rooted in his hometown..and she’s determined not to leave any roots at all.

Holly: It’s been years since I read a novel by Jodi Thomas, but I have fond memories of her older books. Sadly this one didn’t live up to my expectations. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the story, it was all very sweet and lovely. It was also very boring. I really had to push myself to finish it. The slow moving romance and the lack of true angst made for a snoozefest.

Rowena: This is the second book that I’ve read by Jodi Thomas and I couldn’t remember why I stopped reading her. Reading this story kind of reminded me. The small town, the super sweet but slow-moving romance, all of that served to remind me that these kinds of romances aren’t my jam. While reading this, I felt like I was reading a romance that was written by my Grandma. A sweet story told by an older person who wrote dialogue on how they thought young kids talked these days and not really how they actually talk. Does that make sense?

Still, it was sweet.

Holly: I don’t know that I agree about the dialogue, though I do agree about the rest. I really liked Sunnie and Reese, the teenage couple with a thread running throughout the book. I thought they were sweet and pretty cute. I loved how much Sunnie loved her Gram, and how great of a kid she was despite going through some bad teenage years. I thought Reese was cute for her, too.

I even liked Jillian and Connor. I thought they were good together and had a sweet, comfortable relationship. It just didn’t do a lot for me.

Rowena: Yes, Sunnie and Reese were probably my favorite part of the book. I loved how smart and strong Sunnie was and how quickly she ended things with Derrick when he proves to be an ass. Too often, I see teenage girls stay in a relationship with the popular boy and I’m glad that Sunnie was above that.

I enjoyed everything in this book fine but that’s really all I have to say about this one. It was good. I liked Jack, Gram, and all of Gram’s friends, I liked Connor and Jillian. I adored Sunnie and Reese and though the beginning was slow, the story does pick up and it does get interesting but after all is said and done, I liked it fine and that’s it.

Casee: Unfortunately, as sweet as this book was, I was bored from start to finish. I did enjoy Connor and Jillian getting to know each other, but it didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t understand Jillian’s absolute need to be a nomad. It just made no sense to me. I didn’t understand why she wanted to find the father that abandoned her. I liked Sunnie and Reese. They were probably my favorite part of the book. Quilting doesn’t really do it for me, no matter how interesting the stories about them might be.

Holly: I did love Joe’s Toe Tent business. I cracked up when it blew up.

Casee: Rowena is correct. This review is as boring as the book was. Lets just call it what it was. Excruciatingly slow. Connor was sweet, but boring. I did enjoy seeing him get his HEA, but I didn’t particularly care by that point. I was just glad I finished the book.

Rowena: I did like that Joe’s toe tent business took off because I liked Joe and thought he was pretty great to Gram. I thought it was cute, how excited he was about the business too.

There isn’t much else I have to say about this book so I’m going to give it a 3 out of 5. What about you guys?

Casee: I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5.

Holly: I thought it was a sweet story. I liked the town and the secondary characters, it was just slow. I’m giving it 3 out of 5.

Final grades

Casee: 2 out of 5
Holly: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: One More Time by Laurelin Paige

Posted December 12, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: One More Time by Laurelin PaigeReviewer: Holly
One More Time by Laurelin Paige
Narrator: Erin Mallon, Rupert Channing
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 2, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 180
Length: 5 hours and 42 minutes
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three-stars

Available in audio-first on 1/30/2018, a scorching, heart-tugging new standalone by New York Timesbestselling author Laurelin Paige! Ten years ago, we were the toast of the town.Tanner's acting career had just begun. He was hotter than the stage lights, and twice ascaptivating. The gorgeous Australian A-lister was everyone's teenage dream. And he'd pickedme. Or so I thought, until he proved to be as false as everything else about Hollywood. Now I'vefinally scored the perfect opportunity to star in a major film. The kicker? Tanner will be my co-star. I don't know if I can do this one more time….*Right now, we're the talk of the town.Jenna's even more beautiful than she was the last time we were together. And just like before, Ican't keep my hands off her. She still doesn't know the truth. The secret of what really happenedback then. Now I have the length of this shoot to convince her to rewrite our script. But if I haveher one more time, will once ever be enough?

Jenna and Tanner (Janner) were the Hollywood’s “It” couple 10 years ago. They loved each other fiercely, until the day Tanner betrayed Jenna and ruined it all. Now they’re working together on a feature film that’s sure to give Jenna the boost her career needs. If only she can keep it together.

Tanner’s been wanting to explain what happened for almost a decade, and this movie gives him the perfect chance..Or it would, if Jenna wasn’t so bent on keeping him at a distance. Still, they have chemistry in spades and he’ll work that with everything he has if it means getting a second chance with the only girl he’s ever loved.

This was a cute reunited lovers story. I thought the miscommunication was kind of annoying, and there were a lot of gratuitous sex scenes considering the length of the novel. I would rather have seen more of them together outside of bed, getting to know each other in the present and rebuilding their friendship. Still, I can’t deny I enjoyed the romance. Tanner was especially sweet when it came to Jenna. The way he championed her, and really respected and cared for her, made me a little melty. I’d have liked to see Jenna fight for them more, but I liked her overall and I was glad to see them end up together.

3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Fall by Kristen Callihan

Posted December 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Fall by Kristen CallihanReviewer: Rowena
Fall (VIP, #3) by Kristen Callihan
Series: VIP #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 568
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four-stars

The first time I met Jax Blackwood things went a little sideways.

In my defense, I didn’t know he was Jax Blackwood—who expects a legendary rock star to be shopping for groceries? More importantly, a blizzard was coming and he was about to grab the last carton of mint-chocolate chip.

Still, I might have walked away, but then he smugly dared me to try and take the coveted ice cream. So I kissed him. And distracted that mint-chip right out of his hands.

Okay, it was a dirty move, but desperate times and all that. Besides, I never expected he’d be my new neighbor.

An annoying neighbor who takes great pleasure in reminding me that I owe him ice cream but would happily accept more kisses as payment. An irresistible neighbor who keeps me up while playing guitar naked–spectacularly naked–in his living room.

Clearly, avoidance is key. Except nothing about Jax is easy to ignore—not the way he makes me laugh, or that his particular brand of darkness matches mine, or how one look from him melts me faster than butter under a hot sun.

Neither of us believes in love or forever. Yet we’re quickly becoming each other’s addiction. But we could be more. We could be everything.

All we have to do is trust enough to fall.

Fall is the third book in Kristen Callihan’s VIP series and it features our troubled hero, Jax Blackwood. You’ll remember Jax from the previous books as the member of Kill John that tried to kill himself. He finally gets his happily ever after and it wasn’t easy to come by. Jax battles a bunch of internal issues and I thought that Kristen Callihan handled the entire thing like a champ.

Jax meets his heroine in the aisles of the grocery store. They seem to be following each other throughout the entire grocery store and when he goes for the last pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream, Stella pulls a stunt that makes sure Jax never forgets her again. Stella never thought she’d see the stranger from the grocery store again but when she takes on a job that will have her house and pet sitting right next door to him, things get real interesting.

Jax is stunned that the ice cream thief is living next door to him. He’s also stunned that the more time he runs into her, the more he wants to run into her. The attraction takes him by surprise because she’s not normally his type but she’s definitely memorable and with each interaction, she becomes more and more..his. Stella can’t believe the guy from the grocery store is her next door neighbor. She still can’t quite believe that he’s not stalking her, all over a pint of ice cream but when they keep running into each other, she finds herself wanting to keep running into him. There’s chemistry between them and it’s starting to feel worth the effort of getting to know him.

The romance between Jax and Stella was hard and it was heartbreaking but man was I glad that I read it. I thought that by the end, these two had definitely worked out every single problem that lie between them and that happily ever after was definitely going to stick. It was hard to be in love with someone who was deeply depressed and easily triggered. I thought Callihan wrote Jax’s character so well that I cried more than once during the reading of this book.

Both Stella and Jax were great, compelling characters that had me firmly invested in what was going on with them and between them. I enjoyed every one of their scenes together and my heart hurt for both of them. I really felt for Stella and her desire for real friends. With her job, it was easy for her to be there for everyone but not a whole lot of people were there for Stella. Not in the way that she needed and wanted. I loved seeing the girls of Kill John gather around Stella and become her squad even when things were off between her and Jax.

It was good to see everyone and when Stella calls Killian and tells him to come home, that Jax needed him, I was a hot mess. Kristen Callihan wrote a great story about two people coming together in love after going through deeply personal issues and I was here for all of it. My heart went out to both Jax and Stella throughout the entire book and I was rooting for them to find their ways back to each other. This was another great romance in this series and I’m really looking forward to Brenna’s book. I just know it’s going to be great!

If you’re a fan of this series then I just know that you’ll enjoy this one. I definitely recommend!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

VIP

four-stars


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

Posted December 10, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Joint Review: Ache for You by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Ache for You (Slow Burn, #3) by J.T. Geissinger
Series: Slow Burn #3
Also in this series: Burn for You (Slow Burn, #1), Melt for You (Slow Burn, #2)
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 362
Length: 11 hours, 36 minutes
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one-star

In this fairy tale with a sexy twist, she’s a penniless San Francisco seamstress. He’s the king of Italian couture. Who’s got designs on whom?

Boutique owner Kimber DiSanto has seen better days. She’s been dumped at the altar by Prince Charmless, her business went up in flames (literally), and now she’s stuck in Florence, Italy, with an ice-queen stepmother, to try to save her late father’s failing dress shop. Only one thing could make it worse: another man in her life. The arrogant Italian fashion tycoon offering to buy her father’s shop is as rich as he is sexy, and their attraction is off the charts. But Kimber’s not about to get burned again.

Women don’t say no to Matteo Moretti—and certainly not with Kimber’s stinging precision. With all the heat and fury sparking between them, Matteo can’t resist baiting the gorgeous American. His plan? Win her over one scorching kiss at a time.

Kimber tells herself it’s all just a game. That her broken heart isn’t in danger, and that Matteo’s touch does not make her Lady Land dance with joy. But sometimes it takes the fieriest of enemies to turn a fantasy into a real-life romance.

Ache for You is the third book in J.T. Geissinger‘s Slow Burn series. Each book is a fairytale retelling. This is the story of Cinderella.

Kimber is having the worst time of her life. Her intended leaves her at the altar, she finds out her father is gravely ill and her dress shop burns down. All within the space of a week. She flies to Italy to be with her dad when she gets another shock…he remarried several months beforehand. Now she’s living with her Wicked Stepmother and her two evil step-sisters. Oh, and the Prince Charming who gave up his seat so she could be with her father before he died? Turns out he’s her new step-brother…and the man who wants to buy her father’s dress shop, plus steal all her designs.

Holly: I want to start this review out by saying this was a great, sweet romance and satisfied everything I needed in a Cinderella retelling…but I can’t. The truth is, I hated Kimber, the heroine, so much the book was a total flop for me. I spent the entire book filled with rage over her attitude and all the conclusions she jumped to. She was such a pure, unadulterated bitch I have no clue why she even had friends or why the hero was interested in her.

Rowena: I’m pretty sure that this is what my face looked like after reading that first sentence of your review, Holly.

I’m right there with you, where Kimber is concerned. She was extremely hard to like. When the story ended, I wasn’t over all of her stupidity. The constant assumptions on her part, the quick jumps to conclusions, even when she knew that she was in love with Matteo, she just couldn’t turn that shit off and it annoyed the ever-loving crap out of me. She didn’t deserve Matteo and she most definitely didn’t deserve Matteo’s Mom.

I started wondering what the hell Matteo saw in her because there wasn’t much to like. She was a bitch through and through so I low key started wondering what the heck was wrong with Matteo that through all of that, he saw good in her. I didn’t any of what he saw.

Holly: Girl, same. I spent the entire book hating Kimber. I didn’t understand her motivations or why she was so quick to jump to so many negative conclusions. Why Matteo wanted to be with her is beyond me.

Rowena: It’s hard for me to sympathize with grown ass women who behave the way that Kimber does. Elle Kennedy posted a quote on her IG story last week that sums up exactly how I feel about Kimber and her behavior throughout the entire book.

Your crappy childhood isn’t an excuse to be a crappy person. Your crappy luck with relationships isn’t an excuse to be a crappy person. Your crappy experiences aren’t an excuse to be a crappy person. We all have our crap, and you can either let it define you or grow from it.

Holly: In the beginning I cut her some slack because she’d just been left at the altar, then discovered her father was dying, he’d remarried and not told her, and her shop burned down. But any sympathy I had for her was soon washed away by her anger and overall piss-poor attitude.

Rowena: I can understand being hurt and guarded around new men, especially so soon after her heart was broken so publicly but Matteo was paying for shit that had absolutely nothing to do with him. When he gave up his first class ticket so that she can get to Italy faster to see her father, the way she treated him pissed me off. I wanted to reach into my kindle and smack the shit out of her. He didn’t deserve a lot of the shit that she dished his way….and that shit just kept right on happening. Matteo couldn’t get the benefit of the doubt even in the end. She alone ruined this story for me.

Holly: I probably would have DNF’d the book except 1) we agreed we couldn’t DNF any book we’re reading together and 2) I kind of wanted to see what Matteo was up to. He was kind of shady in the beginning.

Rowena: I know that I would have DNF’d this if not for our buddy review rules. I hated Kimber that much.

Holly: I did really like Kimber’s BFF, Jenner, and I even came to like Brad, her ex-fiance. I really liked Matteo’s mom and her manservant. But the longer the novel went on, the more I wondered WTF was wrong with them that they liked and wanted to be (Friends)with Kimber. They should have booted her out of their squad and gone on without her.

Rowena: Yeah, I enjoyed everyone except the two villains: Kimber and the actual villain. I thought that Jenner was a great best friend to Kimber and tried to wrangle in her crazy but there’s only so much one person can do, right? And I thought I would hate Brad a lot more than I did. There were times when I really felt for him and his dilemma. I felt how sorry he was and how eager he was to make things right with Kimber. She was just too stupid and selfish to think of anyone but herself.

Holly: This part, though? This part was almost enough for me to raise my grade by half a star. Almost, but not quite…

View Spoiler »
 

Rowena: As to your spoiler?

Yeah, call me an asshole but what happens to Kimber cracked me up. Like, a lot. I’m still laughing about that.

I didn’t understand the romance because I didn’t see what Matteo saw in Kimber. There was absolutely nothing to recommend his attraction to her. She wasn’t headstrong or stubborn in a likable way. She was a complete bitch and any attraction to that mess didn’t make a lick of sense to me. All the way until the very last page, I was still annoyed with Kimber so there was just no saving this book for me. I hated this book so much that I’m taking a long break from all things Geissinger. I just…can’t.

Holly: If she’d realized how terrible she’d been and genuinely apologized, that might have been something. Since she was just as awful on the last page as she was on the first, I can’t find anything to recommend about this book.

Seriously, y’all, save yourselves. Don’t read this book.

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

Slow Burn

one-star


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Review: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Posted December 5, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Rookie Move by Sarina BowenReviewer: Casee
Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1) by Sarina Bowen
Narrator: Nicol Zanzarella, Rock Engle
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #1
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2), Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers, #3), Brooklynaire (Brooklyn Bruisers #4), Bountiful (True North, #4; Brooklyn Bruisers, #4.5)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 303
Length: 9 hours 53 minutes
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two-stars

The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series. 
In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold...
  Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.   Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

This book was unbearable from start to finish. From the narrators to the story itself to the heroine, I disliked it immensely. The only saving grace to this book was Leo, the hero.

Let us start with the narrators. There were two, a male and a female. The male voice was just…off. Nothing like I would have imagined Leo’s voice to sound like. I always laugh a little when the men read dialogue from the heroine during a sex scene, but this narrator was roll-your-eyes-out-of-your-head eye rolling. Oh and when he voiced Leo’s mom? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s what my kids used to sound like when they tried to imitate me when they were six. It really pulled me out of the book. The female narrator was pretty bad too. Her voice was so breathy, it just didn’t work. Plus as the voice of Georgia, I was more imagining nails-on-a-chalkboard. She sounded like a porn star during the sex scenes.

My dislike of this book began and ended with the heroine. Georgia Worthington was awful. I mean truly, truly awful. The only reason I didn’t DNF this book is because I plan on continuing this series and I’m anal about leaving a book unfinished. It was a close thing though. I wanted to “toss” it at least three separate times. Georgia and Leo’s age was somewhat murky. I couldn’t tell if they were twenty four or twenty six. Maybe twenty five? I have no idea. What I do know for certain is that I wanted to brain Georgia with one of those stilettos that she hates so much.

Georgia and Leo have history. It’s all about to come to a head when Leo is traded to the Brooklyn Bruisers. The Bruisers is a professional hockey team of which Georgia is the interim lead publicist for. As an aside I would say that the publicist profession is my second least favorite profession when reading. I simply don’t like them. When you had in the fact that the heroine was insufferable, a disaster is brewing. Anyway, Georgia and Leo haven’t seen each other for anywhere from four to six years. They were high school sweethearts. Then there was a horrible night that Georgia was raped at a party. After that, nothing was ever the same. But should/would it be? Regardless of that, Georgia dumps Leo because he doesn’t look at her with desire anymore. Holy shit. Seriously.

Now, in the present, Georgia can only think back to how great it was in the past with Leo. Before the rape. When they were teenagers. TEENAGERS. Grow the fuck up. Are you an adult? I know things were great, but you’ve evolved. Leo has evolved. Stop holding on to your TEENAGE past. Georgia just had the most shortsighted, brainless reasons for saying no to a relationship with Leo. He might be traded. He’ll never look at her the way he used to. They can never had what they had in the past. She can’t have a relationship with a player. On and on it goes. It got really old.

Leo was delightful. I really loved him. He was funny. I loved his sense of humor. As much as he loved hockey and has wanted to play it his entire life, he is willing to give it all up for Georgia. I have no idea WTF he was thinking there. I wouldn’t give her a glass of water if she was on fire. This right here is the epitome of who Leo is.

“Fuck that,” he said. “You and I don’t have one-night stands. We have forevernight stands.”

How can you not fall in love with Leo?

Even with how much I loved Leo, I detested Georgia even more. Did I already tell you she was insufferable? I know I did. It bears repeating. Georgia was insufferable. Not one likable thing about the woman.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Brooklyn Bruisers

two-stars


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