Genre: Contemporary Romance

Guest Review: Chaos and Control by Season Vining

Posted December 12, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Chaos and Control by Season ViningReviewer: Tracy
Chaos and Control by Season Vining
Published by Entangled Publishing. LLC (Embrace)
Publication Date: December 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars

When Wren Hart returns to her sleepy little Midwest town after years on the road, she finds the last thing she’d ever expect—a reason to stay. And that reason has a hard body, a knowledge of vinyl, and a crooked smile that sends her reeling.

Preston is a gorgeous, mysterious man, whose life is ruled by routine and order. Yet somehow, he finds Wren and her wild ways captivating. While their relationship grows in a delicate dance of chaos and control, the danger Wren thought she'd left behind during her travels is inching ever closer…and just may destroy them both.

Running from an abusive boyfriend, Wren heads back to her hometown in Kansas.  When she returns she fins her much older sister still running her record store, but she also finds Preston, a gorgeous man who seems to have a few control issues.

Wren has been traveling for the past 3 years and hasn’t kept in touch all that much with her sister, Bennie.  Bennie was the one who raised her when her parents didn’t want much to do with Wren, their very late addition to their family.  Bennie has always been there for Wren and she is once again when Wren needs her.

Wren can’t seem to keep away from Preston, even though she knows she might not be the best one for him.  She doesn’t plan on staying in town and Preston’s OCD forces him to be on a rigid schedule at all times.  Despite their differences Wren and Preston start to make things work.  Unfortunately, life throws Wren some serious curve balls and she finds that her life changes whether she wants it to or not.

This was a sweet story that I really enjoyed reading.

Wren was definitely a free spirit but I thought that she was perfect for Preston – even with all of his OCD issues.  I loved that Vining wrote her hero with OCD and did such a great job at portraying this disorder.  I know from experience that it can be very stressful on friends and family of those with OCD but in Wren’s case she found it endearing and actually pretty hot.  Go Wren. 🙂  Preston was a great hero and I enjoyed him so much.  I loved that he found Wren a calming effect rather than seeing her a too chaotic.

Bennie, Wren’s sister, played a large role in the story and I liked her a lot as well. I don’t even really want to call her a secondary character because she was so central to the story.  She was a great person and loved her sister to pieces.

Overall I really liked this story and liked Vining’s writing. I definitely recommend this great contemporary romance.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Posted December 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Roomies by Christina LaurenReviewer: Rowena
Roomies by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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four-stars

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

Roomies is the second book that I’ve read by Christina Lauren and it certainly won’t be my last. This book was a lot of fun, once the story took off. Unfortunately, for me, the book didn’t pick up until about 52% into the story. The beginning started off interesting but then for a long time, I read and read and read and waited for something to happen and felt like there was too much Holland and not enough moving the story along. That changed once the story took off and once it did, my enjoyment of the story picked up as well.

So Holland Bakker is a young woman living in New York City, trying to find herself. She’s working with her Uncle, who is a musical director for a Broadway show and she’s doing the little jobs that anyone can do while she figures herself out. She’s not particularly happy with her life, there’s some guilt over living off her Uncles and not really having a direction, or a purpose. She’s got a huge crush on this subway musician and when her uncle needs help finding a new musician to step in for his play, Holland brings her uncle and the subway musician together and things really take off from there because before Holland knows what’s what, she’s got a new roommate who is her husband and her new Irish husband is on his way to being in the states legally.

The whole story is about Holland finding her purpose and her way. She does a lot of growing up in this book and there were times when I wanted to strangle her. I thought she spent too much time in her head and not enough time expressing what she needed and wanted from Calvin, her new husband. It was great to see her and Calvin growing closer and closer but because of the situation that they were in, I felt that they didn’t communicate nearly as much as they should have. I mean, toward the end of the book and they were still not communicating clearly with each other and I kept thinking, “Ugh, not again!”

Aside from that, Hollands ends up being such a strong character in the end and I was glad for her. I was also glad that we got to see the growth in Calvin’s character as well. We only got Holland’s POV so Christina Lauren did a great job of showcasing the growth of the secondary characters as well. I adored Holland’s Uncles and the small bits that we got of her brother, Davis. I did not really care much for Holland’s friend, Lulu. I wanted to smack the shit out of her multiple times in this book because she was such a shit friend but alls well that ends well and even though she wasn’t my favorite person, she came around.

Overall, this was a solid story. It had likable characters, a heroine that young women will be able to connect with, a sexy musician hero and a story that makes things interesting. The beginning was a little slow but when it picks up, it really picks up and I’m not at all mad that I read this one. It wasn’t the most perfect of reads but it was entertaining and all in all, it was good. I recommend.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Her Leading Hero by Maggie Dallen

Posted December 10, 2017 by Holly 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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: Her Leading Hero by Maggie DallenHer Leading Hero (A Reel Romance) by Maggie Dallen
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Is she getting a second take at her Hollywood ending?
Despite her leading lady looks, Tamara Pierce has always been happiest out of the spotlight, especially since a painful breakup drove her away from her society friends. Now she's happily managing a magnificent, historic old movie house that's in danger of being torn down. It's good news when a billionaire buyer shows interest. If only the billionaire in question weren't Gregory Blanchard, who once fueled her fantasies of happily after ever.

Known for his reckless endeavors in romance and business, Gregory's determined to prove his worth with this new project. And he knows how to do it: making Tamara the public face of the Ellen Theater. She's poised, passionate-the perfect partner on his arm at fundraising events. Once he lures her into the limelight, the shy beauty gets under his skin in a way no woman has before. But will a heartbreaker like him be the one to lead her back to love?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“Tamara?” His low voice cut through the music and the chatter, stopping her in her tracks.

The original cold fear returned and a shiver raced through her at the sound of his voice.

She turned slowly. There was no escaping it now. Resignation at her fate had her steeling her spine and squaring her shoulders. She had known this day would come eventually.

He was smiling down at her, and the sheer sex appeal behind it stole her breath away. Sweet Jesus, he’d always been hot, even as a teenager. But now, he was literally breathtaking. He’d filled out, his chest and shoulders molding the suit to perfection. His jaw was even more defined, if that was possible. He’d matured into the aristocratic features that had made him seem older as a teenager. Now they made him look like what he was: a whip-smart, highly educated leader in the city. One not to be trifled with by enemies and whose cool elegance made him a favorite match for supermodels and actresses. Last she’d read, he’d been linked to someone famous. Who was it?

What did that matter? A distant voice mocked her for obsessing over his looks and love life at a time like this. But now that the moment she’d feared was finally here, an odd calm came over her. It was almost… Relief.

Maybe that was why she was able to summon a smile when he said her name again. “Tamara Pierce?”

He’d lowered his head a bit and leaned in so they could speak over the noise of the crowd. It was an oddly intimate gesture, like they were part of an exclusive club. She could smell a warm musky cologne as he drew even closer, his eyes fixed on her and filled with warmth.

It was then that his words hit her. Pierce. He’d called her by her mother’s maiden name, the name she’d been using ever since she left Boston.

She blinked up at him as the significance of that one word sank in. “Ms. Pierce,” he continued, apparently not thinking it odd that she was staring at him like a mute idiot. “I’m a friend of Ben’s.” He gestured over his shoulder toward Ben, who was leaning against a wall glaring at the poor man who was speaking to his girlfriend, Caitlyn.

Was it possible Gregory didn’t recognize her? A flicker of hope had her breath quickening and her smile broadening. She looked to Ben—of course, he was a friend of Ben’s, hadn’t Caitlyn told her that? He could be here to support Ben. Or maybe Caitlyn invited him….

Gregory started to speak again, and she turned her attention back to him. She instantly wished she hadn’t done that. His eyes were unnerving. His gaze was too direct. Too intense. Too…sexy.

“He told me you were the expert here,” he said. A smile hovered on his lips as he shoved his hands into his pockets and ducked his head again, in a charmingly self-effacing gesture. As if he was just another guy looking to learn some history and not a freakin’ billionaire playboy.

A billionaire playboy who didn’t recognize her.

A Reel Romance

Giveaway Alert

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

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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!

About the Author

Maggie Dallen

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

Maggie Dallen is a huge fan of happily-ever-afters. She writes contemporary and YA romance and has been known to rewrite the endings to classic love stories to ensure that they end on a happy note. In Maggie’s version, Ingrid Bergman does not get on the plane. She lives in Northern California and works at a yarn store to support her knitting addiction. For more info please visit maggiedallen.com.

Follow her on Twitter @Mag_Dallen. Or connect with her on Facebook


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Guest Review: Company Ink by Kat Coburn

Posted December 8, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Company Ink by Kat CoburnReviewer: Tracy
Company Ink by Kat Coburn
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: December 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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three-half-stars

I think this might be someone else’s story… because it certainly doesn’t feel like mine anymore.

I can still remember a time when I was happy, when I didn’t go to sleep each night with a stress headache, and wake up each morning and cry because I no longer recognized my own life. A sick parent, a job I can’t stand, a company I hate, and too many people counting on me to stick it out and be strong. This can’t be my story.

I guess I’m an unlikely heroine anyway- sarcastic and feisty, and more than one person has called me foulmouthed. Yeah, I guess it’s pretty unlikely that there is a hero and a white horse in my future.

Enter Dan Kelly. The new smoking hot vice president at this horrible company. He’s offered me a way out, one more shot at my dreams and the life I always wanted. He stands too close to my desk with his cocky smirk and makes it hard to type, he pushes our workplace flirting until it’s all I can do not to beg him to bend me over his desk, he challenges me, makes me want to argue with him until our fights verge on something… more.

He makes me feel alive like no other. He makes me feel like there just might be a happily ever after in my future.

The problem is…. his mountain of secrets.
The problem is… we can’t cross that line or I’ll be fired.
The problem is… he’s my best friend and now I want more.
The problem is… I’m about to be sucked into a story I never imagined I’d be a part of, and I’m not sure if I can make there be a happy ending.

Dani Wallace is a computer geek who had a traitorous ex.  That ex ended up selling their company and in order to stay with the program she made she started working for a corporation.  She hates almost every minute of it but she has to pay her mother’s medical bills.  The job has turned her into someone she doesn’t know or even like and when she meets Dan Kelly she’s not thrilled with him.  She thinks he’s just another corporate jackass.  Fortunately when they start working together they realize that they have a lot in common and soon become friends – best friends.

Dan wants nothing more than to be with Dani forever but at first she thinks he’s married.  When he nips that thought in the bud he realizes all of the lies he’s telling are going to get in the way of his future happiness.  How can he tell Dani who he really is and save their relationship when he can’t make a move on her in the first place?

This was a decent story.  I did feel some pull toward the H/h throughout the story but the way that the book was written parts of it seemed almost clinical.  Definitely more telling than showing and that grew old after a while.

I did really like Dani and Dan and together they were great.  Some of their times together were fun and I enjoyed reading about those.  Unfortunately it took until almost the end of the book before the pair could actually be together and I found that frustrating.  I guess I had really mixed feelings about this one. 🙂

It looks like this is Coburn’s first published book and it was a decent start.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway

Posted December 6, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie RidgwayReviewer: Casee
Must Love Mistletoe (Holidays, #1) by Christie Ridgway
Series: Holidays #1
Published by Avon Books
Publication Date: December 1st 2006
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 358
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-stars

Bailey Sullivan can't stand Christmas, even though her family's business is a store specializing in the perfect holiday. But now her hometown's chief supplier of rooftop Rudolphs and treetop angels is in danger of going under--it's up to Bailey to save the shop.

She has it all planned: She'll arrive on December 1 and be gone by Christmas. Plus there's always spiked eggnog to ease the pain. But "Humbug" Bailey's not the only one home for the holidays. Finn Jacobson--legendary local bad boy-turned-Secret Service agent "and" Bailey's long-lost high-school sweetheart--is once again the boy next door. Only this time he's "all grown up," and the sparks are flying faster and hotter than ever!

Bailey believes in true love about as much as she believes in Santa Claus. But as the holiday draws closer, she's starting to think about one thing she'd like to find under her tree . . .

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: I really love some of Ridgway’s books. I can’t remember if I reviewed this book here, but I do remember I really enjoyed it.

This review was originally posted on December 18, 2008.

I know I’ve said this already, but I love Christmas books. My favorite Christmas book of all time is Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano. I re-read it every year. I’ve had this book for a few years, but I never got around to reading it. This holiday season, I decided that it was just what I needed.

Bailey Sullivan barely tolerates Christmas. Her idea of a good Christmas is to pretend that it’s not Christmas. Unfortunately this Christmas isn’t going to be what she hoped it was. When she finds out that her parents store, The Perfect Christmas, is in trouble, Bailey immediately heads home. From the moment she sets foot back in her hometown, she’s determined to do what needs to be done and get out. Her deadline is December 25th.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, especially when it comes to Christmas.

Finn Jacobson has never forgotten his GND-Girl Next Door. As a rebellious teen, Finn’s parents decided that the best thing for Finn would be to go spend summers with his grandmother. Though he hated it at first, it didn’t take long for him to fall for Bailey, a girl that was so different from the type of person he was. Finn has never forgiven her for leaving town without a word. When she comes back to town, he decides to keep his distance.

Again, nothing ever goes according to plan.

Bailey is a heroine that has issues, but has never admitted that to herself. When her dad walked out when she was little, Bailey remembers her mom’s devastation. That shaped the woman that she’s become. Though she loves her stepfather, Bailey keeps her distance even from him. The fact that her mom and stepfather have separated only proves Bailey’s point. Still, she has a hard time staying away from Finn, the only person that’s understood her.

This was exactly what I was looking for when I picked it up. It had humor and poignancy. The secondary romance between Bailey’s mom and her stepfather was beyond sweet. Bailey’s inner struggle with her feelings for Finn were extremely sad. She doesn’t easily accept that she needs him in her life. But Christmas is a time for miracles, right?

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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