Genre: Contemporary Romance

Review: From Lukov, with Love by Mariana Zapata

Posted February 14, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: From Lukov, with Love by Mariana ZapataReviewer: Rowena
From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
Narrator: Callie Dalton, Teddy Hamilton
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 524
Length: 14 hours, 55 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

I had a really quiet weekend at home so I listened to a couple of audiobooks and this was the first of them. I have enjoyed pretty much all of the Mariana Zapata books that I’ve read so far and that didn’t change with this one. I adored Ivan Lukov and loved getting to know Jasmine Santos, or as Ivan referred to her, “Meatball”. I really enjoyed their banter back and forth and the way that they bickered with each other over everything under the sun. They had that hate vibe going pretty strong for a good chunk of this book and I was so here for it.

We hear this book through Jasmine’s POV so early on, we are not fans of Ivan Lukov. He’s arrogant and an asshole and he gives not one shit that he pisses Jasmine off. In fact, he seems to enjoy pissing her off. Jasmine and Ivan are professional ice skaters who skate doubles but at the moment, they don’t have partners so when Ivan approaches Jasmine to skate with him for a year, she balks because, hell no. She doesn’t even like this punk ass…but holy cow, Ivan presents an opportunity for Jasmine to go after the dream that has been out of her reach since her last partner left her in the most humiliating way possible. He is giving her a chance to win with him, a decorated Olympian in her corner and even though she doesn’t trust him, she’s in. OMG, she’s in.

A huge chunk of this story is told while Jasmine and Ivan are practicing. They have a lot of work to do in not a lot of time so immediately, they get to work. They practice and practice and practice and when they’re not practicing, they hang out and they become friends. They still bicker back and forth but there isn’t the edge of hate surrounding it so it’s easier for the two of them to be around each other. Jasmine doesn’t have a lot of friends but one of her best friends is Ivan’s sister and while Jasmine’s family knew and loved the sister, they didn’t know Ivan but Ivan becomes more than Jasmine’s partner in the short time that they’ve become partners. He’s become her best friend and what a ride it was, seeing them come full circle with each other.

This was such a fun romance. I thought Mariana Zapata did such a fine job of bringing Jasmine and Ivan together. They came so far with each other and when they finally get together, it was so satisfying and I absolutely loved that their bickering didn’t end when they both realized that they loved each other. They kept right on bickering over every little thing because they could. Because that was their way.

There were times when I thought Jasmine was really stubborn and shouldn’t have been but when all was said and done, I really liked her. I liked her smart mouth and prickly personality. I loved the way that she was with Ivan, with her siblings and with her Mom. My heart hurt for her where things were concerned with her father but I thought Zapata did well in making us understand her way of thinking and I loved that she wanted to be better for her family. Everything that she went through in her life humbled her and I loved that she knew that she was going to get it right this time around when she makes the decision to partner up with Ivan.

Then there was Ivan. swoon I wanted to kick him in the nuts for a good chunk of the beginning of the book but when he wins me over, he completely won me over. Getting to know him was such a treat and seeing him with all of his pets and then seeing him with Jasmine and coming to realize how much Jasmine meant to him? Gah, I was a sucker for all of it. I was a sucker for him. Gah, he was a great hero and this was a great romance. I’m not the biggest fan of professional ice skating but I’ll be watching the next Winter Olympics just so that I can picture Ivan and Jasmine skating around and winning shit.

Mariana Zapata delivers another fabulous contemporary romance featuring two ice skating champs that I really enjoyed. I should also mention that I really loved the narrators for this audiobook. Kudos to Callie Dalton and Teddy Hamilton. I loved that Teddy Hamilton read for the parts of Ivan and that Callie Dalton read for most of the book since the book was in Jasmine’s POV. The entire story flowed so well with the two of them narrating and it made for a very enjoyable reading experience. I definitely recommend this one to everyone.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G

Posted February 14, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney GReviewer: Rowena
Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G.
Narrator: Erin Mallon, Zachary Webber
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 2, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 119
Length: 2 hours, 40 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-stars

I should've never agreed to this arrangement...

Thirty days ago, my boss—Mr. Wolf of Wall Street, came to me with an offer I couldn’t refuse: Sign my name on the dotted line and pretend to be his fiancée for one month. If I agreed, he would let me out of my employment contract with a “very generous” severance package.

The rules were pretty simple: No intimate kissing, no actual sex. Just pretend to love each other for the press, even though I’ve secretly wanted to knock that sexy smirk off his face since the first day we met.

I definitely didn’t need to think twice about this. I signed my name and started counting down the seconds to when I would never have to deal with his special brand of ass-holery again.

I only made it to one minute...

We argued the entire four-hour flight to his hometown, failed to make a convincing impression with the welcoming press, and right when I was about to knock that arrogant look off his face in real life? He purposely dropped his bath towel in front of me, distracting me with his nine-inch cock to "show me who the bigger person was" in our relationship. Then he gave me his trademark smirk once again and asked if I wanted to consummate our marriage.

Tragically, this is only day one. We still have 29 more days to go...

Thirty Day Boyfriend was the second audiobook that I listened to last month and it didn’t take me any time at all to get this one read. The book itself is pretty short but I thought Whitney G did a solid job of packing the punch short stories need to keep me interested, and satisfied. I wish I could say that I enjoyed this one more than I did but well…

So, Thirty Day Boyfriend is an office romance where the boss falls in love with his administrative assistant and then proceeds to be a dickhead when he thinks she doesn’t want him back. He’s a Billionaire CEO who is richer than every damn body and is it like a requirement for all billionaires to be complete assholes because there were far too many times when I wanted to kick Nicholas in the dick over the course of this book. If it’s not a requirement of billionaire characters than it’s definitely a requirement for a Whitney G hero because more often than not, I want to punch her heroes in the ballsack and that wasn’t any different with this one.

Emily was a strong character that I enjoyed and was cheering on from the very beginning. I loved that she was a normal woman trying to live her normal life and solve her normal problems. Seeing her deal with Nick’s strong personality and hold her own against him was great even though Nick’s god complex got on my hot damn nerves but still, it was nice to see Emily stand up for herself and put Nick in his place whenever she felt he needed the smackdown.

I will say that Whitney G’s redeem game is strong because by the end of this book, Nick was out of the dog house and I actually really liked him and Emily together. When we find out the real deal about everything and seeing everything fall into place made the story pick right up so that was good but all of the shenanigans that Nick plays when Emily is trying to find another job, the shit that he made her do, the way that he talked to her while she was employed for him pissed me off so I can’t give this book more than 3 stars. So it’s a problematic but still solid read.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Posted February 13, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Long Shot by Kennedy RyanReviewer: Casee
Long Shot (Hoops, #1) by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Hoops #1
Also in this series: Hoops Holiday
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 451
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

A Standalone FORBIDDEN LOVE SET IN THE EXPLOSIVE WORLD OF THE NBA...

Think you know what it's like being a baller's girl?You don't.My fairy tale is upside down.A happily never after.I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud.I was a fool, and his love - fool's gold.

Now there's a new player in the game, August West. One of the NBA's brightest stars.Fine. Forbidden. He wants me. I want him.But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won't let me go.

*Some aspects of this story may be sensitive for some readers.

Wowza. This book. It has all the feels. It gave me all the feels. I wanted to sit down and read it from cover-to-cover, but it was such an emotional read that I had to take breaks. One of my favorite things about this book was that it spanned over years. As did Iris and August’ relationship. This book was real because there was no easy fix to the situation they were both in.

When Iris and August first met, August was the shining star of college basketball. They connected that night in a way that most people don’t. They share their dreams with each other, their fears, and their hopes. It was likely the fact that they thought they would never see each other again. When they go to part ways, August decides he can’t just let her go. That’s when Iris tells him she has a boyfriend. He soon finds out that it’s not just any man she’s with, but his biggest enemy on and off the court.

The next few years pass. August is building up his NBA career as is Iris’ boyfriend, Caleb. What he doesn’t know is the sheer hell that Iris is living in. After meeting August, Iris realizes that she doesn’t want the future that Caleb wants and she intends to break up with him. Then she finds out she’s pregnant. While it’s certainly not in her plans, she’s not going to let it deter her from being independent. That all changes when she is put on bedrest and becomes completely dependent on Caleb.

It’s after their daughter is born that she learns of the monster that lives behind the boy-next-door persona that Caleb presents to the world. Holy hell, the parts of the book where Caleb abuses Iris is fucking hard to read. Kennedy Ryan doesn’t sugar coat Iris’ abuse nor does she shy away from the affect that it has on a woman. I really applaud her for putting this out there is such a spectacular fashion. She also touched on an important issue in professional sports: domestic abuse and the protection of athletes. It’s inexcusable whether it is a male of female dishing out the abuse.

Moving on…it takes years, but August and Iris eventually find their way back to each other. Their love is one that doesn’t disappear. It was just a matter of the right time and the right place. They question that remains is if Iris can find it in herself to trust again. Does she realize the epic love she has with August West or is she going to let Caleb ruin the life she could have with the man she loves but may never trust?

Wowza.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Hoops

four-half-stars


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Release Day Spotlight: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne (+ Giveaway)

Posted February 12, 2019 by Rowena in Promotions | 9 Comments

Huge Deal by Lauren Layne is the final book in her 21 Wall Street series and it features the couple that I feel like I’ve been waiting for AGES to get together. This is my most anticipated read of 2019 because I cannot freaking wait to finally see Kate bring Kennedy to his knees.

You guys are in for a treat today because not only does Huge Deal release today to the masses, we’re giving away three e-copies of the book to three lucky winners. This book is not to be missed so we’re going to make sure some of you don’t. 🙂 Check it out!

Release Day Spotlight: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne (+ Giveaway)Huge Deal (21 Wall Street, #3) by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #3
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2)
Publisher: Indie
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: five-stars

Even for a top-gun banker, temptation this hot is quite a gamble, in a sexy Wall Street romp from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

An alpha among the wolves of Wall Street, Kennedy Dawson rose to the top of the pack by striking the right contracts at the right times. But there’s one deal that’s been giving him a run for his money—a pact to never again let his assistant, Kate, get under his skin. She may be smart, gorgeous, and sharp as a whip, but she’s definitely off-limits.

Kate Henley isn’t a banker, but she knows a thing or two about risk management—specifically, about managing her attraction to her smolderingly sexy boss. She already fell once, and Kennedy showed no sign of paying a return on her investment. So when Kennedy’s brother starts pursuing her, Kate figures she has the best of both worlds. Jack is charming, rich, very attentive, and the spitting image of his older brother.

It’s also making Kennedy think twice. But to win Kate’s heart, he’ll have to broker the deal of a lifetime…and prove he’s worth the risk.

Huge Deal is Out Today!

Order the Book

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE

21 Wall Street

Giveaway Alert

Release Day Spotlight: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne

Good luck!

About Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than two dozen romantic comedies. Her books have sold over a million copies, in nine languages. Lauren's work has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.


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Review: The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay

Posted February 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlayReviewer: Holly
The Good Ones (Happily Ever After #1) by Jenn McKinlay
Series: Happily Ever After #1
Also in this series: The Good Ones (Happily Ever After #1)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

A romance bookstore owner finds her own happily ever after with a single dad in a new romance series from the New York Times bestselling author of Every Dog Has His Day.

Ryder Copeland is an accomplished architect and one heck of a father...not to mention tall and sexy. He's everything a hero should be, and Lord knows, Maisy Kelly has read enough of her great-aunt Eloise's romance novels to recognize one when she sees one. But like all fairy tales, Maisy can't help but wonder if this Prince Charming is too good to be true...

Ryder is drawn to the shy, curly haired professor who hires him to convert the Victorian house she's inherited from her aunt into a romance bookstore. Attracted to a woman for the first time since his divorce, Ryder finds himself wishing for a future with Maisy that he knows is impossible. Ryder has never wavered from his plan to leave the small town of Fairdale, North Carolina, so he can give his daughter the life she deserves. But suddenly he's not so sure. And the closer he gets to Maisy, the harder it's going to be to walk away...

The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay is the start of the Happily Ever After series, set in a small South Carolina town. It’s the first book I’ve read by McKinlay.

Lit professor Maisy Kelly is starting over after being passed over for a promotion in favor of her less-qualified, cheating ex. She’s determined to turn the old Victorian she inherited from her much-beloved aunt into a romance novel bookstore. She hires architect Ryder Copeland to restore the house – and add a turret – before the grand opening. Maisy cut her teeth on romance novels and she recognizes a true romance hero when she sees one..and boy does Ryder fit the bill. As a single father and a courtly southern cowboy, he ticks all her boxes. Too bad he isn’t in the market for a relationship.

Ryder knows he isn’t a good fit in a relationship – his broken marriage is proof of that. He can’t even bring himself to say those three little words to his daughter, much less a woman. He might feel deeply, but he’s never been good at expressing his emotions. If ever he was tempted by a woman, however, it would be Maisy Kelly. The shy, romantic really does it for him. But for Ryder, it isn’t just about his commitment issues. He’s moving at the end of the summer when his daughter goes away to boarding school.

This is my first novel by this author. While I enjoyed the writing over all, there were a few quirks that bothered me a bit. Such as the overly descriptive sentences and the overuse of similes. I also struggled with the pacing in the second half of the book. I really liked the premise and the slow-building romance, but I wanted something more to happen in the second half.

The story was cute story. I enjoyed getting to know the characters. Ryder and his daughter had a great relationship. He was a great dad who really cared for his daughter and wanted what was best for her. They didn’t always see eye to eye, but it was obvious to all that they were close and easy with each other. I really loved the friendships Maisy had. Some of the best parts of the book featured Maisy and her girlfriends watching movies, joking and laughing together.

Though I struggled with the pacing in the second half, I enjoyed the humor and sweetness of the story. The strong female relationships and sexy single-dad really worked for me. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Happily Ever After

three-half-stars


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