Genre: Contemporary Romance

Guest Review: Scotland or Bust by Kira Archer

Posted June 20, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Scotland or Bust by Kira ArcherReviewer: Tracy
Scotland or Bust by Kira Archer
Published by Entangled: Indulgence
Publication Date: June 11, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 220
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

After dumping her boyfriend, Nicole Franklin impulsively jumps on a plane and heads to Europe. Sure, money and a job would have been nice to line up first. Even a visa, for that matter. So now she has to play tour guide at an Outlander experience for the most obnoxious man on the planet. Until she stumbles into the wrong bed in the middle of the night and wakes up in Harrison’s arms. Now his family thinks they’re engaged, and the entire village is betting on how long before she’ll be running for the hills.

Harrison Troy has a reputation in the town for burning through assistants. And the bubbly new one he’s just hired is likely no different. But his family quickly has them “engaged.” He should be upset, but she’s the perfect buffer for his interfering family. She says she doesn’t need another man in her life--even if he comes with a castle--and that’s fine with him. So why can’t he stop thinking about the woman who is charming everyone in the town, and maybe even him?

After dumping her boyfriend and quitting her accounting job, Nicole decides to finally take the trip to Europe her boyfriend had promise her – by herself. She buys a first-class one-way ticket to England and decides that she’s going to get a job and be an independent woman.  She is seatmates with Harrison Troy, a stuffed shirt that’s incredibly hot.  Nicole’s a talker and Harrison just wants to be left alone but Nic won’t let him be.  She even makes out with him upon lift off because she can see how anxiety ridden he is.

When the finally land Harrison finds out his assistant has quit and as he knows that Nicole has no job or place to stay, he offers her the position.  She takes the job and they head to his family’s ancestral home.  The home will be the first stop in the Outlander “experience” that Harrison has created in order to try to save his family’s dying travel business.  He’s a billionaire and really wants nothing to do with anything related to “the book and show that must not be named” but he loves his quirky family (despite not wanting to spend all that much time with them).

Because of a bedroom snafu Harrison’s family thinks that Nicole and Harrison are engaged which puts a bit of a strain on things.  Nicole’s a wonderful assistant but Harrison can’t seem to keep his hands off her.

I liked most of the characters in the story – the people of the village in the pub were funny, the friends who came to visit Harrison were great, the quirky/crazy family was even charming.  I liked Harrison although I thought he was a bit too stuffy, even near the end of the book (although he did loosen up some).  Nicole was cute at times but other times she made me nuts.  She just bought a one-way ticket but didn’t have anywhere to stay, hardly any money and just thought she’d get an under the table job and work her way around.  I guess there are people in the world who would do that, but Nicole didn’t seem the type at all.

The romance itself felt rushed.  It seemed as if Harrison and Nicole were just starting to explore their attraction and then boom! they were supposedly madly in love. What? I liked the part where Harrison was professing his love, it was very sweet, but where the heck did it come from?  The build-up of the relationship needed a lot more to it then what it was in order for me to believe these two were going to live happily ever after.

There were definitely parts that ha me rolling my eyes but overall I thought it was a cute book.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Tank by Erin Bevan

Posted June 19, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Tank by Erin BevanReviewer: Tracy
Tank (Black and Blue #1) by Erin Bevan
Series: Black and Blue #1
Published by Erin Bevan
Publication Date: May 17, 2017
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 407
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

Tyler Wilde moves to Black Widow, Texas, to join the Blue Guardians, a local biker club that helps abused women and children. He's intent on starting his life over, but a small piece of his past collides with his present when he runs into the local waitress, Annie Carter.

Annie’s the girl of his boyhood dreams, and Tyler can’t wait to get reacquainted with her. Only problem is, Annie’s engaged. But what has Tyler more troubled than the diamond on her finger is the bruise that graces her arm. To make matters worse, Annie’s abuser and intended husband is also the town’s Chief of Police.

Tyler is determined to offer Annie a safe haven, but she refuses his help until her life is hanging by a thread.

When Tyler Wilde’s grandfather dies and leaves him his home in Black Widow, Texas, he decides to move there.  He spent summers there for many years and the place holds wonderfully fond memories for him.  He’s also been told that there is a group/biker club that helps abused women and children and he wants to join.

After a couple of weeks of living in Black Widow Tyler heads to the local diner to get donuts for his co-workers and runs into Annie.  They realize after talking that she was the little girl across the river that he taught to skip rocks one summer.  Tyler can tell almost immediately that Annie is trying to hide signs of abuse.

Tyler becomes a prospect in the Blue Guardians and earns the name Tank due to his size.  They end up helping Annie try to get away from her fiancé, permanently.  Unfortunately her fiancé is a cop and a well-respected man in the community – no one knows what a monster he is.  While Annie stays at Tank’s house her friendship with him turns deeper and they both realize they have feelings for each other.  Annie, however, doesn’t know if she can trust any man after what she’s been through.

This is my first read by this author.  I was intrigued by the concept of an MC created to help abused women and children.  It was a good concept and one I enjoyed reading about.  Tank had been abused as a boy and he was still, even as an adult, working through his issues.  Because of his background he was especially good with children who’d been abused and I loved that the author gave him a soft heart due to his past.

Annie was a trooper.  Seriously – that woman had gone through hell and just couldn’t figure out how to extricate herself from the situation.  I was happy that she finally took Tank up on his offer of protection and that the Blue Guardians stepped in as well.

Despite my enjoyment of the Blue Guardians the story did lag at times and I found it a struggle to not skip pages/skim.  There were also some things that happened in the book that had my eyes rolling because the characters were so gullible.  In the end I found that I liked about half of the book and found the other half just ok.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

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

Posted June 18, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Burn for You by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Burn for You (Slow Burn, #1) by J. T. Geissinger
Series: Slow Burn #1
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 348
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

The marriage is fake. But for a sassy chef and an arrogant billionaire, the sparks are real…

Jackson “The Beast” Boudreaux is rich, gorgeous, and unbelievably rude to the staff at Chef Bianca Hardwick’s New Orleans restaurant. Bianca would sooner douse herself in hot sauce than cook for Jackson again, but when he asks her to cater his fund-raiser, Bianca can’t refuse, knowing the cash will help pay her mother’s medical bills. Then Jackson makes another outrageous request: Marry me. The unconventional offer includes an enormous sum—money Bianca desperately needs, even if it does come with a contract—and a stunning ring.

The heir to a family bourbon dynasty, Jackson knows the rumors swirling around him. The truth is even darker. Still, he needs a wife to secure his inheritance, and free-spirited, sassy Bianca would play the part beautifully. Soon, though, their simple business deal evolves into an emotional intimacy he’s built walls to avoid.

As the passion heats up between them, Bianca and Jackson struggle to define which feelings are real and which are for show. Is falling for your fake fiancé the best happy ending…or a recipe for disaster?

Burn for You is a modern take on Beauty and the Beast.

Jackson and Bianca have a very contentious relationship. They get off to a bad start when he shows up at her restaurant and demands a table. Bianca’s latest menu is an ode to his family’s bourbon, but she isn’t about to let him push her around. When he offers her the chance to cater an very exclusive charity event, she knows she can’t refuse. Not only will the publicity give her restaurant the boost it needs, but she desperately needs the money for her sick mother. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the crazy man shows up again and demands she marry him. Turns out he needs a wife by his 33rd birthday -which is just around the corner- or he’ll lose his inheritance. If she wasn’t desperate for money to help her sick mother she’d never consider it…as it is, how bad would be being married to the Beast?

Holly: I was browsing Amazon a couple weeks ago and discovered this book. I love Beauty and the Beast and a modern day retelling appealed to me. I really loved it. Jax and Bianca were great together. Are you glad I forced …ehem…recommended you read it?

Rowena: I listened to the audiobook too and it didn’t work for me. The narrator for Bianca sounded like my grandma and I kept picturing Gretchen from Suits because that’s who she reminded me of so every time she and Jackson would get down and dirty, I kept picturing my favorite of Louis’ administrative assistants with Jackson…and she’s more my Grandma than my heroine of a romance novel. I love the hell out of her but I don’t want to know or read about her sex life. Haha. But dude, that narrator sounds just like Gretchen.

Holly: Conversely, I really enjoyed the narrator. I don’t watch Suits, so I can’t say if she sounded like anyone from that show, but I thought she did a great job with the voices. I don’t ever listen to the entire book. I switch back and forth between reading and listening. The narrator, Diana Luke, really made the book for me. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the book quite so much had I read it on my own. I heard her voice in my head while I was reading and it really worked.

Rowena: Anyway on with the book, after I stopped listening to the book and started reading it on my own, I was able to enjoy the book a lot more. The chemistry between Bianca and Jackson was off the charts and from the beginning I felt it. I knew that we were going to get a good story out of them and we did.

I’m really glad that I listened to you and read this book. It was good stuff.

Holly: Of course it was good stuff. I always give good recommendations. 😉

Rowena: I really liked Bianca’s character and how strong she was, how real she was. When her drama happens, I connected with her because I’ve been there and I thought Geissinger captured her emotions and her grief really well.

My heart broke getting to know Jackson and seeing the man that he grew up to be despite the childhood that he had?? Oh man, it hit me right in the feels and I was rooting like heck for him throughout the entire story.

Holly: Jackson was grumpy and growly, but underneath he was just a giant marshmallow. I loved that about him. I loved how he took care of his people and raised money for causes that were important to him.

Bianca didn’t take any crap from him, and in fact gave back better than she got. I loved her wit and how quick she was to defend herself and those who worked for her. She wasn’t overbearing. They both got on each other’s nerves, but I loved how they also saw below the surface and wanted to help the other. She stuck up for him when he needed it, and he returned the favor. I melted over them both.

Rowena: There were times when I thought both Bianca and Jackson were being super extra about things, like how Bianca would fly off the handle at the smallest thing and how Jackson would growl at Bianca at every turn but in the end, I understood why they were the way that they were with each other and let that stuff go.

Holly: You’re right, they were both extra about things. Still, I loved how they sort of fell into a friendship without even realizing it. So cute.

His family made me angry and I wasn’t satisfied with the way it was dealt with. Jackson felt like shit his entire life because of the way his parents treated him, but his dad waves it all off? Grr. I got over it, however, because it’s a Fairytale.

Rowena: Jackson’s family dynamic left much to be desired and I agree that when everything comes out in the open, his father waved things off and I didn’t think that Jackson got the closure he deserved on that stuff but I’m glad that he finally had the support system that he should have had all along. I also really liked that Bianca was the one to make that happen for him.

Holly: Oh yes, I loved how quick Bianca was to defend him and how she took up for him with his family. That was great.

I really loved this book. There were things that bothered me, and the way Bianca and Jackson acted at the end had me frustrated, but overall it was a really good read. I’d definitely recommend it (and have been, to everyone. lol). I’m really looking forward to reading Geissinger’s backlist.

Rowena: This was the first book that I’ve ever read by Geissinger but it won’t be my last. I really enjoyed this slow-burn romance and am pretty anxious to start the next in the series, even though there isn’t a real link between both books.

Holly: Overall this was a very satisfying read. I was sad to see it end. 4.25 out of 5

Rowena: I agree that this was a very satisfying read. I would definitely recommend.
I give this one a 4 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

Slow Burn

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr

Posted June 14, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn CarrReviewer: Casee
Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #10
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Angel's Peak, Forbidden Falls, Promise Canyon, Wild Man Creek, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 409
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

WITH HER BELOVED YOUNGER SIBLINGS SETTLED AND HAPPY, ERIN FOLEY HAS EMPTY NEST SYNDROME. AT AGE THIRTY-FIVE.

So she's hitting the pause button on her life and holing up in a secluded (but totally upgraded --- she's not into roughing it!) cabin near Virgin River. Erin is planning on getting to know herself ... not the shaggy-haired mountain man she meets.

In fact, beneath his faded fatigues and bushy beard, Aiden Riordan is a doctor, recharging for a summer after leaving the navy. He's intrigued by the pretty, slightly snooty refugee from the rat race --- her meditating and journaling are definitely keeping him at arm's length. He'd love to get closer ... if his scruffy exterior and crazy ex-wife don't hold him back.

But maybe it's something in the water --- unlikely romances seem to take root in Virgin River ... helped along by some well-intentioned meddling, of course.

Reading last week’s Throwback review got me all nostalgic. I started reading all the old Virgin River reviews when I came across my review of Moonlight Road. Last week’s review and this review are so different that I had to share. For real though, what happened to this series?

This review was originally posted on March 16, 2010.

This commenter had it right. The Virgin River books are starting to read more like women’s health manuals for the premenopausal (and even post menopausal) than real romance. There is actually a scene between Mel and Jack where Jack tells her that HE misses HER periods. Why? Because having sex with her during her period was a turn-on. You know, he could show her that he wants her no matter what. SERIOUSLY. What man says that? Even Jack—my favorite VR hero—shouldn’t be able to get away with that. Because men don’t say that. Do they?

I really liked Aiden and Erin. Their initial meeting had me laughing. From each of their perspectives, it’s clear that they both have the wrong impression. Aiden thinks that Erin is an ice queen (i.e. bitch). Erin thinks that Aiden is a homeless bum. As they get to know each other, Erin slowly realizes that Aiden is far from a bum. The Virgin River books tend to move slow. I liken it to life in Virgin River. Nothing ever comes quickly. So it’s over several weeks/months that Aiden and Erin start getting to know each other.

Aiden had been married about eight years ago and for three months. He’s horrified when it’s crazy ex turns up at his family’s place in Virgin River acting like she wants to get back together. The ex is pretending that she wants him back even though Aiden knows it’s a crock of crap. Still, she has a way of making the situation turn in her favor. Then she goes to visit Erin and feeds her a bunch of lies about Aiden.

That’s when it started falling apart for me. Erin knows Aiden, she’s even falling in love with them. He’s great in bed and they have fun together. So the fact that Erin immediately decides that she can’t trust him totally turns me off of her. I understood why, but I didn’t understand how. Aiden warned her about his ex long before she paid Erin a visit. It wasn’t something that blindsided Erin. Yet she’s willing to believe a psycho?

Then there is Mel. Mel—my favorite Virgin River heroine—who went CRAZY in this book. She turned into a character that I didn’t recognize. I understood her reaction to the particular situation she found herself in, but I found her way of dealing with it completely unlike her. She completely tries to railroad Jack into doing something he doesn’t want to do. There’s something even worse, but to tell you would be to spoil it.

This book was just a hot menopausal mess. I liked Erin (other than the whole distrust thing) the best b/c it seemed like she came the farthest. She opened herself up to life and found someone to love.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Virgin River

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Making Up by Lucy Parker

Posted June 14, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Making Up by Lucy ParkerReviewer: Rowena
Making Up (London Celebrities, #3) by Lucy Parker
Series: London Celebrities, #3
Also in this series: Pretty Face
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: May 28, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 254
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars


Author of Act Like It and Pretty Face Lucy Parker returns readers to the West End, where it’s fireworks onstage and off in a sexy enemies-to-lovers showdown.

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around. Her spark vanished with her confidence, though, and reclaiming either has proved…difficult. So when the star of The Festival of Masks is nixed and Trix is unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, it’s exactly the push she needs. But the joy over her sudden elevation in status is cut short by a new hire on the makeup team.

Leo Magasiva: disgraced wizard of special effects. He of the beautiful voice and impressive beard. Complete dickhead and—in an unexpected twist—an enragingly good kisser.

To Leo, something about Trix is…different. Lovely. Beautiful, even though the pint-size, pink-haired former bane of his existence still spends most of her waking hours working to annoy him. They’ve barely been able to spend two minutes together for years, and now he can’t get enough of her. On stage. At home. In his bed.

When it comes to commitment, Trix has been there, done that, never wants to do it again. Leo’s this close to the job of a lifetime, which would take him away from London—and from Trix. Their past is a constant barrier between them.

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible.

And yet…

Making Up is the third book in Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series and it was another enjoyable book that I ate right up. Leo and Trix were a wonderful couple and their story was solid.

Trix Lane’s role in her show has been upgraded and she’s elated at the same time that she’s terrified of messing up. The new role is more complicated, her routines a lot harder and though she knows the basics, she must up her game if she wants to keep the role but her confidence has taken a hit thanks to her no good piece of shit ex, the ex that tried to get between her and her best friend Lily in Lily’s book, Pretty Face. To make matters worse, someone from her past is back in her life working on her show as a makeup artist and he’s the last person that she wants to see around.

It doesn’t matter what she wants because Leo isn’t going anywhere and he’s always around because he’s renting one of the rooms in the housing unit that Trix lives in. Poor thing, haha. But Leo is trying to make some moves for himself professionally after a setback. Sure, he’s not all that excited to see Trix on a daily basis but he’s not going to let her derail his plans.

This was a great romance about two people who did not get along but fell in love anyway. Leo and Trix’s story started when they were in high school and didn’t know how to deal with their big time feelings. Things were said, feelings were hurt and a feud began. Every time they saw each other, they burned hot and everyone tried to get out of their blast zone. Seeing them work things out and then figure their things out together made for an enjoyable romance.

Lucy Parker does a great job of making the readers care about her characters. I cared so much for both Trix and Leo. I wanted the best for them throughout the entire book, even when they were both getting on my nerves. Their story was full of warmth, charm and the romance itself was steamy. Leo was really good in the sack, haha. The way that he couldn’t get enough of Trix melted my heart. I loved seeing them come into their feelings for each other and though it wasn’t the most perfect of journeys, it was a good one.

I’m pretty anxious to see if we get more books from this world and I’m hoping that we do because I’d love to read a story featuring Jono front and center. His character is interesting. Overall, this book was fun and though there were times that I wanted to strangle first Trix and then Leo and Cat wasn’t safe from these hands either, I still enjoyed the romance, the story and seeing Trix’s professional world first hand.

Leo was a strong hero who cared deeply for those close to him. Trix was a wonderful match for him and I really enjoyed their chemistry together. Kudos to Lucy Parker for another winner.

Grade: 4 out of 5

London Celebrities

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,