Genre: Contemporary

Review: Wired by Julie Garwood

Posted July 25, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wired by Julie GarwoodReviewer: Rowena
Wired by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard Series #13
Also in this series: Wired, Wired
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: July 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

A beautiful computer hacker and a bad-boy FBI agent must collaborate—in more ways than one—in the sizzling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

Allison Trent doesn’t look like a hacker. In fact, when she’s not in college working on her degree, she models on the side. But behind her gorgeous face is a brilliant mind for computers and her real love is writing—and hacking—code. Her dream is to write a new security program that could revolutionize the tech industry.

Hotshot FBI agent Liam Scott has a problem: a leak deep within his own department. He needs the skills of a top-notch hacker to work on a highly sensitive project: to secretly break into the FBI servers and find out who the traitor is. But he can’t use one of his own. He finds the perfect candidate in Allison. Only, there’s one problem—she wants nothing to do with his job and turns him down flat.

What Liam doesn’t know is that Allison is hiding secrets that she doesn’t want the FBI to uncover. But Liam will do nearly anything to persuade her to join his team, even break a few rules if that’s what it takes. A temptation that could put his job—and both of their futures—on the line…and longing for more . . .

It’s been quite a while since I’ve read a Julie Garwood contemporary and unlike a lot of others, I don’t mind them. Sure, I’m a bigger fan of her older work but her newer stuff does its job of entertaining me. I liked this book fine but I will say that I liked a lot of her other contemporaries a lot more.

I’ve been curious about Liam Scott ever since we met him and I was curious to see what his character was really all about since at one time, I didn’t care for him and then he grew on me and yet, I didn’t feel like I really knew him. Going into this book, I was all about getting to know Liam and it’s a bit disappointing to say that I still don’t feel like we quite got to know him.

Wired follows Liam Scott as he investigates a mole in the FBI and he needs the help of a really smart hacker that looks like sin on a stick. Her name is Allison Trent and she’s just about finished with college and wondering what happens next. He needs her help so she agrees to help him with this project but when she finds his mole, she’s out of the FBI. She’s not interested in working for the FBI. Each day that passes, Allison works on trying to find the mole and Liam works on trying to not jump her bones. It’s not easy because Liam is always with her. Whether he’s supposed to be or not, he keeps her near and he wants to help her with everything in her life. Her work. Her punk ass guardians and anything else that she’d let him help her with.

The romance between Liam and Allison was kind of abrupt. It felt more like lust for a huge chunk of the book because I couldn’t quite believe that they were in love with each other. That they fell in love so quickly. There was something missing in the romance that didn’t win me over completely. Maybe it was because after the book was done, I didn’t feel like I knew Liam as much as I hoped I would. Allison seemed like the perfect woman. She was the genius computer hacker that the FBI was drooling over AND she was gorgeous as shit. A freaking model to boot! Allison was too perfect to be real even with her shitty ass upbringing. I didn’t fully connect with either of them and that was disappointing.

Overall, this book was okay. I liked the book fine. I enjoyed the story even if the romance lacked meat. Liam had potential to be a fabulously sexy hero but I was a bit let down that we don’t really get much of Liam, the man. We get a whole lot of Liam, the FBI Agent. Allison was a strong heroine but I didn’t fully connect with her because she was too perfect. All in all, it was a good story but nowhere near one of Garwood’s bests.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Trust by Kylie Scott

Posted July 25, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Trust by Kylie ScottReviewer: Tracy
Trust by Kylie Scott
Published by Kylie Scott
Publication Date: July 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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Goodreads
four-stars

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

Edie is spending the night at her friend Georgia’s house and having a movie night during summer break. They’re in the middle of a Harry Potter marathon but end up driving across town at midnight to fill up on snacks.  Edie is dressed in pajamas but less revealing PJ’s than her friend so she heads into the Drop Stop to get the snacks.  Unfortunately for Edie she ends up in the middle of a robbery that leaves two dead.  One of the customers in the store starts talking to the robber and Edie starts to wonder if they’re together but she soon figures out that he’s trying to save their lives.  After a crazy standoff Edie and the talker, John, make it out of the store with their lives.

Obviously Edie’s not the same person coming out as she was when she went into the store that night.  Having a gun shoved into your mouth tends to make a person look at life differently.  Edie just wants to be left alone and refuses all interviews but her best friend…ex-best friend goes on camera and twists everything that Edie had told her about John and how he’d helped out the night of the robbery.  Edie is heartbroken.  When she gets back to her private school she starts to get teased but the resident bully – as she has been for the past three years – but she finds she’s not going to take it any longer.  After a horrible first day of school Edie ends up in the public school where she meets…John, her savior from the Drop Stop.

Everyone tells her to stay away from John as he’s the local pot dealer but John says he’s quite dealing and is trying to be a model citizen.  After the night at the Drop Stop and seeing what drugs can do to a person, John is determined to have a better life.  John tells Edie to stay away from him because she’ll look guilty for everything just by association. Edie doesn’t listen and soon the pair are inseparable.  Can the two learn to trust each other enough to take their relationship farther or will their past come back to get them in the end?

This was such a great story.  With the robbery scene happening right off the bat when the book begins it truly sucked me in.  Scott wrote the scene so very well and I was actually scared while reading it – on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened.  It was good.

The remainder of the story was Edie and John trying to deal with their lives and falling in love after their ordeal.  It was a time of distrust for both of them and the way they dealt with their issues was worth reading about.  John was what was considered a bad boy but he really had a good heart and was a good guy in the end.  Edie needed John’s strength so that she could find her own in the end and she did,  in a big way.

The story is a good and a book I definitely recommend.

Though only a couple of places were mentioned about the town that the book took place in, it was cool as I used to live in that town in Northern California.  It was cool to read about that small but great town. 😊

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon

Posted July 24, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Eye Candy by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Rowena
Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Real Love #1
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Jacqueline: As an adult woman--and the vice president of a marketing firm--I shouldn't be waiting by my office window to ogle the mystery man who jogs by every morning at 11:45. Sure, he's a gorgeous, perfect specimen of the human race, but I can't bring myself to hit on a total stranger. However, my best friend-slash-colleague Vince Carson thinks I should do more than talk to the guy. In fact, he's borderline obsessive about "getting me laid." (His words.) But the more time we spend together, the more it's clear: The one I'm falling for is Vince.

Vince: Jackie Butler's got it bad for some pompous, over-pumped A-hole who struts his stuff past her window. That doesn't bother me. I know she deserves nice things. What does bother me is that she friend-zoned me big-time last year, so I can't ask her out myself. But what if I set her up with Mr. Steroids? Then, when he breaks her heart, I can swoop in and save her like the nice guy I am. Everything's going according to plan . . . until we share a ridiculously epic kiss. And suddenly anything is possible.

Eye Candy is the first book in a new series by Jessica Lemmon called Real Love. It follows Vince Carson as he tries to win his best friend Jackie Butler over into his life and his..bed.

Vince has got it bad for his best friend, Jackie. She kind of snuck up on him because he wasn’t looking for feelings to creep up on him since he swore off love after his ex-wife left him because he wasn’t successful enough for her. Jackie and Vince work together, they share the VP status at their marketing firm and it was Jackie that helped Vince get his shit together after the divorce. He was an emotional mess and talking things out with Jackie, who showed up at his house with fried chicken and beer helped get his life back on track and he was doing well now. He was done being an emotional basket case and he was moving on with his life. He was ready to date again and he wanted to date Jackie but she wasn’t ready for him.

Jackie came into the picture when she started working at the marketing firm that Vince worked at. She was fresh off a divorce herself but her divorce did a number on her because her ex-husband cheating and fell in love with someone else while still married to Jackie and she hasn’t really recovered from the rejection and betrayal. Vince was off limits when Jackie first meets him and it’s probably for the best because they’re really good as friends. Best friends, even. She saw herself in him when he was struggling to get through the days following his divorce and so she shows up at his house and helps him through everything. She listened to him when he needed to get all of his emotions off his chest. She helped him figure out his next move.

Vince is under the impression that if he were to ask Jackie out, that he would be her rebound and he doesn’t want to be that so when she starts drooling over the hot guy that runs by their office every day at 11:45am, Vince thinks it’s a good idea to become her dating coach. She needs to get back out there so that when the hot guy breaks her heart, Vince will be there to comfort her through the heartbreak.

What a dumbass plan. The whole plan that Vince concocts to win Jackie over was just plain ol’ dumb but for some reason, I kept reading the book. I enjoyed Vince as a character and I enjoyed getting to know Jackie but I still thought that they had a lot of dumb moments throughout the book. I’m not a fan of dating games and these two played a lot of them. They’re best friends, so I didn’t think that the games were necessary but let them both slide some because they were young enough to make those stupid mistakes.

The romance was pretty steamy and I’m mighty curious about the next book in this series so I’m definitely going to be continuuing on. I liked Davis and want to see him get the bartender….I’m also very curious to know where Grace went toward the end of this book. Why wasn’t she at the bar when the boys would go in there? Hmmm…

Overall, I thought this book was good. The characters were funny, the dialogue had me cracking up and I liked the hero. Sure, Vince did some stupid shit but I still really liked him. I liked him more than I liked Jackie. I wasn’t a fan of the whole JT thing but it led Vince and Jackie to each other so I got over it. Jessica Lemmon created a fun little world for these characters and I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the gang in the next book. I’m in.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Retro Review: Fair Play by Deirdre Martin.

Posted July 19, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Retro Review: Fair Play by Deirdre Martin.Reviewer: Rowena
Fair Play by Deirdre Martin
Series: New York Blades #2
Also in this series: Body Check
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: February 3rd 2004
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
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Goodreads
three-stars

A little competition never hurt anybody...

Theresa Falconetti has it all: brains, beauty, a quick wit, and her own PR business. To the Deep disappointment of her large family, she never dates Italians, men from her old Brooklyn neighborhood, or professional athletes. Especially not athletes...

Michael Dante, popular hometown hero and winger for the Stanley Cup champion New York Blades is all three—and he is head over heels for her.

For Michael, Theresa's NO HOCKEY PLAYERS rule is a check to the heart. Nothing he does seems to melt her resolve. His stubborn refusal to give up on this wisecracking brunette, who—he knows—is hiding from her roots, is driving them both nuts. And whe he hires her to publicize his family's restaurant, more than the kitchen heats up. Then Theresa finds herself an Upper East Side kind of guy and Micheal is forced to take his game to the next level.

IT'S FACE OFF TIME...

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

Holly: I remember when Body Check, the first book in this series, was released. Everyone raved about it, but I didn’t care for it at all. I felt so vindicated after Rowena wrote this review because the heroine drove her crazy. Good times.

This review was originally published November 18, 2007

The book following Body Check follows Janna McNeil’s best friend, Theresa Falconetti’s journey to true love with Michael Dante’. We met Michael Dante’ in Body Check when he was trying to get at Theresa but failed to impress her because he’s everything she doesn’t want in a man…mainly he’s Italian and from Brooklyn and a hockey player so she’s not trying to have anything to do with him. She’s very snooty and she’s very stubborn and I found that I just couldn’t like her. No matter what DM wrote about Theresa, it set my teeth on edge. I understand that things happened in the first book that made her into the person that she is in this book but she had two guys in her life…one that was absolutely perfect and everything she SHOULD have wanted in a man but didn’t and then another one who was just totally slimey and wrong for her and who does she want?

Contestant # SCUMBAG!

It got on my hot damn nerves and I wanted to frickin’ shake some hot dang sense into her. Goodness each and every time she pushed Mikey away, I wanted to take a bat and beat her with it. He was so good to her and she just kept kicking him in the teeth and when he finally lost it and yelled at her I got mad at him for apologizing about that because he had every right to yell at her the way he did because he didn’t deserve everything that she put him through, he went out of his way to make sure she was comfortable AT ALL TIMES and what did he get for his trouble? A swift kick to the knee caps and every time she got pissed off because her family invited him to dinner at THEIR house?

Yeah, I wanted to smack the crap out of her. It was just more and more of all things annoying where Theresa was concerned, she was so annoying that even Janna was annoyed with her.

The whole Reese thing made me want to hurt someone because for her to want THAT when she could have someone like Mike totally went right over my head…I didn’t get it, AT ALL and the more she fell in “love” with Reese, the more I wanted to choke her the heck out.

This book was easy to read but it was easy to piss me off too…the more I read about Theresa, the more I wanted to backhand that tramp and the more Mike tried to win her over, the more I wanted to run him over with a motorcycle to get him to open up his dang eyes because he deserved so much more than Theresa gave to him and for him to pine away for her when he could have had any number of girls bothered me because it kind of made him look like a wimp to me…but my dumb ass still liked Mike. I loved watching him and Anthony fight and threatened and throw things at each other, I loved watching him with Gemma and the moonstone, she gave him was totally cute, the candles she gave him made me smile too. He was such a superstitious cutie patootie that I wanted so much more for him and I totally think that his reasons for not going to Theresa (the lie thingy with Anthony) at the end to tell her the truth was totally lame but whatev, I got over it.

The book could have been better but it was okay, I guess…It’s a total C read, not the best but it’ll do.

three-stars


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Guest Review: Before the Dawn by Cynthia Eden

Posted July 19, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Before the Dawn by Cynthia EdenReviewer: Jen
Before the Dawn by Cynthia Eden
Series: Killer Instinct #2
Also in this series: After the Dark

Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-stars

The Killer Instinct series from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden continues as an FBI profiler tracks a case that resurrects ghosts from his past

Ex-SEAL Tucker Frost knows that the world is full of evil. He saw it in the face of his own brother, Mason Frost, a cold, methodical, sadistic killer. A killer Tucker put down with his own hands in order to save Mason's final victim—Dawn Alexander, the only girl who got away from the infamous "Iceman."

It's Tucker's up close and personal experience with evil that's made him perfect for Samantha Dark's experimental profiling division in the FBI. Samantha wants agents who have personal ties with killers, who have unique insights into the minds of monsters. And when women start turning up murdered with the same MO used by the Iceman, Tucker is sent back to Louisiana to investigate.

The last person he expects to see is his ex-lover, Dawn. Ten full years have passed since the night that Tucker faced down his brother…and since he last saw Dawn. But the dark need still burns just as hot between Tucker and Dawn. As they grapple with a desire that never died, they must also face the shared shadow from their pasts. Both Tucker and Dawn have the same question—has Mason Frost come back from the dead to hunt again? And this time, will he succeed in killing the victim who got away?

I have been on a major Cynthia Eden kick this year. Fortunately, she’s publishing books nearly as fast as I can read them, plus her back list is huge, so I have plenty to keep me entertained. Before Dawn is the newest book in her Killer Instincts series, which centers around a special FBI team made up of people with some kind of personal connection to killers. Eden has several series going right now, and they are tied together in various ways. For instance, there are a couple Harlequin Intrigue titles that are not marked as part of the Killer Instincts series but that really are tied in. And then I swear some of her LOST series books also crossover, but I could not for the life of me remember which ones and how they tied in. Moreover, because I’m confused about the order, I don’t read them in order, so I keep reading Eden books and being pleasantly surprised to find I’m reading the story of a character I already learned about in some other Eden book. Basically, I’m saying it’s damn confusing and I have no idea how to untangle the threads. You’re on your own.

What I can do is tell you about Before Dawn, though! I really loved the first book in the series, After the Dark. As I said, the series is about this special team of people with connections to killers, which is pretty unbelievable but makes for a superb book premise. This time, we meet Tucker Frost, whose brother was a serial killer. His final attempted victim was Tucker’s girlfriend, Dawn. Tucker killed his brother to save Dawn, but because his brother messed with Dawn’s head, and because he looked just like Tucker, Dawn was understandably traumatized, and her relationship with Tucker didn’t survive. Tucker has spent his life trying to prove he isn’t his brother and atone for what his brother did. Dawn, on the other hand, hardened after her attack and is still dealing with the psychological trauma. When Tucker returns to town to investigate some recent murders that bear a striking resemblance to his brother’s crimes, he and Dawn have to deal with their past and work together to figure out what’s going on.

I liked Dawn and Tucker as characters. Dawn was prickly and smart, but she’s clearly still suffering greatly from her earlier attack. It was a bit hard to read sometimes, especially the flashbacks to when Tucker’s brother had her captive. He was physically brutal and manipulated her into doubting Tucker. It was totally understandable that Dawn would struggle to be around Tucker later. Tucker was great, too. He tried to be there for Dawn after her attack, but when he realized his presence was too painful, he disappeared from her life. My heart hurt for him, because what an impossible situation to be in! I appreciated that he tried to let Dawn set the tone for their interactions, and all he wanted was for her to be at peace.

I did have some niggling doubts about whether Tucker and Dawn could really move beyond their past, though. Dawn was terrorized by a man with Tucker’s face. Was it really possible for her to see beyond that? Dawn clearly still needed a lot of serious professional help to process her trauma. I’m not sure love would be enough, even ten years on. I also felt like the intense alpha-schtick Eden usually writes was a little out of place here. Dawn wasn’t breakable, but I kind of wanted Tucker to tone it down. You’re trying to convince her you’re nothing like your violent brother, so maybe dial it back a bit, huh dude?

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as After the Dark, but it was still a good read.

Grade: 4 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

four-stars


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