Genre: Romance

Review: The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan

Posted May 18, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Hot Shot by Kristen CallihanReviewer: Rowena
The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #4
Also in this series: The Hook Up, The Friend Zone, The Game Plan
Published by Kristen Callihan
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 337
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four-stars

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

The Hot Shot is the fourth book in Kristen Callihan’s Game On series and it follows Dex from The Game Plan’s teammate, Finn Mannus. Finn Mannus is a quarterback in the NFL and he’s winning in life. He’s got a great family, supportive friends and he never has trouble with the ladies so when he shows up for a photo shoot for work and meets the photographer, Chess Copper, he’s not prepared for her to stay on his mind long after the shoot is over.

Chess is a photographer who works hard and goes out of her way to be kind to people but there’s something about Finn Mannus that gets under her skin the first time she meets him. She’s all prickly whenever he’s around and he’s around a lot more than he should be since the job she worked with him on is done. Before Chess knows what’s what, her and Finn have become friends and he’s become a daily part of her life.

I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t my favorite Game On book but it was still a pretty solid read. Finn was the bomb and I adored every minute of getting to know him. Chess was pretty great herself but there were times when I didn’t understand her actions and the way that she thought about things. That’s not to say that Finn didn’t have his moments of WTF because he did. Most of his came through the whole thing with the girl that wasn’t his ex but almost became his baby mama.

I enjoyed seeing Finn so sure in himself and in his feelings toward Chess. It took Chess a little longer to come around and when she finally does, I was glad for it. Kristen Callihan really shines for me with these sports romances. I can’t get these books fast enough and I’m always thirsty for more. That was the case with this one.

This was such an easy read filled with lots of laughs, characters that rocked my socks and a romance so steamy, I about melted into a puddle of lust more than once. Finn and Chess found the real thing with each other and Kristen Callihan captured their love in a way that I just flat out enjoyed. I hope she never stops writing books for this series because it’s my favorite series of hers and this was another fabulous addition. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Find Her by Elisabeth Rose

Posted May 18, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Find Her by Elisabeth RoseReviewer: Tracy
Find Her by Elisabeth Rose
Published by Escape Publishing
Publication Date: May 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 140
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three-half-stars

A chance sighting leads to second chances – for hope, for family, and for love.

Five years ago, teenager Antonia disappeared. With no compelling evidence, the police eventually called her a run-away, and dropped the case. Her teacher, Jax, has always regretted not speaking up about the rumours she heard circling the school that day, but a random sighting at a train station raises the possibility that Antonia is still alive – and not too far away.

Antonia’s father, Connor has never given up hope that his daughter will be found and returned to her family. When her old teacher, Jax, calls him with a small spark of a lead, he seizes it with both hands, determined to chase it down.

But there’s more at play than simple teenage rebellion and the path Jax and Connor travel rapidly becomes more dangerous than either could have imagined, and opens up new possibilities that neither could have expected.

Jax is a teacher at a school in a town where Antonia, a student of hers, disappeared 5 years ago.  There wee rumors at the time with a couple of her friends but Jax didn’t pay much attention to them at the time.  When she’s on her way back from a vacation she happens to look across the train platform and she sees Antonia.  She’s so sure it’s actually the missing girl that she contacts Antonia’s father, Connor and tells him what she saw.

Connor never believed that his daughter was dead and never stopped looking for her.  He and his wife separated and then divorced as their lives changed after Antonia disappeared.  He’s so excited to hear of her sighting that he heads to the train stops and hands out flyers with his daughter’s picture on it asking questions.  He finds someone who recognizes her but can’t find her after that.

Jax decides to finally follow up on the rumors she heard about Antonia and finds out that Antonia was pregnant and looking to terminate the pregnancy – because of this they find a lead and eventually figure out what happened.  Getting Antonia back from her abductor, however, will threaten everyone’s lives.

This was a lovely story with a pretty darned good suspense story.  I have to say I was pretty much on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happened to Antonia.  The way that the author crafted the story was creative and I really liked the different ins and outs of the story.

This was also a romance  with  Jax and Connor becoming closer while searching for Antonia and falling in love.  I wish I could say that it was sweet and romantic but the circumstances just didn’t call for that.  Connor was a bit of a stubborn ass at times but both he and Jax worked out well together.  It wasn’t that strong of a romance, unfortunately.  I almost wish that it had been a suspense story only but that’s just my humble opinion.

Overall it was a good suspense story and one I enjoyed.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & Corrupt

Posted May 16, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Frisk Me by Lauren Layne
Published by Hachette Books, Forever
Publication Date: July 28th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
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dnf

Officer Luc Moretti had no idea that his dive into the East River would have him drowning in a media frenzy. No matter how many times he tells reporters he was just doing his job, they're determined to make him into NYC's newest hero. Coming from a long line of NYPD's finest, Luc knows that being a cop has nothing to do with headlines and viral videos, and he's more than ready to get back to life away from the cameras—until he meets the gorgeous but jaded journalist assigned to film a TV special on him.

Ava Sims may be the only woman in NYC who isn't in love with Officer Moretti. That's why she's going after the real story—to find out about the man behind the badge. Ava's determined to keep things strictly professional, but the more time she spends around Luc, even she has to admit there's something about a man in uniform . . . and she can't wait to get him out of his.

I guess it had to happen sooner or later. I DNF’d my first Lauren Layne book and I’m still pretty surprised about it. If you know me then you know of my love of all things Lauren Layne. I adored her Oxford, Sex, Love & Stilettos and Wedding Belles series. I am enjoying her Love Unexpectedly series. There hasn’t been a book of hers that I absolutely hated (I have hated some character antics and thought processes but I haven’t hated any books) so imagine my surprise when I just couldn’t get into this book.

This book follows Luc Moretti, a New York Police Officer who is being praised for being a hero and Ava Sims, the reporter who is covering his story. Ava and Luc do not like each other and Ava’s attitude pissed me off too much for me to continue on. The way that she yelled at Luc, who was giving her a parking ticket because she was parked illegally on a public street pissed me off because she was yelling that he was violating her freedom of speech. WTF does that even mean? She was working so she’s above the law now? I’m sorry but…

Don’t even get me started when we get to the present time and she sees Luc again for the first time in three years. On top of Ava’s attitude, she’s a reporter and I have a love and hate relationship with reporter heroines so after some convincing from my besties, I stepped away from this one. I’m sure she got better as the book wore on but I just couldn’t do it so that was my first DNF.

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
Published by Crown Publishing Group
Publication Date: January 1st 2006
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 361
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dnf

Jessica Darling's in college!

Things are looking up for Jessica Darling. She has finally left her New Jersey hometown/hellhole for Columbia University in New York City; she's more into her boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, than ever (so what if he's at a Buddhist college in California?); and she's making new friends who just might qualify as stand-ins for her beloved best friend, Hope.

But Jessica soon realizes that her bliss might not last. She lands an internship at a snarky Brooklyn-based magazine, but will she fit in with the uberhip staff (and will she even want to)? As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she end up falling for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA . . . or the hot (and married!) Spanish grad student she's assisting on a summer project . . . or the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it through college now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean?

With hilarious insight, the hyperobservant Jessica Darling struggles through her college years--and the summers in between--while maintaining her usual mix of wit, cynicism, and candor.

I’ve been wanting to read Charmed Thirds since I finished Second Helpings…the only problem with that is that I read Second Helpings years ago and I don’t know if it’s my old age but Jessica Darling was exhausting to read about and I was disconnected from everyone (including Marcus and I loved him before) so after a while of not really caring what was going on and wanting Jessica to take a breath, I just stopped reading this. It just didn’t hold my interest so I moved on.

DNF Round Up: Frisk Me, Charmed Thirds & CorruptReviewer: Rowena
Corrupt (Devil's Night, #1) by Penelope Douglas, Jeremy York, Tatiana Sokolov
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: November 17th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 460
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dnf

Erika

I was told that dreams were our heart’s desires. My nightmares, however, became my obsession.

His name is Michael Crist.

My boyfriend’s older brother is like that scary movie that you peek through your hand to watch. He is handsome, strong, and completely terrifying. The star of his college’s basketball team and now gone pro, he’s more concerned with the dirt on his shoe than me.

But I noticed him.

I saw him. I heard him. The things that he did, and the deeds that he hid…For years, I bit my nails, unable to look away.

Now, I’ve graduated high school and moved on to college, but I haven’t stopped watching Michael. He’s bad, and the dirt I’ve seen isn’t content to stay in my head anymore.

Because he’s finally noticed me.

Michael

Her name is Erika Fane, but everyone calls her Rika.

My brother’s girlfriend grew up hanging around my house and is always at our dinner table. She looks down when I enter a room and stills when I am close. I can always feel the fear rolling off of her, and while I haven’t had her body, I know that I have her mind. That’s all I really want anyway.

Until my brother leaves for the military, and I find Rika alone at college.

In my city.

Unprotected.

The opportunity is too good to be true as well as the timing. Because you see, three years ago she put a few of my high school friends in prison, and now they’re out.

We’ve waited. We’ve been patient. And now every last one of her nightmares will come true.

***Corrupt can be read as a stand-alone. No cliffhanger.

Corrupt was a book that was brought to my attention by well, everyone. I’ve been seeing such good things about this author and this book in particular that I bought it and prepared myself for an interesting read. There’s a darkness to this book and to the hero that I just could not get behind. I tried three different times to get past what the hero and his friends were doing, to get past what they blamed the heroine for and though I was told that not all is what it seems, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t finish it and it was messing with my reading mojo so I stepped away from this one. Who knows if I’ll pick it back up later, I just know that I can’t do it now.

Have you DNF’d any books lately? Share your DNF stories with us. Which books should we steer clear from? Help a sister out!

dnf

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Retro Review: Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr

Posted May 10, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 12 Comments

Retro Review: Shelter Mountain by Robyn CarrReviewer: Rowena
Sheltering Mountain by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #2
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Temptation Ridge (Virgin River, #6), , , , , , , ,
Published by Mira Books
Publication Date: May 1st 2007
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 376
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five-stars

For the second time in a year a woman arrives in the small town of Virgin River trying to escape the past.

John “Preacher” Middleton is about to close the bar when a young woman and her three-year-old son come in out of a wet October night. A marine who has seen his share of pain, Preacher knows a crisis when he sees one—the woman is covered in bruises. He wants to protect them, and he wants to punish whoever did this to her, but he knows immediately that this inclination to protect is something much more.
Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in this gentle giant of a man—emotions that he has never allowed himself to feel.

But when Paige’s ex-husband turns up in Virgin River, Preacher knows his own future hangs in the balance. And if there’s one thing in the marines’ motto of Semper Fidelis—always faithful—has taught him, it’s that some things are worth fighting for.

******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: Rowena and I used to love this series. I remember falling into Virgin River (book 1) and never wanting to leave the little mountain town.

This review was originally posted on October 4, 2007.
In the second book of the Virgin River trilogy, we follow John “Preacher” Middleton and Paige Lassiter on their adventure toward true love, a true love that will last forever and ever, Amen. We meet Paige Lassiter when she stumbles into Jack and Preacher’s Bar and Grill on a stormy night. She’s carrying her three year old son, Christopher and he’s sleeping and she’s in desperate need of …help. She’s very wary of Preacher, being the big bear of a man that he is and because she’s been badly beaten, Preacher does his best to help her, so his first order of business is to try to convince this young woman to stick around town for a little while so she can heal. She finally agrees and as the days pass, a love bond is formed between Paige and John and they slowly become a family unit, one that will go to the ends of the earth to help, protect and love the hell out of each other.

Now, I’m not going to lie and say that I was so looking forward to reading this book after reading the masterpiece (well in my eyes anyway) that was Virgin River. You see, in Virgin River, John “Preacher” Middleton is described as a big, bald motherbrother with bushy eyebrows, likened to Mr. Clean.

Mr. Clean? Yeah…not so my choice for Sexiest Man of the Year, if he’s yours, more power to you but for me? Not so much. So, being the shallow young woman that I am, I had a hard time getting excited about reading his book because, well…I wanted a hot stud of a hero and to me, Preacher just wasn’t it….but, I was happy when I started this book to learn that even though Preacher wasn’t the most hottest of heroes, he was still a very good and solid hero, one that I ended up loving (in a purely sisterly way of course) the hell out of, so that just goes to show you just how good, Robyn Carr is…I loved Preacher!

In this book, Jack and Mel are having their baby, Mike Valenzuela, their Marine friend is shot on the job and out on disability, Rick and Liz go through some really rough patches in their journey to adulthood and Preacher leans on the support of his friends to help Paige and her little boy fight the big bad monster that comes in the form of Paige’s evil ex husband, Wes Lassiter.

There was so much going on in this book and it should have left me feeling confused, miffed even because a lot of pages were dedicated to the townfolk of Virgin River and then to the setting up of the next book, Whispering Rock, which will star Mike Valenzuela and Brie Sheridan. The kicker of it all though, is I wasn’t mad, I didn’t feel cheated out of John and Paige’s story because I felt that Robyn Carr did a fabulous job of incorporating everything into this one book. I don’t feel that John and Paige needed more page time for their story because I felt that there was the right amount of EVERYTHING in this book.

I fell right in love with Paige and Chris for Preacher when I was reading this book and though I enjoyed the bits and pieces of their story that was laid out for me to read, I felt that the other parts of this book, the Rick and Liz parts, the Mike parts, the Jack and Mel parts were all creatively included in this story and made me feel like I was apart of the town of Virgin River, not merely reading about them.

What I really enjoyed about this story, is the way it’s told. Robyn Carr writes her stories, making the reader (well, this reader anyway) feel as though she’s sitting on a bar stool at Jack’s at the end of the day, beer in front of them, while they watched everything going down around them. I felt what the characters felt, I grieved with the characters and I was steamed right alongside, Preacher, Jack and Mike when Wes came into town, interrupting their town life. I was scared right alongside Paige, when she walked out of the corner store, coming back from watching Soap Opera’s to find the one man that has the ability to render her scared out of her wits, Wes. I felt Jack’s rage when Wes pushed Mel down and I raged right beside Preacher…I could even taste the cookies that Preacher and Christopher made, RC is that good with a pen.

This book was more than just about Preacher and Paige finding love together. It’s about the small town that they live in and the people that surround them. It’s about unity and family and those are things that I really enjoy in a book. This book certainly does not disappoint. I fell right in love with this story as I did when reading, Virgin River.

Gosh, I’m hoping against hope that RC decides to write, Rick’s story because I have come to love the hell out of that boy. I got all teary eyed when all the crap went down with him and Liz, my heart broke right along with him and when he chooses to become a man and make Jack and Preacher proud of him, my heart swelled because I have fallen head over heels in love with this little boy who is growing up to be such a wonderful man. I’m rooting him on because I love him that much and I hope to high heaven that he gets his own story because I think he totally deserves one. Another man in this story that I fell like a rock for was, Mike Valenzuela. Goodness, even all sick and “weak dicked” this man to me is one sexy motherbrother. I already started his book and am counting the minutes until I can read the book again, that’s how much I loved Mike in this story, I already approve of his heroine choice and I’m soaking up the words as fast as I could because this series is just fantabulous!

I’m giving this book an A because I just loved it to pieces and thought RC did a fabulous job writing this, she’s totally going on my Auto-Buy list because of this series, kudos, Mrs. Carr, well done.

5 out of 5

five-stars

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Review: How the Duke was Won by Lenora Bell

Posted May 9, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: How the Duke was Won by Lenora BellReviewer: Rowena
How the Duke was won by Lenora Bell
Series: The Disgraceful Dukes #1
Also in this series: How the Duke Was Won, Blame It on the Duke, If I Only Had a Duke
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.

Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?

She is not like the others…

Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:

* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]
* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]
* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]
* Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting]

When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.

How the Duke was Won is the first book that I’ve read by Lenora Bell and it won’t be the last. It’s also the first book in the Disgraceful Dukes series. I’ve heard great things about this series and after my sister read and enjoyed it, I figured it was about time I read it for myself. I’m glad that I did because James and Charlene were a fabulous couple!

This book follows James, the Duke of Harland and he needs a wife. Someone that he can knock up with his heir so that he can go back to what he loves (make chocolate for hot chocolate). He didn’t want the title of Duke and he certainly doesn’t want wife, or love. So the quickest way that he can think to get back to his life of making chocolate is by hosting a party and only inviting four potential brides so that he can pick one of them then be on his merry way.

Charlene is the bastard child of an earl and nobody is more surprised when her father’s wife shows up at her house to offer her a job that will bring a whole lot of money her way. The money is welcome as she’s tired of struggling to pay the bills and all she’d have to do is pose as her half-sister, the legitimate daughter, Lady Dorothea. If she can pretend to be her, make the duke choose Dorothea as his bride then she’ll walk away with more money than she ever hoped to have.

There was a whole lot of shenanigans going on at this party and even though the beginning dragged a bit, I enjoyed the story as a whole. I enjoyed getting to know both Charlene and James. I enjoyed Alice and I really enjoyed Dalton. Lenora Bell wrote a charming historical romance that really gathered storm as the story progressed and it was a lot of fun. I’m so glad that I took a chance on this new to me author and I definitely recommend her stuff to anyone wanting a solid historical romance.

Both James and Charlene were fun and the chemistry between them steamed up my kindle so they get no complaints from me. I couldn’t wait to jump into the next book so that should say something. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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