Genre: Romance

Review: Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

Posted July 13, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne BrockmannReviewer: Rowena
Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockmann
Series: Troubleshooters Series #17
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: July 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Romance
Pages: 448
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Navy men don’t come tougher than Lieutenant Peter Greene. Every day he whips hotshot SEAL wannabes into elite fighters. So why can’t he handle one fifteen-year-old girl? His ex’s death left him a single dad overnight, and very unprepared. Though he can’t relate to an angsty teen, he can at least keep Maddie safe—until the day she disappears. Though Pete’s lacking in fatherly intuition, his instinct for detecting danger is razor sharp. Maddie’s in trouble. Now he needs the Troubleshooters team at his back, along with an unconventional ally.

Romance writer Shayla Whitman never expected to be drawn into a real-world thriller—or to meet a hero who makes her pulse pound. Action on the page is one thing. Actually living it is another story. Shay’s not as bold as her heroines, but she’s a mother. She sees the panic in her new neighbor’s usually fearless blue eyes—and knows there’s no greater terror for a parent than having a child at risk. It’s an ordeal Shay won’t let Pete face alone. She’s no highly trained operative, but she’s smart, resourceful, and knows what makes teenagers tick.

Still, working alongside Pete has its own perils—like letting the heat between them rise out of control. Intimate emotions could mean dangerous, even deadly, consequences for their mission. No matter what, they must be on top of their game, and playing for keeps . . . or else Pete’s daughter may be gone for good.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Troubleshooters book by Suzanne Brockmann so I was pretty excited to jump back into this world. I was hoping to catch up with all of the previous couples and there are quite a few of them around in Some Kind of Hero but to be honest, I miss the guys from the beginning of the series.

I miss Sam Starrett and Johnny Nilsson, though I don’t miss Nilsson’s wife Meg. I also miss Wildcard and Cosmo and just…those guys. They’ve all moved on from the Navy but for me, they were the guys that I loved so much that I kept coming back for more. I like the new guys fine but they just don’t compare to the older guys. My guys.

Anyway, on with the review…

Some Kind of Hero follows Lietenant Peter Greene and Shayla Whitman. Peter’s daughter has gone missing and Shayla gets roped into helping him by being at the right place when Peter needed a helping hand. Peter’s daughter Maddie gets herself wrapped up in some bad business and because she has no relationship with her Navy SEAL father, she doesn’t turn to him for help. She decides that she can handle taking on a drug lord all by her teenage self. sigh Too many times I wanted to punch Maddie in the throat for being so stupid.

Anyway, so Peter and Shayla are trying to track Maddie down because she’s missing and they’re piecing together what happened throughout the book with the help of Peter’s SEAL buddies Izzy Zanella, Mark Jenkins and a whole bunch of newbies that are all named John. It really takes a village to raise a child or in this case, find a missing child and the more I read, the more I got frustrated with a bunch of things.

  • Maddie. When the only person you have left in the world is your father, someone who has bent over backward trying to fix your broken relationship and is a Navy freaking SEAL, you turn to him for help when you’re framed for stealing money from a drug lord. You don’t lie and make things so much worse by running away and putting those that are trying to help you in danger by not being upfront about everything. I was also not cool with the way that she kept throwing her underage self at Dingo who was trying so hard to do the right thing by keeping his distance at the same time that he was trying to help protect her from the bad guys. Maddie annoyed the shit out of me at every turn in this book. I never quite warmed up to her and that sucked.
  • Shayla’s internal dialogue she had with Harry. It’s one thing to talk to yourself in your head or to even have conversations with your made up character in your head but the amount of times that Shayla shushed Harry out loud made me roll my eyes all over the damn place. I wanted to shake Shayla and tell her to stop acting like fucking weirdo, especially cause I thought she was too old to be acting the way that she was.
  • The earthquake. As someone who grew up in Southern California and is used to the earthquakes that we have down here, the whole earthquake scene just didn’t feel authentic to me. Peter did entirely too much and the earth shook for too long and I was reading that scene like, nope…that wouldn’t happen, there’s not enough time for all of this to happen. We’ve never had an earthquake that long and sure it’s all explained away but nope, I didn’t buy it.

There are more things that I was frustrated with but those were the main ones. I wasn’t a big fan of the romance between Peter and Shayla because they were too old to act the way they were acting. The whole “OMG, does he like me? I’m so stupid. Why did I say that?” Ugh, seriously? You guys aren’t 16 and in high school, so stop acting like you are. You’re a freaking Navy SEAL, Peter…open your mouth and tell Shayla how you feel about her. Same with Shayla. She wrote romance novels for a living for crying out loud. If you can write steamy love scenes and dialogue featuring a whole lot of “I love you’s” than you should be able to tell the man that you love how you feel and stop dodging what was really going on between you two.

I will say that even though there were things that annoyed me, I still enjoyed being in the Troubleshooters world again. It was good to see Izzy and Eden again and to hear about Lopez and Jenk and everybody else that was brought up in this book. Izzy is my favorite hero of the newer generation of SEALs so I loved, loved, loved seeing him again. I love his personality and he hasn’t changed a bit since his book. He’s still freaking awesome.

Overall, the romance kind of fell flat for me and the heroine got on my nerves with her inner dialogue crap and the earthquake didn’t feel right to me at all but I loved seeing the SEAL team come together and be there for one of their own. I loved how they juggled their jobs on the base with being there for Peter and helping out any way that they can. I loved hearing the Navy slang again and even though this isn’t my favorite book in the series, it’s still good.

Grade: 3 out of 5


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Review: The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young

Posted July 12, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young
Published by Harlequin, Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
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four-stars

I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

The Impossible Vastness of Us is the first contemporary YA that Samantha Young has written and at first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to read it. Any of her younger stories gives me pause because of my rage after reading Out of the Shallows. I’m scared to try any other NA books by Young because of my experience with Jake and Charlie.

I’m still not quite sure why I picked this book up, other than it’s a Samantha Young and I enjoy most of her books so I caved and boy am I glad that I did because I enjoyed getting to know India, Finn and even Eloise.

India Maxwell is moving across the country, away from her friends and everything she’s ever known because her mother met someone and got engaged. She moved away from her California suburban home to the upper crust of Boston society. She went from being the popular poor girl to a rich newbie that nobody knew and then thanks to her soon to be step-sister, the rich newbie that nobody wanted to get to know. India hasn’t had an easy life. She’s dealing with a bunch of stuff from her past and having to build defenses against a new school and a new life isn’t easy for her. Her mother is happy with her new love and he’s got a daughter that is India’s age but she’s made it very clear that they won’t be besties. So India does what any normal person would do. She keeps her head down and gets on with life.

She has no interest in becoming a part of the family that her Mom is trying to blend. She’s got issues with male figures of authority and her step-sister isn’t an easy person to be around, especially since she’s got a boyfriend that India is way attracted to.

Against India’s better judgement, she becomes entangled in a friendship that can’t go anywhere and she’s put in a situation that she can’t get out of and there’s so much going on in her new life that she starts to flounder a bit and the reader is treated to some real character growth in India. I thought Samantha Young did a great job of showing us just how much India, Finn and Eloise grew from the beginning of the book to the end. They became a unit that I wasn’t prepared for and the secrets they kept were some pretty big secrets.

I came to learn that not everything is as it seems and pain hits everyone, no matter how poor or rich you are. India had her issues that she was working through and so did Finn and Eloise. I thought Samantha Young did a great job of portraying India’s mothers struggles to fix her relationship with India. I loved seeing India really come into her own and accept her new life and deal with her issues with Theo and separating him from her past. India was a great protagonist that wasn’t perfect but was relatable.

Finn and Eloise were great characters in their own right. Sure, they frustrated me from time to time, especially Finn’s hot and cold attitude but once everything is out in the open and they warm up to India (who never deserved their scorn), my attitude toward them changed. Eloise’s situation was a hard one to read about because I just wanted to hug her close and keep her safe from everything but I was really glad with the way that her story wrapped up.

Overall, this was great addition to Samantha Young’s backlist. I really connected with all of the characters, even bitch ass Bryce and I was cheering them all on to get their happy endings. This was an entertaining read from beginning to end and I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting a fun contemporary YA with characters that are put through the wringer and come out on top in the end. It’s good, I promise!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Scandalous Ever After by Theresa Romain

Posted July 7, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Scandalous Ever After by Theresa RomainReviewer: Tracy
Scandalous Ever After by Theresa Romain
Series: Romance of the Turf #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: July 4th 2017
Genres: Romance
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four-stars

"Romain pens an unconventional, highly appealing love story, topped off with intrigue. This fast-paced read is sure to satisfy." ―RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars for A Gentleman's Game

Does love really heal all wounds?After being widowed by a steeplechase accident in Ireland, Lady Kate Whelan abandons the turf. But once her mourning is complete, her late husband's debts drive her to seek help in Newmarket amidst the whirl of a race meet. There she encounters antiquities expert Evan Rhys, her late husband's roguish friend―whom she hasn't seen since the day of his lordship's mysterious death.

Now that fate has reunited them, Evan seizes the chance to win over the woman he's always loved. But once back within the old stone walls of Whelan House, long-held secrets come to light that shake up everything Kate thought she knew about her marriage. Now she wonders who she can trust with her heart―and Evan must decide between love and a truth that will separate him from all his heart desires.

Romance of the Turf Series:A Gentleman's Game (Book 1)Scandalous Ever After (Book 2)

Two years ago Evan and his best friend, Conall, got into an argument and Even then left the country of Ireland, never to return.  He found out later that his friend had fallen from a horse and died that very day.  He’d blamed himself for his friends death.  He also has massive guilt because from the day Conall had brought his English wife home, Evan had been in love with her.

Evan is lecturing in London when the object of his affections, Kate, strolls in.  He immediately changes his travel plans and heads to her family seat in Newmarket with her – with plans to travel with her to Ireland afterward.  He finally believes it’s time to make his move on Kate, but she’s not ready to accept that her life can change from what it’s been these past two years.  She also has worries that going to bed with Evan will ruin their friendship.

When they eventually make it back to Ireland Kate is even more determined to keep Evan at bay but he doesn’t allow that.  He needs to make her see that they can be good together.  He also finds something that might prove that his friend, Kate’s husband didn’t die in an accident but was murdered.

This was a sweet fiends to lovers story.  I really liked both Kate and Evan and their witty banter made me laugh throughout the book.  No matter what was happening Evan was always there with his light-heartedness and I loved it.

The romance between the two kind of grew organically and at times I wished as a reader that I could have understood Kate a bit better when it came to Evan.  It was like she was falling in love with him but we weren’t exactly told that.  I don’t know how to explain it.  Anyway, this is the reason for the 4 stars rather than higher.

Overall I found the book to be quite enjoyable and I truly appreciated Ms. Romain’s sense of humor.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Wired by Julie Garwood

Posted July 5, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wired by Julie GarwoodReviewer: Casee
Wired by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard Series #13
Also in this series: Wired
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: July 4th 2017
Genres: Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
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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 . . .

If I had to pick one word for this book: tepid. The romance was tepid, the suspense was tepid. The whole thing was just tepid. Allison intrigued me, Liam intrigued. Together? Not so much. I just don’t understand what happened to Julie Garwood. I know authors grow as writers, but don’t they grow to be better? I saw glimpses of her trademark humor, but she fell short of the mark. It’s sad, really. Then again, when our expectations as readers are so high can authors really meet them? I say they should. They’re the ones that set those expectations by being so freaking amazing. Don’t be mad, Julie Garwood.

Allison Trent is basically a genius. A walking computer. She can do a thousand piece puzzle in twenty minutes. Who does that? It takes me like two weeks. She’s a hacker that likes to help people. Allison doesn’t like breaking the law, but she does it out of the goodness of her heart. Please. Every time she would tell herself that, I would roll my eyes. That’s exactly what the judge would tell her as she was getting sentenced. It’s not surprising that she didn’t like it when the FBI came calling.

Liam Scott only sees Allison as an asset. At the beginning. It doesn’t take long for him to see under the surface. Allison can’t turn away the family that abused her when she was growing up. Not physically, but in every other way. She supports them financially when she is basically on a student budget. She signs a contract to work for the FBI to keep her cousin out of jail. Allison has a soft heart and she can’t say no.

Allison has plans and working for the FBI does not fall into those plans. She has a software program that is going to change the tech world. Problem with that? Someone stole it. Good thing about that? She has a safeguard built in. Between her family and someone trying to hurt her, she and Liam begin a non-relationship as she likes to call it. Allison is far from worldly, but even she can only watch him walk out the door so many times.

I just didn’t feel these two together. We got a ton of Allison’s backstory. Too much actually. Liam, not enough. Or maybe we did and I just skimmed it. I admit to some skimming. I was bored and wanted to jump ahead to some action. Liam was very protective of Allison, which was nice to read. I was just happy that the book ended.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

three-stars


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Guest Review: Hard Stick by L.P. Dover

Posted June 30, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Hard Stick by L.P. DoverReviewer: Tracy
Hard Stick by L.P. Dover
Series: Breakaway Series #1
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: June 13th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 225
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He carries a big stick. And he’s not afraid to use it.

On the ice, I’m Kellan Carter, powerhouse enforcer for the Charlotte Strikers. Off the ice, I’m just a regular guy. The last thing I want is to get mobbed by a bunch of groupies who are only after me for my fame and money. My ideal woman knows how to enjoy a little good, clean fun—and maybe some not-so-clean fun too. That’s the kind of girl I’d never let go.

When Kristen Robinson, the gorgeous, down-to-earth bartender I’ve been crushing on, agrees to let me take her out, I’m thrilled. We have an amazing night together, culminating in the most electrifying kiss of my life—and that’s it. Kristen tells me we can’t see each other again, but I know that kiss meant as much to her as it did to me. What I don’t know is that Kristen has a dangerous secret. . . .

I’ve proved to Kristen that she can trust me with her body and her heart. But when her past comes back to haunt her, I need to prove that she can trust me with her life. And I might have to get my hands dirty after all.

Kristen Robinson was in a relationship with a controlling asshole.  When she finds out that he had a hand in the death of her best friend she knows it’s time to get out.  The problem is that he can find her anywhere.  She enlists the help of a friend who have relatives that work with the FBI.  They get her new papers and hide her.  Kristen meets Kellan Carter because she is a bartender at the bar that him and his fellow ice hockey teammates go to.  They’re constantly asking Kristen out but she always declines.  She doesn’t want anyone else wrapped up in her mess.

When the FBI decides to fake Kristen’s death she feels like a weight has been lifted from her shoulders.  She actually accepts Kellan when he asks her out and that’s pretty much all she wrote.  They are incredibly happy together until Kristen’s past finds her once again.

I think I’m in the majority when I say that when I picked up this book I thought it was a hockey player romance.  Ok, it is that but mostly it’s about Kristen and her issues with her ex-boyfriend.  Yes, Kellan and Kristen get their romance and it’s very sweet but quite frankly Kellan could have had any job and the story wouldn’t have changed too much.  There was very little hockey involved and it definitely wasn’t the focus of the book.

Once Kristen’s death is faked she really lets herself breathe and Kellan is there to date her.  They are really quite cute together and I loved that they were so perfect for each other.  After everything that Kristen had gone through she needed someone who cared about her. Their romance was kind of a blow to the head for Kellan as it was unexpected but he didn’t question his luck and I loved that.

The end of the story was a bit much in the drama department but it worked.  I was happy that Kellan and Kristen got their HEA after everything that happened.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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