Publisher: Berkley

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Posted September 14, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Satisfaction by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Holly
Satisfaction (Lawless, #2) by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless #2
Also in this series: Ruthless, Satisfaction, Satisfaction (Lawless #2), Revenge, Revenge
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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Goodreads
one-half-stars

The sizzling second novel in a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.


Brandon Lawless is a man on a mission: obtain the information that will clear his father’s name. He’s willing to do whatever it takes—even seduce his enemy’s personal assistant, the beautiful and innocent Carly Hendricks. But with her beguiling smile and captivating intelligence, Brandon soon realizes he doesn’t want to deceive Carly, he wants to win her over—both in the boardroom and the bedroom.   Then a twisted crime leaves Carly vulnerable and Brandon finds himself reeling. The stakes of his mission are now life or death—Carly’s life. And Brandon realizes he’s lost his heart to an amazing woman and his plan must succeed, because the stakes are no longer just revenge, but a once in a lifetime love.

Satisfaction is the second book in Lexi Blake’s Lawless series. The series features four siblings who are on a quest to avenge their parents’ death and clear their father’s name.

Twenty years ago their father was accused of murdering their mother, then killing himself after setting fire to the house while the kids were inside it. Drew Lawless, the eldest, was able to get his siblings out, but he couldn’t save his parents. He knows his father didn’t kill himself or their mother, and he’s spent 20 years working to get in a place to prove his father’s innocence, and exact revenge on his four partners, who Drew believes murdered him and set him up. Bran, the youngest brother, got placed into foster care. Unlike his sister, Mia, who was adopted, Bran got shuffled around from place to place. Before Drew could get to him, something tragic happened and a girl lost her life. Bran holds himself responsible and, since then, has played knight-in-shining armor to down on their luck women – mostly strippers.

Drew’s latest focus is Patricia Cain, a formidable executive who runs a home and garden type magazine and cooking show. Drew’s plan is simple – seduce Patricia’s assistant, Carly, so they can get access to her home where her private files are stored. Only Bran has other ideas. After his sister-in-law was used, Bran wants to bring Carly in on their plan instead of pretending to be interested in her. He takes Drew’s place and tells Carly the whole story, hoping she’ll be willing to help.

Carly is stuck working for Patricia. Two years ago her now ex-husband embezzled a million dollars from Patricia’s company. He also set her younger sister up as a patsy. Patricia has been blackmailing Carly ever since. Because Carly isn’t just her personal assistant, she’s also the creative genius behind all of Patricia’s recipes. Carly can’t quit without Patricia having her sister arrested, but she can help the Lawless family get the proof they need to convict her.

Unfortunately, her ex-husband ran up some debt with the mafia before he went to prison, and they’re trying to collect from her. They make a deal – Carly will help Bran get access to Patricia if he’ll help her deal with her current situation. As they try to find proof of Patricia’s culpability and clear his father’s name, while trying to keep Carly safe, they also have to battle their attraction for one another. Carly isn’t interested in another relationship after she got so royally screwed the last time and Bran knows he isn’t worthy of more than a short term affair.

The first couple chapters of the book really pulled me in. Drew had set it up so he and Carly were matched on a dating site and Bran took his place at their first date. He was upfront and honest with her about why he was there, and I really liked how quick he was to bring her into the family fold. Unfortunately, it fell apart shortly after that. The suspense plot was weak, and both Carly and Bran made so many rookie mistakes it was like watching my six-year-old investigate a twenty year old murder. That wasn’t even the worst part, though. It was how immature, insecure and emotionally stunted they both were.

Bran doesn’t feel like he belongs with the family. He isn’t worthy to be a Lawless or have a relationship with his siblings – or anyone else for that matter – because of something that happened to him in one of the foster homes he was in. Despite everyone telling him they love him and want him around, he spends the entire book feeling sorry for himself and like no one wants him.

“He would never do that and you know it.” Because he felt guilty. They all did. Bran had gotten the short end of a shitty stick, and his siblings all felt bad about it. It was why they put up with him.

The.Entire.Effing.Book.

“Don’t worry about it, Bran. It’s going to be okay.” No, it wasn’t. Eventually everyone would get sick of putting up with his shit and he would be on his own again.

He’s either lashing out at everyone, getting into fist fights to “work out his anger” or feeling sad that no one wants him. He’s not 12, y’all. He’s a grown ass, 30-something man.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Carly was just as insecure and whiny. Her go-to was how everyone took advantage of her. Every time Bran looked at her, it was because she was fat and ugly and he was just pretending. Conversely, every time he didn’t look at her (or pay attention to her), it was because she was fat and ugly and he was just pretending.

“Did you think flirting with the fat chick was a public service? Is that how you view it?”

She does things like push him away, the try to kiss him. When he rolls away she throws a massive hissy fit because he doesn’t want her anymore.

“I tried to get you to make love to me and I got hurt when you pretty much jumped away as soon as you could.”

Uh..you kissed him once after you told him to leave you alone. That isn’t exactly trying to get him to make love to you.

“You haven’t touched me in a week. I get it. The physical part isn’t something you want anymore. Maybe you never did.”

She’s an adult, ffs. Yet she keeps jumping to all these conclusions and saying all this stupid shit. I swear I wanted to karate chop her in the throat.

And let’s not even get me started on how she kept thinking about him as a puppy. “Puppy needs some affection.” “Puppy needed to be domesticated.” WTAF?!?! Like he’s not a person?

The suspense plot surrounding the parents was predictable and, as I mentioned above, very poorly handled. They thought they were being sneaky and clever, but trust me. They weren’t. The plot twist at the end came as no surprise to me. I saw it coming from a mile away.

I’m low key curious about Drew and Shelby, a reporter Carly befriended who is also trying to take down Patricia Cain. But I have a feeling their story would frustrate me even more than this one did.

I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t committed to finishing the book for our Summer Reading Challenge, I would have DNF’d it less than halfway through.

1.5 out of 5 (the .5 because I liked some of the secondary characters)

Lawless

one-half-stars


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Review: Order of Protection by Lexi Blake

Posted September 14, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Order of Protection by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Order of Protection (Courting Justice #1) by Lexi Blake
Series: Courting Justice #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
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Goodreads
three-stars

A sexy and suspenseful new contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake where love and law entwine for a conviction of the heart.

To high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison, Win Hughes is a woman he met during one of the most trying times of his life. She's soft and warm, and he finds solace in their brief relationship. But Win has a secret. She's actually Taylor Winston-Hughes—born to one of the wealthiest families in the country, orphaned as a child by a tragic accident. Win moves in the wealthiest circles, but her lavish lifestyle hides her pain.

When her best friend is murdered in the midst of a glittering New York gala, Win's charged with the crime, and the only person in the world she wants to see is Henry.

Henry is shocked at the true identity of his lover, but he can't reject the case. This trial could take his new firm into the stratosphere. Still, he's not getting burned by Win again. And yet every turn brings them closer together.

As the case takes a wild turn and Win's entire life is upended, she must look to the people she's closest to in order to find a killer. And Henry must decide between making his case and saving the woman he loves...

I really wanted to love this book because I adore Lexi Blake. Have I said that before? I adore Lexi Blake. She only has two series that I haven’t read and I need to rectify that. Stat. So I was really excited when this book came out. I loved the Lawless series so I thought this would be along the same lines. It was and wasn’t. It started out super, super slow. It had promise in the beginning, it really did.

Henry Garrison (I totally just drew a blank on his name and had to look it up on GR) is at his grandfather’s beach house on Martha’s Vineyard getting it ready to sell. After an acrimonious split from his now ex-wife, Henry has to sell his grandfather’s beach house to pay her off. Henry has been on the wagon for six months or so, but packing up the house has him ready to hit the bottle. Then he sees woman take a spill right outside the house. He heads to her rescue, which is laughable considering he can’t even rescue himself. She is Win Hughes and Henry is immediately intrigued although she is substantially younger than him. The problem is that Henry doesn’t know who she really is. If he did, he would have never let her through the front door.

Known as the Billion Dollar Baby, Taylor Winston-Hughes can’t get away from the spotlight. She can’t deny that she put herself in it when she went on a reality show. That went badly when she ended up in rehab for anorexia. When she meets Henry she’s not in the best place she’s ever been, but she is drawn to him nonetheless. She can tell he feels the same. Conveniently a bad storm hits and they are stuck at Henry’s.

So what ends up happening is Win and Henry end up spending two glorious weeks together and then they go their separate way with Henry not knowing Win’s true identity. Win texts Henry a few times, but he doesn’t return the texts. He finally decides to return her texts and he gets a bomb dropped on him. Win is the Billion Dollar Baby. She travels in the same world as his ex-wife. The world that nearly destroyed him. The world he will not return to for anyone or anything in the world. The problem is that Win has been arrested for murder. A case like this could make Henry’s new firm.

Henry was so annoying. He just couldn’t get over who Win was. It’s not like it was her fault. She couldn’t help who she was or who her parents were. He would not let her forget that he would never forgive her. He just wouldn’t let up on her. It got really old. I really liked how Win handled it. She didn’t cry or beg. She just let him feel the way he felt. Of course when push came to shove, Henry couldn’t leave her alone. Still, he didn’t think it could work out in the end so he would sleep with her while she was a suspect but as soon as she was cleared and moved out of his house, he was going to cut her loose. What an ASS. Seriously. Ugh.

I’m honestly not in a rush to read the second book. It’s about one of Henry’s partner. I don’t even know if I’m intrigued. I will read it eventually, but probably not right when it comes out. I’m sad that this book disappointed me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Courting Justice

three-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Posted September 13, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 10 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen HoangReviewer: Holly
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

The Kiss Quotient was released earlier this year to much fanfare. Everywhere I turn people are talking about it. Rowena read it a while back and raved about it. She even made it part of our Summer Reading Challenge, so I’d be forced to read it. Still, I went into it with some trepidation. I don’t always love the books everyone else loves. In this case, I’m happy to report the overwhelming majority is right…TKQ is a wonderful, sweet, often intense romance that really worked for me.

Stella Lane’s mother wants grandchildren, and she wants them now. Though Stella has tried, she just can’t seem to make a relationship – or sex – work. She has Asperger’s, which doesn’t help matters. She uses her extra focus and intensity to her advantage in her profession, but in her personal life it holds her back. She can’t seem to make connections or personal attachments. She decides what she needs is a professional. Someone to teach her how to enjoy sex and relationships. She feels comfortable with Michael, so she asks if she can hire him.

Michael Phan is working as an escort to make extra money to help cover his mother’s medical bills. One night each week he meets a different woman and gives her whatever fantasy she needs. He doesn’t love it, but his family really needs the money. He never does repeats with clients, but when Stella asks if she can hire him to teach her how to like sex, he’s really intrigued. For the first time in a long time, he’s actually attracted to a client..and not just how sexy she is. She’s funny, sweet and so blunt he always knows where he stands with her. Although it goes against all his personal rules, he agrees to teach her everything she needs to know.

If you’d asked me prior to reading this book if I thought I’d enjoy a reverse Pretty Woman novel, I’d have said no. I’d have been wrong. This was such a sweet, lovely story. I think all of us can identify a bit with Stella. Her passion and drive, her intensity, her anger and frustration over her own limitations..we’ve all been there. There were several times her struggles brought me to tears. Especially when she unintentionally embarrassed herself by saying or doing the wrong thing, then not understanding why everyone was so upset. She was different, but she wanted to be treated as if she weren’t. I loved how well written her Asperger’s was, and how relatable she was a woman, even though she was so different than me.

I thought I’d have a problem with Michael being a male escort, but I didn’t. Stella was so matter of fact about it, and he was, too, the whole thing was easy to accept. That’s not to say I didn’t feel for him the few times he was out with Stella and his other clients recognized him, but that was such a small part of who he was. He was a loving son and big brother. The responsible one in his family who gave up a career for the good of them. I couldn’t help but love him.

There were times the story moved a bit slow for me, and I got a bit frustrated with the both of them toward the end, but overall this was such a sweet, wonderful read I couldn’t help but love it. With a diverse cast, super intelligent heroine, kind hero and strong plot, The Kiss Quotient really offers it all.

4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Untamed by Pamela Clare

Posted September 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Untamed by Pamela ClareReviewer: Rowena
Untamed (MacKinnon's Rangers, #2) by Pamela Clare
Series: MacKinnon's Rangers #2
Also in this series: Untamed (MacKinnon's Rangers, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 369
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Goodreads
four-stars

In the breathtaking tradition of The Last of the Mohicans...

MacKinnon's Rangers

They were a band of brothers, their loyalty to one another forged by hardship and battle, the bond between these Highland warriors, rugged colonials, and fierce Native Americans stronger even than blood ties.

Though forced to fight for the hated British, Morgan MacKinnon would no more betray the men he leads than slit his own throat—not even when he was captured by the French and threatened with an agonizing death by fire at the hands of their Abenaki allies. Only the look of innocent longing in the eyes of a convent-bred French lass could make him question his vow to escape and return to the Rangers. And soon the sweet passion he awoke in Amalie had him cursing the war that forced him to choose between upholding his honor and pledging himself to the woman he loves.

Untamed is the first book that I tackled from Casee’s picks for my Summer Reading Challenge, it’s also the second book in the MacKinnons Rangers series by Pamela Clare and it’s got the whole Last of the Mohican feels to it, which I’ll admit, I wasn’t all that interested in reading before I picked it up. I’m so glad that I forced myself to get over myself and get this book read because it was good stuff. Thanks for the recommendation, Casee! 🙂

So this book follows the MacKinnon Rangers Leader, Morgan MacKinnon, as he is injured in war, taken captive by the enemy and then falls in love with the woman that nurses him back to health (while in enemy hands). Morgan has stepped up to be the leader of the Rangers when his older brother stepped down from military service and is now living the farmer’s life with his wife and young son. On a scouting mission, Morgan is shot trying to save one of his Rangers and because he knows that he’s dying, he sends the Rangers to safety knowing that his younger brother Connor will lead their men against the enemy. The Rangers were forced to fight with the British Army because the leader of the British Army is a lying piece of shit but to ensure that Iain and his family is safe, the Rangers fight. So for now, the French are the enemy.

When the French take Morgan captive, they nurse him back to health in hopes that he’ll give them the answers they need to defeat the British Army and end the war. Amelie Chauvenet is tasked with nursing Mogan back to health and she is not at all happy to know that once Morgan is healthy, the French Army plans to send him to his death. Each day that she nurses him back to health, she gets to know the Rangers Leader and the closer she gets to him. She doesn’t want to like him because she holds him and his Rangers responsible for the death of her father but she can’t stop her heart from feeling what it feels for Morgan MacKinnon and before she knows what is what, they’re married and loads of drama is still waiting for them.

There’s a lot going on this book with Morgan’s injuries, his developing relationship with the forbidden Miss Chauvenet and once they’re together, they’re still not out of the woods because Morgan has to get Amelie to the safety of his home with Iain and Iain’s wife Anne but he’s also got to prove he’s innocent of treason. Things happen quickly once they’re married but I will say that the beginning was a little slow for me. It took me a while to get into the story but once I got a sense of who was who and what was going on, the story picked up and my enjoyment went right up with it.

Morgan was a fantastic hero who led with heart and genuine care for his men. They were all brothers to him and there wasn’t a thing he wouldn’t do for any of the Rangers. I liked that. I liked seeing how loyal his men were to him and I really enjoyed seeing the love he had for his brothers and to see that love and loyalty returned right back to him from them. He did what he had to and I loved seeing how much he loved Amelie.

Amelie was a great heroine but there were times when I wished she thought more of what she wanted from Morgan than she did. She wanted him to join the French army so that it would be okay for her to love him, not even thinking what becoming a traitor would be for him. She didn’t think at all about how him joining her cause would pit him against his brothers because they had already given their word to fight for the other side. But aside from that, I thought she was a great heroine. She was strong, brave and she loved fiercely. I was super happy that she finally got the family and the home that she wished for because she did deserve it.

Overall, this was a fabulous romance that I came to adore. I’m mighty interested in going back and reading Iain’s book and then finishing up the series with Connor’s book. I enjoyed getting to know both brothers very much in this book and so they’re on my TBR list at the very top. Let’s hope that I get to them soon. This book was great and I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

MacKinnon’s Rangers

four-stars


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Guest Review: Intercepted by Alexa Martin

Posted September 10, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: Intercepted by Alexa MartinReviewer: Tracy
Intercepted (Playbook #1) by Alexa Martin
Series: Playbook #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 11, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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Goodreads
four-stars

Marlee thought she scored with the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. Now there's a new player on the horizon and he's in a whole league of his own...

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She's sure had enough practice, dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers her wide-receiver boyfriend has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. Only one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he's nothing like her ex and what a future can be like for them. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. Gavin's teammates' wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with her return, and they have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when their gossip attack makes Marlee public enemy number one to the rabid fans of the team, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Fearing she's causing Gavin's life more harm than good, she tries to ignore the articles and the comments. However, when Gavin makes a life changing decision without her, she's hit with the fact that she's allowed herself to fall back into the back-seat life of an NFL girlfriend she promised to leave behind. Marlee must learn how to balance loving Gavin without losing the independence and respect she's worked so hard to gain; otherwise their relationship may not survive the season.

Marlee is the girlfriend of NFL wide receiver, Chris Alexander, and has been for years.  They’ve been together since high school and have had a rocky road but they’re fine.  That is until Marlee opens his computer (he took hers accidentally) to check her email and find emails to Chris from his girlfriend.  The girlfriend that he’s been flying back and forth to see him from wherever.  This was not the first time that Chris has cheated and Marlee’s finally done with the man.  She packs her bags and leaves.  Unfortunately as she’s trying to leave Chris comes home and of course tries to make things out like it’s all Marlee’s fault.  WTF?  Ass.  He happens to be with Gavin Pope, the teams new quarterback, and the man she had a one-night stand with four years earlier when she and Chris were broken up.

Gavin slept with Marlee four years ago and never forgot her.  He’s thrilled that she’s in Denver so he’s more than happy to take her away from the ass that is her now-ex-boyfriend.  When Marlee gets her own place Gavin starts to come around and they start to get close.  Marlee never forgot the night they spent together but she was upset with Gavin for lying to her.  He had told her he was an investment banker.  Had she known he played ball professionally she would have never gone home with him.  Of course she would have missed out on the best night of her life.

Marlee starts to fall for Gavin quickly but there’s a lot of push back from a lot of people.  She gets it from the Lady Mustangs – the wives of the team – and they constantly give her shit.  Then there’s Gavin’s friend and PR person who spreads rumors and more. Marlee tries to keep her head and sense of humor about her but it’s damned hard when she starts getting shit from the fans as well.  Can the love and relationship Marlee and Gavin have survive all the negativity and his football contract?

This book made me laugh.  Seriously.  I really liked the humor in this book as it was crazy and out of control.  Marlee was her own woman and not afraid to speak her mind.  She liked to rib people to get a rise out of them and she almost always managed to do it.  She was pretty independent, however, and came down on Gavin a couple of times when he tried to take over.  I get where she was coming from, and one time he did go too far, but I thought she could have toned it down a bit.

Gavin was awesome. He was kind, giving, loving, generous, loved his family.  I mean, this guy could do no wrong…if you ignore when he lied to Marlee and then again when he omitted information.  Despite that I really liked the guy and he was hot too, so there was that. Lol.

Overall the book was great.  I enjoyed reading it – even when Marlee was hashtagging her own life which was weird, but funny. It looks like this might be Martin’s first published novel.  If this is how good they’ll all be then I’ll be a big fan.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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