Publisher: Harper Collins

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway

Posted December 6, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie RidgwayReviewer: Casee
Must Love Mistletoe (Holidays, #1) by Christie Ridgway
Series: Holidays #1
Published by Avon Books
Publication Date: December 1st 2006
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 358
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Bailey Sullivan can't stand Christmas, even though her family's business is a store specializing in the perfect holiday. But now her hometown's chief supplier of rooftop Rudolphs and treetop angels is in danger of going under--it's up to Bailey to save the shop.

She has it all planned: She'll arrive on December 1 and be gone by Christmas. Plus there's always spiked eggnog to ease the pain. But "Humbug" Bailey's not the only one home for the holidays. Finn Jacobson--legendary local bad boy-turned-Secret Service agent "and" Bailey's long-lost high-school sweetheart--is once again the boy next door. Only this time he's "all grown up," and the sparks are flying faster and hotter than ever!

Bailey believes in true love about as much as she believes in Santa Claus. But as the holiday draws closer, she's starting to think about one thing she'd like to find under her tree . . .

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

Holly: I really love some of Ridgway’s books. I can’t remember if I reviewed this book here, but I do remember I really enjoyed it.

This review was originally posted on December 18, 2008.

I know I’ve said this already, but I love Christmas books. My favorite Christmas book of all time is Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano. I re-read it every year. I’ve had this book for a few years, but I never got around to reading it. This holiday season, I decided that it was just what I needed.

Bailey Sullivan barely tolerates Christmas. Her idea of a good Christmas is to pretend that it’s not Christmas. Unfortunately this Christmas isn’t going to be what she hoped it was. When she finds out that her parents store, The Perfect Christmas, is in trouble, Bailey immediately heads home. From the moment she sets foot back in her hometown, she’s determined to do what needs to be done and get out. Her deadline is December 25th.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, especially when it comes to Christmas.

Finn Jacobson has never forgotten his GND-Girl Next Door. As a rebellious teen, Finn’s parents decided that the best thing for Finn would be to go spend summers with his grandmother. Though he hated it at first, it didn’t take long for him to fall for Bailey, a girl that was so different from the type of person he was. Finn has never forgiven her for leaving town without a word. When she comes back to town, he decides to keep his distance.

Again, nothing ever goes according to plan.

Bailey is a heroine that has issues, but has never admitted that to herself. When her dad walked out when she was little, Bailey remembers her mom’s devastation. That shaped the woman that she’s become. Though she loves her stepfather, Bailey keeps her distance even from him. The fact that her mom and stepfather have separated only proves Bailey’s point. Still, she has a hard time staying away from Finn, the only person that’s understood her.

This was exactly what I was looking for when I picked it up. It had humor and poignancy. The secondary romance between Bailey’s mom and her stepfather was beyond sweet. Bailey’s inner struggle with her feelings for Finn were extremely sad. She doesn’t easily accept that she needs him in her life. But Christmas is a time for miracles, right?

Grade: 4.25 out of 5


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Guest Review: Wilde in Love by Eloisa James

Posted December 1, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Wilde in Love by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Tracy
Wilde in Love by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 416
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Lord Alaric Wilde, son of the Duke of Lindow, is the most celebrated man in England, revered for his dangerous adventures and rakish good looks. Arriving home from years abroad, he has no idea of his own celebrity until his boat is met by mobs of screaming ladies. Alaric escapes to his father’s castle, but just as he grasps that he’s not only famous but notorious, he encounters the very private, very witty, Miss Willa Ffynche.

Willa presents the façade of a serene young lady to the world. Her love of books and bawdy jokes is purely for the delight of her intimate friends. She wants nothing to do with a man whose private life is splashed over every newspaper.

Alaric has never met a woman he wanted for his own . . . until he meets Willa. He’s never lost a battle.

But a spirited woman like Willa isn’t going to make it easy. . . .

Alaric is shocked when he finds out he’s a celebrity.  He’s returned to England from his many adventures around the globe and finds himself famous.  He has written books that have become best sellers, but he had no idea that a play was the main cause.  The play portrays him as an incredible romantic – something he is definitely not.

Alaric arrives at his family home just in time for a house party in celebration of his brother’s betrothal.  Alaric meets Willa and sees her as someone different.  She doesn’t fawn all over him and states that she’s never read his books.  He’s intrigued, and he makes it a point to spend more time with her.

Willa and her friend are not what they appear to be.  They tell bawdy jokes and have a wicked sense of humor but on the outside they are the perfect ladies.  Willa has turned down no less than 14 marriage proposals this season alone as she has no wish to marry until she finds the perfect man for her.  When someone from Alaric’s past arrives at the party he uses Willa as his fake fiancé.  The thing that surprises the couple is that both of them would like it to be a true engagement.

This was a great book.  It started off with such charm and humor I was instantly invested in the story.  Alaric proved to be a wonderful hero.  He was such a normal guy who did extraordinary things and had written books about his adventures.  Some thought they were fiction, but he had truly lived through it all.  He fell hard and fast for Willa and I loved it.  He was a good man and I liked his character immensely.

Willa was an intelligent woman who wanted nothing to do with adventure. Her parents had died while they were being reckless and Willa just wanted a normal life – husband, children, no adventure.  I liked that she wanted nothing to do with Alaric at first as she thought him a sham.  I loved reading about the two of them falling in love as she was so wrong about Alaric.

This was a fantastic start to a new series and I can’t wait to see what happens next with Alaric’s brother, North.

Rating: 4 out of 5


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Review: A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase

Posted November 30, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta ChaseReviewer: Rowena
A Duke in Shining Armor (Difficult Dukes, #1) by Loretta Chase
Series: Difficult Dukes #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: November 28th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.

Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?

A Duke in Shining Armor is the first book in Loretta Chase’s new Difficult Dukes series. It follows runaway bride, Lady Ophelia Hightower as she runs from one wedding and finds herself heading toward a new one with her ex-fiance’s best friend.

The day of her wedding to the Duke of Ashmont, she panics and flees the scene only to be chased down by the best man, Hugh Philemon, the Duke of Ripley. Ripley has always known that Ophelia is not for him. She was everything that was good in the world while he was a Dis-Grace. Now she’s engaged to his best friend and he’s trying his best to keep her in sight so that he can return her to his friend, only she doesn’t want to be returned. No matter how hard he tries, shit keeps happening and his hold on her and his sanity is rapidly disappearing and feelings are creeping up and keeping his distance from her is proving difficult as is staying un-injured.

What an adventure this story was! Loretta Chase pens another wonderfully charming romance between two people who begin a journey to one place and end up in a totally different place…in love with each other.

Ophelia was a riot. I completely adored her personality and how she was so adamant that she was a boring person who was sensible and didn’t do outrageous things and yet every single turn her journey took, she was in one pickle after another. I loved how fiercely she loved her family even though they worked her nerves and the responsibility she felt toward them was understandable. I loved seeing her life spin out of control and watching her fumble her way around until she made sense of her feelings, her future, and her heart. She was a great character and a strong heroine and I seriously loved the romance between her and Ripley.

Ripley, oh Ripley. I loved him. I thought he was so much fun and when he finally jumps all in with Ophelia and is like, “Fuck it. Let’s do this. I’ll handle Ashmont.” I about swooned with delight because gah…they were perfect for each other. Ripley and Ophelia’s bickering kept me mighty entertained and I just could not imagine either of them with other people. There were times when I wanted to wring both of their necks but for the most part, I just flat out liked them.

I’m mighty curious about who is next. I’m not thinking Ashmont since he has a lot of growing up to do and I confess that I’m much more intrigued with Alice and Blackwood. What is their deal? Where the heck is Alice?

Overall, this was a delightful romance with characters that won me the hell over and the book left me wanting more from this world. I can’t wait for the next one. Ripley and Ophelia were an awesome couple that kept the laughs coming and really, you won’t want to miss this one. It’s good.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5


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Review: Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai

Posted November 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Wrong to Need You by Alisha RaiReviewer: Rowena
Wrong to Need You (Forbidden Hearts, #2) by Alisha Rai
Series: Forbidden Hearts #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: November 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s widow…

Accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Jackson Kane fled his home, his name, and his family. Ten years later, he’s come back to town: older, wiser, richer, tougher—and still helpless to turn away the one woman he could never stop loving, even after she married his brother.

Sadia Ahmed can’t deal with the feelings her mysterious former brother-in-law stirs, but she also can’t turn down his offer of help with the cafe she’s inherited. While he heats up her kitchen, she slowly discovers that the boy she adored has grown into a man she’s simply unable to resist.

An affair is unthinkable, but their desire is undeniable. As secrets and lies are stripped away, Sadia and Jackson must decide if they’re strong enough to face the past...and step into a future together.

Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai is the second book in her Forbidden Hearts series and it follows the best friend and brother of the heroine from Hate to Want You, Livvy. The heroine of this book also happens to be the heroine from the last book’s sister in law, so yes, that makes her the hero in this book’s sister in law too.

Jackson Kane and Sadia Ahmed have been best friends since they were kids and Jackson used to protect Sadia from the playground bullies. That friendship blossomed into a love that Jackson can’t shake, not even when Sadia grew up and married his brother. Fast forward years and a whole lot of space later, Sadia lost her husband and Jackson lost his brother and he’s back in his hometown to check on his long lost sister and to help Sadia keep the family cafe afloat. He’s grown up a lot in the time that he’s been away. He grew up to be a world-famous chef with pop up restaurant success in different cities all over the globe so when he comes home to cook in his family cafe, Sadia is conflicted because on one hand, she’s pissed that he disappeared from her life without ever acknowledging any of the emails she sent his way over the years but on the other hand, the cafe is his family cafe so he has just as much right to work there as she does.

Jackson left town for a whole lot of years because it was hard for him to live in a town where everyone whispered behind their hands about him. He was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit and even though the charges were later dropped, people had long memories back home and he didn’t want to be around any of that so he took off. He also had a lot of mad going on where his own family was concerned so even though it wasn’t easy, he stayed away. When his brother Paul died, Jackson hurt but there wasn’t anything he could so even though it pissed Sadia off, Jackson stayed away. He missed a lot of things while he was away, too. He missed seeing his mother growing older, he missed getting to know his young nephew and he missed Sadia.

This was a sticky romance, in the sense that Sadia and Jackson are extremely close. Sadia considered Jackson family and muddying those waters wasn’t easy for her. She was married to his brother and that was something that she didn’t take lightly. I thought Rai did a great job of making the reader understand their relationship and root them on toward that happy ending.

I loved Jackson. I loved Sadia and I really loved them together. Seeing them deal with the drama between the two of them, then Jackson’s personal drama and his family drama, plus Sadia’s own insecurities and family drama while trying to find common ground between the two of them, made for an interesting and passionate romance. Kareem was a fantastic addition too. He was so adorable.

All in all, this was another winner for me and I’m really looking forward to Eve and Gabriel’s book next. I’m so thirsty for it. This gets a definite recommendation from me. If you’re in the mood for some drama and a steamy romance, this is a good choice.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Forbidden Hearts Series

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Review: Head Coach by Lia Riley

Posted November 21, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Head Coach by Lia RileyReviewer: Rowena
Head Coach (Hellions Angels, #2) by Lia Riley
Series: Hellions Angels #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon Impulse
Publication Date: November 21st, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 159
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Neve Angel’s life is all work and no play, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. One of Denver’s top sports reporters, she's fought hard to make it in a male-dominated world, and she won’t back down from a fight with anyone–not even the Hellions’ gruff head coach, Tor Gunnar. Her hostile relationship with the icy Scandinavian is the stuff of local legend.

Tor Gunnar hates dealing with the media; at best, they are a nuisance and at worst, a distraction. And no one distracts him more than the scrappy, sexy reporter who gets him hot under the collar. When he wins a not-so-friendly bet with Neve, he decides it’s high time they either kiss or kill each other, and invites her as a date to an out-of-town wedding.

But what happens when enemies become lovers? Will they be able to smother their sizzling attraction, or is it time to start playing for keeps?

Head Coach is the second book in Lia Riley’s Hellions Angels series but it was my very first book by Lia Riley. After finishing the book, I can definitely promise that it won’t be the last book that I read by her because I really enjoyed this one. The chemistry was off the chains, the conflict was believable and I had a lot of fun reading this. I’ve been having trouble reading in the last couple of weeks. I just haven’t been in the mood but I picked this one up because the release date was coming up and was surprised with how quickly I read it.

Neve Angel is a hockey reporter for the Hellions Hockey team and she’s really made a name for herself. She annoys the snot out of the head coach for the Hellions and with the hockey lockout in full swing, she needs to find a story and why not try to get one from the head coach?

Tor is spending his time trying to get his mind off an annoying reporter but when that doesn’t work, why not take her as his plus one to a wedding? The game changes once they’re away from home and alone together. The sparks burn brighter and the story definitely gets more interesting.

Tor and Neve were such a great couple. I had a lot of fun reading about them falling in love with each other and it was so much fun because they started off hating each other. This was a total enemies to lovers story and Riley does a great job of bringing them together in a believable and fun way.

I’ve never been a fan of heroine journalists but I liked Neve. I liked seeing her butt heads with Tor and I really enjoyed seeing her come into her own over the course of this book. She was strong and she was fierce and in the end? I believed in her and Tor and I thought the ending (though rushed) was still a pretty great one.

I love a grumpy hero and Tor really fit the part in this book. The grumpy coach thing really worked for him and I adored him to pieces. Sure, there were times when I wanted to throttle him but for the most part, his character worked for me and I just ate him up with each passing page.

Overall, this was a fun romance by a new to me author that I will not be passing up on in the future. Lia Riley did such a great job of entertaining me with this story that I’m thirsty for more. I definitely recommend this book for a quick but delightful romance.

Grade: 4 out of 5


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