Publisher: Indie

Buddy Review: Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn

Posted August 12, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Beginner’s Luck by Kate ClaybornReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
Beginner's Luck by Kate Clayborn
Series: Chance of a Lifetime #1
Publisher: Indie, Lyrical Shine
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 246
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When three friends impulsively buy a lottery ticket, they never suspect the many ways their lives will change—or that for each of them, love will be the biggest win of all.

Kit Averin is anything but a gambler. A scientist with a quiet, steady job at a university, Kit’s focus has always been maintaining the acceptable status quo. A sudden windfall doesn’t change that, with one exception: the fixer-upper she plans to buy, her first and only real home. It’s more than enough to keep her busy, until an unsettlingly handsome, charming, and determined corporate recruiter shows up in her lab—and manages to work his way into her heart...

Ben Tucker is surprised to find that the scientist he wants for Beaumont Materials is a young woman—and a beautiful, sharp-witted one at that. Talking her into a big-money position with his firm is harder than he expects, but he’s willing to put in the time, especially when sticking around for the summer gives him a chance to reconnect with his dad. But the longer he stays, the more questions he has about his own future—and who might be in it.

What begins as a chilly rebuff soon heats up into an attraction neither Kit nor Ben can deny—and finding themselves lucky in love might just be priceless...

Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn is the first book in her Chance of a Lifetime series. This series follows three friends who bought a lottery ticket together on a whim..and won. The first book follows Kit Averin, a scientist who bought a house to make a home for herself since she grew up without any roots. Her hero, Ben Tucker, is in town helping his father get back on his feet after an accident. His work, as a recruiter brings him into Kit Averin’s life when he is chosen to try to recruit her away from her current job and move to Dallas, Texas to work for his company. Their romance starts off with a bunch of complications but the attraction sizzles and doesn’t go anywhere so of course their story jumps off on a promising note.

Rowena: Alright, what did you guys think?

Holly: I had a really hard time getting into this story. I don’t know if it was the writing or the story itself, but it was really easy for me to walk away from. I did eventually get into the story, but I have to admit I didn’t love it.

What about you?

Ames: It was the same for me. I was about a third of the way into the story before I felt a connection with the characters and the story.

Rowena: Yeah, I felt the same way in the beginning too. I don’t think it took me quite as long as it did for the both of you to connect with the characters and the story but it was low key slow to start. I did come to really like both main characters and all of the side characters (except Ben’s best friend, Jasper).
Ames: Jasper pissed me off too! However, even if Ben told him why Kit wasn’t interested and how NOT to try and sway her, I don’t think his character would have listened. Jasper wanted results ASAP.

Holly: I agree about Jasper. He would have gone ahead no matter what. I wonder if we’ll see a book for him in the future?

Rowena: Yeah, Jasper needed to go. I didn’t care for him at all…even when Kit shows up in the end and he tried to be all concerned about Ben. I was like, boy bye.

Holly: There isn’t a lot of hope for Jasper as far as I’m concerned.

Rowena: I liked how nerdy Kit was and how adamant she was about planting roots where she was. Considering how she grew up, I thought she did well for herself.

Ames: I did like that Kit was a scientist. It was different from a lot of the heroines I’ve been reading lately.

Holly: I liked that Kit was a scientist, too. But that aside, I didn’t really care for her. There was something kind of off-putting about the way she acted, especially toward the end. She made her decision to not hear Ben out as an act of self-care, but she really just came off as selfish. I understand why she was hurt, but all along it was about her. I feel like she didn’t look outside herself enough, didn’t focus on Ben enough.

Rowena: I do agree that Kit wasn’t nearly as forthcoming about herself, her past, her background and all of that with Ben and that could have come off as being selfish but I didn’t think she really had anything to apologize to Ben for. Maybe for not hearing him out when the shit hits the fan, but considering most of their relationship was spent with him consistently trying to get her to see how better off she’d be working with his company, I wasn’t mad at Kit for the way she reacted to all of that. I thought it made sense that she thought Ben was guilty of everything she thought he was guilty of.

Holly: Actually, you know what I think it is? I think it’s that Ben acknowledged to himself and to her that he made mistakes. He apologized and tried to make things right with her throughout the book. Kit never did. She didn’t seem to have the same sense of contrition that he did. Even at the end, when she shows back up unexpectedly, she never really apologized. He says he’s sorry and cuts her off, and she never really bothers to try to make it right. They just leave it there. If that makes sense.

Ames: I can see where both of you are coming from. Kit did withhold a lot of her past from Ben and I felt that left things unresolved for me when they finally got over themselves. Kit did take a leap and make some changes so I liked that about her character. She was afraid of change but after freaking out about it she used her logical brain and acted. LOL

I loved River and Ben’s dad. The secondary characters in this book were great. And I liked the salvage yard and how Ben was into historical objects.

Holly: I really liked Ben’s dad and River, too. And Sharon. She made me laugh. I didn’t ever come to like his mom or step-dad, though.

Rowena: So, do you guys think you’ll read the other stories in the series? I think I will, I’ve heard loads of good things about this series so I want to see how it all turns out. Kit’s brother Alex is the hero in the third book, Greer is his heroine. Are you guys surprised?

Holly: I’m definitely interested in Alex and Greer’s book. I’m not surprised at all that they’re ending up together. I’ll probably read the next book as well, because I’m kind of curious.

Ames: I’m not surprised that Greer is Alex’ heroine. I’m still going to read the other books in the series though. I enjoyed Clayborn’s writing enough and I liked the other two to want to continue on with their stories.

Rowena: As far as this book goes, I thought it was slow to start but I did end up enjoying it though, enough that I will be continuing to read more books by Clayborn so this book gets a 4 out of 5 stars from me, what about you guys?

Holly: I didn’t love this book. Though it did pick up for me in the second half I never fully warmed up to Kit. Plus, both of them frustrated me at times. I’m giving it 3.25 out of 5.

Ames: So slow beginning but there was a good story. I liked Kit although I found her a bit frustrating like you did Holly. I’m giving this a 3.75. I did enjoy it.

Final Grades

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

Chance of a Lifetime

four-stars


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Buddy Review: Highland Deception by Meggan Connors

Posted July 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: Highland Deception by Meggan ConnorsReviewer: Tasha and Rowena
Highland Deception by Meggan Connors
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date: March 17, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 300
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

When Kenneth Mackay, long-banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.

Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth to take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm plans to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess... and the wife Malcolm didn’t want.

Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before their marriage, and she'd long since given up on having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel's heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if they were family. Who, for the first time since their marriage, cares for her as if she is, too.

Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart.

Kenneth MacKay has been living his life on the run ever since he took the fall for his brother’s actions but when he is summoned home because the very same twin brother, is dying, his life is about to take a very interesting turn. Kenneth is going to step into the life of his brother and his life is never going to be the same again….especially when he meets his brother’s wife, Isobel, a woman that if Kenneth isn’t careful, can steal his heart.

Rowena: So who was surprised that my sister chose a historical romance for this month’s book of the month? I’m not. I am, however, surprised that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I hoped I would have. There were too many things that annoyed me but let’s start with what you thought. Did you like it or nah?

Tasha: I wasn’t surprise either with Blanche’s historical pick, hahaha! Actually I expected her to select a historical romance, specifically a highlander romance. This was an okay read for me. I didn’t like it all that much but I didn’t hate it either. Just wish it was better. I know I won’t be doing a re-read of this.

Rowena: Same here. I mean, it was fine but not great or even memorable. Are you surprised that Blanche LOVED this one though? Haha.

Anyway, what did you think about Kenneth and Isobel? Did you like them? Was their romance believable?

Tasha: You know me, I love the whole “happily ever after ending”. I am happy Kenneth got the girl and the lands in the end. I can’t believe how his own twin brother would do him dirty like that. Now did I like them? Kenneth, yes. Isobel, there were moments I didn’t like her so much. Their romance could’ve been better.

Rowena: I agree that this book could have been a lot better. There were far too many things that happened that had me either rolling my eyes or shaking my head. I didn’t get the feeling that this book happened over a good chunk of time. For me, it felt like everything happened at warp speed. I didn’t believe that Isobel could fall in love with Kenneth so quickly after how horrible Malcolm was to her. Malcolm was horrible to her for years but for a few months, Kenneth shows up and shows her a better side to him and it felt like she didn’t question it long enough for me to believe the change of heart from him.

Also? I thought it was pretty gross that Kenneth didn’t come clean with Isobel the moment that he fell in love with her and they started sleeping together. Especially when he finds out that she was a virgin the first time that they slept together.

Tasha: Actually, I understand why Kenneth didn’t come clean. He even said so himself. If she didn’t know the truth, she couldn’t lie. And he really wasn’t sure how she would’ve reacted to the truth. So I get it. And for the longest, she’s had dreams of this man, her husband having a family together and being so happy. She was hopeful and was trying to make this work with Malcolm but when he wouldn’t budge, she’d leave for London. Now imagine coming back to Scotland and your dream man isn’t being mean to you and making you feel like there’s a chance after all, I’m positive that’s what Isobel felt and went for it.

Rowena: The author should have found a better way around that because it was gross. Kenneth was pretending to be someone else and Isobel thought she was falling in love with her husband and I’m not down with those kinds of secrets and the way that Isobel found out was even worst. She may have been a brat but she didn’t deserve that.

Tasha: If anything, I think the part that really bothered me is when she finally figured out that he was Kenneth, she said his name once and said that was the one and only time she would say it aloud. I thought that sucked. Malcolm was the mean husband, who had no regard for her or her feelings. Why couldn’t she address him as Kenneth in the private, when its just the two of them. I wouldn’t have been able to utter the name Malcolm. You’d hear me address him as “my lord”, “my laird” or whatever title he holds, but not Malcolm.

Rowena: Then I spent some time being annoyed with Isobel’s friend and lady’s maid. The way that she wasn’t as supportive to Isobel as I hoped she’d be, considering she worked for Isobel, it bothered me when she jumped down Isobel’s throat for things I’d expect my best friend to be supportive of.

Tasha: I’m glad she wasn’t on board with going back to London when Isobel was ready to leave. She noticed the change in the Laird and she saw how differently he was treating her. Okay yeah, maybe she only wanted to stay because she found herself a man but to me, Isobel was being a brat. And in those moments, it’s your real friends who will set you straight and tell you to get it together. That’s what I saw happen in that part of the book.

Rowena: Nah, the lady’s maid was first and foremost, Isobel’s maid and they were around the same age so she forgot her place and didn’t stay in her lane. There’s a way to make your point without being a total bitch about it and I thought that the maid (what the heck was her name again?) misstepped. I think I was more annoyed with the way that she came at Isobel because a whole lot of her reasoning for not wanting to go back to London was because she wanted that D. It didn’t come off right.

Tasha: I didn’t think Marie was a bitch towards her, just very firm and direct. But I have to agree with the sleeping with somebody when they don’t even know who you really are. That’s gross! And again, I wish it was a better read than what it turned out to be, just meh.

Rowena: There were just too many little things that bothered me but despite all of that, I still didn’t hate the book and I think that a huge part of the reason I didn’t hate this book was because the week that I read this book, I had read so many other bad books that this was a walk in the park compared to them.

Would I re-read this one? Probably not. Would I recommend this one to other readers? I don’t know. There was promise in this book but the author took the story in a different direction than I would have taken it and because of that, my enjoyment wasn’t as great as it could have been.

Tasha: You made some really good points! And some I agree with, like the relationship between Kenneth and Isobel being rushed. And how he didn’t tell Isobel the truth about who he really was before they did the deed or how the book started off really good and then sadly it just it fizzled out.

Rowena: Like I said, there were so many ways that the author could have written this romance and the way that she wrote it, wasn’t my favorite so yeah, I won’t be re-reading this one. Also, I should probably mention that I was one of the few people in book club that didn’t love this book so if you are curious about this one, you should give it a go.

I give this one 2.5 out of 5, what about you?

Tasha: My rating for this is a 3 out of 5. This will not be a re-read and I probably wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve read similar books that were much better reads.

Final Grades

Tasha: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 2.5 out of 5

three-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Release Me by Farrah Rochon

Posted May 2, 2019 by Casee in Features, Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Release Me by Farrah RochonReviewer: Casee
Release Me by Farrah Rochon
Series: Holmes Brothers #1
Publisher: Indie, Leisure Books
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 325
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Tobias "Toby" Holmes was destined for NBA stardom. But when an SUV crashed into his car during his rookie year, his dreams of playing pro-basketball, along with his spine, were shattered. After floundering from one job to another, Toby has finally found his niche in the music business. And when the singing sensation he discovered is pegged to star in a new reality TV show, Toby finally sees light at the end of what has been a very dark tunnel.

Sienna Culpepper has loved her childhood best friend forever, though he has never seen anything other than the girl with skinny legs, cornrows, and mad skills on the basketball court. When Toby returns to their hometown of New Orleans to start his career as a record producer/manager, Sienna is resigned to loving him from afar. However, when Sienna and Toby find themselves working together, feelings arise that has them both rethinking their friendship.

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on May 27, 2008

Release Me is the second book in Farrah Rochon’s Holmes Brothers Trilogy. In her debut book, Deliver Me, we met the Holmes brothers and their mother. Toby is intriguing from the start and his story will not disappoint readers of this series. If you like the friends to lovers storyline, even better.

Since a car accident ended his basketball career, Toby Holmes has been trying to find his niche in life. He has finally found it in managing the music career of Aria Jordan. When he’s approached by a producer who is beginning a reality show for musician hopefuls, Toby realizes that he needs good publicity for his client and goes to the best firm in New Orleans. Little does he know that he has put himself directly in the path of his childhood best friend, Sienna Culpepper.

Sienna has loved Toby for years. Since her high school days of playing basketball with him, Sienna has wanted more than Toby’s friendship. Knowing that she never had a chance has become a shield that she puts between herself and any potential lovers. Even knowing that her chances are non-existent, Sienna can’t help the feelings that Toby invokes in her.

Now, two people that have a life of friendship between them are seeing things in each other that they have never seen before. Sienna is seeing that while the core of who Toby is remains the same, he has never dealt with stroke of fate that left him without the career he so desperately wanted. As for Toby, he is looking at Sienna differently than he ever has. For years his brother Alex has tried to tell Toby that he and Sienna were meant for each other. Always thinking of Sienna as family, Toby has never looked at her as anything other than a little sister and his best friend. Now, Toby is forced to look at Sienna as the formitable, successful woman that she has become and admits to himself that she may just be everything he’s ever wanted in a woman.

While I liked Deliver Me, I didn’t necessarily like the heroine. Sienna was a great heroine. She was a woman that knew what she wanted and went out and got it. Overcoming past trauma to be with Toby was something that Sienna didn’t know if she was capable of. Forced to take a hard look at what she would be giving up, Sienna’s strong nature would not let her hide behind something that has shaped and changed her life for the past 10 years.

Romance readers should enjoy both Deliver Me and Release Me. If you like straight contemporary romance with no suspense, you’ll enjoy both these installments of the Holmes Brothers Trilogy. I can’t wait to see what Rochon has in store for Alex Holmes. She also writes some of the best secondary romances that does nothing but enhance the book.

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Dorchester. You can buy it here.

Holmes Brothers

four-stars


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Release Day Spotlight: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne (+ Giveaway)

Posted February 12, 2019 by Rowena in Promotions | 13 Comments

Huge Deal by Lauren Layne is the final book in her 21 Wall Street series and it features the couple that I feel like I’ve been waiting for AGES to get together. This is my most anticipated read of 2019 because I cannot freaking wait to finally see Kate bring Kennedy to his knees.

You guys are in for a treat today because not only does Huge Deal release today to the masses, we’re giving away three e-copies of the book to three lucky winners. This book is not to be missed so we’re going to make sure some of you don’t. 🙂 Check it out!

Release Day Spotlight: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne (+ Giveaway)Huge Deal (21 Wall Street, #3) by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #3
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Huge Deal , Hot Asset , Hard Sell , Huge Deal , Hot Asset, Hard Sell
Publisher: Indie
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Even for a top-gun banker, temptation this hot is quite a gamble, in a sexy Wall Street romp from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

An alpha among the wolves of Wall Street, Kennedy Dawson rose to the top of the pack by striking the right contracts at the right times. But there’s one deal that’s been giving him a run for his money—a pact to never again let his assistant, Kate, get under his skin. She may be smart, gorgeous, and sharp as a whip, but she’s definitely off-limits.

Kate Henley isn’t a banker, but she knows a thing or two about risk management—specifically, about managing her attraction to her smolderingly sexy boss. She already fell once, and Kennedy showed no sign of paying a return on her investment. So when Kennedy’s brother starts pursuing her, Kate figures she has the best of both worlds. Jack is charming, rich, very attentive, and the spitting image of his older brother.

It’s also making Kennedy think twice. But to win Kate’s heart, he’ll have to broker the deal of a lifetime…and prove he’s worth the risk.

Huge Deal is Out Today!

Order the Book

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE

21 Wall Street

Giveaway Alert

Release Day Spotlight: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne

Good luck!

About Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than two dozen romantic comedies. Her books have sold over a million copies, in nine languages. Lauren's work has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.


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Guest Review: Jock Rule by Sara Ney

Posted January 30, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Jock Rule by Sara NeyReviewer: Tracy
Jock Rule by Sara Ney
Series: Jock Hard #2
Publisher: Indie, Three Legacies LLC
Publication Date: December 6, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 214
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Kip Carmichael is no pretty boy.

He's a rough. Dirty. Giant. Hair so unruly, and a beard so thick, his friends on the team call him Sasquatch.

The first time Sasquatch lays eyes on Theodora "Teddy" Johnson across the keg at a party one night on Jock Row, she'd been relegated to the sidelines by her jock-hungry "friends."

Week-after-week, he watches beautiful but bashful Teddy getting overshadowed, and overlooked. Sasquatch finally broad shoulders his way through the crowd, offering to to be her hairy godmother. But the minute their eyes meet? He's a goner.

Teaching her the RULES for winning a jock will be the easy part. Not falling in love with her is going to be a losing game.

Teddy is at the Rugby frat house at her college and isn’t having a very good time.  She came because her roommate Mariah wanted to, but then deserted her.  For some reason she keeps ending up at the keg. The first week it’s because she’s just not sure what to do since no one is manning it. The second week is because she somehow ends up filling people’s cups.

Kip is a rugby player with an attitude.  He transferred from Notre Dame to a college in the middle of nowhere so he could be left alone.  He comes from a wealthy family and between that and his good looks he’s hit on constantly – but not for who he is on the inside.  He grows an unruly beard and mustache and cops the worst attitude to keep people away. It works as people tend to avoid him. Kip has stayed away from girls and hasn’t even kissed a girl in two years.

He’s holding up a wall at the rugby house when he spots Teddy week after week.  They talk during week two and when a fight breaks out during week three, Kip ushers Teddy out and they end up at his house (no, nothing happens).  The pair become “sort of” friends and Kip tells her a few truths about her friends and what she’ll need to do if she truly wants to get a guy.  He offers to be her “Hairy Godmother” and gives her a bunch of rules that need to be followed. Will Kip let Teddy actually snag a guy or will he keep her for himself?

This was a really cute book.  I read book one in this series and really liked that one as well.  They’re just fun, cute romances that have little to no angst.  Ok, so they don’t have a lot of plot either, but that didn’t make me like them any less. 😊

In this book Kip had to grow on me a bit.  He’s an asshole and has cut himself off so much that he almost doesn’t know how to talk to people in a nice way.  He’s used to pushing girls away, so the fact that he lets Teddy in is huge.  I loved the relationship he has with his only sister.  Their texts back and forth cracked me up.

Teddy was a bit clueless for most of the book.  Her friends treated her like shit, but she didn’t realize it until Kip pointed it out.  Really?  She just said, “That’s just how they are.”  Whatever.  With friends like those who needs enemies, right? I was glad that Kip made her admit the truth.

The only conflict in the book, really was almost at the end and frankly was a bit ridiculous (on Teddy’s part, of course).  That and the many, many times they mentioned that Teddy was poor, were the only thing that truly annoyed me in this book.

If you want a quick, fun read then you should definitely pick this one up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Jock Hard

four-stars


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