Publisher: Intermix

Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha Young

Posted March 29, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
On Hart's Boardwalk by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #6.7, Hart's Boardwalk #2.5
Also in this series: Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , The One Real Thing, Every Little Thing
Publisher: Penguin, Intermix
Publication Date: March 20th 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 128
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Goodreads
four-stars

One of New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young's most beloved couples returns for the first time in a brand new novella set ten years after her blockbuster bestseller Before Jamaica Lane...

Nate and Liv have a great life together but they miss the spontaneity and freedom they enjoyed early on in their romance. Careers and their children have inevitably kept them busy, so when Nate discovers Liv is feeling disconnected from him, he plans an anniversary trip to the idyllic seaside town of Hartwell, Delaware. There he hopes they will have the opportunity they've been craving--a chance to reinvent themselves and fall in love all over again.

With each new day comes a new adventure, from wedding crashing at the five-star boardwalk hotel to pretending they are two strangers having a chance encounter at the boardwalk bar. In the midst of this daring, sexually-charged game of romantic rediscovery, Nate and Liv discover the only constant they need is each other.

On Hart’s Boardwalk takes us back into the lives of one of my favorite couples from Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street series. Nate and Liv have been together for fourteen years and are close to celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary and as couples do from time to time, they go through rough periods in their relationship and Nate and Liv are right in the middle of theirs.

Things between Nate and Liv aren’t quite right and it is starting to get to Liv. She’s in a relationship that is different from the one that she’s been in from the beginning and things went south when one of Nate’s best friends dies. When that happens, instead of leaning on Liv in his grief, Nate pulls away and each day that passes, Liv worries the worries of a neglected wife. She starts to second guess every single thing in their lives and it hurts her over and over again. When Liv turns 40 years old, Nate plans a getaway for the two of them. That getaway takes them to Hartwell, Delaware. The setting that will connect Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street and Hart’s Boardwalk worlds and this short story brought both worlds together in such a nice way that I was super happy with the entire thing.

It was great to see everyone again. From Josh and Braden to Cam and Jo, Marco and Hannah, everyone was here and I was here for that. I love these characters and my heart hurt for both Liv and Nate and what they were going through together. Samantha Young has created a bunch of special characters and Nate and Liv are a part of that bunch. I really enjoyed seeing them together again and seeing them work through their issues…together.

Nate is one of my favorite men in the On Dublin Streets series and seeing him hurt made me sad but Samantha Young did him a solid by writing this awesome short story that helped heal him from some very deep stuff that he was dealing with. It was great to see Nate, older and not yet wiser and still hopelessly in love with his wife. I loved seeing what comes after the happily ever after and I especially loved seeing two people fight to keep their happily ever after. That’s what Nate and Liv did and I loved them just as much now as I did then.

This was a good one. I definitely recommend.

On Dublin Street Series

Hart’s Boardwalk Series

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Dirty Scoundrel by Jessica Clare

Posted November 21, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Dirty Scoundrel by Jessica ClareReviewer: Tracy
Dirty Scoundrel by Jessica Clare
Series: Roughneck Billionaires #2
Also in this series: Dirty Money, Dirty Bastard (Roughneck Billionaires #3)
Publisher: Intermix
Publication Date: November 21st 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Clay Price has everything he’s ever wanted, except the one thing money can’t buy—Natalie Weston. Years ago, Clay and Natalie were in love…until she turned down his marriage proposal. Now Clay and his brothers are oil-rich billionaires, and they can have whatever they want. And what Clay wants is Natalie in his bed, no matter what it takes. If it means being ruthless, he’ll do it.

Natalie gave up on true love years ago when the realities of the world destroyed her fairy-tale hopes. Giving up Clay is her biggest regret in life, and she’s excited to see him return…until she finds out why. Clay’s got one hell of a proposal for her: he’ll save her father’s business and bail Natalie out of debt if she’ll agree to become his very personal assistant. It’s clear that he wants more from her than just typing.

It’s also clear that Natalie has no choice. This scoundrel’s bet could destroy any hope they had of reconciliation—or it could bring them together once and for all…

Clay Price and Natalie Weston dated in high school.  They loved each other and right after graduation Clay planned on asking Natalie to marry him.  Clay, being a good guy, wanted to talk to Natalie’s father first, however.  Natalie’s father, once a movie star – and a rich snob, was not a good guy and when he met Clay told him that Natalie was breaking up with him.  The father then told Natalie some lies about Clay and that Clay had broken up with her.  Dad’s plot to tear his daughter and her poor white trash boyfriend apart: Successful.

Seven years later Natalie, whose father planned on her going to Stanford, is barely scraping by while running a museum of her father’s memorabilia.  She never went to college and now tries to run the museum out of their house while taking care of her father and his increasing dementia.

Clay is now a billionaire and still in love with Natalie – only he thinks of it as just lust.  They had never slept together in high school and Clay is still a virgin.  He puts together a plan to pay Natalie to be his “assistant” and be at his beck and call 24/7.  Natalie is drowning in bills and is lonely and tired.  She still loves Clay but doesn’t like the fact that she’s basically prostituting herself out to him.  She has no choice but to agree.

Dirty Scoundrel was a cute book and I liked a lot of things about it.  I loved the Price brothers and their camaraderie and obvious love for each other.  I liked the flashes into Boone and Ivy’s life (from book 1, Dirty Money) that we got.  I liked that the book had some highly emotional moments in it that were written very well. Unfortunately I’m not sure I loved Clay and Natalie.  They weren’t bad people, but Clay acted like an asshole so many times that I wanted to hit him and I wanted Natalie to stand up for herself and have a bit more backbone! I realize that Clay was trying to act hard and play the scoundrel (hence the name of the book) so that he could “get back” at Natalie for dumping him, but there were times he shouldn’t have been an asshole and he was anyway.

Clay wasn’t an asshole the whole time and there were times when I really liked the couple together but that wasn’t a constant.  I know that Clay just didn’t know what to say to Natalie at times but he wasn’t an unintelligent at all and I think some of the things that the author had him saying were a bit much.  IMHO he just wouldn’t have said half of it.

I was happy in the end that Clay and Natalie got their HEA and their life worked out together.  I’m looking forward to reading more about the Price brothers and seeing what happens next.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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DNF Review: Elemental Mating by Milly Taiden

Posted July 18, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

DNF Review: Elemental Mating by Milly TaidenReviewer: Holly
Elemental Mating by Milly Taiden
Series: ALFA #1
Publisher: Intermix, Penguin
Publication Date: July 18th 2017
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Goodreads
dnf

Their existence was a secret the government stumbled upon. In exchange for continued autonomy, the paranormals entered an alliance with the government. Now they are A.L.F.A.: Alpha League Federal Agency, sworn to protect and serve humanity.

Brilliant scientist Melinda Caster has discovered a new strain of the Zika virus that stimulates synaptic growth in embryos, causing neuron development beyond normal human levels. Way beyond, like ESP-levels of cognitive abilities. When the lab is broken into, Melinda realizes that someone has been keeping tabs on her research and wants it for themselves. A happy accident destroys critical data before it can fall into the wrong hands, but unfortunately that makes Melinda and her perfect memory a target.

A.L.F.A sends in jaguar-shifter Agent Parish Hamels to discover who is after the virus and why. The beautiful scientist acts like catnip to his senses and throws his mating instincts into overdrive. And then she disappears along with the only sample of the virus…. Now Parish must canvas the darkest areas of the supernatural underground to rescue Melinda, and what he discovers is beyond a paranormal’s worst nightmare.

I found Elemental Mating while browsing NetGalley and was intrigued by the premise. Alpha shifter vs nerdy scientist? GIMME! Unfortunately, it wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped it would be.

Melinda Castor is a research scientist who discovered a new strand of virus that seems to give those infected supernatural powers (ESP, telekinesis, etc). Parish Hamel is an A.L.F.A. (Alpha League Federal Agency) agent and a jaguar shifter. He’s assigned to watch Melinda and keep her – and her research on the virus – safe. When Melinda is attacked and her lab broken into, both Hamel and Melinda race to find out who is after her information..and more importantly, what they want to do with it.

Since Hamel is essentially a Black Ops solider for the US government, I expected a certain level of competence from him. Sadly, he seemed like a bumbling amateur. He didn’t guard Melinda when he should have, ignored critical evidence in favor of flirting with her and, in general, put them both in danger when he could have avoided it. Melinda wasn’t much better. She constantly put herself in danger without considering the consequences. From following a wild jungle cat into the woods after dark to trusting the suspicious janitor with vital information, she didn’t often employ common sense.

Around Chapter 15 or so, a demon possession happens and Melinda is whisked off to Hell. Aside from some subtle hints here and there, it really came out of left field (both the demon possession and the trip to hell).
As much as I wanted to like this, I just couldn’t read any farther once a woman in Hell introduced herself as “The Head Harem Ho.”

This may be a case of the book just not being to my taste. I may have been looking for something a little more serious. Elemental Mating was just too campy.

DNF

dnf


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Guest Review: Going Nowhere Fast by Kati Wilde

Posted April 24, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Going Nowhere Fast by Kati WildeReviewer: Tracy
Going Nowhere Fast by Kati Wilde
Publisher: Penguin, Intermix
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Format: eARC
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three-half-stars

Two hearts.
Three rules.
Four weeks to break them all.

When Aspen Phillips’ best friend invites her on a month-long road trip, she has serious mixed feelings. Sharing their tight quarters will be Bramwell Gage, overprotective brother and all-around jerk. Bram may be ridiculously sexy, but he’s made no effort to hide how he feels about Aspen—that she’s trash who’s no good for his sister. But Aspen is determined to get along with the uptight millionaire—and to keep her promise, concealing a secret about his sister that Bram can never know.

But after a scorching kiss reveals that Bram’s feelings toward her run much hotter than she believed, Aspen's emotions swerve into a complete 180. Suddenly the girl who has nothing has everything—but only as long as the truth about his sister remains hidden. Because when all the secrets and promises unravel, she risks losing it all...

Aspen is meeting her best friend, Bethany, so that they can go on a post-college graduation trip.  Unfortunately Bethany’s brother, Bram, will be going as well and Aspen and Bram don’t get along.  The first time they met Aspen and Bethany were getting back from a rave they’d gone to and Bethany was drunk.  Since they were freshmen they were underage and Bram didn’t like the fact that Aspen was “ruining” his sister and having a bad influence on her. This continued for four years so the thought of spending a month with Bram is not something Aspen is looking forward to.

When Aspen gets to the meeting place Bram is there but Bethany is nowhere in sight.  Aspen gets a text from Bethany stating that she’s checking herself into a rehab but doesn’t want Aspen to tell her brother where she is, even though they’re close siblings.  One thing leads to another and Aspen ends up on the trip with Bram anyway.  During the time they’re traveling they discover a lot about each other and they end up creating a truce…or two…or 85.  They’re so attracted to each other that they decide to have “hate” sex, but can it really be considered hate sex when at least one of them is in love with the other?

I have to say that I love romance travel stories.  Something about moving from place to place and well, being separated from your norm just does something for me.  I think because it’s all that more exciting when they get home and they discover that it works at home as well as it does on the road.  In this case, that didn’t exactly happen but it still worked out in the end.

Aspen had once been a middle class girl but then her father got cancer and died, her mother lost her nursing job as she couldn’t take care of dying people any longer, the family lost their house because the medical bills were astronomical.  Now they scrape together what they can.  Aspen was thrilled to go on the trip as it was pretty much all expenses paid but she hated that Bram was going.  She knew that he loved his sister but he was so over-protective with Bethany it bothered Aspen.  She knew it stemmed from their parents dying in a car accident when Bram was 19 years old but Aspen felt that Bram needed to be a brother to Bethany, not a father figure.  Because of the father figure mentality, he was quite harsh with Aspen and what he felt where her bad influences on Bethany.  He was constantly telling her this and it started to get on my nerves after a while, I must say.  I knew that he was attracted to Aspen but despite their “truce” he still was harsh with her.

Aspen was a strong woman but a person can only take so much before they break.  In her case it was Bram still being angry toward her supposedly bad influences even after they were having sex and having a good time together. He kept telling her that he shouldn’t want her and shouldn’t be with her and of course she thought it was because she was poor and he was a millionaire and that he was slumming and felt bad about it. My problem came when she actually told Bram all of this and he was shocked at the revelation.  He basically told her that he had never thought badly about her because of being poor and that she was projecting her bullshit on to him.  As this is a first person POV book we had never been privy to Bram’s thoughts, only Aspen’s, and as such was led to believe that Bram was an ass but was he?  The guy that I had just spent 75% of the book kind of disliking isn’t who I thought he was and now I’m supposed to like him?  Gah!  I’m so confused!  When I then looked back at Bram, not through Aspen’s eyes, I realized he’s not a bad guy.  While he could be an ass he wasn’t as mean and judgey as I thought and made me rethink my entire take on the book.  It was exhausting.

Bram ended up being an emotionally scarred hero and by the end of the book I liked him. Yes, he could be overbearing but he did it with good intentions and he had a big heart.  I was quite happy that Bram and Aspen finally worked out their issues and got their HEA – they worked hard for it and deserved it.

Despite my issue (named above) I also liked the writing in the book and the secondary characters.  I’ve only read one set of short stories by Wilde and they were erotic romances.  This was a good full length novel and made me want to read more of her books.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Live Wire by Caisey Quinn

Posted March 22, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Live Wire by Caisey QuinnReviewer: Jen
Live Wire by Caisey Quinn
Series: Nashville's Finest #1
Publisher: Penguin, Intermix
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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three-half-stars

Caisey Quinn—author of the Neon Dreams romances—delivers the debut novel in an explosive new romantic suspense series...

HE’S NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING…

Explosive ordinance disposal specialist Chase Fisk never breaks a sweat defusing even the most complicated of explosives. So when a homicidal maniac threatens to set off military-grade IEDs during Nashville’s largest music festival, Chase is the man to take him down. But with the reappearance of a woman he thought was long dead, everything he thought he knew is blown away.

EXCEPT LOSING HER AGAIN.

FBI operative Vivien Montgomery is an enigma to everyone around her. So when a deadly threat lands her in Nashville and paired up with the only man she’s ever loved, she isn’t looking forward to an emotional reunion. She’s only here to get the job done and get out. But when the madman behind the chaos targets her for death, the one man she left behind might be the only person she can count on to save her life...

When the book opens, Chase Fisk is simply going through the motions of his life in the Nashville PD, and that’s the way it’s been since the love of his life, Vivien, died four years ago. Only, it turns out she didn’t actually die. When FBI agent Vivien Montgomery comes to Nashville to help Chase’s department stop a terrorist attack, she obviously can’t avoid Chase finding out she’s very much alive. Despite the hurt feelings and secrets, Chase and Vivien have to work together to put the past behind them and prevent a major terrorist attack.

In case it’s not clear from that summary, Chase and Vivien have a wee bit of baggage. Chase was nearly broken after Vivien’s death, and he has been a haunted man living a shell of a life ever since. Worse, he was inadvertently injured in the staged blast that supposedly took Vivien’s life, and the injuries ended his military career and have left him with a condition that could end his work in explosive ordinance disposal. In short, her fake death severely MESSED HIM UP, physically and emotionally. He is understandably both confused and enraged when she simply shows up in Nashville unannounced. She does have valid reasons, or at least understandable reasons, for never telling Chase she was alive, and I could accept that part of the story. But to be honest, I really wasn’t thrilled with how Vivien handled the whole thing. I realize she didn’t get much advance notice that she was going to Nashville, but to simply show up without a single warning to Chase was frankly a pretty jerky move. Even if she had just arranged to meet with him privately to break the news, instead of doing it in front of all their coworkers, it would have made me a bit more sympathetic. She doesn’t seem to quite understand why he’s really angry, either, at least at first. (She does get it eventually, thank goodness.) I would have liked a little more grovel or at least sensitivity from her.

Despite how she handled her reunion with Chase, I did enjoy this story quite a bit. The terrorism plot is interesting and compelling, and the cast of secondary characters is great. I am especially excited about Luke and Annalise, who I presume will be the couple in the next book. Their chemistry was already electric and we’ve only just met them! I also really liked Chase and Vivien as a couple. For the most part, Chase respected Vivien’s skills and autonomy, even though he was completely (understandably) terrified of losing her again. He isn’t great at sharing his feelings, but he realizes that their relationship can never work without openness, and he makes a concerted effort to get over his manly emotional constipation. Once she finally got over her own hurt feelings, Vivien was a great partner for Chase, too. She was protective and concerned about his feelings, and she went all in. They had steamy chemistry, and I enjoyed reading about them.

The book did feel a bit uneven in parts. Some portions plodded a little, and there wasn’t as much of a sense of urgency as one might expect in the face of a major terrorist attack. The pace of the relationship was also kind of odd, as they moved from a seemingly insurmountable conflict to mostly smooth reuniting relatively quickly. They did it by talking openly and honestly, which was great. It was just a little hard to believe that there would be no real aftereffects of the last four years. Heck, they were both profoundly changed by the experience! While they did take time to get to know each other again, I just had some trouble accepting that they could rebuild trust that quickly. I wanted to see some of the bumps along the way.

Even with the problems, I definitely enjoyed this new story line and new-to-me voice.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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