Publisher: Loveswept

Guest Review: The Breakup by Erin McCarthy

Posted August 9, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Breakup by Erin McCarthyReviewer: Tracy
The Breakup by Erin McCarthy
Series: The Jordan Brothers #2
Also in this series: The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers #1), The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers, #1)
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: August 14th 2018
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Can two wrongs feel oh-so-right? This bride is about to find out—with the bad boy who makes an epic breakup worth her while.

Bella: I know I’m a princess. I’m used to getting what I want. But all I ever really wanted was a husband and a family. Unlike my sister, Sophie, I’ll never have a brilliant career to fall back on. So what’s a bride to do when she learns that Prince Charming is a cheating snake just a few days before her fairy-tale wedding? With my fiancé begging for another chance, the only way to save the wedding is to even things out with a little revenge sex—and local bartender Christian Jordan seems like the right man for the job.

Christian: If gorgeous Bella Bigelow thinks sleeping with me will somehow lead to happily ever after, I’m not going to turn her down. The guy she wants to marry is a jerk, and her sister is fooling around with my estranged twin brother, Cain. So what’s the problem? Besides falling for a woman who doesn’t know what she wants out of life? All I want to do is whisk her away from that church, take her to a cabin in the woods, and act out all our naughtiest fantasies. And I may just get the chance. . . .

Bella is pretty sure that her fiancé is cheating on her.  She’s one week out from her wedding and she’s an emotional wreck. When she finds texts on her fiancé’s phone confirming the cheating Bella confronts Brad about it.  He, of course, being the ass he is, turns it around to make it look like Bella is the cause of his cheating.  She knows she’s being manipulated but still can’t bring herself to end it.  She talks to her parents who push her to marry Brad anyway.  She’s SO confused!

Bella recently became friends with Christian, a bartender in the coastal Maine town that she’s getting married in.  She gets drunk and asks him to teach how to be good in bed but he refuses.  Though Christian doesn’t normally have problems sleeping with women in relationships, because they’re emotionally unavailable, there’s something about Bella that makes him want to treat her well.

When Bella decides right before the wedding ceremony that she absolutely can’t marry Brad she calls Christian and he whisks her off to a family cabin to hide her from her family, Brad and his family and anyone else trying to talk to her.  With Bella now single and free, Christian has no problem showing her exactly how good in bed she is.  The two spend a couple of days together but soon they have to face reality.  Bella has to decide what she’s going to do now that she quit her job, sold her furniture and has nowhere to go, and Christian has to decide if wanting Bella in his life will be a good thing or just make his crazy life even crazier.

After book one in this series I can’t say that I liked Christian all that much.  Book one was about Bella’s sister and Christian’s twin brother getting together.  It seems that Christian slept with his twin’s girlfriend and was caught.  Of course it comes out in this book that the girlfriend, Ali, had told Christian that they had broken up and since Christian had had a thing for Ali all through school he took her up on her off of some bed-play.  Little did he know it would change his life forever.  Turns out he wasn’t a bad person after all – he just didn’t make the best judgment calls about people.  He knew this about himself so that’s why he hesitated when Bella approached him about going to bed with her.  I was happy that he finally saw that it would be a bad idea.  I actually ended up liking Christian a lot in this book, thank heavens. 🙂

Bella was a strong character but sometimes she made me a bit crazy. She knew deep down she was never going to marry Brad but then ended up waiting until the last possible moment to run. That bothered me a lot.  I guess I have not idea what I would have done in that situation so I can’t be too judgy.  I liked how she handled things with Christian, her family and Brad after the wedding fiasco and was happy that she didn’t settle.

I was annoyed at the alternating first person POV.  Not that I mind that POV so much, but there was no clear delineation of when one POV stopped and another started, like a new chapter.  There was just a break in the story and then we’d get another POV – sometimes it was hard to figure out if I was reading Bella’s POV or Christians.  🙁  Not to my liking.

The book was good and I really liked it. It was a fun, easy read and was perfect for just sitting in the back yard with no worries.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Jordan Brothers

three-half-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne

Posted July 18, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Trouble with Love by Lauren LayneReviewer: Holly
The Trouble with Love (Sex, Love & Stiletto, #4) by Lauren Layne
Series: Sex Love and Stiletto #4
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 237
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

As Lauren Layne’s salacious Sex, Love & Stiletto series returns, a jaded columnist discovers a steamy way to get over an old flame: falling for him all over again.

As Stiletto magazine’s authority on all things breakup-and-heartache, Emma Sinclair writes from personal experience. Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.

After giving up everything for a pro-soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

For our Summer Reading Challenge, Rowena and Casee chose 5 books for me to read. This was one of Rowena’s picks. It’s been awhile since I read a straight contemporary and I’ve never read a Lauren Layne novel before. I’m glad Rowena chose this one. It was really good.

Emma and Cassidy have a pretty messed up past. They were once engaged, but he left her at the alter. Despite the murky details, however, they’ve managed to exist in the same social circle for years by mostly ignoring each other. Now, Cassidy is suddenly the acting editor-in-chief at Stiletto, the magazine where Emma works. As her direct boss, he’s in charge. His first assignment for her? Write about all her exes, himself included. Emma accepts the job, but she’s not too happy to be revisiting the ghost of relationships past. As she looks back at old relationships and explores her deeper feelings, she can’t deny things aren’t finished yet with Cassidy.

This was a really well-written, fun contemporary. I enjoyed getting to know Emma, Cassidy and their circle of friends. I felt their leftover pain from their past, and cheered for them to find a way to come together in the present. I struggled a bit with the pacing toward the end, and I thought Emma and Cassidy both acted the fool on occasion, but overall I really enjoyed their romance. I may go back and read the rest of the series now.

4 out of 5

Sex, Love and Stilettos

four-stars


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Review: I Think I Love You by Lauren Layne

Posted July 16, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: I Think I Love You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5) by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #5
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 200
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A game of seduction between two best friends goes deliciously wrong in an irresistible Oxford Novel that brims with wit and sexual tension. Library Journal hails Layne’s work as exemplary contemporary romance.”

Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?

Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not prepared for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.

I Think I Love You is the final book in the Oxford series by Lauren Layne. It feels like the end of an era. I’m super sad that we won’t be getting any new books in this series because I’ve enjoyed every single book and have come to care about all of these characters that I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with my life now.

I Think I Love You follows Brit Robbins and Hunter Cross as they make that emotional love journey from best friends to more than best friends.

Brit has once again been dumped by her boyfriend because he thought they were better suited in the friend zone and Brit is tired of always being friend zoned so she concocts a plan to get her best friend Hunter to show her how to seduce men into wanting to be more than her friend.

Hunter hasn’t gotten into a long-term relationship because he always thought that he’d move back home to Kansas City and settle down there. Starting something with someone in New York just didn’t seem like a good idea to him and he’s never thought about Brit in that light since they’ve always been such good friends but with this whole love coach business, Hunter is seeing Brit in a different light and he has no idea what to do with these thoughts, these feelings and the more time he spends with Brit, the more he realizes that maybe she doesn’t see him like that.

Lauren Layne writes my favorite kind of contemporary romances. The big city romances with strong, big city characters that you can’t help but cheer for because her writing style is so engaging. Brit and Hunter wormed their way into my heart and I enjoyed getting to know them and seeing them fall in love with each other. The other thing that this book had going for it was everyone else from the Sex, Love and Stilettos and Oxford books. I enjoyed the heck out of the previous books in both of those series so seeing everyone come together in friendship and support in this book made me happy. This series ended on a high note and though I’ll miss everyone, I thought this book was a great send off. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Oxford

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: I Think I Love You by Lauren Layne

Posted July 15, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Lauren Layne is one of my favorite authors of all time and she’s got a new book that I’m so excited about. It’s a best friends to lovers story and it’s the last book in the Oxford series so while I’m super excited about it, I’m also really sad about saying bye to these charming characters.

We’re pretty stoked to be featuring I Think I Love You on today’s Sunday Spotlight because Brit and Hunter are awesome and you’ll get to see them in action below.

Check it out.

Sunday Spotlight: I Think I Love You by Lauren LayneI Think I Love You (Oxford, #5) by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #5
Also in this series: I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5)
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 200
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

A game of seduction between two best friends goes deliciously wrong in an irresistible Oxford Novel that brims with wit and sexual tension. Library Journal hails Layne’s work as exemplary contemporary romance.”

Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?

Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not prepared for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“I want you to teach me.”

The silence stretched on and on, until finally Brit forced herself to look up at Hunter.

“Teach you what?” His voice was kind but completely confused.

“How to seduce a guy.”

His head snapped back, and he inhaled through his nose. “No way.”

“Why not?” she said, giving an impatient little bounce of irritation on the couch. It was what she’d expected, but it was frustrating all the same. “You’re the perfect person.”

“How you figure?”

Ah. Now, this she was ready for. She and the girls had talked out this part of her argument, and Brit was armed and ready with her answer. Setting her glass aside, she began to count out the reasons on her fingers.

“For starters, you apparently have some sort of innate charisma. You said it yourself—women are physically attracted to you, even when you don’t want them to be. It’s the very opposite of my problem, and I want to figure out what the difference between us is.

“Second,” she continued. “You date. A lot. You’ve got a ton of experience, and you’re a guy’s guy. You know what makes them tick, especially in the dating world.”

He frowned. “I could name a half dozen other guys who also fit into those categories. Ask one of them. Hell, I’ll ask them for you.”

“There’s one more reason,” she pressed on, ignoring his objections. “You’re you. We’re us. I trust you in a way I don’t trust anyone else. Plus, you’re single. I can’t ask Lincoln, or Nick, or Cole. They could give me advice, probably, but they’re all married or involved with some of my closest friends. I can’t practice on them.”

Hunter choked on his drink. “What do you mean, practice?”

“We’re talking the art of seduction here,” she said practically. “I’m not an expert, obviously, but I know it means more than just words. It’s about looks, and touch, and … moves.

“Don’t you dare laugh at me,” she said quickly, lifting a finger in warning when his lips twitched.

“Moves?” he said, trying to hide the impending smile and failing. “Is this high school in the nineties?”

She leaned forward and gave him a not-so-gentle punch on the arm. “Will you help me or not?”

“Not.”

Brit scowled. “You said you’d do anything for me.”

“Yeah, but not teach you how to … mate.”

“Mate? Okay, that’s worse than moves. And it’s not so tawdry as that. I just need some pointers on how to get guys to stop viewing me as a pal. That’s all.”

“Oh, is that all?” He said it sarcastically, dragging a hand over his face. “It’s weird, Brit.
You’re my friend. My closest friend.”

“Exactly the problem. Every other guy wants that role too.”

“Do I have competition in the friend department?” He smiled as he said it, but she noticed he was watching her as though he cared about the answer.

“Of course not. You’re still my number one.”

“You’re flattering me now.”

“Is it working?” she asked hopefully.

“Nope.”

Awesome excerpt and because I know what’s coming, this is what I look like right now:

I’m so here for this!

Oxford

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Gleam widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: July 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Lauren Layne

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

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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Throwback Thursday Review/Rant: Trying to Score by Toni Aleo

Posted June 28, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review/Rant: Trying to Score by Toni AleoReviewer: Holly
Trying to Score by Toni Aleo
Series: Assassins #2
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 576
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
one-star

In a captivating novel of second chances and healing hearts, the newest member of the Nashville Assassins pulls a power play to make things right with the one that got away.  Fallon Parker’s dream has always been to turn her family’s wine company into a runaway success and eventually start a cellar of her own. Since graduating from college, she has worked relentlessly to make that dream a reality, especially after taking a chance on love—and losing. By the time Fallon becomes an official sponsor of the Nashville Assassins, she feels like all her hard work is finally paying off. And then the man who broke her heart skates back into her life.   On the ice, Lucas Brooks is the NHL’s leading scorer—at least when he’s not in the box. Off the ice, he’s a mess, with all his anger and misery bottled up inside. He threw away the most important person in his life and has regretted it ever since. But when Lucas returns to Nashville in a trade, he’s determined to convince Fallon that he’s a changed man. The attraction is still there. The tension is electrifying. But the odds are stacked against them—especially after Lucas finds out that Fallon has been keeping a devastating secret.  Praise for Toni Aleo’s Nashville Assassins romances  “Aleo melts the ice and hits it into the net with her Assassins series.”—Award-winning author Jami Davenport   “Taking Shots is really the whole package. You get romance, humor, steamy sex, drama, and then it all wraps up with a great conclusion. I am amazed that this is Toni’s first book. She has come out in a huge way. I can’t wait to read more from her. Don’t hesitate for a moment to grab this book.”—Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews   “A little steamy, a little heartbreaking, and a whole lot of fanning yourself are in order this time around, readers. Are your cheeks feeling a little pink yet? Get used to the feeling.”—Dreaming in the Pages, on Trying to Score   “Empty Net is an honest, heartwarming, endearing story. . . . Toni Aleo doesn’t just write a story. She gives you the ability to experience the journey of her characters right along with them. Her stories are enveloped with passion, emotion, humor, love; and let me tell you, that girl knows how to write a sex scene that just makes you sweat!”—Guilty Pleasures Book Review   “Sexy and riveting . . . the perfect combination of love and lust.”—USA Today bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin, on Blue Lines

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review/rant was originally posted on November 29, 2011.

Warning: This review contains spoilers!! and bad words!!!

I downloaded this because the cover is hot and it features hockey players. Sadly it was a disappointing read. Had I realized it was a secret baby plot, I probably wouldn’t have requested it. I hate secret baby plots unless the heroine has a very good reason for keeping the kid a secret. Like, she tried to tell him but couldn’t find him. Or the kid is a week old and she lost touch, but tries to find him. When the kid is 6 and she’s refusing to tell daddy because she’s all wrapped up in how she feels? That doesn’t work for me.

Sadly, that was the case here. Fallon met Lucas when she was in college. They spent two blissful years together, until the day she walked in on him in bed with her roommate. Heartbroken, she leaves college and heads home. The problem? She’s pregnant. And she knows it. She decides she isn’t going to tell Lucas because he’s a cheating bastard and he’d probably just leave his kid like he left her.

Lucas is heartbroken when he realizes he cheated on Fallon. He was a mess, constantly drinking and using prescription drugs. After she left he got his life together, but it took some time. When he sees her 7 years later, he knows it’s his chance to get her back. Except he discovers Fallon’s secret – she’s been hiding his kid from him.

When Lucas confronts Fallon, she shows zero remorse for keeping his kid from him. She doesn’t apologize or offer to make amends. Instead she throws out wild accusations about the type of father she knows he’s going to be – the type who leaves and doesn’t support his kid – refuses to take child support and in general acts like a raging bitch.

To make matters worse, Lucas was a total doormat. At some point you have to say to yourself “this chick is a crazy bitch and I’m wasting my time”. He should have reached that point around page 15. He never did. Not in 350 pages.

Fallon was a bitch. In a complete role reversal, the hero was the doormat and the heroine was an Alpha-Bitch. She was wishy-washy in her feelings and actions, except her bitterness and anger. Those stayed consistent throughout the book. Right up until the very last page as a matter of fact. Why was Lucas so determined to be with her? It made no sense to me. She kept his kid from him, treated him like crap and in general needed to take a long walk off a short pier. I mean, I get her not wanting to be wit him. He cheated on her. But to keep his kid from him and say he’d be a shitty father because he cheated on her? That doesn’t work for me. Especially since her kid was the one who was suffering because of her hurt feelings.

Added to that, the writing was filled with inconsistent dialogue and characterizations. One minute she was broke, the next she was refusing help because she didn’t need help from no one or nothing. Today she’s sorry she’s hurting her son and wants him to know his dad, yesterday she wanted nothing more than to keep them apart to protect her heart.The dialogue was strange, too. As the novel wore on, the speech went from refined southern bell to crazy southern redneck. “you ain’t gonna” and etc. It took me out of the story.

As if that weren’t enough, there was a weird sub-plot with her sister. The sister seemed pretty kickass until she hooked up with a guy who told her she was fat and hurt her in the bedroom. She refused to tell Fallon or Lucas who it was. Unfortunately Lucas figured it out. She begged him not to tell Fallon until she could do it herself – she had every intention of staying with the abusive guy, which makes absolutely no sense at all – and of course she doesn’t, so the whole thing was used to bring about the final big confrontation between Lucas and Fallon. I have no idea where that came from or why we had to read about it. It was silly and made no sense.

Normally I can overlook small typos or little idiosyncrasies in the plot. But when the story isn’t holding my attention I tend to focus on all the negative. That’s what happened here. The story was way too long and bogged down with constant repetition. At around 2 in the morning, I realized I still had something like 200 pages to go, so I opened the contents and skipped from chapter 16 to 28. I didn’t skim at all. I just jumped from chapter 16 to 28. I felt like I missed nothing. It was like I hadn’t even skipped a page. That doesn’t say good things about the story.

I did like the sister enough (weird abusive guy thing aside) to start her book. Sadly a few chapters in it already seems to be more of the same (minus the secret baby plot). I’m going to stick with it a big longer, but I’m wary now.

I’m totally bummed. I had such high hopes.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Assassins

one-star


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