Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review: Hard Sell by Lauren Layne

Posted August 27, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Review: Hard Sell by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2) by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #2
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1)
Publisher: Amazon Publishing, Montlake Romance
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 252
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Goodreads
five-stars

Brilliantly hot Matt Cannon doesn't mind his "boy wonder" nickname. At twenty-eight, he may be the youngest--and richest--broker at his firm, but the constant string of women in his bed know he's all man. When Matt's boss insists he clean up his image to land a potential investor, Matt knows just the woman to pose as his girlfriend.Sabrina Cross is Wall Street's go-to "fixer"--a chameleon of a woman who can be anything, to any man, for any reason, with just one rule: no touching. Matt and Sabrina have always been like oil and water, but their new arrangement lights a match to the animosity and leads to something altogether hotter.

Hard Sell is the second book in the 21 Wall Street series by Lauren Layne and I was so looking forward to jumping right in. Matt and Sabrina sure did make a splash in the first book, Hot Asset and I couldn’t wait to see the sparks take off in their own book.

So this book starts off with Matt arriving at work and finding out that his weekend of debauchery was captured and splashed all over the Wall Street Journal and his bosses want him to cool his heels, fix up his image or find another job. So what does Matt need to fix this mess? He needs a fixer and a girlfriend and he finds both of those in Sabrina Cross. Matt and Sabrina are close in the sense that they’re both in the same circle of friends but they don’t like each other so their interactions are always spicy. They have a colorful history and they hate-bang on occasion so really, their book was bound to be a good one.

Matt is a young numbers whiz and he’s good at what he does. Unfortunately for him, he’s also a really young kid that his clients find it really hard to stay loyal. His playboy attitude doesn’t help his cause so he needs to get his act together quickly so that they can stop trippin’ on giving him their money. Matt was my favorite in Hot Asset and I couldn’t wait to get to know him better and I thought Lauren Layne did a great job with his character. He was strong, he was sexy and oh so smart and he just really hit all of my happy buttons.

Sabrina is just as strong and capable and sexy as Matt is and I really enjoyed getting to know her as well. It would have been so easy for her to come off as cold but once again, Lauren Layne did a great job of making us readers connect with Sabrina’s story. I loved that she was completely aware of why she was the way that she was with Matt, even though nobody, Matt included, understood why she was so testy, she did and I completely got it.

As much as I enjoyed both Matt and Sabrina on their own, I really enjoyed seeing them together. It was like, they were better together or as that song says, “I like me better when I’m with you”, that’s how I felt with these two. The chemistry between them was off the charts but also the loyalty that they had for each other was pretty great. Seeing their relationship change from fake to real and their friendship really grow made for a pretty fantastic book and I was here for it all.

Hard Sell brings together two people that were not fans of the other but grew them into a pretty strong and solid unit and Lauren Layne did a rather fabulous job of giving us the goods on these two while at the same time, teasing us with more goodness to come with Kennedy and Kate. I can’t wait for Kennedy and Kate. Gah, I’m so gone for these characters. I love it and I definitely recommend it.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

21 Wall Street

five-stars


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Review: The Hellion by Christi Caldwell

Posted July 31, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Hellion by Christi CaldwellReviewer: Holly
The Hellion (Wicked Wallflowers, #1) by Christi Caldwell
Series: Wicked Wallflowers #1
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 295
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Goodreads
three-stars

USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell’s Wicked Wallflowers series burns hot as two rivals meet in the flesh and feel the heat…

Adair Thorne has just watched his gaming-hell dream disappear into a blaze of fire and ash, and he’s certain that his competitors, the Killorans, are behind it. His fury and passion burn even hotter when he meets Cleopatra Killoran, a tart-mouthed vixen who mocks him at every turn. If she were anyone else but the enemy, she’d ignite a desire in him that would be impossible to control.

No one can make Cleopatra do anything. That said, she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her siblings―even if that means being sponsored by their rivals for a season in order to land a noble husband. But she will not allow her head to be turned by the infuriating and darkly handsome Adair Thorne.

There’s only one thing that threatens the rules of the game: Cleopatra’s secret. It could unravel the families’ tenuous truce and shatter the unpredictably sinful romance mounting between the hellion…and a scoundrel who could pass for the devil himself.

The Hellion is book 1 of the Wicked Wallflowers series by Christi Caldwell. It’s the first book in the Wicked Wallflowers series, but it’s a spin-off of another series I didn’t read. I felt like I missed out on quite a bit by not reading the first series. Especially the way the brothers interacted with each other and their rivals, the Killorans. I missed the backstory so their motivations didn’t always make sense. Despite that, it was a pretty solid story. I listened to the audio.

I really liked the premise of this. A sort of Romeo-and-Juliet scenario. They’re from opposing families who have formed a wary truce, and that aspect was well done. Both the hero and heroine were mistrustful of each other, which made their attraction interesting. I didn’t engage with the story, however. I wasn’t ever really invested in either character.

Part of my problem may have stemmed from the narrator. He didn’t do a very good job of separating spoken words and thoughts, so I ended up confused for much of the book. I may re-read it at some point to see if my feelings are different.

I may read the next book when it comes out. I’m curious about the heroine.

3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Melt for You by J.T. Geissinger

Posted July 27, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Melt for You by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly
Melt for You (Slow Burn, #2) by J.T. Geissinger
Series: Slow Burn #2
Also in this series: Burn for You (Slow Burn, #1)
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 344
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Goodreads
three-stars

A wallflower gets seduction tips from a playboy athlete—until love changes the rules.

Socially awkward Joellen Bixby has a date every Saturday—with her cat, a pint of ice cream, and fantasies of the way-too-handsome Michael Maddox. She’d give anything to win over the unattainable CEO of her firm, but how can she when she blends in so well with her cubicle? The answer may be closer than she thinks.

Cameron McGregor is a cocky, tattooed Scottish rugby captain who just moved in next door. He’s not Jo’s type—at all—but the notorious playboy is offering to teach the wallflower everything he knows about inspiring desire. Though a lot of women have rumpled Cam’s kilt, Jo is special. Far from the ugly duckling she thinks she is, in Cam’s eyes she’s sharp, funny, and effortlessly sexy. Now, thanks to him, Jo is blooming with confidence and has the man of her dreams within reach.

Unfortunately for Cam, he’s just helped to push the woman of his dreams into the arms of another man—and now he’s in the fight of his life to keep this beauty from getting away.

Melt for You is the second book in the Slow Burn series. Aside from the “slow burning” romances, I’m not exactly sure how these books are connected. None of the characters from this book were featured in the first book, Burn for You.

Joellen Bixby is a quiet, rather passive woman who has had a crush on the CEO of her company for about 10 years – ever since she started working there. She pines away for him while at work, then spends her evenings at home with her cat. She doesn’t like confrontation, but when her next-door neighbor starts blaring rap and throwing wild parties, she can’t take it anymore. She marches over there and lays into him. Cameron McGregor is a Scottish rugby captain who traded apartments with his cousin for the holidays. He makes a bargain with her. If she cooks him dinner, he’ll turn his music off. She wants nothing to do with the arrogant ass, but she wants even less to do with his blaring music, so she agrees. When Cam finds out she’s been pining for her boss, and said boss just happens to be going through a divorce, he offers to help her win him over.

I really loved Cameron. He was so much fun, and such a champion for Joellen. She has very low self-esteem stemming from how she was raised. Her mother, father and sister are all stereotypical California models, while she’s (according to them, and herself) short, fat and ugly. Cam was great at pushing her to see herself in a different way. I really enjoyed the writing and the interactions between Cam and Joellen. She was sassy and strong when dealing with him. I loved when he riled her up on purpose.

What didn’t work for me was Joellen and her insecurities. I get it. She had a crap mom. She was put down most of her life. But the choices she made because of her low self-esteem really started to get on my nerves as the book wore on. Maybe if she’d come to her senses sooner I would have overlooked it. As it stands, while I loved the first half of the book and Cam, the second half really killed my overall enjoyment.

3 out of 5

Slow Burn

three-stars


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Review: Edge of Oblivion by J.T. Geissinger

Posted July 23, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Edge of Oblivion by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly
Edge of Oblivion (Night Prowler, #2) by J.T. Geissinger
Series: Night Prowler #2
Also in this series: Shadow's Edge (Night Prowler, #1)
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 396
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three-half-stars

2013 RITA® Award finalist for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012.

There exists a world beyond our own. It is a world of ancient magic and well-guarded secrets, a world of strict laws and harsh punishments for those who betray them, a world inhabited by the Ikati, a race of gifted people who are so much more than they first appear. Brought together by fate in this world of danger and beauty, two people with dark pasts will meet.

Morgan is beautiful, smart, sexy…and about to die. Convicted of treason against her shape-shifting kin, she is given one last chance at redemption; discover the hidden lair of the enemy intent on destroying every one of her kind, or forfeit her life.

Xander is ruthless, heartless, cold-blooded…and assigned to kill her if she fails in her task. Expecting to feel nothing but contempt for the traitor under his watch, the assassin accompanies Morgan on her search, but as the two race through the heart of Italy while the clock winds down to zero hour, he finds himself drawn into a dangerous web of desire as powerful as it is forbidden. Their passion will test everything they believe in, and endanger the future of the tribe itself.

Sensual, edgy, and action-packed, Edge of Oblivion is a must-read for lovers of dark paranormal romance.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the heroine of this story after her actions in the previous book. Based on her past and the way she was raised, I couldn’t totally hate her, but I didn’t love her either. I’m happy to report I enjoyed this book much more than book 1.

Branded a traitor and sentenced to death, no one is more shocked than Morgan when she’s given a second chance to prove herself to her Clan. Sure, she’s been given an impossible task to complete in an impossible time-frame, but she’s free. For the first time in her life she’s free of the shackles that have always bound her. Except for Xander, anyway. The Ikati assassin is assigned to keep her in line and kill her if she doesn’t complete her task within the assigned time-frame. Which sucks, because Morgan wants to live as much as she can during her two week reprieve. Waiting for him to kill her puts a real damper on their relationship.

Xander knows his duty, and he’s never shirked it before. But Morgan makes him feel things he never thought he’d feel. When they stumble into a plot larger than either of them thought they’d find, he has to decided how much he can trust her and if she’s worth saving.

Morgan ended up being a great heroine and I really loved her with Xander. The plot was fast-paced and kept me engaged – something I felt was lacking in Shadow’s Edge. There’s a lot of action and adventure here, as well as a pretty emotional struggle for Morgan and Xander. I really loved the story.

Even so, I’m not really interested in the characters to continue the series at this time. Perhaps at some point in the future I’ll come back to it. I’m not really interested in where the overall story arc is headed and the other characters didn’t really pull me in.

4 out of 5

Night Prowlers

three-half-stars


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Review: Shadow’s Edge by J.T. Geissinger

Posted July 16, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shadow’s Edge by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly
Shadow's Edge (Night Prowler, #1) by J.T. Geissinger
Series: Night Prowler #1
Also in this series: Edge of Oblivion (Night Prowler, #2)
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 359
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Goodreads
two-half-stars

2013 winner FF&P's Prism Award for Published Authors—Best First Book Deep within the primeval forests of southern England, a race of beautiful, savage shape-shifters lives hidden from the everyday world. Bound together by ancient bloodlines and a ruthless code of secrecy that punishes traitors with death, the Ikati send their leader Leander on a mission to capture one raised outside the tribe before she can expose their secret. When Leander tracks the unsuspecting outsider to Southern California, the hardened warrior is prepared for a fight—but not for the effect the sensual young beauty has on his heart.

Jenna spent her childhood in hiding, on the run from someone—or something—her parents refused to discuss. She trusts no one, not since her father’s mysterious disappearance, not since her mother’s sudden death, and definitely not since she began exhibiting strange, superhuman abilities. When handsome, enigmatic Leander appears, promising answers to the mysteries that shroud her past, she knows she shouldn’t trust him either. But their connection is undeniable, and as powerful as the enemy hell-bent on destroying every one of their kind…

I read and really enjoyed Burn for You, a contemporary romance, and figured I’d give Geissinger’s PNR a try. Shadow’s Edge is the first book Night Prowler book, an urban fantasy series featuring a society of shapeshifters who are hidden among humans. While I liked the premise of this book, I didn’t end up loving it.

The Ikati are shapeshifters. For years they lived out in the open, but eventually the church labeled them monsters and they were hunted into near extinction. They retreated into hiding and for the past several hundred years, have lived tucked away from human society. They have a patriarchal society. Since they were hunted for so long (and still are), they keep to themselves and remain a secret. As a results, women are treated like they were back in the good ole days of “marry for bloodlines and then sit over there in the corner and be quiet”. Mating with humans is forbidden. If one of the males breaks the rule, he’s hunted and killed, along with his human mate and any children they have. Unless he willingly sacrifices himself for his mate and children. In which case they may live, until the child turns 25. If she manifests shapeshifter powers on her 25th birthday, she’s brought to live with the Ikati clan, or – if she refuses – she’s killed.

I think I expected this book to be …more. More Jenna exerting her will or being more badass. I feel like I spent the majority of the book waiting for something to happen. I wanted to see Jenna come into her own. I wanted to see Leander step in and kick major ass for her. I wanted to see things change with the clan, etc etc. Unfortunately none of those things came to pass. The premise is good, but it lacked a lot of finesse in the execution.

I started the 2nd book immediately thinking a lot of the unanswered questions would be cleared up, but book 2 is set in a different place and features different characters. While I enjoyed aspects of this book, I enjoyed book 2 more.

2.75 out of 5

Night Prowlers

two-half-stars


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