Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review: Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright

Posted March 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Carnal Secrets by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: The Phoenix Pack #3, Mercury Pack
Also in this series: Wild Hunger, Wild Hunger , Echoes of Fire (Mercury Pack, #4)
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 366
Length: 12 hours and 16 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

A pack Alpha and his estranged, true mate wrestle with painful secrets, ruthless enemies, and their own irresistible attraction, in the sexy third book of the Phoenix Pack series.

Half-shifter Shaya Critchley may hold a submissive role in her pack, but she’s done taking orders. After her Alpha wolf mate refused to claim her—but committed to interfering in her life—she took off. Now she hides from him, posing as a human in a town full of anti-shifter extremist groups. She thinks he’ll never find her again, and that suits her just fine. But she’s wrong.

Nick Axton can barely control his feelings for Shaya, but he could never claim her—not if he truly cares for her. The degenerative brain condition he keeps secret would ultimately leave her with a burden rather than a mate. But when Shaya runs away, Nick can’t bear the thought of never seeing her again. After tracking her down, he discovers Shaya’s feisty and passionate side in the process…a side he’d never seen before.

Under the menacing gazes of territorial local packs and violent human extremists, Nick vows to finally claim the spirited Shaya…and despite her initial resistance, Shaya just might find his fiery determination to be the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Carnal Secrets is the third book in the Phoenix Pack series, and the start of the Mercury Pack series by Suzanne Wright. This is another book I thought I read, but didn’t mark down. The details were sketchy, so I’m calling it a new read.

Shaya Critchley is a submissive wolf whose mate keeps rejecting her. She’s done with waiting on him and feeling hurt when he doesn’t claim her, and she’s done not having full control of her life. Determined to start fresh, she relocates to Arizona and begins working in her friend’s hair salon. She’s just settling in and starting to feel content when Alpha Nick Axton – her erstwhile mate – shows up.

Nick is battling an illness no one else knows about. He wanted to stay away from Shaya for her own good, but he can’t fight the pull of her any longer. He’s determined to win her over, even if that means leaving his old pack and going it alone with her. As an Alpha, mating a sumbissive wolf, and making her Alpha Female means never really having full control of the pack, since she can’t disobey a direct order from someone dominate. But Nick is tired of living without her. But Shaya has been hurt one too many times by his actions in the past. It’s going to take all he has to win her over….if he can do it before it’s too late.

Shaya got on my nerves a lot more than the previous two heroines did. I understood why she felt hurt and angry over Nick’s rejection of her, but her “punishing” him for it went on way too long. The lengths she went to to push him away were ridiculous. The more she acted out and pushed him, the more immature she seemed.

There’s also an easy fix to the submissive Alpha Female problem. Turns out Shaya isn’t the type of submissive who has to obey more dominate wolves. That seemed a little too convenient and kind of lazy on the author’s part.

I liked Nick quite a bit. I really liked what a great alpha he was, and how people just naturally followed him. All these wolves kept showing up and sort of forcing him to become their Alpha, which I thought was hilarious. Despite being a natural leader and a dominate wolf, Nick doesn’t like people and really just wanted to be left alone with his mate. I cracked up every time they sort of out maneuvered him and he took another step closer to forming a new pack.

The suspense plot of who is after Shaya and why didn’t really interest me. I know others really like that aspect of these books, but I’m not a fan.

I would have given this a solid four stars if it hadn’t been for how immature Shaya was. As it is I’m going to give it 3.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Phoenix Pack

The Mercury Pack

three-stars


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Review: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne

Posted February 20, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Huge Deal by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
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)
Publisher: Amazon Publishing, Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 259
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: five-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 the third book in Lauren Layne’s 21 Wall Street series and it is legit, my most anticipated release of the year. I have wanted Kennedy and Kate’s story since they were first introduced in Hot Asset. I pre-ordered this the minute I found out that it was up for pre-order and I read it in one sitting the night that it was delivered to my kindle. You guys will have to excuse me because I can’t help myself. I fangirl over everything that I read by Lauren Layne. Are we friends? Nope. Do I get paid to scream from the rooftops over my love of all things Lauren Layne? Nope. Do I hype myself up for all of her new releases? You betcha. Did she deliver a romance worthy of the hype that I gave this book in my head?

I am a sucker for the unrequited trope and Lauren Layne did such a fantastic job of showcasing that same trope for both Kennedy and Kate. We saw Kate’s feelings for Kennedy over the course of this series but in this book, we saw the tables turn and saw Kennedy waking up and catching on to what everyone already knew…that Kate was his lobster.

I think what I was most looking forward to in this book was seeing the usually staid and reserved Kennedy finally lose his cool over a woman, but not just any woman. No, I was looking forward to him losing his cool over the woman. Over Kate. The Kennedy that we know and love is low key a fuddy-duddy who is not exactly a prude but low key maybe is a prude? That probably doesn’t make sense to people who haven’t read this series but trust me, that’s Kennedy’s charm. From the jump, you can tell that Kate has a different relationship with one of her bosses. She’s got three but there’s only one that rubs her the wrong way. There’s only one that brings out the snarky personality in her…and for two books, I wanted to know the full background that explained the combative nature of Kate’s relationship with Kennedy.

Oh man, the waiting damn near killed me but boy did I eat up every single word of this book. I was here for all of the drama, all of the passion and I was definitely here for the explosion. Holy cow, Jealous Kennedy was a sight to behold. I freaking loved seeing Kennedy so jealous and not even realize that he’s jealous. I loved seeing him twisted up in knots over Kate being with anyone not him. I was over the moon when he finds Kate at his parent’s anniversary party on the boat. I had the biggest smile when Kate finally yells at him about the word she’d use to describe him. My feelings and my emotions were wrapped up from beginning to end and I thought Lauren Layne delivered a damn near perfect romance for two of my favorite characters of hers. She never fails to write the kind of romances that I need right now and that I read in one sitting. Is this book perfect? Probably not to everyone but it was damned perfect for me. Kate and Kennedy forever!

Grade: 5 out of 5

21 Wall Street

five-stars


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Review: Wild Hunger by Suzanne Wright

Posted February 13, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wild Hunger by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Wild Hunger by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: The Phoenix Pack #7
Also in this series: Wild Hunger, Carnal Secrets
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 320
Length: 11 hours and 1 minute
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When half–wolf shifter Frankie Newman receives an e-mail from a family member she didn’t know existed, a secret is revealed: as a child, Frankie witnessed her father killing her mother…and then himself. Frankie was torn from her pack by her mother’s human relatives, and the trauma was erased from her memory. Realizing that she’s been lied to her entire life, she’s never felt more alone. Until she catches the scent of an old friend—warmly familiar and intoxicating.

Trick Hardy, enforcer of the Phoenix Pack, can sense the rush of mutual attraction when he sees Frankie again. He knows immediately that she’s his true mate. But he also knows that, given her fragile state, he needs to tread with care—no matter how fierce his surging desires.

As aroused as Frankie is by Trick’s darkly dominant air and simmering desire, her priority right now is her past—not her future, no matter how tempting. But as more secrets emerge and Frankie’s life is threatened, Trick must do everything he can to keep her close and safe. After all, it’s their destiny.

Wild Hunger is the 7th book in Suzanne Wright‘s Phoenix Pack series. This may be my favorite of the Phoenix Pack books. I prefer the Mercury Pack overall, but this is my favorite of the Phoenix books. Jill Redfield narrates the audio and I felt she did a good job overall, though the breathy voice she does during love scenes was a turnoff.

Frankie Newman was raised by her maternal grandparents after her mother and father were killed. She has no idea she was once part of a pack, because her grandparents kept the knowledge from her. Once she finds out, she has to decide if she wants a relationship with her father’s family. Trick Hardy has been not-so-patiently waiting for his mate to come along. He knows right away Frankie is the one. He’s determined to give her space to figure out what kind of relationship she wants to have with his pack, and to get used to the idea of mating with him. But he refuses to walk away.

I loved how determined Trick was to find his mate and how open to the bond he was. I also really liked how patient and understanding he was with Frankie. He didn’t push her to give more than she could. It was sweet. I also liked how little drama there was in their coming together. They took their time getting to know each other, but they both accepted that they were mates right away. It was refreshing from previous books, where one mate or another was resistant. Frankie had a tough go of it, feeling betrayed by the people who raised her, as well as dealing with meeting her father’s family. She had a good head on her shoulders and I liked how she dealt with everything.

As I said, this is my favorite of all the Phoenix Pack books. Trick’s patience and understanding, coupled with Frankie’s down-to-earth approach to her situation really worked for me.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

The Phoenix Pack


four-half-stars


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Featured Review: Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Posted January 9, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope WardReviewer: Casee, Holly & Rowena
Hate Notes by Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward
Narrator: Sebastian York, Lynn Barrington
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Length: 8 hours, 17 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes an unexpected love story of secondhand hearts and second chances…

It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress.

Something blue.

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed.

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after.

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined.

Something new.

But I have no idea how this one is going to end...

Hate Notes is a for real, standalone book. After catching her fiancée cheating on her, Charlotte goes to a wedding dress shop so she can sell her one of a kind dress. While in the shop, she sees a gorgeous dress with a note pinned in it. It’s obviously written from a groom to his bride. It’s also obvious that it didn’t work out. Charlotte is a romantic. She is determined to meet the man that wrote the note. She goes on a mission to do exactly that.

Casee: Lets get this party started. I know we all loved this book. Well, that’s probably too strong of a term. I really enjoyed Charlotte. A lot. Nothing ever got her down for long. She didn’t hold grudges. She just loved life. She believes in love and fairytales. She believes that she will find a man that will pin a note like the one she found in her wedding dress one day. She never gave up. I usually find heroines like this a little too much, but I didn’t in this case.

Holly: Love? Snort. This book was tolerable at best. Charlotte was a total Pollyanna. Everything was happy and roses. On the one hand, I admired her indomitable spirit. On the other, her constant turning-of-the-cheek, especially when it came to Reed, was kind of annoying. He was so mean to her, yet she would forgive him every time. Even without an apology. I didn’t get it.

Casee: I don’t remember it the way you do. I remember him apologizing all the time, which got so annoying because he kept doing the same thing over and over. I remember thinking that it was getting old that he kept apologizing and she kept forgiving him. That was about the only thing that bothered me about her. Maybe I didn’t look at her as a Pollyanna because I read a book around the same time that had a real Pollyanna. I just didn’t see her that way. I just saw her as optimistic. Glass half-full. That type of person.

I did think Reed was a douche and honestly was beginning not to like him at all until his problem was revealed. I thought his attitude toward life only had to do with his fiancee dumping him. I think that he had a right to be as bitter as he was, though it did go too far at times.

Holly: He thought about apologizing all the time, but he rarely did. He would always think “I shouldn’t have said those things” and he’d head to her office to apologize and then he’d just antagonize her again. I did a quick search. He apologized on page twice. There’s mention that maybe he apologized more, but it was off page. I don’t know, maybe I should have cut him more slack based on how and why his engagement ended, but I couldn’t seem to forgive him. I figured out before it was revealed why he was acting the way he was, so maybe that’s why I couldn’t get over it?

I actually liked Charlotte until she decided to “fake” a broken ankle to get Reed to spend more time with her. I mean, he was hot, sure, but he was a total dick. Why would she WANT to spend time with him? It just didn’t make sense to me. If a dude blew that hot and cold with me, I’d want him to stay away from me. I wouldn’t make up excuses to spend time with him.

I liked Reed’s grandma a lot, though. She was really great.

Rowena: Like Casee, I remember Reed being an asshole and then going to her to apologize, only to be an asshole again so I often wondered what the point of those apologies were. It was annoying but I understood why he was trying to keep Charlotte at a distance so it didn’t bother me in the end. Sure, at first there was a lot of distrust because of what went down with this ex but as they got closer, his problem kind of made sense to me. He was keeping her at arms length because he didn’t want to bog her down with his problems.

This wasn’t the most perfect of romances but I did enjoy it.

Holly: I’ll be honest. This probably would have been about a 3 star read for me if it hadn’t been for the epilogue. That kind of killed the story for me all the way around. The note sewn into her dress exactly matched the note he wrote for his ex-fiance, which was such utter bullshit. She was a total bitch. If there needed to be a note to bring things full circle, he could have at least signed it a different way. Then the dance with his daughter – it just didn’t work for me.

Rowena: Reed and Charlotte took turns getting on my nerves but in the end, I was glad that they finally got over themselves and got together. I thought Charlotte was more of a glass half full kind of gal than Pollyana and I enjoyed her character even though I thought she was pretty crazy at times (the whole signing up to view a penthouse she couldn’t possibly afford thing was kind of dumb). Reed was a dick but I understood what motivated him both in the beginning and the end and he made up for being an ass to me so I wasn’t too mad when all was said and done.

I actually liked the epilogue. I loved seeing how their relationship came full circle and the note that she found and wanted for her own, was finally hers and hers alone. That note brought her to him and I took him giving it to her in the end as his way of making sure she knew that it was meant for her all along.

This one gets a 4 out of 5 from me.

Holly: I get where the authors were trying to go, but unfortunately the story missed its mark with me. I didn’t understand why Reed was so horrible or why Charlotte let him get away with it.

I’m giving this 2.5 out of 5.

Casee: I liked the epilogue too though it was sad. I really enjoyed how Charlotte tried to get Reed to enjoy life. He needed someone like her in his life.

I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 3.5 out of 5
Holly: 2.5 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Joint Review: Ache for You by J.T. Geissinger

Posted December 10, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Joint Review: Ache for You by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Ache for You (Slow Burn, #3) by J.T. Geissinger
Series: Slow Burn #3
Also in this series: Burn for You (Slow Burn, #1), Melt for You (Slow Burn, #2), Keep Me Safe (Slow Burn #1)
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 362
Length: 11 hours, 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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one-star
Series Rating: two-stars

In this fairy tale with a sexy twist, she’s a penniless San Francisco seamstress. He’s the king of Italian couture. Who’s got designs on whom?

Boutique owner Kimber DiSanto has seen better days. She’s been dumped at the altar by Prince Charmless, her business went up in flames (literally), and now she’s stuck in Florence, Italy, with an ice-queen stepmother, to try to save her late father’s failing dress shop. Only one thing could make it worse: another man in her life. The arrogant Italian fashion tycoon offering to buy her father’s shop is as rich as he is sexy, and their attraction is off the charts. But Kimber’s not about to get burned again.

Women don’t say no to Matteo Moretti—and certainly not with Kimber’s stinging precision. With all the heat and fury sparking between them, Matteo can’t resist baiting the gorgeous American. His plan? Win her over one scorching kiss at a time.

Kimber tells herself it’s all just a game. That her broken heart isn’t in danger, and that Matteo’s touch does not make her Lady Land dance with joy. But sometimes it takes the fieriest of enemies to turn a fantasy into a real-life romance.

Ache for You is the third book in J.T. Geissinger‘s Slow Burn series. Each book is a fairytale retelling. This is the story of Cinderella.

Kimber is having the worst time of her life. Her intended leaves her at the altar, she finds out her father is gravely ill and her dress shop burns down. All within the space of a week. She flies to Italy to be with her dad when she gets another shock…he remarried several months beforehand. Now she’s living with her Wicked Stepmother and her two evil step-sisters. Oh, and the Prince Charming who gave up his seat so she could be with her father before he died? Turns out he’s her new step-brother…and the man who wants to buy her father’s dress shop, plus steal all her designs.

Holly: I want to start this review out by saying this was a great, sweet romance and satisfied everything I needed in a Cinderella retelling…but I can’t. The truth is, I hated Kimber, the heroine, so much the book was a total flop for me. I spent the entire book filled with rage over her attitude and all the conclusions she jumped to. She was such a pure, unadulterated bitch I have no clue why she even had friends or why the hero was interested in her.

Rowena: I’m pretty sure that this is what my face looked like after reading that first sentence of your review, Holly.

I’m right there with you, where Kimber is concerned. She was extremely hard to like. When the story ended, I wasn’t over all of her stupidity. The constant assumptions on her part, the quick jumps to conclusions, even when she knew that she was in love with Matteo, she just couldn’t turn that shit off and it annoyed the ever-loving crap out of me. She didn’t deserve Matteo and she most definitely didn’t deserve Matteo’s Mom.

I started wondering what the hell Matteo saw in her because there wasn’t much to like. She was a bitch through and through so I low key started wondering what the heck was wrong with Matteo that through all of that, he saw good in her. I didn’t any of what he saw.

Holly: Girl, same. I spent the entire book hating Kimber. I didn’t understand her motivations or why she was so quick to jump to so many negative conclusions. Why Matteo wanted to be with her is beyond me.

Rowena: It’s hard for me to sympathize with grown ass women who behave the way that Kimber does. Elle Kennedy posted a quote on her IG story last week that sums up exactly how I feel about Kimber and her behavior throughout the entire book.

Your crappy childhood isn’t an excuse to be a crappy person. Your crappy luck with relationships isn’t an excuse to be a crappy person. Your crappy experiences aren’t an excuse to be a crappy person. We all have our crap, and you can either let it define you or grow from it.

Holly: In the beginning I cut her some slack because she’d just been left at the altar, then discovered her father was dying, he’d remarried and not told her, and her shop burned down. But any sympathy I had for her was soon washed away by her anger and overall piss-poor attitude.

Rowena: I can understand being hurt and guarded around new men, especially so soon after her heart was broken so publicly but Matteo was paying for shit that had absolutely nothing to do with him. When he gave up his first class ticket so that she can get to Italy faster to see her father, the way she treated him pissed me off. I wanted to reach into my kindle and smack the shit out of her. He didn’t deserve a lot of the shit that she dished his way….and that shit just kept right on happening. Matteo couldn’t get the benefit of the doubt even in the end. She alone ruined this story for me.

Holly: I probably would have DNF’d the book except 1) we agreed we couldn’t DNF any book we’re reading together and 2) I kind of wanted to see what Matteo was up to. He was kind of shady in the beginning.

Rowena: I know that I would have DNF’d this if not for our buddy review rules. I hated Kimber that much.

Holly: I did really like Kimber’s BFF, Jenner, and I even came to like Brad, her ex-fiance. I really liked Matteo’s mom and her manservant. But the longer the novel went on, the more I wondered WTF was wrong with them that they liked and wanted to be (Friends)with Kimber. They should have booted her out of their squad and gone on without her.

Rowena: Yeah, I enjoyed everyone except the two villains: Kimber and the actual villain. I thought that Jenner was a great best friend to Kimber and tried to wrangle in her crazy but there’s only so much one person can do, right? And I thought I would hate Brad a lot more than I did. There were times when I really felt for him and his dilemma. I felt how sorry he was and how eager he was to make things right with Kimber. She was just too stupid and selfish to think of anyone but herself.

Holly: This part, though? This part was almost enough for me to raise my grade by half a star. Almost, but not quite…

View Spoiler »
 

Rowena: As to your spoiler?

Yeah, call me an asshole but what happens to Kimber cracked me up. Like, a lot. I’m still laughing about that.

I didn’t understand the romance because I didn’t see what Matteo saw in Kimber. There was absolutely nothing to recommend his attraction to her. She wasn’t headstrong or stubborn in a likable way. She was a complete bitch and any attraction to that mess didn’t make a lick of sense to me. All the way until the very last page, I was still annoyed with Kimber so there was just no saving this book for me. I hated this book so much that I’m taking a long break from all things Geissinger. I just…can’t.

Holly: If she’d realized how terrible she’d been and genuinely apologized, that might have been something. Since she was just as awful on the last page as she was on the first, I can’t find anything to recommend about this book.

Seriously, y’all, save yourselves. Don’t read this book.

Holly’s Grade: 1 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 1 out of 5

Slow Burn

one-star


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