Publisher: Penguin

Retro-Review: Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts.

Posted November 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro-Review: Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts.Reviewer: Rowena
Savor the Moment (Bride Quartet, #3) by Nora Roberts
Series: Bride Quartet #3
Also in this series: Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1), Happy Ever After (Bride Quartet, #4)
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: April 27th 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 325
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts cordially invites you to meet childhood friends Parker, Emma, Laurel, and Mac — the founders of Vows, one of Connecticut’s premier wedding planning companies.

Laurel McBane has always relied on her friends for support, especially when her dream of attending culinary school was almost ruined by her parents’ financial problems. Now Laurel is repaying the kindness of her friends by creating extravagantly luscious tiers of cakes and other confectionary delights that add the perfect touch to their clients’ weddings. As for romance, Laurel believes in it — in theory. But she’s too low-key to appreciate all the luxuries that other women seem to long for. What she does appreciate is a strong, intelligent man, a man just like Parker’s older brother, Delaney Brown, on whom Laurel has had a mega crush since childhood.

But some infatuations last longer than others, and Laurel is convinced that the Ivy League lawyer is still out of her reach. Plus, Del is too protective of Laurel to ever cross the line with her, or so she thinks. When Laurel’s quick- silver moods get the better of her — leading to an angry, hot, altogether mind-blowing kiss with Del — she’ll have to quiet the doubts in her mind to turn a moment of passion into forever…

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

This review was originally posted on April 27, 2010.

This is another series that I am absolutely in love with. I love that it’s a straight up contemporary series with just two human beings falling in love without be bitten by vampires or taken hostage by terrorists or anything else like that. They’re just two everyday, average, normal people falling in love over the course of time.

This book was good. It was but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Jack and Emma’s story. There were things about this book that I loved, like learning about Laurel’s side of the business, I’ve always been fascinated with baking and Laurel does it well so it was good to see that. I also enjoyed getting to know Del. I’ve always been interested in learning more about Del in the first two books and it was good to finally see Del getting some serious page time.

Laurel and Del’s attraction to each other started in the last book when they’re all at Emma’s family’s house for a bbq and you could tell that this was where that day was going to lead Del and Laurel. Their attraction seemed to simmer on low heat for a few weeks before it boiled right out of the pot. Del is trying to keep seeing Laurel as the little sister he’s always known her to be and Laurel is trying to get over her silly crush on the boy that will always look at her like a little sister. So in a last ditch effort to get Del out of her system, she shows him that she’s NOT his sister and that sets the tone for the rest of the book.

They’re playing this keep away game of Laurel’s shoes and Del is using the shoes to get to know Laurel better. He’s going for this and he’s going to see where it leads them. Watching these two grow closer and closer was cute. Seeing them bicker their way to love made me smile.

Del was a great hero, one who caring, thoughtful and adorable. I really liked him but I didn’t love Del the way that I loved Jack. Del was a good, solid hero but he didn’t make my heart sing the way that his best friend did.

Laurel was one of those feisty heroines who at times made me roll my eyes around the room. Her reasons for being mad at Del about the whole money didn’t make sense to me. She’s known Del most of her life, she’s friends with him. She should have known him enough to understand where he was coming from with the whole paying thing. I mean, she blew something so small into something so big and I just didn’t get it. So Del’s rich, so what? I just didn’t understand where all of her anger from him trying to give her money was coming from. It’s not like he thought she was this two bit loser who he felt sorry for and was trying to give her a break. I could see him doing the exact same thing to Emma and to Mac but Laurel blew that shit up like he was trying to strangle her or something.

Overall, this book was good but it’s not my favorite of the bunch. My favorite part of this book was getting to know Laurel while she was at work. I loved reading about all of her baking bits. Seeing her in action in the kitchen had me wanting to throw my apron on and see what kind of concoctions I could throw together in the kitchen. I love baking in any romance novel and it never fails to amaze me how Nora Roberts can take any occupation out there and make me curious about it. She’s a phenomenal writer and I’m such a fan!

It was good to see the gang all together again and I can’t wait for Parker and Mal’s story. I can’t wait to see how Mal wins her over. It’s going to be interesting because Mal is a fox and Parker is one tough cookie. I can already imagine the sparks that are going to fly. Woot!

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

The Bride Quartet

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can buy it here.

four-stars


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Review: Changing the Game by Jaci Burton

Posted November 24, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Changing the Game by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Rowena
Changing the Game (Play by Play, #2) by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #2
Also in this series: Holiday on Ice, Rules of Contact, The Final Score (Play by Play, #13)
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: August 2nd 2011
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 310
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four-stars

Most people play by the rules. Gavin and Liz aren't most people....

Win at any cost. That's always been the mantra of sports agent Liz Darnell. When she carries things too far and risks losing her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley, Liz realizes that she'll have to work extra innings to win him back. It might not be too much of a stretch. She's had a thing for this player's moves since she first laid eyes on him, and by the looks of it, he wants her just as bad.

Gavin's more than ready—especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. And as much of her as Gavin wants. For added thrills, he decides to throw a little curve ball Liz's way to see just how far she's truly willing to go to keep him as a client. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin are ready for the biggest game-changer of them all.

Changing the Game is the second book in Jaci Burton’s Play by Play series and it features Gavin Riley, the hero of the first books brother. Gavin’s heroine is the villain from the first book and I didn’t know how I’d come around where Liz was concerned, knowing what she did to Mick, Tara and Nathan in The Perfect Play but Burton did a great job of redeeming her character in my eyes.

What surprised me was how much I wanted to knee Mick in the balls in this book. We really see him in the eyes of his brother and he was annoying as hell but alls well that ends well because in the end, he turns back into the man everyone loves.

Gavin Riley plays professional baseball in St. Louis and loves his life. He loves the freedom he has to be with whoever he wants, he spends his days training for or playing his favorite sport in the world and his life comes with a lot of perks. He knows that he shouldn’t be attracted to his agent, after the hell she put his brother and family through but he can’t help it. She creeps into his thoughts and he wants her. When she starts avoiding him, Gavin finds the right opportunity to clear the air between them…and maybe dirty up his sheets.

Liz Darnell has been in love with Gavin for years but he’ll never know that. She’s worked really hard at keeping her feelings for her client at bay and now that she royally screwed up with his brother (and her #1 client), she is waiting for Gavin to drop her as an agent just like Mick did. When Gavin corners her for a meeting and then that meeting turns into spending time together knocking boots, Liz is equal parts thrilled and scared to death because what is she going to do when he’s had his fill of her and moves on?

Watching the sparks fly between Gavin and Liz was fun. This wasn’t one of those books where there is major angst and so many things are happening at the same time that the main couple is falling in love. No, this book was simple romance where the story hinged on the reader connecting with the characters and for me, it totally worked. I wanted to read a baseball romance after being completely obsessed with the World Series and a pretty remarkable season from my Dodgers and this book really fit the bill.

Gavin was such a normal younger brother. Not wanting to live in his brother’s spotlight but wanting to shine on his own. I really enjoyed getting to know him and seeing him connect with Liz. I also really enjoyed seeing his own connection with his family. The Rileys were family goals and I loved seeing them again. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I was right there with his parents and wanted to strangle him for being such a dumbass but he gets it right in the end and Liz’s love for him was strong and I was happy that he was able to make things right with her before it was too late.

Liz was such a strong heroine and getting to know her was great. She was remorseful for her actions in the trouble with Mick and his family and I loved that she learned her lesson and wanted to make things right for everyone involved. She was a damn grown up and handled everything that came her way the same way that I hope I would and I just admired the hell out of her when all was said and done. She was a good person, inside and out and she worked hard and loved deep and I was so happy when she finally got her happy ending because I truly thought she deserved it.

Overall, Burton did a great job of writing Gavin and Liz’s story and I’m low key mad at myself for waiting so long to read this book. It’s a good one and I definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for a contemporary with a strong romance and a great secondary cast. This will hit you in the feels, I promise.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Retro-Review: Table Manners by Mia King.

Posted November 22, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Retro-Review: Table Manners by Mia King.Reviewer: Rowena
Table Manners by Mia King
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: August 4th 2009
Pages: 336
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The star of Mia King's "entertaining"(Seattle Times) debut novel Good Things is back-and she's got a full plate.

Deidre McIntosh is everyone's favorite go-to person. She seems so successful, so capable, so just plain perfect, with a popular cooking show, her own line of cakes and cookies, and an ideal relationship with Kevin Johnson-considered one of the most desirable men in Seattle.

Then Kevin's ex-fiancée, sultry magazine publisher Sabine Durant, suddenly appears, and Deidre needs help. Already intimidated by Kevin's glamorous, moneyed world-and his sister, who wants Deidre out of Kevin's life-she fears she's no match for Sabine. And the go-to girl must figure out where to go next before the tablecloth is pulled out from under her...

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: Rowena and I both read a lot of Women’s  Fiction in 2008 and 2009. I think we both grew out of it after that, though we both still dip our toes in occasionally. 

This review was originally posted on August 5, 2009.

I’m a big foodie fan so when I come across books that have bakers and chefs, I get a little (okay a lot) excited. Reading the blurb on this book was no different. I thought the cover was so simple, so cute and it added to my excitement of reading this book. So going into this book, there was a lot of things working in its favor and I’m glad to report that Mia King did a great job keeping me locked into her story.

The only thing that I’m pretty bummed about is that I didn’t take the time to read the book that came before this one, GOOD THINGS. The reason for that is because we meet Deirdre in that book and from what I can tell, her story really starts there. It would have been nice to read that book but I wasn’t completely lost in this story. I enjoyed it a whole bunch and as soon as I can, I’m going to track down that book and read it.

This book is about Deidre moving on from the drama that her life has been. She’s giving baking gourmet cookies a shot and she’s genuinely happy with her life. She’s got a great man by her side and her business is doing pretty well until everything starts to crumble around her. She needs to come up with new recipes for new cookies that will be a hit in five days, she doesn’t think she’ll do it and then she’s got to deal with her boyfriend’s evil sister who hates her guts and then, his ex pops back into their lives and Deirdre is about to lose her mind.

This book showed just how far Deirdre has come since everyone first met her in Good Things. She’s got a new life now, she’s not on TV anymore. She’s baking cookies. Her living arrangements have certainly come up and she’s seriously happy with the way that her life is going but to watch her struggle with this new life and then come face to face with the world that her boyfriend is from and not know where you actually fit in made for a great read. I enjoyed seeing Deirdre bumble her way toward the ending and I just genuinely liked her. I thought she was a great character and I really enjoyed the romance between her and Kevin.

I thought Kevin was such a stud. He was so good to Deirdre and he was just one of those stand up guys that is charming and you can’t help but love him. It was his sister Marla that I couldn’t frickin’ stand. Talk about someone swears her shit don’t stink. And then there was Sabine or Tabby as Kevin called her. She was that perfect woman that nobody can compare to and yet, I liked Deirdre better. I thought Deirdre was more down to earth and the person that I wanted to have as a friend. It was funny to see Tabby eyeing Deirdre, that made me laugh. The cast of characters all brought something to the story and I thought they were all well written.

I’m really glad that I read this book. I definitely recommend this book to those of you guys who are looking for something light but not so light that it’s fluffy. There’s a great story between these pages and I really think everyone should try it out. It was a really fast read and a read that left me feeling wistful and hopeful. A definite recommend.

4 out of 5

Check It Out

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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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
Published by Intermix
Publication Date: November 21st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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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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Retro-Review: Heart Change by Robin D. Owens

Posted November 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Retro-Review: Heart Change by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Change by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #8
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Dance, Heart Journey, Heart Secret, Heart Legacy
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: November 3rd 2009
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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three-half-stars

First time in print?the fantastic new Celta novel from the award-winning author of Heart Fate.
Signet D'Marigold's lonely life is shaken when a prophet reveals she is a catalyst for change. But to accept her new life-and the charge of the noble child Avellana-means embracing a danger that may be fatal for them both. Especially when Signet's attraction to her new bodyguard signals a secret enemy sworn to destroy them.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: This series is still going strong. I love the world of Celta and look forward to falling into it with each new release.

This review was originally posted on November 2, 2009.

As I recently mentioned, I started this series with book 7, Heart Fate. Over the last month or so I finally caught up on the rest of the series (with the exception of one book I still need to read). I’ve really enjoyed the series up to this point. Owens truly excels at writing strong characters and excellent world-building. Each time I open one of these I can’t wait to fall into her world. I enjoyed some in the series better than others and I’d say Heart Change falls somewhere in the middle.

Signet D’Marigold has pretty much given up on life. She’s the last of her line and she’s practically drowning in loneliness. All of her friends seem to leave her, and because she doesn’t know what her flair is, she doesn’t really have a purpose in life. All that changes when Muin “Vinnie” T’Vine, the teen prophet, shows up and says he knows what her flair is and he needs her help. She’s a catalyst. Just being near her changes the course of other people’s lives for the better.

Vinnie’s heartmate, Avellana, is getting ready to experience her first passage – the time when flair (magical ability) is released for the first time. Because she suffered an accident in the past Vinnie and Avellana’s parents aren’t convinced that she’ll make it through passage safely. Vinnie requests that Avellana move in with Signet because he “saw” that she’d be able to help Avellana.

Avellana’s parents aren’t taking any chances with her safety and hire Cratag Maytree to guard her while she’s with Signet. Cratag has little flair, and ever since landing in Celta he’s been feeling displaced. He’s the captain of the guard for T’Hawthorn, but he knows he isn’t truly one of the family. That’s confirmed when T’Hawthorn assigns him to guard Avellana and Signet. Although he resents being shuffled around, he can’t help but look forward to spending time with Signet, as he’s been attracted to her for some time.

When this book first opens I wasn’t sure I’d like Signet. She was in the middle of a pity party and she didn’t seem like someone I could relate to. As the story progressed she really came alive for me. We come to understand the depth of her loneliness and despair and she really grows, accepting who and what she is. She really opened up throughout the story, not just to Cratag, but also to Avellana, Vinnie and some of the other secondary characters. I really liked watching her come into her own.

As much as I liked Cratag in the previous novels, I wasn’t as impressed with him here. In some regards he was exactly what Signet needed. He was strong and comforting, and I liked that he really let her lean on him when she needed to, but also pushed her when needed to stand up for herself. He really encouraged her to become her own person, which was wonderful. As much as I liked him with Signet, however, I really didn’t care for him on his own.

He doesn’t feel like he’s good enough for Signet. Or really at all. Although he’s the captain of the guard for T’Hawthorn, because he has little flair he doesn’t really feel like he’s been accepted in Celta. So he holds himself back. While I understood this initially, I felt he took it too far. His inner dialogue was focused almost solely on his shortcomings – from his attire to his lack of flair – and it was frustrating. If Signet grew and found herself, Cratag almost seemed to move backward. He seemed more confident and sure of himself in the beginning of the novel than he did at the end.

Having said that, I did enjoy the progression of the relationship. I liked them together and really wanted to see things work between them. Had Cratag been a little faster to realize his own worth I think this could have ended up as one of my favorites.

I really loved the secondary characters. We met all of them earlier in the series, but they played a larger part here. I’ll be curious to see how things develop with Vinnie and Avellana in the future, especially since some of the things that were revealed here still need to be dealt with. I can’t wait to see what happens with Laev, either. He’s Cratag’s young cousin and there was a good amount of the book spent on his story. I hope Owens picks up that thread again soon.

I also really liked both Signet and Cratag’s Fams. I couldn’t help but laugh when Cratag got a rolly-polly kitten as his, but they seemed to fit well together.

I enjoyed the suspense, though it wasn’t hard to figure out who the villain was. I think watching how the characters dealt with it made up for the lack of mystery. I really liked learning more about first passage and experiencing it with Avellana.

Overall I enjoyed the romance, though it had flaws. Despite my issues I feel it’s a good entry to the series and I’ll probably read it again.

3.75 out of 5

The Series

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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