Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Guest Review: Blocked by LP Dover

Posted November 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Blocked by LP DoverReviewer: Tracy
Blocked by L.P. Dover
Series: Breakaway Series #2
Also in this series: Hard Stick
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars

He’s got every reason to be cocky . . . until a female cuts him down to size.

I’m Dallas Easton, the best goaltender in the league. I make a damn good living playing hockey, and with women falling at my feet wherever I go, why not enjoy it? I get whatever I want, whenever I want—that is, until I come across the one player who gets the best of me on the ice.

When I try to pummel the dude, all hell breaks loose. Imagine my surprise when the helmet comes off to reveal a woman underneath. And not just any woman, but the sexiest woman I’ve ever seen. Callie Davis is the complete opposite of the puck bunnies I usually go for, a good girl with sick moves and a selfless streak a mile wide. I need to make amends, but she dodges me at every turn. It doesn’t help that Callie’s brother hates my guts, or that my agent thinks she’s bad for my career.

But I could care less what they think. I can’t let our little run-in on the ice be the end of our story. Because when I set my sights on something, I won’t rest until I score.

Dallas Easton is a complete player.  He’s the goaltender for the Carolina Strikers and he thinks quite highly of himself.  When the book opens he’s at an after-the-game-win party at a fellow player’s house.  He picks the first hot chick he sees, dances with her for a minute and a half, maybe and next thing you know he’s in a bedroom with her RTF.

Dallas gets hurt at that party and Callie, an ER and surgical nurse takes care of him.  Later when he’s well enough to get back in the game he’s practicing on the ice and actually almost punches Callie (I won’t tell how).  He wants nothing more than to tell Callie how sorry he is but she won’t give him the time of day. She knows he’s a womanizer and really wants nothing to do with him.  He’s never had to chase a woman in his life so he gets creative with trying to see her and apologize for his actions. He soon gets close enough to tell her how he feels and soon Callie is giving him a chance

The pair start falling for each other but they have plenty of roadblocks standing in their way.  Will their love be enough to get them through everyone who hates them together and stands in their way?

I have to admit that when I got this ARC from NetGalley I was excited to read it.  I’d liked the first book in the series and was looking forward to book two.  I read the first chapter and quite frankly?  I hated Dallas. He was such a huge douchebag that I had no desire to read any more about him.  I put the book down and let it sit there for almost 3 months before I picked it back up.  I know, bad Tracy.  When I finally decided to give it another chance and read past chapter one I was quite surprised.  I still thought that Dallas was an ass for about half the book but he truly redeemed himself in my eyes.  He fell in love with Callie and couldn’t see any other woman besides her.  It went a long way toward making me like the man.

Callie was a strong woman and I liked that about her.  She stood up to Dallas, and her brothers as well when they got too protective.  She had a good head on her shoulders and was happy to see that she didn’t give in to Dallas right away.  She really made him grovel and I loved it.  Their relationship ended up being pretty great. Yes, there were the typical trying to tear them apart moments but overall it was good.

This has been a good series (yes, only two books so far, but still) and I was happy to see that this book had a lot more hockey involved in it.  The last book had a hockey player in it but not so much hockey.  This had a ton more and I loved it.  I’m looking forward to reading the next book and I can’t wait to see what happens next with these hockey players.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne

Posted November 7, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
An Ex for Christmas (Love Unexpectedly) by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #5
Also in this series: Good Girl, Walk of Shame
Published by Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 218
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Goodreads
four-stars

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

“Lauren Layne writes characters I want to tackle and keep as my best friends, woven into smart, sexy, utterly romantic tales of love.”—Violet Duke

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.

Every time that Lauren Layne releases a book, I’m going to read it. She’s been my go-to author for fabulous contemporary romances for the past couple of years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. An Ex for Christmas is the fifth book in the non-series, Love Unexpectedly and it’s another sweet romance that I ate right up.

Kelly believes in fate and in all things psychic so when she’s trying to make her way home for the holidays and a psychic stops her to tell her that she’s already met her one true love, Kelly is shook. She’s so shook that she gets home and ropes her best friend Mark into helping her make a list of her ex-boyfriends because one of them is her one true love and she’s going to find him. So she goes on this mission to track down her exes, put them through a date to see if there are any sparks left and well…you know how that goes.

Mark just got out of a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere and he’s making plans for his future when his best friend Kelly comes home with the crazy plan to track down her exes and marry one of them. He’s grumpy about it because what man wants to be caught up in that tangle of junk?

Mark and Kelly were adorable together. I love how comfortable they were with each other and how loyal they were to each other. When Kelly thinks that Mark’s girlfriend is cheating on him, she gets super mad on his behalf and I thought that was fantastic. Mark couldn’t have cared less because he was getting ready to put his plans into action and when he’s sidelined by Kelly’s crazy plans to nab an ex, I loved seeing him battle his emotions with that.

Lauren Layne does a great job of telling this story while only giving us Kelly’s POV. I would have liked to get inside Mark’s head from time to time but I caught onto his deal pretty early on so I didn’t think the book suffered much from not having it. Mark was the perfect kind of grumpy that I adore to pieces so I was all aboard the Mark train.

Kelly took her sweet ass time figuring out who her perfect mate was but I had a good time seeing her fail at every date she went on so I wasn’t annoyed at all. She was great fun to get to know and I liked seeing her come into her own. She had a sweet relationship with her parents and with her friends from high school so all in all, this was a good read.

This was the perfect read to read heading into the holidays…it was fun, flirty and had a smoking hot hero that was grumpily perfect for the sweetheart of a heroine. Lauren Layne continues to shine in my eyes and I’m already thirsty for more. She seriously can’t write fast enough to suit me. I’m so greedy when it comes to her books. She’s just so good. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Retro Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano

Posted October 25, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn PappanoReviewer: Casee
Some Enchanted Season (Bethlehem, #2) by Marilyn Pappano
Series: Bethlehem #2
Published by Bantam
Publication Date: December 1st 1998
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
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Sometimes miracles do happen.

When Maggie left her husband Ross that fateful Christmas Eve, their marriage was over.  But a near fatal accident on an ice-slick road changed everything.

Now another Christmas approaches.  While Maggie hasn't regained all her memory, she's ready to test her strength at home--with Ross as her only companion.  Sharing a house with him once more, putting on the best face for their neighbors, Maggie knows she's living a lie.

Then she glimpses Ross as he used to be: playful and passionate, the man of her dreams before ambition changed him.  She couldn't know he's feeling the same regrets, the same heartache...or that he fears the return of her memory.  What will happen when she remembers the reason she fled from him last year?

It will take a miracle to send the walls of anger and secrecy tumbling down and reunite the divided couple.  But in the small town of Bethlehem, miracles do happen....

*****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 December 14, 2007.

I absolutely adore this book. I love it. After I read it, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love reunion books. I love how I can re-read this every single year (at Christmas, of course) and still get as caught up in the story as I did the first time. This is one of my absolute favorite re-reads of all time (especially during the holiday season)…

Arriving back in Bethlehem a few days before Thanksgiving, Maggie has no memory of what drove her from her home that fateful night on Christmas Eve of last year. All she does remember is that after sixteen years of marriage, she and her husband, Ross, have decided to throw in the towel. After 11 months of extensive physical therapy, Maggie is forced to except Ross’s help in her recovery. Their plan was simple. Ross would be around to help Maggie for two months. They would then part amicably and then quietly get divorced.

Really, is there any such thing as an amicable divorce? Seriously.

After being a workaholic for so many years, Ross finds himself curiously adrift. Never being able to find the right balance between being a CEO and husband, Ross refuses to let himself read even one email or answer one phone call. He decides that it’s the nicest thing he can do for Maggie. A parting gift, if you will.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, of course. When you live in a town full of people offering advice, a town that has its’ own guardian angel, it’s very easy to think “what if”. It doesn’t take Ross long to start thinking that he and Maggie could make things work. There’s only one problem. While Maggie doesn’t remember the previous Christmas Eve, Ross does. He knows that it’s highly likely that when Maggie remembers what happened, it will drive her from his arms for good.

I can’t say enough how much I love this book. It’s a book about two people who lost their way. Going back to their roots, Maggie and Ross both have to look inside themselves to find what makes them happy. While Ross did put work ahead of Maggie, Maggie is far from blameless in the demise of their marriage. Coming to terms with that is hard for her, but she’s able to do it. Maggie is one of my favorite heroines.

Taking place during the holiday season, this is the perfect holiday read. I would love to live in Bethlehem.

5 out of 5


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Guest Review: Bound to a Spy by Sharon Cullen

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

Guest Review: Bound to a Spy by Sharon CullenReviewer: Tracy
Bound to a Spy by Sharon Cullen
Series: All the Queen's Spies #2
Also in this series: Wed to a Spy
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: October 24th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
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four-stars

Rose Turner’s mother sent her to the court of Mary, Queen of Scots, to give her a better life. Raised with rowdy brothers in a notorious border clan, Rose has plenty of experience fighting and thieving—and practically none when it comes to matters of decorum and discretion. Without a single ally, she has little hope of making a good marriage to salvage her family’s reputation. But after overhearing several influential lords plotting to murder the King of Scotland, Rose meets a man after all: a handsome spy trying to shield her from danger.

As one of the Queen Elizabeth’s top agents, Will Sheffield has come up north to keep a close eye on the goings-on at Mary’s court. A consummate professional, Will notices Rose’s presence at the secret meeting . . . and he’s not the only one. The wild, naïve beauty has made a fearsome enemy—and only Will can keep her safe. But after an attempt on Rose’s life pulls them tantalizingly close, Will faces an agonizing choice between professional loyalty or powerful passion.

Rose Turner is the daughter of a border clan lord who is known for his thieving.  She was sent to court to try and find a husband.  It’s truly the last place she wants to be as she’d rather be at home taking care of animals, wearing breeches and having a good time with her five brothers.  She tries to spend as much time outside of the palace as possible but as it’s horribly cold out those times grown shorter and shorter.  During one of her outdoor times she tries to get out of the weather and uses a hidden door she knows about.  Unfortunately she happens to hear men behind a closed door plotting to kill the king.  She gets away before they see her but drops her shawl.

Will Sheffield is the son of a Viscount but he’s also one of Queen Elizabeth’s spies.  He’s been sent to Queen Mary’s court to gather information and is hidden in the shadows listening to the plot to kill the king when Rose arrives.  He knows that he has to protect her from the plotting men, but his fellow spies tell him to leave it be.  There are casualties in all their missions and she will be another.  Will doesn’t exactly feel that way and sets out to meet the beautiful Rose.

Rose and Will spend more time together and Rose starts to care for him – just as Will starts to care for her.  She is approached however, by Lord Lysle who starts to pay attention to her.  She is fine with it until Will tells her that he is one of the plotters. She has to play her cards right so that Lysle doesn’t have a clue that she is aware of his deeds. Rose is also torn – she knows she should go to the queen to tell her of the plot but if she does but is scared.

Will knows he should stay away from Rose but he finds himself falling in love with her anyway.  He knows he can’t be with her or marry her but when it comes down to doing his job or saving Rose, which will he choose?

Bound to a Spy was a lovely story of secrets and intrigue, love and romance.  I truly enjoyed reading about Rose and Will’s meeting and falling in love.  Though they both knew it was wrong to fall in love with the other they still could not stay away from each other.

Will had had a childhood with no love.  His parents had resided in London while he had lived on their country estate raised by nannies and governesses.  He knew he’d never get married nor fall in love as he didn’t believe he knew how to love someone.  It was sad to know he thought this way about himself.  He was a good man who ended up taking such good care of Rose.

Rose was a wild little thing who was clearly out of her element in the palace.  She wanted to be outside in the fresh air and not stuck sitting around doing embroidery (that she wasn’t good at). Rose may have been an outdoor girl but she still had grace and refinement and I liked the dueling parts of her personality.  When it came to Will she was a goner from the get-go.  Truly smitten from minute one and it only grew from there.

This romance flowed so nicely within the story and blended well with the intrigue aspect of it.  Cullen once again did a fantastic job of bringing us the story of Elizabeth’s spies and the love stories.  I can’t wait to read the next one as it looks to be just as good as this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Dying to Please by Linda Howard

Posted October 22, 2017 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 2 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

Dying to Please is a one of Linda Howard’s romantic suspense novels that the three of us here love. Cahill and Sarah were such great characters. They really came to life on page. Suspense, action, hot hot hot sex, strip-wrestling, humor and a kickass heroine make this a must read.

Sunday Spotlight: Dying to Please by Linda HowardDying To Please by Linda Howard
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: November 4th 2003
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-half-stars

Alternate-cover edition can be found here

Loyal. Beautiful. Professional. Impeccably organized. Potentially lethal. Sarah Stevens is a woman with many distinct qualities. First and foremost a butler par excellence, skilled at running large households smoothly and efficiently, she is also a trained bodyguard and expert marksman—indispensable to her elderly employer, a courtly gentleman whom Sarah has come to respect and love as a father. Then one night she thwarts an attempted burglary, a courageous act that awards Sarah her requisite “fifteen minutes of fame” with the local press. But the exposure is enough to catch the attention of a tortured soul who, unbeknownst to Sarah, will stop at nothing to have her for himself...

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Favorite Passages

Holly: While I love Cahill, Sarah is the best part of this book for me. She’s a female butler and bodyguard. She’s self-aware, comfortable in her own skin, has a killer sense of humor and is, in general, a total badass. I wouldn’t mind being her when I grow up.

“What about marriage, a family?”

“I hope to have those, too, just not yet. And if I never get married, I still enjoy my life and I’m pleased with my career choice. I’m happy with myself, which isn’t a bad thing.”

Sarah was the most self-possessed person he knew, Cahill thought. If she had lost control to that extent, she had been hysterical. She was frightened, and hurting, and he hadn’t so much as touched her hand when he’d gone to see her in the bungalow. No wonder she was hugging herself; someone needed to do it.

They have a great romance. When Cahill wasn’t acting like an idiot and screwing it up, anyway.

“That was good.” His tone was so low it almost rumbled.

“Yes, it was.” Her own tone was a tad . . . breathy. Where had that come from? She had never sounded breathy before in her life.

“Do you want to do it again?”

“We’d better not.”

“Okay,” he said, and kissed her again.

“What time did you get up?”

“Almost seven. I went for a run, ate the bagel, read the paper, twiddled my thumbs.”

“Poor baby.” She picked up her spoon and dug in. “What else did you do?”

“You still weren’t awake, so I had sex with your unconscious body—”

“Did not.”

“Did, too.”

“Okay, so you dozed off and were dreaming. What time did you wake up?”

“Nine-thirty.”

“So who says men have more guts than women?”

He grinned at the challenge in her voice. “No one. Men just tend to do stupid things out of pride. Now that I’ve admitted we’re all idiots, will you have dinner with me tonight?”

“What? Go out with an idiot?”

“Think of the entertainment value.”

“I’ll do my best to keep you entertained. How does that sound?”

“Hmm, I don’t know. What do you have in mind?”

“Well, for starters I thought I’d fuck your brains out. Then, as an encore, I thought I’d fuck your brains out.”

“Just what I like,” she said. “Variety.”

Even though Cahill makes does some boneheaded things, he’s still a great hero. He’s the perfect match for Sarah.

He was suspicious when something seemed perfect, but the way he and Sarah fit together was . . . perfect. Even when they argued, he knew he didn’t intimidate her—hell, he wasn’t certain she could be intimidated. And that was perfect. He didn’t have to handle her with kid gloves. The sex was hot and raunchy: perfect. They made each other laugh: perfect. Maybe it was because she was from a military family, but she seemed to get him in a way no other woman had: perfect. What wasn’t perfect was that she wasn’t with him.

He didn’t want to be “just” anything to her. He wanted to be her center.

via GIPHY

Giveaway

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

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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

Linda Howard

GOODREADS

Linda Howard is an award-winning author whose novels include the recent New York Times bestsellers Shadow Woman, Up Close and Dangerous, and Drop Dead Gorgeous, as well as the Pocket Books releases Kill and Tell, Now You See Her, All the Queen’s Men, Mr. Perfect, and Open Season. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.

four-half-stars


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