Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Review: I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne

Posted July 14, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford Series #4
Published by Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 215
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four-stars

New York City’s hottest bachelors are stirring up trouble in this fun, flirty Oxford Novel, as a love triangle forces a feisty beauty to choose between winning back Mr. Right or giving in to Mr. Wrong.

Taylor Carr has it all—a sleek job in advertising, a stunning Manhattan apartment, and the perfect man to share it with: Bradley Calloway. Even after Bradley dumps her for a co-worker on move-in day, Taylor isn’t worried. She’ll get her man eventually. In the meantime, she needs a new roommate. Enter Nick Ballantine, career bartender, freelance writer—and longtime pain in Taylor’s ass. Sexy in a permanent five-o’clock-shadow kind of way, Nick knows how to push Taylor’s buttons, as if he could see right through to the real her.

Nick’s always trying to fix people, and nobody could use a good fixing more than Taylor. Sure, she’s gorgeous, with mesmerizing silver eyes, but it’s her vulnerability that kills him. Now that they’re shacking up together, the chemistry is out of control. Soon they’re putting every part of their two-bedroom apartment to good use. Then Taylor’s ex comes crawling back to her, and Nick figures she’ll jump at the chance to go back to her old life—unless he fights for the best thing that ever happened to him.

Don’t miss any of Lauren Layne’s juicy Oxford Novels:IRRESISTIBLY YOURS | I WISH YOU WERE MINE | SOMEONE LIKE YOU | I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE

“Irresistibly Yours has it all: fun banter, hot chemistry, and a couple that you just can’t help but want to be together!”—New York Times bestselling author Marquita Valentine “A smart, sexy, and absolutely irresistible read!”—USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly, on I Wish You Were Mine

“Lauren Layne is a new auto-buy author for me. I can’t get enough of the men of Oxford!”—Christi Barth, author of the Naked Men series

And look for her exhilarating Sex, Love & Stiletto series:AFTER THE KISS | LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH | JUST ONE NIGHT | THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE

I Knew You Were Trouble is the fourth book in the Oxford series by Lauren Layne and it’s a book that I’ve been pretty anxious for. I love all things Lauren Layne and I especially love all things Oxford so the minute this book found its way onto my Kindle, I dug in and finished the entire book in a day.

If you read the other books in the Oxford series then you’ll remember Nick Ballantine as the fill-in guy. He’s a freelance writer who fills in for Oxford writers who are on vacation or out sick or whatever. Lincoln Mathis isn’t a fan of Nick’s because he tried asking Daisy out in Someone Like You and Lincoln didn’t appreciate Nick trying to slide into his girl’s DM’s. So this book is that Nick’s book and while it wasn’t my favorite of the Oxford bunch, I still rather enjoyed it.

Nick’s heroine works at Oxford on the marketing side of the magazine and Taylor Carr is the real deal. She’s fierce and she’s sassy and Nick wants her bad. Too bad, she hates his guts and wants nothing to do with him. Their chemistry was off the chains and I enjoyed their work encounters. This hate to love story was so much fun for me. I enjoyed getting to know both Nick and Taylor and their story was a solid one.

There was a lot about Nick that we didn’t know in the other books and I’m glad that we got his backstory in this book. He’s been through a lot of heartbreak and man did I feel for him. I felt for him when we find out what happened with Kelsey and I wanted to wring Kelsey’s neck when she popped up on his doorstep like she had every right to.

Taylor was a bit extra at times but I never hated her. I understood where she was coming from when she would act crazy and I can’t say that I blamed her for moving on to Bradley the way that she did. In my opinion, the back and forth between Nick and Taylor had to happen for them to get to where they were in the end. They were in such a good place at the end and the ending scene had me smiling like a crazy lady because I was so happy for both of them.

I really like Lauren Layne’s writing style. Her characters are always smart, charming and just all around great people and you can’t help by cheer them on. These characters were no different than the editorial Oxford peeps. They felt like my friends and I was glad to see all of my favorite characters from the other Oxford books.

I can’t wait to read Brit’s book and I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that her man is the man I’m thinking about. I’m so ready for that book.

Overall, this was a great romance featuring two people who fought their way to true love and even though it wasn’t my favorite book, I still recommend it because it’s a solid story as all Lauren Layne stories seem to be for me. Nick and Taylor are great and if you missed the other Oxford folks, look no further than this book because they’re all back!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

Posted July 13, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne BrockmannReviewer: Rowena
Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockmann
Series: Troubleshooters Series #17
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: July 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Romance
Pages: 448
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Navy men don’t come tougher than Lieutenant Peter Greene. Every day he whips hotshot SEAL wannabes into elite fighters. So why can’t he handle one fifteen-year-old girl? His ex’s death left him a single dad overnight, and very unprepared. Though he can’t relate to an angsty teen, he can at least keep Maddie safe—until the day she disappears. Though Pete’s lacking in fatherly intuition, his instinct for detecting danger is razor sharp. Maddie’s in trouble. Now he needs the Troubleshooters team at his back, along with an unconventional ally.

Romance writer Shayla Whitman never expected to be drawn into a real-world thriller—or to meet a hero who makes her pulse pound. Action on the page is one thing. Actually living it is another story. Shay’s not as bold as her heroines, but she’s a mother. She sees the panic in her new neighbor’s usually fearless blue eyes—and knows there’s no greater terror for a parent than having a child at risk. It’s an ordeal Shay won’t let Pete face alone. She’s no highly trained operative, but she’s smart, resourceful, and knows what makes teenagers tick.

Still, working alongside Pete has its own perils—like letting the heat between them rise out of control. Intimate emotions could mean dangerous, even deadly, consequences for their mission. No matter what, they must be on top of their game, and playing for keeps . . . or else Pete’s daughter may be gone for good.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Troubleshooters book by Suzanne Brockmann so I was pretty excited to jump back into this world. I was hoping to catch up with all of the previous couples and there are quite a few of them around in Some Kind of Hero but to be honest, I miss the guys from the beginning of the series.

I miss Sam Starrett and Johnny Nilsson, though I don’t miss Nilsson’s wife Meg. I also miss Wildcard and Cosmo and just…those guys. They’ve all moved on from the Navy but for me, they were the guys that I loved so much that I kept coming back for more. I like the new guys fine but they just don’t compare to the older guys. My guys.

Anyway, on with the review…

Some Kind of Hero follows Lietenant Peter Greene and Shayla Whitman. Peter’s daughter has gone missing and Shayla gets roped into helping him by being at the right place when Peter needed a helping hand. Peter’s daughter Maddie gets herself wrapped up in some bad business and because she has no relationship with her Navy SEAL father, she doesn’t turn to him for help. She decides that she can handle taking on a drug lord all by her teenage self. sigh Too many times I wanted to punch Maddie in the throat for being so stupid.

Anyway, so Peter and Shayla are trying to track Maddie down because she’s missing and they’re piecing together what happened throughout the book with the help of Peter’s SEAL buddies Izzy Zanella, Mark Jenkins and a whole bunch of newbies that are all named John. It really takes a village to raise a child or in this case, find a missing child and the more I read, the more I got frustrated with a bunch of things.

  • Maddie. When the only person you have left in the world is your father, someone who has bent over backward trying to fix your broken relationship and is a Navy freaking SEAL, you turn to him for help when you’re framed for stealing money from a drug lord. You don’t lie and make things so much worse by running away and putting those that are trying to help you in danger by not being upfront about everything. I was also not cool with the way that she kept throwing her underage self at Dingo who was trying so hard to do the right thing by keeping his distance at the same time that he was trying to help protect her from the bad guys. Maddie annoyed the shit out of me at every turn in this book. I never quite warmed up to her and that sucked.
  • Shayla’s internal dialogue she had with Harry. It’s one thing to talk to yourself in your head or to even have conversations with your made up character in your head but the amount of times that Shayla shushed Harry out loud made me roll my eyes all over the damn place. I wanted to shake Shayla and tell her to stop acting like fucking weirdo, especially cause I thought she was too old to be acting the way that she was.
  • The earthquake. As someone who grew up in Southern California and is used to the earthquakes that we have down here, the whole earthquake scene just didn’t feel authentic to me. Peter did entirely too much and the earth shook for too long and I was reading that scene like, nope…that wouldn’t happen, there’s not enough time for all of this to happen. We’ve never had an earthquake that long and sure it’s all explained away but nope, I didn’t buy it.

There are more things that I was frustrated with but those were the main ones. I wasn’t a big fan of the romance between Peter and Shayla because they were too old to act the way they were acting. The whole “OMG, does he like me? I’m so stupid. Why did I say that?” Ugh, seriously? You guys aren’t 16 and in high school, so stop acting like you are. You’re a freaking Navy SEAL, Peter…open your mouth and tell Shayla how you feel about her. Same with Shayla. She wrote romance novels for a living for crying out loud. If you can write steamy love scenes and dialogue featuring a whole lot of “I love you’s” than you should be able to tell the man that you love how you feel and stop dodging what was really going on between you two.

I will say that even though there were things that annoyed me, I still enjoyed being in the Troubleshooters world again. It was good to see Izzy and Eden again and to hear about Lopez and Jenk and everybody else that was brought up in this book. Izzy is my favorite hero of the newer generation of SEALs so I loved, loved, loved seeing him again. I love his personality and he hasn’t changed a bit since his book. He’s still freaking awesome.

Overall, the romance kind of fell flat for me and the heroine got on my nerves with her inner dialogue crap and the earthquake didn’t feel right to me at all but I loved seeing the SEAL team come together and be there for one of their own. I loved how they juggled their jobs on the base with being there for Peter and helping out any way that they can. I loved hearing the Navy slang again and even though this isn’t my favorite book in the series, it’s still good.

Grade: 3 out of 5


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Guest Review: Hard Stick by L.P. Dover

Posted June 30, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Hard Stick by L.P. DoverReviewer: Tracy
Hard Stick by L.P. Dover
Series: Breakaway Series #1
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: June 13th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 225
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He carries a big stick. And he’s not afraid to use it.

On the ice, I’m Kellan Carter, powerhouse enforcer for the Charlotte Strikers. Off the ice, I’m just a regular guy. The last thing I want is to get mobbed by a bunch of groupies who are only after me for my fame and money. My ideal woman knows how to enjoy a little good, clean fun—and maybe some not-so-clean fun too. That’s the kind of girl I’d never let go.

When Kristen Robinson, the gorgeous, down-to-earth bartender I’ve been crushing on, agrees to let me take her out, I’m thrilled. We have an amazing night together, culminating in the most electrifying kiss of my life—and that’s it. Kristen tells me we can’t see each other again, but I know that kiss meant as much to her as it did to me. What I don’t know is that Kristen has a dangerous secret. . . .

I’ve proved to Kristen that she can trust me with her body and her heart. But when her past comes back to haunt her, I need to prove that she can trust me with her life. And I might have to get my hands dirty after all.

Kristen Robinson was in a relationship with a controlling asshole.  When she finds out that he had a hand in the death of her best friend she knows it’s time to get out.  The problem is that he can find her anywhere.  She enlists the help of a friend who have relatives that work with the FBI.  They get her new papers and hide her.  Kristen meets Kellan Carter because she is a bartender at the bar that him and his fellow ice hockey teammates go to.  They’re constantly asking Kristen out but she always declines.  She doesn’t want anyone else wrapped up in her mess.

When the FBI decides to fake Kristen’s death she feels like a weight has been lifted from her shoulders.  She actually accepts Kellan when he asks her out and that’s pretty much all she wrote.  They are incredibly happy together until Kristen’s past finds her once again.

I think I’m in the majority when I say that when I picked up this book I thought it was a hockey player romance.  Ok, it is that but mostly it’s about Kristen and her issues with her ex-boyfriend.  Yes, Kellan and Kristen get their romance and it’s very sweet but quite frankly Kellan could have had any job and the story wouldn’t have changed too much.  There was very little hockey involved and it definitely wasn’t the focus of the book.

Once Kristen’s death is faked she really lets herself breathe and Kellan is there to date her.  They are really quite cute together and I loved that they were so perfect for each other.  After everything that Kristen had gone through she needed someone who cared about her. Their romance was kind of a blow to the head for Kellan as it was unexpected but he didn’t question his luck and I loved that.

The end of the story was a bit much in the drama department but it worked.  I was happy that Kellan and Kristen got their HEA after everything that happened.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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Guest Review: Wed to a Spy by Sharon Cullen

Posted June 2, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Wed to a Spy by Sharon CullenReviewer: Tracy
Wed to a Spy by Sharon Cullen
Series: All the Queen's Spies #1
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
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four-stars

Simon Marcheford wants nothing more than to settle down on the land bestowed upon him by the English crown. Queen Elizabeth, however, is not about to let her best spy retire so easily. Simon will have his reward, she decrees, after he completes one last mission in Scotland. But no sooner has he sussed out a diabolical plot up North than Queen Mary weds him to her cousin—an exquisite beauty with troubled, soulful eyes—and orders Simon to watch her every move.

Aimee de Verris is no spy. But her life may depend on becoming one. Banished from the French court by Catherine de Medici, Aimee finds herself tasked with reporting on Queen Mary’s activities in Scotland, where she’s unnerved by the frigid weather and brutish customs. Worst of all, Aimee’s been married off to a most uncouth lout. But when murder strikes, she learns to appreciate Simon’s talent for shielding her with every inch of his muscular frame. If Aimee desires her husband, perhaps she could trust him—or even love him.

Simon is an English spy in Queen Mary’s court in Scotland via his assignment in Spain.  He’s asked by the Queen to keep an eye on Aimee de Verris as Mary believes her to be a spy.  While Simon thinks that Aimee’s beautiful he has no true interest in her – nor her in him.  That doesn’t stop Queen Mary from ordering them to get married.  What?  Yep, the next day they’re married and neither is happy about it.

Aimee was raised by her aunt, Catherine de Medici, in the French court.  She fell in love with a man but when they were caught in an embrace Catherine sent Aimee to Scotland.  Catherine told Aimee that she needed to spy and if she succeeds then Catherine would let Aimee and her man be together.  Of course because Aimee believes herself to be in love with a man in France the last thing she wants to do is marry someone else.  Though she fights it she ends up marrying Simon.  She likes the man but the thought of being married to anyone but her love and an Englishman to boot is horrible.

Aimee and Simon try to deal with their marriage as best they can but when someone is killed in Queen Mary’s court they have to hide and then escape to save their own lives. While in this dire situation they get to know each other and realize that maybe they can learn to love each other.

While this book blurb was based on two spies coming together we soon learned that Aimee wasn’t anywhere near being a spy.  She was just a young girl who had been played by her aunt.  I felt horrible for her for being so used by both Catherine and in the end, Queen Mary.  She had just wanted to be left alone to be with her man, Pierre.  I was happy that she soon realized that what she thought was love with Pierre was just an infatuation and that Simon was a man she could love – and then fell in love with him.

Simon was a great guy who just wanted to be left alone to raise his young sister in the country.  His Queen had tasked him with one last mission and he never imagined where it would lead him – into matrimony.  The more time he spent with Aimee the more he liked her and soon found himself in love.  He was a good man and I was thrilled that he found love with Aimee, even if it was unexpected.

The characters in this book were interesting and intriguing.  The story was well written and sucked me in from the first page.  My one issue with the story is that the falling in love happened really quickly.  I loved that they fell in love I just wish it would have happened a bit slower – a minor issue, really.

Overall I enjoyed the book and definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Hot Shot by Kelly Jamieson

Posted May 23, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Hot Shot by Kelly JamiesonReviewer: Tracy
Hot Shot by Kelly Jamieson
Series: Last Shot #2
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: May 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars

Marco Solis knows that if he gets too close to people they disappear. His parents were deported back to Mexico when he was fourteen, his fiancée married someone else while he was in the military, and now his business partner’s spending more time with his girl than with Marco. For better or worse, that’s how Marco meets Carrie Garner. She’s legitimately model-hot. She’s also a nut—a wild, artsy, unapproachable nut. So why is Marco so interested in cracking her shell?

Although Carrie Garner is a natural in front of the camera, her dream is to make it as a photographer. Soon she’ll be heading to Spain for design school, and she’ll miss her best friend, Hayden, like crazy. She’ll even miss Hayden’s boyfriend, Beck—but she won’t miss Beck’s partner, Marco. Bossy, brooding, and annoyingly sexy, Marco really pushes her buttons, though he obviously wouldn’t mind pushing her buttons in an up-against-the-wall, hard-and-fast kind of way. The craziest part is, if Carrie lets him do that, well . . . she may never want to leave.

Includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Marco owns a tequila bar with his friends Cade and Beck.  They were all Navy SEALS and now they work together once again.  Marco met Carrie when she came in for a tequila tasting with Hayden, who is now Beck’s fiancé.  He was attracted to Carrie from the first minute but Carrie shut his flirting down pretty much instantaneously.  He just figured that she thought he wasn’t good enough for her.

Carrie’s always been attracted to Marco but she doesn’t like to admit it to herself.  When Marco first flirted with her she felt like he just thought she was a dumb bimbo and blew him off.  As she gets to know him, now that they’re planning Beck and Hayden’s engagement party together, she sees that she was wrong about him.  Sparks fly when they’re together but Carrie’s leaving to go to school in Spain for 9 months so she’s not about to get involved with anyone.

Marco and Carrie decide to start a fling and will end it when she leaves for Spain.  Little did they know that they’d fall in love.  Of course neither are confident enough to tell the other so this leaves each of them heart-broken.

This was a cute, light read from Jamieson.  Despite the feelings that both Marco and Carrie carried with them about themselves I thought that the author did a great job of not dragging the story down with their issues.  They were talked about and definitely were a major focus of the book but when I read the last page I wasn’t depressed with a sad knot in my chest.  She dealt with both the hero and heroine’s  personal issues in a way that made it emotional but not over-bearing.

Marco was a fantastic character.  I really liked him so much as my heart went out to all that he’d been through in his life when he was an adolescent.  He’d moved on and made something of himself – something he could be proud of and it showed in his whole being.  I loved that he saw Carrie as others didn’t.  He saw in her the bright shining light she was and then made it even brighter with his love.

Carrie had some serious self-esteem issues even though she was a model.  She felt like the tall gangly kid she’d always been while growing up and didn’t see herself as gorgeous.  It wasn’t a vanity thing – wanting people to tell her she’s gorgeous.  It was the opposite, in fact and it was just how she felt. She also felt that since her entire family was into business and had great careers that she hadn’t done anything productive in her life – which wasn’t true at all.  I liked her character a lot as she worked on her self-esteem and the feelings of not being good enough for her family.

Overall I found Hot Shot to be a thoroughly enjoyable book and I’m looking forward to reading what happens with Marco’s friend Cade in the next book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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