Source: Audible Romance Package

Review: Getting Schooled by Emma Chase

Posted January 11, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Getting Schooled by Emma ChaseReviewer: Holly
Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1) by Emma Chase
Narrator: Zachary Webber, Andi Arndt
Series: Getting Some #1
Also in this series: Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 310
Length: 7 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The newest novel from New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase.

Head of the class...

Garrett Daniels has this whole life thing figured out.

The cocky, charismatic former high school star quarterback is an idolized football coach and "cool" teacher in the hometown where he's not just a golden boy — he's platinum. He has good friends, a great house on the lake, and the best damn sidekick a man could ask for: Snoopy, the albino beagle.

Then...Callie Carpenter comes home.

And knocks him right on his tight end zone.

Back to school...

Callie has a pretty sweet life herself...on the other side of the country. But circumstances — that she'd prefer to never speak of again — have brought her back home, helping out her parents and substitute teaching at her old high school.

Now she's facing bickering, raging hormones, constant gossip, awkward weirdness, and drama galore...and that's just the teachers.

Just like old times...

When Garrett offers to show his former high school sweetheart the secrets of his winning teacher ways, Callie jumps at the chance - and then has to stop herself from jumping him.

Good friends are all they can ever be.

Or...these teachers just might end up getting schooled — by love.

Getting Schooled by Emma Chase is the start of a new series featuring high school sweethearts reuniting. I listened to the audio and really loved Zachary Webber and Andi Arndt as narrators. They both did a great job of pulling me into the story and bringing the characters to life.

Garrett Daniels and Callie Carpenter were high school sweethearts. When she went off to college their relationship couldn’t handle the long distance. Garrett stayed in town and became a high school teacher while Callie went on to work as a stage-hand in California. She’s just been offered her dream job when she’s called home to help her sister care for their parents who were in a car accident. She takes a temporary teaching job to support herself while she helps them recover, which means Garrett is her new co-worker. Despite how things ended, she’s nothing but glad to see him and Garrett seems to return the feeling. As they spend time together both at work and outside of it, they come to realize they still have deep feelings for each other. But Garrett is happy in their small NJ town, while Callie has her dream job waiting in CA.

I really liked the maturity of both main characters, and how quickly they settled back into each other once they were reunited. There was some bathroom humor, and the overall tone of the story was light, but I really enjoyed the romance, and the small New Jersey town. All the characters really came to life. I especially loved the way Garrett interacted with his students, and how he helped Callie navigate her first few weeks as a teacher. I totally cracked up at the way the kids took advantage of her during her first few days. Her shell-shocked, glazed-eyed look after the first day gets me every time I think about it.

Both Callie and Garrett were very mature in their dealings with each other. This was an adult romance, with two people trying to figure out how to have a future while living on opposite ends of the country. In that regard, I really liked the final resolution. I saw others weren’t as satisfied with it, but I thought it was perfect for the people Garrett and Callie had become.

It isn’t perfect. The book started out a bit slow for me and both Callie and Garrett had moments that made me want to facepalm. But those moments were few and far between.

Though the overall tone is light, there were some emotional punches. I even got teary at one point. This was a great contemporary romance and just thing thing I was in the mood for.

4 out of 5

Getting Some

Untitled (Dean’s Book)

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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Review: Echoes of Fire by Suzanne Wright

Posted January 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Echoes of Fire by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Echoes of Fire (Mercury Pack, #4) by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: Mercury Pack #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2018
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 348
Length: 11 hours and 5 minutes
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

They may not be made for each other, but animal instincts are impossible to ignore.

Madisyn Drake is a rare breed of cat shifter…a loner, unpredictably wild, and emotionally distant. A recent betrayal has left her ready to sharpen her claws on the next man she sees…until a prowling wolf with steel-gray eyes and a brooding dark edge challenges her distrust. No matter how fully he satisfies her touch-hunger, Madisyn’s not ready to open up again, even if it is oh so gratifying.

Bracken Slater has earned his reputation as an indomitable predator. Once broken by grief and guilt, Brack is feeling alive again, thanks to the heady scent of this independent feline. Convincing her that they’re meant for each other is going to take more than branding Madisyn’s beautiful neck. She’s not interested in joining an unfamiliar pack, much less answering to an alpha. But when threats from both their pasts take shape, their unexpected destiny may be the only thing that can save them.

Echoes of Fire is the fourth book in Suzanne Wright’s Mercury Pack series. It follows Bracken Slater as he finds and courts his mate, Madisyn Drake. Jill Redfield narrated and I really enjoyed her for the most part. She does the voices well and overall I like her voice. I did struggle with two things, however. 1) She spoke in a very forceful way as Bracken, which often made him come off as controlling instead of caring. 2) She did a kind of valley girl, breathy thing during the love scenes that drove me absolutely batshit crazy. Still, I listened to all the books in both the Mercury Pack and Phoenix Pack series’ and she narrates them all, so obviously those things didn’t completely ruin the stories for me.

Throughout the series Bracken was kind of lighthearted and sweet. When his family is murdered right in front of him, including his nephew whom he was holding at the time, it changed him. Now he’s broken and angry, with no outlet for his pain since he wreaked vengeance on those who stole his family from him. When he’s hit by a car and has a moment of openness, he feels the mating connection to Madisyn Drake. They’ve been circling each other for years, rubbing each other the wrong way and denying their mutual attraction. Madisyn is a lone feline shifter who has no desire to join a pack or be stuck mated to a man who doesn’t even like her. But Bracken knows he can’t let her go. She fills something inside him and he knows he’ll never become whole without her.

I really loved how Madisyn was described like Grumpy Cat. She was an angry little cat, but unexpectedly so. She looked so sweet and adorable no one expected her to turn feral and whoop the shit out of everyone. She was the perfect match for Bracken in every way.

My heart broke for Bracken and his struggle to find his footing after his family was murdered. The fact that he was holding his baby nephew when a bullet passed through him and killed his nephew just made it all the worse. His fire and intensity were well contained until then. Now he has a reputation for being ruthless. I liked how well Madisyn balanced him out and how determined he was to put her first, even though he had so many dark parts inside himself.

I don’t really care for the suspense plots in Wright’s novels. The villains are always easy to spot and I often end up scratching my head over some of the decisions the pack makes in their pursuit of them. But the romance and friendships more than make up for any frustrations I feel.

While I enjoyed the entire series, Echoes of fire is hands down my favorite. Bracken and Madisyn made a wonderful couple. His intensity and anger were tempered so well by her inner strength I couldn’t help but love them.

4.5 out of 5

The Mercury Pack

four-half-stars


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Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper

Posted December 28, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1) by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
Series: Mystic Bayou #1
Publisher: Self-Published, Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 217
Length: 6 hours and 24 minutes
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay's career has taken a turn south.

Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they're preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Mermaids and gator shifters swim in the bayou. Spirit bottles light the front porches after twilight. Dragons light the fires under crayfish pots.

Jillian's first assignment for the League could be her last. Mystic Bayou is wary of outsiders, and she has difficulty getting locals to talk to her. And she can't get the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, off of her back or out of her mind. Bael is the finest male specimen she's seen in a long time, even though he might not be human. Soon their flirtation is hotter than a dragon's breath, which Bael just might turn out to be....

Length: 6 hrs 33 mins

How to Date Your Dragon is the first book in Molly Harper’s Mystic Bayou series. I generally prefer darker, more serious paranormal romances, but I was looking for a new audiobook and this was part of the Audible Romance Package so I figured why not. It turned out to be just what I was in the mood for. Light and funny, but not campy. This is one of the better audiobooks I’ve listened to this year. Amanda Ronconi and Jonathan Davis were both wonderful narrators. I especially enjoyed Jonathan Davis’s southern accent for Bael. I immediately downloaded the 2nd audiobook after finishing this one.

Jillian Ramsay works for the League for Interspecies Cooperation. She’s about to take a trip to South America to study were-dolphins when she’s suddenly reassigned to Mystic Bayou, Louisiana. The League is worried about how much longer Supernaturals can stay hidden, with cameras and cell phones and GPS everywhere. Mystic Bayou is one of the only places different types of magical creatures and humans have lived in harmony for almost a century. They want Jillian to do a study of the town and find out how and why things work so well. Her point of contact is Mayor Zed, but it’s the Sheriff, Bael Boone, she really sparks with. But things really start to heat up as she tries to discover how Mystic Bayou works so well despite closed-mouth townsfolk, and danger seems to lurk just around the corner.

I enjoyed Bael and Jillian’s romance, as well as the town of Mystic Bayou. The inhabitants of the town were so fun and quirky I couldn’t help but love them. Bael’s surprise and ignorance over how to court Jillian was hilarious, and I like that she was the one who wanted to keep things casual. There were several times I laughed out loud, and a couple times my heart just melted. I wasn’t at all surprised by who the villain was, but since I wasn’t here for that the lack of mystery wasn’t a problem for me. I was so into the romance and the fun, quirky town nothing else mattered.

If you’re looking for something light and breezy, this is a wonderfully done, hilarious paranormal romance. I highly recommend it.

4.25 out of 5

Mystic Bayou

four-stars


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Review: One More Time by Laurelin Paige

Posted December 12, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: One More Time by Laurelin PaigeReviewer: Holly
One More Time by Laurelin Paige
Narrator: Erin Mallon, Rupert Channing
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 2, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 180
Length: 5 hours and 42 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

Available in audio-first on 1/30/2018, a scorching, heart-tugging new standalone by New York Timesbestselling author Laurelin Paige! Ten years ago, we were the toast of the town.Tanner's acting career had just begun. He was hotter than the stage lights, and twice ascaptivating. The gorgeous Australian A-lister was everyone's teenage dream. And he'd pickedme. Or so I thought, until he proved to be as false as everything else about Hollywood. Now I'vefinally scored the perfect opportunity to star in a major film. The kicker? Tanner will be my co-star. I don't know if I can do this one more time….*Right now, we're the talk of the town.Jenna's even more beautiful than she was the last time we were together. And just like before, Ican't keep my hands off her. She still doesn't know the truth. The secret of what really happenedback then. Now I have the length of this shoot to convince her to rewrite our script. But if I haveher one more time, will once ever be enough?

Jenna and Tanner (Janner) were the Hollywood’s “It” couple 10 years ago. They loved each other fiercely, until the day Tanner betrayed Jenna and ruined it all. Now they’re working together on a feature film that’s sure to give Jenna the boost her career needs. If only she can keep it together.

Tanner’s been wanting to explain what happened for almost a decade, and this movie gives him the perfect chance..Or it would, if Jenna wasn’t so bent on keeping him at a distance. Still, they have chemistry in spades and he’ll work that with everything he has if it means getting a second chance with the only girl he’s ever loved.

This was a cute reunited lovers story. I thought the miscommunication was kind of annoying, and there were a lot of gratuitous sex scenes considering the length of the novel. I would rather have seen more of them together outside of bed, getting to know each other in the present and rebuilding their friendship. Still, I can’t deny I enjoyed the romance. Tanner was especially sweet when it came to Jenna. The way he championed her, and really respected and cared for her, made me a little melty. I’d have liked to see Jenna fight for them more, but I liked her overall and I was glad to see them end up together.

3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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