Source: Kindle Unlimited

Review: Wait No More by Stephanie Nicole Norris

Posted September 4, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wait No More by Stephanie Nicole NorrisReviewer: Holly
Wait No More: A With Your Permission Spin-off by Stephanie Nicole Norris
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 1, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 156
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars

The rumors... they came from sources that she trusted; the news, the neighborhood, and now the patrons in her night club, Rendezvous. Still, Sophia Clark wouldn’t believe that the soldiers who returned from their tours included the only man she ever loved. But when Dean St. James strolled through the door, the shock to Sophia’s spirit nearly disassembled her. There was no explanation for the reckless up-surging beat of her heart, not after the way Dean disappeared, leaving Sophia to wonder if he’d become a casualty of war.

Now, without time to process her turbulent emotions, Sophia comes face to face with his return, which proves to challenge the love they lost—bringing them together or closing the door on what could have been for all time.

Wait No More by Stephanie Nicole Norris is listed a spinoff of her With Your Permission series. I’ve never read the author before, but I didn’t feel like I missed anything by starting with this novel. This came up as a KU recommendation, so I decided to give it a try. The reunited lover romance was sweet.

Dean and Sophia were college sweethearts who were planning their future together. Until one day he comes home and tells Sophia he enlisted in the Army without speaking to her first. She tried to maintain a long-distance relationship with him, but two years after he left for the Army he broke it off with her. Four years later, he’s suddenly back in town and wants to pick up where they left off. Although she loves him still, she doesn’t trust him to stay.

I really liked seeing Dean and Sophia come back together. His struggle to readjust to civilian life was well done, and I liked that she supported him as he dealt with his PTSD.

I did struggle with the writing at times. It was overly descriptive at times, and very flowery. I also struggled with the basic premise of the story. They were together in college, engaged, buying a house together, then bam, he enlists in the Army without checking with her first? Then he doesn’t see anyone for 6 years? That’s just not realistic. Still, I set that aside to focus on their reunion.

I’ll look for more books by Norris in the future.

Rating: 3 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne

Posted July 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Huge Deal by Lauren LayneReviewer: Holly
Huge Deal by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #3
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Huge Deal , Hot Asset , Hard Sell , Hot Asset, Hard Sell, Huge Deal
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 259
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Even for a top-gun banker, temptation this hot is quite a gamble, in a sexy Wall Street romp from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

An alpha among the wolves of Wall Street, Kennedy Dawson rose to the top of the pack by striking the right contracts at the right times. But there’s one deal that’s been giving him a run for his money—a pact to never again let his assistant, Kate, get under his skin. She may be smart, gorgeous, and sharp as a whip, but she’s definitely off-limits.

Kate Henley isn’t a banker, but she knows a thing or two about risk management—specifically, about managing her attraction to her smolderingly sexy boss. She already fell once, and Kennedy showed no sign of paying a return on her investment. So when Kennedy’s brother starts pursuing her, Kate figures she has the best of both worlds. Jack is charming, rich, very attentive, and the spitting image of his older brother.

It’s also making Kennedy think twice. But to win Kate’s heart, he’ll have to broker the deal of a lifetime…and prove he’s worth the risk.

Huge Deal is the third installment of the 21 Wall Street series by Lauren Layne, and my final read from Rowena’s picks for our Summer Reading Challenge. I really loved watching Kate and Kennedy battle their attraction.

Kate fell in love with Kennedy the moment she saw him. For months she gazed after him adoringly, hoping against hope he’d notice her…until the day she overheard him insult her. That killed her feelings quick. She’s been his assistant for years now, and though they don’t have the easy relationship she has with her other two bosses, she doesn’t moon after him anymore either. Her traitorous body is still attracted to him, but her head and her heart know better.

Kennedy has been oblivious to Kate and her feelings all these years, until suddenly something changes between them. Now he can’t stop thinking about her.

Since the first time Kate and Kennedy came on scene in Hot Asset, I’ve been dying for their story. They have chemistry in spades, and I couldn’t wait for Kennedy to finally open his eyes and see what’s right in front of him.

Watching them come together was so sweet and sexy. I loved how well Kate knew Kennedy, and how much they both realized they didn’t know about each other, even after all those years of knowing one another. Kennedy’s surprised delight to find he and Kate shared a lot of similar interests was so fun to read, and I loved watching Kate let go a little bit.

It did lose me a bit toward the end. Kate’s about-face when it came to love didn’t ring very true to me. I loved that Kennedy had to fight for her, and how well he did it, but the conflict didn’t feel authentic.

Still, this was a satisfying read and I’m happy to report that Rowena chose well for my Summer Reading Challenge picks. These were just was I was in the mood for.

Rating: 4 out of 5

21 Wall Street

four-stars


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Buddy Review: Highland Deception by Meggan Connors

Posted July 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: Highland Deception by Meggan ConnorsReviewer: Tasha and Rowena
Highland Deception by Meggan Connors
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date: March 17, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 300
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

When Kenneth Mackay, long-banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.

Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth to take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm plans to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess... and the wife Malcolm didn’t want.

Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before their marriage, and she'd long since given up on having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel's heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if they were family. Who, for the first time since their marriage, cares for her as if she is, too.

Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart.

Kenneth MacKay has been living his life on the run ever since he took the fall for his brother’s actions but when he is summoned home because the very same twin brother, is dying, his life is about to take a very interesting turn. Kenneth is going to step into the life of his brother and his life is never going to be the same again….especially when he meets his brother’s wife, Isobel, a woman that if Kenneth isn’t careful, can steal his heart.

Rowena: So who was surprised that my sister chose a historical romance for this month’s book of the month? I’m not. I am, however, surprised that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I hoped I would have. There were too many things that annoyed me but let’s start with what you thought. Did you like it or nah?

Tasha: I wasn’t surprise either with Blanche’s historical pick, hahaha! Actually I expected her to select a historical romance, specifically a highlander romance. This was an okay read for me. I didn’t like it all that much but I didn’t hate it either. Just wish it was better. I know I won’t be doing a re-read of this.

Rowena: Same here. I mean, it was fine but not great or even memorable. Are you surprised that Blanche LOVED this one though? Haha.

Anyway, what did you think about Kenneth and Isobel? Did you like them? Was their romance believable?

Tasha: You know me, I love the whole “happily ever after ending”. I am happy Kenneth got the girl and the lands in the end. I can’t believe how his own twin brother would do him dirty like that. Now did I like them? Kenneth, yes. Isobel, there were moments I didn’t like her so much. Their romance could’ve been better.

Rowena: I agree that this book could have been a lot better. There were far too many things that happened that had me either rolling my eyes or shaking my head. I didn’t get the feeling that this book happened over a good chunk of time. For me, it felt like everything happened at warp speed. I didn’t believe that Isobel could fall in love with Kenneth so quickly after how horrible Malcolm was to her. Malcolm was horrible to her for years but for a few months, Kenneth shows up and shows her a better side to him and it felt like she didn’t question it long enough for me to believe the change of heart from him.

Also? I thought it was pretty gross that Kenneth didn’t come clean with Isobel the moment that he fell in love with her and they started sleeping together. Especially when he finds out that she was a virgin the first time that they slept together.

Tasha: Actually, I understand why Kenneth didn’t come clean. He even said so himself. If she didn’t know the truth, she couldn’t lie. And he really wasn’t sure how she would’ve reacted to the truth. So I get it. And for the longest, she’s had dreams of this man, her husband having a family together and being so happy. She was hopeful and was trying to make this work with Malcolm but when he wouldn’t budge, she’d leave for London. Now imagine coming back to Scotland and your dream man isn’t being mean to you and making you feel like there’s a chance after all, I’m positive that’s what Isobel felt and went for it.

Rowena: The author should have found a better way around that because it was gross. Kenneth was pretending to be someone else and Isobel thought she was falling in love with her husband and I’m not down with those kinds of secrets and the way that Isobel found out was even worst. She may have been a brat but she didn’t deserve that.

Tasha: If anything, I think the part that really bothered me is when she finally figured out that he was Kenneth, she said his name once and said that was the one and only time she would say it aloud. I thought that sucked. Malcolm was the mean husband, who had no regard for her or her feelings. Why couldn’t she address him as Kenneth in the private, when its just the two of them. I wouldn’t have been able to utter the name Malcolm. You’d hear me address him as “my lord”, “my laird” or whatever title he holds, but not Malcolm.

Rowena: Then I spent some time being annoyed with Isobel’s friend and lady’s maid. The way that she wasn’t as supportive to Isobel as I hoped she’d be, considering she worked for Isobel, it bothered me when she jumped down Isobel’s throat for things I’d expect my best friend to be supportive of.

Tasha: I’m glad she wasn’t on board with going back to London when Isobel was ready to leave. She noticed the change in the Laird and she saw how differently he was treating her. Okay yeah, maybe she only wanted to stay because she found herself a man but to me, Isobel was being a brat. And in those moments, it’s your real friends who will set you straight and tell you to get it together. That’s what I saw happen in that part of the book.

Rowena: Nah, the lady’s maid was first and foremost, Isobel’s maid and they were around the same age so she forgot her place and didn’t stay in her lane. There’s a way to make your point without being a total bitch about it and I thought that the maid (what the heck was her name again?) misstepped. I think I was more annoyed with the way that she came at Isobel because a whole lot of her reasoning for not wanting to go back to London was because she wanted that D. It didn’t come off right.

Tasha: I didn’t think Marie was a bitch towards her, just very firm and direct. But I have to agree with the sleeping with somebody when they don’t even know who you really are. That’s gross! And again, I wish it was a better read than what it turned out to be, just meh.

Rowena: There were just too many little things that bothered me but despite all of that, I still didn’t hate the book and I think that a huge part of the reason I didn’t hate this book was because the week that I read this book, I had read so many other bad books that this was a walk in the park compared to them.

Would I re-read this one? Probably not. Would I recommend this one to other readers? I don’t know. There was promise in this book but the author took the story in a different direction than I would have taken it and because of that, my enjoyment wasn’t as great as it could have been.

Tasha: You made some really good points! And some I agree with, like the relationship between Kenneth and Isobel being rushed. And how he didn’t tell Isobel the truth about who he really was before they did the deed or how the book started off really good and then sadly it just it fizzled out.

Rowena: Like I said, there were so many ways that the author could have written this romance and the way that she wrote it, wasn’t my favorite so yeah, I won’t be re-reading this one. Also, I should probably mention that I was one of the few people in book club that didn’t love this book so if you are curious about this one, you should give it a go.

I give this one 2.5 out of 5, what about you?

Tasha: My rating for this is a 3 out of 5. This will not be a re-read and I probably wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve read similar books that were much better reads.

Final Grades

Tasha: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 2.5 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Dane’s Storm by Mia Sheridan

Posted May 3, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Dane’s Storm by Mia SheridanReviewer: Holly
Dane's Storm by Mia Sheridan
Narrator: Lance Greenfield, Erin Mallon
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 17, 2018
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 370
Length: 8 hours and 54 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

A gripping, exquisitely romantic new standalone by New York Times bestselling author Mia Sheridan.

Dane was her first kiss and the only man she ever loved . . . until their marriage crashed and burned. Now Audra has built a quiet life for herself running a flower shop she's put her whole heart into. But Audra is left reeling when an unexpected circumstance brings Dane back into her world. He's still as breathtaking as he ever was, and he still affects her more than any man she's ever known. Yet learning to trust him again could be a matter of life and death . . .

When Dane offers to fly his ex-wife from California to Colorado to help correct a wrong, he never imagined the harrowing twist of fate awaiting them. When their plane goes down in the snowy mountain wilderness, Dane and Audra are stranded with no one to turn to but each other. Will their second crash end their lives—or save their souls?

THIS IS A STAND-ALONE SIGN OF LOVE NOVEL, INSPIRED BY CANCER. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

I started listening to this audiobook, but gave up after a couple chapters because neither of the narrators worked for me. I can’t put my finger on just what the problem was, but I had a hard time following along. I was intrigued enough by the story to get the ebook, however. I’m glad I did. This second chance romance was just what I was in the mood for.

Dane and Mia were young and in love when they got married. He was from a very wealthy and influential family, while she grew up poor. The differences in their social status, plus pressure from his family put strain on their relationship. When tragedy struck, they weren’t able to hold up under the weight and they divorced. Ten years later, Mia receives notice from Dane’s grandmother that she’s to vacate the building she was granted in their divorce as it’s needed for an expansion project they have planned. Mia doesn’t know if Dane is aware of what his grandmother is doing, but even though it’s painful to see him, she knows she has to try.

Dane is shocked when he realizes what his grandmother is doing to Mia. Though they parted on bad terms, he’s always loved her and never wanted anything but the best for her. When she shows up in California to confront him, he offers to fly her back to Colorado in his personal plane (he’s a pilot) to speak to his grandmother in person and get everything straightened out. He’s hoping they have a chance to talk and find some closure while their at it. What neither of them planned on was the deep connection they still feel toward one another.

When the plane goes down in the mountains, they’ll have to rely on each other for survival. If they make it out alive, can they finally put their ghosts to rest?

Mia started out pretty timid and shy. I didn’t necessarily dislike her, but I felt like she was kind of a dishrag. I’m glad to report that she got stronger over the course of the novel. The way she stepped up during their crash gave her some much needed self-confidence, which made for a better reading experience for me. Their marriage failed in part because of lack of communication. I was glad to see them open up to each other and work through their problems.

Dane’s grandmother and her machinations was frustrating and, to be honest, pretty over the top. I didn’t understand why she did what she did, or how they put up with her. This is marked as a New Adult book in the description from the author, which I found puzzling since the characters were nearly 30. They did act rather immature for a lot of the book, however, so from that standpoint I guess I can see it.

There were some slow parts and I wasn’t fully satisfied with the resolution with Dane’s grandmother, but overall it was a sweet, light read.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Buddy Review: Hook Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Posted April 29, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Buddy Review: Hook Shot by Kennedy RyanReviewer: Ames & Rowena
Hook Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Hoops #3
Also in this series: Hoops Holiday, Long Shot (Hoops, #1), Long Shot
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 28, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 401
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A deeply emotional standalone romance set in the worlds of professional basketball and high fashion.

Divorced. Single dad. Traded to a losing squad.

Cheated on, betrayed, exposed.

My perfect life blew up in my face and I'm still picking up the pieces.

The last thing I need is her.

A wildflower. A storm. A woman I can't resist.

Lotus DuPree is a kick to my gut and a wrench in my plans from the moment our eyes meet.

I promised myself I wouldn't trust a woman again, but I've never wanted anyone the way I want Lo. She's not the plan I made, but she's the risk I have to take.

A warrior. A baller. The one they call Gladiator.

Kenan Ross charged into my life smelling all good, looking even better and snatching my breath from the moment we met.

The last thing I need is him.

I'm working on me.

Facing my pain and conquering my demons.

I've seen what trusting a man gets you.I. Don't. Have. Time. For. This.

But he just keeps coming for me.

Keeps knocking down my defenses and stealing my excuses one by one.

He never gives up, and now...I'm not sure I want him to.

Hook Shot is the third book in Kennedy Ryan’s Hoops series and it features NBA Player, Kenan Ross and upcoming fashion star, Lotus Dupree. If you’ve read the previous books in this series, Long Shot, and Block Shot then you’ll remember these two. Kenan is August’s teammate and friend and Lotus is Iris’ cousin.

Kenan and Lotus have been circling each other for two books now and Kenan’s made no attempts to hide his interest in Lotus though Lotus has spent that time running away from Kenan. They both have reasons to not jump into a relationship but sometimes a relationship is inevitable, no matter how much you try to make it otherwise. These two are drawn to each other so this book tackles how they figure things out. They’re both dealing with a lot of emotional things but they also really want to be with each other and this book shows us all of it.

Rowena: I read this book in one day so it’s safe to say that I was invested in both Kenan and Lotus’ romance. I am going to try really hard not to fangirl in this review but I make no promises.

I really liked this one. Like, really, really liked this one. What did you think?

Ames: Like you, I really, really enjoyed this book. It was exactly what I wanted for Kenan and Lotus. The intensity of their feelings for each other was so delicious. This book, even though it covered some heavy topics, handled the romance and feelings so beautifully. Plus it doesn’t hurt that Kenan and Lotus were just awesome characters who really knew themselves. I was just so happy reading this book. I want a Kenan of my own.

Rowena: Same. Kenan was amazing. Shit, I wouldn’t mind a Lotus of my own either. She was freaking fantastic! I loved how hard she worked to overcome her emotional issues.

I am such a huge fan of Kennedy Ryan’s just by reading the books in this series and I have loved each of them. Kenan and Lotus’ story hit me in every single feel in my body and I loved every minute of reading their story. I thought Kennedy Ryan did a great job of including both Kenan and Lotus’ personal struggles to their budding romance. She wove it into their romance and I really loved that they were able to help each other get better, for themselves and for each other.

Lotus was the bomb. She was strong in a way that I don’t think I could ever be and she was also a really good person. I loved reading about her voodoo magic abilities and I really loved the way that she loved Kenan. She wasn’t perfect but she acknowledged her faults and worked hard to become better for herself but to also be better for Kenan. I think I loved how smart and strong she was. She didn’t let anyone come for her and she stood her ground when something was wrong. The way she went for Chase and Bridget and had them by the throat by just using her words?? I loved it. I loved it so much.

I also really loved the way that Kenan was so forthright about what he was feeling for Lotus and how steadfast he was with his feelings. I loved seeing him work through each of the problems that he faced, trying to hold everything together and still be there for both of the two girls that he loved.

They were just a really good team. I loved that Lo took one for the team so that Kenan could fix his family. I mean, talk about strongwilled and compassionate.

This book was just too freaking good. Gah.

Ames: I want to grow up to be just like Lotus! She was a very strong character and I like how she let Kenan know she didn’t need his protection but once she realized that he got that about her, she let him still show that protective side. And she was so unselfish! The stuff Kenan was going through with his ex and daughter, Lotus was so secure in herself that she was ok with him prioritizing his daughter. She sets the bar for heroines for me. I liked the voodoo stuff too. The rainbows? I thought that was interesting and Mimi was a great character. And what Lotus has overcome from her past? The way KR wrote all of that was very well done. Nothing titillating but a great message about overcoming and surviving.

This book was so freaking good. I don’t want to be fangirly but I’m just going to agree with everything you say because I agree 100%. What got me too was how Kenan and Lotus communicated with each other – so that just made their decision to be friends and take it slow that much more juicy because they wanted each other so much. I loved that slow burn. It was hot. And I laughed over Lotus and It Never Entered My Mind. LOL The way they teased each other was genuine. The dialog, the friendships, New York as a setting, the family drama…it was all well done.

Rowena: I agree. This book was just well done, period.

There wasn’t much that I didn’t enjoy in this book besides the obvious things (Lotus’ scene when she was 12, Bridget’s bitch ass in every scene she was in, etc…) so this one gets 4.75 out of 5 from me, what about you?

Ames: I thought the scene when Lotus was twelve was handled very well. I gauge a book as a 4.75 or 5 if it makes me cry and as much as I enjoyed this book it didn’t make me cry. I was invested but that pivotal scene at the end didn’t even get me choked up. I think I was a bit annoyed at Iris’s doubt. Lol So I’m still giving Hook Shot a 4.5. A solid read that I highly recommend. I recommend the whole series!

Final Grades

Ames: 4.5 out of 5
Rowena: 4.75 out of 5

Hoops

four-half-stars


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