Source: Kindle Unlimited

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 Romance Package
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 | 2 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)
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: five-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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Review: Touch of Frost by S.E. Smith

Posted April 24, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Touch of Frost by S.E. SmithReviewer: Holly
Touch of Frost by S.E. Smith
Narrator: David Brenin
Series: Magic New Mexico #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 30, 2014
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Romance Package, Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 249
Length: 5 hours and 57 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: 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
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Lacey Adams lives in the small town of Magic, New Mexico, where she devotes herself to the animals at her Touch of Magic Animal Shelter. The strange assortment of animals helps heal the pain and loneliness inside her since the death of her husband three years before.

Frost is a Star Ranger. He travels the star systems, bringing intergalactic fugitives to justice. When a maximum-security fugitive escapes from the mining prison, he is sent after him. Only this time, the fugitive has violated a major law… he has traveled to a distant forbidden planet inhabited by a race that has not mastered space travel yet.

Now, he is in a race to find the fugitive before those on the planet known as Earth discover there are not one, but two aliens on their world. Things become complicated when Frost discovers his heart is not as frozen as he thought when a young human female is taken hostage by the fugitive. What he doesn’t anticipate is her unexpected resistance – both to the fugitive and to him.

Frost is forced to make a decision that is guaranteed to put him on the most wanted list when he follows his heart and kidnaps Lacey. He knows that some things are worth the risk. What he doesn’t know is that Lacey has a few secrets of her own.

* First published in the anthology, Feel the Heat.

Touch of Frost is the first book in the Magic, New Mexico series by S.E. Smith. This is the first book I’ve read by the author. I found it book while browsing the Audible Romance Package for sci-fi, then ended up downloading the ebook. The blurb is a bit misleading in that I expected a straight-up alien kidnapping story, but instead got a magically filled UF/F/SF.

Star Ranger (aka intergalactic Bounty Hunter) Frost is ready to retire to help his brother run a business on their home planet when he’s given one last assignment; Find escaped convict Taar and bring him back – dead or alive. Taar has stolen a transport and ended up on a primitive planet called Earth. Frost is determined to get this mission over with quickly, and figures it’ll be easy since Earth is filled with nothing but savages. He doesn’t expect the inhabitants of Magic, New Mexico to be filled with magical creatures of unimaginable power.

Lacey Adams is a widow who runs the Touch of Magic animal shelter in Magic. She and the other inhabitants of Magic hide in plain sight, using their magic as they see fit, but never exposing it to outsiders. She doesn’t have a choice when two alien species show up. Frost is determined to make her his, but Lacey won’t open her heart up again.

I really loved how the heroine kept saving herself – and often the hero, too. That was probably my favorite part of the book. Around the 60%-70% mark it kind of went off the rails for a bit and ended up being over-the-top campy, but it came back toward the end. Though it wasn’t perfect and some things really bothered me, I enjoyed the story overall. Definitely lighter fare, but fun. I’ll be trying more from this author soon.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Magic, New Mexico

three-half-stars


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Review: Extra Credit by Sarina Bowen

Posted April 15, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Extra Credit by Sarina BowenReviewer: Rowena
Extra Credit by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #6
Also in this series: The Year We Hid Away , Blonde Date , The Year We Fell Down , The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3), The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4), The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5), The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5), The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 9th, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 234
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Three novellas, including all new Ivy Years fun!

BLONDE DATE: A nervous sorority girl, a mean fraternity prank and an adorkable basketball player with a heart of gold. Blonde Date follows Katie and Andy’s first blind date…

STUDLY PERIOD: One hunky hockey player with a language barrier. Plus one awkward English tutor with a big crush. Equals hot, hilarious trouble! Study Period follows Pepe and his tutor Josie.

YESTERDAY: It’s been seven years since John Rikker left his childhood home in Michigan. Surely that’s long enough to scar over the wounds he received there. Or is it? Can Rikker survive a visit with his parents? And can Graham let him do it alone?

I’m a huge fan of Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series so when she announced that she was releasing Extra Credit, I couldn’t wait to read it. Extra Credit is a book that features three short stories featuring characters in the Ivy Years series. Two old stories and one brand spankin’ new one!

Blonde Date

Andy and Katie are set up on a blind date and while Katie has no clue who Andy is, Andy knows all too well who Katie is. They hit it off on their blind date and Katie learns that not all guys are assholes and she is worthy of being treated like a princess. I loved seeing these two get together all over again. I don’t think I’ll ever get over Andy being a Celtics fan but he was still a keeper. I think I’ve changed my mind over wanting Dash’s story. Eff that guy.

Katie was a fantastic heroine too. She was so normal and sweet. I loved seeing her have fun after what she went through with her ex-boyfriend Dash. I loved how strong and sure of herself she felt when she was with Andy, and I really loved how once she jumped in with Andy, she left all of the baggage from Dash in the past. It wasn’t worth her time and she showed it by not letting him ruin another day of her life. This was a sweet romance.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Studly Period

Studly Period is the novella that Sarina Bowen released as a weekly serial for her newsletter subscribers and I adored it when she released it week after week and I adored it all the more when I read it again. Pepe and Josie were too cute for words and I really enjoyed their story. I loved how shy and book nerdy Josie was and I loved how sweet and corny that Pepe was. Pepe was one of those characters that I didn’t think I needed to read about but I’m glad that Sarina wrote his story.

It was in this story that I realized how much I missed the characters from this series and it was while reading this story again for the second time that I decided to re-read this entire series. Seeing everyone again in this one made me happy and I got a little teary eyed when Josie thought Pepe ghosted her over vacation. Seeing them work their issues out was just too cute for words.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Yesterday

Ooh, we got a new short story for Rikker and Graham. Oh man, these two are the best! I loved seeing both of them in a good place, as a strong unit. They were solid in their relationship after all of the drama that they both went through and I was glad for it. Graham! My man Graham is really stepping into his new life and I just love him so much. He’s come such a long way from his book and seeing him stand up for both himself and for Rikker with his high school friends was something else.

Rikker’s part of this story made my heart hurt so much. He had such a harder time with his coming out then Graham did. He was never shown the kind of love and support from his family (outside of his grandmother) the way that Graham did but that didn’t stop him from loving with all that he was anyway. Seeing his parents up close and personal made me sorry for them because they couldn’t see past their worries to the amazing man their son grew up to be. I’m glad that when Rikker walked away, he walked away to somewhere that accepted and loved him just as he was. This might have been a short story, but it still packed the punch that I expect from Sarina Bowen. She didn’t disappoint. Graham and Rikker forever!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Ivy Years

four-stars


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Guest Review: Make Me Bad by R.S. Grey

Posted April 8, 2019 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Make Me Bad by R.S. GreyReviewer: Ames
Make Me Bad by R.S. Grey
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 7, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 303
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

I was issued a warning: stay away from Ben Rosenberg.

As Clifton Cove’s resident “king”, he thinks he’s entitled to anyone and anything.

The trouble is, I’ve spent my whole life following the rules and playing it safe. I know what it feels like to be the good girl. I’m the police chief’s daughter and a librarian—for adorable children, no less. My wardrobe consists of colorful sundresses and baggy jeans. I might as well have a Post-it stuck to my forehead that reads: Yup, she’s a virgin.

An all-nighter with a fictional hunk is about as exciting as my life gets, until one day, fate decides to take pity on me and shove me straight into the path of Mr. Off-Limits himself.

Oof.

Just as I suspected, every inch of him promises to be my demise. Up close, he’s tall, menacing, dangerously handsome—the type of man who’s never spent a single moment worrying about the opinions of others. A well-behaved girl would do as she’s told and avoid him at all costs, but I’m overdue for a little rebellion.

No more Friday nights sprawled out on the couch in my comfiest pajamas. No more wishing I had the courage to misbehave.

Everyone thinks Ben is going to ruin me.They think he’ll chew me up and spit me out.

Well, Ben…go ahead.Tempt me. Taunt me.Make me bad.

This is the second book I’ve read by R.S. Grey. I read another book by this author last year and did not enjoy it but I’m glad I gave her writing another try. Make Me Bad ended up being a cute read.

Madison works in her small town’s library. She still lives at home with her police chief dad and she’s just celebrated a boring 25th birthday. She wishes for her next year to be different and on her walk home that night, her wish gets answered. She gets mugged. She’s rescued by the town’s golden son Ben Rosenberg, who’s on his way home from a bar fight. When he has a choice of where to serve his community service hours, he chooses the library. He runs into Madison there again and she jumps on the opportunity to use Ben’s popularity and way with the ladies to jumpstart her own love life. Of course Ben starts to fall for Madison as he helps break her out of her shell but her father and over-protective older brother hate Ben.

As I said earlier, I thought Make Me Bad was cute. I liked the balance of Madison’s introverted character to Ben’s extrovert. She has a sassy personality that she usually doesn’t let out and that surprises Ben. I also thought her hesitation around rocking the boat at home was well done and she eventually stands up to her dad and brother.

Ben was born with a silver spoon in his mouth but he’s not a horrible guy. He did get into hijinks as a teenager but he’s a lawyer now and aside from the bar fight, he’s not getting into trouble. He doesn’t really understand why Madison’s men-folk don’t like him. I like how he gave Madison little pushes to break her out of her comfort zone. Madison’s character definitely had the most growth and progression but Ben had room for improvement too and Madison was the one to bring that about. I thought these two were cute together.

I’m glad I gave Grey’s writing another chance.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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