Source: NetGalley

Lightning Review: Empty Net by Toni Aleo

Posted November 14, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Empty Net by Toni AleoReviewer: Holly
Empty Net by Toni Aleo
Series: Assassins #3
Also in this series: Trying to Score
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 451
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Audrey Parker is up against the boards. She’s stuck in a job she hates and pining for a total jerk. Meanwhile, her sister Fallon is moving out and getting married to hockey star Lucas Brooks. Where is Audrey’s Prince Charming? Nothing she does has ever seemed to be good enough for any of the men in her life. Audrey’s about to hit rock bottom . . . until she wakes up next to Tate Odder.

The thrill of moving up from the minors to the Nashville Assassins was a welcome distraction. But not even becoming the first rookie goalie to tally three shutouts in the Stanley Cup Finals alleviates the pain. With the loss of his parents and sister weighing as heavily on his soul as ever, Tate Odder can’t keep pretending he’s okay. That’s when he meets smart, sexy Audrey. Her gentle warmth and quirky sense of humor make him feel whole for the first time in too long. But to stay that way forever, Tate must find a way to accept his past and learn to live for love.

Empty Net is the third book in the Assassins series by Toni Aleo. It follows Nashville’s professional hockey team, the Assassins. I really want to like this series. The premise of each book intrigues me, but they never deliver as I want them to. Empty Net followed suit. I really loved the idea behind the book, and enjoyed Tate quite a bit, but I greatly disliked Audrey, and the story was kind of lackluster.

Audrey suffers from extreme lack of self esteem and she makes bad decisions because of it. Her constant waffling about her ex – who treated her like crap and yet she can’t seem to walk away from – was especially frustrating, considering how well Tate treated her in comparison.

The second half was a little better, but it wasn’t enough to bring my overall enjoyment up.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Assassins

two-half-stars


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Review: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Posted November 12, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina LaurenReviewer: Rowena
Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 358
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

As an adventurous send-off to her childhood, eighteen-year-old Tate Jones travels with her grandmother from their small town in Northern California to London. But the vacation of a lifetime is wonderfully derailed by the appearance of two charming Vermont farmers: grandfather Luther and his handsome grandson Sam.

Sam and Tate fall hard and fast. For two glorious weeks, the couple share their hopes, dreams, and secrets. Sam admits he suspects his grandfather is dying and that this could be the last trip they take together, and Tate reveals that she is the hidden daughter of one of the biggest film stars in the world—a secret she’s never told anyone before.

But when Tate is exposed by a crush of cameras and reporters, she knows she's been betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust. She is forced to decide whether she will return to her quiet life or embrace being in the public eye. So when Sam reappears in her world more than a decade later, can Tate forgive the past and rekindle the passion they shared on their magical trip abroad? And does she even want to?

Christina Lauren’s latest addition to their backlist released last month and I couldn’t get my hands on it fast enough. It may have taken me a little bit to get this review written but reading the book? Nah. I read this one as soon as I could. My initial thoughts on this book upon first finishing it were that it wasn’t my favorite book by this fantastic writing duo but it certainly wasn’t my least favorite either.

So Twice in a Blue Moon tells the story of Tate and Sam. They met the summer after Tate graduated from high school and went on a trip to England with her grandmother. Sam, who was twenty-one at the time was there on his own vacation with his grandfather. When the two of them keep bumping into each other and then swap hotel rooms, a friendship sparks between them. They spend a good chunk of their vacations getting to know each other under the stars in London. Tate, who is the daughter of an aging A-List actor is pretty closed off from the world. She lives in a small town in the Bay area with her mother and her grandmother and she lives far away from the limelight of Hollywood. Nobody knows who her father is and she’s kept that secret close to her vest for the longest of times. She remembers the mob that greeted her the last time she was found out and she has no wish to repeat that adventure. There are three people in her life that know who she really is and when she meets Sam, she feels a connection with him that has her opening up to him about things she never speaks about aloud. She falls head over heels in love with Sam and even though she was only eighteen, she knew her mind and she knew her heart and both of them wanted Sam. So when Sam betrays her trust in the cruelest of ways, she leaves him behind and never looks back.

Years and years later, Tate has become a break out star in Hollywood and she’s just signed on to shoot a movie with her Dad. It’ll be their first job together and Tate secretly hopes that they’ll finally forge a bond that’s real and not the smile for the camera’s relationship that they have now. This movie could be a really big break for Tate and she’s stoked to be a part of the film until she comes face to face with Sam. An all grown up Sam that is just as good looking, if not more good looking than he was the last time she saw him.

So this story is told in parts. The first part is for young Sam and Tate. We see them falling in love as young adults in London and their love was super sweet but fun. I really enjoyed the young Sam and Tate. I loved seeing their friendship grow and grow into a love that took them both by surprise and yet I fully supported. A summer romance that they both wanted to try to keep alive when they returned home held so much promise and I was here for it…until Sam does the unthinkable and then I was heartbroken for Tate. I mean, she didn’t trust anyone with that information but she trusted Sam and he did her dirty. So that brings us to part two, when they come together on the movie set of the movie that Sam wrote about his grandparents. They’re both grown adults now and on Tate’s part, there’s a lot of resentment and on Sam’s part, there’s remorse. I thought I’d get a whole lot of groveling from Sam and sadly, we didn’t get that. A huge part of the reason for that was this story was told in first person, strictly from Tate’s point of view. She’s pissed off at Sam (rightfully so) and so that’s what we see. We see glimpses of Sam being remorseful and we see Sam’s apology to Tate but for me, it wasn’t enough. Sam didn’t grovel nearly enough to make up for the giant kick in the teeth he delivered to Tate all those years ago.

I will say that I adored all of the side characters. Tate’s best friend Charlie was the bomb. I love me a loyal bitch and Charlie was that and more. I loved how fiercely she had Tate’s back and I was really hoping that her and Nick would become a thing. I really adored Nick and wished that his part was a bigger part of the story. I felt like the biggest thing about the movie that Sam wrote was the relationship between his white grandmother and his black grandfather. Nick’s reasons for wanting to do the movie hit me in my feels and I wanted more from that so I was bummed when it was such a small part of the book. Also, the whole thing with her Dad felt displaced. Like, it didn’t really fit in with everything else in the book. I wish that was dropped and that Tate hadn’t wasted so much time and energy into trying to forge a bond with her Dad that he just did not seem to want to reciprocate. I felt like she was too old to still be chasing after her father’s affection. When all of that was said and done, I was completely underwhelmed.

This book was a lot more serious than other Christina Lauren books. It’s not the rom=com books that we’ve come to expect from Christina Lauren like Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Dating or My Favorite Half-Night Stand. I enjoyed the first half a lot more than I enjoyed the second half but overall, the story was solid and I’m glad that I finished it. I’m looking forward to the next one from Christina Lauren for sure.

Final Grade

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Posted November 5, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay AdamsReviewer: Rowena
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Series: The Bromance Book Club #1
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The first rule of this book club:You don't talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott's marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

The Bromance Book Club is my introduction into Lyssa Kay Adam’s writing and I enjoyed the experience. I thought the premise of this book (and of the series) was a pretty cute one and I wasn’t sure how she’d pull it off but I thought she handled the bromance book club, the different characters really well and I’m looking forward to reading the other books in this series. So this book features Gavin and Thea Scott, a married couple who have lost their way and this book show us how they worked to fix their marriage.

Gavin Scott is a professional baseball player for the Nashville Legends and on the biggest night of his career, his marriage imploded and his wife asked him to leave…so he did. He’s all kinds of messed up over it and after a few nights of thinking things through, Gavin, with the help of his best friend Del and some other friends, figures out that he wants to fight for his marriage and he wants to fight for his wife. He doesn’t want to lose his family and even though he’s got no idea how romance novels are going to help him woo his wife back, he’s got nothing to lose so he picks up the book that his friends suggested he read, and he starts reading.

Thea Scott is a stay at home Mom who is fed up. She’s fed up with her husband, the woman that she’s turned into over the years and on the biggest night of her husband’s career, she’s fed up with her marriage. The minute he left, she swore that she was going to divorce him and get her life back. She was going back to school to finish her degree and she was going to find a fulfilling life that wasn’t all about her being a Mom. She’s ready for the next step but when Gavin wants a month to try to save their marriage in exchange for not fighting her for whatever she wants in the divorce she wants, she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place because she doesn’t want to give her husband another chance, she just wants to cut her losses and move on.

Seeing Gavin and Thea give in to the love that’s been hiding between them and really working on fixing their issues made for a pretty emotional read. There were times when I wanted to strangle Gavin and hug Thea but then there were other times when I wanted to pull Thea’s hair and hug Gavin. There were a lot of push and pulls in this book but I thought it worked for the overall story being told. The romance was smoking hot, the characters were engaging and the angst was pretty strong. I was here for it all. I’m glad that I picked this book up for review and I’m pretty anxious for more from the other characters in the book club. So yeah, I enjoyed this one and I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Bromance Book Club

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins

Posted October 31, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Somebody to Love by Kristan HigginsReviewer: Tracy
Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins
Series: Gideon's Cove #3
Also in this series: Catch of the Day (Gideon's Cove, #1)
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 425
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins is back with a hilarious and heartwarming new story about a rich girl who discovers that a little hard work may be just the thing she needs...

After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon's Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father's wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she's not thrilled...even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox.

Having to fend for herself financially for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist's assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn't the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn't the only thing that needs a little TLC.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on April 26, 2012.

Parker Welles has always lived the good life. She’s never had to worry about money as her father had made millions. She lives with her 5 year old son in the family home and lives off her trust fund. She is an author of a series of children’s books but has donated all of the proceeds to Save the Children.

When she finds out that her father has lost all of his money – an her and her sons trust funds – in an insider trading deal she’s shocked. She’s not sure what she’s going to do but she is strong and knows that she’ll make it through.

She is reminded that an aunt left her a home in a small town in Maine so she heads up there to flip the house and possibly then live off of the money for a while while she tries to find a job. Her son is on a 3 week trip with his father and she’s ready to rock and roll. The problem is that house she considers more a shack and the aunt was a hoarder. The house is a complete pit and she’s not sure she can fix it.

Her father’s now unemployed lawyer shows up to help her as he used to do carpentry before he became a lawyer. Parker has never cared for James Cahill as she just believes that he is her father’s lackey but she admits that she’s always been attracted to him. She also resents James a bit because her father treats him better than she treats her and like the son he never had.

James was smitten and in love with Parker from the moment he saw her. He has attended many family parties both with and without Parker’s father so he knows a lot about her. Though Parker treats him like he’s an non-entity he still doesn’t want to give up on his feelings for her.

Parker finally gives in to James and they start a “summer fling” but what happens when both of their feelings grow and then real life gets in the way?

This was a really good book made all the better by James. He was just a great guy. He was a man who knew what he wanted and wasn’t all that afraid to go after what he wanted. He would have done it earlier but Parker was always more emotionally unavailable.

The part I really didn’t care for in this book was Parker. It’s not that she was a bad person but her thinking at times really baffled me. I just didn’t get why she was so determined to push James away when he proved again and again what a great person he was. On that flip side of that I really couldn’t understand what James saw in Parker and kept coming back for. No, she wasn’t a bad person but she hadn’t ever treated him very well.

I have to say that there was one part at the end of the book that made me love James even more but if I tell you I’ll completely ruin it! Lol Just let me say that it was one of the sweetest things I’d ever read.

This was a really great story that had great characters for the most part. The secondary characters were wonderful and the citizens of the town in Maine were wonderful. I would have liked this story much, much better if I’d liked Parker more but despite that it was worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Gideon’s Cove

four-stars


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Review: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Posted October 31, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie DunmoreReviewer: Rowena
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
Series: A League of Extraordinary Women #1
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 356
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar's daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women's suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain's politics at the Queen's command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can't deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn't be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn't claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring...or could he?

Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke....

After reading the blurb to this book, I was curious but not all that sure that I would actually read it. I’m glad that I gave this one a chance because it was a smart romance with complex characters that I really came to love. I really struggled with the hero early on but I’m glad that I stuck with the story because not only did I warm up to Sebastian, but I really came to love him and Annabelle together. Evie Dunmore wrote a lovely story for these two and she set up the next book just right because I’m all in for that one. I can’t wait to jump into that one.

Our heroine, Miss Annabelle Archer is a fiercely independent woman who fights extremely hard to get into the University of Oxford and she’s one of the very few women that are selected to go to school there. She takes that very seriously because her success in school is her ticket out of the life that she’s living now. She’s poor and all alone in the world except for a cousin who uses her as an unpaid Jane of all trades. She cleans, she watches his kids, she’s a lady’s maid to his wife and Annabelle has to scheme to go to school because her cousin can’t afford to send her and wouldn’t spend the money on her even if he could afford it. So when Annabelle gets a scholarship to go, she makes sure that she’s there and she makes sure that she does what she is supposed to do to keep her scholarship. What does she need to do, you ask? She needs to support the women’s suffrage movement and she needs to find some support amongst the males in England.

Sebastian Devereaux is the Duke of Montgomery and he’s on a mission to get back everything that his father squandered away. It’s taken him years but he’s put a huge dent in the list of properties that his father lost and one of the last remaining properties is the big one, the one that he won’t rest until he gets back and the Queen of England gives him an almost impossible task in exchange for…that property.

Things get interesting when Sebastian and Annabelle cross paths. They’re at cross purposes but the chemistry between them burns hot. I wasn’t a huge fan of the way that Sebastian treated Annabelle at first and boy did I connect with the way that Annabelle handled that meeting at Sebastian’s house because I would have done the exact same thing. Sebastian’s attitude was obviously the attitude of the aristocracy and was completely in line with how I figured all the Dukes from that time acted but it was still hard to take at times. I wanted to kick him in the balls more than a few times throughout the book but boy does he win me over by the end of the book. I really enjoyed seeing him and Annabelle fall in love with each other and I just enjoyed the way that we saw them fall in love. It wasn’t instantly, it was done really well and I appreciated Evie Dunmore’s efforts in showing us how their friendship grew into the love they shared in the end.

I also enjoyed the secondary characters and am looking forward to reading Lucie and Tom’s book. This book was a good one and I think everyone should give it a try because it’s smart, the characters are a fun bunch and the romance between Sebastian and Annabelle was delightful and steamy. You can’t really ask for more. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

A League of Extraordinary Women

Untitled #2

four-stars


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