Tag: 1.5 Reviews

Lightning Review: Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries

Posted February 26, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina JeffriesReviewer: Holly
Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Duke Dynasty #1.5
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge
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one-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

This winter, steal away with the reigning queens of Regency Romance... plus one or two dukes, one heiress, and one headstrong beauty—to a surprise snow storm, the comfort of a blazing fire, and the heat of a lover's kisses...

A CHRISTMAS ABDUCTION by Madeline Hunter

Caroline Dunham has a bone to pick with notorious rake Baron Thornhill—and a creative plan to insure his undivided attention. Yet once in close quarters, she finds herself beholden to their smoldering connection.

A PERFECT MATCH by Sabrina Jeffries

Whisked away from a wintry ball by a commanding colonel, Cassandra Isles struggles with her feelings for Lord Heywood. For he is a man sworn to marry only for money—and Cass is an heiress who will accept nothing less than love.

I only read the first two stories in this novella.

A CHRISTMAS ABDUCTION by Madeline Hunter

Adam, Baron Thornhill gets abducted by a woman. He thinks he’s been abducted as revenge because his cousin put their family’s breeding horses down after illness swept through them. Only, no. It’s actually because he supposedly seduced her sister and got her with child. She plans to force them to marry. Adam is pretty sure he’s never met her sister, but he can’t be sure because he is something of a rake.

The premise of this story was interesting. It started out well but then went downhill when the MC’s started lusting after each other. They’re attracted to each other. Okay, I can buy that. So they keep kissing. How is this a thing? You think he’s a rake who seduced and abandoned your sister. You are literally holding him hostage to marry her, but you let him kiss and fondle you anyway? Gross.

View Spoiler »
 
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 (the .5 for the first few chapters)

A PERFECT MATCH by Sabrina Jeffries

Cass is an heiress who is determined to keep her fortune a secret so she can marry for love. Lord Heywood needs a fortune to restore the property he inherited. He intends to court her cousin, Kitty (also an heiress), but after they spend time together, it’s Cass he wants.

I really disliked the fact that Cass hid her fortune for as long as she did, but more importantly, I disliked how Heywood reacted when he found out about it. I wasn’t loving the story up to that point, and his giant man-tantrum didn’t help matters.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Duke Dynasty

After I read those two stories I was done with this anthology and skipped the Mary Jo Putney. I may go back and read it at some point.

one-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Do You Take This Cop by Beth Andrews

Posted January 7, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Do You Take This Cop by Beth AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Do You Take This Cop? by Beth Andrews
Series: Serenity Springs #4
Also in this series: A Not-So-Perfect Past
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: May 1st 2010
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 256
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one-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Without the badge, he'd be perfect!

The last thing Faith Lewis needs is a cop poking his nose in her business. Okay, yes, Nick Coletti is gorgeous. And charming. And great with her son. But dating the town's most popular boy in blue is hardly going to help her keep a low profile. This guy could blow their world apart if he discovers her secret.

Funny thing is, he may also be her only hope. If she had someone like Nick on her side, maybe she could finally be free, and give her son the life he deserves. But trusting Nick means telling the whole truth about her past. He might protect them. Or he just might turn her in….

This review was originally published on September 9, 2010

I’ve read novels by Andrews before and enjoyed them, but this one fell far off the mark for me.

I was liking the heroine of this book until she decided to manipulate the hero into caring for her because she needs protection. She’s on the run from an abusive husband and wants to settle herself and her son somewhere. I can understand that. But why not just tell him the truth and ask for help? You really think leading him on and lying is going to help your cause? The good news is that the hero is onto her. He knows she’s playing a game, he just isn’t sure what it is. Which is the whole reason I kept reading.

She also played the “let’s pretend everything is okay and it will be” game a little too often for me. Pretending a problem doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away. She was the type to stick her fingers in her ears and say ‘la la la la la la’. Her son greatly suffered because she refused to deal with her issues. Had it just been her, I might have been able to overlook this. Her son deserved better, though.

This brings me to the next thing that I didn’t like about her, her skills as a mother. She expected her son to be perfect. He wasn’t allowed to make messes or play outside or be loud or..talk, even. Everything he did she scolded him for it. I can understand wanting your kids to behave, but she expected way too much from him.

I kept reading because of the hero. He was strong, caring, and compassionate. He genuinely liked Faith and wanted to get to know her better. I thought it was sweet how he acted with her son. He really worked for me all the way up until the end. That’s when he stopped acting like a cop and started acting like a jerk who’d been scorned by a woman. It was so frustrating! He was the only reason I kept reading, and then he totally ruined it the last 1/8 of the book.

Up until that point he knew Faith was hiding a secret but wanted to let her work out telling him on her own. I can respect that. But when he shows up at her place to find her packing and realizes she knocked someone out and HID THE BODY, but does nothing about it, my head (almost) exploded.

Had the hero not turned TSTL at the end, I probably wouldn’t have disliked this book so much. As it stands, I can’t find much to recommend it.

1.5 out of 5 (the .5 is for the hero during the first half of the story and the kid. I liked him.)

Serenity Springs

one-half-stars


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Series Review: The Rossi Crime Family by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

Posted July 27, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

I’m not going to lie, this series was pretty awful. I was reading it and wondering why I kept moving onto the next book. I just kept thinking that the series had to get better. Yeah, that was a no-go.

Series Review: The Rossi Crime Family by J.L. Beck & C. HallmanReviewer: Casee
Convict Me by J.L. Beck, C. Hallman
Series: The Rossi Crime Family #0.5
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 1, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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one-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

The day I meet Hero Miller I know he’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met before. Sheltered and raised around no one but my family all my life, his darkness draws me in.
He was raised with violence, it oozes from deep within him. I was raised by the bible my naiveness to save him proving just that.
He scares me and excites me all at once. He’s obsessed and guarded. He protects me and hurts me. He pushes and I pull, but only because he doesn’t think he’s good enough.
His warnings are clear. He tells me about his past, and the people he’s killed. He tells me about the things he wants to do to me…about the things he will do if I stay.
The goodness in me wants to cure the stain of dark on his heart, but I’m not strong enough. The closer I get to Hero the further I get dragged into his darkness and eventually it starts to swallow me whole.
Murder. Crime. Money. Sex. It surrounds us, and when Hero’s past comes barreling towards us it won’t be him that pays the ultimate price..it will be me.
**This is book one in the Broken Heroes Series. It contains a happily ever after and is a complete standalone. It contains dark themes such as dubious content, sexual themes, violence, and swearing.**

Hero Miller takes one look at his tutor and falls instantly in love. Like love at first sight. For real. Elyse is sheltered. She grew up in a “spare the rod, spoil the child” household. She’s finally gotten away from her parents. Living the college life has been a dream come true for Elyse. When she meets Hero, she’s instantly enamored but she knows he’s not the one for her. Or so she thinks.

This book really had no substance. Hero did what he wanted, when he wanted. He locked Elyse in his bedroom “for her own good” when he was trying to protect her. It was maddening. And she just kept going back.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Series Review: The Rossi Crime Family by J.L. Beck & C. HallmanReviewer: Casee
Protect Me by J.L. Beck, C. Hallman
Series: The Rossi Crime Family #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 23, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 228
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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one-star
Series Rating: two-stars

Damon Rossi is a ruthless leader, and an even more ruthless man to my body, and heart. The moment I meet him I know he could kill me with nothing more than his hands. He controls the room, demands attention and when my brother is murdered for a debt he owes I’m forced into his protection. But that doesn’t mean he has to care about me.
Or pretend he values my life, which he doesn’t.
He’s a savage, over the top, and scary as hell, and even as I’m pushed further and further down the rabbit hole and into his dark dangerous world of criminals, thieves, and sex. I cling to him, knowing he’s the only one that can protect me from them all.
And yet when secrets are exposed, and lines are crossed Damon proves to me just how deep his protection for me goes… but his protection comes with a price that I cannot afford, and so I become his property making the chances of escaping this dark world slip further and further away from me.
Damon might protect me from his enemies but who’s to protect my heart from falling for him?
**This is book two in the Broken Heros Series. It contains a happily ever after and is a complete standalone. It contains dark themes such as dubious content, sexual themes, violence, and swearing. Do not read this book if you dislike antiheroes.*

When Keira’s brother is murdered, she goes to the one man that her brother trusted. Damon Rossi. He’s an alpha asshole to her from the beginning and she just falls into a puddle at his feet. I honestly don’t know why she even fell for him. His character did not improve at all.

Overall, I didn’t like Keira because she was a doormat and Damon was just a miserable piece of work.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Series Review: The Rossi Crime Family by J.L. Beck & C. HallmanReviewer: Casee
Keep Me by J.L. Beck, C. Hallman
Series: The Rossi Crime Family #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Pages: 157
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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one-star
Series Rating: two-stars

She was my enemy… I was her new captor….
She was the enemy…a tiny little temptress of a woman that made my blood sing for vengeance. I should be punishing her…breaking her from the inside out after finding her in my father’s clutches.
But when I discover the truth that she is just as much as a victim of my father's wrongdoings as I am I can’t follow through.
I know then that I can’t break my little mouse...not after she’s lured me in with her big blue doe eyes, and strawberry blonde hair, and those pink painted lips that beg to be kissed again, and again.
I don't think things can get any better...but then she makes me an offer I can't refuse… her body, her virginity, and her complete submission, and she wants only one thing in return: help finding her sister.
What she fails to realize is that even after helping her find her sister I can't just let her go she knows too much, she's become a liability...but I have a plan to make certain she’ll never leave or escape me.
A plan that involves me filling her womb with my filthy seed until I make certain a piece of myself stick, and then I’ll make her the Queen of the Rossi Empire by putting a ring on her finger.
**This is book three in the series but it can be read as a complete standalone. It is a full-length novel that contains NO-CLIFFHANGERS, NO CHEATING, and has a HEA. It is a dark mafia/crime romance and contains subject matter not suitable for all readers. If you don't like alpha's, possessive and controlling over their leading ladies then skip this one.**

This is probably my favorite book in the series, which isn’t saying much. I really liked Xander and how unapologetic he was about his shortcomings. He was also an ass, but he never tried to be anything else. I really liked Ella too. I thought she was one of the stronger heroines in the series.

With all that, it was still over the top bad. Like how bad can Xander treat Ella before she decides to throw in the towel?

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Series Review: The Rossi Crime Family by J.L. Beck & C. HallmanReviewer: Casee
Guard Me by J.L. Beck, C. Hallman
Series: The Rossi Crime Family #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 2, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 294
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

She was a tiny little lamb that claimed my heart with one fearful look.
I was her captor, the man responsible for breaking her, for preparing her for auction.
She was taken, plucked right off the street and brought to me to be sold at the next auction.
Rescuing her from my men was never part of the deal, and neither was bringing her up to my room.
Yet, night after night I did this, refusing to give up the way she made me feel. When I’m with her I feel less like a monster. I can remember the man I used to be before the mob got to me, before all the bad tainted my soul.
But wanting her is forbidden, and keeping her unthinkable. If they find out what I’m doing they’ll kill both of us.
And still…
I want to save her.
I want to love her.
I want to cherish her.
When the time comes will I be able to let her go? Or will I risk both our lives for a love that I may not deserve?
**This is book four in the series but it can be read as a complete standalone. It is a full length novel (85k+ words) that contains NO-CLIFFHANGERS, NO CHEATING, and has a HEA. It is a dark mafia/crime romance and contains subject matter not suitable for all readers. **

Violet is on the block to be sold at a slave auction. Ivan is in charge of the auction. When he’s called down to the cells after being told one of the girls is refusing to eat, he’s instantly drawn to her. Too bad that isn’t enough for him to rescue her.

I hated this book. Ivan was a total asshole. He kept taking her back to her cell and told her that he couldn’t help her. But he could fuck her. Oh and Violet is Ella’s sister (see above).

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Series Review: The Rossi Crime Family by J.L. Beck & C. HallmanReviewer: Casee
Tame Me by J.L. Beck, C. Hallman
Series: The Rossi Crime Family #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 26, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Pages: 258
Add It: Goodreads
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dnf
Series Rating: two-stars

She was a broken angel that had the light beat right out of her.
I was the man responsible for her life, her protector…
Rescued by my brother and shoved into my arms I never expected to fall for the fragile woman, with soft eyes, and lips that begged to be kissed.
I know what she saw when she looked at me, a ruthless fighter, a man with a broken past, too far gone to be reached, sinking deeper and deeper into the darkness.
Still, somehow her light reached me, the innocence inside her called to me and the moment her soul touched mine I was tamed, ensnared in her love.
But love comes at a cost, and in our world, you pay with your life. With all the danger surrounding us, I don’t know if I can protect her. Not only from myself, but also from a past that refuses to let go.
**This is book four in the series but it can be read as a complete standalone. This is a full length novel. It contains NO-CLIFFHANGER, NO CHEATING, and has a HEA. It is a dark mafia/crime romance and contains subject matter not suitable for all readers.**

This book was a big fat DNF for me. I couldn’t stand the hero. The heroine was actually tolerable, but I still don’t know what she saw in him. That seems to be a recurring theme in this series.

Rating: DNF.

The Rossi Crime Family

one-half-stars


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Review: The Kissing Game by Marie Harte

Posted February 19, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Kissing Game by Marie HarteReviewer: Rowena
The Kissing Game by Marie Harte
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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one-half-stars

"I bet you a kiss you can't resist me."

Game on.

Rena Jackson is ready. She's worked her tail off to open up her own hair salon, and she's almost ready to quit her job at the dive bar. Rena's also a diehard romantic, and she's had her eye on bar regular Axel Heller for a while. He's got that tall-dark-and-handsome thing going big time. Problem is, he's got that buttoned-up Germanic ice man thing going as well. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Rena's about ready to give up on Axel and find her own Mr. Right.

At six foot six, Axel knows he intimidates most people. He's been crushing on the gorgeous waitress for months. But the muscled mechanic is no romantic, and his heart is buried so deep, he has no idea how to show Rena what he feels. He knows he's way out of his depth and she's slipping away. So, he makes one crazy, desperate play...

I’ve never read anything by Marie Harte before and I’ll admit that what initially piqued my interest with this book was that cartoon cover. I’m a fan of these cutesy, cartoon covers because they make me picture the cutesy story that I expect to get when I pick one up. I’m starting to think that these cartoony covers are the exact opposite of what I should expect to get. This one sounded like a super cute story that would be a light and fluffy read but right from the very beginning, what I thought I was getting, wasn’t what I felt was coming. I kept reading, thinking that maybe it’ll get better and unfortunately, it never did. Sure, there were some moments throughout the book that had me laughing and some characters that I was genuinely interested in but for the most part, I was like…nah.

Axel Heller has had a giant crush on Rena Jackson but he’s never made his move. She’s been patient with him but the longer he waits to get at her, the more sure Rena is that he’s never going to make his move so she needs to move on. She’s leaving her bartending job to open her own hair salon and when Axel gets into a bar fight at her going away party, she’s not surprised but she’s also determined to move on. When Axel receives some much-needed advice, he decides that it’s now or never. Now, a huge part of the reason that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would is that I couldn’t connect with either the hero or the heroine. I thought that as the story progressed, I would understand their thought processes and I would start to connect with them but I don’t know if it was Harte’s writing style or if was the fact that the characters of color didn’t come off as authentic to me but whatever it was, I put this book down and just did feel much of anything and that bummed me out.

I love romance novels of all kinds. I love the light and fluffy ones, the dark and twisted ones, even the suspenseful ones but what I like about those stories is that I know what I’m getting when I go into them. The HEA is a given but you can tell by the covers just what you’re going to get and I thought the cover for this one didn’t fit with the kind of story that I was expecting. This wasn’t the light and fluffy romance that I was expecting. It was a diverse romance that was written by an author who was not diverse. I found myself frustrated with the characters, with the romance, and with the writing style. I kept reading to see if I’d ever warm up to Axel and to Rena and while I did end up liking Rena, I never warmed up to Axel. There was a lot of nothing going on. I couldn’t really tell what the conflict was because the conflict was pretty weak. I didn’t feel like there was anything to carry the characters or even develop them. So my enjoyment really suffered because of all of those things. On top of those things, I also thought that there were a lot of characters to keep track of. Sure, I enjoyed some of them but for the most part, not having read any of these characters books (I didn’t even know that this book was part of a series), I had no clue who they were and didn’t even know that I was supposed to care about them.

So yeah, I went into this book expecting one thing but didn’t get it and I didn’t really connect with the main characters or anything that they were going through so all in all, this book just wasn’t for me.

Final Grade

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

one-half-stars


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Review: First Contact by Kat Green

Posted October 11, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: First Contact by Kat GreenReviewer: Holly
First Contact by Kat Green, Kat de Falla
Narrator: Kate Tyler
Series: Haunts For Sale #1
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: August 11, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Length: 5 hours and 25 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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one-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Sloane Osborne is a paranormal realtor in the business of selling haunted houses but, in truth, she’s only searching for one ghost. And her time is running out. It’s the 366th day after her fiancé’s death. Michael used to like putting things off for “a year and a day”—so tonight’s the night. Sloane will do anything to make contact with him before the clock strikes midnight. When she gets a call to check out a home in Waukesha, Wisconsin, it’s the last place she thinks Michael would contact her. Sloane is dead wrong.

I really liked the premise of this story. A paranormal real estate agent who checks to make sure haunted houses are safe to live in before she sells them? One who is looking for a chance to contact her dead fiance just one more time? I’m here for that. Unfortunately, it wasn’t well executed. I found this on the Audible Escape package. The narrator was okay. I liked some of the voices she used for the characters, but I don’t think she put a lot of emotion into the story. Things that should have been sad, or scary, came across as kind of flat. She was also very slow. I generally listen at 1.85x speed, but I ended up bumping this one to 2.10x speed.

Sloane Osborne was on her way to pick up her marriage license with fiance Michael when they got into a car accident and Michael was killed. He always joked that everything would happen in “A Year and a Day”. For the past year, she’s been working as a Paranormal Real Estate agent. She sells haunted houses, but first she makes sure they’re safe to live in (that the ghosts aren’t evil or angry). She’s also been searching for Michael’s ghost. It’s been exactly a year and a day since the accident, so Sloane is convinced she’ll be able to finally make contact with him tonight. She got a tip about a house in Wisconsin that’s up for sale, so that’s where she heads. It turns out the house is very haunted, and she’s able to make first contact with spirits..and Michael is one of them.

More often than not Sloane was TSTL (too stupid to live). Her dead fiance’s best friend, Jonah, is a cold case investigator with the FBI, and also a strong medium. She used to hunt ghosts with him until her fiance died and she retreated into herself. She called him once she made first contact with the spirits in a house in Wisconsin, because she suspected girls had been murdered there. He asked her to wait for him before venturing back into the house, or speaking to anyone about her suspicions. She thinks to herself, “I should wait..but I’m not going to.” She also thinks to herself several times that she’s in over her head, yet she still continues on her merry way. It was no surprise to me when she ended up trapped in a hole in the floor for her stupidity.

The villains were easily picked out from the first, and honestly they were both such dumb-asses I’m surprised they got away with anything as long as they did. The only reason I kept reading was because I was interested in the ghosts themselves. I was hoping we’d see more of their backgrounds and they’d be a bigger focus of the story. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. It mostly focused on Sloane and she bumbled her way into danger.

There were also a lot of inconsistencies in the story. Michael, the dead fiance, was a paragon of male worthiness and nothing could ever live up to his memory..except he sounded like a controlling asshole a lot of the time and she even thinks to herself at one point that things may not have worked with them long-term after all. Except, wait, he was the LOVE OF HER LIFE. She was a paranormal real estate agent and, according to her, the market was hot and a lot of people wanted to buy haunted houses. Yet she hadn’t made a single sale yet and was on the brink of starving and being homeless. Things like that really pulled me out of the story and kind of drove me crazy.

I did really like Jonah, however. He kind of made the story for me, though he spent more time off page than on. Although the premise is interesting, I don’t believe I’ll continue on with the series. Watching Sloane stumble around and make dumb decisions mostly just gave me a headache.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Haunts for Sale

one-half-stars


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