Tag: 1.5 Reviews

Review: Overruled by Emma Chase

Posted December 14, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Overruled by Emma ChaseReviewer: Rowena
Overruled by Emma Chase
Series: Legal Briefs #1
Also in this series: Appealed, Sidebarred
Published by Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: April 28th 2015
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 288
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-stars

As a DC defense attorney, Stanton Shaw keeps his head cool, his questions sharp, and his arguments irrefutable. They don’t call him the Jury Charmer for nothing – with his southern drawl, disarming smile and captivating green eyes – he’s a hard man to say no to. Men want to be him and women want to be thoroughly cross examined by him.

Stanton’s a man with a plan. And for a while, life was going according to that plan.

Until the day he receives an invitation to the wedding of his high school sweetheart and mother of his beloved ten-year old daughter. Jenny is getting married — to someone who isn’t him.

That's definitely not part of the plan.
***

Sofia Santos is a city raised, no-nonsense litigator who plans to become the most revered criminal defense attorney in the country. She doesn’t have time for relationships or distractions.

But when Stanton, her "friend with mind-blowing benefits" begs for help, she finds herself out of her element, out of her depth, and obviously out of her mind. Because she agrees to go with him – to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Mississippi – to do all she can to help Stanton win back the woman he loves.

Her head tells her she's crazy...and her heart says something else entirely.

*WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK*

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This book, man.

I was looking forward to reading this because I wanted to read about lawyers falling in love but what I was expecting and what I got, were two different things. Ames warned me that this wasn’t a clean cut romance but I’m pretty easy to please so I didn’t think that it would be a big deal.

But then I started the book and….it was.

So the book starts with the hero, Stanton finding out that he got his girlfriend and love of his lifetime Jenny pregnant. The two of them are so young with bright plans ahead of them but with Jenny pregnant, she obviously can’t go to college but Stanton got into a good school and he was supposed to get a college degree and then make butt loads of money to take care of him and Jenny. How can he go through with that now? He wants to take a year off, be around when Jenny has the baby and figure things out from there but Jenny won’t let him do it. She won’t let Stanton walk away from their plan. So the new plan is for Jenny to stay behind, raise the baby with her parents and Stanton still goes away to college to get that degree to get a good job and take care of Jenny and the baby.

A reluctant Stanton agrees and goes away to college. Everything is going great until the time and distance start to become a thing. Then the plan changes to Stanton and Jenny being in an open relationship because St. Jenny doesn’t want to hold Stanton back from anything. She wants him to experience college and all it has to offer…until he bangs some other chick and Jenny realizes it hurts to have your boyfriend want someone else but before Stanton goes back to college, Jenny brings up the open relationship thing and it becomes a real thing between them.

While they’re apart, they can bang and hang with whoever they wanted but when Stanton was back in town, they were together and everyone was off limits. I didn’t understand that whole thing but when the book starts up again, it’s ten years later and Stanton is no longer in college anymore but he never went home either. He is a hot shot defense attorney in DC, making big bucks and sending money home to Jenny and their daughter Presley. He’s also banging one of his co-workers and their relationship is completely casual and he’s pretty content with his life.

Who wouldn’t be though? He’s got the freaking life. He’s got a great job, money in the bank, a loving girlfriend and daughter back home and he gets to live the bachelor life hundreds of miles away, banging anyone he wants. Everything is going great until he finds out that Jenny is getting married because guess what guys? Jenny isn’t the heroine of this book. His bang buddy from work, Sofia is.

Technically, Stanton never cheated but that didn’t stop me from thinking that he was a bit of a douche bag. I say that because when he finds out that Jenny is getting married, his first instinct is go back home and try to win her back. That would be fine and dandy if he didn’t drag his bang buddy from work with him. Why did he do that? Because he can’t win Jenny back without Sofia. Sofia will keep him focused and will help him do whatever it takes to win Jenny back.

[insert eye roll emoji here]

Of course Sofia goes with him and OF COURSE Sofia’s in love with Stanton but Stanton is so focused on what HE wants that he doesn’t see it. Sofia is so in love with Stanton that she can’t refuse him in his time of need and the angst from that alone could have made me melt but the way that Stanton went about it turned my stomach.

You see, when Stanton and Sofia get to Mississippi, Stanton immediately starts up trying to sabotage Jenny’s relationship and wedding. Each day, Stanton throws wrenches in Jenny’s plans and each night his plans fail, he returns home to…Sofia and they bang his failures away only for Stanton to wake up the next morning and try, try again with Jenny.

So for a huge chunk of the book, Stanton wants Jenny all the while he’s still banging Sofia and that’s gross. That shit got real old, real fast and the more they did it, the more pissed off I got at the both of them. Throughout the entire book, Stanton put Jenny first. It would have been understandable had he put Presley first, but no. It was Jenny first and foremost in his mind and that really pissed me off because even when he realizes that he loves Sofia and not Jenny, he didn’t put Sofia first. He stayed in Mississippi and attended Jenny’s wedding and then two days later, he went after Sofia.

Don’t even get me started on Sofia. I wanted to strangle her every time she caved to Stanton’s seductions. I wanted to strangle her even more when she didn’t make Stanton grovel a bit more at the end and him being pissed off at her for letting him get away with all of the shit she let him get away with did not make up for all of the shitty things he did to her.

I could see the potential in Stanton and knew that deep down, he wasn’t a bad guy but holy cow did that good guy do a whole bunch of shitty things that made me want to nut punch him. Sofia was great too but I wanted to smack some damn sense into her for far too long and then the wrap up at the end did little to appease the rage that consumed me throughout the book.

When I finally finished the book, I was glad to be done with it because I could finally move on to the book that I wanted to read all along. Sustained. It was the premise for that book that brought this book to my attention and I really loved the other characters in this book. From Presley to Stanton’s family to Jake and Brent, I loved them all and looked forward to getting to know Jake and Brent better in their books so while this book didn’t work for me, the promise of the other books did.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

two-stars

Review: Redemption Road by Katie Ashley

Posted November 24, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Redemption Road by Katie AshleyReviewer: Rowena
Redemption Road by Katie Ashley
Series: Vicious Cycle #2
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: October 6th 2015
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
one-half-stars

The New York Times bestselling author of Vicious Cycle plunges readers into a world of danger and desire in her newest in the Vicious Cycle motorcycle club romance series.

Looking for a walk on the wild side, Annabel Percy, the daughter of a powerful politician, gives in to an attraction to a sexy biker she meets one night.

But she finds herself living a nightmare when she’s kidnapped and transported into a hell on earth she never could have imagined.
Born and bred into the Hells Raiders MC, Nathaniel “Reverend” Malloy lives and dies for his brothers. But when he becomes the unexpected savior of a rival club’s captive, Rev makes it his personal mission to nurse Annabel back to health—and to shelter her from the nightmares that torment her.

Once Annabel heals, she’s stunned to realize she is falling for the seductive man who saved her. Faced with their impossible attraction, can she accept the life he leads, or will Rev walk away from the only life he’s ever known for the woman he was never supposed to love?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

This is Book 2 in the Vicious Cycle series by Katie Ashley and it follows Deacon Malloy’s (hero from Book 1) brother Nathaniel “Rev” Malloy as he makes that trek toward true love. Rev’s story starts at the end of Vicious Cycle. At Deacon and Alex’s wedding, Rev gets a phone call from their brother Breakneck (what a name), the MC doctor who informs him that he needs help. Breakneck’s daughter is a freshman in college at Texas A&M, she’s been kidnapped and Breakneck needs Rev’s help in getting her back because the guys that took her? They’re bad news and in the sex trafficking business. A business his daughter might be sold into if he doesn’t get her back soon.

Rev leaves the reception with his younger brother Bishop and they set off to try and get Sarah back. With the help of the local chapter of the Hell Raiders MC, they storm the compound to save Sarah and end up saving another red-headed captive named Annabel Percy. Rev ends up nursing Annabel back to health and she ends up becoming a bigger part of his life than he anticipated.

With each passing day, Annabel gets better and healthier and she gets even closer to Rev. She can’t imagine her life without him and he’s starting to wonder if she’s falling in love with him or is suffering from some kind of hero worship because he saved her from being the sex slave.

The story itself had the potential to be really good but I don’t know, I just didn’t connect with anything or anyone.

Rev’s head was in the right place but holy cow did he get on my nerves. Same with Annabel. I don’t know what it is about the heroines in this series but I could not for the life of me connect with either of them. I thought Annabel would come out strong and in some ways she did but the jealousy, the attitudes toward MC life, the wanting to change their men and the MC rules to suit their lives didn’t really sit well with me.

I wish that wanting the MC to go straight was handled better. The way that it came about didn’t sit right with me. It was a stipulation of Alex’s to Deacon. If they were going to work as a couple, he had to make sure that the MC went straight. I get that she couldn’t accept the lifestyle that being associated with the MC would bring but why was she so important to the MC? Deacon wasn’t the President of the club. He wasn’t even the VP of the MC. And another thing, why was it so easy for them to go straight? Everything was handled so conveniently.

Even with all of that stuff bothering me, the book was slow. It was like chapter and chapter of Annabel living with Rev and that’s it…and then Rev calls her parents and she goes home, pissed off. And that’s it. I felt like I was waiting for something big to happen and it took too long for it to happen because when everything finally does go down, it felt like it was too late. I was already checking out of the story.

It was good to see Bishop, Willow and Mama Beth again. I was sad for Kim but it was good to see her too but I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t care for Deacon and Alex even in this book. OMG, they got on my nerves. Deacon is just a flat out dickhead and Alex, ehh she still annoyed me.

Willow was just as much as delight in this story as she was in Book 1. I really enjoyed seeing how resilient she’s been. You can see her coming into her own as part of the MC family and I really like seeing her happy. She’s come a long way from the girl hiding under her bed in Book 1. She’s stronger now and that’s a good thing. I love her relationship with Rev and Bishop. She’s just a cute little thing. Mama Beth was great too. I just love her to pieces. I think she’s a good Mom who is just accepting and loving and everything that a Mom should be. She supports her kids no matter what they do and when she finds out what happened to Rev all those years ago, my heart hurt for her. She’s not perfect but she’s damn near close.

I read the first chapter of Bishops book that was provided at the end of Redemption Road and I wasn’t a fan of what I read but then I went over to Goodreads and read the blurb and it doesn’t seem that bad but I’m still on the fence on whether to read it or not. I just don’t know.

In the end, I wanted to like these books but I just couldn’t. Ugh.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

This book is available from NAL Trade. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

one-half-stars

Review: Vicious Cycle by Katie Ashley

Posted October 1, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Vicious Cycle by Katie AshleyVicious Cycle by Katie Ashley
Series: Vicious Cycle #1
Also in this series: Redemption Road
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: June 2nd 2015
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

New York Times bestselling author Katie Ashley revs up the danger and sexual tension in her brand-new Vicious Cycle romance series.

Deacon Malloy’s life is dedicated to the Hells Raiders motorcycle club. Tough, hard, and fast with his fists, he serves the group as sergeant at arms. But his devil-may-care approach to life is thrown for a loop when the five-year-old daughter he never knew existed lands on the club steps.

Alexandra Evans is devoted to all her students—but there’s always been something about Willow Malloy that tugs at her heart. There’s an aura of sadness about her, a girl in need of all the love Alexandra can give. When Willow stops coming to school, Alexandra’s search leads to a clubhouse full of bikers…and a father hell-bent on keeping his daughter always within sight.

The moment Deacon sees Alexandra, he has to have her in his bed—and he’s never met a woman yet who couldn’t be persuaded. No matter how attracted she is to Deacon, Alexandra refuses to be just another conquest. But it’s Deacon himself who could be seduced—into a brighter future for himself, his daughter, and the woman he’s falling for against all odds.

I’m a huge fan of Sons of Anarchy and so I knew that I was going to get into the MC romances, especially when Holly sold me on other MC romances. I was looking forward to reading this series because the covers were hot and the blurbs sounded good.

Sigh.

This review is going to be hard for me to write because while there were things that I enjoyed, for the most part, I didn’t like it.

So this book follows David “Deacon” Malloy as he falls in love with his daughter’s teacher, Alexandra Evans. Deacon is a hard core biker who lives his life hard. He works hard and he plays even harder. Alex grew up with her Aunt and Uncle after her parents were killed in an accident. She’s got nothing in common with Deacon or anyone on the MC compound but she’s worried about Willow, a student in her class that is showing tremendous potential. Willow hasn’t been in a school for almost a week and it’s time to go and meet Willow’s father and have a talk about what’s going on with Willow.

When the book first starts Deacon didn’t know he had a five year old daughter. He meets her and his world is thrown off course. He’s got a lot going on but his family won’t let him not take responsibility for the little girl and you see him come to love the heck out of that little girl. Being the Sergeant at Arms for the Hell’s Raiders Motorcycle Club, he’s seem some pretty bad things. Hell, he’s done some pretty bad things so he’s got no experience with little girls. He doesn’t know how to be tender but when Willow’s nosy teacher starts coming around, she changes him a little bit at a time.

Based on what I’ve already said about the book, you would think that I enjoyed the book but holy cow…both Deacon and Alex got on my hot damn nerves throughout the entire book. They kept making decisions and doing things that pissed me off. Putting themselves in danger, saying and doing stupid things to each other that after a while, I stopped caring about them.

I did like Willow though. I liked Mama Beth. I liked Case and Kim. I liked seeing everyone come together when Deacon and Alex needed them. I am mighty curious about Rev and Bishop. Mostly Bishop. I liked his flirty attitude toward…well, everyone. He seems like a fun guy to get to know.

The romance between Deacon and Alex and then Deacon and Alex themselves found every nerve in my body and stomped over all of them. I stayed frustrated with the both of them throughout the whole thing. I thought that Alex’s plan at the end was stupid. I thought the games she played to “teach” Deacon a lesson were stupid and don’t even get me started with Deacon. I got that he was a bad ass. I didn’t need the first meeting scene with Alex to prove it. The things he thought and the things he did made me want to punch him. He just wasn’t very likable to me and while I hated him less in the end, I still didn’t necessarily like him.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

This book is available from NAL Trade. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Review: The Marine’s Temptation by Jennifer Morey

Posted February 26, 2015 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

The Marine's Temptation by Jennifer MoreyJen’s review of The Marine’s Temptation (The Adair Affair #2) by Jennifer Morey

CAN’T BUY ME LOVE… Carson Adair’s father ruined Georgia Mason’s stepmother’s life and Georgia is not about to give Carson the same opportunity with her. She’s determined to resist his charms – however tempting it is to allow the smouldering sexy ex-marine to seduce her! But it’s hard to hate him when he’s trying to track down the traitor behind his botched mission. And, when a gunman from Carson’s dark past tracks him down and puts Georgia in the line of fire, Carson protects her, igniting a scorching passion. Maybe Carson’s someone for Georgia to trust, respect… and love.

I’m always looking for new romantic suspense series, so I was hopeful that this book would introduce me to something worthwhile. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it.

Carson Adair is a former Marine, discharged after being wounded in action. He’s come back home to figure out what to do with his life and help his family deal with the murder of their dad, Reginald Adair, and the disappearance of their mom, Patsy, who is the main suspect. The family recently found out that Reginald had a son from an earlier marriage, a son who was kidnapped. Georgia Mason is the stepdaughter of Ruby, Reginald’s first wife. When Carson offers to continue the search for the missing son that Reginald started before his death, he and Georgia team up, despite her reluctance. She hates Carson because…he’s rich? (Or something. Her reasoning is a bit weak.) When someone starts targeting Carson and Georgia, they have to figure out why. Is it related to Carson’s last mission in the Marines, or something closer to home?

This book is painfully light on world building, explanation, and character development. I was somewhat interested in the larger plot of the kidnapped son, the murdered father, the missing mother, etc., but that investigation doesn’t go very far in this book. Instead, the story spends a lot of time on Carson’s last mission in the Marine’s. Honestly, I’m sitting here trying to recap and can’t even muster up the energy to care. None of it makes sense–why would this villain Carson tangled with in Myanmar be living in San Diego now? Why would his former Commander get him involved in their work when he’s no longer in the Marines? There’s some manufactured angst involving Carson’s best friend who was killed in the last mission and Carson taking over his dad’s company, but neither issue is explored in depth.

Georgia is a frustrating, unlikable character. She hates rich people and thinks nothing good comes from associating with them. Carson sets out to change that by…buying her things? Why would he want to spend money on her? Why would she let him if she doesn’t like money? For a woman who doesn’t care about money, Georgia sure adores fancy clothes and admits she regularly buys designer items. She huffs but accepts nearly everything Carson offers her. She constantly whines about how she can’t “fit in” with Carson’s family even though they are all perfectly lovely and kind to her. But we’re supposed to side with Georgia because she has Trauma, y’all. Throughout the book it’s hinted that Something Big happened with her ex, and that’s why she’s reluctant to get involved with Carson. Something sexual (*gasp*)! I figured whatever it was would at least add a little variety to the book, but Georgia can’t even bring herself to say what it was her ex wanted her to do! We just know it’s something “dark”. At one point she references “S-M”, but that’s as detailed as she gets. At this point it turned humorous for me. Listen, sexual trauma can come in all forms and I wouldn’t want to make light of it, but this was just silly. The book goes out of the way to assure us it wasn’t rape, and the vagueness just made it ridiculous (and lazy). She says “I was willing. But not for the…you know…things he did.” At this point I actually cackled with laughter. (I can only assume the “things” involved trying to pull the stick out of her ass.) Of course, Georgia attributes her ex’s behavior to “something wrong with him,” because naturally any kink must be a result of a bad childhood. Unfortunately, the ex ends up being a psychopathic murderer, which is regrettable because I thought the misunderstood ex totally deserved his own future erotic romance.

There just wasn’t much of anything in this book to interest me or make me want to read more.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

Reading Order:

This book is available from Harlequin Intrigue. You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Never Stopped Loving You by Keri Ford

Posted September 24, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Never Stopped Loving You by Keri FordReviewer: Holly
Never Stopped Loving You by Keri Ford
Series: Chester Farms #1
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: December 2nd 2013
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
Pages: 243
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
one-half-stars

At eighteen, Kara Duncan had already made her fair share of mistakes, choosing the wrong boy and earning herself a bad reputation in the process. Hurt and humiliated, she'd packed up and moved on, sure that everyone in Bella Warren, Arkansas, would be better off without her. She'd planned never to return, but when crisis strikes, she has nowhere else to turn.
After seven years, Wade Chester thought his feelings for Kara were finally ancient history. Until he sees her again, standing on his front porch just as she'd done a million times before. She needs his help—and his family's crops—if her canning business is going to survive. The rest of his family has let bygones be bygones, so why is it so hard for him to let go of the past?
While Kara claims to be interested only in putting things right, the old heat flaring between them is undeniable. But Wade will need to risk his heart—and the reputation of his farm—to prove that they're meant to be together.

Kara comes back home in order start up her canning business with the help of her childhood best friend. The produce from Chester Farms is just what she needs to get her business off the ground. She didn’t really think she’d be welcomed back with open arms after they way she acted in high school, but she didn’t expect the anger and contempt so many had for her. She figures if she keeps her head down and her nose clean, people will start to forgive her and let things go. She’s surprised to feel such a deep attraction to Wade, even after all this time, but he’s a distraction she doesn’t need.

The last person Wade ever expected to see on his doorstep is Kara. He hasn’t forgotten her, or forgiven her for hieing out of town the way she did. But his sister is determined to help Kara get her business off the ground, and he reluctantly agrees. Before he knows it she’s working in his kitchen and spending the majority of her time at his house. He can’t seem to get away from her. The real problem is, he isn’t sure he wants to.

I loved the small southern setting, the farm and the business. I really struggled with everything else. And by struggled I mean WTF’d my way through the book. The way the people in town treated Kara was unbelievable, but I set that aside since I know how small towns can be. But when Wade didn’t step up to defend her, but in fact joined in with everyone else, I’m afraid I lost all respect for him. Sure, he felt betrayed by her, but to accuse of her being nothing but a slut because of things that happened in high school? I expected better of him.

The tip of his finger slipped under the thin strap of her dress. “No more of this kind of stuff.”
“What?” His nail lingered against her skin and she was powerless but to shudder under the soft and gentle touch.
He ripped his hand away as if he’d been burned and gestured at her. “These sexy clothes. No more. We’re a family farm.”
She glanced down at the orange sundress Whitney had instructed her to wear. The cotton skirt reached to just above her knees. It fit across her breasts, but fell loose around her curves below that. The top of the dress didn’t even cut low enough to show any cleavage. “I’ll be sure to pick up some oversized sweats next time I’m in the store. Will that do?”
He didn’t smile. Not that the moment was funny. “You were hell on my life last time you were here, darlin’. It won’t be the same this time around.”

If Kara had acted like a mature, independent woman who wanted to make a good impression but was fine if she didn’t, I may have been able to cope. Throughout the book Kara apologizes and berates herself, rather than telling Wade, and the whole town, to shove it. She also needed to stop running from her problems and start communicating. Verbally. With other people.

Maybe if the book had been a hundred pages shorter I wouldn’t have felt so stabby at the end of it. As it is, the conflict was drawn out way too long. Kara’s back-and-forthing and Wade’s head-in-the-sand way of dealing with it really grated on me.

I liked the end but felt it came a little too late.

1.5 out of 5

one-half-stars