Tag: 1.5 Reviews

Review: The Greek Tycoon’s Ultimatum by Lucy Monroe

Posted January 30, 2012 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Holly‘s review of The Greek Tycoon’s Ultimatum by Lucy Monroe

Savannah has returned to Greece with the intention of making her peace with the Kiriakis family. But Leiandros Kiriakis has other ideas. He still believes the lies about Savannah, and is set on making her pay for the past.

Savannah is reluctant when Leiandros demands that she share his home. There’s an unbearable sexual tension already throbbing between them. As for Leiandros, now he has Savannah right where he wants her – and in a short time he’ll be giving her an ultimatum: if she doesn’t want to lose everything she holds most dear, she’ll agree to be his wife!

I broke up with the Presents line awhile back. Reading this book reminded me why.

Savannah was married to Leiandros’s cousin Dion. Dion was a selfish, jealous, callous, abusive person. He spent years verbally abusing Savannah and poisoning his family against her. She finally worked up the courage to leave him after he lost control one night and physically abused her. She took her girls and fled to America. When Dion was killed in a car accident along with Leiandros’s wife, Petra, Savannah returns to Greece for the funeral.

A year after the funeral Leiandros issues an ultimatum to her: either she return to Greece with her children or he’d cut off her monthly allowance. Savannah has spent the last 4 years getting her degree and, while she now has it, doesn’t have a job. She needs her monthly allowance to pay for the care of her very ill, elderly aunt. The monthly fee for her aunt’s nursing home is coming due. If she doesn’t get the money from Leiandros her aunt will be moved to a state nursing home, which would most likely kill her.

Leiandros has always wanted Savannah. He decides to wait a year after the funeral – a proper grieving period – then issues his ultimatum. Though she believes she’s only coming for a short visit, he has other plans. He wants justice for the wrongs Savannah caused…and he intends to get it by marrying her and forcing her to have his children.

This book is chock full of fail. I’m not even sure where to start. First we have Savannah. The night she was introduced to Leiandros they shared a kiss before he realizes she was the wife of his cousin. Since then he’s thought the worst of her based on his cousin’s lies. Dion swore Savannah was cheating on him and her daughters weren’t his. So Leiandros thinks her a whore, constantly making cutting remarks about her and putting her down. And yet…she loves him. She’s always loved him. The man calls her a whore, accuses her of infidelity and being the cause of Dion and Perta’s deaths and of keeping her girls from his family…and she loves him. So much that its hard for her to be around him without aching for him.

Then we have Leiandros. He claims to value family above all else – hence his hatred for Savannah, who stole his nieces from him and killed her husband by running away – yet when he finds out about her ailing aunt, says she doesn’t realize Savannah is there anyway and won’t be alive much longer.

“I have spoken to the doctor in charge of your aunt’s care. He says there is one nurse on staff that is a favorite of your aunt’s. I can assure she is available for your aunt’s personal care.”
“I know who you are talking about and she’s just discovered she’s pregnant. What about when she goes on maternity leave? Will you allow me to go then?”
“According to her doctors, by then your aunt will no longer be with us.” His own frustration came out in the cruel statement he regretted the moment it left his lips.
Savannah did not look beaten any longer. She looked angry enough to attack him. “She is very special to me. She’s the only family I’ve got.”
“Do you discount me, my mother, Sandros, Helena and Iona so easily? Even your own daughters? Are we not all your family?”

What a prince. The aunt who raised her is dying, but she should forget all about her in favor of him and his family? Lovely.

He also blackmails Savannah into first flying to Greece, then into marrying him. He emotionally manipulates her daughters so they push Savannah to marry him – something she does nothing about, by the way – and forces her to introduce them to the rest of the family, who openly scorn Savannah. Then accuse her of not playing nice when his family treats her badly.

“I think it would be an excellent idea for your mama and I to get married. Would you like to see the chapel where I plan to marry your mama?”
[..]
The girls made heavy hints about the suitability of such a church for a fairytale wedding. After Leiandros’s blatant statement of intent, Savannah had quickly disabused her daughters of the notion she had agreed to marry him and informed all three conspirators she was unwilling to discuss the subject any more that day. But by the time they left the chapel, Savannah felt hunted.

A man she hasn’t seen in a year and barely new before that tries to blackmail her into marriage, then manipulates her daughters into pushing for same, yet she doesn’t attempt to stop him from doing so? Only denies it to the girls and goes on her merry way?

Leiandros realizes she was abused by someone in the past, but he assumes it was one of her many lovers (you’ll remember his cousin told him she slept around all the time). When he confronts her about it (toward the end of the novel) she finally gets frustrated and shows him the file she conveniently kept with pictures of herself after Dion beat her and copies of the police report and restraining order. Without proof I doubt Leiandros would have believed her. Naturally he’s appalled at the behavior of his cousin. He asks her to tell him the full story, then confesses that he’s loved her since the first time he met her – when he kisses her before realizing she was married to his cousin.

“It was more than desire. I fell in love with you that night. Just to be in the same room with you afterward was torture. I had to fight my feelings for six long years. I felt so much guilt I denied my heart and called my love sexual passion. You’ll never know the torment I felt when Dion and Petra died in that crash.”
“I know. You lost your baby and your wife.”
He grimaced. “I grieved that, but not as I should have. I grieved the loss of my baby more than Petra and it wasn’t even twenty-four hours before my thoughts turned to making you mine. I told myself it was for justice, to replace what I had lost, but the truth is I couldn’t live without you anymore. The barriers between us were gone and so was my self-control.”
She quickly pecked him on the lips for saying such very nice things and then smiled. “So you decided to blackmail me into marrying you.”

His pregnant wife wasn’t even cold in her grave when he began plotting to make Savannah marry him? Though he did think to himself – at the graveside service – that he’d wait a year to bring Savannah home, the proper grieving period. Kind of him, wasn’t it? And Savannah thought it was nice of him to be glad his wife, baby and cousin were dead so they could be together? Really?

I couldn’t find one redeeming quality about either of them. Honestly, they deserved each other.

I’m giving this a 1.5 out of 5 because the story was well written.

This book is available from Harlequin Presents. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Review: Cosmo’s Sexiest Stories Ever by Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner, Meg Cabot.

Posted September 21, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments


Rowena’s review of Cosmo’s Sexiest Stories Ever by Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner and Meg Cabot.

The world’s best-selling magazine for young women asked three best-selling authors to each write a story steamy enough for the pages of Cosmo—a tall order, but these ladies so delivered. The trio of tantalizing tales was such a hit that they’ve been compiled into this must-have ebook. Now, readers can devour these naughty little nuggets whenever, wherever.

Here’s a taste of the deliciousness inside: “Sex Under the Stars” by Jane GreenMaggie’s marriage fell apart three years ago—and now she has her eyes set on her ex-hubby’s smoke-show of a best friend. “Birthday Sex She’ll Never Forget” by Jennifer WeinerDaphne’s turning twenty-six, and the best damn gift she could have ever asked for comes in the form of a hot guy from her past—and his spine-tingling mattress moves. “Falling in Lust at the Jersey Shore” by Meg Cabot, When Gemma agrees to go in on a house at the Jersey Shore, she assumes every dude there will be a gorilla juicehead. So she is pleasantly surprised by the yummy piece of eye candy waiting for her when she arrives.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I requested this book. I saw stories by Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner and Meg Cabot and thought, “Hmm, might be good.” There hasn’t been a story read by Meg Cabot that I haven’t loved in one way or another so I didn’t think I’d be disappointed in this one but once the book loaded onto my nook and I saw how many pages the entire book (all three stories plus title page, dedication page, etc…), my first thought was, “Shit.”

There are 22 pages in this e-book. Total. There aren’t 22 pages in each story but 22 pages in total. I couldn’t believe it but I forged ahead anyway because I did request this book. At least it would be a quick read, right?

*sigh*

To say that the stories in this book are in fact stories, is a bit of a stretch (okay, a flat out lie). They weren’t stories, they were three sex scenes that aren’t anywhere near the most naughtiest “stories” that I’ve read…and that’s saying something because erotica is not my thing.

The thing is, had there been more depth to each story, more pages to develop the stories- each story had the potential to be pretty good. I mean, seeing the guy you lusted after before you married your ex husband when you guys are both single again and steaming up the sheets on his boat? Great potential for a good story. Then, meeting up with a guy from high school (all these many years later) and having a one night stand? Yeah, could be a great story. And then there’s falling in lust at the Jersey Shore? Come on, if anyone could turn that story into a winner, it’d be Meg Cabot. But for me, all of these “stories” fell flat on their face because the sex was front and center with each of these stories and due to word counts, they just weren’t all that. Each story felt rushed and not once did I feel like I was apart of the story, I felt like it was Monday morning and my horny coworkers were telling me about their raunchy weekends. I listened but I was already thinking about the reports that I need to run after they’re done talking. It felt like that with each story.

I would break down my review by each story but my thoughts would be the same for each one. Each story had the potential to be good if only they’d been fleshed out more. Of the three, the first story was my least favorite, I just didn’t buy the whole, “Oh hey, nice to see you after all of these years. It’s my birthday, let’s go fuck!” Yeah, right. Had it been longer, the storyline fleshed out more, getting to know the heroine and the guy’s back story, maybe it would be believable but the wam, bam, thank you ma’am didn’t appeal to me. The second story wasn’t that much better because after she bangs her ex-husband’s best friend (the one she lusted after even before she married his best friend), she knows that she was pretty skanky so she’s like, “That’s enough that he just banged me to hell and back. He gave me my self worth and now I can finally move on from my ex-husband who I didn’t even love in the first place.” Oh, please. Meg Cabot’s addition to this trio of sex scenes was the best of the bunch. The heroine goes to the Jersey Shore because her and her boyfriend are on a break (Yeah, I thought of Ross and Rachel too). She bangs the guy she thinks is the pool guy but is like, whatever it’s the Jersey Shore…and I could believe it because it is the Jersey Shore. After watching Jersey Shore for the past four seasons, if anything outrageous is going to happen- it’s going to happen at the Jersey Shore so that was why I liked that story the best.

Overall, this book fits with what I’d expect to find on the pages of a Cosmo magazine. It makes sense that they’d cut out some stuff as to not turn their magazine into a Playboy magazine but naughtiest story? Nope. Is it worth it to buy the e-book? I don’t think so. There wasn’t enough story and even though it’s only 89¢, it’s still not enough story for me to dish out even that little bit of money. Though I would probably buy the magazine to read them, only because you’d get some eye candy and other stories that would be worth the on the shelf price.

My final grade for this one….

…1.5 out of 5.

This book is available from Hearst Communications. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Guest Review: Smashed Into Pieces by Scarlet Blackwell

Posted July 2, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Tracy’s review of Smashed Into Pieces (Clear Water Creek Chronicles #2) by Scarlet Blackwell

Sheriff Brandon Schofield is smitten by the new arrival in Clear Water Creek, Finn Austen. But Finn is living in the house by the lake where a murder took place and his story is no less unhappy than the previous occupant’s. Finn is on the run from a violent past and he trusts no one.

Brandon is desperate to break down his defenses and win Finn’s love and trust but time is running out and perhaps he can only protect Finn for so long.

Brandon is the relatively new sheriff in town. When he discovers that there’s a new man in town and no one seems to know anything about him he goes about trying to get information. But from the get go I was curious as to his motivations. Yes, he needed to keep his town safe but there was the attraction that he felt toward this new man as well that had him butting into Finn’s business.

Brandon’s attempts at info are unsuccessful so he decides to go to the source. He pretty much badgers Finn until the man literally crumbles emotionally and tells him about how his previous boyfriend abused him. It’s horrifying and I felt so badly for Finn but instead of leaving Finn to deal with his personal demons Brandon is determined to keep him safe. He’s the Sheriff, I get that, but it was more than personal and Brandon was in love with Finn.

Finn was a broken man. He endured physical and emotional pain and anguish for 10 years until he finally got the nerve to leave. I understand that abuse victims get so beaten down that they don’t feel they’re worth anything to anyone so they stay with their abusers. I was so happy to see that Finn had finally broken away but the man just wanted to be left alone. But Brandon wouldn’t let him be. He kept at Finn and it made me a bit nuts. Brandon crowded Finn and took over at times like an alpha male and that was the last thing on earth that Finn needed. Sure Brandon felt bad about it afterwards but it didn’t stop him from doing it again and again. I can’t tell you how many times Finn told Brandon to just go away and leave him alone. Brandon started to seem more like a stalker to me than someone who was concerned about Finn’s well-being. And when Brandon declares his love? Oh holy crap, why? Not that Finn isn’t worthy but Brandon knew nothing about him as a person – nothing. How could he love someone he didn’t even know?? Though there was an HEA it truly felt like a one-sided relationship to me (and even that I highly questioned) and that just doesn’t speak of romance in my book.

I’m sure this story was written with the intention of showing us that everyone needs and deserves love and that there’s someone out there for everyone but I just couldn’t drum up that feeling. As much as we’d like to believe it, loved does not conquer all.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

The Series:
Into the Light (Clear Water Creek Chronicles)Smashed into Pieces (Clear Water Creek Chronicles)

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from Silver Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Review/Rant: Baby, Come Home by Stephanie Bond (with spoilers)

Posted June 24, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 8 Comments

Holly‘s review of Baby, Come Home (Southern Roads, Book 2) by Stephanie Bond

Southern Town Seeks Single Women. One in particular . . .

The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They’ve got the means, they’ve got the manpower…what they need are women! So they place an ad in a Northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to arrive.

Sensible yet sexy middle brother Kendall Armstrong penned that ad himself-but there’s just one woman he really wants to answer the call . . .

Civil engineer Amy Bradshaw-Kendall’s ex-fiancée-fled Sweetness years ago, taking a precious souvenir with her. She’s back now…but only on a professional level. Really.

Little does she know that old flames always burn the hottest . . .

 This review is full of spoilers and curse words. Read at your own risk.

I expected to love this book. I really liked the first one and was intrigued by the past history of this couple. It started out well enough, but a few chapters in I started getting a bad feeling about where things were headed..and I was right to be wary.

I can handle the secret baby plot device if it’s done well, ie she had a good reason for keeping the kid a secret, something outside their control keeps them apart, she tells him as soon as possible, etc. Unfortunately this wasn’t an example of how the secret baby plot works. It was a hot mess from beginning to end.

Kendall and Amy were high school sweethearts. She always wanted to get out and see the world, but Kendall’s roots were always firmly planted in their hometown. When her aunt died Amy expected Kendall to marry her and take her away with him (he was in the air force). When he refused she broke it off with him, telling him to never contact her again. They went there separate ways, but neither was able to forget the other.

12 years later, Kendall and his brothers are back in Sweetness, Georgia, trying to rebuild the town as green as possible after a tornado destroyed everything. Kendall knows where Amy lives (in what city/state) but that’s it. He respected her wishes and stayed away from her. But part of him hopes she’ll return home. He puts an ad in her local paper asking for woman to join their cause thinking maybe she’ll answer. She doesn’t, but Kendall’s older brother Marcus contacts her without Kendall knowing and offers her a job as the engineer of the new bridge in town. Amy agrees because she really needs the work.

Up to this point I was enjoying the story. I love reunited lover themes and I was anxious to see how things played out. But then things took a turn for the worse. Amy kept thinking about this “man” she had in her life..one who wasn’t going to be happy she was going to Georgia. This could have meant a lover, but I didn’t think so. And I was right. It was her 12 year old son. The 12yo son who also happened to be Kendall’s. Only Amy never told him..actually had no intention of ever telling him.

If her reasons for doing so had been decent, I probably could have overlooked it and moved on. But they weren’t. She figured since Kendall didn’t want her he wouldn’t want his son either. In the end, she admitted it was just “easier for her” if he didn’t know. Ever. The most ridiculous thing about this was that she admitted to herself and to others that he was a pretty amazing man. I think at one point she flat out called him a hero. She also muses that her son would really benefit from having a father and other close family. But still, she didn’t want to be around Kendall – because it was too hard, don’t ya know – so she decided it was better not to tell him about his son. And as for telling her son about his father? Well…maybe. Someday. When it didn’t hurt her so much.

Hurt her? Really? What about what’s good for her son? What about hurting him by keeping his father from him? A father she openly admits is an amazing, standup kind of guy? Of course that’s not as important as making sure she doesn’t get hurt again. Right?

If that wasn’t enough to make me hate her, her actions the rest of the book certainly sealed the deal. She didn’t even consider telling him about his son until more than halfway through the book. Then she decided it would be better to wait until she’d left town and had a chance to talk to her son about it (who was in military school, btw, which was court ordered because he was caught vandalizing his school). She even slept with Kendall, and allowed him to believe his son was really her boyfriend (he overheard her on the phone and jumped to the conclusion that she had a boyfriend she loved..she didn’t correct him and actually kind of encouraged him to think he was right). He noticed she was wearing a mother/child pendant that had belonged to her mother and commented on it. When she explained who it belonged to, he said something like “Oh, I thought you were keeping something from me, haha” and she says, “No, of course not” but inside she thinks “I need to tell him….later”. This is about 5 seconds before he puts his penis inside her. WTF??? WHO DOES THAT????

But that’s nothing compared to the way she acted after he found out what she’d done. She’d deliberately pick fights with Kendall in front of her son, making him out to be the bad guy. It get so bad, as a matter of fact, that the kid runs away so that she’ll never have to deal with Kendall again. She’s such a selfish, cowardly bitch that she makes her son think he has to GO AWAY so she doesn’t have to deal with his father. W.T.F.?!?! WHAT.THE.FUCK?!?!? OMFG.

At this point not only did I want to drop kick her off a very high bridge, but I started doubting the hero and what the hell he saw in her. She was a selfish, bitter bitch and he kept pining over her. I wanted to scream “TAKE THE KID AND GET OVER HER ALREADY”. Actually, I think I did scream it. She didn’t come across as a good mother, or hell, as a good person. Why was he so set on working things out with her?

She decides she’s leaving town and taking the kid with her. Hero says, “I will be seeing my son” and she says “We’ll see about that”. Why? Because she doesn’t want to see him. It had nothing to do with her son or what was best for him, it was all about what she wanted. It just hurt sooo bad, seeing her ex all the time like that. She didn’t want to put herself through the constant pain of seeing what she couldn’t have. Except she was the one who pushed him away, not the other way around.

When Kendall says fine, he’ll leave town – even though he’s committed to the project and desperately needed – and move where she does so he can see his son, she ascribes all kinds of negative motives to why he would. But when he confesses that he loves her she’s “confused” and not sure what to do. I have a suggestion..but I’m not sure it’s physically possible. I still feel like she should try it, though.

The final resolution approached with lightning speed. With half a page left of the book, hero and chick find son and she says “We’re going to stay here and live with your dad” and of course this is the first dad has heard of it. Plus, until like half a second before that kid was hating dad because mom had made him out to be some kind of crazy monster. But kid says “So we can be a family” and she says “yes, of course”. And that’s it. The end. 335.5 pages of her being a douche nozzle twat and then he says I love you so all is right with the world and she can finally do the right thing? No. Just no.

I did love the parts of the story that focused on the town and their rebuilding efforts. I also loved the scenes between Kendall and his son. The way they got to know each other and rely on each other was wonderful – when the psycho claiming to be his mom didn’t ruin it, that is.

1.5 out of 5 (the .5 for the good parts about the town)

The series:
Baby, I'm YoursBaby, Drive South (Southern Roads)Baby, Come Home (Southern Roads)Baby, Don’t Go (Southern Roads)

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Guest Review: Miss July by Madison Hayes

Posted October 10, 2010 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Ames‘ review of Miss July by Madison Hayes

Years ago, Andrea walked out of Ben’s life. Mixed with the bitter sting of rejection was the fear that he’d done something wrong. For years, he’s worried that he might have hurt Andie. For years, he’s been the world’s most careful lover. There’s always been something missing in his relationships. Now Ben’s traveling to England. But he won’t admit, even to himself, that he’s hoping to find Andie.

Andie can’t believe Ben is in London. She’d thought an ocean would be enough to keep her heart safe from that particular hot male animal. But she was wrong. And Ben has picked up some pretty shocking, kinky habits since she last saw him. When he lets loose and finally gives in to his naturally aggressive instincts, Andie finds herself falling for the rugged hunk all over again. But she’s not the innocent tomboy she was twelve years ago. Now she’s Miss July at the Centerfold Club.

Miss July had a somewhat interesting premise but some of the hero’s internal dialog really turned me off.

Ben McLaren is dissatisfied – with life and love. His recent encounters with women have left him feeling lonelier than ever and that’s because he never got over his best friend, Andie. After years of friendship, Ben and Andie finally acted on their mutual attraction the night before she left on her yearly trip to visit her father in London. This was 12 years ago. But Ben is in London (he lives in New Mexico) and he’s hoping to run into Andie, a fortune teller told him it would happen. And it does! Ben runs into Andie at the Centerfold Club – where she’s a lap-dance girl.

Ok, this is where things started to get really wonky for me with this story. (There was a dream sequence early on that was beyond weird, if you were curious.) Andie is a nurse in London and the rent on her apartment has gone up, but her salary remains the same. When a patient tells her about giving up her lucrative job as a dancer, Andie decides to check it out and is hired on the spot. So her very first night at her new job, Ben shows up and they dry hump on a table – before she’s even had time to make her way to the stage. And this is after a 12 year separation. They really missed each other!

So Andie is fired from her job and Ben takes her back to his hotel room – where he makes her put on a performance for him because he doesn’t realize that this was Andie’s first night on the job. And because she humped him in front of everyone, he assumes that she’s done that with other men. And then they have sex and he doesn’t hold back, he’s kind of rough. So some of his internal dialog at this point really bothered me – him acting that he doesn’t need to treat Andie with respect (in his mind, this means not having rough sex with a woman) because he thinks she’s a sex worker?

And, afterward, he’d convinced himself that his behavior wasn’t out of line with a woman who worked as a lap dancer.

Nope, sorry buddy, you don’t get a free pass on that one.

Although I finished reading Miss July, I couldn’t get over the hero’s attitude.

I’m giving this one a 1.5 out of 5.

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.


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