Tag: 2.0 Reviews

Guest Review: The Howling by Erin McCarthy

Posted June 26, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Howling by Erin McCarthyReviewer: Tracy
The Howling by Erin McCarthy
Published by Kensington
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 100
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Goodreads
two-stars

For six months the nightmares have been chasing Liv Lugaru out of her sleep. The same terrifying dream, the same fevered wolves panting after her, their hot breath getting closer and closer as a full moon hangs heavy in the night sky—until she wakes up drenched in sweat, with her fiancé, the brother of the man who broke her heart, gazing down at her . . .

Six months ago, Sebastian was almost killed by his brother in a power struggle within their werewolf pack. His disappearance opened the way for his brother to console Liv, win her trust . . . without ever telling her of their true heritage. Now Sebastian is ready to reclaim his rightful place—to rise up with the moon and claim the only woman he’s ever loved . . .

Liv has been having dreams for the past six months about wolves.  In the dream it seems to be her as the central figure, but it’s set in the 19th century so she’s confused.  She chalks it up to nerves because of her impending wedding.  A wedding to Scarborough, the brother of the man who disappeared on her six months ago, along with all her money.  Scar had been there for her and when he’d asked her to marry him, she thought it was the best idea.  After these dreams she’s thinking that maybe marrying him wasn’t such a great idea.

Sebastian, the man who broke Liv’s heart, didn’t just disappear.  He was attacked and left for dead and has been recovering and in hiding since that time.  Now that Scarborough is out of town he can finally talk to Liv and tell her how much he loves her, and they can live happily ever after.  But when Liv finds out who she really is, and what exactly happened to Sebastian, Liv’s life changes forever.

This was a super short book that is a reprint.  It was previously in an anthology called The Beast Within but is now being republished as a standalone novella.  I didn’t realize when I started reading that this was a reprint and lo and behold, I’d read it before.  I did finish it the second time so that’s a point in its favor.

The story almost feels like you’re being dumped into a book that’s already in progress.  I didn’t like that at all and while it wasn’t confusing, I did find it frustrating.  This can’t really be termed a romance novel because the H/h are really already in love and have just been separated.  More of a reunion story, imho.

The scenario that Liv found herself in might have been more interesting if this had been a longer story.  Add Sebastian in first, have Scar come along and take over, then have the H/h reunite.  That would have been awesome.  I also think that because this was so short that not a lot of depth was added to the characters and that was disappointing.

In the end I found this to be just an ok read.

Rating: 2 out of 5

two-stars


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Guest Review: Just One Spark by Jenna Bayley-Burke

Posted May 3, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Just One Spark by Jenna Bayley-BurkeReviewer: Tracy
Just One Spark (Just One... #1) by Jenna Bayley-Burke
Series: Just One... #1
Also in this series: Just One Spark
Published by Entangled: Lovestruck
Publication Date: April 9th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 260
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Goodreads
two-stars

Hannah Daniels reads steamy romance novels to forget her last trip on the love roller coaster shredded her heart and tossed it like confetti. Her instincts about men stink, but at work they’re on point. Only her busy schedule means she reads whenever she can make time. Like at the laundromat while sitting on top of a washing machine. Don’t judge.

Firefighter Mason McNally has searched his whole life for a woman who stirs his soul. When he finds her, she’s nose-deep in a racy paperback atop a vibrating washer. Her beauty, boldness, and raw sensuality ignite his interest. But there’s a problem. He’s forgotten he’s wearing a wedding ring.

No amount of hasty explanations that it’s for his brother’s psychology experiment convinces her to give him a chance. But he’s rushed into fiery situations before, and this woman is totally worth the risk. He’ll just have to prove to her that first impressions can be wrong and their spark of attraction is oh so right.

Hannah is in the laundromat when she meets Mason.  Unfortunately Mason had been participating in an experiment for his psychologist brother and was wearing a wedding ring.  Hannah tells him off for hitting on her and even though Mason says he’s not married, she doesn’t believe him.

Hannah had been dating previously but then found out that the guy was married with a family and she was crushed by what she thought of as her own stupidity.  She doesn’t trust men in general right now and is just interested in her career.

Mason is determined to talk to Hannah once again so he basically stalks her until he can find her, but fails.  It’s through Hannah’s married sister that she ends up meeting Mason’s brother and then is re-introduced to Mason.  They find out that they are neighbors in the same building and he lives right above her.  Despite Hannah’s decisions to take things slowly they can’t seem to keep their hands off of each other.  For Hannah, however, this is just the beginning of what might be a lasting relationship.  For Mason this is the beginning of forever. He wants her and he’s not about to let her go.

This starts off as a decent story, although Mason’s stalking is a bit creepy.  Unfortunately all I ever really felt for this couple, as the book moved on, was awkwardness.  I never felt comfortable with the pair and I think it was because of Hannah.  I found her to be incredibly irritating.  She was stubborn, grated on my nerves and at times she was down-right mean to Mason.  He had his issues but overall he was a nice guy who seemed to truly care about her.  He deserved way better, imho.  Throughout the whole book Hannah never tells Mason she loves him.  Never.  I found that extremely odd in a romance.

There were some parts of the book that were better than others but I found them few and far between.  I didn’t realize as I was reading the book that I had read it before.  I think I must have blocked it, or something because only one part really made me think, “Have I read this before?”  According to Goodreads I read it 4 years ago but sadly I didn’t like it any better this time around.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Just One…

two-stars


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Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Posted March 21, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine GuilloryReviewer: Rowena
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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Goodreads
two-stars

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other...

They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want...

I’ve been hearing such great things about this book from damn near everyone so I wanted to read this book something fierce. I was ready for a diverse romance between two perfect strangers that meet in an elevator. Sadly, this book didn’t live up to the hype and I finished this book rather disappointed in the overall reading experience.

The Wedding Date features Ms. Alexa Monroe and Dr. Drew Nichols as they meet, become friends, fall in love and then ride off into the sunset together to live happily ever after. Their adventure in love isn’t easy but in the end, they get it right and that’s that.

Alexa’s sister is in town and Alexa is meeting her at her hotel room to celebrate Olivia’s good work fortune and she runs into Drew Nichols on the elevator. When their elevator gets stuck, they get to know each other. Drew is in town for his friend’s wedding…to his ex-girlfriend and he’s dreading everything. The rehearsal dinner. The wedding ceremony. The wedding reception. Because of course, he’s in the wedding and he has to be at all of these functions. Spilling everything to this beautiful stranger in the elevator gets everything out in the open and nobody is more surprised than he is when he invites this beautiful stranger to be his date for all of it. He’s even more surprised when she agrees.

The wedding jump starts the romance between Drew and Alexa. It was a lot of fun when they were just having fun but the fun can only last so long. I enjoyed the book up until things started getting serious between these two and I think a huge chunk of my disappoint stemmed from how immature both Drew and Alexa were when things got tough. It was disappointing because they both held positions of power in their career fields (he was a doctor and she was chief of staff for the Mayor of Berkeley) and yet they lashed out like little children over things they should have been adults about.

I wasn’t a fan of the way that Alexa handled the whole 4th of July BBQ thing because 1) Drew technically didn’t do anything to her yet, 2) They never defined their relationship and 3) She never told Drew how she felt about him so for her to get mad and then string Drew into a fight so that she can have a reason to be pissed at him over was not a good look for her.

I also wasn’t a fan of the way that Drew treated his best friend Carlos. He lashed out at Carlos like Carlos was his little bitch over things that had nothing to do with Carlos. I get that they’re best friends but if my best friend talked and lashed out at me the way that Drew did to Carlos? We’d be fighting and I’d be wondering why I had such shitty friends.

Overall, there was a lot of potential here but it didn’t work for me and by the end of the book, I was just glad to be finished with it. Oh well. I had high hopes and the beginning starts off great but as the story picked up steam, my hopes fell and disappointment was left.

Grade: 2 out of 5

two-stars


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Review: Love Between Enemies by Molly E. Lee

Posted March 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Love Between Enemies by Molly E. LeeReviewer: Rowena
Love Between Enemies (Grad Night, #2) by Molly E. Lee
Series: Grad Night #2
Also in this series: Love in the Friend Zone (Grad Night, #1)
Published by Entangled, Crush
Publication Date: January 8th 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 221
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Goodreads
two-half-stars

Zoey Handler is ready to put an end to her decade-long rivalry with Gordon Meyers. They’ve traded top spot between valedictorian and salutatorian for years, but all that’s over now. Right? But after a crazy graduation speech prank gets out of hand, suddenly their rivalry turns into all-out war. Time to make peace with a little friendly payback.

Step one? Make him believe they’re now friends.

Step two? Show him the time of his life at an epic graduation party.

Step three? Don’t fall for his tricks.

Step four? Absolutely, positively, do not kiss him again.

So what if he’s cute? (Okay, hot.) So what if he’s charming? (Heaven help her, tempting.) So what if he apologizes? (That has to be fake.) She knows the real Gordon. And no matter how much her heart begs her to stop, there’s no turning back.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two rivals who discover maybe they could be something much more…if only they’d stop fighting long enough to notice it.

When I read the first book, Love in the Friend Zone, I was curious about Gordon and Zoey. I was curious about them because Gordon was pretty pissed at graduation and I was even more curious about Zoey’s plan of revenge. I wanted to read this book to see what happened to piss Gordon off and to see how it all went down for Zoey.

The day of Graduation, Gordon wakes up to some really devastating news so when he gets to school, he’s hoping for some good news about a scholarship that he applied for. After getting the news that his father’s restaurant isn’t doing so hot, he’s banking on the full ride scholarship for school. He worked really hard for it and needs the money to help ease the financial burden on his Dad. When he gets to the school and the counselor tells him that the scholarship went to someone who doesn’t even need money for school, he is not happy. He’s already emotional because his father is losing the restaurant that was his late mother’s dream, the restaurant that was a second home to him and then the hits keep coming because Zoey told him on the first day of school that she was not going out for the scholarship but she just won it. Needless to say, he’s emotional and he gets a little revenge by embarrassing her at the graduation. Made a total dick move and afterward is completely remorseful.

He plans to apologize at his friend, Lennon’s grad night party but he’s still got a lot on his mind. He’s forming plans to try to save his father’s livelihood and he’s giving up on his dream school because spending that much money on college just isn’t an option right now. He’s got one thing left to look forward to and he’s not ready to give up on that yet.

Meanwhile, in her wealthy family’s house, Zoey is plotting revenge on Gordon’s shenanigans from graduation. She’s going to show him. She brings in a lot of her friends to make this happen and everything is going to go down exactly as she plans. When night time hits, she heads over to Lennon’s for the party to get things rolling.

The entire time that Gordon and Zoey are having fun at the party, I was enjoying their chemistry. It’s so young and so sweet and Zoey was showing a bit of remorse, getting second thoughts on her mystery plan and then I found out what her mystery plan was…and then it wasn’t fun anymore. You see, the thing that can make or break a character’s actions for me is intent.

What Gordon did to Zoey is instantly forgivable because it wasn’t well thought out, it was reactionary and all it did was embarrass Zoey. He immediately felt bad about it and then he sought her out to apologize, face to face. His intent wasn’t to ruin her life.

But Zoey’s intent? Not the same. Sure, her plan was reactionary but she wasn’t out to embarrass Gordon. She was out to ruin him…and rip his future away. Her plan was messed up and had it gone down any other way than how it did, she would have ruined not just Gordon’s future but Gordon’s fathers as well. There could have been dire consequences to her plans and she never called it off. She let her embarrassment lead her to do something pretty fucked up. Let’s not forget that she planned everything out and she meant for Gordon to lose the internship in a spectacularly fucked up way.

I was already annoyed with her for going out for a full ride scholarship while having loaded parents. Her parents were assholes, sure, but it was evident that she was loved and really, her issues about her parents’ money stemmed from what her schoolmates thought, not anything her parents did. So, for her to go out for a scholarship didn’t sit right with me. Her father wasn’t abusive and it wasn’t like she wasn’t planning on going to work for her father in the future anyway…so why not have her father pay for her college and let the scholarship go to someone who actually needed it? Her reasons didn’t match her actions and because she never called off her stupid, ridiculous plan, I didn’t like her and I didn’t care about what she did to make up for it because she shouldn’t have ever done it.

That’s the gist of why I just couldn’t like this book. Sure, it was a quick read and I didn’t lose a lot of time reading it but I was annoyed the whole time, first about the scholarship and then about Zoey’s plan. Her actions didn’t deserve a speedy forgiveness. I’m sorry, but no. It didn’t and I know that this book was written for a younger audience but ugh. Just no.

Gordon, on the other hand, proved to be a fantastic lead in this book. I loved how hard he worked, how much love he had for his father and the restaurant. I loved how he faced his problems head-on and he was mature enough to own up to his mistakes and make them right. The right way. He didn’t deserve what Zoey planned for him and he let her off the hook far too soon. He was everything that was right in this story and had it not been for him, I would have DNF’d this book real quick. So would I recommend this one? Nope. Gordon, his father and seeing everyone again was good but Zoey and the rest of everything else?? Nope. Not at all.

Grade: 2 out of 5

Grad Night Series

Grade: 2 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

Posted February 23, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann KrentzReviewer: Jen
When All the Girls Have Gone (Cutler, Sutter and Salinas #1) by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Cutler Sutter and Salinas #1
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: November 29th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 352
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
two-stars

Jayne Ann Krentz, the New York Times bestselling author of Secret Sisters, delivers a thrilling novel of the deceptions we hide behind, the passions we surrender to, and the lengths we’ll go to for the truth...

When Charlotte Sawyer is unable to contact her step-sister, Jocelyn, to tell her that one her closest friends was found dead, she discovers that Jocelyn has vanished.

Beautiful, brilliant—and reckless—Jocelyn has gone off the grid before, but never like this. In a desperate effort to find her, Charlotte joins forces with Max Cutler, a struggling PI who recently moved to Seattle after his previous career as a criminal profiler went down in flames—literally. Burned out, divorced and almost broke, Max needs the job.

After surviving a near-fatal attack, Charlotte and Max turn to Jocelyn’s closest friends, women in a Seattle-based online investment club, for answers. But what they find is chilling…

When her uneasy alliance with Max turns into a full-blown affair, Charlotte has no choice but to trust him with her life. For the shadows of Jocelyn’s past are threatening to consume her—and anyone else who gets in their way...

After reading over a dozen books in a few days while home with the flu, I just couldn’t find any new books that grabbed me. When this one caught my interest I actually broke my usual rule and paid full price for it. Unfortunately, the book was a big disappointment.

Charlotte receives a mysterious package on her sister’s behalf. The package was sent by a woman in her sister’s investment club. When the friend who sent the package ends up dead, Charlotte starts poking around and comes into contact with Max, a private investigator hired by the dead woman’s cousin to investigate the death. Soon, it becomes clear Charlotte’s sister is missing, and other dangers seem to be centered around the women in the club. Is the danger due to the club’s investment activities, or is it something more personal?

Like I said, the synopsis sounded thrilling, but the reality of the book didn’t live up to the premise. First, there really was no mystery. It was clear early on who the villains, and even the attempted twist at the end was not at all surprising. The danger never felt that acute, and the investigation was kind of lackluster.

Charlotte and Max are both pretty forgettable characters. Charlotte works at a senior community, which provides plenty of opportunities for ridiculous elderly plot moppets. She’s pretty vanilla and honestly doesn’t have much that makes her stand out. Max burned out of law enforcement and now is trying to start his own PI business, so naturally the first case he takes is one he knows will make him little, if any, money. Sounds like a solid business plan, no? He’s also got a bunch of family drama, which gets resolved way too tidily in this book, and some mysteries from his past, which don’t get resolved and I presume will form the longer story arc of this new series. None of it grabbed me.

Most disappointing of all was the romance, though. There is no sexual tension, and the actual sex is definitely lukewarm. I did like that there’s no real conflict of interest or drama about being together. Max knows he’s interested and wants to get to know Charlotte. Too bad there’s no real chemistry either. 

All in all, this was a bland and forgettable story, and it reminds me why I don’t pay full price for most books.

Grade: 2 out of 5

two-stars


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