Tag: 2.0 Reviews

Guest Review: Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino

Posted May 24, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Blind Kiss by Renee CarlinoReviewer: Tracy
Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino
Narrator: Rebekkah Ross, Sebastian York
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 319
Length: 7 hours and 44 minutes
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two-stars

A powerful story of two people who spend years denying their scientifically-proven chemistry.

Penny spends her afternoons sitting outside a sandwich shop, surrounded by ghosts. Fourteen years ago, this shop was her childhood dance studio... Now she’s a suburban housewife, dreading the moment her son departs for MIT, leaving her with an impeccably decorated McMansion and a failing marriage. She had her chance at wild, stars-in-her-eyes happiness, but that was a lifetime ago. After The Kiss. Before The Decision.

The Kiss was soulful. Magical. Earth-shattering, And it was all for a free gift card. Asked to participate in a psych study that posed the question, “Can you have sexual chemistry without knowing what the other person looks like?” Penny agreed to be blindfolded, make polite conversation with a total stranger, and kiss him. She never expected The Kiss to change her life forever and introduce her to Gavin: tattooed, gorgeous, and spontaneous enough to ask her out seconds after the blindfolds came off.

For a year, they danced between friendship and romance—until Penny made The Decision that forced them to settle for friendship. Now, fourteen years later, both of their lives are about to radically change—and it’s his turn to decide what will become of their once-in-a-lifetime connection."

So…have you ever read a book and you kept thinking to yourself, “I need to stop reading this!” over and over again?  I have, and it’s definitely not a fun experience.  This book was like that.  It was like a car accident that you just couldn’t look away from – horrible, yet you just had to see what was happening.

In this story we start in present day with Penny who is a 35-year-old woman who was once planning on being a dancer.  She now sits out in front of her old dance studio that turned into a Subway in hopes of talking to the building manager about renting the space when the lease runs out on the Subway.   Her best friend of 14 years, Gavin, comes up and tells her that he’s moving to France with his girlfriend.  Thus begins the flashbacks of how Gavin and Penny met and their tumultuous relationship throughout the years.

Penny and Gavin met when they were each talked into doing a blind kiss for a psychology study.  Their chemistry is off the charts and almost immediately they are practically inseparable.  Penny, however, tells Gavin that she can only be friends with him.  Between her studies and her dancing, she can’t concentrate on a romantic relationship and asks him to wait until graduation.  He agrees, even though he wants Penny for his own.  By the time they graduate, Gavin is dating someone else but longing for Penny, Penny is injured and won’t dance again, and then soon after that she’s pregnant and getting married to someone else.

Fourteen fucking years go by with Gavin and Penny stating they’re just friends but yet acting like a couple in every instance except taking that final step.  No, no kissing or screwing, but they spoon and touch and tell each other just about everything, including that they love each other – just as friends, of course. Please – don’t insult my intelligence.  The story revolves around their lives and the non-stop angst of their relationship and the changes it goes through.

This story was a mess!  I have to hand it to Carlino – she wrote the book in such a way that I felt like I needed to keep reading to find out how the shit show that was Gavin and Penny turned out. That fact actually earned this book an extra star, which is sad, really.

The story was about Penny and Gavin’s lives and families as well so there were a few secondary characters in the book.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to know any of them very well so it was mainly focused on Gavin and Penny.

The story is told in a series of flashbacks and I found that annoying.  I didn’t really like Penny at all and wasn’t a huge fan of Gavin’s either.  I thought he could have grown some balls over the years, but that didn’t happen.  On top of not liking the story, I was hoping that I would at least get a great ending with Gavin and Penny getting together.  Didn’t happen.  They did get together, but the ending was a farce and completely rushed. It actually shouldn’t have surprised me that is was bad, but it did.

Overall I disliked this book, obviously, and don’t recommend it.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

two-stars


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Guest Review: Highland Wolf by Hannah Howell

Posted April 15, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Highland Wolf by Hannah HowellReviewer: Tracy
Highland Wolf by Hannah Howell
Series: Murray Family #15
Also in this series: Highland Groom, Highland Devil (Murray Family #22)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
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two-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Annora MacKay senses a disturbing evil in Dunncraig Keep, the estate acquired by her cousin, a cruel and ruthless man. Only her affection for the tiny girl he claims is his daughter stops her from fleeing. Then a mysterious woodcarver arrives at the castle, and she cannot stop thinking--or longing--for him . . .

James Drummond, once a laird, now an outcast, wants what was stolen from him--his good name, his lands, and his child. His disguise for getting into Dunncraig is step one of his plan, but the enticing raven-haired woman who cares for his daughter is an unwelcome surprise. For he has come seeking justice, not love . . .

Laird James Drummond was accused of murdering his wife three years ago.  He’s been on the run since then and he’s decided that enough is enough.  He needs to get into his keep and find out what really happened.  The man who took his keep from him is Donnell McKay and he’s evil. His cousin, Annora MacKay, is there to take care of Donnell’s child, but she has a feeling that all is not right in what her cousin says about the child being his.

James disguises himself as a black-haired Frenchman who does woodworking.  He wants to do such a good job that Donnell will invite him to stay in the keep and that way James will be able to be near his daughter and find out the info he needs.  He didn’t plan on falling for Annora, but he does.  James has to eventually come clean to Annora about who he is, and when he does, she agrees to help him bring Donnell down.

I really liked this book when I read it back in 2014.  This re-read was not quite as enchanting.  In fact, I thought it was just ok.  There were so many times that I rolled my eyes about things, it got a little old.

First James’s disguise was ridiculous.  How did he ever think this was a good idea?  He was only gone for three years – even with a black wig, how would no one recognize him?  I find that hard to believe.  Then there’s how easy he got into the castle.  Look, I understand that Donnell was completely full of himself and absolutely sure that he could take all comers, but he knew the new woodworker for about a minute and a half and invited him in.  Annora’s “ability” was another issue.  I seriously had to go back to figure out when they’d mentioned it.  It was so very small and not at all like the rest of the Murray clan’s abilities.  I thought it was just a stretch.

The daughter was cute and I liked her a lot but that couldn’t hold the story for me.  I wasn’t engaged in the book, or the romance and I struggled to finish it.  The story dragged and I couldn’t find the my happy place while reading.  I know everyone is different, so you should probably read this one for yourself.  Like I said, I really liked it the first time around so you might too.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Murray Family

two-stars


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Review: Still Not Over You by Nicole Snow

Posted April 1, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Still Not Over You by Nicole SnowReviewer: Casee
Still Not Over You (Enguard Protectors, #1) by Nicole Snow
Series: Enguard Protectors #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 19, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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two-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Never, ever fall for your brother's hot older friend.
I flunked the test the instant I laid eyes on Landon Strauss.
Tall. Ripped. Commanding. Irresistibly alpha.
He gave a damn like no one else did.
His soul-searing eyes saw me, not just a nerd girl next door.
I had my idol, my destiny, and names for our future kids picked.

Then I read Landon's little black book.
One nosy peek exposed the shock of a lifetime.
His confession. His pain. His plan.
The sweet boy I loved was gone.
Hero-turned-villain-turned-bad-memory overnight.

Five years later, an insane slip of fate puts us under the same roof.
Sweet closure, I think.
I almost forget he hates me.
I almost think we'll talk like normal adults.
I don't expect the shirtless behemoth who comes barreling through my door.
Landon's grown up. All snarls, testosterone, and lethal chemistry.
We're in trouble, he says.
Oh, Landon. Oh, baby, don't I know it?

This was a book that came up on my feed from Kindle Unlimited. I hadn’t read a KU book since Hate Notes (which I actually did like) so I thought I would give this one a try.

It was just meh. Honestly I skimmed most of it. I didn’t understand what the big deal was with the whole secret thing.

McKenna has had a crush on Landon, her brother’s best friend, since she was a teenager girl. He was her protector and confidant until the night his father was murdered. Then things changed. She made the fucking stupid ass mistake of reading his journal and found out something horrible (but seriously, not that horrible) that Landon planned to do to his father’s killer once he found him. One guess what that was. After that, they had a falling out and didn’t speak for years.

Fast forward to years later and Kenna is a down on her luck author. Her latest manuscript has just been rejected and she can’t pay her rent. Her brother tells her that he has a friend that needs a house sitter. She immediately takes him up on his offer. When Kenna realizes it’s Landon’s house, she is beyond dismayed. She should have known it was too good to be true.

What ensues is weird. There’s a strange plot surrounding the murder of Landon’s dad. Landon is still trying to catch the killer. He has a love/hate relationship with McKenna. Then throw in the teeny-bopper start that his agency is protecting and it’s all kind of a shit show. That being said, I did read that the second book is much better and I actually started reading that one first. I might get to it some day. If I don’t, I won’t be devastated, tbh.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Enguard Protectors

two-stars


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Guest Review: Forgetting Ophelia by Julie C. Gardner

Posted March 28, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Forgetting Ophelia by Julie C. GardnerReviewer: Tracy
Forgetting Ophelia by Julie C. Gardner
Series: Friendship & Secrets #2
Publisher: Velvet Morning Press
Publication Date: October 1, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 292
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two-stars

Ever-hopeful Lia thinks she’ll be with handsome, brooding Jake forever. Until one day he completely blindsides her and makes her question everything she knows… Lia Townsend is expecting a ring and a trip to Hawaii for her fifth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband, Jake, walks out on her. Out of the blue. Devastated, Lia vows to win back Jake and the perfect life they shared.

Because it was perfect, wasn’t it?

But as Lia searches for the truth behind Jake’s departure, the cracks in the shiny varnish begin to show. And once she uncovers his secret, all that she once knew and believed in crumbles.

Lia’s eccentric mother, her best friend, and two vastly different men each pull her in new directions, and Lia attempts to push past the pain and start anew.

But Jake isn’t gone for good. When an accident rocks the lives of their best friends, Lia and Jake are thrown together. Will Lia choose to salvage her old life with the man who broke her heart – or was everything they shared an illusion?

Lia (shortened version of Ophelia) is out with her husband, Jake, for their 5th wedding anniversary. She’s excited because he’s promised her a trip – kind of a honeymoon – and a wedding ring, two things that they skipped when they got married in lieu of buying a house.  Totally understandable.  Unfortunately what Lia gets is Jake telling her how much he loves her and then telling her that he’s leaving her.  WTF?  Lia is shocked and hurt and can’t understand why this is happening.  Jake gives Lia absolutely no idea as to the reasons and takes his bags (that were already packed and stashed under their bed) and leaves.

Lia manages to get through the days and is happy to go to her BFF’s house for Easter and be with friends. When she calls said BFF, Maren, and tells her she’ll be there, Maren hesitates.  You see, Maren’s husband is Jake’s BFF and Jake is going to be there for Easter as well.  Yippee! He says he wants to explain to them why he left Lia.  Too bad he wouldn’t tell Lia! When Jake shows up he introduces Josie.  Lia is hearing this from the backyard and enters the house to confront him as she’s shocked that he has another woman already.  He apparently doesn’t have another woman, he has a daughter. Excuse me?  The man who never wanted children has a daughter?  He says that he just found out about her a couple of months prior and he needed to focus all of his attention on Josie.  When Lia asks why he couldn’t have told her about the child he tells her it’s because she never wanted kids.  What? No, Jake never wanted kids and Lia agreed with him.  He didn’t want kids so badly that he had gone out and secretly gotten a vasectomy.  Nice guy, right?  Not.

So now Lia is alone and trying to figure her shit out, but things just start going badly.  It’s supposed to be Lia discovering who she is (because Jake told her that he didn’t know who she was anymore – she just did things to please him and she wasn’t really happy), and what she wants in life.

I know I’m in the minority when I say this, but frankly this book kind of sucked.  Jake was a complete and total ass. The things he said to Lia were horrifying in their selfishness (both present and past things he’d said) and she didn’t realize she was getting played?  Girl, here’s some money – go buy yourself a clue.  How did she put up with him for five years?  I have no idea.  At one point I wanted to throat punch him and kick him in the balls at the same time, he pissed me off so badly.

This all doesn’t say too much for the heroine of the book.  I believe that the story was supposed to be about Lia finding herself, but she never really did.  Sure, she moved along when shit happened (like her house burning down) but find herself? No.  She changed jobs to try to make herself happy but I never saw the growth, never saw the pivotal moment when she said to herself, “Oh, shit!  I get it now!” None of that.

By the end of the book Lia is trying to move on with her life and it even insinuated that she might start a relationship with one of the two men who appear in the story.  I saw failure down the line.  I saw Lia doing the same thing she did with Jake and losing herself.  I think 6 months of flopping around and not knowing your own mind doesn’t make you ready to start a new relationship.  In fact, Mandie decided that if the author had done an epilogue it would have been better.  Show us Lia a couple of years later and happy in her life.  Then the guy shows up and they can start anew. That would have been a more believable time to think she’d start a relationship. This would have been a better ending, but it wouldn’t have made the book any better.

This is a book about growing and becoming who you want to be.  Unfortunately the heroine never actually did that.  She stayed stagnant and just moved to a new location.  I can’t say that I recommend this book as I actually didn’t like it very much at all.  I did give it 2 stars, but I think I upped it by a star because I finished it, IDK.

Rating: 2 out of 5

two-stars


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Review: Dirty by Kylie Scott

Posted March 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Dirty by Kylie ScottReviewer: Holly
Dirty by Kylie Scott
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Series: Dive Bar #1
Also in this series: Dirty, Dirty, Twist
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 275
Length: 8 hours and 17 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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two-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


Love—on the rocks….

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that come with her.

Lydia Green doesn't know whether to scream or cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it's with his best man is another thing all together.

Just when this runaway bride has nowhere left to turn, a handsome stranger offers her a broad, muscular shoulder to cry on. Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessmen she's normally drawn to. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and is facing his own crossroads. But Lydia's already tried Mr. Right and discovered he's all wrong--maybe it's time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what's wrong with getting dirty?

Dirty is the first book in the Dive Bar series from bestselling author Kylie Scott.

I read the Stage Dive series the year it was released, but somehow I never read this spinoff series. After finishing Repeat on audio, I was in the mood for something else by Kylie Scott and decided to try this one. Sadly, it didn’t work for me at all. The short time frame of the story – two weeks total – really worked against it.

Lydia Green freaks out on her wedding day when she’s emailed a video of her groom having sex with his best man. She’s supposed to walk down the aisle in minutes, but she panics and runs instead. She hops over the neighbor’s fence and ends up crying in the bathtub..where Vaughn Hewson, the owner of the house, finds her.

Vaughn is down on his luck. His band recently split up and he’s broke. He’s come home to sell his parents’ house to his sister, but no way is he prepared to find a weeping woman in a wedding dress in his shower. Despite the circumstances – or maybe because of them – Vaughn and Lydia end up supporting each other as they deal with their own stuff. But Vaughn is only in town long enough to sell his house, and Lydia wants to settle down.

I had a lot of problems with this book. 1) Lydia made a lot of really questionable choices. She’d only been with her fiance 4 months, which even she acknowledges was rushing things. Yet within 48 hours she’s all in with Vaughn? Then she’s ready to make major life changes on whim? 2) Vaughn was a jerk to her half the time, but she still felt like she was falling for him? 3) The short time frame meant I didn’t believe for a minute they were actually solid enough to go the distance. 4) Vaughn’s decision at the end was ridiculous and made no sense.

I wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Dive Bar

two-stars


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