Tag: 2.5 Reviews

Guest Review: Steady Stroke by A.M. Arthur

Posted September 19, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Steady Stroke by A.M. ArthurReviewer: Tracy
Steady StrokeSeries: Off Beat series #2
Also in this series: Body Rocks
Published by Swerve, St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 6th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Gay, m/m
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two-half-stars

After a tragic accident, Lincoln West’s dreams of making it big as a guitarist fell apart. Unable to play music, he’s battling a hopeless downward spiral, and takes his friend’s offer to stay at their beach house for the summer. While at an open mike night at local bar Off Beat, he locks eyes with a busboy who doesn’t make Linc feel so broken anymore.

Emmett Westmore lives for the anonymity of busing tables in his aunt’s quirky bar where no one pities him for the fire that killed everyone he loved. He blames himself for the fire, and he doesn’t want anyone to see him—except for Linc. Emmett’s walls drop when he’s around the gorgeous blue-eyed guitarist, but he has a secret that could destroy his budding relationship with Linc.

Both Linc and Emmett are looking for a way to live again…will they let their fears control them or take a chance on something real?

Lincoln was in a horrible accident.  He almost died but managed to put himself back together and move on with his life.  Move on without music, that is.  He was a guitarist but can’t play because every time he strums a guitar the vibrations cause a migraine headache.  Music was his life and now he doesn’t have that, or anything else – according to him.

Lincoln is staying at Trey’s beach house for the summer and decides to go out to a local bar one night.  He meets a friend, Melody, and also sees a bar back who he’s attracted to.  Lincoln invites Emmett to lunch as friends and while Lincoln wants more Emmett just isn’t ready.

Emmett is living with his aunt Beatrice and working in her bar and has been since a fire killed his family.  His parents were very religious and he feels that he’s betraying them by admitting he’s gay and wanting to be with a man.  Linc, however, is making him want things more than ever and Linc finally makes him see that his parents would have wanted him to be happy, gay or straight.  The pair become lovers and much more but when Emmett tells Linc a secret about himself it may tear the two apart.

This was a cute but somewhat slow book.  I liked the premise and I liked Linc and Emmett together. I thought the pair of them worked so well together and their connection was pretty spot on.  It was nice seeing some characters from book one and seeing where they were in their lives, as well.

The story started off well but then slowed down significantly in the middle of the book.  That part was getting further into the relationship which was nice but didn’t make for great reading.  It also had Linc working on playing the QChord which is an instrument that apparently sounds like a guitar but has no vibrations.  It brought music back into Linc’s life which was fabulous but the practicing, etc. was sort of mundane.

Anyway, while I would consider this an ok book I didn’t feel it lived up to book one and that was a bit disappointing.

Rating: 2.5/3 out of 5

two-half-stars

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Guest Review: Dangerous Attraction: The Complete Serial by Sidney Bristol

Posted July 28, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Dangerous Attraction: The Complete Serial by Sidney BristolReviewer: Jen
Dangerous Attraction: The Complete Serial by Sidney Bristol
Series: Aegis Group #1
Published by Inked Press
Publication Date: December 18th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
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two-half-stars

Ex-Navy SEAL Travis Ration is an expert hunter. Whether his prey is criminal or victim, he always gets his mark. He's no hero, just a man doing his job. It’s all he has after a felony conviction after a bad judgement call. When the FBI call in a favor and ask him to look into a serial killer over the holiday break, he jumps at the opportunity to fill the long, cold days with something besides regret and bad movies. In Las Vegas, he's on the hunt for a prolific serial killer no one wants to admit exists. The leads are dry and the evidence gone, until she walks into his life. Bliss Giles—curvy, sassy and everything he can't have.

What’s worse, Travis knows Bliss’ sister is the killer's latest victim. She fits the profile. Time is running out and the fastest way to retrace the killer's path is with Bliss at Travis' side. In the seat of danger. He vows to keep Bliss safe and his hands to himself, after all, a nice girl like her doesn't need a guy like him in her life. Too bad no one told Bliss Travis was off-limits. She tests his boundaries and pushes his control every minute they're together until he can't remember why wanting her is a bad idea.

The hunters become the hunted in this tale of serial killers and SEALs for hire. One broken man must unpack his baggage, a woman has make a leap of faith and a sister chooses to live in this new, romantic suspense serial by NYT & USA Today bestselling author, Sidney Bristol.

I picked this book up on a whim, and while I thought it had potential, it didn’t quite come together for me.

When the book opens, Bliss Giles is trying to get help from the Las Vegas Police to find her newly missing sister. Since it’s not even been a full day, the police aren’t taking her seriously, but Travis Ration (an ex-SEAL/quasi-FBI consultant) overhears her, and he thinks the case might be connected to a serial killer he’s helping investigate. Bliss and Travis start looking into the matter and realize Wendy has indeed been captured by this killer who kidnaps women, impregnates them, and then gruesomely murders them once their babies are born. (Yeah, this book is graphic, so stay far away if that bothers you!) There are so many twists and turns in this book that I won’t enumerate them all. Just know that there is a lot of investigating, a lot of blood and guts, and a lot of back and forth with this seemingly unstoppable killer.

As I mentioned, the book is gory, which isn’t necessarily a problem for me. It’s maybe not one I’d be rushing out to read on my lunch break, but I could handle it since I have a fairly high tolerance for blood in books. However, the gory parts absolutely DID NOT fit with the romance parts of the book. Bliss works at a sex toy shop, and I thought that part of the story was fun and cute. Travis isn’t exactly against sex toys, but he doesn’t see the point and seems to assume they’re just for women who have no companionship. Bliss isn’t a sex toy evangelist, but she does try to educate Travis on who uses toys and why they might want to. I enjoyed her openness and Travis’s willingness to listen. Plus, there are some sexy scenes of them exploring toys, which I think we just don’t see enough of in most non-erotic romances.

But let me tell you, sex toy explorations are particularly jarring to read sandwiched in between scenes of a killer cutting out someone’s organs! I especially couldn’t enjoy lighthearted sex scenes when Wendy was in a cage waiting for the killer to murder her. It took away from the relationship and the sex, and it was honestly kind of horrifying. I truly felt like there were two different books thrown together here: one a lighthearted contemporary romance about a sex toy shop employee and an alpha SEAL, and the other an intense and graphic serial killer story. Both books would make perfectly fine stories on their own, but put together they were uncomfortable and mismatched.

This book was originally published as a serial, and that may have contributed somewhat to the disjointedness I felt. I suspect it also contributed to uneven pacing. There were periods of the book where nothing happened and everything just dragged. The killer kept eluding them too, in ways that got more and more absurd, which meant that the resolution was delayed more than I thought reasonable. And Travis did a lot of back and forth–I care about her..no I can’t care about anybody…wait I do care about her…but I can’t. Ugh. He couldn’t make up his mind, and Bliss kept putting up with his crap. It didn’t feel organic, more like artificial conflicts to add tension.

All that said, I did like some parts of the book. The serial killer plot was horrific, yes, but it was also complicated and tense. I liked that Travis and Bliss did a lot of communicating about their feelings. There weren’t Big Misunderstandings–they used their grown up words to talk things out. The sex was fairly hot and interesting, if you could look at it in isolation from the serial killer plot. I want more sex toys in books!

All in all, I’d happily check something else out by this author (and this book is apparently the start of a series), but this particular book didn’t quite live up to its promise for me.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars

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Review: Dark Promises by Christine Feehan

Posted April 26, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Dark Promises by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee's
Dark Promises by Christine Feehan
Series: Dark Series #29
Also in this series: Dark Wolf, Dark Carousel
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: March 15, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 384
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two-half-stars

Gabrielle has had enough of battles, of wars, of seeing the man she's engaged to nearly lose his life when it isn't even his fight. Once Gary was a gentle and very human researcher. Now he's a fearless and lethal Carpathian warrior with the blood of an ancient lineage coursing through his veins—a man Gabrielle still needs and dreams of with every breath she takes. All she wants is a life far away from the Carpathian mountains, far from vampires and the shadows cast by the crumbling monastery that hides so many terrible secrets. But Gabrielle soon learns that promises made in the dark can pierce the heart like a dagger.

And she isn't the only one in search of answers in the corners of the unknown...

Trixie Joanes has come to the Carpathian mountains in search of her wayward granddaughter, fearing that she has been lured there by something unspeakable. Instead, Trixie has stumbled onto the path of a desperate woman on the run. And they're all fated for the lair of a mysterious ancient with revenge in his soul and the undying power to make bad dreams come true.

Spoiler Warning: This review is littered with spoilers. Read at your own risk.

This book was a travesty of unimaginable proportions.

Before I really get into that statement, let me tell you that Dark Prince was the first paranormal I ever read. I have been a reader of the Dark Series almost from the start. I’ve read all the books in the series (with the exception of novellas). There have been some hits (a lot) and there have been some misses (a lot). The misses have been spectacular and they’ve come quite frequently in the last few years. The earlier books were much, much better than the recent stuff that has been put out.

This book was about Gabrielle and Gary Jansen, the humans-turned-Carpathians that are ready to start their lives together. Or was it about them? No, it wasn’t. When Gary tried to bond to Gabrielle, the hell if it worked. Not only that, but with each word that he uttered, his emotions and the colors around him faded away. Gary has only been a Carpathian for all of a month and he lost his ability to feel and see colors when he lost Gabrielle. Gabrielle still believes they can live a human life for 50-60 years before they find their respective lifemates. She loves Gary and she’s not giving him up.

For Gary’s own safety, Mikhail sent him away to a monastery deep within the mountains. Along with the Ancients, Mikhail and Gregori feel that this is the only place that Gary will find peace…after a couple centuries of sleeping. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t realize that Gabrielle wouldn’t give up so easily and she follows. What happens next is probably the best part of the book. One of the Ancients wakes and recognizes Gabrielle as his lifemate. He can feel, see in color. Everything that comes along with finding your other half. Of course, it doesn’t go as he always thought.

View Spoiler »

In the meantime, Trixie Joanes has come to the Carpathian mountains to find her granddaughter, Teagan. What she doesn’t expect is that some hot guy that looks thirty years younger than her claims that she’s his lifemate. What I did not like and would not tolerate is that Trixie is sixty years old. My mother is sixty years old. I skipped over every single part with Trixie and Fane. My mother is sixty years old, did I mention that? I was texting Holly the whole time reminding her that there was a secondary story going on with a sixty year old woman. Oh, I liked her. She was a million times better than Gabrielle, but I couldn’t get over her age.

In the end, I am thrilled that I got this at the library. I was so impatient I almost bought the darn thing. I would have hated myself for all of eternity. How’s that for dramatic?

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

two-half-stars

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Guest Review: Catching Summer by LP Dover

Posted April 4, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Catching Summer by LP DoverReviewer: Tracy
Catching Summer by L.P. Dover
Series: Second Chances #6
Published by Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Sports
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two-half-stars

Falling for someone can be dangerous, especially when someone wants to take them away from you. But what happens when fighting for the one you love could cost them their life?

For over two years, Summer Jacobs has tried to get her life back on track. A former nurse and now a prestigious restaurant owner, she’s living the dream just like her husband wanted. After watching him get killed in the MMA ring and almost losing her life herself, it left a scar on her soul. The thought of moving on scares her, but the local NFL star, Evan Townsend, is determined to catch her heart.

Forced to work with him and the football team, Summer succumbs to his relentless attempts at capturing her heart. He has the power to heal her, but there’s someone out there who wants to keep them apart. Even if it means getting rid of Evan permanently. Summer is being chased by hidden dangers and it’s up to Evan to catch her. The question is . . . will he get to her in time

It’s been two years since Summer’s husband was murdered.  She was there when it happened and it’s taken weekly therapy to get her to the place she is now.  At the beginning of the book we hear about the murder and my heart broke for Summer as that couldn’t have been easy.  She decides that it’s time to stop seeing her therapist and he encourages her to start dating again.  She’s not sure about it but then finds out that a friend of hers, Evan, has had feelings for her since he met her and she decides to give dating a chance.

This is where the book lost me completely.  The story went from emotional darkness to the possibility of a relationship down the road – and I liked that about it.  That’s not what ended up happening though.  Summer went from maybe dating to “all-in” with Evan: having sex, saying the “I love you’s” that I did not see coming, and then moving in with him in a matter of weeks.  WTH? There was just no building of the relationship and that really didn’t work for me.  I think the author wanted to focus more on the suspense aspect of the story as it seemed that someone had it out for Evan and they were trying to figure out who it was.  As the reader I had the villain figured out immediately so there wasn’t really any suspense.  IDK, the book went from a 4 star to a 2.5 to 3 star read in a matter of pages and that was quite disappointing.

As far as the characters went…Evan was really hot and sweet but the man had a temper on him.  It was always geared toward other people that he thought were hurting Summer, but holy cow did he fly off the handle a few times!  If I were Summer that would have thrown up a red flag.  It just didn’t sit well with me.  Summer was sweet and very caring about others. She was a strong character and I liked reading about her but didn’t care for how fast she fell into it with Evan.  I don’t think any woman having gone through what she went through with her first husband would have moved that quickly but that’s just my opinion, of course.

This was my first read contemporary read by LP Dover (the other was a paranormal) and the first story I’ve read in this series.  I’m definitely interested in a couple of the characters that I met in this book so I might just have to pick up another book to see what happens. Hopefully those characters won’t rush in like Evan and Summer did.

Rating: 2.5/3 out of 5

two-half-stars

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Review: The CEO’s Unexpected Child by Andrea Laurence

Posted March 24, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The CEO’s Unexpected Child by Andrea LaurenceReviewer: Rowena
The CEO's Unexpected Child by Andrea Laurence
Published by Harlequin Desire
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 192
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two-half-stars

CLAIMING HIS CHILD…AT ANY COST

A shocking fertility clinic mix-up has resulted in Luca Moretti fathering a child with a woman he's never met. There's no way the CEO will walk away from his baby girl. But he has thirty days to convince her distractingly beautiful mother to do exactly what he wants.

Widow Claire Douglas is still reeling from the loss of her husband when she discovers a stranger has fathered her child. And the rich bachelor will stop at nothing to gain joint custody. How can she possibly fight a man with such money and power…and a charm she can't resist?

I don’t read very many Harlequin category romances because every time that I do, I’m reminded why I don’t.

Claire Douglas is a widowed mother who found out that 1) her husband was cheating on her before he died and 2) the baby she thought was her husbands is not and because of a goof at the fertility clinic she used, a complete stranger is her baby daddy. Trying to come to terms with all of that is hard enough but when her new stranger baby daddy threatens to sue her for joint custody of the baby, shit gets real. This isn’t something that the fertility clinic can fix (even though they made her a very rich lady thanks to their goof).

Luca Moretti is a billionaire in charge of his family business. His family runs a successful Italian restaurant chain and that restaurant chain has made them very rich. When Luca was a teenager, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and he’s in remission but lives in constant fear that the cancer will return. His cancer history and some doctors in his past made him believe that he would never father kids of his own so before cancer could destroy his chances at kids someday, he had some semen samples kept on ice for the future and it was those samples that were used to knock up Claire.

He’s a grown man now, living the bachelor life and when he finds out that he has a daughter out there, he’s determined to be a part of his daughter’s life….even if it means taking her mother to court to ensure he gets to see her.

In order for Claire to get to know Luca better so that they can make this co-parenting thing work, Luca suggest getting away for a month. Claire reluctantly agrees and off they go to the vineyard (as I imagine rich folks say) for a month of rest and relaxation…and falling in love getting to know each other. 🙂

Luca comes from a huge Italian family and they’re loud, their gatherings big and crazy so he’s been around kids his entire life. He’s not worried about being a good father, but he’s worried that Claire who blows hot and cold will get in the way of his relationship with his daughter.

Claire is still reeling from pretty much everything that has gone to shit in her life. Her marriage was a farce, the whole mix up with the fertility clinic is still making the rounds in her head and now she’s got a baby daddy that is a completely stranger that wants to become a part of her life. She’s attracted to him and that complicates her already complicated life. She doesn’t know who to trust anymore.

The book started off on the up and up but the more that I read, the more that I wanted to punch someone.

Claire’s attitude toward Luca in the beginning got on my nerves because it was no more Luca’s fault that they were in the situation they’re in than it was hers and yet she took everything out on him. Annoyed the snot out of me even though, as a mother I understood where she was coming from. Her hot and cold attitude got real old, real fast though and I spent a good chunk of this book wanting to punch her ever living lights out.

Luca was understanding about Claire’s attitude toward him even though (like me) he was annoyed about it, but he made it on to my people I want to punch list when he started second guessing Claire and her motives and everything that happens after they get home from Martha’s Vineyard. I mean seriously, you dickhead asshole! Get it together already!

The other thing that didn’t work for me was how cheesy everything was. The way that Claire says Luca’s name annoyed me too. “Oh Luca!” Oh shut up! Everything that happened when they got back from their vacation made me want to gauge my eyes out. I don’t even know why I finished this book. It started off a little on the crazy side but it was interesting but as the story progressed, my enjoyment just kept getting lower and lower until I was happy that it was finally over.

It started off with promise but didn’t hold up which was a bummer.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars

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