Tag: 2.75 Reviews

Review: Hold Her Again by Shannon Stacey

Posted October 23, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Hold Her Again by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Holly
Hold Her Again by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: October 23, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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two-half-stars

A country-music star returns home to win back the woman he loves in this charming holiday novella from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey

Ava Wright isn't happy to see her high school sweetheart rolling into their hometown a few weeks before Christmas. He's only come back to bury his estranged father, but there's no way she'll be able to avoid him. No one can: he's become a country-music superstar since going solo and leaving Ava behind.

Jace Morrow grew up believing "money can't buy happiness" was something people said to make themselves feel better. But now he knows it's the truth: no matter how many number-one hits he has, he'll never recapture the magic of singing with Ava. Missing her—loving her—and living with making the wrong choice in life were what made him who he is.

When Jace is roped into being part of the town's annual Christmas party, he only cares about earning Ava's forgiveness. And though Ava's heart has never healed, she loved Jace too much and for too long to shut him out when he's hurting. As they fall in love all over again, they're both faced with choices for their future…and this time Jace intends to make the right one.

This book is approximately 30,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise!

I’ve read and enjoyed most of Stacey’s backlist. When I saw the premise for this novella I was super excited. Music star + reunited lovers by Stacey = Total Win! Sadly, it didn’t work for me as much as I thought it would.

Jace and Ava fell in love in high school and ran off to St. Louis together as soon as they could to pursue a career in the music industry. When a popular manager approached them and told Jace she only wanted him, he chose to leave Ava behind and pursue his dream of fame and fortune. She returned home and went back to work waiting tables at the local diner. Six years later Jace is forced to come back to their hometown for his father’s funeral. He hasn’t stopped loving Ava and can’t wait to see her again. But six years is a long time, and Ava doesn’t think she can let go of her hurt and anger over the way Jace turned his back on her….on them.

My biggest issue was with the time of separate between Ava and Jace. He was gone way too long for me to accept his feelings for Ava were genuine. If he never stopped loving her and thought of her every day, why did it take him six years – and the excuse of his father’s funeral – to come back? I might have been able to accept his reasons if he stayed away a year, but six? I just couldn’t get past it. I spent most of the book feeling all rage-y inside.

Ava was a good heroine, and I liked the town and secondary characters. I even liked Jace. But I didn’t like him for Ava. It was easy for him to claim he’d love her forever and never leave her again now that he’d already achieved all his dreams. The length of the story didn’t provide sufficient time for me to forgive him for what he did. As always, Stacey’s writing was wonderful, but even a great heroine and lovely writing couldn’t save this story for me.

2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Review: Magic Waking by Eva Chase

Posted October 3, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Waking by Eva ChaseReviewer: Holly
Magic Waking (Legends Reborn, #1) by Eva Chase
Series: Legends Reborn #1
Also in this series: Soul's Blade (Legends Reborn, #2)
Published by Ink Spark Press
Publication Date: May 27, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 288
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two-half-stars

Die, reincarnate, repeat. It's been a long fifteen hundred years...

Reborn wizard Emma Hale has three goals in life, or rather lives: Track down the present incarnation of the legendary King Arthur, fend off the shadow creatures that hound him for as long as she can, and break the spell that binds their souls in this morbid cycle.

If only she had a better idea how she'd cast that spell in the first place. And if only Arthur’s current host wasn't so cocky yet distractingly good-looking. Because Emma is falling even harder for the man she can't have.

When a fae mercenary with power to rival Emma's puts her king in his sights, Emma burns through all her tricks just to stay one step ahead. Now her only chance is to find some way to destroy the mercenary before he and his army of dark forces destroy Arthur.

No human Emma's ever known has managed to kill a fae. But if she can't, and quickly, this death might be their last.

Looking for a story full of sarcastic wizardry, cruel fae, and a star-crossed love centuries in the making? Scroll up and grab this Arthurian-flavored urban fantasy today!

The Legends Reborn series: Magic Walking (May 2017) Soul's Blade (August 2017) Dragon of Destiny (November 2017)

Magic Waking is the first book in the Legends Reborn series from Eva Chase.

1500 years ago, Merlin cast a spell to save the life of his liege, the legendary King Arthur, and cursed them both to living life over and over again. For 1500 years Merlin has been searching for a way to break the spell and finally save Arthur for good. In this latest reincarnation, Merlin is reborn as Emmaline and Arthur as Darton. Emma retains the knowledge of her past reincarnations, but Arthur doesn’t remember until he has skin-to-skin contact with Emma, something she tries to avoid at all costs. Because the more Arthur remembers, the easier it is for their enemies to track him.

Only they seem to be facing a new enemy, one more skilled than the ones they faced in the past. Emma is going to need all her strength and knowledge to beat this one…or this may be the last time they’re reborn.

I really like the premise of this series. I’ve been craving Arthurian romances and I thought this would fit the bill perfectly. While I really enjoyed the flashbacks to their first life as Merlin and King Arthur, the modern day stuff fell a little flat. The pacing was slow and involved a lot of Emma laying protection spells throughout the college campus. I would have liked to know more about their foes, Emma’s magic, their past reincarnations, etc. There were times I had to really force myself to keep reading.

The action scenes were pretty good and I enjoyed Arthur, but overall this was just an okay read for me. The story ends on a cliffhanger. I hope the action picks up in the next book.

2.75 out of 5

The series:

two-half-stars


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Review: All I Ever Wanted by Luann McLane

Posted August 14, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Luann McLaneReviewer: Holly
All I Ever Wanted (Heartthrob #1) by LuAnn McLane
Series: Heartthrob #1
Published by Pocket Star
Publication Date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
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two-half-stars

From author LuAnn McLane comes the first in a brand new series featuring the sexy Heart brothers: formerly the members of the cult-phenomenon boy band Heartbeat, they’re all grown up and back together for one last reunion tour….

When Grady Heart, former lead singer of the cult-phenomenon boy band Heartbeat and eldest of the brothers, decides to bring the group back together for a highly anticipated reunion concert, he doesn’t expect to be met with so much resistance from his brothers. He also doesn’t expect them to hire his ex-girlfriend and ex-Heartbeat choreographer Arabella York to help the band rock some new dance moves.

Back in Heartbeat’s glory days the brooding bad boy fell hard for Arabella; the studious, stable dance teacher tamed Grady’s wild side but her lack of trust in him eventually drove them apart. Although their chemistry burns hotter than ever, Grady tries to keep his relationship with Arabella strictly professional this time around but in his heart, he might just still long to find out what could have been.

Grady Heart and his brothers were a wildly popular teen boy band. They quit performing when their mother got sick. Now that she’s gone, Grady is organizing a benefit reunion concert in her memory. All his brothers are on board, but there’s a problem…the slick dance moves they used as teens just aren’t possible now that they’re adults. Grady wants everything to be perfect since this is such an important cause. Even so, when his brothers suggest they contact their old choreographer, Arabella, Grady refuses. She broke his heart once. He isn’t willing to give her a second chance. Too bad for him, his brothers go behind his back and call her. Faced with the prospect of spending time with the woman who disappeared without backward glance, Grady admits he still isn’t over her. But he’s not going to give her his heart again.

Arabella is in a financial pickle. She opened a string of successful fitness studios, but she got in over her head and expanded too quickly. Now she either needs a serious infusion of cash or she’s going to be forced to take on a demanding partner who wants to rebrand her entire operation. But facing bad boy Grady Heart again after he ruined her for love isn’t high on her list of fun things to do. Still, she doesn’t have much choice if she wants to save her studios. Now she just needs to keep a calm head around Grady. There’s no way she’s going to risk falling for him again. She learned the hard way the rockstar life is not for her.

I really struggled with this book. I like rock star romances and figured a light boy band second chance love story was right up my alley. Sadly the brothers seemed to suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome. Despite all being in their late 20’s-early 30’s, they still acted like teenagers. The heroine was just as bad. Between her refusal to talk things out like an adult and the way she ran every time something got hard, I had a hard time buying that she was an adult with a successful string of dance studios under her.

I really believed Grady cared for her, but I wasn’t as convinced of Arabella’s feelings. She was closed off and ran at the first sign of trouble or drama. Because she didn’t stick with him, despite her saying she loved Grady, I didn’t buy it.

The premise was good, and I enjoyed some of it. I may continue on with the series.

2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Review: Bad Boy by Elliot Wake

Posted December 6, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Bad Boy by Elliot WakeReviewer: Rowena
Bad Boy by Elliot Wake
Published by Simon & Schuster, Atria Books
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 256
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two-half-stars

Vlog star Renard Grant has nothing to prove: he’s got a pretty face, chiseled body, and two million adoring video subscribers. Plus the scars on his chest and a prescription for testosterone. Because Ren is transgender: assigned female at birth, living now as male. He films his transition and shares it bravely with the world; his fans love his honesty and positivity.

But Ren has been living a double life.

Off-camera, he’s Cane, the muscle-bound enforcer for social justice vigilante group Black Iris. As Cane, he lets his dark side loose. Hurts those who prey on the disempowered. Indulges in the ugly side of masculinity. And his new partner, Tamsin Baylor, is a girl as rough and relentless as him. Together, they terrorize the trolls into silence.

But when a routine Black Iris job goes south, Ren is put in the crosshairs. Someone is out to ruin his life. He’s a bad boy, they say, guilty of what he punishes others for.

Just like every other guy: at heart, he’s a monster, too.

Now Ren’s got everything to prove. He has to clear his name, and show the world he’s a good man. But that requires facing demons he’s locked away for years. And it might mean discovering he’s not such a good guy after all.

I wanted to read this book because I was in the mood for something different and after reading the blurb, this one seemed to fit the bill. I thought it would be interesting to get to know a character that is a vlog star who filmed his transition and shared it on his blog for the world.

It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t all pretty roses and rainbows but I was very interested in Ren’s transition story. In Ren as a person. Getting into the story, I thought that I would feel a lot more for Ren as a person than I did but sadly, I didn’t. The story as a whole was interesting and it was what drove me to finish but Ren as a character was someone that I just couldn’t fully connect with. I’m not even sure why, he just, I don’t even know. He’s a pretty dark character, a character who has been through a hell of a lot but while I ended up okay with him, in the end, I still didn’t fully like him.

I wonder if I had read the other books before this one, if I would have felt different about it all because all of the Black Iris stuff had me rolling my eyes down the street. At first, I didn’t get it but the author did a good job in pulling it all together in the end. Once I was caught up with everything going on, I appreciated the story more so if I could recommend anything, it would be for readers to read Unteachable, Black Iris and Cam Girl.

I will say that Elliot Wake wrote a compelling story that was dark and twisted but necessary. The way that he made the dark and the light stuff in life come together was raw and gritty and that’s probably why I didn’t enjoy this book as much. I’m a fluffy contemporary romance reader at heart and the darkness in this book (and in Ren) was hard for me to get through, so while I’m glad that I gave this book a go, I probably won’t continue with the other books. This has nothing to do with the author or the book and everything to do with my reading preferences.

Grade: 2.75 out of 5

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About the Author

elliot-wake

Elliot Wake

WEBSITE | TWITTER

Elliot Wake (formerly known as Leah Raeder) is a transgender author of four novels: Unteachable, Black Iris, Cam Girl, and Bad Boy. Aside from reading his brains out, Elliot enjoys video games, weightlifting, and perfecting his dapper style. He lives with his partner in Chicago.

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: One Less Problem Without You by Beth Harbison

Posted November 23, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: One Less Problem Without You by Beth HarbisonReviewer: Tina
One Less Problem without You by Beth Harbison
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 336
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two-half-stars

Meet Prinny, Chelsea and Diana. Prinny is the owner of Cosmos, a shop that sells crystals, potions, candles, and hope. It’s also a place where no one turns down a little extra-special cocktail that can work as a romance potion or heal a broken heart. But Prinny is in love with her married lawyer and she’ll need nothing short of magic to forget about him.

Chelsea works as a living statue at tourist sites around Washington, DC. It's a thankless job, but it helps pay the rent. That, and her part-time job at Cosmos. As her dream of becoming a successful actress starts to seem more remote and the possibility of being a permanently struggling one seems more realistic, Chelsea begins to wonder: at one point do you give up on your dreams? And will love ever be in the cards for her?

Diana Tiesman is married to Leif, a charismatic man who isn’t faithful. But no matter how many times he lets her down, Diana just can't let him go. She knows the only way she can truly breakaway is if she leaves and goes where he will never think to follow. So she ends up at Cosmos with Leif’s stepsister, where she makes her homemade teas and tinctures as she figures out whether she'd rather be lonely alone than lonely in love.

In Beth Harbison's One Less Problem Without You, three women suddenly find themselves together at their own very different crossroads. It will take hope, love, strength and a little bit of magic for them to find their way together.

When I see books by Beth Harbison the first thing I think of is chick-lit. I am not saying this as a bad thing at all, but that is just what most of her books are, in my humble opinion. I was spending an early weekend morning checking out the new books at the local library. I found One Less Problem Without You and of course I read the blurb on the back of the cover, and thought “hmm, this is a little out of the norm for this author”, but then I figured that maybe it was just the way I was interpreting it so I plopped it in the old trusty book bag and foraged on through the rest of the rows.

When I got home later, I grabbed the book and started reading. After a few chapters, I noticed this book was nothing like what I had expected. It was a more “weighty” (is that even a word??) type of story that I didn’t really expect from Beth Harbison. But then, maybe that is exactly the point. Perhaps the author wanted to shake her readers up a bit. I really couldn’t say. But this book was a little hard for me to get through and I actually kept laying it down. I did a load of laundry, I wiped down the kitchen counters….you know the drill. There just seemed to be a lot going on with a lot of different characters. At one point I got pretty lost in all the back and forth. I totally get wanting to give some background and explain some things, but I think it was a little overdone at times.

I guess from the cover of the book AND the fact that the author is Beth Harbison, I expected a light-hearted, borderline cutesy kinda read. And yes, I DID read the synopsis, but I figured if anyone could make it all better it would be Beth. The abusive scenes in the book really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting rape to be part of it.. I also could not stand the main male character and I was annoyed with his wife and all the crap she kept putting up with. I personally do not have any knowledge about abusive relationships, but I can honestly say that my butt would’ve been gone a LONG time before she finally decided to do something about it.

So there you have it. One Less Problem Without You will not be one that I brag about or tell my friends they need to read. I struggled with this one and even considered not finishing. But hey……I’m NOT a quitter! Okay, I am sometimes, but I saw this one to the end.

Now just because I wasn’t thrilled with this one doesn’t mean that you won’t be. I absolutely HATED 50 Shades of Grey and look how popular that was! Just remember that this one is not all sweet and wrapped it a bow. It deals with some pretty heavy things at times. There are tons of people that rated it highly, so read some other reviews, or just go to the library like I did. You won’t be losing anything either way, and you might just like it.

two-half-stars


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