Tag: 2.75 Reviews

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

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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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Review: Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley

Posted August 8, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Walk Through Fire by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly
Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #4
Also in this series: Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire
Published by Forever
Publication Date: October 27th 2015
Pages: 624
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three-stars

Millie Cross knows what it's like to burn for someone. She was young and wild and he was fierce and even wilder-a Chaos biker who made her heart pound. They fell in love at first sight and life was good, until she learned she couldn't be the woman he needed and made it so he had no choice but to walk away. Twenty years later, Millie's chance run-in with her old flame sparks a desire she just can't ignore. And this time, she won't let him ride off . . .

Bad boy Logan "High" Judd has seen his share of troubles with the law. Yet it was a beautiful woman who broke him. After ending a loveless marriage, High is shocked when his true love walks back into his life. Millie is still gorgeous, but she's just a ghost of her former self. High's intrigued at the change, but her betrayal cut him deep-and he doesn't want to get burned again. As High sinks into meting out vengeance for Millie's betrayal, he'll break all over again when he realizes just how Millie walked through fire for her man . . .

This series has been hit and miss for me. Some I loved while others were just eh. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Walk Through Fire since High wasn’t my favorite character in past books. I didn’t dislike him, but I didn’t love him either.

High and Millie were together for three years. They met at a party and were inseparable after that first meeting. They both knew, right from the beginning, that they were it. There was no one else for either of them. Until Mill just cut High off one day and disappeared from his life. Twenty years later she sees him in a Chipotle and decides it’s time to make things right with him. She tracks him down to a motorcycle club event and they end up having sex, though it meant something totally different for High than it did for Millie.

They end up circling around each other for several weeks after that, until they come to a head the night the Club turns on Millie and the reason for her sudden breakup with him comes out. Then Millie takes off for Paris for two weeks and High realizes he’s been an ass and decides to fix what he broke.

Here’s the thing about this book: The first half was pretty great. I totally believed that Logan and Millie loved each other back in the day. I even believed that their love was the GREAT ONE and there was no one else for either of them (strictly speaking in terms of soul mates). What I didn’t buy for a single second was that Mille lived in a bubble for 20 years. She had close friends but never went out? She ran a very successful party planning business but didn’t network? Her life just stopped the second she walked away from High? That didn’t make a lick of sense to me.

It also frustrated me how immature both Millie and High acted at times. They were in their (or close to? I can’t remember now) their 40’s. I wish they’d acted like it. Instead they purposely lashed out at each other, refused to communicate and involved themselves in petty, high school-type drama. The Club didn’t show itself in a very favorable light, either. The way the men acted was silly and childish, and the women were just as bad.

But whatever. I could have gotten past that. The big problem was the second half of the book. Millie and High work out the animosity between them about 1/3 of the way into the book. The rest is all just external problems in the form of drama with his kids, club business and a bad guy using Millie as bait to draw High – and Chaos – out. Plus there were some things that made me want to bang my head against the wall. Example: The bad guy breaks into Millie’s house and tells her he took pictures of her and High having sex in her office/studio (which is in a building behind her house), yet they continue to have sex there without thought. Uh..what?

There were some minor frustrations with both Mille and High, particularly their lack of communication, but I enjoyed parts of the story. Ashley excels at writing stories I fall right into, and this was no exception, at lest for the first half.

2.75 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Calling It by Jen Doyle

Posted May 5, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Calling It by Jen DoyleReviewer: Rowena
Calling It by Jen Doyle
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: April 11th 2016
Pages: 218
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two-half-stars

Baseball player Nathan Hawkins needs to get away from Chicago. After a near career-ending car accident and with paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, Nate can only think of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he's not sure what to think…except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.

Librarian Dorie Donelli never thought she'd get to meet her fantasy man in person—much less in her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary. As long as she remembers he'll be gone once his life gets back on track, she won't get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his old life.

For Nate, being with Dorie is the only time in months that he finds himself smiling. Laughing. And he has no intention of letting that go. He might even be falling in love…if only Dorie will let him say the words. What they have isn't just a dream, but the start of a dream come true.This book is approximately 101,000 words

It’s been a while since I’ve read a sports romance with a baseball hero so when I came across this book, I was interested enough that I requested it for review. This is a debut book from Jen Doyle so I was game for something new.

Nate Hawkins is not having a good month. He’s been in a car accident that the media is trying to spin into him being a drunk driver, he’s got an ex-fiance’ that was cheating on him with his best friend and so many other things going on that he needs a break. What does one do when they need a break? They go home, that’s what. It’s been a few years since he’s been back home and Nate is a little nervous about being back. He didn’t really keep in touch with anyone (including his family) so he’s not really sure what kind of reception he’ll be getting once he touches down.

Dorie Donelli grew up with a big ol’ crush on Nate Hawkins. Ever since he played on that special basketball team from the small town nobody heard of and kept winning game after game after game, Dorie has had a crush on him. The story of the small town basketball team made national news and the popularity of the team made it all the way to her home so even though she’s never met Nate Hawkins, she knows all about who he is. Growing up with 6 older brothers wasn’t easy for Dorie so when she’s old enough and hears about a librarian position opening up in the small town that Nate Hawkins is from, she immediately applies for the job. When she gets it, moves to town and lands an apartment from Nate Hawkin’s sister, she’s over the moon. Still, she never thought that Nate Hawkins himself will make himself at home in her life.

But he does…and the long time crush that Dorie had on him grows with each passing day that she spends in Nate’s company.

Nate wasn’t prepared for the intensity of feelings that hits him when he meets Dorie Donelli but that doesn’t stop him from pursuing her. He knows what he wants and he spends his time before heading back to reality (for spring training) trying to win her over.

This book started off great. I laughed at the first meeting between Dorie and Nate, I liked the two of them when we first meet them and there were things that I really enjoyed about the two of them but for a huge chunk of the book, I wanted to punch Dorie in the throat.

She spent a lot of time going hot and cold where Nate was concerned. I’m sorry but if Justin Timberlake (my childhood crush who had a shrine in my bedroom like Dorie’s of Nate) started pursuing me with the same intensity that Nate pursued Dorie, I would have fallen into bed with him so fast that he probably would have gotten whiplash. I would also have fallen in love with him and told him within ten minutes of him saying hi to me. Okay, maybe not but at the very least I would have given him a shot. I probably would have made him work a little to get me to show him I had some self respect but for the most part? I wouldn’t have let him out of bed for at least two weeks. LOL.

I thought Dorie wasted so much time leading Nate around by his, well…you know. At every turn, Nate proved that he was all in with Dorie and she let her insecurities ruin my enjoyment of the romance. In the end, the lengths he went through to prove his love to her? Pissed me off. He shouldn’t have had to do all of that for her – especially since his money was part of the reason that she was so iffy about a future with him.

When Dorie wasn’t cold with Nate, I enjoyed their time together. They were cute and I loved when they were in the moment but every single time (after Nate has proven he’s all in) that Dorie tried to leave Nate behind in the dust, I wanted to punch her. I thought she took too long to get her shit together and while the grand gesture in the end impressed a lot of people (at least according to Goodreads), it didn’t impress me. It was disappointing because I didn’t want it to be necessary. The other characters were pretty great and I’m interested in reading the other books in this series especially Deke and Fitz’s book but in the end, I liked chunks of this book but I didn’t like other chunks and those chunks left me a bit unsatisfied.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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