Tag: 2.75 Reviews

Review: Midnight Valentine by J.T. Geissinger

Posted August 10, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Midnight Valentine by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly
Midnight Valentine by J.T. Geissinger
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 316
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

A hauntingly powerful love story in the tradition of The Notebook and The Time Traveler’s Wife.

True love never dies.

Megan and Cassidy were childhood sweethearts who thought they would be together forever. Fate had other plans. Soon after they were married, Cass’s life was tragically cut short. Still grieving her soul mate five years later, Megan moves to the small town of Seaside, Oregon, hoping to rebuild her life.

Her first night there, she meets the town recluse, Theo. Withdrawn, guarded, and mysteriously silent since a terrible accident left him scarred, Theo takes an instant and inexplicable dislike to Megan. But as their paths cross again and again, Megan becomes convinced there’s more to Theo than meets the eye. When she discovers the reason for his silence, his nightmares, and especially his pointed dislike, Megan becomes convinced of something far more astonishing.

Is a second chance at a once-in-a-lifetime love possible, or is a broken heart the cruelest kind of liar?

I read and really enjoyed Burn for You by J.T. Geissinger, so I figured I’d try some of her other works. Her paranormal series wasn’t as successful for me, but I thought I’d enjoy Midnight Valentine since 1) It’s a contemporary and 2) It has stellar reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Plus, the blurb was really intriguing. With the exception of the Epilogue, the story is told in first person from the heroine’s point-of-view.

After the death of her husband, Megan moves to a small Oregon coastal town to finally realize their dream of restoring an old bed-and-breakfast. Upon arrival in town she meets mute, scarred contractor Theo. Despite having never met him before, Theo seems to hate her and Megan can’t figure out why. She decides to go with another contractor, even though he comes highly recommended and she’s told he’s the best. What does being the best matter if the man can’t stand her, right? Except it seems the universe has other ideas. Strange coincidences keep happening until Megan finally has no choice but to hire Theo.

Though his eyes burn with hatred when he looks at her, they’re both drawn to each other. It seems like Theo knows her, but how can that be possible when they’ve never met? As Megan tries to deal with her grief and torment over the loss of her husband, she also tries to make sense of her strange desire for a man who seems to hate her..yet is drawn to her in spite of himself.

This is a hard book to review without spoilers. I really enjoyed the humor and wit of the heroine, Megan. Her sarcastic sense of humor had me laughing more than once. I also enjoyed the mystery surrounding Theo and why he’d turned mute. Toward the end, the book took a dark turn. Even though I saw it coming, I didn’t expect it to go that dark. The tone of the early parts of the book were light, despite the trauma Megan suffered. So the last quarter, by comparison, read almost like a different book.

View Spoiler »

None of what happened was a surprise as I’d figured it out early on, but the way it was told kind of killed it the story a bit. While I enjoyed Midnight Valentine overall, I wasn’t left feeling warm and fuzzy when I closed it. Still, it was very well written and I can’t deny I was pulled in by the story of Megan and Theo, both separately and together.

I’m conflicted about the grade. The first 1/2 was a solid 4 for me. The humor, the wit, even the slow burning romance. All of it worked. The last 1/2 pulled my grade down. Ultimately I’m giving it:

2.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Shadow’s Edge by J.T. Geissinger

Posted July 16, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shadow’s Edge by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly
Shadow's Edge (Night Prowler, #1) by J.T. Geissinger
Series: Night Prowler #1
Also in this series: Edge of Oblivion (Night Prowler, #2)
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 359
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Goodreads
two-half-stars

2013 winner FF&P's Prism Award for Published Authors—Best First Book Deep within the primeval forests of southern England, a race of beautiful, savage shape-shifters lives hidden from the everyday world. Bound together by ancient bloodlines and a ruthless code of secrecy that punishes traitors with death, the Ikati send their leader Leander on a mission to capture one raised outside the tribe before she can expose their secret. When Leander tracks the unsuspecting outsider to Southern California, the hardened warrior is prepared for a fight—but not for the effect the sensual young beauty has on his heart.

Jenna spent her childhood in hiding, on the run from someone—or something—her parents refused to discuss. She trusts no one, not since her father’s mysterious disappearance, not since her mother’s sudden death, and definitely not since she began exhibiting strange, superhuman abilities. When handsome, enigmatic Leander appears, promising answers to the mysteries that shroud her past, she knows she shouldn’t trust him either. But their connection is undeniable, and as powerful as the enemy hell-bent on destroying every one of their kind…

I read and really enjoyed Burn for You, a contemporary romance, and figured I’d give Geissinger’s PNR a try. Shadow’s Edge is the first book Night Prowler book, an urban fantasy series featuring a society of shapeshifters who are hidden among humans. While I liked the premise of this book, I didn’t end up loving it.

The Ikati are shapeshifters. For years they lived out in the open, but eventually the church labeled them monsters and they were hunted into near extinction. They retreated into hiding and for the past several hundred years, have lived tucked away from human society. They have a patriarchal society. Since they were hunted for so long (and still are), they keep to themselves and remain a secret. As a results, women are treated like they were back in the good ole days of “marry for bloodlines and then sit over there in the corner and be quiet”. Mating with humans is forbidden. If one of the males breaks the rule, he’s hunted and killed, along with his human mate and any children they have. Unless he willingly sacrifices himself for his mate and children. In which case they may live, until the child turns 25. If she manifests shapeshifter powers on her 25th birthday, she’s brought to live with the Ikati clan, or – if she refuses – she’s killed.

I think I expected this book to be …more. More Jenna exerting her will or being more badass. I feel like I spent the majority of the book waiting for something to happen. I wanted to see Jenna come into her own. I wanted to see Leander step in and kick major ass for her. I wanted to see things change with the clan, etc etc. Unfortunately none of those things came to pass. The premise is good, but it lacked a lot of finesse in the execution.

I started the 2nd book immediately thinking a lot of the unanswered questions would be cleared up, but book 2 is set in a different place and features different characters. While I enjoyed aspects of this book, I enjoyed book 2 more.

2.75 out of 5

Night Prowlers

two-half-stars


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Review: Hour of Need by Melinda Leigh

Posted May 21, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Hour of Need by Melinda LeighReviewer: Holly
Hour of Need (Scarlet Falls, #1) by Melinda Leigh
Series: Scarlet Falls #1
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 338
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Goodreads
two-half-stars

While fighting in Afghanistan, Major Grant Barrett receives devastating news: his brother and sister-in-law have been murdered in Scarlet Falls, the sleepy suburb of Grant’s youth. Emotionally scarred from war, the career soldier returns home on emergency leave to temporarily care for his orphaned nephew and niece. But when someone tries to kidnap the kids and their teenage babysitter, Grant knows it’s not a random act…and neither were the murders.

Already devastated by her neighbors’ violent deaths, Ellie Ross is shattered by the attempted abduction of her teenage daughter so she desperately turns to Grant for help. As they navigate a deadly search for the truth, they struggle with growing feelings for each other and Grant’s impending return to deployment.

But time is running out. The killer is growing bolder by the hour, and Ellie and Grant must find him before the children become his next victims.

I really struggle with Romantic Suspense. The characters often do things that make no sense to me, or the mystery is so easy to figure out I end up being really bored. Though I do enjoy mysteries and suspense in audio. I haven’t read Melinda Leigh before, but she had good reviews so I figured I’d give her a try. The blurb does a good job of outlining the plot, so I don’t feel the need to recap.

I enjoyed the narrator, but I spent most of the book irritated at the way the characters acted. The heroine made silly choices that put herself and her family in danger. The hero supported her in those choices when it made no sense, and often rushed into danger himself without thought.

As a romance, this was cute. He had to come home on emergency leave to care for his niece and nephew when his brother and sister-in-law were murdered. Seeing this confirmed bachelor soldier deal with a colicky infant and heartbroken kindergartner was sweet and endearing. His budding relationship with the next door neighbor was sweet, too. I liked the two of them together and the way their families blended.

As a suspense novel it didn’t work for me, but as a romance it was sweet. There’s a good chance others will enjoy the suspense more.

2.75-3.0 out of 5

Scarlet Falls

two-half-stars


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Joint Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

Posted May 2, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Joint Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny ReidReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1) by Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #1
Also in this series: Neanderthal Seeks Human
Published by Caped Publishing
Publication Date: March 14, 2013
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 403
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Goodreads

There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse.

Holly: Rowena and I have both been hearing a lot about Penny Reid, so we chose Neanderthal Seeks Human, book one in the Knitting in the City series, for our April joint review book.

I read it before Rowena did and I have to tell you, the heroine annoyed me. She was written as an extremely intelligent, but oblivious individual. Mostly she came off as lacking in common sense.

What did you think?

Rowena: I agree about the heroine. It took me a long time to read this book because I kept stepping away because I couldn’t believe how dumb the heroine came off. She was too smart to be so dumb about a lot of the things that went on. Like when Quinn kept telling her that the company was his company and she kept not understanding what he meant? There were too many instances where this happened and I wasn’t a fan of that.

Holly: I could have understood if she missed a few cues here and there, or even if she was oblivious until someone spelled things out for her, but that just wasn’t the case. Even when things were spelled out she completely missed them. She was completely lacking in common sense. It was frustrating.

Rowena: Yeah, I agree with Janie. I don’t think the way that she was written really pulled off her personality. It just didn’t work for me. I really liked the random trivia that she threw out. That was probably my favorite part with her.

I didn’t mind the random trivia facts that she threw out when she was nervous. I actually liked that stuff but the lacking of common sense for someone so smart didn’t work for me.

Holly: I thought the random trivia facts were hilarious, and I loved how she just babbled when she was nervous. But man, I couldn’t get past how dumb she could be.

Rowena: Then there was Quinn. He was great and I would have liked him more if he was more upfront about every little thing with Janie. He had too many secrets for my liking.

Holly: I really liked Quinn, but you’re right, it would have been nice if he’d been more upfront with Janie. It was obvious he knew she was oblivious to most things. He should have spelled things out.

Rowena: Yes, he knew that she didn’t understand that the company belonged to him and he kept letting her think what she wanted to think but also, he knew a lot of things about her and about those around her and he didn’t tell her and for what? He didn’t owe anyone but Janie anything so why keep her in the dark about things that affected her personally? He could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he was upfront with her about everything.

Those little things kept taking me right out of the story and I kept needing to walk away from the story for a bit because I could not deal with all of the unnecessary shenanigans.

Holly: Right, that’s what I mean. He knew she didn’t understand what was going on with him, his company, her sister, etc. Yet he chose not to tell her, to keep her in the dark. I didn’t like that. He should have let her know what was going on.

Rowena: But how great was that knitting group?

Holly: That knitting group was amazing. The scene toward the end with them? Oh man, I about died laughing. I want to read more of this series just for them.

Rowena: The way that the knitting group came together to fight the bad guys had me bent over at the waist laughing. They truly saved this book from a lower grade because even though they weren’t front and center in the story, they were still a big part of it and their part had me laughing a lot. These are the kinds of friends that a woman needs in her life.

Holly: While there were some enjoyable parts – most notably the knitting group and their shenanigans – I didn’t love this book the way I expected to. It came highly recommended from so many, I thought I’d love it. I loved the knitting group enough to try another book in the series, but Janie really killed this book for me. I’m giving it a 2.75 out of 5.

Rowena: Yep, I pretty much have the same thoughts. There was potential but overall, most of the comedy stuff missed its mark with me though I will not permanently say no to any of the other books in this series. I really do need to get to know the other ladies in the knitting group, especially Sandra. She sounds like a riot and I’m all for reading her book.

I’d give this one the same grade, 2.75 out of 5.

Final Rating

Holly: 2.75 out of 5
Rowena: 2.75 out of 5

Knitting in the City


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Review: Hold Her Again by Shannon Stacey

Posted October 23, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 4 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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Goodreads
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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