Tag: 3.0 Reviews

Guest Review: Under Currents by Nora Roberts

Posted January 2, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Under Currents by Nora RobertsReviewer: Tracy
Under Currents by Nora Roberts
Narrator: January LeVoy
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 436
Length: 14 hours and 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. Strangers—and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake—see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Zane and his sister know the truth: There is something terribly wrong.

As his father’s violent, controlling rages—and his mother’s complicity—become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, days until he can escape. He looks out for little Britt, warning her Be smart. Be careful. In fear for his very life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine, while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hide away.

When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the façade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good to triumph—and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves…

This is a difficult review to write.  Not only because of the subject matter, but because I don’t want to add spoilers into it.

You’d think that the Bigelow family was perfect.  They had a big beautiful house, lots of money, the father is a doctor and the mother doesn’t even have to work!  The children are darned near perfect as well!  But behind closed doors no one knows the abuse that the wife and children suffer at the hands of the Dr. Bigelow – a monster. The mom does nothing to help her children as she’s fine with the abuse as long as he doesn’t hit her face.

WTF?

When the son of the family, Zane, is 14 years old his father goes a bit nuts and hurts every family member.  When the daughter calls the police, their father blames everything on Zane stating that he went crazy.  The police believe the father because he’s a doctor and why would he lie? Ugh.

The story eventually moves on to Zane’s adulthood and him falling for a new woman in town. She also was abused by her husband and is looking for a new life.  Zane is now a lawyer and has just moved back to town after working in a large city for years.  The story is about them falling in love and adjusting to their new lives.  Of course there can’t be a HEA without a villain to try to ruin it all.

This book is told in four parts. The first part was incredible, though very hard to listen to.  The abuse was graphic and hard to hear, but it was written incredibly well and narrated perfectly.  Unfortunately, parts 2-4 fell flat for me.  There were definitely things happening but there was too much every-day life being told.  I get that books need that, but not for 3 parts of the book, imho.  The parts that had to do with the villain were predictable and not that exciting.

The romance (and I use that term loosely) was truly unimaginative. I guess I just expect more from Roberts.  I know this isn’t classified as a romance, but if you’re going to include one in the book then it needs to be done well and I just can’t say that it was.

Overall it was a decent read, but not one I can highly recommend. That said, I adored the narrator, January LeVoy. Strong voice, great characters voices, and just a pleasure to listen to.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: The Ugly Christmas Sweater by Jackie Paxson

Posted December 23, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Ugly Christmas Sweater by Jackie PaxsonReviewer: Tracy
The Ugly Christmas Sweater by Jackie Paxson
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 260
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

7 Reasons to Never Do a Favor for Your Best Friend:

1. It’s an ugly sweater party
2. The party is full of handsy executives
3. It’s an ugly sweater party
4. It’s an open bar and you need lots of alcohol to get through the party
5. It’s an ugly sweater party
6. Your friend leaves you to humiliate yourself in front of a sexy suit
7. It’s an ugly sweater party

Being a good friend means attending a corporate Christmas party with the ugliest sweater your friend could find. Cierra is a very good friend. However, coping with the party with the open bar lends her to humiliating herself with the sexiest guy there.

Justin knows the girl who threw up on his shoes at his company’s Christmas party, if only he could remember where. Between her drunken slurs and unfiltered conversation, she was the most fascinating woman he’d ever met.

Christmas is the season filled with love and cheer. Can a woman with no filter and a billionaire CEO find a way to survive the season, fall in love, and save an animal shelter in the process?

Cierra reluctantly says yes when one of her best friends asks her to attend her company Christmas party with her.  When she finds out it’s an ugly Christmas sweater party she’s even less thrilled.  She attends but decides to get completely drunk so she can drown out the fact that she’s there.  She doesn’t expect to meet a gorgeous man and do some dirty dancing.  She manages this, but by the time she met the man, she was already 3 sheets.  She ends up throwing up on him and then in the ladies room with the man holding her hair. 

Cierra is mortified the next day when she realizes what an ass she made of herself the night before.  When it turns out that the gorgeous guy she puked on is the one she’s been drooling over at the coffee shop, she’s mortified. (She was really drunk.  Drunk enough she didn’t even recognize the guy.) That doesn’t stop the man, Justin, from asking her out.  Cierra agrees and is thrilled when she has a great time. 

Cierra and Justin soon become an item, but there are issues to deal with.  Cierra is now working as an event planner at the company where Justin is the CEO.  He’s extremely wealthy, she’s not.  She’s got a smart mouth, he’s pretty tame.  His mother wants him to marry someone else and hates Cierra.  Yeah, issues. 

Justin’s mother was a complete bitch for 95% of the book.  Even though she was only on page about 3 times she made a BIG impression.  I disliked her a lot.  She was grieving the recent loss of her husband but that didn’t give her the right to treat Cierra like she was worse than pond scum. 

There was a “sort of” side story that had to do with an animal rescue that Cierra and Justin were trying to save that was cute.  I liked it, but it seemed a strange roundabout excuse to have Cierra and Justin work together when they were already working together – you know what I mean?  Not my choice, but I didn’t write the book.

Nothing bowled me over in this story, and I got annoyed at Cierra a couple of times because of her attitude towards things, but in the end it I thought it was just a cute Christmas book.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Wait No More by Stephanie Nicole Norris

Posted September 4, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wait No More by Stephanie Nicole NorrisReviewer: Holly
Wait No More: A With Your Permission Spin-off by Stephanie Nicole Norris
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 1, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 156
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars

The rumors... they came from sources that she trusted; the news, the neighborhood, and now the patrons in her night club, Rendezvous. Still, Sophia Clark wouldn’t believe that the soldiers who returned from their tours included the only man she ever loved. But when Dean St. James strolled through the door, the shock to Sophia’s spirit nearly disassembled her. There was no explanation for the reckless up-surging beat of her heart, not after the way Dean disappeared, leaving Sophia to wonder if he’d become a casualty of war.

Now, without time to process her turbulent emotions, Sophia comes face to face with his return, which proves to challenge the love they lost—bringing them together or closing the door on what could have been for all time.


Wait No More by Stephanie Nicole Norris is listed a spinoff of her With Your Permission series. I’ve never read the author before, but I didn’t feel like I missed anything by starting with this novel. This came up as a KU recommendation, so I decided to give it a try. The reunited lover romance was sweet.

Dean and Sophia were college sweethearts who were planning their future together. Until one day he comes home and tells Sophia he enlisted in the Army without speaking to her first. She tried to maintain a long-distance relationship with him, but two years after he left for the Army he broke it off with her. Four years later, he’s suddenly back in town and wants to pick up where they left off. Although she loves him still, she doesn’t trust him to stay.

I really liked seeing Dean and Sophia come back together. His struggle to readjust to civilian life was well done, and I liked that she supported him as he dealt with his PTSD.

I did struggle with the writing at times. It was overly descriptive at times, and very flowery. I also struggled with the basic premise of the story. They were together in college, engaged, buying a house together, then bam, he enlists in the Army without checking with her first? Then he doesn’t see anyone for 6 years? That’s just not realistic. Still, I set that aside to focus on their reunion.

I’ll look for more books by Norris in the future.

Rating: 3 out of 5

two-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted September 3, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth HoytReviewer: Tracy
Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Greycourt #1
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 18, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 468
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe, the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family, appears at the country house party she's attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading amongst the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins—sins he'd much rather forget. But she's also fiery, bold, and sensuous—a temptation he can't resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he'll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, Harlowe will have to earn Freya's trust-by whatever means necessary.

Features a bonus novella from New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes!


Freya de Moray is a member of the Wise Women. A lot of people think of these wise women as witches, but they’re not. Of course there is a group of witch hunters which are called Dunkelders and they chase down wise women. Of course.

Let me just stop right there and tell you that the whole wise women/dunkelder thing completely turned me off. This is an Elizabeth Hoyt book so I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, but this whole secret society and people who think they’re witches, it just doesn’t work.

So Freya is going to a house party to go after someone who she thinks is responsible for her brothers downfall and in the meantime looking into the disappearance of a woman from the house next-door. Of course this isn’t going to work out well for her because we have to have angst, right? 🤦‍♀️  Freya ends up getting herself in a bind, as was expected. Of course the “hero” of the story has to save her. I really would have liked it if Freya could have saved herself. If this is what a wise woman looks like, I don’t want to see a stupid one.

Then we have the hero who is being blackmailed by someone at the house party because his dead wife wrote some letters which he doesn’t want anyone to see.   Could we add just one more plot point to the story, please? Despite that wild point, I really liked the hero.  He truly fell so deeply in love with Freya and she was just like, “meh.”  I mean, she eventually comes around and falls in love with him, but I just wasn’t feeling it from her at all.

In this story Hoyt was so invested in Freya and the wise women as well as the dunkelders, kidnappers, and murderers, not to mention witches, that the romance was nearly nonexistent.  Romance is one of the things that Hoyt excels at, and that’s one of the reasons why I read her books.  Unfortunately I have no desire whatsoever to read the next book in the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Posted August 26, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Casee
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Series: The Ravenels #1
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3), Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels #5), Devil's Daughter
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Length: 11 hours and 3 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A twist of fate...

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities... and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house... along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills...

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?


This is one of the books that Holly chose for me for our Summer Reading Challenge. I have read three historical this year. Three. I have been meaning to read this series, but historicals just don’t appeal to me as much as they used to. I’m really glad Holly chose this book for me because it introduced me to the Ravenels.

Devon Ravenel never wanted the responsibility of the earldom that is in his family. When his cousin Theo is thrown from a horse and subsequently dies, the earldom and all it entails is passed to Devon. Devon is now Lord Trenear, something he never wanted.

Kathleen was Lady Trenear for three days before her husband died. She’s already planning her future and the future of her three sisters-in-law when Devon Ravenel shows up at the family home. Kathleen takes an instant dislike to Devon and his brother, West. They are everything she is not. Kathleen is very much a rule follower while everything about the Ravenel brothers is the polar opposite.

I did not like this book. Kathleen was unbearable. She was a raving shrew. Everything Devon did was wrong. She never asked him why he didn’t want to commit. She just assumed he had a wonderful upbringing because he is a Ravenel. When Devon sets up a match between his friend and Helen, one of her sisters-in-law, Kathleen is appalled. And she makes sure Devon knows it.

As for Devon, I really did enjoy his character. I just questioned his judgement. I have no earthly idea why he would want to be with Kathleen. She was that unbearable.

Overall, I am glad I read this book. Only because of the other characters and the stories I know are to come. I’m really looking forward to Winterborne and Helen’s book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Ravenels

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,