Tag: 3.0 Reviews

Review: How to Change a Life by Stacey Ballis

Posted August 4, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: How to Change a Life by Stacey BallisReviewer: Rowena
How to Change a Life by Stacey Ballis
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: August 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
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three-stars

A dare between friends leads to startling revelations and simmering tensions in the latest novel from the author of Wedding Girl.

Eloise is happy with her life as a successful private chef. She has her clients, her corgi, and a recipe for the world's most perfect chocolate cream pie. What more could she need? But when her long-lost trio of high school friends reunites, Eloise realizes how lonely she really is.

Eloise, Lynne, and Teresa revamp their senior-class assignment and dare one another to create a list of things to accomplish by the time they each turn forty in a few months. Control freak Lynne has to get a dog, Teresa has to spice up her marriage, and Eloise has to start dating again.

Enter Shawn, a hunky ex-athlete and the first man Eloise could see herself falling for. Suddenly forty doesn't seem so lonely--until a chance encounter threatens the budding romance and reveals the true colors of her friends. Will the bucket listers make it to forty still speaking to one another? Or do some friendships come with an expiration date?

Readers Guide and Recipes Included

How to Change a Life was the first book that I’ve ever read by Ballis. I’ve heard great things about this author before so I’ve always wanted to try her out but never got around to it until I got this book for review. My initial thoughts right after I finished this book was, “A little slow, a lot wordy but still okay”.

So, this book follows Eloise as she reconnects with her high school besties. Eloise, Lynne and Theresa were high school friends who drifted apart and come together at a funeral, 20 years later. They reconnect by daring each other to live life outside of their comfort zones with each other for help.

Eloise is a personal chef who always dreamed of owning her own restaurant but never pursued the dream so she has learned to be content with taking care of her clients and treating them like family. She likes her life just fine, or at least she thought she did until she was shown just how out of touch she is with her happiness. She hasn’t dated anyone since her last boyfriend, years and years ago and she isn’t in any rush to date anyone since she’s still got some scars from Bernard in Paris (the ex-boyfriend) but with the help of her friends, she starts putting herself out there and she really comes into her own because of all of that.

The story also follows her friends as they complete their list but for the most part, the story revolves around Eloise. Eloise, as she makes changes in her life, lets people in and falls in love. I liked Eloise and I liked the story but for the most part, it was slow going and the dialogue was very wordy. Especially the foodie stuff. I kept waiting for something to pop off but nothing really happens. Sure, Eloise evolves as the story goes on but that’s about it. I guess I never felt like I was a part of the story. I felt like I was being told what happened and …that’s it. All of the food stuff went right over my head and I glossed over a lot of it because I didn’t think it was necessary. They didn’t really add anything to the story being told so I could have done without it.

The other characters were nice additions to round out the cast. I liked Eloise’s clients and her friends. They were interesting and charming. The overall story was interesting and I liked it enough to try another one of Stacey Ballis’ books.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon

Posted August 2, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Eye Candy by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Tracy
Eye Candy (Real Love, #1) by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Real Love #1
Also in this series: Eye Candy
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: July 25th 2017
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three-stars

Jacqueline: As an adult woman--and the vice president of a marketing firm--I shouldn't be waiting by my office window to ogle the mystery man who jogs by every morning at 11:45. Sure, he's a gorgeous, perfect specimen of the human race, but I can't bring myself to hit on a total stranger. However, my best friend-slash-colleague Vince Carson thinks I should do more than talk to the guy. In fact, he's borderline obsessive about "getting me laid." (His words.) But the more time we spend together, the more it's clear: The one I'm falling for is Vince.

Vince: Jackie Butler's got it bad for some pompous, over-pumped A-hole who struts his stuff past her window. That doesn't bother me. I know she deserves nice things. What does bother me is that she friend-zoned me big-time last year, so I can't ask her out myself. But what if I set her up with Mr. Steroids? Then, when he breaks her heart, I can swoop in and save her like the nice guy I am. Everything's going according to plan . . . until we share a ridiculously epic kiss. And suddenly anything is possible.

Jacqueline and Vince are best friends and co-workers.  Every day at a specific time Jackie stares out her window to ogle a runner who she thinks is hotter than hot.  Vince is jealous because even though he and Jackie are friends he wants to be more.  Despite his feelings he encourages Jackie to date runner guy because he thinks that she’ll see what a dolt the guy is and then he’ll have his opening.  Things don’t exactly work out that way.

Jackie is excited about dating the runner guy but she’s kind of having fantasies about her friend Vince and she’s not sure how he feels about that.  She’s getting mixed signals as he’s telling her what she should do with runner guy.  It’s all very confusing.  Soon Jackie is acting like a teenager and with Vince and she’s not sure how he feels about her.

This was a cute and sometimes funny book.  I like friends-to-lovers stories and I had some pretty high hopes with this one as I know what a great writer that Lemmon is.  Unfortunately this one just wasn’t what I was expecting.

Friends who become lovers – that’s a difficult and sometimes rocky road to take and that’s when the H/h are being honest with each other about their feelings.  That wasn’t the case here. Vince thought that if Jackie dated she would see that the dating world sucked and then he’d have his chance.  Jackie dated runner guy and eventually did see what an ass he was but since Vince was being so wishy washy it was hard for her to tell.  Then when Jackie did something completely childish, even though it was done in the heat of the moment, Vince gets extremely mad and stops talking to her.  I was completely floored at his actions and wanted to hit the man, quite frankly.  Between the hiding of their feelings and the huge miscommunication I found myself rolling my eyes instead of understanding what they were going through.  I wish I could say better things about this one but it just didn’t do it for me.

Rating: 2.5/3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Maybe This Summer by Jennifer Snow

Posted July 28, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Maybe This Summer by Jennifer SnowReviewer: Tracy
Maybe This Summer by Jennifer Snow
Series: Colorado Ice #2.5
Published by Forever Yours
Publication Date: July 10th 2017
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three-stars

Always a wingman . . .

Owen McConnell is used to being ignored. After all, it's only when he appears as the Colorado Avalanche's team mascot that he gets all the attention. When the costume is off, women tend to gravitate toward his famous hockey player friends. But after he meets lovely, damaged Paige Adams, he knows he can be the star player for her. She's raising funds for the hospital burn unit, and Owen's determined to help her out---and sweep her off her feet.

The burn unit has been near and dear to Paige's heart ever since the doctors helped her after a vicious attack. Yet the scars---both emotional and physical---haven't faded as much as she'd hoped. She's closed herself off from relationships, and the thought of opening up is terrifying. But Owen's sexy charm might be just the push Paige needs to start loving again.

Owen McConnell is an ex-hockey player who had left playing with the Colorado Avalanche to join the Marines.  He had lived through an injury by a landmine but that meant he couldn’t play hockey ever again.  He was now the team’s mascot (not that anyone but the players knew that) as well as the Colorado Avalanche’s team promotion manager.  He heads to the local hospital to meet with a woman who would like his friend Ben to play in a golf tournament to raise money for the burn unit.  The minute that Owen sees Paige Adams he falls hard.  He will do anything to get her to see him but she seems to look right though him.

Paige was a burn victim herself and hasn’t let herself consider dating in years.  She knows that Own is interested but she’s not.  One thing leads to Paige being at the DMV where Owen.  She’s in a hurry and he has a number that’s about to be called.  Owen knows he shouldn’t bribe Paige to get her to date him but he goes for it anyway.  Unfortunately Owen does an idiotic man thing and almost blows his chances entirely.

This was a cute novella that had a great premise and was well written.  Paige had been a victim of a hate crime and had walled her emotions off afterward.  Meeting Owen made her think that maybe she could be more than she had been for years – and let people see the real her.  Owen was a jerk at times but he was good for Paige and that made me happy.

My major issue with this story was that I felt no romantic connection between Paige and Owen.  Friends? Yes.  But nothing more spoke to me in their relationship.  It might have started when Owen fell all googly-eyed over Paige after one minute of knowing her but it didn’t get better as the story went on.  I could totally see these two as great friends but nothing more.  Still a cute story, though.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Wired by Julie Garwood

Posted July 25, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Wired by Julie GarwoodReviewer: Rowena
Wired by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard Series #13
Also in this series: Wired, Wired
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: July 4th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
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three-stars

A beautiful computer hacker and a bad-boy FBI agent must collaborate—in more ways than one—in the sizzling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

Allison Trent doesn’t look like a hacker. In fact, when she’s not in college working on her degree, she models on the side. But behind her gorgeous face is a brilliant mind for computers and her real love is writing—and hacking—code. Her dream is to write a new security program that could revolutionize the tech industry.

Hotshot FBI agent Liam Scott has a problem: a leak deep within his own department. He needs the skills of a top-notch hacker to work on a highly sensitive project: to secretly break into the FBI servers and find out who the traitor is. But he can’t use one of his own. He finds the perfect candidate in Allison. Only, there’s one problem—she wants nothing to do with his job and turns him down flat.

What Liam doesn’t know is that Allison is hiding secrets that she doesn’t want the FBI to uncover. But Liam will do nearly anything to persuade her to join his team, even break a few rules if that’s what it takes. A temptation that could put his job—and both of their futures—on the line…and longing for more . . .

It’s been quite a while since I’ve read a Julie Garwood contemporary and unlike a lot of others, I don’t mind them. Sure, I’m a bigger fan of her older work but her newer stuff does its job of entertaining me. I liked this book fine but I will say that I liked a lot of her other contemporaries a lot more.

I’ve been curious about Liam Scott ever since we met him and I was curious to see what his character was really all about since at one time, I didn’t care for him and then he grew on me and yet, I didn’t feel like I really knew him. Going into this book, I was all about getting to know Liam and it’s a bit disappointing to say that I still don’t feel like we quite got to know him.

Wired follows Liam Scott as he investigates a mole in the FBI and he needs the help of a really smart hacker that looks like sin on a stick. Her name is Allison Trent and she’s just about finished with college and wondering what happens next. He needs her help so she agrees to help him with this project but when she finds his mole, she’s out of the FBI. She’s not interested in working for the FBI. Each day that passes, Allison works on trying to find the mole and Liam works on trying to not jump her bones. It’s not easy because Liam is always with her. Whether he’s supposed to be or not, he keeps her near and he wants to help her with everything in her life. Her work. Her punk ass guardians and anything else that she’d let him help her with.

The romance between Liam and Allison was kind of abrupt. It felt more like lust for a huge chunk of the book because I couldn’t quite believe that they were in love with each other. That they fell in love so quickly. There was something missing in the romance that didn’t win me over completely. Maybe it was because after the book was done, I didn’t feel like I knew Liam as much as I hoped I would. Allison seemed like the perfect woman. She was the genius computer hacker that the FBI was drooling over AND she was gorgeous as shit. A freaking model to boot! Allison was too perfect to be real even with her shitty ass upbringing. I didn’t fully connect with either of them and that was disappointing.

Overall, this book was okay. I liked the book fine. I enjoyed the story even if the romance lacked meat. Liam had potential to be a fabulously sexy hero but I was a bit let down that we don’t really get much of Liam, the man. We get a whole lot of Liam, the FBI Agent. Allison was a strong heroine but I didn’t fully connect with her because she was too perfect. All in all, it was a good story but nowhere near one of Garwood’s bests.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Retro Review: Fair Play by Deirdre Martin.

Posted July 19, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Retro Review: Fair Play by Deirdre Martin.Reviewer: Rowena
Fair Play by Deirdre Martin
Series: New York Blades #2
Also in this series: Body Check
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: February 3rd 2004
Pages: 368
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three-stars

A little competition never hurt anybody...

Theresa Falconetti has it all: brains, beauty, a quick wit, and her own PR business. To the Deep disappointment of her large family, she never dates Italians, men from her old Brooklyn neighborhood, or professional athletes. Especially not athletes...

Michael Dante, popular hometown hero and winger for the Stanley Cup champion New York Blades is all three—and he is head over heels for her.

For Michael, Theresa's NO HOCKEY PLAYERS rule is a check to the heart. Nothing he does seems to melt her resolve. His stubborn refusal to give up on this wisecracking brunette, who—he knows—is hiding from her roots, is driving them both nuts. And whe he hires her to publicize his family's restaurant, more than the kitchen heats up. Then Theresa finds herself an Upper East Side kind of guy and Micheal is forced to take his game to the next level.

IT'S FACE OFF TIME...

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Holly: I remember when Body Check, the first book in this series, was released. Everyone raved about it, but I didn’t care for it at all. I felt so vindicated after Rowena wrote this review because the heroine drove her crazy. Good times.

This review was originally published November 18, 2007

The book following Body Check follows Janna McNeil’s best friend, Theresa Falconetti’s journey to true love with Michael Dante’. We met Michael Dante’ in Body Check when he was trying to get at Theresa but failed to impress her because he’s everything she doesn’t want in a man…mainly he’s Italian and from Brooklyn and a hockey player so she’s not trying to have anything to do with him. She’s very snooty and she’s very stubborn and I found that I just couldn’t like her. No matter what DM wrote about Theresa, it set my teeth on edge. I understand that things happened in the first book that made her into the person that she is in this book but she had two guys in her life…one that was absolutely perfect and everything she SHOULD have wanted in a man but didn’t and then another one who was just totally slimey and wrong for her and who does she want?

Contestant # SCUMBAG!

It got on my hot damn nerves and I wanted to frickin’ shake some hot dang sense into her. Goodness each and every time she pushed Mikey away, I wanted to take a bat and beat her with it. He was so good to her and she just kept kicking him in the teeth and when he finally lost it and yelled at her I got mad at him for apologizing about that because he had every right to yell at her the way he did because he didn’t deserve everything that she put him through, he went out of his way to make sure she was comfortable AT ALL TIMES and what did he get for his trouble? A swift kick to the knee caps and every time she got pissed off because her family invited him to dinner at THEIR house?

Yeah, I wanted to smack the crap out of her. It was just more and more of all things annoying where Theresa was concerned, she was so annoying that even Janna was annoyed with her.

The whole Reese thing made me want to hurt someone because for her to want THAT when she could have someone like Mike totally went right over my head…I didn’t get it, AT ALL and the more she fell in “love” with Reese, the more I wanted to choke her the heck out.

This book was easy to read but it was easy to piss me off too…the more I read about Theresa, the more I wanted to backhand that tramp and the more Mike tried to win her over, the more I wanted to run him over with a motorcycle to get him to open up his dang eyes because he deserved so much more than Theresa gave to him and for him to pine away for her when he could have had any number of girls bothered me because it kind of made him look like a wimp to me…but my dumb ass still liked Mike. I loved watching him and Anthony fight and threatened and throw things at each other, I loved watching him with Gemma and the moonstone, she gave him was totally cute, the candles she gave him made me smile too. He was such a superstitious cutie patootie that I wanted so much more for him and I totally think that his reasons for not going to Theresa (the lie thingy with Anthony) at the end to tell her the truth was totally lame but whatev, I got over it.

The book could have been better but it was okay, I guess…It’s a total C read, not the best but it’ll do.

three-stars


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