Tag: 3.25 Reviews

Review: The Time in Between by Kristen Ashley

Posted October 25, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Time in Between by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly
The Time in Between (Magdalene, #3) by Kristen Ashley
Series: Magdalene #3
Also in this series: The Will, Soaring
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 563
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three-half-stars

After a painful loss, Cady Moreland is coming to Magdalene to start the next chapter of her life. A chapter that began eighteen years ago but had a heartbreaking ending. The time in between was full of family and friendship, but Cady could never get the man she fell in love with all those years ago out of her heart.

Coert Yeager has learned to live without the girl who entered his life right when she shouldn’t and exited delivering a crippling blow he never would have suspected. The time in between was full of failing to find what he was missing…and life-altering betrayal.

But when that girl shows up in Magdalene and buys the town’s beloved lighthouse, even if Coert wants to avoid her, he can’t. A fire in town sparks a different kind of flame that won’t be ignored.

As Cady and Coert question the actions of the two young adults they once were thrown into earth-shattering circumstances, can they learn from what came in between and find each other again?

I’ve been anxiously awaiting The Time in Between! I really enjoyed the first two books and I couldn’t wait for Ashley to get back to the town of Magdalene, Maine. This is a second-chance love story and I ate up the first half of the romance. Sadly, the second half of the book kind of fizzled. They reconciled and were fully committed to each other by the 45% mark. The other 55% was just them living their lives. I don’t mind a bit of “after the HEA” in a novel, but when more than half the book is dedicated to them brushing their teeth, eating, going to work and just hanging out? Well…it was kind of boring. I liked catching up with the other couples and the residents of Magdalene, and I enjoyed watching Coert and Cady settle in to each other, but I’d have liked it more if it didn’t’ go on for so long.

There are two things I want to comment on. 1) in Kristen Ashley’s world, there can’t be an HEA unless there are kids. If the heroine is too old to have her own (as is often the case since she tends to write heroines in their 40s), then the hero conveniently has one or two of his own that she has to mother. Or, if he doesn’t, there’s always a miracle baby (or two) that the heroine gets pregnant with at the end. I would really love to see just one book where kids aren’t needed to make it all complete.

2) Ashley writes complicated relationships really well. In most of her novels there’s an evil ex who proceeds to make the hero(ine)’s life hell. 99% of the time those evil exes are redeemed in the end, at least partially. I really love this aspect of her novels. Too often the cardboard ex is cast as the villain and that’s that. Not so with Ashley. Even the true assholes are often multifaceted. Twice in this novel we saw characters in a different light. I really enjoyed that.

Anyway, while there was some truly great parts to this book, the majority of them happened before the halfway mark. The romance and angst in the beginning didn’t make up for the slow second half.

3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

Posted October 16, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri ArthurReviewer: Holly
Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian #1) by Keri Arthur
Series: Riley Jenson Guardian #1
Published by Random House
Publication Date: December 26th 2006
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 372
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three-half-stars

In this exciting debut, author Keri Arthur explodes onto the supernatural scene with a sexy, sensuous tale of intrigue and suspense set in a world where legends walk and the shady paths of the underworld are far more sinister than anyone envisioned.

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races–and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker–until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.…

Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she’s going to find her brother….Easier said than done as the city pulses with frenzied desire, and Riley is confronted with a very powerful–and delectably naked–vamp who raises her temperature like never before.

In matters carnal, Riley has met her match. But in matters criminal, she must follow her instincts not only to find her brother but to stop an unholy harvest. For someone is doing some shifty cloning in an attempt to produce the ultimate warrior–by tapping into the genome of nonhumans like Rhoan. Now Riley knows just how dangerous the world is for her kind–and just how much it needs her.

Full Moon Rising is the first book in Keri Arthur’s Rile Jenson Guardian series. I’m not really sure how I feel about this series. I read the first four books back-to-back and here are some observations:

1) Riley doesn’t seem to have a lot of common sense/street smarts. She’s intelligent, but she makes a lot of questionable decisions and trusts way too easily. There were giant red flags that came from the actions of many people in her life, yet she ignored them and merrily continued on her way. I would have liked to see her be a little less trusting and a little more wary.

2) There’s a lot of sex in this book, but I wouldn’t consider it an erotic romance. Most of it is off page. In this world, werewolves have to answer the moon’s call for one week every month (which means have sex non-stop). They burn with sexual fever and, if their needs aren’t met, they turn crazed. That’s the way this world is written and that’s fine, but the point was all but hammered into the reader. The Fever was mentioned every other page, I swear. I’d rather have had less focus on that and more on the suspense plot.

3) This speaks more to the four books as a whole, rather than this book in particular, but the storyline really seemed to drag on. What starts here isn’t resolved until book four, and even then there are loose ends that still need to be tied up. It may be because I read them back-to-back, but it ended up feeling like one, long drug out story, rather than a continuing story-arc I wanted to keep reading. The same goes for the romance angle. What seemed promising in book one was just tired by book four.

4) For all that, I do like Riley. I think she’s an interesting character facing some hard battles not of her making. She keeps a good attitude and does her best to power through, regardless of what life throws at her. I also really like the secondary characters. Especially her twin, Rhoan, and his sometimes boyfriend Liander.

After binge-reading four books, I’m not sure i want to continue the series. I may set it aside and come back to it after I read some other books.

Full Moon Rising has an interesting premise and characters, but it wasn’t as engaging as I thought it would be.

3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. Highley

Posted August 29, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. HighleyReviewer: Rowena
The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. Highley
Series: Suttonville Sentinels #3
Published by Entangled, Crush
Publication Date: July 10th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
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three-stars

Pitcher Dylan Dennings has his future all mapped out: make the minors straight out of high school, work his way up the farm system, and get called up to the majors by the time he’s twenty-three. The Plan has been his sole focus for years, and if making his dreams come true means instituting a strict “no girls” policy, so be it.

Lucy Foster, needlepoint ninja, big sister to an aspiring pitcher, and chicken advocate, likes a little mayhem. So what if she gets lost taking her brother to baseball camp…at her own high school? The pitching coach, some hotshot high school player, obviously thinks she’s a hot mess. Too bad he’s cute, because he’s so not her type.

Problem is, they keep running into each other, and every interaction sparks hotter than the last. But with Dylan’s future on the line, he has to decide whether some rules are made to be broken…

Disclaimer: This book contains a crazy night of moonlit skinny-dipping, a combustible crush, and kisses swoony enough to unwind even the most Type A athlete.

The Perfectly Imperfect Match is the third book in the Suttonville Sentinels series by Kendra C. Highley. As far as I can tell, the series follows different characters set in the same world that Highley has created for these Suttonville Sentinels.

This book follows the Suttonville High’s star pitcher, Dylan as he meets and falls in love with one of his baseball camp members sisters, Lucy. Lucy and Dylan are not supposed to see each other but sometimes, the right person comes along and they fit so perfectly in your life that you guys find a way to be together.

Dylan Dennings has plans for his future. He’s going to work hard in high school, go to the minors and then work his way up into the Majors. He’s got no time for girls or distractions. His baseball team is holding a camp at his school and he’s coaching young pitchers. He’s got a soft spot for one of his campers and is not at all happy that young Owen’s sister Lucy is always around him. For some reason, Dylan is drawn to Lucy and her quirky personality and even though Owen has requested that Dylan not date his sister, Dylan and Lucy can’t stand away from each other.

Lucy is busy. Her father is in the Army and is stationed overseas. Her mother is busy working at her sewing shop and in between school and work, Lucy is teaching classes at her Mom’s shop and fitting in her own orders. She’s a great seamstress whose work has great detail and she’s gaining a small client list of her own. She also watches after her younger brother Owen who is missing his father something fierce. He misses having a man around so when he meets Dylan, he calls dibs on him. Dylan is his friend so when Dylan and Lucy start getting close, Owen is understandably territorial. He doesn’t want to lose his new friend to his sister.

Dylan tries to respect Owen’s wishes but it’s hard when Lucy is driving him to distraction. The chemistry between them is hard to ignore and their romance was on one hand cute but on the other hand? It was frustrating. They bickered in the beginning and I wasn’t here for that. The dialogue was pure cheese when they were fighting and when they were being school-kids but things certainly picked up as soon as they stopped fighting and began kissing.

Overall, this was a fast read with characters that grew on me. In the beginning, I wanted to throttle everyone but over the course of the story, I softened in my attitude toward everyone. Kendra C. Highley has done a great job with this series and I finished this book, wanting to read the books in this series that came before this one. It’s a good one.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Final Exit by Lena Diaz

Posted January 26, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Final Exit by Lena DiazReviewer: Jen
Final Exit by Lena Diaz
Series: EXIT Inc #3
Published by Avon
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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three-stars

Lena Diaz concludes her sexy, suspenseful EXIT Inc. series as an FBI agent teams up with a beautiful assassin to uncover a deadly government conspiracy...

After a tragic mistake nearly destroyed his life, Special Agent Kade Quinn will do whatever it takes to save his career. His latest mission? Track and capture the remaining EXIT operatives to determine if they’re still a threat. But his next target—a stunning female assassin—is both elusive and dangerously appealing.

Bailey Stark has outsmarted the FBI so far, but she’s tired of running. Tired of watching her friends ambushed by government agents in tactical gear and never seen again. She suspects they aren’t being evaluated—they’re being exterminated—and she’s determined to convince Agent Quinn his mission is a lie before it’s too late. Bailey doesn’t want to rely on him. She definitely shouldn’t desire him. But she knows teaming up with the skilled, sexy agent may be her only hope.

Kade doesn’t want to believe Bailey’s claims, but he promises to keep her safe. Trusting one another is difficult. Fighting their attraction is harder. And as they uncover the disturbing truth behind his mission . . . staying alive will be nearly impossible.

I’ve been reading Diaz’s EXIT series from the beginning. I loved the premise–a secret “black ops” type organization that everyone thought was helping the good guys ends up doing some bad things due to a leader with another agenda. We see piles of these black ops groups in romance, and I was very interested in the idea of them crossing the line of good vs bad and how operatives who thought they were the good guys would react. While I enjoyed it, the series never quite lived up to its potential.

This final book centers on Bailey, a former EXIT assassin on the run. Kade is the government agent hunting her, but she keeps alluding his grasp (because she is a super BAMF). Bailey knows EXIT agents caught by the government for “evaluation” are ending up dead instead, and she has no plans to be one of them. Kade believes he’s simply rounding up agents so they can be debriefed and assessed to see if they were part of the bad contingent that took over EXIT. When Bailey tells him the truth, he doesn’t believe it, but his sense of honor compels him to look into the matter further, and he starts to realize something hinky is going on. Eventually he throws in with Bailey and resolves to help her get to the bottom of things.

Bailey was great. She’s tough, brilliant, and loyal to her friends. She can more than hold her own with all the boys in her field! I liked that Kade is tough and smart too. He and Bailey are evenly matched, and it leads to some good tension, sexual and otherwise. There is a lot of fast paced action that kept me reading, and I liked getting the resolution to this series.

The overall series just didn’t grab me like I wanted it to, though. There are tons of not-very-memorable characters, and even though I’ve read the whole series I still struggled to remember who everyone was. Mostly, I didn’t think that the really big issues were explored like they should have been. For instance, all these assassins truly believed they were doing “good” deeds and killing people who deserved it. Finding out that you were killing people based on grudges and selfish interests? That is huge! I would have liked to see more discussion of how the EXIT operatives felt about the situation. What does a revelation like this mean about secret, off-the-book organizations? How will all these operatives live with what they’ve done going forward? Those issues were briefly touched on, but not given any depth. It was a major lost opportunity, in my opinion.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

three-stars


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Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Posted October 3, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsReviewer: Rowena
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Publication Date: January 13th 2015
Pages: 336
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three-half-stars

The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.

EVERY DAY THE SAMERachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAYAnd then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

I read this book for book club at my friend Ames suggestion. We got a request for a mystery or a thriller for this month’s book and Ames thought this book fit the bill, especially since the movie was coming out soon as well. It worked out really well. Our discussion for this book had me riled up one minute and then laughing like a lunatic the next. It was a great discussion book so thanks Ames!

Anyway, so this book follows drunk ass Rachel, hoe ass Megan and punk ass Anna. They’re three different women, living three different lives. Rachel is a drunk that pretends to go to work every day but really just rides the train back and forth. Megan is married with benefits only her husband doesn’t know about her side benefits and Anna..Anna is the punk ass that stole Rachel’s husband. Rachel watches Megan and her husband Scott every day on the train because Megan lives on her old block (that she used to live on with Anna’s husband) and it’s near the train. She becomes curious about this couple that is living their life on display from the train. Rachel can see their morning routines, she can see when they’re happy and when they’re not happy. Their lives play out every day for Rachel to see so when Megan goes missing, the news is lit with news story after news story about Megan and her disappearance.

Rachel has not moved on from loving her ex-husband Tom. She’s a raging alcoholic who blacks out when she drinks too much but she doesn’t even care because she still drinks too much, all the time. Rachel has a tendency of showing up or calling Tom every week and Anna is fed up with her shit. Anna hates Rachel and while I can understand where she’s coming from, I didn’t sympathize with Anna much and that was mainly because she was a bitch.

Megan’s disappearance shakes up the neighborhood. It shakes up Rachel too because Rachel was on the block that night but she drank so much that she can’t remember much about it. Her memory is coming back to her in bits and pieces and because it took her so long to figure things out, I wanted to punch her in the tits. She got herself involved in shit she had no business getting herself into and for what? A whole lot of trouble. I have to admit that there were times when I wanted her to get choked the hell out because WHY RACHEL? WHY???? GET YOUR LIFE RACHEL!!!

Megan’s story was equally messed up because she was messed up. I didn’t connect with her character at all so her being missing didn’t really affect me one way or the other. And Anna? Ugh, she’s another one that I wanted to punch in the tits because she was just awful. She showed no remorse for falling in love with another woman’s husband and she was actually a bit proud of herself and ugh, I wasn’t about being her friend.

The mystery surrounding Megan’s disappearance was what kept me from DNF-ing this book. The beginning was hard to get through because all I wanted to do was pull Rachel’s hair or kick her out of Cathy’s apartment but the last part of the book when everything starts coming together, I couldn’t put the book down to save my life. Everything was happening and light was being shed on the case and I couldn’t get enough. When the villain is revealed, I was so shocked that I tried lurching up in bed and my iPad fell on my face. So in the end, I was glad that I read the book but it was a trial to get through because everyone was so unlikable. Even Scott.

But you know what??? I can’t wait for the movie!

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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