Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Guest Review: The Rogue is Back in Town by Anna Bennett

Posted January 15, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Rogue is Back in Town by Anna BennettReviewer: Tracy
The Rogue Is Back in Town by Anna Bennett
Series: The Wayward Wallflowers #3
Also in this series: My Brown-Eyed Earl
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 2nd 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
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three-half-stars

Hide your daughters and your maiden aunts…Lord Samuel Travis is back.―The London Hearsay, special society edition

Equal parts scoundrel and seducer, he’s returned to London determined to mend the rift with his older brother. All Sam must do is take possession of a tumbledown town house. A seemingly simple task, except the house is occupied—by an infuriating, whip-smart beauty who refuses to do his bidding.

Miss Juliette Lacey’s wallflower days are over. She has a plan to turn her eccentric family into the toast of the ton—but the devilishly handsome rake trying to oust them from their home thwarts her at every turn. How can one man be so vexing and make her simmer with desire?

As her attraction to Sam deepens, Julie’s problems grow—she may have, once upon a time, secretly shared a kiss with his honorable older brother. Suddenly, Julie’s caught between a rogue and a marquess, between passion and respectability. Torn between two brothers, what’s a girl to do?

Lord Samuel Travis has been on the continent trying to deal with his father’s death the only way he knows how – get drunk constantly and bed women.  That didn’t exactly work but he’s now back in London and not doing a whole lot better.  His older brother, Nigel, has had enough of Sam’s antics and kicks him out of the house.  In order to get back into his brother’s good graces he must kick people out of a town home that apparently belongs to the estate.  Sam’s determined to do this right except when he gets to the house he finds not only an old man but his young, beautiful and fierce niece.

Juliette Lacey has been taking care of her aging uncle for years but now that her two sisters have married and moved out she’s the only one there to keep him on the straight and narrow.  When Samuel Travis shows up and demands they move NOW Juliette puts her foot down.  She knows that the house belongs to her uncle she just needs time to prove it.  In the meantime, she’s dealing with Sam’s brother Nigel who is trying to blackmail her into being his mistress by holding the house over her head.  Yeah, he’s a real bastard.

Sam agrees to stay in the house so that Juliette can look for the deed to the townhouse but the more time he spends with Juliette and her uncle Alistair, and the no time drinking, he sees the type of man he could be.  One who’s not only cut out to be a lazy sod, but someone who can make his own way and be someone that Juliette could be proud of, if she’ll have him.

I can’t say that this was a love at first sight story, but it was pretty darned close.  That was love for Samuel at first sight.  For Juliette it was pretty much loathing at first sight.  Sure, she thought he was attractive but the minute she found out what he was there for she put her guard up.  Of course Samuel eventually wooed her into his bed but that was actually ok in my book.  I was just happy that it kept Juliette away from the evil brother, Nigel.

The story moved quickly in all ways.  I thought that some of it could have been slowed down a bit (the romance) as it would have given us time to truly get involved in the characters and the feelings they started to share.  That didn’t happen however, so I dealt with it. 🙂  Overall it was a good book with a cute story.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Wayward Wallflowers Series

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Check My Heart by Christi Barth

Posted January 2, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Check My Heart by Christi BarthReviewer: Tracy
Check My Heart by Christi Barth
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: July 17th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-stars

The death of his little brother turned Kurt Lundquist’s world upside down. He channeled his grief into skating his heart out--and ultimately leading his hockey team to win the championship. Now, all he wants to do is throw a party with the Cup in his brother's honor. He’s got no clue where to start...until he runs into the gorgeous hospice nurse who took such great care of Jasper. She’s waaay off limits, but he’s desperate, and hires her to help him.

Lisette Broussard’s heart broke a little more every time a patient died. Losing the brave brother of a hockey star was the last straw. Learning a new specialty was supposed to change her life for the better, but it used up her savings. Then the slam dunk job with the New Orleans championship hockey team mysteriously disappears. So she jumps at Kurt’s offer of a job, no matter how temporary. No matter how...dangerous, given how much she’s always crushed on him. No matter how risky it is to fall for Kurt, since he’ll always associate her with the grief of losing his brother.

But the more time they spend together, the deeper they both fall. Kurt’s heart begins to thaw...and then heat. Lisette can’t resist him, and throws caution to the wind. She’ll take whatever time he gives her. Can they move beyond the pain of the past and focus on a future together?

Kurt Lundquist is a hockey player and a good one.  When he little brother dies of cancer it changes his life. He wins the Cup because his brother, Jasper, had wanted him to.  Now that he has he’s not sure he wants to continue to be a hockey player.  He is past 30 years old and he’s not sure his heart is in it any longer.  When he runs into Jasper’s hospice nurse while at the hockey facility and finds out she’s there for a job, he asks the team not to hire her.

Lisette loved being a hospice nurse but found that she just couldn’t do it any longer.  She got so attached to her patients and of course, inevitably, they died.  In the end it was too emotional and she decided to quit her job and get re-certified as a physical therapist.  She desperately needs a job and thought she was a shoe-in at the hockey facility but they didn’t hire her.  When Kurt shows up at her apartment telling her that he needs her help planning a party for his day with the Cup to honor Jasper.  Lisette needs a job and she’d do anything for Jasper or his memory so she agrees.

Kurt knows that it’s a bad idea to get involved with Lisette as she’s always remind him of Jasper but he falls in love with her anyway.  Once she finds out that he blocked her job, however, he’s not sure she’ll stay with him.

This was a cute story.  Jasper’s portion of the story was incredibly sad, and Barth did a great job of writing his memory.  Every time that she mentioned him I got a little teary-eyed. Lisette and Kurt’s love story was good, but imho, a little repetitive.  It was mostly them getting together and then worrying that Jasper would always be between them in some way which it never seemed to do.  I understood their fears but after a while it got old I was kind of over it.

In the end it was a cute story.  I do wish there was a bit more hockey in the hockey story but maybe that’s just me.

Rating: 3/3.5 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Anthology – Santa Baby

Posted December 27, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Anthology – Santa BabyReviewer: Holly
Santa, Baby by Jennifer Crusie, Carly Phillips, Lori Foster
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 31st 2006
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 328
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Get ready for a holiday season you'll never forget with three of today's most sensational writers who know what every woman wants for the holidays. You'll believe in Santa all over again with these seductive stories from: JENNIFER CRUSIEMayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game--in the arms of a sexy secret agent. . . LORI FOSTERTwo dedicated coworkers with a lot of secrets (and fantasies!) between them must plan a Christmas party side by side--and discover a love worth celebrating--in this steamy office romance. CARLY PHILLIPSA "mistletoe moment" begins when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead--after giving him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more. . .

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

Holly: I love holiday anthologies. I would say 92% of my holiday reads come in the form of anthos.

This post was originally published January 6, 2009

I bought this anthology because the Jennifer Crusie was one I hadn’t read before and she’s one of my favorite authors. So I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when her entry turned out to be my least favorite of them all.

Hot Toy by JENNIFER CRUSIE

Mayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game—in the arms of a sexy secret agent. . .

Believe it or not my big issue with this story was the hero. Shocking, I know, since generally it’s the heroines I have trouble with. Trudy is out looking for a toy for her nephew when she runs into Nolan, a man she dated for awhile. A man she thought was different. A man she thought might be the one. Until their 4th date when he took a call, said he’d be back and just disappeared. His reasons for doing so seemed suspect in the beginning, and unfortunately were still suspect at the end – meaning I didn’t really buy his excuse.

Having said that, a less than stellar novel from Jenny Crusie is still better than some super stellar novels by other authors. I found the novella to have her trademark sass and humor and I really enjoyed Trudy and her sister. I even liked Nolan apart from his situation with Trudy.

Overall a fun, well-written story that probably needed a bit more depth to make it work a little better for me.

3.5 out of 5

Christmas Bonus by LORI FOSTER

Two dedicated coworkers with a lot of secrets (and fantasies!) between them must plan a Christmas party side by side—and discover a love worth celebrating—in this steamy office romance.

Lori Foster tends to be really hit or miss for me. I think I probably love 2 out of every 5 books of hers I read. This definitely falls into the “love” category. It was a sweet, cute story. Maggie and Eric have been attracted to each other for ages but age – and Maggie’s father, Eric’s boss – kept them separated. When they’re forced to work together planning a holiday party things quickly heat up.

The chemistry here really worked for me and the story – while short – really had some great emotional depth. I really enjoyed it.

4.0 out of 5

Naughty Under the Mistletoe by CARLY PHILLIPS

A “mistletoe moment” begins when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead—after giving him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more. . .

Carly Phillips, like Lori Foster, is an author that’s really hit or miss for me. Something about her writing style bugs me, though I’ve never been able to put my finger on just what. But, like Foster’s entry, this one really worked for me. Actually, this may be my favorite of the collection.

Something about Max and Toni really worked for me. Maybe it was her playing Elf and Max falling like a ton of bricks. Or maybe it was Max being super sexy and Toni falling for him like a ton of bricks. Either way, it as cute and I enjoyed it.

I did have an issue with the ending. I’m not really sure I buy them being head-over-heels in love after one night. I guess on a pure fantasy level it worked, but I definitely had to suspend disbelief. Otherwise it was great.

4.0 out of 5

Overall a cute collection of stories.

Total Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here.


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Review: Man Hands by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby

Posted December 26, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Man Hands by Sarina Bowen and Tanya EbyReviewer: Holly
Man Hands (Man Hands, #1) by Sarina Bowen, Tanya Eby
Series: Man Hands #1
Published by Rennie Road Books, Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 180
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three-half-stars

He puts the "screw" in screwball comedy...

BRYNN

At thirty-four, I’m reeling from a divorce. I don’t want to party or try to move on. I just want to stay home and post a new recipe on my blog: Brynn’s Dips and Balls.

But my friends aren’t having it. Get out there again, they say. It will be fun, they say. I’m still taking a hard pass.

Free designer cocktails, they say. And that’s a game-changer.

Too bad my ex shows up with his new arm candy. That’s when I lose my mind. But when my besties dare me to leap on the first single man I see, they don't expect me to actually go through with it.

TOM

All I need right now is some peace and quiet while my home renovation TV show is on hiatus. But when a curvy woman in a red wrap dress charges me like she’s a gymnast about to mount my high bar, all I can do is brace myself and catch her. What follows is the hottest experience of my adult life.

I want a repeat, but my flying Cinderella disappears immediately afterward. She doesn’t leave a glass slipper, either—just a pair of panties with chocolate bunnies printed on them.

But I will find her.

Sarina Bowen is a favorite of mine. I always enjoy her books, especially when she partners up with others. I didn’t connect with this one as much, though. There were some really funny parts, and I liked both Bryn and Tom, but it wasn’t as engaging as previous reads.

Bryn is in a rough place. The ink is barely dry on her divorce, and thanks to her ex-father-in-law, she’s also out of a job. She writes a food blog, but it isn’t paying the bills. When her two best friends drag her out to a swanky party, it’s the last things she wants. But they have designer cocktails and the house is beautiful, so….

Things are going great until she spies her ex with a younger, slimmer version of herself wrapped around him. Bryn loses her mind. Rather than running, her friends talk her into jumping the first man she sees, and no one is more surprised than Bryn herself when she actually does it.

Tom is feeling pretty low himself. The last season of his home improvement show didn’t end well and he’s trying to keep a low-profile while he’s on hiatus. Having a sexy, curvy woman jump him – literally – isn’t what he had in mind, but he can’t deny she’s sexy as hell. They have an amazingly sexy encounter and then..poof. She disappeared. Now Tom can’t think about anything else. Too bad things don’t go quite the way he imagined when he finally tracks her down again.

This novel is quite a bit more campy than other books by Bowen. The humor felt forced some of the time, and the situations were all really over-the-top. Plus, Bryn cried a lot. Like, All.The.Time. She showed quite a bit of growth over the course of the novel, but I couldn’t help but feel like she needed to take some time to be alone before jumping onto into another guy relationship. I really liked Tom and how down-to-earth he was despite being a “celebrity”, but the way his “situation” from the previous season of his show was drawn out was kind of frustrating. I’d have preferred to just know why he was feeling the way he was, rather than been teased by it.

Although some of the comedy was over-the-top, I enjoyed the quiet moments between Tom and Bryn. Tom was really down-to-earth and I think he centered Bryn a bit. I liked them together.

If you’re looking for a sweet contemporary romp, this book is for you.

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Play it Safe by Kristen Ashley

Posted December 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Play it Safe by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly
Play It Safe by Kristen Ashley
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: January 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 487
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three-half-stars

No connections. Play it safe. These were the rules Ivey lived her life by.

Until she hit Mustang, Colorado, a perfectly imperfect town where the citizens were welcoming and one of them included the tall, beautiful, macho man rancher cowboy, Grayson Cody.

On the run for a decade, Ivey knew she was supposed to play it safe. But she was tired of being on the run. She wanted a normal. She wanted real. She wanted a home.

And she wanted Grayson Cody.

And Grayson Cody wanted Ivey.

No one who looked at them couldn’t see they belonged together. There was one man in this world for Ivey and one woman in this world for Grayson Cody.

So they fell in love.

But just as quickly as they fell together, they were betrayed and torn apart. Separated for years, Ivey was certain her life would not include her rancher cowboy. Until the town of Mustang reached out to her when Gray was in trouble. Even though she thought he broke her heart, she charged in to help. Then Gray and Ivey discovered they were betrayed and, not only that, Gray had an enemy who would stop at nothing to defeat him.

I just want to start by saying, that blurb is a hot mess. I trust Ashley as an author, but I still avoided reading this book for years because of that blurb. I downloaded the Kindle version with the audio add-on so I’d have something to listen to at work. I’m not a big audiobook person because I don’t like how slow they move. I adjusted the speed to 1.5x, however, and that really helped. I liked the narrator for this one.

Ivey and her brother Casey have been on the run for ten years, trying to escape a bad home life. Now 22, she makes a living as a pool hustler. When they land in a small Colorado town and she meets Gray, for the first time in her life she wants to stay put and form connections. The entire town adopts her as their own and she and Gray fall into each other pretty quickly. Ivey knows he’s the one for her, and Gray seems to feel the same. When her brother shows up and says they’re both in danger, Ivey leaves to protect Gray, but someone is conspiring against Gray and they play things so Ivey thinks he betrayed her.

7 years later Gray is in a bad spot financially. He’s about to lose his ranch. Ivey is now a Vegas showgirl with wealthy friends, so when she gets word she bails him out. Which is when they realized they were played. Unfortunately, the threat to Gray still exists. Rediscovering their love becomes a lot harder when they’re faced with constant danger….

Parts of this book moved slow, but I really enjoyed the small town and the romance. The cast of secondary characters was just as delightful as always. I thought the suspense plot was silly and the villain over the top, but I loved the way the story moved in and out of their lives.

Though this isn’t my favorite of Ashley’s works, I really enjoyed it. The audio made me want to search out some of her others to see how they compare.

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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