Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Review: Midnight Encounters by Elle Kennedy

Posted October 3, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Midnight Encounters by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
Midnight Encounters by Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: June 1, 2009
Format: Print
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 230
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three-half-stars

One night with him will change her life...

Between her waitressing job, volunteer work, and college classes, there are never enough hours in Maggie Reilly’s day. Especially not for a relationship. Luckily, she’s got the perfect arrangement: a lover she meets three or four times a year. But when she shows up at the hotel expecting to hop into bed with one man, she accidentally ends up with another—Ben Barrett, Hollywood’s most notorious bad boy.

Ben, determined to lay low after another scandal, just wants some much-needed sleep. What he gets is a scorching make-out session with a gorgeous, naked redhead. He won’t accept her apology, but what he will accept is a place to hide out…and if there’s some hot, no-strings sex involved, why the heck not?

But Ben soon discovers that one week with his sassy, bed-hopping waitress is definitely not enough. He wants more. A lot more.
Now he needs to convince relationship-averse Maggie that a bad boy might be oh so good for her—and the best thing that’s ever happened to both of them.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on February 22, 2009.

Last year I read a Samhain book that had an excerpt for this book in the back and just had to buy it. Midnight Encounters is a steamy contemporary romance by Elle Kennedy. I was drawn in by her writing in the short excerpt I read and wasn’t disappointed with the rest of the story.

Maggie is really buttoned down and determined to make something of herself. She was abandoned as a young child and spent her life in foster homes. As a result she wants to make a career for herself and help other young kids in the system. She has no room in her life for complications, relationships or fun and relaxation. Between work, volunteering and school, she has zero free time. But twice a year she makes time to get together with Tony for hot sex. Yes, you read that right, she only allows herself hot sex twice a year.

When an heiress socialite leaves bad boy Hollywood star Ben $10 million in her will, the media storm is overwhelming. In desperate need of a break, he seizes Maggie’s hotel room mishap as the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone: Get laid and hide out. He’s surprised at how much he ends up wanting to take care of Maggie, though. Seeing her workaholic attitude bothers him more than it should, and it isn’t long before he’s determined to get her to relax.

This was definitely a well-written novel. I really enjoyed the story and the characters. Maggie was a little over the top at times, especially in her insistence that she make something of herself before worrying about the rest of her life. I understood her reasons for wanting a stable career, but all work and no play makes for a bitchy heroine, and she was occasionally that. Of course, if I only had sex twice a year and worked as much as she did I’d probably be bitchy, too, but still…

I really liked that Ben was the one who wanted to take care of Maggie. Too often it’s the other way around. I did find his arrogance to be kind of out of control at times. I wondered many times why Maggie let things slide with him instead of beating him over the head. But then..he was sexy as hell. That might have accounted for some of it.

My main issues stems from the fact that Maggie kept pushing Ben away and blaming him for things going wrong in her life. She needed to lighten up and Ben was trying to help with that. On the other hand, if a man came into my life and tried to complicate it without my permission, no matter how hot or how good in bed, I’d be pissed too. Basically, I understood where Maggie was coming from but thought she went too far.

Overall this is was a light, sexy read. It had some flaws, but I liked both characters and enjoyed the story for what it is.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

three-half-stars


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Series Review: The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy by Meghan March

Posted September 25, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

I cannot stop reading/listening to Meghan March. Her stories are compelling. At the same time, they can be train wrecks. She just has something special.

Series Review: The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy by Meghan MarchReviewer: Casee
Dirty Billionaire by Meghan March
Narrator: Elena Wolfe, Sebastian York
Series: Dirty Billionaire Trilogy #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 4 hours and 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I've got a big dick and an even bigger bank account. That's pretty much where my bio ends. Honestly, I don't need to say anything else. I've just sold 99% of women on going home with me. Do I sound like an asshole to you? That's because I am. And guess what? It works for me just fine. Or at least it did. Until I met her. Books talk about sparks flying. Fuck that shit. With her, it was like emergency flares mixed with jet fuel. Or maybe just straight up napalm. Only one problem. She wouldn't tell me her name or her number when she disappeared from the hotel room after the hottest fucking night of my life. Now I've had a taste of unicorn pussy-the sweetest, rarest of all pussy-and I need it again. So what's an asshole to do? I took this problem to the street. A missed connection gone viral. And when I find her? I'm keeping her. Dirty Billionaire is the first book in The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy and is not a standalone. The story continues in Dirty Pleasures, which will release 12/29/2015, and Dirty Together, which will release on 1/12/2016. WARNING: If you can't handle a dirty-talking, dominant alpha male, The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy may not be for you. If you're looking for your newest filthy billionaire book boyfriend, I'd love to introduce you to Creighton Karas.

Creighton and Holly meet and have a steamy night together. Then Holly disappears. Creighton is an over-the-top alpha. When he decides he wants to see her again, he makes sure he finds her. When they meet again, it’s clear to Creighton that Holly needs a protector. So he does what he does…he protects what’s “his”.

Holly has enough problems of her own without adding Creighton Karas to the mix. Too bad he won’t take no for an answer.

I enjoyed this book even though Creighton was a little much. This book is trashy, which was exactly what I was in the mood to read at the time.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Series Review: The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy by Meghan MarchReviewer: Casee
Dirty Pleasures by Meghan March
Narrator: Elena Wolfe, Sebastian York
Series: Dirty Billionaire Trilogy #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 29, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 177
Length: 3 hours and 51 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I did it. I married a billionaire.

My reasons are my own, but the last thing I expected was to feel owned.

I may have taken vows, but I’m still determined to be me.

Now his rules are taking over my world, but I’m not the kind of girl to just obey.

There’s only one problem: I might actually be falling for him…

I have no idea how this marriage is going to go, but holding onto a piece of myself while succumbing to his dirty pleasures is shaping up to be the ride of a lifetime.

Dirty Pleasures is the second book in The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy. Dirty Together, the conclusion of this filthy trilogy, will release on 1/12/2016.

Holly, this is your fucking husband. Where the fuck are you? And if you think you’re fucking done with me, you’re dead wrong, sweetheart. Better get ready, because I’m fucking coming for you.”

Holly has decided that she’s had enough of Creighton. He claims that he wants to make their marriage work, but only seems to tell her what to do. That doesn’t work for her. When Creighton discovers Holly has left him, he’s not having it (see above).

This was a good second book in the trilogy. Holly hadn’t started to drive me crazy quite yet.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

Series Review: The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy by Meghan MarchReviewer: Casee
Dirty Together by Meghan March
Series: Dirty Billionaire Trilogy #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 12, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 4 hours and 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

My wife.

I love saying those words.

She’s mine, and if she thinks I’m going to let her run without tracking her down and bringing her back to where she belongs—with me—then she’s about to be introduced to a new reality.

Because I’ll fight dirty to give her the happily ever after she deserves.

Dirty Together is the final book in The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy and should be read following Dirty Billionaire and Dirty Pleasures.

Holly decides (once again) that she’s going to leave Creighton. He’s everything she doesn’t want in a man. He’s pushy, bossy, and expects her to follow his rules. She’s not having it. Creighton (once again) has to track Holly down. Now he has everything to lose unless he convinces her that they were meant to be.

Holly drove me batty in this book. She just kept running. Get a spine, girl. Geez. Creighton was still his bad-ass self.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

Posted September 13, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Someone to Trust by Mary BaloghReviewer: Tracy
Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott Series #5
Also in this series: Someone to Love, Someone to Hold, Someone to Wed, Someone to Care, Someone to Honor
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

During a rare white Christmas at Brambledean Court, the widow Elizabeth, Lady Overfield, defies convention by falling in love with a younger man in the latest novel in the Westcott series.

After her husband's passing, Elizabeth Overfield decides that she must enter into another suitable marriage. That, however, is the last thing on her mind when she meets Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, at the Westcott Christmas house party. She simply enjoys his company as they listen to carolers on Christmas Eve, walk home from church together on Christmas morning, and engage in a spirited snowball fight in the afternoon. Both are surprised when their sled topples them into a snow bank and they end up sharing an unexpected kiss. They know there is no question of any relationship between them for she is nine years older than he.

They return to London the following season, both committed to finding other, more suitable matches. Still they agree to share one waltz at each ball they attend. This innocuous agreement proves to be one that will topple their worlds, as each dance steadily ensnares them in a romance that forces the two to question what they are willing to sacrifice for love...

Colin and Elizabeth start off as friends in this book.  They are both looking for the same thing – marriage – but since Elizabeth is 9 years older than Colin they don’t really even think about marrying each other.  There is a spark and a sparkle there – and Colin constantly teases Elizabeth that he could marry him, but then plays it off as a joke.  She’s a little hurt by his teasing, but is Colin truly teasing her or is there a vein of seriousness in him?

While the story started off slowly it soon picked up and I was pretty invested in the romance.  I really liked both Colin and Elizabeth and wanted them together.  Yes, she was 9 years older than Colin and that age thing got a little old, I’m not gonna lie.  Colin was so adorable and kind, and I loved his character so much.  I’m glad that they finally worked things out, but it took a little too long to get there.  This actually could have been a novella and been perfect.

The overwhelming Wescott family irritated me in this book.  Not that any of them did anything wrong, truly they didn’t, but having to remember who is who was getting to me.  I love that they are so supportive of each other, but it got to a point where I just wanted them to all go away.

While I didn’t like this as much as I liked books 2, 3 & 4 in the series, it was still a lovely romance and worth reading.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Wescott

three-half-stars


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Review: Hot as Puck by Lili Valente

Posted September 9, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Hot as Puck by Lili ValenteReviewer: Holly
Hot as Puck by Lili Valente
Narrator: Tyler Donne, Summer Roberts
Series: Bad Motherpuckers #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 3, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 6 hours and 39 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, 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
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


The NHL's biggest bad boy is about to fall for the virgin next door...

I am the world's biggest dating failure. We're talking my last date went home with our waitress kind of failure.

But I have an ace in the back pocket of my mom jeans--my sexy-as-sin best friend, NHL superstar forward, Justin Cruise.

Justin owes me favors dating back to seventh grade, long before he became a hotshot with a world famous...stick. So in return for my undying platonic loyalty, all I want is an easy-peasy crash course on how to be a sex goddess.

How hard can it be?

***

I have never been so hard in my life.

The things I want to do to my sweet, kindergarten-teaching, mitten-crocheting best friend Libby Collins are ten different kinds of wrong. Maybe twenty.

But I'm a firm believer in teaching by example, and by the end of our first lesson, we've graduated to a hands on approach to her education: my hands all over her, her hands all over me, and her hot mouth melting beneath mine as I prove to her there isn't a damned thing wrong with the way she kisses.

Give me a month, and I'll transform Libby from wall flower to wall banger, and ensure she's confident enough to seduce any guy she wants.

Problem is... the only guy I want her seducing is me.

Hot as Puck is a sexy, flirty, friends-to-lovers Standalone romantic comedy from USA Today Bestseller Lili Valente.

Hot as Puck is the first book in the Bad Motherpuckers series by Lili Valente. It’s the first book I’ve tried by the author. This was a cute friends-to-lovers story I enjoyed for the most part.

Justin and Libby have been friends since he was 13 and she taught him to crochet while he was stuck in bed with mono. He’s best friends with her older sister, Laura, but he and Libby have a special bond. Which is why she feels comfortable asking him to help her learn how to flirt and overcome her extreme shyness around the opposite sex. She’s had a crush on the Vice Principal at the school where she teaches kindergarten forever, but she makes an absolute fool of herself every time she tries to talk to him. She’s tired of feeling like an idiot and just needs some guidance. There’s no one else she trusts enough to ask for help.

Justin is a professional hockey player at the top of his game. He’s killing it on the ice, but his personal life is kind of shit since he just broke up with his latest girlfriend. He isn’t ready to get married and start popping out babies, but he can’t quite figure out why all his relationships keep ending. When Libby asks him to teach her how to be comfortable around men, he’s kind of a jerk because he’s uncomfortable with the idea of Libby as anything other than a friend. Soon, however, he steps up and agrees.

I really loved Justin’s nerdy self. He crochets and geeks out over Star Wars, which was a cute look on a professional hockey player. I didn’t dislike Libby, but her actions toward the end of the book definitely brought her down a few notches. Still, I enjoyed them as a couple and fully bought into their friends-to-lovers romance.

While this wasn’t perfect, it was a quick, light read and I enjoyed it for the most part.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Bad Motherpuckers

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Heart Secret by Robin D. Owens

Posted September 5, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Heart Secret by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Secret by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #11
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Thief , Heart Duel , Heart Choice, Heart Quest , Heart Dance , Heart Fate , Heart Dance, Heart Journey, Heart Fire, Heart Legacy, Heart Change, Heart Sight (Celta's Heartmates)
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: August 7th 2012
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

On the faraway planet Celta, there are some things you can never tell—until someone discovers your Heart Secret…

When a virulent disease killed the woman he loved and her baby, Garrett Primross was left alive, a reluctant survivor. Now, as a private eye, he strives to banish the memories of his past and rebuild his life. The Healers of Celta have something else in mind: Discover why he survived.

He is monitored by Healer Artemisia Panax—his HeartMate, a love he never pursued. Still mourning his loss, he refuses to acknowledge her. Since her family was publicly disgraced, she's used to such treatment. She wants nothing more than to guard her livelihood and protect the secrets she's sworn to keep.

Thrown together by duty, Garrett and Artemisia find the body of the last Black Magic Cultist who ruined her family. Suspicion flares, but they have little choice but to investigate the crime together. When their own lives are placed in danger, they realize that denying their HeartMates is only denying their own future.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on August 7, 2012

This is book number eleven in Owens’ Celta’s HeartMates series. While past events are mentioned, I think this can be read as a standalone.

Garrett is the sole survivor from his small estate of a terrible disease. When it took the girl he loved three years before, he vowed never to contact his HeartMate. He didn’t want to soil the memory of his first love, nor did he want to risk his heart again. Now they’re being forced to work together to help find a cure, since the disease is back. He tries to keep her at arms length, but can’t deny he’s drawn to her.

Artemisia’s family was cast out of their home after they were falsely accused of being part of a cult. They have since been tasked with taking care of BalmHeal, the private sanctuary of Celta that’s only available to those who are in desperate need. The entire family has been sworn to secrecy. She knows she has a HeartMate, but figures he never tried to contact her because of the scandal. And she’s ok with that. Mostly. She does want a family, however, and she hopes to find someone she can marry. She can’t deny an attraction to Garrett, but he’s a patient and therefore off limits. Plus, he’s kind of grumpy and prickly.

Even after their forced time together (while Garrett undergoes infection – he’s the only one on the planet who is immune – so they can hopefully find a cure), Garrett doesn’t want to claim Artemisia as his HeartMate. He wants to remain true to his first love and he resents that Artemisia makes him feel things for her.

With this novel, Owens moves firmly into the second generation of Celta families. I’m kind of torn here. I really like that we’re moving into a new generation and seeing outside the First Families. On the other hand, I kind of miss the sense of the world we got from the First Family’s point of view.

This is a darker novel. Garrett suffered through a traumatic event and there’s is a lot of pain and grief inside of him from it. He takes out his anger and guilt on Artemisia more than once. As we learn more about the events that shaped his past, it’s easy to forgive his treatment of her. Where I struggled was his complete about-face with her. One minute he didn’t want her as his HeartMate and the next he decided to claim her. That might have killed the novel for me, but he really had to work for it. If Artemisia had fallen at his feet as soon as he announced his change of heart, I don’t think this would have worked as well.

I enjoyed both characters. Artemisia was a strong woman who was doing her best to make her way in the world, despite the scandal that still hung over her head. I only wish more had been done about the director of the Healing Hall she worked at. I was hoping for a comeuppance and was sorely disappointed in that regard.

Celta is such an interesting world, so easy to fall into. I can never wait to get the next installment and when I finish a new book, I always want to go back and re-read the old ones.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Celta’s HeartMates

three-half-stars


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