Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Review: Anatomy of a Player by Cindi Madsen

Posted April 17, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Anatomy of a Player by Cindi MadsenReviewer: Rowena
Anatomy of a Player by Cindi Madsen
Narrator: Joe Arden, Kristin Watson Heintz
Series: Taking Shots #2
Also in this series: Getting Lucky Number Seven
Publisher: Entangled, Entangled Embrace
Publication Date: January 25, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Length: 9 hours, 52 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A new adult romance from Entangled's Embrace imprint...

This bad boy is about to get played…

After getting her heart broken by a player again, Whitney Porter is done with men. She's focusing on her future career and her first assignment at the college newspaper: Posing as a sports writer for an exposé on the extra perks jocks receive. But Hudson Decker, the bad boy of the hockey team, is about to test her resolve. To keep herself from breaking her no-sex rule with the temptingly tattooed athlete, she decides to use him for a side project: Anatomy of a Player, to help Whitney—and women everywhere—spot a player, learn what makes him tick, and how to avoid falling for one.

With his life spiraling out of control, Hudson Decker's looking for a distraction. When his teammates bet him that he can't land the gorgeous but prickly new reporter, he accepts the challenge, boasting he'll have her in bed by the end of the semester. But Whitney is so much more than Hudson expected, and soon enough, he's in too deep. The last thing he needs is another complication, but staying away isn't an option. One thing's for certain: this girl totally throws him off his game.

Anatomy of a Player is the second book in Cindi Madsen’s Taking Shots series and it was another quick listen for me. I listened to the entire book in a day and let the drama between Hudson and Whitney take me away for a while. I will say right off the bat that I enjoyed the first book in this series more than I did this one. The best friends trope gets me every time but on top of that, both Hudson and Whitney got on my nerves quite a bit while listening to their story.

After Whitney gets dumped yet again, she swears off boys and promises herself that she’s going to focus on school and get her journalism degree poppin’ by joining the school paper but the only job at the paper that she can get is as the reporter covering the hockey team. She also pitches a story that will expose the athletes at the school, the hockey team in particular, of breezing through school while the rest of the non-athletes bust their asses to stay afloat. Her job is to get as close as she can to the team, develop friendships so that they’ll tell her all of their secrets and she can bust their trust in her wide open when she betrays them all…for the glory of a story. This was my least favorite part of the story. I’m not a fan of journalist heroines and I was prepared to be annoyed as shit over Whitney’s plan but it wasn’t Whitney’s plan that I hated most about her. It was how immature she was that annoyed the snot out of me.

Hudson had his own stuff that he was working through and he annoyed me with the immature way that he handled his problems (he didn’t, he just partied too hard to distract himself) but over the course of the book, you see him grow into his own and when he finally starts to deal with his issues and everything in his life, Whitney included, I really liked the person he became.

The romance between Hudson and Whitney was solid and I did root for them, at the same time that I wanted to strangle them both but I chalked up their immaturity to their age and was able to let a lot of things slide and enjoy the story, them as characters, and just everything. Cindi Madsen’s writing style is easy to follow along with and I appreciated that. Hudson and Whitney did grow on me and I was satisfied with the way that their romance came together in the end. It was believable and I’m definitely interested in continuing the story.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Taking Shots

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Freedom to Love by Susanna Fraser

Posted April 12, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Freedom to Love by Susanna FraserReviewer: Tracy
Freedom to Love by Susanna Fraser
Series: Freedom to Love #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: January 5, 2015
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Louisiana, 1815

Thérèse Bondurant trusted her parents to provide for her and her young half-sister, though they never wed due to laws against mixed-race marriage. But when both die of a fever, Thérèse learns her only inheritance is debt—and her father’s promise that somewhere on his plantation lies a buried treasure, if she can find it before her white cousins take possession of the land.

Then British officer Henry Farlow, dazed from a wound received in battle outside New Orleans, stumbles onto the property. Thérèse insists he stay with them to recover, and he is quickly captivated by her intelligence and beauty. Thanks to her care, he is back to full strength just in time to fend off an attack by her cousin, inadvertently killing the would-be rapist.

Knowing they will find no justice in the law, the trio flees. Henry risks being labeled a deserter, but more than duty compels him to see the sisters to safety, and Thérèse comes to rely on Henry for more than protection. On their journey to freedom, they must navigate another new territory—love. But when they arrive in England, an unexpected inheritance puts their newfound commitment to the test.

Henry Farlow is a British officer who was injured in battle.  He was left there after the battle, everyone presuming he’s dead. He manages to leave the field where the battle took place and finds himself at a plantation.  He comes across a woman and a girl who are digging in the lawn.  They take him to the house and take care of him, but they want him to leave asap.  Unfortunately, despite the fact that the plantation house belonged to their father, it doesn’t belong to them.  Their father has died and left it to a nasty relative.  Unfortunately that relative shows up while the trio is there.  He’s drunk and when he tries to take advantage of Thérèse’s sister, Jeannette – who’s a slave, Henry protects her and accidentally kills him.  Then the three of them are on the run. Henry must make it to a fort to prove he’s not a deserter.

Thérèse’s father was a plantation owner but Thérèse’s mother was his mistress and a seamstress.  She is cuarterona (someone who is ¼ African descent) but she’s also Native American. Though Henry doesn’t care and starts to fall in love with her, she’s not sure what their future looks like.  They decide they’ll make their way to Canada, where slaves are free, and start a life.  With Henry and Thérèse pretending to be married, and Jeannette their slave, it puts them in close quarters.  Henry and Thérèse start to fall in love, but how can they be together when interracial marriages are illegal?

Right when they think things are looking up for the trio, they head to England to deal with Henry’s parents (to prove that he’s alive) and then they’ll head back to Canada to start their life.  Once they get to England, however, they find that Henry’s life will never be the same, which means Thérèse’s won’t either.

I really loved the first part of this story.  I loved Thérèse and Jeannette and their determination to make a better life for themselves.  I really liked Henry and his honor.  The trio’s journey was fraught with danger and I was completely sucked in.

Then they got to England. I wish I could say that even that part was wonderful, but I personally think it got boring.  It was definitely more personalized because of Henry’s family and how they dealt with Thérèse, but I started to dislike Henry a bit and it just wasn’t as good as the first part of the book.

Despite things changing for me in the second half of the book, it was still good.  I’d still definitely recommend this as it was well written and kept my attention.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: It Only Takes a Kiss by Wilma Counts

Posted April 4, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: It Only Takes a Kiss by Wilma CountsReviewer: Tracy
It Only Takes a Kiss by Wilma Counts
Series: Once Upon a Bride #2
Also in this series: My Fair Lord (Once Upon a Bride #1)
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Best friends since their schooldays, Henrietta, Harriet, and Hero are wise and witty young ladies, embarking on the sometimes bumpy road to happily-ever-after, each in her own brilliant way...

Hero Whitby has harbored long-buried fears since a devastating attack by two young men of the privileged class. Now, while her peers aspire to husband-hunting, Hero pursues her passion to be a doctor, working alongside her father, a respected Devonshire physician. But when a badly beaten stranger is carried in to his practice, Hero is stunned by her reaction. Over three days of tending to the man, along with her instinct to heal, she finds herself intensely drawn to him.

Robbed and left for dead for highwaymen, Alexander Sterne has no memory of his past as a soldier in Wellington's army—or as a carousing playboy. But as he becomes aware of his surroundings and the plight of the locals, Alex realizes only he can break the corrupt hold of an evil land steward. And when Hero's tender kiss awakens him from sleep—and restores his identity—he knows that he must regain not only his strength but a newfound compassion...which can only be ignited by Hero and a meeting of hearts that may heal them both.

Hero is considered on the shelf and as such is living with her doctor father in his place in Cornwall.  She wants to be a doctor herself and has learned almost everything she needs to know from her father.  She’s woken up one night by locals who found a beaten man by the side of the road.  He is completely built, and Hero can’t help from noticing how beautiful his body is (how unprofessional, Hero!).

The man eventually wakes up and doesn’t remember his past.  When he returned from the war he had pretty bad PTSD so that might be a good thing.  He eventually remembers and figures out that he is the third son of a duke and was arriving in Cornwall incognito.  He was to check the books of the land steward of his very own holdings.  Because the land steward isn’t on the up and up, they attacked the “bookkeeper” and left him for dead.

The land steward turned out to be a very bad guy and was threatening to evict people from the land if they didn’t help him with his smuggling ring – this included part of Hero’s family.

I liked this story. I found the whole smuggling/land steward/amnesia story really worked for me.  I thought that Counts did a great job with all of that. She wrote a story that kept my attention and I wanted to keep reading.

Unfortunately I didn’t feel as strongly about the romance in the story.  While I liked both Hero and Alex, I wasn’t feeling it between them.  Hero knew Alex by reputation, since he’d never actually been to that particular holding since he’d inherited it.  She knew the owner was a drunkard and a rake, and thought him the lowest of lows.  When she found out that Alex was the owner, she was pissed.  Of course, Alex had lied to her, but still, she should have listened when he’d said he’d changed.

In the end I found the book to be satisfying, but not as satisfying as I thought it would be at the beginning.  I was disappointed that the second half of the book wasn’t as good as the first half.  I still think it’s worth reading if you like smuggling stories.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Once Upon a Bride

three-half-stars


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Review: Burn by Maya Banks

Posted March 13, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Burn by Maya BanksReviewer: Casee
Burn (Breathless, #3) by Maya Banks
Series: Breathless #1
Also in this series: Rush (Breathless, #1), Fever (Breathless, #2), Burn (Breathless, #3), Rush (Breathless, #1), Fever (Breathless, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Pages: 353
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Ash, Jace, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Ash, it’s the woman who changes everything he’s ever known about dominance and desire...

When it comes to sex, Ash McIntyre has always explored his wilder side — extreme and uncompromising. He demands control. And he prefers women who want it like that. Even the women he’s shared with his best friend, Jace.

But Jace is involved with a woman he has no intention of sharing. And now even Gabe has settled into a relationship with a woman who gives him everything he needs, leaving Ash feeling restless and unfulfilled.

Then Ash meets Josie, who seems immune to his charms and his wealth. Intrigued, he begins a relentless pursuit, determined she won’t be the one who got away. He never imagined the one woman to tell him no would be the only woman who’d ever drive him to the edge of desire.

This is the final and best book in the Breathless trilogy. Not that it took much to be better than Rush and Fever. Ash has always been an intriguing character. He’s always seemed like the “aw shucks” type of guy. He never seemed to be much more than a pretty face. There was a hint of more in Fever, but that book was such a train wreck that I wasn’t even thinking of Ash.

Ash first notices Josie in the park. He doesn’t know what about it is that draws his eye, but he’s instantly mesmerized by her. When he approaches her, he’s intrigued when she immediately gathers her things to flee. No one flees Ash. If anything women flock to him. Then the piece of paper she was drawing on flies loose and he sees that she was drawing him.

The way they come into each others lives is kind of messed up. I think by the time I read this book I was pretty much numb to the way these men acted. So the fact that Ash had a guy start following Josie for safety purposes didn’t even raise a red flag. When Josie went to a pawn shop to temporarily pawn her moms jewelry so she could pay her rent, Ash didn’t think twice about buying it and then blackmailing her into going out with him.

Seriously, what is wrong with me that I didn’t think there was a problem with that?

During their date, they both admit their undeniable attraction to each other. Josie admits that she broke up with her on again/off again boyfriend because of him. She wasn’t really happy when she said that. Ash makes sure she knows that if she agrees to be his, he will literally take over her life.

As I’m writing this review, I am seeing the big picture of what Maya Banks was trying to do here. In the first book there was sexual assault, in the second book a character was homeless, in this book there was physical assault. This all happened to the women. I don’t know what the point of it was except to make the men feel helpless.

It was my favorite book of the three because Josie was my favorite heroine of the three. I just really enjoyed her. I was going to give this book a 4 out of 5, but as I kept going along in my review I realized that there was no way that I could do that. There were just too many problems.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Breathless

three-half-stars


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Review: Rush by Maya Banks

Posted March 8, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Rush by Maya BanksReviewer: Casee
Rush (Breathless, #1) by Maya Banks
Series: Breathless #1
Also in this series: Rush (Breathless, #1), Fever (Breathless, #2), Burn (Breathless, #3), Fever (Breathless, #2), Burn (Breathless, #3)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Pages: 396
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking...

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

I have been glomming Maya Banks for some reason. I’m still unsure why that is. I used to love her books. Like love love them. Now I just like them. I think I’m reading them because they’re quick and easy. Yep, that’s why.

Gabe Hamilton has been burned. Badly. By someone he trusted. Now he doesn’t trust. In fact he trusts women so little that he makes his would-be lovers sign a contract before he starts any sort of relationship. Even when he finally gets Mia Crestwell into his arms, he gives her his contract.

Mia is shocked when she reads Gabe’s contract. Shocked, dismayed, and turned on. She knows if her brother and Gabe’s best friend and business partner, Jace Crestwell, ever finds out about their affair that he would go ballistic. As shell shocked as she is at the contract, Mia can’t turn Gabe down. She’s wanted him for too long to even think about denying him or herself.

This a light BDSM book. Definitely erotic, but not terribly so. I’ve read more erotica books to be sure. There was no calling Gabe “master”, so don’t let that stop you from reading the book. It was a shame what Mia had to endure while Gabe was grappling with his feelings for her. Actually, it was straight fucked. No matter how Gabe tried to make it up to her, what he did was just about unforgivable.

I was going to give this book a 4, but as I started writing my review, I decided to change it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Breathless

three-half-stars


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